Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Madness In More Ways Than One!

The month of March has been... incredibly busy but mostly, EXCITING!!!!

As you can tell we are all so happy!
These pictures were taken last night at our favorite local pizza place, Impellizaris as we celebrated! (No, not for March madness although, GO CATS.)
It happened.... 

We bought a our new house back in my hometown!!!!!
THE HOUSE I've dreamt of for years. 
The one at the end of the LOTR style 7 year journey of medical school and residency.  The period of time where we've really grown up, because we had to.  The journey that included years of infertility, pregnancy then heartbreak, moving to the city, living on a windy prairie, then back to the city again, 3 big moves, 3 rental homes, buying our first home, Heath gone many nights while diligently learning and working with on the job training day in and out, 3 different places of work for me then my "retiring" to be a homemaker, an adoption seed planted in my heart then seeing the fruit by bringing home 2 beautiful toddlers, and finally learning the ropes of parenting and becoming knit as family of four! *Exhale
That Journey. 
This house is the house we will move into as a FAMILY.
The house God has laid on our hearts that we kept coming back to when scouring real estate.
The house with the big yard, mature trees, and a perfectly long driveway for the kids to ride their bikes.
The house with the kitchen plentiful of cabinets and sunshine to stream in while I pour our first cup of coffee and prepare birthday cakes and Christmas cookies for years to come.
The house with the comfortable staircase I always imagined our kids trouncing down each morning that will be adorned with swags of garland at Christmas.
The house with the fireplace that will warm our bodies and souls after coming in from long days of play or, school, or work.
The house Heath and I will grow to know Christ on a deeper level as Father--Daddy-- so we can lovingly train our own kids He has given us with wisdom, strength, and integrity.
The house with beautiful bones that together we'll change to really make our own with touching family photography, farmhouse touches, kid's art, cozy lighting, and relaxing nooks to read and be inspired.
The house with the rooms we'll fill with new memories as we start the next chapter of our lives as Heath grows into the role of doctor he is preparing for and our oldest starts kindergarten at the school we are graduates of.
We're landing back in the place God called us from, but life will be different than it was when we left.  We were simply husband and wife with an easy job and low stress school, living in a cute one bedroom apartment with not much to our name but love and excitement for the future.  Somehow the future seems to just happen!  In this case, we are coming back full circle with the family we had prayed for from the beginning and the job Heath kept in his tunnel vision through years of school as he sacrificed much of his 20's for the call God placed on His life.  This is a house I would've only dreamed of living in, but I have loved every little place we've lived.  It's us that make it a home, not stuff.

Our current house--my first cottage-- is under contract (sold!) the very first day we put it on the market!!  God is in this, y'all!!! He has shown us favor and directed our steps even when it seemed we were being lead through the fog at times.  All the hard months work on our home paid clearly off when we had 6 showings and two awesome offers the first day.  You can't make this stuff up!  God has good things in store when we pray and trust Him!
But as it is written,
 'What no eye has seen, nor ear has heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him.'
1 Corinthians 2:9
I can boast in the Lord and brag on my husband, but I'm saying all of this from a honest and humble place.  

My family...we aren't perfect.  Our life is far from it, but it's a good one!  I have so much to learn and I fail constantly at my roles in life.  I'm a work in progress, if I've ever seen one and I'm crazy thankful for the grace of God!  Despite imperfection and at times a (very) messy life, I am His child!  I have His favor on my life and guidance in everything because I am His daughter.  I know that this journey in the perspective of our life is just a snapshot, but it has come with so much sacrifice and tears. My life is messy because I live on earth and I'm human, but the good news is I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!!!  
My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is make perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9
How does one wake up in the morning and not lose her mind after trying for a baby for tens of thousands of days?  God's strength. 
The very same power that has lifted my husband's feet to carry on into the gruel of med school and caring for others, after watching me deliver our dead daughter just days before. 
It's the strength I prayed for our little ones for nights on end after they had to say goodbye to the only family they knew to come into our forever (safe and secure) home with us being only strangers to them.  He makes us brave.
It's God's strength and power that lives in me to help me use my voice in words and not song on two different occasions now to speak publicly on what God has done in my life. 

It was God's strength for this country mouse to move from her whole world to a city knowing nobody but her husband, and learn to thrive there!
I began this blog post to just share the great news about our move, but I found time today to tell you more because there is so much behind a happy picture.  The excitement to move back home is more than just buying a new house and living closer to dear family and friends....  it's the monumental task that was at hand and places we've been in and out of emotionally, physically and spiritually in this 7 year journey as husband and wife with God. 
Though one can be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A three cord stand is not quickly broken
Ecc. 4:12
 Life will continue being pretty busy in the meantime, very exciting as a whole, and fairly mundane in the hour as this month comes to a close.  I may not have much time to blog, but we do have a new computer that makes it easier for me to write when I find the time!
May whatever awesome, amazing, difficult, or exciting day you are having know that it's a season of life, and I'm here to rejoice with you or to cry along side if you just need a shoulder; but God is who will never leave nor forsake you.  He's the best!!!
See you again soon I hope.  Happy Spring! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Worn, The Beautiful

Lately I've had a lot of things going through my mind as I scramble to finish the last few projects and deep clean before listing our house in the next week and a half or so.  

As you can imagine, as I have been on my hands and knees scrubbing bathroom grout, inside cabinets, window panes and baseboards, and I can feel the soreness in my back.  As we lift boxes and clothes from the basement to the van and then to the storage unit, again my back is sore and arms are, too.  My hands get dry from washing them so much after cleaning and my feet have stepped on everything from a lovely nail when our old carpet was being ripped out to gunky paint that dropped off our paint brushes.  We've washed and pulled and scrubbed our hair free of paint and have just collapsed many nights after tucking in the kids from shear exhaustion of it all! Because, after all, this stuff isn't our real job.  Heath is working days and nights as a resident and I'm a stay at home mom who never stops tending to the kids and house. After a couple months of working extra hard around the clock I've developed a very aching, sore body!  Right now I can feel every muscle because they are so tender.  Of course lifting little ones, taking hot cast iron skillets out of the oven, and laundry baskets up a flight of stairs will do that to you over time anyways...

Where am I going with all this complaining--err--explaining?  

Today it occurred to me.  God gave me a very healthy body. (Praise Him!)  He made me in His image.  I have working arms, legs, spine and heart so I can not only move but truly live!  My body was created to work in this way.

Across borders and seas there are moms who carry children for miles just to get clean water.  

I think I can manage a flight of steps.

There are people who don't have a very healthy heart or lungs to work for them properly.

I think I can get mine racing real good every day to become "Mommy Robot" while playing chase with the kids.

There are families around the world who only have rice mush to eat day in and day out.  Every.  Day. And they are thankful for it.

I think I can handle cooking 3 meals a day without complaining or eat leftover chili for the 3rd day in a row.

There are homes made with dung.  Actual poop from animals, and the families are just proud to have shelter.  

I think I can wipe down some greasy baseboards and learn to live with wet floors from all the snow and rain.

What am I really saying here?  

I want my mindset to change on my body and home.  While I like working for my body by exercising and eating healthy, I can't help but feel God made our bodies to work for us!  I can live with pain for all the gain that comes with it in the end!

With my very own ability, I'm able to clean and cook, rock my daughter every night, crawl around the floor to find Legos buried under furniture, bathe fidgety-widgety toes, and even paint entire rooms and pack lots of boxes.  

Yes, these things can take a toll, but instead of me just feeling the aches, I've decided to be thankful.

My body is a gift I can't take for granted. 

My home is a gift I can't take for granted.

I was thinking. Again.  Some of the most used rooms in my house--the rooms that I'm in the most and that stay the messiest-- those are some of the most loved places to be!!  

Here are some untouched places at this very moment in my busiest and best working room... The kitchen. (Don't worry Molly, the mess will be gone when you list the house!)  It doesn't always look so strewn, but if it does, instead of getting frusterated I want to see life!

Because this is where life happens.  Home is where life happens.  Water glasses always sitting out means that I have good things to drink and loved one to serve with a body healthy enough to do so!

All the crumbs mean I have plenty of food to eat.  Every day.  I've never once in life ran out of food without means to buy more.

My messiest room, the kitchen, is also best loved!  It's where I cook for my family, and you know how I love to do that!

It's where I teach my daughter the art of seasoning a homemade pizza well.  And enjoying it.  (Even when a bag of trash waiting to be carried out in the corner... Eek)

It's where in the midst of painting a room we make quick PB & Js to enjoy with the kids, and where my children just love holding onto my legs while I'm cooking.  It's where my son peeks around the corner, knowing to stay clear of the stove, but wanting to watch his mommy.

This room is always alive!  It bears the marks of working for me with almost constantly a crumby floor and clean dishes to unload, with grease splatters and dirty aprons hung.  But I live in the kitchen and it works for me, like my body works for me.  I love them for it, too! 

Sometimes the mess and the aches in life indicate--instead of something being wrong-- that something is incredibly... right. used. Loved!

God gives us strength to do the hard things in life.  The hard things that turn out to be some of the best things, if you just stick with it!

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 1 Timothy 4:7

Parenting is physically and emotionally the hardest task I've ever had.  It's also crazy rewarding and fulfilling to pour into your children!

Upon keeping a home everyday, getting our house ready to sell has taken so much out of me since the start of the year, but we're at a point that I can see all the rewards!

Painting, purging, deep cleaning, reorganizing, and color coding my closet was time consuming, but the result is beautiful!

Our closet was once a huge mess, but now it's more like a dressing room I enjoy changing in!

For two weeks our entire bedroom was moved out as we slept in the dining room.  This picture was actually after our walls were fixed from the hundreds of cracks that this old cape cod had developed in the charming wall boards over the years.  This pic was just after sanding, priming, and painting, but before the new carpet.  May I just say this picture is already light years from what this room looked like when we bought the house?  I love progress.

Our tranquil bedroom retreat after!  

This picture isn't at all staged since I snapped it after my morning coffee, and there are still details with bedding and decor to sort out.  But now, coming up here to our bedroom instantly calms me.  After a week of being snowed in with the sound of nail guns and a cloud of dust, tranquil is exactly what we're wanting! For weeks, the rest of the house haphazardly stored everything this room carried, but now we can see all the work and effort paid off!

In under a week's time of being back in our bedroom I've managed to spend every morning's quiet time up here with the Word and coffee and myself.  

Over the past 2 1/2 weeks of sacrifice during a winter storm and while construction was going on in our house, we managed to live in & through the chaos.  Imperfection at is best!

My friends, this room is a perfectionist's nightmare.  

But God made a way you see, and it's all over!

So here I am today back in my clean, but imperfect livingroom.  Just the way I like it now.

Where there is beauty that God made.

Life lived.

Where there is usually a coat thrown over the couch by the back door because I have a hard working husband who comes home to me!  (I can handle a few strewn coats now!)

Life lived.

And in my well-loved kitchen there are my favorite promises I've written.. Well, God has written, but are now on my heart.  I've walked by these verses for many years hoping and believing God to change many situations, and He has!!
Life lived.

I'm thankful for the things that look worn but are actually loved!  I have a life very well-lived, and this is my year to finally wholeheartedly embrace that.


You know.. I'm not quite finished.  

First off, normally all the different filters in my pictures would drive me nuts, but today I'm just happy to be writing!

I did want to mention that over the past couple of months, I've been inspired by a few people.  First, when I was stretched the very thinnest during this reno, mom told me that she was praying my fruit of the spirit would further mature from this.  (Honestly, that was the last thing I cared to hear at the time when I was in a fetal position with a severe headache from all the smells and sounds.  When I had to get relief on my bed that was in the middle of our dusty diningroom with the workers in the house...that was a low point). But Mom always knows just what to pray, and now in hindsight I can see fruit developing.  God is good!!!

Also a blog post from Courtney at  Women Living Well about her unique view on her "love handles", and watching the astounding movie The Good Lie that is based on a true story has changed my whole perspective on the perfection of what I eat.  You know, I could've been born in Syria or in Niger or any other struggling country with problems that would make most of mine seem embarrassing, but I was not.  I was born in a country that generally knows no need, only want.  So while I actually enjoy cooking nice homemade meals because it's my creative outlet, I don't feel guilty for making a simple tator tot casserole to feed my family of 4 .  Because even though it's not the fanciest or healthiest, it's better food than some children may eat their whole life.  

Also a terrific book on making a home and decorating that I got for Christmas called The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith, was also was great food for thought.   

She told me to embrace "life" in your home.  The wear and tear on things only show they've been loved, and after visiting an African village herself, her outlook on what home was completely changed.  Just reading of it changed mine!

God has beautifully wrecked my life over the past few years in so many ways, because I've trusted Him to do so (starting in January 2012 to be exact). I can proudly say because of my house's recent "wreck" I learned even more how beautiful things come from imperfection.  My body and house are just two of these things.

Don't be afraid to embrace the hard or resist the perfect and "beautiful".