Monday, January 31, 2011


In the midst of our moving and unpacking, Lily had a birthday. It's hard to believe that my baby girl is 7, but she is. We told the kids last year that we wouldn't be having parties this year, so there wasn't any expectation there. Which was a good thing, because I wasn't in a position to pull together a party. But, we did celebrate Lily, and the blessing she is to us, in a few simple ways.

For breakfast, we had a special birthday treat. A few months ago, Lily had tried some cream horns at co-op and loved them. She has asked me multiple times if we could buy them, and I've always answered with a resounding no. Abby had the idea of letting her have them for her birthday, and I thought it was a fun idea. She was both surprised and delighted when we set a big plate of cream horns in front of her!

Abe helping Lily open her birthday gift.

A new DS game (notice that it weighs nearly nothing and has almost no volume, perfect for a carry on piece of luggage!) And yes, that is a baby shower bag, but don't tell Lily, she thought the duckies were adorable. Let's just say we're definitely living in a "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" lifestyle these days.

The Friday after Lily's birthday, she had two friends come over and play for a couple of hours. Then, we shared pizza and a birthday cookie. They had as much fun as they would have had with an organized party and it provided no stress for me. It was a win/win!

Lily could not believe that we could actually make a big cookie, like they make at the mall. She was thrilled. I was appalled that it had been long enough since I've made one that she couldn't even remember it. Needless to say, it was a hit!

Lily and her friends, ready to eat some cookie cake.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thankful for...

So, pretty much every time I get out these days, I get questions about how we're adjusting or settling in. The answer is, we're settling in fine. Honestly, it's been an easier transition than I've expected and I've found lots of things that I love about living in our "cute and tidy" apartment. Here are just a few of the things I'm thankful for...

  • I'm not tempted to overspend at the grocery store 'cause there's nowhere to put extras.
  • I don't have to worry about what my kids might be getting away with, because they're always right where I can hear, see, and most of the time, touch them.
  • We don't even have to get out of bed to hit the snooze button, Ryan can hit it with his toe by simply extending his leg.
  • I never feel lonely, there's no where to go to be alone.
  • I have not once felt "behind" on laundry because we don't have room to let it pile up.
  • We have neighbors everywhere, and I've even had the luxury of a daily walking partner from the building next door.
  • I am learning to live successfully without a microwave, though I have, on more than one occasion, gone to use it and then remembered I didn't have one.
  • We have no problem keeping up with the housework and everyone is motivated to keep things tidy so that we can have room to walk.
  • My children have been motivated to be creative as evidenced by this photo:

When my 2 younger girls realized that their dollhouse vehicles did not make the cut, they were initially distraught. Then, they put Lizzy's white roller skate to work as a wedding car. Great idea!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Settling In

Phase one is complete. We are no longer homeowners and it is both exhilarating and terrifying. The last few weeks have honestly been some of the hardest of my life, but in a very sweet and precious way. It has been physically and emotionally exhausting, yet the Lord has been so tender and so evident.

We have purged a large part of our possessions, though there are still many to go. We did end up renting a storage unit which is filled mostly with sentimental things. There are items like the outfits that our children wore home from the hospital when they were born, the special Christmas decorations that I can't let go of just yet, the box of cards and notes that Ryan and I have exchanged through the years- those types of things. We have promised one another that we will not keep the storage unit long term, so we're planning to go back through it in a few months. Then we will re-evaluate, purge again, and organize it into an amount that can be stored in our parent's homes.

We are now living in a 3 bedroom apartment on the campus of Southeastern Seminary. They were gracious enough to let us rent the unit short term. We have brought many of the household goods we need for these months, and I guess we'll just give them away when it's time to leave. I think that's gonna be weird. I mean, opening up the linen closet and giving away the towels, the sheets, and the pillows? Or handing someone our bowls and cups and pots and pans. It's a little freaky. But it's just stuff. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. And most of the time, I believe it.

Apartment living is a big adjustment, but it's fun. The kids had an instant community and have spent their afternoons running around like yard apes with the other neighborhood kiddos. I admit that the walls sometimes feel a little tight for me, but then I remember what our goal is and I can usually talk myself off of the ledge.

I think that the hardest part for me has been adjusting to one table again. Since we homeschool, we spend much of our day around a table. For the last few years, we have had multiple tables. So, I could have 3 at one table working independently, while I worked with another one at another table. Then, we had a 3rd table that was waiting for us, all cleared off, when it was time to eat lunch. Now, we're re-adjusting to one table to serve every function for which one might need a table.

I'll admit, I cried over the dang tables on Sunday night when, in the middle of my weekly planning, the kids started clamoring for food. This meant I had to put away my resources, which were spread all over, so that they could have a place to eat. Before I knew what was happening, I lost it and then I felt so stupid. But, the bottom line is, it's hard and it's sometimes inconvenient, and I am a selfish sinner who didn't want to share my table. Which, I'm sure, will soon be the least of my "inconveniences."

We continue to covet your prayers as we continue this process. It is our plan to move out of this apartment the last weekend in March and then we will be "homeless" until we report for our training in July. While we are terrified to not have our own place, we are excited about having the time to travel, visit extended family, and relax with our own little family. I can truly say that the prayers of God's people have helped us to survive this past 2 weeks with overwhelming grace.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Hedge of Protection

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book of life before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16

On Tuesday, December 28th, I woke up at my in-laws house where we were visiting for the Christmas holiday. I was the first one up, so I went to my devotional book and read the passage for the day. I don't really remember this, but I do know that this is what my bookmark says, and later when Ryan was re-reading it to me, I was able to finish the story within the devotional as if I'd heard it before. The above verse was the theme of the devotion along with a story about some missionaries who had a near death experience, and some words about how God places a hedge of protection around us according to His will. Apparently, He willed it for me that very day.

I am told that after I read, I got up, fixed muffins for everyone, exchanged gifts with Ryan's sister, dressed my kids for playing in the snow, then went outside myself for a little sled riding fun. I, however, remember none of this. Apparently, on my first run down the mountain, on an inner tube, my head collided with a tree. My memories of December 28th begin about 7 PM in the Hazard Hospital. Scary. Day.

It's been 5 days since my accident and every day I feel a little stronger. I still lack my typical stamina, which can be frustrating. I rarely make it more than 4 or 5 hours without needing to sleep for a bit. My natural tendency is to get frustrated. Then, I remind myself that I am alive, I have (mostly) normal cognitive ability, I can walk, talk, and feed myself, and then I decide to give thanks rather than getting discouraged.

I appreciate your prayers, because the reality is, our house still has to be vacated in 12 days, even though packing is overwhelming. The repairs still have to be finished by Friday, and all the stuff still has to go away. I have tons of offers for help, but my brain doesn't even know how to prioritize my needs just yet. I cry easily and am very needy. My husband, who has been remarkable through all of this, needs to go back to work soon. We both needed every waking minute to be 100% productive before this whole event happened, and now, we're concerned. So, prayer would be good. Prayers for clarity, and productivity, and wisdom too. Thanks sweet friends!

By the way... the post during the morning I was hospitalized was actually set to auto post that day. I was not blogging from the hospital. At that point, I wasn't even seeing real clearly. Just in case you were wondering (and I know you were!)