April 30, 2013

"A lick and a promise"

It was one Sunday afternoon that I had finished my usual chore of dishes and cleaning up the kitchen after our family lunch that my dad cornered me about the quality of work I had done.  There were still crumbs left on the counters, there was still grease on the stove, and the sink still contained remnants of leftover food from our meal.

But instead of chewing me out or yelling at me about my poor job, he used it as a teaching moment.

"Sure, you've washed the dishes and gotten the job done.  But have you done it well?  Look at this stove - it looks like it was cleaned with a lick and a promise."

"What's a lick and a promise?" I asked.

"It means doing something in haste, not caring about how well it's been done.  It means you've done what you were asked, but it shows that you really didn't care."

He went on to explain to me that day that someday I would have a job and an employer.  I would be getting paid more than just an allowance for my work and if I did my job like I had cleaned up the kitchen, I wouldn't make it far.  That my employer would notice how I worked and not only if I got the job done, but how well I did it and what my attitude was like. 

I remember him telling me to go the extra mile.  If I was asked to do the dishes and clean the counters, than I should sweep the floors and take out the trash too.  If my job was to dust the living room, then I should dust all of the other rooms in the house as well.  Not because I was asked or told to, but because working hard means going above and beyond what we are asked.  It means taking initiative and showing someone that you pride yourself in what you do.  That you care about your work and your name.  If I could work like that, an employer would not only want to hire me, but would want to keep me as their employee.

He also said that more often than not it would seem like my employer wouldn't notice my hard work.  That I wouldn't be thanked or commended or recognized for going the extra mile, for doing things right or quickly.  I've experienced that to be true over the years.  I have felt missed or jipped or taken advantage of quite a bit.  But at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what goes unseen or not. 

I remember him saying that when we work, we don't just work for others like our parents, our elders, or our employers.  We work and should work as if we were working unto God.  As if He was watching our every move.  Would we skip corners and do our duties with a lick and a promise if God was standing right there?  Well, to an eleven year old that sounded pretty intimidating.  It was an image I pictured in my mind that stuck with me for years. 

Maybe I perceive God differently than my eleven year old self used to.  I don't see Him as a "boss" sternly observing my actions and judging my every move deciding if I'm worthy of a raise or promotion.  But I still would want Him to be pleased with what I've done.  Mostly though, I want to do a good job with a good attitude because it's a way others may know of Him because of how I live.

I've never worked perfectly.  I've never always gone the extra mile or had a perfect attitude, but I've striven for that.  It's always been my father's face and the memory of those talks that would convict my heart if I knew I had not done my job with excellence.

Those conversations happened quite a few times as I was growing up though.  They often revolved around the cleaning of the cat-pan which was one of my most un-favorite chores in the entire universe.  That was one task I almost always cut corners and did quickly because it was the smelliest job ever.

Though it wouldn't be my last.  Try emptying the trash at a fast food joint where you serve ice-cream in the summer time.  That rotten, sour smell still haunts me.....trash juice dripping down my arms after a trip to the dumpster.  *shudders*

But I do remember that I was the only employee at that fast food chain that didn't complain about taking the trash out.  In fact, I volunteered for the job.  I wanted my boss to know that I wouldn't shy away from the dirty work and that I could be counted on to do those things with a good attitude. 

Over the years, no matter where I've worked, my dad's wise words have always been with me.  I do my work well.  I don't cut corners.  I go the extra mile.   I take initiative and volunteer for things.  I go above and beyond my job description.  And I don't say any of that to brag on myself.  I say all of that to honor him and how he raised me.  Because of my dad and what he taught me about working and how to work, I have gotten as far as I have today, even without finishing a college degree. 

I got hired for the job I went on an interview for yesterday.  I'm stoked about the position and the place and the location and the people and the everything.  And one of the reasons I was hired on was because of my character and integrity.  Things my dad passed along to me. Lessons that were taught over crumbs on kitchen counters and outside on the porch where I would scrub out that nasty cat-pan.  All those years, he was instilling that hard working character in me.  Even if I didn't like it very much.  And I didn't.

As I head off to my new job this morning, I'm thankful for the impact he had on me.  How it has not only had value in the workplace over the years, but in my heart.

April 29, 2013

On the edge

This still feels weird.  To be in my pajamas at 9:00am and not sitting in an office after an hour's drive in traffic.  Sipping my coffee in a mug and planning tonight's dinner instead of replying to e-mails and checking bank balances.  Already this morning, I've fed a baby and put him back to sleep, tripped over trucks and asked Tommy to play his guitar just a little softer until the caffeine kicks in and almost missed the feeling of the usual daunting Monday morning meeting. 

All of this is wonderful, and all of it is weird too.  I'm not used to it - even though I've been at this for weeks now.  Even though this was going to be the game-plan and my role should we have moved away to North Dakota like we had planned. 

I have a job interview this afternoon.  I confess that every fiber in my being is aching to return to work, and it's easy to recognize where I've grown antsy in my job search.  Living in this in-between space has me a bit restless.  Knowing that I need a job and it taking much longer than I had anticipated to find one, has me a bit on edge.  Not worried necessarily, just anxious to get there and get started - wherever there is.

I'm not sleeping well and I'm longing for days to fly by so I can get through this middle place of life I'm living in right now.  And I don't want to live this way where I'm wishing away time and my life because that's not really living.  The in-between places have always done that to me - made me and my thoughts a bit chaotic and had me trying to speed up time somehow.  And it's funny, because I feel mostly at peace.  I'm not freaking out about money like I ordinarily might be (at least not yet).  But I guess I just want to know what the routine will be.  What's next?  When will I be out of the middle, in-between stage?

Perhaps it's normal to long for predictability and consistency.  I think we need a healthy measure of it and creating those things is good for our children.  But maybe I make it an idol too.  It's in predictability and consistency that I often try and control every aspect of my life.  Right down to the penny or the minute or the finest detail.  It's the place I most often refuse to trust God and instead put all of my trust in me and making things work to the best of my own ability.

The last few months though, life has been lived on the edge.  It has been anything but predictable or consistent.  And honestly, I have enjoyed this wild ride.  It brought me to life and changed something in my heart.  It seems as though God has used all of the unknown places to change me and to draw me closer to Him.  He has taken my faith to deeper places.  Places that we couldn't have gone together had life not been so up in the air.  If there weren't so many huge things to trust Him with.

I don't believe He will have me living in this specific in-between place forever.  A job will come, a routine will happen again and our family will be in its own unique groove.  We will make life work and function well for us just as you do with yours. 

But I want to remain on the edge somewhat too.  I want to remember that these middle places we find ourselves in life when things are unsettled, unanswered, and left up in the air - they are a gift.  Life is full of adventure and intrigue.  Walking by faith becomes more of a literal thing you do on a daily basis rather than some fluffy thing Christians say.  

I want to remember that being on the edge, finding myself stuck in this middle place, living in the tension - it's here that He invites us to know Him.  And to live.

April 26, 2013

What's new

I've enjoyed some of this stay-at-home mom thing, but ya'll - I am SO ready to go back to work.  Maybe it's because I know I have to and I'm emotionally detaching myself from the stay-at-home-mom lifestyle I've been doing the last couple of months.  Or it could be this:
I love him.  I really do.  But this precious, screaming child wants to be held.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.  And maybe I'm a callous, heartless mama, but I don't want to hold him all the time.  You can tell me that time is fleeting and they're not this small forever and I should enjoy every moment.  I know all that.  I enjoy motherhood a lot.  I also enjoy eating with both hands free at the dinner table and things like taking a shower by myself.
In other news:  my sister went to prom.  She is gorgeous.  And I feel old.
Job hunting/interviewing/waiting/searching can be grueling.  And it is right now.
I was told I should go into business for myself staging homes and helping people with home decor.  That sounds like the funnest of fun jobs and would be totally up my alley, except I'm a big chicken when it comes to trying to start something like that.  Mostly because I would inititally have to go and sell how awesome I am to realtors so they would want to use my services.  It all sounds mildly terrifying.  Yet the idea of setting my own schedule is of course ideal.  Again though....I'm a big chicken.
I did, however, have the guts to wear a real hat the other day.  In public and everything.  (Do you love my three year old photo bomb?)

Oh and I'm so doing this:

It's time to pull some new writery-stuff out of myself and I thought the idea of blogging every day in May was a fabulous idea.  Maybe you should join in too!
Hope your weekend is full of cute hats.  And babies that don't scream at you.
Happy Friday ya'll!

April 23, 2013


We're settling back in to whatever this new normal is supposed to look like where we have two boys instead of one.  Where we are living with longing and disappointment and a heaping amount of gratefulness for what we have and that we are all together - here.  In Texas, in this home.  Todd heads back to "the salt mines" tomorrow as he puts it and I'm still waiting and applying and hoping. 

Pictures have gone back on the walls and trinkets back on the shelves.  All of the personally personal things I took down to make it look neutral and inviting for prospective buyers have returned. 

Home finally feels homey again and I get that warm fuzzy feeling even when I look at the assembly of things by my desk where I am sitting here to write tonight.
I'm quite serious when I'll tell you that the family photo gallery wall took the entire day to put together.  Thirty-eight nail holes and a couple coats of spray paint later, I have finally deemed it finished and lovely.  Todd is ecstatic because it means he is done helping me.
As I've waited for jobs to come up to apply for and send my resume to, I've tried to rest in the timing of it all.  I want to enjoy the space I have to simply be at home with my boys where all I have to do is snuggle my baby (who wants to be held ALL THE TIME), create some fun time for Tommy, and make dinner for my family. 

To have Todd back in the every day with us again is heart-warming.  His boys need him just as much as I do and I love that he loves being a daddy - that I don't have to beg him to be involved or to help.  He's a good man, a good daddy, and I hope my boys are just like him.

It feels good to be settling in though.  Even though so much is still up in the air in regards to income and jobs and unknowns in the future, our hearts feel settled.  I've taken comfort and much peace knowing that today we've had what we needed.  Today we've had a meal on the table, and money for bills and gas in our cars.  Though this was yesterday's meal on the table.  Tonight we had pulled pork sandwiches after I discovered some of the meat treasures we had stashed away in our freezer.
And the bonus of any ordinary day is the joy and laughter that comes from the place we call home.  Like the dancing we did today, the silly we create, and the big smiles - especially from this sweet boy that I was finally able to capture on camera!

It's funny, because I expected to write some kind of "settling in" post after we had been in North Dakota for awhile.  Not at the end of April when we were supposed to be packing up our house and moving away.  I remember packing up our pictures, tears streaming down my face, wondering what it would it feel like to settle in to a new place and make it home.  The last thing I expected was to settle back in to the place we've been for the last four years.  Oh what a journey, what a ride all of this continues to be.

I suppose God had a different way of settling us in than we thought.  He has us settled right here in this very home, and right next to His heart.

April 21, 2013

Weeds and compact cars

Basically, I've felt like I've been on a honeymoon of sorts this last week.  And I don't just mean enjoying marital bliss with my returned husband.  Though, hallelujah he is home!

I'm a bit sickening to be around right now because I'm rather mushy about things like weeds and compact cars and low checking account balances.  Even sunburns in April make me a bit swoony.

With everything that came together and then fell apart and came together again, I've felt so grateful.  I don't claim to have mastered some perfected state of contentedness, but I do believe that my heart is more at peace than it's ever been before.

For years, we have been hoping for change.  We've been wanting more and something new and have hoped that God would bring something about and radically alter our lives.  And He did that.  North Dakota and the job and the whole story I told last week - He did indeed radically alter something.  It just ended up being our hearts that came away radically altered instead. 

For me, I have wanted to see my husband in a new job, not just so we could have more money and nicer things - but so he could be happy and enjoy what he's doing and take pride in his work.  But if I were honest, I would admit that the financial perks would have been nice.  I would have enjoyed a nicer vehicle and a bigger house and a thicker checkbook and more shoes.  Who wouldn't? 

It became easy to be disgruntled over everything in our lives.  Like the pesky weeds in the front yard that won't go away with any amount of weed killer and lawn treatments or yanking out. And our teeny compact cars, that since having Jacob means, that whoever rides in the front passenger seat has to have their knees mashed up against the dashboard for the entire car ride so the car seat fits in the back.  My house - how it felt small whenever I would have a huge crowd over for a party.  I was so self concious about the lack of space and seating and I would worry people were uncomfortable and badmouthing my home and how small it felt when over 30 people come over.

But with the last week and all of the devastation and glory that came with it, my cup has runneth over.  My heart has been so full, so happy.  It's almost as if God took us through this to give us a new set of eyes to see with.  How glorious and messy and wonderful it all really is. 

Even though the car can be 100 degrees inside when the sun is beating down outside and a three year old can make a mess faster than you can even spell the word and you do nothing but step on crumbs and toy cars all day long.  All of it - every weed, every jammed car ride, every crumb stuck to my foot - all of it just remarkably beautiful.

Maybe because we could have lost it all.  If we wouldn't have listened to God's voice either time - taking the risk to begin with and taking the risk for Todd to come back home when he did.  We would have missed all of this.  Watching an epic story unfold before our eyes where every need was met, and every prayer was answered with twists and turns we never saw coming.  And now, seeing what we have and knowing that it is absolutely enough. 

Even if God doesn't bring a new job Todd's way, he has a place of steady employment with solid health insurance and vacation time. 

I'm still job hunting and though my tendency is to worry about how this is all going to work and how bills will get paid and if we will have to live on boxed mac n' cheese, I had to laugh when we received an anonymous card in the mail over the weekend.   Someone who knew our story and wanted to encourage us gave us a generous gift.  It reminded me that God sees us and He will take care of us one way or another.  I love that God used this person to bless us in a time of need.  And that He used our story to touch their hearts.  Just wow - all of it is humbling.

But gratitude...gratitude is the word of the week.  The word of the month.  I want it to be the word that spills into my every day, all year long.  Our life may be full of imperfections and weeds and struggles like anyone else -  but, this life is ours.

I once read a quote about gratitude that said:  "Gratitude turns what we have into enough."

And it's true.  Every little thing feels like enough for me right now.  My home, our cars, our weeds, our doing nothing together on a Saturday night.  All of it is enough.  Really, it's even more.

April 16, 2013

He giveth and He taketh away....

From the very beginning, we saw God in this entire plan.  From the timing, to the job, even in our separation while we made this transition from Texas to North Dakota.  We felt complete peace about Todd taking this job even at the end of my pregnancy. 

To say that the last couple of months have been hard would be the understatement of the century.  I've had to heal from a c-section, take care of a newborn and a three year old, prepare a house to sell, and if I wanted to go anywhere, I had to ready myself plus two, all on my own.  I've been weary, exhausted, emotional, tired, angry, and overwhelmed.  But in all of it - in my weaknesses and weariness and aching for my husband - I've carried on.  For the first time in my life, I really stayed near to God while I was going through something hard rather than distancing myself from Him. 

I lost count of how many nights I sat up late crying out to God about how lonely I was.  How hard this felt and how I wanted to be done.  Could He even speed up time a little so the move would come faster and we could be a family again?  I needed and longed for my Savior in ways that I never have before - maybe because I've never had to.  I've started to wonder if God needed my heart to be this vulnerable and weak and needy so I could not only see Him, but to clearly see that His heart for me was good. 

Will you trust Me?

He asked me this months and months before the call for the job came.  And I only answered yes two days before.  I will trust you God.  You are able...

Since Todd left the very first time there has been one truth that God continued to remind me of.  I am with you!  Through every day - the messy ones where I've lost it with Tommy or never made it out of my pajamas or found myself ugly-crying to a dear friend - somehow, I was reminded of that truth.  That I wasn't alone.  He was with me in all of it.  I gave up control, I chose to trust, and I knew that I knew, He was with me in every grimy detail.

Could I still trust God if Todd didn't make it home in time for Jacob's birth?  I decided that I could.  I could because He knew my heart and knew what was best for me.  I was at peace knowing that Robin would be there if Todd couldn't make it in time - I wouldn't be alone and she would be there to hold my hand and witness the moment my son came in to the world.  But God.....He brought my man to me THIRTY minutes before Jacob came.  THIRTY minutes.  Only God could do that.  Todd was right on time.  And God was with me.

Could I still trust God if our house sat on the market for weeks?  Meaning that it would be even longer until we could be reunited in North Dakota and be a family again.  Our home sold in two days.  And the issues the buyers had with our soil (?!) was put to rest and everything was ready to go.

But then the story shifted unexpectedly.

Friday afternoon, our carefully planned out world began to unravel.  The last few months have been full of preparations to move away, uproot our lives and start anew in North Dakota.  I've been grieving all that I would lose, but I've also seen my husband come to life with the hope of a new job and career.  Even in all of my emotions, I was ready to do this.

Todd received some disappointing news that day, and we were faced with a monumental decision:  take some chances that could prove to be foolish, proceed with our plans to move away and uproot our lives under present conditions - or leave.  Come home knowing that he tried.   

By the end of the day, we both knew the answer was to leave and come home.  Yet, the decision didn't feel good or easy.  The only comfort we had was that we felt God was in Todd's going up there and we could most definitely felt Him in his leaving too.  Todd told me that maybe this job was only supposed to be a for a time and not forever like we thought.  After all, it allowed me to be on the bedrest I needed before Jacob was born and recover as well - things that we wouldn't have been able to figure out realistically with both of us working where we were.

God totally made that happen.

And now He was leading us out of North Dakota.  It was clear we needed to stay and not move away.  The invitation to trust God was there yet again.

Could I still trust God if He brought Todd home?  If he had to return to his old job that he hates?  If I had to find work again too?  And what would happen with our house?  Could I trust him if we lost that too?

Todd left North Dakota immediately after making the decision.  I got on the phone with our realtor finding out what we could do to save our house.  Was that even an option?  Were we bound to the agreement? 

Basically what I found out was that we were at the mercy of the buyers.  They would have to agree to terminate the contract, but it could cost us greatly.  If we terminated the contract on our own, we could face a potential lawsuit.  Todd and I made the decision to do what was right.  If we had to go through with the sale, then we would go through with the sale.  And according to our realtor, the buyers  really wanted our house.  In fact, the house hadn't even appraised for what we were selling it for and they still wanted to go through with it - paying for the overage out of their own pocket!  When I found out that news, I knew it would be a miracle if we could stay here.

Saturday morning as Todd was making the long trek home, I was sitting in my living room wondering if I was going to lose this house on top of everything else.  I sat there sobbing thinking of leaving here and having to find a place to rent, my mind reeling with possibilities and fears and disappointments. 

Can you trust Me if you lose the house?

I wanted to say yes.  But, this house.  My home....

I was on the phone with our realtor half a dozen times.  She was doing what she could to negotiate a deal with the buyers to let us out of the contract so we could keep our home.  As I sat there waiting for the phone to ring that last time, I surrendered in prayer, "Lord, this isn't our house.  It's Yours.  It's never really belonged to us.  I would love to stay here, God.  I love this place that You provided.  But if you take this house away, just like the job, I will still trust You.  I will be okay.  I trust that You have something better in mind.  It's just a house and I can make another place home if that's what You have for us."

And then the phone rang with the news.

The buyers agreed to terminate the contract.  They were very understanding about our situation and even agreed to accept only half of what they had put into the house in regards to fees and inspections - a sum that we were not expecting at all.  They had the right to ask for every penny, yet they didn't.  They didn't have to terminate the contract, but they did. They didn't have to be gracious, but they were.  Needless to say, I was blown away.

Later that morning I was in the shower sobbing with emotion.  We lost this job and we got to keep our house.  All of it felt amazing.  A song came to mind and I began singing the bridge to a worship song called "Blessed be Your Name."

Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful.....
Blessed be Your name when I'm found in the desert place.....
You give and take away, You give and take away
Still my heart will choose to say, Lord Blessed be Your Name!

It was in the shower, tears streaming down my face that I sang my heart out in worship and meant every word.  I praised Him for giving us the job.  And I praised Him for taking it away.  I praised Him for letting us keep our house and should we have lost it, I would have praised Him for that too.  He is the Giver, the Taker, the Knower of our needs, the Great Provider.  He is trustworthy.  He is the Great I AM.

I don't think I've ever been able to praise or thank God for a loss before.  That's never come easy for me.  Yet as I have journeyed with Him these last few months, He has strengthened and deepened my faith in ways I never could have imagined.  I knew that I was able to praise Him for taking this job away because of the work He has done in my heart. 

Losing this job means I'll need to find work again.  Even though I had wanted to stay home with my boys, I'm okay heading back to the workplace.  I feel grateful that God enabled me to have skills that I do so that I can work.  And to be honest, I'm not worried about finding employment because He knows what we need.

After all - God provided a job for Todd so I could be on bedrest and have a real maternity leave and a much needed break from working full time.  He brought my husband home thirty minutes before my son was born.  He has paid every bill and met every need.  He sold our house in two days and gave it back to us just as quickly.  I'm pretty sure He has the perfect job lined up for me soon too.

Needless to say, life has been a bit of a whirlwind.  None of this was expected or planned, yet we know we are right on time, right where we are supposed to be.  Planted and rooted right here.  Deep in the heart of Texas.  Home.
The prayer of my heart is that as a married couple and as a family, that we may always need for God.  It's in our neediness where we come to love and to trust Him.  And it's there where we find peace, contentment, joy and life abundant.
By the look on the face of my oldest son, I'd have to say we are experiencing life abundant indeed.  

A lost job.  A lost dream.  And a deep faith, a deep trust, and a wild ride with the God of the universe has our hearts, our home and our smiles filled with complete and utter joy.  To know God is to truly know what LIVING really is.


April 14, 2013

To Journey

We are all travelers on a journey.  There is this great path laid out before us and we can only see so much of what's ahead of us at any given time because we are never meant to know the whole story and see the whole way.  It wouldn't be an adventure if we knew what to expect.  We don't know where the bends come.  We don't know when the terrain will get rocky or steep and hard to climb.  We can't know when it will rain or shine down sun or when the wind will whip around us so hard that it will knock us on our feet.  And when we come to a fork in the road, we can choose go either way.

But the thing with forks in the road, is that when you decide to go down one way and you end up on this hard and difficult road to travel down, it's easy to think you should have taken the other route.  You become convinced that the other would have been easier or that you've made a mistake and picked the wrong side of that fork.

Journeys are never meant to be easy though.  If it were always easy, what fun would that be anyway?  What would we know of challenge, of strength, and of courage?  What would we know of adventure, and of thrill and excitement?

Really though, we travel down the roads we are supposed to.  It's never a mistake - at least I don't believe it is.  Wherever we find ourselves - a bad job, a disappointing relationship, reeling from a huge loss or death of a loved one - all of it is intended and meant for us.  At the end of the day, we get to decide how we are going to respond in these situations and how we will continue to live in spite of them.

For me, I believe that God is able and does use all things, whether they feel good or bad, for our good.  He may not cause bad things to happen, but He allows them.  My whole life, I've hated that.  It doesn't seem right or fair and it is there that those of us who have faith in Jesus struggle with telling an unbelieving world about because we can never explain WHY God allows horrific things to happen.  But, what I have found true for myself is that when we can surrender our need to understand the WHY, and just rest in the truth that He does all things for our good, that He is good and that He does everything to give us a hope and a future, you can begin to enjoy the journey a little bit more.

Even when the going gets tough and the road is full of thorns and weeds and the sun is beating down so hard you don't know how you will carry on, you can be assured that there is not only a reason for it, but something else is coming.  Seasons never last forever.  The road never stays the same.  The traveling part is always interesting, always changing.
The last few months have felt like that for me.  This road we've been on has felt like the hardest one ever and most of the time I've felt like I was sinking with all that I had to do and carry and feel.  Yet, we believed God led us here - to make the decision for Todd to take this new job in North Dakota, to uproot our lives and to leave everything behind.  And suddenly, it became very clear that as much as He led us to make this decision, He was asking us to leave it. 

He is on his way home from North Dakota as I write this - the last time we spoke, he was still in Kansas, anxious and ready to see me and the boys.  Ready to be home.  And we are so, so ready to have him here.

Life sure has changed quite a bit in the last few days.  We are no longer moving away.  We have experienced great disappointment and the death of a huge dream.  We have a whole new set of plans to make and figure out.  Yet, I feel as though I'm in for the biggest thrill of my life too. 

There is much to share, because much has happened in our hearts over the last few months.  What we thought was going to be a journey to the very far away and snowy place of North Dakota, ended up being a journey of our faith and of knowing God in a way that we could have never imagined instead. 

Pull up a chair this week.  There will be some, great, great story-telling.  And not by me - by the Greatest Author in the universe.  I just get to be part of what He has written....and is continuing to write.

April 10, 2013


Did you know it's like super expensive to move out of state?  Also, it's very enlightening to know how much the combined total of your STUFF weighs.  Just wow.  Let's just say that I think our stuff should go on a diet.
When the song "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey came on my Spotify today, Tommy informed me that he did not like this music.  I almost sent him to time out.  That's practically music blasphemy.
The buyers of our house almost backed out of the deal because they wanted a geological report on the soil our house was built on.  Um, what?  Thankfully, they talked to someone about it and were put at ease about it all.  Never heard of anyone being so concerned about dirt before, but I guess that's their own perogative. 
I went on my first real excerisey walk last night up at the hill and I can't even begin to tell you how good it felt to be able to move my body like that again pain and pregnancy free.  The endorphins are just an added bonus.  Based on today's post, it would seem that I at least have a sense of humor today thanks to said endorphins.
I'm happy to report that after last night, Tommy likes peas.  I'm just excited to have him eat something else that's green, even if it's not a true veggie.  Mommy win.
June 3rd - it's tentatively the big leaving Texas day.  I'm doing important things in preparation for it.  Like making road trip playlists.  Priorities people.
I've also been forming a small before-I-leave-Texas bucket list which includes things like going to the beach and the state capital.  And consuming as much Mexican food as possible.  I don't care what anyone up there says.  There is no way North Dakota knows how to do Mexican food.
All of my friends have been warned in advance that at any given time, for any given reason, I may burst into spontaneous tears because the reality of moving away comes in waves.  However, my poor friend Sean hadn't been notified of this on Sunday.  He asked me a question about singing in church and wasn't quite prepared for my meltdown of an answer.  Sorry Sean.  At least now you know to ask questions at your own risk.
Jacob is schooling me in motherhood and is determined to make sure I know that he is nothing like his brother was as a baby and I need to quit comparing them and just try to figure him out for who he is.  Noted son, noted.  Now, will you let me sleep some more?
When there are over 1,400 miles between you and your favorite person in the entire world (aka, my husband, just to clarify), sext messages are totally necessary.  Just saying.
Never say never.  Like ever.  Because I always said I would never go to a function known as "MOPS" (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) because I NEVER wanted to be one of those moms.  I'm going for the first time tomorrow, cause I'm not working and I'm totally a mother of preschoolers.  In all fairness though, all the cool people go though so at least I won't be the only one there.
I will however NEVER EVER drive a mini-van. I simply refuse. 
Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta back to making my road-trip playlists.  And schooling on my son on what good music is.  It's gonna be nothing but Journey and The Eagles until he learns what the good stuff sounds like.

April 9, 2013

Responses to hard things

No words.
God can handle messes. 
I'm here if you need anything.
Here's some advice...
It's only a season - this won't last forever.
I'll be praying.
Just trust God!
Be of good courage.
Maybe your faith is being tested.
When I was in your shoes....
God won't give you more than you can handle. 
You've got this.
You are not alone.
I wish there was something I could say or do.
I love you!
Don't forget to enjoy that baby amidst all you have going on!
God is always faithful.
Just keep smiling!
Do not fear.
Lean on us - that's what we are here for.
I'm glad you're feeling.  And I'm sorry there is so much to feel.
What do you need?
God got you through 5:01 today.  I'll be pray He gets you to 6:01 too.
You're in my thoughts.
Hang in there!
Don't worry - it will all work out when it's supposed to.
Stop trying to control things you have absolutely no control over.
I cannot imagine what you're going through.
I'm sorry.  This sucks.
What do you want to hear?

April 7, 2013

Sunday for the Soul

Life got just plain nasty starting late Thursday night.  After a middle-of-the-night feeding, Jacob threw up an entire bottle all over himself just as he was ready to go back to sleep.  I proceeded to give him a bath and then he peed all over me and it was in that moment that I completely broke and cried the ugly kind of tears that produce an epic amount of snot and huge puffy eyes.

I've had countless offers of people asking how they could help or be there for me.  But what I've found is what I really need is someone there in the dark of the night when throw up and pee is more than my exhausted self can handle.  What I really need is my man, my partner, my co-lifer.  We get through hard things together.  And the one thing I really need, I can't have.

In the middle of my ugly cry that night, I did what any rational woman who's husband is states away would do...I called him up at 4:00am and chewed him out about how awful I had it without him and how pissed off I was that I had to be doing this.  And then I hung up on him and proceeded to the toilet where I threw up.  (Random fact about me:  I get sick to my stomach when I cry too hard).


Is everyone grossed out yet by all the vomit and pee?  Welcome to my world!

It was rough.  And it got even rougher, because the exact same thing happened the very next night too.  Another round of Jacob throwing up his bottle, another bath, more pee...you get the picture.

Friday night I found myself on the back deck of my friend's house bawling my eyes out.  She asked what I needed but to be honest, I didn't even know.  Other than just to be there dumping out my crap and having her sit in it with me - that's what the best of friends do really.  They just hear your shitty stories and don't offer to do anything or put a positive spin on it about some amazing thing God must have in store for you.  They just listen and let you bitch about it, because that's exactly what you need. 

And sometimes a few cuss words is what you need too, because they emphasize the crappiness in which you find yourself and kind of, sort of make you feel better.  Just saying.

I captured a picture the other night of my living room.  Since it's under contract, I haven't had to keep it clean (thank Jesus!) so Tommy's playtime chaos is littered everywhere.  By Saturday night I felt like life had kicked me in the ass.  Because it totally had.

Saturday night though, I reached out and asked a few close friends to pray for me.  Pray that Jacob would sleep and that we could have a throw-up free night.  Pray that I could pull us all together and make it to church in the morning because my heart really, really needed the worship and the fellowship.  And to let them know that I felt like I was sinking right now.  All of this feels like more than I can handle, and even though God promises not to give us that, I've been pretty convinced He's gotten this wrong.  This is SO much more than I can handle.

Thankfully, we had an okay night and me and both boys made it to church this morning.  And as God would have it, every song was exactly what I needed.  Even though I was sitting down with a bottle in my baby's mouth, I sat there and cried and let myself worship and breathe.  My dear friend and like-a-brother, who we have affectionately named "Uncle Nate," preached the sermon this morning.  Once again, God used him to drive home the message I know He is wanting me to remember in this season of overwhelming difficulty.  I AM WITH YOU. 

After lunch with friends today I decided what I needed was a break.  I dropped off Jacob with my in-laws and Tommy and I went out to my favorite "me" spot for some adventure and exploring at the hill.  As I walked down the trails I asked God if He could find me a place like this in North Dakota.
Tommy and I walked on it's trails and found cool rocks and sticks and flowers.  Anytime I see anything that is home to only Texas I feel sad about not seeing it anymore.  Like mesquite trees and the unique pom-pom type buds they produce before the leaves come.
We ate cookies and drank juice together on a shaded bench, and every once in a while, he would reach out and want to hold my hand.  I chased him through part of the trail and now my body is sitting here in shock and quite sore from it's very first real bout of exercise since having a baby.
After our adventure on the hill, I traded boys and took the baby and sent Tommy to my in-laws to spend the night. 

At the moment, Jacob is asleep in his bed and just being able to sit here and write in the peace and quiet, I'm aware of where my heart feels settled and nourished.  It's amazing how some music and a sermon, a burger with friends, an afternoon spent outside and lightening my children load, all can add up to somehow settling my soul down a bit. 
Nothing is fixed or better.  Life is still rough and it will continue to be for awhile.  But I'm grateful for the moments, and hours even, that provide some rest, solitude and rejuvenation for my weary soul in all I'm carrying. 

April 4, 2013

The anger

It came last night.  Finally. 

After the boxes of our half-way packed house were stacked in the garage and tears were cried about how dreadful winter is and after I'd given five hundred stale answers to people asking about our "timeline" for the move and Todd's job and how much I'm enjoying (or not enjoying?) my new role as a stay-at-home mom. 

The anger.  Raging, ugly, writhing anger.  It came.

It's not fair.  It doesn't feel good.  To finally have my husband in a job where he feels happy and proud of himself and has a real career.  He is so full of life and vigor and excitement about the possibilities that are ahead of us there.  I even have the choice to stay at home more with my boys.  But.  BUT. 

For me though, I have to give up so much to have these other things.  I have to leave my beautiful home and my entire family.  I have to say goodbye to the most wonderful, real, fun group of friends - a community of couples and families that Todd and I had always hoped to have.  Our amazing church.  Texas wildflowers, the beach only a drive away.  Good barbecue and Mexican food, a culture that I know and understand - one that has shaped me. 

Deep down, I know it will be worth it.  That after a period of grieving is over, that we will settle into life there and at some point (hopefully) North Dakota and all of it's winter, will feel like home.  I know it's where God is leading us to - I have absolutely no doubt.  And maybe that's why I feel angry.  His plan feels clear, it's just that I'm not entirely on board and why can't His plan ever, ever look like mine? 

This would have felt easier a few years ago.  If North Dakota would have happened before Tommy or before we found our church or before a thousand other things.  The cost wouldn't have been as great then as it is now.

Saturday night when my realtor called with the "good news" on our house I burst into tears.  It was so fast and it felt clear that God was ready to really move us.  When my friend Nate asked me how I felt, I initially said that I didn't know how I felt.  And then suddenly, I burst into tears and blurted out what was raw and real for me.  "I don't want to go!"

And that's true.  I don't.  And what is also true is that I do.  I'm ready for new, for adventure, and for starting from scratch in life.  But as ready as I feel, I feel just as not ready too.

I'm feeling stretched and unearthed.  I feel as if I'm being literally being dug up and uprooted and I'm not so sure how I feel about where I'm being transplanted.  Did He heal me and grow me and prepare me and make me for this?  North Dakota has been on His mind all along?  Am I really ready for this?  Will I be okay?  Those are the places I'm doubting Him - maybe I need more "work" before I can take this on.

I'm just going to say what I'm not supposed to say:

I am the most angry because it feels like Todd gets the better end of this deal.  He gets the place he has always wanted to live, the new job, and us there with him.  And I get to leave almost everything that I love the most. 

I told him this last night - we talk about honest things and where my heart is at.  He gets it and he understands and he is able to hold my anger and grief without buckling under the weight of it.  But, he holds his own pockets of fear too, wondering if I'll resent him for all of this change later on down the road.  He is aware of how great my love must be for him to do this and walk away from our life here. 

And maybe I just wrote out what you're not supposed to say.  The ugly things that are really inside of my heart that I might typically hide.  But it's true.  I feel jipped. 

I know I won't always feel that way.  But today I do.  Today I feel jipped.  Today I feel like I'm getting the short end of the stick on all of this.  Today, I am angry.

April 2, 2013

Under Contract...already

Apparently, God really wants us in North Dakota. 

The house was officially listed last Thursday.  We had an offer on Saturday afternoon and they accepted our counter that evening.  It was the very first couple that looked at our home on Friday afternoon.  We are officially under contract and as long as everything goes smoothly, we are scheduled to close on May 17th.

I'm not really sure how I feel about the timing on all of this.  It feels crazy fast.  Though I'm excited about having a timeline on when I'll finally be reunited with my husband and we can be a family again, I'm just as sad about leaving.

Actually, I'm more than sad.

I may have been sobbing my eyes out last night in the grocery store parking lot.  It was one third exhaustion, one third hormones, and one third I'm-so-not ready-to-say-goodbye-yet-feelings.  And is it weird that I feel angry?  Because I do.  I feel angry that I have to move away from so much that I love to a place I've never been and where I know no one.  I'm angry that I have to start over and I'm angry that I have to leave a group of wonderful, wonderful friends and family.

I'm glad the house is under contract and that it didn't take long to sell.  I'm glad I have a timeline for saying goodbye.  I'm glad I have about two months here before I leave.  But really, I'm not feeling very glad at all.

April 1, 2013


The last few days have been fun.  Really, really fun.  And I'm pretty sure fun was something my doctor might have even prescribed me because that's how much I was in need of it.

My little guy is officially a whole month old now.  He's not anywhere close to having any kind of routine or schedule yet - especially at night, which is a complete bummer - but he sure is precious.
We made a little zoo trip on Saturday where I met the most incredible bear. 
Tommy is like me - he was so not a fan of the zoo.  He wasn't impressed at all.  Now, if the zoo had been full of trucks to look at, he probably would have been more interested. I'm pretty sure the highlight of his time there was when we grabbed some icecream and then again when we left - with a zoo toy truck in tow of course.
 At least there was a fun photo op.
Saturday night, I went to an event my church called "His Story" about the life of Christ.  I cried and my heart swelled with gratitude for my Savior.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  I was reminded that His Story was the reason that mine is even worth telling.  Also, my friend Jason played Jesus and I thought it was super cool to have a picture.  I mean, it's JESUS!
Tiffany was in town for the weekend too and that just makes anything more fun anyway.  We snuck away and had some much needed girl time and were able to snag some some margaritas too (though not at the zoo where we are pictured - just to clarify).  Because if the zoo did have margaritas, I might want to go more often. 
Tommy and I took our annual Easter egg-nose picture, though it just wasn't the same without Todd here to take it with us.  But we kept the tradition alive and look forward to our family photo next year.
When you are sleep deprived and doing life on your own - you simply have to make room for funny pictures and margaritas and a night out with your girlfriends.  Fun really is a necessity because the fun is, often times, what gets us through.