Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 13-31 Day of Being New-Proximity

I've found that when I'm feeling down or frustrated one of the quickest ways to get myself out of that funk is to go shopping.

Just kidding!! (Although I do love some shopping!!!)

What I really like to do is make a list of all the things I am thankful for.

This list is short and sweet.  


We are finally within driving distance of both sets of grandparents.  Great grandparents...aunts...uncles...great aunts and uncles...the list goes on.  

I am so thankful.

We are so very blessed to have such loving and supportive families.  And even though they loved visiting us out in the PNW I know they are going to love living closer and really getting to be a part of our lives.

My parents have already been to visit and clearly I did an awesome job of taking pictures while they were here because this is all I got!!

The good part about that?  I'll have the opportunity to get more next week!!  So excited to be able to see my family and Peter's family more often!!!

It's a short list...but it's a good one!

Day 12-31 Days of Being New--Hands Up

We were fortunate to live in a magical spot in Tacoma.  Especially if you were a toddler boy.  About  a year ago I started always taking the long way home.  I figured we wouldn't live in Tacoma forever and I wouldn't regret spending an extra five minutes in the car.  I never did.  

The long way included trains, ships, water, mountains and "our hill".  The boy's loved to go down "our hill" and every time we went down the hill they would yell out...hands up!!!....wheeee...whooohoo.....hands up Mama....hands up Daddy!!!

It was awesome.

I love the way kids always seem to find happiness in simplicity.  Southern Illinois doesn't have very many hills.  Yes somehow the boys have already managed to find a couple (we are talking TINY here) and each and every time we go down the hill I hear "hands up Mama" coming from the back seat.  

It's comforting.  And familiar.  And a little sad right now.

I knew I would miss my home but I wasn't prepared for the way my heart literally aches at night when I go to bed.  The tears that would come when someone posts a picture and I can just see myself in the place.  The frustration that I can't just drive around the corner to have a playdate with someone I know.  Someone who is familiar.  Who knows my heart.  My weaknesses.  

I reminded though that I don't need that playdate.  That familiarity.  That ease.

God has called me here and He didn't send us alone.  He came before us...before me....paving the way.  

 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut 31:8

And honestly I kind of just want to ignore knowing that and sulk.  I want to cry a little (or maybe a lot).  I want to complain.  I want to give in to feeling like it's never going to be the same.  To thinking that if I could just go "home" everything would be better.  

So tonight I'm praying and thanking Jesus that he is a friend.  That he has gone before me and is beside me.  That I won't be discouraged.  That I would KNOW that in this time of being new that he hasn't forsaken me.  

There is little I love more musically than old hymns.  This one seems fitting tonight.  I hope it encourages you wherever you are in your journey.  

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 11-31 Days of Being New--Alone

I remember taking this picture over the summer and thinking how vast the ocean looked next to my tiny little guy.  He didn't seem phased.  Children are fortunate that way.  They are pretty go with the flow.  I can't decide if I want to be more like that or less like that.

I don't really want to go with the flow right now.  What I really want to do is rewind time a bit.  I want to go back and have one last chat on my friend porch.  One last play date at Puget Park.  One last Sunday to sing with the worship team.  One last...pretty much everything.

I feel stuck in this weird place of being grateful that God has provided such a spacious and beautiful home for us to live in and missing the view from my WA bedroom.  Grateful that we live so much closer to our families and desperate for a hug from any one of my dear friends that became my family.  Grateful that the Lord has always provided precious, precious friendships and in tears that I have to start that all over again.

One of my sweet friends from "home" before Tacoma became home told me once that it's ok to be upset.  Even if someone else wouldn't be upset about it.  It's ok to cry.  Even if someone else doesn't think it's worth crying about.  My life isn't about how I should feel it's about how I do feel.

Sometimes what you know to be true and what you feel are in opposition.

And tonight.  I feel alone.

Interview with a 4 Year Old

Last year I asked Stafford these questions on his birthday.  I love seeing how his answer and comprehension have changed over the last year.  Some of them are so funny!

1. What's your favorite color? yellow & green

2. What's your favorite toy? trains, airplanes & buses
3. What's your favorite fruit? blueberries

4. What's your favorite TV show? Mighty Machines
5. What's your favorite thing to each for lunch? PB & Jelly, pickles
6. What's your favorite game? Gogogolaugh (best described as chasing, laughing, wrestling)

7. What's your favorite snack? chocolate chip granola bars
8. What is your favorite animal? shark, walrus, whale

9. What's your favorite song? ABC song and Gac-Goon

10. What's your favorite book? Team Umizoomi
11. Who is your best friend? Vivian, Kaiser, Ethan, Jonathan, Lamar & Sheila
12. What's your favorite thing to do outside? Play with Vivian

13. What's your favorite drink? Lemonade
14. What do you take to bed with you at night? a lot of animals
15. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cheeros

16. What do you like to eat at birthday parties? ice cream cake

17. What do you want to be when you grow up? fireman, construction worker (mountain climber)
18. What would you do if you were invisible? have fun with Vivian & Kaiser

19. I am very proud because...I clean up my mess
20. I am afraid of...monsters.
21. Name one thing you are good at.  Finding crabs & turtles

22. What does it mean to be a good friend? Take turns with toys and share.  Play with each other
23. What's your favorite part of the day? breakfast, lunch & dinner...when we wake up

24. Describe your best day ever.  Vivian coming to my house.  Playing with Reed.  Read books.  Cleaning room

25. Describe your favorite hobby.  I like to have fun!

26. Climbing is...cats and dogs climb.  I do know how to.
27. I wish there were a law that said...Have fun at the Frog & Kiwi.

28. What makes you feel sad?  Pushing.  When Vivian doesn't want to play.
29. What makes you feel happy? Playing with Vivian, Waking up

30. Pretend you could fly.  Where would you go? TN & KY
31. Where do you want to go on vacation? TN & IL & MN

32. If you could pick another name what would it be?  Stafford-bafford

33. What is your favorite thing to do with Mama & Daddy? go for a walk

34. What would you say about Jesus? I love Jesus.  I like to pray and read with him.  He gives us new people when we go new places.

It's very funny to hear what he has to say.  I can definitely tell that his answers reflect what is one his mind when I ask him the questions.  During this time he was very concerned about having a playdate with his friend Vivian before we moved.  So he talks about her a lot.  He always REALLY likes her :)

The only answers I was really surprised about were his favorite book (he said Team Umizoomi which is a search and find book.  He likes that one but I wouldn't have guessed he would say that. I was also surprised he said lemonade was his favorite drink.  We must have had it recently because it isn't something he has often.  I looked back at his answers from last year and he mentioned lemonade in them also!!!  So funny!

I love what he said about Jesus and being a good friend.  And his favorite hobby is definitely having fun!!

Loving life with 4 year old S-man.  Can't wait to see what he says when he is five!

Day 10-31 Days of Being New--Sharing

Sometime being the new girl means you need to share your new life with your old people. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kelsey's Five Month Update

Dear Kelsey,

As usually it is so hard to believe that another month has gone by.  Five months old!!!  That just seems so old to me and it just seems like yesterday that you were such a tiny little thing.  I just love watching you grow and learn!  Being your Mama is a joy and a privilege. 

You are still wearing size 1 diapers and are into 3-6 month clothes.  A lot of them are still really big on you.  You seem to be growing a little slower like the boys at this age!  You look much bigger than you are in pictures.  You have the cutest little chubby cheeks but they are deceitful! 

You are still a big talker.  You have started gurgling a lot and you will imitate us if we do the same.  You love your brothers and have started smiling and laughing at them!

We had to move you out of the Rock-N-Play and put away our bouncer.  You kept sitting straight up in them and I was afraid you were going to call out of it!  So we got the Pack-N-Play out to keep you safe!  You are still sleeping around 8:30 or 9 to around 5 or 6 each morning.  After I feed you then you go back down for a couple of hours.

You are rolling over both ways now and can sit up for a few seconds although you are all hunched over!  You'll be sitting up soon!

I bought you a nursing necklace this month and you love it!  You kept pulling my hair while you were nursing and this necklace helps to solve that problem!  It is made of silicone and wood and you love to grab it and also chew on it!

You went to the fair for the first time this month, the zoo, hiking at Mt. Rainier, on a train ride, to a college volleyball game, your first baseball game, the beach, the pool, lots of playgrounds, and camping for the first time!  It was a busy and exhausting month and you loved all of it!

We also had you dedicated at church.  It was really special to be able to share that moment with our family at Journey.  You are so loved by our friends there.  We chose Zephaniah 3:17 as the verse to pray over you.  It's words are so true.  Our God is mighty to save.  He deights in you.  He rejoices over you with singing.  He will quiet you with His love.  

We love  you to pieces Kelsey Jane!

Mama & Daddy

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day 9-31 Days of Being New--The Unknown

I have to say that living in the unknown is a lonely and painful place.  Often I've said that I would chose to know an answer, even if it was the answer I didn't want, over living in the unknown.  It's painful, stretching and feels never ending.

If you are new around here you may not know much about some of the unknown we've encountered in the last few years.  Our biggest challenge was Peter's diagnosis of Crohn's disease and the seemingly endless time of waiting afterward to see if he would be permitted not only to fly but to even stay in the Air Force.

We've also dealt with an untimely six month "overseas assignment" that occurred 6 weeks after we arrived in Washington.  It was a major time of stretching and growth for me in particular since I was pregnant with a 14 month old in a new house, town, state, part of the country, etc!

And because we like to go big or go home we did another bout with the Air Force when Peter came home from Africa and we discovered he had melanoma.  

Earlier this year we were blessed with our third child.  A beautiful blue eyed, joyous, smiling baby girl.  It was THE best day ever.  I look back at this photo and just want to hug myself.  I had no idea what was ahead.  In the grand scheme of life it wasn't the biggest deal.  But it was a big deal to me.  And those three weeks that I sat in my green chair and faithfully pumped every two to three hours to keep my milk supply up left me feeling tired, discouraged and dealing again with the unknown.

Ultimately the unknown is a beautiful thing.  My thoughts on this issue haven't changed and if anything have only grown stronger each time the Lord says to me...

Please Wait.

And often he does.  

I don't always want to be patient.  In fact I rarely want to be patient.  But the Lord says...

Please Wait.

These words by Charles Spurgeon are so poignant, so life giving. (Sorry if you already read this on my previous post!  It was just SO worth re-posting!)

He writes...

"David.....had been envious of the present prosperity of the ungodly, forgetful of the dreadful end awaiting all such.  And are we better than David that we should call ourselves wise!  Do you profess that we have attained perfection or to have been so chastened that the rod has taken all our willfulness out of us?.......Look back, believer; think of your doubting God when he has been SO faithful to you--think of your foolish outcry of "Not so, my Father," when he crossed his hands in affliction to give you the larger blessing; think of the many times when you have read his providences in the dark, misinterpreted his dispensations, and groaned out, "All these things are against me" when they are all working together for your good!"

Does it hit you like it hit me?  We do not know the mind of God.  How often to we say to him that we don't like what he is doing in our lives.  We complain of this or that.  We are frustrated.  We are scared.  We think we can not trust him.

But he is working out our lives for our own good.

My prayer is this.  That on those days when our lives change forever, whether the change is known or unknown, scary or exciting, painful or joyful, I will PRAISE him and continue to choose JOY!


Choosing JOY again in this season of being NEW.  


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