9/01/2014

Jesus is in the boxes


We’re talking about transition these days. We’re elbow deep in cardboard boxes, eager to find our way to the next house that God has for our family.

But the reality of this move is that it’s not so much about having more space as it is about having the guts to laugh at the uncertainty of it all. It’s easy to believe in God when things are going good. When people leave awesomely encouraging feedback about my cute kitchen (that’s sadly in the wrong part of town for their family).

But what happens when the chips are down. When no one is coming to see what we’re selling. When the timeline isn’t going according to plan and I probably won’t be done with the transition in order to start school in the new house.

The house that has our names written all over it, but someone else is probably going to snatch up before we can put an offer on it because no one will buy the house we’re in. And it would be stupid to try to own both, even for a tiny little while.

Then I have the worst day ever and my special boy is a complete monster and someone asks if they can have a showing in an hour and a half. And then those stupid last minute people don’t even write an offer. Probably because my house is a hot dirty mess. Just like I am. For real people.

This is where Jesus really is. Where Jesus really wanted me to go. Where I’m gritty and dirty and raw. And fed up with the senselessness of it because this house isn’t really that bad. And whose idea was this anyway.

Where I still choose to believe that this is all a part of the plan. Even though I feel like I’m either crazy or brilliant because I continue to cling to a plan that’s so insane that I’m not even sure I can pull it off. But frankly I’m just a bit too defiant to give in just yet. Because God does funny stuff like this all the time.

When God leads you well past your breaking point just so you can laugh at what a wimp you were on the other side of that barrier.  

And He shows you that all of this really has nothing to do with the house anyway.

That is where Jesus is.

And it makes me wonder why we pray for God to make things easy. When things are so much more interesting out where Jesus is. The stories are so much more fun to read out here. And way more fun to write for that matter. Because if you’re going to go through the insanity, you might as well come through it with an interesting story to tell on the other side, am I right about that?

8/22/2014

New digs


We did a little redecorating around here. Did you notice? All the stuff that blogger would let me change has been changed.

I was sort of sick of the last design. I put it together when we were adopting. When I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with this blog. When we made the gentle shift from being a blog that was only read by people I knew, to a blog that was read by a broader audience. When I realized that many people were touched by our adoption story, and those people were coming to hear more about the crazy things that God was doing with our family. People who didn’t know my entire life story, and frankly didn’t care what we did with our Saturday mornings.

So I feel myself shifting again, not back towards the “look at my breakfast” blog (heaven help me) but to acknowledge that people who have read my fiction might stop here. And I’d like to welcome them.

So if you’re on facebook I put together a newly decorated fan page to talk about all my stories, and all the stuff that passes through my brain that relates to my life as a writer.  

And…

If it makes it easier to remember, I made myself easier to search for by adding a static page.


There’s a tab on that page that’ll bring you here, but if there’s a way to get from here to there I haven’t figured that part out yet.

8/18/2014

Finding God in the transition

So we’re in a bit of a transition around here. We put our house on the market last May and have been on the moving tidal wave ever since. Up down, up down, down a bit more, crash. Pick yourself up and repeat the cycle all over again. Eye roll.

There have been so many beautifully sweet lessons during this time I can’t begin to remember them all. But over the next few weeks I have a handful of moving inspired posts to share, I hope you’ll find a healthy take away from my troubles.  Or at least find the humor in this big fat cardboard box headache.

So the main reason we’re moving is that we’re a family of 6 living in 1300 square feet of cute little house. Did you catch that LITTLE part of that discription?

Jory and I have been avoiding this conversation for years, tried to make it work for years. We like small. Small is efficient. And easy to keep clean. And find things. Minimal living. That’s us. We’re happy with less. Really.

But this year homeschooling 3 students on my side of the master bedroom – an area that’s about 6 x 8. Computers, textbooks, chairs, desks, and people. Use your imagination. Eye roll.  

We did it, it worked. But it was horrible. The kind of horrible that makes you take a real look at life and say is this worth it? What is my priority here, educating the kids or making the house work for just a bit longer?

Sounds a bit silly when I say it out loud.  Why would I put my house above my children?

But the whole transition to a new house thing has really been so much more personal than simply saying “we’re moving because our house is small”. If that’s the only reason I had for the transition, then I probably would have given up a long time ago. Not sure the process is worth it just to get more space. Not for me anyway. This house isn’t that bad.

So stick with me over the next few days as we unpack all the stories and take aways from the move across town that I’m affectionately calling “it’s not because my house is too small”.

8/11/2014

Dissident

So things have been a bit quiet around here this year. It's not you, I swear, it's me.

You've heard it before. I know.

But my little word lovin heart has been pulled in so many different directions that it's unreal.

So most of my facebook people know that I've taken this spring to finish the book that I started about 18 months ago. A book that I say I wrote for my oldest son, but really I was just playing. Watching a story unfold beneath my eye lids and putting into words what I saw, all while praying that I actually made sense.

If you're a writer you know what I'm talking about. If not. Uh... Sorry? Writing fiction does weird things to your head. No joke.

But my story is done! Done I tell you. Until I find an editor to shred it to pieces that is. Over the next few weeks I thought maybe I'd talk a bit about this crazy adventure I've been on. But for now, here's the synopsis of the story I wrote.


Tobias's world is turned upside down when Shiloh shows up on his family farm. She has come seeking shelter after her home was attacked and destroyed by a roaming mob of Underlanders, leaving her alone and afraid. 
When the mob catches up with her, they are both forced to leave Tobias's family and flee to the relative safety of the New Haven Academy in search of someone who can help them find safety with other members of the Favored tribe. 
But life at the academy is far from the safe haven they were seeking. Insane professors with bizarre teaching tactics and overly protective monitors both threaten the thin veneer of safety they thought they had found when they entered the academy.  If that wasn’t enough, Shiloh and Tobias must keep their cool in the face of bullying and deep seated discrimination.  All of these factors work together to divide both students and staff, distracting them from the work the Overseer has for them.
Tobias and his friends must learn the skills necessary to take care of themselves and recognize the almighty Overseer's guidance. They must figure out who they can trust to help them find their way before the unthinkable occurs.

Sound good? I can't wait for you to read it.

7/14/2014

12 years old

Dear Alex
So 12 years snuck up on me. 12 years means 7th grade. Junior high. Eek. A big adjustment that every family goes through. It doesn’t affect us the way it affects your non-homeschooled friends, but it still affects us. And by us I mean ME.
So 12. There are a few things I want to remember about you as you approach this milestone. The first thing, sort of a long story, but one that is so telling of your personality this summer. So I’ma tell it anyway
I snapped at you last week when your swimming coach had her hands full and you were completely oblivious. Which, don’t get me wrong, is totally normal for someone your age to not notice. But you notice these things. You always see it when someone else needs a hand and spring forward to save the day without any prompting from anyone.
Which is why I had to laugh at myself for getting mad at you at the pool that afternoon. Sorry bout that.
And for the record, when I pointed out the problem you did jump up and ask Coach Kelly what you could do.
The second thing I want to remember about you from this year isn’t exactly summer related. It’s school. I try really hard to emphasis the joy of learning and not the glorify the fact that you’re a bit of an overachiever. I’m a bit of a stickler about not comparing ourselves to other learners. It’s never a good idea to think that you’re better at something than someone else. Which is why I like that you’re in a class of 1.
That said.  This year with school we did something new. In August I handed you an entire years worth of curriculum and said “do it.” And that was all you needed as far as direction. You set your own pacing schedule, and organized all your own documents. You planned and organized the whole stinking thing without a bit of help from me. Which is so awesome. But the part of this story that surprised even me is how driven you were to keep yourself on track. Not only did you finish the entire years curriculum a month early, but you dug in and completed some of next year’s curriculum just for fun.
And yes, I did have to tell you to cool it more than once when you wanted to work on your lessons and I needed you elsewhere. Sorry bout that.
So to my just turned 12 year old boy. You rock. We love you. You’re fun to have around. And it thrills my heart that you seek out your dad and me for advice and companionship.
But you give the worst massages ever. EVER.
Yeah. You know what I’m talking about. Stinker.
Love,
Mom

6/03/2014

The big D (disabled, that is)

When we adopted two years ago we thought we were taking on a (mostly) healthy seven year old, who was only a bit vertically challenged. As in, he might look like a five year old, but his behavior and cognitive function were mostly on target for his age range, if you give him a bit of extra leeway to account for his traumatic social history.

The last two years have been a humbling process as we have been handed diagnosis after diagnosis telling us what was evident right after we took custody. That our little guy wasn’t nearly as healthy or mentally stable as the Russian paperwork made him sound.
You’d think it would get easier after a spell, that you’d develop a thicker skin each time you accept a new name for a set of personality quirks; a label that helps professionals know how to approach your child. A special set of words that opens doors to extra assistance because your kid is qualified.
But it doesn’t. 
Each one comes like a swift kick in the gut. A chink in your armor. And the latest one isn’t any different.
Our paperwork is back, the board of disabilities has taken my son into their database. My son is officially disabled.
Disabled.
It is so easy to park myself on that word. To feel overwhelmed by its implications. To be not quite ready to call myself the parent of a disabled child (even though I embraced the roll a long time ago). To be emotionally blinded by a label that doesn’t change my child in the slightest bit.
And how weird it is that the only thing that this emotionally charged label really changes is how my son’s needs impact our finances. How many services that used to cost us money will now be provided free of charge because he owns a different word. A word that makes him qualified for government assistance.
Disabled. Such a bittersweet word.

5/29/2014

I think I'll sing anyway

So, we’re moving. Or at least we’re trying to move. You know how that goes. The highs and lows of negotiating with people who may or may not be trying to do what’s honorable.   Mix that with a whole lot of helplessness  while you wait on imperfect people. It’s pretty much a powder keg of stress and emotion. Especially the first time you do it.

One of those things that makes me wonder if moving a mile up the road to a bigger house as an act of obedience is really what God wants or if I’m just plain crazy because this house really isn’t that bad.   
So here I am in my not-so-happy little powder keg using all the stuff God has taught me about keeping my head every time the inevitable disaster hits. And I’m mostly fine. Not caring about the hills and valleys, not caring about how people respond, only caring about my own obedience.

Then yesterday we got a triple whammy of losing a contract on this house, losing a sure bet on another house, and a septic guy telling me I need to spend $500 to put ugly markers all over my yard – right in a high traffic area where people are going to trip on them.
Yeah. It was a good day.

Eye roll.
So my head and my heart had a little disagreement. It sounded something like this.

Heart: wahhhhhhhh!
Head: Stop being a crybaby. You’re fine.

Heart: Did you hear me? I said WAHHH!
Head: I think it’s time to sing.

Heart: I don’t like singing. I only like crying.
Head: La la la. I can’t hear you. I’m singing. You should try it. You’ll feel better.

Ok, so the illustration was a bit on the comical side. But I hope you can hear what I’m saying. My head and my heart are not always on the same page. My head knows the truth, logic and reason. My heart only knows emotion -happy or sad.  And there are so many times that my crybaby heart ruins my day because it will just not listen to the voice of reason.
So yesterday when I was driving around, tired of listening to my crybaby heart that wouldn’t shut up I decided to sing. Out loud. Louder than my heart was crying. I totally pulled the “la, la, la, I can’t hear you” card on myself.  

And it totally worked. My heart tried to shout over the singing for a while, until it realized it wasn’t doing any good because my brain was too busy trying to remember what words were next in the song to listen.  And finally it gave up and started singing too.

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