Sunday, October 30, 2011

Turning the Page, but the Book Ain't Over!

Up early with thoughts running through my head and a need to write them down!  The past 4 days went fast, yet seem to have lasted forever too!  Sue and I left Wednesday morning and headed to Evansville.  We had a great time talking the whole way and sharing many stories.  The drive was easy and seemed short.  Sue went on to spend time with Judy for a few days while I had a nice time staying with my parents.  I got to go eat dinner with them and get ALL of their attention - LOL!  Didn't have to share it with Em & Ev!  Ha ha ha!  It was very fun to hang out with them and talk and watch the baseball games on tv too.  Thursday I headed over to our house and was literally shaking when the moving truck pulled up at 8am.  I walked the guys, Rob and Sven, through the house.  "Yes, that goes, yup, yup, that too."  I stepped out on the porch and fought back some tears.  "Crap!  There is a MOVING truck in front of our house!...To move us to NORTH CAROLINA!!"
Kendra arrived and we sat on the couch looking through magazines and catching up for the majority of the morning.  It felt incredibly weird not being able to work.  If you know me, you know I like to be busy and working and helping.  I brought some chocolates for Kendra and I.  Our husbands jokingly (I think...) tell us that we just sit around and eat bon bons all day, so I figured for our last days as neighbors we needed to actually do it.  Don't be mad that I put the picture in, Kendra - too cute not to share!
Rhonda, my favorite friend with a pet goat, came by to visit too - it was so good to see her!!  Someone actually even came to see the house in the midst of the chaos.  By 3pm the guys had the inside of the house packed.  I think it would have taken me a week.  They took off and I started cleaning a few things in the house.  I also started thinking of the mess, the amount of stuff they couldn't take with them that I was going to need to transport, and how long it is going to take to unpack and started to become overwhelmed.  The box of spaghetti that got spilled and then stepped on a hundred times that day throughout the house didn't help!  LOL!  I found it hard to pray while I was in Evansville.  I am not sure why.  Not for lack of trying.  Probably just the amount of stress and emotion involved I guess.  Friday morning the guys arrived and started loading the truck and packing up the garage and shed.  They underestimated how much stuff we had outside, so it took them about 4 hours longer than they thought it would.  It was amazing to see how fast they got it done though.  I felt a lot better on Friday because I was busy cleaning each room as it emptied out.  I also got to be a hero for finding some lost favorite toys for the kids AND the cats!  My parents and Kendra were there most of the day and the guys were joking around with us a lot.  Lots of laughing, which was so nice. The house actually looks really good empty.  I know that our realtor and everyone else says it is harder to sell an empty house, but I think we might of still had too much stuff in our house and now that it is empty it looks SO much bigger - some areas are open and nice that we had big pieces of furniture in - blocking nice window areas, etc.  So, I am very confident that it will be good for the sell.

As I left the subdivision after a long two days I could not hold back the tears.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  My mom sat next to me as I drove away and reminded me that each chapter of our lives is sad when it ends, but the next one always has something to look forward to.  As I am typing this now, we are back at Tony and Sue's.  The kids are up now and all 4 of us are piled in the bed and the kids are watching something you'd never believe.  We have not watched it in years. 'Blue's Clues'  This show was a favorite of both kids when they were toddlers.  Both had Blue's Clues themed 2nd birthday parties.  (Emily even had the special edition blue ice cream with paw print shaped cookies in it that gave everyone some odd green colored poo for a few days afterwards, but that is another story! ha!)  What a fun time it was in our lives.  Cute little kiddos toddling around with a little diaper butt and cute words babbling out of their mouths.  But, what adventures we have had with them since those days!  How much they have learned.  How Jeff and I have grown closer to each other and to God since then.  How I have grown and changed and learned and become stronger since then.  It was a fun time and it is ok to reminiscence and to even get a little teary thinking back and missing it a bit. But, greater things have come and are even yet to come.  And as God has closed the Evansville chapter in our lives, just as the Blue's Clues chapter came to an end, He is leading us on to the next page in our stories which He prepared just for us.

1 Corinthians 2:9

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
   “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
      and no mind has imagined
   what God has prepared
      for those who love him.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

I See It! The Light at the End of the Tunnel!!

Well this week has certainly gone quickly!  I have spent a lot of time down in our new area this week for this and that and it is feeling a bit more familiar to me.  Tuesday's Bible study was good.  I am amazed at how Jonah's story and this study is going along with my emotions and thoughts right now so perfectly.   Wednesday I had an almost 'normal' day - except for the fact I couldn't go home without driving an hour!  I volunteered at school to set up the book fair.  There were 3 other moms that did too.  Christina, who just moved here in July from New Jersey (From Bon Jovi's town!!!!) and I hit it off.  While setting up I asked her if she wanted to help with the Spring Fling Thing with the auction - I was meeting with another mom after the library set up in order to get details about what the Auction Coordinator job entailed.  So Christina stuck around and heard the spiel and we are going to work on it together.  Also, while talking we discovered that we both had been invited on Thursday morning to go to a mom's breakfast.  LOL  I think God wanted us to meet, maybe?  Thursday's breakfast was fun.  I met 3 additional moms and there were 3 there that I had already met.  Got lots of advice on moving/selling an empty house/etc.  All 7 of us had moved here from somewhere else.  It is definitely easier to meet people here than in other places I imagine.  Since there are so many new people - the new people can all be friends.  LOL. 

Jeff has had management training this week.  He has had some evenings where they've all gone out for dinner making him get home pretty late.  I am glad that he has had some social stuff though.  He hasn't really had a chance for any of that - just work. 

The kids are hanging in there.  They are so excited to move.  And their prayers are so sweet lately.  They are begging God for our house to sell.  They ask Him for our new house to get done quickly and safely.  Emily is excited to be a library helper once a week - she gets to go and help the 'little kids' find books - right up her alley.  Evan is going to his friend's birthday party on Sunday so he is excited.  Emily did come to me crying this week because she doesn't have one good friend like everyone else.  I had to explain to her how it takes time to make good friendships.  I've encouraged her to sit and talk to the girls and ask them about themselves, etc.  Emily wants to run and play games at recess, but a lot of the girls want to sit and talk.  She doesn't understand why she isn't getting to know anyone, but she isn't spending the time/making the effort to get to know them.  I told her to pray and ask God for a friend - I have been praying that for her - and for me too!  He WILL provide.

The light at the end of the tunnel has appeared.  Lots of preparations in order to get our stuff moved and utilities at the new house and things back in order at Tony & Sue's.  I imagine now I need to be on guard for not becoming overwhelmed with all I have to do.  After 10 weeks of not having many responsibilities at all it will be an adjustment I'm sure to get back into the groove.  To drive by the house now I already find it looking like OUR is familiar...  I am ready to live there.  I am excited.  It is neat that we have had this 'layover' here at Tony & Sue's so we could adjust to the idea of living here more before we actually do.  Does that even make sense? I also know now that we were supposed to build - if we would have purchased an existing home we would have already had two house payments here on top of the ones at home.  I love confirmations...and I am thankful that the Spirit is allowing me to see them.  So on Wednesday Sue and I will leave and drive to Evansville. (Apparently after only making it an hour and a half before getting so sleepy I couldn't drive on our last trip home, Jeff thinks I need a driving buddy!)  I will be with the movers on Thursday and Friday.  I will have cleaning and a few repairs to do in the house.  Looking forward to staying at my mom and dad's - my dad is off work those days - and hanging out with Kendra who is a pro with movers coming in!  On Saturday morning my mom, Judy, Sue, and I will head back with my plants, flammable stuff, and perishable stuff.  Can you imagine the 4 of us in the van for 9 hours....gonna be a lot of laughing I am sure - and maybe a few potty stops....and maybe some shopping...we might make it back...maybe...  We close on October 31st and move in on the first of November to start the season of thankfulness :)  Judy and my mom are going to stay through Thursday so they can be with us when the truck arrives and help unpack.  So thankful for that!  

This week I read in my devotion book that:  anxiety is the result of envisioning the future without God.  So when the thoughts of anxiousness have come this week about the future I have rested thinking 'but He will be with us, so it will be ok.'  Such a simple concept, but it was presented in just the way that made sense to me.  I also stopped by to talk to Rachelle this week at the model home and she said the simple phrase 'worrying won't fix anything or accomplish anything' - something like that.  Anyway, yeah, you have heard that a billion and a half times right?  But, I really focused on that.  No, it won't DO anything.

Matthew 6:25-34

Do Not Worry
     “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?     “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some Things We Know

We had a very fun week with Judy here!  Some highlights of this week:  Stepping in mud and getting paint on us while showing Judy and Sue our house Tuesday.  Some awesome slaw at a restaurant.  Watching fast cars go fast at the Bojangles Pole Night for the big NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway (and enjoying it!)  Both of the kids getting straight A's on their first report cards!  Bead shops, Quilting shops, Antique shops, Fabric shops, Yarn shops, and Consignment shops in Davidson, Concord, Kannapolis, Huntersville, Mooresville, Stallings, and Monroe!  (Don't worry, I barely bought anything!)  Eating at a Mexican restaurant who had their doors open since it was so nice out and being startled by the bird flying around above our heads.  Me receiving an early Christmas present - my first sewing machine!!! Which I am SO excited about!  Trying shrimp and grits and loving it.  Emily learning how to crochet a bit.  Sue, Judy, and I being so in to shopping and eating that we had to call Jeff away from work to go pick up the kids from school because we weren't going to make it there in time. Oops!

Our house is coming along that a word?  Jeff and I and the kids stopped by this afternoon and walked through it.  They have trim up, cabinets in, tile in, counter tops on, some appliances in, light fixtures up, toilets in.  The outside looks almost complete.  It rained for a few days this past week so the yard did not get worked on, but the stone is done, gutters on, sidewalks and driveway poured.  It looks so neat.  It is really exciting.  I never ever ever dreamed that we'd be doing this right now.  It just goes to show how unpredictable life is.  Not always are the changes good...sometimes they are bad, but sometimes the good comes with a lot of hard....  Some things we KNOW about this change in our lives:
  • We have been blessed beyond measure straight from God.  James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.   
  • Yet we are hurting and are mourning a loss.  John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. 
  • He comforts us!  Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • And He gives us strength through His Spirit and through others who have done this before. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 
  • And He prepared us for this already.  Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Thank you Lord~
Thank you for Jeff's promotion - for the recognition in the workplace that he has received.  Thank you for providing a warm, safe, and loving environment for us to stay while our house is being built.  Thank you for a new beautiful house!  We realize that these are straight from You!  Thank you for loving on us when we are sad and allowing us to mourn, but then allowing us to tap into that Strength who lives in us.  Thank you for surrounding us with encouragement from so many and especially those who have been comforted by You before and are able to comfort us with the comfort You gave them.  Thank you for preparing us for this - for shaping us into the people that You wanted and needed us to be in order to give us these blessings and be available for the next "good thing" You will have us do.

Not every blessing comes up all roses all the time.  God has promised that we will have trouble in this world - even amidst all the great things.  I am thankful that while we are enjoying our blessings and praising Him for them, we can also call on Him for comfort since this blessing is causing pain, too!  Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers!

"Blessings" by Laura Story - Click here to listen to a great song to go with my thoughts tonight!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just Plain Weird

Going home was weird.  Just plain weird.  We loved seeing everyone though.  Friday we got the kids from school after lunch and headed nine hours back to Evansville.  They had today off of school for Columbus Day and the Fall Festival was this weekend so it was a great time to go.  We aren't able to go home for Thanksgiving this year.  We pulled into our neighborhood at 10pm and walked into our house.  It smelled weird - not bad - just different.  We all fell into our own beds very happily and slept like rocks.  Saturday morning we got up early and had breakfast at my parents house.  Then we went back to our house and did the walk through with the moving company person.  Then we hit Franklin Street - woohoo!  Evan was thrilled to run into his best buddy from home while we were there.  We got our tenderloin, pronto pup, fish sandwich, and haystack!  We also got to meet Jenny's new boyfriend, Jason.  He's a great guy and we look forward to being around him and Jenny again soon!! We had a showing on the house while we were at the festival.  Came back home and Jeff and I took a 3 or so hour nap.  Woke up to feedback that they didn't like the house.  But, someone else wanted to come and look on Sunday, so ok.  Had a nice family dinner at Turoni's with the Kissels.  Came back home and slept another 12 hours.

At this point we realized that we were just plain exhausted.  I think we needed to catch up on 7 weeks of rest...we have been constantly 'on' - not completely/fully relaxed at any given time.  I guess if you have ever lived with family while trying to keep your 2 kids and 2 cats out of trouble you will understand this!!?  I also started realizing that my heart was feeling like it was being ripped out again.  Ugh.  Really??  I thought I had grieved and we were done with this.  I had even asked Jeff if we could not stay at our house when we went home because I was afraid it might be hard on the kids emotionally.  Never thought I'd have such a hard time with it.  By Sunday morning I was sad, but angry too.  I was mad that we were home in the house that isn't sold yet.  Mad that we were going to have to go back to North Carolina.  Mad that we had missed out on all of our social stuff this fall.  Mad that none of our friends had missed out on anything.  Mad that I have to put effort forth to meet people.  Mad that we are starting over.  Ahhh!  Mad that the people that keep coming to see our house don't like it.  Jeff had to do some maintenance stuff on the house, then we had lunch with some friends, who unfortunately got to spend time with a very non-talkative and not-herself Amy.  Someone else came to see our house while we were gone and was only there for like 10 minutes, so it was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.  We ended up at Matthew and Kendra's for dinner.  We walked in to the most inviting environment.  Our good friends - the ones who have been SO completely supportive and understanding during all of this - making a great smelling dinner, windows open with the crisp fall breeze coming in, candles lit, and fall decorations everywhere.  It overtook me and within 5 minutes I was on the back porch with Kendra spilling my guts and crying 7 weeks of tears.  Ugh.  I told her how mad I was.  She asked, "who are you mad at?"  Silence.  "God."  More tears.  "You need to tell Him."  Ugh.  We had a great time catching up and being there in between me tearing up every now and then.  I just miss it all.  I am completely scared out of my mind that we are going to have two house payments soon.  Kendra and I talked a lot about this not playing out in the way that Jeff and I thought it would.  There is no guarantee that our house is going to sell before we move into our new one.  God does not need to make this easy on us.  And we need to become ok with might be next year before it is sold.  Jeff and I went home and talked...he held me while I cried more.  And then we slept....for the last time in our house.

This morning before we left Judy gave us a daily devotion book that she thought would be good for us.  Jeff turned to October 10th to read:
Trust Me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them.  Relax, and refresh yourself in the Light of My everlasting Love.  My Love Light never dims, yet you are often unaware of my radiant Presence.  When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help.  This is a subtle sin -- so common that it usually slips by unnoticed.  The alternative is to live fully in the present, depending on Me each moment.  Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply.  Train your mind to seek My help continually, even when you feel competent to handle something by yourself.  Don't divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help.  Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation.  This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently.
Jeff said I needed to share how cool it was that we both needed this this morning and there it was.

We are back in North Carolina now.  Can't call it home yet.  I am still feeling pretty fragile.  Still teary.  Still hurting.  But, even as I am unaware of His radiant Presence, He is here...    Judy is here with us for the week, so I am hoping we will have a fun and relaxing time with her.

Oh, and the feedback from the short visit yesterday was actually good - they might want another showing.  And, we have another showing tomorrow afternoon.  Guess it isn't all gloom and doom...

A prayer from Becoming A Woman of Prayer pg 40
"Lord,  If what I ask for does not please You, neither would it please me.  My desires are put into Your hands to be corrected.  Strike the pen through every petition that I offer that is not right.  And put in whatever I have omitted, even though I might not have desired it had I considered it...Not as I will, but as Thou wilt."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Not Just Obedience....FAITH

This question from God this morning:

"Why are you not trusting Me to sell your house?"

My answer to Him:

My first inclination is to say I don't know.  But that isn't an answer.  Is it that I am selfish and spoiled?  I want what I want and I want it now.  Is it also that I like to control things?  I do not know how this is going to play out and I want to fix it now.  Ahhh, I think that You just told me...  Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."  I still am finding it hard to believe that we are easily trusting You in the whole picture - We trust that You moved us for a purpose.  Yet here I am completely and totally hung up on one detail of Your intricate plan.  I worry that You have forgotten about it, that it is going to cause us problems.  I am being the nagging mom/wife, only to You - "Now, don't forget - You are doing so good, but don't forget that this needs to be wrapped up in the next month so we can go on living our perfect, easy lives." How dare I treat You like that!  I am humanizing You, the One who created this earth and everything on it.  You forget no detail.  And just because You wanted us to come here and we did - does not give us a free pass to an easy transition.  Forgive me for basically thinking we need to be rewarded for obeying.  Ugh...

Hebrews 11:7 says, "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family."

So, Noah obeyed when You called him.  Did he ever waver?  Did he get hung up on ONE thing?  Did he ask You repeatedly to take care of the expense of having a home and the construction hanging over his head?  But Noah didn't just obey.  He had faith...he trusted You...completely.  We can obey you, but not trust you.  Two totally different things...and one of them we have not done such a good job at.  So, forgive us for being so high and mighty/proud for following Your lead and obeying, but then not trusting You in Your plan.  Lord, let us surrender to You completely.  Please take back the handling of the details that I have tried to take from You.  Forgive me for thinking that my solution is better than what You are doing.  Let us just rest in You and let us cast our anxieties on You since You care for us.  Let us trust in You with all of our hearts and not get wrapped up in what makes sense to us...  And again, forgive me for thinking I can earn Your grace with the house...not sure why I keep having those thoughts -"well maybe NOW it will sell since I realized I didn't have faith."  How embarrassing.  Let me surrender completely the hold I have on this.  It is Yours, I relinquish it to You.  I trust You have wonderful plans for us here...I also trust You will do what it takes to get to those wonderful outcomes.  I give up.  I give You control.  Thank you for taking this burden!  Help me to revisit this when I need to!!  Which will probably be in about 10 minutes.  You know me!! :)  LOL