Saturday, November 1

"He Reigns"...Reinterpreted

Before I get into my post for today, I just wanted to say that we made it to NY safe and sound. We've been here almost a month (time flies!), and each day that passes we're a little more settled. The kids are adjusting so well, and Josh and I are both really happy that we made the big move. We're both working from home full-time and reconnecting with each other, the family, and Josh's old friends from high school. Oh...and unpacking! We're looking forward to the holidays with special expectation this year. Speaking of special expectations, I want to give a shout out to my baby brother and his wife, who are expecting baby #2 in July. We're so excited for you guys! Happy, healthy pregnancy blessings on you!

I wanted to share something hilarious that happened today. Josh & Rachel had the kids out this morning running errands, and after a particularly trying morning with things not going as planned, Kaden started singing out his version of "He Reigns" (a worship song by the Newsboys -- full lyrics here). He has heard this song on the radio, but I think he really "learned it" from his friend Hannah's kids' worship CD. (Hi, Yaxes -- we miss you!)

So here are the real words to the chorus:

It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah He reigns,
He reigns
It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah He reigns,
He reigns

And here, in all its glory, is Kaden's interpretation:

When you're not even tryin'
Holy Moly, Holy Moly - a Mess!
When you're not even tryin'
Holy Moly, Holy Moly - a Mess!

In case you're having trouble figuring out which line goes where, I tried to put them together here, the original first, and then Kaden's version:

It’s all God’s children singing / When you're not even tryin'
Glory, glory / Holy Moly
Hallelujah, He reigns / Holy Moly - a Mess!
He reigns / Ebay!

I'm sure it lacks something without the audio, but it's absolutely HILARIOUS to hear him sing this because he has the tune down pat, but none of the words make sense. Well, maybe they make sense, but they're not exactly a worship tune anymore. How funny is it that "eBay" is a regular part of his vocabulary? I think that's a sign to lay off eBay! :-) Anyway, when they got home, Kaden sang his song for me, and Josh and I just laughed and laughed. Kaden enjoyed cracking us up, so he just kept singing it over and over again. Laney gets into the act, too, singing "Holy Moly" over and over again. The two of them together are just too much.

Kids are so much fun [98% of the time]. I highly recommend them. :-)

Tuesday, September 30

Moving Part 2

I wanted to follow up on my first "Moving Story" post with the second part of the story. In short, God sold our house in two weeks . . . and we're moving at the end of this week!

Now for the longer explanation . . . This whole process has been a whirlwind, to say the least. At the end of July, Josh and I started considering a move back up north, but honestly, I was way more committed to the idea than he was. He wasn't so sure about leaving Nashville or his job, but after our visit to Plattsburgh in mid-July, I felt increasingly restless here, sort of like this wasn't "home" anymore. I mentioned to my friend Stephanie that we were discussing the possibility of moving, but I told her that even if we DID move, it wouldn't be until next year. Here we are just two short months later, and we're getting ready to pack our moving truck this week!

Things at Josh's job continued to decline through the summer, both in the amount of hours and the quality of the work environment, and he made the decision to take a leap of faith on August 21st: he quit his job! Up until that point, moving to NY was still a vague possibility in my mind because I knew we both had to be onboard 100 percent and both have peace about this gigantic change in our lives. Josh called me that night after quitting and told me he had good news and bad news. And then he corrected himself: "Actually it's all good news. I quit my job and we're moving to NY!" I was kind of like..."Really?" I was shocked.

Well, we quickly moved into action and got the house "spiffed up" in one week and officially put it on the market For Sale by Owner. We didn't know at that point what God's plan was or if we were even going in the right direction. We decided that if the house sold quickly, that would definitely be a sign that God's hand was in this and that He really did want us to move. So we listed the house on Thursday, August 28th, and we had several people contact us initially. Josh took this on as his full-time job and really did a great job creating a cool website and marketing the house on Craigslist and via flyers around Nashville.

With the way the housing market is right now, we really didn't know how long our house would sit on the market. I was prepared for 3-4 months, at least, but we both believed from the beginning that God had already sold the house and had a special family in mind. We just had no way of knowing how quickly He would bring that family along, and we didn't want to try to put God on our timeline. As much as we didn't want to be stuck in between jobs or face the prospect of moving to NY and trying to sell the house from there, we knew that it was a possibility. With timing uncertain, but sensing that this really was what God wanted us to do, we prayed every day for wisdom and patience in working out the details and waiting for Him to bring the right family along. This process certainly increased our faith greatly, and it was neat because Kaden got to participate in the process -- praying in his own words and seeing God answer our prayers in a big way.

On Saturday, September 13th, the future buyers came to see the house while my sister and I were at the Music City Triathlon course scoping out the situation for the triathlon the next day. We had two showings that day, and several other people called who were really interested in the house. Josh called me to tell me that it looked like both families were going to make an offer, so that was VERY good news! The next day after the triathlon, we talked about the options we had and decided on a really sweet couple that loves our house. They're young and want to have a family soon, which is exciting for us because this home has been such a blessing to us and we've made so many good memories here with our kids. Josh called them on Sunday afternoon, and they were so excited that they wanted to come over THAT NIGHT and sign the paperwork. So we did!

We're doing a 2-year lease-purchase agreement with them, and they were ready to assume the mortgage starting in October. The timing was perfect for us because we never had to make a mortgage payment while Josh was out of work. Again, we had no idea how long we would have to carry the mortgage, but we couldn't be happier with the way God blessed us so abundantly through this whole process.

If it had taken six months or a year to sell our house, God would still be good, but to see Him work out this arrangement in two weeks and for Him to move so swiftly on our behalf has been truly amazing. We're so grateful for the way He is making a path for us. Isaiah 30:21 says, "Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left." We have certainly experienced this during this whole process leading up to our move.

So that's the story. I'm sure there will be more to tell in the future as God continues unfolding what our new life will look like in NY. Our plan is to move in with Josh's parents and finish their basement to make our own little spot for the next year or so while we get their house ready to sell. I'll continue freelancing, and Josh has some money-making ideas up his sleeve, as he almost always does. :-) Josh will be the chief manual laborer in completing the repairs that need to be done to the house, so that will keep him busy, too. Our long-term plan is to move to the family lake in northern PA, but we don't have a certain date set for that second move.

It's interesting to look back and see how God has been developing this idea of "multigenerational living" in our hearts for over a year now. We thought that Josh's parents would be the ones moving here after retirement and that we would buy a piece of property together and build separate homes or possibly one big joint home. God apparently had other ideas in mind, now that WE are clearly the ones relocating, but still, the concept is the same. I'm sure there will be lots of pros and cons to us all living under one roof, but I truly believe we're going to work it out and create an arrangement that works for all of us. This whole interdependence between generations is relatively foreign to us now that lots of families are spread out over the whole country and we've moved away from the model of families living in the same town for their whole lives, but at least for us, reclaiming that interdependence is a very exciting prospect. I have some ideas cooking in my head, like maybe a new blog or even an e-book on traversing some of the pitfalls of multigen living, so stay tuned.

God is at work in a big way in our family, and we feel very fortunate to have experienced this last year -- and particularly the last two months. I've collected some Bible verses that meant a lot to me during this time (and will continue to), and I think I'll post those separately in case they might help someone out there.

Thanks for reading this epic blog post. I know I don't blog much anymore, but I'm on Facebook a lot -- so set up an account and request me as a friend if you want to keep up with us more regularly. The next time I write, we'll be northerners again! :-)

New York or bust! To God be the glory!

Moving Part 1

**Originally published on Facebook - August 29, 2008**

Several of you have asked about what's up with my status messages ... "What?! You're moving?!" Yes, it's true! Josh quit his job last week, and we just officially put our house on the market last night. It's a long story, but Josh and I came to the conclusion that climbing the corporate ladder, especially living away from all of our family, is not creating the family life or quality of life that we envision and desire. We've considered finding a new job for Josh here in the Nashville area, but the more we thought about it and prayed about it, the more and more sense it made to head back up north. Minus Jess and Stefan, both sides of our family live in PA and NY, and honestly, we're just tired of living so far away!

Josh's dad retires in Sept. 09, and we were making plans for them to retire here in TN, but without Josh's job to hold us here, we decided it makes more sense for us to be the ones who move. Josh's parents have always dreamed of retiring at the family lake in PA (north of Scranton, PA and south of Binghamton, NY), but they were going to forego that dream to be close to us in TN (they say the grandkids are like little magnets). But before they can move anywhere, their house needs a lot of work done to it. Because of Rachel's health over the last 10 years, their house has been at the bottom of the priority list (understandably). Combine their needs with our growing sense that God was drawing this season of life to a close, and voila! -- you have our plan for the next phase.

We are moving to Plattsburgh, NY as soon as we sell our house and/or Josh finds another job in NY. The plan right now is to build an "apartment" in the basement of Josh's parents' house, and we'll live there until we all move to the lake after retirement. We'll be helping them get their house ready, Josh won't be gone for 13-14 hours days (yay!), and we can finally get out from a bunch of business debt. Josh's parents are ECSTATIC, and we're excited to see what life will look like in the next year.

It's a time of healing for us, a time for family, and a time to simplify life and focus on what really matters. God's leading us on another adventure, not unlike our big adventure of moving to Nashville, but it looks different from anything we imagined even a few short months ago. God's giving us peace about this big move, and we're taking each day at a time to see what He has in store.

Well, that's the short story. We'd love to have your prayers with us as we jump out in faith into this multi-generational living thing. Maybe I'll start a new blog. :-)

So...anyone want to buy a house in Fairview, TN?! We'd love to show you around!

Monday, June 23

Non-Toxic Kitchen Cleaners

I read a really helpful post tonight, and I wanted to share it. I'm always interested in any household product that's non-toxic, simple, and cheap. Can't beat that combo! Check out this post from The Nourishing Gourmet on her simple, non-toxic kitchen cleaners. She has some great info and "recipes" that I intend to try this week!

I already have some Borox on hand from Soaps Gone Buy (love their laundry kit!), so I'm going to mix up some of the dishwashing detergent that Kimberly Harris recommends. The vinegar/peroxide combo is so cool! I had never heard of that before.

Let me know if you try any of these ideas. Also, I'd love to hear of any simple non-toxic cleaning ideas you have! I've been using several of the "Greenworks" products from Clorox, and I do like those. However, something I can mix up myself is even more appealing!

Wednesday, June 11

When A 1-Piece Suit Just Won't Do

I'm all for modesty, but ... really? A 4-piece bathing suit? I think I'd rather stay inside than wear this get-up in the hot summer sun.

Supposedly, this appeals to "today's religious woman," but this religious woman will stick with my tankini thank-you-very-much.

It's hard to believe they have much of a market for these suits, but I guess I might be wrong! At least you know where to find this little gem if you're ever in the market for head-to-toe swimwear. Nothing says summer fun like heat exhaustion!

Saturday, June 7

Jew-P-S to the Rescue!

I've been wanting to post this little story for a few weeks, and believe it or not, it's been so long since I blogged that I forgot how to sign into my blog! That's a sure sign that your blog is in a serious state of neglect. But I figured it out, and here I am!

Josh's parents gave us a GPS for Christmas, and we've already used it on several trips. I also use it when I'm going somewhere in Nashville that I'm not familiar with. Kaden thinks it's very cool, and to be honest, what's not to like? A talking computer that knows where you're going and tells you where to turn?! Amazing! We call our GPS "Genie," which is something we picked up from Papa, I think.

Several weeks ago, we were driving along and apparently Kaden thought we were lost or something. He piped up from the backseat, "Mom, you shoulda brought the Jew-P-S!"

When I realized he was talking about the GPS, my first thought was, Man, I bet Moses could have used one of those in the Wilderness. Good 'ole Genie would have gotten the Israelites right to the Promised Land! Get it? Jew-P-S? Hahahaha!

You may not be impressed, but I got a good laugh out of my own sense of humor. :-) The kids didn't get the joke, but hey, at least I think it's funny.

Sunday, May 11

Mad Lib for Mother

I know, I know...where have I been, right? Well, I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say I've been spending every spare moment (and a few that didn't feel so spare) in the basement, huddled away at my desk and feverishly proofreading a big project for Thomas Nelson. I've been at it since January, and although it was supposed to be done March 27, we're still going strong on May 11. I'm always happy for the work, but there's also something to be said for wrapping things up and moving on to the next thing. Like maybe a week-long nap?! :-)

Anyway, when I'm really busy, blogging sort of gradually slides off the priority list. Sleep? Eat? Blog? I usually go for the first two when push comes to shove! And any time you get out of the habit of doing something, it always takes a lot of effort to get back on the wagon. I've thought about many things I'd like to post about over the months, but nothing felt exactly right for my first post after such a long absence. That is, until I received Kaden's Mother's Day gifts from preschool on Thursday. I knew I just had to share this little "Mother's Day Mad Lib" because it's just too cute and funny to keep to myself! So here goes...

My Special Mom
My mom is the most wonderful mom in the world. She is as pretty as a mouse. She weighs 85 pounds, and she is 8 feet tall. Her hair is white, and her eyes are yellow. Her favorite food is cereal.

My mother can do anything! I think she's best at taking me to the doctor. My mother has a pretty smile! She smiles when she sees me do special things. My mother is smart! She even knows how to cook. I wish my mom would paint with me everyday.

I wouldn't trade my mother for chips! Happy Mother's Day!

A few observations...
1.) I've never considered a mouse to be pretty, but I guess with white hair and yellow eyes, I could compete with any mouse out there!

2.) Talk about body dysmorphia! I guess in Kaden's eyes, I seem very tall, but 8 feet?! And 85 pounds? Oh my. To put this into perspective, those stats would give me a BMI of 6.5. Underweight starts at 18.5. So yeah...I think I'll be having Kaden's eyes checked again this week. :-)

3.) I thought his answer about painting everyday was sweet because it made me realize how much he loves doing art projects. I knew he loved painting and stuff, but for him to pick that out as a favorite activity (as opposed to something more active or outdoors), it sort of surprised me. I guess we'll be doing more painting!

4.) As far as the chips go, at least I know I rank above the nearest bag of Baked Lays. :-) And that's saying something, folks.

To all the moms out there, and especially to my mom, mother-in-law, and the five grandmas on both sides of the family ... Happy Mother's Day! We love you, we're blessed to have you in our lives, and you are all examples to me of sacrificial love and service. Thank you for loving God and your families with all your heart, mind, and strength. I pray you have a blessed day and know how special you are to me, to Josh, and to the kids. We wouldn't trade you for all the chips in the world! :-) For all the silent prayers you prayed, tireless hours you spent doing the ordinary and unglamorous, and for being our biggest supporters, we say, "Thank You!"

I also want to say thank you to three people who over the years have treated me like a daughter and blessed me with their love and wisdom -- Neila, Jane, and Pam, I love you! I'm forever grateful for you and the time you took to invest in me.

I'm sending my love to all the moms I love and cherish -- Have a Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, February 10

Thanking Him for Protection

As you've probably heard, Super Tuesday turned into a night of super tornadoes here in Tennessee. A tornado touched down in Fairview during the first cell of storms that went through, and by God's grace, we survived with no damage whatsoever. Although we weren't that scared on Tuesday night (it really didn't seem THAT bad here), it's been alarming to discover just how close the Fairview tornado was to our house. We had the news on and were watching the radar on, but we never heard the tornado or saw anything other than lots of lightning and some hail. If we had known that the tornado was just 1-3 miles south of us, we would have been hiding out in the closet downstairs instead of watching from upstairs! Over thirty homes were destroyed in Fairview, and we drove by this church today on our way to church. (Here are some more pictures.) We drive this way to church every Sunday, and to see the destruction and the path of fallen trees and debris just a few miles away was definitely a sobering sight. It looked like a steamroller drove down over the hill and flattened every tree in its path.

On the positive side, it's been wonderful to see how our church has rallied to help tornado victims, and the little town of Fairview has really pulled together. Tragedy does have a way of bringing out the best in people. The kids and I had the chance to volunteer yesterday, sorting donations and clothing so that everyone who lost their homes can come "shopping" and start to rebuild their lives again. I know that this earth and our belongings are not all there is to this life, but to lose every earthly possession has to be one of the most devastating things to face. Even more so, I think of the thirty-three families across Tennessee who are without a loved one today because of these storms. So many times natural disasters are far away, and while I feel for the people, it's not the same as when the storm is literally in your town. The feeling of "that could have been us" was always in the back of my mind this week.

So we will keep reaching out to those who have been affected, and we will keep thanking God for his protection of our family. Hug your families a little tighter tonight. I know I will be! (Oh, and if they say there are tornados sighted, just go to your "safe place," okay? I wish we had taken a bit more precaution that night. Lesson learned!)