Saturday, December 31, 2011

A hot mess

Happy New Year!  Here are the long & wet details of the past week in the life of the Smith family...

We had a VERY quiet Christmas here.  It was the first one that we didn't see family, but we still had a great day with our church family & our boys.  The next morning I woke up before seven.  "Wow!", I thought.  "Everybody slept through the night & I feel so rested.  I think I'll get up & read my Bible."  As soon as I stepped out of bed, I heard a noise I didn't recognize.  I made it all the way down our hallway before I realized I was walking in water.  "JASON!", I screamed (which he later told me made him literally fall out of bed).  We quickly realized the water was coming from the boys' bathroom.  Apparently in the night (i.e., the second after we feel asleep), a cheap valve broke off of the shut-off valve under the sink.  Our apartment was flooded with at least 200 gallons of water (enough to fill up this fish tank: http://allmypetsupplies.com/popup.aspx?src=http://allmypetsupplies.s3.amazonaws.com/images/Product/large/200-Gallon-Deep-Super-System-with-HQI-lights.jpg ).

As I scrabbled around like an idiot, Jason managed to call the apartment emergency number & figure out how to shut off the water.  I called and woke up our dear friends, Nicolle & Mike.  Nicolle came and got the boys (who were very upset that they couldn't stay & splash in all the water).  Mike came over and helped Jason start figuring it all out.  I stayed for a couple of hours, but finally left when I couldn't take anymore.

Over half of our furniture & stuff had to be moved to an empty apartment to let the carpets dry.  The rest of it was stacked & pushed to the edges.  We spent the next 4 nights with Mike & Nicolle (and because of God's perfect planning, they had BOTH taken vacation this week, so they really could take care of us all week).  We started moving back in yesterday morning with the help of some of the men from our church.  As you can imagine, the apartment looks like a "hot mess."  It really is liked we just moved in all over again.  We are in the process of going through all the boxes & make sure stuff isn't still wet & try to get everything sorted and back where it belongs.  I'm convinced it will take at LEAST two weeks to get things back to "normal."

Lows from the week:
  • the apartment complex won't replace our carpet
  • there's a nice, funky smell now.  Yipee!
  • not sure yet if they will pro-rate our rent for the days we weren't here & all the extra utilites
  • see above mentioned "hot mess"
Highs from the week:
  • we're not dead.  Seriously.  So, the boys' have a small space heater pointed into their bedroom.  It was plugged in and running all night.  When Jason unplugged it from the wall, it had sitting water in it.  I try not to think about it too much, but I'm not sure who should have died first; me stepping into the water first, Jason unplugging the heater or the boys sleeping in their metal bunkbed.  Did I mention we're not dead?!?
  • we had relatively little damage to our stuff.  We have renter's insurance, but there is that nasty $500 deductible.  Most all our our "stuff" and the boys' toys are in plastic rubbermaids.  Whew!
  • we live in the bottom corner unit, so no other families were affected
  • we're not dead
Thanks to my prayer warriors for getting us through this week!!!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Barf

(Any stalkers or axe murders, please don't read the following post)

So, Jason is gone to the NW SBC annual convention for 3 days.  We're just finishing day 2 and I'm hoping I can make it through tomorrow.  Let me just remind all you single moms how awesome you are (Julie, that means you, too!).  I don't know how you do it.  Seriously.

I'm in a tired/grumpy mood, but I'm hoping that blogging about it will make me feel better.  Here are the highlights of the last 36 hours:
  • I'm still sick.  I've been sick since I got back from my AWESOME weekend in TN with my girls, but being sick while Jason's gone just feels worse.
  • Jason insisted on getting me a new phone this weekend because my other one was almost dead.  Great, except it didn't transfer all my numbers.  I can't figure out how to get the back off of the phone so I can get the SIM card out to put back into my old phone to get the numbers out of there.  And I'm SURE not going to take 3 boys to the AT&T store at the mall...
  • Gideon started getting a cold about the minute Jason walked out the door.  He's snotty, fussy, coughing, etc.  Good times...
  • Luke woke up last night crying in pain.  He said his waist hurt & couldn't stop crying b/c of the pain.  I was about ready to text Nicolle out of bed & head to the ER, when the pain finally passed.  Just gas I guess?!?  He ended up sleeping in my bed with me.
  • There have been 2 men to knock at our door tonight.  I think they were both evanglists, but it still unnerves me when Jason's gone.  And no, mother, I did not answer the door.
  • Luke & I were at each other all day.  He seemed to be especially irratating to his brothers & disobedient to me.  Always makes for a fun evening.
  • I had just finished getting everyone's dinner (real dinner!: chicken pot pie) on the table.  Christmas music playing in the background.  I sat down to the table with my plate and said "Ahhh.  Great music, great food & great boys."  As soon as the words were out of my mouth (I KID YOU NOT!), Gideon pukes out the entire contents of his stomach.  He turned out to be fine (?!?), but needed an immediate clean up, bath, etc.
So there's the exciting wrap-up.  And I do feel better.  I'm headed to put my pjs on, make some Godiva hot chocolate & watch "Pride & Prejudice."  (Right after I do a load of puke clothes.  Yipee!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The little things

I want to go ahead & put one of those movie ratings on this post.  This post is "MA"-for mature audiences only.  What do I mean?  Well, if you're not a Christian or if you're even a new follower of Christ, you just won't get what I'm blogging about today.

That being said, I was reminded this week about a quality of God that I had forgotten.  I've found that no matter how many times we read about it in the Bible or hear it in a sermon, there are still things that we forget.  For me, it was Matthew 7:7-11; asking for something we want.  Let me explain.

I've been DYING to get some new furniture (by new, I mean "like new" off of craigslist.com) for our living room.  We brought our couch & loveseat with us from TN, but have realized it's not the best fit for our apartment.  We plan on having lots of people over, at different times, and want to optimize our seating for their comfort.  So 2 chairs, in addition to the tan loveseat we already have, seemed like the best option.

I listed our red sofa (which Jason just recently told me looks like it's from The Wizard of Oz!) on craigslist several weeks ago & expected the offers to come flooding in.  At night, I would pour over craigslist looking for the perfect pair of chairs for us.  Days & weeks passed.  No sale of the couch.  No perfect chairs.  On Tuesday night, it dawned on me "Why don't I ask God for a pair of chairs?"  Duh!  The quiet answer I got was "Sell the sofa first."  Duh again!

Yesterday morning, before I really had time to think about what to do next to sell the sofa, I got a text from a girl wanting to see it.  An hour after that, I got another call from a man who wanted to see it.  Now remember, this sofa has been on craigslist for WEEKS.  I hadn't lowed the price again or changed the picture since that prayer to God.  No change on my part!  Well..you guessed it.  The girl came last night & bought the sofa.  :-)  Wow!  Is that awesome or what?  Within 24 hours of my initial prayer, the sofa was gone!!!  I can't wait to see what chairs He has picked out for us to find.

This is where the "MA" rating comes in.  Mature Christians know that God is not a genie in a bottle.  We can't just wiggle our nose & expect to get our wishes instantaneously.  BUT sometimes He does just that.  My lesson learned was not to forget to ask God to take care of the little things.  What little things are you not turning over to God?

Our living room, before last night


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Life's a Beach

We ended our day today like we do many others, at the beach.  Mukilteo Beach is only about 15 minutes from our house, so we can hop in the car & head over there pretty easily.  The sun was out most of the day & I wanted to enjoy the last little bit of the day.

So three random & interesting stories to tell from tonight.  The boys beat me to the playground.  By the time I get there, this 5ish year old boy asks me "Is that yours?" pointing to Gideon.  When I reply "yes", the boy tells another kid, "See, I told you.  (to me:) I told him it was a boy because girls have long hair."  About this time, I notice the boy has a 2 foot (no lie!) rat tail down his back.  So I quip back to him, "But you have long hair."  His answer?  "Well, that's my baby hair.  That's why I have it.  And I was a girl before I was a boy."  I had to try to keep from laughing out loud!  I don't really think his parents made a switch on him, but here in Seattle, I wouldn't be surprised.

By this time, Jonah has, of course, wandered off towards the beach.  I catch up to him to pull him back to the playground.  He whines "But I wanted to see the whale."  Whale?!  I begin looking around & notice that there are tons of people looking out to the water with cameras.  I quickly scan the Sound.  Sniff, sniff.  No whale to be seen.  We must have just missed him.  But still pretty awesome to be able to ALMOST see a whale.

Then, as we're walking along the beach, Jason & I notice a small crowd down a ways at the water.  We finally figure out that they were having a funeral service & had just finished spreading the ashes in the water.  Another new experience to add to the books.  (Is it wrong that I had a strong sense to tell the boys not to get near the water the rest of the night?!)

We ended our time there tonight with one more trip to the playground.  When Jonah reached the top of a certain part of it he said, "Look I can see all of Seattle.  Well, not really.  Because it's so big."  To which Luke answered, "Yeah!  It's as big as three blue whales!"  Now you know how big Seattle really is. :-)

Their shirts read "Yeti or not, here I come."


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Too Big

Gideon.  He'll be 18 months old on Friday.  Wow!  Where does the time go?  Last night, Luke said, "Is Gideon a baby?"  "Not really.  He's more like a toddler."  I could tell even he was having a hard time wrapping his head around that.  So, I guess that means we should stop referring to Gideon as "the baby"?!  (Sigh).

His vocabulary has exploded in the past few weeks.  He trys to imitate almost any word we say to him.  A stranger walking by probably can't tell that "gah gah" means "Thank you", but we know what he's trying to say.   He physically trys to keep up with the other two & shows no fear when trying out something new.  His current "Look how big I am" feat is climbing to the top of the boy's bunk bed every chance he gets.  After climbing to the top, he just looks around like "Now what?" before I run to snatch him down.

His bad habit of biting seems to be getting a little better.  My other two boys never bit, but Gideon bites like he's part crocodile!  Biting is just a phase, right?!  I'd like to blame it on teething, but I seriously doubt it.  Currently, he's working on getting the last four of his major teeth in.  Poor thing.  You know it has to hurt.  He constantly has his fingers in his mouth; I guess it makes him feel better.

Gideon is still very clingy to me.  I've realized that the reason my back has been hurting so much lately is because I'm picking this huge boy up way too much.  So I've come to point where I have to stop toating him around all the time.  (Sniff, sniff).  I remember Melinda Chapman told me once that she remembers when she had to stop carrying Reed around.  Next thing you know, they're way too big to even pick up.  Oh my heartstrings!  I guess I'll just have to keep trying to push that "pause button" more often.  Maybe it will eventually work.


video
Gideon-coloring-his new favorite activity

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yearbook Photos

So does anyone else remember the agony of that yearly high school tradition?  I would lament over what I was going to wear, how to fix my hair, practice my smile, etc., etc.  And then, FLASH, it was all over before you had time to wipe the spittle off your braces.  Wow!  It's a miracle I made it out of there alive.

Today I had the grown up version of the yearbook photo-the driver's license mug shot.  Thankfully, I am much more confident in who I am now then I was at age 15.  And amazingly, my boys left me alone long enough this morning to brush my teeth, pluck a few gray hairs & put in matching earrings.  Awesome!  So after an hour & a half at the DOL, I became an official Washingtonian.

And since you might need a good laugh, I'll tell you my infamous driver's license story.  When I turned 15, I went to get my driver's permit.  I studied the manual, put on my new red & white Espirit outfit (early 90s baby!), and went to take the test.  When I got back home, I ran up to dad & said "Dad!  I got my permit!  And they even picked a background color to match my outfit!"  He looked at me & burst out laughing.  Now of course, you know that DMV didn't care about my outfit.  They simply used the red backdrop to show that this was a permit & not a actual license.  My dad still laughs about that story today.  (Sigh.)  Like I said, it's amazing that I made it out of there alive.
Me-age 16ish-in Seaside, FL.  Jenn & Karen, wasn't that an awesome trip?!

(BTW, here's a link to one of my favorite Superchic(k) songs about high school:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RWQVYYKRQ)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm backkkkk!

It's finally happened.  We have internet at home again.  There are several reasons why, but the important part is WE HAVE IT!  I'm super-excited & it still feels a bit surreal to have easy access to the world wide web again.  But then again, most everything these past 6 months has felt surreal.  So whether I have anything worth blogging about or not, I'll be able to do it again on a regular basis. :-)

Our computer is set up in our "guest bedroom".  This luxurious suite is where you will be staying if you come to visit us!  Although it does contain luxury items like curtains and a sofa sleeper, there's not much else to it at this point.  The closet has three, white sliding doors that hide boxes from floor to ceiling.  The rest of the boxes that filled this room have been hidden in other spots around the house, but most of them went temporarily (I promise, Mike!) to the garage of our friends' Mike & Nicolle.  Those boxes I have to go through later this fall.

Yes, I said fall.  I think summer (all 3 weeks of it) is officially over here in Seattle.  Mom told me tonight that it was 97(!)° in Nashville.  I'm guessing the high here today was 67°.  I'm hoping that Falls here aren't all clouds & rain.  I can't wait to see the landscape in the fall & take pictures galore!

And when I figure out where my camera cord is, I'll be uploading pics of our life here.  Yay!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Paradise

Today is a great day! Jason swaped his days off this week, so all 5 of us took a little trip to paradise. It's hard to explain where we are, but here goes. My mom's first cousin, Susan, has an inherited beach house on Guemes Island.  It's one of the San Juan Islands that's about an hour and a half north of our house.  I grew up always hearing about "Guemes", but never thought I'd actually get to visit here.

Susan & Scott's house is right on the beach, so you can just imagine the view.  They have glass windows across the entire back of the house giving you a panoramic view while sitting on the sofa.  I've stolen a minute on her computer (while Gideon naps, & the big boys watch tv) & the view I have is just amazing.  Susan has described this spot as her "heaven on earth".

Before you're too terribly jealous, enjoy the fact that the water is FREEZING!  I can't imagine that the water ever gets above 70, but today it feels more like 60.  The boys had a blast throwing rocks, screaming over possible crabs & watching our fornlorn bucket float away (Luke still hasn't forgiven me for not swimming after it).

Where is Jason, you ask?  He's still out on an adventure with Scott.  They kayaked out to Scott's little boat (no one has boat docks, they just anchor the boats off shore because of the tide) & took off to speed around the nearby islands.  I'm told you can swim to the closest island (named Jack), but I can't see myself ever wanting to do that.  (Luke on the other hand...we'll see.)  Scott said you can see seals, eagles, and sometimes even whales on the other side of the islands.  I'm hoping they will come back & take us out with them.

Since I can't upload a picture of this paradise for you to see, I'm giving you a couple of links to get an idea of what it looks like.
http://www.whatcomrealestate.com/guemes-island-real-estate.php
http://www.scoraigwind.com/sei2009/index.html (this one's kind of random, but it has a map of the island & a pic with a great view with a rainbow)

Boat's headed this way!  Yipee!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Roller Coaster

In high school, I sang in the youth choir at my church.  One summer our musical was called "The Ride" and one song from it had the line "This roller coaster ride of life, spins you 'round and up and down."  That's how I feel right now.  My emotions are all over the place.  When people REALLY ask how I'm doing, I usually tell them, "Well, today was a good day."  I can't go more than about 4-5 days without having some sort of break-down.

Don't worry, mom, nothing has happened.  No one has made fun of my "y'all's" and the church still likes to hear Jason preach and we haven't been attacked by a bear (which could really happen up here!) and the boys really are adjusting wonderfully.  No, I'm just homesick.  My family and friends, our house, Chick-fil-A, the weather, our dog & cat, the familiar ins and outs of our old life.  Some days I feel like I can't breathe & just want to hop on the next flight out of here.  Today has been one of those days.

I'm not trying to throw myself a pity party (o.k., well maybe I am), but this is my life right now.  This is the time that I've been dreading.  I know I'll be fine (eventually) and I will love living here and have a gaggle of girlfriends to be silly with again. But it's the right now, the weeks-months-years(!), until I get to that point that I hate.

So even though I don't feel happy or thankful or blessed, I know I really am.  And to remind myself how great I really do have it, here's my "thankful for" list tonight:

  • the moon.  Because it's cloudy here so much & the days are so long, I really haven't seen it much.
  • Starbucks.  I still haven't learned to like coffee yet (sorry Ashley), but since I'm only 5 minutes from one (two actually) and they have FREE WIFI, it gives me a place to be alone & escape to.  We still don't have internet & that's been really hard for me.
  • the weather.  We've had 2-3 days in a row without rain, so it's been really nice.  I actually wore shorts today.  And everytime someone back home tells me it's 105, I'm reminded how great this weather really is.
  • Jesus.  That seems like a "Sunday School" answer, but it's not meant to be.  I don't "feel" God close to me right now & I don't "love" going to church and I don't "want" to read my Bible, but I KNOW that He hasn't given up on me and that He has a purpose for us here, even though I don't understand it.
Since Starbucks is going to kick me out soon, I guess I better wrap it up.  I could blog for hours & hours. I have so much saved up to tell you about, but I know I'll eventually have time to write it out.  Thank you so much to everyone that has texted me, sent me mail, prayed for us, called & put up with me on this roller coaster ride that I'm currently one.  Just let me know when it finally stops.  I can't wait to get off.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Next Chapter

Hard to believe, but we've been in Seattle almost 1 month.  I've escaped to the computer in the clubhouse (called the "cabana" in the NW) of our apartment complex to blog for the first time!  I could blog for days, which I probably will as soon as I can.  For now, here is a brief overview:
  • We are in our new apartment!  Tonight will be one week since we moved in.  I can text or e-mail you our address if you want it.  Here's a link to the apartments if you want to see our "snazzy" digs (http://www.apartmentsearch.com/apartments/washington/bothell/bordeaux-apartments.html#).
  • Jason's doing well at church.  He's preached 4 Sundays already.  If you want to hear his sermons on the web, go here (http://www.marthalake.org/).  Our picture is still on the front page, with the sermon links right beside it.
  • The boys are doing good.  Jonah is having trouble sleeping through the night.  Is he scared of where he is or being left?  No.  Most often it's "There are snakes/crocodiles in my bed!"  We currently are trying to bribe him with a trip to the zoo if he sleeps through the night for 7 nights in a row.  My mom pointed out that is the exact place where snakes and crocodiles will be...but oh well!
  • I'm doing good.  Some days are better than others.  I usually have one breakdown a week now.  I haven't had one since last Saturday, so I guess I better get ready.  I'm staying busy doing something "fun" with the boys each day & trying to fit a 1700 sq ft (plus full attic!) house into a 1200 sq ft apartment.  Slow going.
I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for all the prayers!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Schedule

I know many of you have asked what's happening when, so here's the latest.  All prayers for productivity, sanity, comfort for the boys & scheduling are much appreciated. :-)

(Sunday, May 22nd):  Jason's last Sunday @ BBC
(Monday, May 23rd):  Jason's last day of work @ BBC
Tuesday, May 24th:  PACKING like crazy!!!  Boys taken care of by friends @ Ashley's
Wednesday, May 25th:  Mom takes boys to Nashville, Moving Van arrives at 9 A.M.  (Ahhhh!)
Thursday, May 26th:  Clean, paint, clean some more
Friday, May 27th:  One last yard sale?, M & J to Nashville
Saturday-Tuesday:  In Nashville
Wednesday, June 1st:  fly to Seattle
Wed-?:  stay with Nicolle & Mike
Sunday, June 5th:  1st Sunday @ MLB

So there's the quick version of our life for the next week & a half.  (Audible sigh).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blindsided

I fell in love with the movie, The Blind Side, like most everyone did, last year.  Immediately after watching it, I got on the Internet looking for kids to adopt. :-)  My family would whole-heartedly agree with this fact because I've been talking about it since I was a little girl.

I regularly have this conversation with friends & acquaintances that goes something like this:  Them:  "Wow!  Three boys.  Are you going to have any more/try for a girl?"  Me:  "Yes, eventually.  We'd like to adopt sisters."

This past weekend, we got to do just that.  Without going into too much sensitive detail, we had the honor of having our teenage neighbor girls move in with us.  Today, because of those aforementioned details, they are leaving us.

I'm not sure why this happened now, just days before us moving, but I'm counting on God and his timing.  All I can feel now is broken-heartedness.  Please pray for these girls & our family.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just Breathe

I think I'm like not unlike much of Generation X in that many of my thoughts contain movie/song quotes.  Just the other day, Gideon tried to help me with the laundry by picking up my bleach pen.  Instead of saying "No" or "Leave that alone", I started singing McHammer's "Can't Touch This." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otCpCn0l4Wo).

So it should be no surprise that the thought that is playing over and over in my head right now is actually a quote from a movie.  At the climatic moment in the Cinderella movie "Ever After"  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcEkiXm_r3I) , Drew Barrymore thinks aloud "Just breathe."

Here are some examples of the past few weeks when I have been to the point of having to remind myself to just breathe:
  • I realize at the farewell party that my Sunday School class hosted that this was the last time I would be in the home of my dear friend.
  • As I'm taking the sheets off the mattress (because I just sold the nursery set), I realize that I may never have a baby in a crib again.
  • Anytime Jason says something like "Did you know that in xx number of days we'll be doing such & such?" and I have to shush him because I can't think about how many days it really is.
  • Every time a piece of furniture leaves and my home is more and more becoming a house again.
  • Saying "See you later" to a Christian friend & realizing that I probably should have said "Goodbye.  Have a nice life.  See you in heaven."
Just breathe.

Jonah & Gideon (in orange) with their buddies at our last playdate

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crazy

All four of my boys are asleep & I am enjoying the quiet.  The past 4 days have brought alot of changes/next steps for us.  We had a yard sale on Saturday that emptied 3/4 of our attic (see http://serving-in-seattle.blogspot.com/2011/04/tutus-tornadoes.html).  We had a glorious, farewell party with our Sunday School class on Saturday night.  Sunday was May 1st, meaning exactly 1 month until we are on a plane to Seattle.  And over the past 2 days, 6 major pieces of furniture have left through our front door.

How does all that make me feel?  Scared.  Uneasy.  Nervous.  At peace.  A close friend recently asked if we really knew what we were doing.  Nope.  Not even a little.  But as much as this move doesn't make sense, I am totally at peace with it.

Remember that wishy-washy, unreliable, akward discipline Peter?  I was thinking today of probably his most courageous act during his time with Jesus.  During a bad storm, he got out the boat he & the disciples were in & walked out to Jesus.  He didn't stick one toe in to test the water or ask the other disciples what they thought he should do or tell Jesus that he needed to know how deep the water was before getting out.  He just got out of the boat.  He trusted that Jesus would either make him walk on water or keep him from drowning.  (If you're not a Christian & would like to read this awesome piece of history, you can look up Matthew 14:22-32 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q7cLmZY6xM, at about minute 3:00).

That's what I'm hoping to do on this crazy & life-changing adventure we're on.  Just step out of the boat in faith.  And as I go to sleep tonight (eventually) on our air mattress, I will try to remember this verse:
"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tutus & Tornadoes

Yesterday was spent doing some common & uncommon things around here.  Last night about 11 P.M. the tornado sirens went off in Brownsville.  It's pretty typical this time of year for that to happen at least 1-2 times a month.  So we waited until the last possible minute (hail & high speed winds had really kicked in) to drag the boys out of bed & hang out in the hallway.  It's always great fun (ha-ha), but last night really wasn't too bad.  The boys slept for the most part & we only had to stay in the hallway about 15 minutes.  I've been reminded that this will NOT be a common occurrence in Seattle. :-)

But before that I had some alone time (thanks Kelly!) to start (yes, really start) packing.  Since our house has to be show ready all the time, everything got thrown into the attic.  Granted it wasn't that great before, but now it looks like a tornado went through it (ha!-couldn't resist).  So I spent a couple of hours going through boxes and trying to decide what would make the move.

Items (so far) that made the cut:
  1. rainbow colored "magic" tutu from my first ballet recital
  2. 1 Christmas wreath
  3. "The Bear's Picnic" book with cassette tape
  4. more fall decorations than I'd like to mention
Items that have NOT made the cut:
  1. 6 pairs of dance tights & 2 other bags of dance costumes
  2. 4 other Christmas wreaths
  3. long Rubbermaid box filled with Christmas wrapping paper, ribbon, etc.
  4. more Christmas decorations than I'd like to mention
After all that time up there, I'm left with this thought:  WHY DO WE HAVE SO MUCH STUFF?!?  Jason has asked this question many times, but we won't go there.  Part of me hates to let go of the past.  Part of me has bought into the American dream of "more stuff=happiness."  Another part of me is a, ahem, hoarder.  The last part of me is just lazy.  It's easier to store it away than to deal with it.

This is where the tutu meets the tornado.  Aren't we all just one tornado/fire/earthquake/flood/alien invasion away from losing it all anyway?  I should be rejoicing at the chance to thin the herd & give/sell my stuff to people who could really use it.  After all,
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth , where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:19


Our attic-yes, it's really as bad as it looks

Thankfully my 2nd grade teacher wasn't here to enforce the correct tornado position


Friday, April 15, 2011

Even in Australia

One of the reasons I started blogging was because of my friend Janna (http://mcgregorsrus.blogspot.com/).  She lost one of her twin boys last fall/winter & used blogging to help her through that terrible time in her life.  I'm not comparing moving to the death of a child, but I knew that if it helped her process her emotions during that time, that it could help me, too.

I have to be honest.  As I read through Janna's thoughts last fall, I kept thinking "Whew!  I'm glad that's not me."  Realizing everything she was going through made me hug my boys a little tighter & pray a little longer, but I still was just thankful that something like that wasn't happening to me.

Maybe that's how you feel about our move.  "Whew!  I'm glad that's not me."  I'm glad it's not you, too.  I know I'm allowed to feel frustrated, tired, grumpy, moody, anxious, etc., etc., but I don't like being here.  All I can think about is sleep & chocolate (or eating chocolate in bed).  The compilation of all the projects, packing, sorting, etc. is just overwhelming.  I'm not writing this to invite a pity party on my behalf of myself, but just to be honest with you (and me) through this process.

So if you're having a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day", just remember that "some days are like that, even in Australia."  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p09_ULvFBlA).
(Thanks Ang & Sarah & Krista for reminding me that it's all going to be o.k.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Choices

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Ministers (& their families) don't always like to go to church.  Upon signing up to be a minister's wife almost 11 years ago, this was a small fact I somehow had missed.  I realized shortly into our marriage that I was going to have to get to go church every time the doors were open.  Growing up, our family was a mostly "Sunday morning" only family.  Not until I was I a teenager did I start going on Sunday nights.  And not until I was out of college did I start going regularly on Wednesday nights.  But not ALL the time, mind you.  On those pretty days I could still go on a picnic.  On rainy days I could still sleep in.  But whether or not it's actually in the church by-laws, it's one of those unwritten rules.  "Ministers shall always be at church with smiles on & pleasant attitudes in tow."

For me, today was one of those days.  At about 7 A.M., I realized that the "Prayer Walk" at church (that I had signed up to participate in) interferred with a 5K (that I had been looking forward to for about a month).  Decisions, decisions....  Minister's wife=at church when the doors are open.  Despite Jason, telling me I really did have a choice, I felt I had no choice.  So I had to tell one of my BFFs that she would have to run the race alone & tell my God that I was mad at Him & I didn't want to go to this stupid prayer walk (shocking, I know)!

Guess what?!  Despite the fact that I remained mad & grumpy for about the first 30 minutes of the event (sorry Jason, mom, Patsy, Leslie, Polly & anybody else that tried to talk to me), I had a great time.  I got to spend some time with 2 church members that aren't in my circle of friends & I got to pray for a few dozen families in my community.  We invited some to church & didn't get egg thrown at us by a guy that clearly thinks that the wind blows on its own.

So for me, I guess it's a good thing I "get" to go church every time the doors open.  I know that (most of the time) I'm glad I do.  Here's a little challenge for you this Easter season:  pretend you're a minister.  Pretend you HAVE to be at church for every service, meeting, etc.  I just bet that God will bless you, too.

Brownsville Baptist Church

Monday, April 4, 2011

To Market, To Market...

Anybody want to buy a house? :-)

The realtor came today to discuss plans for putting the house on the market.  I realize too late that I chose the wrong career.  Six percent!  Really?!  I'm sure it's really not as much money as I think, but six percent?!

We spent the better part of last night & this morning cleaning like crazy.  And I have to say (thanks to Ashley for keeping the boys!), that the house looked fabulous.  I don't want to mention how many piles were stuck places, but it looked great!  Exhausting, but great.

The realtor suggested we paint the kitchen (big shocker!) and a couple of other odds & ends.  So now we are wrestling with whether to sell the house with him or sell it ourselves.  I'd love comments/suggestions for either side.  And no, we're not considering renting it out if it doesn't sell.  Did I mention we bought this house right before the bubble burst?! (Audible sigh).  But at least we will only be losing thousands, not tens of or hundreds of like so many others have.  And that is something to end this day thankful for.

p.s. Just wanted to brag on my husband a little & show you before & after pictures.  He did have some help, but did the majority of it he did by himself. (And yes, there is carpet on the floor & wallpaper on the ceiling in the "before" pic)

Main bathroom (before)

Main bathroom (after)


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Irises

I had a rare treat today.  I got to work in my flower beds 3 different times.  Gardening is soooo therapeutic!!  I mostly have irises with just a few lilies.  I'm not a pro by any means, but I do come from a long line of blue ribbon, award winning iris growers.  I cannot see an iris without thinking about my mother & grandmothers.

I really related today to my irises that I was working in.  Irises are basically impossible to kill & can grow anywhere.  They can be uprooted and replanted just about anywhere.  Within a couple of years they will have bloomed just as beautiful as before.  They also multiply like crazy.  Occasionally, you have to dig them up, pull them apart from the other irises around them, trim off their feet (extra bulb that they don't need anymore) & replant them all alone away from the other irises.

You see where I'm going with this, right? :-)  I am God's iris.  At this point in my growth, He knows that I needed to be uprooted, pruned & set apart in order to keep blooming.  (Audible sigh)  And even though I don't really like any of that process, I know that God always has my best in mind.

(Side note:  Jason is reading his letter of resignation to our church tomorrow.  No more secrets.  Posting this blog to FB.  Ahhh!)


My iris garden in full bloom

"Buisson de Roses"

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chick-fil-A

When I signed up to follow Christ (and my husband), of course I thought that I would be willing to give up anything.  But, I never thought I'd have to give up my beloved Chick-fil-A!!!

I recognize that I have a slightly unhealthy love for this restaurant, but REALLY, have you eaten there lately?!?  What's not to ♥(unless of course, you have a peanut allergy;right Melinda?)?!?  It is the cleanest, friendliest, yummiest restaurant on the planet.

So, what am I going to do in Seattle without Chick-fil-A?!?
  1. Write the corporate office & demand kindly ask that they build a Chick-fil-A in Seattle A.S.A.P.!
  2. Make several road trips a year to the following location (http://www.chick-fil-a.com/westernwashington).  My new Martha Lake Church girls have already promised that they would go with me!
  3. Eat there as much as possible between now & our move.
  4. Learn to love new restaurants.
  5. Find my satisfaction more in the Bread of Life than the #1 combo (John 6:35).

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Playlist

I feel like I'm getting nowhere fast.  I haven't packed a thing in the past 2 days.  Oh wait, I did pack up the playpen from out of the kitchen.  So, 1 thing packed in 2 days.  See!  Nowhere fast. (Sigh...)  I just got off the phone with the realtor.  He's coming Monday to check out the house.  I guess I should start cleaning...

I decided I needed to start a "Seattle" playlist for my ipod.  So far I only have 2 songs, but I know that list will grow.  I almost broke down & started crying on my run this morning while listening to Britt Nicole's "Have Your Way" (http://www.lyricsreg.com/lyrics/britt+nicole/Have+Your+Way/).
Do you see the tears keep falling?
And i`m falling apart at the seams.
But you never said the road would be easy,
But you said that you would never leave.
And you never promised that this life wasn`t hard,
But you promised you`d take care of me.

The only other song on my playlist so far is Chris Tomlin's "I Will Follow"  (http://www.lyricsreg.com/lyrics/chris+tomlin/i+will+follow/).  God has been all over me with this song for months.  I almost wanted to change my radio station because it seemed to come on ALL the time.  It is my anthem for this whole process, though.
Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

My favorite pic from our trip to Seattle (@ Deception Pass):

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why?

I have a minute, so I thought I'd better take advantage of it (really, I'm avoiding laundry & packing!).  So why in the world would we move to Seattle?  We have great friends, my dream house, a job at a church that loves us, close enough to both sides of our family, did I mention great friends?!  There is no earthly reason for us to move.  And that leads us to the answer.

This is not a move that we would pick.  BUT it is a move that we feel God is choosing for us.

About 2 years ago, Jason really started feeling that God was moving him toward something different.  Not necessarily bigger or better, just different.  He has been a youth minister for 13 years & (we both) thought that he would be youth minister his entire career.  But more & more he knew that God was wanting him to become a full-time pastor.  Not only that, but a pastor where there is great need.

If you live anywhere in the south, you know that there are churches on nearly every corner.  And that should mean that everyone loves his neighbor, there are Christians in every business & miracles happen all the time, right?  Not true of course.  I have started to realize that the Bible belt has become very complacent & happy with the American Dream, not Biblical truths.  All that to say, when Jason started applying to churches, he put his application in the NE, Mid-West, West and Northwest.  Martha Lake Baptist (www.marthalake.org) was not the first church to contact Jason, but was the first that we really could see God's hand in the process.

On a side note, it was overcast & mild temp all day today.  Thought about Seattle all day long & wondering how we will cope with the change in weather/climate...

Our 2nd day in Seattle @ Snoqualmie Falls.  Hot proposal spot! :-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Here goes...

I imagine that more blogs start with "I never thought I'd write a blog", and I guess I'm no exception.  I decided this blog might help me with the next chapter in my life.  The title of that chapter? "WE'RE MOVING TO SEATTLE!"

By the time you read this, it will all be official.  Jason is accepting the postion of Pastor-Elder at Martha Lake Baptist Church (http://www.marthalake.org/) in Seattle/Lynnwood, Washington.  Yes, as in "Sleepless in" and "Birthplace of Starbucks" and "As far as you can get without leaving the country" (quoted from my mother).

"Why?"  "When?"  "For how long?"  "WHY?!"  I hope to answer all these questions in the months & weeks to come.  In the meantime, if you are a Christian, I covet your prayers & any verses that you find to encourage me in this process.  If you're not a Christian, you are part of the reason we're doing this crazy thing.  And I hope that by reading this, I can somehow help you fall in the love with the Jesus that I am trying to completely trust & depend on right now.
~MJ~

                          Our first night in Seattle (Mukilteo area):