carrying on

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Buds rise quiet and swell on the branch.  It’s the first week of March, everything and everyone is anxious for spring.  Some days it’s already been in the low 70s, sunny and warm, and the next day it’s back in the 30s.  It’s still technically winter, but spring presses in, trying to burst forth.

It seems like a fitting analogy for my own season.  For this wait.  Last weekend we packed our home into a large box, essentially, and closed it up, everything on hold for now until we close on our home at the end of this month.  We moved our bare necessities into my parent’s home nearby and have moved in with them for the interim.  Such wild grace to us, this welcome mat extended to our family, the carving out of space and sharing of everything so that we can walk through this transition with as much normalcy as possible.  Because we are here with them, my mom has been helping out even more than normal with my day-to-day tasks.  She watched the kids while I went for a run the other morning–such a gift to a momma who normally squeezes in my workouts in the house during the kid’s nap time (necessary but terribly boring sometimes).  It does my soul good to get out on a quiet trail and have the solitude of the woods.  As I was running, enjoying the movement of feet and legs, the filling and emptying of lungs, the way the wind sounds moving through winter limbs and pines, I was aware of a hush of waiting.  I don’t know really how else to describe it, only that I felt my own soul’s wait as I felt the natural world waiting in the dormancy of winter for spring.  Everything is still alive, though it has the appearance of death.  Everything is holding life though it has the appearance of barrenness.  But the life cycle demands that death and dormancy must happen so that new life can burst forth.

We resist our own winters.  We resist periods of death and dormancy and waiting.  We resist pain of any sort, of course.  Yet it is good to remember that it is necessary, this winter, so that spring can come.  And spring will come.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

We are in this beautiful and awkward season of in-between.  Our home packed up, waiting for the word that this home we have been working toward will in fact be our own.  We haven’t shown the home to the children yet.  They’ve ridden out this transition well, but not without some tears and questions and some “I wanna go home!”  Meanwhile we are in a period of waiting for answers on Phoebe’s health.  She is nearing the end of this three month elimination diet, and soon we will do more blood work and likely another endoscopy.  All around the same time as our closing on the home and moving in.

How appropriate it seems, that our own family story would coincide with the seasons, the melting of winter into spring.  I can’t help but also think of this lenten season, the time during the church calendar when we remember Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us so that we may that much more enjoy and celebrate the resurrection (Easter).

So we embrace this season of holy hush, the waiting, the discomfort of it, because we know that our own spring is coming.  All of the details of our story may not work out perfectly and our circumstances may continue to prove difficult, but we know that somehow God will be faithful to us and will provide all that we need.

And so we carry on.  We receive the gifts of this winter season as it comes to an end.  We enjoy this special time with my parents and sharing life together.  We keep on with school, with our piles of library books, with knitting and other little family rhythms.  The kids find new trees to climb and places to make a fort.  We look for the early signs of spring, the blooming forsythia, the green pressing up through soil.  We pay attention to the birds, noticing how gladly they sing.

keeping rhythm

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Only two weeks now until we say goodbye to this little house and move on out.  We have been spending the last number of weekends packing in big spurts, then trying to keep life going normally during the week.  We packed the books on Saturday and our home feels a bit colorless and empty without them.  There is so much to do, as anyone who has ever packed and moved knows well.  But in the middle of it, life goes on, and I try to keep some semblance of normalcy going.  Our daily and weekly work–cooking, schooling, reading, cleaning, outside play, trips to the library and grocery store, knitting for me in the evenings after the kids are in bed.

Thus, my random smattering of photos.  The children spread out on the floor watching movies.  Finding Philippa after nap time on top of her bookcase, having colored all over her hands and dress in colors that actually coordinated her dress.  Kombucha batches brewing on the counter, catching the afternoon light.  Children playing and snuggling and reading books on my bed.  Little random moments that make my heart happy and light and keep me grounded.

I feel that I can share with you now that we are under contract on a home, but won’t close until the end of March.  We are excited but also trying to keep our emotions in check until everything goes through.  It has been such an up and down journey, certainly not what we ever would have expected.  Since we have about a month of limbo between this home and our new home, a sweet friend has offered for us to live in their new home in the meantime.  We will put most of our stuff in storage and live fairly minimally during our time there, so I’m not sure how diligently I will be blogging.  Be praying if you think of it for the children, that they handle this transition well.  I think they are mostly excited and will be resilient in the midst of it, and I’m guessing it will throw Philippa off the most, as she has only lived in this home and has a strong love for being home, not usually sleeping well anywhere else.  I’m hoping by keeping some of our family rhythms going, we can provide a sense of consistency.

All this upheaval and change in the midst of our ongoing battle for Phoebe’s health and the uncertain future ahead has me so thankful that we make our home in God alone, wherever we are wandering on this earth.  He is our home, He is our security.  He is our constant in a wild storm.  There really can be peace in the midst of the tumult.  Why do I forget this every time?  Sometimes every day?  I am thankful also for that sense that wherever Brandon is, wherever my children are, that is where home is for me.  What kind of walls hold us and who owns them doesn’t matter too terribly much.  Trials of any sort always pare life down to the basics, the simple and small things that matter most.

In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

Going, Going.. Gone!

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So.. we moved!  The dust has settled for a bit on the blog, but life has been full and busy with packing/unpacking, relocating and getting to know a new side of town.  We are loving many of the perks of our new home, namely, being a little closer to family!  And.. well.. these book shelves:

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Yes.

Anyway, just wanted to say hello (to my 5 readers, hey mom and dad!) and hope to get back to writing soon.  Lots of words bumbling around in my soul, not a lot of time to write them.

Talk soon!

Longing for Home

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I packed the first closet today.  An ugly stack of boxes is now in plain sight against one of our walls, a constant reminder to me of the chore and the change ahead of us.

Our landlord told us a few days ago that we would need to be moving out by the end of September so her parents, relocating from Switzerland, can move in.  We have called this place home for 4 years now, the longest we have ever stayed in one spot.  Our time in this house has certainly had its ups and downs (read: major mold infestation last summer, massive rattlesnakes + copperheads), but these four walls have held the sweetest memories of our lives.

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Both of my babies have come home from the hospital in the dead frigid cold of December to these walls.  To this wood stove crackling every day with heat.  It’s hard for me to imagine bringing home baby number 3 to any other place, especially a totally as-of-yet-unknown place.

Maybe it’s just pregnancy and all the accompanying hormones (yay for those!), maybe it’s just because I have a hard time letting anything go.  But it’s painful to pull out boxes, to take pictures and paintings quietly off walls and wrap them, tuck them away.  Pulling down memories, tucking them away.

Maybe it’s because my nesting urges are just starting to kick in, and we’re having to fly the nest.  Maybe it’s because a sense of place is so important to me, a sense of home, and I don’t have the energy right now to start over.  Or, let’s be honest, I just don’t want to.

Whatever “it” is, I almost can’t talk about it because I’m just really sad.  And I’m okay with that.  It’s wouldn’t be human for me not to be sad.

In the midst of that, God gave me words immediately to meditate on and keep always before me in these coming weeks.

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He is so faithful.  I am confident He is going before us and opening the way before us, and that He will provide a peaceful, secure home for us.  It may not have the crazy good view this home has, or the seclusion and privacy.  It may not have the space to garden, or that third bedroom for baby girl.  It may not have all the glorious sunlight we get all day long in this home.  It can’t possibly have neighbors as great as the ones next door to us here who have been our adopted grandparents.

But it will be the place of His choosing.  And He is our home, our lives are hidden away in Him, found in Him, unshakeably secure in Him.

And while others around the world are holding loved ones dying from Ebola, dying in the bombings in Hamas, dying from an unexpected allergic reaction to yellow jackets, I have all my loved ones here.

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I’m reminded that our “suffering” is so very mild.  We have so much to be thankful for, even in this.  We have each other.  We are healthy and able-bodied and we get to do the adventure of life together.  We have Jesus, and He is enough.

We have His promises:

He will never leave us, nor forsake us {Heb. 13:5}.
He will go before us and guide us, and be our rear guard {Deut. 31:8}.
He will keep His hand upon us {Psa. 139:5}.
He will provide for all our needs {Phil. 4:19}.
Even the sparrow finds a home at His altar {Psa. 84:3}, and if He cares for the sparrows, how much more does He care for us {Matt. 6:26}?
And every sense of longing for home always reveals to us our deeper long for Home with Him, in that far country, in that city whose builder and maker is God {Heb.11:10, 16}.

In all things, I have a reason to sing.

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