Monday, April 28, 2014


We are less than a week away from claiming our new-to-us home...our new-to-us life.


As I've said, over and over and over, I am extremely excited
and willing to take on this adventure.

I've worked very hard over the last two and a half months to not flip through pages.

But I think every good chapter deserves a solid pause before turning the page.

* * * *

I remember my guy's first words when we walked into our (now) home for the first time:  This was a bad idea.

When I asked him, "Why?" he said, "Because I want it."

Everything about the house met our (then) expectations of what a family home should be.  Vaulted ceilings!  Master bathroom (with double vanity)! Cherry woodwork and cabinets throughout!  Ginormous backyard (with room for a swingset one day)!  Generous bedrooms, huge basement, walk-in closet...the list goes on and on.  It was perfect for our growing family.

We didn't realize just how perfect it would become for us.  Shortly after making the offer, we slid through that steel wall and my mobility and ability drastically changed.  The house was critical to my recovery, not only physically, but emotionally.  I was able to navigate the main floor with access to laundry and walk-in shower.  I was able to access nearby trails and logged miles upon miles on the stroller as I gimped along and worked to rebuild my muscles. I was able to DO for myself and my newborn Bug and didn't feel reliant on anyone or anything.  In many ways, this house healed me.

But as recovery faded to ability, we settled into our new home and did what we thought was necessary in a new home: we bought 'stuff'.  New furniture throughout, new television sets, new basement, new pool table, new cars, new toys, new cell phones.  New, new, new.  We were living the American dream...we were living in debt.  I remember as we evaluated our bills and budget on a monthly basis, there being a lot of "We can't..." statements over the years: We can't cancel our cable!  We can't sell the pool table!  We can't not buy groceries at Target!  Every time we examined our financial situation, we became like our children: MINE.

* * * *

In recent years, as our family has grown and grown up, we felt something was missing.  We would drive through our old neighborhood and reminisce about simpler times, simpler possessions, and deeper character.

I missed the trees.  I missed the way they swayed in the summer, whispering to us at dusk and canopied us in the winter, all covered in snow.  I missed the age.  I missed the various creaks and scratches that come with owning an older home.  I missed the coziness.  I missed the knowing that we were always near one another, just within arms reach.  I missed the roughness.  I missed taking something all scratched and worn and breathing new life into it.

As time as passed in this home, we have slowly allowed some of the new to be replaced with the old.  'New' entertainment centers gave way to upcycled stereo cabinets.  'New' table and chairs gave way to my Nanny and Pappy's kitchen table.  'New' bedroom furniture gave way to garage sale gold in Bug's big girl room.  And all of these things felt like us.

* * * *

Given all of this, you may be surprised to find out that when we sat down with our realtor to complete the paperwork to put our house on the market, I cried.

Because despite the keep up, the size, the newness of it's been our home for the last six years.  And we've made some pretty amazing memories here.

We brought both of our babes home to this house.

We've watched three different dogs run laps in the backyard and wear holes in the carpet.

We've logged countless miles on nearby trails.

We've snuggled by the fireplace more times than I can count.

We've watched our girls grow...

...and grow...

We've loved.  We've laughed.  We've grieved.  We've celebrated.  We've learned.  

We've lived.

And while I won't miss all the 'stuff', I will miss all the stuff.

Here we go.  Go well.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

cliff diving.

In order to move forward in our story, I have to first go back.

I had received a phone call from my guy sometime in October.  The conversation was literally twelve words long: PK wants me to go to Haiti.

My response: We'll talk about it later.

Later came much later, as I avoided the conversation knowing that it would mean a week or more without my guy, alone at home, wiping noses and working through Kindergarten level math.  I knew it would mean lonesome and tiresome bedtimes.  I knew it mean juggling the needs of myself and my children.

But in January of this year, I knew I couldn't avoid the conversation for much longer. 

"Are you still planning on going to Haiti?"

And with that, the green light was given.  At first, I snarled at this opportunity for my guy to go and do work that was far beyond me or him or even our family.  I huffed at the impending absence that would be all encompassing while he was away.

But as I watched him prepare for his journey, as I breathed in the excitement he radiated, I slowly begin to fall into step with this plan that was not ours, but something greater.

And so, when he came home that Thursday with the words, "They let me go," the idea of NOT letting him go never occurred to me.

Two days after he was given his proverbial 'pink slip', two souls fully funded his trip.

At that point, I knew.  It wasn't up to us.

There was still fear and sadness knowing that he would be gone, knowing that anything could happen.  Added to that, was the strain we felt knowing our home was going on the market and needed to be made ready to sell.  But there was also hope, happiness, and excitement as he made this journey.

I wasn't there.  I can speak to the level of humility, gratitude and drive that he brought back with him.  I can speak to the love I saw in his eyes for the souls that he encountered.  I can speak to immense faithfulness he carried home with him.  But I can't convey his experience for him.  So I won't...instead I will let him.

(Taken from the Christ United Methodist Church's April Newsletter)

My Trip, God's Plan.

It is a funny thing in life when you set out to do something you have on your mind, and then God has a completely different plan for you.

On our trip to Haiti, I was geared up and ready for this excitement we had heard so much about at the Joseph School.  I was ready to hit the ground running and be a part of this monumental endeavor that Christ Church had talked about.  I knew that we would be staying at an orphanage and doing vacation Bible school for a few local churches/schools, but I wanted to get to the building site.  God, however, would put something else in my heart the minute I stepped off the bus.

When we arrived at Global Vision Citadelle Mission I immediately had little paws all over me touching my tattoos and putting their fingers through my ears.  One little boy named Edson clung onto my arm and walked me over to the building we would be staying in.  That night, I came out of the building and saw who I thought was the same boy, walked over to him, and then found out he was his twin.  That was when I met Wilson, Edson's brother.

Our third afternoon arriving back at GVCM I was handed a little package made by Edson that contained a letter and some bracelets for my daughters and wife.  I was blown away.

I was so ready to do some building that I didn't pay much attention to what was going on at the orphanage.

That night I prayed for answers as to what I could do to help these two boys.  I talked with my wife and we decided to sponsor both Wilson and Edson.  This was a way that I could keep in contact with them when I'm not visiting Haiti.

My trip taught me that touch can heal and mend.  Far too often, we take the chance to hug our loved ones for granted, as a routine thing to do.  But in Haiti, as I found out, there is no one to hold these kids, to comfort them when they are hurt or sad, or for them to lean on when the world presses down on them.  I got to be that for these two boys.  I got to be a comforting soul to show two little boys love they never had felt before.  This was God's plan for me and this is why I was supposed to go to Haiti.

I'm very thankful to my team members for all their hard work and eagerness to work together for the kingdom.  I am also very thankful for all of our sponsors, financial and spiritual.  For every day, every rock and every child, you were with us.  Thank you.

* * * *

Even though I wasn't by his side during this work, one thing is for certain: we both brought something back when he arrived home from Haiti.  We carried with us the lessons.  We embraced one another and our girls knowing that, as I mentioned in my previous post, we were so rich.  The call for us to simplify our lives came full circle when my guy got off the plane. 

I remember looking at him one night shortly following his trip after our girls had been laid down to sleep and we were alone in the quiet of what felt like no longer was 'our house' and whispered, "I know how hard it is to come down from the mountain; to have had such incredible spiritual experiences and have to face the real world again.  I'm so sorry that you are being pushed off the cliff now that you are home."

He just looked at me with those big blue eyes and smiled.  "It's okay," he whispered back.

And so, hand in hand, we'll dive off that cliff...with grace.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

rainbows and unicorns.

After the dust settled and the initial shock and numbness of our situation had subsided, my guy and I decided it was time to crawl out from under the covers and go for a nice long walk.

The sun was out that day.  It was just him, me and our mutts, out for a stroll, breathing in the cusp of spring and trying to decide what our next steps would be as we placed one foot in front of the other on the pavement beneath us.

"It'll be fine!"

This has always been my mantra...or at least since the last time our lives got flipped on end.  I remember repeating this over and over as we walked.  Maybe it was the rhythm of our gait or the simplicity of the phrase, but each time I said it, a bit more peace crept in.  By the time we had reached the end of the trail, we knew one thing to be certain: everything in our world, with the exception of each other and our girls, were just that...things. 

The conversation of actually doing something about those some things didn't happen that day on the trail, though.  That conversation came about following one of our Sunday services.  You see, it was then that I realized that God had stepped in...and He was about to smack me with a whole lot of perspective.

* * * *

Walking into church that Sunday, I had joked with our pastor about needing a happy message.  He had said to me, "We're in the book of James.  I hate to tell ya, but it's not gonna be all rainbows and unicorns."

As we sat in our pew, juggling coloring books and Goldfish crackers, PK began to speak.  As he started out, I remember feeling heat rising out of my head.  The sermon was based on a passage in James, specifically James 5:1-6.  I sat and thought about the men, sitting amongst their expensive cars, granite countertops and high-priced toys, that had stripped our family of not only 'things', but basic needs.  While they sat and ate $25 steaks, we sat and wondered how we were going to feed our children in the coming months.  They hoarded dollars by cutting my guy lose for having looked at something beyond where he was, while we pulled pennies of seat cushions in an effort to pay our mortgage.  I seethed.  I relished in vindication.

And then.

"Everyone of us is so rich."

As PK went on, the seething began to seep out of me in tears and in it's place, realization and peace fluttered in.  Had our riches become our identity?  Had we defined ourselves by our possessions?  Had we fallen into a race with the Joneses?

It wasn't rainbows and unicorns.  But it was necessary for me to hear.

And as we made our way home, to our house with all of it's things, I turned to my guy and said, "I think we need to call the realtor."

(NOTE: You can check out PK throwing it down here or below.  Start the video at 9:50...if you make it to 28:35, you can picture me sitting in the back pew, sobbing, squeezing my guy's hand and picking Goldfish crackers out of our two-year old's hair).

Monday, April 7, 2014

the laundry basket of life.

To know me is to know that I write.

And while I haven't abandoned the other chapters over at spontaneous blah or pitter pats, a new chapter has begun to unfold in this epic called life.  A chapter worthy of it's own corner in the wires.

I've spent the last two months processing through the events that have led us to this point.  Most of the time, I feel like the laundry basket sitting idly in the corner of my now bare master bedroom, billowing over with dozens of socks.  Pink tiny ones, funky polk-a-dotted ones, solo dress socks and a plethora of athletic socks without a match.  Dozens upon dozens of socks, waiting to be matched and put neatly away.  Dozens and dozens of socks that have a partner and place, but that sit in a laundry basket just waiting to be plucked and worn.

The laundry of life began to pile up about two months ago.  Two months ago, life was stable.  Everything had a place.  Everything was neat and tidy.  My guy had a good job.  I had a good job.  Our girls were healthy, learning, growing.  There were plans hovering on the horizon.  Plans of vacations, mission trips, paying off cars, swim teams, birthday presents and piano lessons.  There were moments of hesitation, moments when we wondered if we had gotten in over our heads, but with one look at our girls and a couple of lattes, we brushed our hesitations aside and pushed forward so that we could continue to keep up with the pace of the world around us.

And then one Thursday morning, it all came crashing down.

I was home with a headache, curled up in my recliner, when my guy walked in the door.  It was 10:00 a.m. and he had his bag.  And I knew.

"They're letting me go."

I remember only shock and numbness.  Betrayal, hurt, anger...those all came later.

My guy had been eyeing a position with a different company.  He was good at his job, enjoyed his job, had built a team he valued and admired, but he felt like there was more.  And so he dared to look, dared to explore what else may be out there.  It was me who had encouraged him to be frank with his managers.  It was me who had said, "You should tell them you're looking at this job.  They value and respect you; surely they will encourage you and support you."

Apparently I am not the judge of character I thought I was.

And that was when the laundry basket of our lives began to fill up.

* * * *

But you see, this is only the beginning.  Because we have armed ourselves with a whole lot of love, faith and laundry detergent.  So peek in as we sort this thing called life, one load at a time.