Sunday, September 25, 2016

Writing the Psalms

Just gonna say first that God is good. I believe that with everything in me. 

But I'm not going to lie - I've been struggling with some down days again. Days when it's been hard to get out of bed. Days when a memory of Pippa - long gone, suddenly makes me cry. Days when I feel like I'm on a deserted island. 

I keep going back to the Psalms. It's crazy, but God started caring for this part of my soul journey even before we left Kamloops, as the last study we did in our life group was about Psalms. And the raw honesty of its writers. And the conflicted feelings we have while journeying through tough times and grief. 

So it's ok to write, "Why am I so downhearted? Why do I feel sad and alone?" And in the next line write, "I will praise You with all that is in me, for I know You are good!"  I can say, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want" in one breath, and cry "Is this week never going to end? " the very next day. 

He knows. He understands.
He's walking with me. 
He didn't take the Psalm writers out of their situations, but He walked along with them and let them express their very inner most emotion. Sometimes those writers were even mad! Gasp. 

On the less spiritual side, the movie, Inside Out -- I LOVED that movie, helped me - even in my old age (ha!), view Sadness in a different light. (I can appreciate that blue girl plopping down and needing to be dragged....)

Sometimes Sadness and Joy have to work together for awhile. 
Hand in hand, that is what's needed. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Monday

Crisp fall air.
Stew simmering in the crockpot.
Blackberry Crisp on the counter
Vanilla Creme coffee beside me.
Lanny drawing at his desk.

Life is good.
I think everyone is feeling a bit more settled right now. We have a place to go as the days and nights are getting cooler. (Although, Lanny and I did a math problem that we wish we wouldn't have - our (less)tiny house is square, so we figured out the size of it - the square root of the square footage.... and one side isn't even as long as our motor home. Haha! Yikes!! Good thing there's a basement.)  We have a few regular social activities for Lanny - and 2 biking buddies. Dan is attending a local, one-day leadership conference and has been networking like crazy. (He's good at that!) I've been Pinteresting ideas like crazy for our tiny house - even if it isn't ours, we still have to be in it for 9+ months, so I need to make it "mine". Plus it's fun to look!

We are onto our 3rd week of school. Week 1 went amazingly well. The 4 day short week was a good way to start and review - and we hadn't forgotten everything we knew. Yay!! Week 2 was ... less than stellar. Everything went down the black hole over the weekend and Lanny decided that 4 days of school was enough for one year. The routines and schedule were not being joyfully embraced. But we persevered through and were rewarded with time with (grand) kids and siblings, biking, and puppies on the weekend. Today, we were back on track. After some catch-up on sleep, the books didn't look quite so daunting.

This year is going to look a little different for us in the home school department. We don't know if we will have an Educational Assistant, so Lanny and I have to put up with each other - every day, every subject, all the time. (Just a little reminder, Lord, that I did NOT pray for patience... !!) I think my biggest struggle is to know when to "push" and when to adjust my expectations and strategies. That will always be our challenge with learning "disabilities".  So we celebrate the good days, and hang in there through the rough ones.

And count blessings as we go.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A God Moment

We have had an amazing experience in the past 2 days. And I just had to share the story and give a public thanks and praise to God for a little reminder that He's there and in even the small details....

As you may or may not know, we have been rental house hunting. On Sunday we were sitting beside a couple (R & S) that Dan introduced himself to and we got talking and mentioned that we were looking for a place. They were super friendly and we connected quickly. We had some pretty fun connections, like their son marrying a Wisconsin girl. They invited us over to dessert for Thursday and also said that the basement of the house they were living in was for rent and gave us a few details. We called the number mid-week and were somewhat interested - it was the first one that seemed feasible in our price range. Problem was that we couldn't take Jaxon.  So we kept looking and on Wednesday went and checked out a teeny tiny house with a nice yard and garage... and took pets. It was shown to us by the neighbour (D), very friendly and had a pretty quick connection. We talked quite a bit and she mentioned that her best friend had considered the house but decided against it for whatever reason.  We took the application and went home and filled it in and sent it off to the owners within the hour and started praying. Got the kids praying. He texted back that night saying we GOT IT. We were so super excited. The house is tiny, like I said, and not super fixed up or fancy, but we can live with that and give it some TLC. And the yard. Garage. Jaxon. All attached to a park!

Fast forward to tonight. We went to R&S's house and were warmly welcomed and as we started chatting, I mentioned that we had taken this little house and weren't going to apply for the basement suite. Said it was in Mountview. S said, "Is it a little white house?" and I chuckled and said yes - thinking "There are probably a gazillion white houses in Mountview. BUT she said, "Oh I think that might be the one beside D and N - they're our best friends." We all started talking at once and sure enough it is the very house and they are all best friends. So they called D to come and join us for dessert and as soon as she got there, we all started talking at once again and laughing - and we ALL go to the same church (well, one of the churches we are attending - haha - still haven't quite decided) and love God and want to love others (neighbours and community) well! It was like sweet water to our souls. We prayed together, hugged, and went out the door laughing and still shaking our heads.

It was so crazy, this couple knew people they could connect us with instance after instance. We knew it was a God thing that could not have been orchestrated by anyone else.

It was just what our hearts needed.
God knew.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Survivors

Lanny and I BOTH survived our first Alberta homeschool event. WHEW! Getting through the first of anything seems to be the hard part - well, maybe in a different way than the last of anything. Firsts take bravery. Lasts take fortitude.

Things seem to run a little differently here in AB, compared to BC. (Probably in more ways than 1??!!) There doesn't seem to be a support group per se, everything is done by your supervising school for the most part. So events, as well as support/get togethers - I guess, as there doesn't seem to be a regular get together or meeting place.

After a bit of run around, I finally got onto a FB page for Central Alberta HS'ers and we found out about a "Not back to School Picnic" (at a splash park and seemed mostly for younger families?) and a choir kick off, for 12 yrs+ . So guess where Lanny was "forced" to go?  HA! His first choir ever.

He was QUITE adamant that he would NOT being going again after our "trial" run today, and I said that was fine - just give it a try. Maybe we will meet someone that we can connect with outside of the choir. Well, that didn't quite happen BUT he signed up for the rest of the semester. Big smiley face by mom. Haha! He really liked the 2 teachers - one a spunky lady with white hair and a purple streak in it, and the other a 20something young man, who was quite the "drama king". He was put with the tenors for now but that was because we had no idea. His voice is changing so much.  There were probably 50 ish kids in the group and close to half were guys! CRAZY!

As for me - I was invited out by a few moms for coffee. I felt good about that - although none of those moms were actually from Red Deer, nor had boys Lanny's age. Oh well, it was good to be with them and hear a little about how home school works in AB. Seems complicated... but we will sort things out I'm sure.

All a step in the right direction.
Woot woot!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

When Stuff Happens Pt. 2

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Be joyful always. Pray continuously. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 

The verse on our wall hasn't changed yet.
I think it will be staying there for awhile still.

The deal on the house (previous post) we were going to buy, fell through. It became complicated by Dan's resignation and although our broker bent over backwards trying to find a mortgage lender for us, it wasn't meant to be at this time.

It's a tad hard to be joyful or thankful about it. It's easier to say, "I didn't like that house anyway". "There was probably something wrong with it."  I think the hardest part for me was knowing that Lanny would struggle the most as he was really looking forward to being in a house again. He is tired of the motor home but trying to be gracious.

But really, God knows about that too. He doesn't only shape our character but our children's as well - even when they don't always understand or like it. Just like we don't.

So... regrouping.
We will move the MH at the end of September to the RV campground that stays open year around and batten down the hatches for a few months of cold weather - we don't think this unit will be good year around, but we hope to make it till the end of November if necessary and look for alternative options from there. And maybe we will have more direction by then.

Or maybe we will go to Arizona for December and January!


Monday, September 5, 2016

When Stuff Happens....

Life is rarely a straightforward event is it?! 

I'll tell you what though, I'm glad I've got God in my life. I can NOT even imagine doing life without Him. In the good times and the challenging times. 

I was recently struck by 2 Chronicles 20 in my quiet time - it's the story of Jehoshaphat going up against an enemy of Israel’s. (In condensed format) King Jehoshaphat prays to God (v 12b, NIV), “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” The Spirit of the Lord speaks back through Jahaziel and says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. (vast “problem”?!) For the battle is not yours but God’s …. Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…. And the Lord will be with you.” In the past few weeks it has been so amazingly reassuring to have a powerful and loving God who sees the end of the story! 

Because things haven't turned out quite how we expected them to. 

Due to a variety of factors, it has become clear to us that our time with ISMC in a formal role, is over. We have officially resigned as of September 30. Leaving the ISMC family is painful, there is no doubt about that.  We have come to love international students and what God is doing in them!

This step, that Dan in particular is taking, comes out of a growing sense of how God has wired him, combined with a clearer understanding of his own deeply held values, convictions and ideals about leadership.  We recognize now that God has been preparing him for a leadership role somewhere in a context which we are trusting Him to reveal to us in His timing. 

So here we are... wondering about God's timing in all of this and yet, knowing that we can trust Him even when we don't understand and "don't know what to do". But our eyes are on Him. 

And you know what else is amazing? God's family. We have made several connections between 2 different churches here in Red Deer - people who haven't known us before but are already praying for us, encouraging us, and networking with us as part of the Family. Add in our Kamloops Family and our biological families - we are being covered in prayer and this battle is won. Battles are not always easy, but someday we will look back on the end of it and add it into the history of God's faithfulness to us.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Let's Make a Deal!

We have an accepted offer on this beautiful home! WOW!! I still can't believe it and everything is moving so fast because the place is empty. It was definitely a God appointed thing because another person put an offer on at the same time for slightly higher than us. Our realtor (love him!!) prayed with us and we left it in God's hands. They chose us partly because the other realtor likes to work with Derek and partly because we had quicker available financing.

We fell in love with it as soon as we walked in the door. It was weird! I didn't expect that at all. Even Lanny - and he has been a tough customer! The upstairs is freshly painted and has new carpet in parts. The downstairs needs a bit of TLC but is livable and it's mainly paint and small things like cosmetically updating the bathroom.

We are closer to our neighbours than we have ever been before - that will take some getting used to. But the location of the home is a hot spot - we are close the recreation center called the "Collicutt Center" - in fact, about half a block, but off the main road - so not the traffic to go with it. (This is the  Lancaster suburb of Red Deer and sort of like living beside the TCC but having it in Juniper Ridge for my readers in Kamloops)
part of the kitchen
dining room
looking down into the living room and entry
family room in the basement
part of back yard
So if all continues to go well - financing up and running (half done already) and inspection done, our possession date will be September 14.

Give us a week or 2 and we will be up and running for guests.
Come on y'all!