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Friday, June 20, 2014

We Moved, Again!


That's what it feels like on the other side of moving, like you just dragged a million boxes half way across the globe.  Even though it was only 4 hours, two babies can make it feel a lot longer.

One big huge sigh of relief that it is over.

Except, it's not over yet, because we aren't done completely unpacking the upstairs.  However, we have been in our new home for just over three weeks now, and it's getting close to feeling like a real safe place to land.  The last time I blogged about this sweet church, I even forgot to mention that we found out about this position from our last boss, at the Mississippi Baptist Children's Village.  John and I were tired and stressed out while working there, and often questioned our purpose.  We felt like we weren't really making an impact like we had hoped.  I don't know if we will ever see what seeds were planted or not, but I do know that if we had not worked there for almost a year, we would very likely not have this new ministry opportunity now.  Our boss's in-laws attend this church and told him about starting this new contemporary service and trying to reach young families, and he told them he knew the perfect guy, and heartily recommended John.  After a super long interview process, here we are!  It brings the last two years of our lives to a beautiful full circle.  I just love how God does stuff like that!
Jonah caught mid-climb the night before loading the truck.
That morning while waiting at the U-Haul place.
The day we tried to move, it felt like everything went wrong.  The U-Haul place lost our reservation.  When they found our reservation, they had the truck, but no key.  Once they found the truck and we loaded it, and had two guys come help to load it, and John finally left.  Then he pulled over to get gas just down the road, and the battery died.  John had to wait over an hour for them to replace the battery.  I left separately with Karis and had to stop three times to feed her.   We had told the church we'd be here around 4:30 and they were planning to have a team of people to help us unload.  John didn't pull in until after 8.  Church had just let out, and the entire youth group and many many others helped to unload the truck.  John said it took less than thirty minutes to unload every single thing.  I got there over an hour later, and many people had already left, yet several were still there asking how they could help, moving things as we directed.  It was such a kind, warm welcome at the end of a long, difficult day.  I love these people.

Several people and families have helped us in numerous ways since we moved in.  They came back to help us unpack boxes, to install baby gates at the bottom and top of the stairs, and the washer and dryer, and to put together our new little dining room table, to put up a gate on our back patio to keep Jonah inside, and to help hold kids so we could do things.  Then they did a church "Ice-cream social/Old fashioned Pounding" the Sunday night after we arrived.  It is called a "pounding" because it was a tradition to give a new church leader a pound of all the pantry staples (a pound of sugar, flour, beans, rice, etc).  We did get several of these things (I've got about 5 pounds of sugar, yo!), and we also got blessed in a big way with gifts and gift cards to several stores.   A TON of people were there, and it felt very welcoming and sweet again.  I have written many thank you cards, that I am still trying to pass out, but I wish I had more of an opportunity to tell everyone there how much they meant to us.  When the pastor asked me if I wanted to say anything, I could feel that tearful lump in my throat, so all I could get out was "Thank you.  Thank you so much." because I did not want to ugly cry in front of all the new friends.  I just kept feeling like, "I can't believe these people already like us so much!"

So, church family, if you were there to help us move in, or there at the pounding, whether you gave us anything material, or monetary, or gift card, or acts of service, or prayers, or just a smile, then this applies to you.  I wish I could have said this:

"We prayed for the last 7 months for God to lead us to the ministry position that would be right for our family.  We asked God to put us in the exact place where He wanted us to serve.  He chose you.  I am so glad that he did.  You are the answer to months of prayer and searching.  You are already embracing us and loving us much more than we expected.  We are overwhelmed by your kindness.  You have welcomed our family with open doors, open arms, and open hearts, and it has not gone unnoticed.  We thank you for everything, from the bottom of our hearts. We hope and pray we can love, serve, teach, and grow with you for years to come."
Photo credit

We are still trying to get back in to a regular family routine, and poor little Jonah really struggled the first week or so we were here.  The first three days we were so busy that his bedtimes were much later for him, so he was little sleep deprived as well.  He is still cutting more two year molars (I wish this teeth would hurry up!), and he is having serious grandparent withdrawals.  He cried every single night that first week, and we let him continue to sleep in the crib in our room.  We had to let Karis sleep in her little rock n'play sleeper, and it was fine.  All four of us slept in our bedroom for a few days like that, and then we moved enough furniture to put her in Jonah's room and a rocking chair so I could go in there and feed her and not wake up Jonah.  After Jonah had a few good days, and we got Apple TV set up to where we can do facetime with our parents on the TV, he did better. During facetime my mom asked Jonah, "Do you sleep in your Thomas bed?"  He looked at me kind of funny and I explained the situation, and not wanting to make him change beds so soon while he was still obviously stressed out.  A few hours later at bedtime, he announced, "Go night night in Thomas bed."  I was not about to argue with that, so he did.  I sat next to him and rocked the baby while he went to sleep in his big boy bed.  I had forgotten the super powers that our moms seem to possess over this kid.  It was bittersweet.  I went back to our bedroom and laid the baby in the crib for the first time.  She slept fine.  Part of me wanted to do cartwheels that they were both in their 'new' beds, and part of me wanted to cry that they had both just grown up enough to be in those beds.  Wasn't I just pregnant like yesterday?  I am still thankful though.  Thank you Lord for babies growing into their new beds and making that monstrous transition so much easier than expected! We still have to stay in the room with Jonah until he falls asleep, and he does come and wake us up and get in our bed about 3-4 nights a week.  We are hoping that is more teething pain related, and will stop when the teeth are in.  It was also the biggest battle ever to switch Jonah from the rock n'play sleeper to the crib around 5 or 6 months old, so I was determined to switch Karis earlier, and we have done so successfully at 4 months.  She is also waking up a few times a night to eat again, because she seems to be in a growth spurt and is also trying to cut her first little teeth.  She constantly drools, soaking bibs and clothes, and sucks and chews on her fingers.  Who knew teeth were SUCH a huge life issue?

One of our favorite things about our new home is that we can walk to church in about 2 minutes.  I now fully understand the cliche phrase "Location, location, location."  I've never ever been this close to anything before.  Our living arrangement right now is a huge blessing.  We can go back and forth to church several times a day if needed (as we did for VBS), and it's no big deal.  Forgot something?  Oh, I'll be back in less than five minutes.  Babies acting insane?  Ok, I'll go put them to bed and there's no possibility of them falling asleep in the car on the long ride home because WE WALKED.   John can come home for lunch.  We can go walking outside and stop by and visit him for a few minutes if Jonah is really needing a daddy-fix.  It's just a wonderful thing to be so close.  It is also the smallest place we have ever lived, but we are making it work.  It's great to be independent again.

I forgot how much more peaceful and happy I feel when I can decorate and make my space a reflection of our family.  One of my favorite new things is this beautiful wall sign that our sweet friend in Huntsville made for us:

She had been making these pretty pallet signs with her mom with the lyrics to the "Oceans" song (which is beautiful, and moving for sure), but I asked her if she could do this scripture for us instead.  This is the verse that God just kept throwing in our faces over and over and over as we prayed about this decision.  Every time we asked God for direction on whether to move, He led us back to this verse.  This is our mission as a family.  We are here to make disciples, to baptize, to teach, to love like Jesus.   Having this up is such an encouragement already.

We don't go places as much as we used to though, because we do live so close to the church.  I spend a lot of time at home playing with the babies and feeding, clothing, and changing diapers constantly, while also trying to accomplish unpacking and dishes and laundry, and the babies are not on board with any of those activities.  They slow me down, and test my patience, but I was reminded this week in my Bible study time of this verse:
I've been reminding myself, "They are a gift. They are a reward."  The verse on our wall also applies to them, and I know that I am called to make them disciples, too.  They are super cute though, so that helps a little on the rough days when it feels like the whole house is a mess and they both want to be held because it's all so new and they're both cutting teeth.  It is a privilege to be so needed and loved, but it is also exhausting!

This is me.

Tummy time!


Girl selfie!

Apparently my conversation is boring, *yawn*
It rained a lot last week, and I let Jonah experience splashing in the puddles in his rain boots. 

This is our new life.  It is hard, hard work right now as we are throwing ourselves full speed into the flow of this ministry.  It is tiring, but it is beautifully worth it to see souls changed.  Please, above all, keep praying for God to lead John, and for John to be able to listen and follow the Lord's will.  His biggest prayer is that he would stay behind the cross in everything that he does.

Please continue to pray for Jonah to adjust.  Jonah is still struggling with all the changes, especially nursery at church and John's new schedule. He was very independent before we moved, and almost never wanted to be held.  Since we got here, he is my number one fan, and constantly wants to be held.   I have become good friends with my ergo baby carrier, and have worn 32 pound Jonah on my back several times. I wear the baby on my front multiple times a day.  Jonah's difficulty with this adjustment has really given me a tiny glimpse of how hard it is for children who are adopted to leave a foster family or orphanage or whatever their life situation before going to live with their forever family.  If Jonah is struggling this much and he still has his parents and face-time with grandparents, and old photos and videos on our phones of family, how much more difficult it must be for children who have nothing at all from their former lives with them when they move!  It is no wonder the initial adjustment period is so very difficult for many kids and parents.  It has reminded me to pray more for the adoptive families I know, and for our future adopted child.  I don't know if he or she is born yet, but I am praying for that little heart.

If you want to know how you can better help or pray for me then please read this article titled "9 Secrets Your Pastor's Wife Wishes You Knew".  Those things are already proving true for me, (especially #1 and #9), but except #5, because although Sundays are hard, and long, and the babies make it tough, I still enjoy worship, and I love hearing the Word spoken.  I am so thankful for Pastor Ken and for John.   I really enjoy their messages.  Watching John preach also makes my heart swell with happiness because he is now able to do what God has called him to for years.

THANK YOU for praying for us!

In the voice of the Whos down in Whoville: "We are here! We are here! We are here!"