Sunday, August 28, 2011

Now if this doesn't make you laugh...

Checking out our soon-to-be new home this past weekend, we were gone much longer than planned and had forgotten to bring a binky with us. Before we knew it, we found ourselves getting acquainted and eating lunch at one of our "new" downtown diners and had a very tired, overdue-for-nap, about-to-meltdown two-year old on our hands.
Darcy went into a novelty/gag store next to the restaurant and for $8.00 found this one-of-a- kind binky.
Lovely, huh?
And if this doesn't make you laugh?
Then this certainly will!
Yummy has decided this is her new favorite binky.
And,well...goggles certainly complete the look
wouldn't ya say?
(I knew I could get you to laugh!)
I love me a side of hilarious to go along with the "dreaded" terrible twos.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh, so FAITHFUL!!!

Words cannot describe how overjoyed my heart is right now. Many who follow my blog are familiar with our journey...we've been living with my in-laws for almost two years now after making a radical, yet conscious decision to leave our home to help out family and pay off debt from a failed business. This has not been an easy two years. In fact, since the loss of the business, we have endured hardship, sacrifice and much turmoil at times (emotionally, spiritually and financially). Our original plan was to stay with my in-laws for approximately a year...but then God had other plans when he led us into a career move a year ago, and halted our plans in leaving their home anytime soon. I have struggled with feeling forgotten by God...that He isn't for us and hasn't heard my desperate cries. Countless times I've fallen on my knees in prayer sobbing to Him the desires of my heart. As a mom, a wife, a homemaker, my longing for our own space and a home of our own has literally caused an ache in my heart that at times nearly suffocates me.

We have been looking for a home to rent for months now. There is hardly ANYthing out there. We extended our search to another county, bumped our price up on several occasions after taking in the stark reality of the housing market right now (homes galore to buy for a steal. but scarce amount of rental properties with outrageously high monthly rent. expect to pay a mortgage payment.) Pretty much anything that is on the market to rent is scooped up quickly. We've had a couple of occasions in which we wanted to view a home and before we even got a chance to, the home had already leased out. We've grown disheartened and weary with this whole process to say the least.

Last week I nearly had an emotional breakdown. Well, OK, I did. Ask my sister...I had to escape and took the kids to her place for two nights just to get away. I was angry, tired, feeling at my wit's end with life circumstances. My patience was so thin and I was on the verge of tears 24/7. I just felt like I had no more strength to keep pushing through this season in life, that I couldn't possibly take one more step forward without help. Those thoughts that darkened my perspective this past winter crept back in and tried to convince me that God was not for us, that we were forgotten. I know this wasn't true, but boy did the enemy want to convince every bone in my body that it was. All the while, through the anger and weariness and discouragement, I was still praying and trying to trust that God would lead us to the right house at the right time.

Yesterday, a new listing came up for a rental. The owner had dropped the monthly rent by $500.00 that day! We loved the photos and asked to go see the home that day (knowing how quickly they are leased out). I fell in love with the house immediately. Immediately. So did Darcy, and so did the kids. We have looked at many homes and I have not been excited about any of them. And the kids haven't either (making statements like "I don't want to live in that house mommy.") This one made my heart skip a beat. We weren't looking for a huge perfect mansion, but a home we could be comfortable in...a home we could envision our family settling into for the next couple of years. It all just seemed too good to be true. We talked, got all our paperwork together last night and placed an offer on the home this morning (asking for even lower than the already dropped price.) I tried not to get my hopes up, but I was so excited. I tried not to feel anxious, but there were just so many details that needed to be worked through before any of these things could be approved.

Late this morning they accepted our offer and we are moving into our own home September 1st!!! Did you read that right? We are moving into our own home September 1st!!! I took the phone call and received the news while I was at the gym. I literally had to go into a bathroom stall in the ladies locker room and quietly sob long, hard, tears of joy. I still cannot believe it, and I am still crying tears of joy. This has been a long time coming.

God, oh so faithful, never forgot our family, He heard every desperate cry from my heart, He knows my deepest longings and desires, and He surprised me in a way I never could have ever expected or imagined. All of His "no's" were because He had a much grander "yes" for us. This home by far exceeds any expectation I had for our family. It's "Amanda" all the way through...built in 1927, but had an addition put on 7 years ago and many updates......hardwood floors a quaint downtown area. Charming. Perfect. And ours in just two short weeks! I am so giddy I feel like I am walking on sunshine.

Lord, I am so humbled by Your goodness...Your faithfulness moves me to tears. I've been so unfaithful to You, and undeserving of your mercy and grace. Your Word is truth. It's life-giving. Your promises do not fail. You are working all things out for our good. I have clinged to this truth throughout this season in life. Thank you, Faithful One...for not forsaking me in my weakness. For answering above and beyond my wildest expectations. I know that You are for me. I love You so.

Thank you to all who have poured prayer over me and my family over these past two years. My heart is in extreme gratitude. Once we get settled in, we are having a party and you are all invited! Although, it will not be called a "House Warming Party" will be called a "He is Faithful" party.

Here's a sneak peak:
Property Image

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, August 5, 2011

Do not!

There are so many "DO NOTs" to this picture...
where do I begin?
I'll start and end here:
DO NOT ask your 6 year old to keep an eye on your almost 2 year old while attempting to take a quick shower.
Dripping wet, this is what I came down to witness.
(*it's no surprise that she found this cupboard.
this is where we hide her binkies :)
Look at that smile.
Oh, she's a sly one.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beautiful Things

This has become my new favorite song over the past week, week and a half. I had a really rough day yesterday...struggling with discontent and having trouble seeing past my circumstances. We've been living with my in-laws for almost 2 years now and most days I am OK with this (knowing we are on the brink of having our own place again)...but there are some days where it feels as if the walls are closing in around me. That I am nearly suffocating. That I don't know how much more of this season I can withstand. This was my yesterday...stress, weariness, discouragement, doubt. I could sense those lies and feelings creeping into my mind telling me that God is not for us, that He's forgotten us. Had to listen to my "praise" playlist over and over again to reinstate His truths into my marred perspective. Frustrating at first because if you read my previous post, I was bathing in His peace but only a breath ago. How can one drastically slide from a place of peace to a place of utter blah? I so wish we could store up His grace, but it simply cannot be done. Daily; we must gather it daily...I'm just an Israelite in the desert in need of gathering my manna each and every day. There is no storing it up. If there were, we'd lose sight of our dependence on Him and our utter need for Him with each and every breath. This song speaks to me in volumes. Each time we backslide or find ourselves in the dust and wreckage of our lives, He whispers to us, "Let me make you new. Let me make beauty from your ashes, from your dust." Lord, I thank you for this day...which was much better than the one before. Your mark was on it. May the ground and dust of my life grow to bear fruit for you. Water this dry garden and make it beautiful (for You).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Peace Attendeth...

I celebrated my 36th birthday on Friday (ouch! the "closer to 40 than 30" thing stings a bit). But that's OK, despite the added wrinkles, each new year of my life I like better than the last. It's an upward climb spiritually and relationally. Those things matter.
I'm embarrassed to admit that Darcy and I have not been anywhere alone together in over 4 years! I guess between a new baby, a new home and a new career, time and years have slipped on by. This weekend we were blessed to get away. Friends of the family own a couple of cabins up north on the AuSable River. We left Friday afternoon for a weekend getaway.
Just. the. two. of. us.
Below is a photo of the cabin we called "home" for the weekend.
It sat secluded, smack dab in front of the AuSable river.
(the next two photos are our view from the cabin)
As clear and clean as can be.
We had such a relaxing time,
free of distraction and interruption and the noise that life can bring.

Those northerners enjoy a much slower pace of life,
and it was widely welcomed here.

On Saturday, we kayaked down the beautiful AuSable River,
taking in views that put gorgeous to shame.
This was by far my favorite part of our whole weekend.
I finished feeling very centered and peace-filled.
While kayaking away down the AuSable, lyrics to the song "It is Well With My Soul" immediately began playing over and over again through my mind..."When peace like a river, attendeth my way..."
Inspired. Words and imagery and thoughts flooded my mind with such persistence throughout that whole trip. I'd blurt out phrases and snippets to Darcy along the way. When we were done, I wrote them down and shaped them...trying to capture in word, the experience that was so refreshing in spirit:

Peace attendeth...

Ore hits water, and current moves us.
I quiet my heart and calm overtakes me.
Do You hover here?
We paddle our way into a crayola box of green and brown,
Hemmed in among wooded towering forest of cedar.
The river takes us where it wants,
as if it has a story to tell,
knowing where to run and where to lap and rest.
Here, I find rest in You,
and Peace attendeth.

Amazed that branch knows where to grow and where to drink
in the place You have assigned for them.
Nature as intended. Raw. Untainted. Synchronized.
In step with Your Spirit,
and Peace attendeth.

A place where trout finds home and bird lifts songs of praise,
pouring forth speech, declaring Your glory.
Free of the uninvited interruption of man and world.
I share in this freedom,
and Peace attendeth.

Dragonfly frolics with cattail and lavender thistle,
flirting in playful dance of deep midnight and peacock iridescence,
gifting us with a splash of vivid for miles upon riverbank.
Reminding me of life, movement, and revival.
You move in me,
and Peace attendeth.

Wildlife hides in the stillness and quiet of shaded forest.
Where pine needles crunch and twig crackles,
yet nothing is hidden from You.
You listen to my heart,
and Peace attendeth.

I gaze at the rolling clouds,
owning the sky in magnificence,
proclaiming the work of Your hands.
The river, belonging to You,
claps her hands in song.
The earth is satisfied by the fruit of Your work.
Fallen birch takes it's final rest upon
life-giving, thirst-quenching familiar waters.
I drink of Your living water,
and Peace attendeth.

We navigate around bends of river,
love languages whispered and met in unison,
spirits effortlessly connected
as we draw close to creation and Creator,
and Peace attendeth.

Unfailing love rests upon us.
Our hearts rejoice.
Rest and gratitude overflow,
and Your Peace,
like the river,

Later Saturday afternoon, we decided to take a short drive into a nearby town. We were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a celebratory main street booming with locals, vendors, a street fair and the hype of their 64th annual AuSable River Canoe Marathon.
I guess there are only 3 international canoe marathons. This is a 120 mile race that begins at 9:00pm with racers canoeing through the darkness of night, enthusiastic about their chances of winning a $50,000 cash prize.
Apparently, many train all year round for this event. We heard they average one paddle/stroke per second! It was very exciting to spectate. The racers lined up their canoes on the street and had to run and carry them 1/4 mile before dropping them into the river.
(click on photo above to enlarge. the intensity is apparent)
After the excitement of the race, we made a sweet escape back to the quiet of our cabin and enjoyed the rest of our weekend
soaking in each other,
creation and our Creator.
It was everything I needed
(and much more.)