Wednesday, May 28, 2014

moving on from morgantown

Two weeks from today, we go to settlement on our house --- our sweet little townhouse in Morgantown that we've lived in for 6 years. Aaron and I bought this house when we were 24. We both worked full time and had been married a little over a year and a half when we bought it. Previous to that, we lived in a tiny apartment and decided buying a house was the next thing to do. I was tired of living in such cramped quarters and wanted a dog. Aaron was happy to oblige. There was so much buzz about it being a great time to buy and we felt like we better buy before the market went back up.  It was 2008. After buying our house, the market did a nose dive. Hindsight is 20/20, right? It was okay though. In the next 6 years,  we rescued 2 dogs, had Everett, I quit my job and got a better one, had Graham, and Aaron got a new job. We did a lot of living in this little house, a lot of growing, and are leaving with a much fuller car and much fuller hearts.

We moved to Morgantown so that we could be close to the turnpike for Aaron's job, but it was further from all of our friends and family in the area. We've spent the last 6 years driving 30 minutes for church and playdates and Windle family gatherings. My kids became pros at car naps and transfers. Our cars put way too many miles on them. We found things to love about Morgantown though. I will miss the Amish farm stands and Shady Maple's breakfast buffet. I'll miss being so close to the turnpike and, subsequently, closer to my parents. I'll miss the view out my back deck. I'll miss neighbors and friends in the area. It's a bittersweet move, but an exciting one. We're so looking forward to being closer to our church community, our friends and Aaron's family. We're looking forward to a yard for our kids and dogs to play in. We're looking forward to finding a home to raise our kids in and make lots of new memories.

It's funny to think how much life has changed in 6 years. I can't wait for all the adventures to come in our next place. Now, back to packing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

choosing joy & changing perspective

This phrase is something I think about a lot. It's something I try to do a lot. Choose joy. It's something that sometimes just isn't easy. This week it's been a struggle to choose joy --- between 2 sick kids and a sick husband, little sleep, spending mother's day getting projectile vomited on, and bumps in the road to selling our house--- it's been hard. So much about this idea of choosing joy is, for me, about perspective. So often it's easier to see the negatives. It's easier to gripe or complain or feel bad for myself than it is to look at it differently. Sure, I would've loved to spend Mother's Day being relieved of duties and relaxing, but the reality is, my husband treats me like it's Mothers Day most days. I'm incredibly grateful. Sure, I would love for my kids to not get sick, but I have the ability to get them medicine and am able to stay home with them. My kids are really healthy and I'm so thankful for that. Sure, I'd love for everything to be easy with this house selling process, but regardless, we have a roof over our heads and a wonderful house to call home. We are able to sell our house and I'm thankful.

Thursday was a long day. Aaron was at rugby and we still had about 45 minutes until bedtime. What I wanted to do was put a movie on and plop the kids in front of the tv. I'd had it with the day and the week really. Instead, we went outside and played. The boys rode bikes and played with chalk and we went on a walk. It was the perfect opportunity to choose joy. The perfect opportunity to choose the joy in those moments over the frustrations of the week. And you know what, it was there. The joy was there in those moments that I chose to look at the smiles on their faces, and the sweet moments of sharing between them, and how proud Graham was that he climbed up on Everett's bike.

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation. --- Rick Warren

This quote just spoke to me. Spoke into my frustrations and current situations and reminded me of the reality of the hope and promises of God being in all those details, even the hard ones. It reminded me of the temporariness of these things and the assurance of His great love for me. Some days choosing joy is harder than others. Some days I just need to change my perspective. Some days I just need to recognize all of the things to be thankful for. Life will not always be what I want it, but I can choose how I live and react to it. I can choose joy even when it's hard and I can give thanks for the good and I can rest in the assurance that it will all be okay.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

life magnified (thoughts on Kenya - part 1)

Coming back to life in Pennsylvania after 10 days in Kenya has been a strange experience. Life here- the good, the bad, the amazing, the ugly has all been magnified because of what I experienced. My mind felt foggy as I tried to figure out how to process what I had seen and experienced in Kitale. I realized that some of the problem is the excess that I was hit with immediately upon returning. All of the stuff that I allow to compete for time and space in my brain- commercials, email, tv, social media, people, relationships, things. Part of the fog is just simply that my brain is so full all the time that there's no room for just silence, for processing. When we were in Kenya, there were times that I longed for the comfort of home --- times that I wanted a slice of pizza, to not sleep under a mosquito net, or to not have mud on my feet constantly; but, the thing that I quickly realized when I came home was that parts of me longed for that uncomfortableness. Parts of me that wanted the simplicity of life that is so lacking here in the US.

So, I have struggled with how to tell people about what an amazing experience it was. I've struggled with how to put into words all that we were able to be a part of there. And my biggest struggle has been how to process this and how to respond. Last week, I was looking at my bible app and a verse came up - Romans 12:1. It was such a moment of recognition for me- a moment where even though I still didn't have all the words I needed or the ability to process everything, I was able to clearly see that the Lord knew just how he wanted me to respond.

I think it was a reminder to me how easy it would be to slip back into life just as I left it, and to be honest, some days I do. But, the Lord is working on my heart. Working on how I spend my days and how I spend my money. He is slowly changing my heart and has used girls in Kenya to remind me that my everyday can be spent dependent on him, focused on him. Those girls longed for a relationship with Jesus in a way that was compelling and desperate and simple. I am praying that as I continue to process this trip and our time there that the Lord would how to love him like that.

*** This was written 9 months ago. Just this week, I was reminded of my trip and these feelings and spent some time processing. It's in these moments that I'm so thankful I wrote this down as a reminder of their longing for Jesus and their dear hearts.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

soccer mom

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love soccer. I've played since the age of 5 and played competitively through college. Since then, I've played in co-ed leagues and coached, but not nearly as much as I'd like. I supposed having 2 kids in the last 4 years will do that to you. I always wondered if my kids would like soccer too. I never wanted to be that mom pushing them to play soccer just because I love it. For Everett's birthday, he asked for a soccer ball (insert elated Mama here). Mimi and Pop obliged and thus Everett's soccer obsession has begun. He asks almost daily to throw on his cleats and kick the soccer ball around. I mean seriously, that makes me so happy! He wants to take that ball with him everywhere and asks me to play soccer most days. I'm pretty sure he knows it's a weak spot for me. 90% of the time my answer is yes. Last week, he put on his cleats and we dribbled around in our playground area. We took turns dribbling around a seesaw and he loved that we did it together. I loved it too.

Here's to many more days of playing soccer together with my favorite 4 year old.