Follow by Email

Monday, December 29, 2014

For Annabelle

Today I am amazed at the mountains a tiny baby can move. Some of my Dallas buds may have heard the news stories of the Bishop Lynch volleyball coach who at 14 weeks gestation found out her daughter was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a 100% fatal disease and has chosen to continue her pregnancy. Today she will go in for a c-section to deliver Annabelle a few days early not knowing what life or how long life will hold for Annabelle outside the womb. 

Tricia and I had been in Bible study together for about a year and we walked with her and prayed with her through her pregnancy just as she and the group prayed for us through our move. I found my life paralleled with her struggle on more than one occasion and when the unexpected diagnosis came I was heartbroken for her, her husband and her son (3) who had been asking his parents for a "lady baby" for quite some time. 

But today, today is Annabelle's birthday. And her parents and brother will get to meet this little one who has turned their life upside down. Is there anything that turns ones life upside down more than a baby? Especially when your expectations are one thing and WHAM just like that they - come 5 weeks early (Jack), come 12 weeks early (S), cry 24/7 (L), have an unexpected diagnosis (Annabelle)... are born in a manger. 

For some reason that we probably will never know, God chose to give Annabelle to Tricia knowing that Tricia and her family would respond by giving her right back to the loving arms of God. And this response of obedience, of loving care is what shines like a GIANT beacon in the night, like THE STAR in the night beckoning us COME, COME AND SEE what our great God has done! Annabelle's life, at the moment her tiny heart began to beat has been setting the light of Jesus ablaze because her parents responded in obedience allowing her story to continue until God determines it is finished. 

So today, if you would, please say a prayer for Tricia and her family, for Annabelle that her pain would be limited to null and her time on earth would be multiplied forever in the hearts of her family and loved ones. Because isn't that what happens with our great God? A tiny baby is born and thousands of years later we're still talking about him, BELIEVING that God is bigger that hope is ALIVE that LOVE NEVER FAILS, His love never fails and that one day we will see him again. One day.

Merry Christmas and blessings for a beautiful New Year.

https://www.facebook.com/annabellesarmy?ref=br_tf 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

This is Love.

Psalm 23:6 "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life..."

I wish you could've heard it, the stillness, my family talking and laughing in the background. I wish you could've seen it, my son fishing in his spiderman costume. I wish you could've felt it, the chill in the air. I wish you could've seen the big bright moon shining on us even before the darkness set in. 

Tonight my family had the annual Chili Gala, the kickoff to deer season at our family ranch's camp house. As I watched my son fishing with my husband and joined in a span of minutes by my dad, brother and cousins, I was truly overwhelmed with emotion. I felt in my heart over and over again  "this is peace, this is beauty, this is love." 

In that moment, I felt so happy that my son had a place to go to get away from the city lights and see nature, experience it. It was so different than the hustle and bustle of the city. And I felt so grateful for my grandparents, particularly my Daday who's been gone now almost two years. He and Mimi sacrificed so much all those years ago and throughout their lives so we could enjoy these moments, so our children could enjoy them. And I missed him so much, so so much. 

It's nights like tonight that remind me why we're here. Why we trusted God, why He moved us right into this new, full life. Because this is love. He loves us so much. He loves you so much, I just thought you should know.  

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (1John 3:16) 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Running to Win

When I was in 8th grade I ran track. I was never very good at it, we had a lot of girls way taller, faster, stronger, but I was pretty quick. I remember sprinting like my life depended on it at track meets. There wasn't time to look left or right and certainly not back when you were trying to win (or in my case not be last!).

Last week a friend of mine asked me how it was being back home.  I told her that being busy thanks to my job and my kids, was more of a blessing than I could've realized. I didn't have time to look left or right... or back. I was sprinting. God truly does know what we need and provides.

Not long after that conversation, in fact it might have been the very next day, I had a few hours of down time. Not much but a little with a quiet house, happy kids playing, not much going on. And I started looking around, we were outside in the driveway and I looked left... no Emily and Alice, I looked right, no Angela and Will, and then I looked back and hyperventilated. I just missed my people, my old life.

It was at that point that I clearly understood the verse we've all heard, 1 Corinthians 9:24, "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!" or Philippians 3:14 "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

I've determined that my current busyness is God-purposed. In other words, I'm almost not choosing it, it was destined for me. Prayer is powerful and not long after we got here both of our current bosses/partners told us they had been praying for us. (They were praying for "someone" but that someone turned out to be us.) So the question for me became, how do I meet with God when I'm not able to meet with him like I used to in Dallas.

In Dallas, I had the most amazing group of women I met with on Wednesday nights since I joined Northwest Bible in 2008. For six years, Wednesday nights were my spiritual chiropractic adjustment. My Bible studies kept me in the word, my group kept me on my toes and I grew in my faith. So much so God moved me right out of there. It's hard not to look back and miss our church too...

So recently I've determined that getting up in the mornings is an absolute must for me. Even if it's just 15 minutes before pitter-patter of little feet, I have to meet with Jesus. My Bible is on the coffee table, my computer for my online study (written and recorded by my cousin - so cool), and whatever beverage I need to wake up. I really try every morning of the week to do this.

As I've stewed on this verse "Run to win!" I picture Jesus at my bar waiting for me, I know it's silly, but when I can't meet with him, I feel like I've missed an important conversation that keeps me focused on the task at hand - right now. Not looking back or trying to see too far ahead, but right here in the present.

I believe my task right now is best described in Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." We are running to win, we can't look left, right... or back.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Home Sweet Home.

It flew by, but today marks one week since we've been in College Station. In that time I've experienced - or should I say re-experienced all sorts of firsts with my home town. 

1) People here are just NICE. Like really nice! I've had so many sweet ladies tell me how precious my kids are and that they'd keep them if I ever needed it - ha! If someone told me that in Dallas I would've called the cops. But that's the thing, nobody really did because they knew you'd call the cops. Sheesh! Loosen up people and tell a stressed out mom her babies are cute! Sometimes that's all she's got to hold on to because they drive her batty crazy! 

2) I love my house. God picked the best house for us. We thank him everyday for how he worked this out. We had it painted top to bottom before we moved in and let me tell you that made all the difference. It's so fresh, our stuff fit right in and looks great and we have more room but not an overwhelming amount of room, just enough room to grow. We love that one of the cutest parks in town in just four houses down from us. We go nearly everyday! Our neighbors are so nice and there's lots of kids in the neighborhood - praise GOD because that means there's lots of moms who are nice to chat with as well. 

3) My HEB is amazing. It's got lots of Central Market pretty and the HEB prices and it's a rock throw from my house AND since I went at 8:30 a.m. the sweet gal who bagged my groceries offered to help me out. I was hauling Lydie around because Jack was smooshing her when she was in the basket so I gladly accepted. By the time I'd finished buckling both kids, she'd finished unloading my groceries and had waved goodbye! Thank you ma'am!

4) Cool stuff happens here. Just last night I sat right smack in the middle of a crowd of well over 1,500 people to listen to Dr. Ben Carson speak on the beauty, complexity and gift of life. My dad happens to be on the board of Hope Pregnancy Center which happens to be the philanthropy of Aggie Sisters for Christ who sponsored the fundraising event. Did you know this community can say that one year ago we HAD a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic? But through "peaceful and prayerful means" (thank you Dr. Haywood Robinson for that description) it SHUT. DOWN. Not before providing 8,000 life ending (for the baby) and life altering (for the mother) abortions though - but no more. Now we have agencies like HOPE that new parents can go to for healing, hope and help. Thank you B/CS, Dr. Robinson and Dr. Carson for renewing my zeal for the importance and sacredness of LIFE. Jesus truly does heal all hurts.

5) My family is here. And it's awesome. Patrick's parents babysat for us last night so we could hear Dr. Carson's talk. My cousin's wife and sons came over for a playdate today - we've NEVER done that! And my mom and dad, two brothers and two grandmothers and all my aunts and uncles but one are here. Patrick's parents, brother and sister and her family are all here and many of his aunts and uncles and cousins. Mom is going to be keeping Lydie one day a week for me while I work and Jack goes to MDO! My MOM is going to keep my daughter... that just boggles my mind. Mostly because I know how awesome my mom is and also because she doesn't charge me - I won't hemorrhage money to sitters anymore! Maybe a little but not nearly as much. 

6) We love our church. I grew up at Grace Bible Church on Anderson. BUT we tried Grace's Southwood campus which is over near A&M Consol and absolutely loved it! We knew people, loved the worship time, Blake Jennings the preacher did an awesome job, both kids did GREAT at Sunday School and the couple who did our marriage counseling just happened to sit catty corner from us during the service so we got to reconnect with them after all these 12 years. So special. 

So while we are still adjusting, with every box that is unpacked and every normal activity that comes and goes, it really does feel like home sweet home. I often wonder what my grandfathers would've thought, what Patrick's grandfathers, and one in particular (Jack) would've thought. Sometimes I get the feeling they know, they just have to. There really is no place like home. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Settling In - Life and Work

Wednesday the trucks came and unloaded all of our stuff. It went so fast and thanks to the helping hands of my Aunt Julie, cousin Kay and Patrick's dad Wayne (even though it was his birthday!) we made an incredible amount of progress. Mom and Dad kept the kiddos all day so we could work and worked we did. We went back to my mom's for another night there after a quick family bday dinner for Wayne at the Koenning house. Patrick and I worked another three hours or so that night and landed in bed around midnight. Thursday we did a little more but were ready to get our family in one spot and after mom helped me get my china cabinet put up Patrick brought the kids over. 

Jack's room was set up so cute and even had a little "Jack's Room" sign on the door which he LOVES. He really loves his room. He was so excited about it. We have a little room/closet under the stairs which we've named the "clubhouse." It's basically a toy room that is perfect toddler size and Jack and Lydie have enjoyed playing in there and dragging toys out to the living room and I just put them back and shut the door after bedtime! 

I knew with Lydie it wasn't going to matter where we were. She's at the age that as long as she has mama and Jack (and dada can come too) she's fine, she's home. But Jack... he's still adjusting. He's even been running a smidge of fever the last 24 hours. I think so much change, a new place, today at church he had a new class of kids, it's been a lot. His preschool teacher came for a home visit on Friday and read him a book about school, it was cute and he did so well. But we think he's missing our old house, his friends, everything he knew. It makes me sad that we couldn't give him that consistency of "place" you're told as a parent is so important. But I know he'll adjust and more importantly I know it's right. We are doing what God asked of us and therefore it is what is right for Jack, even though what we had was right too. It was just time. *sigh* 

Patrick starts at Gilmore tomorrow. He's kind of getting his sea legs back for a few weeks before he jumps in. I think that's smart. We're praying for some good help to come along as they get more work and decisions regarding rebranding. It's exciting and I'm so proud of him but it's a little nerve wracking to be at the point that all of this stuff we prayed about is actually here and happening. I haven't mentioned this yet, but I'm going back to work for my first boss. Yep, my first job out of college was in marketing at David Gardner's. David and Julia have long been like family and mentors to me and I'm so honored to be able to go back and work with them part time doing what I love. Heck I even worked an event at the store Friday night! Talk about jitters! But before long I'd gotten my sea legs back and it was great. Being able to work with them really makes home seem like home. I'm so thankful. God didn't leave any stone unturned and here we are starting this new chapter. 

We miss our friends, we miss people knowing our story and not having to start from the beginning, but we are happy. And mostly, we're thankful, we praise the Lord for his continued goodness and we surrender to his calling. Months ago we said, "Here we are, what would you have of us?" and now here we are. He is faithful. He is loving and He. Is. Worth it. 

Moving Day

On Tuesday, the 19th, two moving trucks came and three guys loaded all of our stuff. At that point in the moving process I never thought it would end. It was like being 40 weeks pregnant (or as close as I've come which is 39). You hit a wall. You don't care WHAT is about to happen you just know there is NO MORE ROOM and you're ready. I was ready. Patrick was ready.



To be honest, I don't think I will ever forget that day. My neighbor who also happens to be one of my best friends, popped over at 9 a.m. to say that she and her two kiddos would be in the front yard and available to watch Jack whenever. Oh and if we needed to put Lydie down in Charlotte's crib that was fine. At 9:30 Lydie was out cold in the crib next door and Jack and Alice (Jack's BFF) were playing in the front yard. Shortly after that two more of my dearest friends and their littles showed up and we all hung out in the front yard. I'd run in to pack or organize or delegate and then come back out and plop down and pretend we weren't moving and it was just another day.

We ordered lunch. Natasha and Reed ran to pick it up, the big kids went down to Angela's house for a bit and by the time everyone got back to Emily's house Lydie was up, Charlotte was down and we were eating around the kitchen table. I was still in denial, it was just another day. The kids were playing so nicely together at one point I wasn't sure what we were doing and Patrick and I had it all worked out that we could stay... By 1 o'clock the movers started saying things like "almost there" and "it won't be long." My stomach would twist in knots and tears would threaten but then something or someone would call my attention and I was off again. At 2 the melt downs began. For some reason this brings a smile to my face and warm fuzzies in my heart. Alice hit Patrick with a baseball bat on the back, Jack was wrestling toys from whoever had what he wanted, and Lillian was wailing because Jack took the ball and Will, bless his sweet heart had gone home! We said goodbye to the Andersons shortly thereafter.



At 2:30 we started saying goodbye to Emily and Alice. I had hardly been able to look at Emily all weekend so the tears came early and still now start up sometimes. Some friends you know you were just destined to meet and the Feuilles, we couldn't have ever asked for better neighbors and friends. God is so good to us. We walked through the house together, all empty, we took pictures and said "We'll see you soon." By 3 we were packed up and Angela, Scott and Will walked in. It was the last goodbye for the day and I am so glad I got to hug her neck, we almost missed each other!

I drove home, the kids slept some, ate, fussed, sang. It was fine. I think we stopped somewhere to give Lydie some food and attention. Mom had a great meal ready and helped put kids down.

Patrick and I went over to see the house that night. It was gorgeous. We'd had it painted from top to bottom. Walls, ceilings, cabinets. It looked amazing. I was so happy with it. And then I bawled my guts out for two hours. Finally exhaustion kicked in and we slept.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

One Month

This past Saturday marked one month until the moving truck comes and they pack our stuff and we drive our cars back home. It was a great day. Weird in that it was about 73 for a high and overcast, it seemed like October not July. We spent the morning with friends, who are also moving, at the Arboretum exploring the children's garden. And the evening we went to our next door neighbors house for a delicious dinner. Just a perfect day.

We went to church on Sunday. Abe Kuruvilla spoke on Jacob, the heal grabber, the chaser, and finally in his wrestling match with God became the clinger. Genesis 32:26 “I will not let you go,” Jacob replied, “unless you bless me.” Finally, after a life of chasing, grasping, he understood that God was the only one who could bless and satisfy and he chased no more. (And also God threw out his hip so he literally couldn't chase!) Jacob was going home too. And scared shitless of what was before him. I'm not scared of a murderous older brother! but I do get the jitters about going home.

During the offering the band sang "Come Thou Fount" my favorite hymn, the one I walked down the aisle to 12 years ago this Sunday. I nearly cried my mascara off when the second verse read:
"Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood."

and then verse four: O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

And there it was. I walked down the aisle loving the lyrics. Now I walk through life living the lyrics. Safely to arrive at home... Let thy goodness... bind my wandering heart to Thee. He has proved himself faithful and GOOD and I'm sold. I'm in. I'm His. Lead me home. I'll be ready.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

You're Not Going to Believe This

My last blog post regarding our house-find in College Station was only half of the story of things going on while we were at the beach last week. The short story is: we have an offer on our house in Dallas as of yesterday afternoon. It's not on the market. It never was. And we are still in disbelief. We were going to use this week to do all the decluttering, paint touchups, projects and photos to get it ready and a sign was to go in the yard this Sunday. You know - stick to the plan.

So, last Thursday - the SAME day that our realtor and my mom were swooping in to see the College Station house and we were putting in our first offer on it I get a call from a dear friend two blocks over. I'd run up to the room from the pool to grab a floaty and saw I had a message from Natasha and thought I'd better listen. She proceeds to say "remember I work for a realtor, well she has this couple who wants to be in Sparkman... any chance you'd be interested in letting me show them your house... TODAY?" I nearly dropped the phone. I for sure dropped my jaw... it's really still dragging on the floor. I quickly think: 1) we're gone 2) Rachel, our nanny also just came and cleaned the house so it's actually clean and presentable! SO YEAH show the house! So I arrange for Rachel to drop Natasha the key and kind of don't give it another thought. My thought was they'd see it and give us some good feedback. We hear that they liked it - who wouldn't we love our house!

Well, the next day, Friday, Natasha says the realtor wants to see it again and can she (Natasha) show it in the morning? YEAH! Sure, she'd give us some good feedback too and maybe keep it in mind for her future clients when we put it on the market. So they're in and out Friday afternoon and that's that. We're busy putting a second offer on the house in College Station (which has two additional higher offers than our original at-ask one) so we're focused on that. And with that the weekend goes on - mind you this little couple GETS MARRIED on Saturday so they're kinda busy and we don't hear anything.

Would you believe at 4 o'clock on Monday - Patrick's birthday I get a call and message from a 214 number. Patrick's literally walking in the door, we're singing Happy Birthday and I'm getting him a beer and think, let me just see who called. The message says "Hi, this is MB, I'm emailing you an offer on your house we saw this weekend. Please review and get back to us tonight." WHA?? Patrick and I are looking at each other like deer in the headlights.

So while he's opening gifts, we're trying to review the contract offer, Jack is swinging from a chair and Lydie is climbing on a china cabinet that has to be the single most dangerous piece of furniture in our house. There's baby squawking, Jack singing, computer freezing chaos. It was a glimpse into what life would be like when we put our house on the market... We quickly realize, it would be AWESOME to work this out...

That night we have a sitter and go over to the pool across the street and talk about our response. We send a reply to the realtor that evening and are hopeful but still proceeding with our plan because what is the likelihood??

Tuesday afternoon (yesterday) Patrick is at the lake with his boss and I'm at the office. We get an updated offer from them. We start doing the math and unfortunately the cost of selling a house is just darn expensive so we're beginning to see our equity get chipped away. A few hours later we're still trying to decide what to do and Patrick talks to his boss (a super smart and savy guy) and he suggests doing a best and final. So we come up with our response and send it over at 4. 30 minutes later we get their response and it's good! Full asking price, we were hopeful for that. It's done.

According to the contract we close on August 1 and lease back until August 19. Just as we hoped.

There are still inspections and all that loveliness so in the event they back out there's still time for "the plan" but is it just me or do you see God's hand in this? He takes such good care of us. The stress of putting the house on the market, keeping it clean for showings, reviewing contracts we have no idea what we're doing, with two kids who want our attention, it's just a blessing. I just see this as a God-thing. This is grace, a big fat circle full of grace with God's fingerprints all over it. I don't believe in karma because I don't deserve any of this, He humbles us with his goodness.

We trusted, we waited, we prayed. He delivered.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beyond the "See"

This past week our little family packed practically our whole house up to take a trip to the beach! Patrick's parents had generously decided to take the whole fam - that's 12 people - to Galveston for four nights. This was also the last planned trip we had on our calendar to go through Bryan and Patrick and I both had this feeling that something was going to pop up in the house department. So we did what anyone would do - we made a plan. We should know, no I should know, by now that it's really no use making plans. God has His own plan and His own time frame. But since I like "doing" and not waiting, we planned. Our plan was - go to Bryan on Tuesday and look at houses Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. The school districts had just let out and stuff was bound to be popping up left and right on MLS and we would BE THERE! For once to see them! We'd put an offer in and then zip down to the beach - perfect! So naturally we tell our realtor so she's up to speed.

So I stalked MLS like a pro and got more and more frustrated when nothing new was popping up and one of our tops goes under contract (again) Come on!

Well, by Tuesday morning our next favorite house had been taken off the market and by the afternoon the other option was gone. So we looked at four so-so houses but still felt positive, we had Wednesday to see something and surely "it" would pop up.

By Wednesday morning Katie, our realtor, had gifted me a glorious bottle of pink champagne to ease the pain (I refrained popping it in her car) so I knew our options were going to be sparse. And sure enough the two houses we looked at were way off the mark in more ways than one. So we left to the beach empty handed - not part of the plan...

Thursday morning we spent playing in the sand and having a great time. I went up to our condo and put L down for her nap and browsed MLS just in case. And what should pop up but a 4/2.5 - check. In a great area in College Station - check. On almost half an acre - check, check! And in our budget - check! So I text Katie who of course has an appointment already lined up and is calling my mom to go with her. By 11 o'clock we're at the beach on FaceTime with them "walking" through the house. It wasn't very easy with the glare and poor connectivity but we decided we better put an offer in that day. 

So here we are, at the beach, and wham our house pops up. We didn't get to see it, we had to trust. We trusted Katie, my mom and her zillion pics (thanks mom that shot of the crown molding was awesome ;)) but more than anything I felt like God was saying "trust Me." So our offer went in peacefully and prayerfully. I knew this was it so I wasn't worried.

That was until Friday morning when we learned two additional offers had gone in ALSO after ours for MORE. So they came back to us to see if we'd like to up our offer. Oh super! We saw this coming - not. So while we're taking Jack and Lydie around the Moody Gardens aquarium we are wrestling with an increase in price. "Trust me," so we went up, by a margin and said best and final - enough with the bidding war. So we waited. And at 5 o'clock we hear that they want to sleep on it! What?! Ok fine. At this point I'm like this is not the house, God'll just find us another one so whatever happens I'm ok. 

Saturday morning still no word. We've played on the beach, swam in the pool, put baby girl down for a nap. At 12:30 I'm covered in sand making a sand castle with Jack while Patrick was in the condo with Lydie and the phone rings. Gulp. I answer and tell Katie "I'm prepared, just tell me" and YAHOO! We got it!!! They took our offer, want to close in 30 days instead of 45 and lease back to us until Julg 31! All sounds good! 

So today we drove back through town so we could actually SEE the house God chose for us! It's great! Needs a little TLC in the paint department and kitchen but totally aesthetic nothing major! The yard is awesome, the house is cute and we are four houses down from the neighborhood park! Yay! Now we paid royally for taking the long way home and L screamed bloody murder on the way home to Dallas but it was worth it! 

Such a burden lifted. And so thankful we can say we trusted God without seeing the house. It felt right that He would ask this of us, our whole faith is built around the blessing of believing without seeing (although the Bible says all creation tells of His glory). God took such good care of us, I continually am in awe of his great care and loyal love that drives out fear. 

Thankful.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Expectations and Hope

I'm the type of person who likes to read the last page of a good book first. I know, it spoils the ending, but it helps me get through the "middle," the angst of conflict, the unknown. I keep on reading knowing the great ending is near!

At this point in our journey we are in "the middle." No conflicts per say but lots of unknowns. We don't know where we will live, if our house will sell and in how many days or weeks, we don't know what it will be like owning a business, the new MDO program for J&L, or what my work will be. This weekend was our first time to really go look at houses in a town we lived in for 26 straight years. You'd think we would already know right where we want to be, nope. And after about seven houses I remembered that this part of the home buying process, I do NOT like. The hunt - yuck.

In fact, in my head I had two favorites, in one neighborhood, in our price range (mostly) and all we'd need to do was go look and we'd be set! Well, wouldn't you know we walk in to meet our realtor and the first thing she says is "your top two are under contract as of yesterday." WHAT?! I did not expect that. God never does what I expect. I've come to expect that but come ON Lord, these houses had been on the market for weeks and right when we get there they're gone?! As much as it hurt that my expectations were way off, I also was reminded that God cares as much about where we live in B/CS as he did five years ago here in Dallas. Back then we saw him move and give and take away and present and follow through and we've loved it here. But closed doors, while they sometimes hurt, are much easier I've come to realize than fighting through cracked doors.

So we walked away empty handed, a little bummed, but still hopeful. It won't be long and we'll be back home and have another chance to look and maybe something cool will be in our path. God already knows where it is, we just have to trust him to present it at the right time. And that, I can wait for.


Monday, May 19, 2014

The First Box

Today I packed the first box. 

Apparently one of the first rules of selling your home is to declutter. And boy do we have clutter. Baby toys, big boy toys, bottles, books... it seems like there isn't a nook or cranny in this house that doesn't have something in it for a 3 year old or under. 

So I started in Lydie's room and decluttered the book shelves. It's really not a big deal. I like to declutter. I've done it several times since we've been in this house but it got me thinking about our future home. At the moment we don't know where we will be moving TO in B/CS. There's no one neighborhood that has our number, no perfect house on the market yet, no idea if the bank will even give us a loan since technically, at this point, neither of us will have a paycheck when we get down there. 

Last Friday we popped into a house in a nice area of Bryan and took a look around. *shrug* My dad and I took a long walk Sunday morning but nothing stood out. *sigh* Patrick and I even drove through a small neighborhood on the way out of town... *but...* So now we wait. We wait for the right house, we wait for the bank, but mostly we wait on the Lord. 

Just this morning I was reading to Jack and Lydie (early risers) from this little children's Bible my Mimi gave to Lydie. We just flipped it open. The story - Caleb and Joshua (from Numbers 13). Two soldiers who went to explore the land the Lord brought the Israelites to with the promise that it would be theirs. Canaan - the land flowing with milk and honey. The story said, (and yes I did just sneak into L's room to get the baby Bible so I got it just right) "Joshua and Caleb told the people that God had chosen a good place for them to live. God made sure you have a nice place to live too." 

I caught my breath. God did not forget about this part of the plan. He knows where we will live already and will help us move towards it in due time. So for now I pack. One box at a time. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Full Circle

At this point, we have done our best to tell our family and friends the news. In a few shorts months we will be packing up our home for the last five years and moving three short hours south, back home, to Bryan/College Station. Are we excited? Yes! Are we sad? Yes. Do we trust that God is in control? YEAH!

About a year ago Patrick and I start praying that God would place us where he wanted us. We knew this darling house would quickly grow too small as our little ones grew up, and we had that feeling - you know the one - that feeling that change was coming. We didn't know what is was and we certainly didn't expect it to move us home when we felt Dallas was home. But little by little, through sleepless nights with a newborn, conversations with friends and family, prayer, lots of prayer, it became obvious that where God wanted to place us was right back where we started - home. 

Home wasn't what we prayed about - home became the answer to our true arms-wide-open prayer "Here we are, what would you have of us?"

Then one crisp January night we started putting the pieces together. Patrick felt a burden for his family's business. His dear uncle unsure of where to go with it, what to do next. I felt a longing for a support system, especially on those days when our daughter cried endlessly and our son needed direction but got Mickey Mouse instead. He had ideas, passion, hunger, drive in his voice. And I believed, I knew this was what God was asking of us,  "Pick up and leave the life I gave you and go home where you are needed."

Since that night we have continued our prayers for guidance and have slow and steadily gotten one green light after another. Our parents and family were ecstatic, Patrick's uncle and cousin open to his leadership with a mix of relief and excitement. Our co-workers and friends happy and supportive, affirming what God has asked of us and breathing into us words of encouragement.

A few weeks ago we determined our timeframe which had been foggy until that point. The question continued to be "when are you getting down here?" Again we pieced together the puzzle and fall became our picture. We hope to use this blog to keep everyone up to date on our journey.

We've laughed so many times about how when you ask God to use you, truly, honestly, deeply, sometimes he sends you to Africa, to Guatemala... and sometimes he spins you right around and sends you back home. He's funny like that. But good, all the time good.

Thanks for joining our journey! We'll keep the updates coming!

Andress & Patrick