Just When You Think You Have It All Figured Out, God Slams You and Says, “Not Just Yet!”

Ever notice a pattern in life where things are going good and smooth.  Your job is great. Kids are growing.  Bills are paid.  Vacation was nice.  Bought a house.  Painted a fence.

Then, it all changes in what seems a matter of days and you are thrown in limbo again.

Maybe it’s just me who notices this.

I’m anxious again.  I find myself aimlessly trolling the Internet for no reason at all.  For about 10 minutes.  Then I close my computer and do it all over again.

I’m looking for nothing in particular.  When in truth I am seeking something.  Solace. Serenity.  Peace.  Knowledge.  Him.

It’s that time of year again where we may move houses.  Our landlords have the house up for sale and we’re getting a ton of showings.  I think it’s only a matter of time.

We’re praying to buy a house–a permanent home–but our chances are not looking good.

Husband’s job always seems to be in flux for some reason.  Call it the economy.

My pup had to have emergency surgery today.  She should be okay, but it was completely unexpected.  And very, VERY worrisome for her mama who couldn’t stand to lose her so quick.

Still waiting on teacher applications.  You think with school right around the corner, they’d hurry up.  But alas…

My novel has stalled at 30,000 words.  Put that down for a bit.

Trying to read books.  Have no desire.

I feel like I’m following God’s path for my life but, again, His timing is not mine.  I’d just wish He’d hurry up sometimes!

So I pray.  I just apologized to God for man’s tendency to pray in crises and not to pray in the good times.  Then again, He created us so I’m assuming He understands.

Then I pray some more.

Then I sit.  Trying to calm myself.  Occupy myself (my house is very clean!).  And not stay up late at night typing blog posts because my mind cannot rest.

And wait….on others….on Him….to answer prayers….or not answer them (which is an answer as well).

I focus on breathing and picturing God’s wonders in Nature (waterfalls, etc) that calm me.

Inevitably, peace will come.  It just won’t be on my time.

Patience, I whisper to myself.

Then I hear God whisper that as well.

And all is as it should be.

Moving NEVER Gets Any Easier…

I just watched two deer pass through our back field, casually nibbling green grass on their way to a nice resting spot for the day.

It made me sad….

We are moving again (I know, big shock).

But as I get older, each move gets harder.

And not because of the physical packing (although this isn’t fun, either).

It gets harder because in each place we move to I miss the life I leave behind.  The last place we moved, I hated.  With a passion.  Yet, I miss the things I did with my kids there that I can’t do here.  One is catch dragonflies.  They were everywhere this time of year and we caught them repeatedly and drew them and then let them go.

Another is the cemetery we visited.  It was fun to walk around and catch butterflies and visit the people there.

Now, I will miss our land here.  5 acres with a swamp that teemed with red-winged blackbirds in the spring and deer that would pass through for a bit.  Along with visiting songbirds and the Western Meadowlark who would serenade us every day.  Now, we see their babies, fattening up on insects before they leave for the winter.

We are moving just 40 minutes away and I’m excited.  It will be closer to everything the kids do.  It is a bigger house that will suit our needs better.  It has a big back yard (but no where near 5 acres).  It will be home.

Still, memories linger and those are hard to keep at bay.

Old Next to New

You leave one life to start another.  Easy and exciting when you are young.  Not so much now…

But I trust in God that He has a plan.  One day we’ll find a permanent home and it will be just right. Where?  I have no idea (my husband mentioned Canada the other day).  When?  Who knows.

I snapped this picture the other day when we were four-wheeling.  At the time, I just thought it was an interesting picture.  Now, it’s a symbol of how new thrives next to old.  Both co-exist together.  Both have their place.  In my memories.  And in life.

I Am Not Attached to Anything…

We looked into buying the rental we are currently living in from the landlords.  We thought we had a price negotiated but then they wanted more right before the contract was inked.

We wouldn’t budge.  Because the house is not exactly what we are looking for.

So we’re looking for a house to buy again.

I have been a transient most of my adult life.  I have lived in 5 countries and visited many, many more.  I have lived in dorms, apartments, campers, and houses.

We did own a house once.  For 7 years we owned that house.  It was okay.  But it wasn’t what we wanted.

Still, when it was taken from us in foreclosure, it was hard to let it go.  But not too hard. And not because it wasn’t what we wanted.

It wasn’t hard because by that point we had lost all of our vehicles (4 or so because it was my husband’s business that caused the bankruptcy) and all of our toys (four-wheelers, motocycles, and snowmobiles).  So, why not the house?  After all, they’ve taken everything else.

When you’ve had everything taken away from you, you tend to not get attached to things.

Realtors count on people “falling in love with a house” and then paying more that they were originally intending to pay for it–merely because there’s emotion involved.  So do car salesmen.  Hence, the test drive.

Not with this mama.  Sorry.

I’m ready to walk anytime.  I can find a new “home” to live in.  Why?  Because it’s not “home”.  Home is heaven.  Earth is merely a transient walk I am taking.

With one caveat:  my family.  I, of course, need my family.  But as long as I have them (and this includes my two mangy old dogs who need their mama), I’m good.

And God of course.

But He goes without saying.  For me anyways.  Because He’s in my heart.  Where I go, He goes.  Always and forever.

There will be sunrises over our new home like this:

And rainbows outside our window like this:

My husband doesn’t want to move again (who does?).  But God wants us to.  Just like He did all those other times.  So here we go again.

I can say this because I’m not attached to any material thing in this world.

My question is:  Are you?

Ah, The Things You Take for Granted…

It’s strange how the most profound life lessons come from loss.

As most of you know, I’ve moved around a lot lately.  In the last four years, I’ve moved 6 times.  This does not count the times I’ve moved within cities.  This is the times I’ve moved more than 300 miles.

I’ve moved from a 4000 square foot home to a 800 sq ft apartment to a 600 sq ft fifth-wheel camper to a 1300 sq ft home to a 1000 sq ft trailer and now to a 1900 sq ft home on 5 acres.  This was just in the last 2 years.

From all of this, here’s what I’ve learned:

A back yard is priceless when you have kids and dogs.  The peace I have when I’m able to leave my dogs for more than 4 hours is inexplicable as well as knowing my kids are safe playing in the back yard without me having to check on them every five minutes.  My 4 year-old can now play outside with no worries from me.

Having all of my stuff in one spot is magical.  Not having to buy something when I already own it but it’s sitting in a storage facility 500 miles away is not only money-saving but stress-reducing as well.

Being able to find documents when needed is beyond words.

The Internet.  Need I say more?

Cable TV.  Albeit I don’t watch a lot, being able to watch football on Sunday afternoons is a choice I like to have.

Space.  Having space for the dogs to lay on the floor without tripping on them (they are English Mastiffs) and my kids to scream without blowing my ear drums out is a life-saver.

Friends.  From someone who doesn’t make friends easily and has moved from community to community, being able to escape the incessant “Mommy, can I have….?” or “Mommy, can I do…?” or my favorite, “Mommy, I’m hungry” (which seems to be about every 20 minutes) for a ladies night out is a welcome relief from the constant hub-bub surrounding me.

Baby-sitters.  Finding trust-worthy people to leave your children with is always difficult.  I’m glad we are close enough to be near Grandma to watch our kids occasionally (yet far enough away to not feel obligated when every little extended family event arises).

Doctors and dentists.  Finding trusted health-care providers is something I’ve struggled with.  Finally, I have found some and having the freedom to choose whom I want to see, which is something I pray will never be restricted.

A Job.  My husband went through a two-year period where he faced multiple lay-offs.  Finally, I think he has found a career that seems lasting.  Being able to pay the bills on-time is a blessing for which I give God all the credit for.

Freedom.

Your own home.  Living in someone else’s home is never fun.  You are subject to their whims and fancies.  Your movements, TV, Internet, cooking, cleaning, and overall general living is hindered.  Having your normal routine is a welcome relief.

Choice in services.  Coming from a place where there was usually only one person who offered a service (such as trash collection), I am blessed to once again see the free market at its best when I can choose based on quality of service and professionalism.  I am also blessed to have more than two grocery stores.

The sunrise.  Being able to see God’s glory in nature is a gift only He can give.  I saw one yesterday that took my breath away.  Having no building blocking it is another of God’s gifts.

Extended Family.  As much as they grate on my nerves, I know they mean well and act out of love.  I try to keep this in mind amidst their foibles and inconsistencies and focus on love.

Kids.  I can’t believe my oldest is already 8 years old.  It seems like yesterday she was just a baby.  My goal is to soak in as much of their childhood before they are gone for good.

Husband.  While meeting the immediate needs of little children it’s easy to overlook the not-so-immediate needs of husband.  My goal is to focus as much on him as possible when he is home.

God.  He may be one of the biggest things a lot of us take for granted.  After all, He’s always there, right?  Hence, He’s easy to dismiss in our day-to-day routines.

All of this I have learned through God’s incessant giving and taking away.  I pray now I can remember these lessons, take them to heart, and reflect back gratitude for both.

Pray, pray, pray is my new mantra.  Giving God all the glory He deserves is my New Year’s resolution.

What’s yours?

I Feel Like I’m in a Holding Pattern…

Definition of a holding pattern:  a state or period of no progress or change; a usually circular pattern flown by aircraft waiting to land.

Then all of its occupants can resume their lives.

This is me.

I’m stuck in this in-between phase of my life where nothing is getting done.

And it’s driving me nuts!

I’m waiting to move into my new home.  Unsure of the date as of yet.  I’ve done all I can do:  called utility companies, put a forward on our mail, submitted change of address forms, done all of my little errands, etc.

Now it’s all a wait game.

I have tons of stuff I need to be doing, but I can’t do any of it until I move.  Like get Internet.  Library cards.  Unpack.  Make a home.

It’s hard to do anything here–in a home not your own.  Play guitar.  Read books.  Cook. Clean.  All of my normal day-to-day activities.

Time still drags and sometimes I count the minutes.

But at least the circles are getting smaller and smaller and the destination is getting closer and closer.

That’s all we can hope for, right?

Focus on the Family

This was the words I received from God last night as I was praying about my family and everything else in my life and about what I needed to do.

I’m once again going through some major changes.  We are moving to a place I’ve never lived before.  I have quit my newspaper column, which took a major impact on me emotionally (I don’t think I will ever return to such an endeavor.  It is too easy to knock people in today’s society of the Internet and I want to be loving, not argumentative).  Homeschool has hit a bump in the road.  I think we all need a much deserved break.

On top of all this, I feel no Christmas spirit, which is rare for me as this is usually my favorite time of the year.  We won’t have a tree as we are moving.  We have to stay with my in-laws again for a week until our house is ready (never pleasant).  Plus, a personal complaint:  I hate moving in the winter.  I told my husband never again but here we are.

The last 6 months have been a huge strain on me and I think the whole family suffered because of it.

So focus on the family is going to be my top New Year’s Resolution.  This includes everything:  physical, spiritual, mental, etc.  And this includes myself as well.  Focus on the things I need to do to be a better wife, mother, and pet owner (although I think the dogs are doing quite well.  They are both happily sleeping on my bed at this very moment).

I think the rest (personal, professional, and passion goals) will fall into place once I realign myself with God and what’s the most important thing in my life.

My Heart is Heavy…

I just found out we are moving–and it’s not to anywhere I want to move to.  It’s in the middle of nowhere, we know no one there, and the nearest BSF class is a 5-hour drive.

Sigh.

It definitely wasn’t what I was hoping for.  But my kids will get to be with their daddy almost every night–something they desperately need.

It’s not a long-term move (2 years or so) but a move nonetheless and for those of you who move frequently and with little kids and 2 dogs, no part is ever fun.  No one in my family is excited about it but its all about getting the job experience for my husband so hopefully after 2 years we can move to where we want to live (civilization would be nice).

I will have to pray hard about BSF.  My main problem:  I have kids in two-age groups:  the school-age and the toddler age, which meet at different times in BSF classes.  This is my major obstacle as I see it (especially as I’ve been told by you all that kids are not allowed in discussion groups and lectures or something like that). Since I will be homeschooling, I will have my kids with me at all times.

Sigh again.

Understanding God’s plan in this will be a challenge–no doubt about it.  We moved to where we presently live because I wanted to live here but obviously God doesn’t want us here.

Then there’s this whole blog thing.  I thought it was a good thing and you all tell me it’s a good thing but why would God move me to a place that makes attending BSF a HUGE obstacle if this isn’t a good thing?  I know my detractors are secretly excited about this news although they probably wouldn’t admit it.  I can’t start a BSF because the population is not big enough to support one.

Sigh again.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around this and luckily I have some time before we move (2 months or so). But still…it won’t be easy.  Yet is anything in life ever easy?

What Would I Do All Day Without Babies?

Admittedly, I’m bored.

And I don’t get this way often.

Usually, there’s babies running all around and I’m busy running a household or reading or writing, exercising or sleeping.

Today, however, it’s just me and my son (the other two are at school).  The house is clean.  I really don’t want to work on my novel since I like it absolutely quiet.  Same with reading.  My son is sitting next to me, reading a dinosaur book, asking me with every page turn, “Mommy.  What him name?”  So I read the name and then keep typing.

This got me to thinking, “What would I do when all my kids are off at school?”

Sure, I could get errands done, go to coffee with friends, take some classes, clean the house, talk on the phone, go to the gym, and other miscellaneous errands.  I could read and write all I wanted and probably overall get a lot accomplished.

Yet, I don’t know if I want that.  You see, right now, my house is quiet–too quiet.  It’s abnormally empty.  I walk in my girls’ room and no one’s there.  I don’t like it.  Not one bit.

My youngest is bored too.  He misses his sisters to play with him.  He asked me this morning if his sister will be home today (she’s only half-day kindergarten) and when I said, “No,” I got an “Awww.”  Poor guy.

This got me thinking, “What am I going to do when my kids’ are all 18 and gone?”  Which, if I think about it, isn’t really much of a stretch.

God willing, I’ll be around when they leave.  But for me, I want to postpone that as long as possible.

I can understand women who want a career just for this very reason–what to do when the kids are gone.

Hey, I’m selfish.  I want my babies for as long as I can possibly have them–for as long as they want me.  I cherish when my son says, “Mommy, I want you.”  I ask back sometimes, “Are you gonna want me when you’re 18?”  He laughs and says yes. Mommy laughs but isn’t quite as convinced.

Hence, my decision to homeschool.  And homeschool for the next 15 years of my life.  I wasn’t ready to decide that one year ago.  But one year ago I had my babies with me.  And they were really babies.  I feel completely different now when I go long stretches with no noise in my house.

Admittedly, I’m a different person than I was a year ago.  And not because anything traumatic happened. Just because I grew. Mostly I grew because I wanted to.  Because God wanted me to. Because He was leading me to this moment in my life.

Life changes in a blink of an eye.  Odds are for us, we are moving in the next 6 months.  Where to?  Only God knows.  And this is hard for a planner such as myself.

I look at my two old dogs who live each moment as it comes. They have no worries.  They have no cares. They have no fear of the future.  Or even think of one.  No complaints.  They have no opinion on where we move.  But I can tell when I look at them, their only request is to go where I go…where we go…where this family goes.

In the end, that’s all that matters.  Our family.  Being together. All of us.  In our little paradise.  Until we reach the true Paradise.

So, here I sit, watching my son now play quietly with his trains at my side, wishing the other two were here to0, playing with him, and praying May will come sooner than I think.  Praying God figures out our job situation so my husband can be home more.

Praying for our paradise to continue as long as He wills.

Great Men Have Dreamed Great Dreams,

and I have dreamed your Greatness.

This is a line out of the picture book, “Merlin and the Dragons,” by Jane Yolen.

It struck me because I am continually striving for and dreaming of greatness and always seem to fall short.

I’m having a really hard time editing my latest book.  I think it’s my best work yet but somehow finding the time is daunting.  I’m determined to finish it and am creating a time line to do so.

Still, I’m not encouraged.  I’ve been plagued by this moving dilemma (albeit we are months away).  My mind won’t focus.  I’m trying not to worry and put it all on God’s shoulders but am failing at that as well.  I’m struggling to exercise.  Accomplishing anything seems…overwhelming.

I’m worn down.  I’m disheartened.  I need to be filled up again but can’t seem to manage to do so.  I’m ambivalent.  I’m stuck in limbo.

I’d appreciate any prayers sent my way.

What is My Calling?

We’ve been studying Isaiah in BSF who was called by God to tell the people of Jerusalem to repent or face the consequences.

So for the past few days, I’ve been struggling with this as well.

My husband wants us to move next summer if he gets the promotions he believes he will receive.  Once again, this has shook up my thinking and shoved me into the realm of uncertainty again.

If we moved, I would definitely return to homeschooling–no doubts about it.  A few months ago, I was strongly against this.  Now, I realize how much homeschooling was a part of my life and I miss it.  Plus, after a few months at this charter school (which is doing a great job by the way), I still know I can do better.  This may be the crux of my turmoil.

Right before school started, I was sitting in church and had an overwhelming feeling I needed to homeschool.  This came out of the blue.  It upset me but I knew I had to try this school.

We are living in  a house, not a home, which there is a difference.  We have to move at the end of the summer because the owners want to put it back on the market so I can’t even pretend it’s a home.  This doesn’t help with my unsettled feeling.

As I think about moving, my peace is gone.  Part of me wants to, the other does not.  I’m always ambivalent about a move to a location I know nothing about (mainly because I’m horrible with directions and spend the first few months getting lost!).

My kids’ lives are full yet I feel empty.  Maybe these unsettled feelings is about me and my purpose in life (writing) and about fulfilling that purpose.  Maybe these feelings are from the Devil who is coming against me as I do draw closer to God, His word, and His purpose for my life and get clarity on issues.  Maybe the Devil doesn’t want me to move.  Who knows?

I’m awed by all the BSF women who want to know God better, who are studying His word on a daily basis, and who are implementing His teachings.  I want to be like that.  I want to be a better parent.  I want to fulfill my purpose in life.  I want to know where God is leading me.

I love where I live but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something better out there for me and my family.  You have to go where the money is.  You have to go where God is prompting you to go.

Nothing is guaranteed in life.  You do what you have to do–what God leads you to do.

The question remains:  where is that?