Community

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I have recently been reading “A forty day journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer”. I just love Bonhoeffer. He was an amazing man: did you know that he was hanged (or hung or whatever you are supposed to say) after the Valkyrie attempt on Hitler’s life because he was involved in a plot to kill him too? His biography is pretty amazing:

http://www.amazon.com/Bonhoeffer-Pastor-Martyr-Prophet-Spy/dp/1595552464

This is a man who was killed for something he believed in; he was sold out to the Lord and he understood the importance of community and his NEED for community in order to live a life like that.

Dave and I have been seeking after community since we got married. When we were accepted in the IM program we specifically prayed for community and opportunity; but always put the community first. We have been married for six and 1/2 years now and have had a lot of change in those years:

Six months in Westminster

Three years in Colorado Springs

Two and 1/2 years in Greensboro

Two months in Denver

Three months in Utah

Now in Longmont

Dave and I have consistently said: we are going to invest where we are BUT there are things you just can’t do when you know that your stay is temporary. You can’t commit to teaching Sunday School or hosting a life group in your tiny apartment (or your parent’s house). You can’t cook meals for people if you live with someone who limits your access to the kitchen. You can’t watch other people’s children for them if you live with your parents or if you aren’t living somewhere long enough to build trust with people 🙂

I am SO tired of the BUT. However, my post about living intentionally was written before I had read about community for the past week. I think God is trying to tell me something. I know that I am made for community I am made to invest in others.

Dave and I are so thankful for the community we do have and the communities we have been blessed with in our various locations. We pray for consistent and long-term community and hope that is in our near-future!

 

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So, we found out that corporate is putting the breaks on selection for Chick fil A Longmont and they are going to see what Dave does with the store. Talk about a stressful and indefinite interview! It is good because they aren’t interviewing anyone else, but it is stressful because it is a hands on, prove yourself then and there kind of situation. I have complete faith in Dave and I am very excited about where the future is going to take us 🙂

But, with that being said, I was SO hoping to be settled by Fall… but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen for sure now. We will still be in corporate housing as long as Dave is in Interim Manager… which is fine, I was just praying that we could get settled into our own place; or at least our own rental place. I can live with not paying utilities and rent for another few months though 🙂

This new update got me thinking… well, what if Longmont isn’t IT… what if we move again, how do I live while we are in Longmont with just the potential of staying? Then I thought about what it means to live an intentional life. Really nothing is guaranteed… jobs, friendships, housing, income even down to tomorrow: we aren’t guaranteed any of it. I work for an incredible organization called Inheritance of Hope. Here is a video about the organization:

Video about IOH

These families all have children under the age of 18 and one of the parents are struggling with a terminal illness. They are facing the reality of not being promised tomorrow in a very real sense. I have seen both sides of coping when meeting and engaging with the families… I have seen people embracing their illness like John Piper and his “Don’t waste your cancer” and I have seen it break families apart. I have no idea how I would respond… that is not a judgmental statement by any means… but it does challenge me to live intentionally while I am not struggling with such a difficult time; because I never know what tomorrow will bring.

Some of us are faced with tomorrow not being guaranteed in a very real way: like the families of IOH.

Some of us are faced with jobs not being guaranteed: like Dave and I right now.

Some of us are faced with life not being guaranteed: like my friends who just had a baby at 23 weeks.

BUT… I am going to embrace our situation as if we were going to live there forever. I want to live life to the fullest; I don’t want to look back and have regrets because I am scared that we might move and I might have to say good bye again. I want to embrace what God has for me; because I could miss out on some major blessings if I don’t.

Just wanted to share what was on my heart 🙂

Here is a picture of us with Mickey at the last IOH retreat :). If you want to know more about IOH or know a family who would be a candidate for a retreat please let me know!

CFA Update :)

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So,

It has been a while since I have written… again. I just simply haven’t had the motivation (time is not really the issue). God is teaching me a lot but it takes so much emotional energy to process that I sometimes opt for tv watching rather than writing. I need to get better, I keep saying that. But, these little ones keep me on my toes:Image

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And… this one is already making me tired (but will really make me tired come end of December/beginning of January):

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That is right… we are expecting #3. I am 11 weeks pregnant and I heard the heartbeat last week (174bpm). I can’t remember if that is high or not, but I think it is a girl :).

God is teaching me SO much about releasing control… again. This pregnancy was not at all planned, FAM is not my friend right now. We wanted a third but didn’t want to be nomadic during the process. God has it all in His timing though, I am not in control.

A lot has happened since I last wrote. We moved from Denver to Utah and spent three months there (a very beautiful and interesting place to live!). 

While we were in Denver one of the business consultants from Chick fil A started talking to Dave about a store in Longmont, Colorado… so we went up to look at it. Before this we had been specifically praying that we would be settled by Fall. Holland was having a hard time adjusting to being without friends and I knew I wanted her to be in preschool. We had been placed in Colorado and really nothing was available that would get us settled by fall, but we just felt lead to pray that prayer. When we found out Longmont might be available we were thrilled, Dave was born there… it is near all of his family and childhood friends and we have a community already established there. It looked like a great fit. Then we were moved to Utah :(… I was sad. But, we were still trusting.

While in Utah I learned a lot about releasing control. Dave was working really long hours, I was with the kids exclusively and we just made due. Chick fil A is a very generous and gracious company and has made things comfortable for us, but it is still hard to be away from your support system. Our kids are troopers though. I knew I could either look at the experience as a burden or a blessing: so I opted for the latter.

While in Utah we were still praying specifically that we would be settled by Fall… still didn’t know how that would happen. In early April we got an email that Longmont was going to be coming available, the operator got another store and he would be moving at the end of May :). So, we continued to pray. Dave talked to the people at corporate and his boss and they told him that he would not be placed at Longmont as the IM for many reasons: but the main one being that they didn’t want the employees to get attached to him knowing he was a candidate for the store and then him not get the store. It made total sense to us, so we just trusted and continued to pray.

The new operator was supposed to take over Fashion Place (Dave’s placement in Utah) on the first of June so we knew we would be moving somewhere and by May 20th we had still heard nothing about where we would be living on June 1st (crazy, I know) 🙂

May 22nd: the day before I was going to leave for NC to work an IOH retreat (I will post about that AMAZING organization later) and visit my family we got our call 🙂

WE WERE GOING TO LONGMONT!

Crazy, I know… I don’t know why they changed their minds, but they did. Not only were we going to Longmont but Dave would be placed with Mandy Brantley. So, Mandy is one of our friends from when we used to live in Colorado three years ago. She recently was hired by Chick fil A as a business consultant and this placement is part of her training (after she attended FRL in May). Her and her husband, Adam, were involved in the Boulder community with all of Dave’s childhood friends and moved back to the east coast the same time as us (summer 2009). Mandy being placed with Dave is an amazing God thing. She has been a huge blessing to us and it just seems as if God is orchestrating all of this, but we are still holding loosely. 

Monday June 4th: Dave had his first interview for the Longmont store. Two business consultants from CFA came to interview him and it seemed to go very well. Now we are in a waiting game. There has to be a corporate interview and then if he were the final candidate they would send us to corporate to interview together. I am anxious and I pray every day that they would call him for that corporate interview. I am finding it hard to concentrate.

BUT… that is when I look back at the past three years and see how blessed we have been and how God has provided, even when it looked like things were not going to work out. We have been amazed by His faithfulness in this process. No matter what happens with Chick fil A we know that we will be taken care of, God is good, all the time. 

We know that we are where God wants us and have prayerfully journeyed through this process, consistently knowing that we were with the right company… even when things seemed REALLY hard. 

I can’t believe that we could be ending our journey soon… just thinking about it makes me want to cry. Not out of sadness but out of complete joy. If you think of us; please pray. Please pray that we would be settled by fall and that God would open the doors for Longmont. 

I will definitely post when I know something… especially about Dave’s next interview. We need as much prayer as we can get! I just have to release all of it, knowing that God is faithful and in control. No matter what, we are very blessed 🙂

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Letting our children be children

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“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful… full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good  fairly who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” Rachel Carson- From “The Sense of Wonder”

Since the last time I wrote life has gone by quickly. We have been in three cities (Greensboro, Denver and Salt Lake City) and I have almost completed teaching two 400 level psychology courses. Life gets busy, we don’t take in the wonder of the day and I often forget to sit back and enjoy the creation around me… which includes processing and sharing my life lessons on here… so I am going to try and be better 🙂

Last night Dave and I were talking about our children and their progress. He made the comment that Holland started off quickly in her learning and absorption of information and she has somewhat plateaued from there. This observation hurt my pride as a mother, I felt like he was attacking my ability to guide and teach our children… I also knew he was right. Holland started off saying her alphabet by the time she was 21 months old and was counting to 20 before she was two. But, she has kind of lost interest in all things academic and wants to play… a lot. She imagines all day long. I put her food in a bowl on the ground because she wants to be a dog, she dreams of being a fire-breathing dragon, she plays in the sand for hours and rolls down hills. She does not want to sit at the table and work on her letters, or even draw…

After Dave’s comment I was not only hurt but I was a little frantic… should I make her work on lesson plans? Should I implement more learning time? Should I make her sit and learn? I try my best to turn every day activities into learning times… but should I force it? Should I take away some of the play, some of the creative mind in order to make Holland into more of an academic (which sounds so ridiculous for a four year old).

The answer is NO… I should not do that. I should not take away Holland’s amazing ability to imagine and create. She can create elaborate worlds and characters from a few rocks and a pile of sand, that is a beautiful thing. She has the rest of her life to sit in a classroom and learn… I need to let her play while she has the chance… give her the encouragement in her natural ability to imagine and create.

Also, if I am telling Holland that she is lovable and worthy just the way God made her, am I not sending mixed messages if I try and fit her into my box of overachieving and trying to force her to read by the time she is 4 and 1/2 or 5.

Right now Holland is a creative, wild, imaginative and passionate four-year-old girl. I want to encourage her in her gifts and that means that I pretend to be a dragon right along with her… I put my bowl on the ground and we eat together… we imagine, we create and we PLAY.

Patience

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I have a type A personality… I like to have a plan, consistency, I like to know what is going to happen and that all fits in with control, and I guess I could do another full month on that topic 🙂

But… I think that patience fits in with releasing control SO much.

When I was 20 I worked at a camp called Beyond Malibu. Here I am :):

Beyond Malibu is a Young Life camp… but it isn’t a normal Young Life camp. It is a camp where kids come and go on week long hiking trips through the mountains of British Columbia. We use ice axes, biff bags, tents, backpacks… pack in pack out is the motto! All of the food is with you at the start. Beyond ain’t no RV camping trip, that is for sure.

I worked at base camp mostly doing the office work and laundry for the guides. Base camp consisted of several houses with no electricity, no running water and no toilets. (The kitchen did have a faucet and there was a non-heated shower). I didn’t shave my legs the entire summer if that gives you the idea about how cold the shower actually was.

The people at Beyond are/were incredible… I had never been around such a diverse group in my twenty years. I had the naieve concept that everyone had a plan, stuck to the plan and that life fell into place. It was here that I learned that life is not that clear cut or consistent. Many of the guides were older, the staff ranged in age from college to 50+.

It was here I learned about the seasons of life. I had never put much thought into this concept… that life had seasons. I thought of my life as a series of goals and accomplishments and that everything would run together and work out accordingly.

But, there is a time for everything:

Ecclesiastes 3

 1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

The people with whom I had the pleasure of spending that summer taught me that life is full of seasons. They didn’t have things figured out… many of them spent seasons at beyond, seasons at another camp, seasons doing odd jobs: but they were always searching for God’s meaning in those seasons rather than looking at them as holding patterns.

That is the key!

I could have looked at these past two years as a holding pattern. I knew that God was taking us on a journey and I didn’t know what the end result would be. I still don’t know. As we enter into a season of going into the Interim Manager program I am diving in: FULLY.

I am having the patience to know that God has a plan but hopefully the wisdom to know that God is using each season. We could potentially be in another two years of transition. That is scary to me as someone with a type A personality. I want to know the plan, I like consistency. But, God is saying to me: TRUST ME IN THE SEASONS.

Right now I am just praying for patience to wait on the Lord. I am trusting that He has control of our lives and I know that as long as I am fully investing for His kingdom, no matter where we are, that He will bless that.

Thanks for letting me share what has been on my heart.

Oh, and enjoy more of the beauty of Beyond:

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Sibling rivalry…

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Holland has a sweet heart… don’t get me wrong. She is a kind-hearted, precious little girl and I love her deeply. But, she is MEAN to her brother.

This morning I reached my breaking point. She was dressing up in her princess clothes and Hudson wanted to dress up too. He brought me a dress and I put it on him and Holland tried twice to take it off and I told her no. I stepped out of the room to get my camera and when I came back she had him half-way out of the dress with it over his head and he was bent down with his head touching the floor, screaming.

I lost it. I started yelling at her to “STOP!, STOP HITTING, BITING, KICKING, SCRATCHING, PUSHING, SHOVING AND ABUSING YOUR BROTHER!!”

Holland of course was upset that I was yelling at her and it defeated the entire purpose of me making the incident a teaching/disipline moment. I ruinied it… and it got me thinking: How much responsibility do Dave and I hold in Holland and Hudson getting along?

Hudson loves his sister… anywhere she goes, he wants to be… if she is playing dress up, he wants to play. If she is drawing, he wants to draw. If she is jumping on the trampoline, he wants to jump. You get the picture. But, Holland is constantly annoyed with him and is consistently mean to him.

Starting in Genesis 4 siblings had their issues, to put it mildly. This chapter is preceded by Genesis 3: The Fall. Adam and Eve had their own issues, obviously.

But, the most interesting sibling example in the Bible, to me, is Jacob and Esau. In Genesis 25 the boys are together and Esau gives away his birthright for a bowl of stew. This is between them: Jacob manipulated Esau and Esau didn’t really care about his birthright.

BUT… in chapter 26 the parents get involved. Rebekah manipulates the situation for Jacob to recieve the blessing from Isaac instead of Esau.
What happens next: Two nations Judah and Edom were at odds with one another for years and years after that.

The brothers already had enough issues: The parents exaggerated those issues by playing favorites and things got WAY out of hand. (although God said it would be so… the simple point is that the parents contributed to the sibling rivalry)

I think that both of those examples show that the parents do have responsiblity for their chidren’s relationship, at least in part.
If Adam and Eve hadn’t been preoccupied with their own sin and getting kicked out of the garden and all, maybe they could have focused more on their children.
If Rebecca hadn’t manipulated to have her favoirte recieve the blessing maybe two nations wouldn’t have spent years and years bitterly fighting.

I can’t always control how Holland responds to Hudson… but I can control my response. I can be patient with her, kind with her and firm with her. I can show her how she should treat her brother by treating her with the same respect and consistency that I want to see from her: NOT yelling and loosing my temper.

I am consistently seeking wisdom on this subject and I KNOW I don’t have it even close to figured out. But, I think that starting with realizing what my responsibility is in their relationship is a good place.

I cannot show favoritism and I need to treat my children as individuals. I read an excellent post on parenting that talks about how parenting isn’t always fair. You can read it here:
http://www.pensieve.me/2011/11/forget-trying-to-love-your-children-equally.html

I don’t think that treating my children “fairly” is key. But, I think that loving them equally as individuals will help with sibling rivalry. When Holland is being mean, I have to remember that I LOVE her :). I have to remember that she is only three years old. I have to remember that God is teaching me through parenting Holland and Hudson as individuals and as siblings. He is showing me how much it hurts Him when I am unloving to one of His children. I still have a lot to learn but I hope that I am able to internalize these lessons so that it helps me parent my own children and show kindness to others as well.

I’m Back :)…

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I posted my grades for my History of Philosophy/Psychology class this morning and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The class was incredibly writing intensive towards the end and with over 20 students and over 60 papers to grade in the last two weeks I have been a little overwhelmed. But… I have a break from class until January and I am excited to start writing more and reading some fun books 🙂

If you have any suggestions let me know!