Blogging has been a challenge over these last couple of weeks.  The energy it takes to pack eats into my energy to do nearly anything else.  Spending days clearing out, donating, and boxing up our lives can take a physical toll, and my blog, as well as my reading, have suffered for it.

Not to mention the highs and lows of emotions that I can go through in a day due not only to our upcoming transition but also to my pregnancy, can often leave me exhausted.

For the last couple of months I have tossed around an idea for my writing:  I wanted to share my thoughts, feelings, and appreciation to some of the women that I feel have touched my life most in this place.  When the idea came, tears welled up in my eyes, and almost immediately I set it aside.  I would get to it later, I told myself.

But as I’ve sold more extraneous items, donated more unwanted clothing, packed more boxes, etc., I have watched time slip away from me.

So tonight I began my emotional journey through writing just four letters.  Four letters to four women that I feel have had a great impact on my life while living in this city.

It was difficult to whittle down my original list.  I listed more than a dozen women whom I love and have had some influence on my life here.  It is one of the reasons I have loved this place:  for the mentorship and growth I have experienced here.  Realistically, though, I knew I could not write a dozen letters.  It would be daunting, and I would never complete the task.

Instead, I narrowed down my list and found myself with four women I felt I needed to express thanks to.  These four women are women I have walked through life with, prayed with, cried with, laughed with, and served God with.

Tonight, putting aside my own penchant for procrastination, I began these letters.  Although I will not share them, for they contain what I feel are intimate details of friendships I have had here, I share that they are in progress.  First, I share this as a means of accountability.  Now that I have shared I will write them, they will get written.

Before we leave on Saturday.

Second, I share this idea because I feel we all have these people in our lives:  friends, coworkers, neighbors, family members, that have touched our lives more deeply than others.  I feel blessed to have known these women, and the least I can do is express my own gratitude for their presence in my life.  I hope to encourage others to do some similar searching in their own lives, to find those that have touched you most and thank them in some way.  Express to those that have impacted you most that you appreciate them.

So, as I’ve said, I have begun the letters tonight, and although it is a wonderful task I am working on, it is yet another emotionally tiring one, so that is all I have for tonight.

Goodnight.

Moving can be hectic, especially for those who are not used to doing it very often.  As I’ve mentioned before, the last time my husband and I moved we had two cats and no kids.

Now, four years later, we will be moving two kids and a dog, plus our belongings, and re-homing our surviving cat.

Phew.

It can really feel like my days are bursting full.  We are still trying to spend time with friends and family that we will leave behind, as well as de-clutter and get rid of things we don’t want to move.

And, of course, pack up things we won’t be using over the next three weeks.

I’ve already packed up lots of books, as well as things set aside for Baby #3.  I’ve even cleared out our linen closet and put everything we are keeping in plastic storage bins so they are easy to move when the time comes.

Some nights I literally fall asleep before 9 pm because I’m so tired from all the work that needs to be done.  I’ve found it hard to set aside time to be still, to relax, and to not be busy.

Thus the lack of posts.

Seriously.

I do find, though, that it’s in the moments I do slow down that I’m able to enjoy the time we have left here.

I can enjoy the girls at their current stages.

When I can take the time, Madeline has been soaking up learning letters and putting them together to form words.  She and I have been devouring books on everything from famous artists, to poetry, to countries around the world.

When I can take the time, Clara amazes me with her new found independence.  As my always-clingy baby, I couldn’t foresee the many things she now wants to do on her own.  She has been “washing dishes” for me, feeding the pets, helping with laundry, and more.  I love watching the determined look on her face when she tells me “No, Momma, I can do it!”

When I can take the time, I can sit with my husband and work on a crossword puzzle.  We can laugh together at an episode of a tv show, or just sit and talk about the exciting changes ahead of us.

When I can take the time, I can take a bath in the tub in the first home we ever owned.  I can relax in the warm water, half reading a book and half falling asleep, as I did in my previous two pregnancies.

When I can take the time, I can sit on the front porch on a cool evening, listening to the bugs sing their chorus of chirps and chatters.  Living in a quiet neighborhood has allowed us to gaze at the stars, watch thunderstorms come in, and enjoy the sounds of nature after putting the girls to bed.

As I near my third trimester of my third pregnancy (!!!) I am beginning to feel more aches and pains.  At other times in my life, these could be looked at as nuisances and preventing me from doing what I need to get done.  I certainly saw most pregnancy symptoms and ailments in this light in the past.

But during this pregnancy, my inability to work for hours on end has meant I have to sit down and enjoy my family, as well as the home I will be leaving behind.  It has meant I have to take breaks amidst the packing to dream big about the places and things that lie before us.  I can appreciate better now the pain that forces me to sit down, and the extreme tiredness that forces me to lay down to read with the girls.

Some might see being pregnant while preparing to move across the country as a hindrance, but I have learned (had to learn, rather) how to view it as a blessing.

As we get closer and closer to our official move date, I find myself busier and busier.  Moving a family and a household worth of things is no small task!

The last time my husband and I moved (into our current home) we were expecting our oldest daughter in the next few months.  Although we had already had a baby shower, we hadn’t quite accumulated that many baby and kids items; we have found that as the kids get older, and have birthdays, we collect many more things on their behalf.

We also had moved into our home from another rental home across town, so we could make multiple trips if it was necessary.  This, of course, will not be a possibility for us this move.

I’m finding myself looking at each item in our home in a new light:  Do I really want to move this 1,000 miles?  I assess how useful an item is, how many times we have used it, the likelihood we will use it in the future, and the ease of acquiring another one inexpensively as opposed to packing it in a moving truck.

Take our couch, for example.  We had a decent, neutral colored sectional sofa that we bought used from a friend for $50.  As comfortable and useful as the couch was, we knew it would take up a large amount of space in a moving truck, and buying another used couch that is as good or better wouldn’t be a challenge once we move.  So within two days of listing our couch on a local online yard sale website, we sold it for $75.

Yes, we made $25 on our couch.

And into our “Wisconsin move” fund that $75 went, along with any other money we have made selling household items.

There are still plenty of rooms and closets to tackle, plenty of items to sell, donate, or throw away, but as we continue this process, I take the time to savor the memories we have had with these items, in this house, and in this place.

That couch, for example, was a favorite place to crash for everyone when we got home from a long day grocery shopping or at church.  It was where we would gather for family movie night.  The couch was the place where a family member would make their temporary “sick bed” when they did not want to lay in their own bed all day ill.  We have read countless books on that couch, and I have taken countless Sunday naps on that couch.

But after a thorough vacuuming and cleaning, our couch was ready for a new family and a new home to help them make new memories.

The same is true for any number of items in our house, including the house itself.

It can be painful at times to think about the people, places, and things we are leaving behind.  This area has been my home for 10 years and my husband’s for 8; this is the only home my girls have known.

We will, however, have the opportunity to make new memories.

Sure we will carry with us some of the old memories and think fondly of them.  There are friends here we will remain close with, and there are others we will inevitably lose touch with.  We will, however, make new friends, all of us, and we will find a new church, new library, new grocery store; we will make a new home.

I have to remind myself that God’s grace and strength will carry us (me) through this season of change.  No matter how challenging, painful, or scary it can be at times, He will provide new things for us.  These new things may not be the same as ones we are used to, but we know that He is working in our lives for our good.  Our new home will be filled with things for our good, and clinging to this promise has helped to make the process of moving much easier.

 

**JOB UPDATE**

Last time I wrote about an interview my husband had with an excellent company not 20 minutes from his grandparents house.  He had the phone interview last Thursday, and was happy to find that the company wanted to continue in the interview process with him.  This past Thursday (a week after his interview) he completed an extensive, virtually-proctored skills assessment for the job.  We hope to hear back soon as to whether or not he passed the assessment; if he did, there is only a final interview remaining before they present him with an offer.

We are both very excited that doors continue to open with this particular company, as it fits with many of the things we both have been praying for his next job (reputable company, good benefits, secular environment that would allow him to be a light in the workplace, etc.).  Please continue to pray with us that if this is the job God has for my husband that doors will continue to open.

**HOUSE UPDATE**

There isn’t much to update here.  We have had a few more showings, but we have not yet received an offer.  We continue to pray for a buyer who will be blessed by our home as much as we were, and who will be able to put in a fair offer.

The home next door to us (which had been empty for over a year and we are almost certain is bank-owned) has just recently been put on the market.  Please pray with us that this will not negatively affect the sale of our home.

 

Thank you for reading, everyone!

I don’t want to spend much time on an introduction today because I have a lot to explain.

Last time I left off that God had told both my husband and I to simply ask Him to move our family to Wisconsin.

So we did.

Oh boy we did.

We knew there were all sorts of obstacles to overcome on the way there, though.

First, my husband would have to find a job in Wisconsin.  We are expecting our third child, and it’s going to be snowing by November.  This momma just isn’t sure she can deal with unemployment on top of that.

Next, we have to sell our home.  We know that before we purchased our home it was on the market for over six months.  We love our home, and we love the area.  We are both acutely aware, however, that not every person would like to live as far away from the nearest city as we do (about 30 minutes drive).  This could hinder the sale of our first home.

Some things that we were more confident about were:

We knew we would have a place to stay once we moved, even before we found a new home to rent or buy.

We had to, of course, let my husband’s grandparents know about our plans.  We called to let them know that we were planning to move nearer to them.  We explained that although we both felt called to the area that we did not have a job lined up, nor did we even have an offer on our home.  We asked if they would let us stay with them until we were able to get on our feet.  Not surprisingly to us, but to our great delight, they said yes.

Next, we were confident our girls would enjoy moving up to Wisconsin.  Although we have family and friends here in Virginia, we also have family and friends in Wisconsin.  Our girls, both under five years old, are too young to have any very strong attachments to friends other than those that are the children of mine and my husband’s friends.  They still are most attached and bonded to us, each other, their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Moving to a new place will be much less traumatic in that respect than if the girls were elementary, middle, or high school aged.

Finally, we were confident that we would be able to move by the first weekend in September.  We still are not sure how all of this will work out, but my husband and I remain confident that our family will no longer be Virginia residents by Labor Day.  We know that God confirmed for us several times that we would move early in September, and we trust that He will move mountains for us (and using us!) to make this happen.

On the job front:

My husband had applied to a few jobs at different companies and government agencies with little to no response.  Although it was easy to be disheartened, we pressed on, editing his resume again, and looking for new places to apply.  We both continued to pray that he would land a job that was challenging and would allow him to provide for our family.

In the midst of these long weeks, specifically on a day where I continually prayed that God would show us what jobs to apply for, my husband’s boss offered him an enticing offer.  There may be a possibility for him to work remotely from Wisconsin in the same position in the same company he currently works for.  Although we are still unsure that this is exactly where the Lord is leading us, this offer took a great weight off both of our shoulders.

As the date grows closer to my husband having to decide between putting in his notice at his job or taking a work-from-home position, we heard back from an application he submitted at a company in Wisconsin, one we both love and had hoped he would hear from.

**Prayer Request** Between August 5-11 my husband will be having a phone interview with this company.  (I will let you know the exact date when we find out).  We are both very excited about this opportunity, and we are praying fervently that if this is the position God has for my husband, he makes it abundantly clear.  Both my husband and I have applied for jobs at this particular company before, but neither of us have received offers.  We both love their methods of business, the way they treat their employees, and their desire to be at the top in their field.

On the home front:

Less than a week after putting our home on the market we had an individual/family look at our home.  We heard back from our realtor that they loved our home and truly thought it could suit their needs.  They hoped to put in an offer but were unable to secure a pre-qualification for a loan at this time.  We have not heard back from this viewing in almost two weeks.

This morning another indivdual/family looked at our home, and we have not yet heard any feedback from this viewing.

**Prayer Request**  My husband and I continue to pray that our home sells quickly and at a decent price.  I have personally been praying for the first individual/family that looked at our home.  I have prayed that they are able to work with a bank to find a home, even one that is not ours, to call their own.

On the transportation front:

We currently own two cars: one very reliable two door coupe and one less reliable four door wagon. Realistically, my husband and I both know the wagon will not make the trip to Wisconsin.  It has well over 350,000 miles on it, and although it makes a great commuter car locally, it probably can’t handle a 1,000 mile road trip.  We hope to sell this vehicle to some who can use a four door wagon with lots of room in the back.  We have loved this car, and will miss its versatility.

Our two door coupe comes with a longer story and a lot more baggage.  The car was a gift from an aunt of mine; it was my cousin’s car, and she no longer used it since she got a new vehicle.  Tired of it sitting in her driveway, my aunt graciously GAVE the car to us.  There was no way we could have afforded anywhere near the fair value price of that car, and we have really felt blessed to drive it.  It has great gas mileage, and we are able to fit both car seats in the back.  It has served me well driving the girls around town, as well as making trips to visit family.

The difficulty with the coupe is that once we have a third child, we are no longer able to fit our entire family in the car, and having a newborn in a two door car is very challenging.  The coupe also has front wheel drive, which will make it difficult to drive in the ice and snow.

We have yet to make any decisions on this car, though we have tossed around the idea of selling it to by a slightly older but still reliable small SUV or newer version of our four door wagon.

**Prayer Request** My husband and I continue to ask that God would be clear with us how we should proceed with our vehicle situation.  We do not want to make a hasty move to sell a car that will end up being a blessing further down the line. Instead, we pray that God will show us exactly what to do with our cars:  what to sell, what to keep, what to buy.

I thank you all for reading and keeping updated on our journey.

I will try to throw in some fun posts here and there to break up the monotony of our moving saga, so tune in next time!

Our closest friends and family are probably not asking themselves this question, but I have found that acquaintances, coworkers, and others in our circles have been asking this a lot.

My husband was born near Madison, WI, and he lived about half his life there in two different parts of the state.  He still has family and friends in the state, in addition to lots of fond memories.

In April 2009, while we were still dating, I accompanied my husband to his friend’s wedding up near Milwaukee, and it was my first visit to the state of Wisconsin.  I was such an east coast girl that this was actually the furthest west I had even been.

We attended the wedding, then headed towards Madison to meet/visit my husband’s grandparents.  I will never forget pulling into their mile long driveway at nearly 1:00 AM to be greeted by a very pleasant, albeit tired, woman.

I will take a short aside here to tell you that a significant part of my decision to marry my husband was based on his family.

No, they are not rich, and no, he is not descended from any fantastic rulers.

My husband’s family is filled with good people.  Good accepting, loving people.  Even at my tender age of 22, I knew this was a rare thing.  I knew marrying into a family of good people would be a blessing later on.

Our visit with my husband’s grandparents was my first introduction to his extended family.  I had already fallen in love with him as a man, and grew to really like his parents and sister.  Now I could see that this kind of goodness was generational.

As the years passed, my husband and I continued to visit his grandparents with as much regularity as our budget and schedule would allow.  With each visit I grew to love them, their farm, and their hometown more and more.

It was our visit in 2012, just before Clara was born, that I felt a familiar tug on my heart that let me know I was standing in a place that would become my home.  I had felt that sensation before when standing in what was then my friend’s home that we would later purchase as our own first home.  I shared my feelings with my husband, and although he didn’t necessarily share those feelings, he wasn’t disappointed in anyway.

After our visit last summer, my husband finally felt the same feeling I did:  that at some point God would call us to live in that specific area of Wisconsin.  Being on the same page felt amazing, and so together we prayed diligently about the timing.  Since June 2014 we prayed and asked Him when this move would happen and how.

Of course after months and months of praying the thought faded out of our minds a bit, only to resurface a few weeks later.  Soon we were only praying about it every once in a while.

Then this spring, God was leading me to pull myself out of many of my commitments outside of the home.  I stopped serving in different aspects of ministry at our church, I decided not to continue coordinating finances for our local MOPS group, and I felt God calling me to resign from my part-time job.

This also came right around the time we found out we were expecting our third child.  Not having Wisconsin on our minds as much meant we started second guessing our involvement in things, as well as worrying about the health and development of our newest little baby.

It wasn’t long, though, before we started to ask God again “Is it time?”.

The week we both received the same answer was one of the most amazing, uniting moments in our marriage.  He told us “Just ask Me”.

And so we did.

I’ll continue with what happened after we “just asked” next time….

[Today’s post is brought to you by our sponsors Vacation Bible School and Play-Doh.  One will keep your 4 year old for two hours, and the other will entertain your two year old for about 15 minutes at a time, so long as you take “bites” of her delicious “cooking”.]

My dearest readers:

 

Life gets busy sometimes.

And by sometimes, I mean when you work half the week, then have three children under 5 the other half of the week.  For the last ten months or so I have been working part time for our church, and for the last six of those months, my sister-in-law and I have been splitting childcare with each other.  As wonderful as it has been to be able to put my time and efforts into our church, as well as help my sister-in-law do the same, this season has been exhausting.

I have hardly found time to read a book, let alone write a blog post.  On days when I’m not going to work, it’s a gamble if I will be able to shower or not, and even then, makeup will almost definitely not happen.

We have been juggling this season together, my sister-in-law and I, since February, when our mutual childcare provider decided to uproot and move to Utah.

(We truly love her dearly, though not as much as the kids seem to!)

With changes on the horizon with both of our families, we have decided that our situation has to change.  My last day of work is Thursday, and hers will come shortly after.  God was moving in both of our families to make changes and take big leaps of faith.  Of course, I’ll be sharing a bit of our families journey in this post.

First, and not super surprisingly, we are expecting our third baby!  After taking a nice long break from pregnancy and the newborn stage, the hubs and I have finally convinced ourselves that we are ready to do it all over again.

With our two little helpers, of course.

Our newest addition is due the first week of December, and we are so thrilled to be having another late fall/early winter baby.  Check out how our family is growing:

Big girl Madeline is now 4 years old (!!), Clara Bean is 2 1/2 years old, and our new munchkin (nicknamed “Wiggler”) is 21 weeks along already.

And no one needs to know how old I am, really, because looking at this picture makes me feel very old.

Now, for the other big news.

I don’t want to say even bigger news, because growing a new munchkin is certainly huge news.

But this news.

We’ve been waiting months to tell people about this, and we have been waiting years to finally do it.

This crazy family of five will be moving to the midwest!!!

I will explain more in another post, but the short of it is, that after years of knowing we will be called to live in a specific stated in the midwest (a particularly snowy one) we finally got some clear direction!

After years of praying “When, God?  When?”, He finally answered, “Just ask for it”.

And He has been faithful.

We asked, and He answered in huge ways.  Things were set into motion mid-spring that sent us on a path toward our goal, and we are happy to say that this September we will be moving our family from Virginia to Wisconsin.

I look forward to sharing a bit of our prayer journey that got us here, as well as what we have yet to come in the next few blog posts.

Until then, dear readers:  Good night!

Signed,

Your favorite Domesticated Physicist