Monday, May 11, 2015

Well, that was unexpected!

Ou life has been a whirlwind the last few weeks months. We started out the year with few goals, mainly consisting of fixing up the house to sell next year, and maybe working towards having another baby.

Then God said, "oh dear children, amazing things are planned for you. Hold on to me, trust me, and we'll go on this adventure together." And my, oh my, has it been quite amazing and crazy so far!

In January, God put such a heavy burden on our hearts for adoption. We both knew that this was what God wanted for us, so we prayed, planning to wait until this Fall to start the process.

February, God said 'Ha! Just kidding, you're not starting the process this Fall, you are starting NOW. SURPRISE!!!!'

March, Josh and I both knew, if we were going to adopt, we needed to sell our house, so we started to get things ready, trying to fix things up... thinking that we'd put our house up for sale mid-April. And, in my mind, thinking we'd have until July or August before we had to move. End of March, someone came to look at the place.

April, now behind on house fixing up due to our crazy life, and feeling a bit down about the overwhelming task that still lay before us to sell the house. Mid-April - our house sold. Ahhhhhh!!!!! Ok, freaked out. Cleaned, scrubbed, made things inspection ready, tried to pack and haul some things out to my sisters house. Oh, and had phone call with adoption agency that said 'well, we need to wait until June to match you with some kids... so don't start your home study yet.' Which, was fine, because now we were moving... and we didn't know where! And, to update the home study to a new house would be something like a $700 fee.

Kayla, breathe. Yes, you wanted to start your home study, like yesterday, and yes, you wanted to be matched and start build a relationship with your kids like a week ago, and you want to know where you'll be living when you sell your house, like now... but...

End of April, Josh and I go look at an old church that was for sale. Yes, let me say that again. Old church.

Slight background story for you before I go on. Josh has always wanted to buy an old school building and fix it up into a home. Last year, at the end of February, when snow was waist deep, we found a school, that was amazing, and we trudged through that snow with three kids and a realtor to go see the place. Talk about the most amazing old building you could imagine. I even found a picture of it, just to show you... 

How awesome! It was a ton of work to fix up, and not exactly livable right away, but the potential was endless! Well, the day we hauled our minions through waist deep snow, to see the old abandoned school house, three other people put in an offer for it that night. Alas, we did not get it.

For the last year, this place has haunted us, literally. We had dreams about how amazing it would be, I'd wake up thinking we had bought it... I think Josh went into a depression for like a month or two because he felt like he lost his dream. Yes, we were nuts, but we both wanted it so bad. Forget that we may have not been thinking about living in super unsafe conditions with 3 small children... but you know, logic is not always our strong point.

Anyway, after scouring the real estate website every day, day and night, for weeks, and having no luck finding anything we'd want to live in, I came across this old church.

Can I just also pause for a moment and say that my realtor was FREAKING OUT because she sold our house so fast, and she knew we had no place to go once we closed on our house? She's awesome, and I totally appreciated her concern, because I was too stressed out to be concerned, so she just did it for both of us ;) And, I just kept having this odd peace that everything was going to work out perfectly... even though I had no idea how. Oh, but then when she found out about this church, I think she just got doubly concerned and probably about had a heart attack... we're good at doing that to people ;)

Anyway, back to the story...

Now, a year ago, I would have been giddy and excited to find such a place at an amazing price... but guys, lets face it. I was stressed out! I didn't even want to show it to Josh at first, because all I could think about was work... and did I mention I've been planning a huge vendor/fair for like 4 months while all this other stuff was going on? More work did not exactly sound appealing. So I did some digging, made sure this place was actually livable with 3 children, and safe. That there was a kitchen, and bathrooms... and not creepy... Anyway, so I swallowed my big ol' chunk of 'what the heck am I thinking' and called up my husband to look at the place online.

He LOVED it! Oh the potential, oh the ideas... oh the work ;) So we went to look at it. And I got to say, it really was not bad at all. Everything was in remarkably good condition, the carpet was actually decent (besides the weird orange color), the rooms were actual bedroom sizes, and the best part? It had a huge basement the kids could ride their bikes in. Ok, if you live in Minnesota, where the winters are 9 months, and the temps get to -40 degrees, you may know just how awesome that is.

So, we put an offer in on it...

May 3rd, offer accepted... we just bought a church!

We just bought a church...

We just bought a church y'all!

Oh holy crap, still not sure what we're thinking, but I do think it's going to be amazing.

Oh, and then May 9th, biggest vendor fair EVER, and crazy crazy crazy AHHHH! I'll talk about that another time.

ANYWAY... so, want to hear a few cool numbers and dates?

May 28th we close on our house... which is only like 17 days from now... which I'm just ignoring that fact because HOLY CRUD MUFFINS that's way too soon and my house is a chaotic MESS.


June 10th, we close on our new church home. And, super cool crazy God timing? We're going to get to start our home study, and be matched with our kids at pretty much the exact same time as we buy the new place! AKA - we don't have to jump through extra hoops, and we don't have to pay a ridiculous amount of money to change the address, AND we're going to have a big enough house to hold all these kiddos in! HOW AMAZING!

I'll share with you more of our plans for our new home as things get close. I'm thinking of having a section on this blog called 'This Old Church' instead of my husbands favorite TV show, This Old House...  but guys. Seriously? God is pretty gosh darn amazing!

Now... off to hide behind my computer or phone and pretend I don't have to pack my entire house up and move in two weeks  have a meeting about how the vendor fair went and what we can do better next time... and pick up boxes on the way home...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

new life

I walk through the door into the crisp air that holds breathe of new life. Buds have appeared on the trees, hints of green shower the barren trees with hope and promise. The setting sun sending it's golden hues through the majestic trees, to gently kiss my face.

This place, so peaceful, so pure, so full of promise, has been my home. Tears have been spilt onto dark wood floors, in unbearable pain and with no holding back of grief pouring forth. Laughter has danced through these walls, and rung with sweet joy. Life created, life lost, life born, and life lived... Every grain that runs along these wood walls, and grooves that scatter the floor, all hold memories in it's grasps, refusing to let go. In my feeble attempt I hold dear, wanted to pull up every floor board, every nail, for how dare it hold onto these treasures and not share with me what has been.

I breathe in deep, and the wind wraps me in it's cold embrace. I gaze upon this land, of the death that lie in crumpled leaves, in the strands of old grass, that hold root amongst newcomers. The leaf must fall, in it's due time, to make way for a new season, so the story may go on. The grass must lay aside is glory and color, to make way for new life. All lay aside, stepping down, away from comfort, so that new beauty can bare forth, can flourish.

This home. This place. This haven, that has held every memory, every laughter, every tear, every hurt, and every joy... this house, my home. How to step away, to end a season, so that new life, new memories, new dreams and hopes, can spring forth... how to fly away to new roots... new challenges, new life? How?

My eyes close... and when they open they fall to the grains of old wood on a banister. No rhyme, no reason to the flow and direction to which the lines run. Yet, in this old piece of art created by God, there is beauty. Beauty in the chaos. Beauty in the lines, in the change, in the old, in the new, in the richness of the weathered wood. How curious... Is there beauty in this? In this chaos? Is there beauty in the path to be taken, the changes to be made? In the things that have brought us to this point? In the things yet to be discovered? Is there beauty in the weathered soul, that has experienced and seen more then her fair share, that has cried more then enough tears, and laughed more then what is logical? Is there?


So how? How does this weathered soul, take flight to new roots, to a new world of unknowns and big changes, and leave the comfort of what is known and what is good? How?

Because... The leaf must fall, in it's due time, to make way for a new season, so that the story can go on. The grass must lay aside is glory and color, to make way for new life. All lay aside, stepping down, away from comfort, so that new beauty can bare forth, can flourish... can be new.

Because... There is beauty in the chaos... in the paths to be taken, and the changes to be made. There is beauty in the past, and in the mystery of the future... there is beauty in this unknown, in this plan that is yet to be revealed in it's full glory.

Because... because even though I may not always know which way the winds will blow, when I'm flying freely in His breeze, I know He is in control.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

be brave...

This morning, the organization that supports the orphanage that we plan to go through for our adoption, posted this to their facebook wall along with this picture:
"Did you know that serving the orphan takes an incredible amount of bravery? In many cases you must cross oceans, at times you fight battles you lose and your heart lives with loss, you may love them with fierce devotion when they are unable to love you in return...
You see... loving the neglected takes an amount of courage that does not come naturally....You must empty yourself completely... you may pour yourself into that broken child for what seems like an eternity... only to feel as though your "servanthood" has reaped only piles of sacrifice and no reward...
TAKE HEART. BE BRAVE. The road to restoration is dark, so dark you may not see the turn in the bend... but know it's coming. It's coming."

It touch my heart greatly, as it came across my news feed this morning. I think I would be lying if I said that it wasn't a scary process, because it is. There are so many unknowns, and so many questions... but do we believe that it is worth it? Yes. 

I sometimes wonder if this is how God feels. He has adopted us into his family, instead of leaving us broken and alone... but we don't respond. We don't give back as much, express our love, our joy, or gratitude enough, if at all. But he keeps loving, keeps pouring in to us, but he sees and knows that restoration is possible, even for those such as you and I. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wait... WHAT?!?!?!

When Josh and I had the call to adopt, we thought we would be starting the process this fall. We said that would give us time to save money for costs, and just get some things in order and not add any more to our crazy life. One thing I've learned very well over the years, is God has a way of shaking up your plans.

It became very clear to us, that we needed to start now. Things almost started falling in to our lap, instead of us pursuing them, and we both knew that this is what we were supposed to do. So, we made the decision to accept the calling to adopt. But, with that, we knew if we were going to adopt, we would have to sell our house.

We went from the end of February and having 7 or 8 months to prepare for adoption, to March 4th and deciding to adopt now, and also somehow sell our house. I know, we just entered a whole new realm of crazy.

We decided to wanted to put our house up for sale in mid April, because we had a lot of projects we needed to get done. We had no idea how we were going to get any of it done, much less, actually keep our house clean enough to show it. Add in planning a community family fun fair/vendor show/fundraiser and my husband working 48-72 hr weeks, and we were tapped. Like, beyond tapped.

I spoke with a friend of mine who is a realtor, and had been asking her a bunch of questions about listing. By Wednesday, March 25th, my house had reached a whole new level of mess. Boxes, clothes, dishes piled high, paint cans strewn about, mess after mess after mess. One of those messes that you hope and pray that no one knocks on your door, or that there isn't an emergency and firefighters have to come into your house kind of things. HORRIBLE. I looked at my house and decided I wanted to crawl into a hole instead of clean because it was so overwhelming.

At 4pm that day, I get a message from my realtor, that says 'So... I have some buyers from the cities who might be interested in your house. (don't freak out, but...) What do you think about letting me do a very informal showing on Saturday morning?'



Oh if she could only have seen my house at that moment.

But what do you say? I mean, here is a chance, and you never know who is going to buy your house, so of course, yes!

I worked endlessly from Wednesday night to Saturday morning. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, painting, you name it. I was up from 5am every day and didn't go to bed until midnight. Clean, clean, scrub, scrub, ect ect ect. My body was crying by Saturday morning... like sobbing... uncontrollably, except I couldn't actually cry, I had no time, nor energy for that.

The house was shown, the people liked it, but no offer was made. Josh and I kept praying, if God called us to adopt, our house was going to have to sell. But now, our listing date was going to have to be pushed back, because there was going to be no way we were going to get some of the big projects done in time. We did show our house to one other couple who had randomly heard about our house and wanted to see it, but we didn't hear anything back, so we assumed neither couple really wanted it, even though we thought they were totally missing out, because we happen to think our house and land are pretty gosh darn awesome.

April 12th comes along. I had gone to church with my 3 boys, and had to talk in front of church, and by the time I got home, I was crabby, and so very tired. I took a two hour nap with Jared, and when I woke up, I find a text message on my phone and a missed call from my realtor. Text message read, 'I just sold your house.'



No. friggin'. way!

Like... really? We never even listed.... and neither couple ever came back for a second look... really??? REALLY?!?!

My first thought? Thank the Lord I do NOT have to keep my house spotlessly clean!!!

Three days later, offer has been signed from the very first couple who looked at our house, and granted everything goes well with inspections, our house is SOLD!

Yep. That is what I call a 'God Thing' right there. 

He calls you to do something = He will make a way. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

pull them in close

As I sit on the floor, surrounded by piles of paperwork, notes, bills, and the like, a sweet little boy comes walking towards me. Remote in hand, cheeky smile on his face, innocence and naughty-ness all rolled up into one chunky toddler face with kissable soft cheeks. He comes closer, and I know what he wants; he wants to be held for all of 5 seconds, before running off to the next thing to get in too. Soon his little feet are standing on a pile of paperwork I've worked hard on, and files I don't really want in more of a mess then they already are.

"No, no." I caution as I try to push him back.
Instant concern crosses his face, he did something wrong. He pushes harder to get to me, messing up my mess more.

"Jared, No, no!" I told him. Tears fill his baby blue eyes, and he pushes harder still to get to me. I hadn't yelled at him, I hadn't hurt him, but his little mind didn't know those things. What he knew was that he was scared, that he had done something wrong, and he wanted his Mommy.

I scooped him up, put him on my lap, and within 5 seconds after getting his reassurance that he was safe, that he was loved, he was off, playing with buttons on the TV and getting in to his brothers things.

(What? Not me Mom, I'm as innocent as can be!)

Why I am telling you this story? I realized that often times, it's harder to push our kids away from us, then it is to draw them close. I know, contrary to what we've heard, but hear me out here.

Kids WANT to be loved. Kids WANT to feel safe. Kids WANT Mommy and Daddy to shower their love on them, and to know them. Kids WANT us, their parents.

I think kids are so forgiving for this reason... they don't want to stay mad at us, and never talk to us. Well, they might for a short while, but at least in their young years, they really want us.

Sometimes we create more of a mess, like I was doing with my son when I was pushing him away, when we try to push them away. Unintentionally, I was pushing my son away because I was concerned about my work, about crumpled papers... how often do we do this in life? How often do we push our kids away because we are talking on the phone, because we are checking our facebook, because we are tired, worn out, working, don't know what we're doing, feel like we will mess up, or are in a bad mood? Are we creating a mess in life, and hurting their feelings when we could take just a minute to pull them in, and reassure them that they are safe, that they are loved?

Yes, my son is still running around being a little stinker, as is his nature, while I blog this. The difference from before? Well, it wasn't that hard to move my papers; my mess was my fault, not his. But more so, he keeps coming up to me with the same cheeky smile, with his innocence and naughty nature shining through those glorious glowing cheeks, wanting just one second of attention and love before getting in to his next mess. And I embrace it... and in turn, there has been a lot of giggling this morning, and far less tears!