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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A grand adventure begins!

Our house full of boxes waiting to be packed

We are moving.

A crazy whirlwind of events are happening. 
We've been interested in moving to the country for a while now.
We want to experiment with livestock, gardens, orchards, and bees.
We started a casual search of houses a month ago...just for fun.
We had strong feelings that the Lord was directing us to a particular house.
Suddenly we are barreling full-throttle forward. 
We are closing on our new house on April 28th.

We came across a great-looking property at an amazing price (it's so cheap because it's a fixer-upper). Here's the details:

It's 15 miles from the nearest grocery store. 
It's 5 miles outside of the nearest 'town', population less than 2,000.

It has 4 acres of property.
It has very old oak trees towering over the yard.
It already has a pasture fenced off for livestock.
It's in a nice equestrian neighborhood.
There's a neighborhood pool.
It will take a month of hard work to make the house even habitable.
We can't move anything into the house until then.
If we're lucky, we can move in during the last month of my pregnancy.
We have two Cub Scout troops volunteering to help clear all the trash. 
They get a merit badge for the project.
The house and yard are absolutely filthy.
The current occupants never used a trash can. Or the dishwasher.
The dishwasher is full of dead leaves and cigarette butts.
Our new church congregation is already arranging a service project to help.
Families will come together and deep clean the house in one big day of service.
I'm a complete stranger to most of them.
I feel so blessed by the Lord to have so much help.
So many little and big miracle are happening with this transition.
It's very humbling to see the Lord so completely taking over.

The front of the new home

My favorite tree in the yard. The trunk is over 3 feet in diameter!

In our current house we are working at breakneck speed to get the house ready for the market. There is so much to do- repainting, new carpets, moving out furniture so it will stage nicely, cleaning up the yard, etc. 
We are trying to get  it on the market before we leave for my sister's wedding. That's not much time. 

Maybe more miracles will happen to get us there.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sunny Moments

Dan enjoys a music lesson from Daddy

I was blessed with a wonderful day full of life's little sunny moments today. I'm so thankful for life's little joys.

Daniel and I took the van for scheduled maintenance. We sat on the pavement in front of the van and watched the process while I taught him the little I know about engines and how oil functions in the engine. To Dan's delight, the mechanic in the pit waved to Dan from under the car, then the upper mechanic brought over the new oil filter for Daniel to sign before it was installed. Dan was so proud to have his signature incorporated in our vehicle. The mechanics brought parts of the van to us and explained to Daniel what they do. They also secretly gave me a discount for the services- which I didn't realize until I checked the receipt after we left. It was so nice of them!

While we waited for the van work to be finished, we explored a little grassy meadow next to the store. We picked dandelions and had contests to see who could blow the most seeds off in one breath. We giggled and enjoyed the sunshine and the butterflies. We played for an hour together, watching the little bugs scurry about in the grass. I'm so happy for little moments like this!

We went to a park and hiked in some undeveloped oak woods. It was so fun to explore the little creek and listen to the water babble on it's journey. The birds were calling loudly above our heads and the breeze made the leaves dance on the trees. There's something so fulfilling in wandering around large trees, out of site of the houses.

We watched squirrels dig up hidden nuts, then Dan dug in the dirt with a stick to find more. It was like looking for pirate's treasure to him.

I feel so blessed to have a day like this with my son. We found such pleasure in life's little joys. It makes me want to move. To the country. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What we've been up to...

Here's a rundown of our family's activities for a while...

Guns. I've always felt uneasy around them, and have never wanted one in my home. Recently we had an experience where I believe we had a home intruder (can't know for sure since I hid in my room with the door locked until Nathan came home, so I never actually saw the person). I was so terrified. I realized that I needed some sort of home defense, so I began researching guns. I arranged a girls-day-out with some friends to the indoor shooting range so I could at least fire some guns and start practicing. Here are the results of my first try:

The one on the left is the target from a 12-gauge shotgun. They only let me use slugs on this range, so the kickback was really intense. I had a bruise the next day and I only fired 5 bullets on that gun! It really helped me overcome my fear of the guns though, so a handgun was a piece of cake after dealing with that monster.

I should tell you that I hate loud sharp sounds like gunfire. I can't stand hearing a balloon pop- this is why I don't take gigs requesting a balloon twister. I was so nervous to use these guns and hear them explode. When I first entered the gun range, there was a man on my left firing an AK-47, and a lady on my right practicing with some sort of cannon- I don't know what it would be called, but the barrel was a couple inches in diameter. Imagine those going off right next to you in an enclosed cement building. It was deafening, even with ear protection. After a few minutes of that noise, my own gun seemed like a baby's toy.

Valentine's Day- I completely missed posting about this because we were in the midst of drama with Sarah's intense infection last month. The children woke to a Cupid-style breakfast. Scottish oats with blueberries, homemade bread with homemade peach-blueberry jam, and pink milk. Daniel took a few excited bites, then tentatively tried to fly!

My sweet darling made me a complete Indian dinner from scratch. He worked on it for hours, then we enjoyed a delightful dinner together after the children were asleep. MMMM! Chicken Tika Masala, Palak Paneer, Hot Naan, Saffron Rice, and chutneys. A perfect meal! I love gifts of time, they are so meaningful.

We enjoyed having visits from Cupid- have I ever explained our Cupid tradition? I don't recall if it's already on this site. Cupid flies to the windows to peek in the rooms. He hates chaos and messes, so it's important that the children clean their rooms so Cupid will want to stay. He is also very shy and will fly away if there is contention, so if we want to make him feel welcome, w sing songs together. If there is love and harmony in the home, he will stop for a visit. When he visits, he leaves treats and little token gifts on the doorstep. The gifts are given in one big bundle, and the children practice equality skills in working together to divide the treats amongst themselves. It's really fun and the kids look forward to it every year. It's one of my favorite days as a mother- the children were cleaning cheerfully (gasp!) and singing together all day. It really makes for a beautiful day in our home.

We took a home school field trip into Austin to see the Slim GoodBody show. It's a musical comedy show that teaches children about anatomy and physiology. It's done in a kind of Broadway style. It was a-maz-ing and we really enjoyed it. Before you ask, yes- yes I did check Matthew out of public school for the day. I'm one of 'those' parents. I think he learned more at this than he would sitting in a desk all day anyway.

Afterwards we played on the UT campus grounds for a long time. The children all played in the fountains until they were absolutely drenched. Thank goodness for warm Texas winters!

The rest of February was spent dealing with Doctor's appointments and severe illness with Sarah's infection. We were worried for a long time. Thankfully the Lord blessed her with a return to health. Her lab work yesterday came back clean, so now it's time for the specialists to investigate her kidney function, access scarring, and do lots of invasive exploring to make sure her body is working properly so we can avoid another round of this E. coli playtime. We are immensley thankful for modern medicine and for health insurance.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Something to pray for

What do you pray for each morning and night?

I pray very fervently that my children will be safe from evil influences and their testimonies will grow strong. I am a very protective mother and I feel so strongly about protecting our children's innocence as long as we can. I really want them to know WHO they really are (sons and daughters of a heavenly king) and WHY they are here (to learn how to return to God's presence and serve others).

I feel very overwhelmed at times at the way the world is trying so viciously to attack our families. I cry in frustration and anger over the filth is being pushed towards our bright young children by the media (this is why we don't have TV reception). There are so many ways our children are being targeted...I don't care to go into a long depressing blog entry, so read this website if you want to know ways to analyze your own family life and see the subtle ways Satan's messages or dulling influence can creep into your home.

I know that I can't keep them safe from everything, no matter how much I desire to be the shield between them and Satan. I know I need the Lord's help in raising a strong family.

This week I had an epiphany moment. Some day, my children will get married. Those future spouses are growing up in this same world and being forced to make tough choices each day. Some day those people will join my family, and they will become my new children. I feel like I should pray for them now as much as I pray for my own children.

I shared my feelings with our family and asked if they would also like to pray for their future spouses. Matthew's prayers have been the sweetest. Yesterday he said, "Bless bless my sweet wife to be safe from evil today". Today he prayed, "Help my future sweetheart make good choices today." I love how he used the words 'sweet wife' and 'sweetheart'.

Matthew enjoying our weekly Sundaes on Sunday