Sunday, July 28, 2013

We found a place we can call home.

We have been in Saint Charles 3 1/2 weeks.  The ups and downs of the past 3 1/2 weeks have made it feel like 3 1/2 months;)  We have visited a couple GREAT churches.  We have read through countless church websites online and thus far, though time is logically short, we have felt uneasy about jumping in anywhere.  NO church is perfect so we know we could get involved anywhere, but in an intangible way nothing so far has seemed to fit, though we are chomping at the bit to just get involved!

Last week, I was sharing this with my dad.  Sharing our heart of wanting to be in a church body where we can use our gifts but also feel supported and apart of a community.  It seems a small order, but thusfar we haven't found that fit.  After listening to me, he suggested he introduce us to some friends from their church who left in January to be apart of a church plant where their son was becoming family pastor.  Church plants have never been something on our radar.  It seems there are enough churches, right?  Yet, we trust my dad 150% and at the very least this couple seemed like amazing people.

They invited us right away to dinner at their home last night.  We shared our stories of what God has done in our lives.  We prayed for one another.  We heard all about this church plant.  We were intrigued.  It was obvious God is at work there and we immediately knew we had to visit this morning.  We just wanted to see what God was doing there and see if this meeting was a "God thing".

I didn't sleep at all last night.  I tossed and turned wondering what in the world we were thinking.  We can't be involved in a church plant.  We love to serve but we also need to be in a place where we get support ourselves because we are bringing home a very special little boy one day (hopefully SOON?!).  I worried about our kids and bringing them to a strange place just for our own curiosity.  I prayed a lot for clarity and purpose.  I prayed that God will quickly show us where he wanted us to be.  The church is an important part of our lives.  It is like our family, it is the avenue Jesus choses to reveal himself today and not being committed to one even for three weeks has felt hard- like we can't feel settled here until that peice of the puzzle is in place.  I prayed that God will clearly show our children too so wherever he led, they were equally excited to be.  I prayed Marc and I would be in 100% agreement.  I prayed that he would use us for his glory and purpose, no matter what that looks like.

We arrived a couple minutes late to Rivercity Church today because our GPS was a little confused.  Right away Risa greeted us, the children ministry check in went fabulous.  The kids were excited to go into their classes.  We joined in worship.  Nothing was flashy and nothing was shotty.  The worship team, was just worshipping Jesus.  The congregation was just singing and listening.  Yet, both our hearts knew almost instantly we were home.  I can't quite articulate what a blessing it was to sit in church and know we had just connected with the place our hearts were longing for here.  There are lots of opportunities to serve, but also amazing people that will spur us on in our own journey and support us.  It was almost like getting hit with a fire hose, it was so clear he was answering our prayers and directing our steps.

God is at work.  God is active and God is personal.  I don't know all the reasons he moved us to Saint Charles.  I know there are blessings, like living near family and a really good friend, but there are also heartaches of saying Goodbye to people we love and a church body we LOVED being a part of.  Yet today we were stunned by how clearly he answered the desire of our heart.  Immediately people were interested in who we were, in our story, in hearing about Christian.  I felt a crazy amount of love for people I had just met.  People showed great interest in not just us, but our children.  I can only describe it as, Home.  We found our church home here.  I shouldn't be surprised at all, we were seeking God and trusting him to lead and he promises to direct our paths...yet, I stand in awe, cuz he is SO Amazing, so gracious in not prolonging the process, so....God.

Monday, July 8, 2013

New pictures of our son!

What delight!  Our program director just returned from Haiti and tonight in my inbox I had a case status update.  We are waiting for "an extract of his birth certificate to be released from National archives".  Please pray specifically that our crèche director will be able to obtain this THIS week.

We also received an recent developmental assessment.  He is ahead in gross motor and behind in fine motor...all boy;)  Her email said, "I hope your family is interested in tackle football, because I think you have a contender.  Christian is a little tank!!"  He'll fit right in 'round here, don't ya think?;)

And to top it all off, she sent us the following pictures from July fourth...I could just die!  Is he not the cutest little thing?!

Miss this kid like crazy!!!!!  Please continue to pray that he is home with us very soon!  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

My probably less than eloquent update

Obviously, I did not blog through the transition of leaving Sheboygan as I hoped I would.  Sometimes pondering things in your heart takes all your emotional energy.  I didn't blog because my emotions were numerous and many and the goodbyes were hard and the leaving exhausting.  I hoped to blog in the extended stay hotel the week between move out and move in...and well, let's just say that being in a small space with three children was not very restful and left little personal time.  I hoped to move in quickly unpack and get settled and'll soon read that my plans certainly weren't in my control.

Goodbye Sheboygan
I hoped to blog wonderful personal stories about each person who blessed us in Sheboygan, but if I started the list would be endless and I would certainly offend someone by leaving them out.  Here are a few precious pictures from my personal goodbyes, moments so sweet my heart has cataloged them but words just don't seem adequate...or perhaps I am too tired yet to be able to articulate my heart;)

We spend the last two weeks in Sheboygan literally with dinner dates every night.  It was precious times of connection and farewells.  I asked the Lord to help me say goodbye well and I believe he answered far beyond my imagination.  Marc and I both agreed that we left feeling full to overflowing...full of love, thankfulness, blessings.

This is our Care Group.  Couples that have been through a lot together.  We have prayed, cried, loved, laughed and encouraged one another to keep going, to keep letting Jesus mold us into people and couples that glorify him.  My heart is so happy looking at these pictures and the ache of leaving this precious fellowship is equally profound.

 Sitting all pretty-like

 Probably the most accurate picture the timer took...these are my peeps, my heart connected friends...I so love them!

My bible study girls....we ended up calling our group "Tearful Tuesdays" because someone was crying every week.  The last six months held many difficulties for us- infant loss, loss of a father, moves, unknowns, friends with cancer...and yet so many joys and opportunities for service.  These girls are amazing women who love Jesus, one another and others...treasures to say the least

And a few pictures from our going away party...

 My friend Nikki specializes in making everything she touches beautiful and heartfelt.  Many friends brought YUMMY treats- peppermint patty brownies, truffles, banana pudding...scrumptiliumptious.

In the fishbowl are tiny candy bars with our picture and new address on cute.

 So many people we love...

A video of our time in Sheboygan...including a picture our our little man.  So many people in Sheboygan have supported us on our journey to get him home (and we are so close  to homecoming now;) 

Dear friends, for life...yes, they threw a special party, but they also enriched our lives for years to come just by the way they reflect Jesus so brightly.

Seriously, folks, we are blessed beyond words.

I had hoped the week we had at the Staybridge would feel like a vacation, but it was a hard week.  We had little space and the kids struggled with sleep.  We did have opportunities to help my sister and cousin who were both moving into THEIR new homes, and we got to meet up with some old friends.  It wasn't a bad week, just not the vacation week full of time for reflection that i had planned.;)

Closing went well this past Monday and we had a great plan in place for our move.  On Tuesday our playset was to be delivered and the bedrooms painted.  On Wednesday, the moving truck would arrive with our things, the kids were being cared for by friend.  Thursday we would unpack with the help of family and reward ourselves with a fourth of July dinner with dear friends who live just 10 minutes away.  We'd finish up by Sunday and be ready to settle into our new life.  'Member the verse that says not to boast about tomorrow, but to say if the "Lord wills" yeah...plans are just plans and reality is sometimes VERY different.  Tuesday I waited her for quite a few hours for the playset to arrive.  We were being given it by a MD friend of my moms, a great guy.  We payed Rainbow (it's original maker) to move it for us and set it up here for $1000.  A big price but the playset was worth much more.  The playset arrived about 2:30 and the guys were brought it into the backyard.  We were told it needed a new ladder and one of the legs that supported the spiral slide needed replacing so the set up would have to wait a week.  But after it was all in my yard, they guy proceeds to show me these tiny perfectly round holes and says, "be careful, this is bees".  He tells me these are carpenter bees and points out MANY of these holes.  As he leaves I google carpenter bees...and I start to panic.  They are a nuisance and wood with them shouldn't be moved.  I started worrying about my deck, etc.  I called rainbow and they lady on the phone panics and says, "it is against our policy to move playsets with any sign of carpenter bees"  I assure her, her employees just moved a play set with at least 50 signs of these bees.  It was a two day saga of getting them to pick the playset back up.  In the end, the MD felt terrible, he had no idea...and it was taken to a dump.  But just trust me when I say, were weren't dealing with kind service people and it was a headache and a half.

Wednesday, friends graciously watched our kids and the unload took much longer than anticipated.  As the boxes were the last to be unloaded, we got very little unpacking done.

Thursday, the fourth of July, we were busy unpacking.  My parents and sister were helping.  We were making good progress.  Mid afternoon, Ava calls down that the toilet wouldn't flush.  Thankfully we'd already unpacked a plunger and Marc quickly remedied the problem.  About two seconds after Marc returned to the kitchen, it started raining INSIDE our family room (directly under bathroom with affected toilet).  It was POURING water from our can lights and dripping water from multiple areas in the ceiling.  I have never experienced anything like it.  We were grabbing bowl, garbage cans, boxes, anything and the water seems to spring a new leak every second.

Pictures don't really do it was crazy.  

We shut off the water, called a plumber.  He talked us through some things over the phone, saving us the emergency service fees.  My dad found a problem in the toilet tank and repaired it.  The plumber and servicemaster both returned the next day.

THIS is what the room currently looks like...

And this is what happened in the bathroom...

We've unpacked what we can but the family room is now plasticed off and these crazy dehumidifier things are running...

This means, the living room, which we had finished unpacking is now packed full of family room furniture and boxes that we can't unpack and we can't get into the finished basement easily cuz the entrance is through the family room, so much disorder remains down there.  The bedrooms are done, except we are waiting bed frame delivery (we've downsized, so we ordered beds with storage underneath for the kids).  My perfect plans...are long laid aside.

Absolute insanity and I can't help but shake my head at the fact that a broken piece inside the toilet tank caused all this craziness.  Still among the craziness, have been many blessings.  The servicemaster guys is a Christian and invited us to Church.  He also has removed all the boxes and garbage from our garage (so kind because here you by for garbage by the bag...this has saved us lots of money!).  We didn't hate our bathroom but we didn't love it either.  We now get to pick new tile and I guess we just may love it after all is said and done.  Friends have been so gracious.  We had to cancel dinner on the fourth, but our dear friends bought us yummy Indian food the next day and just helped us laugh and relax.  Family and friends have come and unpacked like crazy so the space we have is very livable. Another friend offered to help with the kids tomorrow.

I have another opportunity to release the control I pretended to have...and it's all going to be okay.  This could have happened when I was hear alone and that would have been VERY difficult to manage. It could have happened after Christian came home and the chaos and people in and out would be difficult for a kid whose world was already turned upside down.  It could have been worse...we are safe and have really capable and kind people taking care of the problem and thank God for good homeowners insurance. is crazy and I haven't kept up on a blog...but if that is the biggest complaint I have, my worlds still a pretty great place.  We have a long ways to go to settle here, but all I have do do is look through pictures, glance at the flowers my bible study girls sent, read my texts and emails from dear friends and be reminded that God was very faithful in Sheboygan and he will be faithful here.  An adventure's already started....