Saturday, September 22, 2012

Free to Fly

Image by Katie Daisy of The Wheatfield

    I woke up Thursday, like I had for several days, with a knot in my stomach. Four weeks before, when we'd accepted an offer on our home, we agreed to let the buyer take possession on Friday, the 21st. Our realtor was confident that our home could close by then, and so we agreed to this. If all had gone as it should, we'd be long past the inspection period and the appraisal would have been given to the lender at least a week prior to us having to move out. Even if the sale wasn't final, we should have been past the point of it falling through. Instead, as sometimes happens, the whole process had been delayed. The appraisal had been done very late and still hadn't been sent to the lender. We were in a position of having to honor our contract and move out of our home before we even knew if it would appraise. Because we're not moving into another home, this also meant selling off the bulk of our furniture and possessions and stepping out completely in faith. 

    As I glanced over my Facebook newsfeed on the morning of Moving Day, I came upon the image of this beautiful butterfly. Whoever shared it had added the words, "It often takes a leap of faith, a deep reserve of patience, courage, and trust, and the desire to create possibility, something better, for your child, your family. Once you find your wings, the world is yours to explore." It was just what I needed on that weary morning, a reminder that the labor must continue, and that like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, so we must struggle until we find our wings. Due to the uncertainty of the appraisal, it certainly was and is a leap of faith. Patience is needed, as we still haven't heard anything. Courage? Yes, it can feel pretty scary to move out of a spacious home and leave a secure job in order to pursue a different sort of life. Trust. I've thought a lot about this one. We are not trusting that everything will happen the way we want it to. Rather, our trust is in a loving God, and in His promise to work all things for our good, to care for us and give His peace regardless of the circumstances. We make our plans but it is He who directs our path. 

   And that last line about the desire to create something better for our family, it certainly rings true. To give our children the experience of seeing things they would otherwise only hear about, to let them experience firsthand what it's like to live in different cultures, to teach them to follow their own dreams and explore the wide world; this is what we want for them. We want Erik to get to spend every day with them as long as we're able, to create memories that will last a lifetime. We want to do these things while they are still young, before roots grow too deep and make it harder to go. 

    And so we pushed on through, packing, sorting, making endless decisions. What to keep, what to get rid of. Sell, give away, throw away, put into storage, take with us. I watched as my home was stripped of it's decorations, its furniture, the things that had been part of it for so long. I tried not to think of someone else living there. I held back tears as the memories flooded over me. Two college guys came and took away the red loveseat where I snuggled my kids every morning, where I spent countless hours breastfeeding hungry babies and reading stories to my kids. Little Pearl watched as they drove away with it in their truck. When all was done, Erik and I walked through a clean and empty house, dark and quiet. All that was left were a million memories of a life shared. I let the tears flow freely as I entered rooms with no sleeping children to kiss, no toys to step over, no cheerful drawings gracing their walls. I pointed out a little chart Poppy had drawn in the closet, one that will probably live on beneath a new coat of paint. The sink, for once, was clean, with no dirty dishes left for a moment with more energy, no remains of a meal cooked with love. My dear mother in law remembered that I said I wanted some leaves from our cherry tree. It was the tree we planted in honor of a baby we never knew. I will never taste the sweetness of those cherries, just as I never knew the sweetness of that baby's smell or the feel of her in my arms. Someone else will pick the fruit of that tree, never knowing what it meant to me. I tucked those leaved beneath the pages of a book that will come with us. It truly does take courage and trust to walk away from all of that, to believe that we are creating something better. 

    Right now I'm sitting in the sun, listening to the waves roll onto the Oregon coast. It's a gorgeous morning here. We've come to get away for a few days, to leave our cares behind, enjoy one another's company and that of Erik's parents, who worked alongside us for the days leading up to our move. There was a timely reminder in my inbox this morning to keep my mind from worrying about the future and simply enjoy the grace of this moment, for it's all I've been given. God has brought us this far. I will hold dear the memories we have and look forward to our future. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, let alone the next day. But today there is a wild coastline to explore and precious people to share it with. And that is enough. Today I can choose to fly, to let my heart soar like a wild seagull and enjoy this moment with my family. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering Esther

My friend Shelley sent these to me when we found out. 
    Tomorrow our country will remember and pay tribute to the many people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Today I think of the little baby who flew away at this time of year 6 years ago. There are many things I could say, but I think I've said most of them in other posts I've written about miscarriage. My heart doesn't hurt as much as it used to, and that's okay. Esther Bihana Hope lived in me only a short while, but she was dearly loved and is missed. Sometimes I wonder what she would be like, which of my other kids she might have resembled. I wish that no mama ever had to go through the pain of losing a baby. It is a blessing when people remember with me. She is a part of our family, a baby we never got to know and hold in our arms. At this time of year, I often think of her and remember those very difficult days after her loss. I remember the numbness and the pain and being surrounded by so much love and support. At the same time I give thanks for the four healthy children I do have and the life God has given me. I've always thought that sorrow digs deep, but love fills that space, and the more we have hurt the more we can love. I pray for healing and grace for all who sorrow, and for love to fill the hurting places. 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

flip & tumble: a giveaway

    There are a few things that come with me wherever I go. One of them is a little stash of reusable cloth bags made by flip & tumble. Not only do they hold a lot of groceries, but they're great for dirty laundry, beach towels, snacks for a day trip, a night at Grandma's, library books, etc. The kids each have their own and whenever we're going to be in the car for a while they fill it with things to keep them entertained. Cloth bags are a dime a dozen these days, and I've tried several different styles. These ones are, hands down, my favorite. I love that they tuck into the attached pouch, and because it's stretchy they squash up easily. They're also small enough to keep one in my little purse. As we prepare to embark on our journey, these bags are going into the "must pack" pile!

    We took a few of these to Mexico with us last year and they were perfect for our daily walks when we often stopped to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. It made me so happy not to be adding more plastic bags to landfills. I made a mental note at that time that these would go with us wherever and whenever we travel. Last fall I won three more of them in a giveaway on flip & tumble's Facebook page. When I told the friendly owner how we planned to use them for travel she generously threw in a few extras so each family member would have their own! She also included a set of their produce bags, which we've found to be useful as handy storage for Legos, electronic cords, and more when we're on the move.

    I ended up with a few more bags than we really need and would love to share them with someone else. I have two fantastic flip & tumble bags to giveaway, so leave a comment and I'll choose two winners next week. Please make sure you can be contacted so I can find out where to send your bag! I'll ship anywhere in the US or Canada.

    Do you have a favorite product that you don't leave home without? I'd love to hear about it.

Photos from 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012



pend·ing  (pndng)
1. Not yet decided or settled; awaiting conclusion or confirmation.
2. Impending; imminent.
1. While in the process of; during.
2. While awaiting; until.

    This pretty much sums up what life is like around here these days. On August 24th we accepted another offer on our home and we're in a process of preparing and hoping, yet knowing that nothing is actually "decided or settled". It ain't over 'til it's over. We have to act like it's a done deal, carry on as if we will indeed be moving out of our home on September 20th. We pack, we sort, we stare at walls that are looking a little bare, we plan the yard sale. We see friends "one last time", we cross one thing off our list only to add two more. We plan, we prepare, we wait. And we do all of this knowing that until we sign papers it's actually anyone's game. 

    My house is messier than it's been in weeks, maybe months. I'm not missing the stress of knowing a realtor could call at any time, but I've traded it for a countdown, piles of boxes, and a myriad of decisions to be made at any given moment. The kids have picked up on my mood and have their own belongings strewn about, sorting them into boxes of things to keep, gifts to give, items for the yard sale. I love their enthusiasm and willingness to let go of possessions that have been special to them. Granted, this is a lot easier for some than for others, and I'm trying to encourage each one to do what's comfortable for them. Peregrine enthusiastically brings me more and more things he's ready to part with and Poppy holds on a little more tightly. 

    So, what's next? That's the big question, and we're working hard to come up with an answer. Here's where we run into that bit that says, "Not yet decided or settled". Because of the possibility of the sale falling through, we don't feel we can make any plans that would commit us financially until we sign. You know, plans like buying tickets to Peru, that sort of thing. (Cough, cough.) Likewise, Erik doesn't want to give notice at work until the sale is finalized. He's talked to his supervisor and made them aware of the situation and they'll be fine with him only giving one week's notice. So the plan at this point is to be out of our home on the 20th. After that Erik will work one last week and we'll stay with some friends in the area. 

    While our long term goal is still to travel internationally, we have a number of good friends and family members we want to see before we blast off. When we looked athe places we'd need to go to see them all, we decided to make a road trip of it and spend October and November traveling around the US and Canada. We're actively searching for a used travel trailer that will be our home on wheels during this time. The kids are super excited about this idea, and that makes me feel good about it too. I think it will be an easier transition for them, giving them a place to call home while allowing them to see that home isn't really tied to a location. (Did that make any sense at all?) 

    So that's where we're at in our journey. It's exciting and a little scary, but we feel at peace with things. I'd love to have everything lined up and sure, but that's just not real life. Ever. We fool ourselves if we think we know what tomorrow will bring. It's good for us to live in that reality, trusting the "Wind" to blow us whichever way He chooses and actively looking to see Him shining light on the path as we walk forward in faith, one step at a time.