Friday, March 26, 2010

Inspired by BREAD!

Moving just takes a lot out of a person, doesn't it? Whew...we've been here for 3 months now and it's like the whirlwind is finally slowing down- just a little...

We moved just before Christmas, then celebrated Christmas, celebrated New Years, unpacked more boxes, restarted school for the kiddos (we have 5 at home this year doing school plus Angel Baby), I traveled back to AR for a few days to tend to some business issues, Hubby started his new job (he's gone all week), I started painting the house (starting in the kitchen), we celebrated Valentines Day, I continued to unpack boxes, paint some more and decorate a little. Then St. Patty's Day rolled around and Hubby and I flew to AR overnight to finalize all the business stuff. Hubby went to work, there was more schooling for the kiddos, more unpacking and organizing, lots of playing outside (because all the snow melted!) and lots of laundry!

This house is quite a bit smaller than our house in AR so it's been a challenge finding homes for the things we need. We're blessed to have a basement and garage that we're using to store the things we haven't found room for (and didn't have the heart to get rid of). We've moved quite a bit in our 12 years together and I think this was our most challenging yet (probably because of the 6 children, 6 animals and pack-up-to-leave-in-5-days issue).

It's felt like more of survival mode the last few months, just trying to get things back to normal and find our 'new normal.' The kids have struggled a little with not being able to be outside every day. We've had to adjust to the cold weather and all the snow (even though it was a mild winter here). Slow but sure I've felt some ambition and inspiration creeping back in. Being that I'm a type A personality, I always think about what needs to be done so I use that ambition/inspiration on the 'things' needing attention. I have a HUGE list of things I would like to do (fun things) but I always put them off.

A friend of mine brought this (cook)book to my attention yesterday when I said I was gonna make bread. I looked it up and watched the little video on Amazon.

I was blown away at two things: the 'container' method which keeps dough in the fridge for up to two weeks, and the 'freestyle' shaping method. I guess I realize these things are obviously possible but why am I not doing it? I love the idea of grabbing a hunk of dough, forming it and throwing it in the oven to be ready for mealtime. We eat a lot of bread and sometimes I am so rushed to get dinner on the table (or breakfast/lunch), carving out a 2 hour time slot to get our 5 loaves done at once seems impossible.

So, I am inspired by bread today! I'm inspired to dig out my ingredients and start creating some doughy-goodness! We've got 2 sick little ones this weekend so maybe the smell/taste of good ole homemade bread will aid in their recovery.

I'm hoping my ambition/inspiration carries over enough that I can get the bathroom painted this weekend! :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whatta ya think?

So, lately LOTS of folks have been asking me "When are you writing a book?" Most times this comment comes after me sharing part of our story/testimony. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I'm full of stories! :)

So, whatta ya think? Would you like to see more of our story? Would you like to know more about our background(s)? What would you like to know more of about us or our family? Do you think our story is book worthy?

Leave me a comment (even if you are 'Anonymous')...and tell me what you think!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Could it be?

I guess I'd forgotten how springtime 'felt' here in the Frozen Tundra. Today it hit me...the memories came flooding back. We so got lucky this winter, or maybe God had mercy on us, it was pretty mild- not too unbearable. With our two trips up here the end of September and then the end of November, we got a taste of fall before the snow hit. When we arrived with the moving trucks before Christmas, we were met with snow and sub zero temps.

As we were driving to the farm to spend the afternoon with my in-laws, I really noticed that spring is just around the corner. We can almost touch it...

The frost is just about out of the ground, this may be one of the shortest 'break ups' in a long time. We can see a change in our own yard- the snow is gone and the mud went from extra squishy to almost dry overnight. Sign #1.

We are in my great grandparents house, my family's homestead house, if you will. The basement has been wet and nasty for two days. This morning we went down there and it was completely dry. Sign #2.

While driving down a side road to get to the farm we saw 3 people out for a leisurely stroll. We saw families out in their yards doing the usual spring-clean-up (one girl in a tshirt). Sign #3.

It was 52 degrees before noon. Sign #4.

The sun was out! And it held some serious heat. Sign #5.

That certain smell. Different than Arkansas... that familiar smell of spring here in this place. Sign #6.

As I looked around at the trees and the little bit of snow still in the woods, I couldn't help but think, "Almost, guys...we're almost there...just a little while longer." Isn't that what we think as Christians too? Almost guys...we're almost there...He'll be here soon...just a little while longer...

Spring brings new life. Spring brings fresh hope, new beginnings and a breath of clean/fresh air! Spring puts a skip in our step. Spring brings sunshine. Just like Jesus.

My aunt told me awhile back that the longer we're here, the more memories will come flooding back. She's right. We've been here just about 3 months now and the random memories are just crazy! A road we take to go somewhere, a certain corner, a familiar treeline, a smell, or just seeing someone from WAY BACK!

The other week I had a memory about my grandma and her 'slick bottom boots' that she had to wear every winter. She even had these metal gripper things that she would slide over the toe of her boot that was supposed to help with traction. I laughed so hard about that memory! What made me think about it? Who knows. I followed my aunt around in the grocery store that same week, pushing her cart for her as she filled it with groceries. Just walking behind her, watching her mannerisms...made me cry. I so missed her. I'm so happy to be here and to be back in this place that I call home. All the old memories and the new ones we're gonna make, they're all so precious.

I'm a big people watcher. I like to watch people and how they interact with each other and with their families. I noticed a few years ago, on a trip home, that the closer I got the more 'ordinary' the people looked. Just like me. Do you think that about your hometown? Do you think you 'look' like those people? Do you think like the people in your hometown? I think there's a certain way about people, a certain familiar-ness about people who live together in certain communities. Maybe it's the way of life in that region. Maybe it's a difference in culture and/or the heritage of the people living there. My Hubby is a big, tall, blond headed Scandinavian. I didn't see anyone that 'looked' like us when we were in Arkansas. So, when we returned home there was a certain comfort in blending in with like minded folks. And a certain comfort seeing old friends. And of course, the comfort of being surrounded by lots and lots of family.

So, with all of that, I'm waiting on spring. I'm waiting to get my hands dirty in the backyard garden. I'm waiting to see my kids playing outside with all of their happy, carefree smiles. I'm happy for our fresh start, our new beginning. And I praise God for that.

Monday, March 08, 2010

I found the cord!!! Oh- happy day...

Decorating our Christmas tree (in AR). Just weeks before our insanely crazy idea to move- BEFORE CHRISTMAS!

The boys hauling firewood (with Hubby) up to the house (just 2 weeks before leaving AR).

These pics were supposed to be for our Christmas card (the one that never went out this year because of the move!).

Grandma came to see us as we were packing up. There were boxes everywhere, pictures off the walls, etc. We sure do love Grandma, and we miss her SO much!

BFFs saying goodbye... or see you later...

The girls saying goodbye to their most favorite dance teacher ever- Ms. Kim!

Our family Christmas picture- in Arkansas...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

It all started with.....DOG HAIR!

Oops...time got away from me! Sorry!! I hadn't been writing on here for so long that I'm out of the routine...

Today started out good- but I was frustrated with DOG HAIR! You see, our Arkansas dogs must be thinking they are still there because they are now shedding uncontrollably (it's just about spring in Arkansas). I somehow thought their bodies would acclimate quickly to the snow and cold weather of the northwoods and they would be 'on schedule' for the climate here. But, I guess everything takes time... So, none the less, we have a disgusting amount of dog hair that is floating around. I confined the two big dogs to a section of the house while their going through this phase- I figured it would be contained better and easier to clean every day... So, we armed ourselves with dog brushes and the vacuum cleaner every day trying to expedite this process. Probably a hilarious thing to watch from the outside but you just have to understand my extreme dislike for animal hair! **Side note: We have 8 people, 3 cats and 3 dogs in our new (smaller than before) home. And it's winter so we can't bust out into the outdoors just yet...

Anyway, all that to say that I started sweeping, dust mopping and sucking corners out with the vacuum to find any possible stray animal hairs before I felt a freak out moment come on. (Ha! I can laugh at myself on this...hope you are too!) Hubby surprised us and came home early last night from working away. He (and his mama) took all the kiddos to see great grandma in the nursing home this morning. So, I got them all packed up and I vowed to clean and clean some more by the time they got back.

I put some music on and began the morning pick up routine of toys, folding blankets on the couch, gathering stray water cups, finding misplaced hankies (we've been sick on and off for 3 weeks!), and switching the wash out. It was while I grabbed a stuffed animal off the floor upstairs and returned it to Princess' bed that I became overwhelmed with thankfulness.

See, usually I am praying throughout the day for God to give me the strength (and patience) to be the absolute best mama I can be to the kiddos He's given us. Usually I am praying for discernment and patience for what feels like endless bickering and bantering back and forth. Not to mention our sweet, overtired, teething, sick/runny nose Angel Baby stuck to my pant leg. Usually during school time I am bombarded for hours with "Mom, I need help. Mom, I'm frustrated (tears streaming down). Mom, I doooonnnnn'tttt wwwwwaaaannnnttt toooo ddddoooo sssccchhhooollll........all the while falling down across the couch and into a heap on the floor as if his back just broke in a million pieces and he lost all of his strength to go on even one more moment.

Usually I don't get a moment for my bath and to get dressed much before 11am (or even by lunch sometimes). Usually things get cluttered everywhere-very quickly...and I have just about as much disdain for clutter as I do animal hair. I'm constantly needing to remind myself that I am doing God's work, right here as a stay-at-home-mom. This is my mission field and this is THE most important and most special job for me. I'm always reminding myself that I need to have joy in the runny noses, the getting up at night to comfort bad dreams, the endless piles of laundry and dishes and yes, even the bickering. Because you see, this is a gift I've been given. A very precious gift.

And that's why thankfulness hit me head on this morning. Thankfulness that God has given me a man who loves me more than anything else in this world. A man with a heart as big as the sky. A man who will love and protect his family before anything else and a man who will do anything to take care of us (like work away during the week during these tough economic times so we don't have to go without).

Thankfulness that we have a roof over our heads and extended family coming out of our ears who love us and support us. Family who stops in to see how we're doing, family who calls, emails, and texts to see what we need and if there's anything they can do to help. Family who has welcomed us home with open arms as if we had never been gone, as if 5 years was a blink of an eye.

Thankfulness that I have beds to help make, stuffed animals to pick up off the floor, laundry to (endlessly) do, dishes to (endlessly) wash, noses to lovingly wipe and foreheads to smooch on. Thankfulness that we have so many kids and so many animals, it's because of all of them- all mixed up together- that we constantly have so many smiles and giggles going on around here. We have children with very happy and carefree hearts.

Thankfulness that God has recently shown me that our obedience has not been in vain. He's shown me that love is breaking through and that we are truly winning the heart of our (almost) 17 year old daughter. What a precious gift all in itself! All of the tough times in the past and all of the turmoil hasn't been for nothing. We've continued to do what He's asked of us, never looking back, trudging forward, and we're beginning to see fruit. Whoa.... it almost seems miraculous...

All of these things are priceless. And yes, I'm even thankful (today) for our dogs. :)