Friday, August 29, 2008

Humbled, Once Again

Ahem. It is through swallowed pride that I must tell you of the blessing I received last night through tears and embittered spirit. Andrew was perusing Craig's List for rental ideas. This made me mad enough as I had already done that and emailed him the ones that I even considered viable options. I "knew" he'd find the worst possible one and insist we move there. Jokingly he said, "Here's one!" (I think he really was joking at first). When I looked at it I was amazed. First of all, it hadn't been there just hours before when I looked. Then, it was within a price range I know we can afford. It was twice the size of our house, not too far a commute (everything seems long once you've lived 2 minutes from work), and even had acreage. I insisted we look at it immediately because I still believed it would be a wreck or something terrible. On a whim we drove the family out to check it out. Immediately we both agreed it would work great. There was plenty of great places to home school and deliver a baby. It was a great space for the kids. We could afford it.
I don't know if our house will really be sold. Until it's a done deal, it's just not a done deal. I don't know if this is the property we're to live at temporarily. But, I do know God showed me that I can settle down and trust him for the other side of this. Enjoying the journey?? Ya, I gotta work on that.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Are You Serious?!

Well, I suppose this blog should just be considered some major venting and if I say something terrible, well, just don't hold it against me.

We countered that silly little offer on the house at full price ($20,000 different than his offer) with none of the extras he asked for. Of all the ridiculous things he accepted the counter!! A few months ago I would have been at least a tiny bit excited. Today, I'm... working hard not to swear. Are you serious?!! I am finally feeling settled in this diamond in the rough house. It's starting to look like a home. Yes, there are lots of things I'd like to update and remodel still but it is livable and lovable and unfortunately that means other people are starting to love it, too. I love my neighborhood and, yes, I'd like more room for the kids to roam but I love the convenience of the park, and Andrew's work, and the library, etc. etc. It's just been a great place to be. I felt convinced that God has been saying wait, put down your roots here, and I was great with that. I have so much change already, who needs to move right now. With the business not sold I see no reason to move from this place.

Now I'm looking at rentals and, of course, Andrew wants the most inexpensive/temporary property he can find. I have been in temporary, flexible, make-it-work-as-is for so long that this blow is just devastating to me. I feel the waves of depression creeping in on my heart, I guess I kind of feel let down and like too much is being asked of me. How am I supposed to teach home school in a tiny, crappy rental (which is what I'm assuming I'll be moving to)? How am I going to labor at home when it isn't my home? How long will I be expected to rent something before I can just buy another property which is currently selling at great prices? Are we buying the camp? Is there another camp? Is there another plan?

Ok. Venting over. I know these things to be true:
God's plan will be worked out.
If it's best for me and for the family to stay here, we will, despite how far we go in this sale process.
He has something on the other side that is ultimately far better for us and I can't fathom what it is.
My emotions are undependable.
God knows my needs and He loves to give me good gifts.
I should assume the position of an eager receiver of His good gifts rather than worrier of unknown outcomes.

Sometimes it takes a while for truth from the head to work it's way down to become truth in the heart!

Inspections start Wednesday at 8:30am. Hello first interruption to home school. Pray for my attitude.

My Encouragement Today

Last night Andrew worked late, really late, so late that it was actually early. I hate those days when I'm anticipating "relief", a change of face for the kids, and someone else to help carry the home load. I wanted to feel bitter since I'd not only been with the kids all day, I'd been in the intensity of teaching them all day. I decided instead that this was a special time with the kids and I wanted to make the most of it. We made it through dinner and headed up for an early preparation for bed then I read several extra books before tucking everyone in for the night. I love when we're reading books. Everyone is so quite and focused. We're sitting close and I think the best part is nobody is thinking about themselves and the injustices their experiencing, their thinking about the books. Anyway, it went well and I was so glad. When I finally went to bed though I was thinking about this particular moment in my life and all the newness of home schooling and the fact that we got an offer on the house last night (though it's one we're not accepting, we will counter it and you never know) and I was contrasting that to the intensity of our lives just a few months ago with all the unknowns and possible huge life changes. During that time it seemed that God just whispered in my ear and that everywhere I turned I was keenly aware of his presence. These days, he seems more distant. I even hear myself checking, "God... are you still there? Do you really have a plan for us?" Thankfully, years ago in a women's group that has eternally blessed me, I learned that God never changes, he is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. I will have changing emotions and feelings but that doesn't change the truth of who God is. I feel like bread dough that has come through some intense kneading but is now being left to rise. I feel the little yeast buggies doing their job but it's a really slow process and if you're watching it, it doesn't look like much is happening. So, those were my comforting thoughts last night and this morning's devotional was encouragement to take things one step further and fully enter into the peace that God offers. I LOVE WHEN I GET JUST THE ENCOURAGEMENT I NEED AND IT NEVER FAILS THAT IT IS THERE WHEN I SEEK IT. Thank you Lord for this from Proverbs 31 Ministries:

A favorite Bible passage of mine is in Ezekiel 47 where the prophet
experiences a vision of God’s temple. He is shown the Temple by a heavenly host
– perhaps an angel, or perhaps even Christ Himself. Out of this Temple, past
it’s altar, flowed a stream of water that became a massive river. Read for
yourself Ezekiel’s experience there:

“Then the man brought me back to the
entrance of the Temple. There I saw a stream flowing eastward from beneath the
Temple threshold. This stream then passed to the right of the altar on its south
side. The man brought me outside the wall through the north gateway and led me
around to the eastern entrance. There I could see the stream flowing out through
the south side of the east gateway.
Measuring as he went, he led me
along the stream for 1,750 feet and told me to go across. At that point the
water was up to my ankles. He measured off another 1,750 feet and told me
to go across again. This time the water was up to my knees. After another 1,750
feet, it was up to my waist. Then he measured another 1,750 feet, and the
river was too deep to cross without swimming.
He told me to keep in
mind what I had seen; then he led me back along the riverbank. Suddenly, to
my surprise, many trees were now growing on both sides of the river! Then he
said to me, ‘This river flows east through the desert into the Jordan Valley,
where it enters the Dead Sea. The waters of this stream will heal the salty
waters of the Dead Sea and make them fresh and pure. Everything that touches the
water of this river will live. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters
will be healed. Wherever this water flows, everything will live.’” (Ezekiel
47:1-9, NLT)

Are you feeling overwhelmed with problems, projects or decisions
today? Are you feeling mentally drained, physically spent, or spiritually numb?
Take a dip with me into the river of God, the river of healing, and be awakened
to life in God. Let this living water flow over, into, and through you today –
for wherever this water flows, everything will live.

Dear Lord,
forgive me of my sins and plunge me deep into Your river! This is where I
want to be. Cover me, wash me, cleanse me, heal me, and purify me. Make me
spiritually alive and in tune with You today. In Jesus’ Name,

Related Resources:
Do You
Know Him?

Try a Girlfriends
Get-A-Way Cruise
with members of P31 Ministries

Visit Rachel Olsen’s

Purpose for Every Woman: A P31 Devotional
Gen Eds. Lysa TerKeurst &
Rachel Olsen

Application Steps:
Spend a few minutes in
prayer, imagining yourself walking into the river of God. Feel the presence of
God wash over you as you turn your heart towards Him and receive cleansing from
His living water.

Plan a trip to a local swimming spot and get some
exercise as you contemplate living water. Invite a friend to come along, and
tell them about the river of God described in Ezekiel

Have I touched this river of life?
Everything that touches it will live (vs. 9).

Have I gone beyond
sticking my toes in – have I walked in far enough to be

Power Verses:
Revelation 22:1-2, “And the angel
showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from
the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of main street. On
each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with
a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Baby Name

Well... We've decided on the baby's name!! Andrew and I also decided that we would make a little guessing game out of the announcement of it rather than just telling you. Lucky you! So, the baby is a girl just in case you didn't know that and her name is 5 letters long. Good luck and there will be more clues to come.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day Two of Nordstrom Academy

I'm just kidding, we didn't name our home school. I know some people do but given our name... I just couldn't do it. It's strange, I haven't had time to blog in so long, then I start up with home schooling and I get two out right away. I think I just need the release after the balancing act that the day feels like. I'm definitely not confident or feeling like it's going smoothly, but today went a lot better than yesterday. Josiah said to me, "Mom, you're the best teacher." That really helped. Later in the day he said, "Home school is so much easier that real school." D'OH! I told him that I took that as a personal challenge.

Honestly, I just don't feel like there is too much more I can do to make it harder until the rest of my resources come in. I'm finding that the kids already know so much, that most of what is suggested in the curriculum is just a time waster so I skip it. I will start spelling next week so that will help some and I definitely see a need for some handwriting work, which I knew going into this. Other than that I'm looking forward to getting further into the year so we can actually learn some new things.

By the way, thanks for all the encouragement, today was better than yesterday and we still have room to improve so I guess we're right on pace. I have to add, I LOVE seeing the kids learn and it's worth it to push through the tough times for the times when I'm there to see the dots connect for them or to be amazed by how much they remember or to introduce them to a new thought. What a privilege I've been given!

As for the rest of life, Andrew will be showing the house twice today, not that I'm prepared but he helped out some, mostly getting his stuff out of the house which is really what I wanted for the sake of my own sanity anyway, so WIN-WIN. I really don't want to move until after the baby comes so I'm just not worried about cleaning up or making any kind of impression. Well, I guess either way an impression is being made... but most of the time I don't know them anyway!! I'm also meeting with the midwife tonight. So, it's a busy Tuesday. I really hope I just click with this midwife right off so I don't have to keep searching. If I can squeeze it in I'd like to interview one more just to have a comparison but we'll see how tonight goes. Based on her website photo it looks like she has purple highlights, that might be fun. (An update on the tub request: it's not a "No". Andrew is searching Craig's List for something that would work. Ya!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of Homeschool

Well, we made our way through the first day of school. Despite not having all my materials for either curriculum I think I was able to make it work well enough. The hurdles I anticipated did arise, like what do I do to occupy Sierra most of the time and Mia some of the time? I think I will learn some techniques as I go and considering we had a long (too long) day at the State Fair yesterday and everybody is tired, I think things will get better from here.

I definitely enjoy the times that have more flexible, child driven learning but I know that I have the important job of training up these students in the way they should go and that includes learning to focus through harder tasks and persevere through the end.

I am anxiously awaiting my Amazon shipments and the fulfillment of the ABeka order though, since those last tools will allow me to teach through the whole day rather than having to skip some parts. Part of me thinks I should have just waited until I get everything in first to begin but part of me thinks that just diving in will allow me to start figuring this thing out. I just hope that while I'm doing my figuring, I don't lose the kids enthusiasm.

Anyway, it's my break time but I just had to share that we survived the first day and the good news is that it can only get better from here!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I don't know how else to title this blog other than just saying... "Phew!" It has been a continuous whirlwind around here. A couple of weeks ago things were really clicking at home. Despite some little issues, like Josiah playing out the part of Where the Red Fern Grows on our walnut tree, things were going along pretty smoothly. We'd been enjoying swimming lessons at the Y and getting in some fun trips here and there, too.
I told Josiah I needed to measure the size of the damage he made on the tree so
I could keep track of if it got worse or not. He was pretending he was
Billy Coleman and had treed the 'coon up the biggest tree in the forest.
He was determined to chop it down!

Here's Sierra jumping into the pool!

Here's Mia jumping into the pool!

We celebrated Grandpa Davis' birthday, 08/08/08, at Roaring River Park, which was perfect since it was pretty hot that day and we could enjoy the coolness of the creek after dinner.

Then we made the big trip back up to Spokane to collect a good portion of our stuff, visit some friends and family, and share about Mongolia with the kids at Selkirk Chapel's Vacation Bible School. As far as picking up our belongings, regardless of what happens with the camp, I feel I've slept long enough with the mattress on the floor and I was ready for the kids to have their toys back so they had something to occupy themselves besides their deteriorating games of "Wounded Dog" and "Ninja Fighters" both of which ended in fighting or frustration. Some of the things we picked up will be for the baby, some things will help with home schooling, and somethings I just wanted back. Living without many of those things for so long has allowed me to look more critically at what we're keeping and purge some things from our home. That's a good feeling. Opening the boxes has been very fun as we get to enjoy all the things we have again. Already the kids' rooms are starting to look like homey, warm places to live not just white walled sleeping places. It's so exciting, but lest I get ahead of myself, I still have several more boxes to go as well as a cleansing trip to the Goodwill drop off site.

The trip to Spokane was another long trip, though, and it started out with a headache which later became a full blown illness. I'm so thankful we got to meet with some friends and family, and everywhere we went the kids had friends or cousins to hang out with. I sure wish I had been feeling 100% though. You know, when you don't see people very often you want to be at your best. Oh well, you take what you can get. The kids enjoyed playing with Grandpa Nordstrom's baby guinea chicks, jumping on the trampoline, riding the zipline, keeping the burn pile going and even celebrating Sierra's belated 3rd birthday together.

Mia and a little chick.

Sierra rides the zip line (Daddy's idea, not mine!).

Josiah manning the fire.
Birthday party water games with the cousins!

Lunch with the cousins!
As soon as we got back the kids' started getting sick and then the heatwave started. Boy, did I miss the air conditioning of our last house and was kicking myself for not finding and bringing back the air conditioning units we had up in Spokane. The house didn't cool down at night much so everyday we'd start out 2 degrees warmer and end up in the 80s on the inside. It wouldn't have been as bad if everyone was feeling good and we could head out for some cooler activities but as it was we were stuck inside just surviving for the most part.

Andrew had the state match cowboy shoot in the middle of this so he was off having a blast (as he mentioned several times) while I held down things here at home. Boy I can't wait until my girl's weekend in November!!! We did go out and visit he and his brother Tim to encourage them in their shooting and join in a cowboy dinner, fashion show, and raffle. It's so funny to be dressed totally normal yet feel so out of place when everyone else has morphed back to cowboy days. Despite sweating like crazy, Andrew didn't stop smiling the whole weekend and totally crashed when he got back.
Andrew in full cowboy gear in 104 degree weather.

As if this isn't enough I was trying to start school the Monday after the cowboy shoot so I was busily reviewing the curriculum and organizing like crazy to prepare. The school room is still full of tools, scaffolding, boxes, etc. etc. so we'll have to start at the kitchen table, but I suppose that's the least of my worries. I think the hardest part for me right now is that I'm combining two curriculum and trying to figure out how you teach 3 different levels. I decided to give myself another week and that's fine. We'll still start a week ahead of the public schools but we'll only be doing 4 days a week with field trips and extra work time on Fridays.

I'm also in the midst of trying to choose a midwife. Believe it or not, I'm looking to have a home birth this time. This venture started with the lack of insurance coverage and my very few choices of doctors or midwives in the first place but it has ended with a strong conviction that I'd like to labor more naturally and be in the comfort of my own home. I also have the reassurance of the hospital being only 2 minutes away from our house so if anything does go wrong we're really close to emergency help. I've noticed at the hospital that the more babies you have the less helpful they are anyway. Last time I was hardly checked on and we ended up leaving just a few hours after Sierra was born. I felt great and I really just wanted to see the kids and avoid all the germs of the hospital, too. Plus, comfort wise at the hospital, the epidurals I've had just never seem to work right, yet they still charge me the same. Why not have some practical encouragement for working through the pain, have the flexibility to move about and labor however feels right at the time and be in a familiar setting. Secretly I'm also hoping I can use this situation as leverage to get a larger soaking tub in the bathroom. It's a very long shot, "you're dreaming", kind of hope, but still... It sure would help. Anyway, this selection process and the personal education of how it all works and understanding the purpose of it all has been pretty time consuming in and of itself.

So, all that to finally say... I'm sorry I haven't been blogging more. There have been some neat things God's been doing and I long to share them in hopes they will encourage someone. There have also been some fun pictures and stories I'd love to tell you about, but, alas, I've got to wrap up some of these other things first.

I am very much at peace with staying put in Salem for now, obviously I've got enough on my plate just with our "normal" family stuff. Andrew was all set for a change and I think it's harder for him to switch gears back to same ol' same ol'. We still covet your prayers!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One Day At A Time

This is a picture of a bee busy at work collecting nectar and pollen from a blackberry blossom. I suppose it's too small for you to really see. He's on the top left blossom.

And here is a picture of that same bee in flight, on to the next blossom or perhaps back to the hive to leave his bounty. He's towards the top of the picture. I know very little about bees but I recognize that he's accomplishing so much for the blackberry bush just by doing his job as bee to provide food for his colony. Everywhere he goes he's leaving an important pollen trail behind him.

When I started this blog it was a way to record what would be a big move for myself and to chronicle how God had blessed us along the way. Of course it was also a way to keep in touch with family and friends, both near and far, as we prepared to move. The main title of this blog doesn't make much sense right now since we're not at the camp. But the second line, "Our journey in stepping out in faith to serve the Lord", still hits the nail on the head. This is a journey!
We still have some interested parties who would like to buy the business but as of yet nothing has come of that. The house has had a few nibbles but no bites. Meanwhile, our baby girl's due date gets closer and closer, as does the beginning of homeschooling for our family. How do we balance stepping out in faith and being prepared to move when the time comes, with living in the now? This is so different for different people and, of course, some opposing positions on this subject rear their ugly heads even within our marriage. Some members of the family say, "Let's just get settled here until the time comes then pack up and go. In fact let's plan to ride out these next coming changes first." Other members say, "Let's stay all packed up so we're ready to go faster. Those other changes can happen any where and be fine." Since one family member has a human being growing inside her and is trying to run a household with many things packed up or even in another state you can imagine which position she might take for the time being. LOL!

When you sense God's specific call on your life, the waiting time can be excruciating. Like Sarah and Abraham, who were waiting for God's promise of children to be fulfilled, it would be easy to take matters into our own hands and try to force things to happen early. They tried to fulfill God's promise themselves by producing a child through another woman... not God's plan.

Now I don't think anyone in our family thinks we're in exile but I do think the passage reflects my own feelings most accurately...

Jeremiah 29:4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the LORD.
10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

In my opinion, for some reason, we still have some time here in Salem that needs to be completed. So, I am choosing to really enjoy this stage we're in. The past three years have either been survival or a hurried preparation for service. I want to enjoy this house which is finally livable and to appreciate my husband's job which, for the most part, is pretty reasonable now. I'm choosing not to live in disappointment of what we don't have and to be open to what else may be. As for the details of how that looks in our day to day lives, well, that's still for Andrew and I to work out. So, I covet your prayers in that area. We need to compromise on how to live in this waiting time as we don't know how long or short it will be. However long it is, may we be like the bees and leave a beneficial trail of "pollen" behind us as we strive to be a blessing to people and every community that we live in.
Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff