This post contains awesome words and some mediocre pictures of our new house!

So, we've moved! I am currently sitting on a couch in the very first house we’ve ever lived in since being married! This is surreal, people. I was just telling a friend yesterday that it’s so weird to feel like a whole individual. I never realized that living in an apartment made me feel like an actual ice cube, in an ice tray (don’t judge, that was the first thing that came to mind and I’m tired.) Someone above me, beside me, in the exact same apartment, exact same porch, so many people. Now I feel like…a family in a house. It’s so weird. Good, but it really feels like an alternate reality. See? I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.

I honestly cannot believe I have time to be writing right now. My Joey, who just turned 6 months old, has been working on some teeth for, oh, I’d say, 6 months now. I feel an actual bump now, so that’s good progress. But he’s been such mean kid. A serious bully. And I’m afraid if I just keep feeding him because he’s sad and just wants to eat, his baby boobies will just get out of control. This kid is a chunk. So I hold him every second of every day and it’s really not fair that my arms look none the better for it. 
Do not let that grin fool you. He is a crazy bully baby.
I've been learning to build a fire in a fireplace, since we have one, and my first attempt was…let’s just say Jeremiah now tells everyone who walks in the door that “Mommy has now learned to make a REAL fire!” It’s this delicate balance of the right amount of oxygen and fuel, and you can’t smother it and you have to make sure you sweet talk it just the right way or it’ll get mad and turn cold. That is how Joey has been! It’s this delicate balance of formula and all of my attention, and if one of those is not there, he’s losing his mind and my other boys are like, “MOMMY! Joey’s crying again! Please! We can’t hear our movie!” Which, let’s be honest, them watching movies is the only time I’m NOT chasing someone up and down these wretched gorgeous stairs, or yelling pleading asking them to stop fighting for the love of all things holy

This is actual, rare footage of my boys not fighting..
or is Judah about to wack Miah with that basket of books?

Trevor’s job is going well. He absolutely loves it. It’s a pipeline job, which means sales take 4-6 weeks to fall in, so the first 2 months we were like, OK GOD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WE HAVE NO MONEY! We made this switch because 1- we were tired of living in the cycle of {get payed, pay bills, have a tiny bit left over for gas, run out of money, OOPS can’t save anything! get payed, pay bills etc.} and we knew that his position in Wells Fargo was NOT utilizing Trevor’s awesomeness. But I had to tell him that, because he really had no idea how awesome he is, and the gifts God has given him, and how those were NOT being used at Wells Fargo (to their full potential.) And when we both started talking about all these things randomly one night, 
and realized God had given us both the same vision and thoughts, we knew He was up to something. He had this new job 2 weeks later.

The transition has been rough, but it’s been SO incredible guys! We've reevaluated our priorities, and made the decision to fully trust God with our finances. FULLY. When we have no food, or enough money to pay our bills, we don’t turn to our credit cards, which are maxed out anyways (just being honest), but that’s not the point. We don’t open a new one, or whatever. It’s been a LONG time coming, this decision to really and fully just lay our financial fears and struggles at the feet of Jesus, and trust HIM to be our provider. For 5 years we've been so afraid to let go of control of finances. After brain surgery, we struggled so much. I was actually tempted to steal toilet paper from a business once. Isn't that so sad? And Trevor had to use his 1 free drink at Starbucks when he worked there, to bring milk home for us some days. We have come SO far, and it’s only by God's amazing grace!

Not sure why my kids look like creepy zombies in this picture....

I love seeing how He’s going to meet a need, because He’s so creative, and it NEVER looks like how I’d picture (someone coming up to me and saying, “God told me to give you 1 million dollars!) And we've truly committed to tithing a part of EVERY single money that comes in. And I can actually do it with joy now, even though we don’t have a lot. It’s so weird. I don’t say this to sound all holy, because we haven’t been making good choices AT ALL with money, and this is a new thing, a very new thing, and it’s hard. But guys, the closeness we feel to God’s heart, by following His leading and His commands, it’s just so freeing. We have this peace, this overwhelming assurance that no matter what happens, with this job, this house, our cars, our kids, each other, we will be okay because we are God’s, and God takes care of His children.

So that’s life lately. A lot of tears and gritting our teeth and praising God and walking up and down stairs and screaming babies and love and I wouldn't change any part of it at all. Just like a fire can burn you and cause damage if you don’t handle it the right way, it can also be gorgeous and provide warmth and that incredible feeling of coziness. I’m not sure how that ties in with everything I've just talked about, but take from it what you may, and know that I am really enjoying my new fireplace. 

We'll pretend this is what my dining room looks like right now...
This one's for you Dave.
I had to text him and tell him to send me a crazy pic of himself,
because I don't have any of him in the new house,
and this is a new house only post. Isn't he a hottie? ow ow!

PS- When we get around to it, which might be next Spring, we'll take one of those fun new house pictures with all of us in front of our new house. I've never been good at taking fun milestone pictures. it's part of my rebellious tendencies.

Things I am thankful for (because I never want this blog post to end and I need a good dose of perspective):
healthy children
a husband who loves me so well
stairs that help me feel alive
leaves to play in
my baby’s smile
friends, so many friends
sunshine streaming
Netflix and Amazon Prime Movies ftw
provider God
not taking myself too seriously 


BIG SIGH.....Saying goodbye to Daddy

I'm seven years old and I am safe. I am wrapped in Daddy's arms, a feeling of completeness and joy bubbling up through the tips of tiny toes to the top of my scruffy head. His scratchy beard tickles my cheek and I squeal. He laughs, his deep, hearty, manly laugh, and I know he loves me. He loves me and adores me and it doesn't matter anymore that he got mad earlier and took out his belt. It doesn't matter that the fire in this eyes burned bright just hours ago. This is who he is, he just gets mad sometimes. I'm naughty and if I weren't, he wouldn't hurt me. I have to try harder to be nice. I have to try harder to be a good girl. I want my Daddy to always love me.

I am 10 and I am standing in the living room, phone dangling from the wall. As it swings, back and forth, back and forth, I wipe a tear away from my eye. I knew he loved me. Yesterday was the worst it has been yet. My back, my legs, my arms still pound with the memory of his belt and anger striking over and over. But he called me from work, all the way from work, and he told me that before he would let anyone take me away, he would adopt me and give me his last name. I knew it. He does love me. I have to try harder to be good. I have to try harder to be nice.

I am 13 and we just left my Daddy's new house. He has a new wife. Some new kids. We are living with my grandparents, and now I know, sometimes grownups make promises they don't mean. Sometimes grownups tell you things and you put your whole heart, your whole soul into those words, and then you find out...those words, even though said in love and promise, were empty. Like how you feel. Empty. I am only 13 and I am empty. I won't see him again for 13 years.

I am 20 and I am newly married. I have my first little baby swimming around and around and all I want is my Daddy to wrap his arms around me and snuggle me close and tickle me with his scruffy beard. I have his address, found online through a Yellow Pages website, and I clutch it tight in wet hands. I have to write him. If he just knew I forgave him, if he just knew I was a pastor and had a family and was a good girl, he would want to be my Daddy again. He would write me or even call me and we would laugh and he would visit and it would all be ok. And I wait...I wait weeks, and months...and Trevor holds me as I sob and weep into his arms, not understanding why Daddy won't just talk to me. Doesn't he understand I forgive him? Doesn't he know I just want to talk?

I am 26 and his picture smiles at me from the front of the funeral home. My heart tightens. I won't cry, I won't cry, I won't cry. I gave him too many tears for too long. My memory dredges up the one picture of him I don't want to remember at this moment- at his mom's funeral, my grandmother, who took us in when we got taken from him. I wanted to go to him and tell him that even though everyone else hated him, I forgave him. I wanted him to meet my sons, everything was ok. As I stood there he ignored me most completely, never once making eye contact, skipping over me in a line of people as if I were a transparent ghost of the past he wanted to run from.

My sisters tears tear me back to the present, and I hastily wipe a single tear away from my own cheek. "Dammit. That's all you get. 1 tear." I rub her arm lightly and lean in close..."he can't hurt her anymore...he can't hurt us anymore..." Her sobs pierce my heart and I want to take all her pain, all the pain she carries around since our mom left for good. But that amount of pain isn't meant for me to take. Only One can take that kind of pain. If you could see the baggage she carries it would be a hot air balloon filled with cinder blocks, strapped tight to her heart....she tries to drag it around wherever she goes and she wonders why she's going nowhere.

All I feel is light. The darkness has finally parted. The burden has finally lifted. I have let him go and I will not bring forth images or memories of what he did to my mom. To my sisters. To my heart. This is the end of the pain he will ever cause me. This is where the woman is born. The girl is left behind, in this funeral home, and the woman, brave and confident will step out into the world, ready to fight. Not how they taught me to fight. Not with fists and lies and belts and hatred. This fight will be with the greatest weapon you could yield- love. This is a fight against abuse, injustice, idolatry, adulatory, faithlessness. I will fight for the widow, the orphan, the homeless, the innocent. His shadow no longer holds me down, holds me back in the darkness of fear. My Abba Father has set me free, I stand tall in the One who showed me what love really means. And I say goodbye to Daddy.


His WWJD bracelet and big blue eyes....9 years today

     He was tall and handsome and laughing next to a gorgeous blond when I first laid eyes on him. I can't tell you what it was about him that caught at my heart. Maybe it was the big, full smile. Maybe it was the blue eyes. Or even the red WWJD bracelet on his wrist? All I know is that with heart beating wild, I stopped him in the hallway one afternoon after Art class and invited him to Youth Group. He looked at me completely surprised, and said, "yeah. Sure." And smiled. I was done for. 

     Way before we became an official "thing", we talked on the phone for hours and hours and hours. No topic was off-limits. We dreamed of Heaven and giggled over cloud cars and trampolines in our mansions. He sang Shania Twain songs to me when I had a bad day. I yearned for him to hold my hand when I drove him to the Salvation Army parking lot where he was to be picked up after church. And I thought of him as I drove to visit a college 2 states away, wondering where this friendship was leading us.

     The night it became clear to me that I wanted to be with him forever, he had just gotten his driver license. I had just gotten off work, and there he was, sitting in the parking lot of Runza, big goofy grin pasted thick, eyes shining. I knew it was the night to tell him I loved him. I had brought my "future husband" folder with me, prepared to utter the 3 words I had only ever told my daddy. I wasn't going to wait for him to make the first move. I knew I loved him. I knew he loved me. And it was time to officially start dating. Everyone knew we were headed that direction, and tonight was the night. 

    We sat there, nervous, both of us feeling the seriousness of the moment. It was December, cold and frosty, the van was warm, and my heart was beating wild. I brought out the folder, more sure about him than I had ever been about anything in my life, that he was the one I was to give this to. I was only 17, he was only 16, and it felt crazy, but love makes you do crazy things. 

     He took it with tears in his eyes, and he told me he loved me. It took me several minutes to say it back, the fear of past boyfriend's words and actions plaguing, fear of committing myself so thoroughly to another person. But as I said those words, I felt peace. Great, rushing peace. What was God doing? We had only known each other for 3 months, and it already felt like years. He was home, he was family, he was my future. 

     Our first kiss was on the floor of my grandparents living room, country music videos playing on the TV, and he got a bloody nose and bled all over my face. I was mortified. Not only because we had just kissed and that was new and weird, but also because HE JUST BLED ALL OVER MY FACE. We laugh so hard about it now, but then, oh my young self was so disgusted she didn't talk to him for days. During our first dance his braces cut my forehead and we just knew, one day, all these moments would make us laugh in remembering those awkward growing pains of young love.

     9 years....it's been 9 years to the day since I saw him for the first time, and my heart really does still beat wild. When he's holding Joey and singing to him, rocking him to sleep. When he wrestles with the 3 big boys and gets them to laughing hard enough to give them all the hiccups. When he's talking about his love for Jesus and his passion for ministry. When we're sitting together on the couch in a silent house and I look at him and see that 15 year old boy, so different, so changed, with the same big heart and blue eyes. 

     He is home, he is my family, he is my future. I don't know what that future holds, if I will have to say goodbye before I want to, or if we have 80 years left together...but I'm no longer afraid, because my God is able to sustain me through anything. Right now, I can grab Trevor's hand any time I need to, knowing it's always there to hold me up and lead me on.  

     Today, I celebrate what God did 9 years ago when he brought us together, high school sweethearts, young and crazy and in love. And  we're still young and crazy and in love, with 4 beautiful babies that daily remind me of their incredible daddy. Thank you, Lord, for, in your wisdom, bringing Trevor into my life almost a decade ago.
Joining hands

Just married