Friday, October 31, 2014

Is It Just Me, Or.....

Is Halloween odd?  I mean, let's think about it.

1. Children are dressing up in costumes.  Ok, that is not so odd, I suppose.

2. People are spending money on candy to give to children they don't know dressed up in costumes {see #1}.
3. What the kids are getting isn't even good for them, which leaves parents with some options:

a.) Throw the candy away.  {This is a waste of money though, really!}
b.) Give the candy to people to give to others. {Which isn't really helping or making anyone more healthy.}
c.) Eat the candy.  {Which again, goes back to b. ~ it doesn't help us or make us healthy.}

So, what is the point of Halloween?  I'm not sure I get it.  And, I'm not sure I have really thought about it, until just now.  Thus, this post.  What do you think friends?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

You Owe Your Family Your BEST Self!

You are worth it!  I'm not sure what your story is, what your struggle is, what your hardships are, but I do know this.  You ARE worth it.  At first, when I was learning to take care of myself, I felt guilty. I felt bad.  I felt like it wasn't fair to Chad or my kids to take 30 minutes to myself to work out.  {What is funny about that is that when I went to the gym, I didn't feel guilty at all!}

I also felt guilty about the amount of money I was spending on groceries, the program I was using, etc.  See, what's the root of this - GUILT.  Guilt over working out, guilt over spending money on myself, etc.  GUILT.  Know what?  Guilt isn't from God.   God doesn't want us to feel guilt over taking care of ourselves.  We are called to be good stewards of what He has given us.  Our bodies are temples of God {1 Corinthians 3:16-17}, so we are called to be good stewards of what He has given us.

You owe your family your BEST self!  So, why not take care of yourself and give them that? You are not being selfish if you take care of yourself, friend.  It's important to watch what we put into our bodies {clean, whole foods, water; nothing processed or chemical laden}, that we get enough water, that we eat the right amounts of the various food groups and we exercise.  We need to have energy, endurance and stamina to keep up with our fast paced lives, as well as our kids!  You can't do that if you are eating a bunch of junk, not getting enough water or exercising.  I'm sorry, but that doesn't work. I know because I have been there, done that.  I remember being exhausted around 2 pm every day and not having energy to focus on Lauren after school. I remember not eating regularly and being HANGRY all the time because I wasn't getting proper nutrition.  I was just burnt out and thought it was life.  Ya know what, it wasn't! It was my lack of self care.  Once I learned how to take care of myself ~ eating well, drinking enough water, exercising, getting proper nutrition, etc., I had more energy. The hangry times were gone and I felt alive!

You deserve to feel alive too!  Your family deserves for you to feel alive!  This is YOUR life, you get one chance.  Are you going to LIVE it or wish you had the energy to?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Be Stronger Than Your Excuses!

I love this quote!  This has been my motto for the past 10 months.  Excuses, we all have 'em! What are some of yours?  I'm not __________ enough?  I'm too _______?   That won't work for me?  I'm not like that? She is ________ and I'm not?  I can't?  I have too much _________?   I don't have enough?  There is an excuse for EVERYTHING under the sun, isn't there?

But, ya know what?  You ARE stronger than your excuses.  You just have to tell yourself that. Looking at my journey over the past 10 months, I have had every reason to not work out and eat well. We weren't living in our home anymore.  I was homeschooling.  It was summer, so I didn't have time being with the kids ALL.THE.TIME. I was stressed so I pigged out all the time to relieve stress.  I lived with my in-laws and couldn't work out there.  Ya know that I say to all that - BULL TONKEY. BULL TONKEY.  

I got up early this summer so I could work out.  I made room in my in-laws family room to push play in the mornings while we lived with them.  I changed my exercise routine so I could work out when the kids were awake if I needed to {I found a new, shorter program}.  I stopped turning to food for comfort and support, because you know what I realized? IT NEVER MADE ME FEEL BETTER. IT ONLY MADE ME FEEL WORSE.  I OVERCAME my excuses.  I was STRONGER than they were because I believed in myself and know that I am worth being the best me I can be for my family. See, something in me changed when I learned how to take care of myself.  When I realized me taking care of myself was making me feel better, it was helping me be more kind, patient, loving and gentle with our kids, it was helping me feel more comfortable in my own skin, it was giving me confidence, I knew it was worth it. When you pour into yourself and care for yourself well, it automatically spills out onto others.  Don't you want that?  Don't you want to be able to pour into others around you because you are full?  I do!  

So, what's your excuse?  And, how can you overcome it?  Unsure?  Let me help....I'd love to be on this journey with you!  I BELIEVE in YOU and you ARE worth it!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Interesting Thing About Grief....

I have been grieving the past 10 months. Grieving over loss - loss of our home, loss of our old routine, loss of familiar, loss of eventually, Sioux Falls.  This includes all of our friends, family, church home, etc.  The interesting thing about grief is it can come out of no where.  I remember one day being at a Hy-Vee on the opposite side of town from where we have lived.  {Remember, we moved into an apartment on the OTHER side of town?}  And, I just wanted to cry because my old, familiar Hy-Vee was gone.  Silly, I know, but grief.  Hits out of no where.  Things like that have been happening a lot on this journey.  Things I didn't think I would grieve over, I have.

I'm also finding that the old "coping mechanisms" I used to hide or squelch the grief aren't as effective as they used to be.  I used to be able to think about something happy, something I was excited for, something that would take my feelings off of my true feelings/emotions at the time.  Ya, tried that during our last worship service at church.  It didn't work.  I had to feel the grief. The sorrow.  The sadness of loving these people we have known for less than 2 years and poured into, as they have poured into us, to know we won't be seeing them as often anymore.  The pain of loss.  It stinks, friends, it does.

I think the hardest thing about this move {we have moved around A LOT, as you may know!} is that for the longest time it felt so uncertain where and when we would be going somewhere.  We knew it was coming, but the details were unclear.  When you don't know when or what is coming next, there's not much to be excited about.  When you're not excited about the next thing because it's unknown, you have to feel the feelings about the present situation.  My old coping mechanism was to be so excited about the new house.  I would look online, start decorating, arranging furniture, planning ahead to avoid the feelings I was feeling.  I would also look up information on preschools, churches, everything I could so that I could not feel the sadness associated with the loss of community we were leaving.

But this time, I couldn't do that.  I had to sit in the unknown for so long and just feel the sorrow.  Feel the grief, feel the pain.  Yuck. Even now, since I'm going "home," I don't need to do all that research. So, again, I sit with the feelings.  Grief is hard, y'all.  But, I do know once we move, get settled, find a church, etc. the community component will come.  Thank goodness for technology so we can keep connected to those we are leaving behind in Sioux Falls.  But it still hurts and grief is still hard.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

South Dakota Reflections

As it is our last Sunday here in South Dakota, I'm finding it hard to say good-bye.  While we have only been here for a few short years {2, to be exact}, those years have been deep and rich. Deep and rich in relationships, love and care.  I would call our stint in SD one of great stability. Let me rewind a bit for you.

When we were preparing to leave Illinois, God spoke to Chad during worship.  The jist of the message was "your family isn't perfect, but there is a lot of stability there."  He then had a picture of a tree with deep roots.  {Back up more here - Chad's family is here, so essentially our move here was a move "home" for him.}

That picture has been so spot on as I reflect back on our time here.  Stability.  Something I needed. Something our family needed. Something I wanted, but didn't know how to get.  See, when Chad was traveling with his Illinois job, that was unstable.  When would he be gone?  For how long?  How would the kids and I do solo?  It was tough.  I would even go so far as to say I was emotionally, mentally and physically unstable at that time. As a result, the kids were too.

Moving here, stabilized us.  We discovered Lauren's sensory challenges and food allergies. She stabilized.  God gave Chad and I an awesome mentor couple to come alongside us and help work through some of the kinks in our past that were affecting our marriage and family.  We stabilized as individuals, and as a couple.  Ya know what happened then?  Our family stabilized too. My mentor and dear dear friend said "when you get well, your kids get well."  She was spot on. We have gotten well and our kids have too.

I can't say enough about our church family. They are amazing people who are real, who love God and are welcoming, loving and embracing.  I knew it was "home" the minute we walked in the door in late December. Thank you, Sioux Falls First for investing in people for the Kingdom.  We love you!  It's been a great, deep, rich ride South Dakota! Your state motto rings true ~ "Great Places, Great Faces."  I would add Great People, too! Thank you!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Homeschool or Not Homeschool?

If you have been reading about our life adventure over the last 10 months, you will know I have been homeschooling our kids in preparation for the move.  The long term plan has been to homeschool them until we move and are settled in our new location.  {Depending on where we landed, of course!}  Now that our destination is known, I am surprised at the mixed feelings I am having thinking of NOT homeschooling.  {Am I strange or what?}

See, I've not really considered myself a "kid person."  I'm more of a "business person," "adult person," "productive, don't like to be interrupted type of person."  That's been the hardest part of being a stay at home mom for me ~ the lack of productivity {in my eyes} and the continual interruptions.  I really enjoyed the times I've had when the kids were in school so I could run errands, clean the house, make ahead freezer meals, etc.  You know, accomplishing things!  So having a "never ending summer" has been somewhat of a stretch for me.  I've learned a lot, I've grown a lot and for the most part, I think it's been good for our family.  I'm somewhat sad to think about Lauren being away all day again and I'm somewhat sad to think about Lauren and Landon not being together all day.  But, I also think the time apart might be helpful for us all.

I guess I am just surprised I feel this way.  Part of me wonders if this is about me liking a challenge and wanting to see how homeschooling would be in a home, settled, without all of the other things we have had going on.  The things I originally worried about with homeschooling {socialization, etc.} haven't really been a problem.  We have been blessed to have playdates with friends who also home-school or on non-school days for them, so we have certainly been able to keep up with friends. All in all, it's been a good experience.  For now, the plan is to send the kids to Christian school when we get to Indiana.  I'm open to homeschooling if for some reason the adjustment to school doesn't go well, it isn't best for our family, etc.  So, I guess as with all things, we take it one step at a time and see what God has for us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How I Learned To Care for Myself

I didn't always feel this way about myself.  In fact, quite the opposite, to be honest.  I was a chubby kid who learned to use food to self soothe.  At one point, I struggled with anorexia.  After being in one side of the ditch {anorexia}, I went to the other side of the ditch with over-eating. Sounds like my relationship with food has always been "off" eh?  Correct.

You are welcome to read my whole story on my website.  Since I've already documented it there, I won't repeat myself.  Issues.  I have 'em.  Sure do - stemming from childhood. Things just kept getting piled on until I was a heaping mess.  Sure, I looked good on the outside - I could have my face "on," hair "done," right clothes "on" and look perfectly normal.  However, it was a mask.  On the inside, I was a hurting broken person who had looked for significance in most areas possible ~ you know ~ accomplishments, work, performance, right crowd, etc.  I was always upright and moral, so don't let your mind run away with you.....I suppose food was my drug of choice.  Had a bad day?  Go home, eat 1/2 a container of ice cream.   Someone hurt my feelings?  Go home, eat a sleeve of cookies. See where I'm going here?  Food soothed me. Until it didn't.

When someone gets sick and tired of being sick and tired, they are ready to change.  BUT, they have to be ready for the change to occur and "stick."  In February of 2014, I was ready. I was tired of the vicious cycle I was on ~ eat well, then binge {clean eating, gluten free foods, of course!}, then try to drag the kids to the gym to work it off, only to continue again. Do any of you know what I'm talking about? A program called the "21 Day Fix," was just released.  It focused on clean eating, portion control, water intake and exercise.  "Great, I can do that," I thought.  "It's only 3 weeks and I already eat clean and work out.  Easy peasy, right?"  Know what I learned from that program?  My portions were way off, I wasn't eating the right foods and I had no idea how to exercise effectively.

Initially, I felt guilty spending the money on myself for the program and then I felt guilty for taking time to exercise.  See what's wrong with this?  It's based on shame.  I didn't think I was enough.  I didn't think I was worth investing in to learn to change my eating habits, to learn how to exercise effectively, to learn how to break the cycle.  But you know what?  I AM worth it.  You ARE worth it. Everyone who is living and breathing IS worth it.  If you are a busy mom like me, you are pouring out into your family all day, every day.  That will only last so long. Eventually, you will burn out.  Your bucket will run dry and you will have nothing to offer.  I have been there, it's not good for your family.  I am passionate about helping people learn how to take care of themselves.  You gotta start somewhere.  Are you ready?  Let's DO this!

Monday, October 13, 2014

His Ways ARE Higher Than Our Ways....Lessons Learned & Staying Sane

While we were on our journey, I told a friend we had been in this "waiting season," for 9 months. Her reply was "perhaps it is a type of gestation period," a birth of some sorts.  Interesting thought. Actually, out of curiosity, more than anything, I googled the number of weeks it was from when we learned the news and decided to look elsewhere to the day Chad got the offer.  Any takers on amount of time?  Um, 40 weeks and 3 days.  HELLO GESTATION PERIOD.

The other interesting thing that happened during the last "trimester," if you will is prophetic words spoken over us while we were in Illinois were starting to make sense. In fact, one night, Chad and I both remembered the same word and shared how Purdue made sense with that word.  Things spoken over us 4 years ago were coming to pass.

Moving to South Dakota was instrumental for us.  Chad and I healed in many ways.  We were healed of things we didn't even know needed healing.  God did a mighty work in us during our short time here.  I believe that is why we came here, because God had a greater purpose for us.  His ways are higher than ours, remember?  We are leaving here whole and secure in who Christ made us to be.  If we hadn't gone through that healing journey here, we wouldn't have been able to do what we have been doing the past 40 weeks.  Prior to this, the unknown, uncertainty, living in a tiny apartment, etc. would have given me either a panic attack or a heart attack!  But not now!  I am changed.  I am healed.  I am whole.

What I find the most interesting is that when Chad applied at Purdue seven years ago, I really, really, really wanted to be there.  Our pastor at the time said "you have no idea how good life could be if you would let that go."  I did let it go and decided I didn't really want to go back.  I was fine being away. Not that I didn't like it there, not that I don't love my family, but there are things from childhood that have happened there that are hard.  Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes, things happen that hurt. Some experiences leave you wounded.  But, you can't run away from them.  {Yes, I would like to, ok?}   Sometimes, the best thing to do is walk into them, holding Daddy's hand.  As Pappaohey Island says "do it afraid."  So, I'm doing it afraid, because I believe God has a great plan for our lives. He is the God who restores, heals, and mends the broken hearted.

The other cool thing about God is that the whole time this was going on, I just desperately wanted to know where we were going.  However, looking back, if I would have known we were going to Purdue this whole time, I wouldn't have been ready or likely willing to go.  It took us going through this gestation period to be ready to go.  To trust it was God's plan for us.  The other cool thing about God's timing is that I can now see I wasn't ready to go back to Indiana 7 years ago.  But, I am now.   So, let's do this!

While I am nervous, I am excited for the great plans God has for us in Indiana.  I have no idea what they are, but I know they are going to be wild, they are going to be great, they are going to be full of Him.  {Jesus Culture.}  Thank you, for being a good God to us.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how I stayed sane during this journey, especially since I was asked that question on facebook :)  So, here are some ways I stayed sane on this long journey:

1. I had daily devotions.  I would wake up at 5:30 before the family to read, pray and spend time with Jesus.  This is vital!

2. I was consistent with my food intake and exercise.  This was another benefit to being up so early - I got my exercise in before people needed me :)  {In the beginning, Turbo Fire was great for getting some aggression out, however, now I'm doing PiYo.  It keeps me grounded and I'm tired, LOL!}  I am so thankful for the 21 Day Fix I did in February.  It ended my vicious cycle of stress eating!  I was a stress eater, so I'm sure I would have been bigger than a barn had I not done the Fix in February.  It truly changed my life.  Perhaps it was a control thing - I was able to control something? Either way, I am thankful I was able to stay on track with my nutrition and exercising because of what I learned doing the 21 Day Fix.  

3. I had regular massages.  I took care of myself.  Some people call it a luxury, I politely disagree....for me, it is self care.  I did get pedicures too, I will call those a luxury :)

4. I continued to meet with people who encouraged me in the journey.  With everything going on, it was easy to be down, so it was important to meet with people who could lift me up.  SO SO SO thankful for my church family at Sioux Falls First!  I continued to go to Bible study, and of course, we continued to go to church as well.

While I could not control my situation, I could control myself.  That was the only thing I had control of!  I guess to sum it up, I took care of myself ~ spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally and socially.  This is something I am passionate about, so let me know if I can help you take care or yourself, too. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

His Ways ARE Higher Than Our Ways....Part 5

So, of course things had changed for us!  Out of sheer desperation of not finding a job after almost 9 months of looking, Chad reached out to his contact at Purdue.  {Of course, earlier in the week, I had noticed a posting there and prompted him to reach out.  Not really because I wanted to be there anymore, but because it looked like a good job, we knew people there and at this point, it wouldn't be terrible to be there.  Remember, we have been in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment as a family of 4, while homeschooling!}

They had a nice chat and she told him more about the role, as well as some other opportunities he could look into.  Some at Purdue, some with other contacts she had elsewhere as well.  The job they discussed that he would be the best fit for happened to be closing in a few days, so he needed to apply quickly, if he was going to.  Reluctantly, we applied for it.  {Not because it was Purdue, but because it wasn't what we envisioned.  I elaborate more in tomorrow's post.}

Around that time, I had been having some strange dreams that I believe were from God preparing me and my heart for this move.  Dreams about people and places in my past that had been significant.  It was interesting, yet freeing.  My mentor and I also processed some of these things and some of the feelings I felt surrounding our move.  I felt stupid that we sold our house and moved without knowing where we were going.  I felt let down by God that He hadn't provided a job yet.  I felt frustrated and was really starting to doubt.....

As my mentor and I processed and prayed through these things.  I saw a picture of myself standing in a field of flowers.  They were white and beautiful.  I was free ~ holding my arms open wide.  I was happy.  But, I noticed the flowers were white and I wanted yellow flowers.  It was that day I knew we were going to go to Purdue.  You see, when this journey originally started, I wanted to go somewhere warm, tropical, sunny and with a beach.  Somewhere where we could be outside year round, somewhere where we could have a pool.  You know what I'm saying?  Not the midwest!  And, certainly not that close to "home."

Shortly after the image of the flowers came to mind, I had an outburst of anger during our homeschool day.  So much so that I started stabbing the homeschool book with children's scissors.  I was mad at God for taking us back to Indiana, I was mad that it took this long, I was mad that we weren't in our house, I was mad that I was homeschooling, I was just mad.  At everything.  That outburst was on a Friday afternoon, and wouldn't you know it, that Sunday at church, we had a guest speaker.  He talked about Moses, and how he responded in anger towards the Israelites and as a result, missed part of the blessing God had for him.  Get the picture here?  I am Moses, my children are the disobedient Israelites and I am responding in anger?  It was true of what was going on in the walls of our tiny apartment.  Then, he proceeded to talk about how Moses repented and led his people to a land he didn't want to go go.  WELL.  HELLO!  I understand!  I am Moses and I am going somewhere I don't want to go.  Thank you for the warning!  That Sunday, I knew in my spirit, we were going to Indiana.  While I had felt hopeful about the other jobs Chad had applied for, I could not say I knew we were going there.  This was different.

A few weeks after this, Chad had his interview at Purdue.  Did I mention that it was the same department and the same people he had interviewed with 7 YEARS BEFORE?  Yup.  Truth.  See where this is going?  He had his interview, it went well and we learned it was down to him and 1 other person.  HELLO, it's the same song and dance we have been through this whole time!  He is in the final 2.  We also learned the person who was also interviewing worked there currently and had been there for quite some time.  We knew Purdue liked to promote from within, so when he shared this information with me, I knew if God wanted us there, it would happen.  He interviewed on a Thursday, got home on a Friday.  He was told that they hoped to make a decision by Monday.

Monday came and went.  Nothing.  Discouraging, really.  We had been down this road so many times before, waiting to see where we are going.  Is this the one?  Will this get us started on our new life? It gets depressing after a while, honestly.

Tuesday came and about 1:30 in the afternoon, Chad called, saying he had an offer from Purdue!  I knew it.   We were Boilermaker bound!  I had mixed feelings about it, to be honest.  Thankful it was over.   Relieved we FINALLY knew where we were going.  Happy to be out of limbo.  Sad that the other opportunities didn't work out.  Grateful the other opportunities didn't work out.  Weird about going "home" as an adult.  Not sure what to expect.  Not sure what it would be like to live in the same town as my family.  Just a lot of uncertainty.  And, a lot of sadness about leaving our friends, family and church home here.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

His Ways ARE Higher Than Our Ways....Part 4

We lived with Chad's parents for about a week, then decided him being in the car 2 hours a day wasn't worth it to our family.  So, the search for an apartment began.  Thankfully, we found a place quickly and moved in a week later.  4th of July was the move in date, so we were off and running.  We moved into a great place on the west side of town with a swimming pool, so the kids were thrilled with that.   The hard thing is it was a small place, 2 bedroom apartment, so the kids have been sharing a bedroom.  Remember in my previous post when I said all of our things were in storage?  Yah.  That was kind of a problem.  We were able to get the bare minimums out - beds, couch, tv, table and chairs, etc. but the rest of our things were well packed, labeled, taped up and placed who knows where in our large storage unit.  So, a quick trip to Wal-Mart was a necessity to get what we needed - you know - plates, cups, utensils, shower curtain, etc.  It was like we were camping....the never ending summer! LOL!  {That explains why I am still wearing flip flops....all my other shoes are in the storage unit!}

What came up in me that I wasn't ready for was the grieving.   I was grieving over my home, I was grieving over my things being locked up in storage, I was grieving over acclimating to a new side of town, new grocery stores, only to have to do it again once the REAL move occurred.  Talk about emotions!  On top of the emotions/roller coaster associated with the job hunt.  Chad got an email saying they would like to interview him.  High, great!  I start looking into the city, schools, houses, etc.  He has said interview, then we wait.  Wait to know if he advanced to the next round.  He didn't advance?  Sad.  Ok, let's keep going.  If he advanced, he goes on the interview, then we wait.  You see the cycle - high, low, low, high, high, high.

This cycle continued all summer!  As school began to approach, we didn't know what we would do. There were 2 jobs Chad was really interested in.  Since he was a finalist for both roles, we both went to the interviews at the end of July.  They were hoping to decide soon, so we would know where we were going before school started again.  We were hopeful we would be out of Sioux Falls and in our new city before then.  We had to be - there were 2 great jobs!  In fact, one of them, we knew he was the top choice going into the process, so we were certain we would get an offer from them!  When we were there for our interviews, I learned the woman who would be his boss is a sorority sister, so he is a shoo-in, right?  Not so much.

Looking back on both of those jobs, I can say God intervened.  We should have ended up in both cities, if not just one.  With the job mentioned above, the President of the hospital did not like any of the candidates, so wanted to start a new search.  However, had the woman who would have been Chad's boss been able to decide, we would have been there.  {This is the kind of stuff we kept running into.}

Then, the other particular job, the one he skyped with the day after the sewage flood, remember that? Well, this whole process started in March.  They had 400 candidates, narrowed it to 10 or something crazy like that for the skype, then 4 they brought in for the in persons, then the final 2.  Chad made it from the list of 400 or however many there were to the final 2.  Our trip there was lovely, such a darling city!  Great job, great people, it was a great match!  We were there at the end of July and they too, were hopeful to decide before school started.  We learned the day that Lauren should have started school, {oh, did I mention that at this point, we decided homeschooling would be best, since we knew we would be moving?  We didn't want to start the kids in school for a few WEEKS, only to pull them out and start over.  So, yah, I have been homeschooling in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment!  Interesting.} that Chad did not get the job.  The recruiter said it was the toughest race he has ever seen in all his years.  It came down to one small tally mark, which is something Chad had no control over {see, once again, this obstacle......}

We were crushed.  We thought for sure this was it.  It had to be.  The woman in the interview even said "I don't know how this will shake out in the end, but I would love to see you here."  When Chad told her what happened at work, her reply was "you gotta get out of there, I understand why you are looking."  So, we were surprised to say the least when we learned he didn't get the job.  But, then, there was hope.

Hope.  Something you desperately want when you feel like you have none.  Hope that things will work out the way you envision/hope for.  Hope that the situation you are in will come to a close soon. For us, it was the hope of being out of limbo.  We had been in limbo around 8 months now and we were tired, we were weary, we were losing hope.

Chad, being the wonderful, humble man that he is, reached out to the woman who said she wanted him there.  They developed a good rapport during his interviews so he sent an email explaining he wasn't tied to a title, or a role, but felt it was a great organization and he would like to be a part of it. Long story short, the woman called him and they chatted about some possibilities of what could be. We were hopeful that this was it! That this would work out!  It wasn't the job he applied and interviewed for, but it was a job he could be excited about, with people he liked, in a great organization and in a wonderful location.

The woman, who would have been his boss had he got the original job he applied for, explained to Chad that the person she hired would be coming into town this week.  She would like to visit with him and get his input, as Chad would be reporting to him, rather than her.  {I know, it's confusing}. So, we held out hope all weekend that this would work.  We prayed for favor for Chad with this man and hoped for the best.

On Monday, Chad got an email from this woman saying the person she hired would like to wait until he got there to decide anything.  {Back track, he would be arriving on October 13.}  Hope crushed AGAIN.  We certainly understood.  Of course, he would want to hire his own team.  He didn't know Chad, he was a random.  Made sense to us, but it still stung.  We thought for sure this was God's way of redeeming the situation.  But, He had something else in mind.

What you need to know about me is that I am a hard core Boilermaker.  I LOVE Purdue.  Always have, always will.  Perhaps it's because I had such a great college experience there ~ I got saved there, made some of my best friends there, I just loved it!  All of it.  Since Chad and I met in Madison, WI 11 years ago, I have wanted to live in or near Purdue.  In fact, Chad tried SEVERAL times to get a job there.  I can think of at least 3 times he interviewed there, if not more.  The thing is, he should have gotten the job EVERY time.  I'm not just saying that, either.

The first interview he had there was with the School of Veterinary Medicine, before we even had kids.  The second interview he had was for the College of Engineering.  I'm not sure on the third one. The point is, each time he made great connections there and built great rapport with some contacts there.

In fact, shortly after we moved here 2 years ago, one of the women he had interviewed with reached out to him again, asking if he would consider going there now.  At the time, we weren't interested as we had just settled in here.  They did talk and left it as if something changes with me {Chad}, he would be in touch again......


Friday, October 10, 2014

His Ways ARE Higher Than Our Ways....Part 3

So, that Monday we had the showing, which was great....both kids at school, a great reason for me to go sit and veg at the coffee shop!  As I pulled into the preschool to pick up Landon at 11:15, my phone rang.  It was the realtor, asking if the couple who saw the house earlier could come back and see the house again.  Sure, I thought.  This will be a great opportunity for Landon and I to go have lunch somewhere before going home.  And, the house is clean!  WHOOT!  We ate our lunch and headed for home.  As I pulled onto our street, I saw they were still there.  An hour later.  Good sign.  I drove around the neighborhood for another 45 MINUTES until they were finished.  I knew then, we were getting an offer.  And, we had nowhere to go.  Great.  Ok, God, another great opportunity to trust you!

Low and behold, we got an offer that day.  Great news!  They wanted to close at the end of June. Perfect!  That gets us through the school year.  We really wanted to be able to finish school well for our kids.  One less pressure - a sold house!  Before, we have always sold AFTER we moved, so it was refreshing to live in a SOLD house while we waited for a job.  Plus, we knew when we moved, we could buy right away, so that was good too!

As time continued to go on, Chad continued to interview.  They were all great interviews, very promising feedback.  If he didn't get the job, they had good reasons for him not being "the one."  We were still hopeful.

School ended, I bawled through kindergarten graduation, knowing we wouldn't be back at that school next year.  It was hard.  I still didn't know where were going, but we had sold our house!  Eek.  Not good for this type A, planning, sequential woman that I am.  But, I was trusting God.  

Summer started, interviews kept going and we still didn't know where we were going.  Chad had an interview in the south that seemed very promising and the timeline was in sync with ours.....we would be out of our house at the end of June, could move in July and be settled in time for school to start.  After 5 LONG months, we were hopeful and excited about this location.

BUT, it didn't come to pass.  Again, they had another good reason that Chad wasn't "the one," yet it didn't line up with what was communicated in the interview.  Seriously? about feeling led on.

So, the search continued and June came and went......

During this time, it became apparent that we likely weren't going to know where we were going when we moved.  Our hopes of relocation and professional movers were gone.  We had to start packing ourselves.  See, the previous times we have moved, we have had professional movers.  That tends to spoil you - to have a few people come into your house and just pack it all up for you!  Yes, please!  Reality set in that this would not be the case.  Oh well, we started to pack and continued to search.

Our closing was set for June 27, so a few weeks before we decided to check into temporary housing options. Chad's parents were an hour away so we thought perhaps we could live with them for a short while as we waited to hear back on these jobs he had been interviewing across the country for.  We ended up moving in with them on June 25.  

Moving in with in-laws meant all of our things would be in a storage unit because we wouldn't need all of our things, right? That day, I pulled into the driveway and saw storm clouds and heard thunder. I had the last of the things we would need for our short trip with them in the back of our van.  I decided I better unload before it started to rain.  I was unloading fast and furiously to beat the rain and I think I did.  I got everything in the basement.  Phew.  But then I looked outside at the rain.  And, you know what I saw?  Not just a little rain.  A FLOODING rain.  My inlaws backyard looked like we were in a river.  I have never seen anything like it before!  The front yard was just as bad.  Then, you know what started to happen?  Their basement flooded.  Yes, the same basement I had just put our things in.  Oh, and it wasn't just rain.  It was sewage.  Yes, we had just moved into a sewage infested basement. 

Chad was still at work, an hour away, so when I called to explain this to him, he thought I was nuts. It was sunny in Sioux Falls.  He was in the car on the way to his parents, exclaiming that even 10 minutes away, it was dry.  He thought I was exaggerating.  Then, he got into their town.  He tried to turn onto their street and couldn't, as it was covered in water.  He parked about a mile away and hiked through the water with his pants up.  What a sight!

He got into the house, changed clothes and started helping his dad haul things out of the basement. Their fridge and freezer were full of food they didn't want to lose.  Chad was hauling beef to another town to store in a relatives freezer at 10 pm that night and he had to leave at 6 am the next morning to get the cat out of our home we were closing on the next day.  {Yes, I forgot to mention in the midst of our move, our cat was stressed out and started peeing blood in boxes.  Apparently when cats get stressed, it inflames their bottoms and causes them to pee blood...aren't you glad to know this?}  So, stressed out cat was stuck in the rafters of our basement and wouldn't come down the day before when Chad went to get her.  So, we left her there overnight, hoping she would come out the next day, the day of our closing.  Oh, and he also had a skype interview for a job he really wanted the next day. Nice timing, eh?

Long story short, we all got to bed late that night, Chad got up early to drive to Sioux Falls to get the blasted cat down {thankfully she came down and we could leave her with Chad's aunt in town so he didn't have to take her to work for his work day or skype interview}.  His day went well, skype interview went well and we were thankful it was the weekend......

But, our time with his parents didn't last long.....


Thursday, October 9, 2014

His Ways ARE Higher Than Our Ways....Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, we were planted in Sioux Falls, thinking this was "it" for the long haul.  A place to put down roots.  One fall day in 2013, Chad got an email saying the President of the Foundation was leaving to take a new job out of state.  We were saddened by this news, as this man was a man of integrity, a kind man, who Chad admired and was excited to work for and learn from.  He and his wife actually ended up being our neighbors, so I got to know his wife as well.  She is just as kind and wonderful as her husband.  This was a bit of a shock to us personally, and to those who worked with Chad at the Foundation.

Initially, we were hopeful, thinking that Chad's direct supervisor would be promoted into the role and Chad could be promoted into her role.  Wishful thinking.  Instead, a big leadership change occurred that didn't benefit Chad or his boss in late December {right before Christmas}.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I don't want to speak badly of anyone or anything, so let's just say some people Chad's industry called this a "vanity hire."

As the news soaked in, we became more uncomfortable with the decision that had been made as well as the ramifications for our family.  Chad didn't feel he could do what he was hired to do with all that was going on internally.  So, the search began......

We were hopeful and optimistic as the job search began.  Contacts that Chad had made from previous job searches were reaching out to him, interviews were scheduled and we were hopeful and optimistic this would happen quickly and be wrapped up in a pretty bow.  After all, we had prayed about it and felt led to go on.  God wasn't telling us to stay, in fact, the opposite.  So, hopes were high, jobs were applied for, interviews were set, we were off and running!

We were so hopeful it would happen quickly that we put our house on the market before we knew where we were going!  While I wasn't 100% in favor of the idea, I thought it would be a good opportunity to walk by faith.  We didn't have a for sale sign in the yard, as we didn't want the kids to know we were moving until we knew where we were going and with the anxiety Lauren had last time, we tried to be proactive and avoid that.  So, let's get this straight - Chad and I know we are moving, but we don't know where.  We have our house on the market, and the kids don't know.  We had a stager come in to stage the home, so the kids may have thought something was up, but they were cool with the changes we made.  Thinking back, I'm not sure how we handled the interview component with them, but it must have been ok.

Chad had in person interviews in Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, California, Georgia {more than 1 city}, and various other places as well.  Phone and skype interviews were all over the country!  It's funny, when this first began we were very selective about where we would consider going and what areas would be off the table.  However, as stress got worse at work for Chad, we were less selective.

One Friday night into the process, {May have been March or April}, I started crying and told Chad we needed to take the house off the market.  I couldn't have it on the market anymore without knowing we had a new home lined up.  We agreed to talk and pray about it over the weekend.  Well, that Sunday night, as I was mopping the floor, I got a text from a realtor who wanted to show our house the next morning.  Perfect!  I had just mopped the floor and it was for a time when both kids would be in school, so that was easy!  Problem is, Chad and I were so excited about the showing that we didn't follow up on the Friday night conversation we had had.....


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

His Ways ARE Higher Than Our Ways....Part 1

The words from Isaiah 55:9 are SO true.  Sometimes, I like them.  Other times, I don't.  Want to know about our journey from the past 40 weeks and 3 days?  {Off topic, but when you hear 40 weeks, do you think of a gestation period?  Like a full term pregnancy?  Just curious......}  Step into the window of the last 40 weeks of our life.....

Actually, let me take you back before that.  We moved to Sioux Falls, SD in October 2 years ago for a new job for Chad.  Prior to this, we were in IL, where he was in fundraising for the University of IL.  We loved life there - we had a great church, great friends, nice neighborhood, lovely home, good neighbors, etc.  Life was good.  BUT.  It's a big that we would move 11 hours away for. Chad was traveling for his job.  When you have 2 children under the age of 4, that gets exhausting and is hard on the family.  After talking, praying and talking more, we decided to start looking for new opportunities that did not involve travel.  Low and behold, there were 2 in Sioux Falls, SD.  {Which is actually about an hour from where Chad grew up.  So, in a way, it was like coming home to him.} He applied for the jobs, interviewed in July and we were headed this way in October.

It was a rough time for our family.  The day we put the for sale sign in the yard, Lauren started vomiting every night and not sleeping.  It was misery.  We were all exhausted and frustrated with our situation and not knowing what was going on with our little girl.  The Saturday before we moved, the clinic there in Illinois made an exception for her to have an endoscopy that morning so she could be seen before we left town.  Talk about stress.   {Praise God for His provision with that, by the way!}  Some great girlfriends from our small group came and prayed with us before we moved.  The word and picture they got from the Lord was "Lauren will be a different child once you get there."  They then saw a picture of our family walking across a bridge and things were fine.  Our daughter would be healed!  {We later discovered after our move that she had sensory processing disorder and food allergies, which were causing all of this in her little body.}

So, endoscopy done, boxes packed, Sioux Falls here we come! We thought we would be here for the long haul.  Chad was in a great organization with some great leaders who he was excited to work with and be mentored by.  We found a great church, more great friends, good neighborhood, lovely home, good neighbors, etc.  We were really enjoying life here.   Lauren was in school, loving it and doing well! {We went to OT for her sensory issues and she was like a different kid once that happened, along with changing her diet!  Remember the picture our friends had prior to the move? BOOM!}  Life was good.  We even joked that we could retire in our current home as it was a ranch! We were planted......

Then, things changed.....