Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Midnight Ramblings on God

I haven't written in ages. Just over a month ago we moved. Just over 6 weeks ago I started a new job and a month ago a new area of responsibility was added. I have a one-year-old (14 months, really) and am pregnant (17 weeks this week!). Never, have I ever, been so overloaded with responsibility. And never, have I ever, felt loved like this. To be fair, the early days of Avie's life came very close, but I was even more desperate this time. 

It's quarter to midnight and I should be asleep. Avie will wake up between 6 and 7:30 (and sometimes decides the middle of the night is a better time to wake up). My pregnant body will wake me up to pee and wake me up just for fun. And yet, I stayed up reading a book that I could not put down - a book that reminded me of a bigger picture and a God who is with me. A God who answers my prayers and sends me community, not because my problems need solving, but because my heart needs to know He is real. 

The book is Jennifer Fulwiler's "Something other than God", which chronicles her journey from atheism to faith (catholicism). On most levels, our journeys to God are drastically different. Her struggle was intellectual. My struggle was selfishness.  Our ending points are slightly different - both end in faith in Jesus Christ, and yet mine lies with the protestant church and hers with the catholic church. But in both cases, we needed a powerful God to intervene - in our lives, in our minds, in our hearts. 

She writes about a moment near the end of her book after the decision for God had been made. They had recently moved, she had two small children and was pregnant with a third and was in their new home surrounded by boxes. A new catholic friend appears with a meal and disposable plates/etc, children in tow, to feed them and help her unpack. Her gut reaction was to say she was fine and didn't need help, but then she accepted and a beautiful moment was made. Badly needed help was received. That is the story of this move. From day one, I have wanted to be able to do it on my own, not to burden others. My gut reaction is we'll make it work. And yet people have offered and I have lowered my pride and accepted and I can barely tell you how thankful I am. From childcare, to help packing, to more childcare and help unpacking, from moving help and meals delivered we were covered by friends, by family, and by our church. 

My 50% of my new job started May 15th, the other 50% started June 1st. Our move was May 31st. Basically, it was insanity. On the day of the move as I stood at the entryway and told people where things went, directing traffic, I ended up having to sit as my pregnant, sore body could not stand. And people just showed up to help. Without being asked. Just as we were all getting tired (and still a full truck to unload) my Aunt and my teen cousins appeared after school time and saved the day. By the end of our first hours in the house, there were beds in both ours and Avie's bedrooms (thank you to my mother in law for that!), and we had a usable kitchen table. The following day the women's prayer group from church showed up to unpack in the kitchen and then two of the ladies stayed for another 2 hours (sending me to nap) and made it so we had a family room. Later that evening Paul's cousin and her kids came over to help and we had a dining room and living room. 

Then unpacking was on hold and I spent most of the next two weeks working - when I wasn't taking care of Avie or cooking, I was working. Much of the house stayed in boxes and we made do - and I worked. And our church was so gracious - I'm sure I missed things as I figured them out for the first time - but I also loved the work I was doing and received so much support from the church at large as I started this new position. So often you heard horror stories of working for churches - of demanding congregations and unsupportive pastors/managers - but my experience was one of support and grace, care and kindness. and praise! and thanks! Of kind words and accolades. What?! The big boss (the senior pastor, who also happens to be my uncle) took the time to call to make sure I wasn't feeling overwhelmed and find out how we could make sure I was feeling covered. 

I think of the years I ran from God. There were three main reasons; 1. I wanted to sin. I wanted to drink and have sex and not have to be responsible, 2. I wasn't sure God had power - if He did, why did I still  want to sin more than I wanted to follow Him? and 3. the people, the church. I had found it both loving and hurtful - at times supportive but deeply flawed and often cruel. I fear saying that because growing up there were many loving Christians in my life and I don't want to disqualify their impact in my life but there was also a real rejection and pain brought on by Christians in my life. I experienced just as much rejection and mockery in the church, as I did at school. Trying to find a church in my college years was difficult, and yet non-Christians invited me in with welcome arms - their world was much easier to get in to and they were excited to have me. Even when I first became a Christian (again) and I searched for a church, I was let down time and time again - which is how I ended up at ENV and knew it was my home because they welcomed me in. This community jumped on board when I decided to go into ministry supporting me with prayer and money and in many other ways. They supported me when I left ministry to go into the work force - I never felt less loved because I wasn't in that role anymore. They supported me in marriage, in pregnancy and showered me with love in the newborn days. People appearing with meals (I didn't cook for 2 months!) and arms to hold Avie. And here again, they showed up when I needed them. When I didn't know how to ask for this help, or think to ask for this help. They showed up. They showed me a huge part of who God is. 

Now, 5 weeks after our move, 7 weeks into my new job, and safely out of the first trimester (and it's exhaustion), I am on the other side. I feel like I can breathe. I no longer feel the same desperate need for help. But this has reminded me that I am not alone. Because even without desperation, life still gets overwhelming or tiring and this community is still here - helping, supporting, loving. 

I often think about God's gifts to us - salvation, of course, is huge. The biggest. Redemption - taking what was bad and making it new and good, is amazing. He gives us significance and security - because of Him I am secure (meaning my insecurity is no longer a driving force in EVERY.SINGLE.THING.I.DO) and gives me a purpose. And these things are huge, of course. But community, godly community - that is a gift and a half. To be loved by flawed, human people - and to get to love those same flawed, human people, this is a life that is lived. This is a gift. And because of who God is, and the call on our lives to love people - I get to love people outside of the church as well. I get to prioritize loving neighbors and friends and classmates. The world is open relationally and I love that. I get to engage in these relationships knowing I have love to give and love to receive. It's pretty cool. 
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Baby Morgan #2!

It is with great joy that I get to tell you that I am 17 weeks pregnant! And more than just my own pregnancy is the excitment that I am pregnant and due just two weeks before my little sister!! With her kids being 5 and 7 and mine being 1, we never thought we would get to experience being pregnant and having babies together. This is basically the most exciting thing ever.

My sister is my best friend and biggest support in parenting (I mean, aside from Paul) so this is just awesome. It's already a ton of fun!

More to come on this, I'm sure!
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Moving and dreaming

Normally when we are about to move I start dreaming - I have no ability to keep my dreaming in. I'm not sure if it's being busy or working or moving with a baby but I'm struggling to figure out how to imagine the new house with decorations. Usually my mind is swirling with ideas and dreams  but for this new house I can't quite imagine it. I think it's because it's such a nice house and I'm not used to that! Usually it's a make do, situation but this time, it's a real improvement and actually really nice. I'm not used to that! But there are a couple of pins that have caught my eye on Pinterest to do with a few key areas - my new desk and the entryway staircase! 

First up: the desk space! It's right between the Kitchen and Family room, next to the kitchen eating area. 

The Inspirations

Mostly I'm thinking golds, other metallics, pops of color and a fun collage wall above the desk. Now that I'm working I find I'm in desperate need of a desk for work - that's near the kitchen and the family room, so I can be near Avie when she's playing, be near by when I'm cooking and be near Paul when he is hanging out in the evening watching TV. I'm excited to see this come together!

Next up, the entryway! For sure that tree is going!

The Inspirations

These are all so different but I like how they are elegant and pulled together. At least there are a few things I can dream and imagine for! 

We move one week from today - our house is 90% packed. Turns out hiring teenagers from church to pack for us was the most genius idea ever. They worked Saturday for 5 hours and Monday for 4 hours and daaaang they did a lot. Our house just has furniture in it - it's a little sad. They were amazing. We just have the last minute kitchen stuff to do and food that we're still eating. We will be eating through our food supplies - pantry items, freezer, fridge, etc. We have packed a set of clothes to wear for the next week and then put everything else into storage/boxes for the move. All the decorations in Avie's room are gone - most of the furniture is gone too. So weird. I'm not sure she notices :( but I sure do. 

Anyways, here we are. House is barren, our garage is packed full of boxes and we are super tired but productive and happy. This week is our final week in this home, the home where we made friends with our neighbours, where we became a family, where we welcomed so many people into our home, and learned to host in much bigger numbers. We will for sure miss this wonderful space and our amazing neighbourhood. 
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Baby A is 13 months, woot

Avie turned 13 months today. This makes me happy. She is the sweetest girl around and man, do I like her. 

Her Gram likes her too

She likes swings and hates her ball cap

Messy, growling baby

She finally she can play with other kids - she finally noticed them!

Also she likes ball pits

Paul and I have been married 6 years this month - I'm so thankful for this man in my life. I'm not sure how I would parent with anyone else. He is absolutely fabulous. 

Also, Avie and I had a very lovely day in Abbotsford visiting with some dear friends and some cute babies. It was relaxing and lovely.

This dear friend was visiting from Alberta and it was so great to see her! 

Basically it's been 13 very happy, very active and very tiring months. Who knew I could actually successfully wake up early every single day? 
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mama Blogger

Mama Blogger. These words seem to me a juxtaposition. 

Blogger - someone who writes, who creates, who tells stories, who uses words to create. 
Mama - someone who has and raises children. 

Mama Blogger - I'm not sure how to be both. Really I'm not sure how to find the time for to do both. I keep choosing Mama, which I know is the right choice, but I miss blogging. I miss creating with words. I miss reliving life in the retelling. I miss chronicling the small and insignificant things, I miss telling the stories of my life and what God has done, I miss rereading it all and reliving it. 

This month I start a new job. This month we pack up our house of 4 years and move (and we don't know where). This month was our 6 year wedding anniversary. This month I turned 33. This month I still need to keep my household running, my three homestay students and my husband and baby fed, and my daughter taken care of. This month I am extremely thankful for community and family. 

Tonight I am watching a movie with my husband while Avie sleeps. We had friends over for dinner on the back patio (oh how I will miss that patio when we move) earlier and it was so lovely. Today we had mom's group at a park, after visiting a friend and collecting boxes for the move. Then it was on to a work planning meeting at my house for the afternoon (while Avie napped and then ate goldfish crackers). Days like this are busy and full but they are happy. 

Tomorrow I get to celebrate our birthdays with my sister and two dear friends - we are having a spa day. Second year to do this and it's awesome. Then happy hour at a favorite downtown restaurant, and then we will hang out with some ladies in the evening. I am pumped. It's my idea of happy. 

While I am not looking forward to moving, and it's been exhausting trying to find a house, I am very excited to decorate again. Slightly overwhelmed, but mostly just excited. I love making a space into a home. I love taking things and making them beautiful. 

So I've written here even though I don't know when I'll write again. I've written in a moment of energy and motivation. Who knows when that will come again - for now, I will enjoy it and be glad I had a burst of something to bring me back here. 

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A pink fog

The sun is shining. A is asleep in her room for her morning nap, my sister just left with her gaggle of kids, and project runway is on in the background. These moments in the midst of life's busyness are so wonderful. I woke up this morning thinking it would be a busy crazy day, and maybe it was, but also there have been some wonderful things, some relaxing things. And it strikes me that each day could be hard, but they could be great also. It's all a perspective shift, I suppose. Honestly, being with A all day is better than I ever dreamed. I always thought I'd get bored or stressed but honestly, it suits me. Then again, I did always say I would have been a stay at home wife if I could have!

Well, I don't really know what much to say that I haven't said about our little muchkin already. BUT I do have a lot of photos of her to share, so here you go. Our little sweetheart. 

The joyful one

Little eater

Playing with her cousins and the kids Jenna nanny's

She loves her great Papa

Finally learning to play with the cardboard house I made her

Us with Dad

She loves her Dad

Visiting with my old college friend Rachel and her kids

Cousins & Avie!

Visiting with Crystal's daughter Ezri

Ezri & Avie

The many faces of Avie

Auntie & Avie, besties

Visiting with Tami & her daughter Livi

My Nana & Avie

And lastly, two of my besties.

And there we go, thank you for your patience with these many photos.
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