Wow. It's 2013...this blog turns ten in May. It has been a ride. I feel so sad to have slacked to much in my blogging this fall and winter, but I don't feel guilty. I know I am putting my time and attention where is should be, but truth be told, I do miss it a little. I still have the heart and soul and mind of a blogger. I miss sharing and conversing about our doings and the things life is teaching me. I'll be back in the swing soon enough, but now is just a very busy, unsettled season of life, not conducive to screen time for Mama.
So the things I want to blog are: Our move, Christmas Trip to Arizona, our New Year with Texas Melins, our grief as a ward family, our plans for the future, a touching podcast, the small victories and cutenesses of our children. To name a few.
Our move in a nutshell is this: We are packing up 2300sf and 8 years of stuff and cramming it into a storage unit and 900sf of rental for a few months until our 3200sf of brand new coziness is built (which takes 3 months according to our beloved builder, but we're planning on 4-5 just so we don't get our hopes up). I would rather live like a hobo in a tiny duplex than pay somebody else's mortgage. I may regret my stubbornness...ask me again in March! Our house sold on December 3rd and we were supposed to close January 11th. Our buyers are moving from Minnesota and our closing is contingent on THEIR closing in MN, which had a legal glitch. That glitch delayed our closing--thank the merciful heavens--til January 25th. I think I blogged before about the complete lack of 5bed/3 bath homes in the market here, so we have to build our own. Which means we have to rent a place in the meantime. So we spent a month looking at rentals and I promise you would be shocked at the shanties people want to rent to us for $800-$1000. Not gonna do it. So we decided to find the smallest place that would take us for the least rent. We told the kids we were all going to make a sacrifice and pretend like we are camping or staying in a hotel for 4-6 months, and then our sacrifice would result in a bigger, better home in the end. They were thrilled! Just kidding. They cried for days, but now everyone is on board. I'm not sure I can do it, but we're all in. Let's just say we won't be entertaining for a while.
I will make a post of photos of our Arizona Trip. It was too fast, we missed seeing many loved ones, but were grateful for the happy reunions that did take place. We were a little distracted by our broke-and-homelessness, but we made the best of it. It was very much a lilies-of-the-filed trip for us, with money and food coming to us like manna from heaven the whole way. Thank you dear friends and family who fed and housed and loved us...it was a beautiful time, and every little kindness reminded me of Jesus, which makes for a pretty poignant Christmas.
I will make another post of our New Year's Eve at the ranch house and our New Year's Day Snow Fun at Pine Creek with the Texas Melins. It was wonderful to see Rich's brother, Mark, and his family again after 18 months apart. Mark as been in Afghanistan for the past year and his wife Elena has done a great job at home with their 4 children. We were happy to see them all together again and have some peaceful and low-key cousin time. The Texas Melins will soon be New Jersey Melins and will live near our beloved Caspers at Fort Dix, which to me is a sign that I should drive my brood out for an East Coast adventure and see them all (as soon as Niles is more travel-friendly).
We came home from our trip to sad news--two untimely deaths in our ward family. To me, it was if Heavenly Father was saying, "You wanna cry about a little upheaval? You think moving to a new house is a problem? I'll show you a problem...". I lost myself and my anxieties in the heartache of our dear friends and their crushing losses. After the funerals on the 31st and the 4th, packing and letting go of my anxieties seemed much less daunting.
As I mentioned, the rental situation here is hellacious, but we were blessed to find a builder who is a true craftsman, who inspires our faith and confidence in this big investment of time and our family nest egg. I consider it a small mercy to have that sense of trust a safety--peace is hard for me to come by in times like this, in big decisions like this. We looked at some houses he has built and happened upon a floor plan that would work for us. We asked him about customizing it and working within certain time and budget constraints, and after 4-5 hours of discussing, I think we have a good plan for our family.
I have so much more to share--I'll post the photos of the holidays soon, as well as some of the kids' doings, and some soul-satisfying, testimony-strengthening words from a beautiful podcast I enjoyed last week. Life is a challenge right now, but God is working it all out, throwing little tender-mercy-crumbs along the path, like "Lead, Kindly Light": :I loved to choose and see my path but now...lead thou me on...one step enough for me." At least that's what I tell myself everyday. One foot in front of the other...through the shadows into the marvelous light...