Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our First 10 Days in 10 Snapshots

So we've been here for 10 days. I just told our neighbors that it feels like 10 months. Monday and Tuesday we had orientation and classes finally started today. The classes were out of this world. Yesterday, I was ready to go home. I thought what's the point in being here. We're not learning anything.... well I just needed to hold on for one more day, which was today. The classes pulled me right back in. The information we're going to learn is wonderful. Where else can studying the Bible be your main job.
So I thought I would update you with what's been happening by sharing 10 snapshots of our first 10 days. Here goes...
School Time! This Monday started Grady and Grace's first day of preschool. Grady was so excited that he had a difficult time going to bed on Sunday. He really enjoys being with the other two boys there. Grace... well she doesn't love it as much. We had to address her "fits" on day two of daycare. She did better today and I hope she'll adjust more everyday. On Monday when they came out of daycare, Grady and Grace ran and gave each other a big huge. It was priceless.


Dinner Time! Let's see I cooked maybe 5 meals the entire summer because we were living in someone's basement. Since we've been here, I've prepared 27 meals. And guess what, I don't mind. So our kitchen table has become common gathering place for our family.

Daddy Time! This has changed a lot since we've been here. Kent has more time with the kids and more time to help me with everyday chores. It took some getting use to, but we're adjusting to having him home all the time with us.

Not Bluffton! Since coming to Jackson, we've realized that we're not in Bluffton anymore. I haven't been allowed to go to the store alone yet, not that I've needed to. I'm sure the time will come. The water here is also full chlorine. You can even smell it. So when we were checking out filters at Walmart we realized it was going to cost a lot to keep replacing them. So just bought a large water thermos and fill it in the kitchen, and then carry it up to our apartment. It lasts about 4 days.

The Store! We've been to the store several times since we've arrived in Jackson. We've been to Mejier twice, Walmart three times, and Aldis once. Our trips should be slowing down now that we've gotten all the things we needed to start the school year.

Snack Time! These two cuties are having their nightly snack. We've never had that before, but since arriving here the kids have had apples and grapes while we read our Bible story.

My Glasses! So last week, I got something on my right contact and it really hurt my eye. Then I cleaned them. So the next morning I go to put them in again and this time the left eye caught on fire. I could barely get it out. I cleaned them again and let them set a day. The next day I tried again and burned my eyes once more. I don't have anymore contacts and my prescription has ran out so I'm wearing my glasses from high school because Grace broke my newer glasses. It's kind of annoying wearing them. I'm pretty sure it's God working on my pride.

Big Kids to School! Today was our first day of school. Here we are with our books. Kent has more homework than I do, but we're pushing on together. Several people have told us not to get behind because it's too hard to catch up. I have to read one book by next Thursday. Kent has to do that and read two other books and other homework. Striving to use our time wisely.

Play Time! When we were at the Lockwood's Grady played with Emry from sun up to sun down. Now he has Grace. When I was pregnant with Grace, I prayed that they would be best friends. God's working in Grady's heart to love Grace more. We're working on kindness with both of them. They're doing really well working together.

3:30 Play Time! Everyday since we've been here Grady and I have went outside at 3:30 each afternoon. The first day Grady cried because the boys wanted to play super heroes and he didn't want to. However, by the next day he was willing to play with them and join in their games. They then found out that Grady had an entire tub of super hero customs! The customs have went to the playground almost everyday since. Grady is the third from the left, the first two boys on the left are the other two boys in his daycare class. If you have extra super hero customs that you don't know what to do with we'd love to put them to use. The kids here would be super excited.

Well, we've made it past the first class and we're still here. I know we're going to really enjoy the information that we gather. Thank you for praying for us. I know it's what has gotten us through.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A True Blessing to the Rockwell Family

Late in May we sat in a local Bluffton Indiana bank signing our house off to it's new owner. With every pen stroke we knew we were headed down a road of not only uncertainty, but no return. With the last dated signature, we were to be homeless in less than 30 days. 2 Chronicles 20:12 says, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." Our comfort was knowing God was in control of everything.  The thing we didn't know was God was about to seriously bless our lives with an incredible Godly couple and their beautiful children.
Within days of our closing, a routine dentist appointment turned into something much greater. A visit was planned to the home of a very loving and generous family. A brief tour and talk resulted in a peace from the Holy Spirit days later. The result was we were to be blessed by God by living in the home of Kyle and Marci Lockwood for the next ten week. Two of the most kind, loving disciples of Jesus Christ our family has ever met.

Kyle and Marci in front of the beautiful home in Bluffton.
Seemingly moments after we moved in to Kyle and Marci's basement, Grady wasted no time establishing a relationship with Kyle and Marci's middle child Emry. Grady and Emry are very close in age and their friendship hit the ground running. The Lockwoods had an enormous fenced in backyard with a sandbox. The kids would seemingly be outside sun up to sun down. They practically babysat themselves while together. While typing this I asked Grady what he would say about Emry he simply said, "I love you."  Throughout the weeks Grady grew to like Wrigley, who is Kyle and Marci's oldest, a boy of seven years. Wrigley is very active and athletic, which could only be a positive for Grady. The three kids, along with Grace, tagging far behind at times, would run about to and fro expelling energy until they were forced to crash in their beds at night fall.
Soldier, the Lockwood's youngest was the apple of our eyes. Upon first couple of meetings with Soldier he would slinky down the stairs until spotted and then jet back up them in a furious escape. Within a short time he came to love our attention and eventually let us hold him. He was so fun and had the cutest smile!
Here is the whole awesome family and Soldier with his light up the world grin.
(Front Left to Right: Emry, Wrigley, Soldier. Back: Kyle, Marci) 
Here is another picture, but this time Soldier was distracted by a passing truck.
As you can see, the sandbox was a popular place to hangout!
Here is the whole clan posing for the camera. Sometimes with young children pictures are impossible, but these guys did pretty well.

This was an awesome time for the Rockwell Family. God is so good and so are his people (Kyle and Marci).  We were very sad to leave, as we were able to establish a great friendship. We enjoyed eating supper together on many occasions, great conversations, playing cards, eating popcorn and watching a movie.  Kyle also broadened our horizons on Apple products and set us up very well with a newly acquired Ipod. Ten weeks went by way to fast!  We would not have traded a single moment with the Lockwoods for anything. It was such a blessing to get to know them the way we have been able too.  We can't wait to return to Bluffton and see them once again. 
If you ever get the chance to cross paths with this incredible family take time to chat with them, you won't be sorry! God is doing great things in Bluffton too, and the Lockwoods are the proof!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Move

Monday morning came just as any morning does. I knew that it would, and it did. That meant it was time for us to pack up our beds, our clothes, our new dishwasher and head for Jackson, MI. The morning was beautiful and I'm so thankful it wasn't raining. We moved most our things a week ago since we had more help and  a big box truck. Monday, we had my dad's trailer so we'd only have room for our bed and a few other things.

After packing our things, we pulled out around 11:30. Grady did so good. He read this book for about a half a hour. He was funny because he was just looking at it and laughing. I asked several people to pray for Grady, and I know they did. He did so well and didn't seem too upset.

Grace on the other hand... She was a train wreck. Very fussy and tired. With about 30 minutes left she cashed out and slept till we got there. 

Kent did all the driving... he always does the driving. I'm so thankful. I would have fallen asleep after the first 30 minutes.

When we got there, several people came to help us. It was so nice not to have to have Kent and Dad carry the huge dishwasher upstairs. (The dishwasher was a gift from our friends Jay and Dot. We've been here a little over 24 hours and it's full. What a blessing.) When we got to our apartment. My mom helped watched the kids. They're playing with the toys that Dave and Darlene, missionaries from Cambodia, left the kids. They were so excited.

This is the food we found on our counter. Dave and Darlene bought this for us, too. I was so afraid that our pantry would be empty, but now it's full. God always works things out.

This is the trailer we brought. Dad and Judy are covering it back up for the ride home.

By the time we got everything into our apartment, it was pretty much trashed. All of our bedding was dirty so we had to wash it. That took up most of our living room. It's clean and folded now and ready to be put back on the beds.

This morning we took some time to play on the small playground that's right outside out window. The kids really liked it. Grady's ready to go to a real park. We're hoping to go to one tomorrow.

Well we're home. I put up some pictures today to make it feel more like home. I also used the washer and dryer that's basically like a laundry mat. I used 7 washers and 4 dryers. It was pretty cool. The only weird part was wheeling the clean laundry down the hallway to our stairs, to then carry it up to the second floor. Thankful we're not on the 3rd!
 We have registration this weekend, orientation Monday and Tuesday, and classes start next Wednesday. I made a list of things that need to get done before then, and none of them got done today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Grady and Grace are doing so well. We're so thankful for that. It just makes the entire move easier.
Thank you to all of you who are helping us in taking that next step. For helping us to get here so we can continue on in the adventure that God has planned for us. Thank you for praying, for moving us several times, for buying us food, for using your gas, for giving us funds for school, and giving us gift cards. It's helped to make the transition easier.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Uncle Tim's Wedding

Last night Grady and Grace were in Kent's uncle Tim's wedding. Grace was the flower girl and Grady was the ring bearer. Kent and I couldn't have been prouder. Grady led Grace the entire way. Kent had told Grady to take charge of Grace and he did. He did it with such kindness and love.

Kent was so cute getting Grady ready. He tightened up his tie

Made sure it was fastened

Folded down his collar and he was ready to go. Kent is an amazing daddy. He grows in his love for the kids every day in so many ways.

 Grady did great for the pictures, Grace not so much. She was a little crabby, but she did stay still.

Grace looks tired but Grady was so chipper!

Here they are with Kent's dad. What a wonderful picture. I'm so thankful for dad. He loves my kids and is so supportive in this journey. It helps to make the move easier.

A little awkward, but a family picture anyways. I wanted to get one before the wedding and this is how it turned out.


Grady and Grace got a cookie for standing still during pictures. They actually managed not to get themselves all dirty.

After the wedding we had a wonderful supper. Grace loved the mac and cheese.

Grady devoured his roll.

Then after a long wait we got to have cake!!!!!!! Grace liked it...

But Grady loved it!!

Weddings are funny things to me. There's so much build up for just one day. You make this commitment to your soon to be spouse about things you could never possibly imagine you'll face. Weddings almost make me nervous. It's one of those times you ask, you have to know that you know that you know that this is what you're suppose to do.

I'm sure my view of weddings has been tainted by the experiences I have seen in the marriages around me, and the ups and downs I've experienced in my own marriage. I'm so thankful for my 11 years with my husband. There have been bad and good and excellent times. So I guess I'll end with a thank you, Kent. For loving me when I didn't deserve it. Making me laugh when I wanted to cry. For holding me hand with I felt so alone. Thanks for being my best friend who will see me through it all.


So tomorrow is our official move to Jackson, MI. There are many things that I should be doing, like packing, packing, and more packing. However, on this beautiful Sunday I decided that I would do some resting before I do more packing.
 This summer we were able to spend lots of time with Grady and Grace's cousins. Hunter, Isabelle, Lydia, and Vivian. His other cousins live in Africa, Owen, Grahm, and Cole. We miss them greatly and know that they would have had a wonderful time with us.

I thought that I would share some of our best times this summer. Our summer started with the trip to Bear Lake. G, G and V had a great time swimming in the hot tub.

We also had wonderful snacks at Bear Lake. Vivian and Grady liked to sit at the bar and eat.

One day Brandy asked me, "Would you like to go to the zoo?" I said that would be a great idea. The night before we leave, Brandy text me and tells me she won't be able to go, but would I still like to take all the kids.... So me and 5 kiddos went to the Ft. Wayne zoo. It really turned at well. The kids had a good time. It was a zoo grand finale because Brandy's pass was running out so we used up everything we had. So we saw the animals, rode the boat, fed the goats and the fish. You can see the double jogger in the picture. I think at one time Lydia, Isabelle, Grady, and Grace were all riding in it. I was tired, but it was fun. 

When H, I, and L came over for lunch we would eat upstairs in the living room.

They also loved to build a fort in our living room. This one looks a little small. It usually took up the entire room. Every cushion and pillow were off the two couches and on the floor. Here they're reading books in the fort.

The large slip and slide at Grandpa Jacks was also a great hit!

Rain day at Lake Webster.

 Grady liked his life jacket. They're getting ready to go boating.


Last week, the kids and I went to the bounce house. It's pretty crazy how fast the bounce houses blow up. The  kids enjoyed bouncing but then they also ran around and played with the other toys. Hunter and I shot hoops. I really enjoyed beating him twice, but then he beat me too.

Here's Isabelle and Grace at the bounce house, taking a break. Grace looks a little squished.

And now Isabelle does.

Later that day we went to the park. Lydia and Grady climbed up

Isabelle and Grace followed suit.
We had a wonderful summer with the cousins. I'm thankful that we were able to make some new memories. Time always seems to pass quicker than we hope. I'll miss these 4 kiddos, and I know Grady will too. I'm thankful for God's mercy that seems to ease the pain and lend us comfort when we need it. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Where We Call Home

Tomorrow is our first big move to Jackson, MI. We'll move the rest and stay on August 19th. That said, I thought it would be good to do a post about where we've lived for the past 9 weeks.

As most of you know, God sold our house back in May. When it sold we knew we needed someplace to stay for just 10 weeks. I can honestly say I never really perused anything. I made one phone call that didn't lead to anything..... and had one conversation that led us to were we are now.

At my dentist appointment I was explaining to Marci what our plan was. I told her that we sold our house and needed to move. By the time I was leaving, she said that we could stay in her basement. I kind of brushed it off, then talked to Kent about it. He said we needed to at least go and look at it.

We drove up to their house and went in "our door" to the far right.

We walked into the amazing living area, that would be considered ours. It is wonderful. However, I do remember thinking at the time that it wasn't really separated from their living area. Their kitchen is a little back and to the left. Yet, another positive was our own bathroom, which is the door in the back of this picture. 


 Then we took at look outside and were amazed at the back yard and drive way. There's a sandbox and great place to ride bikes.

 Then...... we went to the basement. I'm not sure what I really expected..... it's a basement. There's carpet in half and cement in the other after because the floors can get wet. There's only one large room. Did you get that... one. So no bedroom for us and a separate one for the kids.

Needless to say I left pretty much freaking out that I could never to that for 10 weeks. Then of course my husband thought it wouldn't be a big deal. So after 2 more weeks of no more leads, we realize, or I should say I realized that the basement would be our home for the next 10 weeks.


 Moving day came, June 8th.... and it went. It was so smooth and we were so blessed to have amazing helpers move all our things. That day we moved the furniture that was already here and added ours and made it into a very nice home. This picture is our living room/ bedroom. I'm standing in the kitchen taking this picture.

This is our kitchen, which has no running water, but does have a full size refrigerator. It is a mess and missing two chairs because I just packed them today. Grace is in the right corner by the shopping cart. You can see that our bed is right there in the kitchen.

This is our kids' room. It's behind the entertainment center, that's in the first picture. This helped me tons. Really they could see right through the entertainment center but it helped me to think it was a separate room. Grady even knew he wasn't suppose to come out of his "room."

So I have to say that it has been waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than I could have ever dream or hoped for. Marci and Kyle are great people. They have been so hospitable and helpful with our kids. Grady loves Emry. He calls her his best friend, along with Vivian. The kids haven't even cared that we're living in a basement. They sleep well...

Pretty sure they haven't even noticed that they really are sleeping in the same room as us.

 The best part is that they have play mates all of the time. Grady will wait for Emry to get home and then play with her till he goes to bed. I barely get a hug in the morning. It's us usually, "Is Emry awake?" They simple spend a lot of time just being together.

Since I love numbers so much, I counted the stretches of days that we would be here, along with Marci's family. It turns out that we were never all here for a 2 week time frame. This summer we house sat for 10 days and went on 2, six day vacations, and went to HoH every Tuesday night and every other Saturday. Marci's family went on a vacation as well.

As always, God had it all worked out. I would do it again without question. I know my kids would too. I'm thankful for the time we've had here. It's been restful. Peaceful. Welcoming. It just feels like Home. Praise the Lord for Marci and Kyle's obedience to open their home to our family.