Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wild and crazy...and tasty too.

 Oh my.
It has been quite a month in the life of Nitty.Gritty. It feels like more than a month, actually. I am not even sure how to do a recap in blogpost form. There could be several posts about what we just went through. And maybe there will be as I continue to process everything that has happened.
For now I will do a 'quick overview' and the good news for you is that it starts with cupcakes! =) Hooray for gourmet cupcakes in the middle of life's dramas, right?! The good part isn't even the cupcakes- as delicious and amazing as they were. And let me tell you, they were amazing! The good part is the people in our lives behind the cupcakes and behind us all the way as we lived out some of the most stress we have endured in a long while.
Without re-reading my previous post {and I rarely read my own blog posts}, I am not even entirely certain where I left off. There were so many twists and turns and ups and downs and the feeling that life was going to go one direction and the reality is that we ended up in a whole different direction. To be perfectly honest, I sort of feel like I don't know where I am right now, how I got here, or what I am supposed to be doing now. It has been a wild and restless whirlwind, and I think we are still trying to 'settle down' and just pause and catch our breath.
The good-bye cupcakes came about because we ended up packing all of our belongings from the home we were renting in Minnesota and we loaded two movig trucks, one trailer and two vans with everything, all 8 of us, and my parents tagged along as our big supporters and helpers, and we moved back to our house that has been for sale in Michigan since last Thanksgiving. So basically it goes like this:
Last Thanksgiving Chip got a job offer at a course in Minnesota and we found a home to rent there, put our house up for sale, packed everything and moved a week or so before Christmas. Flash forward one year, and here we found ourselves packing everything back up- including box after box that had never been unpacked- and moving it all right back to where we started. It sounds daunting and ridiculous and mind-boggling, I am sure. The truth is that it is all those things to us too. And more.
I frankly still don't know what to make of it. As a person who has such a reliance on God and trusting in His ways to help guide and direct the paths we take in life, this whole scenario just seems unbelievable. Part of me is trying to wrap my head around it all. It was a whirlwind year- full of changes, good things, bad things, stressful things, fun things, new friendships, new adventures and then a screeching halt and we're back to where we started. A part of me wonders how that could happen. Did we miss something? Did God not want us to move to Minnesota and we did so out of selfish motives and in the meantime have to learn some hard lessons only to have us move back because He didn't really want us there in the first place? Or did God truly lead us there and plug us in to a great church body, give us real and lasting friendships as a gift, and now close that door there just when things were starting to settle down and feel 'right' for our family there? And if so, to either of these big questions, my next question is why? Why would we go through such major drama and stresses. Can't we learn life lessons a different easier way? Or maybe all that happened in our lives for not just us- but maybe they happened for someone else? Could that be? I don't know. I really, truly don't know what it was all for. I cannot see a point or purpose to it all. And in the midst of going through it, the emotions, the stress of not knowing where we were going to move even just two days before we was all almost too much for me. Like I said, I am still trying to process and unwrap it all. My heart and mind and body were literally overwhelmed at times, and I don't know that there will ever be a point to it all or answers that seem to make sense of what we went through this past month. It was exhausting. And then some.
I cried more, yelled more, hurt more people with my actiosns and words then I care to ever admit to anyone. My heart was broken and I was angry and I was confused and yes, truly overwhelmed with everything. At one point I had logged a mere 10 hours of sleep in four days. And the days we were living were long and all-consuming. Just trying to keep 6 kids fed, diapered and out of trouble in the midst of packing and not-knowing and then actually driving 14 hours and doing what had to be done was a nightmare that kept going from bad to worse. We emptied and cleaned {with the help of my amazing parents and some really down-to-earth friends!} the MN house- all 5000+ sq. feet of it, and then got in our caravan of moving trucks and drove 14 hours to our home back here in Michigan...with a flat tire along the way. We arrived with a trailer that wouldn't open, which held all our bedding and mattresses so we could just pull them out and crash at 2:15 in the morning- but that didn't even happen without much anxiety and effort. Then, a couple of hours later we learned that our hot water heater was broken and would need a part and not be fixed for at least 48 hours. Consider this. Ten people...having packed, cleaned, loaded, driven 14 hours, unpacked and now nobody can take a shower or feel refreshed. So we had to take turns showering at friends and neighbors homes. After all of that. But there's more. The refrigerator is broken too. So any of the food that we had managed to keep cold for the 14 hour trip now has nowhere to be kept cold. And the food that people so generously brought to us upon our arrival has no where to go. Except that the temperature outside has dropped and so we got to eat food out of coolers in our garage for 4+ days. In the middle of boxes and sleeplessness and so much stress and chaos that I cannot really put it into words, nor would you really want to grasp it that fully anyway.
That's how we began this "new chapter", which still feels like an old chapter to me, of our life here in Michigan. Chip ended up parting ways with his club in Minnesota, so we now are settling as best we can back into our home here, we're needing a job locally- if possible, and the kids are actually handling this whole situation quite well, because at least they are back with their friends, familiar teachers and neighbors as they adjust to this recent move. They seem to be happy even. So that is a silver-lining to this whole circumstance. We are happy that they are happy.
But to be honest, I am still hurting and feeling disillusioned about what we are doing here again. As we wait on a job to open up for Chip and sit here trusting God to provide for our needs, I honestly feel so worn out and convinced that I "did something wrong" or that my prayers about being said with the right motives or pure heart, so I am not sure what to think or expect next. I do know that even if we messed up, or we chose the wrong path in life, or simply found ourselves in the wrong place at the right time that God can honor where we are now. I am not trusting in me and my lack of understanding or my prayers that seem to fall on deaf ears- but instead I am finding myself more broken, humbled, surrendered and open to what God wants to do in and through us next. I know that even when I can't make sense out of life, that God is still 100% invested in us and He will see us through to whatever or wherever He has plans to use us. We can trust Him forever and always, simply because He is Lord of our lives.
And that thought is enough reminder to my heart to bring me peace- despite the things we have gone through and continue to go through.
So back to those cupcakes!! I didn't forget about the cupakes!
I will blog more about them soon, but for now I will just say that we were blessed- even in the midst of all of our "drama" as I like to call it.
One of the big blessings is that for all the stress leading up to this whole move and re-settling, is that on this side of things life has gotten very 'mellow' for us the past two weeks. Moving back from where you just came from does have a few perks. The house itself was in more disrepair than we had expected in just a year's time. I never realized how run down an empty house can get that quickly! There was the broken water hearter and new fridge that we had to buy, showers and tubs and floors to scrub, and our yard will have to be re-seeded next spring. It is a disaster. But beyond the cosmetic stuff, it has been easy to transition the kids back to school; we know where to shop for groceries and how to get around locally. We basically know what to expect around here. With Chip home right now and not working, my life has been easier than it had been. We were so tired and worn out from our move, that we spent a few days settling in around here and Chip even painted our master bedroom and we cleaned and set up our spaces enough to be comfortable, but then we took a much-needed break. With almost all our family back in Minnesota we had a quiet, uneventful Thanksgiving here by ourselves. Chip took Brock, Bella and Crew out on a service project to deliver meals for several hours in the morning, and then the rest of the day it was just us and Chip making turkey and all the fixin's. We have slowly started to unpack our clothes into closets and I have gotten caught up on washing a lot of clothes, towels and bedding. We have a garage full of boxes to sort through, but we have had no urge to do that yet.
So I have been lucky to set up my cozy scrap space again and Chip has been great about letting me just sit in that space and make whatever I want to make. I have needed that time and space to just be. Those pictures of a scrap page and a mini book are peeks for the newest Cocoa Daisy kit being revealed later tonight. My scrap box from Cocoa Daisy was the first piece of mail we got at our house here in Michigan and I was so thrilled that I could settle in my scrap spot and create with it from the very start of being here. It was just what I had hoped for, and even more! The colors and the antler stamp just brought the happiness I was craving at that time. I feel lucky that in the midst of everything I was able to have time to play with paper and ink and have some fun- just for me. I feel very lucky to be on the Cocoa Daisy team and am looking forward to reconnecting with a bunch of my scrap friends here in Michigan again too. They are a fun bunch and maybe rekindling those friendships is one of the reasons God brought us back here. I'm not sure, but I am looking forward to finding out. =)
So that's the short version of the past month of our life. I know we have much more than we need or deserve and we are grateful for all that God has given to us. It has just been hard to say good-bye {even with tasty cupcakes!} to all we had come to love about the people and place God had given us in Minnesota. It's hard to know we will spend the holidays alone and so far from family and friends. We were so looking forward to being "home" this year! But God has His reasons, His timing and I know He has our best at heart. So the one thing I can do is keep trusting, being patient, and being totally open to what He is up to. I am sure that however this new chapter of our life plays itself out, it will be another interesting twist to the life path He continues to guide us on. I love that the path is beautiful enough to keep pointing us forward...and that it graced with cupcakes and pretty paper and stamps and happiness for our kids along the way too. In spite of it all, we are still living a lucky charmed life. I just have to look at it from the right point-of-view!