Monday, 30 January 2012

Living in the UP

Well, I wouldn't say that we're official Yoopers...yet, but I thought maybe this would give you a peak into our lives up here in the UP...kind of a to 10 list of things to know about living up here...

10. There is a special all season windshield washer fluid that should be placed into the car before you enter sub zero temperatures.

9. I don't think I can express just how thankful we are for our snow tires

8. Allow yourself 5 min. extra per child to go outside especially if you are readying your little ones for a walk to the grocer around the corner. It will probably take you longer to get ready than to actually walk to the grocer, buy the few things you need and walk home.

7. Seeing the big flakes drop like a beautiful ballet out of the sun filled sky is something I hope I never forget to wonder at.

6. Thank God for snow plows, and sand....and slow drivers...and a heater that works....

5. Playing in the snow is a whole new set of adventures for the kids and really, there is a lot one can do in the snow if you have enough of it!

4. I wouldn't trade my double garage for anything...even a huge yard....even a stand alone house....

3. How ya doin' eh? in Yooper is kinda like How y'all been? in Texan

2. If anyone asks what the kids need for b-days etc. my standard answer will be board games...we can always use more of those.....or anything else creative to do indoors

1.  You can tell if someone has lived here a long time if they wear shorts to fix their car outside. Or maybe they're just a poor ol' college kid that needs some new jeans. ;)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

6 Traveling Popes

I just tried to map quest all of the miles that we've travelled since we've been back in the states and the site was taking too long, so I'm just going to estimate over 3,000. Funny, I had the patience to drive all those miles with 4 kiddos in the car, but couldn't wait for map quest to load. Not sure what the says about me...maybe we'll revisit that in another post. ;)

It's been a whirlwind to say the least. There were plenty of hugs, smiles, sweet reunions, tears for loved ones lost, more hugs and more tears of an overwhelmed momma. As with the rest of military life as been for us, the good and lovely most certainly out weighed the hard, heaviness of not having a place to call home.

Ironically, part of Germany being so hard for our family was the feeling of never really belonging. It's the pride welling inside of me that always wants to be understood, accepted, and loved...always wanting to feel like we belong. Instead of finding that peace, joy and rest in Christ. All too often I try to find it in the approval of other people making what they think of me an idol of my heart. Being in another culture, just magnified that struggle because it just isn't possible to find that peace in any other way especially when you are raised your whole life in one culture and then live, for a time, in another.

Then we come back to the states and things...literally are always coming at you. It is overwhelming. It is a challenge not to want everything that is thrown your way. It makes you want to close your eyes. I remember complaining at the lack of "choice" at the commissary and now I would love to have just 3 to choose from. The constant barrage of advertisements...everywhere....was overwhelming especially at first. My kids were not even used to American commercials. Every, and I do mean EVERY, time any kind of toy commercial would come on Koen would yell, "MOM...I WANT THAT!!" Really, just echoing what is going on in my heart while walking the isle at target, except now I don't have to ask my mom and I don't usually throw a fit about least not out loud.

Being back we still felt a bit displaced though comfortable in so many ways. It was an interesting mix of emotions that is hard to explain until you experience them for yourself.

And there it is that word, almost what defines us as Americans sometimes....comfortable. It's what I long for, what my heart aches for. Sometimes more than wisdom, yes even wisdom, I want ease. I want comfort. Who wants things to be hard? Just make my life easy Lord, Keep me from all things difficult and hard. Hedge me in Lord. Never let anything bad happen to us. Maybe this isn't what I say with my lips, but it is what my life displays in many ways.

Oh, and in that book of all Books. The one that I decide, again, I'm going to read this time all the way a year. This is the year. This is it. The same thing that I say I'm going to do every year at the first of the year. You may do it with exercise. I do it with the Word. Here I am again. And what, not surprisingly do I find in Matthew, Genesis, Romans, 1 Thess., Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Joshua, Isaiah, and Acts? I find HARD things. I find that the Lord has hard things for his people, so why...oh, why, am I so unbelievably discontented when they come my way?

Oh, and that part...the part about a Christian trusting in the Lord found in Proverbs, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways follow Him and he will straighten your paths." That part? Whelp, I forget that too. There. Forgotten. Right on the doorstep of the temporary lodging facility in New Mexico or was it back in Germany???

Comfort and Forgotten..oh,.how easily they slip hand in hand...

Jerry Bridges says it this way, "The Bible is full of God's promises to provide for us spiritually and materially, to never forsake us, to give us peace in time of difficult circumstances, to cause all circumstances to work together for our good, and finally to bring us safely home to glory. Not one of those promises is dependent upon our performance. They are all dependent on the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ."

Nope, God doesn't promise easy, he doesn't even suggest it. What he does promise the same thing that he promises to Joshua in Ch. 1 of his book at verse 9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” It's like the Lord is reminding Joshua, right after commanding him to be strong and courageous. Not un like the many times I need to be reminded that He is with me especially when it's so hard to feel that way.

Wherever you go.... And for this travelling, homeschooling, military family...that is one promise we must cling to. I may not be conquering a land for the Lord, but certainly the God who was with Joshua in battle is the very same Lord here with me in Marquette. And that is the ONLY place where true and lasting peace, joy and rest can be found!

Gracious Father, thank you for the hard, messy parts of life. Thank you for caring enough to mold us though it may not be comfortable. Thank you for giving and allowing these things into our lives that we may grow in grace. Thank you that Jesus did not choose the easy way out.

446. Jesus, little bundle, wrinkled, Savior wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger
447. snow tires
448. all those stretches of highway from New Mexico to Marquette and the journey mercies to get there safely
449. one boy, singing, yelling really, Christmas carols
450. Advent, stories of grace pointing us to Jesus and what Christmas is really about
451. our GPS though not updated :/
452. new beginnings
453. time with special aunts
454. sweet time with special friends
455. warm hotel rooms
456. pool time with dad
457. a husband who put on his suit so I didn't have to, yeah, he's the best
458. finding a home to rent
459. submitting to what God has for me...again
460. snow...11 in in 2 days
461. hard, good days....hard and good...hand in hand
462. McDonald's play place (this one is actually clean)
462. somersaulting little boy
463. warm vanilla latte
464. smooshed noses against glass panes
465. forgiveness for forgetting Who is most important