Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hocking Hills

We went to Hocking Hills a few weeks ago.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a place in the middle of nowhere in Ohio.  Hills, rocks, rivers, waterfalls, nature, scenery, seclusion.  It was a mini getaway for our family.
You can't go hiking without walking sticks

We got a little cabin.  We went the cheap route.  Never again.  The kids shared a full size bed.  Bart and I shared a twin size futon.  Terrible idea.  There's a reason we shared the futon.  I promise.  Everyone we've told thinks we're a bit crazy for doing it.  But it worked out fine.  Sleep is sometimes overrated.
Looking down to where we had just climbed from.
We did go hiking a couple of times.  We all really enjoyed it.  The first morning we went it was a bit cold.  It had been snowing.  In April.  I know.  Welcome to Ohio.  Good old, bipolar Ohio.  We didn't have coats or hats or gloves or anything.  Ah, just go with it.  We're here, so we'll wing it we thought.  We survived.  With all of our fingers and toes intact.  It wasn't THAT cold.
It was beautiful.  The snow on the trees.  Driving through the hills and curves.  It was so serene.  We went to Cedar Falls and Ash Cave.  Both were great.  The water was so clear.  Were it not so cold, we would've been splashing in it.  To be in a place so calm, so pure, so untainted was really refreshing.

We saw deer, 4 of them, right in the driveway as we were leaving the cabin one day.  They just stared at us.  To get to experience nature in the few days we were there was just what we needed.  To get away from the city.  Away from the busy-ness of life.  To get away from staying with other people and invading someone else's life.  It was priceless.  We had our own space.  At least for a few days.

I can't wait to go back.  To go hiking.  To feel the burn of traversing miles of trails.  Probably not with the kids.  Maybe for our anniversary.  Our hearts need a rest from our current reality.  To just be in nature and be able to connect with each other and even the Lord in the midst of his creation, we need that.  Oh how I wish it would come soon.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Easter was well over a week ago.  That's ok.  We're behind.  Welcome to our world.  We told the kids on Good Friday that it was Good Friday.  Yep, one of the downfalls of moving pretty regularly is that we kind of forget major things, like Easter.  So we bought eggs and the kit and decided to color eggs on Saturday.

Luckily the family we were staying with felt the need to spoil our kids a bit and bought baskets for our kiddos.  Nothing fancy, but something so we didn't need to worry about it.  It was super sweet and helped us not have to think about something else.  Honestly, we're not even sure we want that to be a tradition for our family.  Eh, just go with it.

Sunday morning we hid eggs.  A few times.  The last time, the kids hid the eggs for us and we found them.  That might have been more fun for them than finding the eggs themselves.  Oh to be a kid again.  Church felt pretty normal.  It didn't feel like Easter.  It just felt like a normal day.  In many ways it was.

And so we add to our list of things to grieve.  Christmas was this way.  And Easter was the same.  With unexpectedly being in the States for both of these holidays, we just didn't plan or celebrate the way we would want to.  We haven't really been able to keep traditions when we aren't even in our own home.  Our kids are young, so they don't have a high felt need for traditions obviously.  Luckily.

So maybe next year.  Maybe next year will feel more consistent.  Maybe we'll be in our own place and be able to have our own traditions.  Maybe not.  We will see.  We hold any plans pretty loosely right now.  Unfortunately.

But we can say that we enjoyed our Easter.  It was low key.  It was low stress.  We had no expectations.  And can I let you in on a little secret?  We went to a random, big church.  No expectations, no need to make chit chat, no awkward conversations.  I could cry or smile or act like a crazy person and no one would probably ever see me again.  Hopefully!

And that's where we're at.  Going to a random church to avoid people.  Enjoying the little bits of alone time we do get at someone else's home.  We're invaders.  We are invading people's homes and their personal lives.  It's not our desire obviously.  We're nomads.  And we're somewhat emotionally spent.  Thus avoiding people we know on Easter Sunday.  We're fallen.  Broken.  Tired.  Trying to keep things simple in the midst of chaos.

Just.  Push.  Through.  To.  May.  17th.  WE CAN DO IT.  I can't even communicate how hard it has been on us to not have our own housing.  To not have our own space.  To not be able to give our kids any sort of consistency.  Kids are resilient they say, right?  Let's sure hope so!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's been a while

Well, we inadvertently haven't blogged in a while.  Whoops.  We're tired.  In the past two weeks, we've stayed at 5 different places.  We have a car full of suitcases including bedding, school, clothes and food.  It's been a bit stressful at times.  Sleeping on air mattresses or on a tiny bed.  The kids have successfully shared a bed for 8 nights, at two different places.  It's surprisingly worked out well considering I would never in my wildest imagination guess that our 5 and 3 year olds could share a bed.  Praise the Lord for little blessings!

The other night, we were talking and thought it'd be "funny" to count how many different places we've stayed since the beginning of December.  21.  Twenty-one.  We've slept in 21 different places in the past 5 months.  Our poor kids.

Things have been rough.  Really rough.  We're all ready to be done being homeless.  The meltdowns, the tears and the screaming are becoming more of a norm as of late.  And I'm not even talking about the kids.  Or am I?  Lord help us.

Either way, it's rough.  We're all feeling it.  The kids don't understand.  How do you explain to them that we don't have a home, but we're welcome to stay at all of the places we're staying at?  How do we communicate that we're together and that's what's important?  I mean, honestly, I'm starting to not believe that anymore.  We're together and that's all that's important.  Easier said than done as time wears on.  And on.  And on.

Someone said to us that Florida would come quickly.  August, oh it'll be here before you know it.  Ha! Nope.  Time is sort of dragging.  Like a slow, steady nail down a chalkboard.  It's been a bit painful to keep moving from place to place.

Ok.  It's not THAT terrible.  Well, it is terrible.  But I'm dramatic sometimes.  We're so grateful.  Grateful for friends, for family, for the people who have housed us, fed us, talked to us, watched our kids for us.  We're especially grateful for May 17th, the day we get to start housesitting.  For 6 weeks.  Oh Lord, get us there quickly.  Help us to be motivated and productive in the mean time.

I promise the next post will be more chipper.  And maybe in less than two weeks.  Crossing my fingers.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Slow and steady

We've been back in the States for a month now.  Time has gone really fast, it seems.  We've stayed in 5 different places since we've been back.  We're not really settled anywhere.  Yet, we're functioning relatively well.  We're doing school.  We're getting admin stuff done.  We're scheduling some appointments.

But the healing process is slow.  We were able to attend a debrief for overseas staff this past week in Indy.  It was really refreshing for our hearts to be around others who have had similar experiences.  It was life giving to be heard and known and understood.  We were not alone.  It wasn't a fix all, but it re-energized our hearts to be with other staff who listened and cared.

We've ordered some books to help with the process we're going through.  We're slowly starting to return to somewhat normal sleep patterns.  We're attempting to eat decent food (attempting being the key word).  We've at least slowed down on the eating all of the food we craved while overseas!

We try to be hopeful each day.  It seems as time passes, new pains arise.  We realize that there are little things, or sometimes even bigger things, that we realize we missed out on or won't get to do or see or finish or help with.  It seems the grieving process will go on for a while as we continue to recognize the things we weren't prepared for.  We grieve the process of not knowing what the immediate future holds.  We grieve dreams and ambitions.  We weren't prepared for all of this.

This is our lives.  We often think, how did we get here?  How did this happen?  We're grateful to be in the States, to not have the stresses we dealt with while in Venezuela.  Yet we welcome new stressors while being here.  The grass is never greener.  So we continue to take these things to the Lord.  It's painful.  He's not always the one we want to go to or even feel the safest with.  This is the time we have to choose to trust the most.  This is when our faith is tested.  It's not easy.