Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Beginnings

I've received a lot of e-mails and FB messages asking where our family is.... so here's the story.
First, I want to say that this is really not our story, but a story of God's goodness and grace to our family. We are blown away by His faithfulness to us and by the people and circumstances that God put in our path to help us grow and mature.
As many of you know, we moved to Canada last August after John accepted a teaching job in Chilliwack. Our family was not excited about this move- it was made simply because neither John or I could find jobs in the Chicago area and we desperately needed employment. So, with heals dragging and hearts very heavy we packed up and made the big move across country.
If I am going to be completely honest (which I am!), the past year was really difficult for our family. There was a lot of things we weren't prepared for, but I don't want to focus on that part of our year. I do want to share though, what, in hindsight, is amazingly clear. God has been, and continues to be, so good, so patient, and so faithful to us.
We are completely humbled when we look back and remember the people God placed in our lives while we were in Chilliwack. We were surrounded by people who cared about us, prayed for us, supported us through our tears and frustrations, and truly were the hands and feet of God. We are thankful and can see how God used these people to walk with us through the past year.
Tristan was blessed with a friend immediately upon our arrival. We prayed for a friend for him and he met a boy who became "one of the fam." This was a huge answer to prayer and Tristan saw how God can and does work in all circumstances.
Ella also was surrounded by friends who helped make a difficult transition more "doable." There are two girls who come to my mind when I think of the girls who were a huge part of her life. Her "twin" at the gym, a classmate from school, and a friend across the street made life so much more enjoyable and fun. John and I are grateful for God's faithfulness to Ella.
Aidan just kind of hung out with me :) He did ask about our "white house," once in awhile, but he didn't have any problems adjusting. He met two little boys on our street and loved to play with them.
John met some amazing men too. They were patient and listened and supported him this past year. He is so thankful for the guys who were part of his life.
And for me... I will be honest and say that I had a bad attitude about our move, and pretty much about everything. I really didn't want to leave home and I certainly didn't feel like I had the energy to make new friends, nor did I feel like I had anything to offer in friendship. God, and the women he placed in my life, saw past all this. I had women come along side me and hold me up when I could barely stand. I am thankful for each of these women and know that I could not have made it without them in my life.
We were also thankful for the opportunity we had to be closer to John's parents. The kids got to spend time with their grandparents in ways that they hadn't been able to in the past. I am remembering special times at Crescent Beach together... good memories.
So, fastforward to this fall. We are back in Elmhurst with a new direction and a new chapter in our lives. The way we got here is nothing short of a miracle.
We left Chilliwack in late July for a trip to visit my parents and our friends in IL (and to stuff ourselves with all the good food we missed! ...Portillos, Red Dragon, and Giordano's!) While we were home John interviewed for a job in WI (landscape company he used to work for). We waited three weeks to hear back from them, which at the time was VERY stressful. We were counting on this job coming through... counting on it so much that we had packed up most of our house before we left Chilliwack and purchased one way tickets home.
So, as the wait stretched on, we became more urgent in our prayers and the phrase "bashing on the doors of heaven" became very real. Constant prayers from family and friends are what kept us moving forward and not laying down and giving up.
So, while we were waiting on the job that we thought was the answer, God had other plans for us. While we were visiting friends in Elmhurst a friend of our family asked John if he wanted to interview at his company downtown. At that point, we thought... why not. He interviewed for the job and we continued to wait.
With two job possibilities on the horizon, we were pretty confident that we would be moving back to the Midwest. So, John headed back to B.C. to get our things (along with help from my uncle, who, for the record, has moved us twice across the country in 12 months time....thank you Gomer) and drove back to the Midwest. At the time he was driving across country, we still didn't have a final destination, which looking back is CRAZY! But we also knew that God had been faithful to us in the past and we had no reason to doubt His faithfulness now. (This didn't always look pretty, though. There were many tears and questioning, but God never let go.)
To make a very long story short... John was offered the job in Chicago and he accepted it! It's a wonderful job that incorporates his talents as a teacher and his love for interacting with people. He is thrilled with this opportunity and excited by possibilities it presents.
This past year I remember thinking, Why...why does our family have to go through all these difficult things? Isn't it time for some "easy?" I know now (and really I did at the time, too) that God wasn't doing things to our family because He lost interest in us or didn't love us anymore. He was drawing us closer to Himself, teaching us to trust Him more, depend on Him for every need. This process of growth was painful- it really brought us to our knees many many times. It shook us to the core and forced us to really evaluate in what and whom we place our trust.
I remember saying to a friend... at the end of this chapter in our lives all I want is for our family, and those who know us, to see how good, how faithful, and how loving God has been. I want the things that were ugly, painful, and difficult to be used to bring honor and glory to God.
Our family truly has been given a second chance, a new beginning and an opportunity to move in a new direction. We are so thankful for the people and situations that have shaped us over these past few years. We are happy, though, to close the chapter of unemployment and unrest and move into a new chapter.
There's a lot more to the story (like how we got in our new rental place and my new job!) that I'll save for another time!
God has done great things in our lives and we are thankful and give all glory to Him.

Monday, July 11, 2011

the 4th of July.. Stateside

We spent a wonderful weekend in Seattle with our friends, Matt & Gail.
It was so good to be with them and celebrate the 4th of July together!
Everyone had to have a flag for the parade!
Alki Beach

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Delta Invite

Ella competed in her second meet this morning- yes, they scheduled it on Mother's Day :) We had fun watching her and seeing the new things she's learned since her first meet a few months ago. Ella isn't afraid to go for it, which you'll see in the bars routine. She's been working on the fly away dismount, which hasn't been easy. The landing isn't pretty, but she tried and we're proud of her! And, yes, being at my daughter's meet on Mother's Day is a present in itself!
video video video video

Thursday, March 17, 2011

the cleanest counter award

now that's a clean counter!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

my boys

I love my boys
Tristan was absolutely thrilled when the Packers won the Super Bowl!
Who knows, maybe he'll get this before he turns three!
(unlike someone else from our family who waited until he was almost four!)

seems like yesterday...

video

I remember this like it was yesterday. Gotta love the orange undies hanging out from the leo!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

fun at the gym

I was asked to take some pictures for Ella's gym for their meet booklet. The Twister's meet is coming up at the end of the month and all the girls are working really hard to get ready. It was fun to spend a few hours with the girls and experience practice down on the floor.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

on talking canadian...

Much to my chagrin, I have noticed the Canadian accent creeping into the voice of one of my children. Can you guess who? It's not Aidan- he's listening to me all day. And it's not Tristan- he lived in the midwest for 10 years, so the Chicagoland accent is still pretty engrained in his voice. It's Ella. She's been coming out with little words here and there that are tinged with the accent of the locals. It's only the short a sound so far, but I know that if one vowel falls, so will the rest:)
I know that this is the accent that (many many years ago) I fell in love with. However, I have not heard that coming from his lips in a long long time and I've grown used to him speaking like the locals in Chicago. Well, that's not so anymore, as he is reverting back to his youth. Who knew it would only take 6 months. At least nobody is throwing the "eh" at the end of every sentence. I give that another month or so!
And there are many words that are different here. I'm starting a list...
stuffies (stuffed animals)
duotang (folder... this one really bugs me- where in the heck does this come from????)
bodysuit (leotard)
again/been (spoken with the British accent)
"phoning" people (calling someone on the phone)
runners (tennis shoes)
grade 4 (vs. fourth grade)
mum (mom)
leisure centre (the gym... leisure makes it sound so nice!)
tuque (hat)
loonie/ toonie (Dollar and two dollar coins which make my wallet super heavy! At least I feel like I have some money in there!)
felts (markers)
elastics (rubber bands)
There are many more that just aren't coming to my mind right now... I'll update as I remember.
I never thought Canada would be so different.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

piggies

love those piggies