Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thank you 2016

Thank you 2016, for teaching me the unimaginable.  For helping me to learn what it meant to persevere and not give up.

Thank you 2016, for not allowing my plans to always go as I desired and showing me something better was waiting instead.

Thank you 2016, for showing me that I do have something to offer others that is valuable and life changing.  For someone who constantly struggles with feeling like a failure, that is a great gift.

Thank you 2016, for changing me.  I am definitely not the same person I was at the beginning of the year and I have the trials and tribulations of your year to thank.

Thank you 2016, for getting me out of my comfort zone and reminding me that when I am truly vulnerable, that's when I'm most brave.

Thank you 2016, for allowing our family's health to get to a point where we had to change our diets and lifestyles or suffer the consequences.  It was a hard lesson, but one I'm grateful for.

Thank you 2016, for the members of my family and the healing you've allowed.  Words cannot express the joy that comes with physical and emotional healing.  Thank you for the doctors, friends, and counselors who have made that possible.

Thank you 2016, for providing for us financially in ways I could've never ever dreamed.  From the sale of our home, to the gifts of community, to my husband's generous job, we have been amply provided for.

Thank you 2016, for reminding me the God is good.  He is the giver of all good things.  He gives and He takes away.  He knows all of my days, every struggle, every fear, every excitement, every tear, and he cares deeply about me.  I am His beloved child.

So as I say thank you 2016, I'm really saying thank you to the Lord for these things.  I'm also acknowledging that what has been the hardest year of my life, has also been the most life-changing, ground-shaking, soul-moving year as well.

To 2017!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Christmas: Griefs and Gratitude

Christmas.  Where do I begin?

I'm am ever so very grateful and yet processing much grief this year as well.

Hannah, 2007
Every Christmas we've ever had as a family took place in that home.

With Benjamin and Hannah, 2009
While we believe Christmas is ultimately a celebration of the birth of Christ, 
as with many, it's also much more than that to us. 

Benjamin and Hannah, 2010
Each year, we began to establish new traditions, slowly gather our own decorations, and continue to determine and create what our family celebration would look like.

Hannah, Sophia, and Benjamin 2011
We grew as a couple, as parents, as friends, as family, and as believers.

Benjamin, Sophia, Daniel and Hannah, 2012
At least every other Christmas, we added another beautiful baby to the family.

(Daniel, in high chair), Hannah, Benjamin and Sophia, 2013
Our kids kept growing, maturing, and living sometimes crazy and even more often, plain old ordinary days.

Benjamin, Hannah, Sophia, and Daniel 2014
Life started to get a bit overwhelming when health issues began to mount and started plaguing the family.  I find it ironic that this picture somewhat shows that symbolically as our bottom row of lights went out on the tree that year.

Sophia, Hannah, Abigail, Daniel and Benjamin 2015
We had no idea 2015 would be our last Christmas in that home.  Just three months later, we would face the heartbreak of losing our home, our health and nearly every physical belonging we owned.

Our new tree (left by the previous homeowner) in our new home, with Sophia 2016
One of my absolute favorite things to do each Thanksgiving is to pull up all of the Christmas decor from our basement and begin decorating our home.  I absolutely adore listening to Christmas music, having the kids, somewhat chaotically help decorate the tree, and making the place "feel" like Christmas.  

I couldn't do that this year.

We had to part with approximately 95% of our belongings after health crises and toxic mold.  I'm choosing to wait until after Christmas to hit the sales to begin replacing our Christmas decor in this new season.  This year, we are appreciative that the last homeowners left a perfectly wonderful little pre-lit tree.  We were able to clean and keep our ceramic family ornaments and hung those.  All of our other ornaments and decorations will be homemade this year.  And truly, I'm okay with that.  We are creating new memories with those crafts.  I am not blind to the fact that we are ridiculously blessed, even materially. 

Family ornament collection as of 2016
What brings me grief are the special items and memories left behind.  Of course I will forever have those memories, and yet the suddenness of their loss is still something I'm processing.  After all, it hasn't even been a year since we left it all behind.

And yet I'm truly and eternally grateful.  Overwhelmingly so.

The Lord has returned our health, shown us countless ways He's blessed us, loved on us through community, provided for us financially, grown us in maturity and cared for us immensely.  In many ways, we feel like Job restored.

This Christmas is different.  It just is.  We will begin again in many ways.  In other ways, we'll just continue our journey.  So I share both my griefs and my gratitudes.  Thank you for caring for us enough to be a safe space for me to share.

Much love....

Until next time,

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Summary of Our Mold Experience (in posts)

Often people want to know about our mold experience.  It's quite hard to sum up the entire thing in one post.  Eventually, we may make a video or write a series of blogs.  Until then, here are some posts about what the process looked like for us (it'll be different for everyone).  We're MILES ahead of where we were and are so very grateful for that.

This is a long but detailed post of our health issues and the back story to it all:

This post was where we explained the course of action we were taking and why.  It also gives some helpful links for you to research more on the topic:

This post was a bit about our recovery plan put together by Dr. Janette Hope:

Lastly, here is a summary of all of the updates we posted (in chronological order) on our fundraising page when it was still open:

Take care,