I Have A New Home

Literally, I have a new home.  In the physical sense.  And blogical sense.  (Don’t you love how you can make up words on blogs?)

Join me at my new location: imraisingworldchangers.blogspot.com

A side note: I wish I were uber creative when it comes to naming my blog.  Seems everyone has their cool trademark.  I am not creative, so I decided to figure out a way to encompass my current children with the possibility of adding another in the future.  I have noticed a trend with naming things with my current situation, then I have to change with family additions.  One day, when this family is final, I will brainstorm a quirky name.  For now, this is the best I could do.  While its very true, its a wee bit cheesy.  But I am generally cheesy, so its ok!


From Kansas To Florida

I had hoped to write a post to bring closure to my time in Kansas before leaving the great state.  However, moving turned out to be way busier than I anticipated.  We hired movers (which was the BEST money we’ve ever spent), but getting the house prepared for the movers was time consuming and exhausting!  I only wanted to move with what we needed/wanted, and I can honestly say I did great….we only have one small bag of things to give away!  The process to get to that point was difficult, but I am so glad I did it before I left.

I plan to print off my blog, then I will start a new one to celebrate my move to Florida.

We closed on our house, without any trouble, on June 21.  We could not move into our new home until July 1.  We took a ten day roadtrip, staying with friends and family along the way.  It ended up being pretty nice, because we took our time driving halfway across the country.  (My uncle drove our other car).

I am so thankful for our gracious friends and family (Victoria, Donna, Wendy, my parents, and Brett’s parents) who hosted us along the way.  My kids had a blast meeting new friends and family members.  Caleb looks just like one of my cousins, which we now affectionately call “Uncle Twin”.

Even though I am very happy to follow the Lord to Florida, I LOVE Overland Park.  That is where Brett and I started our life together.  Our first dates were there.  I moved into our home on 152nd Terrace as a new wife.  I brought home my 3 children to that house.  All of my dreams came true in that home.  Looking back, I cannot believe how faithful God was (and is) to have blessed my life so completely.

I learned how to be a wife in Kansas.  I had few friends our first year of marriage.  Neither of us worked from September to February that first year, and all we did was hang out….going to the movies, out to dinner, to Starbucks.  If its true that your first year of marriage is your hardest, then, wow, we are fortunate.  It was a great first year.  Five years later, I feel like I barely even knew Brett when we got married….I love how much we have grown together as a couple.  We have changed so much, but we have changed together.  And I could not be more thankful.

I learned how to be a mom in Kansas.  I really struggled through Caleb’s first 6 months.  It was not until I joined my MOPS group that I began to figure out the mom thing.  I struggled with so much guilt and not knowing really what to do as a mom…until I met friends in the same stage of life I was at.  I could not have dreamed the impact that group would have on my life.  Most of my closest friends came from that group.  From those women, I learned how to decorate a home (if you could have seen my home the first couple of years…it was awful…not that I am great now, but I have definitely improved)…I learned true hospitality…fun things to do with kids…how to be a better wife.  So many domestic life skills were imparted to me through my friends.  The fact our kids were so close was just icing on the cake!!

I learned the joy of a growing church in Kansas.  City Life Church started in our living room, before I was even in the equation.  To see where God has taken it makes me smile.  My other closest friends came from church.  Women who blessed my life beyond measure and inspired me to grow in my faith.  God used City Life to make me truly figure out who He created me to be.  There was so much opportunity in a small church, so I had to often seek God for His will, not what I “should” do.  Thankfully, I have become so confident in my giftings.  Things I used to want to change about myself because my strengths.  I learned the power of prayer.  And how prayer changes situations.  Jesus did miraculous things in my life.  I cannot even believe it.  I saw God do things I could have only dreamed out before.

It seems so goofy, but I feel like I became a woman in those 5 years.  I can remember my first year of living there (I was 23), and I was SO immature.  I can only laugh at the goofy things I said and did.  Not that I am the poster child for maturity, but I have come a long way.

Overland Park is a wonderful city.  It was just voted the 7th best place to live in America, but I truly believe its #1.  The area is so safe. People are friendly.  Homes are big and inexpensive (comparatively).  Stores are nice, clean, and uncrowded.  I have great friends there.  My family lived a short trip away.  Life was good.  Comfortable.  Fun.

But, yet, God’s grace has been so sufficient.  South Florida is SO different.  Buildings are old.  Houses are small and expensive.  Crime is high.  People are weird.  Really weird.  In my first two weeks, I have seen some ODD things.  People have been rude.

Yet, I am excited for what God has in store.  When praying about our move, God spoke to me and said, “All of your physical dreams have come true in Kansas.  But your spiritual dreams will come true in Florida.”  What could be more awesome than that?!  I have big dreams of what I hope to see God do in this city, and His promises are faithful!!

I do have to pray much more.  I have to trust God more.  I mean, I saw a guy get arrested while stopped at a red light a few days ago.

The mantra “We’re not in Kansas anymore” keeps replaying in my head.  Moving has been a weird feeling.  I feel like we’re just on an extended vacation.  My home decor looks so goofy when it changed venues, yet we are in a rental….so I do not want to invest too much in the place!

Settling into a new area is hard.  Finding new doctors, new places to donate items, new routes to parks, new grocery stores.  I will say I have quite loved the amount of water parks here.  And, of course, the beach is AMAZING!!

The weirdest part of moving in July is that Florida summers are like Kansas winters: everyone stays inside to avoid the extreme temperatures.  I know it will be so much more fun in a few months!!

Unpacking and settling into our house was exhausting!  It took a lot longer than I anticipated, but I am mostly unpacked.  Our garage needs to be organized, but all boxes are unpacked.  Everything made it, except one box of kitchen items remains missing.  I have no idea how it did not get packed, but it is missing.  I am surprised how much things have changed since we got everything 5 years ago.  Measuring cups and spoons are magnetic now.  Very cool!

So, all in all, life in Florida is good.  Different but good.  We only have a few friends here, so we’ve had a lot of quality family time.  I have enjoyed it a lot!!  Brett has had some awesome ministry encounters already.

God is so good.  I know South Florida will feel like home in no time!!  I have waves of homesickness (similar to what I felt when I moved to college), but overall, I am doing pretty good.  I miss the comfort and routine of my old life at times, but I have enjoyed the change in other ways.  It has been fun to configure my furniture in new ways and things like that.

I am not sure where my new blog will be, but I will post it soon!!  I am hoping to get one with a cuter background.  I read blogs in Google Reader, so I have never paid that much attention.  But when I click onto blogs, I see everyone else has beautiful pages!!

So, for the last time from sew56.wordpress.com, thank you for reading my ramblings.  I look forward to seeing you on my new blog :).

I’m Back, For One Night Only

I have good intentions to write a final post, commemorating my time in Kansas.  But, whew, it’s been a crazy few weeks.  We FINALLY move into our new home tomorrow, which means we’ve been homeless for 10 days.  Fortunately, our home closing went very smooth.  We met the new owners, and I realized I am overly invested in them loving their new home!  I keep thinking about them and wondering how life is in our old house.  They’re a darling family, and my neighbor texted to say they’ve already all hung out!

Our road trip is getting long, but it has been really fun visiting our friends and family.  We drove about 5 hours a day and received wonderful hospitality at each stop.  I am so thankful for people who open their homes to our family.

A few highlights along the way…..

– For about the last hour of our trip, Chloe and Caleb kept saying, “You’re the best Mommy.  You’re the best Daddy.  You’re the best Lukey….” (to the respective person).  It was DARLING, especially since Chloe was in the habit of telling me she did not like me.

– Chloe still refers to me as “Sarah” or “Sarah Lynn” (from Little People).  I laugh everytime she says it, even though I do not let her get away with it.  She is so precious when she says it that I just love it.

– While driving, neither of us noticed the gas light was on.  With about 7 miles left in our tank, we found a gas station.  A very disgusting one.  But better than the alternative!

– I think I am the worst traveler of all.  One day, we were deciding between driving 4 or 8 hours.  I pleaded, “The kids just will not last 8 hours.”  Brett replied, “You mean, you won’t last 8 hours?”  (Sad, but he’s right.  I do not like driving long distances.)

– A stop at Chick Fil A perks everyone up.  (And my kids can spot their logo from a mile away.)

– So does soda.

– Florida has all outdoor play places at fast food places.  It is 1803 degrees here.  Miserable for kids to play on.

– Caleb and I had a sweet conversation about Jesus.  He picks up more than I could have imagined.

– Every time we pass a lot of trees, Caleb YELLS, “MOM, LOOK!!!  It’s a rainforest!!!!”  It kind of scared me the first few times, when he shouted (since he is quiet, typically).

– Chloe and Caleb like to pretend.  They play the role of people they love.  They’re so precious.

– Driving through Tallahassee, Brett and I got to share with our kids of how we fell in love there.  Chloe said she wants to put on a pretty dress and get married with me.

– I loved reminiscing in Tallahassee.  Such a tender moment when I realized that I left there with so many hopes and dreams….all of which were fulfilled during my time in Kansas.  I now have new dreams and am looking forward to what the next 5 years hold.

– Living out of a suitcase and car for 10 days is not my thing.  But I have survived.  I feel like we’re on a trip, and the fact we’re relocating has not set in.

– Caleb and Chloe learned to jump off the side of the pool.  And even went underwater.  They loved the former, not so much the latter.

These memories are not road trip specific, but I want to remember them.

– Recently, I told Caleb, “Chloe and I are pretending.”  She replied, “No, we are for realing.”

– My kids call McDonald’s “Uncle Donald’s”.

–  Caleb uses “hers” instead of “she”.  And its really cute.  One of these days I suppose I will teach him the correct way.

– My kids can navigate an iPhone and ask me to download new apps.

I have so much more I want to say, but I need to get packed.  We are making our final drive this evening.  My older two kids are staying at their grandparents for 2 more days, so we can get somewhat settled before they arrive!!

I will not have internet for 2 weeks, so my memories post may have to wait!

If It’s Too Good To Be True, It Must Be God

This is long, but I wanted a detailed account of the amazing miracle our home in South Florida is.

In two weeks, Brett and I will drive out of the state of Kansas for the last time as residents.  This is an extremely bittersweet time for me, which I will get to in a later post.  For now, I want to record the miracle of God providing our future home.

Brett, Luke, and I flew down to Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday night.

Side note:  Caleb and Chloe stayed with my parents and had the best time.  My dad is an attorney, and he had a settlement that paid out in Toys R Us gift cards.  My parents took their grandchildren (minus my sister’s son, who lives out of state) and my little sister on a shopping spree.  Hardly anyone was in the store, so they had free reign on the toy store.  I am pretty sure that was my dream as a child, so it is so fun my kids were able to do that.  I really wish I could have been there, because Caleb loves toy stores, so I know he loved it.  They did a lot of other really fun things, and I so appreciate my parents who joyfully watch our children.  What a blessing to know they’re in good hands.

Back to my original point….

So, Friday, we began our house hunt and had about 48 hours to find our new place.  We decided to rent, but the options (in our price range) were quite dismal.  After looking at home after home (and tons of driving in between because the city is very large), we narrowed it down to 2 homes by Saturday night.  To put it nicely, we did not like either home, but we are closing on our house in 2 weeks, so this was not the time to be picky.  One home was conveniently located near Brett’s jobs, but it was in a not very safe neighborhood.  I would have to drive 25+ minutes to get to even a grocery store that I would have felt safe enough to take all three children to.  The second house was ok but in a nice neighborhood, but it was 45+ minutes to Brett’s job and our friends there.  (Luke rode around with us all day both days and barely made a peep.  He was definitely an amazing house shopping companion).

As we drove to our friends house on Saturday night, I was very discouraged.  Discouraged and very tired, I cried because this was not how I pictured my new life in Florida:  far away from friends and work or in a place so unsafe I could not go outside with my kids.  I was trying to fake like I liked the homes because I figured one had to be my future home.  (The homes were fine; the locations were not).  When we arrived at our friend’s house, Brett and I talked.  Neither of us liked either situation, but we agreed on the nicer house farther away if we did not find something the next morning.

Still sad, my friend, Ty, called.  She is a very dear friend of mine, who lives in Miami.  She encouraged me that God seems to often show up at the last minute.  She and her husband had been praying (along with many other friends) that we would find an awesome house.  The statement about God coming through really resonated with me.  I knew He had something prepared we had not seen yet, though I was totally unsure how we would find it….because we had searched the MLS listings extensively.

Brett randomly (or should I say “randomly”, since God is the master of coincidences!) found a potential home while Googling homes in the area (which had proved unsuccessful before).  Our realtor (who is also our friend) searched the MLS and found it.  The very same MLS that did not have that listing the night before.  We had actually been to the very same area before (and loved it), but that house did not suit our needs.  Namely, it was on an unfenced pond that had a 5′ drop-off from the backyard.  As Abraham in the Bible, I was “hoping against hope” this would be our home, but I was nervous it would not work for our family.

Sunday morning, Brett had a really powerful time with the Lord.  (I was sleeping.  Because I am holy like that.)  Based on his attitude, I just knew the home was going to work out.  Driving over, though, I was very nervous.  Mainly because if it did not work out, we’d be stuck for a year in a home that was just ok.  I prayed a lot of that drive.

We arrived at the home, and right when we walked in the door, we knew it was ours.  We looked around, of course, to be sure, but we knew this was the home God had hand picked for our family.

What I did not realize is that renting a home is way different than renting an apartment in college is.  Back then, if you wanted the rental, you just signed the papers.  With home rental, the owner gets to decide if they even want you in their home.  I found this out because I asked the owner when he decided to rent out the house rather than sell it.  His response was, “Two minutes ago when I decided I like you.  You seem like good people.”  He went on to say how he had actually turned away multiple inquiries on the home.   I thought to myself, “Thank you, Jesus, for keeping this open just for us.”  In my overwhelming joy, I told the homeowner he was an angel.  I’m sure he wondered at the moment if I was crazy.

We signed the lease, and as far as I know, the home is ours.  We have a home.  And, if we like it, we can buy it.

The funny part of the story is that I view it as the ultimate perfect home.  But, if we had seen it the first day, I am not sure we would have loved it with the same intensity.  I had been hoping for a 4 bedroom home, so we could easily accommodate our family and guests who come visit.  Our new home is 3 bedrooms, but after looking at the other possibilities in our price range, this was WAY nicer than anything we had seen (for the same price).  So we instantly fell in love with it.

Besides it only being 3 bedrooms, it fulfills so many desires of mine.  For months, I have been praying for some specific things I wanted in a house.  Since it’s a rental, we cannot change anything, so I have to like what’s there.  Here is the list of all the desires that God amazingly fulfilled:
– the kitchen is gorgeous! I’ve always wanted white cabinets with stainless appliances, and that is exactly what we have
– an ice maker (no other house we looked at had one, but I drink cold water a lot)
– an office for Brett
– for it to fit all of our furniture
– a dining room (I have a beautiful dining room set that I did not want to get rid of, so I am so happy we have a place for it)
– a 1/2 bath (easier to keep clean than guests having to use the kids’ bathroom)
– a garage (not as common in FL as in KS)
– Brett did not want stairs, but I actually like bedrooms upstairs (and it has stairs, which is really uncommon in FL)
– a yard (it’s not huge but its a good size for the area)
– separate air conditioner units for upstairs and main level
– a bathtub and a shower
– way less carpet (the bedrooms have it, but nothing else….yay!)
– a darker-colored shower (our white shower is impossible to clean)
– a door on the bathroom (our current house does not have a door, just a doorway, and I have always thought it was weird)
– great neighbors (our neighbors in KS are wonderful, and we love socializing.  Our new neighborhood has block parties, just like we’re used to.  And there are a lot of kids on our street)
– I was not praying for this, but I have always wanted a vanity (since I was a little girl)….the bathroom has one!  Chloe is going to LOVE it, sitting on the stool while I do her hair!
– we are close to Brett’s work, which is really important in ministry
– close to all of our friends who live there

Did I mention we are about 1 mile from the beach??
Moving to hot, humid Florida is definitely made much better knowing how close I am to the beautiful beach!!

As you can see, God completely came through for us.  My Saturday night sadness quickly turned to joy when I found a place that met all of our ideals.  We love the house, and I am really excited to get settled into our new home.  Still very sad to be leaving my life in Kansas, but I am ready for the transition time to be over.

As a final confirmation that we are exactly where God wants us, as I was driving to the airport at 5 am this morning, I took notice of the exit to our home from the interstate.  And, in the shopping center by the exit are many of my most favorite stores to shop at.  It is so insignificant in the grand scheme of life, but that little detail really blessed me this morning.

God is always good.  I know that.  At times during the weekend, I really wondered what the heck we had gotten ourselves into.  But once we found our home, it all changed. I really felt at peace about our new home.  I was embarrassed that I had doubted God’s perfect provision.  Psalms 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires on your heart.”  That has been one of my life verses….probably the verse that has ministered to my heart the most throughout my walk with Christ.  And, once again, God proved that to be true.  He provided the best house.  One I love that we can afford.  In a great part of town, close to everything.  Including the beach!!  YAY!  And its close to a couple of fabulous parks and nature trails!

Words cannot express how happy I am!!!!!   It all feels too good to be true.  Which is when you know you just experienced a miracle.

Conversation with Caleb

Caleb and I had this conversation tonight:

Caleb: Where do people go when they die?

Me: People who follow and love Jesus go to Heaven.  People who don’t go to hell.

C: What’s hell like?

Me: A very bad place where the devil lives.  Nothing good happens there, but lucky for us, we love Jesus, so we’ll go to Heaven.

C:  What’s Heaven like?

Me:  It’s awesome.  Full of every wonderful thing you can imagine.

C: How do you get there?

Me: Love and follow Jesus.

C:  No, I mean, how do you get there when you die?

Me: Jesus comes down and takes you up there.

C:  He can fly?

Me:  Yes.

C: Does he have a short cape or a long cape?

Me:  He does not need a cape.  He can do anything.

Matthew 18:3- I tell you the truth: Unless you change and become like a little child, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Random Dozen and Just Some Random

I started working out yesterday (again). Luke is 4 months old, and with both my other kids, I had lost my baby weight by then. I am ten pounds away. Considering I gained some A LOT of weight during my pregnancy, ten pounds is not bad.  But, my regular clothes still do not fit, and I’d like to not have to buy anymore new clothes.  Anyway, I am happy about working out, but I still cannot find it in me to believe those people who say working out gives you more energy.  Because, I am tired!

So instead of a life update, here is the Random Dozen from The Lid.

1. Would you rather host party or simply attend a party?

Host.  I enjoy being in my home, and I especially love preparing for guests.  Being able to open my home to serve and bless others is a joy to me.  However, during the last year or so, I have been SO thankful for friends who open their home to me.  So I also really enjoy attending a party, especially when life is crazy!

2. Tell us about the most memorable party you’ve been to.

I have been to a lot of fun, memorable parties in my life!  I would have to say my wedding was a pretty fun party!

3. What is one thing you hope for in the after-life?

Meeting my amazing Lord Jesus…in a place where “death is just a memory and tears are no more”  (“You’re Beautiful” by Phil Wickham).

4. What do you enjoy most about sunshine?

I have a pep in my step when the sun shines.  It makes life more cheerful and fun!

5. When you attend a bridal/baby shower, do you prefer to bring your own gift or chip in with others to buy a larger gift?

I do not really have a preference.  If I am just buying off of the registry, I will do either.  If I have a specific gift idea that is more personal and thoughtful, I like to give my own.

6. Would you rather have a FREE week of having your house cleaned or all of your meals cooked for you and your family?

No question.  Cook.   Of all my daily responsibilities, cooking is my absolute least favorite.

7. What song describes your mood today?

I’m way too tired to come up with something thoughtful.

8. What is something you received for your own bridal shower/wedding that you still own or use? (If you are not married, feel free to sub a gift you received a long time ago.)

There are quite a few things I still use.  Probably my most favorite item is a set of tea towels my babysitter (growing up) embroidered for me.  My babysitter was more like a grandma to me.  She watched us after school for as long as I can remember (I think she started when I was 3).  I always admired her craftiness, so it was really cool to get the tea towels from her at my wedding shower.  She also gave me a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli, because I ate that everday for lunch in Kindergarten (I only went for 1/2 day).  Fun memory!

9. Your favorite flavor of ice cream is?

I actually do not really like ice cream, but if I eat it, I pretty much am a vanilla girl.

10. When was the last time you felt “tested?”

This transition time in our life has been quite testing.  Brett’s health has been bad for about 2 months.  Selling our home was taxing.  And now, leaving the place I have called home for my adult life (because college does not count as adult life) is pretty tough.  Though I know God has great things in store, it’s still hard.

11. “[Fill in the blank] is a food that once I start eating I find really hard to stop.”

Chips and Salsa.  Yummy!

12. “—–” is the best motivation.

The Word of God (and clothes not fitting)

Luke Weston Williams

My amazing third born….

At birth….

One month….

Two months….

Three months….

Four months….

My boy is so sweet and precious.  I love my baby!!