Friday, January 31, 2014

Building a new life

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”  C.S. Lewis

This is one of my very favorite quotes of all time.  I feel very much like I have been remodeled the last year or so, lots of walls knocked out and sometimes that construction is painful. I am certain that remodeling isn't complete yet.  However, being shaped into the palace He wants me to be will be worth it for sure.

This quote has come to life as we moved into this home.  We are renting it for a couple of years and so we can't remodel it how we would like to.  There are definitely things we would change if we could, but we just have to make the best of it for now.  It is a great house that fits our family and it is a great neighborhood, it just isn't perfect.

There are things about our family, my marriage and my own self that need some remodeling.  Moving to a new place and home is a great place to start that.   My one little word for 2014 is CHOOSE, and so with this move and fresh start I have chosen one thing in 4 areas that I am choosing to change.  Good changes happen one building block at a time.

One of the best changes we have made is we now are able to have a little family devotional before my kids leave for school and before my husband leaves for work. Previously my husband left too early for work to do this and my oldest son left home around 5:40 a.m.  for early morning seminary.  We sing a hymn, read scriptures or other inspirational words and have a family prayer.  Sometimes my husband or I lead it, and sometimes we let our older kids share things they have learned or read. I can't begin to tell you the difference it has made in our home.   It really only takes about 10-15 minutes, but that short time is one of my favorite parts of my day.

No matter what your religious beliefs are, taking some time in the morning to be together as a family talking about things that really matter is a great way to draw you closer and teach your children what is important.  It really is the small things that matter.

What are the simple traditions that have brought your family closer?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A ship in a port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for....

Remember our "plot twist"?  Well our twist has been resolved and we have landed back "home" near where we both grew up.  We moved our family of 7 twice in 7 months, this last one being across state that was fun! NOT!  But we are here, boxes still aren't all unpacked, house isn't organized to my satisfaction, but we have a home that fits our family and my husband has a job that provides for us.  What a blessing!  To add to that blessing our kids are so HAPPY here.  Our family, neighborhood and ward (church congregation) have been so good to us.  We have all been welcomed with open arms by such wonderful, welcoming people.

That being said, it was really painful and hard to leave our dear friends who are like family.  Here are a few pictures of my kids with only a few of our dear friends who we left.  It was heartbreaking to see my kids sadness and heartache in leaving these amazing people we love like cousins, they have known many of these friends for most of their lives, some from birth.  When you live in a place for almost 13 years and create strong bonds with people it is so hard to leave.  In fact I still tear up when I think about being separated from these friends.  I still have a hard time talking to them on the phone, it's still painful.  However like one of my kids said, "It's good that it's so hard to say goodbye, it just means we have lots of people that we love so much."  Amen to that.

I guess it's a good lesson to me and to my kids, just because something is right to do,  doesn't mean it's necessarily easy.  We know this move is right for us, everything has fallen into place, we couldn't feel better about where we are living, we love being close to family, but it still hasn't been easy.

We have so much to be grateful for and I thank God daily for his guidance in the last year of our lives.  Looking back we can see His guiding hand in so many decisions and happenings.  We are so very blessed.