Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Birthday Season Again!

It begins in February for our family and ends the end of May. 6 birthdays to celebrate in 3 months! Whew, it can get crazy. We are big on traditions at our house and one birthday tradition is that you get to pick your favorite meal for your celebration. Another tradition, as of two years ago, is a picture in the birthday hat. Here's what we have so far this year...

Davie turned 8 and requested Chinese food for her birthday party. She grew 3 inches this year and the doctor believes she will be taller than me when she is finished growing. Her favorite things are gymnastics, reading, singing, playing with friends and technology...any kind of computer games. Angry Birds is our favorite!Davie has had her share of tears with the moving of our dear friends just recently. What a tender hearted girl she is.After Davie's birthday comes Sarah's. She turned 24 this year. She requested burgers on the grill and a traditional birthday cake. We are so proud of Sarah's hard work this year teaching 1st grade and are thrilled for her that she gets to teach middle school Language Arts next year. She is our first born and a wonderful woman!
Next on our birthday tour is Catherine Jo. She has become "Cat" to all her friends. She turned 15!!!! I know...hard to believe. Catherine is a delight as long as we are not attempting to do homework. She is fun to laugh at and laugh with. We have a great time together most of the time and we are excited for the woman she is becoming.This year our baby turned 5 on Easter! Eliana Joy is so much fun. She started going to speech this year, but it was difficult for me to let go of the cute way she has always said things. Her "ofay" became "ok". Bummer. She is trying to conquer her "s"s and it is giving her a fit, but she works hard on it. She will go to kindergarten in the fall and I am sure that I am going to have the time to finally have that spotless house I've always wanted...haha.
Matthew or Matt Matt as he is fondly known by the little girls has his 21st birthday in Japan this year! He is leaving before his birthday and was kind enough to pose in the birthday hat for me at Ellie's party yesterday. Matt is growing up and has made us proud as he wrestles with decisions and walks in faith with God. Please pray for him while he is in Japan for 35 days. God worked a financial miracle to allow him to go again this year with "Mission to Japan" and we are asking God to keep him safe and protected from radiation and such....trusting the Lord with our precious son.
So this is how we spend spring at our house....celebrating! I sure hope you had a wonderful Easter with your loved ones and that you find tons to celebrate in the coming months.
With much love and celebration,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Huge Life Changes

So, it's been quite a while. Life moves along at a rapid pace and then something happens and you are stopped dead in your tracks. I had something like that happen to me in December and it came to fruition today.

My dear friend, Christie and her husband, Jon, (who was also our pastor), went to dinner with us before Christmas to let us know that they were leaving the pastorate and moving to Christie's home town in Iowa. I was completely surprised by this news. Stunned to say the least. Christie and I have not only been close friends for over 20 years, but we have been the kind of friends who have done all of life together. We talk on the phone nearly every day and it was not unusual for us to talk several times a day. She was like the sister I never had. Our kids were also super close. She had two boys, one 18 months older than Davie, and one 18 months older than Ellie. We spent so much time together. Once I knew they were leaving it was tempting to pull away in order to somehow lesson the pain, but I promised Christie that I wouldn't and that I would spend as much time as ever with her until the day they left and today was that day. I am so so sad. It's not that I'm not excited for the adventure that is ahead of them. It's not that I don't trust that they are following God's will. I am just so sad because my life will be so empty without her here to share it. We have committed to staying in touch and sending lots of photos, but we both know that this move changes everything. I have tried to be brave and pretend that somehow they will be back, but today I realized that they really won't. Every year that we could we spent Easter together. We had our final Florida Easter together on the 10th of this month. We had a nice time that ended with some tears. These are photos from that day.

Last night we had our final Chickfila dinner with the kids. Poor little Davie cried all the way home. She dearly loves the Dunwells and listed all the things on the way home that she would miss about them. I didn't do that last night, but I will do it here.

My ode to the Dunwells and some of the things I will miss about them...
hanging out in their driveway while the kids play on all their fun toys
talking about nothing and everything
spending birthdays and lots of holidays together
their boys and how sweet they were to my girls
Christie's help with all my decorating projects
swimming together all summer
Addison's attempts at eavesdropping
Jon's joking with my girls
talking about adoption
beach days
her family's visits
Chickfila on a whim
Chipotle meals outside
talking on the phone on the way anywhere and everywhere
walking in our little Mayberry town
Christmas parades
4th of July
my Christmas lights by Christie

The list could go on and on. God promises to comfort those who mourn and I am counting on that. Grief is such a hard emotion to process. I want to move through it so quickly and as I do I find myself in a bad place...stressed to the max, eating too much...not healthy choices. Davie had the right idea...bawling your eyes out...pretty darn healthy, but not something I do very easily so I'm blogging instead :-) I have loved my time with Christie and have no delusions of replacing her, but I am trusting God to fill my heart with Himself and new friends to live life with.

Which brings me to the second huge life change for us. After much prayer and consideration David and I have decided together to leave our church and follow God into a new journey with Him. That decision also brings huge grief to my life. We know He is moving us and we trust Him to guide us, but it is a bit scary. The people of Westwood Church have loved us well. We have loved them and served with them for our entire married life. There isn't a single ministry there that we have not participated in at one time or another over the years. Leaving our "home" to strike out and find a new place to be able to minister and be ministered to is a daunting task...impossible...if He did not go before here's to the Lord God Almighty who goes before and behind's to celebrating Easter and our Risen Lord in a new place, with new faces and an anticipation of new things to come. I certainly pray that your Easter is spent with ones you love and that the reality of His resurrection is new for us all this year.
He is Risen!
With much love,