Revelations from God received over the years.

A Year In

A year ago today, we were freshly back in the US, full of hope and optimism, and the year that proceeded ended up being one of the more challenging of my life. Isn’t it funny that way? I distinctly remember thinking last January, “This is going shockingly well so far. We are working out and finding new cafes and meeting new people. This is going to be great!” Perhaps somewhere deep down, a part of me was yelling at myself to not think that…nothing is ever this easy! Nevertheless, I was hopeful and optimistic.

Then February hit, and a number of challenges came my way. I had some challenges with my teeth that resulted in multiple visits to the dentist and a trip to Tulsa with Otis as a solo parent. I came home to Eleanor in the midst of a vomiting bug, one that continued that night and into the morning, resulting in us taking a visit to the ER because of her dehydration. Mind you, my mouth was throbbing this whole time. Robbie started applying for jobs and didn’t hear back. We started trying churches and nothing seemed to fit. I was up multiple times a night with Otis who was only four months at the time, and I was confused about what I was meant to be doing with my life. Not to mention freezing cold temps and lots of snow. February kind of sucked.

I’m not going to recap each month because frankly that would miss the point. My point is that it wasn’t all perfect and it looked entirely different than either of us imagined our first year back would look like. We sort of found a church, felt like it wasn’t the right fit after a couple months, and then had to search again. Robbie applied for jobs, got a job, lost that job and had to apply again. I tried network marketing, stopped network marketing and then revisited it with a different mentality and goal. We lived with my parents for 10 months. In the first half of the year we got our finances in order, took the Financial Peace Course, set a budget and proceeded with that budget as Robbie started working. We met with a financial planner/broker friend, got pre-approved for a mortgage, looked at houses and put an offer on one…which we didn’t get. We didn’t get it but thank goodness because the next day Robbie was blindsided at work and lost his job. I dealt with anxiety regarding our transition and mothering and life. I had a few anxiety attacks – something completely new for me and not so fun. I met with a counselor in April and felt like there was no chemistry, mutual understanding or respect, and then waited several months until August to try again. When I tried again, it was incredible and one of the best decisions I have made. We met new people, reconnected with old friends and saw friends from Australia (such fortunate surprises!!!). We renovated a house with my family, moved into the house and now have a home. We found a church the second time around, settled in, found a small group and feel great about being here. Robbie applied for jobs a second time around, did many phone interviews and some in-person ones. He finally got an amazing offer…that started in January. Robbie got seasonal work as a UPS driver during Thanksgiving/Christmas, and reality really sunk in when he got back after 10pm every night his first week. We went on a few road trips. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery to remove a tumor. We experienced some holidays we haven’t for awhile, as well as the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere again. We watched football…and not at 8am on a Monday morning (Australia time). We went to family events, weddings, friends birthdays – things we haven’t been able to for nearly a decade. I ran a 5K! We have two cars now – a 2007 Toyota Camry and a 2008 Toyota Sienna. We are a Toyota family, and I am rocking the mini-van.

It’s funny because as I go back and read that last paragraph, it’s all just facts. It’s not really the emotions or mental challenges surrounding all of those things (that would take a book). In reading that paragraph, I feel as if I am writing about five years, not one. So much.

This is what I know, though, one year in.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be near family, to get to know them on a different and new level. I am thankful for Robbie, my partner for life, my support and champion, and the one that continued to laugh with me amidst it all. I am grateful for two beautiful and healthy children who have done SO well, all things considered. They have grown and matured, met new friends, gotten braver, learned new skills. It’s been a joy to be their mom. I am grateful that I no longer feel fragile. I feel strong. I don’t run towards hard things, but I am not afraid of them anymore. I am grateful for a wonderful counselor, a woman who has sat with me for months and heard me talk through all of this. A woman who is understanding and yet challenges me. I am grateful for counseling in general. I have learned so much about myself in these last five months. I have more clarity, and in a year of new and change and confusion, clarity is welcomed with open arms! Most importantly, I am grateful that the same God that started stirring our hearts for a change 2.5 years ago is still with us and covering us and loving us and providing for us.

I haven’t written in awhile, but it’s a new year. I am feeling less bogged down by the need to make this look perfect or sound perfect, and I am more convinced that vulnerability is what truly helps others. Vulnerability is so important. (Thanks Brene!) This year has many wonderful things to look forward to, and I hope to bring you along the journey more and more.

AND, I want to encourage you – if you are going through a transition, I get it. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. There are more unknowns than knowns, and you may not know when you’ll be “transitioned” as I liked to say. Take refuge in the fact that God is with you in the call, he’s with you in the transition, and he’s with you at the destination. You, my friend, are the one that is changing and growing and being challenged. He’s constant.

Love yas!

Launching Photography Business, Establishing Routine & Transitions

Hello faithful blog readers! I appreciate that you’ve read over the years, even when it’s been limited to only the monthly update about Eleanor or Otis. I’ve written a blog for about 13 years now, and it’s taken so many shapes over the years. It’s ebbed and flowed as far as how many posts were on each month, as well as with the type of content I have written. As Robbie and I transitioned out of YWAM and moved back to the States, it’s been a j-o-u-r-n-e-y to figure out what I am doing more specifically. I have the broad vision, and I feel confident in that. However, it’s taken a while to figure out the specifics.

One thing that has been a learning curve is figuring out our routine here in the States. For the first several months, we had no routine. Robbie was looking for a job, and he would go work in a cafe on resume/applications/etc. I was trying a few different things over those months. One thing I have felt decently confident in the entire time is to relaunch my photography business. I had anticipated doing it much sooner than I have, but it’s taken a bit of time and sifting through a few other areas first.

My major vision is geared towards family. That’s incredibly broad, and I feel a relative bit of freedom to dream with God as to how that outworks. One area is photography, specifically family photography. Another area, though, is continuing to blog. A challenge for about a year for me has been to determine how I could do both. I didn’t want them to be separated, but I also wanted them to be distinct. Finally I had an epiphany one day, and that is how my main page was created. So if you look at my main page, you will go into either my blog section or my photography section. They come under the same banner, though. I am still sorting out other decisions such as social media and all that jazz, but it will come in time.

Other ways I’m pursuing this vision of family?

I am looking at starting a summer mom’s group here, and I am trying to get out and about for play dates and other things as well. It’s all taking shape, but it hasn’t been without challenge over these 6 months. Yep, 6 months! We’ve been Stateside for 6 months already, and I cannot believe it.

Transition is a tough thing to work through, but I am learning a lot and recognizing areas that I still need to learn and grow in. I’m hopeful for more roots to be planted as we settle into summer and get used to Robbie being at work all day every day.

All that to say, I am hoping to transition this blog (and photography) from hobby to business. I love being home with our kids, but I definitely feel certain I am meant to pursue work as well. This seems like the best of both worlds for me right now. I’m also still selling Plexus products, but that is more on the side for now.

Let me know in the comments what your favourite posts are that I have done in the past. From analytics, it seems that all things motherhood and family tend to get the most movement. Is that what you like? Also, I do feel a strong nudge from God to write more vulnerably, particularly about our transition. I remember before we moved feeling like there wasn’t much written out there about transition, even though it’s something that most, if not all, of us will go through at least once in our lives. It’s tricky to navigate, and I am still in it. I hope to write more about that in the future as well.

Finally, again I appreciate that you read. Over the past four years in particular, I have received messages of encouragement from people who have appreciated my posts and sharing about my life, particularly with motherhood. I always have to keep that at the forefront of my mind. Even though sometimes it feels like I am writing to process things or record memories for myself, I want the main priority to be others. How can I stand with others, encourage others, be vulnerable to communicate “I’m with you” or “Me too!” That’s my heart. Can’t wait to see how it all takes shape!

Slowing Down for Baby #2

In just a few short days, September will be here. September 1 in Australia is the start of Spring, and it is also BABY MONTH! How did that happen? Even though my due date is towards the end of the month, I am preparing for anything since Eleanor came a week and a half early.

There is a lot going on, and often I find myself getting into bed at night with my mind racing, torn in a million directions. Some things are obvious, some things are yet to be communicated, many things are yet to be worked out. All in all, I have tried to create lists and write my thoughts down and organise them so my mind doesn’t feel so cluttered, but I am still finding myself back in this place too often.

With that being said, I have felt really strongly to take a bit of a “maternity leave” if you will from the blog over the months of September and October. Obviously at this point my blog is not a full-time job, but there is a lot of vision stirring over here for the future. I don’t want to miss out on my main priorities because of that. I am planning to still write, but I may or may not publish right away. I really want to give myself room to just be present in these moments – the last moments with just Eleanor and the beginning of our life as a family of four. My parents are also coming to visit for three weeks near the end of the month, and I want us all to be able to enjoy the visit.

I am still planning to share on social media, and behind the scenes, I’d like to still be working towards my rebranding of this space. I’ve never had more vision for this space, and there are so many new components that will be brought to the table. I want to do them justice, but more importantly, I want to give this season room to breath. I want to slow down and relieve myself of the pressure to relaunch sooner or to be anywhere other than present with my family.

My goal, albeit a soft goal, is to relaunch around the first of November. In the meantime, follow along on my social media accounts for any updates about life – there are sure to be a few in the coming months!

And, as always, thanks for reading! Love you guys!

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