Monday, December 31, 2012

saying farewell to 2012

You know it will be a tough year when you're counting down "7......6......5" as the ball drops, while being held up by a nurse because you haven't gotten your "land legs" back from labor, as you try to gingerly use the restroom, gown flapping uselessly around you. And moments later your new, tiny baby gets wheeled away. Not one of my favorite life moments.

Oh, 2012, you had your enjoyable moments but as a whole you sure weren't easy. It was a year kicked off by having my newborn baby stay in the NICU for the first 7 days of his life...something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. And the year that followed was a year of waiting. It was our last year in Hawaii and our last year as a military family. And the time seemed to not. move. I felt like we were hanging in limbo- seeing the new chapter that lay ahead and not being able to get there fast enough. It was also a year of painful goodbyes. Many, many good friends left within weeks of each other, dramatically changing our social life and support system for our last 6 months- several of whom were part of the small, core group of "best friends." Not to mention raising two boys very close in age without family to be a part of the crucial support system. 2012 was a lonely, hard, slow moment in time.

I'm grateful to not have to repeat this year.

But if I'm going to be honest with myself, it held some beautiful moments, too- redemption of some precious friendships, reconciling with the fact that life that looked a little different than I wanted it to, being able to put into practice FAITH unlike I've ever had before, and expanding our family to become a family of 4...and the joys that come with raising kids. I love watching the "firsts." Or watching any moment of growth- and knowing that I was a part of it. It's fulfilling. And while I miss my teaching career very, very much, I'm grateful beyond words to have this season of raising my children. I remind myself often that there will be other seasons for me to teach; there won't be seasons that can repeat these days in life. Days of babies, little hands, slobbery kisses, growing conversations, and awe for life around them. Thanks, Lord, for this opportunity. I'm aware that it is precious.

So it is with open arms that I welcome 2013! Bring it on. We are out of the military, back on the mainland, and the second day of the new year holds a home inspection. A year of friends/family, new jobs, and buying our first house looks pretty stinking great from here. I can't wait to get a closer look. :):)

Sending love from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

the more you give

I'm learning the more generous I am with my finances, the more I end up having when it's all said and done. Figure that out.

I haven't always been very generous with my money, but the past 6 months or so I've been convicted to step up the way I give. Not just tithing at church but in the way I bless others, the way I support good causes <--all of it. Granted, living debt-free gives a lot more freedom... it's hard to give money to others when you have money you owe others. And so that's probably the reason for having to wait for this lesson. We had to get our finances under control first. But now even with the crunch of getting out of the military, the extra expenses of moving, and the question mark of finding another job and wondering how long it will take- even now I feel as though I'm being called to give. It's a trust thing.

"Yes, God, I trust that you will provide for me. Yes, Lord, I will bless those you call me to bless. When you put it on my heart to be generous to someone, I will do it. Even though I'm not sure what I will need for the future. Because I trust that You will take care of me then as You are now."

And you know what blows my mind? The more we give our money away as we are called, the more money mysteriously ends up in our checking account. I kid you not, the past two or three paychecks we have ended up with a greater positive balance in our checking account than I can figure out. Our money is going further than it makes sense to. But that's just the way God works.

Malachi 3:10
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
If God promises this when we tithe to Him, will He not also bless when we give to others? I'm learning that the answer is "yes."

Monday, December 3, 2012

a little love affair

Okay, so we made it to the hotel! The word for that is surreal. I have been looking at this moment on the calendar but to actually be here? Surreal. And after a month of living in a house with the very, very basics (think 4 dinner plates, air mattress, one suitcase of toys kind of basics) we are sleeping on a king sized bed that I swear is made of dreams with clouds for pillows. Is it inappropriate to say that the noises we made when climbing into bed last night would have led one to believe other things were occurring? Dreams and clouds, people.

 Our lanai (balcony/porch for you mainlanders) has views of the ocean and downtown, both.

And I spent the morning walking around downtown Waikiki, going in and out of shops while sipping coffee, pushing two boys in a stroller who were happy to be out. I even picked up this lovely scarf from Lucky. Who, of course, was having a great sale. Because the day is just. that. good.

 Is it bad that I'm falling in love a little bit with this city? Newsflash: Life the past 3.5 years has been NOTHING like the past 24 hours of vacationing. So to those of you who think life here is a never-ending vacation, you are dead wrong. Ha! But a stay-cay is the way to make a grand exit. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that we were roughing it the past month; there's nothing like getting down to the basics to appreciate the abundant. You know, when responsibilities are lessened and the Navy is picking up the tab, it sure is nice to spend some good ole' Q-T ["quality time" for those of you who don't know gangsta speak] with Waikiki!

And FYInformation, I have made some decisions: 1) I will never again carry bags up to a hotel room. [Especially when it requires three trips for the bellhop to take our 8 suitcases, 4 carry-ons, 2 pack-n-plays plus bed lovies, snacks, strollers, kitchen stuff and more!] And, 2)When valet parking is offered, I will use it. Because a tip is so small compared to the convenience it serves and the stress it removes.

God bless Google, which allowed us to research hotel tipping! Sometimes "first times" are grand. ;)