For 2014

This was the very first thing, the first scripture, that I read this year. I plan on hanging it all over the house.

“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1a The Message)

And here is a more traditional translation…

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1 ESV)

This is what I want to keep moving towards. I’ve made a habit of stuffing my calendar days full of To Do’s so that I can draw two dark lines through each item as I move past it. But for 2014, I want more and more of my To Do’s to be about God’s work, not about my busyness. I want my days to have white spaces and empty afternoons to welcome surprise visitors. I want to not hesitate to accept a spontaneous invitation for lunch or coffee from a friend who needs someone to nod as they pour their heart out. Mostly, more and more and more, I want what I do and what I say and how I react… to reflect the Grace I receive daily. I want to extend warmth and kindness and compassion and encouragement like it’s my job.

Because I absolutely believe that it is.

 

Pray for Us

Friends, send an extra prayer up for the Henrichs family please.

The house closings are tomorrow. We feel mostly ready.

Jolie is very sick, Garrett is not well and I am two weeks into a persistent cough. Sunday night I did not fall asleep until 3:00am, Monday was 2:00am and last night was 1:45am. You’ll notice some progress there, but I’m barely keeping my sleep-deprived balance on this tight rope.

We are staying with MIL and FIL and I am earnestly praying that they are able to avoid our cooties.

The cat’s are FREAKING out. Toby’s hair seems to be coming out in clumps and Smudge has a perma-scowl on his face. Either the cats need Xanax or I do.

We’ve had a series of hiccups during our entire house buying and selling process this summer. We began this journey in May and while that seems somewhat “quick”… we are worn out and worn down.

We have had some other unexpected family news in the last 24 hours that has left our moods very somber. I was sitting at the kitchen table last night, talking with MIL and FIL and inside my head I kept hearing “Of course.”

Of course things would be hard.

Of course “life” would all happen at once.

Of course we would hit obstacle after stressful obstacle.

Of course I would be clenching my jaw and Garrett would be getting overwhelmed and annoyed.

Of course we would want to burying our heads in the sand while throwing ourselves pity parties.

I am going to say something that will resonate with some of you and possible confuse others. Garrett and I are moving to Bloomington for a variety of reasons, but one of the big reasons is so that we can be closer to our church family. There is a lot I could say about my spiritual journey, our family’s spiritual journey, but what I know for certain is that when Garrett and I decided that we needed to be closer to our church, we wanted to be closer… the enemy decided he was going to make this difficult for us. He decided he was going to make sure he distracted and discouraged us. He tried to fill us with doubts.

God has done miraculous things, beautiful things, undeserving, unimaginable things for me, for Garrett, for Jolie… and we are “all in”. He is growing us and making our marriage stronger.

So, say a prayer for us. We are feeling beat up. We tend to default to “there are so many people with harder problems, bigger challenges, etc.”… but I have a wise friend who always says… “If it matters to you, it matters to God.”

Love you muchly.

I am off to scrub bathrooms at the old house.

Moving.

The Henrichs Family is moving three weeks from this Friday.

Yup.

This whole house selling and buying process has eaten up our summer. Gobbled it away.

There’s a big long story about this house moving journey, but I will try to shorten it up.

Lucky for you, my short versions are never very short.

It is important to know that Garrett really likes to look at houses online–even when we are not looking to move. We have house plan books around our house. Both of our computers are filled with bookmarks to websites with beautiful house plans.

When we watch House Hunters International… that’s when the real trouble begins.

Garrett has suggested on more than one occasion that we sell all of our belongings, become truckers, throw our baby cakes and two ornery cats in a semi truck and just drive for 6 months. He figures that if we are truck drivers for six months out of the year (with very few bills) we could just live the other six months in Fiji.

FIJI.

It just sounds like a made up place, doesn’t it? I looked it up on a map to prove to myself Fiji is real.

I told Garrett that I didn’t think being a trucker was my Calling.

But last September, we started getting the itch to move. With a new baby at home, our current house started to feel cramped. We started coveting homes with larger bedrooms, finished basements and designated toy areas. (Amen?) Our starter home was starting to feel cramped.

And then Garrett found a house in the country that seemed per-fect.

The house is secluded and in the middle of the country. Quiet. Peaceful. Beautiful. You can hang your clothes out on the line to dry. You can hang your underthings out to dry and nobody would ever know. It is in the best location… right in the middle of where we farm, between Garrett’s parents and my Dad… and also closer to Bloomington-Normal.

I’ve often said it feels like we still live in Bloomington, but sleep in Forrest… and there is a good 45-60 minute commute between here and there.

Getting in the middle seemed like a perfect idea.

We decided to go look at this house.

But as I was getting ready to drive to the house, sweet baby girl decided to throw the most ROYAL of fits. She was not interested. I was frazzled and exhausted. Jolie was about 6 months old, 3 months old if you adjust for that darn prematurity stint at the beginning of her life… but BOY was she rowdy that day. Sobbing and blubbering and mad.

Rocking wasn’t working. Bottles weren’t working.

I sent Garrett on to look at the house without me.

Why on Earth was I even entertaining the idea of moving with a baby? I couldn’t even get a shower in every day.

So, I closed the door on moving before Garrett even got back home to tell me about the house.

  • The house was more than we wanted to spend.
  • We hadn’t talked to our bank yet.
  • And we had a new baby.

Without discussion, I decided that moving wasn’t going to happen. It felt like bad timing. I was clenching my jaw just thinking. And I was sick to my stomach. These are feelings to pay attention to.

We hunkered down for the winter, but come the end of February I think I said something to Garrett like, “I don’t want to spend another winter in this house!” I had the winter blues, but I had the house blues too.

We wanted closer to Bloomington and we wanted more room. The country home that Garrett had looked at in the Fall was still for sale, but the price had dropped. We decided to go look at it… him for a second time and me for a first time… and I really fell in love.

I am actually not usually emotionally attached to places and things, but I fell hard for this property. It wasn’t even so much the house, but rather everything else that came with it.

There was so much space for Jolie (and other kids?) to run around. They could run around stark naked if they wanted to. There were outbuildings for Garrett to do his man projects. A quiet road for morning runs and bike rides. Lots and lots and lots of trees. I got swept away with visions of get togethers with family and friends.

We came home and immediately lovelied our house up. I took pictures of every room and we listed our house for sale.

Six long, exhausting, neat-freak weeks later… we accepted an offer on our house!

We celebrated by marching back over to the country home with our realtor. We were ready to make an offer that day. One more final looky-loo and we were jumping all in.

But then, we found some problems with the house. Unexpected, devastating problems.

There were conversations with the sellers, promises to get things fixed up right, but the short story is… we had to walk away from the house that we *really* thought was our next home. Some things are negotiable, but I wasn’t willing to take a risk. Risk of ongoing problems, risk not being able to resell the house if things went wrong, risk of a house making us (Jolie) sick.

We had prayed and prayed and felt like we were supposed to move. We KNEW we were supposed to get closer to Bloomington and we thought this house was the answer. But it wasn’t meant to be.

After a few days of mourning and praying and possibly a large margarita for this momma… I had to remember that no house would be permanent. No house is our forever home.

We looked at other houses in the country–most needed a lot of work. We looked at other homes in small towns. Many, many, many homes.

In the end, Garrett suggested we seriously consider moving back to Bloomington. We actually lived in Bloomington the first year that we were married. We decided that instead of looking for a “long-term” home, maybe we just look for a “for now” home. Somewhere that would be easier to sell if our lives change in the next few years.

We finally found a place that feels good. It doesn’t feel perfect, but I’m not sure anything is going to feel perfect when all of our plans were turned upside down in a fairly short amount of time! But it feels really, really good.

Our offer was accepted, inspections are completed and the few fixes we have requested are getting addressed. If all goes well, we will be moving three weeks from tomorrow.

We will be five minutes from church, and not driving an hour to and from our Small Group on Wednesday nights… or an hour to and from Jolie’s doctors appointments, my meetings and appointments… or Target. The subdivision we are moving to has walking trails and a private lake, we will be closer to many of our friends,  there just feels like a whole lot of good will come out of this move. :)

Garrett will have to drive back and forth to the farms (which I am not crazy about), but he has reassured me a thousand times that he is completely okay with the drive. But we promised each other that if this doesn’t work out, if life changes… we are willing to move again.

(I say this now through clenched teeth… half of our house is packed already.)

But this feels like a new season and we are really excited. :)

I’m seriously cautions about using exclamation points right now–but I promise we are excited!

We will close on both houses exactly four years and 1 day from when we purchased our current home. As I swing back and forth from being terribly excited and just plain terrified… I’m reminded that we can’t lose. A house is just a house.

We absolutely love our current home, and our current neighbors are absolutely irreplaceable…. but I know in my soul it is time to move on and give something new a try!

So, pray for us… send us your good thoughts and we will keep you updated.

Love is

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