Thursday, July 21, 2011

This Will Have to do For Now

My handsome husband has been at a church-planting conference all week and I stayed in Illinois as it was too long to be away from our sweet Jake.  Needless to say, Jake's not the greatest with a camera, so the picture I promised last week has not been taken, but a friend of mine did snap one of me at the homecoming parade for Joe.  It's not the best to really see the magnitude of the bump (thank goodness for patterns and good angles!) but it will do until Josh gets home to take one.  And please disregard the hair and make-up... we stood outside in 95 degree weather for far too long that day!  So here we are in all of our glory at 29 weeks:

At this angle (rather than straight from the side) you can see that what they say is true, at least in my case: girls sit all the way around your middle.  She's not quite the basketball that Jake was at this point!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Vacation Home

At the beginning of the month, we finally found some time to have a weekend getaway at our friends Bud and Abby's home.  Bud and Abby are great friends of ours from when we were in Florida and were both in our wedding.  Oddly enough, they moved to the Midwest (well, technically back to the Midwest since they both grew up out here) about a year after we did and we've been trying to get down to see them ever since.  They live in a tiny (yes, much smaller than Small Town, IL... 'small town' is a relative term I guess) little town in central Illinois in a great house on a lake.  I. WAS. IN. HEAVEN.  Their house is now referred to as our vacation home whether they like it or not!  I think we're going to have to make time from here on out to get over there and see them more often.  Needless to say, most of our time was spent outside in the water... this is truly what summer is all about.

These guys were really excited to see "Mr. Josh" again!  Funny story: the boys have always called us "Mr. Josh and Miss Kim," and one of the twins referred to Jake as "Baby Jake," which is fairly common.  The other twin, however, called him "Mr. Baby" which cracked us all up!  There is nothing funnier than hearing a child yell, "Mom!  Mr. Baby spilled the Goldfish all over the floor!"

Speaking of "Mr. Baby," he is quite the little water bug!  Having a lake out the back door was lovely, except that he never wanted to get out!  The house has a little beach down to the water, so it was perfect for him to sit down and play.

This face?   Absolutely priceless!   He pretty much had this expression on his face all day, everyday.  Well, until we made him get out and come inside anyway!

I even got in on the action.  Thankfully my husband was kind enough to take a photo of me standing in the water, rather than one of me floating on the raft.  Or even better, photos of the struggle to get on the raft!  The funny thing was that one of the twins was so concerned about me (at least we think it was concern... we're still not sure) that he would swim out and get me if I floated too far out.  Eventually he made me hang onto the dock and stay in one place.

What's better than having a beach in your backyard?  How about having parents that live across the lake and have a boat!  Poor Jake was so wiped by this point that he really did not enjoy the ride much, partly due to the life-vest.  He and I cut our ride short and while he napped, I sat in an Adirondack chair and read.  Ahhhh.... sweet bliss! 

Apparently the boat ride was a success!  The weird thing is that I think I've only seen one or two other pictures of my husband with a fish, and he makes this face in every single one.  And now he has a follower.  Nice.

This will probably be our only "vacation" this summer, or this year for that matter, but I honestly could not have asked for two better days.  It was a great time with great friends in a great place... what more could we possibly ask for?  We're already searching our calendar for a time when we can visit again... thanks to Bud, Abby, and the boys for such a wonderful getaway!  We love you guys!

Oh yeah, and the highlight of the trip?  This would get Jake's vote:

The Rest of America Should Take Notes

You might remember my good friend, Chelsea, from my post back in January.  Yesterday, after a twelve month tour of duty in Afghanistan, her husband Joe returned home.  And what a return it was!

Small Town, Illinois, you did it again!  I brag on you a lot... noting how charming and easy-going the folks here can be.  Everyone's willingness to do anything for anyone never ceases to amaze me, and the rest of the country should take notes.  Here, if you need to borrow a lawn mower, someone will more than likely go the extra step and do it for you.  Or if your on bed rest, a parade of folks will be in and out of your home the whole time to cook and clean.  I would know... I've experienced both.  And when one of our own returns home from deployment, people line the streets in 95+ degree heat to give a hero's welcome.

Yesterday I was in awe (once again) of how a community can come together.  Chelsea had made a few phone calls to a few folks just a couple of days before to see what we could do to really give Joe a deserved welcome.  From there the whole thing snowballed and by the time they rolled into town, it was perched on top of a convertible behind a fire engine with its sirens blaring, about 50 motorcycles, and followed by several decorated vehicles that had jumped into their convoy on the way back from Clinton, Iowa.  It had been announced in the local paper that they would be cruising down Main Street around 3 PM and the residents here were encouraged to make signs and line the streets to honor the family.  Sure enough, the streets were lined with people, many waving flags, and when we heard those sirens and saw the family we all cheered, shouted words of thanks, and in my case (and many others) teared up at the sight.  It's easy to forget that we have thousands of men and women overseas everyday risking their lives to protect our country.  It's easy to forget that these men and women have spouses at home that do all that they can to make that void feel small for their children.  It's easy to forget that these men and women have children who change so much in a year and are totally different kids when they return.  And even though we can't make it up to them, I hope that yesterday helped show one family how appreciative we are of that sacrifice.  I cannot imagine being away from my husband for an entire year and being home by myself with the kids, but here in Small Town, Illinois, I know that I would be taken good care of, just as Chelsea was.  America should take notes.

I won't do a good enough job trying to describe the fanfare, so I won't try.  Chelsea wrote a great recap on Facebook, but I'm not sure that you could access it, so I'll leave that for her friends and family to enjoy... it's her story to tell anyway.  But if you'd like to see more pictures and read more about the festivities, you can check out these articles and photos here and here.

Today was the first time in a very long time that my heart really swelled with pride for America.  I grew up as an Army kid, so my patriotism runs deep, but we take it for granted all too often.  Even more than that, I'm truly proud that I can call this family my friends.  And most importantly, I'm really happy that this daddy is back where he belongs- at home with all five of his girls.  Welcome home, Joe!  You were truly missed!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I have to admit, when Josh and I got married, we hit the jackpot in terms of our first home.  While most couples spend the first season of their marriage in a tiny apartment or condo, our first years of husband and wife have been spent in a beautiful, and very large, Victorian house... complete with the picket fence.  Upon first seeing it we both fell in love.  Josh has even called it his dream home on more than one occasion and I could honestly be happy staying in that house forever.  But alas, it is now adorned with a For Sale sign in the front yard.

This past week we spent about two solid days looking for a new house here in Lexington.  We knew the area we wanted to live in, had our "wish list" of criteria, and moved very quickly in order to find something that would be available for us starting in August.  Rental houses in this area, particularly in the neighborhood where we want to live, go quickly, so we knew that if we found anything we liked, we would need to act fast.  We were this close to settling on a house that would certainly be comfortable for us, but still not everything that we needed it to be, when one more ad caught my eye.  We were on our way to drop off our rental application on the first home when we swung in and toured what will be our new home for at least the next year... if not longer.  Again, it's more than we could have ever imagined and is perfect for our needs.  We feel blessed.

As we were debating the pros and cons of the houses we toured, it occurred to me that at this stage of my life, I could be happy anywhere.  Sure, space is nice to have and we would love it if the kids could have their own rooms, which as it turns out they will.  A fenced-in yard is ideal and room for a home-office is important, but if we had to do without either one, we would survive.  As I compared the options, I was just struck by how at this point in my life, my home is wherever Josh and Jake are... and that's why those first shoebox-apartment days for many married couples work out just fine.  As long as I have them under one roof, whether that roof be big or small, all is good in the world.  Sure, I'll miss our big Victorian, but as we transition here it is feeling like much less of a home and much more like a house.  And if anyone would like to buy it feel free... haha!  But seriously.

To that point, I would be lying if I told you that we don't have our concerns about having a mortgage, rent, and two sets of bills.  My maternity leave is right around the corner and it's a lot to prepare and plan for.  We have been saving for this situation for months, but as the start date on our lease draws closer, the reality of our situation becomes more and more apparent.  I am typically someone who worries about money, and was particularly bad about it when we got married.  I've always been used to having somewhat of a "reserve" saved up and do not like to see it dip below a certain amount.  With all this being said, I have been truly amazed at what God has been able to do in this area.  He truly started working on me as I became a diligent tither, and time and time again, He has provided and honored our giving.  Our prayers are still for our house to sell, but even though that hasn't happened, He has continued to bless me with a great peace about this move.  I expected to be a total and complete stress-ball right now, and instead I am nothing but excited about the move, our new home, and most importantly, the new work we are doing here.  While we did not see a large number of people come to our first meeting, the right people certainly showed up and have the passion and connections that we needed them to have... God definitely provided once again (as He always does) and things are moving in the right direction.  It seems like the more we continue to diligently and joyfully give, and the more we step out in faith, the more peace I have filling my soul.  I know I should not be surprised by this, as it is what His word says, but His love never fails to amaze me.  We are feeling tremendously blessed.

We're heading back to Illinois next week to pack up our first home and prepare for the move to our second.  So come August first we will be going from this:

To this:

Truck not included  :)
We're giving up a bedroom (as if we needed them all in the first place!) and quite a bit of square footage, but we are gaining more closet space than I could have ever dreamed of... Josh and I will actually be able to share one and have room to spare!  We have quite a bit of painting to do as every wall in the house is white (and Kim does not do white!), but it is nice to have a blank canvas which gives me the opportunity to pick out all of the colors.  We'll be paying for that upgrade, even though we're just renting, because my hubby knows how important the "cozy factor" is to me.  I am one lucky woman.

It will be bittersweet to pack up our things and leave a house, town, and friends that we have grown to love, but as the details of what we're moving toward continue to unfold, I am so very excited to be home again... in Kentucky.
 3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
   dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart.

{Psalm 37:3-4}

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Um... yeah.  That's what my brain feels like these days... total and complete mush.  What does church planting entail you may wonder?  Well I can tell you from these past few weeks that it's a whole lot of little things that will eventually culminate into one big thing, for one big cause.  And it will make these little things worthwhile.  The reason that my brain feels like mush is that all these little things?  Yeah, they all happen at the same time.  Multitasking has taken on a whole new meaning as I feel like I'm constantly doing about eight different things at a time.  So here's the latest updates about our journey:

  • Our first informational meeting is on Monday night in the Paris, KY community.  To say we're excited, anxious, and full of anticipation would be an understatement.  A few weeks ago we created and mailed out about 225 six-page newsletters introducing ourselves, outlining the vision a bit, and inviting folks to join us.  Yesterday we hit them up again with reminder post-cards.  Mind you, the first mailer entailed the creation, proof reading, printing, and hand-writing the addresses on them.  The second one was much easier to create and we printed them at home, but we wrote personalized messages as well as hand-written addresses on each and every one.  I felt like we were doing wedding invitations or thank-you cards all over again.  We both feel like a personal invite will go a long way in getting people to join us, and we wanted folks to understand that we care about each and every one of them.  We prayed over ever family as we worked and I truly hope that we get to put a lot of faces to names next week.
  • Getting organized has been a challenge thus far.  We're living at my sister and brother-in-law's house, which has been a huge blessing by the way and we're so very grateful, but with no dedicated office space, it's a bit tough to keep up with everything.  My sister did upgrade her filing cabinet recently, so I took her old one and have set up shop in the guest room where we're staying.  Slowly but surely we're getting there and my next big task is to learn how to use the budget software and reconcile what has been given with what has been sent.  I'm a geek and love that sort of thing, so I'm actually looking forward to that project.
  • We're still trying to get our website off the ground, and unfortunately, the process has been slowed down mostly by the company that is designing it.  It's been a bit frustrating, but we're updating the pages that we can as we can get to them and the "fancy parts" will hopefully be up soon.  Ideally we would love to have it looking great before our Monday night gathering.
I know it doesn't sound like much, but add that in to working full-time, raising a son, finding a place to live, and making connections with people we meet here (which Josh is doing a far better job than I am!) and it adds up to quite a bit.  Not to mention that there is never a dull or quiet moment in a house where nine (yes nine... my parents have been in town for a couple of weeks, too) people are staying and you can't even really hear yourself think.  

The only real hang-up we've had so far is that we really haven't had a whole lot of quiet time for devotions, reading, or prayer.  These are probably the things that we should be most focused on, as we're taking a huge leap of faith to even start this journey, but finding five minutes of peace and quiet is not something that happens a whole lot.  And when I do find it, I just want to close my eyes and bask in the silence... it's such a beautiful thing.  I still talk to God quite a bit, but I know that He would probably have a whole lot more to say back if I just made the time to listen and let Him.  The void gets bigger everyday and so it's something that even just tonight we talked about changing.  We're both better people, spouses, parents, friends, and pastors when we carve out that time.

Just like the title, I feel like this has been a very blah post, and so for that I apologize.  I've also somewhat neglected my little blog for no better reason than a lack of time and energy.... well, that and not really knowing what to post about or where to begin.  People ask all the time how it's going or what we've been up to and it's difficult to even put into words, which is crazy since I rarely run out of things to say.  Maybe one day I'll be able to sort through it all and put it into a recap of the entire adventure, but sometimes when you're in the thick of it, it's hard to see the forest through the trees.  There are just so many things that you just don't learn from reading books on church planting- truly living it out is a completely different and unique experience.  What I can say, however, is that we're still enjoying everyday, still learning a lot, and still feel like we're exactly where God has called us to be.  I know my husband feels like he's not doing enough, but I have never been more proud of him.  He's been a great leader thus far, he's working his tail off, and he is so very encouraging.  There is not even a glimmer of doubt as to whether this was the right move for us, and we have not even seen any fruit yet!  But everyday I remind myself that Jesus taught that He is the vine and we are the branches.  With this in mind, I also remind myself that branches don't have fruit on them all year round... there are seasons of growth and preparation for the harvest and that is where we sit.  Even though the grapes have not shown up on those branches yet, a farmer must do all that he can to prepare, grow, and foster that plant for a harvest.  Grape season is coming and we're praying for a harvest that is bigger than we could have imagined... and when that time comes, we will be ready.  One baby step at a time.