Walking in Faith: An Update on Moving

Over the past year we have been weighing the decision of whether or not to move to the east coast for my husband's job (you can read more about it here).  There were a variety of reasons why the decision was such a lengthy process, much beyond our control.  But after talking, praying, waiting, and then more talking, we finally had to come to a decision by the beginning of May.

While we were actively participating in the decision making process, we both felt like we were dragging our feet when it came down to making a final decision.  The weekend before my husband had to give an answer, I was already heading off for a weekend away at a women's retreat with our church.  While I would have liked to have been home for us to overthink and debate our move decision even more, I was already committed to being away.  So we decided that we needed to sit down and pray and then go our separate ways for the weekend to clear our hearts and heads.  We would then come together, when I came home, to make our final decision.

Long story short, I was a hot mess all weekend.  Sleeping in a camp bed while pregnant, eating off my normal schedule with food prepared by someone else, and trying to hold myself together for the sake of spending time with other women while holding this life changing decision to myself - made for a very uncomfortable and emotional few days.

It has been quite a few years since I have been to any type of retreat or camp, but the flooding of memories of those summers years ago all started coming back.  There is something about being away in the wilderness that forces me to stop and acknowledge how the Lord is trying to speak to me.  I sat in the back of each teaching session to put my swollen feet up but instead it ended up being a safe place for the tears to stream as I was overwhelmingly moved and challenged by trusting God with our future.  Each song and message were such clear reminders that it was time for me to let go of control and relinquish my trust to the Lord.

The message for the weekend was surrounded around the story of Ruth and how she chose to die to self in order to bring life to others.  The speaker touched upon what to do when your world gets turned upside down and the concept of suffering as a loss of a dream.  And that it is through suffering that we are forced to rely on God.

While I would not necessarily consider some of these things as dreams, I had a lot of assumptions of what life would be like once we had our first child.  We have both sets of grandparents within ten minutes of our home and I have thought about raising our child while continuing to care for my nephews.  Though having our first child would come with it's own challenges, there were aspects that seemed so easy knowing we had so much family support right there with us.

Moving across the country would take this all away.  Sure our family would still be supportive, but in a very different and distant way.  Never would I have thought of being so far away from our family.  Besides joking that one day we would move to Paris, I was pretty set in staying right where we are (even in this very house) for the rest of our lives.

So I began to see that a lot of my heartache that I was feeling about moving was mourning a life that I, for so many years, felt so sure about.  Sure there were aspects of adventure and how bonding this time could be for our new family of three.  But honestly I was so afraid of having to do this new job of parenting alone that I was choosing to trust in my own will instead of God's.

As I thought about the past six and a half years of marriage, I was reminded of the dreams I have been able to live out.  Being at home while Brent has provided for our family has allowed me to pursue creative endeavors like blogging and photography.  It gave me the opportunity to leave my job of substitute teaching to watch my nephews.  I have had the time to really figure out and understand my passions and purpose I believe I have as a woman.  And all of these things were given to me by a husband who gave me the gift of time.

And so just like in Ruth's story, God shines when people give up their life for someone else.  While Brent has allowed my dreams to come true all these years, it was time for me to give up some of my needs and step into an uncertain future so that he might have the opportunity to live out his dreams instead.

So on the final night of our retreat, I dragged my camping chair, a box of tissues, and my journal down to the pond to spend some quiet time alone.  I sobbed like a baby and came to some conclusions.

It was time for me to do this for Brent.  I needed to be brave for his sake.  To show him love through this decision and to let go of some of my dreams so he can have his.  It was okay to grieve.  But I needed to grieve and move on.  The only thing at this point that was keeping us from moving was me.  I needed to step out in faith in obeying God's call for us to move even though I didn't want to.

I desire that my husband has the opportunity to become the man that God created him to be and I know this move is a big part of that.  I thought of our son and how I needed to be brave for his sake as well.  That through his parent's actions he could learn what it looks like to walk in faith.

Obedience is action and I could no longer be passive.  My unwillingness to trust God's plan was standing in the way of our family to step out in faith.  This move is an opportunity for our family to refocus and to lay the foundation of the values our family holds.  To prepare the legacy that begins with us and our son as we focus to put God first, our family second, and everything else third.

Besides that, through this entire process Brent and I have gained so much more depth in our marriage by being forced to make this decision together.  If we never had to go through this, there are aspects of our marriage that we may never know.  Our relationship is already different because of it and I believe that our relationship will only continue to grow by taking this leap together.

And so as you can imagine, when I came home I was willing to make the move.  I shared my heart with Brent and all that came through our time away and he was in complete agreement.  And so the next day, he went to work and accepted the offer.

Originally the plan was to move in April but because the process was so drawn out, we didn't even commit to the move until May.  With the baby being due in early July, our move date will instead be sometime in the fall.  While having to endure this decision making process for so long has been hard,  we are grateful that time was stalled just enough where we could go through this entire pregnancy and the birth of our son in our hometown with our family around.  I know it will be hard to leave but I am grateful for the time and memories we get to have with our family during this time.

My husband's job is a program move - they are taking his program and the existing jobs and moving it to their location in Virginia.  This is a great opportunity for his career and we hope a wonderful experience for our family.  His role is to help move and get the program running in Virginia, with intentions that we would eventually move back to Sacramento in a few years.  Obviously we do not know how this move will change our future and what we call home, but for the time being we are choosing to keep our home in Sacramento and rent it out with plans that we would eventually move back to be close to our family.

There are a lot of uncertainties that come in the next few months - having our first child and then moving across the country only months later.  I'll admit that sometimes I just want to stop time and live in the right now where it is just Brent and I in our familiar little home.  But luckily I am not the one in control of time and our baby boy will be here before we know it.  We will be making a new home for our family in Virginia and life will play out in surprisingly beautiful ways.

"Walking by faith means being willing not to know, never to know why or how things happen the way they do, and to be willing to release my tight hold on the big finish I thought would come."
-Emily Freeman, Simply Tuesday

God doesn't expect me to make perfect decisions.  But instead to simply walk in faith.  There are so many pros and cons to leaving versus staying yet only one act of obedience.  We choose to pray and obey.  And so we go, knowing that what is ahead, is right where we are supposed to be.

Baby Things: A Few Rambling Thoughts

It seems these days that I have so much I want to share but very little time and energy to actually share them.  I suppose it is okay to keep things to myself.  But I want to capture everything these days to look back on and it is starting to feel hard to keep that up!  So in order to cope with my need to share, I snapped a few pictures lately of things that I wanted to document.

// We have gotten an amazingly outrageous amount of hand me down clothes from my nephews so I haven't really bought much.  But I did find a few sweet little things for possible coming home outfits.  I love the simple designs and neutral colors.

Onesies: Baby Gap + Macy's // Hats: Baby Gap // Slippers: Pottery Barn Kids

// Hunting down sweet and fun baby toys has also been a treat for me.  Here are a few of my favorites that I have found.  I am trying to go the more minimalist route - splurging on a few really cute things instead of an overabundance of cheaper generic baby toys.

Fox Rattle: Land of Nod // Star Rattle: Land of Nod // Cat Rattle: Ikea

As you can see I have a grey and white theme going on.  I am almost done with the baby's nursery and hope to blog about it soon (before the baby comes!).  Crossing my fingers on that one!

Solly Baby Wrap // Black and White Soft Book: Land of Nod // Mouse Stuffed Animal: Pottery Barn Kids

// My current craving is anything icy and cold.  We thought it fitting that I pose in front of the 7-11 sign with my slurpee since the baby's due date is July 11th. 

I am hiding inside as much as I can these days with the temperature hitting mostly 90's and the occasional 100 degree day.  I have never been more appreciative for air conditioning in my life.   

// We had another ultrasound at our last appointment and it was so crazy to see the baby's little features starting to show.  The last time we saw him was around 20 weeks when we found out he was a boy.  He sure has grown a lot since then!  It is hard to tell but his head is to the side and his little hand is in front of his mouth. 

I've never cared much for ultrasound pictures.  But once it is your own baby and this is the only glimpse of what he looks like, I have found myself equally as obsessed as every other crazed first time mom!

// Besides all of that I am doing pretty good.  I feel like I am hanging in there despite an uncomfortable body in the heat of the summer.  Some days are harder than others but for the most part I am sleeping okay and am trying to stay active. 

I am still working out at the gym and it has been really good for me.  The people at the gym are the nicest (versus funny things strangers say!) and it has been a really empowering experience to continue to work out as my body changes. 

Years ago I had gained a lot of weight and was able to lose it.  I am now just a few pounds over my heaviest weight nearing the end of my pregnancy.  For someone who has dealt with a lot of body image issues over the years, being able to see myself where I am now versus where I was in the past has been a really good learning experience. 

I was so scared of gaining weight when I would think about being pregnant.  Though I am not one of those women who loves being pregnant, I will have to say that I have appreciated my growing body more than I imagined.  It has been really good for me to not worry about losing weight or constantly counting calories.  For the first time I am listening to my body, trying to do my best with what I put in it, and then letting go.  I really hope that this new mindset will continue after the baby arrives giving myself a more healthy and balanced physical self esteem.

// I started packing my hospital bag weeks ago.  I'll admit it was a tad early considering I keep having to take stuff out to use on a daily basis!  But being packed and ready is one less thing to have on my mind.  Plus being able to use my cute new diaper bag and accessories is super exciting!

I also have a larger bag with my clothes and stuff in it.  Inside my diaper bag is mostly baby things - clothes, swaddle, blanket, and baby book (for hand and footprints).  And I just love all the fun black and white prints!  I may be sleep deprived but I will definitely have one stylish diaper bag! 

Diaper Bag: Petunia Pickle Bottom Downtown Tote (I also have this boxy backpack one as well!) // Wet bags: Pottery Barn Kids 1, 2, 3 // Swaddle: Aden and Anais // Blanket: Pottery Barn Kids

// I already shared this on Instagram but wanted to document it here: "Soaking up my last weeks before baby comes with these cuties. These hot summer days may feel long but I know our time is short. Over the past five years these two have taught me so much about grace, unconditional love, and being silly. I'll be a better mom because of them."

They say the last weeks of pregnancy go by super slow but for me I feel like each day flies by.  I am trying to soak up these final days with my sweet nephews.  They are so cute and silly and already love their baby cousin so much.  It is so weird to be at this turning point in life where so much will change.  I am trying to live up each day I have just with Brent as well as take advantage of the few weeks I have left to try to get things done. 

// The countdown is for real.  I am trying my best to catch up on blog posts and will plan to have some of them go past my due date so I will have a little content spread out.  Thanks for sticking with me during these past few crazy months.  Looking forward to continuing to share the coming of our baby boy with you all soon! xo

A Sweet Baby Boy Shower

Last month, I was blessed to be able to have a second baby shower hosted at my parent's house (you can catch the first baby shower here).  In all my years of blogging, I do not believe I have ever shared about my parent's home.  It is the house that I grew up in and it is quite lovely.  My mom has graciously passed on the entertaining hat onto me since I love to share our home.  But it was fun to flash back to the good old days when my mom opened up her home for all our family gatherings. 

We reused a few items from my first shower as well as some of the chalkboard art I did for my sister in law's shower earlier this year. 

The shower was the first place we started publicly sharing baby's name with a framed photo of the announcement.  We also put out more wishes for baby cards for guests to fill out.

To make desserts easy and fun, we put out the chocolate fountain.  I keep saying we but my mom and family helped put everything together.  Apparently word on the street is that I am picky and so my mom confided in me about all the food and details!

I did, however, print out a few of our maternity photos to hang up on this sweet little banner.

A cup of lemonade labeled "momma".  Still kind of crazy to really think about.  And a rare siting of painted nails!

The chocolate fountain was a hit.  Definitely a fun variation to the typical shower cake or desserts.

And because my mom insisted on having me come up with the menu, we enjoyed some of my favorite staples.  Chicken salad sandwiches...

Broccoli salad...

And my sister in law's famous pasta salad...

This shower was a combination of family and friends we have known for years that are like family.  It is always so fun to have a reason to gather everyone together and catch up.  I am grateful for these special life celebrations that bring people together (and for guests who are willing to travel just to celebrate with you!).

I love the look of my sister in law's face in the background here.  A sweet family friend gifted me this gigantic stack of hand sewn receiving blankets and birth cloths!  It is a pretty epic amount!  I am pretty sure we are set!

Sitting next to me is my teacher from fifth grade.  I have to give credit to my mom because she is so good at keeping in touch with people over the years.  But it is pretty special to still have my old elementary school teacher in my life.  Back in the day I also substitute taught for her for a couple of years.  But it is life long friends like these that make these special celebrations even sweeter.

Here I am with Brent's side of our family...baby's sweet aunties and grandma.

And my side...his great aunt, aunt, and grandma.

I know I keep saying things about how blessed we feel and how spoiled our little guy is already.  But it is so true.  It is really overwhelming to feel an extension of myself through my son and how people react in love.  I am sure this is just the beginning of understanding how much other people will love my baby and how that will bond our family even closer.  It is a special time and he hasn't even met the outside world yet.  There were a lot of uncertainties with possibly moving before the baby was born when we first got pregnant.  So being able to be here with our family and support system has been such a joy to share in this journey together.

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