Saturday, August 29, 2009

When you don't post pictures for two weeks...

You have alot to post!

I've finally gotten my hands on a pc, so it's finally worked to upload some pictures for a little tour for you guys. Some of these have been on facebook already so you may have already seen them, but I know some of you aren't on facebook, so I wanted to put some on here too. I've got pictures on here from three separate photo-taking days. Moving day (before). House all set up (after). Around campus and random stuff.

Captions are above the pictures.

Our living room with all our stuff, just a few minutes after we arrived. So excited to finally be here, we had to whip out the camera RIGHT AWAY!!!

Shot taken from the kitchen into the living room. Plain, plain, plain. Before.

Our living room and kitchen before. The picture beside the door is the first one we hung (random fact).

Living room before. See that grate near the bottom of the picture behind the chair? That's what allows us to sleep at night and keeps us comfortable during the day. AIR CONDITIONING!!! (I had nothing else to say about this picture, so I thought I'd draw your attention to something at least)

Spare bedroom before.

Spare bedroom before. Nathan's desk on the left. Mine is on the right, just outside the picture. Doubt much decorating will happen in here. : )

Bathroom before. You'll have to forgive the white balance. It looks yellow, but we aren't so lucky to have color on our walls. Everything is quite white.

More moving day mess...again, our bedroom.

Moving day mess. Our bedroom.

The view from our front door. I think I'll really like this view in, oh, say January?

Another living room before: bare, bare, bare.

Our living room "after". I've realized that it's really hard to work with white walls. Everything looks so...random. You need to plan a room very carefully for white walls to work...and with a pre-furnished apartment, there is only so much room planning you can do! But it is relaxing and I do enjoy being in here.

Our living room in the foreground and kitchen in the background. Our front door about halfway back on the right. Doorway on the left leads to bathroom (beside kitchen), spare bedroom (other side of bathroom), and master bedroom (beside living room).

Master Bedroom "after" I write this, it is still just as bare. I haven' t been inspired yet...

Our living room "after"...still kinda bare, but at least it has a bit more happening in it than it did two weeks ago! Wait a minute...we weren't even here yet two weeks ago. It feels like we've been here SO much longer than that.

Our kitchen...homey, isn't it? Small, but decent storage. And we have a TABLE! So that's a step up from our last place!

The view out our living room window. I like how different these plants look from anything that grows (at least outside) in Canada. If you look closely, you can also see a basketball hoop and some of the other you an idea how small the court actually is. That apartment is the furthest one from ours!

Master Bedroom...VERY bare, but always clean. When there are only three things in a room, it's easy to see is something is out of place.

Spare bedroom "after". Nathan does alot of his homework in here. We each have our own desk in here, but I don't think either of them have been used for anything other than storage yet. That time will come, I'm sure. But yeah...spare bed with a BRAND NEW mattress...

Our bathroom "after"...the shower curtain adds alot! Still pretty bare, though.

The bars on all the doors help keep criminals out...or is that just what they tell us? Maybe it's the other way around. We are allowed to leave whenever we want though...I think...
There is also screen on this door so it keeps out spiders, beetles, snails, praying mantises, snakes, etc. Did I forget mosquitoes? Oh right, there aren't a whole lot of those right here. (sidenote: Sacramento has alot of mosquitoes or something! We camped there the night before we arrived here and both Nathan and I got quite a few bites all over our bodies that were very red and very itchy. One of Nathan's was about a cm in diameter! We're glad we left those particular insects in Sacramento and haven't been eaten alive here yet)

I was raking last Saturday and I kept finding shells, which I thought was strange since we're in the middle of a desert and so far from the ocean...but then I found these snails. Since then, I've noticed shells and snails everywhere! I also saw a praying mantis that day, and a bright yellow grasshopper...I won't tell you what is around but I didn't see...

This is basically just a picture of some palm trees. The one with the orange in it is one of my favorite trees on campus. We can see it from our windows. The buildings and cars below are the apartments (back side of them...outside of courtyard) and apartment parking.

When you walk or drive around campus, you need to be very careful because there are slow Swedish children playing.

This is the front view of the "mansion" aka administration building. This was originally built by a wealthy fruit farmer and later became the property of the seminary. It is one of the heritage buildings in town here. It is just as beautiful inside with a spiral staircase and rich wood mouldings. I love it. This building holds the offices of recruitment, financial people, president, admissions, etc.

This is the back of the administration building. Isn't it gorgeous? Between me taking the shot and the building, there is a round piece of grass with a fountain in the middle and roses all around the border with a stone retaining wall and circular driveway around that.

This is the outside view of our apartment. It kinda looks like it's a house rather than an apartment from this picture, but it does share a wall with the next apartment on the right side. There are 5 groups of two apartments like this all facing an inner courtyard. Perfect for a small seminary community.

Random picture of a popsicle...more of an ice cream bar, really. We were at one of the grocery stores here in town and when I saw these ice cream bars, I immediately thought of some popsicles that we had as kids in Paraguay every once in a while. They were Pina Colada flavoured and I haven't ever been able to find a popsicle that I like as much as those. I thought I'd found it, so as we drove home from the store, I held my popsicle and could almost taste that childhood flavour melting on my tongue. I quickly snapped some pictures so I could show you my special treat and share my exciting story with you, but shortly after this picture was taken, I ripped into the popsicle, got a big mouthful, and proceeded to gag. The beautiful taste that was in my mind was replaced with the most disgusting, vile excuse for a flavour that I had ever had. I couldn't bear to even bring it near my mouth again so I ended up washing it down the drain with hot water. What a waste. But at least now my mouth won't be watering every time I walk past those particular popsicles in the store anymore!

Hope you enjoyed the picture tour! It's taken many hours of playing with computers to get these up. Hopefully now I'll be able to keep on top of my picture uploading and don't have to post 20+ pictures at one time again!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


A while ago I mentioned that it would have been easier for our house to have sold when we first put it on the market than to still own it and be at seminary. Did I actually mention that here, or was I just thinking it? Oh well, doesn't matter. The fact is, life would be easier in alot of ways if our house had sold before we left town. There, now it's officially been mentioned.

Did I mention that I am learning things and being challenged by things that I would not have learned or been challenged by if our house had sold right away? Well I am. Yesterday I had my trusty old excel document open and was looking at our numbers (aka dollar amounts in our accounts) and I took note of the fact that the numbers there are steadily (and quickly) going down.

Now, I say I took note of that because it was just that. I wasn't saddened by it. I wasn't afraid of it. I wasn't shocked because of it. I just noticed that it's been going down rapidly in these last couple weeks as we get our life and school set up and going.

And then there was a tinge of excitement.


Yes, people. I felt a shiver of excitement when I realized that our savings are half of what they were a couple weeks ago.

Because if our house had sold back in April or May or even June, we wouldn't even be thinking about money. And if we weren't thinking about money, we would be living comfortably. And if we were living comfortably, we wouldn't be relying on God the same way as we are now. It's exciting to be in a situation where, if the house doesn't sell in the next couple months, we are going to see how very creative our God is. Because he WILL provide, and if that provision isn't in the form of our house selling, it WILL be interesting.

One small story of how God has provided so far:

As I mentioned in my last post, Nathan and I have been talking about buying a second laptop. We've been talking about it since April sometime, when we started planning for seminary. Nathan is in class or doing homework alot of the time and a second laptop would allow me to blog or email or skype or even just write my book that Nathan thinks I'm going to write. Now that classes have started, we've seriously been looking around for a second laptop and we had a tentative plan to stop by Best Buy on the way home from the DMV on Friday to look at some. ThenTODAY...just two-ish hours ago...we were in a meeting and one of the staff here mentioned that she has a couple old laptops just sitting in a drawer in her office that she is willing to loan out to people. PEOPLE LIKE US!!! So I went to see her just now and we are good to go! The difference between borrowing an old laptop and buying a new one is, oh, three months of groceries?!

It hadn't even crossed my mind that provision could come in someone having spare laptops just sitting around. And yet that is huge for us right now! See what I mean about being excited to see the creativity of God? Isn't that great?!

God does provide. A couple weeks ago I questioned that because the provision wasn't coming in my timing or the way I thought it should come (in a SOLD sign) but it does come.

Now, I can't even begin to make sense of starving children all over the world, or people dying of disease and war...that is a whole new can of worms that I'm not quite ready to open up.

But today I know that my Provider provides. And I'll rest in that today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pictures to come...

I have been trying for days to upload pictures of our new surroundings to my blog so I could give you all a little tour. But alas...I still have a mac. Exciting news though...we're talking about picking up a PC laptop later this week possibly, so hopefully there will be pictures to come soon. For those of you on facebook, I have an album posted there. Everyone else, maybe in a couple days...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

mac + blogger = ARG!

Anyone else out there who uses a mac to post to blogger? HOW do you manage to upload pictures? I've tried a couple things...uploading to Facebook and then over to Blogger...uploading to flickr and then posting directly to Blogger (can only post one picture per post, unless I post three separate pictures to three separate posts and then copy and paste; pics are small; can only upload one picture at a time; flickr uploader freezes before it's completely done and never finishes uploading)... The most recent thing I've tried is uploading to Photobucket, which worked great when I was only uploading one picture, but when I tried more, it took forever, froze my other internet activity, and, after waiting 20 minutes for my pictures to load, they weren't even there! I do like macs because they are pretty and ... well, they are pretty. And fun. But as Nathan and I talk about getting a second computer, I am leaning more and more towards a PC...I cringe when I say that, but it's true. Macs are good at what they're made for, but they're not made for blogger, that's for sure! Any suggestions? I have thought about switching my blog to another place (not blogger) but I really like blogger for everything else. I don't really want to move my blog. Help?

Monday, August 24, 2009

missing him

I miss our Lennox. It would have been fun if he could have come with us. It's only been a week since we left him but so many things have made me think of him this past week:

- saying the word w-a-l-k anytime after 4:00pm
- finding a random tennis ball on campus on our evening walk
- evening walks
- Nathan playing with a soccer ball while bbq-ing…usually Lennox would be out there with him playing
- Finding Lennox hair in our stuff as we unpack
- Walking anywhere and thinking I should take Lennox with me
- High pitched squeals that sound like a small Lennox whimper to let us know that he wants/needs to go outside
- Finding a “doggy bag” in my pocket from the last time I wore these shorts (in Altona while walking Lennox)
- Pictures of Lennox that we have hanging right by our front door
- Remembering how he would curl up right beside me and stay there for hours
- Seeing people with their dogs while camping on the way down...especially black dogs.

Only 21/22 months until we get him back!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This and That

I just wrote a long post about our house. About how it's been on the market for 5 months already. About the questions that have gone through my mind in the last few months because of it. It was a pretty rough post. And then I didn't feel good publishing it because I'm sure if I'd prayed before I wrote it, it would have sounded quite different.

Do you ever get so worked up about something that you just get frustrated and you write it all down and then you go away and pray and sleep and do whatever else it is you do when you feel like that and you come back feeling much more... calm? At peace?

Yeah. Me too.

The truth is, deep down I am quite frustrated that our house hasn't sold yet. Honestly, I do have questions for God about why my house sits empty while other houses are selling quickly. I sometimes feel like we are somehow disqualified. Did we break a rule somewhere along the way and have been given the penalty of having to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else's house sell and not ours? It feels like so many people are being provided for in the easiest, most obvious way, and we have to wait, month-by-month to see how it will all work out.

Nathan and I have recently been re-reading the book "Sex God" by Rob Bell. In it, he often says that things aren't usually about what they first appear to be about. Often "this", that is what we see, is actually about "that", something we don't see. I'm not sure the feelings about the housing market sideline are really about selling our house... or if they're about some kind of foggy "that".

I sometimes feel that way about having kids. I often feel like we're disqualified. I feel like we'll always be the couple who rejoices with others but somewhere along the way we missed a step and are benched on the sidelines. We got lost and now we're not where we expected to be by now. What is holding us back? Did we do something? Did something happen when our life stories were written where that part was forgotten? Does our life have some sort of a child-bearing glitch?

Don't get me wrong. I am incredibly blessed. I have many more blessing than I can count. So why is it that sometimes, when there are TWO things that I haven't been able to have, I feel like I'm being so...


left out?


Because it's obvious that I'm not. I have a wonderful husband. We have two loving, caring, God-fearing families. We have good health and food to eat and a place to lay our heads. We even have those little extra things that not everyone has like a car, clothes, and a community. What right do I have to complain?

And yet it hurts. I'm not sure how to pray for these things. I'm not sure how to move on without them. I'm not sure what to think about them. But I do think about them. I think about them alot.

Sometimes life just doesn't have answers. Not having answers is usually ok with me but sometimes, very rarely, it just makes me want to explode. I get so curious and frustrated and my head starts to hurt with all the thoughts swirling around.

Sometimes this is really about that. Sometimes house selling frustrations are really about something else. Sometimes struggles with infertility are really about something else. I'm not sure exactly what that something else is yet. I'm not sure where God is going with this...

but I'm on the road to find out.

Exploring...questioning...feeling. Life is full of that. If our houses sold right away, what would our faith look like? If we conceived in the blink of an eye, that would be WONDERFUL, but would some of us take our children for granted a bit more?

Hmm... do you have a "this" in your life that is really about "that"? What is stretching your faith today?

Friday, August 21, 2009

From Manitoba to California

Since moving from Manitoba, Canada to California, USA, I've noticed a few differences between the two. In case you are ever planning a trip to sunny California, here are a few things you should plan for...

Manitoba - cold...windy...cloudy...snowy...
California -

Manitoba - pants, socks and shoes are comfy 8 days out of 10, year round (at least for me)...BUNNY HUGS are also quite comfortable to wear, at least in the evenings, if not all day
California - my feet are burning constantly! I just can't seem to cool down! Today I thought twice about choosing a t-shirt to wear instead of a tank-top because the t-shirt might be too warm.

Manitoba - I sweat when I exercise...sometimes...
California - I sweat when I exercise every time...I sweat when I walk outside...I sweat when I'm in the car...I sweat when I cook supper...I sweat when I take out the garbage...I sweat as I sit here. It really never ends...

Manitoba - I shave once every week or two...pretty much only when I want to wear shorts
California - Shaving every time you shower is not merely recommended, or even is completely, 100% necessary.

Manitoba - Canadian grocery stores...Canadian brands...English music...
California - Spanish grocery stores...Spanish brands...Spanish music...

Manitoba - "grown in California"
California - "local produce"

Manitoba - laundry hanging outside takes a couple hours to dry completely
California - laundry hanging outside takes half an hour to dry completely

Manitoba - I get into my car after it's been sitting in the sun for hours and keep the windows up so I can enjoy the heat
California - I open the door after the car has been sitting in the sun for hours, stand back and let the initial heat escape (like an oven), get in and make sure the air conditioning is on before we even start the car

Manitoba - you open your car window to get a fresh, cool breeze
California - you open your car window and it's like turning on the heat full blast

Manitoba - you talk to your cashier in the store and they smile and talk back
California - you talk to your cashier in the store and they look at you funny because you're friendly and they're wondering who you are

Manitoba - "ho*mog*e*nous - corresponding in structure because of a common origin"
California - vastly multicultural

Manitoba - you put your plants outside in the summer to get some fresh air and revive after the winter
California - you take your plants inside in the summer so they don't burn to a crisp

Manitoba - watering your lawn is against some by-laws
California - even the trees/shrubs on the side of the freeway are watered...if it's green, it's watered...everything else is brown (at least right now where we are)

Manitoba - it's encouraged that you eat healthily...and it's affordable to do so
California - fast food and junk food are in abundance and at an astronomically low price...if you want to eat healthily, it's because you've made an intentional decision (both mentally and financially) to do so

Well, there are some of the differences I've noticed. It really is a different experience. When we left, I knew it would be different, but expected it to be relatively the same as Canada. After all, we are still in North America. But the American culture is quite different from the Canadian one. I really like taking note of the differences and relishing in the fact that I am immersed in another culture for a couple years. There is much to learn and see. Definitely worth the VISA/insurance/health/car/currency exchange/head aches to be here now!

p.s-as I was reading this to Nathan, he looked out our door and saw a coyote run across the court...this is a very small courtyard (maybe 50 feet across) in the middle of the city! We ran for the camera, but it was gone. Weird...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm just wondering if any one is having trouble seeing the pictures that I upload to my blog. I've heard that some people can't see them... Anyone else?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The View...

This is the view from our apartment. The buildings that you see below the PALM TREES are a couple of the other apartments. The on campus housing is made up of 10 apartments (2 per building) all facing an inner courtyard. We have met alot of the other people living here already and I am excited for this place to become home.

We left for California early Saturday morning. We pulled out in the rain...we drove in the rain...we had some sunny patches...and then more and more rain. The first day, we drove 17 hours (including a 2 hour break at the border while we waited for our paperwork). As we neared the end of our day, we started debating whether we would camp or get a hotel. We had planned on camping so that we would have no chance of our car being broken into and, seeing as all of our possessions for the next two years were in there, we didn't really like the idea of that. But as we pulled into the town where we had originally planned to stop for the night, it was already dark and we were tired. So we kept going. (???) We played with the idea of driving through the night but thought that wouldn't be the brightest idea, especially since we really wanted to try a new route to bypass the desert. We stopped at a hotel, thinking that may be a good option, but we weren't ready to pay $120 a night for such a short amount of sleep. We couldn't decide what to do so at one point Nathan asked, "WWAD?" What Would Andrew Do? My brother, Andrew, just spent a few weeks picking cherries in BC and living out of the back of his truck. So, eventually, we pulled into a rest stop somewhere in Idaho and decided to slept in the car. At first I couldn't get comfortable and at one point during the night, I woke up from my shallow sleep and it was still completely dark. Truth be told, I shed some tears knowing that sunrise was still hours away and I hadn't slept well yet. I was SO tired! I prayed that God would speed the sunrise for me so that this uncomfortable night in the car could be over. And then I slept like a baby. We spent 7 hours sleeping in the car (with seats that couldn't recline because of all the stuff in the back seat). When we woke up it was only 7 degrees, but I had the warm blanket so I was fine. : )

The next day we drove another 12 hours and ended up in Sacramento CA. We camped there and spent the evening getting the road off of us, reading our books, and watching part of a movie on our laptop.

We arrived here on Monday and, after about 3 or 4 trips from the car to the apartment, we had everything inside. We right away ran to Wal-mart and a grocery store and loaded up on some essentials. Then, we set to work unpacking and moving in. It only took about 6 hours from arrival to putting our feet up. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Today I am busy baking buns and bread and trying to get them done before our new student orientation that either started 20 minutes ago, starts in 10 minutes, or starts in 40 minutes. We're not sure exactly what time but Nathan just went to check. I'm hoping I still have 40 minutes, because I just put my bread in the oven and it'll take a while.

Classes will start on Monday so today is registration (at the orientation). Nathan has his courses picked. He only has class 3 days a week (Tuesday-Thursday) so the potential is there for some nice weekend day trips to San Francisco/Santa Cruz/Los Angeles/Redwood Forests/etc. There's lots to see and do around here so hopefully we have the time/resources to be able to take some of it in while we're here.

Well, I can't think of anything else. There's so much new that I couldn't possibly articulate exactly all that is happening, but I assure you we are enjoying the journey and doing well. Perhaps there will be more pictures to come...

P.S- Speaking of pictures, does anyone have any advice on uploading pictures from a mac to either flickr or blogger? I usually upload through flickr and post on this blog directly from there, but I haven't figured out a way to include more than one picture per

We're here...

Hi Everyone!

We arrived in our new home in California safely yesterday around noon. I can’t write much now because we are about to run out for some things, but keep your eyes peeled for a longer, more thorough post that I plan to write soon (when I have some time!).


- Niki

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Latest Projects

I mentioned in my last post that I had some sewing that I was going to do. My first order of business was to make a new bag for my sleeping bag. I found some fabric at Wal-mart (roll-end) and it was more than enough so I also made a small bag for my sewing supplies so that I don't have to move the bulky box that I had been storing my supplies in. The fabric that I picked up was denim, though, which is great for durability, but will definitely leak dye. I didn't think of this until I was hand sewing some snaps onto my sewing bag and noticed that my fingers were turning blue. My sleeping bag is a lovely shade of hot pink right now and I would be a tad sad if the bag got a little wet while camping and my sleeping bag got nasty blue stains all over it. I ran it through the rinse cycle in the washing machine three or four times, until my hands stopped turning blue from touching it. Hopefully that does the trick. I'd really hate to have my sleeping bag ruined (I've had it since grade 4!), never mind the pretty ribbons and such that I store with my sewing supplies! But enough are some pics of my latest projects.

p.s-the sleeping bag bag looks kinda mis-shapen but that is NOT due to my lack of sewing skills. It is sewn quite straight, but I just shoved my sleeping bag into it for the picture without rolling it first. It's just stretched funny in the picture. : )

Another random, fun fact. Because of the dark fabric and the fun nature of these projects, I decided to use bright red thread for my sewing so I added a nice zig-zag detail on the sewing bag, both to add some interest and to keep it from fraying (I don't have a serger).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So Close and Yet So Far

Our move is coming up quickly. It seems like before we know it we will have the car packed, our goodbyes given, and our faces turned to the south. We leave in 4 days. And yet today feels like any other day. It doesn't feel like we can count our days left on one hand. It doesn't feel like we'll be all unpacked in our new home in under a week. It just doesn't feel like it's that close.

With the move not feeling altogether real, it seem as if there is very little to write. Our days are just normal...we will do today what we did yesterday and tomorrow we will do the same thing again. Every day is the same. Well, not quite. There are slight variations to the norm. For instance, yesterday Nathan and I took our car to have the clutch replaced and then spent the day in the city doing some shopping and having lunch together and I spent the evening feeling quite drained and stomach-achey. Today Nathan is rotating the tires while I plan to sew a new bag for my hot pink sleeping bag, a bag for my sewing supplies, add some snaps to one of my shirts, and perhaps do some scrapbooking. Our days aren't identical, but it hardly seems like there is anything exciting happening when there is such a huge change looming on our horizon. But, as I have told some of my friends, even the boring, everyday stuff is worth writing to me about. So perhaps I should follow my own advice and share the little things with you too. : )

This week has been a week of frustrations with our house selling venture. We've been having some mis-communication with our agent and that has been stressful. We do still have hope that it will sell by the time we leave. Anyone looking for a house in our old town? It's beautiful and homey and close to downtown and the price has been reduced, despite what the website says. (arg) It's ok...I understand if you don't want to buy it. But someone needs to...haha, it will sell eventually.

We've also been getting our car ready for it's long trek across the continent. It is a very reliable car, but the fact is, it's already 10 years old and has over 220,000kms on it. So this week I gave the car an oil change, we replaced the clutch, and now Nathan is rotating the tires. After that, it should be good to go!

I started to pack up our California pile on the weekend. I've been getting things together (mostly in my mind) to see what we are taking and what we'll need to buy once we arrive down there. We have a furnished apartment on the campus there, so all we need to take are our personal things. I'm trying to figure out (as I mentioned in an earlier post) what the balance is between taking things that will make it feel like home and taking things that are practical. We definitely don't have room for everything, but I think we'll be able to fit most of what we hope to take...a good mix of home and practicality.

As of this week, our church has recommended that they hire a specific person as their new youth pastor. It feels weird to be gone from there and have someone else almost hired for what was Nathan's job. I know that we haven't actually been working at the church for almost a year and that the church needs a youth pastor by fall...but both Nathan and I (as we've been keeping up to date with the online bulletin) had a moment of feeling really replaced when we saw that the church was very close to hiring someone. Is that weird? It feels kind of weird.

Anyway, that's about all that's happening right now. I anticipate much more exciting posts coming in about 5 or 6 days. But for now, enjoy the small details of my day. : )

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Two bags or one?

Yes, I just did that. I emptied my Dawn dish detergent into a Zip-lock bag so that it would take up less room with the move. I've also emptied my Zip-lock bag boxes because the bags on their own take up less room than the bags in the boxes. Is this extreme? Well...when I look at how much we would like to move down south and the size of our car is (small), I don't see this as extreme. I see this as necessary. My next thought is that I could have easily bought more dish detergent when we arrived, but I am a Mennonite and if I have some perfectly good dish detergent sitting here, why not use it up before I buy some more? Am I right?

Moving has it's pros and cons. The first move was different because I knew that I would be able to go into my boxes if I realized that I'd packed something that I absolutely needed. With this next move, if I leave something behind, either I do without or I buy it again when we get there. It's not terribly tough to pack this time, but it takes alot more thought, that's for sure.

I've also realized, as I've been gone from our last home for over a month now, that I LOVE to hear any news at all from home. Emails from friends, news about the new youth pastor that they're working on hiring, hearing about what people back home are up to...these are the things that make my day. But, as I was reading an email from a friend today, I realized again how everyone's lives are moving on, as if we were never there. And that made me miss home. Our life isn't there anymore, and yet it was something that we both was our life. But now we are moving on and everyone back home is moving on and things will never be the same again. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess I just need to let go. But it's still the place that feels like home...

Friday, August 7, 2009

God Talks

As some (all?) of you know, life has been a faith-grower for me and Nathan for alot of this past year. Last September was when everything happened with the church and Nathan was out of work. (if you don't know the story, click here) All winter we were being stretched to have faith that we would be provided for (financially and otherwise). It was also a winter of healing. Spring brought our official resignation from the church and the decision to pursue seminary...yet another step of faith. When we put our house on the market last March, we expected it to be sold within a couple of weeks, but five months later it is still unsold. The sale of the house is to be a large chunk of our tuition. We made the decision to move to Saskatchewan on July 1 because we believed that 6 weeks with family would be a good transition between our last home and our next one. These 6 weeks have, indeed, been exactly what we have needed, but as our house still sits empty and unsold, our faith has been stretched all the more.

As we walked down the street in Hudson Bay this week, Nathan and I were talking about how God provides and how we really need our house to sell before we leave for school. I looked up and saw, painted on the side of a building, "Have faith." I smiled at the reminder to keep faith.

This morning as I was reading my Bible, I came across two verses that also struck me and encouraged me to rest in the fact that God has things under control.

The first was Psalm 27:13-14. "I remain confident of this: I will see the godness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."

And the other one was Proverbs 20:24. "A person's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way?"

It is so interesting to see what God puts in front of us to encourage us on our way.

In addition to our house needing to sell, we just found out that our car needs a new clutch (near $1000 repair) and we still haven't paid for things like health insurance, house insurance, car insurance, etc. We know that God will stretch our savings to cover our needs and we are already excited to see God work and move and grow our faith some more.

(PLEASE know that I am not sending out a plea for financial assistance, but merely letting you know about the faithfulness of the God we serve)

We have faith that our house will sell before we leave in 8 days. Please join us in prayer for this. Pray that our faith and joy will not get clouded with the looming shadow of bills and obstacles. Pray that we will not get discouraged when things seem to go wrong. And please pray for the person who will buy our house in these next few days. I so desire to grow from this experience and not get bogged down by the details. I want to keep my focus on God's command to learn and grow and be fruitful at seminary...I can't let distractions like $$$ get in the way of that.

God is constantly growing the faith of his children. How is God growing your faith today?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Home is where the...stuff is?

Home is where the heart is.

We've all heard this expression. Have you ever stopped to think about what it means? I mean, really stopped to think about home really where the heart is?

Home. The place where we rest. The place where we spend our leisure time. The place where we relax. A place that we go to and from. "A house, apartment or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household. The place in which one's domestic affections are centered. The place or region where something is native or most common. Any place of residence or refuge." (

Where the heart is. Where is my heart? On one level (the deepest level), my heart belongs to Jesus/God/Lover of my Soul. So if my home is where God is, I guess that's everywhere, right? I should feel just as at home walking down the street or sitting in church or shopping in the grocery store as I feel at my place of residence. Right? Ok, that may be pushing it. But I'm thinking maybe I should watch where I feel attached...I should be ready to go at a moment's notice...this world is not my home. (???) Moving on...

My heart is also with Nathan. This narrows my home down a bit more. God is everywhere, so that is a given, but Nathan is not. So whenever I'm with Nathan I should feel at home? This feels closer to the mark. When I grocery shop with Nathan I feel more at home than when I grocery shop alone. I do feel more "at home", even while across the continent, when Nathan is at my side. But that still leaves me questioning why, even when on vacation with Nathan, I still just long to be "home" after a couple weeks away.

My heart is with our families and friends. Sometimes we leave our "home" and travel to visit our families and friends who live in different places. While I do feel more "at home" in these homes than I do in the homes of strangers, I still don't feel the same way as when I am surrounded by familiar the things in my home.

So the question stands, is home really where the heart is? Or is home where the stuff is?

I was thinking about this tonight as some of my "stuff" is sitting in boxes in a basement (only to be opened in two years), while some of it is integrated into other households. Where is home? I feel a strange sense of displacement when I see some of the things that have made my home feel so much like home in the past few years suddenly being used in places that are not home to me. My piano. My couch and chairs. My blankets.

I was a bit shocked and taken aback at my feelings. Why would I feel so protective over my stuff? It's just that...stuff. I see the value in holding "things" loosely as I definitely don't see possessions as a huge thing in life. And I understand having these things being used while we're gone instead of just sitting around collecting dust. But I'm having a hard time knowing where home is these days...and seeing the "stuff" of my home so scattered doesn't help me feel very grounded. : )

I wonder if it will be difficult to feel at home once we are surrounded by only a carload of things that are familiar (moving down to the States in only our car). I was given some advice from a friend a couple weeks before we moved from our last home. She said that it is important as you move (especially when you move alot) to always take a certain thing from your household with you, to each place you move, so that when you see that item you know that you are home. I've been thinking alot this month about what will make our new apartment feel like home. What can we surround ourselves with so that my mind and heart understand that this is home for a while? I haven't come up with much yet...but I am really beginning to understand the wisdom in what my friend suggested. (thanks, R)

Home is where the heart is. Home is where the stuff is.

Hmm...I really have no conclusion to this. I just wanted to share some thoughts as that's what this blog is about.

I hope you all are doing well in your respective homes and that you are feeling "at home" these days. Please feel free to share what you think. Is home where the heart is for you? Or is home where the stuff is? Where is the line between those two? What is the definition of home for you? Where do you call home today?

More New Glasses

These are my other pair of new glasses from Zenni Optical. I'm still a bit unsure about them. I like the shape and wanted something different with the white (and the sides are fun and swirly), I said, I'm a bit unsure. What do you think?