Change.

Change happens.  All the time.  Whether it’s a positive or negative change, whether you like change or not, it happens.  I always said that “I don’t deal well with change” until just recently, when I realized what I was actually saying and a major mind-shift happened.

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It all started with this new season of our lives…having a school-age child!  I thought I was ready for Abigail to go to school, but in the days leading up to the big day, it became very obvious that I was not okay 😦    She was so excited for her first day and while I said I was excited too, I really was not looking forward to it, because “I don’t deal well with change.”  And this was a big change!

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Two nights before her big day, we went to her restaurant of choice to celebrate this milestone, and thanks to my husband & his words, my mind-shift began that night and continued to reveal itself into the next day.  I had been busy getting things ready for her first day…clothes, shoes, supplies, etc., all the while thinking subconsciously “But what about me?  What about her mama?  Sure, Abigail’s excited about school, but what am I going to do while she’s gone?  Doesn’t anyone care about my sadness and how I’m going to miss her and how I don’t deal well with change?!”  (Yes, it really was as bad of a pity party as it sounds!)

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And here is where the mind-shift began to happen…Yes, it is a change and yes, there is an element of sadness to it and yes, it is okay to shed tears.  But.  What about my child and her excitement/nervousness for this change?  How can I be genuinely excited for her when I can’t see past my own feelings of “poor me”?  Because really, this is not about me.  To think that it is, is quite honestly, kind of selfish of me.  It’s about her and the new friends she will make and the exciting things she will learn this next year.  So, in the words of my husband, “let’s celebrate her and the beautiful milestone that this is in her life!”

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We had a wonderful time of celebration that night and when school started on Monday morning, I was so excited for Abigail and the adventure that she was starting.  And you know what?  She absolutely loves school!  She’s said multiple times, “I love going to school and I love coming home.”  That right there is confirmation to us that she is where she is supposed to be.

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I recognize that I could have handled this change a little better differently.  But I also know that the next time a new season comes, I will be able to handle it better, because this is what I felt the Lord telling me…”You are learning and growing, and you are able to handle change well, because I am walking with you and I am showing you how.”  The best part about experiencing changing circumstances, is that I serve the God who never changes and never will!

This is only the beginning of the many times we will need to let go of our children.  But I know that the same Spirit that is in me, is also in them.  And with all my heart, I choose to trust Him in them and trust that together they will make the choices that will best give Him glory.

Blessings!
–sherri

Christmas in August?

It’s hot.  There is no way around it.  So in an effort to keep cool, I am going to let my imagination run wild and pretend that it is a cold, winter afternoon, the tea I am drinking is actually a peppermint mocha, and the following pictures happened only last week.  In light of that, here is our Christmas 2013 family trip.

We packed our vehicle to the max, and headed to cold (and hopefully, snowy) Ohio.    #86 040  #86 049We made a stop in beautiful North Carolina and then, many hours later, we made it to our first stop.  There we were hosted by Kenton’s brother & his wife, and enjoyed some wonderful family time.

There were family pictures taken…
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Stories read, kiddos cuddled…
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Evenings relaxing…
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And snow enjoyed!!
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Then it was time to move on and go to Pennsylvania to be with my family. There, new family members were introduced…
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Games of “try to get away from Grandpa” were played…
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More family pictures were taken (our family with my grandparents, who deserve a post all their own)…
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More snow!
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A family field trip to Herr’s Potato Chips
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Games played…
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And wisdom bestowed…
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Then it was time to leave the cold north and head home.  And while this sweet baby did not take a turn in driving, she & her big sister did an amazing job traveling and we considered this trip to be a smashing success!  The neatest part was to notice how individuals in each of our family’s have grown spiritually, and to then have the chance to speak life & encouragement over them.  We all agreed…this was the best Christmas yet!
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Now it’s back to reality and the fact that it will still be a few months before I actually need that peppermint mocha to warm up.  Until then, I will enjoy my beautifully air-conditioned house and wait patiently for the cooler weather that is bound to come!

Stay cool, friends!
–sherri

 

California, part 2

So we left San Francisco Saturday night, driving 3.5 hours to Redding.  We were both so tired, but we wanted to make it to our destination so we wouldn’t have a long drive in the morning.  And we made it!  We found a scary motel and fell into bed.

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We actually overslept on Sunday morning, which was no surprise, considering how tired we were.  We went to the early church service at Bethel, arriving halfway through.  After the service, we were honored to talk with Bill & Beni Johnson.  They played a big part in our pregnancy journey with Elana (more on that story at a later time), and it was so rewarding to show them pictures of our miracle baby and thank them in person for their part.  We stayed for the second service too, and were so blessed by the people and their heart for God!

After lunch, finding a new motel, and some much-needed naps, we met some new friends at the coffee shop, and then had a wonderful evening of celebrating people getting baptized.  This was a baptism like I have never seen before…celebrating and honoring and rejoicing with those who were making a public declaration to follow our Jesus!

And those new friends we made?  Well, after the service we enjoyed more fellowship & food with them 🙂  I just love it, because when God puts people together, there is an instant connection of relationships that defy the length of time.  The neat part was that this couple was from our area…we just had to travel to the west coast to meet!

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Monday was a beautiful day, perfect for our plans.  We drove up to Whiskeytown Lake and hiked up to the falls.
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It was absolutely beautiful!  The weather was perfect for hiking, the scenery was gorgeous and the trail not too difficult to make us ache the next day.

Tuesday and Wednesday we sat in on some classes at the Bethel school, relaxed, spent some time at the Prayer House, relaxed, ate amazing food (thanks to a friends recommendations), relaxed, did laundry, relaxed…Can you tell we had a relaxing time together? 🙂

Wednesday afternoon, after school, we joined a friend in her Revival Group.  We had an amazing time of worship and remembering God’s goodness in our past.  Kenton was even able to share briefly of our journey and how God proved Himself faithful.  The leader of the group felt led to pray over Kenton, speaking life and blessing and prophecy over him.  It was so beautiful & God-ordained!  How else can you explain a complete stranger being able to speak into Kenton’s life about a heart-dream, except to give all credit to God?

It was the perfect way to end our time in Redding.  We still are in awe at all that God had planned for us that week and the many ways that proved He is the ultimate Travel Agent.

Thursday morning we headed south, taking the scenic route to Napa and the Valley.  Beautiful, beautiful country!  We wound our way through the mountains, stopping often to take pictures and stand in awe at God’s handiwork.  I especially, was thankful for the open windows and fresh air…it helped ease the rolling of my stomach as we rode the ups & downs & arounds of the mountains!
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The vineyards were empty of any fruit, but it was still beautiful and I can only imagine how that beauty is multiplied when the vines are lush with fresh grapes.
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We wound our way over to Sonoma (where we stopped for a picnic lunch), up through Santa Rosa, and on to Guerneville.  We stopped at the Armstrong Redwoods State Park and walked through the forest for a bit, marveling again at the what God created.  Our plan was to spend the night in Guerneville, but someone (uh,me.) wanted to keep driving, thinking that surely there would be towns along the coast and we could find a motel for the night.
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So we kept driving.  We found no motels, but we did find a most gorgeous west coast!  “Beautifully rugged” are the words that come to mind.
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We ended up driving down to San Francisco that night yet, and woke up on Friday with two goals for the day: walk the Golden Gate Bridge & get on an airplane.

We parked as close as could to the bridge, but still walked more than a mile to get to the bridge.  We weren’t rushed for time, so we were able to enjoy the scenery and San Francisco for one last time.
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We are on the bridge!
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We knew the Golden Gate Bridge was big, but when we got up close and personal, we realized just how BIG it really is!
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We ended our time in San Francisco with another great meal and some Peet’s Coffee.
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We made it to the airport with hours to spare and then we jetted across the country,  reuniting with our girlies the next day.  The trip was so much more and did so much more for us than I could ever explain, even in person.  We were so blessed on this trip and will forever carry the memory of it and all that God did, in our hearts.

–sherri

California!

Part 1
For many years, Kenton had been dreaming of visiting San Francisco, CA.  I caught his “adventure fever” and several years ago we started saving and planning; we planned to go for our 10-year anniversary.  But a few months ago, we were talking & dreaming and decided “there is no time like the present” to take this trip.  So, tickets were bought, motels booked, babysitters arranged and bags packed.  And then we left for an amazing week to celebrate us and our marriage and our life together.

We flew into San Francisco late at night, and despite the 3-hour time difference, were up bright and early the next morning.  We had a loose plan of what we wanted to see and do on the trip: a few attractions, but mostly, we just wanted to relax & enjoy being together.

Our first day in San Francisco, we parked our car in down town and began walking.  Apparently, we parked at the bottom of a hill, because we climbed walked up & up & up!  We kept thinking that we were at the top of the hill soon, but the street kept going up! 🙂  And then, sweet relief, we reached the top and could finally descend.
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We walked through Chinatown and Italy, and made our way over to Coit Tower.  The tower is the highest point in the city and has a beautiful view of San Francisco.  Unfortunately for us, the tower was closed for construction, but we could still visit the park area around it.

This is the street leading up to the tower.  It was so crazy steep, cars had to park perpendicular to the street!
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A view from the tower.
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Another view (with some explanations (click on the picture to view it larger)).
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From Coit Tower, we walked down the hill and up again, to Lombard Street.  This is at the top of Lombard St., where we could look back where we came from and see Coit Tower.#88 038
From there, we walked down to Ghirardelli Square where we sampled some amazing chocolate!
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From the square, we walked along Fisherman’s Wharf and finally found some delicious food for us to eat!  Maybe it was because of all the walking we did that day or the fresh air we inhaled or being by the Pacific Ocean, but the burger & sweet potato fries we had for lunch were absolutely a.MAZ.ing!

We found a beautiful spot to rest before it was time for the Alcatraz tour.  We also found the “bush man”…a man with a sense of humor who hides behind a bush and then jumps out to scare unsuspecting passersby.  Thankfully, we were walking the right way and were able to watch the scene unfold, rather than being the unsuspecting passersby!
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We took the early evening Alcatraz tour, so we were able to watch San Francisco light up as darkness fell.  The boat took us around the island and then inside the prison, we had an audio tour as we walked through.  Some of the audio was actual guards and prisoners that were in the Alcatraz prison.
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After the Alcatraz tour, we decided to take a cable car because we were tired and it would be faster than walking.  Unknown to us, the car we chose to ride on was having mechanical issues.  The mechanism kept slipping off the underground cable, so the repair truck had to come out and push us to the shop and then, with everyone still on the car, they put a new one on and we were good to go!  We finally made it back to our car and said “good-bye for now” to San Francisco.
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Our first day on vacation was amazing and it was only the beginning of a wonderful week that God had for us.  We saw His hand so many times, and as we drove 3.5 hours north that night we had no idea what He had planned for us in the beautiful city of Redding.

But that will have to wait until another day!

 Be blessed!

–sherri

Learning…

…how to better mother & love on my two precious girls.
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…to take her up on her volunteering to mop the floor (she did an amazing job!).
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…that the memories of eating cookie dough are more important than worrying about the tiny bit of raw egg she would consume (because really, what is a childhood without experiencing cookie dough?!).
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…to see and feel God in all of creation & in every moment of every day; to recognize my completion in Him & allow myself to grow into that complete person.
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So that’s what I’m learning these days.  That, and how much I can fit in one carry-on bag for a week-long trip!  Yay! to spending time away with my man!

Still learning,
–sherri

Yes, she’s here!

We’ve had 4 1/2 weeks of snuggling with our newest family member, and we are loving it!

Elana Raine
October 6, 2013 at 11:51 p.m.
6lb., 14oz., 19.5in. long

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She came fast and without giving us much warning!  Kenton was very grateful that we made it to the hospital in time! 🙂

Soon after delivery…

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About her name…Elana (short “e”, long “a”) is Hebrew and means “tree”.
Raine, means “abundant blessings from above.”
Our prayer for Elana is that she will be like “a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth [her] fruit in [her] season; [her] leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever [she] doeth shall prosper” (Psalms 1:3).  And may she be a blessing to everyone that she meets.

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Praising God for this beautiful, precious miracle!

–sherri

Seasons

Where I grew up we had four seasons…winter, spring, summer, and fall; here in the south we have two seasons…hot, muggy summer and paradise 🙂  I have a dear friend who has shown me how life itself gives us many seasons…growing up, going to school, living at home, being on your own, singleness, dating, marriage…some seasons are for many years, some for only a short time. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 confirms this: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

  • be born – die
  • plant – uproot
  • kill – heal
  • tear down – build up
  • weep – laugh
  • mourn – dance
  • scatter stones – gather them up
  • embrace – refrain from embracing
  • search – give up
  • keep – throw away
  • tear – mind
  • silent – speak
  • love – hate
  • war – peace

I’m learning to enjoy the different seasons as they come into my life.  Sometimes that’s the hardest part…embracing and accepting whatever season that I am currently in.  This season of bed rest has been a combination of accepting and rejecting.  Accepting, because I want to do what’s best for baby girl & if that means lying down for weeks on end, then I will do that.  But rejecting, because I know that this is not how God designed a pregnancy to go and so praying and contending for a beautiful miracle of healing.

This season of bed rest holds another season inside of it…a season of “letting go”.  Letting go of a normal way of life and embracing a new normal.  Letting go of independence and depending on other people’s help.  Letting go of doing things my way and allowing my husband to do things his way (and he is doing an amazing job!).  Letting go of being there for every activity with Abigail and allowing other Godly women to step in and fill the void.  Letting go of looking nice when people stop in and being okay with constantly having a “bed head” (who knew that it’d be so hard to have nice-looking hair when you’re lying down 24/7? :). Letting go of pouring into a life and allowing others to pour into your own.  Letting go of giving to others and allowing yourself to receive.  Letting go of perfection and allowing God to work out the imperfect.  Letting go of the joy of allowing the public to see my “pregnant belly” and being content with knowing that God knows I love carrying life and I don’t have to show it off in order for Him to receive glory.

There have been numerous things I wanted to do this summer with Abigail and also as a family, but I haven’t been able to.  I’m slowly learning to be okay with that.  I can’t be and do everything I want to right now…All the things that “they” say a good wife/mother should do?  I can’t do a single one of them.

But that really doesn’t matter, because who I am, is not based on what I do.  God does not see what I do and love me for that; He loves me simply because He made me.  I am special and precious and worthy of the life of His Son, because He formed me and gave me life.

So what I can do, is much more valuable than any physical thing I could ever do for my family.  I can spend hours praying for them, bringing them and their needs to our Daddy who loves them even more than I do.  I have plenty of time to read my Bible, so when my husband comes home from a long day at work, I have a word from God to share with him & encourage him. I can cultivate a spirit of praise, and worship…an atmosphere of peace and joy and thankfulness in this house.

Right now, that is absolutely the best way I can help out.  And I’m still learning how to do it well.  I don’t want to look back on this season and wish I had done better, that I had spent more time praising and less time pouting.  Yes, I have had my times of pouting.  But bed rest is so much easier when I’m praising God and being thankful for all the ways He has blessed us & provided for us!

There will come a time when I will be back on my feet and I will be able to fill the God-given role of managing my home and taking care of my family.  I can’t wait to be able to do that 🙂  Until that season comes, I will care for them from my couch and I will do it with joy!

–sherri