One Year In

Tomorrow it will be exactly a year since we moved away from Red Rock Bible Camp, and started our new adventure in Niverville.

People have been asking me how the year has been, which has gotten me thinking and reflecting. Here’s what we’re loving so far:


We are loving the people we get to live life with here in Niverville. “Community” looks different than it did at camp, but God has been so good, and has blessed us with really amazing friends. We also joined a family discipleship group and meet on a weekly basis, which has been fantastic.

I loved living with the people at camp, and I miss the way we shared life out there, but we’re starting to see how this could all work out here in “the real world”. It’s taken us a little while to get used to how different relationships happen out here, when you’re not sharing three meals a day with all your friends, but we’re happy to find that it’s still possible to become close to the people we love!

May 2012 122


One of the hardest parts of making a major change was not knowing what our “new life” was going to look like – I just couldn’t picture it while we were still living at camp, preparing to move.

But now it feels normal and comfortable, and we still feel like “us”. We didn’t get lost in the shuffle! Which is kind of amazing, because the lifestyle at camp is quite different than anywhere else. I loved our routine out there, and how we did family. I was worried we would lose what was important to us.

But we haven’t, and although some things look a little different, we’ve been able to take what we learned at camp, and bring it with us into this new chapter.



I love, love, love being at home. I love our house. But things were a bit bumpy in the beginning, which I wasn’t expecting. Since we got to choose everything about our house, I thought it would be like a dream come true to move in.

I’m not sure if it was very high, unrealistic expectations, or just the adjustment, but it took a few months for this to really feel like home. It wasn’t perfect. It was still just a house, and it didn’t magically transform my life, just because we moved in. It took some getting used to, and I felt a little lost, for awhile.

I’m done feeling lost. My roots are in. This is home. And that is a lovely feeling.


It has been a great year. I feel we have transitioned much better than I was anticipating, which is a wonderful surprise.

I am ready to dive right in to Year Two!

34 Days of Favorites: Home

I heard a song the other day which started with this line:

They say one day you’ll look out your door, and you’ll find you’re right where you belong. (“How I Love You”, by Rob Laufer)

And then I almost started crying.

Because that line speaks of the longing I’ve felt for a few months. It promises that transition will pass, and everything will settle into place, so slowly and surely that you won’t even know it’s happening.

I would very much like to look out my door, and find I’m right where I belong.

I think we’re getting there.

Right now, when I look out my door, I see weeds everywhere, half-finished houses, trucks parked randomly all over the place (sometimes on our yard, which crushes our beautiful weeds! Oh, no!), and lots of shirtless construction workers, which I’m getting really tired of.

When I told Ben this the other day, I said something like, “I can’t wait for the day when I can look out our windows, and NOT see half-naked men everywhere outside our house.”

Ben thought this sounded as though these half-naked men were standing right outside our windows, peeking in, and suggested that maybe I was being a little extreme.

Whatever. Let’s just say I’ll be thankful when the construction is finished, our street settles down, and we all plant some grass. Looking out my door will be more pleasant at that point.

I do have to say that despite the construction and weeds, this is feeling more and more like home all the time, and I am extremely thankful for the growing sense of belonging.

And I love our house. I really, really love our house. When listing my favorites of this past year, a new house would definitely have to make it on the list.

This is the second time Ben and I have been part of the building process, and I love it so much, I would do it again! It can be very stressful, and there are seemingly endeless amounts of decisions to make. A few times, it did feel as though I might lose it completely, and run out of the flooring store, wringing my hands and weeping because I couldn’t make one more big decision.

But now it is done, and it’s our, and it’s home. Love, love, and love.

I think my favorite thing about our house is that it looks like us. That sounds completely strange, but what I mean is when you come in the door, you see spread out before you everything that Ben and Kendra love. (Maybe a bit more Kendra than Ben….but I think our taste is similar enough that he’s happy with the outcome, too!)

It is open and bight and airy. The windows are huge and let in a ton of light. Dark floors, white kitchen, calm soothing colors, everything that makes me happy. (Some of it is a pain to clean, but I will choose to focus on loving the way it looks, and being thankful for all things Norwex.)

And I realize we’re spoiled rotten. Being able to build a new home not once, but twice, is really amazing.

Ben dreams of wild and crazy adventures all over the world, and I dream of growing old in Niverville, living in this house and growing apple trees in our backyard.

We’ll see what happens.🙂

In the meantime, I have to say that coming home to this house has been a highlight of the last year for me.

Maybe looking out my front door is not a beautiful experience, but coming in the front door definitely is!


Okay, your turn! Tell me what you love about coming home.

And here’s the list of the favorites we’ve covered so far:

Counting Blessings

New Recipe


Getting Out of My Comfort Zone




Sleep Habits

Body Brushing


New Camera

New Friends

Serious Music

Happy Music

Apple Cider Vinegar



TV Show



34 Days of Favorites: New Friends

I love sturdy, old friendships that have stood the test of time.

But I have to say, I’m also totally loving new friendships right now. Having just moved a few months ago, new friendships are a new favorite we’ve been experiencing around here.

People find this hard to understand, because we moved back to the town we previously lived in for five years. But things have changed a lot since the last time this was home. We have some old friends here whom we love a lot, but we’re excited about new friendships, too.

Funny how I didn’t think much about that before we moved. I was very concerned about Anika’s social needs, wondering how she would adapt and make new friends, but I never considered my own needs.

Yet here I am, surprised by God’s goodness, over and over, as He sends people into our lives.

There are two women who have saved me since our move. Saved me, because I’d forgotten how life can feel a bit dumped upside down after moving.

And then they showed up, and now I can find my way again.

One of them is not technically a “new” friend – I knew her in college, and then we lost touch, and I hadn’t seen or heard from her in many years. But we connected again this last year, and now she brings all this richness into my life which blesses me and makes me feel like this place could be home.

She calls me up and asks if she can quickly drop something off for me, and then she spends a little bit of time sharing life with me.

I don’t think she really knows what she truly does for me, just by giving me the gift of spontaneous connection – by showing up at my door with little notice, the way I’m used to from all those years at camp.

And then there’s my sweet new friend whom I’ve written about here and here. She phones on a Saturday night, wondering if it’s too last minute to ask if we can go for coffee.

I’m so tired from the day, but suddenly I realize that a good long talk and a change of scenery is exactly what I didn’t know I needed.

She drops me off at the end of the evening, and we still stand talking in front of my dark house, my family all fast asleep already, and finally we have to cut ourselves off from so much to say, because we’ll carry on next time.

I didn’t know there was an emptiness that needed to be filled until these ladies started to fill it. I already have some wonderful friendships, and wasn’t really thinking I had a huge need to add to the collection.

But oh, do I ever! Because who could say no to such rich gifts!

So when Ben says a new family has moved down the street, my first thought is, “Thank goodness I made extra chocolate chip squares. We can bring some over tomorrow evening.” I was shown such warmth and welcome, it makes me want to pass it on.

But my very next thought is such a silly one: “Maybe that would be weird – they have so many neighbors right around them that are probably welcoming them here already, maybe they don’t need us to stop by, too.”

What, because they might make too many friends on this street? Or they’re not feeling as dumped out in a new life as we were? Because it’s possible to feel too welcomed to a new home??


Good grief, grab the squares and get over to their house! What if everyone were thinking the same thing? “Someone else will do it.”

Yes. Someone like me.

Because it’s all about people. And my life is so full and rich, with old and new, and I am thankful.

Now I have to ask – have you ever made a completely unexpected friendship? Are you having any current adventures in making new friends? Do share!!

(Read more about “34 Days of Favorites” here.)

Making This “Ours”

Alright, everybody, today it is time to update you all on what we’re doing to make Niverville “ours”.

1) The boxes are being conquered, one by one, and the dishwasher is installed! (Ben has actually done many wonderful things to make our home feel more settled, but this is the only picture I took…)

2) The backyard has been tramped through.

There are killdeer birds everywhere around here, and Anika desperately wants to see one pretending to be injured, to lure us away from it’s nest. So she tried to chase them in our yard, and Kaylia ran around, talking about “killrobins”, and thought the whole thing was great.

Now what other kinds of adventures can we think up??

3) We are socializing! Anytime we see people we know, we practically beg them to please come visit! I’m realizing how much we grew accustomed to people dropping in at any time of the day when we lived at camp.

So if you live in Niverville, and need friends, please let us know! We are so up for friends right now! 🙂 And we are so very thankful for everyone who has taken the time to visit, or have helped us clean and unpack. We love you all!

4) All three play structures have been explored. It has been officially decided that there is no one favorite, but rather, we will be enjoying the variety of all three locations.

5) The sky saves me every day.

I used to look out at the trees each day, but now I look at the sky. I didn’t see it much at camp – the trees blocked the view. But now, it is beautiful and glorious, and I can sit on our couch and watch the sunset.


And then last night, we went for a walk, and suddenly I felt like we would be okay. Maybe it was the water, or maybe it was stopping to watch the ducks swim by, or maybe it was just enjoying an evening together as a family.

Somehow, it felt like a little, old, familiar piece of what we used to have, tucked away among all that is new.

Whatever it was, it was a good feeling.

We’ll make this “ours”, a little bit at a time!

Paddling Home

Well, we are finally here.

And the question most often asked now is, “How was your move?”

Um…well…it was a move! Some chaos, some sad good-byes, some exciting beginnings, some exhaustion, some new house to clean, some boxes we’ll be unpacking for weeks to come.

The first couple of days, I was really excited to be here. But last night, I sat in our living room filled with boxes, and this thought jumped into my mind: “I want to go home!”

And I meant camp.

I know this will all take some time. It’s still good to be here, but everything feels kind of weird.

It’s funny how much we define ourselves by what we do and where we live. I don’t think about it that much, but now with everything changing in our lives, it kind of feels like I don’t know exactly who I am.

I sit in our new house and think, “This is not me.”

Ben got a new work vehicle, and I see him drive up, and I think, “That is not ours.”

I look out the window, and think, “This is not where we really live.”

We’re the same, but everything is not the same.

I think I was expecting to feel a lot more settled as soon as we were actually in our new house. But now I’m realizing that the adventure is just beginning. I have no idea how long it will take for our family to feel like all this new life is “us”, but I’m guessing these things just take awhile.

In the uncomfortable moments, I start to wonder, “Was this actually a good decision? Did we make the right choice?” Even though I know it is, and we did.

I’m realizing what the problem is: I see the destination, the end result, as my goal. I want a conclusion, I want to bask in the good feelings of being done, of having already made the transition or completing a goal.

I don’t take enough joy in the process, in the journey.

It’s like this when you live a story: The first part happens fast. You throw yourself into the narrative, and you’re finally out in the water; the shore is pushing off behind you and the trees are getting smaller. The distant shore doesn’t seem so far, and you can feel the resolution coming, the feeling of getting out of your boat and walking the distant beach. You think the thing is going to happen fast, that you’ll paddle for a bit and arrive on the other side by lunch. But the truth is, it isn’t going to be over soon.

The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. It’s about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle. (p.177, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years)

We wanted a good story for our family, and we felt it was important to make this change.

So here we go! The good part is in the middle, even though that’s also the uncomfortable part. We’ll wander through weird feelings of displacement, and we’ll keep trying to make this home, until one day really soon (that doesn’t feel soon enough at the moment, but will come at just the right time), we’ll wake up and not even notice that we are already at home.

It will have become the new normal.

And all the middle stuff will have made us a little bit stronger and a little bit braver, and maybe a little bit better at figuring out how to face change.

It’s like this with every crossing, and with nearly every story too. You paddle until you no longer believe you can go farther. And then suddenly, well after you thought it would happen, the other shore starts to grow, and it grows fast. The trees get taller and you can make out the crags in the cliffs, and then the shore reaches out to you, to welcome you home, almost pulling your boat onto the sand. (p. 182, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years)

It’s just a little move. It’s not to another country, and it’s not a daring adventure, but…in some ways, it is. Isn’t it always a bit daring to change who you are, even if it’s by changing what you do, or where you live?

If you’re out there paddling your boat in the middle, just like us, I wish you all the best as you wait for the shore to reach out and welcome you home!

Hello Weekend

When we first announced we were leaving camp, someone made a comment that has stayed with me over these last few months. She said, “Good-byes are hard, but it sounds like there will be many wonderful ‘hellos’ in your future.”

It’s been hard to focus on the ‘hellos’ while we’ve been out here. I went down to the lake one night last week, and had a good cry as the sun was setting. So far, we’ve mostly been in the ‘good-bye’ part of this transition.

This weekend, however, I felt like I started to say ‘hello’ to some things.

1) Hello, House!

We spent a little time getting acquainted! Ben was painting trim boards this weekend, so we dropped him off at the new house before heading on to my parents’ for a couple of days.

The girls loved being there! They love their room.

And they loved running around all over the place, starting to make it familiar.

Whenever we go there, I just want to stay! But always too soon, Ben says it’s time to get going, and I have to tear myself away. Can’t wait until we just get to stay!

2) Hello, Family!

For five years, we’ve been far away from everything. Two hours is a very drivable distance, but we haven’t been able to just be there for stuff. This weekend, I felt like I was getting a taste of what it will be like to be there for the fun family stuff.

My sweet, very ambitious niece is putting on a fundraising bake sale next weekend, and we got to help in the cupcake assembly line.

We also got to do some relaxing at my parents’ house, and it was nice to have a break from boxes and packing.

3) Hello, Friends!

We spent some time with both new and old friends this weekend, and it was very good. I tend to be on the task-oriented side of things, so I find it a little hard to pull myself away from my to-do list and to-pack piles. But I’m always glad when I do!

I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed by all of the amazing people who are offering to help us move, or cook food for us, or take care of our girls, or whatever. We are surrounded by such wonderful people, and I am so thankful for them!

I’m feeling very blessed as we head into our last week at camp – ready to pack like mad, and ready to soak in the last beautiful moments here and there.


Enjoy Life

found here

Maybe I shall frame this, and hang it someplace where I’ll see it all the time!!

I feel like there is a constant struggle going on inside me right now to try to stay in this moment – to enjoy right now, because time is flying by. Before you know it, moving day will be here, and I’ll leave my beloved Red Rock Bible Camp behind, and it will be the end of a very special chapter in our family’s story.

Moving kind of sucks. I don’t like good-byes, and I don’t like a chaotic house.

Good-byes and chaos pretty much sum up life right now, however, and it is hard not to wish it away.

But these are the days to embrace it all – to live fully present and enjoy it, before it’s all gone.

And you know what’s funny? So often I look back, and I can’t remember the hard stuff very well! I love it that it’s possible to look back on something hard, and forget the negative stuff.

My favorite example of this happened on our wedding day….

It was a cloudy day, raining off and on, and we weren’t able to take pictures in my parents’ yard like we’d planned. So we headed off to our indoor back-up location, and took most of our pictures there.

But the rain stopped, and our photographer suggested we get a few shots outside. It worked out well for awhile, but then it started to rain again, and we all headed for shelter.

My dress was huge, my heels were high, and getting anywhere quickly wasn’t the easiest endeavor. As we tried to make a run for it, our photographer spotted a bench in a beautiful little spot, and stopped us to say, “I know it’s starting to drizzle, but I’d love to get a shot of you on that bench.”

I was not impressed.

I had absolutely no desire to get my hair, make-up, veil, and dress wet in the rain. But I clearly remember standing there thinking (grumpily), “Well, I guess we’d better let him take the picture, because just watch – it will end up being my favorite.”

And it was! It was the photo we chose to use for all of our thank-you cards, and it’s the one I still choose to have up on our wall.

It is by far my favorite.

Every time I look at it, I am reminded of the choice I made that day, and try to renew my commitment to making that same choice in the future!

Because  you know what? Right now, this chaos and these good-byes could end up being among my favorite memories. I want to do this time well.

I don’t want to wish it away.

P.S. For anyone who’s sick of moving posts, just think – at this time next week, we will actually be moving! Then you’ll get to read “Settling In” posts…Or maybe “I Miss the Lake So Much I Can’t Stand It” posts!

A Sneak Peak, and Some Thoughts on Packing…

Less than two weeks until moving day!

Oh, my goodness.

Ben’s been painting like crazy, and I think he’s very lucky to be able to spend so much time in our new house! He gets to see all the progress. If I were him, I would spend lots of time just basking, imagining the wonderful new life we will have.

He says he’s a bit too busy for that, looking up at the ceiling all day while he paints it white.

The other morning he sent me this picture, so I could also see how things are coming along:

See? Definite basking required. It is almost done!

And a packing update? I have decided there are a couple of advantages to having boxes piled all over our current home:

1) There is always a place to set your glass of water down beside you, no matter where you sit.

2) The girls love having new stuff to climb.

So…any packing tips anyone wants to send my way??!

Longing For a Home

As the boxes pile up, and Ben comes home speckled with paint, the truth becomes a little more clear all the time: Home is neither here nor there.

We are disassembling five years of life year at camp, and getting ready to move on to that new house in Niverville. But when I met Ben there the other day, it all felt so strange. That was not home.

And then we drove two hours back to camp, and this didn’t feel so much like home anymore, either.

I’m feeling myself really wanting a home right now. I’m longing for a permanent kind of feeling, a nesting kind of feeling that makes me desire a cozy place to settle in and keep my family safe and peaceful. And it’s not going to happen for a few weeks yet, because the chaos is only beginning here at camp.

I feel unsettled, and it’s making me realize something about myself: The more I long for a place to feel like home, the more I am aware of how temporary any home is. I think we spend our time on Earth trying to fill that longing with all kinds of homes, and yet really, my true and final resting place of peace and safety is Heaven.

I don’t spend enough time thinking about that.

What would happen to me if I had no home? This time of transition and the feelings of being a little misplaced will last a short time, but would it be good for me if it stayed around longer? If I had no house in Niverville waiting for me to transfer my home-loving self to, would I be more open to longing for the things of Jesus, instead of trying to fill it with temporary, materialistic things?

I have never seen “transition” as a particularly desirable time in life. It is uncomfortable, unsettling, and change is brewing. It has it’s exciting parts, but I wouldn’t want to stay in it long-term.

But I’m wondering if “in the world but not of it” should be exactly that – a constant feeling of transition. Never really settling in, because none of this is the point anyway.

I’ve been trying not to wish away transition. I’ve been trying to learn from it, and use it to experience all the necessary emotions we are needing to process.

Maybe I need to see it as more than that. Maybe times of transition are a gift – a time when we can see this life with a little more clarity.

I love home. I see it as my very important job to teach our girls about family and home and traditions, and all that good stuff. I will continue to put effort into making home a happy, comfortable place.

But maybe we also need to be finding more ways to teach our girls about not having a home, and what it means to be here only for a time. To use this time and these gifts well, but not become too attached, because really, this life is just one big transition, and longing for home should really be about something much more eternal.

I remember reading what Franklin Graham wrote about his mother’s longing for Heaven. One day when the family was playing outside, he was thinking about some things he’d heard in church. He asked his mom, “Do you know when Jesus will come back?” And she said, “I don’t know, but I hope it’s today!

I want to long for Jesus like that! I want to long for my Heavenly home like that. “I hope it’s today!”

And in the meantime, we’ll enjoy the gifts and blessings of right now.

How We’re Dealing With Transition (Since Everyone Is Asking)

It is 24 days until our new adventure begins.

I feel at peace about everything.

Funny, because generally I have not faced change with peace. I always feel excited about change, but every other time, I’ve also been filled to the brim with stress.

While I was packing today, I came across a little notebook I used five years ago when we were preparing to move to camp. In it, I recorded everything that stressed me out each day, so that I could pray over everything and try to surrender it to God.

My word, am I ever thankful it’s not five years ago.

(I actually laughed at some of the things I had written down.)

One issue I was apparently stressed about at the time was the amount of stuff we had, and what in the world we were going to do with it all.

Today, I sat there reading this, surrounded by mounds of stuff to pack….and it didn’t bother me in the least.

See, change is possible. God can still do miracles today!!

I was in a very different place in my life five years ago. I had recently had a miscarriage, I was dealing with the very worst of my health issues, and emotionally unstable might be the best words to describe that time of my life.

Oh, God is so good. These last five years have been years of gaining back health, being blessed with that long-desired baby, and learning a ton about myself and how I deal with emotions and stress.

It’s not like everything is perfect at our house these days. Moving is still a big transition. Anika has a lot of nightmares as she tries to find her own way through this all, and as far as Kaylia is concerned, I’ve decided there will be a much better time and place for potty training her.

Like when she’s seven.

And I’ve decided not to worry about it. (See? Look at how good I’m getting at not worrying about stuff.)

Instead, I try to keep up with the day-to-day stuff, and I pack a little, and we play and read books a little.

I do yoga daily, and try to eat the best I can. (I will not eat chips. I WILL NOT EAT CHIPS! Things go much better with my body when I do not eat chips, but…all I want are chips!)

So whether my attempts at handling things well are working, or there are tons of people praying for the sanity of our family, or God has just chosen to be extra gracious to us, we are doing fairly well with this whole transition thing. (Now that I said that, just watch me completely crash tomorrow…)

I feel like there are many thoughts and memories and goals for the future swirling around that somehow need to be expressed, and yet that takes time. And some of it is still marinating in my mind. We’ll see when it’s ready to come out.

But for now, the sun is shining, the pile of boxes packed is slowly growing, and life must still go on and be enjoyed, even if we’re moving…