Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Year in Review.....

I got this idea from Marian's blog and decided to write my own year in review.

I really can't separate the good memories from the bad....because the bad ones have their own significance, and really had a great impact on my life. This has been an incredible year of testing, faith, family, friendship, and love. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is Good.

  • My pastor's son being diagnosed with leukemia.
  • Getting orders to go to Louisiana.
  • A trip to Disney World with my mother, nephews, sister, and all my girls.
  • The birth of my baby.
  • My best friend coming to visit from MN.
  • Preparing my house for sale, with a newborn strapped on me.
  • Really unbelievably horribly bad postpartum depression, and recovering.
  • Baby's First Smiles, rolling over, sitting up....
  • Watching my husband pull out of the driveway to go to Louisiana and realizing that I really wasn't all alone, and that I am so much stronger than I really thought.
  • The oldest daughter starting public school, and letting go.
  • Homeschooling my middle, and watching her blossom.
  • My oldest daughter getting baptized.
  • My middle daughter understanding salvation, and receiving Jesus as the "boss of her heart"
  • Baby first word..."Dada" and her second word, "Mama", her learning how to wave hello and bye-bye.
  • Skype calls from the husband.
  • Thanksgiving without Daddy.
  • Finally selling our house.
  • Watching the movers pack our things and telling NC goodbye.
  • Arriving in Louisiana.
  • My pastor's son passing away.
  • Christmas together.

Watching the hand of God move on my life. Through every circumstance, He was present.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

In search of God...or at least where He resides.....

Actually, I should just title this post "I'm homeless without a church." Because that is what I feel like.

Personally, I feel like finding a good church to attend is the HARDEST thing about moving. Really it is. When we left NC, I felt like I was tearing up the lifelines that I had spent years trying to build. And most of those lifelines were found through the church. And now, here we are in LA, no friends, no family, no church. Just each other. And as much as I do love my dear little husband and's gonna get a little old if I don't find a church to call home soon.

The easiest church transition I ever made, was the year I left for college. First Assembly of God Church in Alexandria, VA was the church that I called home those many years ago. As I was packing up for school, my youth pastor called around for me and found out where the local AG church was and arranged a ride for me my very first Sunday. Done. I had a church family to take care of me. I also remember going to some sort of church mixer type function the first weekend of classes, and all of the leaders of the local churches came and introduced themselves and talked about their church to all of the incoming freshman. It almost felt like they were auditioning for us. When the mixer was over and you had made your decision about which church to attend, you hopped on their bus and went there. It was so simple.

Oh how I wish it was that simple now.

Oh no, it's not that easy. There are so many factors to take into consideration. Does it have a men's ministry? The worship music, is it contemporary or traditional? Ladies group? Community outreaches? What about the children? Do I trust the adults that teach the children's church with my little ones? My can I leave her in the hands of a perfect stranger in the nursery? What are the people the congregation mostly young people? Or a good mix of different age groups? And probably those big nagging question that weigh on me the hardest....Will they like me? Will they decide that I am not worth their time when they find out that we are in the military and will be moving on in 2 years? Will they allow me to find a place among them and be a part of their ministry?

We tried churches the last two weeks and just a few minutes into the service, we just knew that it wasn't the right fit for our family. In a random God moment (at least I think it was a God moment) a lady that was working the window at the local coffee shop asked me if I was by chance looking for a church. Of course we are! She suggested a place, and that is just where we went today. It seemed like a nice place with friendly people....but we didn't get to hear the pastor speak, as he was out of town. *sigh* And the kids in the church....I think it was 80% boys. The Big Apple was one of only 3 girls in the children's church of at least 25 kids. *double sigh* Where were the little girls that my girls could be friends with?

I am not ready to give up yet. Pressing in. There is a place for us somewhere. I just wish I knew where it was already.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Going on a pixie hunt.....

One thing that we have noticed right away here in Louisiana are the trees. They are huge. They are beautiful. These trees are something that my kids did not experience much of on the East Coast of NC. Near the shore, the trees are short and mostly of the evergreen variety. I planted several trees in our yard just to break up the landscape a bit.

There is a park very close to our house. My girls have decided to call it Pixie Hollow.
And why shouldn't they? This place looks truly enchanted. I was pretty sure I saw a fairy fluttering and hiding in that spanish moss patch right there. Do you see it?
The Big Apple decided that the pixies live in the knotholes of the tree and tried calling for them to come out to play. She didn't catch any, but she has vowed to bring them something next time to perhaps bring them out from hiding...what do fairies like to eat?
I was more curious about this little guy that in catching a pixie. And I think he was just as curious about me. I have never lived in a region of the country where I have seen black squirrels like this. He was so sweet and adorable. And tame and fat too. I am sure he is very well loved at this particular park. Perhaps when the girls go pixie hunting and bring treats for their friends, I will bring a treat for my new little friend.

I suppose I should give him a name. Any suggestions?
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

My oven came over on the Mayflower....

Well, it might have come over on the Mayflower, but I am sure that if the Pilgrims had actually tried to cook with this oven they would have tossed it overboard before they left the harbor.
I am trying very hard not to complain about my new status as a *cough* renter...but some things I think need to be addressed publically. Like this oven, for instance. It is really really old. Like Dinosaur old. And I need to whine just a bit because if you know me at all, I do like to bake. And this oven barely fits a cookie sheet. I had to purchase new cookie sheets to fit this oven. That is truly a sad circumstance to live with.
Today, Christmas morning, I preheated this archaic beast to 325 to cook the Christmas turkey. I put in my savory bird and closed the oven door. It had a locking feature thing on it, so I thought to myself "Wow! A lock! That could be handy because I have a baby and 2 small curious children!" and I locked the oven door, and went on with preparations with the rest of the Christmas Feast.
About an hour later, I started wondering why my kitchen didn't smell like cooking turkey. So I decided to check on the bird. I opened the oven door and discovered that the oven was stone cold. And so was my turkey.
Come to find out that the oven temp turns itself off when you lock the door. Go figure. And now Christmas dinner will be late, but we now have a new fun story in our collection of Louisiana memories.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

See ya later, Josiah....

I am broken inside, and my heart aches for my Pastor and his family. Josiah passed away at home. He is really Home for Christmas, whole and healed and skateboarding with Jesus.

Gonna miss you, Jo. Save a spot for me up there, okay?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Picking up the last pieces to the puzzle...

I made it to Louisiana. We found a house. Our household goods have been delivered. Instead of unpacking the kitchen, I unpacked the Christmas Decorations. I figured the kids would rather have Christmas than a homecooked meal anyway.

The husband and I are in Florida right now picking up the last pieces to the puzzle. I mean, the Big Apples. They were staying with my parents for a few days until we could get everything settled. Then we drove down here yesterday and arrived very late at night. The looks on the girls' faces this morning when they saw their daddy for the first time in months....Oh. My. Goodness. It was like Christmas came early. Such hugging and loving and more hugging and endless chatting. It was wonderful.

And the best part of it is...we are going home. We are driving back to Louisiana tomorrow morning. Together.

Together. I just love that word.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Live....from Mobile, AL!

I made it as far as Mobile, AL today. I would have made it all the way to Houma, but my day was full of 4 letter words.

Rain is a 4 letter word. So is the word Pour. It poured straight through Georgia. I had to drive like 40 miles and hour just to be able to see.

Snow. Another 4 letter word. I saw that today, which is odd for the south. I was told that parts of Louisiana got 6 inches of that dirty word and nobody knows how to drive in it. My husband called and told me that there was alot of black ice down there and some roads were closed. So, here I am at a hotel again.....

Sleet. Okay, I know it's not a 4 letter word. It's a 4 letter word. With an extra letter. Because it's really bad. And it stinks to have to drive in.

Baby. Ok, the littlest apple is officially spoiled rotten. I plugged the DVD player in so that my 8 month old could watch Baby Einstein shows. Every now and then I would pass her a new toy from the toy bucket, or toss another pacifier to her because she chucked her's into the floor. And we had to stop to nurse every 3 to 4 hours, so that carved out some of our day today too. So we better add the word Milk to our list of 4 letter words.

Poop. Yeah. It's a stinky 4 letter word. I had to pull over 4 separate times today because the baby made some. And imagine yourself trapped in a small enclosed space, such as my mini van, with something akin to a skunk spray filling the air to capacity. I was literally gasping for air out of my window, and praying for a rest stop at the next exit.

Bath. It's what the baby and I both had when we checked into the hotel this evening. Ahhhhh.

King. The size of bed that the little apple and I are sharing tonight. She is so cozy to sleep with. She puts the perfect end to a very hard day on the road.

And tomorrow, we reach our destination. Our new home. And into the arms of the missing link in the apple family.

What was your day like in 4 letters?

From somewhere in GA...

I'm not exactly sure where I am. I know I am in GA somewhere, and this hotel bed is just toooo comfortable for words. The bed has 8 (yes, I counted correctly, eight!) fluffy pillows. I am in pillow heaven. I hope I feel like getting out of this bed and hitting the road again sometime today.

There were a couple of issues surrounding closing and I will detail all of those things in a different post. I will leave it to say that I left our home town a full day later than I intended, and in the middle of the afternoon, as well. So, my mom and I decided to travel as much distance as we could on that day. We traveled to Florence, ate dinner together, and then our journey no longer took the same road. I kissed my older girls goodbye, and they headed south to Florida with their grandma, and I headed southwest on my way to my new home. I am sure that my children are waking up at grandma's house this mom, God bless her, seems to have that ability to drive forever. I, on the other hand, started seeing double while I was driving in the pouring rain and the dark. So I pulled over and found this delightful hotel with the mountain of pillows. Ahhhhh. I slept better last night than I have in an entire week!!!! The baby, spoiled rotten as she is, is sleeping in the other bed, as we speak, in the center of an enormous nest of pillows. So sweet.

The plan is that the big girls will stay with their grandparents for a couple of days. We have found a house in a great neighborhood, and the moving truck will be dropping off our household goods on Monday or Tuesday. After I have unpacked a couple of things...I think I will unpack the kitchen and THE CHRISTMAS TREE, the husband and I will drive over to FL to pick up the little girls and bring them back to our new house so we can spend Christmas together as a family.

It's been a long time coming, this entire journey....and it looks as if the LORD has done it again. He's dropping everything into place according to HIS plan. Isn't He great?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Moving Day!!!!!

I know I said that I was signing off from Blogland for a little while, but I just couldn't leave yall in the dark about my move, could I? So, in true applesofgold style, I must tell you some of the things that have happened to me in the last couple of days.
With typical military moves, the TMO office takes care of all the details for us. We don't get to pick who comes to pack up our stuff. We get whoever shows up at our door, and hope and pray that they will find our stuff just as nice as we think it is. And I have had horrible things happen during packing....the big burly men (who were either just ignorant or hadn't had any coffee that morning) packed my wedding dress in the same box as the vacuum cleaner. Or the time only half of the baby's crib ended up in the moving van, and the other half never to be seen again.
So you can imagine my feeling that I had the morning that the packers were due to arrive...I was a bundle of nerves, and just about ready to puke. When they arrived, I opened up my door, and this is what I saw. These lovely smiling faces.
These ladies, named Cocoa, Roshanna, and The Girl Whose Name I Forgot, swooped in, and packed away everything! They were neat, respectful, and efficient. They packed away things that really had no monetary value but only sentimental value in a box labeled as High Value. My mother was actually sitting on the couch when CoCo snagged a pillow out from underneath of her and stuffed it in a box, just laughing and chatting the entire time. It was almost as good as having good friends come and pack your bags for college. It was so comforting. I am so glad for these women. They made quick work of my house, and only one of them had to return the next day to pack the garage. Some items got packed that I didn't exactly want packed. For instance, my daughter went to school this morning in 25 degree weather, with no coat. We opened several boxes looking for her coat, but it never showed up. Of course, we will find it in Louisiana, where the weather is warm and muggy almost year round!
And then a shocking thing happened this afternoon. I was looking over the packing list and happened to notice that the destination scheduled for our stuff was listed as Houma, AZ. Houma, AZ?!?!!?!?!? I'm going to Houma, LOUISIANA!!!! So, this could have ended in disaster, with my stuff in a totally different state, lost somewhere, and me in Houma, LA with 3 kids and no stuff. How fun and adventurous that would have been!!!!. A few phone calls later, it was found that whoever entered my paperwork into the computer made a mistake. What a blessing that I paying attention to that page!
So, we will be closing on our house tomorrow, and saying our last goodbyes to our small town. I am really going to miss this place afterall! It took a long time to learn to love it here, but once NC sinks under your skin, it's hard to forget. Now. Next time, when I hit the publish post button, it will be from another state. Hopefully in Louisiana. And hopefully my stuff will be there too. See you then.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Going least from Blogland

So, the moving van will be screeching to a halt in front of my house the day after tomorrow. I can almost smell the end of this whole ordeal. I am really going to Louisiana after all! Can you believe it?

The last few days, I have spent an unbelievable amount of time sorting, and washing, and cleaning, throwing away, and donating. I totally forgot just how much stuff I had. I really don't need all this stuff. So, the rule of thumb was....The second my hands touched something, I asked myself "Self, do you love this?" and if I didn't totally LOVE the item, I got rid of it. I cannot believe the amount of stuff that I have collected over the course of the 4 years that I have been here. Stuff that I really didn't love. *sigh* God isn't finished with me yet. I am too sentimental about things...I would probably keep a pile of doggie doodle, if it had any sentimental value to me at all.

But the whole family has gotten into the spirit of getting rid of stuff. The girls have gone through their toys and donated 2 garbage bags full of toys to Salvation Army. Lets not even begin to talk about the amount of clothing that has left this house, destined for bargain racks. The baby, well, she had no choice in the matter...all of the stuff that she didn't use anymore like her swing, bouncy seat, countless bags of clothes, well they all went to my new favorite cause, Lifeline Pregnancy Center. The ladies from the center, I wish you all could have seen their faces when I opened my trunk and it was FULL to overflowing with gently used gifts for pregnant women and their soon-to-be-born precious little babies. I loved that warm fuzzy feeling when I got when I closed the van trunk again, it was empty... and all I got in return (besides my warm fuzzy feeling) was a tiny slip of paper that said "Lifeline Pregnancy Center thanks you for your donation." Such a freeing feeling.

Well, with all that being said, I won't be blogging for a little while. I promise you that I will be very busy the next few weeks. Packing, searching for a place to live, unpacking, finding a new church, new friends, enrolling The Oldest in a new school, getting The Middle acquainted with a new homeschool group, and finding my way around our new town. I will keep yall posted when I can. Wish us luck. Pray for us.

I will see yall on the other side.