Thursday, October 2, 2008

Settling In

Last week I had prepared a "woe is me" type post. I don’t know if you remember the old Hee Haw song "Gloom Despair Agony on Me", well that was tune of this post. Well, as the Lord would have it I just didn’t feel a right spirit about posting it. Oh how good it felt to "vent" but I have always wanted my blog not only to be a way of recording the life events of our family and an outlet for me to write but I so want everything that I post to be glorifying to My Creator as well as uplifting to my readers and I just knew that the words that felt so good to pen were not honoring to Him so here I go again and hopefully I can do a better job at recapping the last couple of weeks without grumping and complaining.
Most of my "grumps" in life right now have nothing to do with being in Colorado. In fact, outside of missing my sister and family I love being here. There is so much to love out here.....beautiful FALL weather (haven’t experienced this in years), incredible scenery everywhere I turn, tons of opportunities to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord, a great house and neighborhood complete with terrific neighbors and kids who seem to be loving life enjoying lots of things that they don’t get to do in Florida. We are trying to take advantage of all the great things to do outside like taking hikes, riding bikes, relaxing in the hot tub on cool nights as well as enjoying the company of our new friends. I have to say that life is really full for us right now. We try to take advantage of every opportunity we have to get to know other people and given that there are so many friendly people out here who are eager to engage us and our family we find that our calendars are fairly full. We continue to furnish the house and even though the pieces are slowly trickling in we are still lacking in all those little decorative touches that really make it feel like home. I found some pretty picture frames and displayed a couple of family photos and was amazed at how good it felt to do something so simple. In addition to continuing to work on making the house feel like home we are fully into Home-schooling which for me has been a hard task. I have struggled from day one of schooling the kids with managing the education of a highly energetic, easily distracted 6th grader along with a Kindergartner who only wants to do arts and crafts while keeping a 3 year old occupied. This is all coupled with the daily upkeep of the house, meals, laundry, paying bills and the countless other things that occupy my "to do" lists. To say that it has been overwhelming is an understatement. During that first week my admiration for all of you mom’s who school your kids at home grew while my confidence plummeted. I am sad to admit it but during this week I yelled at my kids more, felt more stress than I had in years and the physical exhaustion was incredibly draining. After the first week, I was "done". Experiencing a full meltdown (mom’s have meltdowns too), I told Mike that we just needed to put the kids back in school because I couldn’t do it. Fortunately, he was insightful enough to see that I truly was beyond overwhelmed and he took on Cody’s (our 6th grader) school which has lifted a huge burden. Mike is doing a fantastic job and although I think he misses having the extended time he thought he would have to write and study he enjoys the interactions that he and Cody are having on a daily basis. Cody has written some of the most beautiful book reports and once he settles into his day he seems to enjoy his schoolwork. He has often commented that he is lonely and misses his friends at MICS which I can completely understand. Home schooling can be very isolating which is one of the reasons I think that I have struggled with this new way of life. When kids are in school there are built in interactions with other kids as well as moms each and everyday while when one schools at home those interactions have to be planned which takes effort and time that is often not available. When you home school, your kids are with you ALL the time and I have to admit that I do miss having time to myself and I think that they miss having time away from me too. I love and adore my kids but I have come to believe that I appreciate them so much more when I get a break from them. I so miss having personal quite time without interruption, time to put my house in order but mostly time to connect with my husband. Of course, Mike is with me all day but we actually had more time to connect when he was working full time. Mike has been a great help and is trying to make it easier but this transition in life is not something that I have taken to instantly. I have never been one that enjoyed change. Even though I know that change can often be healthy and a great growing experience but oh how I don’t like it when my little orderly world is turned upside down. Predictability is something that causes me to thrive emotionally. When I know what to expect and when to expect it I am at peace. Well, now that I am in a new city, a new house with little to no furnishings that are familiar, a husband and children who are now home 24/7 there is very little that is predictable and my house varies in levels of messiness and disorder. Soooo, I am a grumpy mess. I am vacillating between knowing in my heart that great things are available to our family here in Colorado to a deep longing to return to what is so comfy and familiar in Florida. I have always tried to see difficult times in life in a spiritual sense...am I being attacked or is God refining me. Well, I think that in this situation, it is a little of both. I am learning that I need to completely depend on God. I am prideful in that I think that I should be able to do this in my own strength and God doesn’t want that. He wants me to do it in HIS strength. Amazingly, I am studying Daniel in a ladies Bible Study by Beth Moore. WOW, each week I am convicted, encouraged and brought into a state of humbleness that although I think I walk a life of integrity, I truly fall short each and every day. Soooo, is this a time of refining...absolutely. Do I like the pain of refinement?....absolutely not! But I know that when I have withstood the fire I pray all that is not like Christ will be burned off . Am I being attacked?....I believe so. I think that the enemy knows when we are weary and he also is well aware of our weakness and when he senses that God is preparing a blessing in our lives he will go for that which he knows will thwart the fruition of that blessing. I also believe that in families as a unit he will go after the "weak link" and I have to say that right now I am that link that is most vulnerable. Life is not always easy. There are emotional and physical mountains and valleys and in comparison to what some others may be experiencing my valleys are very small and I pray that I will never be so consumed in my own difficulties that I cannot see the pain in other’s lives. This is a season of life that will pass. I will grow, I will learn and trust that the Lord will have had the opportunity to further perfect me in the process.
To end on a bright note.....Mike and the kids are doing great. Mike continues to settle into our Colorado lifestyle and loves meeting all the wonderful folks out here. I am amazed at how relaxed and happy he is. Even though there are some difficulties on his plate as well, he has such a positive spirit is so encouraging. Cody has settled in nicely as well. He is doing things that he would never do in Florida. We visited a different church last Sunday that is a VERY large church with the most amazing kids program and Cody eagerly participate in the kids worship service telling us after church that "he raised his hands in worship and went forward during the time of prayer and prayed to receive a childlike faith". For a child who has a tender heart but has never been really excited about church....to hear him tell of his experience brought joy to my heart and soul. Grace and Emily are continuing to enjoy life as well but are hoping that we meet some families with girls soon. So far everyone we hang out with has boys. We have joined the local YMCA and are all enjoying the activities there. Mike and I are working out and I am trying to exercise more and take off some of my "post China weight gain. The kids are swimming and playing basketball. Cody went to a Tween Night last weekend and had a blast. We are LOVING having a Whole Foods grocery store right down the street. I hosted a my "Chatty Girls" and their daughters a few weeks ago and we had a blast. It was so fun to spend a weekend chatting face to face, loving on each others children and just simply soaking up the love of friends. I really could go on and on about the greatness of that weekend but I will simply let the pics do the talking. We are looking forward to experiencing some Fall type activities in weather at actually feels like Fall. We are heading up into the mountains this weekend to hopefully see some beautiful fall colors, we are planning a trip to a local pumpkin patch, my neighbor and I are planning a fall themed block party and I am looking forward to figuring out this high altitude baking by trying some of my favorite fall recipes.
I thank so many of you for emailing us and checking in. We appreciate your prayers and thoughts. We miss you so much and hope that you all are doing well. Please check in and let us know how you are. Stay tuned for the next update which I promise won’t be a novel.
Love and Hugs to you all!

3 comments:

Jeanette said...

Nichole, thank you for taking the time to share your heart. I too have struggled with what I write on my blog for the very same reasons, that I don't want to be a discouragement to anyone. However, reading your post, it makes me realize that sharing in your struggles, your doubts, your insecurities, you are helping others. It helps other to see that although things are tough, or out of wack or simply a mess, we serve a God who is in control of it all and that He receives the glory for the restoration, the peace and the growth. I really needed to read your post today and if you hadn't shared like you did, I would have missed out on some encouragement in areas of my life that need strengthening!

Girl, I hear you on the change thing too. I hate it! I will hold on as tight as I can, even if there is only a single thread left to avoid change. But, like you said, through the change, if we follow in obedience to God, there is refining, growing and a deeper faith. I love how the Lord chooses to reveal Himself to us during those times and He will.

Hang in there with the home schooling...it's a major adjustment for all of you, you've ALL experienced big changes so give it some time and you'll soon look back on these days and remember how God carried you through.

I went through the Beth Moore Daniel study about a year ago with my bible study...WHEW! It was mind blowing to say the least! I'll be praying for you as you continue in this study, that the Lord would have you glean and learn from it and that He would speak to your heart in ways He never has before!

Again, thank you for your post. I always love hearing what you have to say. Please know that whether you only have happy things to say or whether you are a "grumpy mess", God is using you to reach others!

Love you!!!

Denise said...

Oh Nicole, I so appreciate your honesty! So many of the things you mentioned about homeschooling are the reasons my kids are in school...LOL! But if God called me to do it, I would in a heart beat. If God has called you, He will sustain you and order your days for you. And how sweet of your hubby to pitch in!

You are such a strong woman of God and I will be praying for your adjustment to your new surroundings, for you to get some time to yourself, and for your little girls to find some girl friends.

Hugs and prayers~

sara said...

Nichole,

I loved hearing your heart & it made me so sad too....because I hate seeing people attacked by satan! I think it is important in times such as this to remember that satan is NOT a mind reader, he does NOT know our hearts - so the only clues that he has, are the ones that we allow him to see..likewise, if we want the enemy to flee - we have to SHOUT IT OUT!!!!

I love you, sister! I am praying for this adjustment time!!

XOXO,
Sara