Celebrating the Women in My Life

Today is International Women’s Day and I am so blessed by all the women (young and old) that are in my life.

I grew up surrounded by guys, between my 3 brothers and all their friends. Our church was small, and I was the only one my age most of the time. I played in the woods with my brothers and climbed trees with them as often as I read books or helped my mom cook dinner. I didn’t play with dolls and I certainly wasn’t into pink or princesses or any thing really “girly”.

When I was in High School we moved to a bigger church, but even then, my high school youth group and Sunday School class was mostly guys. I loved my time with them and definitely didn’t feel like I was missing out by not having a big group of girlfriends. Even in college, I majored in business administration and at the time there were definitely more guys than girls in those classes.

I had good girl friends along the way but it wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I started to meet some really great women and started to realize what I had been missing out on. At some point as well, as more and more of my peers started getting married, it wasn’t as “socially acceptable” anymore for me to be “hanging out” with the guys. I realized if I was going to have friends I was going to have to find those friendships with girls.

In the last 15 years, the Lord has blessed my life with some amazing women and I wanted to highlight them today. It’s so interesting to see the trajectory of my life and how I went from being more of a tomboy to now having completely embraced my life as a woman; to the point of calling myself a Christian Feminist.

These days I want to celebrate women and want to see them be treated with as much respect and equality as their male counterparts. I want to see my nieces grow up to not be used to hearing about how the greatest calling in their life is for them to be a godly wife and mother (which is what I grew up hearing).

NOTE: I’m more than okay with both of those things but I also know that is not the ultimate achievement a Christian woman can strive for either.

I want my nieces to not have to constantly hear jokes and comments about how being a girl is either an insulting thing or makes them somehow “less than” a boy.

So here we go – these are some of the most important women in my life and they should be celebrated:

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Lynn Ladies – my mom, sister-in-laws and all my nieces. They all have my entire heart – they love me unconditionally as I do them. We laugh and cry together, share secrets and roll our eyes together, and would do anything for each other.

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These were my 1st real group of girlfriends when I moved to Bowling Green. It took me a while to find my “tribe” but these girls were it. We formed a small group called WNKY (Women with No Kids Yet) and these girls spoke truth in my life and cared for me in such a good way

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This is my current group of Middle School girls from my church that I help to mentor and disciple. They are giggly and silly, but sweet and serious at the same time. They are “struggling” through middle school as we all must do, but are doing it with grace and fun. I love my time with them and their heart for learning more about Jesus and their walk with Him.

These are the women at my church that I’m the closest to. Some are in my Community Group and others we have forged friendships through shared experiences, both good and bad times. I adore each of these women and I know that if I needed anything, they would be at my doorstep for me

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These are on the Women’s Leadership Team at my church. We get together to pray for the women in our church, to plan events and activities that will enhance our relationships with each other and the Lord. These women love our church, and truly want to see others in our church feel loved, supported, encouraged, and spiritually enriched.

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The women in my church. They love their families and God and I am so thankful I have them speaking into my life week after week.

These are my persons – the ones that would help me bury a body if needed; the ones who despite the fact we live in different states and time zones are the ones I want to talk to when I have good news or bad; they teach me and stretch me and the ones I would not be “me” without their friendships. These are my oldest and dearest friends; the ones I will work to always have in my life. Cheryl I’ve known 30 years, Rebecca 17 years, Christi 14 year, and Molly 13 years.

My encouragement to you all today – cherish the women in your life. Listen to what they have to say; encourage them to learn and grow each day; invest in friendships with them. Stick with them when things get tough; cry and laugh together. This may involve you stretching yourself out of what feels comfortable or normal.

You need women in your life; whether you are young or old; married or single; male or female. Find them.

 

 

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His Mercy Is More

As I sat down last night to journal, I realized that I had missed 17 days in a row in my journaling. The last entry had been January 10 and then last night was the 27th. I knew I’d missed a day or 2 but I was shocked to see that I had gone 17 days without journaling. So as I started to journal all of a sudden all of the other ways that I had fallen backwards in other disciplines & goals started to come to my mind and I wrote them down. Pretty quickly I was feeling discouraged and defeated and realized that we were almost at the end of January, this first month of 2019 and I didn’t really have a whole lot to look back on and feel that I had accomplished anything.

My niece is still not living with me, I did not make it to the gym as often as I wanted to, my prayer time and journaling time was not at the level that I was hoping it would be at, the list just continued to go on and on.

But as I was writing, these verses in Lamentations came to my mind. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

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And these words from the old hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” also came to my mind. “Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.

Bright hope.

Also these words from Matt Papa and the Getty’s came to my mind

“Praise the Lord His mercy is more. Stronger than darkness new every morn. Our sins they are many His mercy is more”

And so while my journal entry started out defeated, it ended strongly encouraging. I was able to thank Jesus for taking all of my sins away. I was able to thank the Holy Spirit for bringing conviction and discipline and reminders into my soul.

So friends today find hope. Find bright hope for today and for tomorrow.

Praise the Lord, his mercy is more.

5 Years

Tomorrow marks 5 years since my dad woke up in the middle of the night with chest pains and less than 10 minutes later he was gone.

5 years.  It doesn’t seem possible.

About a week ago, I started to get this sense of dread and foreboding.  I feel like the date August 3rd will be cemented in my brain forever.  I’m aware of it’s approach and gauge so many other things on my calendar around this date.

It’s true that in the past several years, I can recognize some of the “good” that I think we all  look for after going through tough times.  I think about Heaven more that I ever have before. I know that no matter how much I might feel uncomfortable going to funerals where a friend has lost their parent or loved on; it is absolutely the right thing to do. I can offer some guidance and empathy when others walk through the same path. I know fully that my father is in a much better place and doesn’t miss this world and the things in it.

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But there’s still some painful things that I don’t know if I will ever be okay with.

  • I never got to say good-bye to him.  I was away for the weekend when it happened and my last conversation with him involved where I left my car keys (I had borrowed his SUV to take on my trip and left my car with him).  The last text message I have from his was him informing me that he had let my dog lick his ice cream bowl.  This was one of those things he did mainly because he knew I didn’t approve.  A sweet and funny memory as a last text, but not a true good-bye.
  • My sweet niece Tessa, the one who holds my heart, she was born 3 1/2 weeks after my dad died. He never got to meet her, never got to see her big brown eyes, so like his own.  Never got to see her crinkled up nose when she laughs and all the expressions her eyes can do.  This just breaks me.  I think he would have been as in love with her as the rest of us are.  That she never got to meet him or call him Papa  or get her own little bag of jelly beans from him (he used to bring the girls their own little bags of Jelly Belly’s every time he would visit them) is so hard to come to terms with.
  • I feel like my brothers and I have settled in to our adult lives more in the last 5 years than at any point before.  We all own homes, Sam has graduated college and is working on his master’s, the rest of us have jobs that we are good at and that we enjoy.  These are some pretty big steps we’ve all taken and he didn’t get to see any of them.
  • Not being able to see his granddaughters’ grow up and turn into these pretty amazing people.  They are all full of personality and opinions.  He doesn’t get to see who they are turning out to be.
  • He didn’t get a chance to retire.  To not have to work long hours, be gone for days at a time. He didn’t get a change to travel places with my mom; to sit in the shade and fish or read a book.  He always talked about how he would like to buy an RV when he retired so he and my mom could see the US and visit the grand-kids. I know that he also would have loved to have visited England and Ireland.

I truly believe that he is in a better place than the rest of us are. That he no longer has pain or sorrow or regrets.  And there is a definite peace that comes from that.  Knowing that I will see him again one day does ease a lot of the pain I feel.

But some of these unknowns, to not understand the timing of all of it, the things I mentioned above, I don’t know if I will ever get a peace about them. If I will ever feel settled.

He was not perfect by any means; he could be grumpy, impatient, and stubborn.

But I was his girl.

I knew that he loved me unconditionally.

And I miss him.

Heart-shaped Pasta, Brookies & Scribble Art

Since yesterday was Valentine’s Day, I offered to watch the nieces so my brother and sister-in-law could go out.  I wanted to make last night a little more special than my normal babysitting nights since it was a holiday.

I had found this fun heart-shaped pasta at Aldi’s last week and thought that might be something they would get a kick out of eating.

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The red pasta faded to pink as it cooked but they didn’t seem to mind.  Baby T said that all her hearts were “mazes”.

Instead of buying them all stuffed animals (that their mom would inevitably give to Goodwill – if the dog didn’t chew them up first) or more candy, I brought over a craft for us to do.   I will admit that I am definitely not a crafty person.  I have zero artistic ability and don’t even own a glue gun.  But this craft was something even I could do.

When we were kids, we made a lot of road trips between NY where we lived and AL where the entire rest of the family lived.  Those were super long trips and I remember one of the things my mom would do with us to help pass the time, would be to help us do these “scribble art” sheets.  Where you take a blank pieces of paper and draw a bunch of loops and lines with no seeming purpose or order.  Then you color in the different sections and see what picture might been lurking.  I printed out a blank sample of scribble art that I found online and the girls sat and colored theirs for at least a 1/2 hr.  This was mine:

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Once they had completely colored in their papers, we cut them in half and made paper hearts out of them.  Here is the Bear’s finished product:

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Cute right?  Like I said, not super artistic and probably won’t be showing up on many Pinterest boards but they seemed to enjoy it.

While they were coloring I started asking them all sorts of questions, like “how do you know that mommy or daddy loves you” “how do you know God loves you”  “what is love”  “what is kindness”  “what does it mean that love never ends”

Some of their answers were great!  Baby T said that she knew God loved her because “He made her and all her toys”.  The Bug said she knew that her mom loved her because sometimes when she would tell her mom good-night, “mom tells me I’m her favorite and lets me have a cookie” (which you can imagine went over REALLY well with the other girls).  (Although I’m pretty sure my sister-in-law tells all her girls they are each her favorite at one time or another).  The Bean said she shows everyone she loves that she loves them by being “kind to them and showing them the joy in your heart”.   She also said she knew that daddy loves mommy because “they go on trip together” and the Bug said that daddy loves mommy by “offering for mama to go camping with us”.  The Bear said that when he is off work, he is “willing to do the jobs that mama has for him to do even though he doesn’t want to”.

I think they understand that when you love someone, you do things for the other person. They definitely feel like their parents love them by the things they do for them.  It was interesting to hear their answers and wonder what was really going on in their little brains as I was asking them the questions.  It was fun to ask them and see what popped out!

While they were coloring I made a quick pan of “brookies” – brownies on the bottom with chocolate chip cookies on the top.  They were barely out of the oven before they girls were ready to dig into them!

Then it was teeth brushing, jammies and bedtime story reading time.  I was reading a book to the 2 littles and before I knew it, both of the big girls had climbed into bed too and were listening to the story.  What more could an auntie ask for?

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We had to take a quick selfie because it was just too cute!

It was a fun night and I really enjoyed my time with them.

Feeling the Itch (to write)

It’s been quite a while since I sat down and wrote anything out on here.  I journal on and off and have definitely had tons of “auntie adventures” with my nieces in the past year or so, but for some reason I have felt any need or desire to want to document that on here.  I post plenty of pictures on Facebook and Instagram but there’s something different to writing about them.

I enjoy going back and reading the ones I’ve already written about; I like revisiting some of the fun times I had with them; or some of the funny things I’ve already forgotten that they said.

Lately I’ve been feeling an itch though.  To want to be a little bit more intentional with the time I’m with my nieces. To want to document the lessons they are teaching me, the questions they ask, even some of the funny things they say and do.

Tonight I’m going to watch all 4 sisters so their parents can go out on a Valentine’s date.  I’m hoping to do a little project with them and maybe that will lend itself to an actual blog post.

Considering it’s Valentine’s Day, I’ll leave with a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and a test to ask us all, how well do you “love” others?

  • Love is patient and kind;
  • Love does not envy or boast;
  • Love is not arrogant or rude.
  • Love does not insist on it’s own way
  • Love is not irritable or resentful;
  • Love does not rejoice at a wrongdoing
  • Love rejoices with the truth.
  • Love bears all things
  • Love believes all things
  • Love hopes all things
  • Love endures all things.
  • Love never ends

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2015 … you rocked!

I might not be as consistent in writing blog posts as I would like, I do really enjoy doing these year end wrap ups.  I really enjoy reading them year after year and being reminded of the good and bad things that have happened these past few years.  I think it’s especially good to be reminded of the good things that I might not remember as much as I tend to remember the bad things.

2014’s reflections

2013’s wrap up

2012 – unsure how I survived you

At the end of last year, I will admit I was not feeling all that optimistic or content in my life.  I had a job that was going nowhere with a boss that I struggled to work with; I had a cute apartment but with crappy neighbors, my nieces had just moved an hour away from me; looking back now I think I was depressed and feeling stuck.

I had no idea what 2015 would bring my way…

I started out 2015 with a pretty epic trip to NY in January.  I spent about 10 days there, seeing almost all my favorite people and working at my old job to help them organize some things. I loved that trip!  Just loved it.

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In February I found out I was not picked for a new job I had been promised. That put me in a downward spiral for quite a while. I didn’t sleep, didn’t want to spend any time with friends, didn’t want to be at home alone, didn’t want to pray. Nothing …

Little did I know that in March I would apply for a dream job and 1 week from the time I applied, would have the job offered to me!

I started this job on April 13th and haven’t regretted it for 1 single second.  I work with some of the best people I know; I have learned so much from them in these past 8 months and have grown some much!  I love the work I’m doing and my boss tells me often that he wants this job to always be at the top of my list of favorite jobs!

The other  *big* thing that happened was on May 19th I closed on my very first home.  I bought a little 2 bedroom, 800 square foot, 1950’s ranch.  I am surrounded on all 4 sides by retirees and I really love it.  It’s been so fun finding some vintage furniture and other items at local flea markets to match the style of the house. I never thought I would buy a house. I thought that I would never be able to afford it.  Thankfully the market here in the town I live in has affordable houses in decent areas of town.  I still feel like my little house might be a miracle.  I got the house for a ridiculously good deal, it has everything I need and even with taxes house insurance added into my monthly mortgage price, I pay $100 less a month for my mortgage than I did in rent for my last apartment!

In July, my brother, sister-in-law, the Bear and the Bug took a road-trip to Chicago.  We explored this very cool city and went to see the Yankees take on the White Sox. The big girls got a kick out of a taking a trip without their little sisters.  I loved being able to share my love of baseball with them and got really excited when they asked questions about the game and seemed to be really interested in learning about it!

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In November, we had a Lynn Family trip to Gatlinburg, TN.  7 adults, 5 kids and Riley the Bichon. We stayed in a very old, very rustic cabin.  It rained almost the whole time we were there, but it didn’t matter.  We played a lot of games, watched movies, ate tons of food, and laughed a bunch. These are the times I look forward to the most.  The holidays are great when we are all together, but they are usually loud and crazy and a lot of things trying to be crammed into 1 day.  This was better!

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Other “highs” from the year would include all the time I got to spend with my nieces.  Times when their parents went on trips and I was able to watch them.  Sleepovers at my house, ice cream trips, birthday parties, just the day to day life that I’m so thankful I get to be a apart of.

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I can honestly say I think 2015 has probably been the best year for me in a long time.

I’m grateful as ever that my all knowing, all powerful God is in control of all things!  His timing is way better than mine and brings along some unexpected blessings when I wasn’t even looking for them.

 

 

Friday Night Hi-Jinks

Last we spoke, I was sharing my exciting news of a starting a new job and moving to a new town.  Quite a lot has happened since that time!

I’ve been at the new job for a little over 3 months (it’s going quite fabulously), bought a house and moved in about 9 weeks ago and have enjoyed numerous little mini-adventures with my nieces.

I thought it might be a good time to give you an update on each of The Nieces and then share some funny stories from my time with them tonight

Shorty

She's 13 now!

She’s 13 now!

My Shorty is 13 going on 25!  She’s currently got bright blue hair and if she keeps growing will soon be as tall as me and I will need to find a new nickname for her!  She’s getting ready to start 7th grade in August.  She’s sassy and her favorite fashion style changes about every 2 months.  She’s currently binge watching Supernatural on Netflix and obsessed with a bunch of You Tubers I’ve never heard of before.  She alternates between being quiet / moody and being excited / talkative (we call it word vomit).  She loves thrift store clothes shopping and taking selfies on her phone

The Bear

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She’s 9!

The Bear is 9 for a few more months before she hits double digits in October. She’ll be in 4th grade in the Fall! She slept over at my house this past Monday night and I definitely enjoyed seeing the little person she is growing into.  She has thankfully grown out of the pink princess phase and now her favorite colors are blue and green.  She loves soccer, running, and swimming.  She adores babies and can carry on a whole conversation without any input from anyone else.  She has discovered the disadvantage of being the first born, as her younger siblings now seem to annoy her and embarrass her just by being themselves (I can most definitely relate).  She likes to read 3-4 books at a time and can’t ever seem to finish any of them as she gets distracted with another book!  She started reading the first Harry Potter book and it’s so much fun talking to her about what chapter she is on.  My next goal is to someone get her interested in baseball so I’ll have someone to share my love of the Yankees with!

The Bug

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She’s almost 8!

The Bug has turned into a true bug!  She will be 8 in September and is getting ready to start 3rd grade next month.  She is a very deep thinker and tends to take things very literally.  When you use a cliche around her, she will quickly as you what that means.  Tonight she told me she thought it would great if someone could invent glasses that you could wear that would show you everyone’s name when you looked at them; that a cartoon bubble would pop up over their head and show you their name. Hilarious and completely random.  She absolutely loves to annoy her siblings any time she can.  She definitely has her role as middle-child perfected.  She can annoy them in a way where it appears she’s really only trying to help them or play with them, but in reality she knows what will upset each of her sisters and uses that knowledge pretty frequently. When you call her on it, she acts all innocent like she doesn’t understand what the problem is!  She adores reading and plows through books.  She only reads 1 book at a time and a lot of times can’t put that book down to do anything else until it’s finished!  I think she has ready almost all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

The Bean

She's 4!

She’s 4!

The Bean’s middle name is Joy and that truly describes her.  She is a joy to be around and brings joy to all who are around her.  She will be starting 3-day a week preschool soon and she is very excited!  She is already riding a bike (no training wheels!!) and usually has a song on her lips.  She still has that great 4 year old pronunciation and some of the things she says are hilarious.  She still says “cleep” instead of “sleep” and “clower” instead of “flower”.  She is a little lady, has a pearl necklace that she wears 24/7 and even got her ears pierced back in May with little pearl earrings.  She’s very snuggly and is always ready to give you a big squeeze and a kiss. She loves spending time with her friends and cousins.  She is a great dancer, making up new moves all the times.  She loves to run and swim and ride her bike!

The Baby

She's almost 3!

She’s almost 3!

Oh my T-baby! She is the light of my life.  She will be 3 the end of August and if I think too long about how old she’s getting, I get very sentimental and weepy!  For the longest time she has called me “Ya-Ya” and just recently has started saying “Yae-Yae” instead.  She thinks it’s hilarious that she can now say my name the way her big sisters do and also thinks it’s funny that I don’t want her to change!!  I tell her every time I see her that she has to stay 2 forever and she always says “No! I’ll be 3 on my birthday in August!!”  Every. Time. She has some great 2-year old pronunciations like “dook” instead of “book”.  She makes the funniest expressions with just her eyes and enjoys it when she can make you laugh.  She loves all things pink and purple!  She names all her babies and stuffed animals “Princess Ballerina”.  She’s even decided she wants to have a “Princess Ballerina” birthday party!  When she makes up her mind about what she likes, she’s done. She doesn’t want to think about it anymore.  When she is out to eat somewhere and is asked what she wants to eat, she says “fries and dip”.  When we go to get frozen yogurt, she wants “pink ice cream”.  There’s no indecision on her part.  If you ask her a question that she doesn’t know the answer too, she will go ‘um, hmmm” and some times will tap her finger on her chin as she thinks.  Just the cutest.

Those are my nieces.  I love each and every one of them and wouldn’t want to change who they are, the good and the not too good.

Quick story from tonight.  My brother and his wife asked me to watch the girls tonight so they could have a date night.  So I picked all 4 of the girls up and we went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner.  I’m not sure what they put in their chicken nuggets there but they are pretty magical.  The 4 girls ate 24 nuggets and 2 medium fries all by themselves!  They charmed one of the older ladies who works there!  She even brought them over these pretty cool plastic place mats that stuck to the table. Despite eating all those nuggets, the Bug said that she was pretty full but that she was sure there was still some room left in her stomach for ice cream.  Her sisters all agreed that they could fit some ice cream in their bellies, so it was off to Orange Leaf we went for some fro-yo.  The Bean had a crazy combination of cheesecake, mango and peanut butter fro-yo.  She seemed to love it but the rest of us steered clear of tasting hers!!

In the car on the way home, we had a few hi-jinks start.  At one point we had music playing from my iPhone but we also had the Bug in the middle row singing “Let it Go” as loud as she could, the Baby was in her own world, humming a made up song.  The Bear was sitting in the passenger seat with her hands over her ears so she didn’t have to listen to her sister’s singing.  The Bean was all the way in the back seat yelling “that’s horrible”.  All I could do was laugh.  After “Let it Go”, the Bug decided to start making up a song based on what she was seeing outside her window … yep it was exactly that painful.  The Bear alternated in laughing at her sisters and trying to get them to stop singing.  The Bean was still voicing her displeasure from the back seat and the Baby was blissfully unaware of all the singing dramatics in the car.

If that wasn’t enough, we weren’t home 5 minutes when their dog decided to go visit a neighbor’s house and we lost sight of her.  The big girls were worried about her, so I put a show on TV for the 2 little girls (don’t judge) and I loaded the big girls in my car so we could drive slowly down the road with the windows down, so they could call “Callie” over and over (yep, we were that car).  We did eventually find Callie and made it back home.

The Bean was complaining that her knee was hurting her most of the night; so I gave her a children’s Tylenol pill (one of those dis-solvable ones).  She put that in her mouth and then after less than 30 seconds told me that her knee was still hurting.  Not quite understanding how pain pills work!   So I asked her if she thought we should put some ice on it – ah, duh!  Of course we needed ice!!  Not to be left out the Baby said that her stomach was hurting her.  I asked her if she thought she needed to use the bathroom, but she was pretty emphatic that was not the problem.  She thought she needed some ice too for her stomach… couldn’t let her big sister get all the attention.  Here’s a pic of the Bean with her ice pack.

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Thankfully their parents came home not too long after all of our adventures were over with!!  I’m still cracking up thinking about them all in the car tonight singing.  I’m definitely loving nights like this one!

Heading to Chicago next weekend with 2 of the nieces, so look forward to a few tidbits from our trip!

Chapters

If you are a regular reader here at Auntie Adventures, you know I like to use the analogy of life being like a book.  When I decided to completely uproot my life and move 900 miles to be closer to my nieces, I used the analogy that a whole new section of my “book” was starting.  After a year and 1/2 of living in my brother’s basement, when I started my job at the doctor’s office and moved into my own little apartment, that was a new chapter in this current section of my book.

Well, that chapter is coming to an end and a new chapter is getting ready to open.

As you may know, back in November, my brother J and his family moved away from the town we all lived in.  They moved an hour north for him to start a new job and moved back to the town my sister-in-law grew up in.  About the same time, there was a new job possibility for me here as 2 of the providers in my current office were branching out and starting their own office.  The office was going to be 2 miles from my house and there was going to be some potential for promotion as the practice grew and it was an exciting prospect for me.  Nothing was guaranteed but I felt pretty confident that it was going to work out and be a really good fit for me.  I felt like that would be my answer for my future; I would be able to stay in my current town, see my nieces a couple times a month and strengthen the friendships I had made.  I started reaching out to families in my church, offering to baby sit their kids as a way to serve them but also to provide me with some substitute auntie time.  I made plans to renew my lease at my apartment and started telling others about my good news.

Well, as plans often do, things came to a screeching halt in mid-February when the new job offer didn’t come.  Instead a phone call late on a Friday night came, telling me that I was not chosen for the new office. 

Instantly my future was muddy again.  I was at a loss. I struggled to trust that God was still in control.  I’ve certainly gone through way harder things in my life before and never seemed to struggle with God’s plan or timing.  But for some reason, this was really tough for me.  It all came down to my pride and selfishness.  *I* was REJECTED.  The plans for my future that *I* had made were stopped.  I had been feeling really good about myself and MY plans for my future.  And I had just assumed that God was on board with MY plans.

I think I became depressed.  I couldn’t fall asleep at night, I didn’t want to get up in the morning for work; I didn’t want to go anywhere and do anything but I didn’t want to be home by myself.  I tried to pray but didn’t feel like I was getting any answers. 

Thankfully God spoke to me through my bible study girls earlier this month.  I was pouring out my sad tale to them and they were upset for me.  But my friend, E.R., was so faithful to point out to me that none of this took God by surprise; that even though it didn’t make sense now, He was still completely in control and that His perfect timing was still going to be worked out.  I knew all these things in my heart but was definitely not believing them.  When she lovingly pointed out to me my unbelief, it was exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. My prayers changed and some of the darkness lifted.

About the same time that my conversation with E.R. was happening, my brother J was emailing me a link to a job posting and his exact words were ” Ummmmm. This is SCREAMING your name at the top of it’s lungs”.  It wasn’t something in my current field and while I was qualified for it, I wasn’t even sure if my experience would be anything they would be interested in.  I didn’t apply for it right away, but kept the email and just thought about it. 

It took me right about a week, but I finally took a look at the job description and was kind of stunned.  Literally everything listed on the very detailed job description were things that not only did I know how to do, but they were things I enjoyed doing.  Financial things. Reports. Data. Numbers.  My loves (because yes, you all know I’m a nerd).  That night I updated my resume and the next day I emailed it.  That was Wednesday 3/11.  The very next morning I received a phone call and when I called back on my lunch break, ended up doing a phone interview.  We just seemed to click.  It was a really easy conversation and just seemed to flow.  In fact I was a few minutes late coming back from my lunch break because of the conversation.  I had a really good feeling about it and was told I would hear something soon if I was selected for a face to face interview. 

That very next Monday 3/16 they called to say they wanted me to do an interview with 3 people and they needed to make a decision by the end of the week and would it be okay if they drove an hour to take me to lunch and interview me during lunch.  I was floored!!  Who does that??  I thought for sure I was going to have to find a day where I could leave work early, to drive an hour for the interview.  But they wanted to come to me?

On Wednesday 3/18 I met them for an interview (at Chuy’s – my favorite restaurant in town no less).  The hour flew by and while some of their questions were tough, I still felt like it went really well! I was getting really excited about the propect of this job and was realizing that I was going to be very very disappointed if I wasn’t picked.

That. Very. Same. Night. I received a phone call asking me if I wanted to job!!!! 

I didn’t even think twice about it. 

After I accepted the job, they told me they had over 150 applicants!  And they chose me!  That part still doesn’t seem possible!

Here we are, a week and 1/2 later.  I’ve turned in my 2 weeks’ notice to my boss and started telling my co-workers. 

Now I’m making it “facebook official”

My new job as the Administrative Assistant for the Executive Pastor of a large church starts April 13th! 

My lease is up at my apartment at the end of April and I’m planning to move an hour north to the same town as my adorable nieces!

We are going to look at a few places to live this afternoon.

It’s all happening very quickly.

I’m heartbroken to be moving away from my mom, my church and the friendships that have become pretty strong in my 2 short years here. 

But I’m ecstatic about this new chapter in my life!

I’m feeling very foolish and guilty that I was struggling so hard with God’s timing when this new opportunity was so close by.  I’m so grateful that He loves me and works things out in my life, despite my unbelief and doubt.  I’m so thankful for faithful friends who love me and share truth with me; who pray for me and share in my joy and pain.

Keep checking back because new posts about adventures with my nieces and my this new chapter shouldn’t be too far off!

 

Contented Exhaustion

It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours since my last post. And I am beyond exhausted!! Mentally and emotionally as well as physically. But I wouldn’t change it at all. I try to treasure as many sweet moments I can when I’m with my nieces!!

Here’s my recap:

Thankfully everyone slept all night long!! No bad dreams, no leg cramps, no throwing up or fevers, no 2 a.m. feedings (all things that have happened on my watch in the past!!)

I was able to get everyone up, fed, dressed and out the door by 8 to get the big girls to school on time. Then back home for a fun few hours of playing and watching PBS and Disney Jr. One of the girl’s other aunts reminded me I could bring lunch and eat at school with the big girls so we picked up some Chik Fil A  and surprised the big girls at school.

Then it was back home and nap time for the baby. While I was laying down with her I could hear the Bean in the dining room singing made up songs to herself as she colored and made treasures for us to use in “the game”. It was so sweet to hear her little voice and listen to her imagination. The Baby fell asleep pretty quickly and it was really hard to tear myself away from her since she fell asleep on my arm!!

Once I did pull away, the Bean had plenty of ideas of “games” we could play. I’ll be honest… Playing “house” and “store” and pretend is not my favorite thing. Give me a board game or a deck of cards and I’m your girl. Pretend?? It’s a struggle.

However I survived!!

We picked the big girls up from school and the Bean asked if we could get ice cream. How could I refuse?? Our 2nd visit to Orange Leaf this week!!

Then a quick stop by Wal-Mart to buy a new puzzle and rent a Red Box. I will note that there’s nothing quick about any trip when it involves 4 kids. The unloading out of the car and walking into the store is a process by itself. 2 don’t want to wear coats (it’s only 15 degrees outside but they are “burning up”) and 1 kicks her boots off as soon as she gets in her car seat.

We managed to get back home by 4pm and spent the next hour and 1/2 on our new 150 piece puzzle. It was HARD!! Who buys a puzzle with no corners?? This aunt apparently. They alternated in being frustrated it was taking so long and being excited when they completed a section!! We all clapped when it was done, even the baby!! She kept saying “we did it!”

Dinner consisted of pretty much anything they could find in the fridge: bagels & cream cheese, mini pizza bagels, hot dogs, oranges and popcorn (don’t tell their parents)

The Bear and I played Battleship while the littles watched The Lego Movie (I still have the “Everything is Awesome” song in my head). And then we all played Uno while the Baby took a bubble bath (thankfully the bathroom is right beside the dining room table!!)

Listen, playing Uno with these girls brought back so many memories of when I was a kid. My 3 brothers were pretty awful about fighting over any game we played and would take it so personally when someone played a Draw2 card. These sweet little girls are no different. The claws come out!! The Bean LOVES to play and is pretty good on her own but she cannot stand to lose. I mean, the tears come out. (She gets this from her father in case you were wondering). I had to make her pinky swear she wouldn’t cry if someone else won.

I let them stay up late which always backfires but they don’t see that. The whining and fighting over who gets what blanket, etc. Thankfully they were all in bed asleep by 10:00 but like I said … I’m beyond exhausted.

I wouldn’t trade a minute of it though!! Even when they aren’t at their best I still adore them.

I’m very thankful for these last 24 hours!! And also very thankful their parents are on an airplane right not heading this way!!

Auntie Extraordinaire (again)

It’s been awhile since my brother and sister-in-law have gone away for a week and let me help keep my nieces.

They left early Sunday morning for Maui, Hawaii (let’s try not to be jealous).

They brought the 2 little girls to my mom’s house on Saturday night to stay with us. Mom took Mon & Tues off of work and I took the rest of the week off to help out.

The Bean is 4 and The Baby is 2 and I have to say these are my absolute favorite ages. Everything out of the Bean’s mouth is hilarious or cute or sassy. And The Baby has just started to really and truly talk in the last few months. She’s now at that stage where she will just come out and say “I love you” and “I’m sleepy”. She calls her backpack her “dack-a-dack” and her pajamas “hammies”.

They both are just precious.

So, yesterday was our first day together. We watched some shows, played play-doh, Memory and Jenga (they both love it). We went to the mall to play in the new play place (it was closed), to ride the carousel (also closed) and ride the little rides that cost $0.75 each to ride (where the change machine was broken). Fail

So we went shopping instead. The Bean is pretty fashionable and definitely has her own opinions on what she will wear. She naturally found a bunch of clothes she loved. Thankfully she settled for a new shirt and some new pajamas. The Baby just wanted whatever her sister wanted. However after we paid the Baby made sure she had her own Jammie’s in her own shopping bag, thank you very much!!

We were way early to meet our friends for lunch so we killed some time at the pet store and then headed to Chik-Fil-A to meet our friends for a play date. With every other toddler in town … They love the playground there and only the promise of cookie making would work to get them to leave!!

We headed home where the Baby fell promptly asleep like the angel baby she is and the Bean and I made Easter egg cookies / the premade ones mind you!! She helped me decorate them with blue & yellow icing and every sprinkle we could find!!  This is one of my most favorite auntie activities!! And it’s so much fun when they are old enough to put their own sprinkles on but still young enough to want to dump the whole bottle on 1 cookie!

While the cookies were baking we managed to put a whole 100 piece puzzle together. She’s a genius for sure

Thankfully Nana came home on time from work to help us out for the rest of the night!!!

This morning we went adventuring to Chuck E Cheese and it’s so much fun now that the Bean is old enough to do the games by herself and keep up with her tokens!!! Of course $20 in tokens only gets you a box of nerds and some fun dip at the end of your visit but it’s the fun that counts. Right??

Then we ate a quick lunch and loaded up the car and headed an hour north to meet up with the big sisters. A busy morning + a big lunch + a car ride = nieces unable to resist falling asleep on the drive. Even the dog was lulled asleep!!

We reunited with the Bear (now 9) and the Bug (now 7), had dinner with their cousins and then came home for showers and math homework and bedtime!!

Listen I adore my nieces but bedtime wears me out.

As of right now everyone is asleep in their own bed!! We’ll see how long that lasts!!

More adventures await us tomorrow!!