Life Update

I am in Alabama at my parent’s house and it is a hot mess. 3 dogs, 2 cats, 5 kids, a frazzled mom trying to keep the peace, and a dad with high blood pressure that he brings upon himself. I am at wits end! I was about ready to pack and leave 2 nights ago. Things have calmed since then, but the stress is still lingering under the surface.

Mark is still in MO and the home-hunt is a royal mess. Rent is too high, the area is too dangerous, the place is already rented despite the ad just coming out, the house is not livable (how can they legally rent that??), the landlord doesn’t show up to show the house…..

We are frustrated and about ready to throw our hands in the air and sell every last item and move to a tropical island and raise a herd of beach bums.

However, the children bring joy and we are still surrounded by friends and family and even strangers helping us out. I am not sure where we would be without our community of support!

Here are some awesome things going on:
Zen now says lots of words!
He can say banana and up. If you call for him he says “Here I am!” and if you call for anyone else he asks “Where are you?!?!” The other day he picked up the phone and said “Hi daddy!” He is quite the hot ticket!
Santa stopped at Mark’s work and left a candy cane for Elf because she is his favorite elf. When I told Elf about this she replied “i just saw Santa last night and he didn’t tell me he would see Daddy! It must of been a surprise! He is sneaky!”
How cute is she? ❤ Princess has bonded with her grandma and enjoys watching my mom and I in the sewing room. Bug and C-Dog are anxiously waiting to ride Papa’s tractor. The kids are running in the woods for epic games of hide and seek. They are free range here because there is only one other house on this road. They fall asleep happily exhausted. This is what summers are about!

So despite the wretchedness of homelessness there are many positive memories being stored up.
For your enjoyment here is one…I filled a random container with water for Zen to play in on the porch. He had a blast!

So, for those who pray, please pray we find an answer to no home. For those who don’t pray we appreciate and treasure all positivity you send our way!

I don’t have much internet access here so I will try to write more as soon as I can!

Peace and love to you all!

That Moment

That moment when you have 5 kids and a chocolate lab and you are packing to move the next day but your husband is several hundred miles away working so you are doing it alone. That moment when you are mumbling to yourself because you STILL do not know where you are going the next day. That moment when the skies open and it downpours as you are trying to get everything into the barn because you have no home yet so everything has to be out of the current house and stored. That moment when you look at the mess and boxes and overall disaster that can only mean you are in the last hours of the leaving process and you burst into tears. That moment when you are so angry that you feel like you are radiating the color red. And the tears flow and your children look at each other helplessly; not knowing what to do because Mommy usually has it under control.

That moment when there is a knock at the door and Mr P, the dear family friend who has been making sure we are taken care of during this crazy time, pops in. His presence is fairly powerful, but in a kind and fatherly way. Immediate calm and excitement flood the air as the kids jump up and down exclaiming “Mr P! Mr P!” Zen reaches out to him to be held. The kids adore him.
Mr P asks “What can I do? What needs to be done?”
I tell him I am cursing the rain as it has seriously hindered my ability to do anything seriously productive. I unload a bit. He listens.

He looks at the disaster and then there is that moment when words heal the radiating red moment from above.
“Leave everything that has to go into the barn and we we’ll make sure it gets moved in after you leave.”

THIS is humanity. THIS is generosity. This is kindness. This is amazing. Seemingly small, or maybe not small but certainly not huge, this gesture has completely taken a moment from radiating red to calming and grateful blue…Peace-filled.

You have no idea what small gestures can do to completely turn someone’s day around. The kids witnessed the power of this moment. I hope they never forget it, I know I won’t.

7 Days

In 7 days I close the doors on this abode and walk away forever. I have no clue where I am going. Mark is in MO, but still has yet to find us a home. In 11 days I have one last dentist appointment for Princess that we simply cannot miss so even though I am closing the door here I cannot close the door on IN. I am not sure where I will be staying. There is a weird limbo-state that I will be in and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.

Let me start at the beginning…

Last fall we searched high and low for a place to live as we had to be out of the place we were at. The place we were at came with the job my husband no longer had. Finally we took a (new) friend up on an offer. The church he attended had a piece of property they were going to be building on, but on that property sat an empty house. That house was to become a temporary shelter for us. We moved in in January and each month passed with little progress to our situation. Each month they would ask us what our plans were and we would beg for more time. Finally we had until May 31. We told them no matter what Mark was going to head to MO and try to establish life there for us. Then, that week, Mark got a job in MO! Hope broke through and I could see glimmers of optimism abound! We were able to tell them Mark would leave in 2 weeks time and I would stay through May in order to wrap things up and then follow him.

We were optimistic that finding a place to live would be no problem. There is an abundance of places in the area we are looking. However there is also an abundance of roadblocks. Many landlords are hesitant to rent a 3 bedroom to us because of how many kids we have. Although I would love a 4 bedroom that is simply out of budget for us. There is no legal reason for them to deny us, but who wants to pressure a potential landlord into allowing something they are not comfortable with? It really doesn’t start the relationship off well. Then there is the issue of Sunny Day. Not everyone accepts dogs. The biggest issue is rent though. We are on a budget and so all those pages of rentals gets whittled away to half a page of places we can actually afford. At the end of that day the list is left with nothing on it.

Mark has looked at dozens of places and called three times that. Nothing.

So here I sit, 7 days away from having to be out of this home, and I have no where to go. The kids know this but don’t realize the impending crisis. They just think “Oh we have time and something will be found.” I will let them continue to think that. I will not let them know that I can’t kick this cold that is racking my body because I can’t get the sleep my body needs because I stay up all night long praying and scouring the internet for options. The anxiety fights off the sleep I so desperately want.

I won’t tell them my faith is wavering for the first time since we were told we were moving to IN. I won’t tell them I am finally ready to give up and crawl into a hole and simply feel sorry for myself. Perhaps I feel this way because I have had no real adult interaction in the weeks since Mark has left. Sure I have seen a few people here and there, but I have not had a real solid interaction. I have not been able to talk with a friend and have them hug me. I have had no relief and no help. Of course I realize there are thousands of people in far worse situations than myself and then I am filled with guilt over my selfishness. So I pick myself up. I bury how I feel and I let it fester as I trudge onward.

In 7 days I need a plan. Maybe I should just forget about Princess’ dentist appointment, but that still doesn’t give us a place to stay. It does take away one stress though. Of course it adds another because this dental work needs to be done and when we leave IN we give up having insurance. I guess that is actually 2 stresses. Sigh.

I have looked at vacation rentals and hotel rooms and almost passed out for the prices of those options. I looked at renting a motor home. Again, heart-attack inducing price quotes. I could stay with my parents for a spell, but honestly I just want to get to MO and be with Mark. Besides I need to stay with them at the end of June (I should probably tell Dad this) and I do not want to overstay my welcome.
That leaves living in a tent. However if we stayed at a campground what would we do with the dog? I can’t leave her there when I do things like buy food. I also can’t just leave her in the car when we are out and about. So I guess tenting it isn’t really an option after all.

7 days….Does God always give us better? He has a proven track record with us (something I want to write about soon), but now I am feeling like He is distant. Maybe it is I who is distant. Or maybe I just had too many positive interventions. Maybe I have been provided for one too many times and now I need to feel what it is like to not have that divine intercession.
I know those who do not believe in God are probably mocking me right now. That is fine. Everyone is entitled to what they believe and even though I am in a slight crisis of faith, I still believe in God.

7 days…..7 days and I close the door on the home that never was.

Where We Are At

At lunchtime it will be 2 weeks since we stood outside waving good bye to Mark as he headed west to his new job and our old home town.

Two weeks.
Fourteen days.
Three hundred and thirty six hours.

No matter how you slice it he has not been here with us. Those 2 weeks have felt like an eternity. Despite talking to Mark every day I feel disconnected.

The kids and I have packed, finished up appointments, finished up school, and even visited family to the east. Mark has worked hard, started running, and looked tirelessly for a home for us.

Our time here is quickly wrapping up. This week I have appointments every single day. Epi-pens have been refilled and we have been given the all clear for C-Dog’s foot (yay!).

So where are we at?
We are in limbo. Mark has a steady job, but no residence. Our residence here ends May 31. I will head home with the kids and the dog but I have no idea where I will be staying. Anyone have a motor-home we can borrow? I am half serious about that. 😉

I have to come back June 4 for Princess’ last dentist appointment. I am praying they have a cancellation and get us in before we move. I also have to be back at the end of the month for Princess’ dance recital (thank you to those who helped us pay for that so she could stick it out) and to drop Bug off at Boy Scout Camp (he sold enough popcorn that camp was paid for!); his last outing with this troop.

I am never one to wish time away, but I must admit I am looking forward to the end of June when we can 100% leave IN behind and have our lives be 100% in MO. July has permission to last twice as long as usual.

The big thing right now is we need a place to live and we need to figure out how to move the rest of our stuff to MO. This is pretty big. We don’t have a plan and that means I have copious amounts of anxiety and the insomnia is creeping back in. My shoulders are carrying the tension. I have to walk that fine line of being honest with my kids but making sure they aren’t seeing the amount of worry I am carrying.

“God always gives us better.” Yes, I still say that because it is true. We have always been cared for and provisions have always appeared when we thought they wouldn’t. I have no idea what the next few weeks hold for us but I have to have faith that we will find a home and a way to get our possessions to MO.

This is hard but I have to try. I have to put the positive ahead of the darkness of the unknown. If I don’t then I will drown in a sea of depression. I can’t allow that. I have little ones who need me. They have to come first.

I miss Mark. He is my best friend and soul-mate. The kids miss him and even the dog misses him. We will survive though. We will see him soon and this moment in time will fade away to a distant memory.

At the Breaking Point

Everyone says “You are never given more than you can handle.” They think it is a comfort but it really isn’t because I honestly do not feel like I can handle anymore. I feel like I will explode. When you are in the thick of a very difficult time you need something more. I do not think there is a “one size fits all” for this situation. I think everyone needs something different. For me it helps to hear success stories; people in a similar situation who then experienced a turn around. A hug also does wonders for me. It feels reassuring.

I am very blessed that many people have found this blog and have shared their stories. The words provide so much encouragement and hope. Strangers have made a complete difference in my life. My husband (and the kids) gives the hugs. He is great at that. ❤

This past month has been a major trial. Between having hurt kids and getting some scary news regarding Zen when we went to his 1 year well child check I was left feeling hopeless. This is on top of the “normal stuff”; Mark looking for work back home, looking for a permanent place to live, friends who are hurting, an uncle with cancer, the health of my wonderful in-laws…. I can’t handle anymore of this. I hit the breaking point.

After a particularly stress-filled and overall “feeling sorry for me” kind of day I got some  amazing news from my husband. The timing was really quite insane and quite perfect.

<drum roll>

Mark will be starting a new full time job back home the beginning of May!

I hit the breaking point and now I am granted access to relief. I can’t even adequately describe the relief I am feeling. It is all consuming and wonderful.

The job doesn’t come with health insurance but it pays more than minimum wage and offers a decent commission. It is full time! Best of all it gets us back to our church, homeschool community, and friends who are family to us.

Mark will go ahead of us because he will need to find us a place to live. He will stay with some friends who are seriously some of the best people we know.

I have last minute doctor appointments to finish up with the kids. We will also finish up our school year and fit in some last minute “stuff.” It is all fitting together quite nicely. Things will never be what they used to be and that is OK. It is a beginning of something new and wonderful.

Thank you all for the help, kind words, encouragement, and mostly the prayers.
The support I am surrounded with is seriously amazing and I really am blessed to have you all as a part of my journey!

I hope you are as excited as I am to find out what is in store for the future! I think I will include smaller posts with updates as we transition into our new journey.