Monday December 7, 2015
Yay for regular paychecks… finally! Haha! That whole thing was so weird. But, it’s all sorted out now, and it’s all good. 🙂
I looked into booking a hotel for the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was able to find a deal for about $1000, but we’re not sure that’s what we really want to do. We decided to wait and pray about it some more.
We went to visit my family for Thanksgiving. All the brave/crazy souls went out shopping Thanksgiving evening and the sane/normal people stayed home to watch my sisters’ little ones. Hmmmm, maybe the crazy vs sane is the other way around. Ha! It really was tons of fun!! I think it’s going to have to be a new tradition. 🙂 The two older boys came with us. They had gotten money from their great grandma and they scored great deals on new clothes. It’s weird for me to have them actually enjoy shopping for clothes now and even weirder that I can send them off on their own to do it.
We had lots of great conversation with my grandma. She is both proud of us, for living out our faith, and horrified that this is what God is asking of us for right now. Us too, Grandma, us too! She said she didn’t think she could have that kind of faith. We were able to talk about the importance of not comparing our faith to other people’s faith, or our story to other people’s story, but to simply listen and know what God has said, for our own lives, and walk in that no matter what.
We celebrated Christmas early with my mom since we won’t be able to be back for Christmas. She had been to Scotland in October so we all got fun souvenirs and yummy cookies, caramels and chocolates!
Aaron was able to visit with his former co-workers and the day he went happened to be someone’s last day, so he was able to be there to celebrate with them. A handful of them have stayed in contact with him since our move, so it was nice for him to chat with them face to face again.
When we got back from Thanksgiving break Izzy got sick and missed the first couple days back to school. She slept for almost 2 days straight. She was better by the end of the week and was able to go on her field trip to see Charlotte’s Web at the children’s theatre. She was panicked all week that she might miss it. The older boys wanted to go to their school’s state championship football game an hour and a half away. They both had reliable rides, so we let them go and got a hotel for the weekend, since they were going to be out so late and because Izzy was still not quite 100%.
I have been feeling like we need to check in with the kiddos to see how they are all doing/feeling. It has been awhile since we’ve done that. Even when life isn’t perfect, it is so easy to get stuck in a routine and lose contact with each other. We were able to talk on Sunday night. Izzy said that she still feels like we are supposed to be in Williamson County, in TN, but she is tired of living in a van. Max basically said the same thing. Jack said he still feels like we should be here, but he feels like he did when it was time to leave our friends’ house; we know it’s time for something to change, but we don’t know what to do. Alex’s response was similar to Jack’s. He said he doesn’t feel the same peace he did when we first started living in the van, because it feels like something else needs to happen now. We asked them what they thought we should do since there doesn’t seem to be that peace or surety anymore. They said they thought we should fast and pray for the week to see what God has to say about it. Talking with them is always so amazing. Aaron and I had been feeling the disquiet as well, but hadn’t really been able to put a finger on the feeling until Jack mentioned that it felt like it did when it was time to move on from our friends’ house. We are continually amazed at the insight and wisdom that God gives our children.
I am still working on the Sanders Family Unabridged series. Ugh!! The first couple of months were really hard to go over because of all the questions and fear we had. I was re-living all those emotions again as I was writing them out for the blog. Heavy stuff, Maynard. I just started reading April’s journal entries and there is definitely a shift in my writing. The fear has been replaced with peace and joy. There are still questions and occasional worry, even now, but we’re not clouded with it like we used to be.
Wednesday December 9, 2015
We’re trying to find the balance of trust now that we have regular paychecks again. What Aaron gets paid isn’t enough to get us into an apartment, let alone a house, so there isn’t much to be frivolous with anyway, but we still want to make sure we are being wise. The first couple of paychecks flew out of our pocket, due to staying in hotels over the weekends, and we want to make sure we’re not just throwing it at all kinds of other things as well. I still firmly believe that God will continue to meet our needs, so if there is a time when his paycheck doesn’t cover what we need for those two weeks, God will step in and provide.
Shortly after our conversation about that, Aaron was sitting in his bus and noticed he had missed a call while driving. He did a reverse search and found out that the number was from Grace Center, the church we have been attending. He called the number and got one of the secretaries who told him that we had been chosen to receive a gift card for Christmas from Grace Center. That befuddled us! For lack of a better way of saying it, we have been invisible there. Our only conclusion is that God was hiding us, because they are the most loving caring people I think we have ever come across. So, to find out we had been chosen for a gift card when we didn’t think people even realized we were there was kind of crazy! We had noticed a spike in hits on the blog, so we wondered if maybe Bill and Karen (the couple that runs the food pantry) had mentioned us to the leadership and they had done a little “research” on us. When we went to pick up the gift card, we asked how/why we’d been chosen. We were told that the leadership gets together, along with the people overseeing the food pantry, and they choose families that they know could use some financial help for the holidays and our name had been mentioned by Bill and Karen. When we opened the card there was a $300 gift card inside. See?!?!?! I knew God would keep taking care of us!!
Thursday December 24, 2015
I am so behind in writing and we have had quite a full couple of weeks. I am going to try to keep the dates in order so I don’t miss anything.
Thursday December 10th
There is a little bit of tension because we haven’t had a marvelous revelation or breakthrough as to why we are feeling unsettled. I checked my email while I was waiting to drop Bella off at school. I had a message from a lady that said she had met Aaron the previous weekend, when he came to pick Jack up after the football game. She and her husband had driven a bunch of kids to the game. She admitted that she had done some snooping over the weekend, because she wanted to know what kind of person her child was hanging out with. After some social media digging she found our individual and family Facebook pages and from there our blog. She said it had completely undone her and she has not been able to stop thinking about our story. She wants to get together sometime to talk in person. She said she doesn’t normally reach out to people that way, but our story had messed with her so bad that she was afraid if she didn’t get it off her chest she would attack me in a big bear hug the next time she saw me at a school event. She didn’t know she needn’t have worried. She’s dealing with the queen of exuberant expression! Haha!! I cried when I read the email because we have been fasting and praying all week for God to show us some kind of direction, or confirmation, or something and then we get this. It was like He was showing us, again, that He is working when it looks like nothing is happening and nothing makes sense. I read the email to Aaron when I went to pick him up and he cried as well. He responded to her when we got to the library and let her know that hugs don’t scare me and we looked forward to meeting her. We ended up seeing her that night at a choir concert at the high school. I went ahead and gave her a big hug since she had mentioned she might not be able to withstand the impulse anyway. 🙂
Friday December 11th
We went to a friends’ house for an early Christmas dinner. It was supposed to have been a handful of families, but everyone either had end of semester school stuff or had sick kids and it ended up being just us. It was fine because we hadn’t been able to catch up with them in quite awhile and we all had lots to share. I opened my email to share some of the things that lady had said and they were very happy and encouraged along with us. I noticed that I had a Paypal notification as I was getting ready to log out, so I opened it up. Someone had sent us $300 and an anonymous, encouraging note saying, “God continue to bless you on your adventure.” Wow! Thank you, Lord, for your continued faithfulness and provision! We ended the night with an invitation for a movie night (Elf!!!) and sleep over which we gladly accepted.
Tuesday December 15th
We met with the lady that had emailed us this morning. We talked with her about our story to help her process what she had read. She said that she is very torn about what to do. She wants to help, but isn’t sure what she should do to help. She offered to watch the kiddos whenever we need someone or to help with transportation to places, but she wanted to do more and wasn’t sure what else would be helpful. We assured her that her prayers and friendship were the best blessing of all!! I’m going to paraphrase here because I don’t remember her exact words, but basically it was that Aaron’s writing slapped her in the face and made her think and my writing stabbed her in the heart and tore her emotions. Yay, us!! Haha! We loved hearing that though, because last week Aaron and I had talked about how well we compliment each other. We discussed that when we share our story with large groups we should do it together because he is so straightforward, even harsh sometimes, and I can come along and be the comfort and peace maker to make everybody feel better. Haha!!! She let us know that reading our journey has caused her to want to break out of the routine she is in and find out who she is. Woohoo!! That’s exactly what we are continually praying for; that somehow our life will help others to step out and find their identity and the adventure God has for them. Waking up sleeping giants.
Friday December 18th
We’ve been in a hotel since Wednesday. We decided since it was cold, and we had the funds to do it, we might as well do it! [Insert moment of praise for Priceline] We also thought it would be easier to stage our departure, to Illinois for Christmas break, from a hotel room instead of trying to pack things up out of the storage unit which is the usual routine. Aaron received all kinds of adorable cards and gifts from the kids on the bus. Bonus for me, he ended up with about $75 in Starbucks gift cards! Ha!! Isabella’s teacher is very passionate about helping the Ronald McDonald House and visiting the kiddos at the children’s hospital. She asked that instead of gifting her with anything for Christmas that people would consider bringing in donations for those two causes. She gave everyone a list of items needed. Bella was so excited! I took her to the store where she picked out snacks, drinks, toys, coloring books and crayons. She kept talking about how much fun those kids will have playing with those things. 🙂 If we had been staying in town, for Christmas break, we would have been able to go with her teacher to pass the items out. She hopes that maybe next year we can stay in town to go help with that.