thankful

That Thankful Wednesday in September

IMG_3329.JPG That box. That giant box of brownie mix is what I'm thankful for today. No, they aren't scratch-made brownies, but why should I attempt to make my own, when Ghirardelli does an amazing job already?! If you didn't already know, I love brownies. love.them. {so daggone much} And today, I really thought about how cool it is to have this giant box of brownie mix. To be able to afford it, and have the oil, water, and egg it needs to bake it in an oven that I always take for granted. [ps. I kinda hate the oven this house came with...but I shouldn't be hatin' on it...what a blessing it is!]

As I mixed the brownie batter, I looked around for three minutes and found some other things I really am being intentionally thankful for today:

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that tub of girl clothes I literally walk by this tub everyday multiple times. My girls think it's a mountain to climb or a bench to sit on whilst eating a ziplock baggie of Cheerios. I see it as an eyesore, a chore that I need to "obviously" tackle (refolding all of those little clothes), and a reminder that I still need to put it away after Mike got it down for Emma after she was born.

But it's a real reminder at how much my children have. So many clothes. So many choices. All given to us. We never paid a penny for any of them. For that, I'm humbled and grateful.

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This Amazon guy that fixed my '19 kids' season pass debacle. Thanks, amazon guy.

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The way I always hear the boys giggling and spraying each other with water during "quiet time" everyday. I may not like them wasting water all the time, but really, who cares?! They're being children...most of all, they're outside and being silly little boys when most of their peers are still sitting at a desk. They finished school in 2 1/2 hours today. They deserve to douse each other in water and swing on their tire swing.

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a reminder. a reminder that I don't have joy and I should. I usually allow my tiredness or my situations dictate my attitude. Thanks, Joy-ful wall art for reminding me that I plain suck at being joyful.

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I'm thankful for the baby that doesn't want to leave my chest today. I'm thankful for her 3 hr.off and on grunting/attempts at pooping last night that kept me up. She finally exploded at 10:30am. It was epic, as was her smile afterwards.

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This shower. It helps me so much. I'm thankful for boys that can use it and clean water that showers away all of their outdoor adventures.

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Emma's thigh. Yes, I'm thankful because it's chubby and healthy and a true symbol that she is gaining weight all because I am able to provide all the nourishment she needs.

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I'm thankful God invented sisters. I'm so happy my girls have multiple sisters. I'm super thankful for my one sister who means the world to me.

Regardless of how spent I feel, how much I wish, or how immersed in motherhood I am...there really are reminders all around me of how grateful I should be.

Grateful. Not thankful, grateful.

Love, Alicia

Moving on.

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I'm writing this post mostly for myself. Mostly so I don't forget the incredible way ways that God worked during this time in our family. We're moving.

After at least three years of talking about it, hoping, and praying for it, it's finally almost upon us. In four more weeks we will spend our last night in the only home our family has ever known.

It all began almost 10 years ago this coming fall. The fall before Mike and I were to wed. It was so exciting to prepare this home for our new life together. To really make it our own and hopefully start a family here.

All of those things happened and as we grew in our marriage and began to truly know each other, we began to voice various dreams we had for the future.

I had always loved a big city, and, at one point, even visioned us living in the middle of it all in an apartment or town home of some sort never having to drive anywhere. Being in the middle of the action is what I wanted, well, it's what I thought I wanted.

Then Mike began voicing his dream about country life: trees, nature, a place to spread out and become removed from ultra convenience. I loathed the idea.

Our dreams collided. And hard.

We stayed put in our home and voiced our various dreams every now and again but felt zero desire to be apart of the others dream.

As we grew and the months and years passed, our family size grew as well and God began to change my dream. When Mike would speak of the possibilities that country living could offer us, I no longer felt annoyance at the sound of his words. Instead, I listened and imagined, and before long, we began to share the same dream.

We dreamed and pondered and hoped for a couple of years before we decided to take the plunge. But the timing never seemed to work in our favor. Something was holding us back...God wasn't ready to move us just yet.

We actually got busy the beginning of 2013 updating various areas of our home aesthetically and we got rid of A LOT of clutter. We moved anything we owned that was utterly superfluous into a storage unit less than 1/2 mile from our home and gave away a bulk of it too. But although we had plans to put our house up that spring, it didn't feel right. We pushed our dream aside for the time being and spent another year here.

As soon as 2014 began, Mike really felt like this was our year. We finished up some odds and ends and really tried to get our home show ready. We announced the pregnancy of our 5th child during this time and received comments about "you'd better move" more than once. We never felt like this home couldn't accommodate a fifth child at all and didn't feel anxious about adding another into this space.

Within 5 days and 3 showings of putting our house on the market, we signed a contract.

That's God. That's Him affirming to us that now we can move on.

But it seemed like every home we visited, every home we wanted to visit was another door slammed in our face. We didn't have a lot of time to play with in terms of finding a replacement home and life began to become stressful.

God, you sold our home, but now where are we supposed to go...

I longed to live in the Rock Hill,SC area. There are so many reasons for my longing, but every door was slammed shut there. I got discouraged. So did Mike.

We looked in various country settings no more than an hour where we currently live, it just didn't feel right. It felt foreign and we couldn't see ourselves living in these towns forever.

On the morning of what would be our final day out looking at homes, Mike stumbled upon a home that had just came back onto the market after a sale fell thru. He quickly called our realtor to see if seeing that home today could even be possible. We heard nothing back until we were on our way home from seeing two homes that were essentially, a bust.

Out of the blue, we got clearance to see it and I started to beam with excitement. I honestly didn't even know what I was so excited about except I knew that Mike was very excited about this home this morning so it must be worth a look.

To summarize, this home has absolutely everything [and more] that we had been dreaming of for years. It's almost as if God took everything on our lists, added a few more goodies, and handed it back to us in the form of this home/property. Mikes dreams included: ranch acreage shop building extra storage front porch with rocking chair room secluded wooded lot without view of neighbors or no neighbors at all

My dreams included: ranch (cause stairs in a home are pure evil when you have small children) updated kitchen huge laundry room mud room wood swingset front porch with rocking chair room or a swing large homeschool area wooded lot seclusion acreage able to have chickens

How about God said yes to every.single.one. of those. He also added in some extras that I'm so thankful he thought of: the exact gun safe that Mike always wanted, a trampoline, a smoker/grill, a large deck with an outdoor shower (perfect for stinky boys that have been playing outside all day), garden boxes, and a garden fountain that I'm actually pretty fond of.

Whoever thinks that God doesn't care about our dreams/details should feel proven wrong at this point.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking this home has got to be huge to accommodate the 'yearly' baby they always seem to have. It's not. And if you saw it, you would be surprised at how modest this home really is. And even though it may not be large for a family our size, it's absolutely perfect in every way. And when we walked in, despite the hideous hunter green and maroon 90's dated wallpaper in the entryway, and despite some updating we know we will have to tackle, we knew, I mean knew this was our next and hopefully, final home on earth.

We've run smack into various hiccups between that showing and today on both homes. But when we thought the worst, God always always always came through and then we felt foolish for even worrying in the first place. The final obstacles are on the schedule and as long as things continue to move forward, we will be saying goodbye to this home and starting fresh in the home we always dreamed of, in a place I had never heard of before, a town called Faith.

Just so happens that tiny town has the absolute most amazing July 4th celebration around. Another God-move because if you know me at all, you know I'm hopelessly in love with the holiday. More than Christmas, more than Thanksgiving....I just love it. And we will move there with time to spare, and I cannot wait to celebrate this years fourth!!

I'll miss this house, but it's never really felt like home anyway. It's always felt like just a space with our stuff in it. I know this home we have waiting for us will feel like home because it's both Mikes and my dream in a tangible form.

And until God reveals His eternal home to us, I will forever be grateful for the heaven on earth He has provided for us, while we wait.

Thankful for all the lessons we've learned along the way. Thankful for the growth that had to take place before He could move us. Thankful for the waiting we've done so that we could allow Him to give us His best. We are not settling and that's what makes this so sweet. We waited and He honored our waiting.

All glory to Him.

Love, Alicia