Welcome to 2012!

I must admit, I’ve had something of a struggle these last few weeks.  The run up to 2012, with everyone recapping the big (and not so big) events of 2011 has been a nearly constant reminder to me that I’m not where I wanted to be now, and that I failed to achieve most of the things I hoped to in 2011.  I suppose a lot of people feel this way at the start of a new year.  They wonder if they were just marking time for the past year, or worse, wasting it.

In an attempt to counteract this frustration, I’ve been trying to identify the successes I had last year, to express gratitude for what did go well, and to remember the happy times we had.  So here are some things I’m grateful for (in no particular order).

I’m grateful for God, and that I’ve been raised to know him as a loving Father-Mother who always cares for us, in the good times, and the bad.

I’m grateful that we have had a roof over our heads and food on the table (thanks Mom!) through all this searching for home and employment.

While not having the income a job would provide has been difficult, I’m grateful for the extra time we’ve had as a family.  Esbon has been a wonderful help with school, and taken on most of the housework.  We’ve been able to take days or weekends off to go to the beach or visit friends – mini vacations we wouldn’t have been able to take if Esbon had had a full time job.

I’m grateful for being able to pay our bills each month with the modest income we do have.  Like the Children of Israel and the manna in the wilderness, we always have just enough to meet our obligations.

I’m grateful for our new phones.  We shopped for new phones for months, waiting for the right time, and the right upgrade offer.  When Esbon’s phone died, we decided we would have to take the plunge, even though it meant saying goodbye to the awesome, inexpensive plan we’d had for years.  We got our first smart phones, and even got phones for the boys, and we’re loving them.

I’m grateful that I got to go to my cousin’s wedding in June in New Orleans.  It was a hot, muggy weekend, and Esbon and the boys couldn’t come with me, but I still had a lot of fun.  The wedding was beautiful, and catching up with the rest of the family was priceless.  It was the first time in years I had seen some of them (especially my cousin who currently resides in New Zealand) and the first time I met most of their kids.

There are many other things I’m grateful for, but those are the biggies. I have faith that 2012 will hold many more blessings for us, like a home of our own, the chance to visit Esbon’s sisters in Colorado and Louisiana, continuing success in our homeschool, and maybe even selling my first book.

Yes, 2012 looks promising.  I wish you and yours a blessed new year and success in all your endeavors.

Happy New Year!

a44cba578e604b8 Welcome to 2012!

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Looking Back

Every journey has stages.  Everyone starts somewhere and travels to somewhere else and sometimes we look back and wonder where we are and how we got here.  Many of us are somewhere in the middle of the journey, having completed the basic stages of life like going to school, getting married, starting a family, and so on.

We are approaching the next stage of our journey and I’ve been looking back on the last eighteen months to see where we’ve been.  These have not been easy months by any means, but by sticking together and applying huge amounts of gratitude and humility we’re getting on.  I suppose we’re a little bit like the Children of Israel who escaped from Egypt to wander in the wilderness.  We have many lessons to learn, just like they did!

Let me give a little background for those of you who don’t know us yet.  I’ll try to give the short version!

In April of 2010 we put all of our belongings into storage and moved out of our townhouse.  The rent was simply too expensive, as are many things in Marin County, California.  Esbon still had his job, and I still had my eight hours a week at the Scout Shop, but we had nowhere to live.  A friend graciously offered us her pool house for two months and we accepted. 

In June we traveled to Oregon for a family wedding and a bit of much needed vacation.  As summer continued we moved from housesitting gig to housesitting gig.  Part of this time Esbon was in California alone, while the kids and I stayed with my mother in Portland. Much of the time we were all sharing one room, with the boys sleeping on the floor. 

Our normal summer activities continued as planned.  Bo went to summer camp with his Boy Scout troop.  Jonathan went to Day Camp where Bo and I served on the staff.  Before we knew it fall was on it’s way and it was time to start school again, and we still didn’t have a place to live.

A decision had to be made.  It was about the hardest thing we’ve ever done as a family (so far), but we knew we couldn’t continue where we were.  So we moved to Portland.  My mother offered to put us up until we could find work and get our own place.  It was hard to leave our friends, our Scout groups, and our jobs.  (Perhaps the hardest thing to leave behind was the mild California weather!)

That was in September of 2010.  Here we sit, in July of 2011, still in my mother’s apartment, still searching for right employment.  Our efforts have turned towards building our own income, since the numerous companies Esbon interviewed with (and dozens more with whom he didn’t even get that far) weren’t interested.

The last year hasn’t been all bad.  We have seen a lot more of my family (except for my brother who still lives in California, though we’ve seen him, too).  The boys are in Scouts and continue to learn and grow.  We’re still homeschooling.  We can now help my sister once in awhile with her little ones.  The sun peeks out from behind the clouds every so often, though not often enough for some!

And we think, and pray, and pray some more, that this wilderness stage of our journey is nearly over.  The promised land seems to be before us and we can see progress ahead, and actual beds and bedrooms for the boys, and a place to call our own.

That’s where we’ve been.  As our options and plans unfold over the next few weeks I’ll share some of what we learned, and are still learning, in the wilderness and more of what we hope to be doing in the next stage of our journey.