Friday, January 31, 2014

In a perfect world, I would find a comfortable, cozy spot with a blanket and some coffee, and spend 2 hours free from distractions as I attempt to process, chew on, and eventually share the events of the last few weeks in a meaningful, poignant, and honest way. I would somehow capture the myriad of thoughts and feelings that are a constant undercurrent of the physical and practical parts of life. I would say goodbye with sadness to Minnesota, thankful for the life we had there and friends we made, and embrace this next season with excitement and hope! (And in a perfect world, I would be a pro at working this new computer. Alas, this is definitely not a perfect world, especially on that count.) They say that journaling is so beneficial because it helps you express how you're feeling, organize your thoughts, verbalize things. Most of the time it seems that what we are feeling is such a contradiction, it is impossible to be feeling so many things at the same time. How can we want to be in so many places at once? How can we grieve over what we are losing, and at the very same time be looking towards the future? From what I have seen, this seems to be a trademark among missionaries. Sometimes you just feel torn in two. Its a good thing nobody ever told us this would be easy. Because it isn't! So far its downright challenging, and oftentimes confusing. 

Right before we left, Worthington was celebrating Winterfest, which involves, among other things, a polar plunge. You may remember that from last year. Last year, we moved here the week before Winterfest, so it was meaningful to experience it one more time to mark the end of our year here. (I did not do the plunge, in case you're wondering. I did adjust to the weather, I think, but not that much ;-). I did, however, get the kids all ready for a family fun walk at the Y. We were optimistic we could make it work. However, in typical Minnesota style, the snow was blowing so much we didn't make it out of the parking lot. But we still got the t-shirt! 

Something we have really been praying for is unity as a family, and for me personally, to enjoy my children more. I am ashamed to say, but I often see them for the frustration they add to my life, instead of the joy they bring to it.  In the midst of trying circumstances like moving, and everything else on my mind, I want to still grab each little moment I have with them. We occasionally see glimpses that our family time will get easier, like when the kids actually sat and "played" a game together for 20 minutes. There was no screaming, fighting, throwing things, or jumping off the couch. It was amazing. Anyways, my children are blessings and gifts, and my heart's desire of the moment is that I would treat them as such, even when they're trying my patience! 

After the (non)race, we went to the Mexican bakery one last time. I wish I found the picture from last year, too. Just as when you come through trials, I think it is encouraging for our family to look back on the past year and the 6 months before that, ever since we sold our house. Many times we have been unsure of the next step (or at least unsure of how we feel about the next step!), nervous about feeling at home, about making friends, about how to get from point A to point B, about where we will live. And even though I cannot sit here and tell you its fun (yay, another move!), or I like having to start from scratch every 6 months to a year, I can tell you I can see how we have grown because of it, I can see that our family is really becoming friends with each other because we know we are partners on this journey together and we want to be there for each other, and I can most definitely see how God meets our needs and blesses us along the way. 

Although this isn't how we travel anymore, Patrick and I both kept our backpacks from when we were young and free ;-) As I see my little girl, I wonder what adventures she will set out on, and when. And how I will feel about it. . . 

We had a goodbye lunch out at the airport, and visited one last time with the Proclaim family. We are so thankful for the work they do, and for how many missionary pilot/mechanics they have helped get to the field. We are proud to be counted among their numbers! 

Climbing the walls and running circles around me, this is about what my kids have done the past little while! Haviland is chock full of babysitters, because of the small college that's here, and we definitely plan on taking advantage of that. (Now if only we had someplace to go that wasn't 60 miles away!) 

When I find it difficult to say goodbye to somebody, I remind myself that unless I had said goodbyes to other people before that, I would never have met the new person. Don't know how healthy a philosophy that is. But it does help me remember that there are many many meaningful relationships in my future. Along with having more patience with my chilluns, something else I feel God is teaching me right now is the value of relationships. People, people, people. I want to spend more time with them, not make excuses. Always so busy, kids whiny, have to run errands. I left Worthington really regretting not connectinng more with the friends we made at church. I don't want to make that mistake again; so look out - if you live within  30 mile radius of the Crisps, we will probably try to hang out with you! 

And, here we are! Back in KS. I couldn't figure out how to get my new pictures onto the computer, but if I had, you would have seen a giant plate of yummy chicken and noodles, complete with mashed potatoes, that our new neighbors brought over. You know you're in KS when. . . ;-) 

Pictures of our new place will be forthcoming as soon as I figure out the computer! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

update and prayer requests for the new year

Thank you for continuing to walk alongside us on this journey! I hope that you are as excited as we are about what God can do in you and through you, in us and through us, this year. In our personal lives and relationships, in our local churches, schools, places of work, in our country, and in the world: the opportunities and potential are limitless! We look forward to seeing and speaking with as many of you as possible this year, either in person, through letters, on the phone, or Facetime! From our small corner of the world, here are a few things we are thanking God for and asking Him for:

  1. Yes, its that time again! Time to pull out the old boxes, clean out the closets, and get on the move. Logistically, it won't be that challenging, as we don't have too many boxes. But there is alot more to moving than packing up belongings. We have made a home here, and now we are leaving it. It is a challenge, in this life, to build relationships, invest in people and allow them to invest in you, to grow in love and community, and to do all this knowing that it is only temporary. I don't want us, especially my kids, to have trouble either beginning or maintaining deep relationships because it is too difficult to let go of when the time comes. As it always does. So what does one do? Please pray that our hearts would remain open to everything God has for us, all the people and places and homes, that we would have room to embrace it all, and that we would be willing to open our hands and release it again when the time comes. We do want to "leave well", to not shy away from difficult goodbyes. We want to be strong friends to those we've met this year, those we know from college, and everyone in between! Pray we remember friendships are more than physical proximity.

2.  We are excited about our new (temporary) home! We weren't sure about our timetable this winter, and when the time came to prepare to leave Minnesota, we needed to find something in Kansas right away. A friend got us in touch with a former missionary family, now back in the States, who have a house to rent in Haviland. This is actually great because we will be able to be part of our church home in Pratt again for a little while, and at the same time be close to Patrick's extended family right in town and also build new relationships and strengthen existing ones in the community of Haviland. Please pray for our transition to a smaller house, that homeschooling and Patrick's home officing (as we work on support raising) and all that would be as peaceful as possible. If we call you, please understand if there is a loud toddler in the background! Thankfully, they can play outside from dawn till dark! 

3.  You have probably noticed east central Africa alot in the news recently, specifically South Sudan and the Central African Republic. I won't attempt to give a news report, but you may not have known, as you saw the news, that AIM is heavily involved in these countries. As the headlines are replaced with new stories, and these fade into the backs of our minds, please still keep it in your prayers. We want to be the hands and feet of Christ, not just the mouthpiece. AIM is involved in everything from evacuations before emergencies, distributing aid throughout crises, to Biblical-based crisis counseling after the fact. We are constantly praying for peace, the protection of the missionaries currently there, and that in the midst of intense human suffering, Christ would be being made known and made much of as Christians love, serve, and heal in His name. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

a brief Christmas review

We received a surprising and very welcome gift this year. (Which had nothing to do with Christmas, and everything to do with another family's need to clean out their freezer :-). The other night Patrick got home late, backed his truck up to the door and started unloading boxes and boxes of meat. I had never seen that much meat before in one place, and here it was on my doorstep, completely free. People have blessed us in many ways, such as completely free eye appointments, glasses, and contacts. This is right up there. I took a picture because the entire freezer is full! So blessed! 

When I was young, Christmas Day itself seemed to be magical. Now, it is more about the whole season and the special times we have and memories we make throughout December, that make up my Christmas celebration. This year, we enjoyed a special fun time with some of our neighbour friends, who came over for an informal party and gingerbread house decorating. 

My children are so blessed by their grandparents! (Or is it spoiled? Not sure ;-) Thank you so much, David and Des, Dad and Kim, and Mom and Bob. My kids are thrilled with the special gifts you gave them. 

The special lady who runs the Proclaim office is so sweet to my kids. She sent along a huge basket of small gifts and toys for the car, which was such a nice surprise! Especially the noisemakers; those were so appreciated! ;-) We had fun dressing up in mustaches and fake lips. (The kids wanted to go into the rest stop this way. I think we look scary enough normally :-) Thank you Kim Soderholm! 

It was a cozy trip. Our bathroom trips were short. And there was no playing at the playgrounds Minnesota has at their rest stops!

The last Christmas at my mom's, I, and others, were sick. And Charlie was a baby. The Christmas before that, Hannah was an infant, and I was still in the overwhelmed new mother stage. This year, I am so happy to announce that there was no throwing up! Which was especially important, because Bob is fighting colon cancer, and just finishing up his first round of chemo and radiation. We could not afford to be bringing extra germs with us. 

Charlie is well equipped for whatever might come his way. The outfit on the right is the Armour of God. We have talked about the various pieces, and they are labeled. But he is a little confused; today he started crying and came to tell me Caroline was hitting him with the sword of peace. I laughed and told him it must not be all that peaceful if she was hitting you with it. 

The girls got fairy wings and tiaras. But what do they want to play with? The swords! 

Meghan makes amazing Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. She is always so gracious to make what seems likes hundreds of them, and I think they all got eaten. We worked it off. Lots of sledding and snowshoeing. And just walking to keep my toes from freezing. 

Oh Canada; my (former) home and native land. You do have a few things going for you! 

The trip back home was like nothing I've ever seen. Mom and Bob live off the beaten path a bit (alot), and their "driveway" is about 1.5 miles. The morning we were to leave we had about 6 inches of snow, and Bob drove his truck in front, with the plow on it. It helped, for sure. We made it nearly to the highway, but not quite up the big hill at the end. Patrick had brought along a tow rope, which we attached to Bob's truck and got the rest of the way up the hill. Meghan and Chad, directly behind us, make it farther than we did, but still needed some help at the top. We should have taken that as a warning, because the weather just got worse all day. It is open farmland for 80% of the way home, and the entire way was like this. You couldn't see anything. Nothing. When we crossed the border and turned my phone on, we noticed the blizzard warning in effect for North Dakota. Well sure, I could have told you that. It was quite blizzardy. Like being in a snowglobe. But not quite as romantic. We saw a sign that travel was prohibited on the highway, and managed to reserve a hotel room. Something for which we were very grateful, as it was the weekend after Christmas, and other travelers were making unexpected stops. It was only 45 miles away, and I think it took us 2.5 hours to get there! 

This is the closest we came to a group picture. (We're missing one grandchild) These are the stockings my mom has made for the kids. Caroline was so excited to get hers this year. She actually slept with it. Lara was supposed to come at the end of our trip, but she had some passport problems, and then an ice storm that canceled her travel plans. We missed you Lar :-(.