Another important occurrence during my rain-induced blogging break was the sale of our home. Yes, I did just blandly throw that sentence out with no exclamation points or signs of excitement. How is that possible?

We're supposed to close September 23rd. Since it has not officially happened yet, I'm not allowing myself to rejoice yet. We have to pass a home inspection (which should not be a problem); we have to pass an appraisal (which I don't think is a problem, but with this strange economy, I'm not sure), and we have to find someone who will loan us enough money to cover our loss (amazingly, Jeremy's new company has offered to split the loss with us, so we only need to get a loan for half of our loss!)

Yes, we are thankful to be in the process of selling, but we were hoping to break even or only lose a little. According to our realtor, we have accepted an unbelievably great offer. I'm sure she knows what she is talking about.

I suppose what I'm struggling the most with is saying goodbye to our first home. I love that house. The wonderful kitchen, the lovely fireplace, the red walls. I know, I can paint the walls of our next home, but stop being so practical, okay. I'm trying to grieve here.

And WHY am I trying to grieve, anyway???? We were asking God to sell our house, and He did! Yay for God!

Except it's not official yet, so... small smile for God. ;-)
Rain clouds have forced our wi-fi connection to be sporadic this past week. A lot of important things have happened while I was disconnected, and I have decided to post the one closest to my heart first: Liberty conversations! You know, before I forget them.

LC number one:

Liberty donned a pair of glittery, gauzy wings and fluttered past me. She made a swooping turn and stopped at my feet. "Yook at me, Mommy. Dess what I am."

"Um, are you a butterfly?"


"Are you a fairy?"


"Well, what are you then?"

"I'm a fly. Better dit a spyspotter, Mommy, and smash me!"

LC number two:

"Yook at me, Mommy. I'm a froggy."

"Oh! Now, how did this froggy get into our house?"

"Uh-oh. Better put me outside, Mommy."

LC number three:

Liberty and I had played several rounds of hide and seek, and I finally found a great spot to hide on the side of my bed farthest from the door. It took about five minutes for her to find me which is about three minutes longer than it usually takes. When she finally discovered my hiding place she cuddled my hand against her heart and gazed at me tragically.

"Mommy, I was never going to be happy again."

"What? Why not?"

"Because I need you to stay home with me always."
Two of our closest friends from college, Rodney and Alicia, came to visit over the weekend. They left yesterday afternoon. Alicia and I were roommates during our first two years of college, and we all easily fell back into the pattern of late nights full of fun and days filled with wonderful conversation.

We taught them to play Settlers of Catan, and they taught us to play XMachina where we had to invent a way to travel in time.

Next time that request is made, I will know an easy way to accomplish it: just invite Rodney and Alicia over. Time moves backwards without anyone realizing it.

Unfortunately, it somehow moves forward by the time morning rolls around. I'll have to make a few minor tweaks to this invention.
I wrote about a strong hurt earlier, and someone sent me this email (and gave me permission to copy it here):

I read your blog today and I wanted to say that I totally relate to what you said. I’ve been hurt badly by people that were closest to my heart and I found myself withdrawing not only from them, but also from others. If people I care about most hurt me, than other people are sure to hurt me right?

We have very few friends at all due to this and even find that we’re distancing ourselves from family members. I’m not sure how to reverse this. Every time I allow someone to get close the first time they make the slightest wrong move I am retreating again. I know in my head that it is unreasonable to expect people to be perfect, but my heart likes to run and hide.

The struggle to move forward.

Truthfully, I don't know how to do it either. This is a subject that Jeremy and I discussed in depth a few days ago. I don't know what to do, what to let go of, what kind of expectations to have for myself or for relationships, how to get past my own wall. It's frustrating because I see myself eventually turning into a lonely, bitter person and that is exactly what I would NEVER want to be.

I begged God a few days ago to show me what He wants. I know He doesn't want my current state to be my perpetual state. In my meandering through the Bible, which I have mentioned before, my devotions that night were in Isaiah, and God showed me this verse.

Isaiah 30:15 - "This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.'"

Hmm, maybe all I need to do is nothing. I've faced my heart; I'm asking God to help me change; now, I just need to let His Spirit do the changing. I'm sure at some point that will require action from me, but right now, I'm supposed to repent, rest, be quiet and trust.

Surprisingly, I have found that hard to do. Letting God DO without me doing? Apparently, I'm not even very trusting of Him! :-)
I feel so smug. The girls and I ran errands all morning, our first morning-full-o'-errands since arriving in Inni-inna. AND these errands were all accomplished before their expiration dates. Can you say WOO-HOOO? I may be getting the hang of this.

We stopped at the new doctor's office with signed transfer paperwork. (Yes, this would be paperwork that I mentioned needed doing in a post a few weeks ago, what of it?) We stopped at the bank to deposit a check (and BONUS - got our address changed and successfully said no repeatedly during a meeting with the bank's pushy sales rep [the noes were directed at the sales guy, not my daughters - DOUBLE BONUS!]) We stopped to balance along the tops of several concrete bumpers in every parking lot. We stopped for obedience lessons, and Liberty continually made some very good choices mixed with a couple bad choices, but overall -- GOOD! We stopped to learn the first line of the pledge of allegiance (every. single. time. we. saw. a. flag.) And let me tell you, this is a patriotic town! We stopped to pick up mid-week supplies at Walmart. Liberty learned the "No-Suching-Innyting" rule. (No Touching Anything -- It's a very important rule.) We stopped to buy Swiss Rolls because I couldn't help myself. They had them lined up at the entrance. Evil Walmart people.

We did not stop to pick up a potty training book with my new library card that arrived in the mail yesterday, but there's always tomorrow!
My blog has remained silent for a while, not because I have nothing to post, on the contrary, posts seem to be bubbling up within me. But every time I concentrate enough to type, the one post that I do NOT want to write is the only one sitting at the tips of my fingers.

So here goes.

It is possible that just typing it will be enough for me. Maybe after I write it out I will be able to delete it and move on. Or maybe it will have to be published. I'm hoping that I can delete it.

For several years, Jeremy and I have struggled with a certain situation about which I want to remain vague. This struggle has shredded our hearts, leaving mangled pieces dangling, exposed to pain whenever the wind picks up. The struggle is now over, but somehow, during those years and especially during the extreme last few months, I erected a protective barrier in front of my heart.

The barrier was never intended to keep people out, just pain. It was a coping mechanism, to borrow a popular phrase; I thought it helped me stay close to the people while keeping the pain-level lower. I think I was wrong.

The only way to minimize pain is to hold the pain-causer at a distance. It's a bit like hugging a hand-grenade, knowing it will explode on you at any second. Minimizing the effects of the blast can only be achieved by running away before the explosion.

But what if -- and here's where the analogy doesn't work very well -- what if you love the hand-grenade? Running away from it is not an option. That dangerous explosion hurts not only you; it destroys the grenade. Jeremy and I would do anything to prevent the destruction of the grenade. Alright, enough with the analogy that no longer works!

All of that was really background information anyway. The point of this post, the subject I intended to address is this. God has brought Jeremy and I into a time of rest. He moved us to a land without connections, without expectations, without a past.

At first, neither of us realized how handicapped we had become. We continued to live inside shells without even knowing it, but slowly we began to see ourselves, to see some of the emotional withering and its affects. I, for example, no longer quickly develop relationships. I laugh at my daughter, Liberty, who stands on our patio and shouts, "HI, FRIEND! WANNA PLAY WITH ME?" to anyone passing, but the truth is, until a year ago, I used to be the one shouting and making immediate friends. Now, I meet people; I chat politely; I long for real friendship, but I hold myself at a distance. It's not fun being burned, and how can I tell who will burn me?

God knew how fragile our souls have become. He knew where we needed to be in order to begin healing. He moved us.

He moved us to a church that I cannot find words to describe. The people love. That is all that can be said. They reach out. They don't believe in just Sunday relationships. At this time when I am unable to reach out, God knew I needed someone who would reach out to me. So He brought us here.

Jeremy is hurting also, and his armor shows up in other areas of his life. Without going into any detail, I will let you know that God has also put him in the specific right spot to recover.

When I say recover, I do not mean that we will revert to the innocence of the way we lived before. No, we hope to grow, accepting the stains, still loving the reasons for the stains, but becoming more mature in our walk with God because of the stains. We do not want to remain in our protective armor. We want to have soft hearts. Hearts that know hurt is possible but that reach out and hug anyway.

It will take time, but our God is good. And He created time.
Last week, the loneliness bug bit me, and I begged God to send me someone to talk with. Someone to be a real friend. He has introduced several people to me as little pick-me-ups, but I'm looking for someone long term and like-minded to share my heart. I specifically have been asking for a lady who has kids right around my girls' ages. I want a friend who will encourage me, but also someone whom I can encourage. I want a friend who will laugh with me until some sort of beverage shoots from her nostrils. And then laugh some more. I want a friend who is up for any kind of adventure, and loves to talk long into the night. I want a friend who loves God with all of her heart and keeps her relationship with Him as her top priority. I want a friend who loves her husband and family and keeps that relationship as her next priority.

I've had a few good friends like that in my life, and I've been separated from them for several years now. Jennifer, Melody, Alicia and Jackie are still my wonderful friends, but distance creates a barrier to daily interaction and adventures.

I read some of the literature that our new church sent us, and I noticed a little paragraph about a MOPS group (Mothers Of Preschoolers) that meets regularly. My eyes brightened, and my heart tingled, that's how God's going to introduce me to my new friend! I just KNEW it!

When Dian (without an e) and I got together on Friday, I asked her about the group. Her kids are now in their twenties, so she has stopped keeping tabs on the MOPS group. "I don't think they are still meeting," she told me. "There was a logistical problem that they were working on, and I think they quit meeting last month."

"Oh," I smiled unconcernedly at her while my heart crumbled. "That's too bad."

The following day, since Jeremy went to Chicago with the guys from church, I had another time slot to fill up. I strapped the girls into the van and drove around town.

Guess what?


I immediately drove home to gather the necessary piece of mail with my name and address on it in order to obtain a library card. Did you know that in two weeks, I have not received any mail? Or if I have it has my old address on it. How frustrating.

So, I gathered several pieces of mail. One with Jeremy's name and the new address, one with Liberty's name and the new address, one with Jeremy's and my names together and the old address and my old drivers license, and I prayed all the way there.

The librarian's name was Anne. I would guess she was in her late forties, maybe early fifties. She had dark brown hair and a gentle face, but the most amazing part of her was the fact that being around her felt comfortable and easy. I felt loved and cared about immediately. She quickly joined Evelyn from my old church on my List of Women Whom I Would Like To Be Like Someday.

She bent the rules on documentation in order to give me a library card, and she asked a strange question without any context at all: "Would you mind terribly if I gave your name and phone number to another lady who has children right about your girls' ages?"

I stared at her for a second, wondering if I were understanding her intent correctly. "Wh-what do you mean?" I finally stammered.

"Well, I can see that you are new in town, and I'm sure you will be needing some friends. There are a few moms who like to get together every so often..." her voice trailed off, then she clarified, "I would like to give your contact information to one of the ladies, but I certainly would not do so if you would rather that I didn't."

I blinked to dry up the tiny moisture springing to my eyes. There was more moisture there than I expected. I laughed and fanned my face with a nearby brochure, "This is ridiculous!" I told her.

Anne smiled in understanding. "It's okay," she reassured me with a hand on my arm. "I've been new before, too."

Liberty selected a book from a nearby shelf and flopped to her tummy in front of the desk to read it out loud. Anne and I laughed together, she recommended a book to me and then she told me about the story time sign up sheet for preschoolers. I signed up for a Tuesday morning time and a Thursday morning time.

We took two Curious George books, a novel by Roxanne Henke called Learning to Fly and a mended heart home with us.

It felt wonderful!
Moving is highly over-rated. Adventure, new scenery, new friends; sure, it all sounds wonderful. But like those "Go West, Young Man" campaigns back when the West was still frontier land, you never get told of all the hard work and possible death ahead until after you get there.

No, I'm not prone to exaggeration. Why do you ask?

When I started this week, I had a list of relocation-related things to accomplish. I efficiently wrote them in my day-planner, and began immediately. By immediately, I mean after diaper changes, mess clean-ups, breakfast, breakfast clean up, story time, whining interpretation, more mess clean-ups (did I mention we have the flu?), more diaper changes, Mercy's naptime...that's when out of desperation, I inserted Liberty's favorite movie of all time, Disney's Yady and Da Tamp into the DVD player.

Ah, peace.

I looked at my list
1. Email the church for their statement of faith.
2. Find out why Jeremy's new insurance cards do not have the rest of us listed on them.
3. Clarify two different items about our insurance coverage.
4. Find a doctor and schedule Mercy's one year checkup and immunizations.
5. Call the hospital in Illinois where Jeremy was diagnosed with a hernia, and give them our new insurance number.
6. Correct Jeremy's 401(k) contribution at his new company before the wrong amount gets taken out of his paycheck.
7. Get new drivers licenses.
8. Get new license plates.
9. Etcetera

The list was quite a bit longer, but I have to stop typing it before my brain explodes inside my head and begins oozing out of my ears. I happen to like the shirt I am wearing right now.

With Liberty occupied and believing her name to be Yady, I knew it would be safe to focus on my tasks.
1. I emailed the pastor, check.
2. I called the insurance company about the cards, check.

Mercy woke up with a mess in her bed. Bath time came first -- which Yady decided could not be conducted without her in the tub, too -- new sheets and blankets in the crib, lots of whining (I really can’t blame them; they felt miserable), and finally both girls settled on the living room floor each with a bowl and a blanket (although, why I bother to give Mercy a bowl, I really don't know. It's the principle, mainly, and a wild delusion that she may choose to imitate Liberty at some point.)

Yady began barking for some yunch.

Yunch? You can't be serious.

"Do you realize that you are sick?" I asked her. "If I feed you lunch, you're just going to speet up again."

Yady insisted her hunger pangs were real.

Mommy insisted her hunger pangs could be cured by bread and water.

Thirty minutes later, Mommy cleaned up the hunger pang solution, and wondered if bread and water really was a good idea after all.

The day deteriorated from there.

On Tuesday, I awoke with renewed determination to accomplish my relocation-related tasks.

I began immediately. And you know what that means.

3. I called the insurance company to clarify two benefits while Liberty and Mercy alternately talked to me and cried to me. The woman on the phone spoke in the quietest possible monotone voice, obviously reading a script. She stopped for nothing and repeated nothing. I believe I understand our benefits now? Check.

The girls went down for a nap, and I took a quick blogging break. Then back to work again.

4. I printed off the list of eligible doctors from our insurance website, then I spoke with three different people here: my neighbor, Mandy; my friend from church, Dian; our realtor, Bill; they each gave me a few recommendations and a few stay-away-froms. With three doctors on my list, I pondered the best way to narrow them down. I printed a list of interview questions from the internet, and I began making phone calls. That's when I found out that none of the doctors will give Mercy any immunizations without first having her prior immunization record from our old doctor. That makes perfect sense, and I'm glad they are being thorough with my baby, but I don't really want to have records sent until I know which doctor I want them sent to. Sigh. So I picked a doctor, sight unseen, and am sending him Mercy's records. Then I have to go to his office and fill out new patient paperwork, and only after the records are received may I make an appointment. I set the doctor visit task aside to handle another day when the flu wasn’t weighing us down.

5. I called the hospital in Illinois to give them our insurance number. They don't want it read to them over the phone. They want it faxed. Well, La-De-Dah. So I set the insurance card aside into a pile for Jeremy to handle tomorrow.

6. I found the website for Jeremy’s 401(k) but realized I did not have the necessary user name and password. I set that aside for Jeremy to handle tomorrow.

The girls woke up, life picked up speed, and soon it was bedtime.

On Wednesday, I was hit HARD with the flu and did nothing but clean up after the girls and sit in a chair wishing I were dead. Oh, yes, and attempt to explain to my vomitous children why they really did NOT want breakfast, snacks, lunch and supper. Traumatic.

On Thursday, my determination returned, along with the fragile health of my children. They remained symptom-free all day, although lethargy and general tummy rumbliness kept them relatively uncomfortable.

7. I called the drivers license place. They informed me that I needed Indiana car insurance before they would even talk to me.
a. I flipped through the phone book, prayed, and picked a number. They told me that they would process my insurance immediately, but it would not be effective until August 7th.
b. I called the DL place again. They told me I would have to purchase a 30 day permit until my insurance kicked in. After my insurance was in place, I needed to bring it, along with four documents proving I am me (because one or two just isn’t good enough) and money, and THEN they would give me a drivers license.

8. I asked about license plates and was told that I had to bring in the title for Jeremy’s vehicle, his new (still non-existent) drivers license and insurance. For my vehicle, I had to provide the bank contact information along with my non-existent drivers license and insurance. At that point, they would still not issue license plates to me, but they would create a file for me in their office. Then they would contact my bank in Iowa and request a copy of our title. After that is in place, they will call me to have me return to their office so that they can give me a plate. All of this could take much longer than thirty days, and I may have to purchase a second thirty day permit, if it does take longer.

I sighed. All of these roadblocks, all of my hard work, all of the misery of the past week caught up with me, and I wanted to be grumpy. I thought of the friends I left in Iowa. I thought of the lack of friends Indiana. I tried very hard to be discontent, to grouch at my kids. But God kept stopping me. He reminded me of Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom who chose to be thankful for the flea infestation in their concentration camp barracks. Hm, that sounds like the glad game, I thought and immediately perked up. This could be fun!

Here is my list:

1. I am thankful for the flu because a sick Liberty is a cuddly Liberty (an extremely rare species, rumored to be mythical).
2. I am thankful for the insurance run-around because it helped to forge a new friendship with a lady named Julie. We laughed and discussed our children and politics while we waited for her crashing computer to process our insurance request. Odd as it sounds, we really did become friends during that time. She did some major encouraging of me over the phone while we discussed our children, and I am so glad.
3. I am thankful for the ants visiting our apartment because it forces me to vacuum every night. Thus, ensuring that my carpet is REALLY clean. It’s a good feeling. I am also thankful for the ants because they introduced me to one of our maintenance men, Johnny, who has turned out to be a really wonderful and impressive guy.
4. I am thankful that I had to clean up the flu-induced messes because it means that I am actually HOME to clean them up, which means that I am with my girls!

Yay for me! :-)