Friday, January 13, 2012

All Things New

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!"

Isaiah 43:18-19a

Happy New Year! I hope to be able to blog more in 2012, but so many new things are keeping me busy that I rarely have a spare moment at the computer. There's the new baby, of course, who has been keeping hands occupied for three sweet months now. And Don starting a new job meant more transitions for our family. Since he can set his own hours, he has been leaving home extra early in order to beat the rush hour traffic. The trade-off for his pre-dawn disappearance is that we get to spend time with him in the afternoon. Of course, now that he is working outside the home and I have errands and children's activities to get to, we also needed a second vehicle.

For a few weeks, we pondered the many options: an expensive new commuter car, a cheap old car that may break down, a bigger family vehicle so that Don could take the van (which we own), buying him a truck that could also be used for trash-hauling and hunting trips, leasing something, and so on. Meanwhile, our dear friends were also in the process of preparing for a new job. Jared's new position as a youth pastor at a church in Kansas meant that he and Laura would be moving halfway across the country, and they didn't want to drive both of their vehicles out there, so they planned to sell their Chrystler Sebring convertible. Though we didn't know much about the car, it seemed like a clear sign to us that we should buy from our friends who needed to sell - the transaction would benefit both of our families as the husbands started their new jobs. As it turned out, Jared and Laura needed to use the car up until a certain Friday, and the very first day that Don needed to drive to work was the following Monday - AND we were already going to Jared and Laura's house for their going-away party that very weekend! As if that wasn't enough, we expressed interest in buying the car before we knew how much it was worth. Meanwhile, Jared had prayerfully set the price tag at $2000. Ever since Don and I paid off our van, we have been setting a certain amount of money aside each month in an ING account called "New Car Savings." In December, we had over $1900 in the account, and on January 1st, the total would have topped $2000! I love when God works things out right to the last penny to answer our prayers. And even though it's not a brand new pickup truck or gas-saving hybrid supercar, Don is actually enjoying his new vehicle. My cold-hating husband was even caught driving home from work with the top down on a 50 degree December day!

There have been changes at home, too. Now that we no longer need to use one bedroom as an office, our growing family can fill our three bedrooms instead of cramming into two. While in the process of changing the office to a girls' room, we ripped out the nasty old carpet and had new carpet installed. The night before it arrived, when excess furniture and miscellaneous stuff was cluttering every room in order to leave the office completely empty, my husband (after chatting with his mother) suggested an even better idea: the newly carpeted room could be our room. The girls could have the boys' room. And the boys, and all of their toys, could have the oversize room we've been using as a master bedroom/nursery. We just hit the three year mark in this house (twice as long as we've lived anywhere else!), so it was fun (though temporarily chaotic) to change things up a bit. We are all very happy with the new set up, so when I get a chance, I'll share some pictures. I also got, after a long wait for the rescheduled delivery and a few frustrating phone calls, a brand new front loading washer. It may seem silly, but after having a very basic washing machine for five years, I am so excited about all the different cycles! It is especially nice for washing diapers. Instead of running up and down the basement stairs three times to prewash, wash, and rinse, I can just set a long sanitize cycle and forget about it until everything is clean. What a blessing!

The household rearranging was completed just in time to start our new school year this week. Since we started First Grade last January and finished in November after schooling straight through the summer, it is time to move on to second grade. I am excited about using the My Father's World Adventures curriculum since we have had such good experiences with their Kindergarten and First Grade programs. This year we will be learning about the 50 states, American history, and the names of Jesus related to our science studies. We're looking forward to a great year! In addition to homeschool, visits with grandparents, and continuing to get together with friends for Lego building time, we will also be making weekly trips to the gym. Hayden had his first gymnastics class last week and loves it already! His gymnast Daddy is thrilled, of course, and Lydia can't wait until she is big enough to join a class too!

Don and I are keeping up our own physical fitness with a brand new workout program called P90X2. Beachbody's P90X extreme fitness program is well known for yielding great results, so we hope that this sequel will do the same. Don has done P90X a few times, and I completed it myself at the end of 2010 (one of the reasons I wasn't blogging then - it's very time consuming!). It is difficult to squeeze in hour-long workouts with a new baby and three loud children who alternate between wanting to join the workout and sabotaging it with their demands ("Can I please have one raisin?"), but I love the results of a challenging exercise program. Don also wanted to follow the diet program, so I have been carefully meal planning and calorie counting for him. (Since I'm nursing and don't need to lose weight, I am not worried about the number of calories I eat, but I am trying to avoid the pile of Christmas candy in the cupboard!) And between buying new workout programs and Don and I both drinking Beachbody's Shakeology® daily, I concluded that it was worth signing up to be an Independent Team Beachbody Coach, both to get a discount ourselves, and to be able to share these products with others. We were already telling people how much we love certain products, and now we can send them to my Beachbody site to learn more about the workout programs, nutritional supplements, and online tools that Beachbody offers.

Finally, I had been thinking and praying about finding a group of other women with whom I could meet for prayer, encouragement, and accountability, when the Lord graciously introduced me to Good Morning Girls. Since Good Morning Girls is a form of online accountability for having daily quiet time, it is perfect for moms like me who may not be able to get to Bible studies and prayer groups outside of the home. A group of my local young mom friends and I have committed to hold each other accountable to grow daily with God, and we'll be emailing each other every weekday to encourage one another and share what we are learning. I am looking forward to getting to know these wonderful ladies better, and to see how God will use our group for His glory! I will also be participating in the free Ephesians Bible Study offered by Good Morning Girls. If you don't already have a daily time set aside with God, I encourage you carve out a few minutes of your day, join me in this study, and invite others to hold you accountable. I know God will bless us for being faithful to Him!

And lest you start to suspect that I am some kind of wondermom, able to embark on a myriad of new adventures without batting an eye, you should know that there is a basket of clean laundry that has been sitting in my bedroom for so long that the boys have been shopping for clean clothes in there every morning. There are piles of clutter resulting from the bedroom switcheroo (and ensuring closet switcheroo) that are driving me crazy, and I haven't baked bread (which I used to do weekly) for a year. I can't do it all, but I can do that which God has given me for this season with His help and His grace, and I am so thankful for the many new blessings and opportunities He has already given me this year. By His strength, I am excited to dive into 2012!

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