Goodbye to This Blog

This Here By the Water blog has been a great place for me to share about our family and keep our friends and extended family updated. After much contemplating, I have decided to begin updating on a different site. This blog was my thoughts from a particular time and place, and now it is time for something new. I will keep the posts here for awhile (and probably print them into a family photo album of sorts), but I will no longer be posting here. If you’d like to keep reading about our lives, you can follow our new blog: Coleman Creek Folks at https://colemancreekfolks.wordpress.com/. Be sure to click “follow” at the bottom of the site, if you’d like to keep getting e-mail notifications of new posts. Thanks for loving our family and encouraging us in the journey of life.

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Big Stuff is Happening

Oh my. This Fall has felt heavy with decisions to make and new ventures to plan. It has been busy, but busy is really not the right word to describe it all. It’s the meaning and weight behind it all that has made it feel all-encompassing. And, truly, it is only good and exciting stuff! No tragedy or trauma. And woven throughout it all, our daily lives have been quite sweet and almost…normal. Still, I had a hard time finding the energy to bring our stories to this space. I hope to regain momentum for this in the coming weeks, as our lives begin their drastic change. Documenting the change and sharing our experience with loved ones seems like it will be a comforting practice during this time. But, no more dancing around it all, here’s what’s been brewing…

  • I have been dedicating a good chunk of time to launching my business: Sweet Water Offering. I have been seeing many bodywork clients, as well as a few health coaching clients. I even taught a local class this Fall – a series on taking processed sugar out of your diet. It was a new challenge, but one I’ve found fun and invigorating. I’ve also been working on my website and strategizing for an online presence with my friend and business partner Katie Palmer. Here’s our site, if you haven’t seen it, yet: http://sweetwateroffering.com/.
  • We’ve been adjusting to TWO kids in school. They’ve both had a great year, but it’s been a new form of juggling for us to keep their school routines on track and organized and to make time for hearing about their experiences and helping them cope with new struggles (like organization at school and interpersonal situations). So far, I actually really enjoy having school-aged children, but it is a different experience than being a mom to littles. Also, Simeon has been adjusting to being an only child for 7 hours each day. He doesn’t like it very much. He likes having other kids around and usually goes in search of friends in out building!
  • Josh and I did a very intensive “anti-racism training” this Fall. It was a great experience that will surely effect our future approach to life and community. We were given a lot to think about and take to heart, as well as the opportunity to move forward in new ways.
  • Finally, most of our energy the Fall was directed toward our hopes of starting a new Christian community in Little Rock, Arkansas. We are covenant members of Reba Place here in Evanston, which means that we share our money and decision-making in common with our community. We committed to be here “until God calls us elsewhere,” with the understanding that we felt called to start a community someday. Well, “someday” is here! And, we have discerned a plan and received an unfathomable gift of support and sending in a unanimous vote from the 50 or so other covenant members. A large part of that discernment was deciding to buy a house in Little Rock that seems right for hospitality and is in the neighborhood we selected through prayer and conversation and meeting neighbors and walking around. Our community here is helping us to make this happen in a unique and creative way – just the sort of thing they are best at. And we are deeply grateful.
  • SO, recent weeks have been spent making an offer on a house, making plans for renovations, and setting up a transition plan for our family over the coming months. We plan to move at the end of January. There are a million other things I could say about the process and the unknowns and the hopes and the dreams and the people who are dreaming with us. But, this is enough for now.

Really, it all just feel so epic I have a hard time putting it into words: a new business doing things that I love, a chance to live near my family again for the first time since summer breaks in college, a location to call home, the promise of new community and new manifestation of God’s work in the world. The sadness and brokenness of the world swirls around us constantly, and I know it is bigger than I can fathom. Still, I feel a peace that we are walking on the path God has laid before us. And, in this moment, I feel excited about offering the simple gifts we have to others. Please pray for our family during this time. We know that excitement will give way to long days and lost routine and hard work and missing friends and wishing for familiar things. Recently, Jedidiah said that he wished he had more real adventure in his life. So, we’re all trying to look at this as a real adventure. Pray that we would be able to remember that perspective on the hard days.

 

And one more epic thing…I got my long hair cut off!Photo on 2014-10-16 at 07.59 #3

Little Rock, Roller Skates, Antibiotics, and More…

I have mentioned before that our family is now considering a move to Little Rock, Arkansas. We have felt a call for many years now to start an intentional, Christian community. We’ve spent five and a half years as a part of a Christian community here in the Chicago area. We have learned a grown and hoped and dreamed and waited and been disappointed, but we still fell like this is the calling. For many reasons, Little Rock seems like a good place for us.

We spent last week meeting with people who might be interested in joining up or in supporting us in some way. We had great meetings, despite that I got sick enough to have to take antibiotics (boo!!). God was kind to me in so many ways – sickness can make me more spiritually aware, it helps me to stay present in the moment, and it reminds me of my priorities. Also, I was able to feel strong enough and clear-headed enough to participate fully in all of the meetings we had scheduled. We also toured some homes and neighborhoods. We feel really good about this possibility, but we are still waiting on a few pieces of further confirmation, namely a job for Josh and partners to begin community with us. We will meet with a potential partner and with our discernment team after Easter.

In the the mean time, it is a full week at our house. Tonight, we will celebrate Passover and Maundy Thursday with a special family service. Tomorrow morning, we will have a birthday bash for Lilia with her little friends. Saturday, we will meet up with Josh’s aunt, uncle, and cousin who are in town for Passover, AND we will celebrate Josh’s 35th birthday. THEN, we’ll have Easter celebrating on Sunday, including a big meal with friends!

Thanks to my wonderful mother, we already did some celebrating of our big FIVE year old…

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She got a scooter from Gramma & Grampa (which resulted in a secret happy dance in the corner), as well as these fun roller skates from her Memaw (and all the matching gear from Nana). Watch out – the girl is on wheels!

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Lent

Wild Vine

We are making a big deal out of Lent in our home this year. We’ve wanted to do more in the past, but we haven’t really made it happen before. And still, this year, it is more Josh and I who are taking on some new practices. Yet, we are reading verses with the kids and discussing Lent more with the children. We are also attempting to eat few sweets as a family, in addition to a more intense cleanse that Josh and I are doing. There are several levels to our participation in Lent this year…

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First, there is the physical level. We are taking part in an intense Candida cleanse, that includes eliminating corn, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, vinegar, processed meats, caffeine, most fruits, and fermented foods from our diets. It also includes some detox and antifungal supplements, as well as probiotics. As much as that probably sounds like an excruciating undertaking, it’s actually been really fun! I put out a call on facebook for others to join us, and they did! It’s been a far greater group of folks than I ever expected – encouraging one another, posting new recipe ideas, asking tons of questions, and even answering questions I didn’t know how to address. So far (we are two weeks in), it’s been an amazing experience. And, people are seeing real results in weight loss, energy level, digestion, and more. I love this kind of stuff, and during Lent I’m searching and praying about how this sort of thing might fit into my future career.

Lilia eating her healthy food - half an avocado, strawberry smoothie, and egg made in the piggy pan.

Lilia eating her healthy food – half an avocado, strawberry smoothie, and egg made in the piggy pan.

Wheat and dairy free lasagna!

Wheat and dairy free lasagna!

Second, I have been taking in more spiritual food over Lent. I’ve been reading the daily devotionals at http://sortacrunchy.typepad.com/. The focus is on servanthood, which is a great topic for me as a mother of three. I have also been getting up early many mornings to pray and read the Common Prayer Book for Ordinary Radicals. Also, as a community and as a family, we have verses to focus on for each week of Lent.

Third, Josh and I are coming to God daily with the question about our future and about the possibility of Little Rock, Arkansas as a place for our family to help begin a Christian community. We lift this up to the Lord daily, pray together many days, and take time to share our insights and thoughts. We have decided to take another trip to Little Rock over spring break in April, as an opportunity to get to know the place and people better. This seems fitting, as it will be toward the end of Lent. We would love to have you praying with us about this big decision. We know that I move would not be easy, but we are ready to be faithful to God’s call and to give back from the wisdom and maturity that we have gained from living in Christian community here.

Also, I am liking the image of “pruning” this year. I am taking on less additional responsibilities and saying no to little things in my ay that feel stressful. In this way, I am making room to hear God. Finally, I am hoping to begin some hand work projects – perhaps crochet or sewing patches in the knees of Jedidiah’s pants. I am hopeful that some quiet work with my hands will help me to be still, to listen, and to pray.