Thursday, April 29, 2010

Raw Emotions

My emotions seem to be running rampant these days. One of Sis's neighbors came down to the sale today and wanted to talk to her. I had to walk out, or I would have cried. I'm still heartbroken about this move, but hopefully its not permanent.

I need to get some guidelines set with the dissolution. I need to find the papers to print out tonight. I just want to get it done. I also need to figure out the whole "stopping by to see the kids" thing. He wants to rent the garage from me since he has nowhere else to put his tools and such, and will also keep the yard mowed in exchange. So I'm thinking the girls can go out there to say hi. I'm just not sure I want him coming IN here every night to see them. Its just weird.

And then there's some other things going on. I'm trying really hard to keep my eyes and ears open to the path I'm supposed to take. Its really not so clear at all yet. I wish I knew. I dont want to be impatient, but its hard. I'm just so ready to start new and experience life in ways I havent for a long time.

I hate that I'm so emotional.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Time for Change

I've been avoiding posting about this for awhile now, but I guess its time to get it out. I'm going to need a place to vent and get things off my chest, so I might as well start now. I haven't yet because once its on here, its there for the world to see.

For several weeks before the trip, Mike and I have been talking about splitting up. Its definately not an easy decision, but we both think its for the best. We cant get along. We fight all the time. Neither of us is happy, and that doesnt make for a good environment to raise the girls. We decided it would be best for him to stay here until I got back from the trip so the girls could stay here and not have to be shuffled around. But now he's moved out. I mean, he hasnt been sleeping here for several weeks, so I guess its not all that different, but still...

We've been getting along pretty well in regards to how we'll split things up, who gets the girls when (I get custody...that I wont budge on), child support, etc. He said he'd help me get the house finished up and make sure I get to keep it. It would be nice if we can get this finished up and not have to drag it all out.

I feel happy. I know thats not really the right thing to say in this situation, but I feel a sense of peace, or maybe relief? Its just not been a smooth or happy ride a lot of the time. I know its not going to be easy. In fact, I figure its going to be quite hard a lot of the time. But I've turned things over to God, and I feel he is guiding me in the direction I need to go. He knows the job I need is out there, and I'll see it when I'm supposed to. (I have a clue on this one...just have to wait for now...)

I still have some things about me to sort out. I have some mixed feelings and emotions that I'm not sure what to do about. Most are not about the impending ending of my marriage. I've had some things come up in my life, and I'm not sure yet what they mean or why they're there. I know I'll know eventually, but it would be nice to know now. :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Louisiana, Take 2

I'm home.

Last year I went on my first mission trip. It was to New Orleans, to rebuild after Katrina. It was the first time I actually felt "called" to do something. (Maybe it was because I had finally decided to start listening.) I was amazed at how much destruction was still there...how many houses with the marks by the doors, the blue tarps on the roofs, the crumbling brick...

I had an amazing time. We took 8 people from our church, and it was one of the best experiences I had had. It was a chance to do God's work, to get to know the people from church in a different light, and just really have a good time.

And then this year came around. I had no doubt that if another trip was planned, I'd be going. Its just not possible to describe the way it makes you feel to do this for someone else. Someone who has it so much worse than you. It changes you.

This year we worked on a house (actually a house built around a trailer) that belonged to an 82 year old lady in Houma, LA. What a sweet thing she was. We tore out a floor, to the point we were standing on the ground to get around. We replaced floors, built new walls, widened all the doorways in anticipation of her being wheelchair bound in the near future, added ramps, put up a clothesline, rerouted plumbing and arranged a bathroom, fixed wiring and packed a HUGE dumpster with debris they had piled in the back yard. It was a dramatic change when we left this year. (There was also some work done on a neighboring house---replacing part of a bathroom ceiling, bracing an air conditioner, and fixing a sewage leak under the house. The 2 guys who did that will never be the same!!!)

On Tuesday a neighboring church hosted the volunteers from our camp for dinner. This is a tiny church, and the congregation brought in pot luck for us. There was so much food and so much to choose from. Plus a whole dessert table. During dinner we found out they've been doing this EVERY WEEK since Katrina. And they wont take any payment for it. When dinner was over we all went back into the sanctuary. Their congregation circled the volunteers and prayed for us and what we're doing for them down there. I have never witnessed a greater outpouring of God's love in my life. There is no possible way to describe it to someone who hasn't experienced it. It still brings tears to my eyes to think about it.
(A funny note about this night---one of the volunteers from our church was sitting in front of us...a member of their congregation came up behind him, took her finger and squished a bug that had landed on the top of his head, picked it off, then went back to her seat like it was just another normal day. Got a great laugh out of those of us sitting behind him.)

And then there's the people. Where to even start with that??? We took 13 people this year, 8 of which were from our church. It was so much fun to get to know new people, and see people we already knew in a new light. As a matter of fact, I was a bit shocked at times. I think we scarred our church secretary for life...she's pretty quiet and shy, reserved, and I think has been pretty sheltered most of her life. So 6 of us (including her) decided to go into New Orleans one night and visit the French Quarter. We had beignets at the Cafe du Monde, then went walking. All was going pretty well, until we hit Bourbon Street. I'm not sure she knew what to do. I'm sure she's still reeling over that one. :)

I know I've also not experienced much of the world, and am a bit naive, but I thought it was interesting to see my first prostitute.

Then there was a former Swartzentruber amish, who has "jumped the fence" and is now mennonite. He was really quiet, and not sure what to think of us loud and crazy presbyterians. I think it caught him off guard as to how much the women knew and could do. Its just not in his culture. He loosened up throughout the week, and said we presbyterians knew how to have fun, and even started telling jokes. I just wonder what he went and told the people at his church today.

There was the quiet guy. Kinda did his own thing. So I had the chance to work with him one day and he started throwing out one liners, which caught me off guard. But he turned out to be quite funny.

There's one other person who I will comment on here who really made an impact on my life this week. He's gone to our church off and on for several years, but became a member earlier this year. The funny thing is, I didnt even know who he was when I first saw the list of people going. I had to ask. And I guess thats not as much funny as it is sad. I didnt ride in the same van as him most of the time, and it was probably Wednesday until I really had a chance to work with him at the house. At first I wasn't sure what to think...he came across as a bit arrogant. As time went on though, I dont really think thats the way he is. He taught me how to frame a doorway, and was patient as I made him climb in and out of a hole in the kitchen floor he was working on to help when I had a question. (On the second day though I told him things would go much faster if he'd show me what to do instead of doing it as he explained it, lol.) We hung out a bit more at camp, and I had a chance to get to know him a bit better. On the way home I was riding in the other van, but as drivers and co-pilots changed, I needed to move to "the dark side" van, as one of the guys in there put it. I ended up co-piloting with him driving. Thats when things got interesting. We started out just chatting, and ended up having a bit of a heartfelt conversation. He elaborated on a few things we had talked about during the week, and when I mentioned he hadn't told the whole story earlier, he said it was because he had to make sure he felt he could trust me first. That made me feel good. He was easy to talk to, and I was disappointed when our 4 hour shift in the front seats was over. I think I've made another good friend out of this.

There is SO much to get out of a mission trip. You can go and do the work for someone in need. If it stopped there, it would still be a great thing. But when you take in the culture, reach out to strangers, get to know new people and embrace new experiences, it really makes the whole thing so much more fulfilling. I learned a lot...not just about construction, but about myself, about people who are so different in backgrounds, religions, etc who can come together to do God's work. There were 3 other groups at camp this year, and we're the only ones who had our own little devotion/sharing time, hung out together, got along great all week and never had squabbles.

I've had a couple days to sit back and really think about this trip. I've thought about why God chose those particular people to send on a trip with me. I think (hope) I had an impact on someone's life this week. I can come up with specific reasons why certain people were there for me.

Everyone needs to experience a mission trip. You can't go and not come back changed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Help is on the Way

Or at least it will be tomorrow. A group of us are leaving tomorrow night, headed for Houma, Louisiana. We're going to help rebuild houses damaged or destroyed in hurricane Katrina. Last year was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had, and I hope this year proves to be the same. This year there are 15 of us going. I'm really looking forward to it.

When I get home it will be time to get the garden ready...and put the flower bed(s) in. Cant wait to get in the dirt! It was soooo nice to put the basketball hoop and furniture on the patio.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finally!

The workers came yesterday! I think they are finally done. The patio is poured, the yard is graded. We still need to put in window wells around a few basement windows, and plant grass seed, but the rest is done! Now I get to have some fun. I'm ready to start laying out flower beds and a garden. Yes, a garden. I have to look around and see where I want to put it. I think I have an idea, but I have to go check. I hope the excitement I have for this now lasts all season, and I keep up with it. I'm anticipating it saving me on grocery money...lots of fresh veggies, plus I'd like to make some spaghetti and pizza sauce, and maybe some salsa. I'd also like to can some green beans. Its all exciting now, but I know it will be lots of work. I've been doing so much better with my attitude and upkeep on the inside of the house, so I hope this will transfer to the outside as well.
Big changes in store soon, and I need to stay on top of things.

In kid news...this is one crazy week. Ali has decided to play soccer as well as softball this spring. So she has some kind of practice almost every night now. At least her soccer games will be on Saturdays, so that shouldnt interfere with softball. Livi is playing softball, and Brenna has volleyball camp all this week. She has a small league the next 2 weeks, just Weds and Fridays. I'm glad I decided to hold Maddy off one more year. I cant imagine if she was in t-ball as well right now. She'll definately play next year though.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Better Day

Things have been a bit rough the last few days, especially emotionally. Today was a better day. I got up feeling good and rested. Made a dessert for the luncheon at church. Went to church, then had the meeting/luncheon for the mission trip. I'm really excited now. We're meeting at the church Saturday night at 9pm, and leaving by 10. Should be a good time. (Now I just need to get things washed up and packed.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Times Change

I had a good cry today. I found out that Sis has decided to move to my dad's. Why would she do that? I have no clue. The last we knew it sounded like she was going to move in with my mom. But no. Grandma is here. The girls are here. We are here. Why is she going so far away??? The girls are going to be crushed...especially Maddy. I wish there was something we could do to change her mind. It really breaks my heart.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tid Bits

Ahhhhhh, sugar. I had given up sweets for Lent, and did really really well. (I had a cookie after I donated blood---my only indulgence.) So yesterday came (Easter), and well, I had some sugar. And then a little more. Like a couple PB eggs, some oreo pudding, white sheet cake, strawberry shortcake trifle, jelly beans....yeah. Not a lot of anything, but a little of lots of things. Lets just say I didnt handle it well. I crashed big time today. I napped yesterday. I couldnt keep my eyes open today. I was much better off when I gave up the sweets and was eating healthier. Its rough. So I put all the candy away today. If its not sitting out where I can walk past and grab a piece, I wont eat it.

Softball season is now upon us. Alexis is on the 13-14 year old team...mostly the same kids as last year. Same coach too, and we really like her. Olivia has her first practice tomorrow (I think) and is on the 7-8 year old team. Its coaches pitch. She also has the same coach as last year, which isnt quite as good as it is for Ali. Actually, the coach isnt so bad, but his daughter is really mouthy and bossy. Oh well. Livi just goes with the flow.

Brenna will start volleyball next week. One week of camp and 2 weeks of games. Thats always fun to watch.

I'm also trying to get things together for my mission trip. Really looking forward to that!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Light

Hopefully good things to report in the near future! :)