I have been going on vacation with Emily for 11 years now. Not always with extended family and certainly not with children for all of those trips but our travels together began with weekend getaways to Indianapolis & Chicago back in our good ole days at Taylor University.
We’ve been to Hilton Head, Florida, Northern Michigan, and Arizona, just to name a few. Last week we were in Southwest Michigan & there is something wonderful about going back to a place that you know. Ryan and I have stayed in that area of Michigan no less than five times and it makes being on vacation feel like home. Having two washers and dryers on the main floor of the beach house last week didn’t hurt that homey feeling either.
For the three days that we spent in the beach house last week, I felt like part of their clan. I always have in fact which is a rare gift. We ate meals together, let the kids run around, jumped off the pontoon boat & sat on the porch. There were dance parties and word games, ice cream trips and early morning coffee with little ones.
Within minutes of arriving, we were in the hammock and diving into life together. Talking about the really important things and giving context to where we are right here, right now. Home, embodied in a friendship.
It was just what I needed.
I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. We are at the front end of launching a new endeavor out of our church, something that will send Ryan and I into the sphere that we both feel most at home, the business world. To say that we have had one or more very important conversations most days isn’t a stretch and my mind needed the space of the beach and the car rides and the sunshine.
And time away with this little sunshine, who was just that.
I realized as I drove back into our driveway late Friday afternoon that I feel very at home in our new place. I can’t express how happy I am that we aren’t moving again anytime. With everything in life moving forward at warp speed, sometimes all you need is a little taste of home, in a friendship or in four walls, to ground you again.
Midnight last night marked a week since I was laying on the bathroom floor in pain and listening to Ryan’s instructions to get to the ER. Not your normal Tuesday evening. But we are past that and I’m so happy to say that I feel pretty much normal. It’s nothing short of amazing really that after you lay in a hospital bed all you want to do is sleep for four days. So I did. And after that, I was ready to get up and out.
So I did what any recovering individual would and I took a trip to Target. And Walmart because I like some good people watching every once in awhile. Since then we have walked to the park, to Eastown & even walked around the Festival of the Arts downtown. With relatively no pain. The fact that the body can heal itself so quickly is nothing short of amazing to me.
What surprised me during my recovery is that as I layed around and listened to Ryan play with Hannah & unload the dishwasher for the fifth time, I wasn’t stir crazy. I was content (and sleepy). I can’t remember EVER being inside that long. Even after Hannah was born we were out on a walk around the block a few days later. Here are pics for nostalgia’s sake (was Hannah really this little?!)
I know this is blurry but these flowers were part of my view see every time I stood by the sink this week. They are combination bouquet that Stacie brought from when Ryan was gone to the fresh roses she added once I got out of the hospital.
Little things like that along with afternoon visits from friends (frappucinos in tow), specially delivered meals and homemade cookies have proved to me again how cared for I feel when things like these happen. Of course we would always rather be on the giving than the recieving end but every once in awhile, it is good to remember that we aren’t alone.
I joked with Ryan that if we can either have a child or surgery once a year, we will have meals coming every spring! He didn’t find it too funny and in honesty, not hoping we have any surgeries in our future and not planning on a child each spring.
Now that we are back in gear, we have decided our moving date is tomorrow! One more sleeps in this ole house and on to the next. We have been spending zero time packing and instead, stacking things into piles that will be packed today. It’s our strategy and I like it.
Our thoughts are in Ann Arbor and my birthday is this Saturday so I’m scheming up ways to celebrate in our new town. The farmer’s market is on the list and we are so close that baby girl may just walk there the way she is taking steps these days! Signing off to get packing but thank you for all of the love and prayers as I recovered & as we go.
Next stop: Kerrytown!
In honor of Ryan’s departure for Turkey tonight, I am eating a lunch that reflects many we had during our time in Israel exactly two years ago.
Two years ago today, I was probably looking at this:
The only difference today is that my pita bread is from Meijer and not a fresh bakery. And I am eating it at my dining room table rather than while hiking. Either way, I am one part sad and two parts happy that Ryan gets to leave on a plane tonight to fly around the globe to another world. The sad is only because I think life is better when we are together but for the most part I am thrilled that he gets this opportunity, especially with our dear friend Brad.
Those two will likely look like this for much of the next two weeks:
You can follow his journey here. I printed that itinerary out and hung it in a place I walk past multiple times a day. I’m really thankful that we got the chance we did to travel together two years ago because it is giving me perspective into what his next two weeks might be like.
Life is funny isn’t it. It takes twists and turns, weaving itself in different ways than you might expect. Two years ago we were here:
Last year we were here:
And now Ryan will be here:
Makes me wonder where we will be next May. One of the most important things to me is that we don’t have any regrets in life. It was a hard decision for Ryan to go on this trip, at this time but I’m choosing to look at the next two weeks as an opportunity for both of us. On my end that means enjoying time with Katie & Hannah, road tripping to spend time with my very dear friend Emily & lots of time to think about our summer as a family. For Ryan, that means pitas and hikes, history and walking the text. Sounds good on both ends.Read More
Here I sit, with the world’s largest scone and my apple juice, just like I used to order in the early days of coffee shops when I worked in Holland &
lived at frequented JP’s. I’m in Grand Rapids though and not working outside of my four walls but somehow coming to coffee shops alone always makes me feel like myself.
My mind is running like a freight train this morning. Thoughts of today and taking my dear friend Katie to her unexpected surgery on a broken bone in her wrist. Kind of nervous and realizing that my mom emotions are on high for this one. I also met my dear friend Allison’s second baby boy on Friday and I am again convinced that new life is one of the most beautiful things in the world.
Preparing my mind and my heart for another big May. This is a mainstay, something that keeps pumping through my head when I come to this point every year. In 2010 we spent much of May in Israel, which if you are new around here, you can read my series of reflections on the old blog. In 2011 our May is a bit obvious. We had a baby.
Now comes 2012, a month that I knew would be full of transition due to the fact that we are moving to Ann Arbor for Ryan’s internship the first of June, something that I still haven’t written much about. Here is the short story: we thought we might go to San Francisco for the summer all fall. A few weeks before Christmas we met a pastor from Grace Ann Arbor, at an event in Detroit, go figure. The weekend before Christmas we stayed at a Red Roof Inn and spent some major time exploring the city. Two weekends later, Ryan & I went back without Hannah to do more of the same. Conversations happened, it felt a little bit like dating. Are we interested? Are they interested? Both parties wanted to move forward and in a very short and condensed version, we are headed to the other side of the state for the summer.
All of that said, we like to take advantage of opportunities over here and I am in the midst of a decision about May that is causing me to give myself a whole lot of “be brave” talks like the one I gave Hannah a few months ago. Ryan has the opportunity to travel to Turkey, something we have always wanted for him. It is almost fully covered by a scholarship and it is with our friend Brad, who we had the joy of traveling to Israel with. Bottom line, Brad is an awesome teacher and friend and there is no one else I would rather have Ryan go with.
But in the other corner are my wife emotions and family emotions. How will I do this whole parent thing by myself for 12 days? How can we make Hannah’s first birthday the dream celebration I hope it to be with Ryan gone on her birthday?
At the end of the day, Ryan has all of these emotions as well but I am realizing that 1) it is ok to have mixed emotions and make decisions that seem hard 2) we can still celebrate our hearts out all month, making our girl’s birthday month a proclamation of God’s goodness in our lives. It might just mean parties on different dates and creating plans that are different than I thought. It will be ok. In fact, I am choosing to believe it will be good.
I will end with this quote from a book I am devouring right now. I got it Saturday and I am almost done with it, convinced that the words are giving me perspective in this time.
Introducing Bloom by Kelle Hampton:
(visit her blog here)
I’m underlining like crazy, finding solace in some of her words and this is one section that is sticking with me right now.
“I wouldn’t say my glass is always half full. There are days when it’s cracked and leacking, days when it’s chipped and even shattered. But then I get the Krazy Glue out and fix it, and suddenly it’s half full again. Even though it it’s patched up in places, I’ve made it my own with the beveled edges and beautiful etchings that perspective brings.”
With that, happy Monday and cheers to a glass half full.Read More
We had the best time in Florida. We really did. I can’t say I didn’t question taking a baby across the country on an airplane to a church planting conference. I did. We asked the question and both knew the answer just as quickly was yes. If we were going, so was she. So there we were, with our 50+ lb bag, ready to burst at the seams with extra diapers and supplies in addition to the normal overpacking that I tend to do for just Ryan and I.
Disclaimer: It may seem like all I write about on this blog are the happy areas of our lives. And for the most part, I do try to keep it that way because even though I want to keep it real, I also want to write in light of the things that I want to remember the most. Yes there was some extra work involved in having a baby on vacation but I will save that for another post about what you do and don’t need when you travel with a baby. Including chocolate and coffee.
We found out on Friday that we were all three going to be able to attend a church planting conference & really wanted to make the most of this opportunity. Amazingly, Hannah & I joined in six of the eight sessions which meant she lived in the moby wrap and her carseat for about five days straight. It also meant that I got to be part of the conversation and process things with Ryan in real-time; something that hardly ever happens for us in this season. From 8:30-3:30 everyday we were involved in learning everything from styles to how to launch a church. It was really good stuff and it gave structure to a lot of things we already talk about. Even though it was mainly about the conference, we weren’t going to waste the free time we had. That would just be silly. On to the pictures; which tell the rest of the story:
window with a view. these two are quite the pair
so awesome that the extra seat in our row was free, a bonus for having a baby who sits up and can’t undo seatbelts yet
on the ground and in our hotel, thought this artwork looked like Chihuly
our little bug, hanging out on the big comfy bed
I really love this one of my girl & I, doing what we do best, just hanging out
family date night on the town in Winter Park, FL
so nice to eat dinner outside every night we were there!
what is cuter than a baby in a bathing suit? Seriously?
Moments like these make all of the work worth it. Hannah loved the pool & we had so much fun watching her enjoy it
happy girl. not a care in the world and loving life with her mama & papa.
Every now and then these things come along and take us by surprise. Two weeks ago we didn’t know we were going to Florida and now here I am, laying in bed typing after a snowy day back home. Isn’t life funny? Like I said, it was extra work bringing the babe but I kept thinking how much we miss out on life if we don’t want to do anything that takes a little extra work. It is always worth it. This week proved that to be true time and time again. I got so much out of being part of the event with Ryan and we made some irreplaceable memories as a trio. More to come.Read More