Saturday, August 30, 2014


You know how, right before you have a baby, you start going through a crazy nesting phase?  You work like a maniac organizing the Tupperware cabinet or pairing all the mis-matched socks in the house, wash all your grubby oven mitts, and clean the bathtub grout with a toothbrush.  Or some variation of all those things?

I'm doing that lately, in the hopes that if I get my act completely together before we start school again Tuesday, it will all feel very relaxed and productive and not at all overwhelming.  (All the while recognizing that even if I succeed in getting everything "ready," it will not be calm or easy, and it will be overwhelming.)

I know in my head that being perfectly together is a myth, especially in my life, and really especially right now.  Our last launch gathering for our church plant is this Sunday, and beginning next weekend we will be in our actual meeting space.  Our official grand opening is the 21st, but the first couple weekends in September we'll be doing run-throughs of the load in & load out, and of the service itself.  It's all exciting and a little terrifying, and the to-do list keeps growing.  Add homeschooling, daily life as a family, and the start-up of some outside activities again, and I think having things together at home will help!  And have I mentioned that I'm about to have a two-year old?  Who's all over the place and throwing tantrums and learning how to take off all her clothes?

Clearly this is a girl with brothers.

I have a sweet friend who's also a pastor's wife and homeschooling mom of four, and she emailed me asking for advice in juggling all of it.  I haven't emailed back, because I can't for the life of me figure it out, myself!

I am a little overwhelmed by it all, but that's my habitual response, and I'm trying to overcome that by telling myself to "Do the next thing," in honor of Elisabeth Elliot, and quit worrying about how I feel.  Chocolate helps, too.

 In other news, we went to the North Idaho Fair & Rodeo last weekend, and it was FUN!  I took all four kids by myself, because Pace was out of town speaking, and the only reason I even attempted it was mom guilt.  I'm glad I did, though, because we had a blast.  We met up with my sister's family and our friends, the Murphrees, and it was zany with all our kids, but a memory I'm glad we made.

The boys took about 27 photos of chickens with my phone.  Poor Caiden cried after visiting the chickens (twice) in their barn.  He misses his birds so, so much.

But he did get pretty happy playing Bingo!  We had so much fun playing it that I ordered him a game set complete with the metal cage that spins the Bingo balls, for his birthday. He and I are fellow game-lovers.

The best part of the night, though, was as we were leaving and the kids stopped at the dance tent.  Addie loves to dance, so somehow she cajoled Grayson into dancing with her.  I have a video, and he looks mortified the entire time and danced sort of like an embarrassed robot.  It was awesome.  I'm still giggling as I think about it!

But when Sarah Grace started dancing, I couldn't get my boys off the floor!  They loved dancing with her, and I took about a million pictures and videos.  They are such good big brothers.

One last-ish trip to one of our local lakes before the official end of summer.  Honeysuckle Beach is one of the kids' favorites, and some friends of ours took Addie with them.  Here she and their daughter, Adi, are jumping off.  Look at Addie's feet; she looks like she's walking on water!  We laughed because she's nearly a year older than Adi but is dwarfed by her (and everybody else)!

This is a photo from our back-to-school scavenger hunt yesterday.  We were on Tubbs Hill, a beautiful hiking hill that's smack in the middle of downtown!  We walked here from the library and playground, and watched kids jump off these rocks into the lake.  The hill behind us is covered in pines, and the lake is a beautiful shade of greenish blue this time of year, and it was so beautiful.  Tubbs Hill is one of my very favorite places in our town.
 I'm off to bed.  Tomorrow is Caiden's birthday, and I need a good night's sleep before I can really contemplate the fact that my firstborn is already a teenager.  Weep.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Caiden's (First) Triathlon

Caiden has been swimming on our community center's "Squid Squad" all summer.  It's a recreational swim team that has the discipline of swimming on a swim team but not the cost or rigorous schedule. I thought it would be a fun alternative to swim lessons, to reinforce his strokes.  He wasn't sure about it at first but ended up really loving it!  His squad practiced three mornings a week all summer long and had their final meet a few days ago.  He finished 2nd in the freestyle but 1st in the backstroke, a place better than the last meet in July, so he was really pleased.  What we discovered is that he should've swam the long-distance event--he can swim a mile without stopping!  That's 70 lengths of our pool!  He's not super fast, but he is really, really steady.

So a couple of weeks ago I saw that this year's local triathlon would include a kids' version and asked Caiden if he'd like to try it.  He ran with me a couple times last week to see what he thought and decided to go for it.  So Saturday we took the kids down to the city park/beachfront area to watch him compete.

Here he is, after getting his bike and running gear all set up in the transition area.  A volunteer wrote his age on his calf, and he thought that was awesome.  (He's still sporting it faintly, swearing it won't wash off in the shower, but I think he hasn't tried scrubbing very hard.)

Hanging out with some parents on the beachfront before the littlest ones, ages 5-6, started their race.  They were adorable.  (I realized Sarah Grace will be eligible for this in just four summers, and that's crazy.)

Caiden with the other 11-12 year olds.  Pace and I laughed at the size discrepancy--the boy to his left in this photo is also 12, and he's tiny!  The girl to his right is 11, and she's TALL.  Caiden is nearly 5'5", so that tells you how tall she is for her age.  Ironically, that boy and that girl tied for first!

 This is what Sarah Grace did during the entire race.

 My favorite photo of the day is this one.  Grayson made us all signs to cheer Caiden on during the run portion.  Running is not his favorite, and he perked up when he passed us, waving Grayson's signs.  I love how much Grayson loves his brother.

After the race, medal on!  He was so hot and tired, but super proud he finished.  We were, too!  He got a shirt, swim cap with "Coeur d'Alene Triathlon" on it, and his race bib and medal.  I told him I think the best part of running races is the fun swag bag, and I think he agreed!

Later that afternoon, he crashed on the couch, complete with ridiculous sleep mask.  In 30 hours he'd gone to swim practice, had a swim meet, and ran a kids' triathlon.  Nap well-earned!

I love that we live somewhere that has so many beautiful races and opportunities for outdoor activities!  I'm trying to talk Caiden and Pace into running a 10k this fall with me, at another local lake.  Neither one has committed yet, so we'll see. Maybe if the shirts are really cool, I can at least get Caiden to join ;)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


I figured out how to upload photos from my phone and wanted to post some from our recent adventures.  I don't want to forget our first year here!  Here's what we've been up to, in no order whatsoever:

This is our amazing Centennial Trail, a very long and well-paved bike path that runs through a couple (or more?) states.  It links up right outside my parents' house here, about 1 1/2 miles from our house.  Caiden rides it to the Kroc, our community center, for Squid Squad practice a few times a week.  We can ride it all the way to downtown and the city beach!

It's so pretty here.  I love living in the mountains!

This is at one of many, many beaches close by.  Sarah Grace has discovered sand, and she's pretty happy just digging while her siblings swim.

This is another lake, one of my very favorite spots here.  This little swimming hole is completely dry until the rains in May and June, and it's the only spot in this particular lake that ever gets warm enough to swim in without a wetsuit.  That's hard for my brain to get around, after 20 years in the south!  But the lake itself is over 1100 feet deep, the 5th deepest in the US, and as it's also situated only an hour south of Canada, that explains why it stays so cold!

My adorable nephew.  He and Addie are the same age, so he and she and Grayson are good buddies!

My bookends, snuggling on the couch.

The Ironman is held here each June, and Pace was a volunteer for it.  We rode our bikes down to the race headquarters to pick up his volunteer packet the day before the triathlon and were blown away by the athletes!  It was incredible to watch it.

This is my girls with our new friends' girls.  A couple from another region in Texas heard about our church plant, came up in July to check it all out, and after much prayer, decided to join us!  Their older daughter is named Adi and is my Addie's age, and they hit it off!  They move here next weekend, and we are all so excited to have them be here!  My car was FULL of kids the entire week they were here, and it was loud and hilarious and so fun!!

My beautiful sister, Leslie, with "our" newest baby, Hallie!  Hallie was born the end of May, and I've already told Sarah Grace that this is her best friend.  She's starting to get baby rolls, and we all adore her.

At the 4th of July parade--it was seriously like being transported to the 1950s.  Small town Americana at its finest.  Our friends from Texas were here, as well as my parents, and our total group staked our seats for 21 at the parade!  This is a typical expression of Sarah Grace, who has turned out to be a WILD CHILD.

Caiden has fallen in love with swimming.  I've fallen in love with having a middle schooler, especially his adorable dimples and the fact that he's only an inch or so shorter than I am.  I think I'm going to like having sons taller than me!

Another lake!  My parents found this one, and we took my mom last week before she and Dad left to head back to Texas for the fall.  This lake was actually relatively warm, a nice change from most of the others here.  Swimming surrounded by mountains and pine forests makes me HAPPY!

Summer here has been incredible.  Lakes, fishing (the boys, not me), reading great books, visiting with the neighbors until late, making s'mores at my sister's firepit.  We've had huckleberry milkshakes and watched fireworks with our neighborhood, ridden bikes by the river to breakfast, swam a ton, and hardly sweated!  (This thrills me, because I am a grumpy hot person.)  It's hard to believe all this beauty will be covered by snow in just a few months, but this city gets around 70" snow each year, so we're soaking up our outside weather as long as possible!  Summer is flying by too fast, and I intend to make the next 3 1/2 weeks count!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Settling In

It is nearly six months since we moved, and I'm finally finding our rhythm.  We are settled, have made some friends, and can find our way around town without the GPS (mostly).  Waking up to a mountain view still makes me catch my breath, but no longer out of surprise.  The first couple months we felt like we were on an extended vacation to the mountains, but now it feels like home.  It even feels normal to have the nights be cool enough for jeans and a hoodie, in summer.  I love it here.

I'm now neck-deep in school planning, and I have high hopes for this school year.  The last two have been so hard; a baby born six weeks into one, and a husband who quit his job six weeks into the next.  Octobers have become months of change for us!  I'm praying this one is just, October.  To be honest, I'm nervous at the thought of homeschooling three while caring for a very busy toddler and starting up again just two weeks before our church launches its Sunday services.  But anybody who homeschools knows the truth:  life is never neatly tied into a 180-day package, and there are surprises and upheavals to deal with every school year.  My hope is that a lot of planning now, including meal plans and chore lists, plus alerting all my loved ones that my phone will be off during our school day, will help me keep up with the discipline.  I'm trying a new history plan, but everything else is the same, and that helps.

This summer has been amazing:  my parents arrived in late May, just days before my sister had her baby.  We've had other friends and family come up for visits, and in between all the visiting, we've had launch gatherings at our house for our church, area-wide events to bless our community, and as much time exploring the lakes and rivers around here as possible.  My husband and our kids spotted a moose one day while taking friends out on the boat, and I continue to ask myself, "Where on earth do we live, that we see moose!"  Caiden joined a swim team, and we ride our bikes to breakfast and to the Ironman and to the pool. We chat outside with our neighbors while watering flowers and pet each other's dogs and eat popsicles.  It's as different a life as one can imagine from the one we lived lately in Texas.  There are of course challenges to moving cross-country as a family of six and also of course in planting a church from scratch, but we are very, very happy.   We feel "right" here, and as scary as this place could feel, it doesn't.  Planting a church is not without huge financial risks, but God has been magnificent along this journey, and I have a strong confidence that He will continue to carry us.

I wanted to include photos, but I'm having computer issues--it won't upload photos from my phone, and I haven't really checked into why just yet.  But I'll work on that as I'm able.  I really just wanted to stop in and say hi, and thank you for your kind comments, and for checking in on us.  :)


Sunday, March 16, 2014

I Had a Good Reason

for not writing for nearly a year.  A week after I last wrote something here, my husband and I started talking seriously about doing something really, really big.  There was so much to talk about and consider, and at the same time I was homeschooling three kids with a baby on my hip (constantly) and trying to keep up with our fun but very high-maintenance house and land.  So every night I fell into bed exhausted physically and even more so mentally, and so now here I am, nearly a year later, finally ready to say hi and reveal what we've been up to!  (Thank you to those of you who've left comments or emailed to check on me!)

In a nutshell, after much prayer and many, many months of taking long walks together down our beautiful country lanes talking it over, my husband and I decided to take a gigantic leap of faith:  Pace gave up his position at our church, so that we could move to North Idaho to start a church on our own.  We'd been at our church and in Texas over 15 years; all my friends and most of my closest family lived there, and Pace was in a very good, very secure position.  It was so hard to consider the reality of stepping back from all of that, in order to take on something so fragile and uncertain.  

This is us about when we started considering our big move, April 2013
But he went ahead and stepped down once God tapped him on the shoulder, and then we spent the next several months holding our breath and hoping our house would sell.  In a move only God could orchestrate, the day after New Year's we got three offers at once, and were able to sell for full price--this, after sitting on the market for over 6 months without a second showing!!  I hated to turn loose of our wonderful house, but in reality it had become so much work the last couple years, and with Pace so busy and everything I was juggling, the burden outwore the blessing for me.  I'm so glad, because it was hard enough to tell it goodbye.

We pulled out of Texas in late February, after hugging too many friends and family goodbye, and my poor kids' hearts were absolutely broken.  But we knew this is the path God has been leading us on, and He has soothed sad hearts so much in the last few weeks.  My sister and her family moved to the same town we're in (Coeur d'Alene) three years ago, and they and their friends helped us move in, fed us, invited us over, gave us snow clothes, and some are stepping up to start our church with us.  We miss our Texas relationships, but Facetime and letter-writing weekly have helped some. (Although I can't even express how much I miss my dear Bridget.  I just try to avoid thinking about it for now.)  It has also helped that our first week here, we got about 16 inches of snow! Talk about a fun distraction!  The kids played, sledded, built snow forts, threw snowballs, and spent more time outside in 25 degrees than I could believe.

This is one of the views of our little city--so pretty!!

Now we're settled in mostly, and it is starting to feel like home in a lot of ways.  I still can't get over the fact that I've finally moved back to the mountains, after three decades away, and that pine trees surround us everywhere!  It is beautiful here, and there are these little coffee drive-thru stands on nearly every major corner, and when the sun shines I think I've moved to paradise!  We had our first vision gathering this week, with the people who've already stood up to help us start, and I am excited to see months (years, really--this has been on Pace's heart for so long) of dreaming and praying and hoping start to materialize.

All that, and my baby is nearly a year and a half old (HOW???) and is so wonderful, and Caiden will become a teenager this summer (HOW???), and our homeschooling continues on, changing as my kids grow but still one of my absolutely favorite things about being the mom.  I grew my hair out long and then cut a bunch off and want to grow it out again.  I turned 38 and can't figure out how my age continues to get older, when I still feel like I'm barely older than a teenager, and Pace turned 40 and doesn't even hide his dismay, which makes me laugh!  Life has changed radically for us in the last year.  It makes me wonder what life will look like in another year, if I wait that long to write again.  I can't imagine!  But God has held us so faithfully these last 11 months, and I'm confident in Him.  He is good, so good.  xxoo

(If you're wanting to keep up with us as a church plant, you can find us on Facebook & Instagram:  One Place Church.  We also have a newly-developed website,