Ft. Collins, CO

…where there is no shortage of

  • people willing to tell you how much will love living here.
  • Subaru Outbacks/Forresters
  • dog owners
  • bikes
  • tatoos
  • school options (?)
  • places to get one’s hair cut
  • Tevas
  • liquor stores
  • churches
  • gorgeous mountain views
  • rain
  • Keens
  • sunshine (even when it rains)
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Gonna Make This Place Your Home

IMG_20140807_181619It has been two weeks since we pulled out of St. Louis and the house here is a representation of the greater state of our lives.  KB was just pointing out today that, “if you look in the den and kitchen it looks like we are all settled, but walk downstairs and there’s lots of work to do!” That’s how we feel about the bigger picture too. . . if you look at our ability to navigate Ft. Collins roads, it looks like we have lived here for ages, but peek at our understanding of the culture here and relationships . . .there’s lots of work to do!

First thing I did on the evening we arrived was move the blue hutch into its permanent spot. I just couldn’t rid myself of restlessness until it had found a home. Once it had a home I knew I was home.  Does that sound silly? Sentimental? Well, I guess I am just that: silly and sentimental.

As the sideline reads, “One can usually tell a lot about what is happening in our lives by the size and content of the stacks on our blue hutch.” I thought i would give you a verbal peak so you can infer what prayers you need to pray!

Stack #1: Plastic bin containing light bulbs, caulk, an allen wrench, Ziploc bags, and a coaster. (Just typing that makes me want to pause and put that stuff away – I can’t believe it has sat there for two weeks!) On top of said container is a stack of 8 magazines about Ft. Collins and the many things to do here. There is also a mailing envelope for a movie Bob Burns let us borrow MONTHS ago, a gorgeous frame wrapped in bubble wrap and waiting for a photo from Dianne Waldron, and a portable hard drive.  GOOD GRIEF.

Stack #2: A look and find fairy book that needs to put in KB’s room, a Llama Llama Red Pajama book that was supposed to be delivered to St. Louis before we left so I could leave it as a baby gift for Laura French, several notebooks laid there after church Sunday, a package of thank you notes needing to be written, bus paperwork for Little (ooh, I need to put that in her back pack right now), and my calendar. Behind this stack is a heap of dish towels and a Boogie Board.

Stack #3: Paperwork for our new license plates, homework folders for the two younger kids (they get Monday folders instead of the Friday folders at KDS), a Leappad Explorer with no batteries, five dray erase markers, and a teetering iPod speaker.

You know, when I type this out it seems ridiculous that these things are here and not put away and yet I seem paralyzed to dealing with them. Maybe they can wait a bit longer. As KB said there is plenty of other areas that need work. But another thing KB said as she fell asleep last week was, “This house doesn’t feel like home, Mom.  Can’t we pack up and just go back?” So, maybe I should get busy putting this house together and get this hutch cleared off so she can see it clearly.  Once she can see it I’ll explain that all is well because home is where the hutch is!

(That sounds so cute I might just tell her before I get the place cleaned up!!)

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Internet Access = Happy Me!

We just got access to the internet today and I am so happy.  I wrote a post in Word on Tuesday and now I can post it. . . of course, much has happened since then!

In 1998 I moved to Brisbane, Australia as a single woman eager for adventure and mocking this thing called culture shock. It took a few months but the novelty and “cuteness” of the cultural differences wore off (just like I had been told) and the tears started. I distinctly remember the effort it once took to go to the grocery store because the thought of the four rotating wheels on the “trolley”, a.k.a. buggy, a.k.a. shopping cart was too much for me to bear that day. As time passed I grew more accustom to the Aussie way of life and grew to appreciate the fact that the bank, grocery, and other “practical” businesses were all found in the mall! I saw the benefit of having off/on switches on the outlets. I adapted and Brisbane became home. So much home that when I returned to the USA I found it inconvenient to have to drive to multiple locations to run my errands, etc.

In 2002 I moved to St. Louis, MO as a newlywed eager for adventure and distinctly naïve of the cultural differences I would face in an American town just 8 hours away from home. After four months of trying to figure out the grocery stores, merge lanes, and sports teams, the tears started. This time there had been no preparation for the cultural differences . . . there had been no training. This experience was a real example of how the “shock” got into “culture shock” and the recovery time was exponentially longer. Still, years passed and I grew more accustom to the way of life. I grew to appreciate bagging my own groceries! I saw endless opportunities in such a family friendly city! I started using my horn at stop lights!! I adapted and St. Louis became home. So much home that when Honey told me we might move away, I found myself sobbing in my room.

Last week on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 I moved to Ft. Collins, CO as a wife and mother of three who was overwhelmed by the speed of the move, powerless to the timing of the move and drowning in endless details left uncertain. My brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces are here to help with cross-cultural training for a group of teachers headed to Asia and my sweet SIL has sent me a steady stream of precious reminders that what I am experiencing is very similar to the transition these teachers will face. It is with this encouragement as my soundtrack that I sent my kids off to school today . . . and learned at pick-up that they should have had a water bottle and two snacks. I had four tasks on my to-do list today and not one square holds a check because of cultural differences that dictate more steps on my part. Because of B’s encouragement, when I experienced the final roadblock to my task and turned the wrong way out of Walgreens . . . instead of hitting my steering wheel and crying, I just started laughing.

I thought to myself, “I am as frustrated after five days with a family in a new city as I was after three months in a foreign country as a single! Good grief! This too shall pass. One day it will be second nature to turn into/out of this Walgreen. One day it will seem second nature to look for cyclists before turning at an intersection. One day I will adapt and this will become home. So much home. . .

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Heard at Our House

1.  KB: “What are these?”
Me: “They are called cassette tapes. We put music and stuff on them before there were cds.”
KB: “Bubba says you guys lived back in the olden days. . . .like 1999 or something.”
Me: silence

2. After packing glasses serving pieces in bubble wrap and taping boxes shut for almost an hour, KB says, “What do you say we wrap it up and go to Chick-fil-a for dinner? (Do you see what I did there? Wrap it up?”

3. I was looking online at schools in Ft. Collins and trying to make sense of all I saw. KB walked in and started looking over my shoulder. . .
KB: They are all wearing the same clothes. Does that school have uniforms?
Me: Let’s see if there is a dress code in their handbook. Oh, it says that everyone wears khaki or navy on the bottom and you have to pick from four colors for your shirt. That’s not too bad. . . you get to pick from FOUR colors. Let’s read it out loud.”

I begin to read and it says that girls must wear solid socks and brown shoes and the solid color shirts. Then it reads, “Tops may not have stripes, prints, designs of any sort or size, or logos. No writing, drawing, or depiction is allowed on any top.” I barely make it past “designs of any sort” and KB interrupts with, “Mom – that school is NOT FOR US. I would rather do home school that give up stripes and dots.”


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Process the Process

I have come to expect that when major things are happening in my life the blog will be bare. I retreat into my head except for bursts of verbal processing directed to the nearest dear friend. This year has been marked by major thing after major thing and so there are few words on the blog and so many words in my head. I have decided to bump the near and dear requirements and try a little “verbal” processing here.

In honor of my love for lists, I will list the major things of 2014:
1. Honey loses his job.
2. I start working full-time instead of part-time.
3. Daddy has a heart attack.
4. Honey doesn’t get job he was in love with.
5. Daddy has a stroke.
6. Daddy dies.
7. Regan moves away.
8. Deadlines for fall start passing.
9. Honey’s new job requires moving.

To sum up. . . according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, I scored 404 and ” have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.” Ya think? I’m feeling a bit sick right now!

I’m over Honey losing his job . . . I am thankful we have been released from our commitment there. I say I am over it but I can’t fully move on because my Honey still hurts and is working through the hurt. I oscillate between hurt and anger while asking the Lord what is His plan and WHEN is His time for healing.

My daddy died. I just can’t get my head around it; don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. The sound of my Facetime app makes my heart drop and tears come to my eyes in Pavlovian style. The most random things make me tear and the journey from tear to weeping isn’t even a hop, skip, or jump away. I didn’t know such sadness existed and I struggle with thinking that surely I am just being dramatic. Just this weekend I considered that I didn’t even talk to daddy every day, but the reality that now I CAN’T is just so heavy. . . so sad. And when my little boy sees me cry and says, “I miss Pop too”, aah! I just can’t stand it.

Then number six started pressing in and my heart proved that it had the capacity to ache even more. The truth that our life would look radically different come this fall was . . . unsettling. I love the schools my kids attend and the tender care they show for my babies’ hearts is humbling. KDS has shown me what it means to come alongside a parent in the educating of a child and it is a lesson I hope to carry with me forever. Promise has worked with our Little to point her to Jesus and teach her to potty and our family life will be forever changed by the diligence, love, and care of the faculty at that precious school. I want KB to play soccer with her little friends again!! I want my son to be challenged to think and given the tools throughout the day to see this world with a Biblical worldview. I want Little to have a year under the tutelage of Brittany Hartloge and to see what she can accomplish in an environment of high structure and high expectation. I loved working down the hall from my baby and getting hugs and kisses on the way to lunch. Man! What a gift and treasure last year was. I had to come to a place of realization that these things would be different and there is no grace in my imagination as I considered what different would be like.

Now Honey has taken a job in Colorado. I kept saying that I hadn’t invested emotionally before he got an offer, but that was just a lie. The day he told me he was flying out to meet with the organization’s leaders I hit the internet and checked out the schools, therapy options, housing market, and weather patterns. The actual offer came last Thursday and Friday morning I told my boss/pastor that we would be moving.

In the five days since then I have had at least two legitimate panic attacks. My brother made a crack about me pressuring myself to do this perfectly but that’s not it at all. It’s trying to figure out how to do it at all. . .

From the job offer we thought we had three weeks (four, if we pushed it) to find housing, schools, a moving company and get to Ft.  Collins.  Now we have two . . . and yesterday we found out the school our kids will probably attend is the one in the city that starts two weeks earlier than the others. . . so, control freak/ have your ducks in a row Becky is having to adjust once again and accept that my kids will probably miss the first week.

Yesterday a friend told me that I would look back on this past seven months and shake my head, sigh, and see a bigger picture.  I’m not convinced.

Side note. . . Honey has risen to the occasion and is making phone calls and plans.  After seven months of no job, he is loving having a defined list to work on.  I am still at work all day and so dealing with Little’s placement, asking questions of schools for Bubs and KB, and calling about houses has fallen in great part to him.  It’s funny how often I think of a detail and mention it to him and he has already dealt with it.  Such a blessing in the midst of such blah.

If you are reading this. . . PLEASE PRAY.  Pray for our family. Pray for details about our move.  Pray for my sense of humor.  Pray that the Lord would preserve my joy. In this process there is too much for me to process and I feel unanchored.

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Big News at the Blue Hutch

photo396 plusft-collins-co


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