*This is a novel. . .and I really don't expect anyone to read it in its entirety! However, I wanted it written down for me as a reminder of what we have been through! *
I'm not even sure where to begin this post! So much has happened to our little family in the last 4 1/2 months that it is hard to organize it all.
Ricky and I have been married for 6 1/2 incredible years. We have definitely had our highs and lows, though. We have lived in 5 different towns and moved 9 times. Our sweet little Elijah who is now 5 has lived in 8 different places! Ricky has had all kinds of jobs. . .from ministry to restaurant and everything in between!
Our latest journey actually began in September of 2008 when Ricky was no longer employed with the church with whom he had worked for about 2 years. We went from making two decent salaries to one! We went from having a sense of security(sadly in ourselves and what we could provide) to absolutely none. We went from feeling like we fit in to wondering where to go! We were quite lost to be honest with you. We loved Amarillo(as strange as some people think that is) and didn't want to leave. We had a beautiful home that we had only lived in for a year that we did not want to lose. But, we were confused. We had no direction!
The end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 were very difficult months for our family. I wish I could say that we always had faith that the Lord would provide and just watched in amazement when He did. But, that wasn't the case. We had to learn to trust and oh, have we! We learned that the less we worried the more fun it was to watch the Lord take care of us. We learned to have the faith we had always heard about and desired! We were blessed beyond measure.
However, we weren't satisfied with the place the Lord had us at that moment. We kept pushing and pushing until we found something that we thought was what the Lord wanted. You can read that here. But, the short story, I quit my teaching job, at a school that I loved in a position that was made for me(math) and in August, we moved to the Austin area in preparation of moving to the San Antonio area. We excitedly left the house that we loved in the city that we loved and prepared for a new journey. We trucked along in Central Texas for a few months. The ball was still rolling for us to move to San Antonio and truthfully, we were still very excited. The excitement quickly faded and we knew this wasn't the right decision for our family(while we still continue to pray for this church plant and absolutely LOVED the people that we met through our experiences). So there we sat in Austin in early October wondering what in the world we had done! Our hearts still yearned to be in Amarillo but both Ricky and I were too proud to admit it! We continued to make our plans for ourselves! We were going to move to a little town outside of Austin. Ricky was going to continue to work full time outside of a church and a part-time position in a church. And, I was going to go back to teaching(something I realized I loved and is truly my calling. . .A WHOLE other story and blog!). We were going to rent a house and live happily ever after. . . .except. . .
One night in early November while Ricky was working nights as a security guard, I finally got up enough courage to tell him that I missed home. . .I missed Amarillo. (As a side note, I do realize that home is where the heart is, that we will never be completely happy until we are truly home in heaven, etc etc but Amarillo is our home here on earth and where we are SUPPOSED to be. . .this we know for SURE!) Much to MY surprise he said he did too! I couldn't believe it! All this time that I felt so miserable I thought he was happy! I thought he was loving every minute of it. . .and he wasn't! We decided that night that we would just truly pray and seek and find out what we were supposed to do. It didn't take long for us to KNOW that Amarillo was where we were supposed to be! For, I think the first time in our married life, we were putting ourselves aside(although this move is what we both wanted) and letting the Lord show us His plan.
If we could have, we would have moved back to Amarillo the very next day. But, we knew we had to be patient! So, we told our families of our realization that we had made a HUGE mistake and of our planned move back. . .some were happy, some were sad, some were mad, and some weren't really sure what to think. We knew that we BOTH had to have jobs before we could even make any sort of arrangements to get back. As Ricky searched for a job in Amarillo, I did the only thing I could think of. . .even though it was one of the hardest things, I emailed the principal at the school I had taught at for 2 1/2 years. I did this with very low expectations thinking she could at least be a good reference for me. I sent that email on November 16. I heard back from her on November 23 offering me a TAKS tutoring position! With the Thanksgiving Holiday that week, I didn't hear back from her with details until the following week which was the first week in December. I was officially offered and accepted the position on Wednesday, December 2. Kyle and I moved to Amarillo that weekend and I started on Monday, December 7! It was a whirlwind but it was incredible to be back. Ricky and I were just blown away by how fast the Lord had worked things out for me to get back to the school I loved. It was an opportunity that we just couldn't see me passing up. So, while it was hard to be away from him and Elijah, we knew it was only temporary and we could make it work.
We have this INCREDIBLE woman in our lives! She has blessed us more than she will ever know! She is always willing to help. . .even if it is an inconvenience to her! She is amazing and I am so thankful that the Lord has placed her in our lives! We love her. . .our boys love her! Cheryl Merrill (aka NaiNai) allowed Kyle and I to stay with her for the two weeks before Christmas break while I was working at the school. Ricky continued to work in Austin and Elijah finished out the semester of pre-k. Ricky had several promising phone interviews with companies here in Amarillo. And upon arriving in Amarillo to head north for Christmas, he had several in-person interviews. He had a serious lead on a great job and we informed the renters of our house that we would be moving back in when their lease ended in February(this was hard for me as I hated to leave them without a place to live but as He did in all of this experience the Lord orchestrated it perfectly as the renters were struggling over telling us that they were moving out at the end of their lease). Our only issue was that it was December and we couldn't move back into our house until the end of February. Where were we going to live for the next 2 1/2 months? Again, I was nervous and doubted! I just couldn't figure out a way that it could work out! And guess what?!?! The Lord proved me wrong! A lady we knew from a previous church had a lease on an (furnished) apartment that she was no longer living in. The boys and I could move in as soon as we returned from Kansas! We were blown away! Not only did I have a job at the school I love, we had a place to live with furniture!
After Christmas, Ricky headed back to Austin to continue working and I took on the role as single Mom to the boys. Honestly this was a struggle! It was hard not having someone there to help! I realized how much I took Ricky's help for granted! One of the hardest days was Kyle's birthday. My sweet baby turned 2 and his Daddy didn't get to see him! Another hard day was the day that we learned that Ricky did receive the offer for the job. . .except they wanted him to go to the Wichita, KS store! That was also the day that I realized I had lost the money order the renters gave me(to pay the mortgage). It was a struggle but we made it! The Lord continued to bless us and Ricky got to move to Amarillo in the middle of January. He still did not have a full time job but we both just knew he needed to be in Amarillo to find one. All the while, we continued to pray and seek that the Lord would open the door to the perfect job for Ricky for this season.
January and February were probably the two hardest months of our little families lives. Kyle, who is a small little guy to begin with, was sick for about 6 weeks. He threw up nearly every night losing 3 of his 24 pounds. This problem was made worse because we had no washer and dryer so that meant we ended up at sweet Cheryl's house nearly everyday to do laundry. Eljiah ended up with the bug at one point as well as Ricky and I. Ricky had an eardrum burst as well as Bell's Palsy(this occurs quite frequently after an eardrum bursts do to sinus').
We were everyday thankful for the apartment but we quickly realized how much more difficult things were! It was upstairs and of course during the snowiest winter in a long time. This made going and coming very difficult. Getting groceries into the apartment was different than pulling up into our garage. Everything had to be adjusted. I continued to work at the school and Ricky still struggled to find a full-time job! However, the Lord placed another amazing person in our lives! Bradley Maybin is the youth pastor at FBC Amarillo and welcomed Ricky with open arms. He immediately offered him a part time position until he found something else. And, after what seemed like at least a year, we were able to move into our house 3 days early!
February 24th was our move in day but the renters surprised us and told us they were moved out early and that we could move in on February 21st! What a treat! So, during yet another snow storm, we moved our few belongings to our house! It didn't matter that we had no furniture or dishes or beds! We were just so excited to be back in OUR house! We slept on airbeds and lived out of an ice chest for a week! And then the most incredible thing happened after Bradley sent out a massive email to some of the people of FBC. It is crazy how the Lord orchestrates things but this email uncovered a position that would be an incredible fit for our needs. Ricky was interviewed for and offered a position with Flowers Bakery. He is now delivering bread. I realize that doesn't sound like a dream job for most but he has incredible hours(done by 2 pm most days), great pay, and benefits. . .something he hasn't had in our entire married life!!! And, he is able to continue working at FBC part time!
After a week of living in an empty house, we were able to go down to Austin, rent a moving truck, and get everything back to our house! It was like Christmas getting to open all the boxes after not seeing most of it for 6 months! Kyle nor I had slept in our own beds in 3 months!
We have been back in our house nearly a month! While things haven't been all great since we have been back but Kyle has stopped throwing up and started gaining weight back, Ricky is working full time, and things seem to be better! We know that there will always be set backs in our lives but we are truly blessed! We look back and just think how incredible this journey has been to get us back to EXACTLY where we were a year ago! I see how God took our big mistake and blessed us anyway! We are so excited to be back in Amarillo. . .the town we love! We are so excited to be back in our little house that we don't take for granted any more! We are excited that we aren't in control of our life anymore!!!
Our sweet boys sleeping peacefully in their OWN beds!
We delayed switching Kyle to a "big boy" bed because all of our changes. When we put his crib together, we decided to go straight from the pack n play to the toddler bed. He has done amazing! :)