Darling Update -Redding 2017!

No, we haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.  We have actually been enjoying life very much.  We have been in Redding for almost 5 months now, and it’s been a joyous ride!  The adventure has given us so much hope, restoration, freedom, and joy!  I promised I’d stay in touch so here goes….

Redding life is so completely different and fun!  Everyone here shouts in praise any day it rains, ha ha!  I, for one, could go without rain for a number of years, but it is quite funny to come from a place where it rains 11 months out of the year to a place where people cheer when it rains.  I got to wear shorts a couple of days after Christmas, so I’m not complaining!!!

Redding is half the size of Tacoma.  It is city-esque but very town like as well.  We have Starbucks, a mall, and just about everything a normal city has… except skyscrapers.  Seriously, the buildings aren’t very tall here at all.  Now to you, that may seem like a weird detail to mention, but I am a city girl and one can miss that scenery and night life.  The other big difference from Tacoma is that Redding is in the valley.  We have a beautiful river that runs through the city, Whiskeytown Lake (it’s ginormous!) just a few miles away, but the ocean?  That’s about 3.5 hours away.  It is a completely different look here with mountains to the east and to the west, sunshine all the time, dry air, red dirt, and loads of land.  People drive very fast here.  The speed limit is a suggestion.  I have been one to usually follow most traffic laws (yes, I occasionally run a red light or drive with expired tabs!).  People drive fast and there is no traffic.  Literally, no traffic.  We only hit traffic when we drove to San Fransisco a few weeks ago.  The Bay Area has legit traffic!

Church. We came down here because God called us to Bethel.  We knew when we started on this adventure, we were going to make our home there.  God is so good!  Bethel has not only transformed Eric and myself, but our children are thriving and growing and we love hearing their stories each week of what they do in Kingdom Critters (kid’s church).  Worship & Revival is what it is all about here.  There are healings every single service, new believers every week, breakthrough, hunger, hope restored, people set free, and constant call to excellence and health in all relationships.  It is powerful, life changing, and GOOD!! Soooo good!!  God is just good!

Some fun things we have done since we moved: drove to Arizona & back for my brother’s beautiful, riverside wedding; drove to both mountain ranges in search of snow (for the boys in the family); made the 3.5 hour trip to San Fransisco  -the Golden Gate Bridge was worth it and I can’t wait to go back!  See, city girl.  My heart started skipping beats when we drove across the Bay Bridge with the night skyline before us!  While in San Fransisco, we visited the Mrs. Doubtfire house -pretty cool if you ask me!  We have gotten to see so much family that I haven’t been with in years, and it has been glorious!!  Making reconnections, meeting all the cousins, and seeing my immediate family 5 times this year has been such added blessing!  To all those who live close to their immediate family, don’t take it for granted.  It meant the world to my siblings and me that we got to have some real time together this year for the first time in almost 4 years!

The holidays were very fun this year!  Thanksgiving was just the six of us, in our first house, and I spent all day in the kitchen.  I LOVED IT!!!  The twins are getting old enough now to realize the holidays are special.  We have special food, special traditions, and it’s all about enjoying life together.  Let me tell you, they really enjoyed Christmas!  We found our new Santa that will be in each year’s photo -Ezra wasn’t too fond of him 🙂  My parents came out from Arizona to spend Christmas with us and it was perfect!  The kids love getting to see this Grandma and Grandpa a lot more!  Ezra turned one in November and is the running-est, climbing-est, vivacious, yet sweetest, snuggly-est, gentlest little one year old I ever did see!  He is still my little baby boy, but he sure does hold his own with his three older brothers!  Our little ginger, is no longer little but is nearly the same size as his almost 5 year old brothers.  Liam lights up your day because he will spend hours asking you to read him a book -sometimes the same book over and over -but each time he crawls up on your lap and just cuddles right in.  He loves himself some I Spy!  The twins have morphed into kids.  They no longer talk, walk, act, dance, think like little toddlers/preschoolers.  Jonathan loves legos, hide & seek, building things, and wanting to know how everything works.  Jayden loves bugs, animals, dinosaurs, worms, and all things nature related!!  I’m not kidding.  He sat and watched videos of spiders for an hour the other night.  Ugh!

All in all, God has simply showered favor over us.  We all moved completely out of what we have known and planted ourselves somewhere new.  It’s the best decision we ever made.  We have made some wonderful friends that we are enjoying life with, and we even get date nights!!!  One added blessing that I knew wouldn’t have to be “stay-at-home” date nights forever, but didn’t know we would be able to have that so soon after being here.  We have been stretched, challenged, persevered, hopeful, not knowing the next step, at complete peace, worshipping like we never have before, and kept our eyes on Him.  It’s only the beginning, too!  I am sorry this is so long, but the next one won’t be!  When you enjoy life so much you forget to write it down, you’re doing something right!

Feel free to follow our story by following my blog: gingerunveiled.wordpress.com, Facebook, and Instagram: @mrskdarling.  More updates and life happenings will be coming sooner rather than later and may the force be with you!!  Okay, that was cheesy, but who cares!  We love you all!!

Krystal, Eric & all the man tribe! 2016

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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Today at nap time, Jonathan, asked me to read this book to him.  I bought this book last year to really understand the theme of my work’s end-of-year recital, but had no idea the impact it would have on me.  Last year was also the first time I had read this particular Dr. Suess book.  As I read through the pages today and my son listened, I realized this book was describing my life -especially most recently.

You see, this book marches through a story of life: the things you encounter, experiences, trials, failures, unknowns, accomplishments, waiting, unexpected turns, new cities and sites, the unknown, and how you are capable of moving mountains!!! 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!  As I lay on the bed next to Jonathan reading this silly book, I began reading it as if it was me facing and experiencing all those things. And then about halfway through, I realized that it WAS me!  I saw how this character experienced just about every emotion, thought, and circumstance & was still climbing his way to higher heights.  The greatest encouragement throughout the storyline was that life will take you many places. Some you will like and some you will not.  But, you get to rise above it all and move mountains!!!

The last month and a half has been a whirlwind of change, ups, downs, unknown, joy and excitement, adventure, and even getting a house for the first time!   I had no idea I’d be sitting in Redding, CA with no family or friends around, going to a new (very big) church, no real furniture (just beds pretty much), spotty cell service, and just my God, my hubby, boys, and me.  It is humbling and awe inspiring at the same time.

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When we made the decision to move down here, it was one of great excitement and enthusiasm and very, very quick!! Did I say quick? Because I meant superhero fast!!!  The process had been one in thought for awhile but when we knocked on the doors at the end of July, they flung wide open and we jumped in!  Before we knew it we were driving down the highway stopping every 30 minutes to tie down the tarps!  Not kidding!  It took us nearly 4 hours to get out of Washington!!!  We would be lying if I said we didn’t have thoughts of “What did we get ourselves into!!”  But, tarry on we did!

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Now, here we are 9 days into living here and things are starting to take shape.  The speed in which we came is not the speed in which we are unpacking.  Our garage is still full of boxes both empty and full, the kids have their mattresses and toys and a great, big backyard, and our china hutch has some character now with a hole in the top where a piece of wood came off in the travel.  We found the pots, pans, & coffee filters today so we can cook meals again and have coffee, and I unpacked 6-8 boxes of books unearthing a load of memories flooding my mind as I placed each one on the shelf.  Each one is a story from someone’s heart & passion.  From a simple kids book about the places you’ll go, to the Basics of Biblical Greek, to Harry Potter, to What to Expect When You’re Expecting -each book tells a story.  Each one represents a different stage of life and holds a different spot in my heart.  And today, I understood a new meaning to life as I lay there choking up next to my 4 year old who just wants to know what Hakken-kraks are.  No matter what steps you take though they may seem a mistake or a success or a big royal mess, that is called living life!  Some of us are surrounded by family and friends and some of us are on missions or are now hanging their clothes to dry because we couldn’t afford a dryer (thank you, Jesus for Redding heat!!) But all of it is your story.  And a great story at that!  No matter the fear or bumps or heights and great places, all of it is meant to be lived!  You win some and you lose some and you don’t have to worry about doing it wrong -that’s part of living too!  You can’t appreciate the good if there’s not opportunity for the not-so-good!

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I don’t care what possessions I have, all I know is I am meant for great things!  I am meant to experience it all. I am meant to learn and grow and be challenged and be humbled and to make life everything it is meant to be!  I don’t have to wait for everything to fall into place or be just right.  I don’t have to be a pastor to pastor or be a singer to sing!  I can be me and that is  perfectly enough!

So…..

be your name Buxbam or Bixby or Bray

or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

you’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!!!

Use Your Moment Well

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If I had a perfect world, nothing (work, school, church, appointments, eating… anything) would begin before 11am.  Mornings are just not my thing.  It is not even about getting a certain amount of sleep; it is simply that it is morning time, it is before 11am, and I tend to just not function properly.

I was blessed with wonderful children who understand this concept. For 3 years, mornings began around 9am at my house. I would rarely plan anything earlier than their wake up time because not only did I like to sleep in, I didn’t want to disturb them.  Obviously, that is not 11, but it is immensely better than 6 or 7, or sometimes I hear of kids waking up at 5!!!!  I would be a hermit if that were the case with my children.

In this last year, we moved our ginger Liam into the same room as the twins.  We live in a two bedroom apartment, so yes, all 3 share a room for the time being.  Life continued as normal…until Liam learned how to climb out of his crib at 16 months.  Having more space and freedom in his toddler bed has led him to waking himself up earlier and earlier.  Within 3.5 weeks, Liam was waking at 7am and conveniently waking his brothers since he has full access to jumping on them and their beds in mornings.  Well, I was lovingly spoiled by my husband and for 7 out of the 9 months of my last pregnancy, he got up nearly every morning with the kids and I slept and rolled out of bed between 10 & 11 each day… perfect world, remember?  Then, he got a job on the graveyard shift.  Oh, heaven help me!  The not-so-blissful 7ams began.

Sometimes when life brings a change, we cringe and cower and fight it with everything while it becomes a thorn in our side and even keeps us from being our true selves.  You see, I kept saying that ‘It was phase’ or ‘He’s just getting used to being in a toddler bed’ or ‘I’ll keep him up past the twins’ and ‘I need to get curtains to make it darker in there.’   All the while in the back of my mind, I was pretty sure our Liam was not going to start waking up at 9am again anytime soon.  I have fought it everyday since.  I have tried giving him a bottle or toys/books to play with until I am ready to get up, but everyday he awakens around 7 or just before and wakes his brothers and they all start playing (or get wild & crazy) until Eric or I wake up to let them out of their room.

In other circumstances, we stand strong, boldly facing our fears and overcoming the obstacles that come our way.  I was “awakened” to the world of early risers in the last couple of months and even though sometimes I need 2 cups of coffee to get me going, most mornings I am urged in my being to ‘use your moment well.’  I could pout everyday (which honestly is the case at times) and be grumpy and lash out at my children or I could use the opportunity to pursue some of my passions, engage with my littles who are growing ever so swiftly, create stability and an atmosphere of love and uplifting in my home, or fill my day with so much purpose and life that when I get to my bed every night I lay down with exhaustion from a full life.

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You see, there are many who have it much harder than I do.  I recently read Mending Tomorrow by Alyssa Quilala, and I realized how much I was not using my moments well.  There is so much more my life was meant to be and I have so much to offer others.  This young lady in the book went through one of the most tragic experiences a mother could, and gave birth to nearly fully-developed stillborn baby boy.  This book wasn’t about how much she lost, but how much she lived.  How the grief sought to consume her, but her response was praise to her God.  How she chose not to diminish who she was but to find her purpose in making others well and whole.  She chose to use her moment well.  I can say in the hardest moments of my life, my response hasn’t always been a well moment.  This story however showed me that it is possible and inspired me to embrace the early risers and not stop until I’m overflowing with pouring out from who I am and whose I am.  For the last 3 years, I have woken nearly every morning with thoughts of doubt, regret, degrading my looks and abilities, low self-esteem, and little confidence that I was really meant to make a mark on this earth.  I tried to be humble regarding the situations brought to me, and most of the time I was, but what I didn’t realize was I had turned inward and was deflating who I was at times.  I was struck that many of us do the same, even when talking about our life in the Lord.

Alyssa said, “…some of what we call ‘humility’ in the church is actually just the opposite.  Devaluing and diminishing ourselves isn’t humility -at its root, it’s actually unbelief, idolatry, and pride…It’s elevating our own negative opinions above God’s opinions…True humility, in contrast, surrenders our right to define ourselves, positively or negatively, by anything but what God says. True humility believes God when He says we are blameless in His sight, acceptable, pure, lovely, and deeply loved.  True humility acknowledges both the Giver and His gifts to be good, and confidently delights in and uses those gifts in order to glorify the Giver.”  –Mending Tomorrow

There are countless times I have quoted to myself or to others, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” (John 3:30)  It was always well intended to keep me from getting prideful or believing I had a part in an awesome moment with the Lord.  Suddenly I realized I was not being humble at all, but actually devaluing God and his glorious creation (all people included) every day I stared in the mirror and spoke insecurities and dislike and discontent over my life.  I was breeding the very thing I’d hoped not to. Pride and arrogance is not the issue, but allowing the fullness of who I am to come out and to let it be shown in all its glory, beauty, life, and share it with anyone or place I come across!!  When you tear yourself or others down in the idea of humility, you are actually devaluing the very wonderful and magnificent creation God made.  He created you with as much beauty, grace, richness, and splendor as the most beautiful sunset off the coast of Hawaii.  That means that if He created you with the same passion and love, you are so valuable there is no price tag!  Why would you ever speak less of yourself?  Why you would ever condemn or look down upon the grandeur of you!  You ARE important. You ARE loved. You ARE a force to be reckoned with!  There is nothing wrong with displaying your gifts and who you are because God made it and he WANTS to see it!!!

Even in the face of Alyssa losing her son, or me losing my dreams, we are meant to use our moments well.  So instead of waking up each day a grumpy pants, my goal and pursuit is to believe life and truth flow through me.  My words, my mannerisms, my conversations, my texts, my moments of trial, my laughter -all of it is me choosing to be exactly who I have been created to be.  7am or 10 pm, I love knowing I can always choose to use my moment well.  

 

Will you dance?

By day, I am a wife and mom.  On Wednesday nights, I’m an Acro/dance instructor.  With my husband working graveyard, we see each other for about an hour on Wednesdays.  As we were catching up yesterday afternoon I was talking to Eric about all of my recital preparations that are beginning to unfold in my classes.  I put on the song, “Home” by Phillip Phillips and started explaining how I was incorporating it into the dance routine when Jonathan comes running in and says, “Mommy! Come dance with me! Come on! You have to dance with me!”  In a split second I had a decision to make.  Will you dance?  I could dismiss him gently and tell him how tired I was and that I wanted to talk to his Papa, or I could go running hand in hand to the living room and dance my heart out with him.  I chose to dance.

There is nothing like seeing the joy of a child.  My son’s face lit up when I grabbed his hand  and spun him around.  He began to laugh and jump and didn’t want to stop when the song was over.  So we didn’t.  We kept dancing until we were both out of breath.

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Life is full of moments where you can choose to live in the moment, or pass it by.  Dancing moments.  This last year has presented itself many moments where I have been asked, “Will you dance?”

I am standing on the sand with a wine bottle full of letters that represent the hurts and trials I walked through in the past few years including miscarriages, disappointments, dreams crushed, relationships broken.  I can throw it into the ocean and drown them or I can keep letting that wine bottle float back to me, a thorn in my side that won’t go away.  Will you dance?

My husband’s job closes its doors and he is on unemployment barely working part-time just a couple of weeks before our 4th child is born.  Will you dance?

My husband is given the opportunity to become a Fire Fighter and save lives while giving his.  He might die in that environment.  He might spend the next 20 years saving lives and retire and we grow old and wrinkly together.  Will you dance?

I have a calling to reach people and show love in extraordinary ways.  It looks different than I thought it was going to.  It might mean more education, and it might mean giving up what I thought belonged to me.  It might cost me a lot of money, and it might impact hundreds of lives and families along the way that I wouldn’t have influence in without taking this path.  Will you dance?

God says, “Start a blog.”  I don’t want to be a hipster and become just another “blogger.”  Will you dance?

My mom calls me and says, “Your dad has been referred to an oncologist.”  A month later, “Your dad has leukemia.”  Will you dance?

This is my question. Will you dance?  I spent the last few years struggling to just dance.  I wanted and desired but felt I came short more often than not.  In the beginning weeks of this year, I have thought about nothing more than living in the moment.  To simply, let go of the past, and stop wondering about the future but to live each day with so much fullness I lay on my bed at night knowing I danced.  I laughed and I loved and I cried and I pushed and I gave today everything I had.  I don’t sit on the sidelines of history anymore.  I dance.

Will you dance?

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