getting settled in….

….that's what I would call the past 8 months really. I'm coming to really love texas. I feel at home here. I do miss North Carolina but it's amazing how much a place can become home when your family is here.  And they do say once a texan, always a texan. So maybe it's just my good ol' texan blood in me. I was born in Houston and lived here till I was 10. (my dad was a Houston police officer before going to seminary and pastoring here)     

We moved into a bigger apartment last week. I was very grateful for the low cost of seminary housing and that served us well those first few months. However we found that with 2 small babies and me staying at home most days, we needed more space! And I really needed a dishwasher. (I will say that not having one has made me a more grateful person when it comes to loading and unloading now)  It's only about 5 miles away from my parents and Dan's parents are living in the same apartments just down the way. It also has 3 bedrooms which will really help as the kids grow… but right now that means we have a guest room. So come on and come see us, we'd love to have you in our home.  I got to paint some accent walls and let me just say I LOVE TO PAINT!! My brothers Joel and Mikey were super painters as well and will attest to my being a Nazi about how it's done. (I told them I'm preparing them to serve their future wives well :o) 

* I"ll post pics once I get all unpacked and stuff * 

Another change we are in the midst of is that Dan is taking classes this semester at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas. They have some stellar professors; this semester he's taking classes with Paul Tripp, an NYC intensive with Tim Keller, and Sinclair Ferguson, and they have a lot more classes that fit with his work schedule as a school teacher. He will probably still be taking some summer classes at SW and as needed. But he is very excited to be a part and learn from this small but well staffed seminary!  

It was a slow but busy January. I told Dan that I think the next time God gives us a baby I'd love to have or adopt a summer baby. This winter-cooped up-newborn stage-sunshine deprived stage is one that I'm ready to move on from. I really do think I suffered from some SAD this season. I grew up in Alaska and know how real that is, but I never thought I'd feel it living in Texas! But I sure am anxious for the sun to warm things up and bring out the flowers and warm air. I want to feel awake and alive!  ( I just started taking some B and D supplements and having more light in our new apt is bound to help as well!)  

We finally have a community group that we are a part of with our church!!! This week was our first week there and we left so encouraged and excited about all God is wanting to do with that group of people. It meets in the next apartment complex over from ours so it's really close by and already I feel a connection to people who before wednesday were total strangers to me because now, I have a bond and a responsibility to love and serve them. It's strange becoming a part of a group who knows nothing about us and hasn't walked the past few life changing years with us. However, I know that it's not always about the past and I can't wait to see the many ways God is going to use these individuals to walk with us in the future.  

Jack and Zoe are doing great! Zoe loves her brother but gets very territorial on him with things like the bum-bo and bottles. So those make for good teaching moments. We just bought The big picture story bible to start reading to her since she is really starting to love being read to. It's a must read for those of you with infants and toddlers. It really tells the stories of the Bible with the focus being on the greatness and bigness of God (i.e. instead of making the story of David and Goliath all about the braveness of little David it teaches of the power of God to use such an unlikely guy to defeat a man who hated God, and so on!)    

So, that's about all for now. I just wanted to take a minute and update on our life here. I have all sorts of ideas and desires to blog about lots of things but not the time or energy to make it happen right now.  

Sometimes though I read other blog posts and say… "exactly! that's what I am feeling, learning, growing, experiencing, and wanting to say."  So I'm just going to link some of those posts here and maybe they will help and challenge you this winter in whatever God is teaching you and growing inside you.  Now, some of these are not written with the perspective of living for eternity in mind and also many of them do not straight up state the hopeful everyday strength giving truth of the Gospel in times of difficulty or struggle in the mundane, but I do find that sometimes honest reflections and admissions of other mothers/photographers/writers/artists help me to see things in my own life that I may not be seeing or putting things into words that I may not be able to verbalize. So, these are just those types of posts. Nothing revolutionary or theologically deep, just echos of my heart the past few weeks put into words by other people. 

Reasons to Love February   (though I didn't lose Asher in February, sometimes I feel like this new year feels like the way she describes this month)  I do LOVE february though! 

Refining Moments   (I have so many days like this and wrestle with that tender balance )

Making the best use of your time  (I really liked her options and how she prioritized them ) 

Living in the Pre   ( I often think this. I do want to simplify life more so this coming year but I don't know yet what all that looks like for me, I"ll keep you posted ) 

There is no magic button   (I feel like I did work really hard the past 6-7 years but sometimes I wish there had been such a plethora of mature photographers/women in business willing to share their advice so openly, I think I wouldn't have had to learn so much the hard exhausting emotionally draining way and had more energy to enjoy the moment and the reward of my work) 

Everyday matters  ( I want to use my camera in this way… but haven't quite settled enough or make my personal photography work-flow simple enough to do it as often as I want to! But soon.)

Finding Self    (She often is able to put the human experience of grief into words that truly paint a picture of what it feels like) 

Joy in Sickness  (this one really hel
ped when we were house hunting but ended up deciding not to buy this year) 

 And for the photo…which every post should have at least one! :o)

 Zoe LOVES being thrown or tossed around by her daddy! It's amazing to see the intense trust she has developed for her Daddy. I love watching her as she loves and trusts being with him anytime!! look at those eyes locked on him. 

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** next week is completion of month 1 on the 111 challenge!! Lots to share. 

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