Back to school, breakfast in bed, build your own... What do these things have in common (aside from the letter 'B')? They're all themes from our Family Nights. Chris and I came across this little bit of genius on one of my favorite blogs, Whittaker Woman. The idea is to set aside time one day out of the week to focus on your family. No phones, no computer, no texting, no tweeting, no facebook... Just time alone with your family. It doesn't have to be a full day of activities - a couple of hours will do. It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive - PB & J and a picnic on the living room floor is perfectly sufficient. The important thing is that you focus solely on your family.
I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Really. This past month has just been crazy!
The move went far smoother than I expected. We moved in during monsoon season, so it would seem - heavy, heavy rains during our first few days here kept all of us inside. Then came the heat wave. This led to more days inside and plenty of whining from our preschooler, who was desperate to play in her new backyard. Those first few days helped to get most of the unpacking done, at least. Words cannot express how relieved I am to have some sense of normalcy again! Can I just tell you how much I hate unpacking? Just looking at all of those boxes gave me a slight tic. I don't know what I would have done if Chris wasn't here to help me knock it out. You'd likely find me huddled in the corner with a big batch of cookies, muttering incoherently and adding another forty pounds onto my already chubby behind. Thankfully, most everything is put away, and I have yet to break out the chocolate chips.
We attended our first Mo Group a few days after the move. Mo Groups are small groups of people who get together in peoples' homes once a week to eat great food, play games, laugh at each other, and talk about how the Bible can apply to our lives and how to put that into action. The Mo Group we attended is called Revolution. This was also our first taste of serving Cleveland as we helped build shelving units for one of the local elementary schools. (Did I mention Momentum is big on serving the community?) These units were quite possibly worse than anything from Ikea. It took longer to build eight prefabricated shelving units than it did to load our moving truck! It was for the school, though - which is the bigger picture. All in all, we had a great time. Even our four-year-old helped - she can wield a screwdriver with the best of them! We plan to check out a few more Mo Groups over the next month to see which group we fit in with best... I’m sure I’ll be posting about those experiences, too.
We also discovered that our cell phone did not get adequate coverage in our neighborhood, and we could regularly be found wandering the front yard in hopes of grabbing enough bars every time we wanted to take a call. I don't recommend doing this for a variety of reasons. After three weeks of this, we gave up and finally got iphones. Our neighbors are grateful. Now if I can just figure out how to use the thing...
We're loving Cleveland life. We've met some amazing people, had some great experiences, and can't wait to get more involved. God is definitely up to something in Cleveland.
Last weekend, we made the trip to Cleveland to sign the lease on our new home. It still amazes me how we came across this place. Chris called on several rentals and really didn't get very far. Hardly any callbacks, and most of those we had talked to were pretty grumpy people who showed little interest in renting to us. Chris did manage to talk to a woman named Colleen about a house we had driven past when we visited Cleveland a few weeks ago. We made an appointment to meet with the landlady, but when we got there the house wasn't quite right for us. Colleen told us of two additional properties she was renting in the same neighborhood, and so we decided to take a look. One of those properties seemed promising, so we started with background checks and the like. Through all of this, we learned that Colleen's sister-in-law is related to the executive assistant, Joyce, at Momentum! What's the likelihood of that happening?!
Signing the lease was one of those leaps of faith that stretch far beyond my comfort zone. When Chris and I first started looking for a house to rent, we did so fully aware that the numbers weren't adding up. You see, we have committed to raising Chris' salary for the next year, like missionaries. Yes, we are relying on financial support from others. A total leap of faith. And at the moment, the support was just trickling in. That's not to say we don't appreciate those who had made donations to us - we really do. Far more than most people may realize. But numbers don't lie - there just wasn't enough support to justify signing a one-year lease on a three bedroom house. I won't lie and say that we weren't concerned - we have two children. We need to be able to clothe and feed them and provide a safe place for them to live. But we signed the lease anyway, knowing that if this is truly what God has planned for us that He would provide a way for us to make it work. When we returned home that evening, a few more offers of support were waiting for us! We're still no where near being fully funded, but those donations are a huge sigh of relief.
I think Chris and I have been called every kind of crazy since we first announced our decision to follow what we feel is God's leading to relocate to Cleveland. A lot of people are concerned about our welfare (and possibly our mental stability). But we have done our homework. We know what it's going to take to make ends meet. We are well aware that we are moving to a city that is in serious trouble. Rest assured, we are not crazy. At least, not certifiable. God never said it would be easy, He just wants us to trust that He knows what He is doing. And so we do... and will.
So, tell me... When's the last time you've ever taken a leap of faith?
Three years ago, if you had asked me where I planned to be and what I would be doing today, it would never have occurred to me that I would be anywhere but where I’ve always been: In Pittsburgh with my family, chasing after my kids, playing housewife, and being actively involved at church. I’ve never had the urge to willingly move outside of the city I grew up in, away from everything familiar. And yet…