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little house on the prairie

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

God, it seems, has a sense of humor.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a real life friend, who has become not only a great encouragement, but my own personal moving buddy. Our lives have eerily mirrored each other in the last six months. Insanely so, really. First her husband lost his job and then was offered a miraculous solution just six weeks later. Not only that, but they had to make an out-of-state move. Sound familiar? Yeah. The same, exact thing happened to us just six weeks later.


wagers and wages

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We're not the betting type.

We don't visit casinos, I rarely buy lottery tickets and I haven't filled out a March Madness bracket in years.

But this week we've had a family bet going - which U-Haul design would grace the side of our moving truck?

We're weird that way.

The kids REALLY got excited! You should have seen them on the drive home from school yesterday. They BEGGED me to take them right home so they could see the truck's design. Unfortunately for them, we had about two hours worth of errands to run. By the time we turned onto our street they were straining their little necks for the first glimpse at the side of the truck...and who had won the bet. Shad picked the manitee, I wanted a canoe, Alek was sure we would get the fish, Anya picked a flower and Maddie wanted a butterfly.

Nick won. It's a moose.

I don't know how ANY of us could have gotten it right with all the design choices, but he says he 'felt' it. ;) Anyway...Nick was presented with a movie-size box of M&Ms as a prize. He was thrilled. It's the little things, really. We've used the guessing game to help build excitement for each of our last few moves. It makes picking up and moving across country a little easier to swallow if you have some chocolate to help it go down. ;)

Day one of packing went well. Actually, I should clarify...Shad did well. I sat at my computer feeling guilty all day because I had to finish some freelance writing assignments.

Never fear! I get to do my part today. We're about a third of the way done. Shad packed all the non-essentials yesterday. Our 'new' house is WAY too small so we're putting a TON of stuff in storage...and all of that is going in the front of the truck.

And when I say WAY too small, I mean it. It's a one bedroom house that has been turned into a three bedroom by finishing a basement. We'll be packed in there like sardines, but that's alright. It's temporary.
Yes, that's how we do things in the Sunflower household. We find temporary solutions. ;) The town we are moving to has a housing shortage. A severe housing shortage. I think we were lucky to find this thing. We do, however, have a lead on a much larger house that should come up for rent in December. And it's in Tiny-Little-Town (still looking for names)...which is good, because that is where the kids are going to school.
We visited Tiny-Little-Town during our College Town housing search last weekend and I have to say, I love it. The district superintendent volunteered to met with us at the school (on short notice no less) and gave us the grand tour...on a SATURDAY! She was genuinely thrilled to have the kids move into the district (I think it has something to do with us increasing their student population by 5%!)

She took us through the whole school, opening doors and answering every one of our questions without acting like we were putting her out. And she engaged the kids in a way I haven't seen in a long time. She is FANTASTIC.

That sealed the deal.

That, and the fact that we had the whole town (and I'm not exaggerating...much) looking for a home for us. We had real estate agents calling clients, neighbors calling neighbors and bank presidents following leads. In the end, we didn't come up with housing in Tiny-Little-Town, but we did come away with the feeling like it would be a fantastic place to live.

It's a bit 'Mayberry-ish'...which is just fine with us. After all, how many towns still have country music piped through the downtown music system. Seriously. Oh, and they have one of those A-Frame community notice boards sitting in the intersection of First and Main.

I love it! Of course ask me that again in a few years after we re-discover there are no secrets in small Kansas towns. But that's okay...we'll still take it. We believe the small class sizes will be just the ticket for Nick who is still struggling in math and for Maddie who, while doing fantastic in school, could use the extra one-on-one attention. Alek is excited that he won't have to worry about trying out for a team...he'll get to play, regardless...AND he can get his driver's permit in a couple of months. (Lord, help us, please!)
Anya is our wild card in this move. She says she's fine...but she's one of those 'waters run deep' people. She can appear totally fine on the outside and truly be struggling on the inside.

Sigh. We'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, Shad starts his new job on Monday...so the packing continues. In earnest.


adverbs and adjectives

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It looks like this is the week.

All the pieces are falling together...so it MAY be the week to move.

I say MAY because we haven't been able to get in touch with our landlord here to let them know of our decision. They know Shad was laid off...and they've known for the last month that this would more than likely be it...but every time we have called them in the last week to discuss details, we haven't been able to touch base with them.

It's frustrating. But we're forging ahead. The thing is...if we don't leave now, the kids and I will have to be separated from Shad again. And I'm NOT doing that if I can help it. So we're packing...and lifting...and cleaning...hoping against all hope that our landlord will FINALLY get his act together and call us back.

In the meantime, we've found a little place to live. And when I say LITTLE, I mean it. But that's okay. This time we'll have a nine month lease. Just long enough to put about 2/3 of our household goods into storage and wait until a nice BIG house in a little tiny town comes up for rent in December. ;)

And then we'll be set. No more moving until our house is built. Yes, you heard me. That is the plan. We are bound and determined to put down roots...and roots require land, at least at our house. We'll rent for a couple of years and then build. Something we've wanted to do for a long time. And living in the tiny town, at rental prices of a tiny town, will allow that.

I'm so excited! :)

In the meantime, I need to come up with a new moniker for the itty bitty little town. Something appropriate. The Emerald City is already taken...and City really doesn't describe the itty bitt little town. It doesn't even describe the middle-sized town we'll be living in temporarily. Dodge City is a little too close for comfort geographically...Po-Dunk a bit demeaning.



blessings in abundance

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My friends, we have witnessed a miracle!

God heard our prayers...and answered...in spades!
When I last updated you, Shad had just been laid off. There was no real warning. She just waited until the end of business on a Friday, handed him a check and sent him on his way.

The day before, Shad had received a job offer from a community college back in Kansas for a job as an instructor. But he was hesitant to take it, because it meant leaving the veterinary field and taking a HUGE cut in pay.

The Monday after his dismissal, he called the college back and asked them several questions, none of which they had the answer for. The most serious of which, how much would his summer pay be? We couldn't just move our family that far and not have something to carry us through three months!

Over the next week and a half we waited, continued the job search, and prayed...but NOTHING happened. Seriously. Nothing. They didn't call...no one returned calls on his resume...nothing. Nada. Zilch. To say we were discouraged is an understatement. We both went through some serious soul-searching. Were we really supposed to go back to Kansas, regardless of whether they answered our questions? Why was God being so quiet?

Then Wednesday evening the college finally called back. They not only answered his many questions, they increased his salary (to just short of what we were making here)  and are allowing him to do consulting and relief work.

But that is not all! Shad decided to sleep on it...really kind of waiting to see if anything came through on the veterinary job he had interviewed for. After all... he is still a vet at heart.

Instead of hearing from the job, Friday morning he got a call from the state vet in Kansas. Shad had put in a call earlier that week, wanting some answers to some questions about some medical stuff I'm clueless about. Anyway... Shad finished up the conversation with a random question about a veterinary student loan repayment program. It was something he had heard about happening in Colorado and Wyoming. He wanted to see if there were any open positions in Kansas.

'Sure,' the guy said. 'We just finished updating that information. Let me give you the locations.' He read down the list... and one of them was for the community college!!!

NOT. ONLY. THAT!!! It is for the EXACT position Shad had been offered!!!! So he is the ONLY one who can apply for and receive that grant.

This grant is MASSIVE...at least to us. It will pay $25K a year, every year Shad works for the college until his student loans are paid off. I don't think I have to tell you how huge of a student loan a doctor can have! This has been something that has hung over our heads for YEARS! In fact, just the night before he received this news, we had been talking about how I would HAVE to go back to work, just to pay for his student loan. It was a given...we had no other option. But God just gave us one.

NOT. ONLY. THAT!!!! The state veterinarian also told Shad that the area vet, based in another town, is retiring...and they want to move the position to the college town. He thinks Shad could do that on top of his teaching duties...so there would be some extra benefits and pay that comes along with it.

I CAN NOT tell you what a HUGE thing this is for us. When Shad told me, I screamed...and then I cried - a BIG. UGLY. cry. God is SO good. He is SO faithful.

So...we're moving. Again. Hopefully this time for good, but honestly, we have learned our lesson to NEVER say never where God is concerned. Our God's job is still not done. We STILL have a lot of loose ends to tie up. We need to find someone to take over our lease here before we can get out of it. AND we need to find something reasonable to rent there. A large dairy has moved into the area and is snatching up all available housing for their employees. There is NOTHING for rent right now...nothing. But again...with God ALL things are possible.

Could you pray that something opens up...and if it is in God's will, that the housing be in the TINY town nearby. The school district there, is the same size as the one Shad and I grew up in - less than 100 kids in the entire school - K-12! We believe after all the chaos of the last year, the small, intimate setting is just what our kids need.

We also need to give Colby a start date...something we have NO idea about right now. We really don't want to send him off to Colby by himself. We've been there, done that. It's no fun. So prayers for wisdom would be helpful too.

But honestly? I'm not so worried any more.


joy of adoption

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