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Happy New Year 2018! | Family Life, Health, and Commitments.

New Year, New Energy


The sun stays up a few moments more every day now. The cold, hard and dark of late Autumn and into winter is always a challenge for me. It's like they're calling out to me: "you're tired," "you're weary" and they howl threats to take away my joy. As I see the days growing longer again, I get a rejuvenation as I get to see the turn of the calendar, too. The howls seem farther behind now. They're not creeping around my doors anymore. Winter is in a frosty, forward thrust here in Minnesota, and as I watch the sun rise up over the trees, witness the special still and clear mornings of a hoar frost, or see a bright halo around the sun... these each show me it is still cold. But, my spirits are brighter.

Ordering my priorities. Saying No, gives me more Yes time.  

When we finished our ministry serving as Missionaries with Oak Hills Center for Indian Ministries after August, our commitments were able to level out to a seasonable pace. This has been good and very necessary for our family. Tim is now working full time as a General Contractor. Kastenbauer Construction keeps him busy, especially now that he's gaining great skill as a dry-waller, too. He loves it! It's a lot of work to keep your company busy year-round, and also a lot of work to keep up when you're busy.  Tim does an excellent job, though! I'm really proud of how well he balances our family life while being self-employed. It's not for the faint of heart, and he is always doing a nice job calculating and planning, both for work or for our family needs. He knows when and where to invest his time to appropriately accomplish his jobs and to do them well. It's not easy working with clients, sub-contractors, material orders/deliveries... and still get it all done well, efficiently, and be able to look at the finished product with your homeowners smiling! But most of the time, Tim does (or so I think!!!??) 

Along with our transition away from being supported staff missionaries, we have also slowed down a bit. Well, I have for sure. I am really learning that for my own sanity (I used to have that!) and personal health, I have to just let things not happen. I have to say "No." to even the little things. I can't sign up for it "when we should" most of the time. I have to just be okay with being a little flakey right now. This season is extremely difficult, low on healthy aspects, and high on expending myself for the sakes of our kids especially. Having four kids this close in span is a lot of fun. They're a hoot! BUT they're also needy. Not in an outrageous way, just in a boys that are 6 & 4 kinda way. In a 2 year old girl-dramatic kinda way. In an 8 month old, I want my MOMMYYYYYY kinda way.  (Titus recently received an award from Tim and me: The Most Needy Baby Award). It's exhausted me beyond what I had thought it was, and it took me a little too long to realize I had gone months without sleeping more than 30-45 min spurts. It was just really time for me to take a nap, and put some other things aside.

Health, or lack thereof.  (Alopecia, babies, and God as the sustainer)

Having a few auto-immune disorders and poor self management has taken a toll on my body. I'm sort of, in for repairs right now, as I have changed my commitments drastically. I finally saw that for me to get to "okay" I needed to catch up a lot! Catching up is taking some time, and that's okay. It's hard to say no to church things, to friend things, and even to family things. But, we are also saying yes sometimes to some super fun yes things! Pizza night with friends, sledding with the kids, hot chocolates and popcorn during good stories, having help cleaning the house!, shopping online (I love delivery to my door), and lots of family time over christmas and beyond.

Now that it's a new year, the holidays aren't filled with family events, and we are finally NOT sick, our moms group is starting back up again! I can't wait for this. Our Bible Study has been going for, since..... hmm. Jesse was a baby when I first attended, and now it's been at our house for a few years. Well, we have been on a break since December, and I'm excited to begin some more regular time with other moms of little ones again. I miss my friends! We pray, the kids play. It's a good trade off. We chat, bring our own snacks/lunches to keep it low work for any of us moms, and we are going to start a new Bible study book, too. Have you heard of Heidi St. Johns? We will be studying along in her Becoming Mom Strong Bible Study. Let me know if you've read her book or done this study before!

As I think I mentioned last fall, I haven't been pursuing anything new or anything at all with my Auto-Immune stuff. Basically, after spending a lot of time stressing over "figuring it out" we realized it is too much work to try to change anything while I'm still in baby mode. The issues most poignant to us are: Alopecia, headaches, joint pain and swelling, fatigue, and dermatitis. I went on the AIP diet/lifestyle last fall and all of my issues went away except the Alopecia. My hair didn't change. It didn't grow back in at all. So, I decided that I can deal with the other "sufferings" for a while until I truly have more energy to put into research, diet, rest, and haven't been pregnant or nursing for a while... So until then, my health issues are just floating around. Nothing is too painful or unbearable for me. I'm alright, and am willing to deal with those issues until a later date. The tests, labs, Drs, appointments all outweigh the benefit of losing some of the issues right now, so it's just not worth it to us in this exhausted season. Instead, I am feeling fine, and every day of sleep training Titus is proving a few more winks of sleep for me!!! God is the sustainer, and the healer. He is giving me wisdom and discernment in this strange season. He is my refuge and strength as I balance the daily loads. I am grateful for a most-devoted husband who helps out in so many ways! It took a few "fights" and lots of conversations to get us to a point this year where we see each other's needs more clearly. And, with some tears, laughs, and heartache, I think we are leveling out and finding some sort of normal!

On Being Refined

That's kind of what I mean by new energy. I have more determination to do a little more every day. Tim and I have let God really show us Himself and reveal our hearts to each other in a new way this year. The seasons of hardship are ugly, but like Rachel Jankovic says, we are like rocks being polished. The tumbling is loud, crashing, and rough, but when we come out at the end, we are a lot smoother and more beautiful. God's refinement is a lovely thing.  

God is showing me new ways to love my husband, my kids, and the season we're in. On the days I'm not so tired (emotionally or physically), I have been able to smile at them first, without demanding something. I have been able to rest in HIS unchanging love for me, instead of seeing what I don't have. I have been able to order my day with Christ and the Kingdom being the first that I seek. The order of my affections is re-aligned. Now, I'm not saying I've reached some great new daily plan or anything, I'm just saying that I am no longer feeling forsaken and lost as to why things were so hard. I have seen that I was sinning in letting things get so bad. I was desperate to fix things but unwavering in what I was doing. Now, I have seen that there are so many steps through the rock tumbler, but the first is realizing that I'm one of the rocks. I had to give myself time to play major catch up so that I can get back up above ground. Now, I'm still just on the ground like I said, I'm not flying. I am dragging along, but I am working toward healing my body and getting back to "normal" again! Whatever that looks like on a 30 year old woman// wife. mama. homemaker. teacher. photographer. church goer. outgoing introvert. nature lover. dog petter. chicken egg gatherer. tree swinger. Whatever that looks like. 

Homeschool

My job in schooling the kids is a challenge, but one that I really continue to enjoy! I have a heart for family life, and am so thankful we have the privilege of raising our kids in our home! The reading available, the resources I have, and the materials we have collected over the years have made me really love homeschooling, just like I thought I would.

In case you're unfamiliar with raising children with a christian worldview, or if you're interested in where the passion comes from to teach our kids at home, I strongly encourage any of you to read the book "For the Children's Sake" by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. It enlightened me to the likes of Charlotte Mason, whose ways of education you just ABSOLUTELY must research.  Next on my docket to read is "Consider This" by Karen Glass. It's another must-read in the world of home life, Charlotte Mason, and Classical Education.


Christmastime

In our home, the Advent of Christ's birth is a very special thing. We look forward to celebrating Christmas all year, because of many reasons. One of our favorite traditions in this season is reading stories of the birth of Christ. What a reminder of the gift God gave us in the Prince of Peace.

And now, as Christmas day has past, we have slowly been taking down some of our dying greenery and wrapping up ornaments for next year's celebrations. We are into the new year now. I can begin thinking about summer, and next fall, and it doesn't seem as pathetic anymore to be looking so far ahead. It IS this year, after all!!! :)


XOXO, Amy
Well, there you have all my Sunday afternoon mumble-jumble thoughts :) I like to put them out there for me to look back on someday. And, maybe someone might read it and laugh with me. or at me. That's okay too. 



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