Monday, July 11, 2011

A (potential) Fork in the Road

Ben is doing something this morning that could change up our little routine big time.

He has been in school for essentially our entire marriage. The original plan was for him to graduate this summer, but, as it often does, life got in the way and he was not able to attend school full-time during these past four years and his graduation schedule has been pushed back. Money was tight and financial assistance is hard to obtain these days. It would be ideal for us to pay cash for his school, but we tried that too, and another $1,000 + a month is just impossible for us right now.

Ben has been praying about his educational path, and seeking guidance since day one. He had brought up changing paths a few years ago, thinking a lesser degree would be less of a financial burden, but that door closed almost as quickly as we thought about opening it. Having Ben in school has been a struggle on many levels, but it has always been the right choice for us, the clear choice, the open door - until now, maybe.

When my husband said to me one evening, "I've been thinking about doing something" with the all-to-familiar I'm-gonna-stress-you-out smirk in his eye, I was surprised to feel peace and not stress when he finally blurted the words out. I felt God's blessing on this and I knew this was something he should pursue.

I'll be honest and say that Ben's potential career change became a major topic of thought, and though I kept expecting stress to come, it never did. Instead I felt peace. Peace about who my husband is, and who he wants to be. Peace about our life and our future and overwhelming peace about who our God is and how much He loves us. This season is a season of faith, of trusting God's path for our life. I believe that this pursuit is completely apart of our plan and Ben was supposed to have this tug on his heart on purpose.

Now, I don't know if what Ben is doing this morning will lead to anything tangible. I will admit that I am excited for him, and for us. The lure of a two-income family is tempting to think about, as is having a husband who is proud of and satisfied with what he does, but I've tried to consciously pray for provision and for God's will to be done every time I begin to think of it.

As it often is with our Saviour's plan, I don't know the purpose of this jaunt from what was routine, but I am thankful for it. I have been reminded that our plans are not our own, and something much bigger than us is directing our path. I have so clearly seen that we are right exactly where He wants us to be. Right here, right now - this is where we are supposed to be, doing just exactly what He wants us to do. Standing here, having faith, growing trust and hoping for more than what we can imagine for ourselves.

So this morning, I am praying. Praying for my husband as he steps out in faith. Praying for his clarity of mind and strength of body. Praying for favor and for blessings. Praying for peace and assuredness. Praying for a door that is either open or closed. Offering praise and thankfulness to the God who loves us more than we deserve.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Early Summer Catch Up

Hello faithful blog readers! I've been MIA (again), but I've been busy and life has been full and quite lovely.

Ben and I were finally able to upgrade to iPhones and much of our time has been spent figuring out these cool new toys. I love the apps (there are so many!), and I've been having fun with Instagram:

It's still not a habit for me to whip out a camera and take photos, but I'm trying and I want to be better at documenting our life!

We've been slowly chipping away at our new house, and though none of our rooms are officially "done" we've settled in and are loving it. I really will post pictures someday...

We love our new neighborhood! Our deck overlooks an old quarry that has been filled in with water and is now a lovely lake. The view over the water is pretty beautiful and we love our nightly walks around it as we are serenaded by frogs, crickets and geese. The shopping center is coming along and we are looking forward to the New Seasons opening and having fresh, local groceries steps from our door!

You know Ben and I love going out, and this new neighborhood has not disappointed us in the breakfast arena: we are crazy for Cafe Murrayhill! Their banana pancakes are amazing - and I'm never one to order anything with bananas!

Now that summer is here, I've been craving fresh foods and that combined with my beautiful new kitchen, I've managed to scrape together a few meals at home. I tried Whole Food's whole wheat pizza crust last week, and though I didn't manage to get the dough into a square and I forgot to buy basil (and our tomatoes were rotten) the pizza was pretty yummy!

I had a little stretch off of work the last week of June and I was eager to get outside and go camping. So, we packed our backpacks and headed east to Bend, despite the forecasted rain. We figured we'd get to the desert and take a go at hiking, even if we would get a little wet.

Just about to get to Bend, ready for a few days in the wilderness!
Well, we didn't look at the weather close enough, because if we had, we would have expected Eastern Oregon to be a little more snowy than we were expecting.

We obviously weren't prepared for snow trekking, nor were the roads ready for hikers, because every trail we tried was closed! So, we paid an outrageous amount of money for a terrible hotel room and then made a new plan the next morning.

Planning. Strategizing - again.
We tried a few more places before finally settling on our favorite spot, now an old classic, Alder Springs. We went twice last summer after running into snow, much like this trip. This little spot is such a gem and we are thankful to have it in our back pocket!

You drive some back roads just outside of Sisters. Then, carefully (especially if you're driving a VW Golf!), make your way down the dirt road to the Alder Springs trailhead and make your way down (it's only about a mile and a half, but it's pretty steep!) to the river. Once you cross over, you find yourself in a lush little paradise. The view from the car is very desert-like and you'd have no idea such a green little oasis exists just a short way below.

We made camp by a little stream and let the sound of the water gently bubbling over the rocks lull us into complete relaxation.

We laid on our camp chairs, read books and got our fill of sunshine and vitamin D.

We saw one couple hike past our campsite on our last morning, but other than that we enjoyed 3 days of solitude and family time.

On our first camping trip with Bridger (to lake Olallie in 2009), we could not get him to go swimming (maybe it had something to do with the fact that to get him in the first time, Ben threw him into a pond...maybe). We tried to coax him in with sticks, balls, and even swimming with him, but no, he would not have it. 

Now, however, it is as if Bridger is making up for lost time and he tries to swim whenever there is water! He's fearless! To get to our campsite, there is a river crossing, and Bridger has done it a few times now without problem, pack and all.

Well, on our second day at camp, I was reading my book and hadn't noticed Ben had wandered off. Until I hear a "Hey, look at me!" and see my monkey husband had climbed the hill on the other side of the river. Well, naturally, I had to follow, and you'd be silly if you thought Bridger was going to miss out on an adventure. The river at this particular crossing point was a bit swifter and I was a little nervous, because, unlike my dog, I am a bit of a fraidy cat. Well, I noticed the quick water and was preparing to hold onto my impulsive pooch as we crossed. Bridger, however, wasn't feeling like waiting - he jumped in before I was even in the water. I got into the water as quickly as I could, just as Bridger started to loose his footing - just out of my reach. I tried to get to him, but the water was moving quite quickly and he was being swept downstream. He was swimming and swimming, but he was making little progress as his feet couldn't touch and the current was too strong. I started to panic. I started to yell, "Ben, I can't get him! I can't get him!", but it was of little good because Ben was still trying to make his way down the steep slope and couldn't get to us safely. I was trying to run in the water, but keep my balance (and breath, the water was really cold!) at the same time. I had visions of our poor, stupid dog being swept down river and me standing by helplessly. 

Thankfully, Bridger managed to get caught in a low-hanging tree and somehow jumped off the branches and up onto the bank. His eyes were big and he seemed a bit shocked for a moment, but then he started to scramble up the hill to Ben as if nothing had happened. I however, had to climb onto the bank myself and take a moment to calm my mama-heart and just be thankful nothing serious happened to our baby! Needless to say, on the way back, I had Ben hold onto his scruff during the crossing!

The rest of our little getaway was uneventful and thoroughly refreshing. Though our initial plans were waylaid by the weather, I am so thankful we had the opportunity to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. We live in such a beautiful place and it's a blessing to have amazing little getaways just a short drive away. 

I'm also thankful for my sweet little family and my cute, fearless boys!

I am a blessed girl!