We have entered out of construction mode and into project mode here. The difference is huge. Construction mode interferes with day to day living, it's on-going, and it invasive in all areas. Project mode means we can easily bust out little things that need to be done in a day or weekend. Wow, it feels good to have some quick gratification! It is actually really weird being in a home that is finished. There is actually a "recovery phase" I feel like we are continually working on. When it is so intense and so much hard work for so long, you don't just automatically know how to rest when it is finished. May 25th will be 1 year that we have been in this house. I'd like to say that it was only 12 months, but the reality is we have lived like this for 3 years, including Nellie Mae.

Our small group at church asked us to share our story. My first reaction was to laugh because we have made a lot of mistakes and done everything the hard way. I guess we are a good story of what not to do! As Tim and I finally sat down and really went through our journey over the past specifically 5 years, it was a lot. And it was a lot to be able to just communicate clearly to people. I'm so grateful we did though. Through our story, tears, hardship, and joy, it brings a lot of healing and closure. I believe we have a message of hope.

Tim shared mainly the whole time. He would ask me to interject about certain things. Through the first company he worked for doing construction sales filing bankruptcy, to spiraling downward through a handful of awful sales jobs, to finally deciding to "get a trade" and switch careers. In the middle of all of that, God selling our house in Canton in 13 days for our asking price. To then, Tim getting a full scholarship to get his degree in HVAC. 
I think at that point we were in a hole. And we prayed to get out. And God gave us shovels.
Moving in with his mom and dad while bought and renovated Nellie Mae (40k was the only thing in our price range during that season of life). Tim going to school, working part time, and staying up most the night for 3 months to renovate the house. Me taking care of our 3 and 1 year old by day, putting them to bed and then I was cleaning 13 houses a month at one point at night and on the weekends. Then, driving over and helping Tim until the wee hours of the morning. Things were rough when he started over and at the bottom of this industry. I think I cried when we got our first year end statement that year. But, God provided everything. Through random things. Jobs. Chainsaw Bears. A stranger pulling in on Christmas Eve and handing Tim $100. We made it through that first year.
I mean, OH MY GOD. What were we thinking?? ! But, what were our options??! I look back and as hard as it was, we remained debt free and dug ourselves out of the hole. 
And our journey of a family has been anything but easy so far. We grieved the loss of 5 babies that have spanned over the past 6 years of pregnancies. It was at this point in our story that Tim pulled out our "box of children". I have a box that I always kept every single picture of the babies we had. The ones of them alive. The ones of them not. There is nothing you get to keep when you have a miscarriage. You leave with an emptiness physically and emotionally. I have a few cards that I kept. Some I would read over and over. There was one that I always read that said, "Long before you're ready, you sadly say goodbye. But, there are those in a far more beautiful place, saying Welcome Home." Despite the wounds from every avenue of life, God somehow showed us how to put one foot in front of the other.
As we finished Nellie Mae and re-gained our life, hope, and career.... we found more hope. On Hope Street. We found a foreclosure that was HUGE compared to Nellie Mae and though we adored that sweet house.... 4 people and a dog were tight in 800 square feet. And we knew we would have more children by a different way one day. Out of 12 offers on the house within hours of it posting, we were picked. We found a renter for Nellie Mae and began this journey a year ago.
Tim told me and everyone at the end that the only thing people tell him is, "How in the world did your wife not leave you after all that?" He thanked me, told me how much he loved me, and how I was his very best friend in the whole world. 
Tim is my soul mate indeed. You can't explain it. I do know this. I often thought through this season..."I'll be happier in my marriage when Tim is successful" Did you catch that? Lie. "I'll be happier in life when things calm down and we figure things out" Lie. "I'll be happier if we have a bigger family" Lie. "I'll be happier..."
God gently spoke to me one morning, "Be happy now, just be happy now" If you can't be happy now... then how in the world will you be happy later? I almost shudder to use "happy" and maybe content is a better word. And that changed my world. Jesus can only give us the day to day happiness we long for. Nothing in our future will bring you that. That is a lie to believe that circumstances going your way will end you up happy. It won't. And they won't. You will find something else to be discontent about. Happiness became contentment for me and God gave me that. We have lossed a lot, but what I have gained is more.
It's hard to even write about where we are now. Grateful. Blessed. Driven. Organized. Fearful sometimes. Joyous. Giving. Sad sometimes. But, Hopeful. Always Hopeful.
We have seen God do so much. Coming out of all that and moving on has been challenging. Moving on. God has called us to do more. We want to get there. And we are trying. 
But, it was a hard recovery. It still feels like recovery sometimes. I feel like we are in a safe haven.  From all outward appearances, people just meeting us would think we have a normal life, haha! They have no idea what we have just been through over the past few years. It's crazy a season of your life can just disappear. It's like you can hide it. 
But, I don't want to hide it. We are who we are from it.

Well, enough of all that. Since my phone has become my only source of a camera these days, here are some pictures!

Since our kitchen has been finished, we have been cooking and baking A LOT!! It's one of my favorite things to do with the kiddos!! This was my first cheesecake and it was heaven :)

We finally made it out to Land of 1000 Hills Coffee Shop. Please go. Its right off the Chattahoochee River and may be a new favorite spot for our family!

Yard Sale Season. $3. Both of my children are obsessed with yard sales and antique stores and I LOVE it!!

 More baking. We accidentally made 96 cookies, but had plenty for the neighbors!
 One last yard sale find for $10. And it does work!
 My sweet girl at 4 years old~
 Another project we started and finished just on a weekend, imagine that! We put down slate in our foyer... which was actually left over slate from the bathroom.
 I have been a working woman! I only do a few corporate event planning jobs a year, but I had 3 fall this spring with Chick-fil-a, Coke, and the big Blackberry Conference in 2 weeks. I really love everything about this job. However, it is a job I can only do very part time with the amount of travel and little ones :)
 And very early mornings for me!

Tim was fantastic and in the middle of my crazy working let me take a girls weekend with the girls from church and go to Callaway Gardens. I am incredibly thankful to be so involved with people and community at our church. We have people in our life and living it with us. Being on staff long ago taught us both to always have people ALL up in your business. It reaps huge rewards. It was so beautiful at Callaway and I can't wait to take my fam back!

 Little Miss Mackenzie's ballet recital is coming up!

One of my. favorite. things. Sitting here in our new kitchen doing homework with my SWEET little kindergartener man. This boy has my heart. He is only weeks away from kindergarten graduation and this mommy can't believe she will have a 7 year old soon. It was just yesterday he was 2 and a hooligan peeing in buckets and destroying my house. Now he is reading and writing and I can't spell things I don't want him to hear in front of me anymore!!!

Well, that is all for now! Bring on the summer! Guess I should take the snow off my blog!

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