Double Shots

double shots

At three o’clock a.m. Gert and I carried 5 sleeping children to the car and created cozy sleeping nests for each one. Not so much as a peep emerged from the backseat of the car and I sipped my coffee, smiling, that all was going according to plan. As I turned to fondly gaze at our sleeping kids, instead of dreamy looks I saw ten wide-awake eyeballs looking back at me. They stayed wide awake until late afternoon when we grew close to our destination for the night, Red Lodge, MT. No, our kids don’t sleep much in the car.

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Janine and Logan…our heroes!!!

The excitement of our 4,300 mile roadtrip reached its peak on Beartooth Pass. I almost died of fright on this mountain pass, with only a flimsy guard rail barricading us from careening down untold heights of rocky mountainside. So beautiful though. Besides learning our kids don’t sleep in the car, we also learned one doesn’t simply “drive through Yellowstone National Park.” Yes, laugh at me you experienced national parkers. Did anyone tell us about the 40 mph speed limit? Or the busses and traffic and oceans of tourists? We had one friend encourage us that no Yellowstone experience is complete without riding a bison. Thanks, Marcus ūüėČ

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Beartooth Pass Elevation 10,947 feet

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Amazing scenery

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We arrived at Old Faithful just in time to see it erupt. Then we pushed the 40 mph speedlimit to get the heck out of that awesomely huge park! We barely made it to our hotel that night, and enjoyed free food for the kids. Thanks, Holiday Inn Express (best hotel of the trip, bar none).

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The first geyser we came upon…enjoyed this more than Old Faithful herself!

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HOT boiling mineral pool

A highlight of our trip was spending time with our good friends in Colorado. We spent the Fourth of July hiking to natural water slides, teaching our toddler to early elementary bunch of kids exactly how you cross a creek by hopping on stones and listening to the panicked commands of ‘STOP!’ ‘KEEP GOING!’ ‘Do NOT climb that!’

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Gert climbing to the zip line in Estes Park, CO

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I would’ve done this but for the climb! ūüėČ

There is simply too much to tell. We enjoyed a landmark Grim family reunion in Estes Park. The best thing about this week? The friendships forged by my oldest two daughters and their first-cousins-once-removed. That and waking up to the Rocky Mountains every day.

We survived a grueling drive across Kansas with our A/C conking out somewhere between 90-98 degrees at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. If it weren’t for timely use of Dramamine to bring about a ‘marked drowsiness’ over our kids…well…lets not go there.

Stay tuned for Double Shots part 11

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Actually, It is hard to argue with someone who looks so happy…

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I have my creative husband to thank for this caption. This description fits him well! I still tease him that he cannot glare to save his life. We started packing our house today, preparing for the second out of three moves this year. We are still looking for a house to rent in CT, South Africa. Apparently the competition is fierce! The houses come on the market and within a week, they are taken by the best applicant.

Monday, at about 3 a.m., we leave for our roadtrip to the Midwest. My plan: we look out the window for an hour, listen to audiobooks for an hour, sing songs and play games for an hour, watch a movie for an hour, take a nap for an hour, stop and rest, and then do it all over again. We have about 17 hours of listening material and the kids are going to make Travel Journals along the way. So my biggest prayer request is that the hours will pass quickly and everyone will remain in good spirits. Especially mom and dad…

We look forward to spending the 4th of July with friends in Colorado, a huge Grim family reunion in Estes Park, special time with our church family in Missouri, an overnight with our fellow South Africans in Kansas City, driving to Mt. Rushmore, two nights with another special friend in Wyoming, then eventually making our way back to Washington.

Some highlights of the last couple months…

One of the best Saturdays ever

One of the best Saturdays ever

Chewelah Valley

Chewelah Valley

God's great camouflage...do you see the snake?

God’s great camouflage…do you see the snake?

Refueling for the hike

Refueling for the hike

One Room Schoolhouse in Newport, WA

One Room Schoolhouse in Newport, WA

Enjoying the Evergreen State

Enjoying the Evergreen State

Top of Quartzite

Top of Quartzite

Five months old and more beautiful everyday

Five months old and more beautiful everyday

Sharing the love of Star Wars with his baby sister

Sharing the love of Star Wars with his baby sister

I will Either Find a Way or Make One

After 2,000 miles in 7 days, $80 some in unexpected tolls, on IOU to the last toll in Illinois because we simply ran out of cash, I am happy to be home! Our friends and family made it so worth the drive to Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin! It was amazing to catch up with people we knew when newly married (11 years ago. Ahem.) to discover we each have 4 kids, a yellow lab, men in the medical field, and a continuing passion for the nations. Awesome. Hope now has a best friend in 2 new states. Molly and Serene, she misses you desperately.

I should be feeding my kids right now.

Instead, the reality that we are moving away from my family and my dreams of someday living in Washington again with them is sinking in. I process things one step at a time. Much more manageable that way. First, the elation of hearing a ‘yes’ from God about going back into missions. Now, after months of waiting and straining to hear, God has cleared the way for us to see the direction of our next step.

Anyone recognize this place?

 

Cape Town, South Africa

 

Nine years ago, Gert and I were visiting his sister Charne’ in the most breathtakingly beautiful place I’ve been. Mountains,¬†ocean, and¬†century-old vineyards surrounded us.¬†¬†I stood there, inwardly musing to the Lord, that the Cape would be my dream to live and minister in. I tried to think of a scenario that would take us there, and came up short. Oh well, I thought, it’s too beautiful and perfect and God usually wants to build character, not¬†indulge vain imagination!

Even as I write this, I’m struggling to believe it.

We received permission from OM-South Africa to pioneer a NEW training center. Did we think of this idea ourselves? No, God dropped it in our laps. Its intimidating and exciting all at the same time. Several years ago, Gert and I received a prophetic gift from a spiritual father. It was a compass, with the words Aut viam inveniam aut faciam inscribed on the front. I will either find a way or make one.

For those of you who’ve been following our decision-making process, its been a wild ride. I have to say, several times, I wanted to rush ahead and just make a decision. When I tried this, my peace flew out the window and a knew I was out of line. God corrected my heart and reminded me to submit to him by submitting to my husband, and allow¬†him to lead. God told me, instead of worrying or trying to figure things out, that I needed to pray for¬†my husband¬†to hear from the Lord and to make the right decision for our family. As soon as I did this, and I do not exaggerate, God opened the door for the Cape. It was maybe 5 days after I began to pray this way for Gert. I have to credit him for his stubborn optimism and faith that God wanted us in South Africa. He refused to give up.

I do not credit ourselves with finding a way or making one. I do, however, credit the Lord for giving us the faith and tenacity to hang on to a dream. Thank you for your prayers, we ask for you to continue. We love you!

The Tension of Faith

Its been an exciting and difficult week. Emotions come at unexpected times, packing and sorting through 11 1/2 years of life. I’ve made a pact with myself not to be sentimental about every drawing from the kids or every wedding present I’ve had in storage, never used. But still the emotions surface. For me, its my entire house. For my husband, its his office. The kids are wondering what special things they can and cannot bring with to the mission field. I’m having dreams about finding a home for our dog. Hoping she can be re-united Lucy.

We know God has called us to go. No doubt about it. We have a very specific vision he’s given us. The thing is, we don’t yet know where we are going! Here the tension comes in. Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see. When God said the righteous will live by faith, not by sight, he wasn’t kidding.

We are waiting for an opportunity to open up in South Africa, believing this is the place for us. At the same time, two other opportunities lay before us in Israel and Nepal. With a family of soon-to-be 7, support-raising in full swing, and expecting an offer on our house any day, we certainly feel pressure to have a plan clearly laid out.

But God must be enjoying himself, surprising us with unexpected turns and twists in the path. Our ‘plans’ change on a weekly basis. I’ve had to pick my jaw up off the floor at least three times this week at astounding surprises from my Father. Many are the plans in a mans heart, but the Lord determines his steps. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will direct your path. Proverbs.

We are on our way to Blue Grass, Iowa and then on to Cleveland, Ohio to visit dear friends. One who we haven’t seen since our wedding 11 years ago! We met in OM, each have 4 kids now and I cannot WAIT to catch up and laugh together. Thanks for your prayers and sweet emails, texts, and phone calls. I love you!

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What Unexpected Adventure Awaits?

I want to sit down with each of you, right now, with a cup of coffee or sweet tea or yerba mate or whatever it is you drink. Everyone have something in hand?

I have some news to share. I’d rather wait until we have the real cup of coffee, face-to-face,¬†instead of virtual one, but we all know how fast news spreads around these days, and I want you to hear it from me first.

In April, God started to stir up a strong desire in my (and my husband’s) heart to ask him about returning to the mission field. We began a season of intense fasting and prayer, asking him what he has for us. This is not the first time we’ve done this, by the way. Several times before, we’ve asked God about going into missions and he’s said stay. So our hearts were prepared for for the same answer.

An interesting thing happened. The day after our fast ended, we recieved an invitation for a very desirable and well-suited position on the mission field, in Israel. Immediately, our hearts lept and wanted to say yes! But instead we asked for counsel and prayer from our spiritual leaders, and asked the Lord for a double-confirmation from his word.

The next week, another invitation came, for a similar position but in South Africa.

Then God spoke to Gert Isaiah 30:17-21. The double-confirmation we asked for, as this passage has special meaning to my husband. Our prayer partners came back and said ‘yes.’

I cannot convey to you the joy and release we felt at this point. We’ve been married for 11 years, and always assumed we would raise our family on the mission field. But God has led us on a different journey in the States, which has been filled with relationships and experiences¬†I will treasure forever. It has been a privilege and joy to pastor a church, we have grown more through this experience than I thought possible. Our children have enjoyed the privildge of living in the abundance of the United States. I have¬†been thoroughly equipped to¬†mother and homeschool my children, thanks to co-ops and godly friends. My husband has found a vocation as a paramedic which¬†he is passionate about. It¬†will be an incredible asset on any mission field. God has been so gracious and good to us.

The hard part comes now, in telling our dear friends and family, that we are leaving. Much sadness and tears is to come as we let go and say goodbye. It never gets easier to say goodbye. The sacrifice is great, for those who stay and for those who go.

My comfort and solace is this, from the book of Hebrews: All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he had prepared a city for them.

Our days on earth are numbered, but our days in heaven are not. If we share the fellowship of being called children of God, we will have all of eternity to be together in a far superior home. If we can live our lives with purpose, investing in eternity, it makes the sacrifice of saying goodbye worth it.

We¬†do not have the final confirmation¬†of where to go, although we are leaning heavily towards South Africa. We can be fruitful there, training and discipling new students and missionaries. And our children are African-American, right? It will be a blessing for them to experience the other part of their heritage and culture. Many of Gert’s family have not even met all of our children.

From the bottom of our hearts, we love you. I want to make the most of the time we have left in the States. We ask for your prayers as we make decisions, transition into a missions lifestyle, and begin an international move as a (soon-to-be) family of 7.

With love,

Molly

Making Memories

photo from Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park website

Last November, Gert and I decided our Family Goal for the next season of life is to make memories with the kids. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Yes, camping!! Now, when he and I were single, and then married but still childless, we were avid outdoor adventurers. Backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, were right up there with top favorite things to do. And when our firstborn came along, we courageously tried to keep it up. But my zeal was short-lived. I remember one very, very long night in particular with our 12-month old. Camping on a rocky, cold, rainy, beach in Homer, Alaska. The sun didn’t set all night, nor did my eyes shut. Wiggling, squirming, rolling,¬†crying, pooping…you get the idea! That was the unofficial end of my desire to experience the great outdoors with babies.

Now, our kids are 8, 6, 5, and 3…no diapers…and the nervous-but-excited feeling in my stomach agrees with our decision to go make some memories! We packed everything I could remember you’re supposed to bring while camping, and made the 3-hour drive to Johnson’s Shut-Ins. A perfect place to resurrect¬†the camping spirit! So we arrive and immediately I notice all the other campers have huge water containers set up at their sites. Okay, I forgot to bring that. Next, I tell Gert he has to just grab the hotdogs off the grill since I didn’t even think of bringing bbq¬†tongs! Oh, and a kettle to boil water for our coffee? Yeah, didn’t bring that either. I’m starting to think I really suck at this! The sun is baking us thoroughly¬†so of course we decide to go swimming in the heat of the day. Loaded down with towels, a beach bag, water bottles, and flip-flops, we start walking to the Shut-Ins, and begin to notice everyone coming out looks very…tired and dry. And they are all wearing watershoes. So it’s a¬†15 minute hike to the water, longer because everyone is dropping their towels (which we didn’t even need, the sun has an instant drying affect). But it is so worth it. Beautiful pools of water, little fish for the kids to catch, razor-sharp rocks to fall on…

We swam and fell on rocks for about an hour, and decided to head back to the car. As we passed two EMS workers climbing down the steep hillside to rescue a swimmer with a busted knee, Gert commented to them, “Glad I’m not working today!” And I’m¬†glad it’s not one of us needing that stretcher! It probably took those guys at least an hour to get out of there.

Dinner was an amazing success. It tasted so good after waiting 3 hours for the fire to get started. The kids would’ve eaten sand if we put it on their plates! Nothing like a steak at 9:30pm.

Now its time for my biggest fear. Bedtime. Even though my skillful, creative, able husband promised he fixed the hole in our air mattress,¬†we both¬†knew better. It deflated at least 3 times before we resigned to sleeping¬†on sharp rocks with pockets of air dispersed unevenly around our bodies. Didn’t I pray for cool weather at night?? So why wasn’t I prepared with warm pj’s and blankets? Somehow, the kids had every blanket and sleeping¬†bag we brought! After I found my socks I finally stopped shivering. And then thankfully 4am rolled around (I don’t really know what time the sun came up, it was early though!) and our first night’s stay was over. One night was enough.

Oh wait! No, that’s not all! Around 7am we started to hear thunder. Was rain in the forecast? We didn’t think so! After quickly checking the weather, we realized we had about 30 minutes before a heavy storm system settled in over southeastern Missouri. Somehow¬†we broke down our campsite in exactly 3o minutes, right as the first rain drops started to fall.

No time for coffee.

I did, however, immensely enjoy throwing away our stupid air mattress in the dumpster.

At home and cleaning up, and after camping you must, I noticed something. Everyone was smiling at each other. We just went through an incredible bonding experience together. It wasn’t problem or attitude free, but when the kids asked me when we could go camping again, I knew we are reaching our goal…making memories together.

Let me leave you with a new, amazing, S’more recipe….SO GOOD!! For your next Family Memory-Making Trip.

 

Gingerbread S’mores

2 Gingersnaps

1 toasted marshmallow

2 squares Cadbury’s Caramello¬†milk chocolate

 

What Makes You Happy?

A new outfit makes me happy. For about 3 days. Lasting happiness, we’ll call it joy, comes in another fashion (pun intended). Contentment is a beautiful world. Godliness with contentment is great gain, the Bible says. I’ll compare it to eating junk food when you’re really hungry for a meal. Fills the gap in your tummy for a while, but doesn’t satisfy. Nothing is like a feast of delicious, fresh, whole foods (can you tell its dinner time and I’m getting hungry??). Something superficial like¬†new clothes feels good for a short while, but is fleeting. It does not produce lasting happiness, joy, and contentment.

I don’t know when I first realized this. But the¬†desires of my heart¬†are changing.

As a new mom, almost 9 years ago, I could not STAND to be at home for the whole day, with my baby, not having anything to ‘do’. That was my prevailing attitude up until recently. But somewhere in the last 6 months or so, a very interesting phenomena¬†has occurred. I WANT to be at home with my kids! Instead of finding excuses to go into town, I found myself¬†looking for¬†excuses to stay home.

This is really weird, folks. I’m not depressed or¬†feeling anti-social. I’ve realized that being home, providing a constant, steady, variety of activities for my kids as we home school, is enough for me. That in conjunction with time to work out, church on Sunday, a day off with my family to have fun, and a hot date with my husband AT LEAST once a month. Throw in a trip to the NW once a year¬†and I’m a happy clam.

This might sound contradicting to my previous post about longing¬†for adventure. YES, I still long for adventure. But God is so good! He puts desires in our hearts, and then delights to give them to us. He knows¬†that desire for adventure¬†is in there, its part of my DNA. But for today, he has graciously given me a new desire, to live a full, quiet, life at home raising my children and enjoying my awesome husband. I’m constantly¬†researching and learning new things from permaculture gardening to sprouting grains to making yogurt to sterling silver¬†jewelry to¬†blogging!

I’m going to challenge you now. For us as women, living in a culture that values strong, career-minded, independent, feministic women, it requires a radical transformation of the mind to embrace this biblical teaching.

“…train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:4,5.

God, in his infinite and perfect goodness, will be so gracious to you as to give you a desire for this, if you are willing, and brave enough, to ask.