So just in case you missed the theme of the past 2 posts, there were 8 balls and 8 ice cream cones, but only 7 children. Here’s the reason why…
Catching up on editing photos. A few favorites. Julia and I did a fun mini photo shoot a few months ago. She is quite a silly girl in front of the camera.
Eric was out of town a awhile back, and the children and I saw a flyer at the store for a show at the theater for that evening. “Little Women” by Jane Austin. I thought it would be fun to take the girls, but the boys assured me we needed escorts for a night on the town. Soon, they were digging through closest’s to dress their finest. They even picked out an evening gown for me. Time out here… We live in a small rural community. No Broadway here. No reason to dress up for really anything, other than Prom at the local high school. But I do love dressing up and my darling children have somehow managed to take this trait to heart and delight me with it! So, knowing that we would be WAY over dressed, and not caring a lick, we dressed up in suits and high heels and pearls and gowns and went to see the show. It was really a lovely evening. Everybody stopped us and talked to the children. They were pretty much the youngest their by 50-60 years! 😉 And brought many smiles and compliments from the crowd. The show was super fun and even the boys said they liked it. (I’m sure the milk and cookies at intermission helped seal the deal for them). It was nearly dark when we showed up, but we still took a few pics.
And these last pictures are from our last outing on Grandma’s farm. I have been needing to take some patriotic pictures for one of the exam rooms at the office. It was freezing cold out, but these two littles did a great job helping me get the pictures I needed! (And thanks Uncle Roger for your Harley…it was perfect!!)
So we are moving to Texas…We’ve told our children, our family now knows, it’s FB official, and the countdown has begun…. But wait, nobody even knew we were considering this new adventure so what happened? Here is the story of our last two years and God’s faithfulness through it all.
Let’s rewind 16 years ago. Eric and I were courting. I am a girl who grew up in the south. I love many things about the south. Hot humid summers, sweet tea, front porches, and the hospitality that the south is well know for. I swoon over my Southern Living magazine each month when it comes in the mail, tearing out the pages and dreaming of life in the south. BUT, this southern girl met a boy from Oregon. Who was very clear that he DID NOT plan on staying in the south and that he DID LOVE the Northwest, especially Oregon. So, for our courtship to move forward, I had to agree to follow him back to Oregon and leave the south far behind me. And I did with no regrets. We hardly stayed in Oregon though. It was always like a home base that we would come back to. We moved to Africa and The Caribbean. We moved to Southern California. And all these places had elements of the south that I would love. And always we came back to Oregon. Which fast forwards us to 4 1/2 years ago.
In 2009, Eric graduated from dental school in So Cal, and even though we actually had no intentions of moving back to Oregon this time, we still did. We had decided that Coeur d’Alene , Idaho was our ideal place to work and raise our family. But God had other plans. He closed, no more like slammed, every door in Idaho. Then, with only one option left for a practice for Eric to buy, we moved back to Oregon. Not knowing why or what lay ahead for us in this next season of our lives.
We quickly embraced this new lifestyle. New town, new friends, new church, new job. Oh, did I say job…let’s just say JOB… after 10 years of school!! We lived an hour from most of Eric’s family, so trips to visit were easy. Eric had an incredibly stressful transition to make. After being a dental student for the past 4 years, he was thrown (by his choice 😉 ) into a very challenging, extremely stressful position as solo owner and dentist in a practice that was in desperate need of an extreme business makeover. But for Eric, this was just a challenge to grab by the horns and overcome. I remember thinking during those first 6 months as a dentist’s wife that I would rather be a students wife for the rest of my life if this was the level of stress we would live with for the rest of his career. But the dust slowly settled and things became more “normal” as the months and years rolled by. And Eric got bored. So he did some research and picked one of the most challenging Implant Classes he could take. And then decided to get a Fellowship in Implants. Then he decided he wanted to learn how to do Orthodontics.
This brings us to fall of 2012. Eric had heard from many of his patients the oil boom up in North Dakota. Many of them were going up there to work. So, without telling anyone, he got his ND dental license and went up there to find a practice to buy. But nothing really seemed like it was a good fit or where God was sending us. So we laid that idea on the back shelf and kept on with life here. No one having a clue.
Then, last January, Eric started thinking again. God was still prompting us. This time Eric said, “Cheryl, what do you think about Texas?” Texas!!! Like deep in the heart of the south…sweet tea and hush puppies…Texas??? And their was never any looking back. Eric found a homeschool conference in April for the children and I to go to, and then asked me to spend the next few weeks driving around the state gathering information and seeing if God was opening doors for us to move there. This was a huge task. I had all 7 children with me and could not let them or anyone else in on this giant game plan.
Enter “The House”. I’m referring to the 4300 sq ft semi-mansion we live in on 5 acres. The house we didn’t really want to buy because it was in need of a total remodel. It was a foreclosure and ghastly in need of major TLC. But, true to Eric’s self, he needed an adventure, and 6 weeks from the day he casually mentioned to me he was thinking about buying a house, we owned it. And now, 3 1/2 years later, it has had a total makeover. From a gourmet kitchen to custom baths and stunning hardwood and travertine flooring, it could be the cover home on a magazine. It’s my home. I have slaved over this remodel. Every square inch has a story. There’s the kitchen island we call “The Continent” because it’s so large. But, all 7 of my children can sit around it. Bringing that slab of granite into the kitchen was one of the most stressful moments of the whole remodel. There’s the stairwell that my dear husband has put hundreds of hours into rebuilding. Making it a stunning piece of furniture. The walls we took out and the faux painting I did to make every room look like it was done with Venetian Plaster. A house that was built in 1990 with pink and blue carpet and wallpaper, is now a Tuscan dream home. My dream home.
So when Eric started really talking about leaving, I kinda freaked out. I thought we were going to stay here forever. This was my dream home. So, I said to Eric, “If God really wants us to move, He is going to need to send someone knocking on my door to buy this house.” Eric looked at me and said, “Be careful what you ask for!” That was last summer.
August 29, 2013. The day we received a phone call asking if we were interested in selling Eric’s practice. It was not listed with any broker. We had not advertised it was for sale. It was still completley confidential that we were even considering moving. We didn’t talk about it to friends or family. Our children had no clue. Eric came home that day and said, “Cheryl, you asked God to bring a buyer to our house and He has done much greater. He has brought a buyer to my practice!” We were kinda speechless. Selling our home would be so much easier than selling the practice. So, we said yes to the potential buyer and the roller coaster ride began. The next 5 months were a whirlwind as we compromised and negotiated over purchase agreements. And on January 20, 2014 the practice was sold.
God is faithful.
We have seen His hand in our lives here. We now know why he brought us back to Oregon. Eric was able to be by his Grandpas side when he passed away 3 years ago. We have walked the road with his brother through his separation and divorce. We were here the day his Dad had his accident and within hours Eric was able to be with his family as they braced for the news from the surgeons and what lay ahead. We have been able to journey with his parents as they have slowly and painstakingly had to learn a new life. Our children have been able to spend time with Eric’s family that has cultivated rich beautiful relationships that will be treasured as we move away. These are the enormous moments we know as we look back on our time here. And then there is all the little things, the moments in others lives, that would take millions of words to try and express. We have been blessed to live here and are very thankful for the years and memories that we have been given.
So now we start closing this season of our lives. Texas looks bright and promising. Eric has enormous visions of his career there. He’s excited and ready to accomplish great things. We are all happy to move to a place that has lots more sun. We daydream of sailing on the Gulf and wake boarding on the lake and lazy days on the river. New friends and neighbors. 2000 miles closer to Grandma Beth and Grandpa Luke. Which means more visits from them!! Sweet tea and southern living…Here I come!
It’s been a few weeks since Christmas, but the memories are forever in my heart. We had a week of snow and freezing cold weather. The children were as creative as ever in their time outside in the snow. The boys hooked sleds to the quads and gave rides to the little ones for hours. They were inspired from our neighbor who took his truck out into the field and towed the children behind on sleds. I’m not sure who was having more fun! Where we live, snow is rare and usually only lasts a few hours. To have a whole week of snow was dreamy. And it was so cold that the snow was dry. Which meant I didn’t have to dry out all the snow clothes every time the children came in.
Christmas was lovely. The older children were so helpful this year in decorating. With our home almost completely finished with the remodel, it actually felt like we were somewhat normal this year. I love to decorate. And that’s an understatement! I study my Southern Living and Traditional Home magazines each month, filing away ideas and inspirations on design and decorating. Makes me happy.
We had Eric’s family and our friends over for Christmas dinner. It was a day of happiness and love and memories that I will tuck deep in my heart and reflect back on in the years ahead.