Wednesday, 23 August 2017

the past year & God's faithfulness

I am extremely emotional writing this post today. Words can't convey the last year of our lives. If I tried to scrounge up a few they would be hard, painful & growing.

One year ago today we got on a boat, heading to Moosonee for the last time as residents of Moose Factory Island. Our beloved Moose Factory. One year has gone, and I have yet to fully process this. I haven't had a chance really. We boarded the train for the last time, drove to Philadelphia, and hit the ground running. New job for Josh, new baby, new city for me. A totally different life than we had been leading for 4.5 years.

At the University I attended, Lee University, we were required to study abroad, which I think is fantastic. Along with that, they require re-entry courses for going into a different culture, living there, and returning home. I'm grateful for that little bit of knowledge and understanding that there are REAL & TRUE consequences to leaving what you know, living in a different culture, and returning to what you once knew.

The Lord called us back to the States, and of that we are sure. With that comes a level of peace which I am so grateful for. Though peace is the foundation of this past year, there have been hardships. Loneliness is a factor as well, because few have walked this path, so simply cannot understand.

Of course there were the obvious hardships that I expected like having anxiety driving for the first 6 months back, the pace of life being eons faster in Philadelphia, and our beloved family time being cut by an 1/8 at least. But there was more to these obvious things that we didn't consider, like, faster pace & busier life means less time to spend in the Word, watching sermons, etc. Less time as a family means less time to build one another up causing a heaviness and stress I didn't anticipate.

We had such worth in Moose Factory. We were able to use our gifts on a daily basis. Josh, in Pastoring, in caring for the flock, studying the Word to teach, caring for people in the Community. Me, in leading the slow paced homemaking life that I had always dreamed of, in having countless women over for coffee & the Word, in pouring into new believers and leading by example. Our kitchen table was a Holy place with good food and conversation and changed hearts. We struggled and sometimes missed the many conveniences of back home, but we were so fulfilled day in and day out.

This new season (season is my favorite word right now, oh Lord, let it be a season), Josh works long days, I mother all day, and sleep little at night. We re-center often and look for the grace in our lives and tell each other that GRATITUDE must abound, but we struggle still. I'm learning gratitude & struggle can coexist. I'm grateful to tears many days, just yesterday I was holding Caleb and my eyes filled with tears at the gratitude I feel to be his and Lenna's mommy, there's no greater joy. That is true and real, but the heaviness & spiritual battle are as well.

We felt freedom in Moose Factory that I'm understanding many don't feel. To be able to put what's most important to you first each day. Time with the Lord, family, homemaking, hospitality. It was FREEDOM. I long for that freedom again. What I miss most in this season is that freedom I felt. I know being a mother to small children definitely has a role to play in not feeling free, but there's something deeper there that I've been wrestling through with the Lord.

He clearly saw many things in us that He needed to chasten, and oh, am I thankful. I know His ways are the best, and I can fully say that through this hard season, if it's the Lord's will to better us in this way, then so be it. Joshua & I are both feel like we are gasping for breath as the Lord is molding us into a vessel that will bring more honor and glory to Him. This season has been hard, but we will look back at it and see BEAUTY, I fully believe that.

So there's no pretty bow tied ending to this. There's no conclusion. There's certainly no self pity (please know that). We will continue to fight the good fight. We will seek the Lord in this season, we will cry through the pain, and we will be bettered. We will work to use our giftings in the different ways that the Lord makes available and shows us. We will serve Him in ways that maybe don't fit into our pretty little picture, but that He sees fit.

In this entire year, writing this has been the most at one time that I have sat down and processed this. Sitting here I have thought about Ecclesiastes chapter 3 for the first time this year, and wow, there's comfort there.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

He will indeed make everything beautiful in it's time. He is faithful. He is good.

Friday, 22 May 2015

10 months

Hello all! My sweet Caleb boy is 10 months! This past month has truly been the MOST fun month ever! Caleb's personality has just blossomed! I am so surprised daily by the funny and crazy things he does! 

We've had a really great month. April was probably one of my hardest months ever, definitely my hardest in MF thus far. The Lord is so gracious though, I learned A LOT in April and grew leaps and bounds, so May has been all about reaping the harvest. April showers DO bring May flowers! It has been a very fruitful month and a month of joy! I am very grateful!

I celebrated my first Mothers Day and that was wonderful and surreal! Joshua made it extra special by making me dinner, and writing me the sweetest letter of all time. I feel very appreciated and encouraged in my role as mom, and that is such a gift!

I really want to do a ministry update soon because just SO much is going on all the time, and so many cool things have happened. It's just tough because it's hard enough for me to get this montly update done, so I just don't know when I'll find  hours and hours to do that update!

Weight:  23 lbs
Height: 28 inches (didn't actually check! ha!)

Doctor appointment:none

Nicknames: same nicknames in rotation constantly, but a whole lot of 'sweetie' these days, cause he's just SUCH a sweetie pie!!!!!!!!!!!
Eating: He still eats most things! I did make cauliflower soup that really upset his belly the other day, so no more of that for either of us! He's also tried peanut butter and isn't just so happened that we had 2 doctors and 5 nurses at our house when Caleb tried PB for the first time...but we can just pretend that I wanted to be EXTRA cautious in having him try it the first time. ;-) :-)
Sleeping: Sleeping is pretty hit and miss these days! I would say he wakes up in the middle of the night about 3x a week, maybe less. I'm going to work on some things in the next few weeks that hopefully will help Caleb sleep better when we are traveling!
Clothing: 12 months! Some 12/18 months!
Social: Always VERY social in our home. I've been bringing him into the main sanctuary during the music since he was born (and then I take him in the back nursery wants the service starts), but he is officially distracting during the music. Haha! He stands on the chair and makes noise and is just crazy. It's nothing our church isn't used to, that's for sure!
New this month: He does something new and funny every day! He's learning how to wave, definitely hasn't mastered it. He's FINALLY saying mama again...he retired that word for about a month, but it's back, along with baba & dada! He screams REALLY loud sometimes, just because he can! He really likes his tongue these days, today he was just holding it and moving it around, must be fascinating! Still isn't walking, I don't think he's really interested in it. I think he finds it most efficient to crawl where he wants to go, but he does walk quickly along furniture. We've been on lots of walks this month, he LOVES it.   
Likes: Caleb loves dancing and music! He LOVVEESS going for walks, he just smiles the whole time. I took him out a couple days ago and it was pretty chilly so he was wearing a hat...I look at him several minutes into our walk and the hat was totally covering his eyes..hahaha, and he didn't even care! He was just happy to be going along in the stroller! He laughed all hard when I moved it! silly boy! He loves his daddy and can't contain his excitment when he has the full attention of both mommy and daddy at the same time.
Dislikes: He has not been liking going to bed lately. Ugh. He doesn't like getting his diaper changed anymore. 

Mama: Thank you to those who prayed for me last month. Like I said above, this month has been really great. I feel like April was just a hard low season for me, but I still faithfully sought the Lord and I would go through it all over again if I knew the growth that was on the other side. I feel like this month has been all about learning, being encouraged, growth, and gained wisdom. Be encouraged if you're in a low season to just KEEP fighting, KEEP seeking, BE disciplined. The Lord honors it. There were many days last month where I wanted to go back to bed when Caleb napped, but instead I got in the Word and filled my mind with the truths of scripture, and it was more fulfilling than any nap could ever be. I feel like I have a much better grasp on grace in motherhood, being a homemaker and being a wife. I'm learning and growing and that's all I ever want.

Daddy: Joshua is great! He finished the book of Ecclesiastes! It was a phenomenal study. We have a very kind man in the churh who is organizing the whole hard drive of sermons for us, so hopefully one day we can have more available for you all. If you didn't know, you can type 'Biblical Mind Maintenance' into youtube and 4 of Josh's studys should pop up! Watch, and be encouraged!! He since has started Habbakuk, and that too has been great! Caleb LOVES his daddy, yesterday was probably the first time of many where Caleb cried when his dad left for work! It was SO sweet (and sad)! 

   What we're looking forward to: SO looking forward to our trip in 3 weeks! ahhhh!!! Can't wait! Please pray for our plane rides. I can't imagine Caleb sitting still for 1.5 hours x 2!!! yikes! and the train ride will be interesting too, but at least there is a bit ore flexibility on the train. We are always so encouraged and refreshed after time spent in Philly, so we are definitely looking forward to that. We've been watching the Missions Conference that took place at Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, and have learned a lot, so looking forward to putting to practice some of the things we've learned. 

{I LOVE this cute hat that a friends mom made Caleb!}

{the day Caleb fell in love with OUTSIDE. His first day out this year, how cute is his hat?}

{Mothers Day 2015! A collage that best represents the wild ride of motherhood!}

{someone just woke up!}

{someone just woke up AGAIN}

{My dare devil! Once he gets up though, he doesn't really know how to get down, hahaha, so I have to go stand by him and he falls in my arms! Caleb's version of the trust fall...he trusts me...woo!}

{Haha, that tongue hangs out of his mouth most of the time these days!!} 
{going for a walk with Lorraine- his Moose Factory Gookum (grandma!)}

{Singing out of his Cree hymnal!}

{Watching his daddy on the TV in the nursery! P.s. for those who didn't know, the chapel broadcasts live to the island and mainland- available to over 7000 people!}

{I knew it would happen one got awful quiet while I was cooking dinner then I find he took all the tissues out and was making a run for it!}

{there is that tongue!!}

" But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you"
Matthew 6:33

Thursday, 23 April 2015

9 months

 I have laundry to do, dishes to wash, diapers to assemble, cookies to bake, and dinner to prep, so today will be a quick one!
Not a day goes by that I'm not amazed by Caleb and all that he's learning. He brings so much joy to my life. I adore him and being his mama!

Weight:  22.5 lbs
Height: 28 inches

Doctor appointment: he got his 6 month 'needles'
Nicknames: I mostly call him Caleb Joshua Oestreich these days...because we're formal like that!

Eating: Everything! Last night he had fajitas with avocado! Doing our best to make sure he loves Mexican as much as us!!

Sleeping: He has 2 new teeth coming in so sleeping has been a bit interesting lately. He still sleeps very well...which I have to remind myself of when he has off days/nights. Last night he woke up around midnight in pain and wanting to nurse, I just nursed him and put him back to bed and he was good! His naps are kinda wimpy on the days when he's growing or in pain.
Clothing: 12 months! Can't wait to get some Summer clothes on that boy!!

Social:I've heard about the 9 month making strange and I saw a bit of that in Caleb. One night at church he just cried every time someone came up to us! (awkwwarrdddd) But he's been doing better! It's also just him and me all day long, so maybe he was just overwhelmed that particular day at seeing so many faces.

New this month: He's walking all along furniture, crawling through and under anything he can, 2 new teeth coming, he's saying "mamama" "dadadada" and "babababa" a lot! He dances every time he hears music, he has a new fake laugh that he does whenever Josh or I laugh. 

Likes: He gets VERY proud of himself when he does something is THE CUTEST thing I've ever seen, LOVES his fruit smoothie he has for breakfast every day, likes dancing with mommy which is also a daily activity, ha! LOVES his dad...seriously OBSESSED, it's so CUTE!!!

Dislikes: When I take something from him that he shouldn't have, wiping his runny nose

Mama: This month has been the hardest month I've had since living in Moose Factory. I am grateful to know that we are in the Lord's will, and that brings me peace on the hard days. I would really appreciate prayer as I learn how to be a mama in a place that I never imagined being a mama. Things like going for walks, going to the park, meeting friends for lunch, going to mom days out, running errands are things that I long for when it's just Caleb and me all day long. We are learning all the time. I just want to be the best mommy I can be.

Daddy: Joshua is doing great. He is working A LOT. He's preaching every message in the month of April, 2 on Sunday and Wednesday evening, among sooo many other things. He is the hardest worker I know. He comes home every single day and lays down his life for his family. I adore him and am beyond grateful for him, tears are coming to my eyes as I write this. I feel very blessed.

   What we're looking forward to: I am looking forward to our vacation in June. I absolutely can not wait for some family time at the beach. We truly need some rest, so I can't wait for that. Also can't wait to be with family & friends in Philly.