Month: January 2016
I was recently looking at some pictures and I ran across this photo. I’d like you to meet my good friend Kelly Welk. Kelly and I have been friends since our freshmen year of university. I clearly remember the moment our friendship was solidified. We chatted late into the night about life and our dreams over a cup of hot chocolate at Denny’s in Kirkland, WA.
Many years have passed since that night. We have been in each others weddings, traveled together, lived together and laughed a lot! Kelly has been influential in my life in many ways. The biggest way probably is fact that she is the one who introduced me to my husband Bryan (they grew up together in Alaska). Somewhere along the way we started writing prayers for each other in a little brown, leather journal. We write the prayer then send it to the other one for absorption and the cycle continues. Over the years I have prayed for Kelly as she embarked on the journey of becoming a Mom. Kelly had children long before I did. I watched as she enjoyed, balanced and lived her life honestly in each season. Kelly is an amazing Mom with three beautiful children and I have learned a great deal from her over the years.
While I prayed for Kelly during those early years of being a mom, she prayed for me. I was in a different season. I had the opportunity to travel to India twice, start a coffee shop and pursue my dreams of traveling with my husband. I loved this season of life and so valued it along the way. As time went on and we tried to start our family this season became a time of choosing. Choosing to see all the advantages and blessings of not having children. At times it was hard but I am proud of how we walked through this season. Kelly was a great support to me during that time and continues to be.
The other night we were exchanging a few messages and it struck me…we have changed places. Kelly recently had the opportunity to travel to India to visit some projects that she supports through Rescue Freedom. She hosts dinners at her house raising funds for this organization ( Cider Press Lane ) and these dinners have led to her raising $10,000. She is in the embryonic stages of writing a cookbook with the recipes from these dinners. Kelly and her husband have an amazing opportunity to travel to Italy soon and I am beyond thrilled for her. While Kelly lives fully present in this new stage of her kids being older I am just starting my journey of becoming a mom.
My boys are almost 17 months old now. They are extremely busy, entertaining and exhausting. I love it! This is what I dreamt of for years and I am thankful for this season of life. When I look back over the last 10 years I can see how quickly the years have gone by. I feel the pace quicken each day as our boys grow and develop at a rapid rate that sometimes leaves me breathless. I pray for the ability to be present during this season and the next and the next. Not wishing any season away but taking each season in hand, admiring the contrasts and appreciating the differences. At times being a mom to small children feels restrictive, yet these are the only years of childhood my boys will have. May I treasure them, make them pleasant for our boys and my husband, may I teach them the things that I value and hope to pass on through them. May they feel able to enter the world outside of our little world with confidence, skills and a love that drives them forward to be the change they wish to see.
On the 7th January, 2015 we landed back on the Emerald Isle. Our time in America was memorable and we have so many people to thank. First, our incredible families! My parents for letting the boys and me live with them for nearly two months! MamaChud for coming to support us on three separate occasions. Times with our siblings in Montana, Idaho and Seattle plus cousins, aunts, uncles, grannies! The Welks and Olsens for housing the boys and me multiple times, the Halls, the Sterleys and so many more. We have felt loved and supported by each of you. This was not how we originally saw this time in America but it was beautiful! (The pic above was taken at my parents while the boys had a blast playing with Bryan in the snow!)
Not much seems to have changed here in our wee town of Dungannon. That is actually one of the reasons we love it so much, that and of course the incredible people we know here! It hasn’t been a full week yet since we arrived back and we have already connected with so many of our friends/adopted family. Thanks for making us feel welcome Northern Irish peeps!
Some of you may be curious about how the flights went. One word. AWFUL. Bless all of the ears and eyes who had to hear and see our boys much more than they wanted to on both of our flights. The saving grace was our layover in JFK airport. The boys got to get out, stretch their legs, take two naps while Bryan and I took shifts to give each other a break. Traveling with toddlers is a bit like self-imposed torture. We are pretty sure we now can hog-tie and calf rope anything, something to add to our resumes!
Jetlag has been fun this time (yes, I am being sarcastic!). One night after a few up and down sessions with the boys, they finally went to sleep but we couldn’t. While laying in bed, we looked at each other and said ‘We feel like prisoners in our own home!’ When your kids have finally fallen asleep after a long period of being unsettled, you wouldn’t chance waking them up for anything. Cue the Mission Impossible music. I snuck out of our room, into the kitchen, obtained snacks and made my way back down the hall. Creeping ever so quietly past the dragons door or so it felt. Then we pulled up a movie, ate our snacks and had a date. It was pretty comical even in the midst of it. Thankfully we are starting to see a more normal routine appearing again for all of us.
We have so much to be thankful for when we reflect on the past six months. Bryan loved his job and was a vital asset to his team. The boys and I had the chance to spend quality time with many family members and friends. We were able to invest in the lives of so many and they invested in us. Our plan for these next six months is a little loose at the minute but we will work, look after our boys and pursue our dreams. We look forward to sharing all of this with you as it unfolds. Now off to sort through the mountains of clothes our growing boys cannot fit into anymore!