Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Good and bad

Most of our time in Portage has been filled with wonderful friends and memories. We moved here newly married with a tiny six week old. We leave with fifteen years of marriage, three kids, and me transitioning from staying at home to working full time, and so much more. If I am being honest though, we've had some hard times here. Times where we've allowed friendships, and participated in behaviors that did not add any value to our lives. Thankfully through lots of hard work, and the grace of God ,we were able to come out of that time better off.  Stronger in our faith's and our marriage. The other day someone from that dark past reached out to me. In their defense I believe their intentions to be benign and well intended. But it THREW ME. It shed light on the fact that all of my "good, hard work" towards a better, healthier life was fragile. It exposed all of my weaknesses and poor coping choices. It also made me realize how grateful I was to be delivered from such a toxic relationship. This situation made me realize how far we've come, and how enslaved to a crappy life we were. It sadly reminded me of just how miserable I had allowed myself to be for far too long.
Life is hard right now. The stress of the last year has nearly broken me. But, God. God is always there. Even when I do and say things and think the next day,"What in the world did you do?!" God is never surprised. He has worked on this old heart of mine so much over the past five years. I've come so far and know that the ONLY ONE that matters loves me beyond measure. I know, without a doubt that there is nothing I could do or say(or text) that can separate me from the love of Jesus.
I am so sad to leave much of this life we've built here in Portage, Michigan. But, much of me is excited for a fresh start. I look forward to beginning this new adventure on the east side of the state with all of the great friendships and knowledge I have gained through the bad ones.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Moving or at least TRYING TO!!!

I mentioned a few posts back that we are moving to the East side of the state. Like everything in our lives the past few years, it has been very stressful. Getting the house prepped, doing years of work in a matter of weeks, listing,and then the waiting!! We've had many showings but unfortunately people have issues with our lot. We have a corner lot with two huge side yards but not much of a back yard. We also have three bedrooms in a subdivision that has mostly four bedrooms. I of course am airing on the side of PANIC. Jeff, oh Jeff, is calm and steady and says, "Don't worry it will sell." Bless him.
I know it will sell. Maybe not for as much as we want or when we want but all houses eventually find themselves new owners. We've found a house we like in Shelby Township, MI. We have made a contingent offer on this house. I believe if that home is meant to be, it will be.
I am scheduled to be done working on July 13th. My heart aches at the thought. I love my job so much. I have not found much that interests me on the East side. I am hopeful that once we are settled I will figure out the area and a new job.
I am anxious to move on. This has been "in the works" for almost a year now. Let's get on with it already!! I am ready from a break from constant high stress situations. It seems since we nearly lost Jeff last March that our lives have been constantly bombarded with stress. But, the good thing about all of this stress, is that it has continued to strengthen our faith's and our marriage. I trust God completely with ALL aspects of this move and know that His timing is NOT my timing.
I will miss this home so much. We've learned so much here. How to be a married couple, new parents, parents of three, a couple that wasn't sure what we wanted out of life, deciding that staying at home full time wasn't for me, mistakes, redemption.
We covet prayers for this transition and pray that we will find ourselves in a good spot a year from now. We would love for all of us to just be settled. To make a quiet and contented life in Shelby Two, MI. We are ready for the adventure but also ready for some calm.
Stay tuned!!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

15 years

Next week Jeff and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage! Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that we gathered together at the Stetson Chapel on the Kalamazoo College Campus and said, "WE DO!"
But, mostly it feels like it has been 15 years when I think about all that has happened in those years. From the moment I met Jeff Simpson, I knew he was the ONE. He just felt right. He still feels right. Three kids, moves, job changes, many mommy breakdowns, fights about finances, and here we are.  I think of all the things we said we promised to do on April 26, 2003 and how they look fifteen years late. Here it is:
I PROMISE to disappoint you. I want so badly to be the person I promised to be on our wedding day. But, here's the thing... I am human. I will fail you.
I PROMISE I will not live up to expectation I have set before you. When were were dating, I wanted so badly to have you believe in all I could be,and all WE could be. So sometimes, I may have faked who I really was because really, I had no clue who I was.
I PROMISE all of these life changes will change me. I had no idea how much being a stay at home mom wouldn't fit for me. Thank you for giving me permission to reinvent myself.
I PROMISE I WILL MESS UP. I will think the grass is greener. It is not. I will figure this out,and I can say with certainty this won't happen again.
I PROMISE THE THINGS THAT ANNOY THE HECK OUT OF YOU ON APRIL 26, 2003 will still be there. I am the worst at finances. I want what I want and I want it now. Sorry, but I have come a long way. I go nearly 7 weeks between hair cuts after all.
I PROMISE I will always believe in YOU. Always.
I PROMISE to always find something about you, and us, that makes me happy. Right now it is your ability to stay up later than me and put our dang kids to bed.
I PROMISE I will always believe in you, and us. ALWAYS.
You are still my dream come true Jeff Simpson. Thank you God for knowing exactly what this girl needed in a husband !

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Moving on ..

It has been awhile since my last update. Blogger wasn't letting me sign in, and to be honest I didn't have the energy to figure out why. Today it magically worked so here we are! So much has happened since January!!
The biggest news is we are moving to the Detroit area this summer. Jeff's job is ending in July, something we've known about for nearly a year. Although he pursued some local options, he was offered a promotion within the Ascension health system. It was difficult to reconcile leaving Portage. However, God could not have been more clear in giving us a peace and discernment with knowing this is His will. Many things have fallen into place, and we continue to feel blessed in making this move. The kids are mostly excited. I think they are at good ages for a move. Matthew is a pretty easy going 13 year old. Playing hockey almost always gives him an instant group of friends. Caroline will be going to middle school and the way our district works, half of her friends would have gone to a different middle school than her. Ellie, I am afraid, is a bit anxious about all this moving stuff. Of the three kids, she is my "contemplative, what if" kind of a girl. I am reassuring her that it will be an adventure and she will make new friends. We are in the midst of doing "all the things" to the house we've put off for the last thirteen years. OH MY!! ALL THE THINGS! Whoever buys this house is pretty dang lucky!! Oh, this house. We arrive here almost exactly thirteen years ago with a six week old Matthew and two years of marriage under our belts. Hell, I never even SAW THIS HOUSE IN PERSON before we moved here. That seems like craziness to 43 year old me!! But you know what, we became a family here. We added Caroline and then Ellie. We made some amazing friends, and have had mostly amazing neighbors. We've had incredibly hard years where we were stretched,and we realized that we needed to work on ourselves and our marriage. In the end, I am proud of who we became here. All of the vows we took fifteen years ago became REAL while we were living on 7620 Carnoustie. For better and for WORSE. For richer and POORER. In sickness and HEALTH. We've stumbled but, we've gotten back up..together. Even though at times, we have definitely been far from God, due to our own choosing, He always took us back. We began this journey with an infant and really in the infantile stages of marriage ,and leave with a teenager and feeling that good groove that I think comes with fifteen years of marriage. I won't lie, nearly losing Jeff last March certainly brought everything into glaring perspective! Life is too short to not appreciate the people in your life. Love them and love them well!
On to what else is new for us! We were able to surprise the kids with a trip to Disney for Spring Break! Jeff had a conference for his new job which allowed us to stay on the property at the Boardwalk Inn and have access to discounted park tickets. We drove and spent five days at Disney. The kids and I visited the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Typhoon Lagoon. It was such a fun week!! I am so glad we took advantage of the opportunity because we never would have been able to "do Disney" the way we did. We loved it!! I am not sure we would go back but we are so glad we made it work!!
We are beginning spring sports. Hockey and baseball for Matthew, soccer and softball for Caroline and Ellie is having her big spring concert with the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus and finishing swimming. Jeff begins his new job on April 29th and will be in Detroit Monday through Wednesday. At first, I will admit, I was sad that we were moving to Detroit. Nothing appeals to me about Detroit. But, my sister lives there and we are looking forward to having just a 40 minute commute between us. There are so many wonderful things about the communities we are looking at, I am starting to get excited. We are very concerned about making sure we live in a community that has good schools. We continue to pray that God would orchestrate all of the desires of our hearts for our kids and their future.
I am sad to leave my job. It finally "fits". We have amazing providers ,and I love the work I am privileged to provide to those facing chronic and life limiting disease. But, like I said earlier, I strongly feel this is God's will for our lives. Also, if I am being honest, I would like to be home more with our kids. Let's be clear...NOT full time:) But, having a job with a bit more flexibility would be awesome. I have a great boss who works with me about everything ,but when you work full time, you have to be there, well ,full time!! I would love to find something part time if possible.
Like I said earlier, we've met so many amazing people here in Portage. Jeff's mom and older sister live here. It has been wonderful to have Barb, Jeff's mom be such an amazing part of our kid's lives. She had done more for us than I could ever write about. We will miss living so close to her.
As I told Ellie, moving is an adventure and the I think the last thirteen years has prepared the Simpsons for such a time as this!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Oy vei!

I was hoping 2018 would be calm and quiet for us. Well, it is starting off with a bang! Jeff is losing his job this summer at Borgess. We are hoping that we can find an amazing opportunity that is local, but is looking more and more like we might have to move. Part of me is scared to death by this. But, I am a person who moved more than once as a child and count it as a blessing. I certainly trust that God has a plan for Jeff and for us. I only ask that God ok it with me ahead of time!! LOL! Of course that's not how He works. Therefore we wait and pray. I trust Him completely and only ask for clear guidance and discernment through this process.
We appreciate any prayers you send our way. For peace and discernment for God's path to be clear!!
We will update as we know more!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

13 Years, BABY!!

This blog is officially 13 years old!! What in the world? I have never stuck with anything, with exception of Jeff for 13 years!! I am proud of this blog! It chronicles so much of my early mothering years. Those years were no small feat for me. I struggled so. My whole life I imagined myself a wife of a high powered executive that wanted for nothing more than staying home with my babies. Cue the husband who is kind of an executive with all of the responsibilities, but lacking the pay, and a mama that might have well have lost her ever loving mind if she stayed home one second longer. Thank God for a husband that recognized this mom was drowning and needed something outside of "stay at home" mom to keep me alive. I went back to WMU and obtained my MSW and love my job as a palliative care MSW. Can it be stressful to juggle it motherhood, wifehood and being a social worker to those who basically are dying, sure. But, I love my life.
This year I feel like God has allowed me to let Him, "grow me up." Through Bible studies and friendships, we've blossomed. I am so grateful for God's grace. Just today, I saw someone from our past in a neighborhood store. Normally this type of event would have cause me such anxiety. Today, I was able to confidently say nothing. I simply have moved passed this type of toxic interference in our lives. I am able tor recognize  the  blessing the Lord has given us by DELIVERING us from these types of people. AMEN to Grace and Forgiveness and the power of the Holy Spirit to move us in the right direction. Today, as I watched our children play with their Christmas toys I felt happy. Are they hopelessly flawed, sure?!! But, they are good and decent kids that value love and sacrifice and truly appreciate all they've been given this season. Do Jeff and I have it all together as a couple?  Certainly not. But, I have learned this year not to take a single second for granted and even count my blessings when I move from our cozy bed to the couch because my "miracle" is snoring!! Thank you God for snoring husbands!!
2018 will be full of changes. WE ARE READY. I have a feeling that 2018 will be our best year yet! Happy New Year to You!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

See ya 2017!

2017 is nearly over! Christmas is less than a week away!! This year, what a doozy it has been for our family. We will never forget 2017. Everything nearly changed for us in 2017. Facebook has reminded me of times that have passed over the years. Sometimes it has me feeling nostalgic, and wishing for days that have long passed. But, more often than not, it has me feeling so grateful for the grace and growth time has shown us. For all of the hard parts of 2017, we realized what we are made of. We realized through the trials and tribulations of not only the past year but the past several, what our marriage is made of. As we enter 2018, we know who we are as individuals and as a couple. We enter into 2018 with so many unknowns. Jeff will lose his job. Of this we are sure. This should cause much anxiety for us. Are we experiencing  some stress?? Sure. When you're faced with losing 70% of your income it tends to be stressful. However, we've experienced the provision of God in our lives. We trust He has a plan for us.
The kids are doing well! Matthew is playing on the A hockey team this year. It has been an interesting year for sure. He has grown as a player and experienced coaching that is not his father. I have been proud as I have watched him negotiate what it means to love a sport and know you must invest 100% to see yourself grow as a player. He is a joy, my Matthew. He is sensible and sweet. A rule follower almost to a fault. Eager to please and never wanting to hurt anyone's feelings.
Caroline is having her tonsils, adenoids and sinus surgery tomorrow! Poor girl. She has shown so much growth this year. She has become responsible and driven. The key to Caroline is finding a way to motivate her. Caroline plays travel soccer and her coach has figured this girl out. It has been nice to see Caroline motivated. She has a great group of girl friends and continues to love slime and pugs!!
Ellie is finding her way. She is an excellent student. She loves to read and she is in the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus. They just had their holiday concert and we were so proud of our Ellie. She worked so hard and it was such a wonderful evening. Ellie is blessed with a wonderful teacher who invests in her, and believes in her!! Ellie is loving second grade and thriving!
Jeff is plugging away at Borgess, but like I mentioned, losing his job. There is so much I could say but I won't except to say that there is more for Jeff and we are expectantly hopeful that 2018 will bring amazing opportunities for Jeff.
I am enjoying my job! We finally have a great team of professionals that respect my role! AMEN!!! I have been participating in Bible Study Fellowship's Roman's study and it has been wonderful. I feel that I am in a great place spiritually. This helps all other parts of my life come together  as well!
We are looking forward to 2018! Lots of unknowns but the Simpsons are ready!! Merry Christmas to you!! Enjoy your family, enjoy your health. Take the time to enjoy your family and all of your blessings!!