Washington Life!

I keep starting an update and then can't figure out where to "go" with it.  I'll try again.  We have been in Washington for two full months.  Days have been full and long and time is cruising right along, the days seem to short for what needs to be done.  But I suppose that's the siren song of life, right?

I ended the post with our prayer requests, but I'm going to move them here to the top- then you can enjoy the fluffy pictures!!!

A few prayer requests- the reality of life- not the sugar-coated ideas we have from seeing photos and assuming all is well  . . .

*  School- we have started up but are all struggling.  Homeschooling continues to be the right choice, for flexibility with Jer's job.  However, transition from packing-moving-travel-unpacking-new home-back to school is proving to be a challenge, for kids and teacher alike.  It's hard to know if a bad day is because of emotions with moving, with lack of school discipline or something else.  Please pray for all of us- for determination and discipline.  For wisdom in what to teach, how to teach and how to order our days.

*  Friends- please pray for special friends for all five of us!  God knows people who need us- who need our encouragement and friendship.  And he knows who WE need.  Pray for them to come together.  And in the meantime, for us to be each other's best friends, not just family.

*  Work- I think every job has it's share of surprises.  After all, the hiring process involves both parties showing their "best" to each other.  Pray for us as we work through this and figure out what is expected.   Please pray for a clear vision for the future here- this place is amazing and has great potential and we want to pour ourselves into making it great.  The PNW is very, very unchurched and uninterested in their creator- despite being surrounded by creation crying out in God's glory.  Pray for our camp to be a beacon of light and for local churches to see the need to bring their young people here to be trained in leadership.  Pray for Jer to be able to speak truth and lead these young people into truth- challenging them on the mountains and rivers, and applying that truth to their lives. Pray for Godly staff who can work together as a team, with organization and a heart for ministry.

*  Finances- are tight.  Pray for Erika to be able to find part-time work (preferably here at camp) and for God to provide the money we need.  Not to be fancy millionaires but to be able to pay bills and take care of our family.  If this piece isn't in place, it's hard for us to be able to focus on the other things.  Support raising is an option but it's challenging when all of our friends are on the East Coast.

*  Healthy transition!  As explained above, pray for us to work through emotions in a healthy way.  To encourage each other instead of tearing into each other.  To grieve and miss friends in a healthy way.  My parents are busy learning to parent their new daughters.  Dean is a world away in the middle of the ocean, being challenged in so many ways.  Brian and Anna are knee-deep in ministry and foster-parenting in Atlanta.  Sometimes I could just cry for the way my family is being challenged, in amazing ways.  But so, so hard.  It makes the miles we are all apart seem even worse.

Now on to the fun things . . .

We have unpacked for the most part and are making our new house a home.  There is still plenty to do (curtains and organizing, finding homes for all our boxes and trying to figure out how to organize kids rooms and closets without any shelves or dressers.  A few sneak peaks-


master bedroom


School room


Kid-Guest bathroom- filled with reminders of our Florida beaches!



Cozy coffee spot in the kitchen - I found this dresser (as ugly as possible) being given away for free in our community. A few coats of paint and yah!  Something pretty!  Come on over for some tea or coffee.

Socially we are doing our best to meet people and learn our community.  We found a local church to attend, filled with delightful and friendly people.  They actually seem glad to be at church on Sunday, glad to see each other and thrilled to welcome new people.  It's been hard not to have Jer with us each week (he has had to work retreats some Sundays).  It takes time to get to know people, so we are eagerly awaiting each time there is some sort of "social" gathering- Awana Club (for kids) starts next Tuesday, we are hoping that spending 2 hours each week with the same people, will build some friendships.  

As many of you know, who have already reached out to encourage us, it is mind-bogglingly hard (yes I made up that word) to start new.  We have had such an amazing community of friends and co-workers, some as close as family.  Even if you aren't best friends with everyone, they were there to share life with, like it or not.  We knew Washington was the right decision for us, but it doesn't make it easier to start over brand new.  My heart physically hurts some days from the pain of grief.  One of my dear friends lost her father and mother in the past two years and often shares with me the things she is learning from counseling or Grief-Share.  It's reminding me to walk through this grief in a healthy way.  Many things I learned WAY  back in college about cross-cultural transition?  All coming back to me now.  

We are making ourselves get out and go places, even when it's hard (mostly speaking for myself, I don't like going to new places alone and that feeling of being uncomfortable, unaware of the social routine and what-not).  Jer is better at it than me, but because he's working, I've been "forced" to grab the kids and go . . . stretching ourselves is good, right?  When Jer is off, we've been trying to make the most of our time and explore this amazing country.  A few places we've seen so far . . . 



Beautiful Lake Kachess, just 15 minutes up the road, it's quiet (instead of the noise of the highway outside our house) and filled with amazing old-growth trees.



Puget Sound- only got to be here for about an hour, we are for sure coming back prepared to explore and find more sea creatures!!!


Lake Cle Elum (pre-fire).  Weird shoreline filled with rocks and rock piles, I think because the water level is really low in the summer.  Curious to see what it looks like in spring.


Enjoying the John Wayne trail outside our back door, even on a smokey evening.


Jer and Forest hiked to the top of Easton Ridge, outside our backdoor also. Down below is lake Cle Elum (See above) and beyond that is the local fire.  Thankfully weather is now causing 8% containment!



Great time at the Ellensburg County Fair.  Great showing of animals by the local 4H kids, my kids sat and watched the Steer and Goat judging for over an hour!  They are so ready to be farmers (mom, not as much).  Shan and Jer practice their sawing skills and got a neat piece of wood-burned tree as a souvenir.


Jer was able to take these two on their first rafting trip.  They loved it and are hooked for life!


Well, thanks if you've stuck with me this far!   We can't wait until someone comes to visit and we can show this corner of the world off.

Thank you for reading this far . . . it means the world!  Drop me a note or a hi to let me know you made it this far!!!!  LOVE!  Erika, for the whole crew

Comments

Julie said…
Thank you for sharing!! We definitely miss you guys and totally understand what it is like to walk into the unknown. Even though we were only a half mile down the road we started over in many other ways. Love and prayers to you all!!
Deanna Ventura said…
Loved reading this and looking at the pictures! Thank you so much for posting this. Praying thatour Lord will provide and meet all of your needs!
Christy Brain said…
Erica...
Thanks so much for sharing your heart. I really do get the grief and the loneliness....the need for friends but the lack of energy to seek them out. You met us at a very low point in our lives. God allowed us to return to our small town, church and community here in Colorado and our hearts are full. I do know how to pray for you and I will be....love you my friend.
~ Amanda ~ said…
thanks for sharing your heart and needs. i pray that you will find a "kindred spirit" soon. i felt lonely in chicago for about 5 years before finally really connecting and finding those friends that feel like family. my best friend here recently moved away and i feel the grief of loneliness again, so i can empathize with you in a small way.
Anonymous said…
Praying for you continually and missing you and your precious family hourly. I wish I was there to drink tea with you and cry with you right now my sweet friend. My children ask daily when we're flying out ;) As so as we can, as soon as we can!
Love ya lady,
Britt & Co.
Hannah Boykin said…
Praying for special friends for all of you and the perfect part time job!! Love you!
-Hannah
Diane Campbell said…
Lovely read Erika! Thanks for sharing your heart! You are giving your children a legacy of courage...what a beautiful gift!

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