Thursday, July 23, 2015

House of Spirits...or The Spirit

I have been on an unplanned hiatus from blogging, the first "real" one in the 8+ years of its existence. Two months of not writing here has been due, in large part, to being unable to find words of value to name or talk about what is going on in our life.  No, it isn't anything that is really wrong, but is likely due to the preoccupation that comes with a new business venture, and no doubt the fear and trembling that are associated with it.

Also, I.Just.Couldn't.  I couldn't.  I don't know why,  but maybe something had to give and I have finally matured enough to recognize that when life overwhelms you, something's got to give, and this was it.  I couldn't tap that place within me, as I may still not be able to, to write the sort of posts I prefer to write...messages that are deeper, not daily journals expounding on "what we did today", but observations of the sacred each day.  Right now, I have to hang on to that sacred just for me to make it through, and the effort required to share it simply seemed to be too much.  It may still be, but I sense that maybe I am slowly easing out of that place.  I hope so.

Many of our blog readers have literally followed us for close to a decade...a time filled with emotional ups and downs, a sharing of our hearts and lives, and you have been with us as we have weathered some heavy storms.  The past 15 months have been the longest extended period of time of tumult we have experienced yet.

Beginning with the late evening phone call and near death experience of my mom being found on the floor of her home after falling and lying there for 4 days, the long distance coordination of care and several trips to California to help her, and Matt's major back surgery, recovery and the associated several trips out of state for that, I think I have literally been in survival mode as we in the Sandwich Generation often are.  Then there was the year long knowledge that we would be losing our main source of income with the loss of the airport contract for the restaurant and the emotional toll of not knowing what God wanted for our lives as we searched and searched for a new opportunity for Dominick and tried to be as faithful as possible in that endeavor.  There was the dissolution of two small businesses and the financing of another that had to be done in 3 weeks.  Then the learning curve that continues at this moment as we try to get up to speed and learn an industry we are unfamiliar with, and create systems to organize ourselves.

Oh yea, then there is actually homeschooling the kids, the arduous and ongoing pursuit of a diagnosis for Kenny's developmental and learning disabilities which has required a couple of trips out of state and awaiting yet another,  and his emotional struggle over maturing and greater realization around his limitations, as well as other very important concerns.

It has been hard, and I need to acknowledge that.

But the past couple of nights as Olesya, Joshua, Dominick and I worked the entire night through stripping and waxing the floors of our beautiful little store, all I could feel was a growing sense of gratitude for every single thing this family has endured, and the blessings we have had bestowed on us.

This new endeavor of ours at House of Spirits is a big, big deal for us, and we are throwing our heart and soul into it.  We have to, and you know why?

Because God provided for us Big Time, and we need to respect that and cherish it for the unique and wonderful gift it was.  We need to see the ministry revealed beneath it, and we need to show our gratitude for this opportunity by working harder than we ever have because we know this had nothing to do with our efforts and everything to do with God.  We saw the Spirit move in extraordinary ways to make this happen for us, just in time, and there can be no doubt Who arranged all of this.

Why us?  Why now?  Why the trust placed in us by the old owner willing to carry an enormous loan on a handshake?  Why our banker who worked hard to squeeze every bit of equity they could out of our home to help us?  Why did someone anonymously help us with enough cash to carry us through the very trying first couple of months as we are literally held together by glue...and that gift?

We may never have the answers, but there are things we can do to repay all of that trust and generosity...

We can be LaJoy's.

We can offer the acceptance and love we always try to offer others.  We can look for every tiny ministry opportunity we can with our customers, our employees, and our friends.  We can work hard, laugh often, and love vigorously.  We can pay our debts responsibly, we can show others that their trust in us was not wrongly placed.  We can remind ourselves often that a particular Spirit hovers over the House of Spirits, and we have a duty to live into that.

And most importantly, we need to be the family we are...authentic, flawed, open, and caring.  We need to be together, we need to work together, we need to think about the future together for each and every one of us.  We need to be thankful together.

We also need to trust.  There is that old saying about mortgaging the farm, and it is easy to let fear reside in your heart when you are the ages we are and it feels as if you are starting all over because now you literally don't own even a piece of your home, have no savings, and have laid it all on the crap table of life to see if your gamble will pay off.

However, we were reminded by someone just a week ago that if God is in it, it is all good.  Dominick and I went for an overnight stay at a little lodge about an hour from here up in the mountains while the younger kids were at camp.  It was only the 3rd time we have ever been away in 16 years without the kids, and was a one night treat to celebrate our 29th anniversary a few weeks late.  There, we met Gary, the enthusiastic and kindly proprietor, who sat down and visited with us for awhile.  He talked about his great leap of faith there with his lodge a few years back, and we ended up sharing about our great leap of faith two months ago.  When I said, "We know how you feel, it's a little scary to do something like this!", Gary, a man of faith looked at me, and replied, "I don't know where you two stand in terms of faith, but if God's in it, you've got nothing to worry about.  Just put in the work, God will take care of the rest.  Just let it go, and do your job...if God set it up, it wasn't so you'd fail.  Trust that."

That was exactly what I needed to hear, and when I needed to hear it.

So here's to tossing away doubt, to living in joy...or "LaJoy" as the case may be.  Here's to recognizing blessings and another adventure.  Here's to hard work, time shared, and laughing often.

I'll share several photos to catch up on the past couple of months a bit, as this is the only place Bad Momma records anything.  If I don't place pics here there aren't even scrapbooks created yet to look back on so I have to make the effort here.  WARNING:  Tons of photos, sorry!

This picture clearly shows I can't get away with calling them "The boys", now the only appropriate term is "The young men".

Hiking and exploring our special place, Rifle Falls, with dear friends Candi and Miss Mary.
Where's Waldo?  I mean, where's Matt?  Can you see him??

Our church family at it's 2nd birthday celebration.  These are the people who have made us who we are, in so many ways.

In Salt Lake City at the movies...a rare treat thanks to a friend, and I suffered through...ahem...I mean I enjoyed a superhero flick accompanied by three handsome guys.


At Matthew's Shriner's Hospital follow up visit Build a Bear was there and Matt gave Josh his ticket to build one of his own. 

Josh still loves his stuffed animals, despite that deep voice that has appeared.


Matt's special 16th birthday arrived, so we all had our treat of a meal at a restaurant, something we don't usually afford.  He elected to go to Texas Roadhouse, and here is Olesya's creative birthday card for our resident techie.


Our "twins", Olesya certainly knows her brother!  She bought him a charging unit for his iPad.



Proving that real men love flowers too, or at least the gift contained within, Matt opens his gift from Angela, a Bluetooth speaker for his new bike that attaches to the handlebars and is supposedly indestructible. Well, we'll see...


Our other twins :-)


Sticker from mom...LOL!


No, it's not a car upon turning 16, but it IS transportation!  A new rugged mountain bike!


Beginning the freshening up at the liquor store beginning with the bathroom and a new coat of paint.

More paint on the walls, please...not on your clothes!!

Kilroy was here!


Skills being put to good use, learned on the rental project we did three years ago.  Has it been that long?  My goodness!  The painting was well done!

And of course a Home Depot run, the first of many :-)


More painting, thank goodness we have such a hard working crew!


We knew Dominick and I had selected our overnight mini-retreat well when I took the photo below, turned beside me, and saw the sign above...
Yup!  Looks like we must be in the right place! HAHA!



A nice little getaway, and we were treated royally!



Dinner served to us in the "Tree House"


Aaaannnd back to work the next day, as the boys helped by installing vinyl baseboards.


Angie grubby after several days of hard work, but happy as can be!
This is the bulletin board Angela installed, note her handiwork in the lower corner.  I am sure our construction worker customers will appreciate that...hahaha!


Nothing fancy, but the bathroom has a new toilet, new flooring, a fresh coat of paint, and the "junk" is hidden a bit.



While Crew #1 was at work, Crew #2 was at church camp.  When Crew #2 arrived, Crew #1 had their turn at camp.  Crew #2 got stuck with the night shift as it was time to resurface the floors by stripping, sealing and waxing them...hard, exhausting work and as you can see, much needed after years of wear and tear in a  busy store.                                 


No complaints though, just digging in and "gettin' 'er done"!! A little pizza and soda helped, too.

We inherited outstanding, experienced, helpful employees.  Here is one, Debbie, in our "before" photo.

"After"...some yellowing of the tiles that can't be helped, but it is shiny and clean and that area is covered by mats anyway.


Watch out, Ole' wields a MEAN mop!!

Yea, sometimes I look at them and my heart melts.
Who am I kidding.  That happens every single day in life.


Where's American Idol?  These two were singing "Down to the River to Pray" after Josh learned it at church camp, and couldn't get it out of his head.  Late night duets...I love it! And it makes hard work a little easier when you sing the night away.


By 3:00 am on Night #2, Josh stalled out and fell asleep like this while waiting for coats of wax to dry.

Taa Daa!!!
All done...whew!

That's it for now, and hopefully more posts on a more regular basis as we ease back into some semblance of normalcy.  Not really sure what that is anymore :-) 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been pondering your comments at the start and actually I think that the "what we did" posts do show the sacred because they demonstrate love and faith and commitment to following Jesus's teaching in your day to day life. I don't think it always needs to be written explicitly. The comment by somebody on the next post about not understanding faith is interesting, but surely by showing a iving faith that is the best way others can begin to understand faith? Pondering myself now...Jane