While I was in Denver, Alan had a chance to have a LOT of silence in his life. During that time he realized that silence/peace is something that we have NOT been intentional about in our lives, our marriage and in turn, I personally have somewhat lost my soul. I have worked so hard to become a good teacher, a good wife, and now a good mommy, but in 8 years of doing those things, I've lost ME. I used to have hobbies. I used to enjoy something. I used to be passionate. But, I don't really know how to answer those questions now. So, when I got home from Denver, Alan told me that I was going away the last weekend of October. BUT, I had to choose what I wanted to do. My initial thought was, "who can I go and visit?" or "who would like to join me in my "retreat"' Over the course of a few days, there was a still, small voice that kept whispering, "Do this alone."
If you know me well, I do not do "alone" ever! I receive life from community, people, relationships, conversations, sharing in life with others. However, since having Eliana I have been desperate for "me time". So, I began searching for something retreatish. After several nights of staying up late searching retreat centers (found one in the British Virgin Islands that looked amazing, but it would be a pricey plane ticket last minute!), I finally discovered one in Michigan (only about an hour away) called the Hermitage. After reading their website, I decided this was where I needed to go...even though I was terrified! I called the next day and booked one night!
Once I got over the initial fear of actually being alone and in silence, my 27 hours at The Hermitage were life-giving! God met me in my fear and in the silence, reminded me that I am truly never alone, reminded me that my dreams and passions are worth pursuing, and I fell in LOVE with solitude. I journaled. I walked the trails. I prayed. I ate in silence with other people. I cried. I laughed out loud, alone. I played the piano and sang. I read my Bible. I listened. I spoke. I slept. I drank tea. I wrote poetry. I took pictures. I simply WAS for the first time in a very long time. This experience was just the beginning of me finding ME again!
Here are some photos I took on my solitude retreat...and part of a poem I began to write...
Shimmering up on the dew covered earth
is the light of a God who
gives life to those who believe...
(okay, so if you have ever been a nursing/pumping mom, you will get the humor in this last photo...I couldn't resist!)
October came and went faster than I could even imagine!
Here's what we were up to!
Playdate at Klackles Orchard
We started Kirra in swim lessons and she's doing amazingly well!
It's a very aggressive/progressive class where they throw 'em in immediately on their first go.
There are sometimes tears, but she gets over and Ms. Sandi does a fabulous job of teaching!
One of my dearest friends, Abby Glover Carruthers, was home in October for a baby shower! This was definitely a celebration in SO many ways! We're certainly looking forward to meeting the little guy shortly!
LION KING, CHICAGO
with our BBF friends (Byrnes, Boyles, and Freudigmanns)
Alan was hired/chosen as the JV Boys and Girls soccer coach at East Kentwood! I finally remembered to take the camera to a home game to capture him in action! He ended the boy's season well and is now looking forward to the girl's season in the spring!
A Day at Meijer Gardens with the Byrne's
I did not take my camera to Denver when we went for Tate's 1st birthday, but we did go and we all got VERY sick with the stomach flu! Blah! We had to cancel Tate's birthday party and didn't get a lot of good quality family time! Kinda a bummer!
Luckily, Ann had planned to come to Michigan the following week for her 10th reunion at Hope College! She and the kiddos arrived on Wednesday and took of on Sunday! We had a great time playing, hanging out in Holland, and Ann got to reconnect with some of her friends, which was great! The kids had heaps of fun...but poor Alan got food poisoning, so he was stuck with his head in the toilet most of the weekend! Bummer!
(Meredith and Alexis Mick also attended Hope, so we met up for a quick Roscommon picture)
Kirra was Sleeping Beauty for Halloween. Daddy took the girls to our friend's Sam and Alexis' house to trick-or-treat with Eli and Nolan. Unfortunately, Alan did not take the camera, so we don't have pics! According to Alan, she had fun, but after 10 minutes was ready to be back in the warmth of the house again!
We have decided that every year for our kiddo's birthdays we will do an outing of some kind.
Year 1--John Ball Z00
Year 2--Apple Picking at Crane's Orchard
Year3--A REAL MOVIE at the THEATRE!!!
This year, Nana and Papa were here to join us! Kirra thought it was way too loud at first, but then settled in and giggled!
We were planning on keeping her birthday very chill...well, if you know me well enough, you know that my "chill" is a bit more chaotic than most! :) We had over 22 people (mostly kids under the age of 7), tacos, a Dora pinata, cupcakes, and lots of fun!
Kirra helped me make the cupcakes earlier in the week..she is SUCH a fabulous helper in the kitchen!