Monday, January 31, 2011

We're Downsizing!

This announcement may come as a shock to you, as it did to me when I first heard it, so I'll just say it: We are going to move. Again. Yes, out of the home we just arrived at 2 years ago. We're not sure where, or how, or when, but we are certain of one thing: we both heard from the Lord individually that we are to downsize our home.

It's a step of faith. It may sound ludicrous to most to sell our home in the middle of snowstorms, even before the Spring is here, with no place yet to move into, and oh yeah...another little detail....we're having a child very soon! But, Patrick and I are moving forward in faith taking steps and asking God for direction. Praying for His leading, and mostly for closed doors if this is not the exact timing for us.

It seems crazy, but we can't tell you how freeing it feels to follow the Lord's will and it feels wonderful to live in such a way that we are desperate for Him to come through. We are confident that He will.

Goodbye to-die-for Kitchen...

Last summer, it started when we had the Njengas at our home, the very poor African family. It opened up our eyes to how little we really needed. Then, several friends were going on mission trips and asking for support, and we realized we didn't have much in our giving funds. And as if His timing wasn't perfect, both our cars broke down at the same time leaving us feeling strapped as we didn't yet have the full amount saved to pay for a new car should one completely break down. By God's grace, we are debt free (aside from our home) and we want to stay that way. At the same time, we both were reading amazing books like Radical and the Forgotten God through our couples bible study, confirming to us that we were headed in the right direction.

So, Patrick knew that if we moved, with even lower interest rates than before, we'd decrease our mortgage, taxes, and utility bills by half. Also, our resort community has killer HOA fees, freeing us up to do so much more for God's kingdom. Also, long term, this would have us paying off our new home in no time!

Meanwhile, separately, I was feeling convicted about how much unusable space we had in our home, and slowly I became discontent with the unimaginable - feeling like the house was becoming an idol, hosting huge parties that left me feeling empty, and the time I spent cleaning and working to keep the house organized was just time-consuming and meaningless. Although I knew what God was telling me, I was afraid to tell Patrick and afraid to let go of my dream home.

When I finally shared it with him, he had smiled ear-to-ear praying that I would come around to what he already had heard as well. He feared that I could not give up this dream house, and he was so surprised and elated to see how God had completely changed my heart. So, we obey the call....

And, where are we going? Well, we don't know. Some place that's going to be half the mortgage and in a community where we can be planted to do great things for Him. That's all we know, and that's all we need to know----for now. When we know more, this blog will record it so our children will also one day understand our decision. But for the time being, please pray for us as we take this leap to put our house on the market and pray for the right property to come on the market as well. He is so faithful. Thanks for being a part of this journey with us.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baby Bump Update - 24 Weeks

Or should I say baby mountain?In the last month , I feel like I've become GARGANTUAN but the doctor assured me that the ultrasound and my measurements are fine. He did say this was common to pop out way earlier with the number of pregnancies, but also upon examination, he noted that I probably had a good separation of the abdominal muscle. I could have told him that. He said to save a little money and to have some work done after to tighten it up and I would be good as new. I'll try a postpartum crunches and leg-lift marathon, but I'm not going to lie - this abdominoplasty sounds tempting!

(Last photo taken at 21 weeks)

Aside from my vanity, the good news is that Baby Boy Ring is doing great. Very active. Kicks a lot, a lot. Sometimes I get a little scared that something is going on in there because he can be pretty violent at times. But then just as I get worried, he stops and falls back to sleep. Look mom, I'm snug as a bug.

Other wonderful news to share is that after my crazy bout of all-over-itching, I had a blood test done and my liver is fine and I tested negative for Cholestasis. Praise God! I was diagnosed the last trimester (starting week 26) with my previous pregnancy, but no news is good news right now.

It's pretty obvious from the ultrasound that we're to come up with boy names, so any suggestions would be helpful. The only name requirements are (1) a two syllable name to balance out his one syllable last name (2) doesn't end in a vowel and (3) passes the kid cruelty test so we don't want to name our kid...hmhm... Willy, Woody or I'm going to hurl Earl. (Besides, they don't pass the first two criteria, anyways!) Also, Micah and Caelan are unique names so we need a third one to match. Praying to the Lord for a good name.

It's hard to imagine in about 3 months, another child will enter our lives with the same amount of chaos that Micah and Caelan leave in their wake daily, but we are excited to care for and raise son #3. My fervent and consistent prayer for all three of them is "And the boy (fill in each name) would continue to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with people." (1 Sam 2:26) I know God has great plans for these men, and we are looking forward to meeting the youngest of the Rings. Spring is right around the corner!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Special Moments to kick off 2011

A few to share....

Caelan and Micah share a room for the first time. They slept 2 nights in a row together, and so far so good...snug as a bug and all through the night. Each little boy said bye to their crib and fire engine bed, and said hello to their new bed. I think they enjoy sharing a room together.

Speaking of snug as a bug, I caught this moment when the two of them were sharing a secret. They do this a lot. I have yet to ask what the secret is. I figure if I was supposed to know, they'd tell me.

So Micah goes down about a half hour after Caelan, and one night he had trouble getting to bed. When he finally fell asleep, we discovered what he was doing. His toddler bible stacked on top of a hanging belt, with a power ranger sitting in the make-shift swing. Geez, how long did that take to make? He blows my mind some times with his creativity.

Since Micah gets a sleeping picture, so should Caelan. He refused to take off his Spiderman costume that he got for Christmas, so we caught this picture before nap time. It's affectionately called Spidy Sleeps:

Also, a special moment--- the boys made fruit soup, a Christmastime traditional meal, with their grandmother. The fruit soup in a HUGE bowl was made on Friday afternoon, and did not last through the weekend. Wow! I also got to share a wonderful time with my MIL making potece and cinnamon twists, also a Christmas staple, in the Ring household. This was nice that even though I don't have daughters, I can pass it down the Ring line for my future daughter-in-laws to continue to make for the Ring men.

Patrick said everything was delicious. I should make it again soon, so I don't forget how to do it! It shouldn't be enjoyed once a year....that would be a shame.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Year In Review

Happy New Year! I get a little giddy thinking about what 2011 has in store for us. Lord, we pray for your leading in our lives, that we seek to know your will and follow wholeheartedly after You! I predict 2011 will be the year of Radical. For 2010, I would say it's the year of building relationships. Highlights of the year:

Building Community. New this year, we joined a fantastic couples small group (six couples) and I'm blessed to be a part of a discipleship group, an answer to prayer. Through this, I am being discipled so that I can in turn disciple three others in the near future. I can't tell you what a difference our lives have been in community with these amazing people, and the impact it has made on us just seeing them each week.

Couples small group retreat with families at Lake Anna

Serving the body. As an amazing father, Patrick is also enjoying continuing to be a Kids Quest Sunday school teacher. For me, I am LOVING leading my small group of moms through Mothering Matters.

Patrick teaches a bible lesson.

Enjoying fellowship with the best group of women.

Unexpected Vacations.
This year, with a one and three year old, we hadn't expected to travel much, but we were so blessed to find time and money in our limited budget!

Couples Retreat in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

First time to Seattle and seeing the famous Public Market.

Hotlanta to visit Brad & Lindsay.

Small group family retreat in Kure Beach, South Carolina. We extended our family vacation at the beach house and toured more of Wilmington.

One Wedding and Two Funerals. Micah and Caelan lost two great-grandmothers this year. With the small group family, we celebrated an awesome nuptial at the Calder & Trexel wedding. Oh, and I got to be the wedding planner!

A whole lotta 2010 babies. To name a few, William Martz, Stephen Newton, Shelby Sweat, Fiona Good, Anna Sharer, and Luke Fleury. It's really neat to see so many growing families to the people we love.

Loving my Ring boys. The first priority of building relationships has been in our own family. It's hard work to continue to be intentional about putting our marriage first, and the daily investment in our kids. As we kiss 2010 goodbye, we leave our hands wide open to what God has in store for us. We have thankfulness in our hearts, and excitement as we anticipate great things from Him.

Big kiss 2010! Happy New Year!