Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021.
Hello, Loved Ones.
We didn’t get around to having family photos taken and then the whole Christmas card idea unraveled. To be honest, a large part of 2020 just drained my creativity. When creativity is lost I fall back on snark and end up with something like this:
Here’s a recap of our 2020…
We continue to enjoy our home/ house in Middleton, ID.
Church: We have completed a year of attending our church, the Living Church Boise. A few months ago Jake and I discovered we were on the Leadership Team. It was such an organic evolution that it caught us off guard, in the best way.
Dempsey got baptized!! It was just after his 9th birthday and what was extra special was that Jake did the dunking.
Education: Homeschooling (more like Unschooling) is still well underway. It was such a blessing to already be utilizing that method so we avoided the chaos and stress of a yoyoing school system. Reading favorites: Sawyer - Percy Jackson; Dempsey - Tuttle Twins
Travel: We did an overnight trip down south to Hagerman where we AirBnB’d it. We took Saoirse with us and enjoyed paddleboarding along the Snake River.
Employment: Just after the getaway, Jake began his new job as an AV and Webcasting Engineer at MICRON. While the financial benefits have been wonderful, the commute… not so much. It is quite literally on the other side of the Treasure Valley from our home.
Coral is blessed to remain a full time stay at home mom and is grateful for the more than full time work that entails - teaching, consulting, educating, mothering, homemaking, etc.
Entertainment: We recently shared Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies with the boys along with finishing most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Health: The four of us have been blessed to remain healthy throughout 2020. Dempsey will celebrate 2 years post treatment for leukemia on January 24th!! We continue to give thanks and praise to God for His provision throughout that journey and for the blessings that we still get to experience because of it (meeting and helping people in a similar journey). Sawyer, at 13 ½ years old, is growing out his golden locks, shooting up like a string bean, and walking through the arduous experience that is puberty.
Friendships: Our family tends to a small and intimate community of in real life friends. We are blessed with the deep and narrow relationships that keep our little lifeboat afloat. They have been inspirational and instrumental in keeping us sane during what has culturally been the most wonky year we have ever lived through, read about, imagined could exist.
Saoirse: Our pup will turn 3 years old this month! I think she needs a fur sibling but Jake’s not yet convinced. Next to her 90 pound blond Goldendoodle boyfriend, Mr. French/ Frenchie, the most significant thing to happen to her was getting injured at a dog park. We have no idea how it happened, but she sliced off a decent chunk of skin on her right hind paw. That was an expensive and successful surgery. She’s such a good girl - never really bothered her stitches and healed up perfectly. We were worried it would be too hard to reconstruct as she has the little chicken legs.
Jake’s family: We enjoy frequent visits from his mom and dad when they come to stay at their Boise home. The miles between all family members are a nuisance, says Jake.
Coral’s family: My dad came to visit over Christmas. It was a great few days! I told Jake that Saoirse was going to lose her mind when Granddad got here. Sure enough, she did!
He plans to move to Idaho once the Lord calls my mom home.
My mom continues to decline into the grips of Alzheimer’s disease. She is physically wasting away despite her labs showing “normal”. My dad is allowed to visit her three times a week. I am grateful that this facility is not bound by inhumane governmental overreach and mandates. If it was, he would not be able to see her at all. This Christmas was the first Christmas he was not with my mother in 40 years. The bittersweet part was that she didn’t know he was gone… or that it was Christmas.
Speaking of anniversaries, Jake and I will be celebrating #15 in a few weeks. It seems like both a blink of an eye and several lifetimes.
Instead of purchasing material Christmas gifts this year, we once again donated our budget to Operation Underground Railroad (see below). We are deeply grieved at the need for this organization as that means there is evil out there devaluing God’s creation. Sex trafficking is the fastest growing “business” in the world. That’s abhorrent. It’s not teenagers. It’s not just teenagers. We’re talking LITTLE KIDS! 5, 6, 7 years old.
doTERRA partners with OUR. So, a company I love, whose products I use and value, also shares my conviction and passion to see this atrocious industry eradicated! The HOPE blend, when you purchase it 100% of proceeds go to OUR to bring hope to those who are enslaved and to those who have been rescued but need to be rehabilitated.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Our family decided to celebrate it together without gathering with others. We are grateful for the friends we have here in Idaho and yet we do so love our family time. Four days with Daddy at home is a rarity these days and we just want to soak up as much time with him as we can. So we did.
We continue to challenge the notion of traditions, Jake and I. Starting with our wedding (married in denim), we are constantly finding what makes US tick. So, instead of the traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, etc... we opted for delicious steak (from the 1/4 cow we purchased), mashed potatoes, and peas with a dessert of peach crisp/ cobbler and Sawyer's home-made whipped cream. Don't think we avoided stress altogether, though. We managed to set off the smoke alarm thrice. (No photos due to making memories instead of capturing them.)
Today (Friday) we had the blessing of snow. It is always a beautiful sight watching these fragile flakes fall from the heavens, being carried upon gentle breezes. If you look closely you can see Dempsey and Jake in the windows.
T-day +1 - SNOW
Address #5 for Mr. and Mrs. Jake Kenagy
Of course spiritual warfare has taken on new life this week. It's the perfect week to attack. A week full of deadlines, our family being separated, a surgery (not for us), and more. It's a week where we need strength, endurance, faith, and connectedness. So, of course, that's when the battles heats up.
A first camp experience is under way. This is both wonderful and hard.
A surgery is happening this week and I will not be there as support. I have been given permission to release any responsibility regarding that fact, yet a part of me is sad.
We close excrow on our NEW HOUSE on Friday! Deadlines of final walk through, paper signing, wire transfer... all need to be aligned so as not to cause confusion or delay.
We need to pack up our belongings and clean the rental house. But what will we need ASAP and what can wait and will we have a fridge soon enough??? Ugh, such anxiety. This too shall pass.
So, where's the spiritual warefare?
On Monday I was digitally attacked TWICE. Once in a group that is supposed to be supportive and encouraging. Apparently, to one individual that means snark and chastisement. Once via a personal text message series. The latter was the worst because it was a pure violation of boundaries, trust, and perceived friendship. I have no choice but to claim spiritual warfare because that behavior, those words, were so uncharacteristic of this person. I have chosen to block that person in the ways I can so that they will no longer be a way for demons to reach me. I do not need such a willing vessel in my world.
Add to those things, the feelings of anxiety, stress, fear, worry, etc are all dark. They are not given by God. They are accessible to me because of my humanity and they are squelched because of my redemption at the Cross.
I am grateful for Christ's sacrifice of himself for me. I don't deserve it. Most days I have a hard time receiving it. This week I am trying to not only receive it but also swim in it, breathe it in, see it, hold it, share it. It is a glorious thing to be able to recognize spiritual warfare and realize I have the tools and armor necessary for battle.
The Whole Armor of God
It finally happened. God has lead us to a HOME.
Yep, the Lord is moving us 30ish miles west to Middleton. This is the small city we have wanted to move into for quite some time. By small, I mean the population is probably close to 7,500 (estimate from 2017 and growing). It's still very much a farming community with very few major retail chains breaching its borders. We like that fact.
It will greatly increase Jake's commute to work - which is currently in Boise. However, the drive time is almost a 1:1 ratio of minutes to miles. Something we NEVER experienced in CA. The view isn't so bad either.
Coral is eager to make new network connections as she grows her business - Reimagine Healing. You can help Coral grow her business by sharing it with everyone you know (link is bolded and underlined above). It is not bound by geography as her reach is worldwide already.
The boys will continue in their homeschool journey and hopefully find a few new activities to get involved in (martial arts, sports, art, 4H... who knows!).
This move also brings us closer to dear friends and provides us an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in ways we didn't see coming. It is so good to sense and see His purpose and fingerprints over this situation.
The craziest part? I saw the house on a Monday morning with our realtor. I FaceTimed Jake so he could see the house while he was at work. The price and condition of the house made it a no-brainer. We finished e-signing the offer by 1:30pm and were accepted within three hours!!
We close escrow on July 12th and hope to be all moved in by July 20-21 because the boys and I have BIG plans at the end of July and moving is not on the schedule.
Thank you so much for your prayerful support of our family over the years and especially over the last year as we moved ON FAITH. It has been an experience, that's for sure. The Lord has been faithful. We have tried to be obedient. Parts have been joyous and others have been painful. Yet, we prevail and remain under His wings. We are grateful for His provision and we are excited to see what greatness he has in store for our family.
Today started as most Mondays do. Jake got up and left for work. The boys and I wake and stir. I believe I have a chiropractic appointment. I make our morning NeoLife Shakes.... and on it goes.
Well, I discovered I didn't have a chiropractic appointment (I hadn't set them up for May). This was a blessing because a dear cancer mom needed to talk with me. And talk we did. For an hour. You see, her sweet little girl has relapsed with a rather aggressive cancer. Conventional treatment worked the first time but with remission lasting only a year. This is heart-breaking news. Heart-breaking! No parent should ever have to choose between quantity of life and quality of life for their child. They should never feel pressed between a rock and a hard place when deciding the medical path for their baby. They should certainly never be coerced into anything either.
I hope I was a good, solid sounding board for this mom (and dad for a few minutes). She said I was, so I will trust her. What am I supposed to tell a mother who is staring at two options that are so awful I can't even use the typical phrase "lesser of two evils". I pray that my interaction, input, and ideas were a blessing to this family and in no way a burden.
Then, the boys and I took Saoirse (Seer-Shuh) to a local dog park. There I was almost instantly connected to this sweet, bright soul named Katie. She was there with her companion to observe the dogs. Katie likes dogs. I waved to Katie and she immediately pointed back at me and walked her companion over to me. She took my hand and guided me around the dog portion of this park. Katie is non-verbal and has Angelman's Syndrome (I was told it was Angel's Syndrome but I couldn't find that exact syndrome, so I assume the companion meant Angelman's Syndrome). Katie reminded me of a person with Cerebral Palsy and a lower functionality. Her smile was big and bright. Her demeanor happy and excited to be around dogs. Her companion said Katie loves to be outside. So, they spend time visiting dog parks and even animal shelters where Katie will walk up and down the rows or sit and enjoy the presence of a canine once in awhile. I tried not to talk around her, because I know she can hear and understand me. Yet, when I did ask a question about her I was intentional about using her name so she would know I was acknowledging her presence.
You could tell she is this vibrant soul trapped in a broken body. Her physical being has betrayed her, one symptom of a fallen world. However, her spirit shone all the brighter because of the shaded shell she embodies. Her eyes speak for her mouth that has been silenced by a genetic deficit. Her physical touch and connection conveys a message of love and gratitude that her fingers could never write. The way she would smile at me, reach for my arm, or hold my hand... I felt loved. I don't know why she chose me, but I am grateful that she did.
As if this wasn't enough gifting from God, I received a message asking to chat if I was available. It was from a friend whose family is in a sticky situation due to all the vaccination hysteria. They simply needed to feel heard and understood. It also helped that I was able to tell them they are, in fact, not crazy. I told them I was just gonna fill them with so much Truth that their armor would just magnetize to their body (or something like that) so they will be completely protected as this unnecessary war rages.
It is a wonderful thing to be a conduit for the Lord as he seeks to reach his children. So many people are unsure of themselves or feel ill-equipped for everyday life. Why can't we just come alongside each other, listen to each other, allow our opinions to be flexible, and realize our beliefs are not devalued simply because someone doesn't share them. We are all smart. We are all capable. We all have value and purpose. Let's work to SEE people and HEAR people. Each person has a story that is worth listening to and imagining ourself in. #walkamileinmyshoes
Oh, friends... I wish I could accurately convey what this certificate means to me. Saying it was an honor to be part of this ground-breaking group & program is a gross understatement. The founders of MaxLove Project (MLP) have done it again... they are continuing to blow through the glass ceilings the cancer world has had in place for far too long.
There is a huge chasm between the medical world and cancer family support. MLP has created this brand new program for cancer mommas to bridge that chasm by giving them tools for their self-care, thrivorship toolbox AND a community with which to give and take support.
I am honored to be a ripple of blessing in the lake of HOPE for cancer mommas (and by extension cancer pappas and kiddos)!
Please, if you know a mother, or parent of a child with cancer, connect them with MaxLove Project (or me) so that they can begin to tap in to resources they need and probably don't know about. MaxLove will be having bootcamps for them to join (21 days) throughout the year, so if they miss the current one, there will be another one coming in the future. While they wait, they can still benefit from the resources MaxLove has to offer. The community alone is priceless and we are working to expand that community across the nation... and eventually the world.
Well, Jake just headed off to work. Yep, you read that right, "work".
I couldn't be more proud of him or more grateful to him for all that he has endured with me over the passed 9-10 months. He agreed to sell our house and move on faith, leaving everything we knew behind, in order to help Dempsey the best we knew how. It wasn't to only help Dempsey, but to help me as well. A cancer journey changes people.
Jake will be working Mon-Fri with full time hours. Day one is all about HR and getting legally settled. The following days and perhaps weeks will be about learning the ropes, training, and settling into his new role - which the company is still trying to flesh out. I think this will be a wonderful fit for Jake. It's techy enough and physical enough to keep his time and energies balanced. I look forward to having this new topic infused into our conversations and life. I'm so proud of him. The best part? He will still be with us on Sundays for church. It has been awesome having him by my side to worship our Lord for the last 8 months. I am thankful to God for providing a job that keeps this facet going. It's so important to me.
So, while Jake goes off to work I am assuming the majority of home responsibilities once again. I would be lying if I said it wasn't a bit overwhelming. It has been so wonderful being able to share these responsibilities with Jake for the last 8 months. He took on so much with the boys. It was heart-warming to watch and the boys really enjoyed having Daddy so involved.
Change is hard. I used to embrace change with open arms... but a cancer journey changes a person. Time to dig into the Word, hit my knees, and allow God's strength to be perfected through my utter weakness.
I quit my part time job and feel good about that. Now, I just need to really lean into my other businesses. I would really love to take on some cancer clients so that I can educate, encourage, and empower them through their journey. Reimagine Healing is all about providing a big picture view of health and healing. I do not prescribe treatments or provide healing - I am not a doctor and don't pretend to be on on the internet. I am a counselor. Someone who has been there and needed what I now offer to others. I had to research and stumble my way through some of the alternative modalities we employed and that I share. I know that I can help make someone's journey easier and that warms my heart.
We are confident that we are in line with God's will for our family/ life and we eagerly await the blessing of His economy. We are praying for guidance and clarity about our new budget. We know the Lord is capable of things beyond our comprehension, so naturally that is where we will place our trust. When things don't add up to us they certainly multiply under God's blessing.
Thank you to those of you who have been praying us through this journey. Many of you prayed us into this journey as well. I want you to know that we are grateful for your participation in this marathon. May God bless you with 10x the blessing you have blessed us with.
It's been almost six months since we moved to the Treasure Valley. We have been blessed, richly, in so many ways. Let me give you some highlights...
#1 and #3 bring with them a plethora of emotions. Why, when I should be celebrating like it's Mardi Gras, am I in a pit? This pit is strange. In here I cannot connect thoughts to form decisions. I cannot will myself to be interested in things that I ought to be interested in. Things that I enjoyed a few weeks ago now seem dull and boring with no replacement in sight.
This faith journey is getting harder, folks. I expected it to get easier. I expected that ending Dempsey's treatment would alleviate some of the weight I've been carrying like a lousy ball and chain since he was diagnosed. It is getting hard to continually knock on doors only to not have them open. It is hard for me to invest deeply into a community that I am not sure I will remain a part of... not because I don't love these people but because I don't want to grieve friends and relationships. We don't have our current rental forever... probably not even for a full three months more. Yet, the Lord hasn't opened any employment doors so there is no way we will be in a home of our own by the time we need to move. I trust that the Lord and my husband have a plan... but not seeing how it will play out is hard.
Idahome is such a beautiful thing. It's full of faith, trials, provision, unearthing sin struggles, miracles, sanctification, love, loneliness, friendship... such a paradox. I don't regret this journey one bit! I just need people to know this faith journey is getting hard. This journey is messy. If you are interested in being messy with me please reach out and let me know. Social media doesn't have to know we've connected in the realm of messy... but I know there are many who are closet messy people in need of a safe place to acknowledge the mess. So, if you are currently messy and in the closet about it, please reach out and let me show you that you are valued, loved, and there is grace and acceptance to cover even the messiest of us.
Keep it real.
Since Halloween, we traveled to CA and back for a wedding and visiting with family. We snuck some fun and friends in, as well. We were not in town long enough to see everyone who matters to us and we managed what we could.
A 16-hour drive there, Knott's Berry Farm, a wedding, precious time with Great Grandparents, a day with Grandparents, and another 16-hour drive.
After that trip, we felt that we will not be making a trip back to CA this year. So, we worked to craft plans for our first holiday season in Idaho. Thanksgiving turned out to be a day for our family to begin new traditions and make something totally tailored to our own enjoyment. We made crepes ("big pancakes"), a cheater's version of a traditional meal (turkey breast, potatoes, green veggies, stuffing, gravy, some apple or pumpkin or pecan dessert), some time spent in a conversation of reflection and gratitude.
Thanksgiving also brought an unexpected loss of a loved one. Jake's grandmother and grandfather were in a bad car accident the day we were driving home (a Tuesday). A week later his grandmother met Jesus face to face. The details of her last week on earth, as shared with us by Jake's mother, were divided... to say it best. She was in pain due to the accident and, sadly, that was never managed well enough to give her much relief. Despite that element, she was able to have a last chat with each of her children and their spouses, and each of her grandchildren. That was a priceless reality and I kept telling my mother in law "...in true Grandma fashion, she just wrapped it all up in a beautiful bow." Tears of sadness for our loss are greeted with tears of joy as we celebrate Grandma's legacy and how she's with Jesus in glory. We will see her again, praise God.
Christmas planning and execution has proven interesting. Jake's parents were just here for a quick visit, so we gobbled up as much time with them as we could. My folks are heading up next week for a few days and we will gobble up time with them, too. Simplistic doesn't even begin to describe our decorating/ planning and shopping practices, you guys. No tree. We just don't have a place for it. The single logical place in our rental is taken up by Soairse's crate. *frumpy face* So, we will dream and plan for next Christmas... in our own home, with our own stuff, and our new traditions. God willing... For now, we have stockings hanging from the mantle over the fireplace we can't use (flue issues). *sniffle* Jake bought a tiny, glittery, red Christmas tree and a short string of lights to further adorn the mantle. He can be so cute, y'all. He got creative when his folks were here for our Christmas time by running the yule log on his ipad and placing the ipad in the fireplace, resting on the actual logs we can't use.
Friends, can I just say how hard it is to not be living with your own stuff? We are beyond grateful for the blessing of our fully-furnished rental. It's been a saving grace because our stuff is still in storage and we don't have to unpack everything for the short term and pack back up only to unpack again. Yet, I want MY things. Not having our own items keeps the settled feeling away. I look forward to God bringing us to our next home where we can revisit our belongings and begin establishing deeper roots.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays, Merriest Tidings...
The Kenagys do Halloween Idaho style.
Our church did a Harvest Carnival int he parking lot. We manned the Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling booth. Right between the popcorn stand and the Bean Bag Toss.
It was a smooth, laid back event. The busiest times of the event would be considered slow or empty by CA standards... and that is okay. The multi-generational element at our church is wonderful. Everyone played an important part in making the event function.
We are slowly making connections at the church and enjoy the biblical teaching in both the Sunday School class and the sermons. We look forward to experiencing this church in each season of the year and hopefully a few seasons of life as well. I personally love the fact that the church purposely does not over program the congregation. There are not events happening every night of the week. Instead, there are people who take on tasks for the community and congregation that are dear to them. One woman, who apparently loves to be busy serving, is collecting items or money to provide Christmas baskets for shut-ins, those in the hospital, or those who have been moved to a care facility. What a beautiful heart and ministry. I am eager to hear more about the hearts and service within this precious congregation as time marches on. Admittedly, it is a tad hard to be an extrovert in a church that has so many rich relationships already in the works. Yet, God is gracious in his leading of conversations and his provision of new connections that will hopefully become friends.
After Halloween came the roasting of pumpkin seeds. We used three different Wildtree seasonings for culinary experimentation.
Which do you think you would have voted for?