At many points throughout the day I find myself still trying to believe that we are REALLY IN IDAHO.
I mean, we drive around the valley and we can see for MILES. The air is clear and turning crisp. The traffic is non-existent (except to the natives). The fact that we can cover 26 miles in 27 minutes is surreal to this CA native. The population density of Boise is 3,500 people per square mile compared to Whittier's 6,000 people per square mile (according to 2016 data)! No wonder it feels less crowded... it IS less crowded.
We drove back from Middleton in the 8 o'clock hour. The moon was high in the east and still waxing. The clouds dark and eerily lit with the moon reflecting sunlight. The west sky was still showing remnants of the day's light. The low sky not polluted with light from big cities that never sleep. A stillness I haven't felt in a very long time. Several points of concern as we drive along country roads that have minimal lighting - the downside of night driving in a small town is what allows for this beauty we were able to behold in the nighttime hours.
I mean, we are financially secure right now. We have a stable living place that is a win-win situation for the time at hand. We are soaking up so much family time it's unreal. It is a miracle we're living in. We have food in our fridge and stomachs, warm beds to sleep in at night, a comfy couch for when Sabbath sneaks up on you and requires a nap, a yard big enough for the dog to get her energy out, a garden that continues to provide a bounty we don't have to stress over, folage that requires just enough tending to in order to keep us occupied, a grocery store within walking distance, a sweet church down the street to attend, culture hub just minutes away, so much to explore, cars that function well, a hospital that is high quality (for something in a broken system), children who are amazing in every way... the list goes on. Y'all, sometimes it just feels like too much good for such a broken person like myself. This really is a season of REST, of faith, of learning to quiet the distractions and my spirit enough to hear the still small voice of God.
For reals... we made steak for lunch paired with delicious, fresh veggies. Then we had a delicious meal with special friends (this family is a true blessing to us). The husband and wife were so willing to speak hard, honest truths to Sawyer as he sat in conversation with the adults. This couple is willing to be vulnerable with our boy so that he can learn to lean into the Lord when his sin nature gets too strong instead of leaning into his own will power. What a blessing! It was perfect. It was real. It was holy. It was church.
We took a trip into Emmett just to snoop around. The city park was nice and we found an amazing viewpoint. Not sure we'd want to live in this city but it was fun to explore for a few hours. Here is a collage of photos...
I fully believe God has blessed me (us) with a season of rest. I am working to soak it up and allow it to bring the healing I so desperately need. Did you know something can be easy and hard at the same time? Truth. This "rest" thing is both easy and hard.
I have long been somewhat of a controlling person. Not so much controlling others but one who likes to have control of her life, her schedule, etc. I don't very much fancy having people tell me what to do, what I should do, or what I shouldn't do for that matter. I like to make my own decisions and I am prepared to handle the repercussions of those decisions, should any arise.
Enter the Idaho vision. This was not a vision of my own creating. Nope, it was a God-given notion. One he gave this concrete- loving city girl four years ago (2014). God made it so heavy on my heart that Jake and I created a three-year CA exit strategy. That didn't work. Probably because that wasn't part of God's original vision. Ya think?! Two years in we had made ZERO headway with the exit strategy. In fact, it looked like we were never going to leave because God brought Dempsey's cancer journey to us and made it front and center. Complete with crippling PTSD for me, a heavy load for Jake's shoulders, a mine field for Sawyer's brother heart, and a battlefield much larger than our warrior has yet to grasp.
In addition to all of this, the Lord also brought a Holistic Nutritionist certification to me, more experience with whole food supplementation, more understanding of essential oil benefits, a deepening discipleship relationship with a dear sage (who remains a pilar for me when needed), a willingness to be broken in the hopes of feeling true redemption from this world... and more.
You know what? After I received the Idaho vision, other people received a similar vision. You know what else? Those people MADE IT TO IDAHO BEFORE ME. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? Let me tell you... IT'S FRUSTRATING. It felt like people were cutting in line and this justice-loving, control freak doesn't appreciate that. BUT, and it's a big "but", I was able to receive advice and guidance from that sage I mentioned earlier. She could speak into my journey from a few steps ahead. It's amazing the wisdom you can gain from that scenario but it doesn't always lessen the frustration.
Fast forward to today and I'm sitting here typing to you from IDAHO. Talk about a dream come true. Granted, the path to the dream was not smooth. Instead it looked more like intense switchbacks with thorny vines at your ankles and rude branches sticking out over the path just far enough to poke you in the face or snag your clothes. There were setbacks brought on by personal exhaustion and exterior circumstances (aka cancer journey, job hunting, etc). Yet, we made it. The Lord brought us to the promised land... kind of.
Why kind of, Coral? Because we are jobless. We are renting, which means we our roots will not go too deep here and that is a bit unsettling. We still have CA license plates. We don't have a home church. We have a tiny number of friends to call community and one family that we are doing life with. I simply feel like God hasn't completed the vision yet. Trust me, I believe HE is working on it... like a master craftsman slowly and faithfully plugging away at the creation his mind and hands are desperate to create.
So, why did I title this post "Rest"? Because I feel that is the word that describes where we are right now. We are in a season of plenty where we can simply rest. It is a glorious place to be. We can walk and talk with the Lord with no distractions. We can pour into each member of this family without having to run off to work or school or... or... or... We have plenty. We are not in a state of deep need or want. We are enjoying the Idahoness of our physical surroundings (ie kind people, slow pace, lack of vulgarity, lack of selfishness and greed, surplus of genuine and helpful people, etc). My PTSD is being rolled back. I no longer have adrenaline begin to seathe through my body when I hear loud music. I no longer feel the need to start praying for strength and emotional, mental protection whenever my car is headed in the direction of home. I no longer long to be out of CA... because I am.
Did you know the Bible mentions "rest" a lot. The reference that best fits our current season is probably Matt 11:28-30:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I had to surrender a ton... my timeline, my desires, my plan, my expectations, my mental heath, my family, my friends, my network, my comforts, my present, my future, and much more. Often, I would leave these things at the cross in prayer but when I was done praying I would pick them back up. Can you relate? What things, awful or precious, do you need to surrender in the name of peace and in the hopes of sharing the yoke with the Lord? I am not done surrendering, by the way. I still have to daily surrender the unknown of our current situtation. Can I tell you a little secret? It gets a little easier to surrender each time. I, in no way, shape, or form, have mastered this. I simply no it's something I need to do and I try to do it sooner each time.
It's incredible how much peace one can have in such a short amount of time when circumstances change. Yesterday, we packed up the hotel room and moved down the street to our longer-term rental house. We went from a single room with two beds, a TINY kitchenette (is that redundant?), single bathroom, no yard... to a 1,000sqft house with two complete bedrooms (3 beds), a bathroom, a nice sized kitchen, laundry facilities, a living room, a dining room, and TWO yards. The backyard contains food-producing vegetation! Huzzah. Saoirse (seer-shuh) LOVES the space, as do the rest of us. Kamatz? Well, he likes it under the master bed. Cats.
The air is fresh and it has a sort of crispness to it. Being able to open windows and let that air in makes us all happy in ways we can't explain. Sawyer just came in with a sappy look on his face and declared "it smells so good outside!"
We have a garden an a half! A half? Yep. I say half because the second section only houses tomatoes and bell peppers whereas the main garden area houses raspberries, beets, carrots, cucumbers, squash, and a melon I think. There is also a yellow apple tree. So much fun having an established garden again.
Out front there is a tree with long green bean-looking things. What a mess! Those things drop and all but cover the front yard. So, we will have some yardwork to do but that's good for the body, the soul, and for putting our boys to work when us adults don't want to use our body anymore. *wink*
The boys have thoroughly enjoyed having a room to themselves again. The two beds has been wonderful and the table and chairs in there has provided the perfect Lego building location. It is so helpful to have a space for them to go if they need time apart from each other. That doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Also, we enjoy having TWO DOORS between them and us at night. *wink, wink*
Jake and I are living it up thanks to having a bedroom of our own again. Being able to hang clothes, have separate drawers, a laundry hamper, end tables, windows, table lamps, a place for my salt lamp and essential oil box... glorious! We also set up the computer in there so we can watch our nightly guilty pleasure of Big Bang Theory after we put the boys to bed. Once that's done the whole setup gets turned off. No extra EMFs desired, thank you very much.
This house is wonderfully located for the things we enjoy. The freeway is close. Dutch Bros is close. Parks are close. Downtown in close. The church we might attend is close. It's wonderful.
Oh, the church... we visited Whitney Baptist Church yesterday. We enjoyed it. It was wonderful to be recognized as new! So many lovely, welcoming people. It's been a long time since we've attended a Sunday School Class, Jake and I. Honestly, we've never attended one together. So, this move to Idaho has been a real treat in this regard. I have Jake with me, right next to me, on Sundays for church. Thank you, Lord. The boys had classes themselves and then sat with us for the second service. While I love having the boys with us for a sermon and worship music, it is hard on Dempsey. He simply has too much energy to sit still and take in an adult message. So, I caved and let him have my cell phone. I need to find a Biblical coloring book for him to work through during this part of church.
Yesterday's message was on Colossians 2:6-15. Like the pastor stated at the beginning, we didn't not get through it all. Such a meaty passage to unpack and I LOVE how he doesn't water it down in an effort to blow through it. He will adjust his plan to accommodate taking more time with this passage. Sawyer enjoyed the experience overall. He's telling me his favortie part was towards the end when the pastor was explaining that while traditions are not bad, they become bad when they become more important that the reason we started them. From his Sunday School class he enjoyed receiving some visuals of the 10 Commandments to help him remember them in order.
Dempsey enjoyed his class, worked to remember new friends' names, and enjoyed being able to meet and play with new kiddos. Like I mentioned before, it was hard for him to sit (still) with us during the worship service. We'll work on making that more enjoyable for him.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, this house is fully furnished. How awesome is that? See, the owner was going to AirBnB it (which usually means it's totally furnished and people can just rent it short-term) but decided we were worth leasing to for awhile. As a fellow believer, she was interested in helping a Christian, cancer-fighting family out in their transition time. What. A. Blessing.
We are eager to see where God will take us and have us put down roots. We are meeting such amazing people all across the valley that it makes it both difficult and fun trying to figure out where we'd like to be. We have met lovely people in just about each city in the valley. Of course, people who live in those cities think we should more to their city. It is comical to hear people talk about traffic or visiting another city as taking forever to get to. We chuckle because it used to take us 15 minutes to go 2-2.5 miles! Now, we can cover 30 miles in about 30 minutes. It is just not apples to apples. Yes, they have traffic.... for what they know. Let me just tell my CA peeps something - IT'S NOTHING LIKE THE TRAFFIC YOU KNOW! During rush hour, you're still moving at around 50mph. Even the busiest street (Eagle Rd) that's most congested moves because there are lights to govern the drivers. Is it annoying? Yes. Is it downright maddening, not in the least. It just goes to show the stark difference between life here (in the growing valley) compared to life in SoCal (the newest sardine can). For me, aside from people we love, CA has nothing on Idaho. Nothing.
Jake here to share about some of our recent activities.
Discovery Center of Idaho on the free admission day (thanks for the tip from local friend Haley!). Check out the giant sized Lite Brite. The boys loved the human-powered pulley basket & flywheel.
Dempsey’s first chemo infusion at St Luke’s MSTI (we’ve learned is pronounced “misty”) in Boise. Overall it went well, but it takes a bit of getting used to new/different ways of doing the same things. Dempsey did great, of course!
Many trips to local parks… Manitou, Terry Day (with the epic sitting zip line run), Settlers (Splash Pad), Shoshone, Morris Hill, Armstrong, Nampa Dog Park, etc. As of yesterday, Dempsey is now free-soloing on the hanging zip line.
Third visit to Eagle Island State Park for more playground and water fun. Dempsey is building his confidence thanks to some support from a life vest. Saorise got into an epic gladiatorial skirmish with a friendly dog.
Dawn and Sunrise adventures with Saorise in nearby Vista Neighborhood et al; spending the walking time listening to podcasts, watching the Space Station flyover (it almost collided with the moon!!), exploring along the Boise River Greenbelt, chasing squirrels and ducks, and first visit to a fenced-in Dog Park (Morris Hill).
Last week I introduced Sawyer to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey at a screening on Boise’s big IMAX screen (he liked it).
Driving/exploration of Melba, the outskirts of Birds of Prey National Preserve (a stones throw away from Celebration Park at the Snake River) and other parts unknown.
Visit to the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa. Great vintage airplanes and displays. (Dempsey really enjoyed the scavenger hunt and Sawyer liked seeing the various weapons on display)
Occasional shopping at Costco, Trader Joes, and Albertsons (will explore Natural Grocers soon).
Recent cheats: Papa Johns (thank you Heaths!), Chipotlé, Smashburger. Otherwise we do lots of PB&J and Salads.
In Room, we spend time playing Wii, reading books, playing legos, playing our new game (Kingdomino), watching Handy Manny episodes and various movies, eating popcorn, and generally trying to stay sane.
Last night’s movie night (since Coral was out for a NeoLife workshop) was Star Wars The Phantom Menace, complete with Life-Goes-On for dinner.
Looking forward to moving into a rental this week.
Thanks all for your prayers and support!
We went exploring again. This time, Jake landed us at Kristin Armstrong Park. Our family is thoroughly enjoying all the parks around and the intentionality Idaho places on making things family friendly. This park is right next to the Boise River and there is the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center attached to it - including white sturgeon in a pond lined with a sample beaver habitat and a butterfly garden, complete with a Little Free Library.
You will notice the last three pictures do not represent a park. However, they do represent exploration of a different sort... food. Jake found Boise Fry Co even before we moved from CA. What a find! It is some delicious food. The variety of potato choices is fun, but limited if you're wanting organic options. The patty choices are solid - beef, bison, turkey, veggie, etc. The guys had beef but I chose the bison. YUM. Add to their multiple potato options the plethora of dry seasonings and dipping sauces and you have a smorgasbord that tickles your palate.
We have been exploring nearby cities recently, trying to locate some neighborhoods we would like to live in. This is a HARD thing because we really can't tell enough about a "hood" without living in it or knowing someone who does.
There is a neighborhood in Middleton that holds a special place in our heart because it holds people who are special to us. Middleton is on the outskirts of the Treasure Valley and still has a small town feel to it. I both love that and am concerned by that. There is space, a person can breathe out there... but boy is it unnerving to drive down country roads at night... with NO streetlights. Here's Middleton...
We drove around Meridian today and really like many of the early 90's neighborhoods. The trees are mature, sidewalks exist, the lots are decent sizes, and the homes are not cookie-cutter sytle. We've heard Meridian is where lots of CA runaways land and I'm not sure I want to be around that... I would rather be immersed in Idaho culture.
We drove all the way out to Idaho City to take a look last week. Definitely will not be putting that on the list of possible places to land. It's charming to visit but not where I want to live.
Boise is nice but I find myself wanting to live away from a "big city". Yes, there is a lot of culture in Boise, and I am just fine driving to it rather than living in it.
Eagle is lovely and mostly out of our price range. It's another CA runaway location, probably because it still has a familiar feel to CA. Man, those neighborhoods sure are pretty!
Each city really has its own feel, so there really is something for everyone. It's been kinda funny talking to people about moving to the Valley and trying to find a place to land. They each have their own take on which cities/ areas are preferable. I shouldn't be surprised, and I'm not, really... it's just humorous because no one seems to agree. That just goes to show the diversity of citizens up here and it's wonderful.
Suffice it to say, wherever we land, we hope to have enough room for you to come and visit.
What do you do when you’re living in a hotel and don’t have a job to race off to each day? Go exploring, that’s what! This exploration excursion took us 42 miles north to Banks, a shore of the Payette River. My favorite kind of “beach” is one along a fresh water river.
Enjoy some photos.
These things are not all related.
My parents have been up here visiting since Thursday morning - they drove straight through from Whittier to Boise. Crazy pants! This morning, after breakfast and showers, they walked from their hotel to our hotel (literally across the street). We put Saorise in her crate and the humans loaded up in our van to go see some homes that are on our list. We saw the Boise ones and a few of the Meridian ones before my head couldn't stand navigating and external home views only.
After house-peeking, we dropped my folks off, did lunch, and then picked them up again. This time Saoirse was with all of us as we visited Eagle Island State Park. My parents wanted to see the boys enjoying themselves in some water. While at EISP Saoirse made a new friend. His name is Bryce and he's a 2.5 yr old Copper-nosed Blue Merle Aussie (heavy on the black coloring). He was adorable! His dad, Dave, thought it would be fun to break some rules and let them off leash to play with each other. It was fun! Those pups had a BLAST. Then a park employee came over and told us the Park Ranger saw the dogs off leash and wanted them on leash... which they already were by that point. Such rebels. Bryce and his parents are new transplants from CA as well. Retired law enforcement and just couldn't take watching CA deteriorate anymore. They are building their dream home and beyond elated to continue life here is Idaho.
After the park shenanigans, we dropped my parents and the boys off at my parents' hotel. The boys got to do some more swimming, in a clean pool and a spa. Then the four of them went to dinner while Jake and I went on a dinner date ourselves. What a blessing! We got back to our hotel, let Saoirse out, and took her for a walk. My parents and the boys beat us back to our room and promptly started a Mario Kart tournament on the Wii. Boy was Saoirse excited to see her Granddad! I wish y'all could see her enthusiasm when he's around. It's priceless.
Well, there you have it. Family. Fun. Mayhem.
We say farwell, again, to my parents tomorrow morning as they plan to drive straight through from Boise to Whittier... taking a piece of my heart back with them. Until next time.
Last night was EPIC!
Jake's parents sent us the names and phone numbers of a couple they knew from Washington who has recently moved to Idaho. I tried calling the wife but the number was off by one digit. So, what does any normal, 21st century person do? That's right, gently stalk them on Facebook. Success! I was able to connect with Mrs H and we talked for a good hour. Obviously we have plenty in common. They invited us to have dinner at their place Thursday night (last night). We made it over there a little after 6pm and didn't leave until after 10pm.
They have three precious boys (8, 7, 4). Our boys enjoyed time with new friends and we did too. It's wonderful to spend time with a family who has similar interests and vision for raising a Christian crew. We got along so well Mrs H and I were scheming about how to get us a house in that neighborhood - FYI, there IS a house for sale on their street. Pray with us that if it's the Lord's will for us to be that close to them the doors will open accordingly.
This sweet family lives in Middleton... a town several Boise peeps have warned against (for various reasons). However, this family loves their neighbors, neighborhood, town, etc. Middleton is still full of farm charm and a much lower (but increasing) population than Boise. I am curious what it would be like to live there 24/7 versus visiting. Driving back to base (our hotel) in the dark on country roads took me back to places in my youth - Durango, CO and Hugo, OK. Durango was where my paternal grandparents in the early 90's. It was beautiful... and pitch black at night. I mean, so black that you couldn't see two houses away but you certainly could see a bajillion stars. It was also ridiculously quiet at night. That was so unnerving to my young self that I couldn't sleep. The remedy? A radio playing soft music. Looking back at that scenario I chuckle because currently I would give an appendage to have that kind of quiet. Hugo was more the small farm town with dirt roads that lacked street lights. That was where my maternal grandparents lived and where I would visit some summers.
Anyhow... our time with the H Fam was such a blessing. The conversation was lively, the boys even more so. This family was beyond generous in the way they loved on us, too... Mrs H messaged me saying "It was your youngest's birthday last week?" She proceeded to inquire about his favorite dessert which, of course, is chocolate anything. So, they had a cake for Dempsey AND a gift. Such thoughtfulness! Now, this cake... this cake wasn't just a cake with some frosting. Nope. This cake was two layers of chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse, topped with M&Ms, and finally fenced on the sides with KitKats bars. What an indulgence! Thankfully we work hard to maintain low sugar consumption 90% of the time so 10% of the time we can splurge. The H Fam lives that way too... so it's nice to have that element in common as well.
Please cover this family in a prayer of blessing with me...
Father in Heaven, rain down your favor upon the H Fam. Fill their hearts with joy, their lives with spiritual fruit, and their community with strong believers to build them up. I pray that Mr H will continue to have solid employment and that the little H Fam misters grow in Christlikeness to become world-changers for the Kingdom. I pray protection over the hearts, minds, eyes, and bodies of the precious family. I rebuke any negative influences or presences that would seek to steal joy or distract from your will. Please allow this new friendship to flourish, grow deep roots, and be a powerful force for Your Good. Amen.