after 1 year in wisconsin…

weather. Let’s get the small talk out of the way right now and talk about this. Last Feb. when we arrived, an apparently weaker winter was waning and we hadn’t lived in snow or colder temps for years, so it was great welcoming weather. We were still adjusting to our new house, and town, and all of that, and Spring was upon us. Spring and Summer were beautiful for the most part. A bit buggy and muggy in the evenings but still mostly enjoyable. Looking back we spent a lot of our evenings eating dinner, oops, I mean “supper”, then getting everyone bathed and ready for bed. We’ll be modifying that schedule a bit this Summer. The Fall season was incredible! I was introduced to this park out in the woods and posted a few pics of it on Facebook along with some other Fall activities. THEN on Dec 11th a really big snow storm hit and there’s been snow on the ground ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow and if it’s gonna be cold, ya might as well have snow to go along with it. However, it’s March now and I’m ready, with the rest of the folks here, for it to melt away and for Spring to hit in full force. As cold as it’s been through certain weeks of the last couple months, I’m reveling in the seasonal changes and the anticipation that goes with each one.

friends/family. Many of you know that when you make a big move that, in the beginning, it can feel lonely at times. And it did for us. As much as one is welcomed and reached out to and loved with open arms (like we were), the complete absence of familiar faces and places can throw one for a loop. The positive of this is that I think it further strengthened the friendship between Alissa and I. So here we are a year later and while we miss our good friends from AZ, this year has brought several new and budding friendships into our lives and that lonely feeling is gone, replaced with an even larger sphere of people with which to walk through every-day life.
Our boys are, of course, growing; like kids tend to do. River is in 3 yr old Pre-school. He’s loving it and it’s great for him. While wild and crazy at times, he’s incredibly thoughtful and him as a 4 year old has been much less challenging than him at 2 & 3. Rainn is love and hugs bundled up in a toddlers body. I think I might want him to live with us well into his 20’s. Maybe not. Either way, I might have my days, where I wish to be an empty-nester, but for the most part, I look at my sons and hear their higher-pitched voices and catch myself staring into their eyes, taking mental pictures, as they communicate (or try to in Rainn’s case) with untarnished honesty and hope. Even if it’s all about them and their wants, they are completely in the moment reading only their immediate thoughts. That’s so beautiful and lasts SUCH a short time before caution, and cynicism set in. I’m SO happy to be their dad and I tell them often.
small town. I grew up in a rural area/small town in Kansas and so Shawano is somewhat familiar to me in that regard. We DO have a Wal-Mart, GNC and a movie theater with a 3D option, so booya right? What more can a person need? Actually I’ve been releshing in the simple pleasures these days such as buying our eggs from an Amish family who has a store on their property along with the chickens that lay those eggs. Also, I get raw honey by the gallon from my good friend Mike who happens to play guitar and bass in my church band. It was so wild that day he drove up with thousands of bees in his truck and then let one sting him on the arm; “It’s good for arthritis” he says. Another perk I find fascinating and quite tasty is the homemade maple syrup. Like I said, it’s the simple pleasures right? I always thought there was so much sugar added in stuff like that, but not all. It’s a process of timing, cooking and waiting. To see it in done in 2 minutes, click here.bearings. I remember last April and May having this strange feeling of being geographically displaced in a familiar setting. Let me explain. It was the front end of summer, the days were lasting a longer, it was beautiful outside and when I’d play volleyball out in the park with the youth group, I’d be sweating like crazy but not at all hot (it’s called humidity for you folks in the desert). These sensations and even activities were all very familiar to me, and brought back a flood of memories from my years growing up in Kansas, but now, it was all happening in a place where I really knew where nothing was. It was an odd feeling. This year as spring is peeking around the corner, I feel a lot more at home with my surroundings. Even as I write this, I’m in a coffee shop in Green Bay and feel comfortable parking in the back, and staying here for several hours.

blessed. I think this word sums up not only the past year, but my life in general. I know that’s a blanket statement and I have my mis-steps and mistakes that some of you know much more personally than others, but I really feel like my steps are ordered. There’s a verse in the Bible that says this: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.Though they stumble they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” (Ps 37:23-24)  I know I’m not the godliest guy you’ll ever meet, but all I have to do is look around me and I know that my hand is truly being held by a powerful God of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. So for those that speak into my life whether by technology of phone and internet, or face to face interaction as we share lives and weather systems here in Wisconsin, thank you so much. I am truly blessed.