We are on the move again…

I’m sure anyone who knows us is not surprised that the Mitchell’s are moving again, but we are so excited to be moving back home to South Carolina!

The way this whole thing came about is truly a God thing.

We’ve been in Columbus for three years now and the original purpose for this move was to be close to my parents and family down here. When after a year or so of being down here, my parents moved back to Chattanooga, we realized that our dream and reason for being in Columbus was no longer the same.

We still had my sister and Aunt, Uncle and Cousin here, so we weren’t totally alone but we really struggled in finding our place here. We weren’t really drawn to the area…it was the people in it that made us stay.

When I invested and became part owner in a self defense school here a year ago, we felt that this was an anchor to hold us here in Columbus. I loved my job and enjoyed working in the evenings.

But every time we would go back to South Carolina, Chris would say “Man, I really miss being here. Do you think we could move back?” And I would agree…it did feel like coming back home. But I own my own business and I can’t just drop that and move, right?

A turning point came in June when we went to the beach with Chris’ family at Harbor Island. It just felt like home. Being back with Chris’ family and being in South Carolina. That’s when my heart began to want it too.

We talked about it but dismissed it because there really wasn’t a way for me to step away from my job. We took out a loan to invest in it and had to make the payments on it.

Fast forward to August/Sep. We couldn’t get moving back to South Carolina off of our minds. Not only did we miss his family, but we also missed our church and community there. The Clemson/Anderson area is one of our favorite places in the world and we knew that’s where we want to put down roots and raise our family.

So we took a leap of faith and Chris sent out his resume. We didn’t hear anything for awhile which was discouraging but we felt like the Lord wanted us to keep being faithful where we were at and wait for Him.

He got a call from a job recruiter and he said he had some leads on potential jobs that would be a good fit for Chris.

We both kinda freaked out. Although nothing was in stone yet, just the potential of moving made me want to be upfront with my business partners to give them a heads up. We talked about it and it was received…okay. There was no promise of a good buyout but we really didn’t discuss details yet.

I ended up finding someone who wanted to buy my share of the business and I was so excited. This felt like a win-win to me because not only would my loan be covered but we would even make a little…and with our kitchen being completed gutted since July, we needed any extra cash to help cover those costs.

And by him buying me out, it wouldn’t set the self defense school back at all because they wouldn’t have to pay anything.

When I presented the buyout offer to my partners…let’s just say it did not go well. They didn’t want another partner and were not open to letting me out of my contract. They changed my work schedule without my knowledge and more than doubled the prior agreed upon classes I was to teach. When I called them about this they said they wanted “to be fair” and for me to start carrying my weight. I had no power because they had the majority vote and they let me know that. A lot more went on that I don’t feel comfortable going into on here…but it was pretty bad.

I had panic attacks and anxiety attacks because of all of this. One night I was up until 1am unable to stop throwing up or breathe. I kept crying and telling Chris “What do we do?! If you get that job and we move I’ll be in breach of contract and we’ll walk away with a lot of debt!” Chris told me that at this point he didn’t care. He saw how this was affecting me mentally, emotionally and physically.

We tried to negotiate some kind of buyout with them but they barely offered me a third of what my share was worth and none of the money for it would be up front. When things continued to escalate we talked to Chris’ parents and asked for their advice. “Are we stupid if we just walk away and get out of this toxic situation?” Chris’ dad said “Chris there is no price you can put on protecting your wife.” *tears*

So that’s what we did. I walked in there and gave them my share. Gave it to them. We took the hit and for the first time in over a year I have PEACE.

We know God will provide for us and we have no regrets.

(They did try to come back and offer me their original offer (the one that was less than 1/3 and it would only be a tiny check once a month for the next 5 years) but they wanted me to sign another contract that had so many stipulations and a gag order. We didn’t feel comfortable signing that and having any legal ties to them for the future.)

A week or so later after I walked away from my job, Chris got a phone interview for a plant in Greenwood, SC. They then scheduled an in person interview for that Friday. By the next Monday he received a job offer.

Our house is still under construction but the kitchen should be done just in time for us to list the house. I’m very sad I won’t even get to cook a meal in my brand new kitchen, but I know that God worked out that leak and mold issue to end up getting us a new kitchen that will be a huge selling point in our home.

We move in less than two weeks and he starts December 16th!

Everything fell into place and even though it was SO hard how it all happened, God resolved everything that needed to be resolved and took care of it.

I know that even though we aren’t in the best place financially right now that He will continue to provide for and take care of us. It’s been so cool to see His hand in all of this!

So South Carolina friends! We’re coming back to Clemson! We cannot wait to be back home!

Pumpkin Pickin’

Today we went to The Farm House in Ellerslie to let the kids pick our a few pumpkins. We had so much fun!

Eli was a fan of the pumpkins. He picked out a little one and kept it with him the whole way home. He did keep trying to eat it and saying “Mmmm…yummy!” ha

Rhett was more interested in the chickens and rooster they had there. Of course he was terrified of them, but he kept returning to their coop to be frightened so that’s progress. (Ha)

Chris thought it would be funny to put a massive pumpkin in Rhett’s lap…

And he was right. (Ha) Rhett’s eyes started popping out of his head!

Babygirl was a fan of staring at any and everyone with her stank face, and also trying to eat the grass.

She also saw her brothers go through the hay bale maze and when we let her down to crawl she headed straight for it and made it all the way through!

She’s a feisty one! And also my cute lil punkin. (Ha)

I really wanted some family pictures but as you can tell from the faces of my children…this was a BAD idea. I mean, how dare I? (Haha)

This one was take “pre-meltdown” so I at least have one decent picture…

And here’s a picture of Chris getting way too excited over a tiny pumpkin. (Ha) Love you babe!

The Break Our Marriage Needed

This past week in Puerto Rico for our anniversary was such a blessing. We are so thankful for Chris’ parents and my parents who tag-teamed on watching the kids to make our getaway possible. We love y’all!

I can’t really put into words how much fun we had on this trip. It was very needed.

Our marriage has been in kind of a dry spell lately and it’s sometimes hard to know what to do to when times like that come. It’s like nothing serious is wrong and yet something feels off. We are totally committed to each other, divorce is not an option for us, so there’s never even that thought or fear when hard times come. Which is such a blessing.

But it’s also hard when you’re like “I love you and will never leave you, but I also don’t really like you right now. I’d take a bullet for you but don’t ask me to get up and change a diaper.” (Haha)

Chris and I have spent a lot of time talking about this and we know that marriage isn’t all fluffy romantic feelings…but shouldn’t those kinds of feelings still be present?

That’s what we were missing. The fun parts. Maybe all of the trials we’ve been through in our short 4 years of marriage sucked it out of us, maybe we just got complacent. But the last month or two we’ve been a lot more aware and intentional about communicating and loving each other in the fun ways…not the heavy commitment type of ways.

And goodness…this past week was just what the doctor ordered. I have laughed more than I can remember in a long time. We played cards at midnight, hiked a rain forest, and ate way too much candy. We laid in bed for an entire day bingeing on our favorite show, and walked through Old San Juan in the rain. We rented a scooter to tour a tropical island…and also wrecked that scooter. (Haha)

I realized this week how important time away together is. Whether you have kids or not. There was something about having an entire week away…I just didn’t feel rushed. And that’s the first time I haven’t felt confined by feeding schedules or bedtimes in a long time. I could take a breath and know that we had plenty of time. My mind was quiet, we caught up on sleep, and we had a ton of time to do fun things we never get to do.

We are on the right track. Chris and I have always been fun people. We have always loved to laugh and loved adventures and spontaneity.

But in the trenches of parenthood to three precious souls, I think we forgot about that. We cut out everything that didn’t seem “necessary” to survive and in doing so we kind of lost ourselves.

This week I was reminded of the man I fell head over heels for…the one who’s hilarious and kind, the one who carries my heavy purse for me through the airport and yet laughs at me when I almost fall on the escalator.

We had a blast and are excited about our marriage. We are still learning this whole thing…maybe after 30 years of marriage we’ll be a little better at it. (Ha)

1, 2, 3, Number Themed Birthday Party

I had the BEST time planning the kids’ birthday party this year for several reasons…but the main one was this was the first time in 3 years I hadn’t just given birth to a baby. I wasn’t sleep deprived or on pain meds, so this was awesome! (Ha)

When I was trying to find a theme that would work for all three of them, the only thing I could think of was a numbers themed party. That way it was gender neutral and also simple.

I was surprised at the lack of ideas on Pinterest, so I had to actually use my brain (LAAAAAME). It took me way longer than it should have to come up with something that rhymed with 1, 2, 3…but I love how it turned out.

Also, if you are ever wanting to get gold foil balloons for a party…go a few days in advance. They didn’t have what I needed 3 days before the party, and I lucked out on finding all three numbers in gold the night before the party. I got these at Party City and I love the quality of them. I just wish I had planned more beforehand so I didn’t have to stress out and drive through so much 5:00 traffic to get them. (Ha)

Mrs. Freda, my mother in law, made the most amazing smash cakes for them! They were as pretty as they were delicious. She also brought them all the way from South Carolina and not one of them was damaged…I don’t know how she did it! I would have ruined them completely if I’d had to transport them. (Ha)

I am so thankful for all of my wonderful family that helped celebrate our sweet babies. You know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?” Well, its so true. Not only would I have not been able to throw this party without them, but I couldn’t do this life without them.

Whether it was my mom and Carley taking the kids for the afternoon so I could clean for the party, or all of the countless times everyone has babysat or kept the kids over night so Chris and I could recharge, they help me be a better mother with their encouragement and selfless love for me and Chris and the kids. I love you guys!

This was Rhett’s face when I said, “If you smile, you’ll get to have some cake!” (Ha) His “cheese” face cracks me up. This boy’s joy is infectious.

Eli was not so sure about this whole smash cake thing. He always seems to think we are trying to poison him whenever we give him a new food to try. (Ha) But he took a few bites after this picture and actually liked it! Yay!

Elliot ate her cake from the start, but she didn’t try to look happy about it, that’s for sure.

The drink station with mason jars and ice to refresh yourself with sweet tea or lemon water (I used doTERRA lemon oil and it was soooo good!).

Mrs. Freda tirelessly cut out fruit and cheese with numbered cookie cutters, and I forgot to get a picture of the cheese. But they were all so cute!

We also forgot to put these out during the party, but it made for nice refreshing snack once we had cleaned up the party! (Ha)

I love my firstborn…I cannot believe he is three! You are so loved, Rhett.

Oh little Elijah…your momma loves you SO much. I am so thankful for the two years we have been blessed with you! Can’t wait for many more.

And you, my crazy baby girl, our family wouldn’t be complete without your adorable sassiness. It seems like just yesterday you were born…I can’t believe it’s been a year.

Chris and I are so blessed. The Lord has been way too good to us, to entrust us with these three precious lives. Our cup overflows with good good things. Happy 1, 2, 3, to our sweet kiddos!

It Takes Time To Grow Roots

So as life has settled down and our new home and town are a starting to feel familiar and less “new,” Chris and I are trying to get plugged into some kind of community here.

We have been visiting churches, and even though we haven’t found one yet, we are trying our best not to become discouraged.

It takes time to make friends, build community, and cultivate meaningful relationships. And I have to remind myself of that a lot.

I want instant results. I want to move past the awkwardness of visiting a new church every week, or making myself “friendly” to new people when it’s not something that comes natural to me.

I am naturally a shy person when I first meet people, and I struggle SO much to think of things to talk about with people I’m not comfortable with. I remember praying back in my single days for a husband who was social and great at conversation…and the Lord answered! Chris makes new friends wherever he goes.

And I just stand there and awkwardly laugh and let every second of silence cut into my soul deeply. (Ha)

But I am learning that fighting through the awkwardness is worth it. I wouldn’t have met the awesome people who became dear friends in Clemson if I hadn’t put myself out there. I miss them all dearly now, and want so badly to just move them all down here so that I don’t have to make new friends! (You think I’m kidding…)

But the seeds I plant now as I meet new friends will eventually grow into deep roots. It just takes time and faithfulness in cultivating those seeds.

Community is worth the fight. It’s worth the uncomfortableness and the sweaty palms. It is necessary to our growth as people and as believers.

So I guess I just wanted to share this to remind myself that although this is hard, and I really have to push myself outside of my comfort zone, that one day I will look back at this post and be able to count the friendships that have come out of this “seedling phase.”

And I hope that it encourages you too if you are in a place of loneliness or not seeing the fruit of sowing seeds of friendship, don’t be disheartened. Keep working at it.

We truly reap what we sow. And I know that’s not necessarily what we always want to hear. I want others to take that first step and extend their hand. I don’t like going first.

But “a man who has friends must himself be friendly…” (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV)

So let’s be brave. Ask that co-worker out for coffee. Make that phone call. Invite them over for lunch or dinner.

Let’s open our hearts and our homes to people and watch what the Lord does! Roots only come from seeds being planted.

Why I Didn’t Abort My Baby, Even When An Abortion Would Have Saved My Life

IMG_1004I have been very absent on the blog lately, mainly due to life changes such as moving, traveling and the like. But some of you may not be aware of the latest “change” that has happened in our family’s life.

On January 21st, my husband, sister, son and I all went for my anatomy ultrasound to find out the gender of our newest little baby on the way. We eagerly watched the screen,hoping to catch a glimpse of something that would tell us what “it” was. But I am highly unskilled in detecting anything on those things…I don’t know how they do it!

But to my great delight it was soon announced that our little baby was a BOY!! I had not-so-secretly wanted another boy, so this momma was so happy! When I was 13 weeks pregnant, as I was falling asleep one night I felt the Lord strongly impress on my heart that we would be having another boy, and the name Elijah popped in my head. Now if you know anything about me, you know Bible names are not my favorite. Call me a sinner, but I blame it on my homeschool upbringing…I can’t count the number of Rachel’s, Abraham’s, Hezekiah’s and Jehosophat’s I knew. Okay, so I’ve yet to meet a Jehosophat. Just give it time. (ha) But that name would not leave my mind. So when we found out that our little man was indeed a little man, he instantly became Elijah.

They printed off our ultrasound pictures and handed them to us. “The doctor will be in shortly to dismiss ya’ll.” the technician said as she headed out the door. It was then that things began to change.

She told us that my amniotic fluid looked low and that my placenta had either holes in it or pockets of fluid. She wanted to schedule another ultrasound with the high risk office upstairs the following day.

As we left, I couldn’t help but cry on the way home. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong. Chris tried to comfort me and tell me it was all going to be fine, but being the natural optimist I am, (ha) I didn’t believe him.

The next day, after the ultrasound, a doctor came in, pulled up a chair and put her hand on my leg. The technician grabbed a box of tissues, and sat down beside her. She began to tell me that I have what is called a partial molar pregnancy, where my placenta has a chromosomal abnormality that has most likely affected the baby. He would not make it and the risk to me in continuing to carry him put me in grave danger. The placenta would become cancerous and spread to my lungs, liver and brain.

She recommended I terminate the pregnancy. “You are our main concern.” she said.

My mind reeled with all of the information, but it all came to a stop when I heard those words. I am the priority? You think the best choice is for me to kill my child?!? What about that little life I just saw moving around on that screen? What about him?

I told them that termination was not an option for me, so we needed to look at different options. She sighed, and then began to tell me that this will be extremely risky to me and that I will be monitored closely. The baby might not even make it another day, much less another week.

So with that we left the hospital and headed home; grieved, confused and heart-broken.

_____________________________________________

I was so shocked by the support we received from so many family members, friends and complete strangers when we shared the situation. We were (and are) so encouraged by all of the prayers people were praying for us.

But I was also extremely surprised to be asked by family, friends and fellow believers why I did not terminate my pregnancy. “Are you sure?” I was asked countless times. I was also told I made the “brave choice” or “I could never have made that kind of sacrifice.” Itsaddened my heart, really.

I am no hero.

I didn’t make a difficult decision.

I only did what I believe is right.

Here’s how I knew that decision was right: I know my God. I don’t mean this in a self-righteous way. But rather, because I know Him and what His heart is, I didn’t hesitate when it came to making a serious decision.

Yes, I could die. But I would rather die walking in obedience to the Lord, than live in rebellion against Him.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.” Psalm 139:13-18a

God is forming little Eli inside of me right now. Skillfully creating his every bone, muscle and tissue. And His thoughts towards my little son outnumber the sand! How incredible! So knowing that this is how God feels about the little life growing inside of me, made my decision not to abort him a no-brainer.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

What a beautiful example I have in the life of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for me, and enables me to make that same sacrifice for my son. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial love for me, I am able to love others like that.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

As a disciple of Christ, I am not living for this life anyways. This is not my home. Earth is not my goal. I am striving for the eternal. This perspective, again, made my decision an easy one.

__________________________________________

I hope this sheds a little light on the situation and the decision I made to keep my baby. I am not some saint that deserves praise because I made that decision. I am a human being who has been redeemed by the God of the universe, and because of Him I am able to love like Him. He deserves any and all glory that comes from this.

{UPDATE: here and here}