Friday, January 26, 2018

It Is Getting Real

As I held my sleeping baby and rocked him back and forth, it was as if a wave of thought and emotion came out of nowhere. The wave swept me up and there was little I could do about it.

My thoughts were directed to the past four years, spent here in Ohio. 

I thought of those first few weeks as a new bride, here in Paulding county, not many familiar faces around. I would count down the minutes until Nate arrived home from work, because in a sense, it truly was the two of us.

I thought about my interview at the hospital, soon after being married, and how I was thankful for a job so close by. The relationships formed were special and I felt a sense of belonging in this new community.

I remembered how thrilled we were to buy our first house together and make it our own, and now here we were, knowing that there was an offer on the table, and that we may soon be handing over the keys.

Thinking about the heartache we endured, in these very walls, when we realized that we would not be starting a family quite as soon as we had hoped.

Wondering how many countless times we had walked around the block, in this sweet neighborhood, and how many hours I had spent staring out the front window, watching the neighborhood kids run around.

I thought about the friendships that God had brought along, and how I could barely stand the thought of saying "goodbye."

I marveled at how I quickly fell in love with our church family, and how they have continually wrapped their arms around us and supported us beyond belief. 

I remembered back to the day when we brought our baby boy home from the hospital and introduced him to his new home.

I think about the many loved ones who have walked through our front door. Some from other parts of the world, and I am grateful that we could open our home and hearts to them.

I think about the day when we will drive away from this house for the very last time. Have our last Sunday at the church that has become so near and dear to us. Bid farewell to the borders of Ohio.

Will there be some sadness? Definitely

I have not written these words with dry eyes whatsoever.

But we know that there is joy awaiting too. We know that there is a new normal to be had. Change is not always meant to be easy. I am thankful that this transition is not easy, for it means that we have invested our hearts, time, and love into the place in which God has meant for such a time.

Thankful for these verses which God gave me this morning.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world....And the world passeth away, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. ~1 John 2:15 & 17

What a good reminder to not place so much value in our earthly possessions or circumstances. As the title states, "It Is Getting Real," and that is the truth. We are getting closer and closer to our move date. What a privilege for Nate and I to look back, at our first four years of marriage, with such fondness. We will miss so much about this place, but we know that God has great things in store.

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Year Of Change

Do you ever feel like God is silent when you are most hoping for a change to come about? Once you let go of that desire and decide to wait upon Him, and for me (even forget that I had a desire for such a thing in the first place), all of a sudden He brings it out of nowhere.

Once you realize it could turn into a reality, you begin to fight it because you have become quite comfortable and content in the place where you are. Maybe I am the only one who has experienced this situation, but I sort of doubt it.

While adding Bennett to our twosome, has been quite an adjustment in itself this year, that is not the change of which I am speaking.

We have felt the Lord opening the doors and leading us to relocate to my hometown in Indiana. Seriously...I can honestly say that I never would have predicted this happening. We knew that someday, we may want to move closer to some family. Once we were expecting Bennett, the thought entered our mind again. Thinking about our little boy never growing up near grandparents, cousin, aunts, and uncles made us a little sad, especially since that was something special to both Nate and I.

When we first got married and thought about the future, we figured that we may not always living in Paulding, Ohio. It seems like people do not stay in this town unless they have a family connection of some type. Indiana is close enough that Nate will continue at his current place of employment.

It will be bittersweet to say goodbye to our church family, close friends, and the first house we have owned together, but we also know that there is beauty in change too.

I have mentioned it before, but it has been a blessing to depend upon each other as husband and wife, especially when you start out in an area with no immediate family nor friends to speak of. Those friendships have come though, we have grown in getting to know this community, and we have loved our little neighborhood. There were definitely seasons when I wondered if God was planning to have us in this area of Ohio forever and always, and I could have been alright with that.

Our church family has been very understanding. They realize the importance of family, as most of them are surrounded by their relatives. They wish us the best, and that sincerely means so much to us.

We made this decision this past August, and we do not plan to move until Spring of next year. It still seems like a ways off, but I realize that the year is just about over, and March will be here before we know it.

It may sound like I am switching subjects, but bare with me. Being the youngest in the family, there are certain hand-me-downs that get passed along from sibling to sibling. During my younger years, I would come to gain my brother's old bike or roller blades which he outgrew. As we have aged, it has become buy-me-downs. I purchased his SUV a few years back and now we are purchasing his house. Apparently I agree with his taste or something, as does Nate in the house category.

Life takes interesting twists and turns. When I married my sweet, Ohio-resident husband, never did I think that I would ever live closer than 30 minutes to my parents. Try walking distance!! That is right!! We will be neighbors!!

Switching communities, churches, and friend groups will take time, and we are just fine with that. We have grown accustomed to stretching ourselves and making an effort when it comes to building new relationships and finding our place. We have each other and most importantly we have the LORD by our side. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What a true comfort!

Four houses in less than four years of marriage. This will be the biggest move yet, not only in distance but also as far as the amount of stuff.

House #1 (rental)- We were barely here two weeks after being married, but it still counts.

House #2 (rental)- We rented this house for almost a year before taking the plunge to buy our own.

House #3 (current home)- This has been a good house for us, and we have enjoyed making it our own. Let us know if you know of anybody interested in this updated ranch in a perfect, quiet housing addition. (look at me sounding all real estate agent like=)

House #4 (future home)- We look forward to being in the country, and so much more about this house.

This is sure to be an adventure. Hoosier state here we come!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas Decor Takes Over The Zollinger House

We cannot deny that the Christmas season is quickly approaching. I have been much more motivated to decorate our home this year, especially compared to last year. During this time last year, I was just thankful to be feeling well, seeing that I was half-way along in my pregnancy.

For a couple years now, I have been wanting to make a "JOY" sign for our front porch (if you can call it a porch?) I whipped this up one evening and called it good enough. A leftover piece of wood, some paint, a piece of sandpaper, and here you have it.

Lately, I have been trying to use the items I have around and incorporate those into my decorating, instead of buying new. I have these rustic frames that I like to change out from season to season. You can find all types of free printables online and customize frames to go along with whatever the season may be.

How can I write a blog post without previewing my little helper. I am so excited to celebrate this Christmas season with Bennett in our lives. He is a bit young to get excited about all that is going on, but he does seem a bit intrigued with the Christmas tree.

This year we placed our tree in the front living room. Since this is where we spend the majority of our time, we have had a greater chance to enjoy it.

I do not always get around to changing my chalkboards to Christmas sayings, and although I wish I would have written this phrase a bit larger, it is still a good reminder as to the true meaning of Christmas. "Joy to the world, the LORD has come!"

I placed some leftover items on our table. These little glass medicine bottles came from my grandma, which is special. I snipped off some remnants from our Christmas tree to add a little greenery.

You might notice that I am very much into the macrame/chenille texture. I think it adds a neat element. I am not sure what possessed me to wrap a gift in leftover chenille scraps, but I guess it blended in with the rest of the decor.

That is all for now. I enjoy putting my stamp on our home and making it feel cozy. I will enjoy the decorations "staying put" as long as Bennett is still in the rolling phase. Like I posted on year may be a whole different story. I will keep you posted=)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Recent Happenings

You will find that the common denominator to the pictures below = Bennett being present in most of them. He has added so much sweetness to our lives, along with hundreds of photos to our iPhone libraries. Here are some highlights from the last couple months.

When Korinn offered to come see Bennett and I, I knew instantly that I wanted to take her to one of my favorite coffee shops for lunch. This girl knows her coffee. We enjoyed hanging out with Korinn and it made the rainy Friday afternoon zoom by much faster.
#CoffeeSnob #SheWouldAdmitIt #LoveHer

Bennett Clay meets Mavric Jay. My lovely cousin Brooke brought us a most delicious meal soon after Bennett was born. When Mavric made his entrance, I was ever so anxious to go meet the little heart-breaker. He is very much loved and adored by his sweet parents.
#NewMommies #FutureBuddies

Bennett and I had to take a selfie, to send to Daddy, at Bennett's two month check-up. Nate was not offering to accompany me to this appointment. His daddy heart did not want to see our boy get his shots. Should I be concerned that Bennett's vaccines did not phase me a whole lot? That is what happens when you spend a couple years working in the medical field, plus Bennett took it like a champ.
#Pre-shotSelfie #CluelessBoy

#StillClueless #WhereIsTheDoctor

Kali might win the prize if we were doing a contest on which cousin has held Bennett the most. According to her mom, Kali is an excellent baby holder, and it is very evident. She could have sat there for hours holding her little cousin.

I cherish this picture of my dad giving Bennett a kiss. Lance and Sara hosted a family night, and we lined all the grandkids up for a picture, youngest to oldest. I hope someday that Bennett will be friends, maybe even the protector, over his three girl cousins that are right above him in age.
#KissesFromGrandpa #EndOfTheCousinLine

I cannot wait to see the relationships blossom and memories come forth from this group of cousins.

Bristal, Ada, and Sadie. Things started off alright. Two out of the three look happy enough.

Farewell to Bristal's happy face.

And the rest is history. All three joined in on the crying fest. If wedding scrapbooks are still a thing, by the time these three get to that stage, I may have to dig up some of these pictures.

We were ready, quite promptly, one Wednesday night before church. I hurried my boys outside and snapped away. I love seeing Nate interact with his baby boy. A father's love is a beautiful thing. While I am blessed with a wonderful earthly father, who has always been a reflection of how much my Heavenly father adores me. I am again reminded of our Father's love as I see how much Nate loves Bennett.
#Blue-eyedBoys #LikeFatherLikeSon

I want a picture with Bennett too. 

Go-to-work-with-Daddy day. Bennett got to hang out with Daddy, while I went to a dentist appointment. The jury is still out on how productive Nate truly was, during that hour.
#FutureAccountant #WhoKnows

Was the swimming garb unnecessary? Probably
Did he even get in the water? Barely
I just could not resist. I sincerely believe that swim trunks are so much cuter on little people.
#HiltonHeadSC #First-timeMother #BennettGoesOnVacation

Bennett (+ Mommy and Daddy) were spoiled getting to share a condo with my parents. They helped out with Bennett a great deal, and it truly felt like a vacation for me. 
#GrandparentTime #18thGrandchild

On our way home from vacation, we stopped halfway to stay overnight at a Hampton Inn. When I walked into the lobby, my eyes instantly fell upon this giant stuffed bear sitting in the corner. Now that we have a baby, what a great excuse to get a picture with such things. There were also several senior citizens lounging in the lobby. Of course, Bennett got much attention from the sweet older ladies. They then went on to tell us about their grandchildren or great grandchildren. I am finding that to be a pattern. I have been shown multiple pictures of grandchildren, from very proud grandparents, most of which I have never met.
#BennetLikesSeniorCitizens #TheyThinkHeIsCute #GiantBearAlert

Have you heard about the guy running across America? We had the honor of hosting him for a night. Check out his website here

As he came through Illinois, he met and stayed with some friends of ours. That is when I began to follow his journey on social media. When I first began to read about him, I had an initial thought of, "hmmm, I wonder what route he might be taking as he enters into Ohio, it would sure be fun to host him." When my cousin, who had also kept him a night, messaged me and told me that Paul would be coming through our area, I knew that I wanted to offer him a place to stay. So it happened...he got the joy of visiting the lovely Paulding, Ohio.
#BennettMadeANewFriend #RunAcrossAmerica

Nate picked him up a few miles outside of VanWert this past Wednesday, and dropped him off the next day. What an amazing individual. I give credit to anybody who can run farther than a mile. Running is not my cup of tea. Paul is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, now that he has less than 600 miles to go. We pray that he will have the endurance to make it to his final destination, and knowing him, he will most likely finish with a smile. 
#KeepGoing #RunToInspire #YouInspiredUs

To sum it up, this is basically what Bennett thought about the zoo. I have a feeling that his interest in animals will come in time, but for now he would rather nap. 
#NoInterestInAnimals #ExceptForHisFrogPacifier

At least mommy got to be with her friends and Bennett got a long stroller ride out of the deal.
#ZooDay #LattyJunctionGirls

I am running out of blogging power, but thought I better post some photos before our sweet boy grows up even more. I was told it would happen, but wow do they grow quickly. We are enjoying parenthood more than we ever imagined. What a fun and tiring responsibility. 
#3MonthsOld #BennettClay #Blessed

Love, The Zollingers