Last night I got to connect with Kathy.  Yes, the Kathy who totally surprised me by flying to GA and then throwing me a surprise 40th birthday party!  

It's been almost four years since I've seen her...but it will never be that long between visits again!

Just a few months shy of 20 years ago, Jas came home from work and told me about a new co-worker that had just been hired, and was so nice. She and her husband were newlyweds like us, and were new to the city. We had them over to eat ASAP. This girl crawled into my heart and has been there ever since!  Kathy is so very good for me, and I still can't believe that we get to live in the same city again.   I see many more "dates" like last night in our future!


The Move

On Thursday, September 29th, the 26-ft U-haul arrived in our driveway.  

Gabriel was *enthralled*.  He wanted his picture taken with it...

...and then he had a heyday taking pictures of the truck himself:

These are just three of the approximately 50 he took.

Jas, Robert, my dad and myself went back and forth talking all day Friday about whether all our stuff would fit in this van.  It was the biggest they offer...we hoped for the best.

Saturday morning, mom (Lao Lao) came and picked up the youngest three.  Papa stayed at the house to help us.  

And then at 9 a.m sharp, about 15 men friends showed up to help.  Our pastor (who also came to help) took it upon himself to be in charge of arranging this crew.  Friends new and old.  Community group members.  This was such a huge blessing. 

Here is some of the moving crew

We didn't really need that many helpers.  But it sure was nice.  Two or three guys (always Jas) were up inside the van, with others keeping a steady stream of boxes and furniture out to them.  The ones in the van were fitting things together like Tetris.  It was amazing how much they were able to fit in there!  It took less than two hours to get this part done.

And yet...it still didn't all fit.  So while all the guys headed home (they had done all they could do), Jas and Robert headed to rent a smaller U-haul trailer to haul behind the big moving van.

And then it was night before we actually headed out on the road.  8:46 p.m., to be precise.

Jas drove the moving van hauling the trailer:

Robert drove Jason's truck:

This truck is 15 years old now....we bought it in CO and moved it to GA with us 14 years ago!

And I carried the most precious cargo with me in the Silver Bullet:

It didn't take long at all for the kiddos to conk out.

We drove for several hours and then parked in a Kroger's parking lot and slept for about 5 hours.  Or not slept, as the case may be.

But at 7 a.m. we were raring to go again:

We stopped about every 2-3 hours for a gas/potty break.  (That 26-ft van guzzled gas, of course.)

We made sure to have fun along the way.

One thing we did NOT do on the gas/potty breaks?  Buy food.  We did buy drinks (water/100% fruit juice)...but never even needed to buy any food!  We just kept snacking on the food that we brought along.  It worked out BEAUTIFULLY.  Even better than I imagined!

We ate healthy.  We ate much more economically.  And I cannot even imagine the time we saved by not stopping to go in and eat somewhere at every mealtime.

And then at about 9 p.m. or so on Sunday evening, we pulled into a Hampton Inn in St. Louis (Hamptons are our fave place to stay) to spend the night.  Got adjoining rooms...and all fell into bed so tired.  This was the best night's sleep I'd had in *weeks*!  

When I climbed out of the shower in the morning, I discovered Jas was gone from our hotel room.  He'd received a call that our moving van was about to be towed...so he raced outside to move it.  He joked that this was quite a "wake-up call" and he didn't need any coffee to get him going this morning!

Moving van safe again...we had a great time at the free breakfast buffet:  eggs, bacon, fruit (I'm pretty sure we ate our weight in bacon).  And the kind employee in charge of the buffet packed us a couple bags of apples "to go" when she discovered our cross country adventure.

And we headed back out on the road at 8:30 a.m....all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed:

Approximately 10 minutes later, in the middle of St. Louis I-70 morning rush-hour traffic, the trailer came off the hitch of the moving van.  The only thing securing it to the van was the emergency chains (there for just that purpose)..the trailer was dancing ALL OVER THE PLACE!!  Watching all this a few vehicles behind Jas was about the scariest thing I've ever witnessed!

Praise the Lord, Jas was able to get over four lanes (everyone was trying to give him plenty of space...lol!) and get safely off on the right shoulder.  Robert and I did too and parked behind him.  When Robert reached Jas, the first thing he did was give his big brother a big 'ol hug.  It still brings tears to my eyes.

How no one was hurt/killed during all this I have no idea.  No...I do.   It was the Lord.  Period.

The guys then spent the next hour fixing the connection so that we could get back on the road.  Jas is way smart and Robert works with cars, otherwise we would have had to rent a replacement trailer and unpack and repack the whole shebang.

And...we are so glad Jas got the insurance on our rentals, because there was damage!  
Yes, that is rush-hour traffic, going about 70mph, whizzing by, a few feet away.

The rest of the day was very anticlimactic after our way-too-interesting Monday morning...and for that we are very thankful!

So at about 11 p.m. (mountain-time) Monday night, we finally pulled into Nai Nai's driveway.   52 hours after we pulled out of our GA driveway.

We hugged Nai Nai...and then fell into beds and slept good.

And when I got up the next morning, I walked outside to make sure we were really here, and it wasn't just a dream.

We are home!


Alive and Well in Colorado

In a few hours, it will be one week that we have been in Colorado!

This past week and a half has been amongst the hardest (physically/mentally/emotionally) I've ever experienced.  But - and praise the Lord for this - His sweet presence and peace has been there the whole time. Keeping us safe, imparting wisdom and guidance, giving us strength (when I felt so weak)...keeping us sane!

We are (mostly) settled in here with Jason's mom, whom the children call Nai Nai (Chinese for "maternal grandmother").  Can I just say how she amazes me?  A woman who has lived alone for years - an introvert at that - agreeing to have a family-of-8 move in with her?  Just...wow.  She said "yes" willingly, and has handled it all with grace and aplomb!

The children and I started up school again today, and Jas started work today...studying and training in his company's district office (before he opens his own office in three weeks).

For now, we are home sweet home right here with Nai Nai:

This sand box has already seen hours (and HOURS!) of play.  And not just the two youngest play out there...N, D and LK love it also!  And they LOVE how these sand structures don't get knocked down by the incoming tide, like at the beach!

I don't ever want to take this view for granted...His handiwork is amazing!

View from the front door.  E is busy doing school work.

We are loving the feel of this part of town.  And the diversity.  LOVE the diversity.  Noah remarked a few days ago as he and I were out and about: "I love seeing other Asian men and boys!"  No, we didn't see many in our little town in GA.

We have joked that moving a family-of-8 was such an undertaking that we'll just buy this house from Nai Nai and she can buy a smaller place (which she had been looking into).  But then, as we drove to Jas' brother's house a mile away, we spotted a precious house for sale...and I had a child jump out and grab a flyer.  We are just much in prayer about that next step...and so many others.

I want to go back and document other things, like the actual trip out here, our first week here, our last week in GA.  But the cable to hook my phone to the computer is MIA right now, along with many other things!  (All 8 of us made it here, but other than that...I didn't do such a great job of packing in a smart way!)


How a Family-of-8 Moves Across the Country While Still Doing GAPS

When we announced we were moving across the country to Colorado, more than one person (including one of our older children) asked if we were going to continue doing GAPS during this time.

My answer:  "We can't NOT do GAPS."  It's just not worth it.  Between the skin issues that immediately show up on some children, the congestion/sinus issues that crop up on some, and the behavioral issues that manifest in some....it is just. not. worth it.  Not to mention how I feel with my hypothyroid (which is an autoimmune issue) when I eat stuff that doesn't like me.  The inflammation and pain in my body becomes quite unbearable, enough to make me cry.  (You can read more about GAPS here, or here and here)

Mind you, I did not know *how* we would go about eating GAPS-legal during this whole time...but I just knew it had to be done.  No if, ands or buts about it.

So, for the past several weeks, this is the two-fold plan of attack I've come up with:

1.  I cook extra when I am cooking, freezing the extra

2.  I've bought some "convenience" foods (that are still GAPS-legal) that we don't normally keep around (because they are more expensive)....now is the perfect time to take advantage of those kinds of products!

I have frozen (so far) 9 gallon bags of various soups that we've had over the past several weeks:

We will use these during the last day or two here and during the first few days in Colorado.

For the actual, factual drive to Colorado....

Elisabeth prepared Fudgy Muffins for us (6x the recipe):

This seems like such an indulgent treat, and it is totally healthy: just bananas, peanut butter, cocoa and honey

I have been preparing many pounds of Turkey Sausage Patties (9 pounds this past Saturday alone)...and freezing what we didn't eat for breakfast:

I cannot find any packages of sausage at our grocery store that don't contain Corn Syrup or MSG, or both!  I was thrilled to find this sausage recipe several months ago.

Sausage: for every pound of ground turkey, add
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt (we use Redmond's Real Salt)
Combine all, and shape into patties, bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes

I made lots of meatballs a few days ago, some went in the soup we had that night, and then I froze the rest of them:

These are just ground beef, garlic powder, salt and pepper...baked

We made beef jerky in our dehydrator (using Wellness Mama's recipe):

this is so yummy, I had to freeze it right away, before we gobbled it all up!

I have been stocking up the past several weeks as I go grocery shopping, and run by TJ Maxx...good deals on nuts and dried fruit.  (I have more bags than shown here, like, ummm, 6 of the dried mangoes!)

I like this particular bag of nuts because they only contain "Almonds, salt"...no weird (inflammatory) oils!

All the dried fruits only have one ingredient each.  No added sugar...no sulfur dioxide.  (Hint:  dried apricots should NOT be bright orange!  That is the sulfur dioxide keeping it that color!)

We never buy these because we can make them easily at home, but Elisabeth knew that our Kroger has good deals on Larabars.  It sure was easy to just buy these...and having them on hand will eliminate us buying them at gas stations along the way, when they'll cost twice as much!

Jas went yesterday and brought all these home.  It's a good thing he did that shopping (during his lunch hour) because I wouldn't have bought this many.  The only ingredients in these:  nuts, fruit

In addition to the above items, we will also have on hand in the van:

Cheese (for those of us who can have dairy right now, which is only 4 of us)
Peanut Butter
Boiled Eggs  (for those who can eat eggs right now, which is 4 of us)

Right now it seems like a good plan to me....but ask me how it all went down a week from now when we have actually arrived in Colorado - We'll see!


The Backstory on our Move to Colorado

As I said in my last post, we felt when the Lord moved us here to the deep-south from Colorado it was for a season.  We have prayed many times during the past 14 years, checking to see if it was time to move back.  We have gone through several (very serious) cycles of praying...and fasting....and  a few times Jas put out feelers about jobs.  And the answer was always the same:  It wasn't time.  Yet.

But a year and a half ago as we were pulling out of Colorado, we knew that we knew: It was time to start working toward moving back.

And we have been slowly working on it for the past year and a half.  Praying at each step along the way for the guidance that we so desperately need. Praying for His wisdom.  Praying for His timing.

We told only a small, small circle of friends.  Jas had 4 people praying with him (including our pastor), and I only told two of my closest friends.  (Our children have only known for not quite 3 weeks now.)

Near the beginning of Jason's job search, he looked into franchise opportunities.  We were intrigued by the idea of owning our own business...and he spent hours (and hours) pursuing this line of thought.  But after all the research and reading, we knew that none of those opportunities was right for us...and we abandoned that idea.

May 2016 - Jas was contacted by a company.  After seeing his resume online, they thought he would be a good fit to own and run one of their offices.  When Jas came home that day and told me about it,   immediately it just. felt. right. Peace.  Excitement.  We both could totally see him doing this.  From that first conversation we were both very intrigued and wanted to continue pursuing this path.  He then spent hours and hours (and HOURS) reading, researching, and finally...studying.  He had to take 8 exams in order to become licensed to run this office.  And...he had to take the tests in the state of Colorado. Most people take some exams, study more, and then take more exams, etc.   But with Jas needing to fly across the country to take them, he had to do this differently:  He studied HARD for almost 8 weeks...and then...

8/24 - Jas flew to CO, took 4 exams on Thursday, spent all day Friday meeting with district staff, took the remaining 4 tests on Saturday, and flew home that afternoon.  (btw - He rocked all the tests, finishing in record time!)(We told the kiddos that daddy was on a business trip...which was the truth.)

8/28 - Jas arrived back home in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  We had a full day of church and community group on Sunday (like normal) and didn't have a chance to fully debrief.

8/29 - When we finally got to talk (alone!) on Monday morning before Jas headed to work, he said it was looking like we would move to Colorado in January, and he would open the doors of his new business on March 1st.  My words were, "Hmmm, if we know for sure we are moving, my preference would be to "rip the band-aid off" and go ahead and move.  I hate knowing it is coming, but just hanging around several more months."  Famous last words.  When Jas got home from work that evening, my friend Amy and I were sitting at the kitchen table chatting (and crying).   Jas had an interesting look on his face, "You want to rip the band-aid off?  We can rip it off."  A new office of the company had become available, a turnkey opportunity.  Ready to walk into. A great fit all the way around.  It would require us to move in October, and Jas open his doors November 1st.

9/6 - Jas talked to his boss at the bank and turned in his letter of resignation.  That night we told the children we were moving.

9/7 - It was announced at Jason's bank.  We let all our family and friends know (the ones we didn't want to find out on FB.)

9/8 - We posted on FB-land that we were moving.  And a couple hours later, almost as an after-thought (but was really the Lord's plan), I posted on FB a pic and short blurb about our house being for sale.  16 minutes later I had a message, "Can A and I come look at your house this afternoon?"  And over the next few hours, four other couples were interested in coming to look also.  But that first couple who contacted us were the first to come and view the house...and gave us a binder check.  Done.  Less than 10 hours after I posted on FB, our house was sold.  (We totally intended to list our house with an agent, but when we called him on Wednesday afternoon, he was out of town and couldn't come to see us until Saturday....so I went ahead and posted it on FB, thinking it couldn't hurt to try, until we met with Jonathan on Saturday.  This was another not-so-little detail in how the Lord has been working everything out, a "detail" that saved us five digits!) (And no, we didn't have our house way under-valued...we had it appraised several months ago, getting ready, and we sold it for right at the appraised value.)


Where will we live?

At first, we will live with Jason's mom for a bit.  We don't really know how long...but it seems that it will likely be 3-6 months.  With Jas just starting his business, we'll need three months of paychecks before we will be able to be considered for a mortgage loan.  

Yes, Linda is basically a saint for taking in 8 of us (EIGHT!).  But I think(hope?) she is as excited as we are.  When we first told her about moving back and asked if we could live with her for a bit, she immediately said yes.  And then when we talked with her next (a week later), she'd already taken a bookoodle bags of stuff to Goodwill, cleaning out closets and making room!

She is living alone in a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house.  The three boys will share one room, the three girls will share another.

Will we have cows/chickens?

No.  We are so, so thankful that the Lord allowed us this season out here on these 2.5 acres to live out this dream.  And now this season is over.  Sad...and not sad.  We'll be glad to have less land/animal work to do.  Our weekends were consumed by work.  So glad we (and our children!) have had this opportunity and experience...and now we'll move back to an approximately 1/8 acre lot in town.

We intend to live in a neighborhood.  You know, the kind where you can reach out from your window and practically touch your neighbors' house.  Our kiddos are so. very. excited. about this.  They have dreams/visions of running around playing with neighborhood kids.

Are you doing school?  Will you continue homeschooling?

We began school early this year (mid-July) because we knew we'd need to take off time (sometime) during the school year to move.  We have already completed 8 weeks of school, but now we're taking time off to accomplish the move.  We plan to get started back the first Monday after we arrive in CO.

We intend to continue homeschooling.  There will be many (MANY) more options available to us now...so things may look different in the future.  Cottage schools? (2-3 days in a school, the remainder at home), homeschool co-op (for actual academic classes, instead of just for fun as we have been doing), etc, etc....  We'll see.  We will continue to pray every year and seek the Lord for what he has for our children for the coming year.

How are you getting to Colorado?

Jas reserved the biggest Uhaul truck there is, and he will drive that to Colorado.  We are flying Jas' middle brother Robert here, and Robert will drive Jason's truck.  I will drive the Silver Bullet.  We have sold/given away so much stuff (ALL our family room furniture, two of the 6'x6' Ikea Expedit bookshelves, kitchen table/chairs, crib, computer armoire/desk, riding lawn mower, trampoline, etc.), and we are hopeful that everything/everyONE else will fit in these three vehicles!

How are the children taking it?

The youngest five are thrilled.  E took it harder.  Much harder.  She has made such sweet, precious friends....she is so sad.  The others are sad about leaving friends too...but with E being the oldest (and a girl) it just seems different for her.  But she is ok with it now.


This is all so very bittersweet.  We aren't wanting to leave Georgia. (It would be so sad if we did!) But we very much know that we are supposed to be in Colorado.

I keep thinking that I wish I could just fast-forward through this next 3 months?  6 months?  12 months?  This is so hard.  Emotionally.  Mentally.  Physically.

Saying good-bye.  The actual, physical move.  Starting the business.  Finding a church.  Finding a house.  Moving again when we find our house.  Finding new health care providers (I just counted: we need at least 9 different doctors for the special needs we have going on).  Finding a homeschool co-op (or maybe not in this season of our schooling life?).    Finding a food co-op (or will Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Sam's  and Costco eliminate my need for a food co-op?).  FINDING FRIENDS.

But when I get right down to it, I don't really wish to skip ahead (I think).  The Lord has guided us and worked things out in amazing ways (ways that everyone around us can see!) and we are so excited at what He is doing.  When my head starts to spin thinking about all that needs to be accomplished and all the (HUGE) decisions that need to be made...I come back to the fact that the Lord already knows All The Things.  And He will most certainly reveal His will and plan to us...as we need to know it (and not before!).  We just need to "do the next thing"...and trust Him.

This process is hard, and good...and I don't want to miss anything He has for us.  I want all the lessons.  I *need* the lessons.  The good, the bad and the ugly.



When the Lord moved Jas and I here to the deep south from Colorado 14 years ago, we knew it was not a forever move.  We knew it was for a season.  And now...the season is over and He is moving us back.

I intend to post the backstory on our move, because I need to document it for us.  I know from experience that I will forget all the amazing things that He has done that right now I can't imagine ever forgetting.  (Like, how He sold our house in less than 10 hours 5 days ago.)

This has been coming for 18 months, but it just all got nailed down two weeks ago.  We have been in "Wait...wait....wait..." mode for over a year, and now all of a sudden we are in "GO! Full-steam ahead!" mode.

We plan to pull out on Oct. 1st...18 days.  Time to get back to packing....



Hermine came through, and my kiddos thought it was actually one big party.

They all had a slumber party in our master bedroom.  Specifically they were in the vanity/closet area (all carpeted).  No widows, close to Jas and I...perfect!

You can hardly see G, but he is back there leaning on LK's lap.
The worst of it hit us in the wee hours of Friday morning, lasting until about noon or so.

Jas had a delayed opening at his bank, and one of his branches didn't have electricity.  We were so glad that daddy was here with us through the worst of it.

I was rejoicing that we never lost power...and then we did.

In the dark...watching the rain, and the trees being whipped around

And then in early afternoon, it was done.  It was clear and sunny...like nothing had ever happened.

Except well, we did have to pick up the yard.  Branches (one really big one) everywhere!

G couldn't wait to get out there to get started on those branches.  He and I headed outside to survey the damage as soon as the sun came out:

This big branch was leaning on another branch it caught on its way down, so after I set it "free" and it fell on down, G said he wanted to take my picture!

Then G kept right on taking pictures.  I love seeing things from his point-of-view:

His dinosaur boots are practically camouflaged

Yes, I let my babies run around half-naked outside

But then I got the camera back and caught G with his buddy BeBe Grace.

It was very thoughtful of Hermine to hit right before Labor Day.  
Labor Day weekend we all *labored*!!

Hauling, hauling, hauling!

And when the hauling was (finally) done...straight into the pool!

We successfully weathered Hermine, and were so very thankful for the Lord's protection in this storm.


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