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A New Chapter | personal

It’s only August 1st, but 2013 has already proven to be a bit of a roller coaster for our family. This blog post has been a long time coming – I’m sure I’ve written it a dozen times over in my head! I feel as though I’ve been in hiding this year, especially on the blog and in social media. I want to preface this post by saying I am truly grateful for this year. I firmly believe that God can only truly begin to mold us through hardships – and believe me, I’ve felt him stretching, molding and shaping me these last few months! And though there have been many tearful days, there have been far more joyful ones :-)

I guess I’ll start from the top: January 19th. That’s the day our good friends, the Christensons, arrived on our doorstep to embark upon an epic, co-family, two week road trip up to Oregon and back. They literally hadn’t a chance to set foot in the door before I blurted out, “I’m pregnant!” Randy and I had just found out that morning. We had tried to for quite some time to get pregnant, and we couldn’t believe it when it finally happened! So we hit the road with light hearts, and it was the PERFECT way to kick off a brand new year.

It was one week after we returned home that I encountered my worst fear. I began to miscarry. I’ll be honest, it was a pretty horrific experience. I felt completely helpless. I have never endured more emotional pain. I’m, admittedly, not very good at showing emotion, so for the first few days, I tried to put on a brave face and simply, “carry on.” But before long, I felt a Godly calling to reach out to my friends and family. Through their support and love, God gave me SO MUCH PEACE. It was a feeling I can’t quite put into words. I came out on the other side feeling stronger both emotionally and in my faith than I was before. We lost a child – a child we had waited for (for what felt like) forever. But we are so grateful for the time God gave us with our baby! Which is also why we don’t wish to hide our miscarriage. Even though our baby was only on this earth for a very short time, he or she was still here. We can’t wait to meet our baby, but in the mean time, he or she knows more peace and happiness with Jesus than we can even fathom.

It was about this time that we began looking to buy a home – our first home. I’ll spare you the marathon version of this up and down saga, but, in short, over the course of several months, we put close to 10 offers on 10 different homes. One after the other, after the other, though, we were outbid. In such a competitive market, houses were selling well above their asking prices and we simply couldn’t compete. There was a home that we found in the beginning of our search that was towards the top of our price range, and we put an offer on it, knowing we wouldn’t get it. Sure enough, we didn’t. But, unlike all of the other homes we pursued, it remained on the market. So we upped our offer… and we still didn’t get it. Then, weeks later, we gave it one more final shot – our best offer – and to our surprise, they accepted! We thought, “Well, God may have put us through the ringer on the house hunt, but He saved the RIGHT home for us!” Well, though there’s nothing wrong with that sentiment, that wasn’t quite God’s plan for us. The saga had only started. After months of further negotiations and loan debacles, we eventually (and officially) lost the house.

Now. . . it’s the timing of the house loss that is really the kicker. The news of the house loss came so last minute that we had already packed up our entire home. We were leaving for a work-cation for a week and planned to move into our forever home the day we returned. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the day before we were supposed to hop on a plane, we lost the house. As you can imagine, we were extremely disappointed and, I’ll admit, a little puzzled by the Lord’s plan for us. But God has a way of putting all things in perspective. That same fateful day, we took our beloved Blossom (my dog of 11 years) to the vet after she began having seizures the night before. She had been fighting liver disease for the past six weeks, and it suddenly took a turn for the worse. We lost her that day. As Blossom aged, I had been increasingly dreadful of the day that I knew would eventually come – the day I would have to say goodbye to her. I can’t explain how much Blossom meant to me. I picked her up as a puppy when I was 17 years old, and she journeyed with me through every significant life event: high school, college, boyfriends, jobs, marriage, children, and moving our family to San Luis Obispo. Losing her was truly an end of an era. However, I was surprised at how well God prepared me. I knew in the weeks before her death that things weren’t looking good, and He gave me that time to prepare. Additionally, her life put the house in perspective. After all, it was just a house. There will be other houses. Just because we may have felt we were “owed” that house after all we had endured, it doesn’t mean it was the right house (or that we are really deserving of anything.)

So the next day, we boarded our plane for Hawaii with puffy eyes and bruised hearts, not feeling much in the mood for a vacation. After all, we were down a member of our family and we had no home to come back to! But wouldn’t you know it? God was in control. Our realtor wrote us an email. She truly sympathized with us (“Buying your first home isn’t supposed to be this HARD!”) and she came to the rescue. She had just moved out of her home, and instead of putting it on the market as she had intended, she offered to rent it to us. Talk about a blessing! (It’s the perfect little bungalow home for our family and we couldn’t be happier!) After that news, we were actually able to relax.

Now, call us crazy, but during our detox in Hawaii, I decided to look up dog shelters back home. (Years prior, when we had lost our family dog of 18 years, Blossom was there to help heal the hurt. I thought a new dog – if we could find one – might help now, too.) The first dog that popped up on my computer immediately caught my attention. He was an 11 week old Australian Shepherd/Terrier/Boxer mix who’s mom had given birth to a litter of five puppies at a shelter. His name was Belmont and he was the last puppy left. The day after we moved our home, we got Belmont! This little guy has been such a perfect addition to our home. He is soooooo mellow and incredibly friendly. I still can’t believe we found such a wonderful dog – well I guess we didn’t. He was sent to us :-)

Oh, and did I forget something? There’s another happy bit of news to help round out this story. On April 7th, almost exactly two months after our miscarriage, we found out we were pregnant… again! It was AMAZING news. We are happy to announce that our new baby boy, Holland Brae Hill, will join our family on December 15th! I’m glad to finally get that off my chest! (Oh yeah, and a little side story: when I was 14 weeks pregnant, my doctors discovered a tennis ball-sized tumor on one of my ovaries. I had to have emergency surgery to have it removed before the baby got any bigger, but all is well! Just another bend in the road!)

So, in just a few months time, we lost our child, we lost a dear friend and canine companion, and we lost what we thought would be our forever home. But through our loses, we also gained another child, a new canine companion, and a new home. Oh, and did I mention we launched a new company, too? No wonder I’m tired! www.rockingmoosedesignco.com.

In 2013, the Hills have learned to truly appreciate. I may be able to list the few devastating things that have happened this year, but it would be DAYS before I could list all of the wonderful things that have happened this year. I’ve also learned to let go (in many ways), but most espically I’ve learned to let go of my plans and trust God’s instead. So now, on the 1st of August, we focus on all that we’ve been given. . . and we’ve been given a lot!

(Above are our pictures from our work-cation in Maui, as well as a few additional.)

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