January 30, 2015

Update from the Middle of the Ocean

Our little home
Hello loved ones from near and far! Here we are, in Honolulu, Hawaii, updating our blog for the first time in the new year! It has been a crazy past few weeks as we packed up our home in Chicago and headed out into the middle of the ocean. We are now in the process of putting together our new home - and it is a BIG job!
First of all, let's just rewind a bit and talk about this new home of ours! As always, God swooped in and provided something beyond our wildest dreams as we faithfully leaned on Him and trusted that He would take care of us during this big leap of faith.
Back in September when we blogged about our decision to move and be closer to family, an old friend of Randie Megan's contacted us and informed us that her family was looking for a tenant for one of their family's properties. She asked us if we would be interested, and of course we said yes! We put that on the back burner, knowing that it may or may not happen, and focused on the task at hand of selling our things and sending the rest of our belongings over to Hawaii.
After about a month, we decided to check in and see if the house had been taken yet. Because this had been back in September, we knew that the landlord might need to have it rented out by December when we were moving in. Our friend got back to us and told us that the last she had heard was that there was someone interested in the place, but that she would double check.
Honestly, as excited as we were about the possibility of already having a place in Hawaii to come home to, we were really swamped with things in Chicago! It was probably a good thing that we were, because that allowed us to completely leave it up to God and trust that He was in control with everything!
Well, a few days later we heard the good news: the house was available to us!!
Now things really sunk in! This was actually a house in a little area that Randie Megan had grown up going to with her church family for lunches and picnics - and the best part was: it is less than a mile away from church AND my mom!!! It seemed too good to be true.
Little by little we learned more about our new place. Apparently the landlord had wanted the house to be rented soon after August, but there were so many renovations that were taking place on it that the date kept getting pushed further and further back. So it seems like God was saving it and preparing it all along for us!
Rye getting a sink bath at my mom's
house where we stayed for the holidays
On January 1st we were finally moved in to our new place! We love it here, and we feel so thankful and grateful for the way that God orchestrated everything. It has been a huge blessing to live so close to the Brattons, and more than once we have walked to church! It's so fun to have Mom stop by on her way home from work to visit Rye Rye in the afternoons, or to spend Sundays all together.
We are also so blessed to live close to Honolulu Bible Church (where I grew up going to!)! I may or may not have teared up as I carried Ryenne through the doors for the first time. Years ago my mom did the same with me in her arms - and I was just a little younger than Ryenne is! I can't express how special it is to have my own daughter growing up in the church that I love so much.
She went through a "snorty" phase for a couple of weeks...
As if providing a perfect home for us wasn't enough, God had a whole lot more planned. Less than a week after we had arrived in Hawaii David acquired a job as a valet parking attendant for one of the top valet companies here in Oahu! He has been happy to get back into the groove of working, and he does enjoy being a valet, but it is a little tough starting out at the "bottom" again. We have to be patient and trust God that he will work his way back up to some better shifts at better accounts. Right now he is working full time, but his shifts are pretty slow most of the time. David, as always, continues to have a cheerful, happy attitude, and his managers have already taken notice of his willing spirit and thorough work. Less than a month at the new job and they have already bumped him up from one of the slower shifts and given him a couple better accounts which David is thankful for. We are trusting God and leaning on Him as He provides for us during this adjustment time :)
David & Lee working on repurposing some wood pallets
In the meantime, I've enjoyed my role as full-time keeper of the home and mommy! When we moved to Hawaii, we decided to make a big switch over to natural, clean living, which in the practical sense just means that we are taking most things back to the basics :) That means we're trying out our hands at gardening, using essential oils to help remedy ailments rather than depending on pills, hanging our own laundry, making our own cleaning products, biking or walking places, and eating a whole lot healthier! I'll admit it's not always the easiest route (especially when you're starving at the grocery store and Kraft Mac N Cheese sounds a whole lot simpler and faster to make than the taco soup we had planned), but it definitely is more rewarding! We have been so surprised at how satisfying it is to do things yourself rather than depending on the conveniences of our day and age. While I definitely think there is a place for going the easier route and enjoying a little less labor once in a while, in our own family's day to day life we have found this way of life to suit us perfectly. I think there is something that we have lost as people of the 21st century by being so consumed by all the modern day conveniences available to us, that we have forgotten what it's like to really work for something and feel the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing it. God made us to work and to find enjoyment and purpose from it :) So! Now that I've convinced you all that we have become hippies, let's move on! hahaha
Rye sitting back and watching Papa Lee and Daddy work hard
Ryenne Ashley is loving being in Hawaii and living close to family. At first she was not too big of a fan of certain aspects of our move (like Jovi, my mom's dog, or the sunshine, which seems to always be way too bright for Rye's liking), but now she has settled and is at home. She enjoys playing in the pool in our little backyard, seeing her little friends at church (who all love to hug, touch, squeeze, poke, and kiss her), waving goodbye to Daddy when he goes to work, trying new foods (she loves sweet potato and pear), and discovering new sounds that she can make with her voice. She is such a joy and we are constantly thanking God for this little blessing we don't deserve. She turns 7 months old TOMORROW. We are in denial that her first birthday is this year.....
Their hard work on those pallets turned
into sanding which resulted in
handkerchiefs and pictures like this...

Well, I think that pretty much brings us up to date! We've included a couple of prayer requests if you'd like to keep our family in your prayers, and as always, we appreciate those of you that so faithfully do!
Prayer Requests:
- Pray for David to get some better shifts at work but in the meantime that we would all trust God's sovereignty and plan for us here! We know that He has perfect timing.
- Please pray for Randie Megan's Janicki family as we have recently lost her Grandma Janicki. The funeral is set for March and we appreciate prayers as we will be seeing many of our unsaved relatives at that time. We want to be a light to them and show them God's love.

Thanks so much for reading! We love you all.

~The Graefs

Some pictures of our new home! Keep in mind that we had to start completely fresh here and we had NO furniture! So we have some temporary things and will update as the weeks and months go by :)

Living room + mismatched furniture
This little scooter was following me around the
house as I took pictures
Our bedroom (sorry for the poor quality pictures! My Canon
is having some problems currently! :( )
Rye's room
Some Hawaii "snow"
The other little houses in our neighborhood
Ryenne & Mommy <3

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