When the idea of going to a family ministry school in Norway came up, I was terrified, the thought of even just going to the shops with all the boys was too much for me let alone to the other side of the world. So to simply put it, it either had to be God or just a crazy idea.
Moses lived in the front pack as we travelled via train, plane, bus, and taxi to get to norway

But it was God, and he provided and the day came when we were actually walking through the airport doors and into the falling snow and thick icy pavements of Norway. Freezzing and Wonderful, Exhausting and Sureal all at once!! Crying tired children and beyond tired parents being loaded into our van towards the Youth with a Mission base in the dark night.

thick snow lay on the ground for our first month there with a very late spring hitting

The first two weeks were pretty rocky with settling into a 12 hour time difference and how sleeping arrangements would work in our two rooms. finally settling with putting the baby and one of the boys in the hall. Then after getting the flu travel through everyone, I was so worried that we were missing out. But on the other hand I knew that with God you never miss out.

The coming and going between buildings taking off layers and getting used to how long it actually took to get our lot ready for breakfast and then make packed lunches for us all using foods that felt unfamiliar I found really stressful = coffee became a close friend of mine!! But the staff team that were around us each with their own families were so supportive, always wanting to help and encourage..

I enjoyed sitting in class taking notes, journalling and painting in my notebook

The first weeks were focused on marriage and there were so many times during those weeks that I think both James and I would looked at each other and thought "Are we going to make this??" "Is our marriage going to make it through?" because we had come to Norway seeking help, and hope for our family. To find a new song, to find ourselves again, as parents but as a couple too..We arrived broken.

So it was hard, it was often very messy and confronting recognising that unless we both changed we had soo much to loose.

Slowly week by week we felt change begin to come. A tool learnt here or there placed hopfully in our back pockets to take home. But in the midst of it all, also seeing how other families did "family" and realising that every other family had their moments of chaos just like ours. It was comforting to know we weren't alone in the crazy journey of living out family.

late evening walks towards the forest to spend time alone with God and spot the deers x

For me there were three significant things that hppened while we were many more but these things I can share here...

Firstly it was the power of the one. That is wasn't about the amount of money that it took for us to get to Norway or how much effort it took to get there but that doing that for even just one family was worth it to God. That he cares for the one person, the one couple, the one family and he will be relentless in what he orchestrates to save that one family that one couple and that one person...
So the extravagant ways in which God will go to, just to reach the one.

Secondly so for the entire time we were there, my hearts cry was for God to do a deep work within me.  And so I found myself sitting in the last day of the last week of lectures during our week on councelling, face to face with the fact that God had healed a part of my life that had been there ever since I was probably about 8 or so. And it blew me away that he would do that for me, That he would bring me completly out of my comfort zone across the world to wait untill the last possible moment to break down a lie that had been there since I could remember...To shed light in the darkness and give me a whole new narritive to weave into my life. It showed me just how God knows us, so deeply and we wont miss out!
I have struggled with emotional eating for years and he broke through into the Lie that as a child I had held onto and carried into my adult life. So now I am just beginning to walk that healing out...(I will be sharing about this more in an upcoming blog post)

And lastly the Dandelion

Yes these beautiful weeds covered every patch of grass the eye could see and in the cracks of the pavement in between. They were nearly the only wild flower that seemed to spill over the hills. They have always spoke to me about the beautiful cycle of Gods abundant life as they move from stage to stage growing every more splendid until finally they are ready to flood the heavens with their abundance of seed to keep the cycle of life growing - they are like the kingdom of God with seed to sow....
The boys and I would pick whole bunches of them, only to have the next lot flourish in their place the next morning. And ever present sea of yellow where ever you looked. No matter where we go, our God will always show us he will go further, to find the one. He showed me that our family was like that dandelion. That some might see us as  bunch of weeds, a nuisance but he saw us as a glorious bunch of wildflowers. And that his desire for us was to flourish.....

Now we are home and back into the cold with signs of spring arriving everyday.  Its been a bumpy ride settling back into home. But God keeps reminding James and I of his faithfulness to not leave us where we are that he's always for us, and wants to show us how to do life better and so this is our continuous journey of learning how to love each other better and the boys.

To not give up but to hold onto hope that one day we will have a story to share of his goodness and grace for a rag tag bunch of wildflowers.

some family time down by the lake - such a beautiful place - icy water which we all braved a dip in!!

James and I have made several changes in the way we do marriage - one significant practical thing is to just at the end of each day or there about have what we call a "bored meeting" or coupld time. A time to catch up about how the day went, things that we can pray together about  - whether its the kids or life - whatever. And then its a good time to plan the week etc. Just to actually talk, its so easy to just check out at the end of a tiring day. Especially after getting the 5 boys into bed we always feel pretty wasted. So this checking in thing has really worked for us, and especailly been a good place to defer things that cause too much tension durin the day....

Since coming home I've started to be treated for cronic fatigue. So these last two weeks now I've been re-learning how to eat through gluten free and dairy free. So its a big change but I'm trusting that Gods going to bring so much break through and hopefully energy.

I'm trying to priorities friendships and realise that if I dont book a catchup with a friend, it just doesnt happen. I find so quickly I can feel trapped and I'm not so good at getting out of the house, so this is important for me. And also we have a mums group that meets every two weeks. So i'm making that a priority. Its soo good to realise that we are not alone on this journey...

enjoying the warmth of a hot spring = moses loving the outdoors
I'm enjoying writing within the space of this Blog as I process the journey and hope that maybe sometimes it will encourage others who find themselves in a similar place on the road too....

I'm also trying to find more space to be creative but thats an ongoing process. :)

So Norway was an adventure that I believed has shifted us into a place now where we are now intentional in our marriage and our family. It saved us. What an amazing God we have....

xoxoxo carolyn

the middle of the journey

Sometimes a big family just feels very overwhelming, does anyone else feel the same? Lately as I'm working through trying to make changes due to chronic fatigue I've been thinking it's hard to sort your stuff out when you feel like all your doing is chasing your tale. Like wouldn't it be nice if a magical fairy just took the kids while you got it all together and gave them all the love and care they deserved and then dropped them back when everything was sparkly..... I think we as a family feel very much in the middle of our story....hey its been awhile how is everyone fairing winter? my consolation is that I know is that the darkest point of night is just before the break of dawn...AFTER WINTER MUST COME SPRING x

Norway 2018

Being in the middle of our story feels scary, like a book sitting open, its exposing, and yet it sure doesn't feel finished yet. I've been finding alot of comfort in music lately. 

Its always been my go to - although in the past is was more like Placebo and coldplay (still listen from time to time) but now I'm listening to Worship with Heaven on my heart. When I'm Home I love filling the house with it.

this songs has really been getting me through at the moment...

Do it again by Elevation Worship

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they'd fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle's won
For You have never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You've never failed me yet
I know the night won't last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You're still enough
Keep me within Your love
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet
I've seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I'll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I'll see You do it again

And while this feels like the longest walk, the longest day when you've hit the wall and all you can do is recoup before the next travel on...
somewhere in the middle of our journey where you need the breather before you move on

So from the middle of our/my story I'm sharing my journey. I have no "after" photo yet so its scary - with no guaranties.  But hey I'd love you to join me if you also find yourself in the middle of your own story. Our stories are what we have so lets not hide behind our covers....

My heart will sing Your praise again