New Home, New City, New Season

Yes, you read that right…the Lees have moved to Denver, CO!

We’ve been praying about this transition since the fall of last year, actually. At that time, we didn’t know where God was calling us to next. But, we just knew. Although we loved Kansas City and it had become home for us the last almost five years, we knew that God had a new place and a new season in mind for us.

Long story short, my husband and I got connected to a Korean-American church in Denver (that connection is it’s own crazy, divine appointment kind of story), and we’ve been getting to know them since the beginning of this year. We flew out to visit a few times, and each time we felt like this would become our new home, our new family.

After we gave our “yes” to their offer for my husband to be the senior pastor (upon being ordained), it was a whirlwind of change.

I remember watching as our agent stuck the “FOR SALE” sign into our front yard. For the first time, it felt REAL. Yes, I know we had been talking about this for months, preparing our home to be listed for weeks, and sharing the news with those closest to us for a while now.

But the bittersweet tidal wave of change hit me smack in the face. Yes, we had so many new and exciting things to look forward to in Denver. And we knew without a doubt that we were called to that place. But that also meant we were saying goodbye to so many friends and so many memories that had shaped the first almost five years of our marriage.

This house on 108th Street would forever be etched into our memories. This was the place where we built our family. Where we brought home our first-born son. Where we watched him take his first steps and say his first words. This was the place where we built forever friendships. Where we ate around the table. Played countless rounds of Catan into the wee hours of the night. These walls held the rich sounds of laughter and joy. These floors had soaked up so many unspoken tears and prayers.

And yet, within 48 hours of being listed, our house went into contract. With an offer that was even higher than what we had listed it for.

And we knew. God was sending us out. Kansas City was our home. Now, Denver would become our home.

Miraculously, God also provided a home for us in Denver. And one day, we hope we can bring home more babies to this new home. Where we can some day watch Josiah become a big brother. The place where we will build new, forever friendships. Where we will eat, and play, and laugh, and cry, and pray once more. And as hard and good as this season of change is, I am so, so grateful.

A friend of mine once told me that change, no matter how joyful it is, always demands a period of grieving. Because you can never go back to what was. And that’s the way it should be. But in order to walk with confidence and hope into the next season, we must honor what was.

So in the midst of drowning in cardboard boxes and too much stuff, we’re doing the best we can. Expectant, hopeful, and excited for what is to come. But remembering all the good that happened in our first home. And trusting that there is so much more good to come.

Kansas City, you’ve been good to us. We love you.

And Denver, here we are. It’s gonna be good.

A Day in the Life of a NICU Mom

Josiah has been home for a week and for the most part, it’s been a smooth transition (minus the times I’ve almost fallen asleep nursing him at 3 in the morning ūüôā ).

But before I get caught up in all the daily little and big things that come with being a mom, I wanted to take the time to reflect and remember what my life was like as a NICU mom.

Because as painful as those 9 weeks were, that was the first time I truly experienced how His grace could be sufficient enough for me.  Those slow weeks showed me what I was capable of when I believed in my Good Father, that He would carry me through.

The 10 foot by 10 foot space that was Josiah’s NICU room became my own little sanctuary. ¬†Behind that closed curtain, I danced with my son for the first time to the tune of the mobile playing above his crib. ¬†It was where I dreamed about a day when Josiah would run and play, and wept with countless tears asking the Lord for strength I didn’t even know how to ask for.

It’s where we faced terrifying moments that tested our faith, all the while looking at the face of our precious, sweet son who was braver and stronger than us.

These pictures below represent just a snapshot of what my daily life was like from November 20, 2016 to January 23, 2017. ¬†It was filled with lots of “firsts” – Josiah’s first nursery, crib, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, nursing and eating, and bath time…just to name a few. ¬†Our brave little man also endured his first surgery, ultrasound, and MRI during that time as well. ¬†But he was always surrounded by a state-of-the-art medical team who became more like family to us during our 9 week stay. ¬†And without all of this, Josiah would not be able to be with us today. ¬†So for all that those 9 weeks were – the most miraculous, terrifying, heart-breaking, glorious season of my life thus far – I want to remember it all fondly. ¬†It’s become a part of me in a way that I will never forget.

And one day, my sweet son, you may be reading this as well. ¬†And although you of course won’t remember any of it, I want you to know how incredible your birth was. ¬†How miraculously the Lord broke in and healed you in ways that nobody could explain. ¬†How brave you were and how proud of you we are, your daddy and I. ¬†This is your story as much as it is mommy’s and daddy’s. ¬†Now it’s yours for the telling.

 

Josiah is Home! // One Word for 2017

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On Monday, January 23rd, after just over 9 weeks in the NICU, our miracle boy came home!

Even though he’s been home for a week now, it’s still a little surreal. ¬†Sometimes I get up from nursing Josiah and I glance at myself quickly in the mirror and think, “Woah,¬†there’s actually a real baby in my arms, in our home right now!” ¬†And as hard as it is to continually nurse and care for a little one all through the day and night (I fully believe I never understood the meaning of exhaustion until I become a mom!), I cannot even begin to express the emotions welling up from deep within the¬†recesses of my heart.

The day before we finally got discharged from the NICU, one of the nurse practitioners came by to do her final assessment of Josiah.  We started reflecting on his progress over the last 9 weeks (you can read more on that here and here).  Apart from his VACTERL syndrome imperforate anus condition (which he would have had even if he had made it to full term), he had almost no preemie-related issues (e.g. breathing problems, digestive problems, feeding issues, etc.).

She went on to say, “Honestly, for how early he was born at 29 weeks and for not having any of those preemie issues, all I can say is that this was a miracle. ¬†He literally is a miracle.”

And in that moment, 9 weeks of heartache…9 weeks of praying and crying before the Lord…9 weeks of asking hard questions…everything, all of it, was justified. ¬†

Her simple confession, both as a medical professional and as an “outsider” (not a family member or close friend) wholly validated all that we had gone through.

Already, in just two months of life, our son is a living testimony of how God is real and He loves to do the impossible.

Last year, I chose the word “Immanuel” as my One Word for 2016, and reflecting upon all that we had gone through at the end of last year…He truly, truly was with us. ¬†There is no other way we would have made it.

And as the year closed and a new one began, I felt the stirring on my heart to believe.  To reach for the impossible in a deeper, daily way.

To declare that this year, 2017 is going to be about miracles.  

After all, I’m looking at one every day.

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To the countless ones who prayed with us during these last 9 weeks, we are indebted to you.  Thank you for being our village, our home team, and for carrying us through this season.  We are so thankful to have him home.

How We Renovated Our Basement For Under $1,000 // The Story of Our First Home

Almost exactly a year ago, I flew into Kansas City from Phoenix and spent about four days looking at 20+ homes to find “the one.” ¬†We were going to be first-time homeowners, and we were in for a steep learning curve with the housing market and the loan/mortgage process.

Thankfully, we got connected to a really awesome real-estate agency in the area¬†and started looking at hundreds of homes through the MLS listing. ¬†This is how our conversations went as we would talk on an almost daily basis to¬†narrow down the search –

“Did you see the new house that popped up on the listing today? ¬†What do you think?”

“It’s okay…”

“I checked out the details and it has a brand new roof, a new heater, no foundation issues, and a history of clean ownership. ¬†And it has the 2+ full baths that we want and it even has three bedrooms. ¬†It looks great!”

“Yeah, but…I just don’t like the kitchen that much. ¬†And the paint all over the house…what were those owners thinking when they painted each room¬†a different color?”

Can you tell who was saying what in the conversation? ūüėČ

After realizing that walls can be painted and minor renovations are a part of the home buying process, we narrowed it down to a couple of factors that were absolute “must’s” on our list – (1) located within a few¬†zip codes that we loved and had that safe, cozy feel, (2) 2+ bedrooms and 2+ bathrooms, (3) most major renovations already done as we needed to drive halfway across the country after we got married to move in right away, and (4) within our budget, of course!

Turns out, the whole home search thing is not as easy as it looks. ¬†In the first two days, we had gone through all of the homes we had starred and none of them were the right fit. ¬†We went through the MLS listing again and decided to look at several more homes that I had initially written off of our list. Read more…

We Made It Home!

Finally.  And what a welcome sight!  Look at how green and sweet and peaceful our little humble abode looks in late summer :).

So the last bit of my blogging presence was a month and a half ago about the deliciousness that is Korean food, especially Korean food in Korea. ¬†Suffice to say, we didn’t really deviate much from that the remainder of our trip although we did do some other exciting things… Read more…

#theLeesinKC

Now that hashtags are the way to¬†document entire life adventures, here’s ours – #theLeesinKC – what I’ve been using on Instagram to capture some of our daily scenes here in Kansas City ūüôā

I haven’t seen many of you since I left Southern California and Phoenix, so here’s a quick snapshot of where we are now. ¬†A week after we got married, we made¬†the crazy drive from Phoenix, AZ to KC, MO. ¬†We packed everything that was donated to us from family, all of what we owned (which wasn’t much compared to everything else), and the gifts we generously received¬†from our wedding into a 27′ Penske moving truck (pictured below, husband for scale).

Read more…