Penny Family Update

Well I’ve said that I want to get back into blogging. Let’s start with an update, shall we? Then I’ll try to follow this up with a fun, easy Valentine’s Day card project perfect for preschoolers and Kindergarteners. 


How it actually looked writing this post…

With as many snow days as we’ve had, I still declare winter 2014-15 a fairly mild one… so far. It’s only February after all. I would probably be cool with any winter less severe than last winter which left even the perkiest of Michiganders running for Zoloft and SAD lights. It was 8 foot snow drifts bad, so this? Easy Peasy.

Little miss Clara is 12 weeks old now and a gorgeous, soul-healing, life changing little baby. She sleeps amazingly well at night and only gets up to nurse once (on average… knock on all the wood) and then goes back to sleep until 9 or so. This allows me to help Noelle and Caedmon with breakfast, clothes and their very important, yet terribly elusive socks. I hate folding them, they love losing them… we live in constant sockmageddon.


We are all loving Clara beyond measure and we’ve had had no jealousy issues with the older two. If anything they’re a bit too into her, especially Caedmon who has been known to pick her up and move her to wherever he is for fear that she is “very sad being alone momma.”

Watching your four year old carry your wiggly 12 week old is endearing and terrifying all at the same time. You want to swoop in screaming and grab your camera simultaneously. But ultimately you have to go with swooping and screaming so as not to encourage the behavior which can only end in tears for everyone involved.

And speaking of Caedmon, he’s still my big hearted, snuggly, opinionated little guy. He’s enjoying the mountain of Christmas and Birthday Legos and presents in addition to lots of craft time. Honestly I think we’re all ready to ride bikes again but we’ve got a lot of waiting to do. He hourly asks me if it’s fourth of July yet… nope… still very nope.


Noelle is doing really, really well in Kindergarten. We adore her Montessori school and I’m so thankful for it that I well up with tears on a weekly basis. I’ve felt such a peace sending her there. The staff, especially her lead teacher, advocate for her beautiful individuality as they do with all the kids, praise God.

This past fall she was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder by a doctor at Brains Potential here in Grand Rapids (I wholeheartedly recommend them if you need help with your kids.) Seeing her through this lens has been so much more freeing than I ever imagined a diagnosis could be. It’s just a way of understanding how she interacts with this world, not a pill, not a stigma, but a way of understanding my very unique daughter.

I’m starting to see with stunning clarity that each child is really and truly an individual who processes, learns about and interacts with the world differently. This is really causing me to call into question a “one size fits all” education model and love and advocate for montessori education.


Kel has been working for the Methodist Denomination while waiting tables at Carrabas Italian Grill to carry our family through until he gets a full time placement as a pastor again. But he will be done slinging noodles as of February 14 and he will be the interim pastor at Dowagiac First United Methodist church in Dowagiac, Michigan, which is roughly a 75 mile drive from our current home in Northeast Grand Rapids.

This is currently a temporary placement, due to the former pastor leaving unannounced, and Kel being a natural, available fit for the job. He is commuting down there twice a week and staying overnight a few evenings a week to reduce the drive time and expense. I hate going 36 hours without seeing him but it’s only until July.

Sometime in the next six weeks, the Methodist Denomination will let him know where his next, full-time placement will be. The Methodist church uses the itinerant system (click that link if you want to understand what that is.) Which means that basically the Bishop and his Cabinet decide where Kel will work and ultimately where our family will live. It’s part spiritual and part strategic and a hundred percent hard for me to come to terms with, but I’m getting there. It’s hard to know what you’re supposed to accept and what you’re supposed to change up in your life.

Maya Angelou said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” There is something there… when I married Kel I married his dreams and calling as much as he married mine.


I’m still breathing hourly prayers that we can stay here in Grand Rapids, at the school I fought for and love so dearly, among these walls that we’ve painted, these floors we’re polished and sense of home we have cultivated with moments both bitter and sweet.

But the phone call could go the other way, any week now.

Either way I’ll hit my knees in some sort of Hallelujah, for at least the waiting game will be over.


And as for me, I’m adjusting well to being a mom of three, usually. I’ve never had so little left to give at the end of the day. I wonder where I went in the hours of my day and yet, still I find myself in their eyes as we play, create and observe life together. I want more than this, even though I am often deeply satisfied with the work of “mom.” It’s both AND. It always will be. There has to be more than this, there is more than this, it’s just spending a lot of time chilling on the shelf right now. For now. Just for now.

It’s a conflicting way to live and I’m likely not saying it well.. but I’m starting to find scraps of time to release a little creative energy out through words, and fabric and yarn. And this is so so good.

So yeah, that’s what’s up with us. More to come. Thanks for reading, really.

What have you been up to? 

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  • Mark Allman

    I’m glad Clara is doing well. We have two daughters with a son in between. Our oldest jumps into life off the high board and our youngest just slides into life off the edge while our son is a mix of them both. I will pray that you get a close church for Kel.

    • Leanne Penny

      Thank you Mark! We shall see who miss Clara will be 😉 And thanks for those prayers, keep em coming!

  • Nika

    Yay! So glad to hear from you, Leanne! Sounds like God is teaching and cultivating so much in you right now. Thank you for sharing what you’re learning and how things are going. I know I’m just one person, but I sure miss your blogging voice and I loved reading your new post. Thank you for the way you let God speak to you and through you. You make an impact in this world.

    • Leanne Penny

      Thank you Nika! Your words are hugely encouraging and so needed. It seems easier to get lost in the managing the chaos of laundry and so to know that this space, that the words matter is a gift.

  • Pam Worcester

    Clara is adorable! As well as Caedmon and Noelle! Love that Caedmon is such a protective big brother! Our oldest son was also quite protective of his baby brother. After being sternly admonished not to pick up baby brother (10 weeks old) during mommy’s 2 minute shower, I returned to the room to find both boys gone (Ben had been watching a cartoon, Andy sleeping on a mat). Oh yeah, that ANDY. Down the hall I could hear Ben “reading” to Andy. He assured me that he didn’t pick up Andy. He ROLLED him to the bedroom! Yikes! I was definitely more specific with instructions after that!
    Love following your journey in ministry with Kel and the Methodists. Praying the bishop places Kel and your family just where God wants you to be. And I say that as I sit in my borrowed home at my borrowed dining room table (and every other piece of furniture) where God has placed us for the last 6 months. Trying to nest in a borrowed home (with even their family pictures still on the wall) is …. interesting. But I can see the end of the borrowed furniture and my furniture coming in about a month. God is good … we’re in a quiet rural town in north central Kansas where Lily can play outside and ride her bike on warm winter days and I don’t have to be outside watching every move, person or car. Being content in all circumstances … oh yes, even in a borrowed home.

    • Leanne Penny

      Hello Pam! First of all that Story about Ben and Andy is Hillarious! Sounds like a loophole Caedmon would find…
      Also Kel and the Methodists… sounds like a fun children’s book 😉
      And you are amazing nesting in a borrowed home, I’d struggle… not that I’m saying it’s likely been easy. Glad to see an end is near and inspired to see your contentment in all. Also.. where in Kansas? My Brother in SIL are in Manhattan on the Army Base.

      • Pam Worcester

        We are in Glen Elder, Kansas – about 85 miles east of Manhattan. Ben is the Contemporary Worship pastor at University Christian Church in Manhattan – if your brother and SIL are looking for a church, it’s a great one that ministers to many Fort Riley families. Jacob is also in Manhattan – a senior at Manhattan Christian College. We get to “the Hat” as often as we can since Ben and Sharyn are parents to our youngest grandson!