Goings on of late

Well, life here in Charlotte has been rocking along just fine here lately.  I mean, besides the riots and such going on in Uptown.  That has, obviously, not been “just fine.”  A sad situation, indeed.  It makes the sermon from last week (before any of us knew what was about to happen in this city) even more meaningful. One of the points of the sermon, after exhorting us to realize our address is a sacred place and to settle in where God has us, was to SEEK the peace/welfare/shalom of my neighborhood and city.  Jeremiah 29:7 says, “Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its peace you will have peace.”  The word peace sometimes reads “welfare,” but both are translated from SHALOM. Therefinersfire.org explains it this way: Shalom is more than just simply peace; it is a complete peace. It is a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well being and harmony. According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. 

This past Sunday we were challenged to see each person as one made in the image of God and to continue to let this affect how we interact with anyone, in particularly, our neighbors.  The church we have been visiting has had a Word from God each time we’ve been there.  I love how God is so personal to His people!  Another example of this was that Josh and I discovered a leak from the girls’ shower before leaving for church.  We discussed how it could be a source of anxiety and worry–even frustration that would distract us from tuning in at church. Josh prayed for us before we got out of the truck and rolled our concerns over to the Lord because He cares for us!  We went into a class and on the power point was the title of the lesson, “Anxiety, Worry and Frustration.”  Ok, then.  Amazing how God just knows.

Ok, that’s enough words.  Let me see if I can share a few pictures with y’all.  Some have wanted to see what our house is looking like.  It’s a slow process, and we still aren’t settled, but we are getting there.  This Wednesday we will get a wood burning stove installed, and I am happy about that!  I think it will cozy up our living room.  We also hired a yard guy to help get our grass looking better and to keep it clean when all of the leaves on those trees start to turn and fall!

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So this is what our house looks like from the road as you drive up.

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This is the side door that we use; it opens up into the sun room with the kitchen on the right.

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This is the backyard from under the carport.  It needs a ton of work, but for now, the sweet spot is the hammock…which I am sure will get even sweeter in the fall weather.

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This is our front door, and that little black box is our mailbox.  The postman walks the mail to my front door and puts it in that box.  Isn’t that interesting?  I have only lived in neighborhoods with mailboxes at the road, so this is different for me!  The kids love it.  They fuss over who gets to unlock the box and get the mail each day.

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This is looking down our driveway from the carport.

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This is one side of our living room.  That little door opening to the right is my office area.  Small, but quaint.

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Here’s the other side.  Still a work in progress, but it is much more “homey” than a couple of weeks ago!

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This is the grocery store I go to.  The Publix is literally going to be across the street from here.  Also, there is a Chickfila, Bojangles and Krispy Kreme across the street.  Dangerous.

So, that’s a little peek into the house.  Maybe one day when it is all cleaned up and a little more settled, I will post some other pictures.  The girls room is cute when it is clean.  The school room works just fine, though it needs a rug.  Mack’s room is great.  Our room is just not coming together very well yet.  I make the bed every day and then leave as soon as possible.  One day I will be inspired to make it whatever it needs to be, but for now, it will have to do.

Happy Monday to you.

 

Home-a sacred place

I still remember distinctly driving away from our Woodstock home. Ruby was with me in the front seat and was playing a song on her ipod. “His Eye is On the Sparrow”—very appropriate. And very true.

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It was a song I should have played non-stop last week when no hot water was flowing through the pipes here in our new “old” home! The hot water heater had died, gone kaput. It was under warranty, but waiting over a week for hot water was not going to cut it. Call me a wimp (I can just hear my sweet missionary friends sighing and see them shaking their heads at me). I admit, I was not able to function without hot water. I needed it in order to be clean, to wash my hair, to wash dishes. My kids needed it. My husband needed it. So after five days without any hot water and a warranty company moving at a turtle’s pace, I took matters into my own hands and hired a plumber. He showed up with a water heater and realized it was damaged. He returned the water heater and picked up another one; he opened it once he returned to my house and saw that it was also damaged. He decided to go to another store and to check the water heater before coming all the way back to my house. So, four hours after he first arrived at my house, he was able to start working. It took him quite a while to get the new hot water heater connected and working. I had 20 minutes to shower before taking Mack to his first flag football practice. But I was not leaving the house again without a shower. Just gross.
The conversation with the Lord was kind of hilarious. I kept telling Him that I was sure He had a plan. I even waited for someone to randomly ring the doorbell and tell me that they felt impressed by the Lord to install a new hot water heater for free for me. I was really praying about this hot water situation. I also asked the Lord some questions. “Did we buy the wrong house?” I haven’t doubted for one second that we are where we are supposed to be as far as this move to Charlotte and the job the Lord gave Josh. God has made that abundantly clear. But aside from moving to Charlotte for Josh’s new job, did we pick the wrong house? We prayed and prayed about that decision as well. And it happened super quick, yet we both felt this was the place for us. HOWEVER, when things start getting difficult, it is amazing how quickly we start doubting the whole kit and caboodle. As if somehow this was in my control. I asked God to quiet my doubts, clear them from my head, and give me (another) anchor from His Word to help me KNOW that He planted us right here in the city, on this street, and in this specific house.

Allow me to backtrack a bit…..When we were searching the internet for a home before coming to Charlotte to house hunt, the houses we liked were either too expensive or under contract in a day! It was kind of crazy and got me worrying. I wanted to be able to move one time—-not move to an apartment and then move again or rent for a year and then move again. I just really, really was praying that God would open up a home just for us within 5-10 miles of Josh’s office. I was a little too consumed for a few days with how few houses were available in this area. I decided to give myself a break and when I was tempted to look online for houses, I would read scripture and pray about our house. Then, the day before we were going to come house hunt in Charlotte, I decided to hop online and just see what was available. Sure enough, this house popped up that I had never seen before in all my perusing. I sent it to Josh. He said he liked it. He called our agent. At the time she said that she was with a client and would go by and see it later in the day for us. However, her client only wanted to see one of the houses that our agent had lined up for her, so our agent was able to swing by a lot sooner than anticipated. She called me on FaceTime and walked through the house with me. Sure enough, we still liked it and put an offer in and then drove up that next morning to see it. There were other offers on the house, but since we were first we had another opportunity to put in our best and final offer before the seller made her decision. She went with our offer, and we proceeded from there. In less than thirty days we were in Charlotte, closing on this house. In the midst of all of that, our Woodstock home sold in six days.
It sounds so simple and easy when typed out on this side of all of it. But in the middle of making high pressure decisions and praying that the other offers weren’t chosen over ours unless the Lord wanted us to NOT have this house, and making all of the small repairs to our Woodstock home and all of the good byes that nearly did me in, life seemed hard.
Somewhere along the way, because the decision to move to Charlotte seemed clearer than anything ever before, I had adopted the thinking that the move would be easy. Things would be simple and clear and….easy. Now, if I was taking some sort of Christian questionnaire I would have never answered that life would be easy for a Christian who had heard clearly from God on a decision. But sometimes we know one thing, but believe another. So, yes, I was surprised that God allowed our house buying time here to be so “heavy” and “high pressured.” I was surprised that we had so many things to do at our Woodstock house that really took a toll on our last couple of weeks in that city.
And I was frustrated that the upstairs bathroom needed a new toilet and that the hot water heater had to be replaced our third week here and that the chimney either needed thousands of dollars of work/repair or we could get a wood burning stove installed for thousands. We’re going with the latter next week. There are more frustrating little things around here that will need to be taken care of, but that doesn’t mean we are in the wrong house. Just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean now it’s time to doubt that we made the right decision.
There’s this thing called the providence of God.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee says:
“Providence is the means by which God directs all things — both animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, good and evil — toward a worthy purpose, which means His will must finally prevail. Or as the psalmist said, ‘his kingdom ruleth over all’ (Psalm 103:19). In Ephesians 1:11 Paul tells us that God ‘worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.’ Our God is running the universe today, friends, even though there are some who think that it has slipped out from under Him.”

Sooooo, back to the week when the hot water heater was not working I asked God for more confirmation that we were in the right house. One morning my quiet time scheduled reading was Acts 17. I started this scheduled reading back in January with a group of girls in Woodstock. During our history lesson that day I read about Paul’s missionary journeys and one of the scripture passages we focused on was Acts 17 when Paul was in Greece. THEN, the pastor of the church we have been visiting sent out an email. He challenged us to read Acts 17:26 and Jeremiah 29:4-7 because he was starting a series about “Loving Where You Live.” The first Sunday was going to be about your address and considering the theology behind where you live. At this point, I was like, “OK, Lord. Forgive my weak, feeble self that needs so much of Your patience and encouragement and help.
Acts 17:26 says, “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,”
And Jeremiah 29 is a passage to the exiles in Babylon who didn’t want to be there and were tempted to believe false prophets that said they wouldn’t have to be in Babylon long. God said they would be there 70 years and that they should, “Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ 8“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. 9‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD.

When Josh returned from a business trip, I was telling him about these verses and how I thought the Lord was really helping me. He shared that while he was away he heard a devotion from Jeremiah 29 on those same verses.

The Lord was obviously speaking to both of us. The sermon on Sunday was amazing. We were challenged to 1) see the sovereignty of God in making this address a sacred place, 2) settle in to where God has you, and 3) seek the peace and welfare (shalom) of your neighbors and neighborhood and city.

The message could not have been any more for us. It was amazing how clear the Lord was and how personal He chose to be with me. I sure did need it. And I am so thankful for His kindness towards me.

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

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Settled Heart >Settled Home

Moving to a new place ushers in one question above all others: “Are you settled?”

I have asked it a million times to friends who have moved or to new people I have met in my neighborhood or at church who have recently moved to our area. It’s a logical question. You just unsettled all of your stuff and your life, moved it to a new place, so have you settled it all? Is it all in its place? Do you feel settled in your new place?

And it’s what we all want–to be settled in our homes and with our routines, for all of our stuff to be in the right place. Curtains, books, dishes, pictures, furniture, etc.

I am not settled here yet. And, honestly, it’s been a good process—this unsettling of routine, of familiarity, of stuff. Such a good process.

Being settled is overrated. This earth is not our home, our place to be settled, and I am reminded of this every day when I wake up and need my GPS to go anywhere or when I look at my room and wonder if it will ever be inviting and pretty or when I pass the tool box, open with tools strew on the floor, waiting for another project where they will be needed. This is not our home. Not just this home we moved to in this new city, but this daily life on earth.

A theme of my life has been wanting to be settled. We moved so many times as I grew up that I lost count; from 13 years of age until I left home to get married, we moved nearly every year on average. Cra-cra, yes.

But anything God uses to remind you that this earth is not your home is a wonderful thing. And this recent move for our little family has included that wonderful reminder. The lack of familiarity and routine ushers in a sensitivity to the Lord. I have been leaning in to hear what He wants to say to me. I am reminded that back in January 2016 the Lord impressed on me a picture in my mind. He was scooping me up and carrying me away. Away from what, I did not know at that time. I shared it with Josh and just told him I didn’t know what it meant, but I was certain the Lord would show me eventually. And many times over the past 8 months He has reminded me of that picture He gave me. He has tied the impression with scripture— Psalm 139: 5 says, “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand on me.” Psalm 5:11-12 says, “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”

And He has surrounded me with His presence. He has been a steady friend and encourager to my heart. I have recently heard a song that has become my prayer—“Set My Heart’ by Vertical Church Band.

When I wonder if I will ever be settled here, I can know that the only thing that matters is a settled heart on God.

Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the ROCK of my heart and my portion forever.”

Settling and Surprise Visitors!

It has been rainy here in Charlotte, so the kids and I are just staying here today.  I worked on my picture wall (you can see most of it in the first picture background) and that’s when I spotted someone walking across the yard in the rain.  She is a friend of a friend and that friend connected us via text, and this new friend decided to come by and say hello.  It was so nice to talk with her and visit with her little girl.  I didn’t think to snap a picture while they were inside, but the cute little scene of them as they walked away caused me to reach for my phone and snap their photo.

She mentioned that she read my last blog post…it has not been easy to move, but it is still so clear that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.  Hopefully I didn’t muddy that message.  It’s just hard to unpack and try to settle in such a brand new city. I really do like it here!  The other day there was a Sno Cone truck in the neighborhood, so the kids and I all walked down and met some families.  We’ve enjoyed walking while the kids ride their bikes around the neighborhood.  I love all of the trees!! They are everywhere and are beautiful.  The houses are each very different.  There is also a  house up the road that has a little library box thing built out at the corner; anyone can take a book and leave a book.  It is so cute!  We went by once already and left a few books and took a few to read.  I will have to snap a picture next time we walk up there.

The girls have been watching videos from Cute Girls Hairstyles and then trying them out.  Today they wanted to try buns.

And Ruby has been reading to Mack.  He does know how to read, but enjoys when Ruby reads even more.

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Yesterday we went out and about to buy school supplies and just toodle around.  We were all proud of ourselves for navigating different places and figuring out the mall.

The kids talked me into getting them new Converse.  We ran into our neighbor, which was fun.  She is a 76 year old lady and so kind.  She walked right up and said, “Well, hello neighbors!”  We were so surprised to see someone we actually knew while we were out.  And we drove by Josh’s new office area while we were headed to the mall.  He has had plenty to do; his days are flying by as he learns a whole new role.  I can tell he likes it, and i am so grateful for that!

And here is my new little chair that sits in our sun room.  Josh’s chair should arrive in a couple of weeks, and then we can sit together and talk in there every evening while we look into each other’s eyes.  I’m kidding.  But it is a great spot for us to connect–with no chairs for the kids.  Our living room has enough seats for all of us though.  The sun room is where we go in the morning with our coffee and Bible.  I love the large windows in the doors so I can look outside.

This weekend I have a few jobs left for Josh–hanging curtains in our room, hanging my chalk board in the school room, setting up my new printer, and picking up our rugs for the living room and office.  I am sure he can’t wait to get home this evening!

Happy Friday!

Adjusting…sort of

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You know you’re a little homesick when the news that a Publix Grocery Store is coming to your new city brings tears to your eyes. Sorry, but I don’t think Harris Teeter will be my choice when Publix opens up across the street. It’s just a little taste of home.

Ends up, tears well-up often when you move to a new city.

Tears of frustration.
Tears from being overwhelmed with so. much. stuff.
Tears when you realize you need to put a new toilet in the girls’ 1952 bathroom.
Tears when your son’s shower, which was a big deal to him, has next to zero pressure. As Mack put it, “That water stream couldn’t drown an ant.”
Anyone know a plumber in Charlotte?

Tears when the hardware store doesn’t have any of the curtain rod brackets you need. I just wanted the curtains hanging this week. Was that too much to ask?

Tears when the 3M strips that you bought for a pretty penny don’t actually hold up 16 pounds. Not even 2 lbs. 3M, I hate you.

Tears when you spend two hours sorting packing paper and tearing down boxes with your kids.

Tears when you realize the master closet is much smaller than you remember.

The tears all threatened to come at each of these moments and even more, but I fought them back and kept working. Kept unpacking and putting things in their new place. Kept cleaning the filthy kitchen. Kept rearranging the pantry that is 1/16 of the size of my other pantry. Kept praying all the while that the Lord would just help me not fall apart. I didn’t want to scare the children. And I didn’t want Josh to have to deal with my emotions in the middle of all of this. So we all just kept moving.

Then, Sunday morning we went to church. Each kid went to their own class while Josh and I went to the worship service. And we couldn’t just keep moving. We were still. We worshiped. And then my tears flowed. They flowed because I am so grateful to God for helping us all along our journey, in particular the last eight months. They flowed because I missed my Woodstock friends more in that church service than any other time so far. Church was our place! We knew so many people and loved each of them. And now here we were at church without any familiar faces. Yet, we were with the body of Christ and I could sense the Spirit there. It felt like home, even though we don’t know if it will be our church home for sure yet. But there was a comfort and a familiarity being there with the body of Christ.

Tears well-up now as I finish up this blog because I am sitting in my little office with my little light and pretty decorations from my friends back home. Hymns are playing softly in the background. I can hear the washing machine and dryer working and things feel a little normal for the first time. This feeling might not last long, but I will take it.

Help me see that I’m blind.

I read in Luke 18 a few days ago and have been thinking about it off and on ever since. I’ve been asking God to not let me miss what He wants to teach me in the truths He offers there.

Luke 18 introduces us to two men, two very different men.

The first is a rich young ruler. “A ruler questioned Jesus, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ And he said, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.’
When Jesus heard this, He said to him, ‘One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’
But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.”

We who are extremely rich (which is likely everyone reading this right now) are in danger of somehow thinking all of life is all about us somehow—even eternal life. What can I do to inherit eternal life? What ministries should I give to? What church should I attend? I mean, somehow there is something I can do to help myself gain eternal life…I already do so much, as a matter of fact! I don’t cheat on my husband. I haven’t killed anyone. I don’t steal things…I mean, why would I? I can buy anything I need and most of what I want. I don’t lie, and I love my mom and dad. What more could I possibly do? I think the young ruler thought he was already doing everything he could possibly do to inherit eternal life. He just kind of wanted to hear it from the “Good Teacher’s” mouth.
But Jesus shoots straight for the heart, doesn’t he? He reminds this man that not his wallet nor his list of good things earns him eternal life.

Right here I wonder if maybe a lesson on this topic could have helped the guy—a flannel board story? A little parable, maybe? Like, did Jesus have to go straight to “sell all you own and give it all to the poor and then come follow Me” ? Evidently, He did need to go straight to that. He shoots for the heart. He loved this young rich kid very much and wanted him to let go of all he was holding up to God for approval and find that Jesus already did everything for him. But our stuff blinds us. We hold on to our stuff because so many times our stuff defines us—we think. Our stuff comforts us—temporarily. Our stuff is fun—for a season.

But our stuff is dangerous. We are so full of our stuff that we don’t even see our need for Jesus. We operate in life as if it all depends on us. Instead of raising our empty hands to praise God, we drop them in sadness and walk away from following God. Our hands are just too full for what He has to offer.

And then there is the second man— Bartimaeus, the blind beggar. He didn’t ask any properly worded questions to the “Good Teacher.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18 tells us that Jesus asked for Bartimaeus to be brought to Him, and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Wow! What a question from the Lord!! Some times we are quick to say (especially after reading about the sad young rich man) that the Lord isn’t concerned about our comforts or what makes us happy. And I get that line of thinking. He does want our hearts right with Him more than our physical desires fulfilled. HOWEVER, He does care about our wants. He loves us. He loved this man so much that He asked him “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Well, duh! Didn’t he know the man wanted to see? Probably so. But Jesus wanted the man to come near, and he did. Jesus wanted to hear him ask, and he did. To hear his faith come out in words. And I want to come near to Jesus and pray with much faith and ask of the Lord things that only He can do. I want to hear my faith expressed in words to my heavenly Father who asks me, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Wow. What an example this blind man is for me.
He was blind, which made knowing his need very evident. He didn’t have a large bank account to go to for help. He had no stuff to speak of…he was a blind beggar.
And so am I. My stuff can sometimes make it hard for me to see my need of Jesus. But I am just a blind beggar, in need of a touch from My Savior. Every. single. day.
I want to go with Jesus, glorifying God and causing others to see His work in my life and praise God….instead of going away sad and alone with my stuff.

How about you? Do you see yourself in the rich young ruler? Is your stuff blinding you to your true need for Jesus’ touch? Are your hands just too full of temporary things to hold onto the eternal?
Do you want to be like the blind beggar? Painfully aware of your need for a touch from Jesus and desperate enough to cry out to Him no matter what? With faith to ask of God what you want? To walk with God and bring great glory to His name?

Lord, help me see that I am blind. I need a touch from You. I want a touch from You. Help me live open-handed before You. I don’t want all of my material blessings to fill me. I want YOU to fill me.

Sometimes you need a “moment”

I’ve needed a “moment” quite regularly lately.  So much so that Molly has adopted this saying…”I feel a break down coming on.”  A-hem.  I have no idea who she picked that up from!

Anyway, tonight Josh took the kids out of the house (which is totally weird on a Saturday night…we are usually right here in the house, in the bed at this hour each Saturday night of the past 15 years, give or take a few, because of Sunday School responsibilities), so I did some rearranging to get a little more organized for the move.  And with all the quietness around here, the empty school room prompted my need for a “moment.”

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These doors have led into and out of the school room for many years.  Not every bit of learning happened in this little room, but much of it did!  Before it was a school room it was a play room for the little toddlers that overtook our home for a few years.

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Boy, oh boy, I remember them at this age like it was yesterday!  Pajama days happened way more often than I am willing to admit.  But we were surviving, people.  Surviving the crazy.  And I am so thankful I was here for all of it.

I remember the year we put this pitiful tree in the play room so that the kids could put their home made decorations on it.  I mean, they could get overlooked if they were on my tree in the living room.

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Looks like another pajama day.  They were singing “O Christmas Tree.”

Schooling the kids at home is not easy.  I do enjoy it, and I know I am supposed to do it this way.  But it comes with its challenges.  I told the kids that starting in a few weeks they are going to get flashbacks from the book MISS NELSON IS MISSING.  They are going to wonder where their laid back, patient Mama went.  I am ready to whip these children into shape.  We must get back into our routine!!!  I can’t take limbo very much longer.  And if one more kid huffs when I suggest reading a book to pass the time, I am going to strangle someone.  Ok, obviously I just had another “moment,” so let me get back to the positive moment I was intending to have.

We have had fun times in this little room.

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That is the solar system all across the back on the room hanging up.  And then that whole wall on the right was filled with art work and charts and test schedules.  And now it is all gone.  Boo-hoo.

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Learning sight words in Snow White heels…whatever it takes!

And then I found this precious memory of Mack learning to read in our little school room.

When he asks “Can you send it to Dad?”  Oh, be still my heart.

We won’t be schooling in this school room here on Towey Trail, but, wow, we’ve made some memories here. Lots of learning, growing, stretching, and enduring…for them and for me…throughout our time here.  I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world.  There are moments I doubt this path the Lord has us on with home schooling, but looking back and having all these memories in my heart of time together, I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world.  It gives me encouragement to press on and give these next nine or so years all I have in educating the kids and maximizing the time the Lord gives us together!  It really does go by so fast.

Catching up a little

Lots going on around here, and yet it seems like nothing is going on.

We are buying a house, selling our house, doing little repairs, scheduling final dinners and ice cream dates with friends, going through drawers and cabinets and making donations to whomever will take what we no longer need!  And yet, we are doing no school, nothing extremely productive in the way I think about being productive. We are moving towards a goal–get to Charlotte and get settled before Josh starts his new job.  But these day to day little things we are doing or not doing make this process feel like it is moving at a snail’s pace.  I know, I know.  It’s not going slow.  But it can still feel like that time from time to time.

So let me take a little moment to record some of what we have done lately.

Sold a house, bought a house.  Yippee!

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I’m kind of hoping I never have to move again….but I suppose one should never say never.

We celebrated Deacon’s first birthday!

I took tons more pictures, but they were taken with Merrilee’s camera while she did all the birthday stuff.  He was so cute and had such a fun party!

As I have been going through so many drawers and cabinets, I have found many old pictures. I love looking at pictures. I was reminded that Molly has always been a handful.

She has always been going through my makeup at all the wrong times, doing all the wrong things with it.

And then there were these sweet faces!

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And this one of Josh and me just a few weeks after being engaged…June 2000.IMG_7275

And I found this sweet picture of Josh’s mom and dad.  Sure do miss her!

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We have about a week left here in Woodstock.  So weird to think about that!!  But also extremely excited to get to Charlotte and get settled in our new place!  And super-excited to get started with schooling the kids.  I am sure they are just as excited about that as I am!

 

 

 

It’s about the people, y’all

Oh me, oh my.  Where to start?  Where to start?

I have written several blogs in my mind over the past several weeks, yet nothing seems adequate to express all that is going on in our lives, so I think I will try bite-size pieces and just start typing and see where this goes.

Three Sundays ago Josh announced to our Sunday School class (of 14+ years!) that we would be moving to North Carolina for a new job (more on the job another time…don’t want to get ahead of myself, but suffice it to say that the Lord opened a door for us and we have been hanging on to our hats ever since…what a whirlwind!).

BUT, the Sunday that Josh announced we would be moving was a tough morning.  I felt like I was getting ready for a funeral that morning.  This class has been a part of our life in some way, shape or form for most of our married life, so stopping is just plain weird. Josh cried pretty much the whole 45 minutes while he tried to tell the class all that has been going on in our lives, and yet no one knew exactly why we were going to move to North Carolina at the end of class.  Hilarious.  He was focused on letting them know how we arrived at this place and how God had been guiding us in such personal ways. It was a good morning, but a hard one for Josh and me.

The next Sunday Josh taught his last lesson and gave the class a word of warning, a word of encouragement, a word of challenge and a word of thankfulness.  He made it through with just a few tears at the end.  I was sitting there listening and watching and was looking right at him when he closed his Bible on the podium.  That moment made an imprint on my heart. He won’t be teaching in that room, at that podium, to those amazing friends anymore.  The Lord is moving us on with Him, and we want to keep in step.

Last night we had a going away drop-in at The Dutton’s house, which was only appropriate.  They have been in our class since Day One.  Yep, Day One.  And they have been so faithful!  And such good friends!  We loved being in their home and getting to see all of our friends in a relaxed environment and spending time catching up with one another. Here is a picture I will treasure forever:

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There are many sweet families not in the picture that mean the world to us;  this picture represent some of the greatest relationships we have.  Beautiful families that have shown my family such kindness and generosity over the years.  Their love and encouragement have been such a blessing in my life.  Young couples. Older couples and many in between.  We have celebrated babies being born, new houses, salvations, baptisms, new jobs, adoptions and more.  We have also carried each others burdens like losing a job, losing a baby, loss of a house, rebellious children, cancer, loss of a sibling or parent, and other challenges to every day life like broken legs or an overwhelmed pregnant mom who needs help, car trouble, learning disabilities, …”fake” heart attacks even make the list.

The people.  That is what I will miss the most from my years here at Woodstock.  Oh, we will be leaving all that is familiar to us and a comfortable and fairly predictable life, but we are more than ok with that.  We will get familiar with our new city and new life there, but these people in particular will be greatly missed.  They are what have made our time here so rich.  Those relationships that cannot be replaced.  I was pregnant at the same time as many of these ladies in the picture.  We bonded over crazy hormones and sleepless nights stories.  You can’t re-create that!    I know the Lord will bring new friends in my life in this season, and they will be just what our family needs.  I am not worried about that one bit. But I do just want to take a minute to say WOW!!!!!!  I have some amazing friends here in Woodstock.  I am taking stock of what makes it sad to leave a place and it’s the people, y’all.  What have I invested in the people around me?  What have they invested in me?  It’s not easy to pull up a tree that has deep, strong roots.  It takes effort and work and there is some untangling to do.

That’s what we are experiencing.  It’s definitely clear that it is time for our family to pick up our roots and plant them in Charlotte.  But it is taking some effort, some work and planning and there is some untangling going on.  We’ve been invested here.  Roots have gone deep here with people we have grown to love like family.  What life day-in and day-out will be like without them right up the street remains to be seen, but for now let’s just say we feel overwhelmingly blessed by the friends the Lord has given to us here.

This morning was our FOR REAL last Sunday in class.  They used this time for food and hanging out and some fun stories about Josh over the years.  Some appropriate for a group setting and some not.  But that’s ok–we leave soon.

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The many hair-dos Josh has been given by our talented friend, Guy, were shown in large print outs.

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A fun memory of a Masters Golf party was shared, and we were given the Green Jacket to keep forever.

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Marc shared a funny story from 15 years ago!

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This shirt made an appearance in 2009, I think, at a Christmas party.  It was good to see it again.

And then there was this amazing gift given to me!

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How perfect is that?!?  I absolutely love it and cannot wait to see where to put it in our home.  North Carolina and Georgia overlapping with a heart in Woodstock and Charlotte.  Love, love, love!!!!

Josh’s gift was also perfect for him.  He talks a lot about Matthew 11: 28-30—about the invitation God gives us to yoke with Him.  It has been instrumental in our prayers over the last few months as Josh challenged us not to get ahead or to fall behind, but to keep in step with our Father.  It means so much to Josh that the class thought to choose this as his gift.  It will have a special place in our home forever as a tangible reminder of God’s Truth and a reminder of these fabulous friends!  We want to continue to keep in step with the Lord, and we want all of them to do the same!

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They prayed for us.

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It’s the people, y’all.

And then there was this picture of Mack’s class and one of a good friend of his in his class that was sent to me….

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Oh, the people.

And then this row of girls that sit together week after week….

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The people! Precious, precious people.

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This sweet lady represents the Elementary Department!  Denise leads an amazing team that has helped encourage my children in The Lord and His ways.  We are grateful for all the Sundays we showed up with our children and they were met by loving, kind teachers that had prepared for them.  What a huge blessing!

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And these two cuties above dressed like twinsies and didn’t even plan it.  I love the bond they share!

So again, let me just say– It’s about the people, y’all.  We haven’t been perfect friends or perfect Sunday School teachers (that goes without saying!), but over the years we have been blessed by so many people in so many ways.  Words could never suffice, but I am so thankful for the people God placed in our lives here in Woodstock.  We are better for it!