Sunday, June 29, 2008

Familiar Territory

We made it.

We are now in an apartment in Texas, settling in.

For a huge transition it went quite smoothly. We had a wonderful visit in Baton Rouge with Bill's side of the family. The kids behaved so well on the 10 hour and again on the 8 hour car rides. They never complained. Since Bill was driving the truck and I was in the car with them, I was especially grateful. Special thanks is also due to Cracker Barrel's Audio Book Rental Program. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane got us through Mississippi and Alabama, and Once Upon a Marigold carried us through Louisiana and Texas. (I'd link about three things in that last sentence, but my computer is running as slow as christmas. Apparently it took the move pretty hard.)

I cried all the way to Lake City, when Bo and Em encouraged me to "think about something else" which, to my relief, actually worked. It is hard to drive through your tears.

I'm ready to get my crafty area set up. It feels like forever since I've done anything creative, and I want to move in new directions. Not sure what those directions are.

Back to emptying boxes!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Life of a Hedgehog

Bo posted his Hedgie story here.
Dude typed the whole thing himself.

We've come a long way, baby!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Moving Tips

Ah! The delightful process of clearing out, packing, moving. It's certainly not the horrific chore it used to be. We've learned some things.
For example:
The Goodwill is a great storage unit.
Banker's Boxes are totally worth the investment (some of ours are on their 4th move!)
Carefully marking your boxes is highly overrated.
Packing can be done relatively quickly if you get rid of a lot of stuff.
Fewer stuff= Fewer boxes. That's my kind of math!

The newest helpful moving tool we have found are the vacuum bags from IKEA. They are actually called Hajdeby, which translated means: "Miracles of the Modern Age as Interpreted by Brilliant Swedish Designers." I call them "sucky bags."

Here we have the before shot of a number of our family's animal friends. Notice how fluffy and three dimentional they are? Those things have taken up a lot of truck space in the past! What will we do now that we only have a 17ft truck? Leave them behind? May it never be!

Enter the miraculous Hajdeby. This bag was made to hold two pillows and one blanket, but look how well 3,487,598 stuffed animals fit inside! And look how happy it has made the kids to see their animals so compacted. Because, really, isn't their happiness what it's all about?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And now *pant pant* we're back *pant pant* in the car.

One more weekend in Lithia Springs while the drive is still only 6 hours. Hang out time with the Carters is just one of those things that is necessary for the living of a good life.

That is, the living of a good and somewhat deranged life, if you are my offspring.

High Five if you know what the title of this post is a quote from.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Nitty Gritty.

I've been struggling in the past few months with the idea of a personal walk with God.

In the last ten years my relationship with Him has been intensely and happily corporate. I believe that God wants a people, a group, His children to know Him together. I have found Christ richly and deeply with others.

Now I am alone.

Before you slant your head to the side and say "awww," please realize what "alone" means for me. It means I have a husband who is pretty much on the same page as I am, spiritually (although our methods and approach differ.) I have adorable children who ask questions like "Mama, I just noticed something in my Manga Bible. God made light before he made the sun. How is that possible? And who made God?" and then (after I practically swallow my tongue and twitch in anxiety until I remember John 1) when I direct him to this, he goes "Oh, well that explains everything!" I have a believing family, extended family and friends.

What I had was more intentional than that. Ideally, our purpose was the Lord and His Church. It is why we gathered. To give Him something. It was why I gathered, anyway. I could say alot about that. I believe it. I miss it. It was, at best, the deepest I'd ever seen the Lord, and at worst, well, just all the bad things that come along with being part of a group with an absent (on purpose) leader, and an different opinion/personality for each person.

When I was a teenager I read a quote from Tennyson on the back of a Celestial Seasonings box about "Life piled on life" and I wanted that. You know what? I had it. Not "good piled on good" or "good piled on bad" or "good piled on life"(although if anyone finds that version, I would not be opposed to partaking of it) I wanted Life. Living. To experience the most that could be experienced out of every day. I experienced a lot of the Lord in the garbage of daily life. What more could I ask for?

But in all this corporate pursuit of the Lord, there was a letting go of my personal relationship to Him. I was always aware of this, and I know others were, because we would talk about it. But I would just let it go- thinking that it was all tied in to this higher thing of knowing the Lord together.

So here we are, the point of all this. I am alone in my pursuit of Him. I do not have people I can rely on to drag me back to Him on at least a weekly basis. I have tried going to regular old church and I can't stomach it, and don't invite me to yours unless you are prepared to handle a scene because I will probably start weeping uncontrollably. I can corral it into looking like "repentance" for the sake of appearances, but believe me when I tell you that it ain't.

The idea of "personal relationship" to the Lord became a lesser thing to me. This is no one's fault but my own. It was something I was shocked to discover in November when I realized that "personal relationship" was what it had all been reduced to. For a while there, I didn't believe it. How could a God, Who is corporate, put any stock in my individual love for Him? There's no adding, no expanding, just simple ol' tired-out doubting me. A dear sister told me "How can he not care about you personally? Think how much I care about you, and how much bigger His love is?" It's true, and yet...(shoulder shrug) ok, great. Whatever, man.

Truthfully, I don't think I was sure how to face him without an army of saints at my back. How to come to him empty handed, needy (shiver), banal, and above all else, solitary? And if indeed I did manage to connect, how could it do anything other than fall short of the glory I had known in the past, and simply serve to wake a thirst that couldn't be slaked?

Months went by, and I didn't do anything. I didn't talk to Him, didn't think of Him. And things were ok. Life was good. Not rich, but good. I've been in dry places before...I know there is an end to them. I don't panic anymore when they come, I usually just ride them out.

I can't say what it was exactly that brought me to the place where I wasn't afraid to "make eye contact" with Jesus anymore. Perhaps just time to let the wrench from the change settle and fade.

I decided I needed a "new" relationship to my Lord. One that fits my "alone" status. One that is, forgive me, mine. Not casting aside anything I've known or learned of Him, but letting it support TODAY's revelation of who He is and not determining it.

So far, I've discovered something major.

He cares about me.

My brain and soul start to splinter admitting that. It sounds so

a) basic, duh!


b) self centered and shallow.

But here's the thing. His caring for me is not the end of my story, nor the totality of my "new" relationship with Him. It's only a beginning. It may be a slow growth, but I'm not eager to rush into the deeper things, quite honestly. I'm savoring this knowledge.

Thank you Lord. You are sufficient for today.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Full Disclosure

I suppose that most everyone knows now that we are moving back to Texas. Not the hardest decision we've ever made, simply because it had a nice deep basis in practicality.

Emotionally, I cannot deny that I am glad to go home.
But I cannot deny that it is hard to leave.
I hate leaving. I'm tired of saying goodbye.

2.5 days of school left.

18 days until we load the truck

23 days until we arrive in Texas

I don't want to live by countdowns, but I'm afraid old habits die hard.

In less melancholy tones:

David graduated! Have I mentioned that not only Dave, but Luke and Mark also got full scholarships? We're very proud!

This is the second incarnation of my haircut. Needs to be shorter in the back, imho.

Hellooooo fatty. Get some sleep, yo. See next picture.

We're into green smoothies these days....this one not looking so green, but spinach gets squashed with all that, er, heavy watermelon right, on the top, there.

Emma at the Kindergarten Luau. She received her Kindergarten awards last week: super reader and citizenship. She has come so far, and I'm very proud of how hard she has worked this year.

Doncha love the big pink bow? And the sideways pupils?

I got a job as a school nurse at an elementary school in Texas and I'm beyond thrilled about that. We've had a struggle this year, but living near Missy, Scott and kids, making dear friends, and gaining experience- has made it very worthwhile.

We don't regret coming at all.

And (cover your eyes Floridians)

as Emma said:

"We really are more Texas people than Florida people."