Category: the inevitability of change

post-cruise news

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We had a great time.
music, food, naps

We have great friends.
So good to spend time with Bubby and Rona, Emma and Stone, and meet new friends, too.

We came home to great news.
A friend with a health worry no longer has to worry.

We came home to hopeful news.
not the resolution, which we hoped would be waiting, but we are optimistic for Soon.

We came home to…news.
Ma and Dad are going back to Illinois after Thanksgiving. I am ok with it. I want them to be happy, and it’s hard for them to adjust here when our situation is still unsettled. I hope they will try again.

I have serious sea legs tonight. My head is all fuzzy. The laundry is piled. The kids are happy. Mom and Dad are out seeing a show with Tim and Soma. I need to find a local sitter, shop for Randa’s birthday and Thanksgiving. I need to get all of our BGMR plans down in readable format. I need to get back in the gym (I went once on the ship. Shut up).

I need to go read my girls a 5 Minute Princess Story, watch Parenthood with my man, and sleep off the waves. I’m grateful for our getaway. I’m ready for a new week.

the journey (of) church

The absolute hardest thing about moving has been separation from people…my loved ones, and my own identity.

The loved ones part goes without saying. But besides 30 years of friendships, a son, a grandma, an aunt and uncle, cousins, friends of family, family of friends, doctors, cashiers, pastors, neighbors, teachers, former co-workers, library staff, park mommies, et al, there was the separation of the ME I had become in the last few years, someone who was very comfortable in her role of Woman of the House, wife, mom, hostess… and the person I was to be here: new girl. marketing exec. person who doesn’t know anyone.

I haven’t written a lot about this since the summer. Thankfully, this was one of the areas in which slowly and steadily, I made strides. I learned to let go of my kids a little bit and adjust to their lovely school (and loving teachers). I embraced my role as a working woman again, mostly, and even though I still don’t always know how to dress.

We discovered that Myrtle Beach is, in fact, a small town, and before too long, we knew enough people to start having random sightings in restaurants, gas stations, stores. These are the kinds of silly, inconsequential things that make me feel home.

We have also met some truly wonderful people through our work at the theater, people who I talk to like friends, even if we haven’t hung out much outside of work, people who know enough of our story and have shared enough of theirs that we know each other’s kids’ names and places of origin (because hardly anyone is from here) and Facebook statuses.

But weekend friends…open-your-refigerator-door-friends…laugh-and-ugly-cry-friends…we all know those are harder to come by. I knew where we would find those. I knew it would be church. And so it happened, when we visited our 4th church here in July, we found a new landing place in our journey, and that place happens to be called journey church.

journey church is a body of people with a story like ours. They are passionate. they are warriors. They took a big risk in their very formation and have ridden a great roller coaster ride in the aftermath. They are believers. They are servants. They are crazy, excited worshippers. They hug tight. I adore them.

There have been a few families at journey church who have immediately and swiftly embraced us as open-the-refrigerator-door-friends. We’ve eaten together, had marshmallow fights, teased, made plans. Some of them think – and I say this in great humility – that we were brought here for them. But I know, especially as I type this while battling huge waves of homesickness – that they have been sent to us from heaven, saving us in a big way as we worked to settle in.

I have amazing friends…friends who patiently answer Facetime so my kids can talk to theirs during the chaotic bustle of dinnertime…friends who answer my tiniest whine via text…friends who send us real mail, complete with artwork…friends who have bought plane tickets or driven hours out of their way on prior-planned trips to visit us…friends who randomly say We miss you as if they know the moment when I’m afraid of being forgotten.

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But those friends cannot sit at my kitchen table any old night, or have us over for a bonfire, or meet us for a donut before the work day (a yummy buttermilk donut that the shop worker generously slathers in chocolate icing by request, I might add), or watch our kids during a work crisis, or pray with us at the altar or our office. And these new friends can. And they are. And they will.

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journey church means a lot of things to my family. It is our new home to be fed and to worship. It is a place where we feel safe, accepted, and understood. It is the church we dreamed about when we accepted our positions at the theater, because as soon as possible, its Sunday services will be held there!

It is an anchor in many ways. But in my sentimental, social soul, it is the place that gave me the greatest gift of my new life: friends. I am so grateful for each time they are gathered in our home, for each invitation to be at theirs, for the sweetness their children extend to ours, and for the memories ahead which will continue to mingle friends from all aspects of our lives together.

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This past Friday, we hosted our first couples’ dinner club at our house. Our home, which I’ve noted previously has been a little on the quiet side for me, was filled with new friends, laughing children, chili and desserts, games, and an overall warm feeling. This was a sweet answer to a simple prayer I’ve had for our home: May life friends gather here.

happy first anniversary, journey. we’re so excited to share our journey with you.

www.JOURNEYCHURCHMB.com

new traditions

“One of life’s greatest joys is sharing the traditions you brought with you with new friends.”
– my friend Chris D.

Chris sent these words to me after I whined a little about Halloween and how the onset of the fall holiday season was making me homesick.

I totally agree with her. I’m happily hosting an ‘urban family’ Thanksgiving in a few weeks. I’m making plans for special celebrations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But Halloween, because it’s one of those “eh” days, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought.

…until it arrived.

The lead-up to Halloween was quiet. I didn’t stock any candy (yay for no pre-digested Twix and Kit Kats during the entire month of Octover). I didn’t make many plans. Because of the pretty much traffic-less neighborhood we live in, we barely decorated. And the girls’ schools didn’t “do” costumes, so any ‘peer pressure’ about dressing up was lost. In fact, we probably could have ignored the whole thing. Happily, the girls chose costumes out of our rather abundant supply of dress-up clothes.

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…although I did give into their request for masks and found some $1, completely irrelevant ones at the last minute:

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Rod thought I was pretty funny for getting all sentimental about it, but looking back, we’ve always done Halloween kinda big with the kids.

– Miranda’s first one, when she was 11 months old and not even walking, I squeed and rejoiced over her Carman Miranda outfit.

– The following year, when KK was a non-walking baby and Randa was still a baby, they dressed together as cheerleaders (one Kentucky Wildcat, one fighting Illini) to trick-or-treat with their cousins in my grandma’s neighborhood. Then they quick-changed into Elmo and Cookie Monster for treats in out neighborhood. This was also the year we passed out ‘Rainbow Seeds’ in our attempt to reverse trick or treat, which was great. And, ‘we’ baked fairly intricate cinnamon cookies, which were supposed to be a tradition, but nobody but me really liked them.

– The following year, Rod was traveling a lot and I was in a bit of 2-toddler hell. Also, it was very cold. That said, Randa as Sleeping Beauty/Princess Aurora and KK as Minnie Mouse were quite the party-goers and for the first time, ran from house to house.

– Last year, Randa chose to be a “South-er-en” Belle and KK, Buzz, with a tutu. And last year was all about their friends.

Every year, even before we had the babies, I enjoyed putting together treat bags for the neighborhood kids or friends who would stop by especially for our house. I took to making a pot of chili and another of Cheese Dip and inviting people in.

I realized that those were the things I was going to miss…the familiarity of people just being around, the routine of people doing the same thing every year, whether those things were big or special or not.

And again, I have to stress, that though by Chicago standards we do not live far away from anything, we live enough out in the boonies from everything here than no one ever ‘happens’ by. Visits have to be intentional. I don’t like that, at all. I want random company!

Anyway, for my kids – because that is why we do pretty much everything, right? – I put on a happy face and we carved out some new traditions. (except, oops, we did not carve pumpkins this year…!)

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We made a quick stop at our neighbor’s house, because we knew she’d be home and happy to see us. The girls were sure happy to accept her treats, including cookies.

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Then, joined by Gramma and Papa, we headed off to Broadway at the Beach (a shopping/dining/entertainment complex for those of you not fortunate enough to live here. It also happens to be across from the theater, and we are technically part of the BATB family).

The energy there was fun, and there were a lot more people than we expected. It was a little cold by Myrtle Beach standards, but we worked one whole side, enjoying the other costumes and the girls’ exuberance at their loot (until they petered out and had to be carried, of course…)

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Of course, trick-or-treating from merchants meant a few interesting pieces of loot for the mommy and daddy ~
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~ and we also paused briefly for a Pat Boone F a m i l y  T h e a t e r FB/PR shot (unfortunately, Rod’s eyes are closed, but I’m enjoying the strategic placement of KK & shadows making me look kinda svelt):

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After we left Broadway, we headed to Seaside Presbyterian to meet up with some church friends, enjoy bounce houses, and get ‘the good candy’ – aka, chocolate.

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The most important part of this scenario was “Friends.” Thanks to photo messages, I was able to enjoy my niece and my friends’ kids/kids’ friends from afar, and thanks to an understanding group of formerly-displaced pals,

I was reassured once again that making new traditions is going to work out just fine for us.

This is Soma, being goofy:
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And these are 2 of the slightly-older children of our new friends, who are so sweet and patient with Randa and KK and always make them feel special:
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When we got too cold to beg play games and get candy any longer, we drove those repetitive 16ish miles back home, and had Papa’s chicken soup waiting for us:
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Next year, hopefully, we will live a bit closer to our people here and I will put on the chili and the open house sign, but this year, I am grateful for every single person, near or far, who makes this Chicagolina transition a little easier for us. I might always be a little teary-eyed to celebrate anything away from people I love, but I will also always smile knowing that people we love are all around.

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Now, I have to make sure Randa’s birthday party is twice as successful!
Three weeks until our BABY turns FIVE!…

gotta start somewhere

My mojo is missing.

Part of it is returning from a lovely, jam-packed, long-weekend trip to Chicago, one that included three birthday celebrations, 2 lunch dates, 2 girls’ nights in, visit to church, and successfully navigating a Monday morning flight out of O’Hare with the girls.

Aren’t you tired just reading that?

Part of it is some stalling and uncertainty in my job. Part of it is rain, here in our Carolina paradise where it happens so rarely, especially for several days straight. Part of it is my physical state; be it from allergies or something else, my eyes are all dry and burning for the third day running, and be it from nerves or something else, my stomach doesn’t seem to like anything I eat or if I eat nothing at all.

And after kvetching about it for two years…and after looking through Mom’s photo album of me and baby Randa, after I lost some baby weight and before I was pregnant with KK ( a period that lasted about 4 minutes).. I am convinced I need to Take Off The Pounds.

Because I am sick of buying clothes based on how forgiving they are.
I am sick of placing something strategically in front of my waist for pictures.
I am sick of explaining that I am not pregnant, it’s just leftovers.
and I am sick of being a young person in the prime of my life who has never been less in shape.

and yet, today, my motivation to do anything about anything lags.

I am using a few simple tools in my arsenal to get me through, until my inner ‘Eye of the Tiger’ returns~

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– one good cup of coffee
– one hot bowl of oatmeal
– My Fitness Pal, to track every calorie I ingest. It is much easier to use on my iPhone than it was on that darn Droid.
– a bottle job hair sprucing.
– fall decorations
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– promises set to song, like this one:

You make Your mercy new every day.
You changed my life in so many ways.
You cradle me in Your sweet grace.
You fill me.
Yesterday, today, forevermore.
There’s one thing I know for sure…
Fresh as the morning dew, You make Your mercy new.

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I have to start somewhere. I choose to begin improving circumstances i can, even when I don’t feel like it. Standing atop a foundation of grace is a real fine place to start.

four months already? / only four months?

I am teetering on the edge this week. The edge of what? Well, it could be any number of things...success, failure, victory, insanity. It all depends. I’m still waiting to find out.

Meanwhile, I remain grateful for the things that add joy, clarity, and perspective to our crazy days…

like our proximity to the beach

and how well Kaity and Miranda have adjusted to so many changes since May.

Essentially, they have gone from being with Rod, me, and Paige most of the time to spending 9 hours a day in school. (ouch. 9 hours hurts me right now).

But they love their teachers, they’ve made new friends, they’re in touch with their old friends, they are satisfied with our having juice and crackers for them at pick up time and (usually) quality time to spend every evening.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, Paige comes home to visit and celebrate her 18th birthday.

We’ve taken to impromptu dinners with new friends. It helps.

And we love fall here. It’s warm, y’all.

(even though Miranda found it cold when the temp dipped to 75 for a quick minute last week).

This week, I organized my files and the counter around the kitchen sink and the coffee table (baskets. candles. aaaaaah…) I am embracing my crock pot. Next week, Rod has to travel, and I plan to start getting space ready for our new roommates, who will be here in 3ish weeks(!!)

I am on the edge. I live there a lot. It’s not as exciting as other edges, and thankfully not as dangerous. It’s not the calm life I sometimes long for but secretly think I might find boring. But where it is, we’re together, occasionally eating Hostess snack cakes before dinner.

And that’s gonna do for now.