Tag: moving

Five Years Later

A friend of mine always gets a kick about how I keep track of time…

That was 5 years ago this spring.

That was before I started getting pregnant again.

That’s when we were at the theater.

That’s when I was Tweeting.

That’s back from our road days.


…and on, and on.

Last week, I started Tweeting again. I need to for my job, but in order to relearn the language, I started using my personal account again. Like all things social media, it’s a giant rabbit hole, not just of information, but of emotions.

I soon “saw” people I hadn’t seen in awhile and got caught up on one of their stories. Perhaps the most emotional one for me is the story of Sara Frankl, known on Twitter as “@gitzengirl.”

I read Sara’s blog for years. And in the middle of a crazy, turmoil-filled season in my life, she passed away after an agonizing battle with a rare disease.

I am delighted to see her legacy is moving forward, captured in a book and a foundation and the constant reminder to CHOOSE JOY.

Rod and Kel's Beach House

In five years, literally everything about my own life has changed. We moved two more times, and as of this July, we now live in our “BEACH HOUSE.” Through connections very divinely-ordered, we “have our own house” again, one mile from the ocean, with palm trees and golf carts and a salty breeze. It’s unbelievable…

kids Aug2016

We had three more children… two of them born to heaven, and one of them growing like a tall Carolina pine tree. I will never understand the baby that came to us (one year post-tubal-ligation) this January, and I may never quite get over saying goodbye to our Jesse at the end of February (2 years from the day of our first miscarriage), after seeing his perfect beating heart. But I am grateful for the new filter through which I view life… it’s always surprising, it’s always abundant, and we are never alone.

This year of 2016 has been full of the unexpected. We lost friends to moves, and gained friends who moved closer. We lost friends to disagreements, but gained others through grace. We lost a few dear friends to death, far too young in our eyes, but welcomed a few special little ones earthside. And I learned that redemption of sadness and loss maybe doesn’t look how we always thought it would.

our beach at full moon

And I am reminded that every story ends with an ellipses. There is always more to be told…

As I write this today my heart is full on many levels. I have missed coming to this place and sharing, but I know my life is so “abundant” right now that this is a privilege rather than an appointment. It’s one I will take. We never know what is coming tomorrow, so the life in our hearts should be expressed RIGHT NOW.


the end of an era, you might say

That’s what Monica called it, so it works for me…

This morning was likely the last we all woke up with Paige living under our roof.



It’s different than leaving for college. She’ll be going to college…but she left to start her life.

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

She left 2 years ago to do the college thing… the one she’d always talked about. That was much scarier and traumatic. We were so new in town. There was no one here to say goodbye. There was no one here to miss her like we do. There was no one to offer understanding and solace.

This time is so different. We are all older, wiser, and more familiar. Paige was sent off with dinners and cupcakes and even a concert at the beach last night (I mean, it wasn’t actually in her honor, but still….)

So today has basically been a hodge-podge of quieter emotions and some reflection… about how much Paige is like her daddy (almost stoic in the face of emotional circumstances), about how this feels like she’s never coming back (I predicted a pastorate over a cowboy church in Montana…we’ll see), about how neat it is to see her through the eyes of our mutual friends as they bid her farewell and offer her support in her ministry endeavors, about how our nest is now half-empty, and we have ways to go…


It was also a hodge-podge of our usual pop culture quotables. My day started with “The Living Years,” originally Mike & The Mechanics and recently/beautifully by The Isaacs. It quicly turned into Many Friends Quotes, namely from the episodes about Rachel moving out of Monica’s apartment (“IT’S THE END OF AN ERA…YOU MIGHT SAY!”) And finally, as we hugged goodbye, I couldn’t help but warble in my nearly-gone voice the lyrics of the Dixie Chicks first hit, because:

She needs wide open spaces,
room to make the big mistakes.
She needs new-ew-ew faces,
she knows the high stakes…

It was fun. Really.

And there were pictures… from a sisters’ goodbye, a little breakfast we got to have just with Rod, Paige, and me, and from this evening…when the little girls chose hot dogs and pool time to drown their proverbial sorrows. They’re all gonna be alright! <smile>
p-girls2 p-dad3 p-dad2 p-dad p-kelly

related adults

Even though I don’t feel so much like the new girl in town anymore, there are some conditions that sort of shout You aren’t quite at home to me, namely:
– the prescence of my parents/the girls’ grandparents
– the prescence of people I’ve either known all my life or act as if I have

So…it is really, really, super nice to have related adults living here. Josh and Kirsten are getting settled into their great new apartment. And…Paige is going to remain in South Carolina rather than going back to Kentucky (her story to tell, not mine…I trust in her future, and I love having her here).

So…we spent much of our weekend performing manual labor:



We’ve been really blessed, especially in the last half of the past year, for adults in our lives to support us, who can be called upon in emergencies, child care crises, birthday celebrations, etc. But having adult relatives here is…well, the bomb.


We are moving somewhere between the 23rd & 30th. My official packing plan is 5 boxes/day (this is at night, after the 12ish hour days we’ve had for the past few weeks. I. Am. Superwoman!) But first, there was unpacking to do, and we all know it must start in the kitchen. As of their first night, J&K could cook…if they wanted to!

And I’ve concluded that love is…

…packing them…

…before packing us!

the friends

I admit I feel a little creatively wrung out after all the posting in November.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say.

December is already blazing by us. Many of the Christmas cards are sent. Visits and outings are being planned. Paige will be home next week. And the snow…is far away from us (hoorah!)

We had a quiet weekend, even though it was full of nice things. Friday afternoon, we took a somewhat impromptu trip to see our ‘(North)Carolina Next of Kin,’ our ‘Carter Side of The Family,’ known to the rest of the world as Jay Stone Singers:


This picture is from the cruise, which is when Rod and I last saw them. The girls hadn’t seen them since Labor Day. Funny thing is, even though we moved only 90 miles away from them, we’ve spent more time with them out of the Carolinas than we have in. Such is the nomadic life of singing friends.

We had a great time doing what we do…drinking coffee, eating Mexican food, stopping at Walmart, and kicking around their cozy, chaotic house. Time with friends who are family is balm for the soul.

On Saturday, we stayed a little closer to home and hung out with friends again. We did normal friend-things…watched the Wildcats beat the Tarheels (who is this talking about college basketball? I have no idea…), made sandwiches, played outside. It is so very good to have close friends, close by.

On Sunday, well, we had Journeychurch, of course. It wasn’t the same without our dear pastor and his family there, but we had an awesome service. And the guy on the drums? Total babe.

{of course it was Rod}.

Afterwards, we decided spur-of-the-moment to go for pizza. We called our Saturday-friends to meet us, and turned out some other friends were there. I love having random meetings with new friends!


And then Sunday night happened. Aren’t they hard sometimes, as we try to cram in the last sweet minutes of weekend while simultaneously preparing for and avoiding the stresses of the coming week? Sunday nights used to be anchored by church, but we haven’t gone to a church with Sunday night service in quite awhile. So yesterday afternoon, the girls played, Rod took a cat nap, I folded some laundry. And at some point, I got sad. Because ’tis the season, and my Christmas season looks so different than it ever has before. I know that this is part of the deal…new traditions, blahblahblah. But I’m reeling a little from those ‘little’ losses. Not seeing my cousins. Not hugging my gramma. Not singing with the church choir. Not finding the right time/look/feel of hosting a party for the kids (like we did last year). Not having an intimate dinner party with my closest girlfriends. Not seeing It’s A Wonderful Life at Hollywood Boulevard.

…and not seeing my parents or my brother on Christmas for the first time in my life,

not to mention my brother’s family, and of course, Rod not seeing Josh for the first time in his life.

Moving is a strange thing. It has brought me through emotions I expected and many that surprise me. I constantly have the feeling or fear or stoic acceptance of being left behind, and then I feel stupid about it because we’re the ones who left. Sometimes there is no logic to any of it, and last night was one of those times. I was just getting to the teary, make-no-sense portion of the evening when,

Jen called.

She is one of my closest friends.


She is the one I suffered/made it through student teaching with. The one who came to the hospital hours after my babies were born. The one whose house I retreated to every Monday night for 3 years. That one, you know? But I don’t usually lose my junk with her. And last night, I did. Heard her voice, and let myself cry. By the end of the call, I felt better, I was reassured, and we’d basically planned the next 50 years of our friendship, dancing at kids’ weddings and such.

Today I texted through another event with other friends far away. I don’t have to send them complete sentences. Sometimes, just my location, the view, or a few choice words (Jeggings! Laminator!) succinctly communicate all we need.

It is so very wonderful to have close friends who stay close, no matter how far.

After talking to Jen, I got the kids to bed, popped in another Christmas-movie to watch with Rod, and smiled all night because 1) even virtual hugs rock at making me feel better and 2) our light-up garland on the mantle that wouldn’t light suddenly lit (you got that?)

Christmas looks different this year because everything is different this year. But the things that count, the preserved relationships, the always growing ones, and those in a state of careful but fun discovery, they matter the most.


one of the most common arguements I have with my husband occurs when we try to edit each other.

I imply through sighs, looks, gestures, or sarcasm that he should discipline the kids differently, complete a chore more efficiently, or handle something the way I would.

Another example:
He gets exasperated when I express a certain feeling, because it’s not how he feels.

This is not earth-shattering. This is typical Mars vs. Venus stuff. God made men and women differently, so the chances of us handling our stuff in the same way all the time are slim to nill.

Another common one we women like to dish to each other about (at least in my circle of women) is that our husbands often don’t let us vent. We go off about this (perhaps the kids not listening to us) or that (perhaps something that one woman said to us), or we fret about a circumstance (money, our weight, our to-do list) and they think they have to fix it. Bad hair day? Honey, it looks fine. Mad at your mom? Just say something. Kids talking back? Don’t let them. To men, whom God equipped to be strong and decisive, the answers to our complex emotions are often seen as simple.

But sometimes, we are not looking for a solution. Whether we are male or female, sometimes, we see that our circumstance, be it stressful, hurtful, frustrating, sad, is something that, for the moment, cannot be changed. And if we are mature enough, we know that we need to have faith to get through, because we don’t know the whole story yet ~

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

…but because we are human, we might sometimes indulge in a moment of whining. Or crying. Or just being pissy about it. But we’ll be fine. We’ll deal with it and move on.

And with that lengthy introduction, I have to say kindly, gently, gratefully, that Rod and I are not moving ‘back.’ We don’t see moving back as a solution to our circumstances (nor is the prospect even practical, since our house is rented out, we had it up for sale for a year, we couldn’t find jobs in Chicagoland anyway, and it costs thousands of dollars and a lot of stress to move a family halfway across the country, and we already did that this year.) We might indulge ourselves in moments of doubt or even anger, but we know that we know that we know that we are home, where we are supposed to be for this time, and we have no desire to uproot our kids and our lives back to the midwest.

Well, I do have a desire to have unlimited airfare so I can go back once a week or so and have coffee with my friends, hang out with my parents, kiss my niece’s sweet cheeks, and eat Aurelio’s Pizza or El Cortez, but that’s a different thing.

Our season of waiting, of things not going how we expected or wanted them to, does not equal our second-guessing. And I must apologize if I ever give that impression. We are here because we believe it’s where we are supposed to be. We aren’t sure of everything we are supposed to be doing yet, but we are learning, growing, and trying to calm ourselves while our journey winds around this bend.

’cause I believe the next view is going to take our breath away. And when I see it clearly, you’ll hear me shout all the way in Chicagoland.