House Hunting Time is Here!

Alan and the boys, National Mall, Washington D.C., summer vacation 2017

Alan and our two boys on the National Mall, Washington D.C., when we first moved there in 2009

We have been officially notified that we’ll be moving back to the D.C. area this summer.

I SHOULD be like WAHOO!!  Let’s do this!! After all, I love D.C., and this is an excellent job opportunity for Alan. Plus, I’m moving close to so many friends. I love D.C. It’s like an entire metropolitan area of people who are ALL just as uptight as I am. These are my people!!!

But in the words of Forrest Gump, “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.”

Oh, wait. Where is home??? Ya’ll, I’m just tired of the moving, the packing, the researching, the move-out cleaning, the de-cluttering, the stress, making the kids say good-bye to their friends….That’s the hardest part.

We are quite happy to return to an area that we loved, underneath all our anxiety. In fact, I have so much anxiety over this move, I’ve been unintentionally clenching my jaw as I scroll through hundreds of housing ads. It hurts to eat now.

Y’all!! The decisions are overwhelming, and we’ve lived there before. It feels like we just left D.C., but it’s actually been almost 4 years!

It’s mind-boggling, all these houses and schools and neighborhoods. I have to pick a house that comes with an acceptable elementary as well as middle school nearby now. I’m simply going to HAVE to do a re-con trip to go look at things for myself. We are in the process of planning that out too.

Caleb, age 2, by the fountain in front of the U.S. Capitol building

But wait. Why should I allow this move to make me so crazy?

I need to s-l-o-w down. Take a few deep breaths. Trust Alan. Trust God. Everything will work out just fine. And no, I may not get everything exactly how I want it, but it will all come together.

I taught a Sunday school lesson, to my class of 4th and 5th grade girls, this morning about Paul and Silas. They were arrested in Philippi for casting a demon out of a slave girl. They were beaten and thrown into prison. What did Paul and Silas do? Worry until their jaws hurt? No. They sang. They knew God had their back, and they weren’t worrying themselves silly. (Acts 16)

I guess if Paul and Silas could sing in prison with their feet in the stocks, I can sing through this move. After all, this move is a blessing anyway, a blessing that’s carrying us back to a place that we love.

God’s got this, so we got this too. Breathe. Calm down.

Me with the 2 oldest boys, at the National Archives, 2009

Want to see a few houses I’m looking at?

Just for fun, really because I won’t get up there until March to look around…but these houses are so beautiful.

See if you can guess which two are on a military base. The base is my back-up in case I can’t find a rental.

But y’all, I just don’t know if I can move back and NOT live in my old neighborhood, and none of those are advertising yet. We loved that place and those people so much, but it has to be right for all 6 of us. I’m hoping it will work out!

***All photos were obtained from zillow.com, with the exception of the on-post houses, which were obtained from here.***

 

Amazing, huh? These will all be gone by the time I’m ready to sign papers though. If any of you know of a rental coming open in my old neighborhood or surrounding area, be sure to let me know!

I’m beginning to calm down and get excited now! It’s time to do less worrying and more singing. Let’s have a little Faith Hill and Shelby Lynne and “Keep Walkin’ On!”

 

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The Time of Our Sojourning in Georgia

 

In Georgia, we learned to appreciate the delicacy that is Chick fil a…even with our peanut allergic kiddo. This was his choice of birthday lunch, even though he can’t eat the nuggets. He loves the fries and supporting a Christian company.

 

When Jacob, as in Jacob one of the patriarchs of Israel, moved to Egypt during the famine, his son Joseph introduced him to Pharaoh. Jacob was already ancient, so Pharaoh asked him how old he was.

Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.”          Genesis 47:9-10

Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh, Pharaoh provided his family a place to settle (Goshen), and Jacob went on about his business.

I read in my ESV Study Bible notes that the Hebrew term that was translated as sojourning indicates that they had no permanent home. This is true of his family. Abraham moved from Mesopotamia, through Haran, down to Israel. He moved many times, as did his grandson Jacob, who died in Egypt.

They were sojourners upon the earth. Land was promised to them, but they didn’t always live in it.

riding the cow train at the Rock Ranch

Of course, that made me think of my own situation, as a military wife.

For us, home is not a building of brick or wood. It’s togetherness. No matter where we are, we are home.

Nothing about this life is permanent anyway. I often hear military families who are retiring say that they have found their “forever home,” or they are moving into their forever home.

What they mean is that they are finally settling down and putting roots down to stay, perhaps until they die.

That sounds so horribly permanent, doesn’t it? Digging your hole and staying there until you die?

And yet, sometimes I long for it. I long for the white picket fence and the sold sign in the yard, to meet people and allow myself to believe that I will still know them in 30 years.

But our lifestyle continually reminds me that I am but a sojourner here upon the earth. I have no forever home here, and even if I do one day, a great many years will already have been spent in too many other homes to count.

That’s not a terrible thing. It’s exciting and promising to know that life is an adventure. What a journey. I may be in the South wishing for snow this winter, but next Christmas I may be whining about the freezing cold, dreaming of moving back to my ancestral land of Alabama.

There might be a chance that we could move somewhere we’ve lived before and meet up with friends we love, friends we don’t have to start at square one, “Hi, my name is April,” with but instead can go straight to, “How’s your dad doing now? Let’s have a barbecue this weekend!”

Nana and JD on Grandparent’s Day

 

 

The time of our sojourning in Georgia draws to a close. We have filled out our preference list, submitted recommendations from Alan’s people, and we await new orders.

Endless possibilities await. Will we stay down here? Will we return to our old Virginia stomping grounds? Or will it be somewhere new altogether? Where does the military need us next?

I have no idea, but I trust it to God’s hands. I sneak in looks at rental houses in areas I’d like to go and balk over the prices. Daydreaming will be done in abundance.

I hope once I near the end of this life I will not say that the days of my sojourning were few or evil, as Jacob said. Okay, well, by Jacob’s standards I can tell you my days will be few. He lived to be 147, but so far I can say with relief that the days of my sojourning have certainly not been evil.

The Lord has always been with me, and I know that he always will be, no matter where the journey leads.

 

What it’s Like a Year After Moving

One year after moving…

A year ago, we were the new kids in town. It’s an exciting place to be, but it’s not a secure feeling at all. Perhaps that why it’s so exciting. You’re all out there without roots, marching out into the unknown, hoping the people will be kind and the environment friendly.

Phew! It’s exhausting to be new: always putting your best foot forward…Actually, sometimes it’s an accomplishment just to remember to smile at everyone and keep your foot out of your mouth. Forget about your best foot. Which one is best anyway???

That’s why the one-year mark is a much happier place to be. No, we don’t have “roots” here yet, but at least we’ve met people, we’ve been watered in, so to speak, and the garden is feeling less scary and more familiar.

 

3 of my guys, passed out “watching” the NBA finals a few weeks ago…Is it called the finals? Or the championship?  They were rooting for the Golden State Warriors. We’ve held on to a few favorite sports teams from each move. We may always be #TeamWarriors and #TeamNats and of course, #rolltide!

 

 

This is at a park across town. Last year that park seemed like a million miles away, and I could not have made a single turn without the help of the GPS. This summer it seemed so much closer!

Last year I had a LIST of things I was NERVOUS about:

  1. School uniforms for the boys–Did we buy the right thing? Will they ever adjust to wearing collared shirts everyday?
  2. Switching back to regular school–Will we survive it???
  3. Meeting people– Will anyone like us? Will the boys make friends? What if there’s a bully? What if one of them gets in fights at school?
  4. My face is broken out like a teenager–WHYYYYYYY????
  5. Church people–We picked this church, but will it work out? What sort of people will they turn out to be? Do they pretend to be perfect and expect me to do the same? I’m not playing that game. I’m much too old for that.
  6. The village–Is this a good place for my children to be raised? Why is this crime report so horrible? Is this place less safe than D.C.? Because it sort of seems like it is!!!
  7. Dropping off J.D. ANYWHERE is impossible. He will NOT let me leave him. Will he ever stop crying???

The boys have taken turns killing spiders for me this summer. Perhaps I should call pest control…

This year I have about 1,000 LESS worries and anxieties!!!

All of the worries from last year are gone. We are happy with our school, our church, and JD usually lets me drop him off without too much of a struggle.

I can’t tell you much it warmed my heart to have ONE successful VBS year with my boys. First of all, VBS and our boys have not always been a great combination.

Most of my boys don’t enjoy crafts, singing, dancing, or listening. Sigh. That list pretty much sums up VBS, doesn’t it? Plus, they are a little shy, and they dislike large crowds, especially large crowds of kid where they don’t know anyone.

This week has been completely different for us! We have achieved VBS success. I can’t believe it!

First, of all, I taught Bible story time, so three of my four boys got to have me as their teacher for 20 minutes of the morning, which helped.

Secondly, they divided the 100 children into groups of 6 to 12 kids of like ages. I can’t tell you what a blast Joshua had getting to hang out all morning everyday with 5 other 11-year-old boys.

And Daniel made a new friend who likes baseball as much as he does!

Seeing them so happy made my day because most years they just feel like the outsiders at the family reunion. You know? Going to events in a new place where you don’t know anyone is like going to a high school reunion for a high school you didn’t attend.

It was also a relief to not be moving this year. Without all the unpacking boxes and living in hotels, we’ve had more time to do fun things this summer. We’ve gone to weddings, visited old friends, played with new ones, celebrated birthdays, and hung out together at home.

 

We have a lot of fun. Sometimes they make up their own costumes…

JD has developed a passion for puzzles, and he does these completely by himself.

swimming with friends: Here’s Daniel’s favorite girl squirting Caleb in the face with a water gun.

We actually had to say good-bye to Daniel’s favorite girl and her brother this summer, who is one of Caleb’s best buds, so we do know the sadness both in moving and in having friends move.

He wears a Batman t-shirt every single day.

We’ve visited both sets of our parents multiple times. My dad really loves having his picture taken, as you can see…

John David turned 4 and built up his Lego collection.

The boys had a ball getting to sleep in hotel beds.

I’ve almost recovered from sleeping in hotel beds….

 

 

visiting our old best buds on Caleb’s birthday

So this summer finds us in a much more secure place than last year.

We have friends. We know how to go most everywhere we need to go without looking at a map, and best of all, we have about a hundred acquaintances.

It warms my heart to see my boys relaxing more and being themselves.

I hear people knocking “acquaintances” sometimes, but those must be people that never move. When you move frequently, you learn to treasure even the acquaintances, because thanks to them, you can walk around town and be reminded to smile and nod because you spot a familiar face.

It’s reassuring to me to have tons of just acquaintances. Why? Because those are all potential people in your corner right there! Just seeing a familiar person, someone whose name you know, is enough to put you at ease when you sign up for something new and you walk into a room full of strangers.

Walking around in a sea of strangers feels a lot less welcoming to me than passing by people who smile and say hello because they know my name or they know my children.

So I would say that actually having a ton of surface level friends is not so bad.

Yes, you need a few close friends too, but you can only pour into so many bosom buddies. It’s pretty awesome just to be somewhere long enough to know people’s names and have a few friends to say hello to. It reminds you to smile, and when we smile we start to feel good, as though we belong. And you know what? You do belong.

Happy summer, y’all! I hope you’re having a good one too.

 

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