Snow and high winds have us socked in at our cozy house just north of town. After a very full two months, it's probably good to have to stop and rest. We need to play until the wind whips our cheeks bright red and sit around the table for just one more cup of hot chocolate.
Nearly two months ago we made the decision to move to a new house in order to shift financial priorities. I had in mind that we would have the entire month of January to prepare to move, which was plenty of time. I had wisdom tooth surgery and then started getting organized.
Mid-January I invited my cousin to visit with her three kids while her husband was out of town, assuring her we had plenty of time to get packed. Quality cousin time for a week trumps packing and with her fourth baby due soon, we knew it was our last chance for awhile.
The week after she left, we had an incident with a leak in our kitchen. The fridge had been leaking water from behind and I didn't discover it until water started squishing between the tile grout. Our landlords graciously decided to wait to replace it until we moved... but the insurance adjuster had different ideas.
Sean called to tell me they would have to rip up the kitchen and put fans and de-humidifiers in the house, raising the temperature to about 95 degrees and kicking around a bunch of tile dust. I was particularly nervous for Everett, who battles asthma and allergies.
I was sitting at my mom's table when Sean called. I hung up and explained the situation to my parents and sister.
"Move this weekend," they advised.
"That leaves me 48 hours instead of a week and a half to get packed, in an already busy month."
"You can do it. We can do it."
Yes. Yes, we can.
A few friends jumped in to help pack. Friends brought meals, trucks, and a storage container. My family stepped up as they always do. It was a frenzied few days with no kitchen, endless dust, and a fridge in the mudroom, but we did it.
The night before we moved I tucked Darla in and she sighed deeply. "Mom, I'm excited for our new house and I know I'm going to love it... but I'm sad about leaving this neighborhood. It's like I can't make up my mind."
"I always feel that way moving," I assured her. "It's okay to feel sad and happy at the same time. It's complicated. You know what I do? I spend the night before a move thinking about all the memories of that house. I think about the good memories, the hard and bad memories, and I usually write a bunch of them down in my journal. I think about all God has done and the ways I've changed and grown while living there. I let myself be sad and think about what I'm leaving. Then- the next morning when the U-haul pulls up I'm ready to look forward to a new adventure."
"That's the best conclusion!" (Can you tell by her vocabulary that she's a reader?) "How did you get that idea?"
"Lots and lots of moves, baby."
We were ready to look forward when morning came. We've spent much of February unpacking, hanging pictures, and creating fun spaces.
We've also spent the last couple weeks breaking our new house by exploring the property surrounding our house (and having picnics in the cold),
developing new routines, a week of horrendous stomach flu, having friends over, and creating a sensational Valentine Dinner.
Meanwhile... Sean spent the last two months doing a funeral, youth ministry, d.j. events, and taking on a large project for Big Oak- transforming a downtown space into an amazing community/teen center (more on that for a future post).
I never did get my quiet reflection the night before we moved. I did some when I went back to clean the old house, but things have been coming at me a little too fast. Instead, I've been using little gaps of time to write down ways in the last few months I've seen the Lord draw near to me, ways that He has miraculously provided, ways that He has used unexpected things to cause dependance on Him. Even with life at high speed (and the high speed soundtrack sounding an awful lot like 10 high powered fans drying out decades old tile...) I'm determined to not forget His hand. I'm determined to keep looking up instead of keeping my head down in survival mode (plus keeping your head down during flu week is NOT a good idea. You learn to tip your head up and breathe carefully when you're holding little heads over toilets in the middle of the night.)
I have no idea what the date is today. I'm not sure I remember the rhythm of "normal" daily life. But I'm settled in with no boxes left and I haven't accidentally driven towards the old house all week. I have a healthy household, a working kitchen, and plenty of hot chocolate for a snow day. That's something!
Just throwing myself out there a bit...