Monday, February 1, 2016

Moving on.....

Seven years ago we moved from my home state of Kentucky to Tampa, Florida.  I had lived in Kentucky my whole life, so the move was HARD!  I left family and friends and moved to a state that was very different than the state where I had grown up.  As hard as the move to Florida was we had Sam's family there which was my saving grace for months.  It wasn't long before God began answering our prayers through friendships, Bible Study Fellowship, a church home, a small group, a house in Tampa, and the list can go on.  He provided then.  He provides now.  He will continue to provide as we move from what is now our Tampa home to Raleigh, North Carolina.  You read that correctly, we will be moving to Raleigh sometime during the summer of 2016.


Sam has worked for the same engineering firm since we moved to Tampa in 2009.  KCA has been a wonderful place of employment.  It is a small firm that feels more close knit in comparison with the larger firms.  While they want to succeed and win contracts they don't work their employees like dogs without rewarding their efforts.  God has blessed our family greatly through Sam's job and He continues to do so.  Last year, Sam was asked if he would be interested in heading up a design office in North Carolina in the future (I was a little excited that it could be in Charlotte, where some of our best friends from Tampa now live).  It was very vague, but he said he would certainly consider it.  We spoke about it briefly, but there were no specifics and it "seemed" so far off.  The conversation would come up every now and then, but again nothing specific.  Several months ago it became obvious that KCA was definitely going to start a North Carolina office and they wanted Sam to be the one to start it.  This was a huge honor and honestly one that we would have been crazy to turn down unless God clearly closed the door.  We prayed and discussed it.  Then, we ignored it.  Then, we prayed and discussed it.  Then, we decided if the official offer was good we would GO.  Well the offer was excellent, so here we are preparing for another huge move, but this time we are a family of 5 and we are leaving behind cousins and grandparents and friends and a wonderful school and a BSF family and a church family.  

One day I am excited and the next day I am so very sad.  I am excited to move back to a place with 4 seasons.  I am excited to be closer to the mountains, yet not too far from the beach (obviously not as close as we are here).  I am excited to move to a city with a lower cost of living.  I am excited to be a few hours from our friends, the Shah's.  I am excited to be moving to an "outdoorsy" city.

I am so very sad, I cry as I type, to leave our Florida family.  It is so wonderful living near grandparents and cousins.  I grew up in the same neighborhood with most of my cousins and a few miles from both sets of grandparents and it was wonderful.  While my children have never lived near my family they have been extremely blessed to see Sam's parents and 4 of their cousins at least once per week.  My mother-in-law babysits often and honestly they love us well.  I am forever grateful and have not taken their presence for granted.  Zoe and her cousin Kyrie have such a precious bond.  They are only 9 months a part in age and are little buddies.  I love to watch them play.  Eli has been an incredible gift to Bennett.  He is a few years older than Bennett, but he always includes him and teaches him and plays with him and encourages him.  It honestly breaks my heart to leave them.  I have learned much about grace and generosity and forgiveness and sacrifice from Sam's family, so I will always treasure the 7 years we have lived near them.  I am also sad to be leaving Westminster Academy.  It has been such a precious place for Bennett to begin his education journey.  They have loved and instructed him in the ways of the Lord.  It is a diamond in the rough and I pray God continues to grow the school, so that others will be blessed in the ways we have been blessed.  Tampa is where we started our family.  We have birthed all three of our children here, so we have a lovely network of friends who love the Lord and love our children.  Our church is not just a place where we go to worship the Lord, but a community of people we have grown to love and a community of people God has used to influence our children and family.  I have a few mentors here that have poured wisdom and truth into my life and have served my family in ways I never expected. They have been the hands of Jesus in my life and I will miss them terribly.  While Tampa is a large city and South Tampa has a large population it often has a small town feel.  We have been here long enough to where I rarely go out without seeing someone I know and I am grateful for that.  I often say one of my favorite things about South Tampa is I can drive to almost every friend's house in 5 minutes or less.  We are surrounded by parks and the beach and Disney World and Florida Aquarium and Lowry Park Zoo and Busch Gardens and Adventure Island and Legoland and I know we will miss the  convenience of this place.  

I also know God provides.  He truly does.  He hears our prayers and He answers them.  We may be leaving everything that is familiar to us and people we love dearly to go to a "foreign land", but God will go with us.  He is already there preparing the work He has for us.  Now, I just have to remember that truth when I am sad and begging to stay here in the comfort of my Tampa home.

To those of you reading who are our brothers and sisters in Christ I ask you to join us in praying for our family as we make this transition.  At the very core of my being I struggle with change and Bennett is the same way.  He needs your prayers.  We need your prayers.  His little heart is sad about moving and it is evident through his behavior and interactions with others.  My heart is sad about it too, so I easily become focused on what we are leaving versus where we are going.  During this time we covet your prayers and praise God that He hears the cries of His people.  We look forward to sharing His answers with you in the months and years ahead.



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kentucky 2015: Lexington Part 2

(This is an extremely late post....we traveled to Kentucky in June.  I am still trying to catch up.)

Wednesday we spent the morning playing at Jacobson Park.  I lived less than a mile from Jacobson my first year out of graduate school, so I have ran/walked many miles around that park.  Plus, it has one of the coolest wooden play structures I have ever seen.  One of my college friends Cheylin and her son, Carter were able to meet us.  It was wonderful to catch up with her.  



It was a low key day for us.  We ate lunch at Ramsey's, a local favorite, did a little shopping for UK gear, swam, enjoyed Orange Leaf froyo, and ate a simple dinner at the hotel.  


Thursday morning we drove to Frankfort to tour Buffalo Trace Distillery.  Wow!  The grounds were beautiful.  I do not enjoy bourbon, so I was a little skeptical about taking the tour particularly with our 2 children in tow :)  However, it was something Sam had been looking forward to for some time. I admit I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and the tour was filled with historical and interesting information.




The store houses were fun to explore.  Our guide was excellent and really helped me appreciate the whole process.




I know NOTHING about bourbon, but if I am remembering correctly Blanton's is one of the best.




The tour ended with a bourbon tasting.  They served delicious root beer and chocolates to the kids.  Bennett loved it.  Zoe not so much.  Bennett also requested a souvenir.  He found a small stuffed Buffalo.  I am not a huge souvenir person (minus a coffee mug or Christmas ornament from special places we've been), but we bought it for him.  Surprisingly, Fuzzy the Buffalo has been loved well.  Bennett sleeps with him every night.





After the tour, we took our own tour of the grounds.  The kids played on the playground for a short time.  Sam and I took in all of the beauty that is KENTUCKY:  rolling hills, lots of green space, gorgeous trees, and the smell of the great outdoors.










We left Buffalo Trace and stopped by the Candleberry Factory hoping to purchase a few of my favorite candles before heading to Asbury College.  It was a quick drive through Wilmore, so we could take a walk down memory lane and show the kids where Sam went to college, where we got married, and to indulge in some ice cream at Sim's Drugstore.



Our adventures continued once we arrived at my cousin's farm in Lancaster Thursday afternoon.  I will share about our time there sometime within the next few months :\  Maybe, I'll have our 2015 vacation documented before our 2016 vacation time :)