Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Last Leg....For Now

Quick update - we didn't leave Baltimore until 9:00 p.m. Monday night. Yes, I know that's not the ideal way to move, but work week loading limits one to those available to help. I'm still not sure our amazing friends have recovered yet. We only went far enough to get around D.C. and then stopped for the night. Yesterday we slept in a little and took our time and made it almost to TN. Soon we'll be driving the last 5+ hours and hope to arrive early afternoon and will begin the unloading process. Again, work week arrivals limit help, so hopefully my Facebook plea will result in a couple of brave souls. :)

Thanks for the prayers as we've traveled. Kit has done really well especially since my car is packed to the brim and she basically has no room. I feel a little bad that we've brought her into hotels both nights with clearly marked signs that say, "No Pets Allowed", but it couldn't be helped. Pictures will come as soon as we get internet access in our apartment which will hopefully be tomorrow. One can only hope......

I've learned never to say never, so I'm sure we'll move again at some point in our lives - like in 15 months when our lease is up. Maybe it won't be as far next time. I guess we'll see, won't we?

Monday, April 26, 2010

On The Road Yet Again

There are a few minutes left in this very long Monday we have just lived. At 9:00 tonight, we finally pointed the UHaul truck and my car south and left the city of Baltimore. We might get this right if we keep practicing, but for now here are a few pointers.

1. Whatever size truck you think you need, you probably need one bigger.

2. Many hands make light the work. Whoever first uttered those words was very wise.

3. No matter how well you prep, there will always be last minute things to do that can't be done until the last minute. Maybe that's why they're called that.

4. Animals have more sense that people do. They hide in safe places when life gets too chaotic around them. The people just keep making it worse.

5. It's hard to drive in the dark when you're don't.

6. Get a good night's sleep before a long day of driving. It makes everything look better.

Pictures will follow at some point. But for now, I'm acting on the wisdom I just shared with you and going to bed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Well, it's begun. The ability to be a spectator of my life the past week or so has disappeared and the realization of reality has set in. Endings are taking place with goodbyes right around the corner. And I'm not looking forward to all. For every "welcome back" awaiting us, there is a "goodbye" being said. We will leave part of our hearts in Baltimore and take part of the Charm City with us.

We were supposed to be here a minimum of two years and we will actually be driving south the exact same weekend we headed north for the final move a year ago. I don't know why I am still surprised how God's ways don't usually follow my ideas of what life will look like, but I am.

So the disengaging has begun. While we'll stay connected for a while to help with the transition, new people are being trained and life will go on for everyone. We're all richer for the new friendships that have been made and I fully expect to be able to introduce some to Georgia in the coming weeks and months. But for now, the difficult part has arrived - knowing that the inevitable goodbye has to be said for now.

Thanks, Baltimore, for the memories and for the life lessons we're still learning. And thanks, Gallery Church, for letting us join you in being a display of God's greatness in a city that so desperately needs Him. We will miss you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

Good morning! I thought I'd give you a quick update on how things are going so far. Does this give you an idea?

Not much is happening yet that would disturb Kit's morning slumber, but hopefully that will be changing soon. I worked all day Monday and Tuesday trying to get things in a good place to pass along to my replacement at work which means I wasn't home. Today will be spent getting our paperwork lives in order so the packing can begin. The forecast isn't very nice as you look ahead for when we'll need to load a truck and drive, but maybe it will change. We're fortunate that we're not in a giant rush so if it takes longer because of wet roads, that's OK.

As a Braves fan, I have to leave you with this small but important fact - right this minute we are tied for first place in our division with the Phillies who we stole a game from last night. While life changes and moving are not at the top of my favorite things to do list, I have to admit I'm quite excited to be living where I can turn the Braves game on a television and not have to sit in front of my computer.

And on that happy note, I'm off to disturb poor Kit who has no idea what's coming.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Lost Week

This was certainly not how this past week was supposed to go. I brought back a head and lungs filled with Georgia pollen that promptly knocked me off my feet for the entire week. I ended up with an antibiotic to treat the resulting sinus infection and spent most nights coughing instead of sleeping. So while we did a little sorting here and a little gathering there, our apartment mostly looks like we're about to begin an ordinary week. I'm now wondering how long it will take the panic to set in.

The week ahead will be a hard one. Goodbyes have to be said, boxes will be packed, plans continue to be made, and job training must take place for the duties I am leaving behind. I tend to process life by either talking to myself or to anyone else that might listen, but when there's too much to think about, I can't get the words out. So they rattle around in my head and I just feel full inside. I'm guessing it will be a very full week.

People keep asking us if we're excited to be going back to Georgia and the answer really is "yes". Yet, in some ways it's like we're not. We're moving to a new area, we'll have another new place to live, Hamp's starting another new job, and we get to figure out all over again where we will live life and who we will share it with. The friends we left behind will be anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes away and traffic will be an issue to deal with when we gather together. So there are a lot of unknowns waiting for us and if you know me well, you know that's not my favorite way to live. I'm getting used to it out of necessity, but it's not what I would choose.

So, it's off to bed I go with the hope that I won't be sleepless in Baltimore this week. If things go well, I hope to be able to pop in throughout the week and let any of you who might be reading be the recipient of my processing. If it's quiet here, well, then you know how to be praying!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two Weeks From Today

Two Mondays from now, we will be picking up a UHaul truck so we can load it with the ever-shrinking personal possessions we own. That is, of course, if I get rid of this throat/lung/laryngitis thing I have and can actually make the call to change our pick up date. I'm home sick for the second day in a row and can't even be productive with it because I can't talk which means I can't make the set up calls to the new utilitiy companies, etc. Sigh.....I'm trying not to panic as I watch the clock tick away precious minutes that I don't have to waste.

Unfortunately, I haven't felt well enough to pack or do anything terribly strenuous, so I've been looking for ways to entertain myself to keep the frustration levels down. Kit provided some of that yesterday and when I went to download the picture I had taken of her to the folder with others in it, I realized that she's had quite a year being a city cat. So I thought I'd let her tell you a little of her story before she embarks on another journey soon back to her place of birth.

Soon, I will be getting her crate out so she can see it and hopefully begin to bond with it before I have to smash her in it and get her to the car.

She actually travels much better than I thought she would and once the initial fear wears off, she likes to get out of the crate and sleep on the fleece blanket in the back seat. Yes, the entire back of my car is designated for the cat when we move her.

Once we arrive at our new location, the chaos will be a bit much and Kit will cope with it by trying to find a place to be removed from it all. This is where she ended up when we first got to Baltimore.

Just in case you wondered, no, we don't allow her on kitchen appliances or counters for obvious reasons, but it doesn't stop her from trying occasionally.

She's missed being able to go outside and be in the sunlight and our apartment really has only one window that she can get in. As the weather has warmed, she has enjoyed having it open.

As you know, it was a long, hard winter here in the mid-Atlantic and it was much colder than we southern raised Joneses were used to. About halfway through the winter we bought an oil-filled heater that pretty much saved the day. Kit wasted no time in figuring out it was a great source of heat and she looked for different ways to be near it.

I honestly wasn't sure she would survive the move here but she's done extremely well even though she's over 14 years old now. Her days aren't terribly complicated and she mostly just sleeps through them.

But she does have her moments at least once a day or so where she takes time to play or be mischeveous or hide and make us figure out where she is.

I realize that some of you are not cat lovers and don't understand those of us who are. They really do have unique personalities and right now our immediate family has 3 very different cats that belong to various members.

This is Simba, Matthew's kitty that looks like a baby panther. He's quite the untamed feline for the most part, but he's lots of fun and will definitely keep him and Lindsay entertained once they get married this fall.

And of course, we can't forget Ellie, Tiffany's wondercat who has had many adventures in her life so far. She's the seasoned pet traveler of the family having gone from Georgia to Boston and then from Boston to Orlando two years later. Tiffany always wanted a chatty kitty and she got her wish...much to her dismay at times. But she's quite the charmer and a very discerning judge of character.

And that, folks, is me finding something to do when I can't do what needs to be done. You don't realize how much you need your voice until it's not there anymore. Anyway, have a great beginning to your week!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

You Can Never Go Home Again?

"How far we all come. How far we all come away from ourselves. So far, so much between, you can never go home again. You can go home, it's good to go home, but you never really get all the way home again in your life." ~James Agee, "A Death In The Family"

With all due respect to James Agee, I'm not sure his statement is correct. It appears that this Yankee-born, Southern-raised, and Baltimore-transplanted girl is returning home to the Jonquil City, also known as Smyrna.

It's late and I am heading back to Baltimore tomorrow to begin the madness that will be our lives for the next three weeks as we pack yet again and have to say sad goodbyes yet again. I'm not a fan of either - just in case you wondered.

I do think James Agee is right to some degree because while I will literally be living right around the corner from where I grew up, the city that shaped me has been reshaped over the last three decades. But the complex we'll be living in has lots of trees (and currently LOTS of pollen) and it just felt like home. My poor old kitty will get to experience the outdoors again on our small porch area and we have a swing, picnic table and grill right outside our back door. Trust me, people, it's the little things.

I did get to go to the Braves home opener...sort of. After battling traffic problems, cell connection problems, and parking problems, I actually got to my seat in the 4th inning. But there will be more games and I have proof I made it there.

My posts might be brief for now as there is much to do, but they shouldn't be boring. In fact, I'm not sure that will ever be an adjective that can be used for our family again.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

God Is In Control

Happy Easter to you even thought it's almost over. I am unwinding in a hotel room in the middle of the drive between Baltimore and Atlanta hoping to sleep longer than four hours tonight. That means you get a few minutes before I head to bed for that attempt. :)

It was a beautiful day for a drive and six hours alone in the car gives you a lot of time to ponder many different things. I found myself thinking about Jesus's followers as they awoke on what we now call Easter morning and what that must have been like for them.

Think about it - Jesus had been living and ministering with them for three years. They were all good Jewish men and for the most part believed that He was the promised Messiah. They had experienced all sorts of oppression as a nation and thought that Jesus was the one who would finally lead them to freedom.

Knowing that, it helps us maybe understand how one day they could line the streets waving palm branches hailing Him as King, then just a week later demand that He be crucified. If He was really God's Promised One, wouldn't He have saved Himself and them?

I can just picture them listening to Steven Curtis Chapman on their ipods and the words of the song, "God Is In Control":

This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are...

They're trying desperately to hold on to their faith in God's Promise, yet the facts before them seem to completely contradict everything they've ever known. Then the Sabbath approaches, Jesus is buried, and they all go home.

Dawn breaks on the first day of the new week and a few of the disciples remember Jesus talking about rising from the dead. They race to the tomb to see if He's there and are greeted by an angel. I love what the angel says.

"Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said."

They run tell their friends, they're not believed (imagine that!), others do believe, and soon Jesus actually begins to appear to them.

This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are...
And our God is in control

That is what Easter is all about. God interrupting life as it is known, disrupting the plans of individuals and an entire nation, and giving Himself so we could be His. It sounds familiar, doesn't it? Who of us hasn't had life interrupted either by our own choosing or the choices of someone else? I think that God is closest when the shock of life causes us to gasp and suck in our breath until however long it takes us to begin to exhale again. He's there in the silence, in the pain, and in the fear.

He's also in the unknown, which is where Hamp and I find ourselves once again. I've mentioned for the last few months that the corporate office decided to close their Baltimore facility. They kept Hamp on board for the shutdown process, but it became apparent quickly that the time would be shorter than we originally thought. He began to make some inquiries about job possibilities and after weeks of calls, occasional interviews, prayers, and waiting, a new destination was determined. After informing his current employer and breaking the news to our church family in Baltimore, we can now share with you that we are moving....back to Atlanta! Just in time for baseball season...well almost!

As you can imagine, we have a LOT to do because we'll be heading south at the end of April. Yep, in just a month. So this trip for me is two-fold; I get to go to the Braves home opener, but I also have to find us a place to live. We're looking for an apartment in the Cumberland Mall area or somewhere in that vicinity. City living this past year or more has ruined any chance of Hamp ever commuting a long distance to work again so we want to be closer to downtown.

While we're returning to a lot that's familiar and we won't need the GPS every time we get in the car, there will still be a lot of changes. We'll have to learn a new area to live in and it will be at least 30 minutes from everybody we know and where life was familiar. We'll be going to a new church so we'll have to meet people, get plugged in, etc. which takes time and energy.

Remember, though, that moving toward something means that you're also moving away from something. We have sweet friends and connections in Baltimore that will be very hard to leave.

Imagine still damp hair tousled about on this little boy's head and the freckles sprinkled across his nose as he scuffs his way toward me, then looks at me with sad eyes and says quietly, "I don't want you to move".

This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are...
And our God is in control

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Because I Can

So much for good intentions! I truly haven't had longer than a few minutes here and there in a while to get my wedding post done. But I will!! However, I have a brief ranting I must give in to right this minute and I can do so because this is my blog.

For the record...I HATE April Fool's Day. Why there is one day a year where perfectly sane and honest people think it's amusing to lie to their friends and family all for the right to gleefully shout, "April Fool's" is beyond me. Maybe my firstborness is too strong in regards to rule following or honesty or something, but having been the person doing both the pranking and receiving of the pranks at times in my life, I find the sense of betrayal I'm left with is stronger than any feeling of satisfaction I might have.

One April Fool's Day when we were little, my sister and I ran into the bathroom where our dad was shaving to get ready for work and convincingly told him he had a flat tire. We realized immediately by his uttered profanity that our joke had not been received with the same enthusiasm in which it had been given. As we ran giggling out of the bathroom (mostly to save our butts), I realized that what had seemed amusing to us actually caused him pain and frustration, even if it was only for a minute and I never forgot that incident.

Having worked in a high school for many years, I stayed on guard every April 1st and had to mentally prepare myself to ignore pretty much every word spoken the entire day. That can be fun sometimes, but when real life insists on going on at the same time, it makes for a difficult balancing act and one I don't like attempting.

So there you have it - criticize if you must and if you successfully "get" me on this or any future April Fool's Day, I will mostly forgive you. But if you must participate, I would appreciate it if you would steer away from potentially life altering declarations in your attempt.

Lest you think I'm channeling the Grinch today, I'll leave you with a few pictures from my outing yesterday to DC to see the cherry blossoms in bloom. It was a beautiful site and one not easily captured, but I tried.