Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Afraid

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It's been so busy here recently. People coming and going. Appointments made, travels done, visitors coming, staying, and then packing up and going again. Events taken in. Milestones made. Celebrations shared.

I mark each day off my calendar, wandering around the house, cooking in the kitchen, trying hard to not count the "last times" in my heart.

You know, the "last times" of living in this house.

The last time my girls will be here together (I think... it may happen one more time).

The last time I'll run around the yard (or this kitchen) with my grandsons.

The last time we'll be at this church together.

The last time we'll gaze at the moon from this patio.

The first time the "last times" hit me hard was when I was preparing for my daughter to travel overseas with her husband to work in a new mission field. It was really hard to count down the "last times" knowing they were leaving for an uncertain amount of time, and not knowing when we would see them again.

No amount of being glad your child is following God's will for their life can make up for that emptiness that you feel in the pit of your stomach. I grew so much in my faith, my prayer life, in trusting God with all the details. But that empty pit in my stomach feeling... oh how it hurt... until it became a part of my past... and God grew in that space. My faith grew.

So it hit me really hard to realize that I was counting the last times in my current move.

It was the empty feeling in my stomach that clued me in.

I told my daughter, "I think I'm getting an ulcer."

(Oh, if only...)

We've barely lived here a year. We made changes to the house and landscaping to make it "ours," thinking we would be here a LONG time. Little did we know. (But God knew.)

We haven't really made friends here, in our neighborhood, or church, yet we've seen God at work in us, and it's been home. We've loved on daughters and grandkids, loving being so close to them geographically. Memories have been made.

Each time I turn on the oven, I think of the oven in the apartment where my husband is currently living, and I wonder what the oven will be like in the new house we hope to live in a few months down the road... and I can't help but think of the last oven we had - a double oven in a huge kitchen, and the memories we made in it for that year we lived there.

Beyond that, I can't remember the ovens. 5 moves in 5 years, and apartments in between most of the moves. That's a lot of ovens in kitchens that hold a lot of memories that I can't keep straight any more.

And it's not just ovens and how they cook... I wonder what time the mail will be delivered? What will the rhythm of the neighborhood be like? When does trash pick up? Will our neighbors introduce themselves? Where will we go to church? Does the house have a good view of sunset, or will I need to go outside our street, or beyond our neighborhood to take photos of it? What photo-worthy things will be around there? Will I make a friend? Will we volunteer in a ministry? Will I spend my days completely alone? Will my grandkids remember me? Will they be willing to talk with me on the phone or on facetime, or be mad that we have moved away?

I know that my husband is thinking about getting us there; the paperwork, the negotiating, the inspections... all necessary things that I've handled before... and maybe should have handled this time too. Perhaps I would have been so busy I couldn't think of these other things...

I'm just afraid.

I look at these questions and realize how small they are when I read them on paper. Especially in light of the refugee crisis, droughts and storms, and world politics.

God knows all the answers. He holds the answers to all the worlds problems. He knew my questions before I even wrote them down.

I know now why it is that we are having to make this move.... not because of a job change, but because of a heart change.

That hole in my stomach is really in my heart, and although it's painful, it's just getting larger for more room for God.

It's time to grow in my faith again.


I recently finished reading a great book by Kristen Strong called "Girl Meets Change," and it's impacted me in good ways through this season of life. After moving so much, you'd think that I'd be used to it. (Maybe I am, but it's still hard.)
This book is good for anyone who has gone through a change. Period. It counts whether it's been a company move, or loss of a child; whether the love of your life left you, or your career didn't work out the way you'd planned. She covers it all through sharing her own (and other people's) stories, and tying them in to God's word and the examples of change that are shown there. God had a reason to include them. It was refreshing...  
The book is really good. You can find it online or in most bookstores... and she has a companion study guide available too! Perfect for the group of women who have all undergone change... fought it with all their might, struggled through it, conquered it in the end. Or not ... (like me!)... 
-Marina





Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Road to Kingston

A few days after Mark arrived in Arkansas to begin his new position, he sent me a beautiful photo that he took on his way in to work. He actually pulled over on the side of the road and took the picture with his phone (which has a better camera than mine). I was impressed, not only with his composition and quality of the photo, but that he stopped the car, got out, and took the picture (at least I HOPE he did!).

We have had rain the past few days, and I've driven by the turn out on the highway where he stopped for that photo. I told a friend yesterday that I was going to stop and take pictures one morning, but the cloudy skies didn't make it very pretty.

This morning I woke up WAY too early. It was pitch black out still, and since I'm not normally up this time of day (and because of the changing seasons we are losing sunlight each day) I had no idea what time sunrise actually happened. I waited for Mark's alarm to go off just before 5, and let him scoot out the door, then got up for the day. I thought I'd take advantage of the early morning and head out to that spot to take a sunrise series.

I had good intentions.

I drove all the way to Eureka Springs, without finding the pull out. I got to the road for Passion Play and turned around. It was still dark, and I couldn't tell the difference between the pull out, or the roads.

Then I drove all the way back to Berryville, and through Berryville, all the way to Green Forest, looking for a good place to capture the sunrise. It wasn't even cresting yet, but I could tell where it would rise for the sliver of a moon that was hanging low in the sky. I could tell it was partly cloudy still. Sigh.

I started to see power lines and the silhouette of the hills on either side of the road. I love electricity, but I hate power lines.

On my way back to Berryville (home), I tried to think of other places I might drive through to get out of the city a little. I saw a turn at a signal to head towards Kingston. I've never been to Kingston, but I have a friend who has a cabin there. She's an early riser, but out of town right now... so I didn't call her, but just took the turn in that direction.

Cabins = rural to me. Perhaps there would be less power lines on the road to Kingston.

In no time at all, there was a fog hugging the ground, which told me there was a creek or river nearby. Sure enough, I crossed over the Osage Creek and entered into Farmer Hollow. It was still too dark to make out much detail, but it was countryside for sure.

The windy road weaved between the hillsides, and slowly more cars came onto the road. A school bus flash let me know it would be gathering kids for their school day, cars rushed by me on their way to work. I took my time and followed the road to Kingston. It started to lightly rain.

Farms surrounded me on either side, providing a buffer from the hills, now silhouetted on the sides of the road. Chicken houses, cattle in fields, all testimony to the growth that takes place here. I entered into the area of Cabanal.

Then my phone alarm went off, and it was time to turn around and go home.

I never made it to Kingston.

I never took a single photo.

Well... until I got back to Farmer Hollow and the Osage Creek.

The timing was perfect, the sun finally breaking over the horizon.


It had stopped raining, but the cool of the morning covered the fields with dew.


It was beautiful. Peaceful. I have carried those moments through this otherwise crazy day. He was so good to gift them to me.






Monday, September 7, 2015

(non) Labor Day

We are in the transition phase of life right now. New job for my husband. Home listed and sold. Seeking a new home. Asking God what's next for me.

He has been so faithful, even though I have not always been. If I've been faithful, I've not been joyful. I'm still learning. 


As we drove from one area we are considering living in, to check the mileage and road to where his new job is, we hit a very long stretch of unpaved, gravel road. Not one that gets limestone packed on it, one red with the local clay and rocks and boulders that each rain harvests a new crop of. 

It was a rougher ride than the UHaul we came out in. 

We saw on our Google Maps app that the road turned to paved "ahead"... But that "ahead" kept inching forward more and more.  Eventually the road went to a limestone chip, then to a rough pavement. Finally things looked familiar, as we found ourselves near a home he had looked at a few days ago.

All along the bumpy road, panoramic views blessed us from every angle. It was physically painful for me, but I never would have seen the beauty of the area if we had never left the paved road.


Chances are, we never would have driven past the house he already looked at. We never would have chosen to drive the rocky road... Never would have expected to see such beauty.

God brings us outside our comfort zones to be blessed, not just to challenge us...

I'm still learning...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

10 Little Photos... Past and Present (and Future Reflection)

I have been sad lately about moving again.

Maybe not sad sad, but in the undertow of it all. Even though my husband it taking the helm of this move, there's still so much that needs to be done by me... it's overwhelming... mostly because we've done it once a year for the past 5 years.

As I was driving home tonight, I was really enjoying the afternoon sights. The sun was setting up for a lovely sunset. It was "the golden hour" and the corn, soybean and tobacco crops were golden in the sun's low position.

I thought about how much I'm going to miss the everyday scenery here.

Then, as I was editing the photos, I ran across photos from a few years ago... photos I took as I was leaving town, from the roadside - just as I was doing tonight.

It's no coincidence, but the photos were taken in the same area that we are moving to soon.

I hope that no matter where we are living, I can appreciate the local color, the native flavor, and delight in the beauty of all that God creates. I want to enjoy it all, and glorify Him through the camera lens, that others may delight in His creation too...

Kentucky

Kentucky

Kentucky

Kentucky

Arkansas

Arkansas

Arkansas

Arkansas

Missouri

Missouri