(Note - I'm so tired I was about to post this to my son, Nathan's, blog until my other son, Noah, just pointed out to me I was on the wrong blog!!) Well, our predictions of departure kept changing throughout the day, but after a night of only 1 hour sleep by Tim and 3 hours by me we finally pulled out of our street at about 7:30pm tonight!! Woohoo!! We kept looking at each other throughout the day saying, "I'm feeling it!" Which meant, whatever it took we were outta there today! We took a break around 11:30am to go up to our church at their invitation and have several people pray over us. I just have to say, wow! I felt SO incredibly blessed to be sent out by such wonderful people! They're prayers bolstered us immensely, and we felt so deeply grateful to be loved by our God that much. Back at the ranch, we were really struggling to simply finish! Our camper had been in the shop until Thursday, so when we started packing after that we were very meticulous about putting things in 'just the right place'. The last 3 hours saw us making a final mad dash to our storage unit with 'leftover items' and then literally throwing everything else into our camper, our car, wherever we found an empty space. We tried to keep clear enough space for sleeping tonight, so when we arrive at around midnight tonight we will be dropping like rocks!! We felt like we had sold or given away everything - practically all our furniture, much of our clothes, so much stuff, and yet we were still battling the stuff as we trying to get out. We dropped off a whole truck load of stuff at Lighthouse this morning and yet there was still more stuff to contend with throughout the day. I felt like I was in a wrestling match with all this stuff!! So when we finally pulled out, the flood of sadness I thought I would feel leaving a place I have loved so much never came, and only an incredible feeling of relief was in its place. I have some repenting to do with a couple of my kids, however, as that last hour was quite stressful. At least Tim and I were together emotionally all day! We are actually going to make a stop near Daytona in about 5 minutes (it's close to 10:30pm!) to hug some friends' necks - they're real troupers for hanging with us throughout the day as the schedule kept changing - so I must be signing off. Thank you all for the wonderful comments, encouragement, prayers, etc. you have so freely given us. We are so looking forward to all God has in store and feel so blessed to have so many people we care about to share it with!! Blessings to all!
Well, it's time to admit defeat. We've been going like gangbusters for the past several days since we were supposed to leave this morning. Even with my wonderful sister and parents coming up and helping yesterday (which gave me a huge boost!) it's just not looking so good, but we feel our peace of mind is worth it. There's just too many loose ends. It feels weird to have told everyone we're leaving today, only to still be here until tomorrow! But we did sleep in the camper last night, and I have to say it was the best night sleep I've had in DAYS!! Woohoo! I just asked everyone else and they said they slept well, too. So hopefully that bodes well for our tight quarters. :-) Speaking of tight quarters, I have about a 4 square foot area on the floor in the house with the remaining stuff I want to stuff the camper with. I'm having this imaginary conversation with God that sounds much like a line from the movie The Princess Bride. I say, "Do you think it will work?" And He says, "It will take a miracle"! So, I'm asking for a miracle, but preparing mentally for it not to happen because I it may mean I really just don't need all that stuff! Tim's already voted the bin of gift bags I wanted to take off the island, so we'll see how the rest of it goes! Please pray we finish strong and well so we can start fresh and peaceful.
Thank you, Karen, for your comment to my post below! It was just what the doctor ordered! I have what is called a Life Journal that our church does where it provides a schedule of reading passages on certain days. Our whole family does that every morning individually and then at breakfast we talk about it. Anyway, I was getting ready to read my passages this morning and realized I was looking at the wrong date - I was about to read the passages for Sept 26th, not Aug 26th, but I sensed God's Spirit saying, "No, I want you to read THOSE passages this morning" and man am I glad I did! The Old Testament passage was Psalm 27, and to give you an inkling of what it says I'm putting the 1st and last verses here:
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation--
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life--
of whom shall I be afraid?
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
And then the New Testment passage is in Luke 9. The last verse of that chapter says:
62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
So I am not looking back - we are pressing forward!!! I've 'cat down and shried', I've wigged out, it's time to press forward!!!
You know, we Christians are NOT supposed to worry, right? So we typically say, "I'm not worried, I'm just concerned. It's not the same thing". Well, I'm not worried or concerned - I'M WIGGING OUT! Hmm - I think that's more along the lines of the worried category, isn't it? Bummer. It's just that I spent ALL day running errands (dentist up in Wesley Chapel because we couldn't get into the nearer office for Nathan's follow-up filling after his root canal last week, picking our car up from the shop, going to the library, Tim going to a dr. appt in Tampa and the downtown library....) and I spent NO time actually getting ready for our move. The house is a WRECK! Boxes are everywhere. We can't find anything. I feel like Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Woods Party (one of the best 15 minute videos EVER!) when he was running around like a chicken with his head cut off thinking about all the things he needed to do for the party he was throwing until he stopped and said, "Ive got to make a SCHEDULE!". Only he soon found that he was allowing the schedule to rule him. OK, maybe that doesn't relate to me, because right now I don't have a schedule or a party, but the running around like a chicken with my head coming off is a pretty good match there! Please pray we get organized - is that possible when you move? I don't know - I think I've only moved twice in my adult life before this, and I don't remember it being this crazy (even counting my last move to this address when I was pregnant with triplets and went on bedrest the day after we moved in). So more than organization I think I just need the peace that passes understanding to guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Yea, that's the ticket. Pray for that, OK?
Our sweet next door neighbors threw a great going away party in their back yard for us this evening with some of the other neighbors! It started at 4:30pm as we all eyed the gathering clouds and heard the distant thunder. Tim had helped set up a couple portable canopies, and but I think we were all wondering what kind of protection that would offer us from the impending onslaught. Maybe it would just blow over? Smart phones came out with radar pictures of rain everywhere, but still we seemed determined to brave the elements. Small raindrops fell as we started serving the kids hotdogs and hamburgers. The raindrops grew in size and frequency as the adults started devouring the great spread of grilled chicken and bratwurst and salads and chips. Another canopy was hastily erected as buckets of rain came down, and the kids played relay races from their yard to our yard and back. The canopies started sagging and leaking with gathered water towards the edges, so Tim was poking them to send the water flying away from the canopies. He mistakenly did this as our wonderful host was walking by and, needless to say, his fairly dry head became completely drenched in an instant. The rest of us were not immune as the wind started picking up and the canopies started swaying and people started running to our neighbor's shed and their back porch getting soaked in the process, leaving Tim and another neighbor standing in the middle of the canopies trying to keep them from flying away, which was a feat they actually accomplished! ! I'm still laughing thinking about it - it was SO much fun! Everyone had such great attitudes. The cakes and plates had been moved to the porch so we all gathered there for dessert and spent probably another hour shooting the breeze and commenting on how we all wished we got together more frequently. We really do have the best neighbors and I'm going to miss them terribly! If any of you are reading this, thank you SO much for the fantastic, memorable send-off! You all ROCK!
So we put basically all our furniture up for sale and were planning to sleep in the camper if our bedroom set sold - but our camper is in the shop getting some maintenance done before we hit the road! So thank God some friends stopped by at our garage sale and bought our bedroom furniture and are letting us keep it until next weekend right before we leave (they said for a small rental fee!) :-) Isn't that awesome!? Along with our bedroom set, the bookcase, the sectional couch, the desktop computer, the toy organizers, the dining room table, the refrigerator and a rocking chair - all spoken for or gone! So all we have left are the coffee & end tables, the sleeper sofa, 2 computer desks, an entertainment center, girl's bedroom set, 4 drawer metal file cabinet, a floor cabinet, dresser, desk, hutch, and the washer and dryer. Wow - it sounds like a lot more than I thought it was since I just typed it out, but I know it is not too much for God! We are trusting God to provide the buyers or space for these remaining items, and would covet your prayers towards that end! Blessings to all!.
The above subject is the title of my Craigslist ad. Thank you, Christine, for your sweet comment and suggestion I let people know more info about the garage sale tomorrow. For items we are selling and our address, go to here: http://tampa.craigslist.org/hil/gms/1903206886.html.
Have any of you heard Archie Campbell's rendition of Rindercella? Look it up on youtube - it is fantastic! He recites the story of Cinderella switching the beginning of words with each other, like she slopped her dripper (instead of dropped her slipper). Well, one of the lines is that she cat down and shried (instead of sat down and cried). All that to say, when we opened a box to pack it better and I saw the lamp - the one that my Grandmother had painted for me and my mom had painted for my daughter and that I had just commented to Nicole and her friend that I was looking forward to painting it for my granddaughter - broken .... I cat down and shried. It was a ceramic girl, and my grandma had painted it to match my bedspread and my hair and my eyes, and my mom had painted it to match Nicole's bedspread and her hair and her eyes...but now it is pretty shattered. I think the whole weight of letting things go came down on me at that moment. I thought I was all good with letting everything go - hold everything loosely - but I think I'm finding it harder than I had thought it would be! A good but hard lesson. I feel better now - much better. I feel better for releasing the emotions, and better for releasing the holding on I didn't even realize I was doing, and I must confess, better because my sweet husband is going to gently pack the shattered pieces and see if we can have it fixed some day (so did I really let go?). :-) We have various friends taking the trampoline, the boys' beds, the piano, the ping-pong table, and the lawn mower until we get back, so we haven't had to sell or pay for storage for those things! So please pray tomorrow we will sell what's left (or find more friends to store anything we have left over after the sale)! :-) I just want to say I'm so appreciative of all the support and encouragement we've received from so many of you! You ROCK!
Along with last minute $775 root canals (see Nathan's post), we are in the middle of getting everything out of drawers and separated to be ready for our garage/furniture sale on Friday/Saturday. I haven't been able to stay up past 10pm since Switzerland until tonight - and now it is after midnight! Too much to do! We also took our camper in for 'a little maintenance' which is turning out to be a $1500 smackeroo - right in the kisser! It's OK - we're selling our van next week, so in one door and out the other (I'm sure there are a few of you who can relate to that, eh?!). Yesterday we checked out our storage facility that we will be using - it's pretty nice - it is a 5 x 10 unit. So we need to sell some furniture this weekend! Please be praying that we sell what needs to be sold and anything else will fit in the unit. Blessings to all!
I had an incredible time this morning at my Dance Fuzion class at Judy's Dance studio. We had a 2 hour jam session, but before we got started I received quite a surprise. Our instructor, Jocelyn (the one in the red), grabbed a beautiful bouquet of flowers in one hand and then my arm in another and took me to the front of the class where she let everyone know I had been doing the class for over 10 years but I was leaving, and then she honored me with the beautiful flowers. I'm still feeling so grateful and humbled. We had such a great time at the class - it's such a fun group of people!! Then I came home and the sadness started creeping in. When I worked at IBM we had a white board in our department that we started writing different quotes that various members of the department were famous for saying. You know what quote was attributed to me? "I hate change!" And then I read Nicole's blog and realized, OK, I'm not the only one! As the title of this blog says, the girls are feeling it! If I wasn't absolutely convinced this is what God wanted us to do, and that His ways are ALWAYS higher and better than our ways, I wouldn't even be considering what we're doing. But even in the sadness there is still that peace. What a blessing! And then the looking forward - I think our first stop will be Anastasia Island - never been there. It looks gorgeous! Yes, while we are leaving behind a LOT, we have a LOT to look forward to!
We've been having Middle School Night Out (MSNO) every 2nd Friday of the month for the past year. It's a time for our kids to have some of their middle school friends over for games and hanging out during the first hour, and Bible Study for the second hour. Tonight was our last one, and it was really inspiring. Tim shared the story of Peter walking on the water, which I have heard so many times but it was one of those nights when you sense God's Spirit making the scriptures alive. Tim then asked everyone to fan out around the house and take 5 minutes asking God where we were (in the boat? on the water? eyes on Jesus? struggling?) It was great to hear how God spoke to Nicholas (check out his blog), and Nathan shared how God led him to a passage out of Isaiah 41:10 which then he noticed Isaiah 42 which made him think of Job 42 and verse 5 which says "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you". Then Nicole shared how she just realized that this time on earth is just a short time of learning more about how to have a relationship with God to prepare us for the close and unbroken relationship we will have with Him later. All that from Peter walking on the water. Very cool. Well, I just wanted to share that. Blessings to all tonight!
Tim & Jodie