First let me say, happy March to you all! I hope your Februarys were wonderful and filled with new mercies and some lovely moments of stillness in preparation for the Lenten season.
(Also, please pardon my extended break – I’d planned to return on the 1st, but I ran a quick maintenance update in WordPress to prepare for my return and managed to break my dashboard pretty solidly. It’s fixed now thanks to Ry’s buddy Mitch – hi, Mitch! – and now I really am back.)
So… February. Y’all, I don’t even know where to begin. When I signed off on the 2nd only the Lord knew what he had in store for our family in just 27 short days. I never could have imagined.
Just a few days after I last wrote, I joined Ryan for a business trip to Boston. A couple of great friends of ours pooled together and kept our kiddos and we had a fantastic time just the two of us! The weather was lovely, the city was fantastic, and I spent an entire week being still and going out and running in the cold and exploring the city while Ryan worked during the days. We stayed out late, I slept in, I read books, did some damage at H&M, and walked about a hundred miles. Boy that city is cool (I hadn’t been there since I was a kid). Even in February, it really is so charming – a neat cross between the big city excitement of Chicago and the character and history of Franklin. Who knew?
But the big news: we returned home after our five-day consulting project with a permanent job offer. The kind of job offer you sit up and pay attention to – the kind that makes a lot of sense on paper AND appeals to your sense of adventure!
The following week was a blur of praying, seeking the Lord and the counsel of His people, calling realtors, apartment hunting, school searching, church finding and even packing. We got tickets for my sister and I to fly back up the following weekend to hunt for apartments and even found renters for our house in Franklin. We waited until the last possible moment that we were absolutely sure we were going to take the job to tell my Mom (you see, my sweet Grandma is still sick and we didn’t want to add extra drama unnecessarily) and we finally did that, too. We began the process of ripping off a lot of other band aids – telling people we love that we are leaving – complete with a few ugly cries at a table in Starbucks.
We were excited and nervous and overwhelmed and continued to consider our decisions prayerfully. So many reasons to go. So many reasons to stay right where we are. A million ways to serve our God in Franklin and in Boston – just very different lives. We really weren’t sure what to decide, so we made a decision and asked the Lord to bless it.
But, even after we’d made the decision to go, we waited for the peace to come and it never did. The more we prayed for peace the more we felt that the Lord was saying to us, “Not now”. It was never a “no”, just a “not now”.
And when the Lord speaks to both you and to your spouse in such a clear way – even if it’s a message that you don’t want to hear and would be very inconvenient to act on – you listen. We’d made a decision to go and asked for His blessing. But as much as we wanted to go, we knew we could not. I cannot tell you how difficult it was to make this decision. Both times.
You can imagine our embarrassment as we began the reversal process of everything we’d set into motion. We were moving – we cried with our loved ones at the prospect of living apart (our move date would have been March 9th) – and it was a big, hairy deal. We felt as though we’d put on our own funeral, just to see how people would react to our absence. “Just kidding, guys! But good to know you care! Now you’ll appreciate us more now that we’re staying, eh?” Pretty humbling. And yet, the peace had finally come.
The following week was quiet and normal. I cooked, I sewed, I played hard with the kids. I enjoyed my bloggy break with lovely weather and all of my extra time with my babes and my family. It was a sweet week, indeed.
But even in the quietness of that third week of February, another big decision loomed. One that I did not see coming just a few weeks earlier, one that I reeeeally didn’t want to make, one that I knew I needed to make in order to protect my home and myself from busyness in this season that calls for quiet. Devon and Peyton and I (both individually and together) have concluded that we should not proceed with our planned Craftcation in May. We are sad. Our sweet and understanding attendees are sad. And in Devon’s words, ”…we did not arrive at this lightly. But the better part of wisdom has prevailed, we believe, in determining that this season is simply the wrong one for Craftcation.”
Ugh. More humbling. I expected February to be so simple.
By the fourth week of the month however, things started to look up! I hopped on another plane – this time to Chicago – to visit my bosom friend Christine who was my college roommate sophomore year. (She was my down-the-hall roommate Freshman year and I lived with Ryan Junior and Senior year – married, doy!) She just had a baby (her fourth in 4 1/2 years!) in October and I was dying to meet him.
That was last weekend. It was splendid. And I didn’t have to decide anything harder than whether to read a book or catch up on Downton Abbey at bedtime, or whether to order hot or iced coffee at Starbucks. It was a welcomed respite from the previous weeks and it was so homey to be with my friendly friend. She’s so easy-going and smart and peaceful about the whole having-four-small-children business. Also, her kids are so smart and big (her boys are four and spent much of the weekend entertaining themselves by reading Calvin & Hobbes books to themselves and each other and cracking up – they’re fabulous.)
From Chicago I flew to Boston yet again. Ryan had more work to wrap up, and since I was going to be alone with the kids at home all week anyway (and since Hazel still flies for free for two more weeks), I figured it might be fun to spend the week alone with them in the big city – especially if we weren’t going to be living there after all.
Ryan was brave and flew with both kids by himself (applause! applause!) and we met at the Boston airport Tuesday morning. He got right to work and the kids and I enjoyed Boston Common, the Boston Public Library and Clarendon Street Park (which is where, I was later informed, Giselle reportedly takes her babe to play. I didn’t even know she had a child!). We’ve been to the New England Aquarium, the Boston Children’s Museum (amazing, y’all! So clean and well maintained – we were there for four hours and didn’t even see it all!), lots of fun little places to eat, and even a toy store in the Prudential Center called Magic Beans where the very kind employees gave Hazel an awesome floor sample Corolle doll because she grew so attached to it while we were shopping and they didn’t have any left I could buy. Seriously, so kind.