Its been a ride!
Somehow, I did not realize that it had been so long since I last posted. I figured I should give an update to those of you who thought we fell off the face of the planet!
We landed in Southern Ohio the first full week of August. We faced loss of electricity the last night in the old house, severe weather on the way down and the highest humidity and heat all summer! It was crazy, but arriving at our new home and coming in to a house full of people ready to help us unpack was such a huge blessing! Some of the faces were familiar, others we had never met before, still all of them were there to lend their strength and sweat. We owe so much to those individuals but even more to our friends, Jim and Jeff who drove the truck and traveled all the way down with us, only to turn around and go back in one day. Thanks, Guys!
The first week, my goal was to get rid of the boxes. I had had enough of those darn cardboard nuisances surrounding me at the old house and I was anxious to find a place for everything in the new place. Slowly, things came together and after a few trips to Ikea (okay, maybe more than a few), we had most everything in place.
Our first Sunday at The River, a group of U of M fans all dressed in maize and blue to support Todd coming on staff. It was fun but also a great peak at the support that we had already at the church. We were prayed for and embraced and even though things felt new and so very different, it also began to feel like family.
The kids started school August 26th and it couldn't have come sooner. Hannah got down opening her locker and navigating the hallways of Junior School and Caleb seemed very confident finding his upstairs 5th grade classroom. Both of the kids took a few days to begin making friends, but it was Caleb who struggled the most. He left a great group of boys back in Michigan whom he spent everyday with and now, with school in session, he was hit with the reality that we were really living here. He had several plans on how we could move back to Michigan which he laid out often on our way to and from the bus stop. It broke my heart because I knew he really was just missing his friends. The following week, a quiet boy across the street came over to see if Caleb wanted to play and they have been buddies every since. Hannah had the advantage that our neighbor two doors down goes to our church and also happens to have a 7th grade daughter. It didn't take long for them to connect and now the daily routine after school is having both girls in my kitchen looking for a snack and then upstairs to do homework together. I LOVE it!
Todd has been doing a great job connecting with the students, parents and other staff members and couldn't be happier. He is right where he belongs and after being out of his calling for a few years, he is full of energy, vision and ready to move forward with some great ideas. Fortunately, he had a wonderful group of adult volunteers to go along side him as well.
Besides, working on getting our home in order, I have been sending out resumes here and there. There are not many jobs around here, so I am trying to be patient and trust God that He will put me where I need to be. Meanwhile, I have been busy entertaining guests in our home for meetings as well as three weekends in a row of house guests! I love connecting our Michigan family and friends with our new Ohio family. It helps the transition a bit too. For those of you who know my passion for singing in church, I have been in touch with the worship leader here, and plan on attending rehearsals this week. I really can't wait to get back into it! I am also slowly formulating a schedule and teams for the youth worship team so that they can have some better organization too.
Overall, I have to admit that it still feels a bit like being on vacation with all of our "stuff", yet as I learn to drive to a store without needing the GPS or I get a better idea of where to get groceries or the nearest Walmart, I realize that Ohio is gradually becoming more like home. As I reflect on where God has taken us this year, I am still in awe. From Todd losing his job in January, to our interview in TX and then to being close to losing our home without knowing where we would end up, I could clearly feel God's hand on all of it. I honestly can say that His peace has been the constant in the chaos that surrounded us. There are many more adventures ahead as our church now starts a search for a new senior pastor (yes, that was a surprise as well!) but we are ready for whatever is thrown our way as long as God is in it. For now, we are strapping on our safety belts and raising our hands in anticipation for an awesome ride!