Saturday, November 17, 2012

He directed our paths


In a strange turn of events known as the sovereignty of God, my Dad's dad, Pepaw, died about 36 hours after my last post.

So, about 60 hours after my last post, my husband and I were on a plane headed to Birmingham, Alabama, where my Dad would pick us up.

Jim's dad was already in Alabama, because HIS mother had fallen and broken her pelvis a few days earlier. My father-in-law delayed his flight to attend Pepaw's funeral Saturday morning. After the funeral, at lunch, he got word that she had had a stroke and was going to the hospital again. Then Sandy slammed into New England and all of our flights were delayed, my father-in-law's twice. It was a strange, sad, and happy time, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

As God's schedule was revealed to us, it was indeed a reminder that we have no saying over what might happen from day to day. We make plans. We book flights. We invite friends over for weekends weeks in advance. Then someone dies. Then a routine doctor's visit becomes serious. Then a life-long assumption and dream becomes a crushed ache. And once again, we are driven back... back to the realization that we are but a vapor... and that HE is God of all, mightier than the sea, brighter than the sun, and holier than we will ever understand.

The brightest truth of the whole weekend was that Pepaw had become a Christian only a few years before his death. Knowing that he was looking at Christ's face, that he was finally walking again (his biggest lament in his final years was, "If I could just WALK again..."), eased that strange upset of my insides when I looked at the body of my grandfather resting in the coffin. It is a difficult thing, wrestling sorrow and joy all at once.

The last time I had seen him was in July, the day before Jim and I left for our new home. For most of my life, Pepaw had been a loving, protective, yet often very gruff man. In was only in the last ten or so that we all noticed a softening. Maybe it was his awareness of his diminishing health. Maybe the realization that he was no longer independent. Maybe because we were all grown-up now. Whatever it was, we started to see Pepaw cry. Cry when we said goodbye. Cry at certain memories. Cry when we walked in the door. So, I wasn't surprised that he cried when I went for one last hug in July. I was crying too. He looked so frail, in his wheelchair and white V-neck undershirt. Thus, my embrace was gentle and I wondered if this truly was my last hug. His arms crept around me and to my surprise, pulled me in tight with strength I didn't know he had. It was a long, terrible wonderful hug. While deep inside, I was hoping that I would see him again, it was like he knew the truth. Call me dramatic, but he had never, ever hugged me with such strong tenderness.

And so, for now, he is gone. And we all continue with the vapor we have left without him. His bride is alone for the first time in 65 years. Both of my parents no longer have earthly fathers. And we are remembering that we are but passing through, and that THE Father is waiting to call all of his children to their eternal home with him.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The "h" word


It has been over three months since I've seen a Porter. Skype doesn't count.

And it's hard.

And it hurts.

Sometimes, my throat closes up when I'm just standing at the sink and I have to struggle to catch my breath.

Other times, I don't struggle. I sit down and I cry and blow my nose.

There. I said it.

Sweet family, this is not me trying to make you feel guilty to buy an expensive plane ticket up to see me. I'm not saying you don't call me enough, email me enough, or pay me enough attention. I could call you all more.

You've probably noticed that I don't talk about being homesick as much as you thought I would. It's because I can't. Just saying "I miss you" has me secretly fighting tears.

And don't worry about me. This isn't an all-day, everyday battle. Jim and I are making friends, I'm starting my new job, the weather is still beautiful, and the puppy is more fun than irritating, now! But I ache for a Porter hug.

So please, hug each other tonight for me.
And Caleb, Lord willing, we will all be together at Christmas.

I cannot wait.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

CGA

The last weekend of September we, along with our friend Vic, traveled up to the Coast Guard Academy for homecoming. It has been five years since James graduated and they had a group of about 30 show up for their reunion. It was fun getting to meet so many of his classmates!


One of his classmates was sweet to offer her guest room for us to stay in... despite the recent addition of  their first baby. We were going to try to be at the Academy by 9 to see the Friday morning drill, but breakfast was good, coffee was better, and the conversation was fun... plus, Jackson, I do believe, is one of the happiest babes I have ever seen! He would bounce in his bouncer and gaze intently at the face of whichever adult was talking. When they stopped, he would grin delightedly, as if every sentence was a joke and he totally got the punchline. Lisa told us that he sleeps through the night without a sound, and doesn't wake up until 0740. I never heard him cry. And get this... he swallows his spit-up! She said that he'll spit up a little in his mouth, then swallow it right back down. How totally gross and amazing is that? No spit-up clean-up?! Do his poops even stink?! Man!

So, it was more like 0930 before we got there... and I did get to see the end of the drill. Jim was being sweet and taking me around and showing me various things about the academy. He said that he's glad that he now has some nostalgia regarding the place. The mere "Welcome to Connecticut" sign use to make his stomach churn.

We walked through the dorms... excuse me.... the barracks and I saw all eight of the rooms he stayed in. They have to change rooms every semester (and supposedly roommates, but if you know the people who make the assignments, you can stick with the same person). So, Jim only had like, four or five different roommates. I've always liked walking around dorms and seeing how people decorate their rooms differently. I found myself glancing into each room, the door obediently propped open (they are only allowed to shut them when they go to sleep at night), wondering what kind of personalities would be revealed via posters, curtains, bedspreads.... etc.

Nada. Zilch. Noodle.

The gray metal beds all had navy blue comforters tucked in tightly around the mattress. Occasionally, a houseplant sat in a windowsill. There were no posters, there were no bulletin boards, no throw pillows, no curtains. There were white blinds. I felt like I was in prison. They had state flags hung outside their doors. Hooray for decor.

There wasn't a whole lot of "hanging out" going on. I mean, they were in their rooms studying, or going somewhere for practice, working out...whatever. Every now and then, someone would come walking stiffly down the middle of the hallway. If there was a group of loitering home-comers in the way, they would have to "square" around them. It's pretty self-explanatory. Group in the way, swift turn to the right, take two steps, swift turn to the left, a few more steps, swift turn to the left, a couple of steps, swift turn to the right... and you are back on your original path. Jim said that that is how you have to walk in  the hallways your entire first year. Usually, you didn't have to do it on event weekends because there would be so many people in your way. He said that the ones we saw doing it were probably being punished. Also, during your first year, you have to square your way up the stairs. On the outside wall. Yeah, no short-cutting your way along the rail.

Doesn't it all sound so peachy?


I did like the cafeteria. Or the wardroom. They ate family-style, the entire academy in the room for a meal. Like Hogwarts, but smaller tables. And more strict. A fourth class (4/c, the Coast Guard term for freshman) at each meal, could be randomly selected to go up to the head table and tell all the important people AT the head table a minimum of three current events. Jim said the weirder the current events, the more successful your time at the head table would be. Also, forget being pulled up to the head table, as a 4/c, you could be selected at your own table to share three current events. If there were three 4/c, all three MIGHT have to share... and if you were the last one picked, you better have some new information, because repeats were not allowed. And you better have different ones for lunch and dinner as well, because you MIGHT get picked on again.
These are just a few of the trials and tribulations forced upon the freshmen. Jim has many many more stories. I made him stop because I was afraid I would have nightmares.

The first year was the year they intent on breaking you, if you haven't caught on to this.

Lovely. Just delightful.

I got to see some more people being punished! They were being hung by their toes from the windowsills and used as targets for their classmates who were forced to practice their sniping skills.

Just kidding.

All they had to do was march in formation, back and forth, across the concrete quad. Back and forth. About face. Back and forth. There were two guys doing it. Then five more joined them. Then another girl. Then another group of three. It was like a parade!

Not.

Anyway, we watched the sailing race as we walked the waterfront, looked into the rowing teams' training rooms, and picked up our tickets for the football game. The academy has a lovely piece of land in New London. Despite all the above mentioned horrors, I could tell that Jim loved a lot of what he had done there. I mean, hello! Learn how to sail?! Be on the Eagle (the Coast Guard's three-masted, majestic cutter... look it up, it's beautiful) and sail around the world for a summer?

The football game, despite the constant drizzle from the rain cloud that wrapped around us and changed all female hairstyles into curly, frizzing wet messes, was insane. It was 59-0, Coast Guard. I had never seen them play and was duly impressed, but all the home-comers were going insane. They had NEVER seen that many touchdowns. You see, the SEC the CG ain't.

Game over, goodbyes were said, and Jim, Vic, and I walked back to the car, which we had parked off campus. They laughed about the fence around the academy and the guarded entrances. It wasn't to keep people out, they said. It was to keep the cadets in.
As we approached the gate we had walked in, we saw that it was closed. We also saw that there wasn't a guard in the little bunkhouse to open it for us. We knew that the one further up campus was locked... and the only other option was the gate on the corner of campus diagonally opposite from us. We were wet and tired. A car approached on the other side and we waited, hopeful that they would trigger the gate to open. The vehicle slowly approached the spot, sat on it for a while, and we stared dejectedly at each other. The man asked from his car, "How do you get in?" We said, "How do you get out?!"
We all laughed at our predicament and they drove off. And then we starved to death. The End.

Actually, we just stared at the tantalizingly small opening that the gate had left us. I knew I was the problem. You see, my husband was/is known as the monkey for his climbing skills and Vic is called the ninja. They could go over the gate. So, I suggested it first. Vic voiced that it looked a little unsteady and he would rather go over the fence part. I knew I definitely could NOT go over the fence, but could go over the gate. It wasn't really going to be that difficult... just something that a monkey and a ninja would not ask of a girl, being the gentlemen that they are. Jim neatly climbed over and offered me a hand. After jumping from the top into his arms, we rode away on a white horse, into the sunset.

Actually, he just kissed me on the forehead and turned back around to see watch Vic climb over the fence. The ninja, of course, had disappeared. What?! How?! He HAD been eyeing a tree further up the fence, so we headed in that direction. As we approached the overhanging branches, they rustled mysteriously, a black duffle bag came sailing over the sharp points of the fence, and Vic dropped onto the sidewalk. Once again, we walked towards the car, this time really laughing about the fence's intention of keeping cadets (and their wives!) in.

It was fun, I was disturbed, everyone was wet, and we all laughed. Praise God for memories like these.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Because he's Jim

I just realized I never mentioned that my husband, because he is sweet and puts much effort into surprises for me, surprised me with an early birthday present on Labor Day weekend. 

Tickets to Wicked on Broadway! Augh!! I couldn't believe it! I've always wanted to see it and now we were actually going!!

We were already on Long Island for a wedding that weekend, so we drove on up to the city, got a hotel, and pretended like we knew all about city living. I also met all the super heroes, since NYC is the only place a super hero can live, apparently.

Anyway, Wicked. It was excellent! I am 99% sure I grinned the whole way through it. And I wondered ... what happens when an actor falls into the orchestra pit? Thankfully, the people around us were quiet when they were supposed to be quiet, laughed when they were supposed to laugh, didn't wear any heady cologne, or have tiny bladders. Thank you, people around us. Also, people don't dress up for a Broadway. It was shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops all around! I mean, WE didn't wear such peasant clothing, but there were SOME people.... tsk.



It was TOTALLY Wicked! And James is the best.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Edelweiss

For those of you who didn't know already, Jim and I are official dog-owners. You see, when we married, we discussed getting a dog. He wanted a German Shepherd. I wanted a Golden Retriever. But as time wore on, I realized he wanted a German Shepherd more than I wanted a Golden Retriever. So, I  slowly gave up my thoughts on a smiling, sunshine dog. Now I had to come to grips with the idea that Jim wanted: an inside dog.

In all and total fairness to my husband, he never once pushed me about it. He realized that a clean house was my domain and that the thought of house-training a dog and sweeping up dog hair for years was rather daunting. So, though he would have gone out and bought one had I merely nodded, he just waited for me to be okay with it.

To be perfectly honest, I'm still not okay with it, but I love Jim more than I do my house... thus.

A couple of weeks ago, I let his mom know that I was secretly on the look for one for Jim's upcoming birthday. Did she have any suggestions as to where to look? Please know that the Freeman family have had Germans for years. I didn't really think about this. And asking her for help was like asking my Dad for help to find a new car. Within one day I had multiple emails with multiple phone numbers, pictures, and questions. His sister, who also has a German, sent me a lot of information too. It was awesome. And overwhelming. Suddenly I realized I didn't know exactly how to do this.
Then Meryl called and said, "We found one in the paper. She's a black puppy and is only a hour and a half away from here. Give me the word and we'll go and get her!"
Please know an entire 36 hours and gone by since I had thought, "Okay. I think I want to get a puppy for Jim. And I think I'm okay with it being in the house."

AUGH!!! Too fast!!! (Meryl and Jennifer, please know that your help was amazing and I'm thankful for it!)

End of surprise. I told Jim the plans, of the help, and about the puppy. He grinned, kissed me, and after talking about it, we gave the green light to his parents and planned a weekend trip up to Maine.

Enter Edelweiss. 


She was getting along well in her Maine home. She had learned (sorta kinda) to not mess with the cat. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my in-laws cat on here before, but if so, oh well. He is a terror. He hunts trolls and ogres for fun and hates all dogs. Except Seebar, the one with whom he shares a house. He comes when you call him, walks on a leash, and knows his curfew. Pretty much the best cat ever. 

Anyway, back to Edelweiss. This is her with Seebar. After two days of watching all that needs doing to house train a puppy I had a small, teensy-weensy break-down one night after going to bed. I wasn't sure if I was ready for an inside dog, I didn't want to do blank, I couldn't do blank, I WASN'T going to do blank.... blah blah blah. I asked Jim what he was thinking. He said, "Amy, as unlike you as this is, I think you're being a little dramatic." Which just made me mad because I knew he was right. Don't you just hate it when others are right? Argh! He quickly apologized for his insensitivity and the drama queen calmed down.




We went out on their boat for a three-hour tour....



I mean!!... boat ride around some of the many island off the coast of Maine. It was lovely.
We saw seals! Real, wild seals, that didn't live in a zoo!


My father-in-law barked at them so we could see them "walk" off the rocks to get into the ocean. It was hilarious. Kind of like a really... large person trying to do the caterpillar.






Some of the kids that live out on the islands have to take the ferry everyday to school because there aren't any bridges out to their homes. Can you imagine taking a boat to get to the grocery store?



Their house looks out on a cove. This was an early morning shot that Jim took. Can you believe that is the ocean? It was so smooth.



Okay, one more shot of our wittle puppy and I'll leave. And please know that she is doing really well and I am doing much better now that I have my anxiety medicine.



 Just kidding about the medicine.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

dramatic reading

Monday, I mowed our grass. 

That is all.

No, wait!! Come back!! I'll give you a horse! (name the movie?)

So, yes, I mowed our new lawn. It was getting pretty ragged and I didn't want our new neighbors to assume that we didn't care about the appearance of our yard. So, I filled up the tank and attempted to crank it on Thursday. Nope. Jim came home and told me that the fuel was probably old and he would have to siphon it out and put fuel stabilizer in it and the same goes for the other mower. So, no mowing on Friday as he couldn't do it Thursday  night. I peered from our windows all day Friday, just knowing that every neighbor that walked by was hating our guts. How dare we destroy the appearance of this place! 

So, Friday evening, he fixes it and we swear an oath to get up early and mow. Saturday morning came and we did not get up early. But, that's because it rained all day.

So, Monday. Forget tag-teaming! I'm doing this! With my single-lane, push mower! I dressed up like Rosie the Riveter and got started!

And continued.

Still pushing.

Getting dirty.

Take a break. Now go back out and keep going.
Getting blisters.

Getting stinky.

Getting tired. Lunch break.

It's never going to be done.

Why did I decide to do this?!!

I wish I could die!!

Oh. I'm done. That only took six hours.
However, I cannot be done. You see, right after lunch, I walked back out and 'click.' Lovely. I thought back to that morning. I remembered my husband saying, "I'll be late today because our flight isn't until the afternoon." As if on cue, as I frantically jiggled the doorknob, the familiar drone of his plane roared overhead. I ran out of the garage and waved, wishing I could send up flares. "Help me! I'm an idiot and locked myself out of the house! Please land ASAP and come let me in! I can't make supper from the yard!"

So, I edged the sidewalk, weeded the flower beds, and was about to start sweeping the driveway, when he pulled up. And it wasn't late at all! I knew this because I had walked around and tried all the windows and doors and realizing it was useless, had resigned myself to occasionally peering through the deck door at the kitchen clock. He said the plane had broken which, obviously, cut their flight time short. Thank you, God! Breaking the plane was a little dramatic, but thank you! 

It was a long day and I slept very good, no longer afraid of malicious neighbors.

P.S. Please know that we are not in any danger from our neighbors. Any warmongering I mentioned is  imagined. In fact, the ones we have met are lovely.

P.P.S We only have to cut our grass 4 times a year. So, my complaining is really null and void.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

beef tartare

Yesterday was Julia Child's 100th birthday. She got a Google doodle in honor of it (actually, that's the only reason I knew it was her 100th birthday).

There was a David Letterman video with her as a guest. It is hilarious. And gross.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Vermont gorge


During a trip to Vermont for a wedding, Jim took me to the gorge that he swam in as a boy. We intended on camping, but tut tut! It looked like rain!  So we decided to plan a more official trip later and go to the gorge. This was one of the spots that I have wanted to see ever since my husband talked about  his boyhood swims. And it was very beautiful. 


My husband tried to convince me to come in. He said it wasn't that bad once you get use to it. However, I saw how his entire body flushed red when he jumped in, so I said very sweetly, "Maybe next time."


He said it was like a water treadmill. He couldn't find the bottom. I really didn't want him to try.






I lerv him. A whole bunches.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

New home again, home again, jiggity jig!


Again, it's been too long in between postings. It isn't that I "don't have anything to write about." I enjoy writing about the normal, everyday things. And obviously, those kind of things happen... everyday. But I let too many of those normal days pass and I'm overwhelmed with all that I haven't written about and I feel like I've let my adoring masses down and that intimidates me into more days of silence and then when I actually start typing all I can produce are these panicked run-ons!!


Please know that my "adoring masses" is typed in complete and total sarcasm.

Probably the biggest news is that we have moved. And I mean we really moved. The Coast Guard decided that Cape Cod, MA is where Jim's next rotation would be so we packed our house and drove up here. For all of you who know me, you know that I get very sentimental over "lasts." God was gracious and granted me a very surreal calm as I packed up our first home,  hugged many precious friends, sat under Dr. Lawson for the "last" time, and drove away.

I'll miss our sunny breakfast nook,

the surprise afternoon thunderstorms, 

and so many different precious moments that Mobile gave us.

The goodbyes to my siblings were not so easy. The dry eyes in Mobile did not last. I shed many tears as I bear hugged Ryan, Anna, and Alisa. Thankfully, we live in the days of facebook, Skype, email, texting, cell phones, and airlines and not in the days of wagons pulled by oxen, no air conditioning, the Pony Express, and wild saloons. I don't know how wild saloons is a part of bear hugging family members but the Pony Express just led me to it.

Thank YOU, God for parents who both desire to help and are capable! My parents surprised us with a last minute offer to drive up with us and stay for several days and then fly back. Yes!! It helped brake up the boredom of driving alone (haha.... brake and driving! get it?).


We arrived late Tuesday afternoon and Jim's parents arrived shortly after from Maine. The ENTIRE truck was unpacked that night, mainly by the guys. 


The kitchen and living room were unpacked and arranged by the following night, with pretty much all the furniture in the house where I... I mean, WE wanted it. The dads tackled electrical outlets, broken drawers, garage button wirings, and busted shelves, while the moms cleaned, wiped, and arranged with a vengeance. By the time my parents left on Friday afternoon, I only had one box of books left to unpack. 





We all went out to eat at Peking Palace Wednesday night. It was gude. As was the convasashun.


We even had time to do a little exploring downtown Falmouth Thursday evening and Friday morning! There are some old cemeteries to peruse and I took it upon myself to look for some unique future Freeman child names. Elery, perhaps? Solomon? Isa? Jim liked Sophronia and Marbra. Not.
My favorite was Asenouth. I kid you not. 

And guess what family is being buried in the area? Yeah, you'd better watch your back. How many times do we have to say it? These people cannot be killed!! This is just a set-up! 



Smiling parents. When my Dad isn't wearing his sunglasses, he puts them on the back of his head.


Goofy parent.


The drive to the airport was a rather silent one. I'll blame the horrendous Boston traffic. Yeah. We weren't fighting tears at all. Due to said traffic, we didn't have time to park the car and walk in with them. I had to hug them on the sidewalk and stay with the car (Jim knows more about getting boarding passes then I do and could get them through it faster). I don't know if a fast goodbye was better or worse for us. But my mom forgot her sunglasses and I got to run back in and give them seconds. It was hard. Not that I didn't think it would be hard.... but I ran back out to where Jim was waiting for me, hopped in, and cried and cried and cried.

My mom called later during their layover in DC. Apparently, she had two pocket knives in her little carry on makeup bag that she had forgotten about... security found them and she had to get body scanned. My mom, the terrorist. Dad teased her about it for quite a while, she said.

Sometimes, I almost forget that we've moved so faraway from my home state. But various things bring me back to reality:
1) We've only had to turn on the air conditioning a few times. Despite it being July/August, there have been evenings outside that needed a sweatshirt.
2) A beach goer was attacked by a Great White... swimming, anyone?
3) Sweet tea isn't offered.
4) "Going-half" - You are sitting in a parking lot, needing to go left on the two lane road in front of you. Going half is the accepted driving habit of pulling into one lane of traffic, causing it to stop, and waiting until the opposite lane stops and waves you in. And everyone is totally okay with it! Nobody honks, flips you a finger, or even gives you a dirty look! It's incredible!
5) The unescapable nautical theme: stripes, whales, plaid boat shoes, lobster traps, and homemade ice creams shops. I love it. And of course homemade ice cream shops are nautical.



My mom probably wouldn't want me to post this one because she forgot to put on her ball cap. But her hair is growing out from chemo and I think she rocks it. My dad calls the way it flips and curls all over the back of her head her "ducktails."




Dad, we still haven't asked about the system these people must have for draining rain water from their uncovered boats.

So, here we are. In house that is big enough for a family of 8-10. So, please, come visit. And if you can figure a way to smuggle it through the airport, bring some sweet tea with you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

And now it's midnight

Forgive me if I've mentioned Wives and Daughters in a previous blog. But, I must say, it is five wonderful hours of incredible movie watching.

And yes, Mom. I packed while I watched.

"She's vewy fwank, Claire. I think you haf your wuk cut out for you."

"Did I say an engagement was an elephant, ma'am?!"

"Oh, Cynthia! All proverbs are vulgar and I do believe that is the vulgarest of them all!"

"Is she like Molly? Sweet tempered and sensible and ready to do anything when asked her?"

"Just tell her you love her and if she won't love you now, then, wait a while, and ask her again and don't give up trying until you've made her safe!"

"Women are queer, unreasoning creatures who are just as likely to not love a man who has been throwing his affections away."
...Thank you, sir. I see you mean to give me encouragement"

"You men concern yourself with the eternal varieties. We women are content to ponder the petty things in life."

"Nay, nay. It's not that easy to break, your heart. Sometimes I wish it were. No, we have to go on living, all the appointed days as it says in the Bible."

"I think it's possible that his marriage was not contracted with the express intention of deceiving either you, or the girls, my dear."

And of course, the famous "I'm not saying she was very silly... but one of us was very silly, and it wasn't me... Thursday suit you?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the knots in my hair were worth it, James





Monday, June 18, 2012

Hello. I hope you haven't given up on this blog

In the two months that I have tried to pretend that I wasn't blogging, several things have happened.

1) We put our house on the market. To sale. Please, Lord, to sale. We really don't want to landlord across the country.
2) The Davis family came to visit. It was a delight to watch our friends as they raise their four children. Jim and I took vigorous notes.
3) During their visit we visited the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial. It's always at the top of the list of "Things to Do" in Mobile... and neither Jim nor I have been there since we've lived here. So we went. And it is beautifully done. You get to see every single room in the ship. Every. Single. Room. No, seriously. Every single closet, office, bathroom, bunk room, laundry room, captains quarters.... In two hours we weren't even one third of the way through the self-guided tour. Then Aly got a headache, Bradley banged his head on a ladder, and Conley ran into a pipe. Elizabeth was like, "We're losing men. We've got to get out of here!" It was fantastic.



4) Alisa and Jeff came and while the boys played with guns, we went antiqueing. We spent all of our time digging through Cotton City and promised each other we would just stick our heads into Mary Parker's. Well, this is what it looked like. We walked in the door, held our breath and dove in.

5) My mom finished her radiation and looks very well! The scan to show the current state of the cancer (if there is any left) is in a few weeks.

6) Caleb went to boot camp in New Jersey for the Coast Guard. It was a total of eight weeks and he graduates this coming Friday. I finally got to talk to him yesterday! It was wonderful to hear his voice. It's so strange to think of my stocky, freckle-faced little brother starting a career... and in Portland, Oregon, none the less!

7) We spend a week on the beach with family in Navarre, Florida. I went fishing with my Dad early one morning for about five hours and it was a delight. Dad, before you think that I'm just checking a box to "mention Dad" or that I'm doing this because Father's day was yesterday.... stop thinking. It was seriously a highlight of the trip. We goggled up for seashells, got brown, I wore a wolf's head, and the boys hung from rafters.

See? At the beach with The Family.
Bourne? Sherlock? No... these are the intent faces of those who watch Ice Age over breakfast.















8) Jim and I traveled north with his parents for two weddings and a house. And God, in His everlasting sweetness, dropped the perfect house right in our laps, right as we were throwing our hands up in exasperation. It sits up on a hill, has a view of the water, is gas-heated, air-conditioned (not everyone has that up there.... isn't that weird?), and is affordable. We just stood there with our mouths open, realizing that, once again, we had forgotten that God was in total control of the entire house-hunt. It is a truly beautiful area and we have three EXTRA bedrooms so visitors are very very welcome!

Sorry for the blurriness, but if I don't move fast to get my father-in-law in a good laugh he ends up looking scared.
Galley Cat.... after coffee.
Sea Bear... running on water.

9) Our summer titled itself, "The Summer of Weddings." Starting March 31st and going through October 6th, we have attended/are attending eight weddings. Alabama, New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Oregon, and California. I'm bridesmaiding twice and Jim one-upped me with his groomsman duties at three.





9) I decided that no matter how hard this move is going to be, we are going to have a blast. We'll go sailing, and explore Boston, see the Eagle when she comes in, eat a hot dog at a Red Sox game, shovel snow, and go canoeing in the bay. We're going to get to know our new-found aunt and uncle, make sweet tea for company, and say "y'all" every chance we get! I AM going to learn how to make real clam chowder, get to know East Coast beaches, but will not go swimming in the Northeast beach waters. And we're going to make some amazing friends and memories because God wants us to! And I know I'll cry when I'm up there unpacking, alone because Jim is at work, but  for now, I'm trying to list as many things as I can to help me be excited. We're going to be much closer his parents in their new home in Maine and I'm trying to convince Jim to get a different motorcycle so we can take a New England motorcycle drive up to see them. I AM excited about this adventure that we will enjoy together.


And that, my friends, is a quick wrap-up of the last two months. Currently, my little sister and Mom are   down here helping us pack. We've packed about thirty boxes, and, except for the garage looking cleaner.... you can barely tell. Good grief.

We move in four weeks. I'll try to keep you updated on the insanity of the whole situation, on the emotional highs and lows, and the support of everyone around us. Please pray that our house will sell, that we will find the church that God wants us to join, and that we, with the knowledge that God has us right where He wants us, will dig in and grow, drops seeds, and help nurture others around us.