Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dear Orlando: When August Comes Around

I can't believe it's finally happening! We're getting ready for our move to Winter Park, FL but we still don't know the exact date of our arrival. We know it will be before August 1st, and we also know that once HR sorts through Aaron's paper work, it will be a quick transition. We're trying to prepare physically and spiritually. Homesickness is something we want to keep a close watch on, especially now that we've been through a year of tough growth here in Houston. We're going to miss a lot about this place, but we're thrilled to be able to take what we've learned and apply it in a new place. 


We want to prepare spiritually, praying that just as we have been called to go, we would follow in trustful obedience. Moving is mentally and physically exhausting just as it is spiritually difficult. It's easy to feel uprooted and removed from church community during a move, and sometimes even disconnected in trusting God's provision and perfect plan. Ultimately, we want to pray that we would get plugged in to a Jesus-centered, reverent church body, jump right into service and invested relationships and stay positive about where we are - living in the present. We would love support and prayer in this. 

A trying exercise for me is staying positive throughout the stressful details and our overall new chapter of life. When we lived in Raleigh and found out about our move to Houston, we were shocked by the negative responses we received. I was already so terrified to leave my friends and family that I let that negativity affect me. I was a barista at the time, and every customer that walked in could see "change" written all over my face. When they asked about my life and I told them the news, I heard disappointing, negative words over and over again. I began to think there was nothing good waiting for us in Houston, and I'm sad to say that it completely affected my life here -- also partly because I knew Aaron would be gone for months at a time for a year long program. 

But there was good waiting for us here, and I genuinely wish I had been more open to seeing that sooner. That being said, I am [so far] pleasantly surprised at my own positive attitude! WOO! If you know me really well, you know that I can be an "Eeyore" sometimes. But I'm starting to feel like Winter Park is going to be a wonderful place for us, and I'm also beginning to see the value in shutting out other people's negativity. I'll take a little pat on the back the next time you see me. And some chocolates, please. 


While moving is often an exciting time, I don't think any uprooted friends of mine would deny the fact that there is so much to do - before hand, and when you first get there. I'm preparing for the obvious challenges, like how to drug my cats for a 15 hour car ride with us and our lazy traveler-hound dog (this is a legitimate concern, people). But I'm also bracing myself for a smooth landing, making check lists of what needs to get done when we get there: New drivers licences, setting up utilities  findings a veterinarian, doctor, dentist, etc. We're even developing a strategy for fighting off my enemies, reclusive and obsessive nester/homebody. I've decided that even when our place is a mess and there are boxes everywhere, we have to get out of the house, see the area and meet people. We plan to explore and get involved, counting all we have to be thankful for. 

On that note, here's what we have to be excited about:
  • An address with a walk score of 91! YES! As a one-car family, we are stoked. 
  • A smaller, cozier home. We don't need as much space as we have now.
  • An accessible community center a few blocks away with an exercise room, outdoor pool, yoga and HELLO - cooking classes. Let's just say as a girl who can hardly hold a knife confidently enough to cut a tomato, I am thrilled about this.
  •  Park Avenue with plenty of shops, restaurants and arts events. This place is too cute (and dangerous for my wallet).
  • Disney, Universal and Sea World. Need I say more?
  • New Smyrna and Cocoa Beach are very close by. Loving it already.
  • Lake Eola Park, a 43-acre recreational park we keep hearing about that is in the heart of downtown. Apparently there are free concerts at the amphitheater and a lot of fun outdoor activities. 
  • The Winter Park Farmer's Market every Saturday that we can walk to. 
  • We hear there are plenty of solid, reformed churches close to our new place. Also a plus, obviously.

In the midst of all the check lists and chaos, I'm keeping these positives and more at the forefront of my mind - striving not to let thoughts turn into imaginations, which then turn into strong holds. Above all of the excitement to look forward to, I am holding fast to the truth that we are called to Winter Park for a unique purpose, and that no place will be our "heaven." Even so, we want to live our lives joyfully and abundantly, giving God the glory. 

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"Pleasant words are [like] honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24