Saturday, September 27, 2008

We made it!

Greetings from the land of granola and Subaru! For those of you who may be wondering, I haven't hugged any trees just yet, but I.. I mean we.. have arrived to Portland. I just have a minute to let you know we are here and have hit the ground running! Things have been busy busy but great. Whew, our trip was long (obviously) but not that bad. I think every person should drive across the country at least once in their life.

It's humbling and offered needed perspective in my life. Remember when I said I didn't like adventures.... well... I guess they're not so bad after all. Don't get me wrong I'm not volunteering or anything, but we had some adventures and sometimes they don't mean disappointment or frustration..............sometimes they do though. We had some frustration along the way, yet saw God's hand in the gas crisis in Nashville (all the gas stations ran out...had to get a wrecker to tow us to a gas station... more later), a blown tire in Nebraska and one 20 minutes from Portland, and a brake issue in Idaho. I do get a little anxiety thinking about the could ofs in each of those situations, however God seriously showed up and carried us along the way! Praise him!!!

Now to the REALLLLY exciting news............

Our first blessing was Friday when we heard the baby's heartbeat and how ACTIVE it is.. holy cow.. our baby was doing aerobics!!

Yesterday, (our first full day) Ry had an interview. Turns out it was more "industrial" than his 10 years in commercial and residential, however the owner really liked him and gave him referrals for other jobs. So, he contacted, interviewed and HAS A JOB!!! I can't tell you how thankful we are for this opportunity 48 hours after arriving!!! YAAAHOOO. I am THRILLED!!!

Today we walked through our new RENTAL HOUSE!!!! It's ADORABLE. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! This family bought it 30 years ago as a ministry opportunity to help seminary and bible college students. His daughter and her husband are now the owners and are leaving for the mission field for 2 years... so this is where we come in!! This house is such a blessing for 50 million reasons and will allow me to stay at home with our baby. Isn't God good?

This is the part of adventure I love. We have seen the face of God this week and will continue to strive to rest in him. We love y'all and thank you soooo much for your continued prayers and support! Now onto me finding a job and possibly a little truck for Ry.. we'll see..

:)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Carolina Girl I'll always be..


When I went off to college the South Carolinians were compared to Texans, just on a smaller scale. Why? Because most SCers are obsessed with this grand ole state (including me). We have car window stickers proclaiming we are "natives", and the palm tree and crescent moon can be found on everything from flip flops, belts, shirts, license plate covers, hats, purses, wallets and more (all of which I have owned). All that to say..I guess now 1 of 3 things are happening i your mind...

1. You are ready to move to SC.
2. You think we're crazy and wonder what in the world is up.
3. You wonder why and how on earth my husband has convinced me to leave this grand state.

If you picked number 1. you should.. it's great..we have a pre-move agreement that one day we'll move back 2. we are.. or 3. He didn't.. our higher authority did.

So here we are.. on the brink of a new adventure. My parents have always put me in the adventurous category. Yes, I often find myself in what some people would call adventures, but actually, I really don't have a fond relationship with change and "adventures." I like the comfort of home and familiarity of old faces. Yet, I'm convinced just like in all my little adventures that God has been graciously more than enough. I eagerly anticipate his continued work in our little family... as new and insufficient we are to fulfill the call. He has provided in this move more than my little fingers could crunch on a calculater (actually I tend to add with my fingers..don't tell)!

Oh South Carolina.. yes.. you are the good ole South, but what I love is the people that make their home here. I want to personally thank each of you for your continued prayers and love. We SO need them. I'm humbled to know you would take the time to pray for Ry and I. THANK YOU! I'm convinced God hears!!

5 things I'm thankful for tonight...

1. The time I've gotten to spend with family the past 2 months..irreplaceable.. I cry just thinking about how much I those people.
2. God's provision.
3. I got to eat grits 2 times this week..maybe 3(I'm not sure the status on stone ground grits in Portland)
4. Mom and I bought web cams... we are getting acquainted with SKYPE.
5. I have a hot husband that has been supportive and loving.. amidst my tears! :)
6. I have 44 hours to "process" this trip (also a prayer request..........)

Please Pray...
1. For a safe trip..its a long way with a prego and 1 driver team! We will be traveling 6 days and stopping and enjoying the terrain along the way.
2. An adorable house rental option we have.....(perhaps more to come later on that)
3. JOBS, JOBS, JOBS
4. Family we're leaving :( it's just see ya at Christmas mom!
5. Family and friends in Portland.. the goodbyes stink but we're excited for relationships there!


Thanks y'all! See ya on the West Coast.....

Blessings!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I see what you mean Mr. Taylor....


With "The Great Voyage" only days away, things are really ramping up! It almost seems like there are too many goodbyes to say in 5 days, and too little time left to do all the things you would like before such a big move!

I spent a little time reflecting today on all that Charleston has meant to me and given me in the last two years. As I headed to the beach on a lazy Saturday afternoon I didn't expect to find any really surfable waves, but just needed some last minutes in the warm East coast waters where I've spent many hours since my arrival. As expected, there was only a little beach break to surf but with warm water and a cloudless sunny day at the beach, who could complain. Standing in chest deep water, waiting for the next ripple to ride, I began thinking about how unexpectedly great Charleston has been.

I have to admit that upon my arrival, I was a little skeptical as to how any city could ever measure up to Portland. I love Portland...I mean, really, I absolutely love Portland. Maybe it was the year in Iraq that I spent dreaming of the mountains and cooler temperatures that built Portland up in my mind as something slightly more than what it is....but I don't think so, it really is amazing. With that said, I really wasn't sure how much I was going to like the South and in particular Charleston. I have to tell you....it has been a very pleasant surprise. There are the obvious things that Charleston has given me...an amazing and beautiful wife, a wonderful and loving family to marry into, a great church to be a part of and the finishing of my college degree...but there's more, so much more.

It's no secret to those of you who know me well that the place I find God and hear Him the clearest is in His creation. Whether it be in the mountains or beside a stream or just in a park, His creation is where I feel closest to Him. The ocean has been that place for me here. I cannot even put into words the sense of wonder, awe, fear and amazement the ocean holds as testimony to its creator. I understand why for years, surfing has not only been a sport but a way of life that holds within the surf culture some form of spirituality. How could it not? Ask any surfer who has spent a good amount of time in the ocean and they will undoubtedly relate that it is a spiritual experience. To be surrounded by something so out of your control, to ride that fine line between safe and dangerous, to harness the weight and power of something so much bigger than you....forgive my transcendentalism. Surfing is as close to Peter's experience as most of us will ever experience in this life.


I remember in particular a few different times that hold special meaning for me. One was surfing with my good friend Rod at dusk in some really fun waves. As the sun fell over the horizon and behind some low lying clouds it lit up the sky in the most amazing sunset and turned the water almost blood red with its reflection.....all the surfers where speechless as we watched for a brief few minutes as the light faded to near darkness. A second was surfing with Josh, another surf buddy. One of the tropical depressions brought us some big waves and we were out thoroughly enjoying ourselves! In the distance the sky began to grow black...really black. This storm whipped through that was both frightening and amazing at the same time. The waves were so good that none of the surfers left the water and the pelting rain made the water look like prairie grass in the wind. I could continue to recount stories about sunrise sessions and dolphin companions but you get the point.

I am looking for forward to some Oregon coast surfing but I know that as I'm sitting in the cold waters of the West I will be dreaming of 80 degree summer water temperatures in South Carolina. And when the rain falls through the winter, my mind will drift back to wearing jeans and a t-shirt in December and waiting for that next swell. James Taylor had it right...I'll be going to Carolina in my mind for quite some time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Special Day!


Warning.. this post is scattered as is my brain, so bear with me! I’ve hesitated to share this story, however since it’s telling about the Lord’s faithfulness I decided to go ahead. Since I found out I was pregnant I have really felt the Lord speaking to me about my worries, fears, and doubts. A couple months ago (2 to be exact!) I had just found out I was pregnant, and honestly I was struggling with how in the world I could make this situation work out for the best. (There’s my first problem).

I was filled with worry, fear, and confusion. I wrestled with thoughts that our marriage would suffer because we didn’t have enough time together or how our child would miss out on having a beautiful home to come home from the hospital to. Mostly things that in light of eternity don’t matter at all.

Side note- I feel like the Lord speaks to me through life in creative ways. I love that about our relationship. I think God speaks to me in a completely different way than he might speak to you. But he knows me, just like he knows you and we receive things differently.

So back to the story.. As I dealt with these fears and issues for a couple weeks (feeling guilty the entire time that this would be hard for me when so many people struggle for a child) softly I could hear the Lord reminding me that he was in control.

Soon after I was pregnant I went to a famous baby store in my family, Once Upon A Child. It’s a consignment store with some great deals; you just have to look a little! Ryan was out of town the day I stopped by. Just put out, I spotted a cute bassinet for a great deal. It was gender neutral, clean, and similar to my sisters. My sister liked hers, so I figured this would be worth buying. This was my first ever “baby” purchase! I took a picture of it on my phone and sent it to Ryan. He gave me the thumbs up and I bought it. It was funny to hear his reaction when he returned home to see a baby bed in our house (even though he TOLD me to buy it).

So fast forward a couple of weeks…

Like most mornings in my house my first thoughts are, “I hate the mornings and don’t understand the purpose of them.” (I'm not a morning person.. can you tell?!) After Ryan and I hit the snooze button 10 times we caved into life's responsibilities. Ryan quickly got ready and was out the door. I take longer.
After throwing on clothes, blowing my hair dry, straitening it, and putting on my makeup I was ready (It’s a process). I grabbed my purse and started to walk to the front door. Like a product of my parents, all the lights in the house were off and I was headed out. The only light was coming in from a window on our front door. Half way down the hallway I stopped dead in my tracks.

A beautiful ray of sunshine was coming through the front door and illuminating the entire bassinet. I was amazed and just stared. Everything else in the house was dark and seemed to disappear. I felt like the Lord was singing over me. I felt like he was speaking to my heart and saying, “Jessica, this Child has been planned since time began, it’s not a surprise to me and I will take care of your family and meet your needs; it's what I do, just rest in me.”

I wish I could say that I sat there and pondered it for the rest of the day; however my next move was to grab my camera. I shared what happened with Ryan that evening and showed him the picture. I told him what the Lord had spoken to me. He encouraged me as well. I have such a visionary and positive husband, the world could be ending and he is thinking about the good and remains positive. I love that about him! We fit so well and he is just what I need. He continued to encourage me and we rejoiced in the Lord’s faithfulness that day. You might think, well I guess she won't worry or have fear anymore. Think again! Yet, this has served and will continue to remind me of God's constant care and tenderness to me.


I wish I could share this picture with you. In prep for a photo shoot I was clearing out my memory card and thought it was safely stored on another card. I can’t find it anywhere. However, that image is firmly etched in my memory.


**update**

The last paragraph may seem odd when you can clearly see the picture at the top. Well, I wrote this post and decided to just sit on it for a while. Today, while cleaning up some files on my computer, I found it. I am not sure how it wound up in the recycle bin on my work computer, but I was excited to find it and decided to post!


Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Th Beverly Hillbillies


In recent days Ryan and I sat down and wrote down expected moving costs to ship everything vs. drive. My idea, yet I'm not so sure why! The calculating money cruncher in me said, let's just figure this out one more time. So, we did.


Our intention has always been to ship our stuff and fly. I mean, who wants to drive 44 hours across the country (and I thought 14 hrs to college was a long way)?! Our intention was also to sell the jeep, but as many of you know intentions and reality sometimes differ. We decided to keep the Jeep... so that leaves us to have to ship it. When its all said and done we will save around (give or take) $1,000 if we drive. So guess what... we're trucking it across this fine land. After all, quite a few pennies saved is more pennies earned, thanks Abe! Our tickets that we bought for both of us will be put on a credit and we can use them within one year, not a problem!


So now, the budget truck and tow dolly have been reserved, and we are getting ready to roll. My car has a buyer (thank the Lord) and things are starting to wrap up here. We will now be leaving on Saturday, September 20 and getting to Portland on Tuesday or Wednesday. My doctor has given me the go ahead as long as I drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks to walk and stretch. I feel confident about this decision to drive. Ryan says he likes to drive (good thing bc heaven knows I can't drive a uhaul with a car in tow) which will allow me to catch up on a pile of books and my portfolio. I love to read! After all, this may be one of our few opportunities (if not last) to drive across the country without a screaming baby or young child!


The above picture is the one I can't get out of my head when this driving option came along. Lovely right!?! If only we could find oil!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bring on the next 6 months!!!


Though I can't possibly hope to keep up the frequent blog posts and witty life stories that my amazing wife so faithfully writes, I did want to clear something up....mostly for those who know me the best (i.e. family and close friends)....Jessica was, much to all of your surprise, talking about me in her last post when referring to her "humble husband", and not some other husband that she has. I know....I was as shocked as you were, but I paid her well and one of the conditions of her writing such things about me was that I would occasionally get on and write a few things of my own.....so here I am.


You could say that we've had an eventful first 6 months of marriage to say the least! As Jess has already noted, we have come through and are headed into some of the greatest changes that happen in life in the past few months and few ahead. Newly married with a baby on the way and a 3000 mile move in our near future, it seems as though our learning curve has pretty much been straight up! Although I could recount the many things that I have learned as a rookie husband, I really don't see the point since you veteran married folk don't need to hear it, those not married don't want to hear it, and my fellow rookies probably need to hear / learn it on their own like I had to.


For me, "learning it on my own" has pretty much been the way I've needed to learn things my whole life....just ask my Dad. It's also been a euphemism for learning things the hard way. But is that such a bad thing? I mean, I've learned some pretty hard lessons in the past 6 months but all of them good lessons that I needed to learn. If it was easy would I have really learned them? Isn't this the definition of growth? Maybe I'm not making much sense but the one thing that I really have started to understand as a new husband and soon to be Dad, is that you don't ever really learn things the easy way. I think this is what James was talking about when he said to "consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything."


Trials, hard times, rough patches, less than ideal circumstances, all have potential to be an opportunity for growth, opportunity to mature and become more whole or complete....amazing how that works huh? Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly to the point of rejoicing in trials but I'm working at changing my perspective and looking for areas to grow when things get hard....and really....I have no complaints since I have an amazing and beautiful wife to walk with me, challenge me, and love me in spite of my flaws. Bring on the next 6 months.

Six Sweet Months of Marriage


Is it really Tuesday already? Ryan spent the past weekend camping with some great guy friends while I went to visit my nanny with my mom. We both had great times, but we were glad to be back home together Sunday evening. Yesterday marked our 6 month wedding anniversary. The past 6 months have been a journey of learning! We have had great times of joy and some bumps along the way that is helping us to grow into the family we are called to be. I wouldn't trade the past 6 months for anything. I am blessed with a humble husband who is constantly striving to love me in the ways I receive it best. We laugh at what the next 6 months will bring... well I guess more like 6 months and 15 days!


Yesterday, due to rain Ry had the day off with me. Ryan surprised me by taking me to one of my favorite restaurants, Poogans Porch. The rest of the day was spent doing a little shopping and relaxing. Ryan also surprised me with a cute maternity outfit. He said he got some strange looks shopping through that section in Target. Oh to have been a fly on the wall! He really knows fashion, which is helpful for me! We are so blessed and we look forward to see how God will take care of us as we wrap up things here, move, find jobs, a place to live, friends, and welcome this sweet "peach" (that's how big it is right now) into the world!