Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Florida Meets Georgia

I was birthed into this world amidst sunshine and beaches.  My family welcomed me into the world in a small community on a Florida island before moving to Ormond beach where many of my brightest childhood memories were made amidst sunshine, palmetto forts, pine trees and beach sand.  Shortly before adolescence we moved across the state to the West Coast of Florida.  There I learned to perfect my yes ma'ams, enrolled in 4H, learned to shoot a bulls eye with a .22, saw my first manatee and picked fresh citrus off my friends trees.  College moved me to the panhandle of Florida, also known as LA (Lower Alabama) where I fell in love with sweet tea, fried pickles, and the teasing began by my Northern friends as my ya'lls and Southern drawl developed.  Marriage brought me lower into the panhandle to a small country town where I ate my first squirrel, learned the finer forms of redneck fishing, and caught wild hogs in our backyard smack in the middle of "town." 
Florida girl, born and raised.  I love Florida.  I love the sunshine, wildlife, citrus, warmth, beaches, and foliage.  But, I also love rolling hills, changing leaves, and fresh mountain air.  Mostly, I've grown to deeply love the deep South. 
In this past year God began working in our hearts showing us that the time had come for our family to move.  This was a heart wrenching decision.  We loved the people in our small town of Wewahitchka.  We loved the church we served in and the staff is like family to us.  But, when God says go you obey.  And over time our hearts began catching up to the call to go and we began looking forward with not just sorrow, but also joy and anticipation.
We weren't sure were that would be at first.  We were willing to move anywhere in the world God chose to place us.  Ultimately, God made it clear that the new place He has for us is in the beautiful state of Georgia.  We had never heard of the town when we first visited, yet it didn't take long to be swept away by the winding country roads, changing leaves, large historic Southern mansions, and quaint downtown.  Everything good you have heard about Southern friendliness and hospitality manifests itself in this town.  The people we have encountered are some the of the sweetest, friendliest, most hospitable and generous people you'll ever meet.  While part of our hearts will always reside in Florida, we are growing to truly love this small Georgia town.
We have never once packed up our family and home to move.  We know for certain that we have been completely bathed in prayer by so many because this has been one of the easiest transitions I have ever heard of any family having.  We have been extremely blessed by generosity and help on both ends.  Our Wewa church sent us off with more love, kindness, and gifts then we thought possible.  Our new Georgia church welcomed us in with overwhelming hospitality.  We had a ginormous moving crew unload our large Uhaul in 40 minutes.   They then proceeded to set up furniture, unpack boxes (the ladies unpacked my entire kitchen!), clean, and anything else we needed.  Our children were cared for, food slipped into cupboards and fridge.  We have been showered with gifts.  I have often reflected that there is no way on earth we deserve all this.  There have been very difficult seasons of life.  We have learned to joyfully accept those from God.  In the same way, there are some beautiful seasons of life.  Right now we are joyfully accepting this season of blessings.
In three weeks we bought our first home.  Yes, you read that right, three weeks.  We moved in less then two weeks before Christmas.  In time to set up a Christmas tree and due to the generosity of so many presents underneath it.  It was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.  We are completely in love with our charming 1950s home--quirks and all.  And yes, there are plenty of them.  While some days it feels like everything around us is breaking there's something about a home being yours.  And knowing that God orchestrated it all so perfectly makes it a blessing.  We try to laugh our way through the constant repairs and smile as we scrape off yet another layer of wallpaper hidden behind peeling paint. 
I love decorating our new home and may or may not have been dreaming and planning for the past year or so.  You can see the pinterest board here: Georgia Home.  
So, if you come to our  home any time soon, you'll have to travel to Georgia.  Expect to be warmly greeted by paint speckled hands, a glass of lemonade, and a little girl ready to show you her new very own pink bedroom. 
For those interested, here is a link to the church where we are excited to be serving: Rosemont Baptist Church.   

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