Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Big Move!

The empty apartment before we...

...said 'goodbye' to our first home!
 (Don't be fooled by the smiles. There were most definitely tears a few minutes later.)

And suddenly, we're Springfield residents once again! (And when I say "suddenly", of course I mean "after a 5-day whirlwind full of eating, special time with family, driving, packing & unpacking, loading & unloading, sore muscles and decorating".) The apartment already feels (immediately felt, really) like our home and we're very much enjoying the contentment and comfort of living in the city that has for so long been exactly where we wanted to be.

It's good to be back; it's good to be home.

No tears now...ALL smiles in our new home.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chapters and Memories

Our apartment is looking less and less like our home, and more and more like a room with four walls. I keep reminding myself that all of the things that helped make our space the cozy, comfortable place it has been get to come with us. That helps. But, it's what has happened within these four walls that is making it difficult to think about leaving. We're "packing up the memories, too" as my mom said. And, that's the hard part. We've had some wonderful times here, and most of my memories from our first year of marriage are from our time in this first little home of ours....

I think on some level I've associated being married with living in St. Louis...that's how it has been since the beginning! We drove up here the day after the wedding and started building our life together. To move away means to end a chapter of our marriage. (That we've been married long enough to have chapters is strange--and wonderful--in and of itself!) But, I suppose this is where the real heart of being married comes into play. It's incredible to start a life...but to build on that life, to change, to adapt, to start a new chapter...that's where the "we're husband & wife, and we're doing LIFE together" aspect becomes real. After all, a marriage is built on chapters, isn't it? Beginning and ending them...together.

As much as we longed to be closer to home so often this past year, I wouldn't trade our time away for anything. We are called to "leave and cleave"...and boy, did we ever cleave?! For better or worse, by living in St. Louis as newlyweds, Bobby and I were forced able to completely rely on each other, spending time together, uninterrupted by other relationships and distractions that exist in our hometown. I doubt we recognized it all the time, but I think we benefited greatly by our time away and all the time we had to spend together.

Certainly, we have dearly missed our friends and family, and being able to be around all of them again is undeniably the biggest reason we're moving home. We are both so very excited to have the opportunity to spend our Friday nights going out to dinner with friends, and I know Bobby will very much enjoy playing football with 'The Guys' on random weeknights. But, a part of me is very much going to miss our Friday night routine of pizza, beer, and a movie. Admittedly, it's have Bobby all to myself.

We'll still have plenty of time to ourselves, I'm sure. But, it will be different, and likely less frequent than it has been here. I'm confident that our relationship is such that we can willingly "share" one another with other people that value spending time with us as individuals, and that we'll value our time alone together all the more. Our year in St. Louis has strengthened our marriage; I'm curious to see what life in Springfield will look like for us as we continue our life together there.

What an exciting time ahead! For now, though, I'm just going to continue the deep-cleaning process, and look forward to one last quiet night in this cozy, first home of ours...amid a whole bunch of boxes and a whole lot of memories.

I'm thankful to have lived in St. Louis.
I'm thankful to be moving back to Springfield.
I'm thankful to be sharing life with my husband, beginning and ending chapters...together.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Years Ago

Celebrating Bobby's proposal to me, two years ago today.
Happy, happy day!

"There is no bond on earth so sweet, nor any separation so bitter
 as that which occurs in a good marriage."
 Martin Luther

Friday, November 12, 2010


The packing process is underway, and so far I've discovered that...
  • I apparently collect scarves, as I have far too many for any one person. I will be purging my winter accessories when I unpack them. (Mark my words, Bobby!)
  • We have p-lenty of hoodies and sweatshirts. And, because I am sentimentally-attached to (almost) all of them (MIZZOU!), I will be keeping my collection. BUT, we must not accumulate any more sweatshirts any time soon. No need.
  • I should have gone through the bedroom closet a long time ago. It is SO ORGANIZED NOW, and so refreshing to see it that way every time I open the door! 
  • It truly is amazing how much stuff we've managed to fit into this 683 square foot apartment! I'm kind of impressed, actually. Every nook and cranny has been utilized to hide our belongings...and it's a bit of a treasure hunt to see what has been hidden in small places for the past year! 
There is much packing yet to be done, and because we have weekend company coming (yay, John and Natalie!), I've tried to keep some semblance of a household and am avoiding piling boxes...too high. With that said, next week is GAME ON...and I'm kind of really excited about it. 

I hope that packing/moving/unpacking is not something that Bobby and I have to do too many more times, but there is something to be said for the organization, deep cleaning, and sense of achievement that comes as a result. (I guess that's why, for the non-movers, they invented 'Spring Cleaning', huh? Good thinking.)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Commercial for Christianity

You may have seen the latest ad campaign by the Mormon Church. The commercials are all similar in style. They each tell the story of one of their members and conclude with a phrase like the one I saw last week, "I'm so-and-so. I'm a blonde. I'm a Texan. And, I'm a Mormon."

(Let me just say right off the bat that the following statements are not intended to be a 'Mormon vs. Evangelical Christian' reflection. These observations could likely have just as easily been made of another religion, and I am only contemplating how we ought to live as Christians comparatively.)

The purpose of the commercials, as I have interpreted them, is to show just how "normal" the Mormon is, how his or her life is so similar to that of the rest of us...that the individuals are "just like you". It isn't until the end of the commercial that you learn that these people (who could be your neighbor!) are actually of the Mormon faith.

As I see these commercials and listen to the stories told, I can't help but imagine what a commercial for a Christian would look like. Comparatively, if the Evangelical Christian community made a 30-second national commercial, I would think that instead of showing how we as Christians are "just like you", the purpose would be to show how we stand out. We should look different than those around us. If we look the same as our non-Christian neighbor, if our action/speech/motivation is so comparable with others...there's something wrong with how we're living our lives as followers of Christ.

Secondly, in the list of the individual's defining qualities at the end of the commercials, their defining themselves as a member of the Mormon Church falls at the very end of their stated characteristics. I would hope that in a commercial for Christianity, if there were such a thing, the first defining characteristic would be that the person was a Christian. Before defining an individual as a mom/wife/sister, or a teacher/nurse/chef, the first and most important description of one's self should be that they are a Child of God.

Forget needing a national commercial to show the world who we are. The world is watching us, anyway.

"Do I stand out from those around me?"
"How do I define myself?"
"Is being a Christian the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about what and who I am?"

Some things to think about.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big News!

Morgan called me the night when she got her first kiss;
I was happy for her then.

Today, she called me to say that she got ENGAGED;
I'm ecstatic for her now!!!

Morgan and I have known each other for around 12 years, and our friendship has grown ever since we first met. We shared high school together, and all of the happiness & laughter, frustration & tears that those four years entailed. We encouraged each other throughout college, and though time together was infrequent during those years, I knew she was only a phone call...or a Facebook message...away. Our coffee and breakfast dates helped us stay in touch, and I cherish those times together. We've grown as individuals through the years, and our understanding of each other and our deep-rooted friendship has, too. It's a blessing.

My best friend is getting married. It is entirely surreal, and although the timing was somewhat unexpected, the engagement itself is not at all surprising. Morgan and Brandon have dated for over six years, and anyone who knows the two of them at all can tell that they are a great pair, perfectly matched and exactly 'right' for one another. Bobby and I have increasingly been able to spend time with them, and we always have a blast together. They are a joy to be around because it's obvious how much they enjoy being around each other, and I know there are many more memories to be made by the four of us.

I could not have chosen anyone better suited to marry my dearest friend....

It will be a joy to see them both in a few weeks, to give each of them a hug, and to see that one-of-a-kind ring on Morgan's finger in person. (Thanks to FaceTime on the iPhone I got a first glimpse. Technology is so impressive.) I am beyond excited. And then, what fun it will be to watch the wedding plans unfold! (Add that to the growing list of reasons why I am thrilled to be moving home...yay!) Morgan's sense of style and her taste in fashion is unparalleled and I am oh, so excited to hear about what she plans for their big day. I am absolutely certain that her wedding will be every bit as stylish and fun as she is! (As they both are!)

Next year is full of weddings for our closest friends, and Bobby and I cannot wait to help them all celebrate. But, I know that the Weatherford/Goodwin wedding will be one that I look forward to all best friend's wedding! Wow.

Morgan has been around for my "big" moments. She stood beside me in line for dance tickets the day I met Bobby, and she stood beside me the day I married him. She is a once-in-a-lifetime friend, and this "big" moment of hers is one that I readily celebrate with her. This is a chapter in the story of our friendship that I have been waiting for...celebrating her engagement to the man of her dreams, and watching as she prepares to become his wife. What fun this will be!

Congratulations to the future 
Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin! 

You both deserve the very best,
and I know you've found that in each other.

(P.S. I stole your photo. Had to choose one I knew you would like!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

His Whispers

Yesterday was (another) discouraging day in terms of the job search process. There were tears, there was frustration, and I was most certainly in an unemployment-induced funk. I'm exhausted with...

a) looking for jobs,
b) not finding any jobs that jump out to me and say "you were meant to do this",
c) filling out applications,
d) not hearing back from anyone, and
e) being rejected.

I'm losing confidence in myself, and truth be told, it's wearing me out.

I am so incredibly thankful to have a husband who calls his paycheck, "our paycheck", and that said paycheck more than meets our needs. (Let me repeat: I am so incredibly thankful.) I do love staying at home and being a housewife. It's a worthwhile job, but as I've mentioned more than once, I think it would be all the more fulfilling if there were little ones running around to take care of. And as it stands, since there aren't (little ones), it seems like I 'should be' working outside the home, too.

See, my plan has been to have a "real job" for a while before we have children. My plan has been to make use of my college degree and really feel like I did something before I stay at home and raise our kids. Having children is not an immediate goal, but it is a whole lot closer on the timeline than it was when we got married a year ago...and I still haven't really had a job that I can say I'm particularly excited about or proud of.

Judy is a lovely lady from the church we attend in St. Louis, and Bobby and I sit in the pew in front of her just about every week. (I know this seems a bit disjointed. Stick with me here.) We usually visit with her briefly, and her love of the Lord is always evident and encouraging. This past week, she was telling us about how she's been studying about how God whispers to us, and her last words to us before we parted ways was to "listen for His whispers this week!"

This morning, I did. As I was straightening my hair, pondering my lack-of-employment situation, I heard,
"you're not letting Me lead....

It took me but a moment to make the connection. Notice a couple paragraphs up, what has been the operative phrase..."my plan". Not His.

It was as if in that whisper God said,
"You're doing it again, Emily. Haven't we talked about this? What have I said about making plans?"

Maybe my having a job outside the home before we have kids is not God's plan. Maybe my timeline is all wrong. In which case, I've been impatiently trying to force something to happen outside of God's will. Which, is probably not wise. (And, it's certainly not doing anything to help my mental health.)

Maybe it is exactly God's plan for me to find a job and work for a while before children come along. (And, if that's the case, great!) But, (and here's the kicker) if that plan falls into place while I'm operating under the subconscious belief that it's mine, the likelihood that I'll recognize and appreciate God's hand in making it happen is unfortunately slim. And that would be really, really wrong.

I wasn't deliberately trying to take control of my life and ignore God's purpose. But, I suppose that's my human nature. (It's happened before; I'm sorry to say that I'm sure it will happen again.) I'd prayed about the job search, yes, I wasn't purposefully allowing God to take the driver's seat. (And, He is the best driver!) My frustration has come from continually trying to make something happen on my own. Which is exactly the point. I'm not on my own, and I shouldn't be acting like it.

So, this morning I prayerfully surrendered my frustration and discouragement to God, asking specifically for His direction and for my desire to be to follow His plan in this (and, of course, every other) aspect of my life. Amazing what intentional surrender to Him will do in bringing peace.... I'm quite convinced that He's been waiting for me to learn this lesson...again. And now, He's got my attention.

Maybe God's plan is for something entirely different than anything He's shown me yet. And, that would be okay. When you're listening for His whispers...and letting Him lead...anything can happen.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Going Boxing

For anyone curious about the status of our box collection for our upcoming move, the update is as follows:

Consider it a non-issue. 

Thanks to an overzealous storeroom worker at Schnuck's, we are set! (The store recycles the boxes, anyway, and apparently makes somewhere around $100,000 annually from doing so! I should perhaps be looking into getting into the cardboard industry....)

Yesterday I walked into the back room with my shopping cart, expecting to leave with ten or so boxes as I had the day before. Au contraire! The worker directed my attention to a mountain of boxes stacked halfway to the very tall ceiling. I kid you not. I had asked them to save "some", but had no idea there would be so many! ("Ask and ye shall receive!") Unfortunately, we had to break all of the boxes down, but I figure it's nothing a little packing tape can't fix.

Bobby's face says it all....
("Emily, what have you DONE?")
Needless to say, it didn't take long for me to realize that it would be in my best interest to bring my strong husband...and his Dodge...back with me after work. (The first time his truck has come in useful for actually hauling things...for us, anyway! Ha. So...yay!) It was a humorous scene, I'm sure, as we navigated the store aisles (I chose the wine aisle, stupidly enough), precariously balancing all of that cardboard on the cart.

We avoided a near disaster trying to get out the door, but that's neither here nor there.

In any case, we now (thankfully!) have boxes coming out of our ears, and I would go so far as to say that if YOU need any boxes, we can share some!

After all, our living room is starting to look like a UPS....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Reminder

A few quotes reflecting some of the negative emotion I have as I head to the polls to vote today...

The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is... the ultimate indignity to the democratic process. 
-Adlai Stevenson-

We'd all like to vote for the best man but he's never a candidate.
-Kin Hubbard- 

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, 
but there is no party of principle.  
-Alexis de Tocqueville-

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.  -Winston Churchill-

...and a few quotes reminding me just how important it is that I (that we all) proudly do so. 

The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.
 -Dwight D. Eisenhower-

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
-John Quincy Adams-

No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass.
-George Washington-
(Letter to Benjamin Lincoln, June 29, 1788)