Well we did it... We moved to Sunny FL & this post is Long Overdue!
To say that 2013 caught me off guard would be the biggest Understatement of the year! If you were to tell me several months back my family of 4 would be packing up our belongings and moving out of state- leaving behind family - friends - our fabulous church & a coffee shop for sale I would have just stared at you in disbelief!
So many things though - looking back now on my brief lifetime of Blessings- have come at me like that- things that only God in His greatness could explain! Isn't that how He tends to work best though - by surprising us and using 'the least of these' to make Himself known & Big! =) I am sure you too have a list full of crazy Blessings yourself! I think sometimes though we need to take that extra few minutes to really look back over our own history in the making to see His fingerprints all along the way =)
Florida though - craziness! I don't think there's ever an easy move when people are leaving behind so much - so maybe that's why God moved so swiftly for us - so we wouldn't have time to sit around and mull over the idea and take charge ourselves & change our minds & stay...! I told many friends w/ this adjustment I almost imagined this must be like what some military family's feel when they are told quickly they need to relocate (God Bless Each of Them for doing so in serving our Country- you are STRONG individuals risking Great!). Many have asked the famous "Why" question so I guess I'll get to that-
To be honest with you Joe has been seeking out a new job for well over a year - applying to various positions (government contract jobs & metro police & more) but nothing ever opened up- so as most -he endured a pay-cut and just held on to the hope that something would come along during his search. As for me- my heart resided at 66Beans - but as most small business owners know- just b/c your heart and body are somewhere- doesn't mean it's paying the bills =p So among working in the shop I was trying to take on small side jobs here and there to make ends meet- however it didn't take too long or too many of those to realize my body could not tackle all that my heart wanted to - and it began to fail me. Sending myself into stress overload and an overnight stay in the hospital was a HUGE reality check! So - I too began to apply to any and all Design jobs I could come in contact with- from the big guys (DC/Baltimore) to the smaller local contractors/companies- at this time knowing our shop was listed for sale (a complete bittersweet realization both Ashlee & I had come to). And like Joe- I too was met with the famous "Sorry we're not hiring but we'll keep your resume on hand". After plenty of those replies and realizing we just couldn't do this on our own we really began to seek out God! And it was He who led me to the thought in the middle of the night just a few months ago that- "maybe you're hitting walls b/c your family isn't suppose to be 'here' anymore"!? So I asked Joe his thought on that- and he replied he'd wondered that as well (which came as a shock from the man who said he'd Never leave the DC area!). So we did only what we knew we could... Pray Harder & begin to fast & expect God to answer -and He Always Does! It didn't take Joe too long to say - well what about Florida? I thought -well - it can't hurt to apply there- after all I am a big believer if God closes doors in one area He can do the same again in another if you aren't suppose to go in that direction either! So we both applied to various jobs and literally immediately we both began receiving positive replies & interviews began to line up. It was a whirl wind -again- to say the least. I think- actually i know- plenty of people thought we were crazy or wondered what in the world we were doing - but again- when God moves in a person's spirit -especially both spirits of a married couple- you obey. It doesn't make it easy - it's a huge trust walk as you know- but the proof is always in the fruit that later comes- ours...we're still knowing more will show in time (afterall fruit doesn't grow overnight =p)
I do know though that no matter how hard the leaving has been - leaving behind my sister to wrap things up the past couple months as we take on new owners in just 2 days now (Praise God) was not an easy thing! The fear of letting people down can really overwhelm a person's soul- and I've found that to be me in at times quite detrimental ways. I'm sure many of you ladies out there know that feeling =(
I told Ashlee just last week though that it's a bit ironic that she started things off for 2 months when we opened b/c I had my little guy Lucas only 3 days after opening (again not too ideal!)- so it was strangely fitting that 2 years later she's wrapping it up in bigger ways than I can. I give her a lot of credit & Praise! The journey- as most journey's are- was wrapped in Blessings & tears - but ultimately - for God- lives were touched more then we can take credit for & for that... I think in my gut - God has smiled down at us. Leaving behind our family when we are taking their grandson's so far (who cares about the parents after little ones come right-lol) hasn't been easy on them either - and we get that in ways that we can for now- and maybe years from now in deeper ways if our children move far away. And of course leaving our behind our Blessed church family at ECC where we were involved the past few years. They were our lifeblood and saving Grace in more ways then any of them will ever know & our Thank You's could never touch the true meaning our hearts desire to express in all they have contributed to our family of 4.
And now we're here- still not completely knowing of all the why's yet but still Trusting in God's amazing Grace and leadership throughout it all. I know He's Blessed us again in only ways He can- like providing me w/ a fantastic design job where I can design from home and run to appointments based around Joe's work schedule - Never having even had to look into placing the boys in summer childcare programs- Praise God it's been great for our family- a total juggle and lots of "Please let mommy work" comments but it's working -we're making it work! And Joe at Disney - well- it's Disney afterall- so for any of you who know my husband- there's really no other place -other than if he were full time in a church- that he'd rather be working - So again we Thank God He's working things out. And finding our new church home (at least for 'such a time as this') has been great- and literally right in our backyard! We never thought we'd get closer to church then the 7 miles we were from ECC -but now we can walk- so that's pretty close =p I must admit it'd different just 'attending' and not being apart of any type of leading- but it's needed!! God knew especially for me I needed to be brought to a place where I can rest. Well- resting for me yes - a mom w/ a 40 hour work week & just attending church a few times a week- i find that Restful =) I was talking w/ my dear friend Mary from home -telling her I feel like I should be doing something more (like scheming up a side job or something) and she said, "sommer you are Working 40 hours plus all the other mom duties"! I need to remind myself of that daily b/c i don't 'rest' well- I am one like so many who thinks I should always be Doing more- if there's any free time then i must fill it- and let me tell you that can be a Huge trick of the enemy to get a lot of us worn out and exhausted -mentally & physically to a point we are no good to the things and people that need us the most. Believe me I couldn't tell you how many times I have told my girlfriends and ladies who would come in the shop- we women need to realize being a Wife & Mom is Enough!! And then what do i do- get to FL where I am blessed by decrease in work load and try to think of ways to fill it up and 'be more helpful financially' to my family. Nope- nada- I have learned that lesson Way too many times and in harder ways then I ever want to relearn again- so Boundaries (a great book by the way) begin to be set - and Prayer over being Faithful to what God has called me to be faithful to- inspite of what others may always 'think' we should be doing. It's not easy as we all know - but God blesses our efforts and reconfirms our decisions within us as we daily walk them out w/ Him.
Wow- this little update turned into a mini-novel! I do apologize- but as we all know I make hopeful promises of keeping this blog more up to date and then fail time and time again... But maybe now w/ more time....! lol!
I thank you all for your love and thoughts and kind words of encouragement to us in our new journey here. We don't know exactly if we'll be calling FL our home 5 years from now but we do know - where He calls - we will Always seek & desire to Follow - no matter how hard...!
My love & Prayers for peace & blessings to each of you!