Monday, September 10, 2012

Blessings, Boxes, and Bumble Bees

The first CS Lewis book I ever bought was Surprised by Joy.  I suppose that if I were writing the story of my life, this chapter would be called Surprised by Grace.  For two years, Todd and I wrestled with the uncertainty of our futures.  Should we move to the Pacific Northwest, where his family lives, and hope that God provided a job?  Would that act constitute ‘blind faith’ in God’s providence, or just plain foolishness on our part?  Should he give up the job search and put his energies wholeheartedly into our home business?  In that case, should we stay in Indiana, where the cost of living was much lower than out west?  Or, if he continued to look for work in his field, should we be less choosy about where we were willing to live?  Just how bad could Fresno be, anyway? 

As we struggled to decide, Todd continued to work hard on his dissertation, and we continued to pray for God’s guidance.  He obtained his PhD in November 2011, and we committed to one more year of job searching before reevaluating our options.

Suddenly, surprisingly, everything fell into place.  Originally, the timelines of the two schools that Todd had interviewed with didn’t line up, and in the spirit of A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, we had committed to taking the first offer.  We had a definite preference for Clemson, but I had a sinking feeling when viewing the timeline…if the first school made an offer, there’s no way that Clemson would have had time to interview all the candidates and make a decision.  The first school had some delays in their process, though, giving Clemson the necessary time, and when Todd got both offers, we were able to decide quickly. 

The idea of living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, surrounded by lakes and forests, with a moderate climate, and the job itself, made the decision to accept an easy one.

We found the perfect house for us, and our offer was accepted.  Todd spent a week at a toy show in Florida, and made the exact amount of money needed for the down payment on the new house.  Five days before his relocation, Todd was able to find a 2-month rental just 3 miles from the university, and yesterday, we accepted an offer on our house in Indianapolis. 

My grandpa used to call me a worrywart when I was growing up, and it’s true that I typically worry about everything I can’t control.  When Todd goes somewhere, I worry about drunks and crazed gunmen and half-asleep semi truck drivers.  I fret about social gatherings and mysterious pains (Todd:  “It’s NOT a tumor!”) and our dog’s obedience…or lack thereof.  Yet, throughout this entire process:  contemplating a long-distance move, being separated from my husband for 6 weeks,  running our business and packing up the entire house by myself, finding a house in Clemson, and selling this one, all in a very brief – and specific – amount of time…I’ve felt entirely calm.  A strange sense of peace has pervaded my life and as I sit here, watching my cats doze in the sunshine, with butterflies flocking to the flower beds just outside the window, I feel as if God is ticking off items on a checklist for us.  Perfect job?  Check.  Clemson house?  Check.  Down payment?  Check.  Selling the Indianapolis house?  Check.  I love this serene feeling, so atypical for me, and I feel completely awed as I contemplate these blessings from God. 

It doesn't happen all the time, but I love the times I can actually see God's hand in my life.  God is good!

Of course, it hasn't been entirely stress-free.  Our weekend looked like this:

Oh, and this:

And a whole lot of this:

But Todd finally got on the road and made it safely to Clemson yesterday.  Meanwhile, I took over his office.  I noticed Bosewichte looking wistfully at the sunny window formerly occupied by Todd's file cabinets, so I set up a little chair for him.

Someone became jealous, so soon the space looked like this:

It gives me great pleasure to type away at my desk while two cats snooze in the sun just over my shoulder.  

I've had just a little time for working in the yard, but I've seen quite a few interesting creatures during that short time.  A few mantises...

...and lots of butterflies.  Yellow ones...

White ones...


...and lots of Monarchs.  I love Monarchs, with their cheerful dotted bodies and their indifference to humans.  

If you move slowly, you'll be able to get quite close.  

Speaking of dotted, I've seen a lot of cucumber beetles...

And, of course, the usual assortment of bees.

I'm so glad that the drought is over, and that I'm able to spend a little bit of pre-autumn time outside, enjoying the sights!

I hope you can too...have a great week! 

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