Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Finding My Song Again

I may have mentioned a time or two that our family moved this summer. Moved right out of my comfort zone into a new city, that is. We are a military family. We move often. I have gotten somewhat used to this, but you never really get used to moving, I don’t care how often you do it. At least, I don’t. Until I went to college, I lived in the same house in Florida since I was a year old. My parents still live there. 

Moving is listed among those major life change events, and there are certain stresses that go with that, even when you are prepared. We’ve been through several of those recently, what with my husband being away all of last year for Army school, us selling the house we really liked, the kids and I living in a small cavelike apartment while he was gone, then moving immediately when he got home. In fact, once he got ‘home’ the movers came and packed us up. We didn’t get much time to reconnect before we were facing the stress of a major move, not only moving house, but moving to a big city I had never even set foot in before we pulled up in front of the house we rented, sight unseen, ready to move in. I could go on, but suffice to say, it’s been a stressful summer, and it hit me harder than I anticipated. 

One of the reasons this move is harder than some is that we lived in Kentucky for four years and had to leave some close friends who I very much miss today, and we know we are only here for a year, so we will be doing this all again next summer, and mentally it’s really hard to settle in and want to connect with people when you know you won’t be here long. It’s a hard thing to ask your high school sophomore to leave the high school and friends he dearly loves, along with the marching band program that was such a big part of his last two years and all the awesomeness that went with that, knowing we’re going to uproot him again next summer. Poor guy is going to have to be the new kid again next year. But in spite of it all, he’s been attending band camp at his new school this week, and though it’s very different from what he’s used to, I think it is proving to be a good experience for him. He plays the trumpet, and there are 65 trumpets, out of 374 kids on the field! That 65 trumpets is almost as big as all the winds combined in his old school. Wowza. These schools are ginormous. My middle school son was ready to go, but now that he’s seen how HUGE his new middle school is, I think we’re all feeling a little bit antsy as we think about how daunting it feels to be starting there next week. My little daughter, who cried for MONTHS before we left Kentucky, bounced the whole way home from her school open house last night. She can’t wait to start school. I think one of the hardest things about moving is seeing the kids hurting, but it’s such a joy to watch them adjust, and adjust well. God is so kind to us. I really believe He has given them the fortitude they need for all this upheaval, and my aim is for our home to be a safe place in the midst of the storm.

We live in this quirky community just outside Cleveland, OH, that is very diverse and is the weirdest, most difficult place to drive in I’ve encountered yet. Whoever designed the intersections here had to have been high on something. At least, that’s what I’ve been known to say in my more frustrated moments. But, in the midst of having to take my oldest to band camp every day this week and various orientations and venturings out, I’m finally feeling a little bit more competent about driving here. At least I know how to find the schools now, and can get from one to the other. It was a bit iffy there for a while whether I’d ever be able to even leave my driveway. I hate to drive in a normal situation, and here it kind of terrifies me, but I’m coming along. All in all, it is going to be quite an interesting year. We’ve kind of entered bizarro world in a way. We were told that here the cool kids are in the band, and the football games, well, people pretty much come for the band. It’s a very music-centered community. 

Another minor thing I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, having grown up in Florida, is most places have no central AC. We haven’t really needed it most days, but there have been a few hot ones. Wowza. Of course, this means that we all have our windows open, and as the house next door’s windows are seriously only a narrow driveway’s width away, when my neighbor over there watches inane daytime TV all day long and keeps it turned up a little too loud, sometimes I can feel my brain melting. But she doesn’t do that every day. Thankfully. We live on the top two floors of this nifty, creaky, nooks-and-crannies old house, shared with the downstairs neighbor who has the bottom floor. Thankfully, again, she’s friendly and we sometimes go walking together. 

Then again, I hesitate to complain about the heat too much, because people seem to take a perverse joy in warning us just how much snow we can expect this winter. Yeah, that doesn’t make me feel any better about driving.

We have found a great church, one which I knew as soon as I heard that we were moving to Cleveland that I hoped we’d get to attend. I only wish we could have found a house a bit closer, but it’s totally worth the drive to hear such a feast of great Bible teaching and gospel-saturated worship. 

So, I say all that to say that I kind of hit a patch of the blues this summer. Moving is HARD, and as I keep saying, this one’s had its own peculiar challenges. Through it all, I’ve tried to keep positive, but those blues did hit even as I pushed through them. And in the midst of those blues, I lost my song. I still sang at church, because sometimes worship is singing through the blues and offering a sacrifice of praise, but at home and in the car, I lost my desire to sing. I just didn’t feel like it. 

Until today. Today, while driving somewhere, and feeling the most competent I’ve felt yet about driving here, a song came on my iPod, and I just had to sing along. We’ve been introduced to the music of Keith and Kristyn Getty at our new church, and I just had to sing when one of their praise songs came on in the car today. Then it occurred to me, I think the fog is finally lifting, and I have finally found my song again. Thank God, after the past two months of singing through the fog, I finally want to sing again, a song of worship to my King.

Aren’t you glad that we serve a risen Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, our great High Priest, our Advocate who allows us into the very throne room of God. Aren’t you glad that even when the fog descends, He allows us to praise Him, because of what we KNOW, even when our feelings don’t seem to want to catch up. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Psalm 40:3 
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 96:1
Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!

Psalm 98:1

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Little Summer Stream Of Consciousness to Keep the Blog Alive Another Day

I found a seeded watermelon at the store!! Hooray! We can now teach our kids the joys of spitting watermelon seeds, which should really be a part of every kid's summer, Don’t you think. (Just so you know, the only reason there is not a question mark there where one should be is because that key is not working since a nameless child spilled Gatorade on the keyboard the other day. I’m guessing we will be shopping for a new keyboard shortly.) Besides, seedless watermelons are just NOT as tasty, and there's GOT to be something just WRONG about a seedless watermelon. It's just not natural. :-) So that was a good thing about shopping at my new grocery store yesterday. On the other hand, I looked up and down the canned vegetable and fruit aisle for canned tomatoes and all I could find were a measly few cans of organic which cost a lot more for negligible benefit (DO NOT even start with me on organic vs. regular, please. I don’t buy into all that, and you won’t change my mind, and I shop on a budget, so let’s just agree to disagree before we have the discussion), but I took a can since I needed it to make my homemade salsa which I'd been craving (store bought salsa just does NOT compare. Mine is immensely more tasty, as my husband and children will tell you). Anyway, later I ended up by accident on the 'Italian' aisle, and low and behold, there were shelves and shelves of…..canned tomatoes. Because OF COURSE that's where you would naturally think to look FIRST for canned tomatoes because it's not like you might want them for something OTHER than Italian food, like, say…..salsa, or something. I have yet to find pepperoni in this store, by the way. And, yes, I have checked the Italian aisle, which actually MIGHT make sense. One of the goofy things that makes the nomadic life of an Army family which means moving all the time a pain is you no sooner figure out all your everyday things when you have to go find and figure out new ones in a new place. I REALLY need to find someone to cut my hair. I'm starting to look like the shaggy dog. On the other hand, I had gotten myself into a right blue funk the other day about how I don’t really like it here and can I really live a year here, blah, blah, blah, blah.....when I got a wake up call just by reading my newsfeed. Then I realized I have NOTHING to complain about, shape up, already, and my heart has gotten so heavy for the REAL heartache in the world. I am praying for Iraq, and Israel, and Africa, and so many others who really are suffering. Who am I to complain about the goofed up organizational skills of my local grocery store, for crying out loud. And one really incredibly good thing about where we live is that we have an awesome church we’ve been attending and are moving toward joining. That is a blessing that far outweighs the angst over moving to a new place. This is a church where the Word is opened and read and preached WELL every week, and the Gospel is central to all that happens there. We are encouraged and challenged and that is amazing, and I’m grateful.

So, all told, it’s been an interesting summer round the ol’ Sweet Tea household. I really do intend to start blogging again one day. Until such a time, however, this will have to do, and by the way if you haven't checked it in a while, I've updated my current reading list for 2014, so you can see what I've been reading lately if you're interested in such things. Ciao!