I thought this post would be really easy to write. I’ve been waiting to write it for six years.
Mike accepted a position at Northside in Columbia South Carolina in April, 2009. We got married in July 2009, moved into our first apartment and embarked on an adventure together. I had been doing a lot of traveling in college, lived in Argentina for a year, majored in international studies, and had no qualms about moving 10+ hours away from my hometown. Not long after, we found our first home and bought a dog… Buckeye. A nod to our beloved Ohio.
We made wonderful friends in Columbia. I started my business and connected with amazing families. We worshiped and served and traveled with our church family…whom we adopted as our own. We welcomed our daughter into the world and she was embraced by so many. Then we packed our belongings and moved to Barnwell.
Mike started seminary. We moved twice in twelve weeks. I watched Mila learned to crawl, walk, & run… mumble, babble and now speak in full sentences. We met new students, new families, & made new friends. Again, we were welcomed into many homes and “adopted” as family. God strategically gave us relationships with others who would be our home-away-from-home. We cooked meals together, rocked on front porches, went on wagon rides, and lived life together. We’ve enjoyed the South Carolina sun, the short drive to the beach, quick vacation get-aways (we honeymooned at Hilton Head, so we’ve loved reliving those memories now as a family), watching watermelon trucks drive by (or buses!), hearing the sweet southern drawl, and embracing the one-of-a-kind hospitality.
In and out of those beautiful memories, there was an underlying feeling of loss for me. It is a battle I’ve fought for a long time and only felt the safety to share with a handful of people. Surrendering our lives and ministry wholeheartedly, and yet hoping for the day when I can call my mom when I’m feeling sick. Eagerly anticipating weekend getaways at our family cottage, celebrating nieces and nephews birthdays & seeing our siblings and parents for the holidays (and only having to travel to see one family instead of splitting holidays between the two & having to choose). I’ve wanted Mila to have a deep relationship with her cousins, aunts & uncles, grandparents…give those family members the opportunity to watch her grow up. I have always wanted to be available for them too.
Now, it’s here. We are moving back HOME.
I started this post by saying… I thought it would be easy. My heart is devastated and overjoyed at the same time. I can hardly believe this season I’ve waited for… is here. We’ve planted roots, made relationships and have so many cherished memories…experienced many of life’s milestones. We cannot deny that they’ve made us part of who we are. We cannot pretend it doesn’t feel like dislocating a shoulder. However, I know deep in my bones that the Lord has paved our way and orchestrated this beyond my understanding. Life seems chaotic right now… but nothing is chaos to Him. What a relief!
We want to say THANK YOU to so many of you. Countless friends have watched Mila so I could work or go for a run, stayed with her overnight so we could have a quick trip away, visited us in the hospital when Mila was sick, brought us meals after she was born, invited us to your homes for holiday dinners… the list goes ON and ON and ON. Your faces flash in my mind as I type this, and those memories have been burned on my heart forever.
Down to the “nuts and bolts” of our remainder in South Carolina… We will be here through October 5th. (If you are a client and would like a final session, shoot me an email.) Mila is being dedicated at our church here in Barnwell at our 8:30am service on September 14. If you are able to visit with us & support us, we would LOVE to have you. (I’ll remind everyone again as it comes a little bit closer!). The next 8 weeks are going to fly by… so if you’d like to catch up between now and then…lets do it. Email, fb, text, whatever & we will get together!
Here are some business dates I have on the calendar that might interest you…
- 30 Minute Mini Sessions at the Canals at the Riverwalk : August 16th. Only a few spots available!! INVESTMENT: $99
- 30 Minute Mini Sessions at the Statehouse in Columbia: September 13. INVESTMENT: $99
- 30 Minute Mini Sessions in Barnwell: September 20th: INVESTMENT: $99
- ANY full session (1 hour) booked before we move is only $200! (Savings of $150)
- ANY prints ordered through your personal gallery before August 16th are 50% OFF!! (I will not be renewing my membership with my lab, and this is your last chance to get professional prints! HUGE SAVINGS!) USE COUPON CODE: FINALSALE
Blessings to all of you & know you always have a place to stay with us if you find yourself in Ohio! Our home will always be open to you.
***THANK YOU TO JESSICA HUNT for taking these pictures for us!! She has been our family photographer since Mila was born (literally, in the hospital with us!) and we have been so grateful to have portraits to fill our home.