loved reading about what people are hopeful for...seems like little babies are a theme. something this house is hopeful for as well. all in His time.
justin and i have been trying to slow down a bit and not fill our weekends up just because they are open. we tried and failed yet again. but with good reason. on saturday a few friends from chesapeake, including eric who took a little extra time to finish school officially graduated from college. we knew we had to be there. we wanted to be there. so a couple hours before we would need to leave we decided it was a go...we packed up for less than 24 hours and made the trip. first we stopped by a few graduation parties here in harrisonburg. yay for my brick house girls. i met with these 8 girls most every sunday night to talk about life and jesus and where we were at and where we wanted to go. it was so life giving time for me. we got into the car and drove through some serious rain storms, but it passed quickly and ava was excellent. it was a surprise to everyone at the party that we were coming so our plan was just to open the door and send ava in alone to watch the reactions...but alas ava was not into our plan. it was a fun night of celebration, catching up, and being with some of the people i love most in my life. although we had a few times on the drive where we questioned our decision to go (i sent a text to katie, who was the only one that knew we were coming..went like this. me: we are nuts. just leaving now (4:30pm) to which she said: i love it!!! it's the best and only way to life. seriously.) i love that perspective. you just do it. even when it does not make a lot of practical sense you go, you do, you call, you text, you send flowers, you do something and it was more than worth it. it really is incredible how many people we saw in less than 24 hours...but staying up until 4am helped. it felt like home. it felt good. it was freeing to talk about our new home and genuinely mean it when i said..."it's good." as i went on to elaborate on what good meant it was encouraging to hear myself say things like..hopeful. turning point. being myself. while still sharing how much my heart aches for the relationships in chesapeake and the people we miss so dearly. we are lucky. lucky to have so many people around us that love us and little ava...when they really do not have to care about us at all. but the bond is deep. some of the friends we saw on this short trip were alongside us as newlyweds. new parents and cancer survivors (and a hundred other things). i am thankful. it is good to be thankful. don't loose sight of it. it changes you. i need reminding everyday.
after a late night with friends at the river house. yes, we went to the river house. i cried a little. i tried to hide it. it was gut wrenching at first. i was speechless. i am sure i seemed rude. sorry janis. i did not mean to. it just brought it all back and by all i mean everything. in a single second i saw it all. ava crawling for the first time. dancing on the porch. parties on the porch. the water. the dock. the people who cared for us in that place. the pain and the triumph. not kidding this and what felt like a hundred more memories and emotions over took me. but then i was okay. i held it together. we ate taco bell at 2am. we talked upstairs. we laughed. it did help that it looks different without our stuff. our pictures. our ava. when we drove back to where we were staying justin said...the river house: my most favorite place i have ever lived that i never want to live in again. i think that was it. we love that place. what it represents for our family and what is represents for me. so much pain and darkness along with such joy and laughter and life. i found life in that house. real deep life. new purpose. new vision. new strength. new hope. but it was only for a season. i know that and i am becoming okay with that. but it has a little bit me and my heart. so i will keep it there and still move on. i think both are okay.
i am thankful for friendships that are honest and real and point to jesus. katie you taught me that. thank you for pointing me to jesus. all the time. i miss you. i care about how your heart is and how you are doing. i will never forget to ask. not for the rest of my life.
since it was a little whirlwind of driving. friends. a little bit of sleep and more friends this is the only picture i took. but it pretty summed up the drive home. thankful for unplanned visits with friends.