Happy Monday, all!
This morning as I was having my quiet time, I found myself checking into my spirit and noticing this deep and quiet calm. More often than not during this past year, it’s felt like I’ve lost this sense of strength and peace. Instead, I’ve been grasping towards comfort and security, only to find myself wrapped up in the anxiety and fear; false strengths that leave me fragile. But today was different. In the midst of transition, I am re-discovering the goodness of walking with Jesus and trusting him more fully. Today I am thankful, full-hearted, and my vision around me seems clear and sure.
Yesterday marked our first full week here in Blacksburg, VA and I still can’t believe we finally made it. I wanted to write this post so that all you wonderful friends know the low-down on our life-change and the transition time we’re in currently.
— We have signed a lease for a lovely little apartment in the lower-level of another house. Aka, this is a finished basement transformed into an apartment space, but when I tell people we’re living in someone’s basement I get weird looks. Strange. Anyway, we move into that place August 1. We will have a guest bedroom (finally!), I have perfected my cinnamon roll baking, you can see mountains from our deck, so please come visit us.
— In the meantime, we are living with Andrew’s aunt and uncle, the Tagg fam. (Pause: Is there a stronger word to use than “grateful?” because I don’t want to sound redundant and I really need get my point across). Another necessary clarification about this living situation: they have a very cool house that’s spaced out into different levels: the living + kitchen area, upstairs bedrooms, basement, and a middle living area with a guest bedroom. In living with an entire family, I think we really have it made.
If you skimmed these important notes, here’s the summary: currently we’re homeless, but we live with A’s aunt and uncle. And in August we move into a basement apartment. See above if this sounds worse than it really is.
So far, communal living and just being here has been amazing. Let me paint this picture for you and forgive me for sounding a little idealistic: I’m just incredibly excited. Every morning when I wake up, the sun starts streaming in through the closed blinds, the whole room held in this soft and golden glow. I’ve been trying to practice waking up slowly, instead of pushing myself right out of bed and into consciousness. These golden moments have been such gifts. New morning mercies get me every time! I shuffle upstairs to the kitchen and return good morning greetings from whoever is in the kitchen as I have some water and pour my half-cup of coffee (caffeine limitations going strong over here). It’s been so much easier to build a routine here than it was to figure that out when we first moved to North Carolina. I know there was so much more to do then, as we unpacked and settled in and I searched for jobs all day, and it was absolutely impossible to find a steady daily rhythm when I worked at Caribou and had to be out the door before the sun came up. However, I’m seeing how much I’ve grown in self-discipline and how much easier it is now to settle into routines. For this I am grateful, because with my new job, discipline and good habits will be the only way I’m successful.
The day after we got here, I had a phone call with a recruiter from a company called Varsity Tutors offering me a contract to work for them. Some of you may know about my previous job I got right after I left Caribou, and I was so thankful to have something lined up for me right away, but with the business of rushing home to SC and then moving through Papa’s death and the funeral week, it felt way overwhelming to try and start a new job in the midst of all that chaos. By the time I came home from those weeks away, it was time to start packing! This first job would have required me to start working at 4:30 am (because Beijing time) and that just didn’t seem like something I could swing in the middle of the moving stress. I interviewed and applied for this second job all in one day, it seemed to have just found me and swept me up, and next thing I knew I was signing a contract and being contacted by clients and setting a schedule and settling into a new daily work rhythm. Grateful. Grateful. Grateful.
I told Andrew one of the best things about this new job is how I’m not ashamed to tell people about where I work. When I was at Caribou, I wanted to crawl under a table and die whenever someone asked me what kind of work I did. It was awful. It drove me out of social situations because I hated it so much (Dramatic, I know. It was bad times). But now, I’m pumped to share with people about what I do because I’m actually excited about the job itself! For the first time in a long time, I like my work, and this is a huge gift. Not to mention, most of it is done online so I get to wear my slippers all day long. Introvert paradise.
Andrew has been adjusting well to the move, too. Some of you may not know this, but he lived here in Blacksburg for a summer back in college. He is working at a Starbucks right smack in the middle of downtown Blacksburg/ Virginia Tech and he’s enjoying the slower pace from his previous store. He’s also excited about the close-knit community that all the other store managers in the area have with one another, so he’s hoping to get the chance to move around and pick up shifts at other stores in town, too.
Yesterday we went to church together at The River Church. Andrew’s uncle, who married us, is the pastor here and we’ve been able to visit the church on some of our trips to Blacksburg as far back as Andrew and I were first dating, and of course while Andrew lived here. We are so thankful for the people we already know here and for the massive waves of peace that flood over us every time we come, engage with the liturgy, and receive communion together. I have cried every time, it is just so healing to me. Yesterday, we were greeted with many “Welcome back!”‘s and we just kept saying over and over how glad we were to be back, like this is where we belong. It really feels like a sort of homecoming to us, and we can’t wait to sink deeper into the community here.
There were times this last year when I forgot how to trust. I can’t get into all the struggles this year brought just now, but I was so weary; lacking peace and longing for a strength beyond mental and emotional stability. Now I am remembering. God’s peace is so easily offered, and it’s coming back to me. I remember now, that it doesn’t depend on my strength in the grasping. He’s already holding so tightly to me instead.
Andrew and I are overwhelmingly thankful to be here at last. God did not have to grant us such gifts during this transition, or even this place to live and flourish. And more so, we know full well that Blacksburg is not a utopia, or that our struggles will vanish now that we’re here. BUT. God is merciful and has granted us a place to rest in his perfect peace.
I want to say thank you to those of you who have always read this little blog of mine. Part of what I hope to do by working at home now is set some big writing goals and go after this passion of mine. I’ve spent too much time not doing something that makes me come alive, and I hope to change that this year. I haven’t decided how my blog will be affected by some of my pursuits, but I hope to keep using it as I always have: a place to share simple updates such as this one, and stories along the way. Much love to you for coming along with us by reading what I share. I have always treasured those of you who encourage me by reading and by sharing what it meant to you. Really, those kinds of moments have spurred me on to write beyond this space.
So thank you again, Andrew and I love you all, and we are so excited for what’s to come in this beautiful new season!
PS. One of the best hikes ever: McAffe Knob. 8 miles round-trip, leading to the most photographed spot on the AT. We’ll be frequenting this place often. Come and visit us!!