Part 3: drive through Grand Teton National Park from Yellowstone to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This was my favorite place yet the one we least explored due to time constraints. I want to go back!
Part 2: Yellowstone National Park where we visited for two days only. It was enough to get a taste and have a better idea for planning a future vacation.
It’s taken me two months since moving to get to this! It feels somewhat like old news and too late to share but given that I’m slow to process life in general, this photo share is right on time.
We survived our cross country move. Nine days driving over 3,000 miles from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania to Bend, Oregon. It was quite the adventure yet very anticlimactic. It felt surreal yet like any driving trip. At times, I got so caught up on driving and breaks and how much further we still had to go until our next destination, that I completely lost sight of “omg, I’m moving to the other side of the country!” Since we had decided to move many months prior, our arrival in Bend was anticlimactic. Perhaps our exhaustion from a trip plagued by pink eye and a respiratory infection may have had something to do with that. Regardless, we were all at peace walking into our house and knowing that we would get to sleep in our beds that same night.
I almost included some details of our trip, but it became apparent that my perspective of our trip was clouded by all the germs in our car. I’ll leave you with some of my favorite photos, many taken from the comfort of my passenger seat. Don’t judge me. Okay? I was in rough shape!
Part 1: Chicago, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial
I introduced my family to the Ungame in hopes of diminishing competition and encouraging the art of listening. I had held on to the board game for years with memorable times with my family in mind. I was interested to see how it would go and I was hoping it would not be a flop considering the years the game sat on our shelves collecting dust.
I love how a simple game can turn into a life lesson, or a confirmation of the things that I’ve learned on my own.
It was Micah’s turn and his card read, “describe what you love about your home.”
I held my breath as the memory of my conversations with his father months prior rushed through my mind.
As we wrestled with the idea of relocating and convinced ourselves that it was not a crazy idea pulled out of thin air, we discussed the impact it would have on our children.
Leaving the geographical location they’ve called home.
Leaving the people that have filled up their physical world.
Leaving all of the safe environment they’ve ever known.
Leaving for the unknown.
Could we possibly go into a new place because of a desire in us?
Could we do so without scarring our kids?
Could we choose a place that they would love as much as us?
Could we handle the pain of their possible disappointment?
The concept of home was shifting inside us, it’s definition being challenged, being redefined.
“”Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you…”” John 15:4 MSG
If Jesus asks me to make Him my home, then am I not home where ever I go? If Jesus is home and His Spirit lives in me, then I can be at home where ever I live because He lives in me.
I began to feel my sense of home morphing into something I’d never known. This new way of thinking became a new rationale in looking at home.
My responsibility is to teach and guide my children to nurture and grow their relationship with Jesus. While my children are little and forming their beliefs, I provide home to them. Their father is home to them. Their parents together are home to them. Not a place, not a house, not a state.
Home is in Jesus, and we are home where ever He is. Since His Spirit goes with us, then we are home where ever Home is–everywhere we go.
I can be content here, I can be content there. I find comfort here and there. The grass is green here, the grass is green there. Not more or less. The same in a different way.
Isn’t it silly how we often make decisions based on home, and the wrong one at that? We think we need to be home to find comfort. We think we need to be home to relax and “let it all hang out.” We think we need to be home to have safety. We think we need to be home to find rest.
We hold onto things because they give us the feeling of home. Only they give us a false sense of home. We think we need to build a home when home has already been built for us.
What we end up doing is limiting life, putting up borders where they don’t belong. We can’t enjoy abundant living because we can’t see past our narrow definition of home. But as we allow the light to open our eyes and enlarge our concepts and ideas, we can “enter this wide-open, spacious life” we were designed to live (see 2 Cor. 6:11-13 msg).
I know that my children will have home where ever I am and where ever John is. Most importantly, once they fully embrace their own relationship with Him, they will be home where ever they are in Him.
My sweet lovable boy (and boy is he loved!) washed me with calm as he let his words spill from his mouth describing his father and I. No description of a house, or a place, or a where, but an identification of who home is for him.
I hesitated publicly sharing this before our move, wondering if I would believe the same in the west as I did in the east. As the boxes have been emptied, the closets filled, and the rhythms of our family restored, I’ve had time to reflect. The belief is still the same.
Do I miss my parents, siblings, and nephews? Absolutely.
Do I miss my friends? You bet.
Do I miss my GT church family? For sure.
Do I miss being home? No.
I was there in the east and I am still there in the west.
Home is not a place.
Home is not a house.
Home is not a state.
Home is a Who and we are home in Him.
We had sat on our bed with blank pages and the prompt to dream after reading a chapter in John and Lisa Bevere’s book The Story of Marriage. After ending the crazy busy in our lives we found ourselves searching for what it was we used to do with our free time. Reading marriage enrichment books had been a thing we did early in our married life. So sitting side by side in bed we filled page after page with our dreams, dreams to accomplish together and individually. As we inked our life vision across those pages, we discovered a deep desire to create art together.
I’m used to letting John bounce ideas off me as he is developing the concepts for his paintings. He asked for my thoughts on a new project, a mosaic, he was asked to create for GT’s New Normal series. We went back and forth conceptualizing the mosaic and you could feel the energy building in our car as we drove along I-176 with the kids in the back.
Why am I sharing all of this? Because yesterday I got to release a fulfilled dream. John and I created the mosaic side by side. Inspired by scripture in Revelation 21, we poured our hearts out and released that energy that had built up inside us to create the 4’x8′ mosaic “Broken to Beautiful”. Of all the creative projects I’ve ever completed, from personal photography projects to commissioned commercial work to sewing little dolls for my daughter, this by far was the most satisfying and fulfilling project I have ever completed. Getting to work on it with my best friend took it to a higher level. John feels the same way.
We were both greatly impacted by all of the stories that went into creating the piece and all of the individual ideas intertwined to convey a singular message: God takes our brokenness and makes beauty out of it.
While we created this artwork with love, we released it with hearts full of joy. We are humbled and honored to have been able to play a small part in God’s story.
This is only the beginning for John and I. We are super excited about the joint artistic endeavors that lie ahead!