Blog Change

Several months ago I had the great idea to change my blog location from Blogger to WordPress.  I spent hours transferring links and making sure that all of my posts were on the new blog.  I set up a link on Blogger announcing to the tens of people who read my blog that I Had Moved! and please visit me at my new blog home.

I hate WordPress.  Maybe it’s my aforementioned hatred of change, or maybe it’s that I can’t find themes that I really like without paying for them, but I really don’t like WordPress.  I prefer Blogger, so I am switching back and will be deleting my WordPress account soon.

If you started following me on WordPress and want to continue following me, please go to http://www.heart-of-service.blogspot.com/ and follow me there.

Muscle Memory

Moving to a new house is a strange experience, and moving to a different city just increases the strangeness exponentially.  I look around and see our things, but it still doesn’t feel like our home.  It’s still too unfamiliar and alien to be called home, yet it is.  We’re here so it’s home.

When we repeat a task over and over again, we develop a muscle memory for it.  From playing a musical instrument to a habitual routine, our brain locks in those movements and we can perform them with little to no thought.  I seem to notice this most when we move to a new house.  My hand keeps reaching for the cabinet to the left of the stove to season my cooking even though the spices are now kept to the right.  I automatically turn to the right of the sink to load the dishwasher in spite of the fact that it’s clearly on the left.

But more than my muscle memory is the feeling that I have one foot in Oklahoma and one foot in Cypress.  This morning as I came in from waiting at the bus stop with Gracie, I looked over at my keyboard and had the urge to sit down and play.  Tripping on the heels of that thought was that I could just run up to the church and practice on the grand piano there, with the quick realization that I couldn’t do that anymore.

Yesterday as I was coming out of Target (which is laid out just like the one in Owasso), I forgot for a split second where I was.  I had a brief moment of confusion when I didn’t see the Justice for Girls and Kirkland’s as I left the building, then felt foolish as I walked to my car.

I keep seeing people from Oklahoma while I’m out running errands.  I suppose it’s because I saw people that I knew so frequently back home and would stop and chat, that my brain still subconsciously tries to match what it sees with what it knows.  I’ve done so many double takes over the last two weeks that I’m surprised I don’t have a mild case of whiplash!

I know it won’t be long before I settle in completely and I develop new muscle memories, and I stop thinking of our new house as a really large hotel room.  But until then, don’t be surprised to see me walking out of Target with a confused look on my face.

New Beginnings

Anyone who has known me for any length of time is aware of my hatred of aversion to change.  I’ve worn my hair in the same basic style for the last 15 years.  I am VERY brand loyal when it comes to my food.  I like my routine just the way it is.  I’m a planner, because planning allows me to map out my future and avoid change.

HA!

For someone who is so opposed to change, I have been right in the middle of some major upheavals in the last few months.  Trevor returned from a conference in Houston last April with murmurings of possible career opportunities.  I just smiled and nodded, all the while thinking “There is no way on God’s green earth that I am moving back to Houston.”  Over the next month or two, those murmurings turned into real offers which included interviews and trips back to Houston.  By June, we knew that he could not pass on this opportunity for his career and begin the difficult task of saying goodbye to Oklahoma.

When we moved to Oklahoma in 2009, I never dreamed in a million years that we would settle in and fall so completely in love with it.  The people were friendly, the climate was amazing and the culture made us want to stay.  We quickly joined a church and made friends that we love and who loved us wholeheartedly in return.  Saying goodbye to our life in Oklahoma was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I still grieve over things that I am missing with our friends.

What I didn’t expect was the welcome I’ve received since arriving in Houston.  We moved in last Tuesday, and since then I’ve met two incredibly kind, friendly women in our neighborhood.  Amanda arrived at our doorstep with cookies and a smile on Sunday, and stayed to chat for a bit.  She lives just a few houses down from us, and has a son who is eight.  She is on the PTO board at Gracie’s school, so I have lots of opportunities to volunteer!  I met Lanie on the first day of school as I waited for the bus with Gracie.  She came walking up with a cheerful “Good morning” and her two girls who are in 3rd and 5th grade.  We were soon joined by Amanda and her son, and the two of them made me feel as though I had lived there for years.

These women have been answered prayer for me, and Gracie and the girls are becoming fast friends already.  I am thankful for God’s provision even when I resist the changes He has in store for me, and also for these sweet ladies who are slowly making me feel like maybe change isn’t such a bad thing after all.

ImageFirst day of school in CypressImage

Saying Goodbye

Her name was Zoe. She was 5 years and 9 months old to the day. She was a beautiful calico cat, and we loved her with all our hearts. She slept in Gracie’s bed every night, and could be counted on for a soft meow each morning as I stood waiting for my coffee. It was her way of reminding me that she needed her morning treat.

She was, in short, the perfect cat. No biting, scratching or hissing even when a 4 year old Grace carried her around with both arms clenched around Zoe’s neck until we could rescue her. She always snuggled up with me on the couch, stretched out along my side and purring gently. She cried when she accidentally found herself outside. She loved to be scratched under her chin and around her ears.

There could be ten kids running in and out of the house, and she would calmly sit in the middle of the floor without flinching. She knew she was safe because we loved her and protected her. She never resisted being held, even when you could tell that she really, really wanted to get down and would stay calmly in our arms until we were ready to let go.

Except today we had to let her go in spite of the fact that we weren’t ready. She was sick and in pain, and the kindest thing we could do was to release her. So she trustingly snuggled in my arms one last time as the veterinarian gave the injection, and she peacefully slipped away as we cried. We wept for our loss and for the knowledge that we would never have another pet quite like her.

We brought her home and buried her in the corner of the yard, near the birdhouse. Nathan helped fill in the tiny grave, and Gracie left flowers on the dark mound of loose dirt. The house seems empty, and I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye. Gracie left the door open, and I had to catch myself from saying, “Close that door or Zoe will get out!”

A cat shaped indention is still on the cushion of the couch, and her scratching post stands unused. I never imagined that losing a pet would affect us like this, and my emotions feel so raw. But I know that it will get better…it just has to.

Owasso YMCA Hog Jog

Ten and a half weeks ago I decided that I wanted to get in shape.  Not just my standard I’m-going-to-diet-until-I-get-tired-of-not-eating-Cheetos decision, but a real effort to make a permanent lifestyle change.  The first thing I did was to evaluate my eating.  I’ve done Weight Watchers (with varying degrees of success) on and off for 11 years now, and although it gets me started I never seem to stick with it.  I found a great website called SparkPeople and I can track my food just like WW, but it also gives me daily ranges for calories, protein, carbs and fat.  I also bought a FitBit which I wear all day, every day to track my steps, calories burned and stairs climbed.

So I got so addicted to my FitBit and tracking how many steps I was taking each day, that I got a little more serious about my walking.  I found an app for my iPhone called RunKeeper (I am suddenly seeing a technology trend here) that allows me to input specific routes and then it tracks my speed, distance and time by GPS.  So every morning I wait for the bus with Gracie, and then take my walk.  Sometimes it’s 2 miles, and sometimes it’s 3 but the point is that I get out there and do something.

All this to say that with my weeks of exercising and eating well, I’ve lost 22 lbs and had the opportunity to participate in my first 5k today.  I walked in the Owasso YMCA Hog Jog this morning, and completed it in 48:03.  It’s not a fabulous time, and it’s not particularly fast but it’s MY time and I’m proud of it!  Three months ago I would have laughed in your face if you had suggested that I would be walking in a 5k Thanksgiving morning, but I did, and it felt great.

The icing on the cake came when I turned a corner, and saw Trevor and the kids standing in the distance clapping and cheering me on.  It was completely unexpected and it reminded me once again of how gracious God has been to me.  He has blessed me in so many ways that cannot even be articulated, and continually shows His love for me through Trevor.

So today I am thankful.  Thankful for my husband and children.  Thankful for a body that is healthy enough to walk a 5k.  Thankful for the love of a sovereign God who holds me in the palm of His hand.  I am thankful.

Stolen Idea

The creativity of other people never ceases to amaze me, especially when their ideas make my life easier.  Pinterest is one of those sites that has me constantly saying (sometimes out loud), “Why didn’t I think of that??!!”  So many awesome ideas for crafts, decorating, cooking and every other genre under the sun.

I wish that I could take credit for the following pictures.  Sure, I took them, edited them, ordered the prints, bought the suckers and assembled them, but (sadly) the idea was not mine.  I will however take credit for the beautiful children, or at least half credit.  Here are the Valentine’s Day cards they will be slipping into their classmate’s boxes this year: