Well friends, we made it!
What an intense week! Or should I say, weeks? It’s been about 5 weeks of preparing our house for sale, packing up all our belongings, holding a moving sale, attending farewell parties and our final service at Richmond church, traveling to Chattanooga, beginning the challenging process of unpacking, and attending our first service and welcome potluck at Chatt First. Whew!
Before I catch everyone up on the happenings of the last week or so, let me first thank everyone for your prayers. Eric and I could most definitely feel the Lord’s presence surrounding us, especially in the final days of moving and traveling. God’s ear is tuned in to the voices of his children, and your (and our) petitions were answered. Praise His name!
So, backing up to Monday Aug 4th-- Eric put Noelle and I on a plane Monday morning. We were both in good spirits and I was impressed how well she handled this newest adventure. She didn’t even cry once - on the flight to Charlotte, during the 2 ½ hour layover, or the flight to Chattanooga. She had a 2 or 3 brief “toddler moments”, but with mom passing out a steady stream of special treats, stickers, magnetic books, musical toys and other goodies I had been saving up specifically for this trip, any potential temper tantrums were headed off. She charmed folks wherever we went with her “Hi!” and “Bye-bye!” and many people exclaimed over her cuteness wearing the puppy dog backpack / safety harness (Hello! Can we say “Life Saver!”?). We arrived at our destination around 5:30pm and were met at the airport by my parents, who had come to help care for Noelle and assist with moving in to the parsonage. All in all, a very good day.
One cute story from our journey-- The layover was a fun time to explore the airport and ride the moving sidewalks. The latter were a special delight to Noelle and we rode most every one in sight. She happily ignored the grouchy looks of the pushy people we slowed down. There was one problem with riding the sidewalks, however. Noelle wanted to hold the handrails like Mommy and couldn’t understand why I kept insisting she needed to hold my hand. She finally “got it” when I let her try it once. She put her hands up to the rail, but unable to hold on comfortably due to her short stature, she firmly pressed both hands to the non-moving glass wall. Well, you can guess what happened next. Her feet kept moving and so did her hands and upper body… just in opposite directions. It was like watching the unfolding of an America’s Funniest People video. The wipeout was dramatic. I’d definitely give it a 9.5, maybe higher. With poorly concealed laughter, I scooped Noelle up and brushed her off. She then marched on her merry way, unfazed by her brush with death, or at least, with a human conveyer belt.
Eric, on the other hand, did not have quite so pleasant a journey. His plan had been to leave with the U-Haul first thing Tuesday morning and arrive later that night for the guys from church to unload our belongings. Instead, the final packing, loading up the truck, and cleaning the house for potential buyers, took until late Tuesday night. It had all been much more difficult and time consuming than he had imagined. I felt awful when I found out I had left him in a lurch after Noelle and I flew to Tennessee. My poor hubby! He was tired and stressed to the max. But praise the Lord for Godly friends! Eric had several folks come help in those final 2 days – neighbors, church folks, and friends in the community. Somehow, they got it all done. What dear, wonderful people!!!
We found out the hard way that a week and a half is not enough time to pack up and move a two-story house and garage. To our credit, though, we weren’t able to get started on the real packing until after our realtor had come and taken the “furnished house” digital photos for the Internet virtual tour.
Well, when everything was finished at approximately 10:30pm Tuesday night, Eric took a short nap. He got up at 1:00am to get a head start on the long journey and was on the road with our 3 crying cats by 1:30am. An hour later, he had a tire blow out on the car trailer. After calling for a tow, he sat on the side of the road for 3 hours! On the plus side, it did give him another opportunity to nap and the cats were even able to wander the inside of the cab then settled down to sleep. So much for avoiding St. Louis morning rush hour!
5 bottles of soda, sore shoulders, and a pounding headache later, Eric safely pulled up to the parsonage. Boy, were Noelle and I ever glad to see that man! We couldn’t hug him enough, and thanksgiving for his safe journey flowed form my lips. After the greetings were over, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Well, Jen, we fit about 99% of our belongings on the truck…” I’m still trying to discover what is in that other 1%.
And for those of you concerned about the felines in this story - Shadow, Stormie-too, and Rainie did very well on the journey. The little ones cried for the first couple hours then settled down quite nicely. They were quite relieved, however, to be freed from their carriers.
Okay, this post has gotten waaaaaaaaaay long. I’m gonna quit here and finish the rest in Part 2. There is much more to tell – like the fun surprises left in the parsonage for our arrival , the amazing number of people who showed up to help unload the truck, the amazing growth Noelle has shown in spite of having her world turned upside down (again), the many ways God is blessing us – but I’ll save that for another day.
Bye for now!