Relocating to Florida
It has been over a year since my last entry. So much has changed in our lives that I don't know where to begin. I will start by sharing that I am blogging from our new home in Pompano Beach, Florida. Our getting here has been about a three year process. I will try to keep the details as short as possible which could be challenging for someone like myself!
In my last blog I mentioned that we put our home up for sale in June of 2011. It took close to a year to sell with several postponements on the closing date. I think it is important to note that the house sold at the perfect time. As hard as it was to live through the uncertainties, the timing couldn't have been better.
Marko started talking about moving either to Florida or Brazil three years ago. He felt a calling to work with i2 Ministries which is based out of Southern Florida. We also have a couple of businesses in Brazil and it made sense to move closer to Brazil if not to Brazil itself. I was very resistant as most of my family lives in the Seattle area, we have a wonderful group of friends in the Northwest, and an amazing church where I was involved with Women's Ministries. I loved working with the Women at Stanwood Foursquare Church so it was very difficult for me to imagine moving so far away from everything I loved.
I started to pray daily that the Lord would change my heart. It took about ten months but my heart finally began to soften to the idea of moving. I was on my daily prayer walk one morning when I felt the peace of the Lord strongly. I knew at that moment that I was being asked to surrender my dreams and follow my husband to Florida.
Two weeks later we got an offer on our house. Two weeks after that we got an offer on our rental home. The timing was perfect; not a moment too soon. The Lord did not rush me. He waited until my heart was ready. This fact was very comforting to me and so we moved ahead with plans to relocate across the country.
We spent about four months preparing to leave. Being the planner that I am, I started packing a couple of boxes a day so as not to be overwhelmed at the end. We had three garage sales selling much of what we owned. After all, we were downsizing from an almost 6,000 square foot house into a 2,000 square foot rental home.
It was stressful, exhausting, and consuming getting ready to move. I don't think we sat down for months. In the midst of it all, we felt an excitement and a peace that were undeniably from God. There is a freedom in downsizing that cannot be explained. As much as we loved our house, it had become a burden.
The goodbye's were very difficult. We had a wonderful send off from our church body and felt very supported by our friends and Pastors at Stanwood Foursquare.
Saying goodbye to family and our closest friends was the hardest part of it all. I thought my heart would break at times as I experienced a grieving that was not unlike that of losing a loved one to death. It is very difficult for me to leave my parents at this stage of their lives. Taking their grand kids so far away from them hurts my heart deeply and yet I know this is where we are supposed to be for this season of our lives. I can only pray that we will have opportunities to see each other during the year and that our time together will be good, quality time.
We arrived in Florida twelve days ago. Josh and Jussara picked us up at the airport and drove us to our new home in Pompano Shores. A welcome home sign, lit candles, and the smell of warming lasagna greeted us as we walked through the door. Josh and Jussara had made sure our beds were set up so that we didn't have to sleep on the tile floor. They had also purchased many staples for us including food and other essentials. A large gift bag also awaited us with Florida basics: beach towels and suntan lotion! What a blessing to come home to such thoughtful touches.
Our last twelve days in Florida have been eventful to say the least. Our rental home was not exactly ready for our arrival. I won't go into the details but suffice it to say that our home needed a fair amount of maintenance work. Our pool was disgusting and only became swimable (is that even a word?) two days ago! We were without hot water for a week and only yesterday got wi-fi up and running. These were all just minor irritations that had to be worked out but which took a lot of time.
In the meantime, I (Shelley) had come down with a bad cold and our eight year old daughter, Gabriella, contacted salmonella poisoning and ended up in the hospital. She is finally feeling better, a fact that is evident in the way she is interacting with her brothers! I have always said that my daughter is most enjoyable when she is sick! Our house is always much more peaceful when our darling girl is down with a fever. That made sound rude to those of you who have never experienced a strong willed child, but in our household it is a reality. We love her spunky personality, but an occasional sickness is an opportunity for us to actually snuggle and enjoy some semblance of peace! That said, I could live without salmonella-a common cold would suffice!
As I write, we are hunkered down in our cozy little home awaiting the arrival of hurricane Isaac. It is raining and blowing like crazy but the worst is yet to come. At this point, Isaac is a tropical storm but by nightfall may turn into a category I hurricane. We love storms and are anticipating an exciting evening! Our neighbor assures us that she has lived here for 30 years and has never had any major issues. Just the same, we are preparing for the worst yet expecting the best; an adventurous, blustery night in Southern Florida!