The Moving Post
"Ooooooooo....wee! What up wit dis? What up wit dat?"
Okay, so I just have to point out that it says something about the busyness of my life right now that I have started The Moving Post so many times that it has rendered itself moot.
Hey! We might be moving!
Hey! We are definitely moving!
Well, anyway, we moved. Like a month ago.
After about a year of trying to get through the online application process, my husband got a job with the Forestry Service Job Corps in social services.
For Jason, this was a dream. Government job, career path, hanging out with young adults all day (yeah, sometimes he plays Wii Bowling or chess with the kids for several hours... as part of his JOB.) It combined all his past jobs and likes and sort of rolled them into one: working with at-risk kids in a residential setting in the middle of a forest. For me, the idea took some getting used to. By accepting this as Jason's future career, I was looking forward to living near a National Forest for the next thirty years (remember that pesky Forest Service part....) For a girl who always dreamed of packing it up for The Big Apple, I was a little shell-shocked.
I know some of you Nature Lovers are gasping in dismay, but I am not a Nature Lover. Well, I love Nature, in theory. Through a window. With me on the other side, in a cutely-decorated air-conditioned house. Near a Target. Preferably with other intelligent funny mommies in my living room, drinking coffee.
But I have been praying for years that God would lead our family in a new direction, even if that direction was a little scary and full of adventures (and boy, has it been. Be careful what you pray for, people.) And as much as I hated to admit it, God's fingerprints seemed to be all over this direction. So I just sucked it up and said, "I'm scared. I'll go. But I don't have to like it." Then one day, it occurred to me that God knows me and loves me and if He's really sending me this direction, then I'm probably going to end up liking it, even if some of the twists and turns are not to my immediate liking. That realization helped calm me down a bit.
Most of my apprehension surrounded our town options. The Job Corps center is out in the middle of nowhere (i.e. the stinkin' middle of a National Forest. Have I mentioned forest enough?) We were told that we could live at the center or live in a nearby town. The problem was that even the closest town was a thirty minute drive through a winding mountain. "Okay," said Ellen, "let's drive down and check out our options before I completely freak out." Maybe the center is a bustling hotbed of activity with employee families. Maybe we could carpool our schoolchildren into town and have little dinner parties together and play Uno. Or maybe the town was charming and filled with friendly, rambunctious Southern townsfolk like in Doc Hollywood.
So one day, we drove the 2 1/2 hour interstate drive down to check out the options. First we drove to the small, hopefully charming, nearby town... the one where Anna would be in kindergarten and I would be stuck... or rather, ahem, abiding. Well, it wasn't Doc Hollywood.
There were a lot of red flags (the first being that it was the same town in which Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie filmed the first season of The Simple Life,) but let's just give the detail that sums it up. This is the town's school mascot (and they are not trying to be ironic nor witty):
Yes, a half-naked hillbilly holding a double barrel shotgun.
Through my laughter, I almost started hyperventilating and making homeschool lesson plans in my head. Okay okay, I thought, Calm down, Ellen. You haven't seen the center yet.
Thirty minutes through a winding Ozark mountain, we reached the center. The center is fine... great, in fact. As we took a tour through Jason's future workplace, I could see that it was the perfect fit for him. And that was the problem, because it was not the perfect fit for me. Remote, no other families, winding mountain roads. So basically Hillbillyville was depressing to me, but living at the center was worse.
As we left, I felt very disheartened. I started praying in my head, "God, if you want Jason here, just work this out. I will go where You put me, but it would help tremendously if it didn't cause me to go nuts like Jack Nicholson in The Shining."
On the way back home, we decided to take an old country highway back, through the mountains to the north. It is a highway that everyone in this neck of the woods avoids, for it's twisty turns... except for bikers who like that sort of action. But as we drove it, we realized that the highway was nowhere near as twisty notorious as people make it out to be. We also realized that the nearest small town to the north was only a five minutes longer drive from the center than to the southern Hillbillyville. And that second town is relatively close to civilization! (it's on the outskirts of a big town)
I was relieved. Nay, even excited to move once I figured this out. I could still hang out with my friends, go to the same church, have some different schooling options for Anna if need be, drive to a Starbucks... not that those things were necessary in life. But for this time in my life, with so many changes and upheavals in the past few years, I guess God deemed it necessary for me.
So we moved. We found a teeny tiny rental house in our price range and I am attempting to cull down even more "stuff." Jason is putting up shelves and grilling. Anna, as is her normal self, is happy as a clam.
And that concludes The Moving Post.
(oh, and our new town's school mascot is a nice, boring, non-shotgun wielding elk.)