Thursday, March 22, 2012


We are on the move again.
I'm not sure if the weariness I feel when I scan the things to prepare for boxes ~

while boys study words like 

~ comes from this day-three migraine,
or the two-week graduation trip to TX in a few days,
or the knowing that there is a mile-high list of things to do when we get home mid-April before this move back to VA, and much of it will need to be accomplished in a foreign language.

I think it's mostly the migraine.
Migraines speak their own insidious language to me, accusing me of being un-knowable, unappreciated, and un-likeable, much less loveable.  They cloud my head with static and make it challenging to paint pretty pictures with words.  I love the art of word-painting.  Yesterday I started to post three different times and gave up.  Today, I'm ignoring the voices of migraine and letting you hear my voice, because the daily conversations keep going even when they are not pretty.  Sometimes the best art to ponder was created out of fuzzy, smudged, and painful moments.

City Signs
We moved from our first home in the Air Force in Hornbach, Germany 14 months after I unpacked the boxes, hung the curtains and set up the first of four nurseries.  I wish we had a sign like this for each place we've left behind.


Each place has been the page that our pop-up home has rested on for a time.  And each place has etched lines and scars on our heart as we have turned the page.

(So that you can keep up with the voice change, the rest of this post is powered by a one-hour nap in the car while boys had piano lessons, followed by two large handfuls of peanut butter M&Ms.  Heaven help me, I'm a carb-craver when I have a migraine and I had to buy a birthday present for an 11 year old yesterday, which included a bag of candy in his gift bag.  You do the math.  And while you are calculating, you can estimate just how well-loved I am in this family ~ if you can count that high.  They have lived with me long enough to recognize the different voices, and are quite tender with their expectations.  My head feels better.)

Front Doors
If I knew then what I know now I would have a photograph of each front door.  It's an art, framing your door in just a way that welcomes the stranger and the neighbor alike, and beckons they enter quickly in to the space of friendship, respite, and love.  Or, at least that's what I'm hoping for each time I place the welcome mat in front of the new door.  
We have purchased quite a few welcome mats over the years!

I wish I had pictures of all the stairs I have climbed through the years.  
Stairs I have gated, walls I have washed clean from smudgy hand-prints leaving their traces, having balanced toddler toes up or down the flights.  
Stairs pajama-ed children have waited on with great anticipation for dad to get the camera ready so they can greet Christmas morning stockings and chocolate for breakfast.

I wish I had photographs of every back yard, where bikes were bounced without training wheels over grass, and hours were spent around a fire-pit making s'mores, reading books aloud, and sharing laughter with friends.  Yards where there was no grass to mow, only wooded land to tromp through, and deep snow to carve forts out of in the winter.

The Table
Will we have enough room to put all of the leaves in the table?  Will we gather a multitude around the table in the next house, or will we squeeze over into the living room, onto the couches and the floor to fit the family we will become ~ the gathered strangers, soon-to-be brothers and sisters.  Oh yes, this move I think we shall have all the leaves in the table.

The Empty Room
Are you white-walled?
Has someone colored you warm and thought of me, the transient homemaker who sets up house for 10 months, or two years, or the miraculous four?  Can I paint you and make you mine for bit?  
When we've spilled our too-much-of possessions from their crates, will you feel like our classroom?  Will we launch marshmallows from catapults and listen to Abraham Lincoln Old-time radio shows, and get bottom cramps from sitting on the floor too long in front of the radiator because it's the only warm place in the house?  Will we plaster the walls with laminated maps and hope the paint doesn't peel off the way it did here, even though we used removable wall-mount poster tape?

You will be purchased and potted, watered and trimmed.  And probably re-potted once before I find you a new home because you won't travel cross-country in the summer-heated car well.  And I'll smile anyway, thinking of you blooming on Tracy's end table or gathered in the beauty of Bette's garden. Yes, the windows will be filled with green-growing life. 

Because often times in the constant moving 
~before roots are established long and deep~
 I need to be reminded that my life will be pruned and repotted, 
it will be dormant and look dead,
it will be turning and turning, always towards the light,
and that pieces of my life are meant to bloom in other's gardens.  
So I won't envy their roots entwined with others, 
and the deepness into which they can grow together, 
for I have had the privilege of being planted in many different soils, 
beside an array of beautiful flowers.
I have smelled more than just the roses.

Our Spot
I guess most would simply call this a desk.  And truly, it functions as this when I'm paying bills, planning the school calendar and doing any other of the various family administrations.  But what I see is simply my spot with God.  Here in Germany I have been misplaced because I tend to sit against that silly radiator, back and bottom cramps and all.  And when it is nice, I sit outside and hear the birds and feel the wind and listen to the bells chime.  But always, always I come back to this solid plank of wood, where He has shown me through His word just 
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that (I) may be filled with to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:18-19

Yes, we are on the move again.
And blessed to have lives that are this particular part of God's story.  Even when it means facing the boxes again in a few months.  Someday soon I will share with you what it's like to be a woman, longing for the fellowship of women and having precious few days to live with one another before pulling up roots - and that a simple email or card in your busyness helps sustain those of us who enter dormant seasons frequently.  
  We know you love us.
We know we mattered to you.
Your remembering helps us bloom vibrantly when the sun comes out.

(I'm not sure whether pre-M&M's was clearer than post-M&M's, but I honored my desire to try to write daily.  If you need a boost now, I recommend the peanut-butter ones.)

Love you much, Favored One


  1. What a beautiful way to describe how we live our lives out of boxes and make the current house a home.Not everyone understands what that feels like, and how each place will hold a special place in our families hearts because of where we were at that point in our lives.

  2. I love this post, Tobi! I've recently been thinking about all of the places Geoffrey and I have lived, all of the people we have met and made long-term relationships with, all of the experiences we've had, all of the things we've learned. It is truly a blessing to "face the boxes"! Hope your move back to VA go easily and smoothly!
    Love ya,

  3. It does take work and "heart" doesn't it ... but we treasure the life! So glad to have shared it with you guys! Beth, before the boxes started, and Jen right now in the thick of it all!


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