I was really being super productive on this Tuesday evening until Aaron ordered me to stop what I was doing and start blogging. I started to protest, but then I remembered telling myself, and Aunt Emily, that as soon as my sister-in-law Haley got back on the blogging bandwagon, then I would too. And Haley did get on the bandwagon today, and it was a fabulous post. As usual. So here I am, ready to update.
(Aaron is having a hysterical laughing fit right now because he just read that President George W. Bush used to call Vladamir Putin "Pooty Poot".)
Earlier this evening, Aaron and I played two games of Battleship. I haven't played this board game since I was about 3 years old with my cousin Kristy, but when I passed by it at Walmart today I just had to have it. It wasn't quite the old school version I remembered from back in the day, but it was fun playing with my husband twenty something years later. Aaron beat me at the first game, and then rubbed it in my face saying something along the lines of "You'll never beat me at this game. I'm a Marine!" Well, I won the second game, and was very gracious about my win. Poor Marine.
The Battleship battle between Aaron and I is not nearly as important as other events that have taken place this month. This month so far has been one of reflection and gratefulness. Let me explain why without being too incredibly cheesy.
When Aaron decided he wanted to pursue the law school path, we pretty much did everything in our power to avoid Ole Miss. He applied to other schools, we visited other campuses, looked for houses in other cities, and we daydreamed about what it would be like to live in awesome cities such as New York, Nashville, D.C., etc. There was just something about Oxford, Mississippi that gave me indigestion. Kind of made me nauseous. Uncomfortable. Those people were different than me. Basically, I was being judgmental in the worst kind of way. Oxford was the last place on earth I wanted to be.
Well, how funny that of all places, Aaron ends up not only getting accepted into Ole Miss Law, but receiving a very prestigious scholarship that is currently helping us out tremendously. So after much thought, prayer, and wrestling with God over the idea of becoming an Oxfordite, the decision was made. Oxford it is.
So we started looking for homes and one sunny Sunday afternoon Aaron found one on the internet and said, "This is what we are going to do. We are going to drive to Oxford, look at this house, and then we are going to buy it." And that is exactly what we did. On that Sunday evening, we made an offer, and a month or so later, we closed on it. The house is perfect. PERFECT for us in every single way.
After living in this town for about two days, I received a phone call from a woman name Susan Tyner. The connection is kind of bazaar, but basically, she is a friend of a friend of the Rice family from Yazoo City. Also a Chi Omega, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, Susan called and asked if she could come pick me up and show me places around town that I'm going to need to know, such as Kroger, the post office, dry cleaners, etc. For some reason I didn't hesitate at all to let this woman come pick me up and spend the day with her. One of the places she took me to was the church she attends, which was Christ Presbyterian Church.
We attended that church the next Sunday, and we were completely blindsided by the sense of community, the teaching, the music, the openness, and every wonderful detail that makes up that church. Since then, we have found ourselves surrounded by a community of believers, and it is the most encouraged we have ever felt in our lives. My point in mentioning all of that is simple. I am embarrassed and ashamed that I was so vocally opposed to living in Oxford. I'm ashamed that I questioned God. He undoubtedly brought us to Oxford because he knew our lives would change dramatically here. And He was so right.
This leads me to write about some of the events that have taken place this month that have caused these random acts of reflection. Recently, I began thinking about how blessed my time in Oxford has been in such a short amount of time. I was offered a job as a paralegal at a small law firm in town in February of this year. I've written about it off and on, but I've never mentioned how much of an answered prayer this job was. I was so sure that Aaron and I would live in Oxford for three entire years and never make the kind of friends we made in Starkville. In fact, I had all but accepted the notion that Aaron and I would pretty much be each others only friend. This turned out not be the case at all, and once again, I was dreadfully wrong.
Accepting the job at this law firm was truly a blessing in disguise. I accepted it because Aaron and I needed food in our bellies, and food requires money. Little did I know what else I would get out of it. I work with a small group of people, mainly women, who have been with me every step of the way throughout this pregnancy, and not only have they just been there for me, but they have all been so encouraging, excited, pumped up, involved, and interested in Clark and me. They worry about me (and fuss at me) when I run down the stairs too fast. They listen to me bellyache all the time about stupid stuff. They brought me breakfast when I was going through my morning sickness stage. They have gone out of their way to make me comfortable and they were so supportive of mine and Aaron's decision to permanently stay home with Clark once he's born. They threw me a surprise baby shower. There were gifts (big big big gifts) and strawberry cake. And tons of great food. Homemade food that required time. They spent a lot of their time and their own money on Clark and I and I just can't describe how awesome it felt to be there and know that they cared so much about this little baby in my belly. These are the ladies I'm talking about.
Even my mom and Memaw showed up!
And Clark's entire truckful of gifts, including the Pack N' Play we registered for, which is no small thing.
I know I got off on a tangent, but it all boils down to this: I'm pretty sure life changes aren't going to end here. Aaron and I have a very long road ahead of us, most likely one that includes different cities, churches, friends, growing family, struggle, disappointments, stress, and who knows what else. The thought of that long of a road is a bit overwhelming to me. But if we start down this road completely unafraid and without fear (unlike how I started down the road to Oxford), how much more will I realize the blessings that God is pouring into our lives on a daily basis? If there was no fear in my heart, what great things could come of my ministry and my life that I never would have known otherwise? I do know one thing. I know that until this year, in Oxford, Mississippi, I have never truly understood the Lord like I do now. God opened my eyes in a way that allowed me to see Him like I've never seen him before. He has blessed me. And my marriage. And my friendships. And my intimate relationship with Him. He gave us this:
And knowing that Clark will forever be in our lives, I feel stronger than ever that I don't want to live this life just going through the motions. I want to be brave and more courageous in my walk with the Lord. And I'm not really sure how to do that quite yet, but the desire is in me to do so. And most importantly, I want to spend my entire life working and praying that Clark knows every single day of his life that he is God's child. And he is blessed.