Home Sweet Apartment

We’re not homeless anymore! That’s right, a lease has been signed, and come August (or whenever we get there) we will be moving into a lovely 4th floor walk-up in CQ. There’s some concern as apparently this place had some severe mold issues last year (eek) but the landlord has graciously agreed to clean and paint the problem room and hopefully everything will be fine (please, please, please be fine!). Any ideas for staying on top of that from the get-go to fight off recurrence of these mold problems?

We’ve signed only a 6-month lease so if things don’t seem sustainable we will be able to get out of our apartment but we are very much hoping that is not necessary. (I’m not finished with the moving yet but I’ve no desire to add yet another to a year already chock-full of them.) Assuming the mold is not a problem, I have high expectations as this apartment was originally rented by our friends Jim and Kelly Ford (I swiped the photo below from Kelly’s Facebook page) and they made it a very warm and inviting place. I hope to do the same thing and can’t wait to get settled!

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Summer Reflections

We’re back in Chattanooga now and have had time to reflect on the last month-plus of our lives. Some of you may know that I was a bit nervous about our summer plans–while I won’t go into the details much on the blog, our summer has been very structured and we spent lots of time talking and thinking about our upcoming move overseas. While I am so excited about moving to Asia, I was uncertain how this time of preparation would go as I have had lukewarm experiences with such organized times before. Let me just say, I was wrong.

Michael and I could not be more thankful for all we have learned, and most of all how God has renewed our hearts and encouraged us to continue on in this journey. (That sounds cheesy to me–but it is true.) We learned some amazing lessons about cultural sensitivity (yes we’ve lived there before but oh my word there is still so so much to learn), shared an apartment with some very wise and fun people, hiked and camped to our hearts’ content, brushed up on our Mandarin, and overall feel better equipped and more knowledgeable about how to love and live amongst our friends in Asia as we return.

Obviously, this summer in Colorado was beautiful (as evidenced by the copious amount of scenic pictures I’ve already posted). I was reminded today, visiting with some friends who have spent the last year teaching in our future city, of just how amazing it was that we were able to spend this summer in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. CQ is beautiful, don’t get me wrong: but it’s a beauty that must be searched for and one that is found more in the people than in the scenery. Michael and I gripe a lot about the pollution (our friend Blaine said today CQ is the 5th most polluted city in the world–haven’t heard that one before but I do not doubt it), the smog, the gray, the unbearable heat in the summer and the damp and clammy cold in the winter. Weather-wise, it’s a hard place to live, and becoming a CQ person means giving up sunny days and cloudless skies. (True story: my friend Erika’s daughter Maggie, at the time 4-years-old and raised in CQ, genuinely believed that the sky was gray and argued vigorously when someone tried to convince her it was blue.) Knowing this is what we were moving to, we were so very grateful for a summer in Colorado amongst the beauty of creation.

Finally, the community and fellowship we enjoyed with the others who spent the summer with us was rare and genuine. It meant so much to be surrounded by others who not only understand but who also know much more than we do about this life we are beginning and we are grateful to have gleaned some of their wisdom and experience. We are thankful for this summer and look forward to applying it practically in the very near future!

With Kimberly, Claire, and Julie–friends who are headed all over the world. I’m so thankful for their encouragement and understanding over the course of the summer.


Versus

Well, friends, I’ve found it: the answer to life’s eternal question. It’s a query that has haunted humanity for ages, one that determines philosophies, priorities, and, yes, vacations.

You know the question I’m talking about: “If you had to choose, which would you pick—beaches or mountains?”

After a lifetime of searching I am now sure: I am a mountain person.

Sandy shores and ocean vistas are well and good—I’m from Alabama, home of the here-to-fore lovely white beaches of the Gulf Coast (Dear BP, thanks for the memories)—but after a summer in Colorado, I’ve moved on to bigger and better things.

I will always have a deep appreciation for leisure that involves book time stretched out on a towel. But one look at me will make it clear: this pasty white/freckled skin was NOT made for long exposure to direct sunlight. And spending an afternoon watching little kids build sandcastles leaves me more drained, bored, and hungry than anything. (And no, my 10-minute stroll down the beach was really not enough to work up the kind of appetite I prefer to indulge on vacation.)

But mountains…oh, glory. This summer we’ve lived a mere hour and a half (or two, depending) from the Rockies and I. have. loved. it. Most Friday afternoons have found us driving westward. Whether camping or staying with friends, the mountains are rest enough for my soul—even when the daytime hours are filled with exertion, hiking and walking and climbing and panting and, yes, stopping for rests and snacks and water and deep breathes and general awe. These harsh peaks are demanding of those who would reach the top (or somewhere close), but they richly reward each step. It’s the glory of the mountains that stills us and awes us, that makes me feel small and reminds me of One so much bigger.

But don’t take all this  to mean I’m turning my nose up at any future invites (cough cough, parents) for beach trips. I may have declared a favorite, but I’m still up for exploration.


Rocky Mountain High

I’m going to continue to post pictures from ridiculously beautiful weekend hikes because…. well… that’s what a summer in Colorado is all about? Right?

At least that’s what weekends are for, in my book. These were taken a week ago at Rocky Mountain National Park, which is only about an hour and a half or two from where we’re staying. We camped with some friends  just outside the park on Saturday night and then went on this lovely hike Sunday to Vale Loch. Beautiful–reminded me of our honeymoon in Banff/Lake Louise.