The End, the Middle, and the Beginning

Goodness I haven’t written lately, and it feels good to sit and put thoughts to paper. I want to record and share what parts of our summer have looked and felt like, because it has been long. And it’s been a load. And I don’t want to forget it.

Our last few weeks in Northeast Arkansas were full of chaos but also deeply full of friends. We said so many goodbyes, and I miss my friends dearly. Familiarity is so good for the soul isn’t it? This place we now call home will one day be and feel familiar, but we’re not there just yet. So I do still grieve leaving our campus, the faculty/staff, our church, and our neighborhood. Even our house if you can believe it 🙂

There were so many more people that we said goodbye to, but here are a few that were captured.

June was busy packing, tying up loose ends, and lots of planning for what was to come.

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One of our last weekends there, Josh performed part of a wedding for some sweet students.

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So we sent the kids to the grandparents and had a weekend to ourselves…it was much needed.

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Then some of our very closest friends took us out to dinner, and then we went bowling. It was so special, and I will never forget it.

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And got us a cookie cake!!! Mmmm….

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Our house was looking pretty awesome

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Heards with Grace and Shane. I don’t think I’ll ever taste another burger so delicious.

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Oh, Grace. I miss our random chats and lunch outings. You hold a special place in my heart.

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Gail, you are so welcoming and down to earth….just beautiful inside and out. I appreciate your friendship so much.

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Joanna, I’m so thankful we were neighbors. I miss your visits, chats, and encouragement. And running over to borrow eggs or chicken broth or whatever I might need. And Alyssa, I miss seeing your sweet smile around and watching you interact with my kids. Hang in there, sweet girl.

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This was a normal day at the McCarty house, full of kids and bikes. I so miss seeing and having all these kiddos around.

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Here’s our nextdoor neighborhood buddy, Cody. He and the boys played every day along with some other friends in the cove. Melanie and Rick, we miss you guys!

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Rachel, I cry every time I look at this picture. Every. single. time. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have gotten to know you, have babies around the same time, and share the WBC life with you and Josh.

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Kerry helped us pack our Uhaul boxes…we could not have done it without him. Kerry, thanks for being such a good friend and for taking Josh fly fishing! Also, #manup

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Here’s the fisherman himself.

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Oh Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. No words necessary really. I sure do miss your family and getting to love on sweet Baby Jack. I drink out of my mug just about every other day. 

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Heather, I don’t know how I don’t have a pic of the both of us, but I found this one of you and sweet Oliver. Also, I just can’t even….your friendship? Yeah. I wouldn’t have made it through without you.

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Wait…here’s one of us.

 

We miss you Walnut Ridge, WBC, and FBC Pocahontas. Until next time….

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Ok, ok. On to our Leg #1 of our journey to Colorado: Northwest Arkansas. People are gonna stop reading this post because it’s so long-winded. Or I should say picture-heavy. Feel free to peace out…I’m just getting started 🙂

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We got to spend so much fun time with Josh’s family. And there were SO many baby dolls 🙂

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We got to celebrate Paisley turning 2.

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Jack, Janice, Gammy, and well, a girl who was mostly excited to drink from a big girl cup.

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We took a trip to Branson with Josh’s fam, and kids had a great time.

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Silver Dollar City was a bit much for this one. I put her in the floor board of the car to change her diaper and she was out.

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Josh’s parents’ house doesn’t have great reception so I walked down the street and used my phone just fine 🙂

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We went on walks. And I shed some tears. I felt so homesick.

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Josh and I took the middles hiking and to a waterhole. Sadly, Cason just really didn’t want to come, so we left him and Paisley with Grandma. But we had a blast with these two. 

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The kids got to go to VBS at Josh’s parents church. Obviously they didn’t have any fun.

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And of course we got to hang with Aunt Jess and Uncle Vinny (sorry I didn’t get a pic of you, Vinny). Always love seeing those cool people.

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Christine and I got to hang out AND make a special trip to Tulsa to surprise Alaina (in the middle) for her bday! We had such a fun day! Also, don’t get me started on Christine moving to Africa. That’s for a whole different post.

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I’m also so very thankful for our visit to see Josh’s Granny. She passed away earlier this week. We’ll always cherish these last moments with her. We love you, Granny.

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Sweet Paxton saying hi to her.

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Enjoying Granny’s room and stuffed animals.

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Here’s an older pic, but I just love it.

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This is in our early married days when Josh and I went to stay with Granny one weekend. I’m so thankful for pictures…being able to capture the memories is so special.

Leg #2 of our journey was spent in Dallas. And boy, was it eventful.

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Driving home from visiting a friend one evening, and I caught this (blurry) pic. Dear Dallas, you are always so familiar to me, and your 5 lane traffic makes me feel so at home.

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Also Braum’s….it just really is the best.

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I got to hang with some of my precious and cherished high school buddies. Girls, I love you so much!!!!

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Here’s a pic of our kids….And we weren’t even all there.

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Uh mom….I think you forgot to put sunscreen on my arms. Yep, buddy, I sure did.

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And Josh and I reminisced at our ALL TIME FAVORITE boba place in Arlington, TX. It was my jam when we lived in Fort Worth, and I was in grad school. It is #ohsogood

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And got to visit with my brother and Judy and their fam as well as all the other awesome extended family that I don’t have pictures of, ha! Justin and Judy, I love you guys so much!

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I met up with this precious grad school friend, Lori and her little boy Xander. A few weeks later and she now has a precious baby girl!  Lori, thanks so much for making this trip!!!

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Fun at Magnolia Market. #obviously

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Aren’t these two adorable or what?!?! They’re just weeks apart in age. Sweet babies!

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While in Waco, I got to spend a few hours with my family there. Such a fun and blessed time!

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They were excited about the shirts our Arkansas church sent us 🙂

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We had more ice cream

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And I just couldn’t resist taking this.

And although we loved our time with my family and our friends, it wasn’t all good times.

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We had ear infections.

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And staph infection…

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It got worse and then even worse, and we were nearly in the hospital. And it was so scary for this mama. I tear up thinking about it now.

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He happily lost his very first tooth.

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And then he and Kinsley collided. She was fine. He loosened four teeth, and had two of them pulled and a couple stitches. Terrible and traumatic for this guy (and Mama).

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serious teeth

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And the next day already looking better!

And then 3 days later…we were off! Leg #3: Bound for Grand Junction, CO.

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Night before…so tired but so ready to be on the road.

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Here we go…

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Then a few hours into our trip I had my mom take a pic when we stopped. I wanted to capture our journey, but mostly we all just laughed about the Arby’s hat on Josh’s head 🙂

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2 days of driving and we made it! We are getting used to our house, and though we still have boxes around, we’re starting to feel a bit more settled. I tell ya…it’s hard to do all the daily  dishes and laundry and you know, raising children, while unpacking your house. I am not a fan. 

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This one has just been so helpful with all the unpacking. One day she was calling for me to ‘help get down’ ha!

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Lots of screens during the early days of unpacking. But just look how still they are!

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Pretty little mountain view at the end of our street.

And goodness, I’m not used to seeing mountains when I’m out and about. But it is so beautiful here. We made time for some hiking a couple weeks ago, and it was just breathtaking.

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We went up on top of the Grand Mesa. Can you believe that this is on top of a mountain? It is stunning!

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Kids were a little cranky and hungry before we even hiked.

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But they perked up.

 

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I don’t know what she’s doing with her hand. 🙂

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so nice of Josh to carry the kids’ backpack

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We drove to a visitor’s center and found a picnic table to lunch and let kids run around a bit. Look at these boys. 

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And sweet girls.

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I love this one.

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He wanted to take a pic together 🙂

So we are here. We live here now. And we are working on finding our new normal.

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Like visiting our local parks

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And the library

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where you can check out our own books at this handy dandy station

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we’ve had some ice cream outings

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 and lots of playing in the backyard

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sweet sibs…youngest and oldest…two and seven

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eating peaches

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looooots of peaches…it was such a surprise blessing to see these were in the backyard of our rent house

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Other than Yours Truly, Sweet Cason boy has had the hardest time with all the change. We snuck away for some time alone and it was so good. I told him we are in this together.

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And then when I started shedding tears and just couldn’t get them to stop, I stole this one away for another outing. I needed some space and to step away from the chaos of our house. This gal’s presence and smile will bless you. She sure is a joy. I got coffee, and she played, and then we ate Wendy’s for dinner. It was good for my heart.

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This guy is doing pretty well and I think loving the outdoor life here….he’s always the first to ask to go play outside and usually stays out the longest. He’s coloring like a champ and starting Kindergarten next week (probably outside) 🙂 

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The littlest has struggled in her own way the last 3 months as so much has changed. Consistency and routine have been fairly non-existent. And I will continue to hold her through it.

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After a long stint of not often wanting Daddy, it’s so sweet to see them together. 

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But look how normal things are becoming again. We’re all starting to feel like maybe this really is our new home.

And if anyone is even still reading all this, I want to close by sharing a song that’s been playing over and over in my mind the last 3ish months. And it seems that every church gathering we’ve been too before, during, and after our transition (Pocahontas, AR, Huntsville, AR, Mesquite, TX, and even one of the churches we visited here in Grand Junction) has played this song. And I find myself constantly telling the Lord that I need him every single hour of every single day. Please, God, I need you! Strengthen me. Refine me. Give me patience and wisdom. Help me be bold.

This life is hard and there are so many unknowns. But fixing our eyes on him, trusting him, hoping in him, running to him, finding joy in him…this is what I want. So I’ll keep trekking through all this overwhelming new until it isn’t so new anymore. And I’ll keep asking for wisdom and boldness as we’re adjusting to this beautiful city and seeking the Lord for his plans here.

And as far away as we are from family and how scary it all is, I am confident  this is where we belong. When I’m shaky with nerves and overwhelmed by it all, I want to lean in and in and in. And like the song says, “When I cannot stand I’ll fall on you; Jesus, you’re my hope and stay.”

 

 

 

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