Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Two Terrific Years in Tampa


Has it really been two years? Was it 2 Christmases ago that we decorated our tree with our Christmas cards because we didn't have time to pull out all of our ornaments when we would be packing right after Christmas?


Has it been two years since dear friends gave us a going away party that we'll never forget?

Have we owned a painting by artist Shade Maret for two years? Sometimes it's hard to believe, and other times it feels like Tampa has been home for so much longer than just 2 years. Can I really not have a Raleigh Times salad whenever I want it?


Was it really two years ago that all of our worldly belongings were packed in boxes and moved to our driveway to be loaded onto a large truck for their transit to Tampa? Did we really stand in our driveway and hug our sweet neighbors and friends goodbye? To this day we have not had better neighbors than our old ones!




How did we ever have our last meal as Raleigh residents with the whole extended family? Did we eat or just cry in our pizza? How on earth did we load up all 7 of us, a dog, a computer, our sterling silver, all of our home movies, our wedding album, and special pictures of the children, fit all of it in one amazing Honda Odyssey minivan, and drive out of my parents' driveway? I'm not sure how we did it. But I do know that God was with us through every mile that we drove and every time that we stopped. Again. I'll never forget getting out of the car to take pictures at the first Florida rest stop. The temperature had completely warmed up and we began to strip layers of clothing. It was sunny and beautiful and WARM!



How were we brave enough to drive those 12 hours and then move into a local hotel for the week? How did we wake up on time to meet our new church family? God gave us the strength. Our first morning was filled with funny happenings, but look at how quickly our children made lifelong friends!!!! Can you believe that their best friends are in this first picture that we took after church? Despite the fact that we had a child vomit in the parking lot, I called someone a whore when I misunderstood their last name, and we smelled like dog doo, we still managed to make some friends! God does have a sense of humor!

How did our sweet 7 year old triplets bravely enter a new classroom where they doubled its size and knew no one? God gave them strength. He prepared them in ways we could not. They fit right in like they had always been at the school. God makes children so much more resilient than adults!



How did our little tiny 5 year old, Bug, face a whole new preschool all by herself? I don't now how she did it! She had never seen the school, we did not know her teacher, we did not know even one person at her school. But she did it. God gave her the strength and the personality to cope. She went right in and started making friends, just as our Bug always does. She left her very best friends in NC, and she did not immediately make new best friends. However, over the next year, she made wonderful friends and now has best friends here. We are so grateful.

Did our 5 monkeys really swim in January? Now that we are thin-blooded Floridians, I don't think they could do it! However, we happily obliged them when we arrived in the Sunshine State. We still love our pool. We are so grateful for this home. Most of all, we are grateful for the many countless ways the Lord has blessed us here. We never desired to leave our home in North Carolina. We were quite content. Sometimes the Lord has different plans for us. We knew we had to follow Him, and we're so glad that we did. Happy Two Years in Tampa!!!!!!

13 comments:

Town and Country Mom said...

I love post! We left beautiful Mount Dora four years ago for South Carolina--it was definitely a bittersweet move as we knew it was what God wanted us to do, but, oh how we hated to leave! Of course, we love it here--snow and all--our children fit like a hand in a glove, and we are so grateful. Glad you are loving Tampa; I have to admit I miss Florida a lot in January! ;)

Preppy 101 said...

What a wonderful post. Leap of Faith with God in the minivan . . .

Hines-Sight said...

Mama Henley,

Loved your post today! Your Christmas Card tree was the most creative idea, and that tree was gorgeous. I would have never thought about that. I"m going to have to save that thought, and around Christmas next year, talk about it in my blog because that is something a savvy mom (unlike me) would do. I will have to have a Raleigh Times Salad for you.

Travelbugmom said...

What a messenger of faith you are! Hugs to you and your beautiful family. Great post. You're right, He has already blessed you so much but has great plans for you too, I'm sure.

Shinny Upatree said...

Your post proves it's true -- home is where the heart is. Loved your thoughts about your move and how it impacted your beautiful family.

Beth Dunn said...

Great pictures. I did a card tree one year, so cute
xoxo
SC

North of 25A said...

Inspirational post! I always say that faith is really all about taking your beliefs on the road, so to speak, and you did.
Best,
Colleen

The Hutton Family said...

I do believe that I started crying reading this sweet post! What a wonderful and amazing family y'all are! We are so thankful that y'all live in Tampa. I will never forget that first Sunday that y'all came to church. I was so excited to meet you, actually everyone was. Looking forward to all the years to come with both of our families in Tampa! Now, don't y'all go anywhere!

The Niemeyer Nest said...

I cried too! It's hard to live far away from family. We like TN but miss being close to our families. Any tips for dealing with being far away? I love the Christmas tree idea too so cute!!!

bevy said...

My boys and I did a simlar thing 3 1/2 years ago when we married Mike and left everything we knew in Columbia. I now feel we have been here forever!!! And it is such a blessing...

Kat said...

What a sweet post! It's so true what my Mom always told me "you bloom where you are planted". Each time we had to move because of my husband's job, I was devastated. And each time we had to move again, I was devastated. I ended up loving every place and all the friends I made. I'm so glad you're happy "where God has planted you".

Thanks so much for your very sweet comment tonight.

Hugs,
Kat

Wendy said...

Great post! We left New England 15 years ago, settling in the Tampa area. We love it here!

Anonymous said...

love the post and the sweet photos! Especially the one of the triplets on the first day of school! So little! They've grown so in two years! We are so glad you are here! Our world is more beautiful because you are in it!
Love you!
Wen