I’m starting a new series today. Right now. Welcome! This has been a season of stress and anxiety for us as we have tried to figure out what we want to do, sometimes changing our minds multiple times a day. Do we stay and attempt to negotiate a new interest rate and lower monthly payment on our current home with the new lender that took over the loan? Do we move across the country and start fresh in South Carolina? Can we achieve the kind of personal and spiritual growth we are looking for if we don’t escape this neighborhood, these family members we struggle to understand, this community of finger pointers, gossips and shallow friendships? I’ve struggled and struggled to make arrangements to move, and door after door has been closed in our faces. The real estate market in the Charleston suburbs moves very quickly and many times I’ve seen something new come up in my rental search just to disappear within a day or two. Remote job searching has been difficult for James as we are not very familiar with the area, and he certainly doesn’t want to end up with a two hour commute. I have read many times that if you find that despite your best efforts things are not coming together the way that you planned, it’s likely that God has an altogether different plan in mind. I can’t help but wonder if God wants us here, facing the things that we don’t like and don’t want to live with, in order to teach us some sense of responsibility for changing things and how to make that happen. It may not be my first choice- it sure would be easier to wipe the slate clean and start fresh somewhere else-but I keep coming back to the idea that this is where we’ve been planted, and for some reason, it is proving difficult to pull up the roots. On June 4 I have the opportunity to negotiate a settlement with the new owner of our mortgage. I hope that they will lower our interest rate to something more in line with the national average, which would effectively lower our mortgage payment by two to three hundred dollars a month. If it’s God’s will for us to salvage a life in this home, I believe that my statements will be heard and considered and things will fall into place. For the month of May, I have decided to live in this house as if I plan to be here for a long time. Everyone needs a nest. Everyone needs to have a sense of comfort and stability, even if change is coming a few months down the road. Today I spent the first few hours of my day raking and bagging leaves, pine needles and pine cones. I filled twelve bags by myself! The side yard is almost done. It’s a tough job for someone with my joint problems, but I had such a sense of accomplishment and pride when it was done. Cleaning up the part of our yard that adjoins the neighbors’ property makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing and being neighborly. And pulling into the driveway and seeing that clean yard and neat flowerbed makes me feel a sense of welcome to the property and that’s a treat for me and for my family. Tomorrow I hope to finish up that area and then I’ll share some pictures.