[quote]There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven - Ecclesiastes 3:1[/quote]

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] remember one time my sophomore year sitting in Raleigh's room at Auburn.  It was a rainy day, much like today, and we were talking about our futures.  As I looked up at the popcorn ceiling of his trailer, I told him my dreams of living in New York or Atlanta or maybe Birmingham.  I wanted to live in a big city and be the next Mary Tyler Moore.  I glanced over at my boyfriend and I saw him listening intently.  He told me that he believed in me and that I could accomplish any dream that I ever had.  He still does that today.  When I asked him what his dreams were, he simply replied, "I want to be an architect in Dothan."

"That's it?" I questioned him.  He went on to explain that even though his dream wasn't in a big city, it was his vision for his future.  He loved our small city and wanted to make a contribution to its humble skyline.  He shared thoughts about restoring downtown and flipping old homes while giving them architectural details.  He talked about how one day he wanted his family to live on the land and for him to be able to build his family their dream home with plenty of space to run and play.  As much as I wanted my own dreams to come true, I couldn't help but want to be part of his dreams too.

So, we started to chase after our dreams.  I soon realized that Birmingham was in fact, the best big city for me.  I adored my time getting lost in that little big town.  Our first year of marriage was perfect as we dined, shopped, and explored as newlyweds should do.  As Raleigh's graduation approached, we knew that we soon be saying our first goodbyes as we approached a new season of life living in Montgomery.

I never thought I would live in Montgomery.  Ever.  But, when I was 24 years old and my sweet husband was barely 23, we made Alabama's capital our own.  I have so many great and difficult memories of living in Montgomery.  We were so excited to finally purchase our first home only to learn quickly that an older home requires work.  We fell in love with our jobs but we experienced the grind of getting up early and working late.  We found a church home where we were blessed with friendships that supported us as our children were born premature.  We grew up in Montgomery these past four years and for that I am forever grateful to this charming city of the South.

But, now is the time for us to start a new season of life.  A dream of Raleigh's (and now mine) has finally been fulfilled: we are moving home.  We are so excited to finally be back in the city that puts us at ease...a city where we are welcomed by Nan Nan's Friday night suppers and Jimbo's chili on game days.  A city where we will gladly shop with Gabby on Fridays or come sit with Ganny at her pool.  A weekend when we can take rides out to the land with Granddaddy and Uncle Gunter or me and Kari Beth can go see a girly movie and get a pedicure.  Or, a Tuesday night eating with Granddad or going over to Na Na & Paw Paw's for some fried cornbread and a good back scratch.  These, and so many other things, are calling us home.  It is time, finally, for Raleigh to live his dreams and for our family to be settled.

Raleigh will continue working as an architect with his firm.  And, believe it or not, I am going back to work.  Through a series of unexpected conversations, I have been offered a part-time job at our home church, Covenant United Methodist.  I'll be working as the Creative Arts Director of the Children's Ministries.  I am excited to be collaborating with a team of adults again.  I have felt a tug in my heart since January that I needed something like this.  I'm not ready to go back to work full-time but I am so looking forward to my new part-time schedule.  The girls will be going to Mother's Morning Out at Covenant while I work and then their sweet grandmothers will keep them on the days that I might need to work a little longer.  I think it will be good for them too.  Our new schedule will give us time to still be together in the afternoons and the second half of the week but I'm hoping that I'll also have a little more time to write. And, maybe purchase a new pair of shoes. :)

As excited as we are about our upcoming move, we are sad to be saying goodbye to Montgomery.  Our friends have truly become our family.  It still amazes me that we could find such a special group of people that we could raise our babies with.

I'm nervous about starting over and I know that we can't compare what we have here to what we will find in Dothan.  We won't be fully settled in Dothan until our house sells in Montgomery, so this will be a slow transition over the summer as we live in Dothan for half of the week and Montgomery for the other half.  Please pray for us as we manage this new way of temporary living!

We are full believers that God listens to the desires of our hearts.  What I have learned most so far on this journey of going home is that He provides.  Maybe not in the way we expect but His ways are usually such a greater plan than our ways.  We are trusting in His plans and timing during this season of life.  I pray that you might find some comfort and peace in our story as you journey on your own story.

Thank you sweet friends for your love and support.  More to come as we start this new season :)

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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