...and our season of life in Auburn, AL is coming to a close (at least for now). I hope this post will serve as a good bye to any special people we do not have a chance to say good bye to, as well as a journal of sorts for me to keep as we end this season and begin our new season in Arizona.
For those who don't know, Justin graduated with his Masters from Auburn in May and is now pursuing his PhD from Clemson University. Though Clemson is in SC, his research is in Arizona and New Mexico, so we're headed west for at least the next 3 years.
In August of 2008, the day we got back from our honeymoon, Justin and I headed south on I-85 to begin our new life in Auburn. We were both 22 years old, starting news careers, and leaving our family and friends in NC. We knew NO ONE in Auburn and I personally was scared to death. But let me tell you, when God promises He'll provide, provide He does. I have had the honor to teach at Auburn High School for the last 3 years with some of the most wonderful people. I have LOVED being a part of the faculty there and have learned many nuggets of wisdom to keep in my teaching bag for years to come. We also found a wonderful church right away and were able to get plugged in immediately. We have shared so many wonderful memories here: starting our marriage, our "firsts" of everything...all holidays, our dog Mason, a home, and most importantly, our son.
We have also had some tough times while living here, but God has used those times to refine us and use those times to grow us in Him. Justin's travels (over 8 months total in the last 3 years) did not make it easy for us as newlyweds, but man what the Lord has taught us. We also experienced pain through loss. In January of 2010, the Lord called our first baby home when I was only 8 weeks pregnant. Our marriage and faith were tested immensely during that time, but again, God is so faithful. Finances were not easy either at times, but we have learned to really appreciate the small things.
As I finish this post, I want write about my favorites/things I will miss most about Auburn...
1. Community: When I say community, I don't mean the town, I mean people we have lived life with. The friends God has placed in our lives here are ones that I hope to stay in touch with forever. We have truly had relationships that have changed our lives...people who have prayed us through hard times, and spurred us on in our walk with the Lord. We are immensely blessed!
2. Atmosphere: I feel like I live in Mayberry and I love it! Everyone knows everyone...when you walk around town, people smile and wave (and often say "War Eagle") I feel safe and comfortable and love the unity that this town has!
3. Convenience: For the past 2 years, Justin and I have lived .5 miles from my work and .3 miles from his work. Needless to say, we're spoiled. Just about anything we need in any way is less than 10 minutes away from our house, which leaves more time to get ready and just be at home. I will definitely miss this.
4. Eats: I saved this for last because it's really not that important, but just like in Wilmington, there are certain places that are only in this area that I will really miss. First, Bizilia's mango peach smoothie. Second, Big Blue Bagel's bagel chips with honey mustard. Third, anything from Chappy's Deli. This is definitely my favorite restaurant here and it will be missed!
I have to say, God is good and I have a peace about our move. (This does not mean that tears have not been shed, nor will stop being shed.) Justin's grandmother told us that she feels that God is taking us there to be missionaries and I couldn't be more honored. If moving to Arizona makes a difference in His kingdom, how selfish of me to consider otherwise. Please pray for us during our move and may God bless you all still in Auburn...we love you!