We made it. Thankfully. I spent the last hour of the drive reading things from Laugh Break to Trav. We were laughing so hard- even Amanda, who was laying in the back seat with a fever. I think my favorite was this one. And I should have expected that the end of this trip would leave me very introspective. I think we have resolved some things though. The first thing is that McDonald's is never, ever an eating option again. I know, life changing, right? And the second thing is that Lakeland is the place we want to be. It's the only place we're looking right now. The job market in Lakeland isn't huge- but we only need 1 job. The location might not seem like much of a revelation but we've been very unsure of where we'd end up. But after spending so much time with my brother and his family and Trav's brother and his family we're certain that it's where we want to be. During the last 6 months I've expected God to just say 'this is where you're going to be' clearly but He hasn't. That's new territory for me. But when we were there I think we both just knew that's where we'd be. I suppose that could change but I'm not really expecting it to.
We drove a lot on this trip- 2,727 miles to be exact. It's less than 800 miles to Lakeland. But we drove to Kissimmee several times (that's actually where Disney and most attractions are, not Orlando) to be with Amanda plus over to the coast a couple of times and to visit grandparents...lotsa driving I tell you. But I had an opportunity to talk to my 16 year old nephew who is going through a lot right now. Things are happening there now that we need to be there for. And our kids had the opportunity to play with their cousins- all of them. It was heartwarming and beautiful and if God called us there for no other reason than for our family I think that's enough.
So where do we go from here? I'm not sure. Travis was able to meet some people that work with his brother and his resume is in there. I think it's always good to have a face with a resume. I ran into an old friend from college (he just moved back to Lakeland that week) and he suggested looking at our alma mater- d'oh, didn't think of that. And we'll just see what happens. There is the little matter of the house. I don't know what to do about that except fix the little things that we can for now. I think I'm going to paint everything very soon. I've tried stripping the varnish off of the kitchen cabinets and it really gunks up the sand paper- we'll see how that goes. And just see what God does. I do feel refreshed and re-energized on that front so maybe I can make some real progress. That would be nice.
I'm also struggling a bit with Chloe going back to school on Thursday. I really don't feel ready to let her go; it's gone by so quickly. But I guess if I have house stuff to work on, it's better for her to be in school than stuck inside the house watching TV while I work. Oh, and the car issue? Travis made a bunch of phone calls and found one place that could work on our car before we left. He and I drove there on Thursday and as we passed by I got a sick feeling in my stomach- and so did he. So we came home, prayed and felt like we should wait. We weren't sure what we were waiting for and we had to leave on Saturday. It didn't make any sense but we did it anyway. That afternoon I went to Target and the check engine light was still on (if you don't remember two different people told us it was a transmission issue) and when I came out it was off. I was a little nervous and expected it to come back on but it never did. We drove the aforementioned 2,727 miles and the car was completely fine. God knows so much more than we do and I'm thankful for that. I'm really looking forward to what He's going to do. And I promise that I'll share a synopsis at least and pictures from the trip soon. But they're all on Facebook if you *really* want to see them all ;-)