Stirred not shaken.

I’m writing this from a plane. Seat 18B to be exact. Right in the middle. Of my plane. Of my row. Of my flight even. And of course, to be posted later, whenever it just feels right.

From NYC to NC.

To say I don’t enjoy flying would be a touch of an understatement. I fear it. I fear the take off. I fear the flight. I fear the landing. I fear the waves of anxiety that crash over me, holding me down a bit longer each time. I fear that the phone I’m typing this on will run out of power leaving me without the worship music that is currently keeping me from being taken over by the fear of hearing every change in noise that occurs in the cabin.  I’ve sat here, eyes clenched shut tightly for the past 45 minutes with the words of this post circling around in my head, wishing I will be able to recall them when I am home and cuddled up with my laptop. But I’m not letting fear take this one away. Because I know it is not God who places this fear on me. Rather it is He who fills my lungs with air after my fear has pulled it out of me.

You see, I struggle. Horribly. And quite honestly, shamefully. I serve the King of Kings, The Lord of Lords. The creator of all that is and was and ever shall be. And yet I, am filled with fear.

I recently found myself realizing how great victory is often preceded by great struggle. When I am brought down with fear, I have no choice but to look up. I look up to a God that is able. Able to take my fear and turn it into a reminder that I am in His presence. Because while it is always so terribly easy for me to feel shaken with fear, I am finding that my fear can stir me instead; stir my nerves into passion, stir my shaking and sweaty hands into the tools I use to write a message like this, stir my spirit from one of fear to one of praise. They say you can’t control what happens in life, only your reaction to it. And I’m deciding that I want to live a life where fear stirs my spirit alive. I want to quit a life of being shaken. While I’m not quite optimistic that I’ll ever enjoy flying, I am more than optimistic that if I ask God to take my two-hour flight and stir my soul so that I may spend that time in His presence, He will prove to me that I can even find myself being thankful for this time in flight, for this time where my heart is filled with His spirit, and His faithfulness.  Because as only He can do, He can take my troubles and turn them into triumph. He can use every air pocket that we hit as a reminder that even when we fall even just a little (though it may feel like a lot) He is there to catch us, to steady the wings, to calm the fear and to stir my soul with praise and thanks.

I will be stirred, not shaken.

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Farewell 2013.

2013

Psssst. You can check out last years farewell here.

When I initially thought of writing my little 2013 farewell I thought I might do a highs and lows recap of sorts – a highlight of the peaks and pits of the year. What I realized as I began listing my moments was that 2013 was the year where each low met its match with an unfailing high. 2013 was a year filled with great optimism, and even greater moments in between the milestones. 

In 2013…

In 2013 we moved… twice. (I, in fact moved three times, if we’re getting real technical and including that month I moved back home with my family to start my job while Clint wrapped up life in Raleigh). And it was unbelievably stressful and hectic and overwhelming, and on one particular weekend there in late February we had a mere seven days left on our lease and no idea where we were packing up our life to go . I cried… a lot. But after packing up all our stuff, unpacking it, then packing it back up 2 months later and unpacking it again, we’ve been blessed to finally have found ourselves in the place we had been yearning for, for so long… home.

In 2013 I finally stopped looking for jobs… because I found one. I started the year exactly how I ended the later half of 2012, searching and applying, searching and applying, searching and applying, and beginning to get awfully good at throwing over the top pity-parties for myself. After many, many months, I found the one, and it found me, and we’ve been pretty darn happy together ever since. It’s kind of like a match made in CareerBuilder heaven. I’ve been blessed to find a job I love.

In 2013 Clint celebrated his two-year work-anniversary in November… and subsequently quit his job. But only because he had an even greater opportunity awaiting him. An opportunity that doesn’t involve being out-of-town 20 out of 30 days of the month, or working until well after-hours the nights he is home, and it even means I can take back that little nook in my family room that’s only ever been the “home office”. He’s been blessed to be able to walk away from one experience and seamlessly into a new one that holds great promise.

In 2013 we celebrated a year of marriage… and I was attacked by yellow jackets to mark the occasion. On our anniversary we truly put “in sickness and in health” to the test (which actually, was not even in our vows) but “I hope others see His heart and love in the way I care for you” is, and boy did I realize on our anniversary, the day after I got stung, and the day Clint was supposed to head out-of-town for work but chose to stay with me instead, that my husband loves me with a love so strong it could only be a love that was gifted from God.

In 2013 we also celebrated eight years of being together… and had ourselves a little photo fun. I had actually wanted to do first anniversary pictures but as fate, and the yellow jackets, would have it, it was a pretty good thing I didn’t schedule to have those pictures taken. Instead we opted for an eight year anniversary shoot. You can (and SHOULD) go check some of those pictures out HERE. Because these photos show exactly how we spent the greater part of 2013. Together, and in love. I’m so grateful for this time of marriage with Clint – the time in between newlywed bliss and parenthood, the time of just the two of us.

2013 was a year filled with blessings and with that,
2014 will be my year of greatest praise. 

20 years ago.

I turned 4.

Birthday4
And I had a giant heart cake.
And a birthday party in New York with a clown named Tippy.
And after I blew those candles out we turned the fan on and my balloons popped.

So here’s to a birthday that hopefully involves no clowns or popped balloons- but definitely one giant cake.

Also, who puts 6 candles in a 4 year olds cake?

Home.

Just over a month ago I started working back in Charlotte, while Clint stayed in Raleigh to finish up some cases before transferring to Charlotte. I must admit, after I accepted my job offer I had a moment of pride. wanted to leave Raleigh. wanted to move back to Charlotte. got a job. And found a way for us to move. had a goal and made it happen. made it all fall together. I was taking the credit and dripping with pride about it. When God so clearly spoke truth into me, “I will boast in the Lord my God, I will boast in the one who’s worthy.” Who am I to boast about getting a job I almost didn’t even call back when they first contacted me? Who am I to boast about Clint being able to transfer, something I couldn’t have had any less to do with? I was so willing to trust in the plan of the Lord when I was praying out from the bottom of my heart and soul, and I was more than happy to receive His blessings, but I sure wasn’t centered enough to give credit where it was due. So, before I go on with the rest of this post I have to say, and am joyfully happy to say, Glory to God.

“All I have for your glory Jesus,
All I am for your Kingdom, your name.”

Of the top five words I would use to describe myself, sentimental would definitely be one of them, so it comes as no surprise that as I walked out of our Raleigh apartment for the last time over the weekend that I felt the nostalgia tugging at my heart-strings. We called Raleigh home for almost exactly 9 months (though Clint a while longer). Though it certainly wasn’t always with a smile on my face. I developed a love/hate relationship with the Capitol city (and not just because I loved to hate it) but because even though I never quite felt at peace there, I created some great memories there. It will forever be the place that my Mr and I began our marriage. The city we would take on as newlyweds. And while I spent about a dozen too many days crying over spilt milk (sometimes quite literally), it gave us the opportunity to be our own little family, away from what we know and who we know, to figure it out on our own. Like that time that I was convinced a dead bird fell into our fireplace, or the many times I yelled at Google Maps through my phone as if I was showing it who’s boss. I am certain that our time in Raleigh was one of great growth. Above all, if Raleigh gave us anything, it was and is, a great, profound appreciation for all the things we never knew we needed to love with all our hearts. The places we call our own. Like our church, a place I didn’t realize was so special to me until I had to find a replacement. Or our favorite restaurants that we’ve shared so many great meals at. Or the places we’ve developed loving memories at (we’ll be living across the street from where Clint asked me to be his girlfriend 7 and a 1/2 years ago 🙂 ) And the thing that is most familiar to us and the thing that is more ours than anyone else’s, our families.

So, in my natural list making ways, here is a quick list of the top two things I will miss about Raleigh,

1. Driving back to Raleigh from Charlotte. – Clint and I shared so many great car rides driving back to Raleigh on the occasional Sunday night. We always took that dreaded 3 hour drive and opened our hearts to one another. Sharing the things God lay on our hearts. I loved those moments of fellowship. I loved those drives.

2. Goodberry’s. – Yes, my list went from sentiment to frozen custard that quickly. Goodberry’s don’t exist in Charlotte (but Pinkberry does!) so I’ll be missing that delicious frozen custard that Clint of course hated (Pretty sure our tastes couldn’t’ be more different.)

With that being said, I wouldn’t truly allow my nostalgia to run its course if I didn’t pay a little tribute to the place we’ve been and the memories we made, and of course, the great direction we’re headed in, from Raleigh to Charlotte. 9 months, many trips home, countless prayers and I can finally say…

The Simpson’s are home.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/66203704″>Home.</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/kellysimpson”>Kelly Simpson</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Awkward and Awesome.

Awkward.

-Sometimes you just have to cry. Can I get an Amen, ladies? Well, when I was driving the horrible 3 hour drive from Raleigh to Charlotte, in pouring rain, with a headache, and realized about half way in that I left something back in Raleigh that I absolutely needed, and then had to drive back, I found myself sitting in my car in a Firebird’s parking lot crying a seriously not-cute cry to my understanding husband. About 3 hours later when I was still in the car, not yet at my destination, but rather s l o w l y making my way through traffic I yet again couldn’t resist letting the flood gates down and letting the tears flow. It was bad. And at the end of my 5 and a half hour car ride I arrived home with a headache, a neck ache, a sore behind, and puffy eyes. Man oh man I will not be missing that drive.

-As I now know. I’m allergic to Gain Apple Mango Tango detergent. $15 right down the agitating drain. On the flip side, now we can splurge on the Tide and feel pretty good about it.

– In our old apartment we lived above a man name Joe. I only know this because of the nasty note he once left us, not because we ever spoke. Joe apparently felt the need to leave us a note on our door step one morning telling us that he was terminally ill with cancer and slept a lot and that we were disrupting him with our “loud project” (We’re about 90% sure the issue was our washer and dryer.. sorry, but sometime’s a girl’s gotta start the dryer at 10:30pm). We also believe that Joe once ripped open a bag of trash we left outside our front door before taking it up to the dumpster. Aside from all that, I kind of always worried that Joe was going to die in his apartment and we’d never know, and I’d just be living above a dead person. Now that we no longer live there, and we now live above a young lively-looking man, I just kind of worry that Joe is going to die in his apartment and there will be no one living above him to slowly begin to figure out that the strange smell invading the place is Joe.

 

Awesome.

– You guys. I touched the Titanic. And as I shoved my hand down inside that little tiny hole in the display box and reached out my long fingers to touch a piece of history, I felt the connection. And I’ve never felt closer to Leonardo DiCaprio then at that exact moment. I’ve been wanting to go to the Titanic exhibit at the Natural History Museum for a while now and Clint and I finally made our way there. On the surface, it was a let-down. However, as an absolute fanatic of The Titanic (the movie) I just imagined that it was Jack and Rose who sipped tea from the tea cups on display. There were actually a LOT of pieces recovered from the ship but none of it really wowed me. Actually, if it wasn’t for that small piece of ship I got to make contact with, I’d likely call the whole thing a bust, but hey, I touched the Titanic and that makes me a happy lady. Also, we received cards on our way in that assigned us a character. We each had a back story and some info about our new titanic-riding selves. I was a New York lady who was in England purchasing my wedding dress, headed back to the States in 2nd class and traveling all by my lonesome. Clint was a Husband and Father of three, traveling in 3rd class. I survived the sinking, he did not. He didn’t check to see if his wife or children survived so I’m pretty sure this is what happened. We fell in love on board the ship, he abandoned his family during evacuations to be with me and selflessly gave up his own life so I could go on to live out my dreams. Or… he and his family got locked below deck and embraced each other as they drowned.

-Sometimes I actually get a shopping cart at Target that doesn’t have a squiggly, wobbly, pirouetting wheel and I’m able to smoothly navigate through the store without a squeaking echo. It’s the little things.

-This is my last week as an official Raleigh resident. If you even kind of read this blog, you know that makes me a happy happy happy person.

-The Sermon from our church this Easter Sunday was incredible. Absolutely the best yet. And you can go watch it right here. The final monologue had me in tears, and the response of people accepting Jesus as their savior, beautiful.

 

What’s been awkward and awesome lately?