I received my medical clearance… and not a moment too soon! YEA!
We will leave for Botswana soon. There is still much to do. There is a host of people who I had hoped to see or at least speak to before I leave. Sadly I have too many activities and there is too much space between me and them. I will make some calls. But, I know it will not be the same as being able to see them face-to-face. I know that I will meet new people and hopefully make some new friends. Yet, there is no way I can forget the friends I will leave behind.
This moving thing is not new to me. I don’t just mean moving from one dwelling to another. We have packed up and moved tent I mean packing up tent and moving across the country or to another country. We have lived in six states, 14 cities, 16 residences, and up to now, two foreign countries (my husband has lived in three foreign countries and eight states). I always look forward to each move with anticipation of what is being held in store for me. This move somehow is different. I could attribute the difference to having lived in Virginia almost as long as I lived in my home state, Texas. But I believe that it is more than that.
We moved to Virginia without extended family and yet almost immediately we put down roots. I started a business; my children graduated from high school; they all received college degrees while we lived here; I received a Master’s degree; I received professional certification; and, my husband retired. I discovered my love of beading; I continued my enjoyment of praising GOD through song; and, the first off-spring of my first off-spring was born here. But, it is more than that.
The landscape of Virginia is as beautiful to me today as it was on my first drive on its tree-lined highways some 17 years ago. But, it is more than that. It is the people. The people I have met, the ones with whom Ihave been reunited, and the ones I see in passing. But it is more than that. It is the people with whom I have developed a strong relationship. It is the people who, in the absence of ours, became an extended family.
It is people who trusted me enough to do business with me and made sure that their friends did too. It was the people who supported me – even though in some cases they did not know me – because they too believed in what I was trying to do: People like: Anita Harrell, Michelle Woods-Jones, Phyllis Henderson, Reba Harrington, Charles Dickson, Adrienne Thomas, Francine Freeman, Frank Haizlip, Cheryl Gillespie, Cheryl Wilkerson, TonyMacrini, Jerrie Spruce, Val Ackerman, Judy Braithwaithe, Lillian Thomas, the staff at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, the cities of Hampton, Norfolk, Richmond, and Newport News, and countless numbers of customers and supporters.
It is people who encouraged me at church like: Al Gilbert, Ryan Leffel, Roger McNiel, Ike and DeannaNewingham, Velma Burnett, Tommy and Nellie Newbill, Frank Birdwell, Kevin Bragg, Demita Furnner, DeeVerlander, Joe Hunt, Al Preisser, and other fellow church members, laymen, and ministers.
It was people who encouraged me at work – many who became friends: Crystal Jones, Danny Forshee, LynneFlanary, Barbara Snyder, Jane Mitchell, Ron Carey, Jane Cather, Glynn Proctor, Phyllis Mason, Amy Magee, Paula Stallard, Robyn Baumgardner, Sundra Homink, Scott Payne, Tom Silvestri, Andy Taylor, Claire Canady, Bill Turnage, Terry Hall, Jim Clark, Joe Schwartz, to name a few here. But it has also been friends like Charlene Ayers – from afar, Adrienne Cosby –who became my sister, Stephanie Mayhew, Pam Wilcynski, Rebecca McNiel, Jodi Pettiway, Mina Watanabe – from a further, Christy Wittmier, Marcia Swaine-Hansen, and others who have shared private thoughts and confidences. The point is, Virginia has been about the people who have blessed my life in personal and public ways…whether they knew it or not. I hope they know….
In just a few hours I will be leaving Virginia and the “land of the free and the home of the brave” for Africa. I am excited about living in an African nation. I am excited to begin this new experience. I am comforted to know that “GOD is not limited by location.” I am excited about my first conversations with my FATHER in the Motherland. And, I look forward to sharing more with you on my African journey!
“Where can I go from YOUR Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your had shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” ~Psalm 139:7 & 10