It had been entirely too long since we made a trip home to Richmond simply to visit (i.e. without it being a holiday, cancer diagnosis, etc…).  So, we headed up 95 this weekend for a few days back home.  It was fun, loud, chaotic, and overall a fabulous time.

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 Had to start things off right with a trip to Maymont, a Richmond classic.  This place is so nostalgic to me, and I love watching my kids enjoy it.

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 Everyone pause.  Elizabeth- the child who, until recently, was deathly afraid of all animals including dogs- is feeding.a.goat.  She’s also coming a long way in her relationship with my parents’ lab and no longer shakes in fear when she’s around.  Miracles do happen.

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 Like any good sorority girl, I obviously had to take a picture with Mary Grace by the fleur de lis.  Ohhh Kappa Kappa Kappa Gamma, I’m so happy that I am a…. K, I’ll stop.

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The clan of cousins after church.  Yes, there was an unfortunate incident on the monkey bars over the weekend that resulted in my nephew fracturing his humerus, but fun was still had by all.

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Probably my favorite picture of the weekend.  This is Elizabeth meeting my 94 year old great grandmother (isn’t she cute?  when I’m 94 years old, someone better still be putting big pearl earrings in my ears too).  When my “G.G.” was born back in 1919, I’m pretty positive her family would have laughed in the face of anyone who told them that she’d one day have a great-great-granddaughter from Africa.  But she does indeed, and what a priceless first meeting it was.

An unfortunate (and now predictable) phenomenon often happens after returning from a visit home.  All too often, I come back to North Carolina in a particularly cranky mood, wishing I was still with family and friends there.  I cry and complain and hate on my current life for a bit.  I daydream about what it would be like to raise my children in a deeply familiar city smack dab within my comfort zone.  It’s really quite ugly and probably more than a little unhealthy.

But then I look around our life here in small town North Carolina and am overwhelmed by the Lord’s faithfulness in all He has done over our past almost-five (?!) years here.  He has led us here to North Carolina, has met us here, and has rocked our worlds in so many ways.  And then I am reminded that right here in this moment, we are where God wants us to be.  Will I sometimes default back to my desire to be back home?  Sure.  Will I fight for joy from time to time when all I freakin want is a rainbow cookie and a coffee date with my “old friends”?  Absolutely.  But meanwhile, I’ll rejoice in what we do have in North Carolina.  In our amazing church.  Dear friends.  Jobs we adore.  A town we love.  A great school for our kids.  NC barbecue and sweet tea.  God’s been abundantly gracious to us, and wherever He takes us and whatever he calls us to do, we have so much for which to be grateful.