Now that I'm at a point of stillness (hooray for childcare!) I feel like I need to get a little bit of closure with Auburn. While I don't normally gravitate towards change, life on staff has certainly gotten me at least accustomed to it... our team has changed significantly over the years, we've seen students come (become close friends) and go, and we pick up our lives and move somewhere for six weeks every summer. But I'm trying to prepare myself to experience some grieving over Auburn, even though I may feel perfectly fine with moving at the moment. (We are in a weird limbo being in a temporary home between homes for six weeks... which may be contributing to a sense of denial.)
With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to list out the things I love and will miss.
1. The people. Certainly there has been a cycle of people go through our staff team, but we have loved them each so dearly and they have all become family to us. I think we counted up something like 20 different staff that have been a part of the team since we've been there. Being under our director, Bill and his wife Julie has been invaluable to our marriage and our ministry. Bill has lead us with grace and humility and I just can't even imagine starting our marriage apart from his wise counsel. God was really good to us to let us be a part of his team.
|Staff team in 2010|
|Sweet friends, Anna and Katherine, on our women staff retreat|
I think it goes without saying how much we will miss being in the same city as Andrew's parents, but I will say it anyways! They have been an incredible blessing. They are the most need-seeking, servant people I have ever met. Samford has lived with them more than with us. They have cut our grass, cleaned and packed our house, brought us meals, taken us out to eat, babysat Wilson... Oh man, I am really questioning our move now!! I wish life worked so that all of our families could live in the same place, but I am really thankful that we got to experience at least four years with them. Thank you Baba and Grandan!
2. Our Sunday School. The first few months of our marriage I cried every Sunday because I didn't think we would ever find a church like my home church, Hardin, that I love so much. Well, it's true that no churches are identical and we didn't find a church just like it but God lead us to one that was just right for our stage of life. He specifically lead us to a community of couples that we love dearly. We experienced great teaching and life-giving friendships. I am really going to miss these sweet people. We also met a sweet couple through church, the Williamsons. Mary Ann became invaluable to me as a older, wiser friend and I tell her often that I believe she prayed Wilson into existence! (Visit her blog for some gems of wisdom!)
3. The beauty of the town. Auburn is rightly named "The Loveliest Village on the Plains." It really is a beautiful place with beautiful buildings and I've loved having walks with students and friends around campus or just hanging out on Samford Lawn.
4. Our office. We had the most incredible downtown office, right across from the aforementioned Samford Hall. It was so convenient for students to walk to and a perfect place to be with the staff team or study and prepare. I hope we can somehow recreate that at Southern Miss.
5. Big Blue Bagel. Is it shallow to say that I am going to miss a restaurant so very, very much? I never got tired of this place and their lovely bagel sandwiches, bagel chips, fruit plates and inviting booths. On that note, I'm also really going to miss Bizilia's. I spent a lot of sweet hours with students in their booths and a lot of hours studying and praying and preparing.
6. Our neighborhood. We had a really great house (although love our Hattiesburg home more), but what I'm really going to miss is our incredible neighborhood. We had lots of friends within walking distance, a playground, a pool, and great places to walk/run. It was pretty picture perfect, actually.
7. Kroger and Publix. This may go into my shallow category, but since starting to coupon these two stores have become close friends. Hattiesburg is seriously lacking in the grocery department and I'm going to have to get creative. And I'm one of "those" who love Publix in an obsessive way.
8. Downtown. Auburn's downtown is just so quaint. There are so many cute little shops and coffee shops and restaurants and it is all right beside campus which just makes everything so convenient.
9. Tailgating. Andrew won't believe I'm saying this, but I really do love the nostalgia of football season. Even though it got overwhelming to plan every Saturday in the fall around a football game, I really began to love home games where we got to walk around, see visiting friends, and enjoy the beauty of fall. We did end on a pretty unbelievable season (you know, having an undefeated record and then winning the national championship and the Heisman).
|Wilson only missed tailgating one home game... we were convinced he was Auburn's lucky charm|
10. Location! Although we aren't moving much further from my family in Kentucky, we are moving further away from our sweet family in Birmingham (Patrick, Leslie, and my incredible niece and nephews), Montgomery (Andrew's grandparents) and the lake house! Oh, I am going to miss being far from the lake house. Because the new one was built right around the pregnancy and birth of Wilson, I feel like we didn't get to take as much advantage of it as we could, but I think we will still make an effort to make many trips as possible!
|Hate that we're going to be further from this precious family!|
|Oh, the lake! What a respite.|
I'm sure there are so many more things that I loved about this place that will resurface as I compare Hattiesburg in the fall. But the beauty of it all is that God has called us to Mississippi, and so we can be sure that it is the most perfect and good place for our family at this point in our life. And that makes me excited!