what i noticed for nora: banyan trees.

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If you’re coming to visit us on a weekend, I’m going to take you to the Farmer’s Market on Third Street South on Saturday. (But you’ll have to get up early with us because it’s from 7:30 to 11:30 in the morning.) Not only are there tons of stands with organic produce/meat, there are also homemade jewelry stands, arts and crafts, and even a woman who sells homemade organic dog and cat treats!

Oh and don’t eat breakfast because we’re going to get s’mores beignets from the sweet Dutch man in his food truck. (I may be turning into an organic/clean food Nazi but I can’t refuse fried dough just yet.)

To get to the market, we have to drive down Broad Street, which is lined with these GORGEOUS banyan trees with twisty roots and sturdy trunks and limbs that stretch for days.

According to some random Welcome to Naples! signs that are posted all around the city (still not entirely sure where the city limits are for this reason) Naples is nicknamed Tree City, USA. It’s quite fitting, as you can’t turn your head without laying eyes on at least 100 palm trees.

But these trees are special to me. The first time I saw them I literally gasped at their beauty.

I’m not entirely sure my picture does them justice but just trust me on this one.

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introducing: what i noticed for nora.

Moving to a new city is exciting, but the emotions of what you leave behind can definitely cloud your view of your new home. I’ve lived in Naples for fourteen days now, and I’ve absolutely been blinded to the beauty around me by the overwhelming sadness of leaving Tallahassee behind.

A few days ago, I was able to catch up with my good friend Nora on the phone. It was so nice to hear her voice and, for those precious minutes, Tallahassee didn’t seem so far away.

Nora, a Detroit native currently living in Tallahassee but who has lived in countless other places around the globe, is no stranger to this phenomenon and, in order to replace sad feelings with grateful ones, suggested I try to notice — likeΒ really notice — at least one beautiful thing a week about my new home and to write about it. I thought that was a good idea.

This week’s WHAT I NOTICED FOR NORA , or WINFN, (if you say it fast, WIN-FIN!) is a bit cheat-y because I actually noticed it before I talked to her. And how could you not?

Along the southwest coast of Florida, the sunsets are to die for. The few I’ve had the pleasure of ogling have left me breathless and thankful.

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[Full disclosure: I did take these pictures with Instagram but no filter! Swearsies! The sunsets here are just THAT pretty. For more sunset pictures (and a thousand pictures of my kid) you should follow me.]

I think this practice is good for anyone. Not just those of us who just moved to a new town and are desperately trying to figure out where/what/how/when/why everything is. Even if you’ve lived in your town for a while, try this. Try to discover something beautiful — even if it’s something small — about where you live and take a picture of it. This will force you to really notice it for all that it is. Creation. Splendor.

A blessing.

things i love thursday! (may 23, 2013)

I think after yesterday’s supah-negativo post, it’s only fitting that TiLT would come next. I promise; it’s not all bad here. Naples really is beautiful and wonderful and I’m excited to be here. I mean check out the view!

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE MY FIRST WEEK IN NAPLES:

  • The fact that driving down here with Dax was actually really, really easy. (I did end up with pee on my shorts but let’s save that for another blog post.)
  • Our first family dinner out on the town, which is where the above picture was taken.
  • Pitchers of GOOD margaritas.
  • Oysters!
  • Getting settled in our new condo. (Condo! Sounds so beachy!)
  • Late night texts amidst inebriation.
  • The Third Street Farmers Market, complete with steel drums and a male booth worker who happened to be overly excited about babywearing (I was wearing Dax) and breastfeeding! That’s right — a DUDE excited about babywearing! Nice!
  • S’mores beignets!
  • The worship leader’s wife offered to watch Dax for us on Saturday night so we could unpack and organize. So nice of her! I was even late picking Dax up and she didn’t mind!
  • My first Sunday, and all the nice people whose names I still don’t know.
  • Night time family walks around the neighborhood.
  • Our screened-in porch.
  • Renting The Emperor’s New Groove and shamelessly quoting the whole thing.
  • Delivery chinese food and sushi. Not on the same night, obviously.
  • The sunsets here on the gulf coast. Simply stunning.
  • My first staff meeting.
  • Laughing a little too much at my first staff meeting…
  • Confirmation cake!
  • Cooking dinner for us. When there’s an easy recipe to follow, I’m not so bad at cooking! Thanks, eMeals!
  • Hot n’ Spicy Cheez-Its and Cool Lime Refreshers at Starbucks.
  • Encouraging texts/emails/phone calls/voicemails from people I love/miss the most.
  • And most of all, my handsome, sweet, funny, smart, hero of a husband who is doing his best to take care of all of us.

introducing nineveh.

At the moment, it’s 4:02PM on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m sitting on my couch — not inside a cubicle — while my baby peacefully naps in his crib and one of my cats does so behind my head.

Friday was my last day at my job and Sunday was our last day at our church. Many tears have already been shed and more are coming, no doubt, as the final pages of this chapter of our lives turn.

I suppose that, at this point in time, it’s safe to go ahead and blog publicly about what’s next for our family and to give Nineveh a proper introduction. And so — here goes.

We are moving to Naples! (Florida, not Italy — though the culture is so different down there it’s almost as if we are moving to a different country.)

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. Lindsay, you must have failed Geography because Naples is not central Florida and that’s where you originally said you were headed.

First of all, that’s mean. I never failed Geography. I managed to slightly pass it thankyouverymuch. Second of all, yes, we realize that Naples is not central Florida. So here’s the Reader’s Digest (does anyone still get Reader’s Digest?) version of why we’re headed to So Fla:

Once Dan and I came to the realization that we had to move in order to build a better family life — ideally including me being the primary caregiver for Dax as opposed to him being in full time childcare — we chose central Florida because that’s where my family is. Dan and I were pretty pessimistic about finding a situation in which I would be able to stay at home with Dax, but we wanted to give it a shot. If we didn’t find anything, we knew we could at least count on someone in my family to care for Dax during the day. So Dan blanketed the central Florida area with his resume and we waited.

We had a few churches contact us for interviews and we even visited some. All of the churches we looked into were great, but none of them offered a situation in which our family dynamic would change to be more what we envisioned. I was getting pretty discouraged by this until Dan got an email from a man named Don using a nondescript email address.

In the email, Don said he saw Dan’s resume online and asked if he’d be interested in an opening for a youth pastor. Dan said yes, and the two continued to discuss the position. After a few emails, Dan finally asked Don where he was from. When he said that he was the Director of Ministry at a church in Naples, both of our hearts sank.

Don requested a lunch meeting with us and we agreed to go even though we both thought there was no way we’d end up taking a job in south Florida. It’s good practice, we thought.

But then, the lunch meeting went really well. Which led to a Skype interview with a handful of staff members that also went really well. Which led to an onsite visit and interview that went extremely well…

What came out of all of this is nothing short of amazing, providential, and praiseworthy. Not only was Dan offered the position, but I was also offered a job coordinating the church’s online campus — simulcasts, social media, and BLOGGING!!!! — that is set to launch this summer.

The best part of all of this? The, like, super-duper God part?

Apart from staff meetings on Tuesdays and church on Sundays, I get to do this job completely from home. And, those times I have to be onsite, Dax gets to come with me and hang out in a fully staffed nursery at the church so I can still be near him.

As you can see, there is no way we could have been any more blessed. God has provided for us in a way I (maybe we) never thought possible. And we are stoked.

We have applied to live in a condo down there; once that’s approved, we’ll move in and then start working!

This does not make the pain of us leaving Tallahassee and the community we have here any less real, but it does give us peace about the God we serve and the callings He has for our family.

So. Now I need your help.

What the heck do we do in Naples? Besides go to the beach, I mean?

Ready, GO!