04 May 2017

A Year and a Few

In my last post I only grazed the surface of us.  In the next few posts I'll go into more detail on some of our experiences.

Two years ago my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  She'd had Mild Cognitive Impairment for some time.  We'd hoped that's as far is it would go, but it was definitely progressing.

The next few months included a bit of grieving, reflecting and decisions.  My mom and dad were going through a lot of change and it was devastating to be so far away.  After much time praying, we decided we would take an early leave in November 2015 and go back to the States with the intent on making a conclusive decision.  I think, in our minds, we'd already made the decision to stay in the US.

In November 2015 we packed up our house in Horsham, England, put our things in storage, and took what we could on the plane with us to spend 6 months in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area where we could be closer to family.  Even our beloved Kate (our kitty), made the trek with us.  Thanks to a friend at church that works in the shipping industry for allowing that to happen and not spend a fortune!

It was bittersweet to leave England.  We left so many amazing friends that we still miss more than my heart can take sometimes.  But the flip-side is I get to see my mom and dad so much easier and quicker.  Juggling family has left me feeling like I'm not giving enough, but I do what I can.

My mom has progressed quite rapidly since that time, but there are many blessings too.  She may not completely be who she once was, however she is still a very sweet, kind, compassionate person and I am so thankful!!  She has bad days, for sure.  It's not an easy road as I watch my dad continue to care for her at home, but they've found a routine and it's working for now.

June 2016 they celebrated 62 years!

By early 2016 we'd made the decision to stay in Texas.  We couldn't live in Texas and stay on with our organization.  As timing would have it many changes were going on within the organization as well.  God really blessed us with the timing of it all.  The organization was offering a package for families that felt led to step away.  It was perfect timing, really.  So we took the package.

In the meantime, Jerry began looking for a job.  We are people with a whole lot of faith and I knew God had already provided so much for us in so many ways!!  It did not keep me from experiencing a level of anxiety when you have a family of 5 to provide for and no job prospects!!

After some failed connections, a contract job we thought might lead into full time (and didn't), Jerry got a call from a church in Austin where he'd applied for a Marketing & Media director position.  He applied in January and when we hadn't heard anything, we just assumed it fell through.  They contacted him in April.  Once he heard from them, things flew fast and within weeks Jerry had gotten the job at Gateway Church in Austin, TX.

God was so good!  We didn't go without a paycheck at all!

Austin was a little further than I wanted to be from my parents.  The fact that it was only 2.5 hours by car as opposed to 10+ hours on a plane put it into perspective.

Jerry started his new job in May 2016.  We lived apart with lots of driving back and forth for about 6 weeks.  Crazy times!!

We decided to jump right in to buying a house and we closed on July 1, 2016.  Crazy to think that at our age we are buying our first house!

We're coming up on 1 year in Austin.  I have a slew of content I can share about the readjustment phases I personally have gone through in that time.  after 17 years of living in Europe, jumping back into 24/7 American life has not been an easy one for me.  It's a process and I'm getting there, but I know I will never fit the American mold.  Honestly, I am thankful for that!!  I thought being an expat was easy.  Wow, have I been enlightened and underestimated the repatriation process!  I knew it was going to be difficult.  I just don't think I was quite prepared for it!

So here we are! Navigating our way through this new journey one day at a time!!

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