Back in January, Sam and I leapt out of our decade-long story in Texas to move onto our boat in Florida.
Well before dawn on his 56th birthday, we pulled out of the ranch with trucks, trailers, jeeps, 95% of our stuff, and without one stray dog, whom we dropped at her new home TWELVE hours before our scheduled departure.
We did this with such characteristic speed and frenzy, that many friends in Texas didn't know we were gone until they saw it on Facebook.
Despite giving away of 32 pairs of shoes, (ridiculous, I know) most of my clothes, all my snowboarding gear and approximately 30 years of ranch equipment, we still had a pile of random stuff in Texas. So we came back this weekend to get it.
Rolling back to the ranch at sunset, I realized the trees on dogwood hill were blooming and I would be there to see it. Spring in Texas is a sight to behold, with its neon green oaks, and fuschia, gold and blue flowers scattered like fairy dust in the fields. The azaleas are in full swing and the pollen creates yellow brick roads wherever you go.
Driving through the ranch we called home for six years, Sam and I recalled the dozens of horses we rode through the piney woods and remembered the good ones we buried there. We thought of the dogs, the cattle, the haymaking in summer and how much I love walking the steep hill that overlooks the lakes. Then, of course, we passed the Big House, a place we've eaten tons of BBQ and laughed until our sides hurt with the family we've grown to love.
Some people stay where they're planted and others blow around like dandelion seeds. Sam and I are the latter, and the important thing is, once in a while, to stop and say thank you to the places we leave.
As I stood on the porch of the guest house last night and watched the fireflies flicker and hum with the sunset, it reminded me of my first trip to Africa with Mercy Ships, where I saw the very same thing, at a picnic on the Congo River.
And I felt the Lord whisper to my heart: Gratitude is the portal. Everything you have at this moment is already enough. You are enough, and I am more than enough.
So I'm remembering tonight. The lovely Walter Family who has been part of our story for more than a decade. I'm grateful to have been part of yours.
I'm grateful for Tyler House of Faith. The safest, smartest, most open place I've ever spent a Friday night. I have friends and mentors there who regularly back me up from afar.
I'm grateful for Mercy Ships - Its vision for global healthcare, its courage, its commitment and its community. I have friends and mentors there too - people who helped me step into who I am now.
No Mercy Ships, no Esther Project, no Girl Catch Fire. Simple as that.
Thank you Don and Deyon for your vision and setting a courageous example 35 years ago.
The incredible thing is, one week sooner or later, and I might have missed all this. The dogwoods were a springtime signal to say goodbye to a place and people my heart loves. Jesus is sweet to me that way.
Erin and Sam - Go Now! While you're there, stop, remember, and say thank you.