Newly Nomads

Well, it’s official. We are nomads.

We emptied our first home together,  turned in our keys, said our goodbyes and drove nearly 4,600 miles across the Northwestern United States. We enjoyed such a variety of unique, beautiful places! That trip probably merits its own post, so I’ll stop now.

Our last few weeks in Los Angeles were very, very full. John defended his dissertation and officially became Dr. Langley- I’m so, so proud of him! We stuffed our faces with friends at Maggiano’s to celebrate.


That same day, my sister Kaitie arrived to spend a few days with us. We enjoyed plenty of beach time, a day in Sequoia National Park, a Dodgers game (my first time at professional sporting event in the US!), sushi, and a few other famous California sights, including the John Langley star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (which, in our humble opinion, is probably the only thing worth seeing in Hollywood- not impressed). It was fun to be able to have all of my sisters come visit this summer!

The next week, we managed to get down to San Diego to take advantage of free military admission to Sea World, 
and then spent the next day exploring Legoland. John was in heaven. 

After that, out final week was a rush of spending as much time as possible with friends, a day trip to Catalina, sneaking extra Yogurtland trips, and packing procrastinating. 
We flew out to Catalina Island and enjoyed a day of excellent snorkeling, relaxing on the beach,
and trying not to think about leaving.  
We’re really going to miss these people! 
We managed to put off packing until the very last minute and pulled an all-nighter to organize our home before the movers arrived. We had the challenge of determining exactly what we’d need for the next three months, because everything else won’t be seen again until January. I repacked my suitcases at least 6 times trying to figure out the most efficient way to pack for fall on the road (in 10 different states), summer in Africa, and the dead of winter in Illinois come December. We hate packing. We really, really do. We’ll have to develop a system of moving if we’re going to maintain our sanity for the next decade or two. Part of that system should probably be seriously limiting what we own- more on that to come. 

And then, with an empty apartment and a very full car, we left. The next few months will be quite a transition for us. I will spend about seven weeks in South Africa to fulfill my Moody internship requirement and John will drive alone to Mississippi before heading to Colorado for IFS (initial flight screening) until sometime in December. We’ll meet up again then and spend the holidays with our families.

But perhaps a greater transition than the move itself will be the transition into “real” military life. We’ve been so blessed to have the freedom and flexibility for the past year and a half to grow as a couple and enjoy our surroundings. John will transition from being able to work wherever and whenever (as long as he left with a Ph.D.!) to highly structured 12 hour days and a great deal of studying. It will be the first time that we, as a married couple, really create a new life together- choosing a church, a home, friends. We’re certainly excited, yet unsure of exactly what the future holds.

We think we’ve learned a few lessons in all of this; lessons we hope will spur us on to changes in the coming months:

1. “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”                   – William Morris 

We couldn’t believe how much stuff we have. We’ve been married not even a year and a half and our apartment was small and clean, but we were still amazed by how many boxes the movers packed. I delivered four giant bags to Salvation Army and towards the end of our packing, we found ourselves simply leaving stuff in the alley to be claimed.

Aurelius was right- very little is needed to make a happy life. Perhaps more humbling is that millions across the globe are happy with far less than what we have! We hope to make a few more Salvation Army trips as we unpack and reevaluate our possessions. If an item is not useful or beautiful, we have to reason to hold on to it. We want to live simply, without accumulating closets and basements and attics of items we don’t need or love.

2. Find a church and get connected quickly.

John started attending our last church (Pacific Crossroads) shortly after moving to Los Angeles over three years ago. During that time, he was involved in a Bible Study form another distant church and made some wonderful friends- friends we’ll keep in touch with. But it wasn’t until January this past year that we really made an effort to get connected to the church we attended week after week. We were being spiritually fed by excellent music and solid sermons, but we felt like outsiders because we lacked relationships.

After Christmas, we finally joined a community group and have been asking ourselves ever since why it took us so long. We could’ve enjoyed six more months with the friends we made!

3. Don’t be afraid of planting roots for fear of uprooting.

We will probably forever face the temptation to avoid putting down our roots because we know that our time in any given place is short. It was easy for us to say, “we don’t need to join another community group- we’re only going to be here for a few more months.” It was easy to think we didn’t need to be involved in events through our church because it wouldn’t be our church forever. It’s easy to avoid investing in relationships because you’ll have to say goodbye.

Shallow roots, shallow relationships do not offer the nourishment and encouragement we can gain from truly investing ourselves wherever we are. We love that we have wonderful friends in Los Angeles–how blessed we are to have difficult goodbyes.

4. Wait on the Lord.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Somedays, we feel as though we’re trusting him simply for the very next step. We have no idea what the next stage of our life together will practically look like. We’re not sure where we’ll live or what I’ll will do or how pilot training will be on a day-to-day basis. We have no idea where we’ll attend church or what friends we’ll have or how we’re going to get around. We can’t plan out the next few years because we don’t know where we’ll be. We just don’t know, and we’re learning to be okay with that. We’re thankful for our sovereign God who directs our paths, working all things together for our good. We’re in the best hands.

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