Our Week

Last Friday, we hosted John’s flight for dinner and a chance to wind down from the week. We enjoyed this super simple (albeit not the healthiest!) recipe for pulled pork, my great-grandma’s giant oreos, and a big cranberry walnut couscous salad. I’m learning how to efficiently feed the masses! 

We spent the weekend enjoying the lovely weather with Kaia. We can’t believe how tiny she used to be or how fast she has become.
We also attended the first student squadron Combat Dining Out which was, to say the least, interesting. Dining Outs are usually very formal military events, but this evening was designed to be a mock version of that. We were to wear uniforms from any service/era and come prepared for water balloons, a ridiculous obstacle course, and BBQ. 
We stocked up on the first peaches and nectarines of the summer. Our kitchen smells amazing! 

We have roses in our front yard- who knew?! I’ve been appreciating them on our windowsill.

John hit the first bird of the year for Columbus AFB. Thankfully, it was a small bird and hit the wing of the plane, not the canopy or the inlets. It’s pretty scary what a bird can do! 

Kaia and I spent a lot of time at the lake on base- I bring course work and she swims, chases dragonflies…. 

and cuddles.  There’s something almost refreshing about a cool, wet dog on a hot day. We’re supposed to make it into the 90’s this week, but the locals say that’s nothing compared to what’s ahead. We’ve resisted turning on our air so far because we were told that once it goes on, it’ll stay on through October. Hello, summer!

Richards Family Visit

We enjoyed a visit with my family the weekend after Easter. After some time visiting family in Georgia, they were able to see us on the way back to Zion. John’s class hit the flight line that week, so while we didn’t see much of him, we made the most of our time together. 
We walked around historic downtown Columbus admiring old buildings, budding flowers and sipping cool drinks from Coffee House on 5th….except Anna. She’s a bear.

We wandered through a few antique shops, of which there are MANY here. It’s a shame antiques have become so trendy. My parents bought and refinished our baby furniture from an antique store back in day and I’m certain they didn’t pay anywhere near what these stores are asking! 

We passed by the first home of Tennessee Williams, Columbus’ claim to fame. I don’t think the Pulitzer-prize winning playwright actually lived in this house very long, but it still seems to be a big deal around here. 
Possum Town Stranglers, anyone? 
The girls loved on Kaia and my dad enjoyed several walks around the neighborhood with his “grandpuppy”.

Who needs stickers when you can show off your family in pollen? So thankful we don’t have allergies! 

On their last night here, we enjoyed Hanks BBQ for dinner and watched “Wreck-It Ralph” with chocolate chip cookies. 

The first cockroach of the season (in our house, at least) was smote by my rubber band-wielding father. Thanks, Dad. 

All in all, good visit! 

Rachel’s Visit

My best friend Rachel made it down for a visit Easter weekend! From her college in Greenville, it’s only an 8 hour trek- a bit more manageable than the trip from Greenville to Los Angeles.
We broke out our grill for the first time that weekend for ribs. 
Rachel and I wandered downtown Columbus, drinking coffee and seeing the sites, including this massive elephant head at a local antique store. Apparently, it lights up and moves. The price tag simply says, “Make an Offer”. Just a little terrifying. 
She got to meet the puppy, of course. Kaia provided most of our entertainment. 

Easter Sunday after church, John studied while we played Scrabble. 
We also spent quite a bit of time on the back porch watching the birds, coffee or tea in hand. What more could I ask for? 

Signs of Spring

We recently discovered the Columbus Riverwalk. Most of it isn’t actually by the river, but it’s still a nice stroll on a Saturday morning after we hit up the farmer’s market downtown. 

Almost stepped on this frog, which makes for a pretty convincing rock.
Everything is in bloom! We’ve had a ton of rain lately, so our backyard is a lush, green swamp. 

We’re still in a pseudo-post-Whole30-what-are-we-going-to-eat-now-stage. As in, before reintroducing all of the food groups, we decided to break the rules for a few weeks while we hosted guests and traveled. This week, we’re launching back into a mini Whole30 before reintroducing soy and non-gluten grains (such as quinoa and rice). Someday, we’ll actually wrap up this thing and be able to share about our experience, but we’re not there yet. Meanwhile, we’ve enjoyed a variety of foods, including this slightly spicy, refreshing smoothie recipe from John’s sister, Rebecca:
– enough water/ice to make a base
– juice from 1 orange
-1/4 lime, peeled 
– 1 avocado
– several leaves of kale
-a handful of grapes
– 1/4 inch piece of ginger root
– sprinkle of cardamom
-sprinkle of cayenne
On a particularly warm day, we decided to have this for dinner. 

One of the best parts of spring: delicious, tender, local asparagus. We may have eaten an entire meal of sauteed asparagus this week. 

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.

And…DONE!  

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.