The past couple weeks have flown by down here in Charleston. The weather is beginning to cool (we even had some 30 degree nights!) and a fall time feel is slowly beginning to take hold- I love it!!!
Halloween was a fun time here. The boys school had a Trunk or Treat that over 1000 people attended. The kids had a great time, even though we saw no one we knew! I have to admit it is a strange feeling to be surrounded by that many people and to still not know anyone. A lonely feeling, but each week that passes seems to bring a little more of a sense of familiarity.
On Halloween we attended a Fall Festival at Summerville Baptist. It was very reminiscent of the fall festival we have at FBC London- inflatables, games, food, and fellowship. The kids had a blast, and we did recognize a few faces from our time attending Summerville, so that was a nice feeling. Here in Charleston Trick or Treat is from 7-9, so we were able to visit the Fall Festival and still have time for Trick or Treating too. It had just started getting dark when we got back to our subdivision. We met up with a new buddy of Caleb and Noah's- his name is Ben, and he just recently moved to our subdivision. He lives just down the road and he and the boys have become fast friends. They play together almost every day and share a bus ride home from school each day as well. I am thankful for this new friend for them. The kids and I spend time talking about our London friends, and I assure them that their friends back home aren't going to forget about them. Emmie wanted to pray for her "old" friends to come here so she would have someone to talk to :( Right now she tells me her friends are her teachers, Ms. Carrie and Ms. Vickie. I know she will make friends soon, but it makes my heart sad to think she is lonely.
Since Emmie is only in school until 10am each day, she and I get to spend a lot of time together. One of our favorite things to do is ride bikes through our neighborhood. We have a great place to ride bikes- sidewalks, and safe, wide roads that go for miles and miles. Every day I truly look forward to our time of bike riding. She is a loyal partner :)
Since being here, our family has made a new fun family tradition- first, let me explain how it came about. Every Sunday morning while we were at FBC London, our wonderful kitchen crew at church provided donuts, fruit and coffee. We loved being able to eat breakfast at church and fellowship around the table. I am ashamed to say this, but having that every Sunday morning for the past 8 years was something we took for granted. We have visited three different churches on Sunday mornings since we have been here in Charleston, and none of them have donuts :) So, on Sunday afternoons, we drive down the road (literally, a quarter mile down the road) to Dunkin Donuts and get a half dozen donuts and have a little family time before heading to Sunday night church. The kids get so excited every Sunday afternoon to see what new variety of donut will be there.....it is a fun time!
We have also discovered a pretty cool Barber shop in North Charleston. The boys thought it was a cool place, and they do definitely know how to give a guy a cool haircut. The boys now refer to the barber by his first name, so I think he has secured two loyal customers :)
This past week Noah received an award for being on the Honor Roll at his school. This was a special accomplishment because Noah was placed in what South Carolina Schools calls a "GATE" class (gifted and talented education), and the work is very rigorous and challenging. It has been so amazing to see Noah rise to the challenge and take responsibility when it comes to completing his homework, studying for tests, etc. He takes his work very seriously and wants to do his very best. He makes us so very proud.
One interesting highlight of last week was visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles....four times....in one day. Yes, we visited the very nice people at the DMV 4 times. Good thing they were friendly. One of the reasons we had to visit them so many times is the fact that South Carolina requires basically every document the government has ever issued to you since you were born- birth certificate, marriage certificate, social security card, drivers license, and a proof of your current residence. And, each document can only serve one purpose. So no "double dipping". Another surprise was the costs of licensing your car and registration/taxes in good ole' SC. After it was all said and done, we had spent almost a cool $1k to have SC drivers licenses and license plates. So, since we spent so much money, I figured I might as well share my license picture. Please note that I intentionally wore a Kentucky blue shirt. I also have two, not one, but two, Kentucky Wildcat license plates on my car. True Blue baby!
We continue to get mail, emails and texts from folks at home, and that means the world to us! Though we are feeling more settled, reality still hits us that the people we love the most are not here. But at the same time, we know that God is growing us, stretching us, and has opportunities here for us that we would most likely not have been able to experience at home. So that keeps us going. Just this week I have found some very cool ministry opportunities for our family. More about those soon!
Love from Carolina!!