The Greatest Country In the World

Wow! It's been a long time. Sorry! I've been MIA for a while now, but I can explain, I promise. 

My husband and I packed up all we owned and moved across the country from Fort Lauderdale to Texas. TEXAS (the greatest country in the world apparently)! I never, ever, ever thought I would move here. I always thought that if we left Fort Lauderdale, we'd just move back to North Carolina. To be with our family! But no, no, God had different plans. His ways are not my ways.. that's for sure.

Will and I have always committed to one another that if God opened a door we'd be willing to go and follow Him wherever. When you pray for God's wisdom and guidance, when you're willing to go anywhere and just give it all up to Him... He will truly answer your prayer, and send you to where you least expect to ever go. 

Through this move with our two, two year olds, I've learned a lot of things about life. One of these things that Will and I have learned is that everything that we have, see, and do in life is grace. 

I've never really thought about the mundane in life being grace. The hug from my daughter or son, grace. Or the food that I have more than enough of 24/7 is grace. Doing the dishes, grace.

Jesus has given me a new perspective in life the past month, and I hope I don't ever forget it ... or become complacent about it.

He has taught me as a mother, wife, friend.... that the fact that I can get up every morning and serve my family, that's grace. Every frustration, sadness, loneliness, anger... all of those bad days are just trying to make me believe the lie, that this life is about me. It's not about me or you, it's all about Jesus. Jesus lived the life that I should be living now (but can't because I'm a rotten sinner), and He died the death that was meant for me. 

I'm praying that I remember that even through hard times, God's grace has still be given to me. Because I get to experience God's love and peace through those hard times. That's grace! 

I don't deserve anything. I don't deserve the good or the bad (cause the bad isn't that bad when you compare it to what I deserve) 

I just realized, this move in particular, that even though my mom and dad aren't right down the road from me, or even though I can't go rescue my sister and babysit her kids on a whim.... even though I miss my brother terribly and wish I could help him in person plan his wedding... that God is all that I truly need in life. His grace is enough. His goodness is enough. Where HE has called Will and I is more than enough to bring peace, love, joy, gladness into my life. My life is His... and I won't really be home until I'm in heaven with Him. 

I miss my family and friends everyday, but like my dad said when we moved to Florida, "we'll be together for eternity, you won't be happy unless you're where God wants you to be" I think about this daily, and I'm so thankful for an amazing, supportive family and friends in my life who will be with me in heaven one day for eternity. "I Just can't wait!" :) 

ps - Texas is a pretty awesome place. I'm not going to lie. So far, it hasn't disappointed us.

Dear House,

This is bittersweet. This is something I've never experienced before. Oh, yes, I've moved before. More than a handful of times, in fact. But never as an adult. Never as a homeowner. Never with my own family. This time is different. Definitely different. Because, well, you've been apart of almost every memory I've held onto the past 9 years. You've been a witness to every first in this marriage and family roller coaster ride. This love story that began before we inhabited you, became true, committed love within your walls.


We learned so much while the first married task of taking care of a 40 gallon tank of fish. Which, as a side note, is almost as time consuming and definitely more expensive than parenting. But I learned so much by watching my new husband methodically and very carefully tend to those fish every single day. And they were the crown jewel in our dining room (that's never been a dining room). Little did we know that just a couple of years later, our firstborn would refer to this room as "the barn".


You've been privy to every conversation and every action both private and public. You've been both loved and abused. You've been constant and, at times, frustrating. Like the times your a/c stopped working mid-summer... Yet, you've always been filled with life.

You were home when we naively and exhaustedly took our first steps inside as new parents. You witnessed the massive amounts of tears and frustration that came with that new label. You watched as we grew into our new role and eventually the tears and frustration became fewer.


You watched as our baby grew. You held the memory of his first steps and you held me as I struggled with new motherhood. You became my prison, but interestingly, I never could imagine being free again. You still are my prison, but content I shall stay.

You saw my Hunter and I dance in the kitchen each night after dinner. Just us two. New and in love. Only you saw those times. Only you hold the imprints of a time when life was sweet and uncomplicated. Just a mother and son learning and growing together.


You saw one become two.


Two become three.



And three become four.


You are where we learned to ride bikes, swing on a swing, climb a tree, catch a ball, be creative


run, walk, skip, jump, wash a car, swim,


read, and mow the lawn...


You are where we loved, snuggled, had countless movie nights, and laughed 'til we cried.


You are where most prayers were said and two eternities were sealed for heaven. You are where we fought, stumbled, and forgave. You taught us how to grow a garden, plant a tree, and enjoy a cardinal's song. You sheltered us from countless storms (both literal and figurative) and brought us joy each day when daddy came thru the door.

You taught us that outside is better than inside, ceilings may sometimes leak, and stairs with many little ones is a horrid concept.


There have been countless celebrations and many times where comfort was boos needed to be mended and kissed and sick ones nursed back to health.

There were many delicious meals (and some not-so-delicious) and lovely baking smells that happened. I, for one, went from completely kitchen illiterate to a confident, learned-many-lessons-the-hard-way kitchen savvy supermom. (Ack! I didn't mean to use the word supermom). I perfected my chocolate chip cookie recipe in your kitchen. Amongst other things.

As we this house resembles more of an empty shell each day...I am torn. You see, I cannot fathom creating memories in any other home. This is where everything has happened. Where we've become one and we've become many. It's not that you aren't good enough for us, it's that it's time to move on and allow someone else to add to the special secrets and stories these walls now hold. And believe me, they hold many. More than I could ever begin to recall.




As much as we are all excited to go, please know you will never be forgotten. The little home that started it all, that witnessed it all, you will always be in our hearts. We are so thankful and grateful to God for blessing us with the home that helped us discover each other and develop our dreams.

Now to continue our Faith.


Love, Mike, Alicia, Hunter, Carter, Avery, Olivia, and Baby.

Moving on.


I'm writing this post mostly for myself. Mostly so I don't forget the incredible way ways that God worked during this time in our family. We're moving.

After at least three years of talking about it, hoping, and praying for it, it's finally almost upon us. In four more weeks we will spend our last night in the only home our family has ever known.

It all began almost 10 years ago this coming fall. The fall before Mike and I were to wed. It was so exciting to prepare this home for our new life together. To really make it our own and hopefully start a family here.

All of those things happened and as we grew in our marriage and began to truly know each other, we began to voice various dreams we had for the future.

I had always loved a big city, and, at one point, even visioned us living in the middle of it all in an apartment or town home of some sort never having to drive anywhere. Being in the middle of the action is what I wanted, well, it's what I thought I wanted.

Then Mike began voicing his dream about country life: trees, nature, a place to spread out and become removed from ultra convenience. I loathed the idea.

Our dreams collided. And hard.

We stayed put in our home and voiced our various dreams every now and again but felt zero desire to be apart of the others dream.

As we grew and the months and years passed, our family size grew as well and God began to change my dream. When Mike would speak of the possibilities that country living could offer us, I no longer felt annoyance at the sound of his words. Instead, I listened and imagined, and before long, we began to share the same dream.

We dreamed and pondered and hoped for a couple of years before we decided to take the plunge. But the timing never seemed to work in our favor. Something was holding us back...God wasn't ready to move us just yet.

We actually got busy the beginning of 2013 updating various areas of our home aesthetically and we got rid of A LOT of clutter. We moved anything we owned that was utterly superfluous into a storage unit less than 1/2 mile from our home and gave away a bulk of it too. But although we had plans to put our house up that spring, it didn't feel right. We pushed our dream aside for the time being and spent another year here.

As soon as 2014 began, Mike really felt like this was our year. We finished up some odds and ends and really tried to get our home show ready. We announced the pregnancy of our 5th child during this time and received comments about "you'd better move" more than once. We never felt like this home couldn't accommodate a fifth child at all and didn't feel anxious about adding another into this space.

Within 5 days and 3 showings of putting our house on the market, we signed a contract.

That's God. That's Him affirming to us that now we can move on.

But it seemed like every home we visited, every home we wanted to visit was another door slammed in our face. We didn't have a lot of time to play with in terms of finding a replacement home and life began to become stressful.

God, you sold our home, but now where are we supposed to go...

I longed to live in the Rock Hill,SC area. There are so many reasons for my longing, but every door was slammed shut there. I got discouraged. So did Mike.

We looked in various country settings no more than an hour where we currently live, it just didn't feel right. It felt foreign and we couldn't see ourselves living in these towns forever.

On the morning of what would be our final day out looking at homes, Mike stumbled upon a home that had just came back onto the market after a sale fell thru. He quickly called our realtor to see if seeing that home today could even be possible. We heard nothing back until we were on our way home from seeing two homes that were essentially, a bust.

Out of the blue, we got clearance to see it and I started to beam with excitement. I honestly didn't even know what I was so excited about except I knew that Mike was very excited about this home this morning so it must be worth a look.

To summarize, this home has absolutely everything [and more] that we had been dreaming of for years. It's almost as if God took everything on our lists, added a few more goodies, and handed it back to us in the form of this home/property. Mikes dreams included: ranch acreage shop building extra storage front porch with rocking chair room secluded wooded lot without view of neighbors or no neighbors at all

My dreams included: ranch (cause stairs in a home are pure evil when you have small children) updated kitchen huge laundry room mud room wood swingset front porch with rocking chair room or a swing large homeschool area wooded lot seclusion acreage able to have chickens

How about God said yes to of those. He also added in some extras that I'm so thankful he thought of: the exact gun safe that Mike always wanted, a trampoline, a smoker/grill, a large deck with an outdoor shower (perfect for stinky boys that have been playing outside all day), garden boxes, and a garden fountain that I'm actually pretty fond of.

Whoever thinks that God doesn't care about our dreams/details should feel proven wrong at this point.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking this home has got to be huge to accommodate the 'yearly' baby they always seem to have. It's not. And if you saw it, you would be surprised at how modest this home really is. And even though it may not be large for a family our size, it's absolutely perfect in every way. And when we walked in, despite the hideous hunter green and maroon 90's dated wallpaper in the entryway, and despite some updating we know we will have to tackle, we knew, I mean knew this was our next and hopefully, final home on earth.

We've run smack into various hiccups between that showing and today on both homes. But when we thought the worst, God always always always came through and then we felt foolish for even worrying in the first place. The final obstacles are on the schedule and as long as things continue to move forward, we will be saying goodbye to this home and starting fresh in the home we always dreamed of, in a place I had never heard of before, a town called Faith.

Just so happens that tiny town has the absolute most amazing July 4th celebration around. Another God-move because if you know me at all, you know I'm hopelessly in love with the holiday. More than Christmas, more than Thanksgiving....I just love it. And we will move there with time to spare, and I cannot wait to celebrate this years fourth!!

I'll miss this house, but it's never really felt like home anyway. It's always felt like just a space with our stuff in it. I know this home we have waiting for us will feel like home because it's both Mikes and my dream in a tangible form.

And until God reveals His eternal home to us, I will forever be grateful for the heaven on earth He has provided for us, while we wait.

Thankful for all the lessons we've learned along the way. Thankful for the growth that had to take place before He could move us. Thankful for the waiting we've done so that we could allow Him to give us His best. We are not settling and that's what makes this so sweet. We waited and He honored our waiting.

All glory to Him.

Love, Alicia