So this summer we almost did it.  We almost moved.  The conversation had been coming up over and over again, and the realization of moving seemed inevitable.  After college in Eugene we’d moved to Salem and loved it.  But then Dyp began working as a “street cleaner” and got a job here.  So we moved from our little conservative community back to Eugene. I felt like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, my house swirling up in the air and landing in a strange place.  A very strange, quirky place.  But the quirky things we’d loved about Eugene in college, were less than quirky now that we were parents…they were annoying.  And though we had a handful of friends, we had no family.  But Dyp had a job here, so we were going to make it work.  We bought a house, got pregnant again, and grew from a family of three to four.  And four years later, after we’d had our third son we started talking about things.  Things being moving…because though we’d made good friends, there was still no family.  And so Dyp applied in Yakima, where some of my family is, and got an interview.  It all happened really fast and everything seemed to be coming together. Good pay, cheaper housing market, family.  It all seemed so clear.  Right?

And through all this we prayed for God’s Will.  We wanted to follow his path,  much like the yellow brick road.  As much as living close to family was a motivating factor, what was more important was what God wanted for our little family.  We prayed for peace of mind.

We told our friends.  All of them were supportive.  All of them said they’d miss us.  One cried.  And I started to say goodbye to Eugene in my mind.  Some of it was easy.  There were things I wouldn’t miss… the-too-liberal-for-anyone city council, the people that ride bicycles without helmets and still cut me off in traffic, the we heart education but we won’t pay taxes residents, and of course the protesters who protest everything from education to paper clips — forming drum circles and of course more protests.  Reading this I think all of these people make up a handful of Eugene and they are probably all friends.  But they are loud. After all, they have drums.

But I also thought about the things I’d miss.  I’d miss the fact that I am surrounded by green year around.  I’d miss the rain and it’s smell, and mossy grass.  I’d miss how much I love my kids in their rain coats, day after day, as we count snails on the sidewalk.  I’d miss my neighbors and the fact that I can get to Church, the Grocery Store, Old Navy, and Starbucks, and work in five minutes. I’d miss my co-workers and all the members at W W I am blessed to work with. I’d miss driving for only 15 minutes and being at a great fishing spot with the kids. I’d miss knowing my husbands co-worker’s and knowing they really look out for each other.   I’d miss this little hill in South Eugene that I go to and cry at, and bring flowers to.  And I’d miss my friends…I’d miss how Amy and Steve dance as we leave their house, and Emily and I planning road trips, and actually taking them.  I’d miss watching Christina read to my boys, and hearing Dyp and James talk like a bunch of girls.  I’d miss telling Shannon everything, and knowing she feels the same way.  I’d miss praying with and for Lark, Denise, Teresa, and some other blessed moms I know. I’d miss going to Value Village with Tayah.   And I’d miss laughing with Liz, TyAnn, Kara, and Alicia whether we are in a hospital or at a kitchen table. I’d miss stopping at Angel’s and Jocelyn’s on the way to Yakima, making every road trip a memory.  Dyp would miss Marko so much, and we’d miss Fr. Steve.  These things that got me through those years with out family, now seemed just a little bit like one.

But I said goodbye.  And continued to pray. Dyp got a letter.  He was #1 on the hiring list.  We jumped up and down.  I called a Realtor.  And suddenly without warning things got shaky.  Though my family was welcoming, the soon-to-be workplace was not.  Our friend Jeremy was in a horrible accident.  We prayed harder and felt peace slipping away.  I felt like I didn’t know what was right, and felt scared, and finally took heart.(note the clever Wizard of Oz reference)

After much prayer it was clear.  We realized that the grass wasn’t greener…they just all had in-ground sprinkler’s.  Together we stepped back and looked around, and “this” didn’t seem so bad.  A few more BIG things smacked us around, and we had our answer.  For some reason God wanted us here, and for our family…Chris, Me, and our boys, this was home.

I didn’t want to believe it.  I wanted to be close to my parents, my sisters, and nieces.  I wanted to be able to call for help when I had the flu, and know that someone could help me.  Friends call to sympathize.  Family brings you chicken soup. As much as I didn’t understand it and hated to admit it,  I never felt peace about Yakima either.  The idea seemed great, but it seemed more like a dream, and not reality.  I prayed and called my family and told them.  They understood.  They were supportive.  I cried.  And I decided I’d start this blog, a place where they could check in, and I could check out when I really missed them.  And I knew that Chris and I’d visit often and hope that they’d do the same, if not, I’m holding out for one of my sister’s to come to  U of O in College. (please…)  You do know it’s the Emerald City?  Really it is.

And so there we were.  In two months, we went from being ready to pack up to being right where we started.  Or maybe for the first time in over five years, we were ready to start making Eugene our home.   A few weeks later we returned home from dinner in Salem with the Herrmann’s when I saw a flash of purple in front of our house.  As we parked in our driveway there was a flurry of drums and flowing long red hair as our friends Emily, Stephen, Christina, and baby Lucy held large protest signs in our front yard with things that said, “Drums of Peace”, and “Keep the White’s in Eugene”.  Soon our next door neighbors were in on  it and we were surrounded by the most beautiful hilarious protest I’ve ever witnessed.  As I laughed, and peed my pants a little, I thanked God for the amazing gift of the family He gave me that I never acknowledged.  We all continued to dance and laugh as our friends turned the things I wouldn’t miss into one of the best memories of my life.

In the past month I’ve thought a lot about that and have had further confirmation that we made the right decision, or that God did anyway.  I see it in the way Amy, Liz, and Ty call to check in, and the way all of us try to have dinner at least once a week.  I saw it in Kara’s earnest face as she dropped off bags of Gatorade, and yes, chicken soup as the entire family threw up last weekend.  And I can’t help but go back to the night of “The Protest” as we call it…the night when I looked at my Eugene Family and felt more sure of Christ’s will than ever.  The night when how loved we were showed up in fake-hippies with signs protesting our move.  The night when I watched my sons dance around the yard as my husband laughed so hard I thought he’d cry.  The night I looked from the pop tent-to my friends-to my neighbors- to my family, and shook off the urge to click my red vans together.  But you know it’s true right?

There really, truly, is no place like home.