We are just days away from Thanksgiving 2020. For me, it is incredibly hard to believe that our family has been living in Virginia for 10 months, it’s been exactly a YEAR since we left Texas, and we are approaching our first thanksgiving and Christmas season on the East coast! WOaH! 2020 you have been one for the record books.
Here’s a little life update on what’s been going on in Rush World while we have been #raising3rushes in a perfect sinful world! Grab a cup of joe (or tea or hot coco) and enjoy the words!
I won’t back track much on all the drab things that have occurred over 2020 because we have ALL been through it together. That’s what global pandemic means right? EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH has been affected in some form or fashion! So, we will hit the highlights!
Rushes finished up virtual learning in June. Praise the Lord for teachers who were able to pull off a last minute switch-a-roo. E1 & E2 & E3 finished up 3rd and 1st grade and PK5 beautifully. They gave it all they had. That Dodd Dino/Wylie Way GRIT that they had been working on for the past several years really shined bright! With all that our family had been through this past year, we decided that homeschooling the kids would be our best option for the 2020/2021 school year. Our 2019/2020 school year consisted of public school, homeschool, private school, and virtual learning! That was from August to June!
After finishing up school, we spent as much time at the beach as we could! Hello, it’s the beach + social distancing + aquatic/sensory therapy all in one! Our tans were on point and our inner places of peace were still and quiet. For the Rushes, we have discovered that natural habitats, such as the ocean, is a place that we fully surrender to the Lord. Despite whatever else is going on around us, the beach does it every time!
One thing 2020 has taught me personally is that tomorrow really is not a promise and that today is a gift from the Lord. We found ourselves living in a new city, new state, new people, new everything and then being put on quarantine to where we really couldn’t get out and experience any of it. So, we just had to focus on what we could do today. Whether it was finishing up a book we were reading or doing a math page to finding a new recipe to bake or calling a friend. It really was and still is a day by day thing. As I write, Virginia has been put back on restrictions of groups of 25 or less meetings no matter if inside or outside. Thankfully, churches are exempt!
Back to what has been happening. . . We had a couple of big moments on the calendar that we held with open hands and daily prayed that the Lord would not allow them to be shut down. These moments were family and friends coming to visit. (At that point we had not had close interactions with anyone that knew us and loved us for just us in such a long time!) When everything (people, places, and things) are new, you really begin to realize how much you crave the comfort of just being around people who know you and cherish being able to sit and not say a word or explain everything! I am happy to report that two of those big moments happened and one was modified but in the end the modification was for the better.
The first big moment of 2020 that happened, since moving & pandemic, was at the end of June our closest friends who are really just extended family made the 20 hour + trek cross country to come see us. At last #ZaRushes were reunited for 7 DAYS!!!! 10 people + a dog spent a week in our duplex and guess what, it was grand! Seriously. . . we had family dinners, many hours at the beach, a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, ice cream treat at the famous Doumar’s for a sugar cone, and wing night at The Dirty Buffalo. We ate seafood while overlooking the ocean and was drenched with an epic last minute rain shower! Movie nights and late night chats outside in the beautiful Virginian summer nights are memories I will never forget. Experiencing the Atlantic coast as #ZaRushes and watching our kiddos nearly get swept away from the chaotic tide and then seeing the smiles across their faces because “that was sooo cool, mom!” Painting Mermaids to take home and visiting an old aviation museum even though you have to wear masks. These are the things we didn’t even know we needed but we cherished every single moment. Heck, attempting to plan out our next homeschool year together is fun even for those that aren’t the planning type! Having my friend stand beside me during worship and hearing her praise the name of the Lord was honey for my soul. If all that wasn’t enough, we even found a Mexican restaurant and broke bread, I mean chips and salsa and queso, together before they loaded up and started the journey back home. Y’all, “see you soon” is never an easy thing to say, especially when it’s been so long since the last one and really there is no definite time when the next time will occur and really you can’t plan it because well PANDEMIC! We were all troopers when that dreaded time came. Yes, there were tears. . . from every single person, multiple times. We cried together. Hugged each other. Prayed together. Hugged some more. Laughed and cried again. BUT, the moments happened and through that week, our faith was reassured a little more that life was happening and a little bit of normalcy was present. No matter what, we know the Lord still loves us and hears our cries and prayers. We are human and long for the physical reassurances that were provided through that week. PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD!
The second and third major events that were on the calendar was finishing up my Master’s degree before my husband’s parents and sister came to visit during the month of July. Guess what? IT HAPPENED!!! I finished my Master’s degree on July 4, 2020, talk about added meaning to independence day!
Up until we sold our home in Texas during November 2019, we had not really spent an extended (meaning more than 3 days) with them really ever since marrying with exception to vacations because both my husband and my Father in Law are in ministry and well that means weekends! When we sold our home we lived out of our Sienna with 5 laundry baskets for 2.5 months going back and forth from my in laws and my parents home. All that to say, we had missed them so much. We had grown accustomed to waking up and enjoying a cup of coffee with family and enjoyed endlessly sitting and watching football and walking to see Christmas lights around town. It was really hard to move so far away and realize that really wasn’t an option and then throw in PANDEMIC & QUARANTINE!!!! So, when my in laws said it was happening and they were coming, we were all beside ourselves. Not only had we had a week with our favorites, but we were going to have a week with family!
While my in laws were in town, we did alot of beach time again. We ate seafood and took them to Colonial Williamsburg. The boys birthday dreams came true with a visit to a local surf/skate shop where Leigh-Leigh fulfilled their wish for a skateboard. Gracie and Evelyn painted mermaids and got some to take home to the cousins back in Natchitoches. Lots of fun and eating of yummy foods, but the sweetest thing was Poppa T joined Craig for the Tab Midweek service. We were able to watch them from home. Seeing Craig and his daddy praying for the people of Tab and talking about the experiences they have had in ministry was really a cool moment in time. When it came time for them to journey back to Louisiana, this “see you soon” wasn’t as hard. Maybe it was because it hadn’t been as long since the last one. Maybe it was because they are family and we knew in our heart of hearts we would see them again. I’m not sure, but we all said see you soon and hugged and prayed. We cherished the moments but worked hard to keep the ball rolling.
The Lord really is so good. He fills gaps and voids before we even know there will be a gap or a void. The week or so before my in laws came, we received word that our oldest two had been invited to attend Triple R Ranch day camp this year! Back story, Triple R Ranch is a camp in Chesapeake that Tab Church plants years ago. Because of Covid19 night camps in Virginia were cancelled this year, but day camps could happen. The void of being in Virginia without family or close friends was made a little easier because we had something to look forward to. 2/3s of the E’s had day camp to attend and the 3rd E had a week of momma all to himself as well as a new skateboard to break in at some really cool skateparks he had managed to find for us to visit! Again, all new things, but things that seemed a little normal. Triple R Ranch was such an amazing experience. Those college students who devote their summer to hang out with kids from all walks of life and all ages are amazing. They are walking with the Lord and showing them how to have fun despite life’s circumstances. They are teaching them how to meet with the Father daily and encouraging them to walk in the way. It was an incredible experience for my kids. Let’s just say our countdown calendar for summer 2021 has begun and we hope that we will be able to do overnight camp this year and that we have all the friends who come and go with them too!!!
You may be wondering, what was the plan that was modified? One set of my parents were supposed to come and visit during the month of August and bring my nieces with them. But, thank you ‘Rona, that didn’t happen. Yeah I could be super bummed about it because we were really excited to experience the beach during the summer with them (they are beach people too) but we count our blessings that they were able to see Norfolk when we moved here in January. So what was the modification? The kids and I were able to go home!!! Pappy flew up on a Friday evening. We took him to the beach on Saturday and Sunday morning he and the 3 E’s hopped on a plane and flew back to Louisiana for a week of Camp Pappy & Zsa Zsa.
My nieces joined in for a few days of fun and I flew home a week later to spend a week visiting with family and friends.
I even had the chance to sneak away to Texas for a night out with my #elochos girls. This modification to what we had originally thought would be more family visiting here in Norfolk turned out to be exactly what the Lord ordered.
I didn’t realize how much I needed to be in my old homes (my parents houses, yes plural) and see my other family members. I didn’t realize how much I needed to drive on familiar roads where cruise control could be set and I could sing and praise the name of the Father while praying and thanking Him for all the things. . . even ‘Rona, the sweet peach that she has been for 2020. I needed to be able to walk from house to house to visit family. But more than all of that, I needed a trip back down to the deep south (Norfolk might be geographically considered South but IT AIN’T THE SOUTH) in order for me to see the blessings and remember the good of what the Lord has done and is doing and is going to do in us and through us here in Norfolk. I even began to miss it. Not just because my main squeeze was holding down the fort and keeping the dog in Norfolk, but because whether we had realized it, we had started to form new normals.
We have started building this weird and unexpected (because of COVID) community that I was missing. Friendships here aren’t anything like the past, but they are sweet, and they are happening. Schooling our kids is definitely different than what we had imagined. Leading a church?!?!? Forget about anything normal in that! All of that is out the door for 2020. The churches that have survived are ones that know how to engage culturally while maintaining biblical relevance through the virtual inter webs while maintaining all the standards for Covid19, and thankfully my husband is great at that! Unabashed plug for my man and the church we are called to. . . if you are looking for wholesome, God fearing and scripture leadership material to add to your daily feed check out Craig’s website and always Tab Church of Norfolk.
All that to say, by the end of our time in Louisiana, I realized I MISSED MY CURRENT LIFE and I can say that on the plane ride home, I did business with the Lord and fully surrendered to Him that I was in 100%. I was ready to commit to being so far away from everything that is normal and familiar. That I was ready to plant some roots no matter how different it looks. I was ready to follow fully in whatever season that may be. If it means homeschooling our kiddos long term, so be it. If it means, churches are virtual moving forward, so be it. If it means I have to do zoom calls in order to see people and have “groups” then so. . . well I haven’t gotten around this one just yet. But you get the point.
As a family and individually we surrendered our lives to the Lord for whatever that meant lie ahead on December 31, 2018. We knew that the current life we were living had met its expiration date and as scary as it was to face that, we did it. . . as a family in full obedience to the Lord. We had each other to lean on and we had the Lord together as a family to lean on. Everything about our world was changing, but we had each other. As a parent and a wife, I had a sense of responsibility to keep trudging and “keep the faith” for my 3E’s. But it wasn’t until summer of 2020 in the middle of a global pandemic on a plane that I found myself fully surrendering all of it to the Lord. And here I am today, November 2020, finally writing it out!
As the old saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun!” These are just some of the highlights of 2020 and today I am taking the time to be thankful for them! There are TONS of added highlights that I will write about soon with all the added pictures, but today we will stop here and give thanks in all of it!
What are you thankful for? What positive insights has the Lord revealed during 2020? Do we find ourselves having an attitude of gratitude? I am thankful for you and your dedication in finishing this to the end!
Love you friend!