Anyone still out there? I can’t really blame you if you aren’t. Well, maybe I can since you aren’t there to know I’m blaming you. But then you might come back another day and, in the euphoria of discovering that your favorite blogger has returned to rescue you from the monotonous hum-drum of the rest of cyberland, read back to this point and discover that I blamed you for not being out there. So I won’t. We’ll just assume that I quit showing up in here before you quit showing up out there and move on with our little lives.
What a waste of keystrokes that little tangent was. In the immortal words of Frank Costanza: I’m back, bab-eee, pointless rambling and all.
Rather than launching straight into my standard witty commentary about the state of politics, religion, and silly television shows, I’m going to start by catching you up a little on what our lives have been like since June. I’ll try to keep it (relatively) brief, but most of it is significant enough to the present and future of anything else that might turn up on this page that it’s worth recounting (and precounting).
So, climb in the wayback machine with me and let’s set the dial to early June. I came home from work one day, looked at my beautiful wife, and said, “I’m done over there.” By “over there” I meant my office. By “done” I meant done. It wasn’t an angry kind of done. Just a done kind of done. You know the kind of done where you just know you’re done? That kind of done. She replied with, “Let’s go home.” By “home” she meant Texas.
I wasn’t surprised at her response, but I was surprised at how serious I discovered she was in the subsequent hours and days. We had regularly talked about moving back to Texas during our years in the foothills of the Poconos, but we had more or less decided about a month before to hang around PA one more year. I won’t rehash all that happened between May and my declaration of done-ness, but it was enough to prompt Amy to affirm my feelings about being done. To make a short story even shorter, Amy had an OT contract here in Texas within about five days of that conversation. No kidding. About three weeks later we were loading the truck. We aren’t really impulsive people, but this was right, we knew it, and our decisions have been affirmed ten-fold over the last few months.
Now dial the wayback machine back even further…
For about a year or so, we’d felt a growing conviction that we were supposed to move our family to Bryan/College Station. Yeah, that’s where I went to college, but neither A&M nor simple familiarity were the draw to return. Over the past several years, Amy and I have experienced some pretty profound transformations in our faith, including our foundational understandings of Jesus and His Church. During some key months of that growth, we developed a deeper friendship with Ross and Staci King. I knew Ross and Staci in college, but neither of them were close friends. Somehow that changed, 1705.48 miles of separation be damned.
One of the key points of connection between the Norvells and the Kings was tied to the Church at large and a local church in particular. That church is Community Church of Bryan/College Station where Ross is a pastor. The bottom line is, while Amy and I have both experienced some wonderful churches full of wonderful people, we sensed God pointing us to something pretty specific. As we looked around for that something, we tended to come up with partial-matches at best. We loved our church in Clarks Summit — loved the people and trusted the leadership, which is, well, rare for me. Maybe too rare. That said, we just kept sensing that there was something else we were supposed to be giving ourselves to. Even from so far away, the more we learned about Community Church, the more convinced we became that it was the something we were being led toward.
The point of all of that is to say that we’d decided on B/CS and Community Church as a destination well before our June revelation/revolution. Sound a little nuts? Maybe. It doesn’t seem that way to us, but we’ve gotten some of those looks from folks on both ends of the country. I suppose we’re supposed to make sudden moves across the nation for more sensible reasons than church.
But what if we’re not? What if the sensible things are temporary? What if we get lucky and find out the kinds of things we’re choosing to export from the bottom of the Great American Priority List to the top of the Inverted Kingdom Value System actually do turn out to have a longer shelf life than money and jobs and even family?
Don’t get me wrong. Family is a major factor for us. We’ve missed our kin enormously and we’re absolutely loving being close (very close) to many of them again. We just believe that there’s an Agenda that’s moving with or without us that usurps all other agendas. We’re trying to move with it. More on that in the days to come.
Anyway, we chose to make a brief stop in Texarkana first. There were several reasons for that, primarily that it enabled us to live with family for a while as we arranged our permanent move to B/CS. Doing that has been refreshing and enjoyable for us, and it has enabled us to save some money. Thanks Mom and Dad. It’s been a thrill for Aiden to get to know family better (and vice versa), and they’re also putting up with me and Amy. My giving, smart, talented wife has been working full-time as an Occupational Therapist and I’ve been doing the Mr. Mom routine and trying to do a little freelance work while Aiden naps. Word up, guys — being a housewife ain’t easy. That said, it’s been an unspeakable gift to be with Aiden all day. We know each other in all kinds of new and fun ways, and I know I’ll always treasure this season of our lives.
Amy and I will revert back to our previous routine when we move to B/CS, a date which is quickly approaching. I accepted a job today with the Institute for School-University Partnerships in the A&M Systems offices. My business card will have to be double-sided for all of these nonsense titles, but here’s the gist of it: Texas needs more teachers, and the number of graduates from the teacher ed programs in state universities is on the decline. The A&M Regents launched a system-wide initiative (there are something like eleven universities in the A&M System, with more on the way) to increase the number of students enrolled in the teacher ed programs and improve the quality of their training. My job (Communications Specialist) basically involves managing the communication from the Initiative offices to the eleven institutions and to the media. There’s more, but I’m sure that’s sufficient to satisfy your interest. Amy has a lot of options, but she’ll probably work 10-20 hours in an as-yet-undetermined OT job. She has several options, so we’re just sorting through them to find the best fit for her.
Amy’s contract where we are ends October 8, so we’ll move sometime after that. We’ve visited B/CS and Community Church several times since we’ve been here, and we really couldn’t be more content and hopeful about where we are and where we’re going. You’re going to hear a lot more about the church in days to come, but the quick sell is this — it’s small, utterly unglamorous, and mostly lacking in standard church curb appeal. Who’s in?
just wanted to let you know, that i check in every now and then.
i’m also weighing big decisions about where to live based on the church… keep that topic rolling.
Glad you are back. It was getting lonely on this page.
As the title track of the new Mase album says, “Welcome Back.” (Everyone please go buy that album if you don’t already have it!) Thad, thanks for your authenticity.
Thad and Amy (and Aiden),
I’m so excited for you! Trust me, I understand your reasonings for moving and even if I didn’t, it doesn’t matter. Follow the Lord and your heart. Life is too short to be unhappy.
We’ve recently moved and we actually beat you on the time frame: 3 days! woo-hoo! Yep, I moved within 3 days. Anyway, so excited for ya’ll!
Congrats on the move back. Missed ya.
“precious are the feet…” This will not be the last time you hear, “Welcome home, good and faithful…” As much as I like the Texas flag thing, it was growing a little stale. Joyful that you are embracing the blessings.
Good to hear that you’re back and that all is going well.