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The Horizon | The Big Blue Bus Tour

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It’s a rainy day in Texas after several days of frigid temperatures. Winter here is not what I had expected, though I suppose the country as a whole is experiencing crazy cold weather, so I should give Texas a break.:)

After traveling hundreds of miles this weekend (to Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio) we are back at The Country Home. Had we been on the bus through these temperatures, I’m sure we would have survived (we saw worse in Alaska), but it wouldn’t have been comfortable and I’m fairly certain I would have been particularly whiney since I cannot handle the cold. Something about losing 85 pounds has made me terribly susceptible to the cold! (Didn’t know I lost 85 pounds? You must not be subscribing to my posts! You can make sure you never miss an update by signing up over there on the left where it says “Subscribe” on the black tab.) Instead, this morning I woke up in a cozy warm bed in a cozy warm home and couldn’t help but feel grateful.

Last night I was talking with my sister who is about to embark on her own full-time on-the-road adventure with her family. She’s overwhelmed and nervous and probably a bit afraid. Having been down that road (still on it actually) my advice is to rely on the Lord. I believe He gives us many of these tests and challenges to see how we will react. Will we turn to him when things go desperately sideways? Will we acknowledge Him when things go wonderfully right? Regardless of what is happening, will we put our faith in Him? When the storms of life rage, the knowledge that I can count on Him, that He is always there for us, brings me comfort (literally and figuratively).

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Our trip to Dallas was a whirlwind. We got to photograph a family I’ve known online for years, but finally met for the first time. In Austin we went to church with friends from Florida who have recently moved here and then we had dinner at their house. They have 6 boys and my children were overjoyed to be reunited with their friends! Miss B spent the bulk of her time shadowing their youngest who is 7 years old. She is never happier than when she is playing with a boy. San Antonio was cold with a bite to it. We photographed a family at one of the old missions. It was an incredible session. Each time we photograph a family, I’m filled with gratitude that we get to do this!

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We’ve been talking a lot about what is on the horizon for us. We’re leaving Texas in a few weeks to take Jacob to the missionary training center in Provo, Utah. He reports on February 5th. 28 days from today. Time is slipping through my fingers and the tighter I grasp, the quicker it disappears. Each and every day between now and then is meticulously accounted for. Over the next week Jacob will be ordained an Elder and go through the temple in Houston, Texas. We’re going to go through Yuma, Arizona again on our way west. This time Grandma and Grandpa Oborn will be there and Jacob will have the opportunity to say goodbye before leaving for two years. A visit to Las Vegas to see Grandma and Grandpa Earle, for more goodbyes. Then to St. George, Utah for yet more farewells to mentors and friends who mean everything to our family. Then finally up to Salt Lake City for final preparations and final goodbyes before we drop him off in Provo.

I’m shedding tears now. I’m going to miss him so much. I don’t know how I will possibly make it through the next two years. I guess I should refer to my advice above. Trust in The Lord. I’ll be counting on that. Because I know I won’t be able to do it on my own.

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Which brings us back to the horizon. What next? We drop Jacob off and then what? Jake’s new job is still working its way through the wickets. It’s been a long slow process, one that I’ve cursed many times the last 6 months. I’m finally learning to let go. At this point, our best guess is that we have until May before Jake’s training will start. Which means another four (possibly five) months on the road.

Where will we go? We’re still working through that. From where we are right now, it is less than 1,000 miles back to our starting point. That would be something wouldn’t it? Around the whole country? Florida to Alaska to Seattle to San Diego to Texas to Florida again? That would mean stops in New Orleans, Mobile, and Tampa. Perhaps all the way down to Key West? Sounds plausible. Texas feels like home too. I think we’ll be back here for sure.

Whatever happens, Jacob’s departure will leave a huge hole in our family. Everything will be different. I can’t even imagine. I’m thankful we’ll have the time together, as a family, to reinvent ourselves and what life will be like without Jacob for the next two years.

I may be dreading saying goodbye, but Jacob can’t wait. He’s ready. He’s been waiting for this moment his whole life. Anytime he talks about it, his face lights up with pure joy and excitement. There is no doubt in my mind that Jacob will be an incredible missionary. Those in the Czech Republic are lucky to have him.

January 8, 2014 - 7:00 am

Kimberly - Since you have to give him up for 2 years, what a comfort that it’s to the Lord. I know what you mean about time slipping away. Last night I was thinking about Tabetha leaving (probably in the next 18 months) and it made me all teary. It just doesn’t seem possible. Time goes so quickly.
Thinking about you! Miss you!

January 8, 2014 - 4:10 pm

Danielle L Robson Gilbert - AMy, you post is making me cry! I know it’s hard, I know goodbye isn’t easy, but you are soooo blessed to be able to see Jacob off on his mission, to go through the Temple with him, to drop him off at the MTC. I envy you that SO much!!!! Please make sure that I get an address for him once he is settled in the Czech Republic, I will be wanting to write to him, and to ask him for his testimony of his mission for Damon’s journal. I miss you, I miss working out with you. I am happy for you and your family for this time you have had on the road together. Just so you know, Texas isn’t usually that cold for that long. And I don;t know how you would feel about it in summer, what with scorpions, spiders, and snakes all over. Austin is the place to be in summer though, it is much less humid than say, Houston. Have so much fun these next few weeks. It looks like Jacob reports on my Birthday! i will be thinking of you all that day while I also celebrate adding one more year to my life!!!!!!!!!! yay! Love you, give everyone my love and best wishes.
Dani

January 8, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Lisa Meade Kurczewski - Amy, I am simply inspired by you. Your post took my breath away. Today I will snuggle my two boys and daughter a little more than usual. I’m always so very thankful that I chose to homeschool… it all goes by so very fast. I wish I could freeze time. Being a military spouse with 3 littles sometimes leaves me feeling alone. I take joy in reading your posts, so thank you.

January 8, 2014 - 4:30 pm

Erin Frederich - I love reading your post Amy! Congrats on the weight loss! You look amazing! :)

January 8, 2014 - 4:30 pm

Katie Guth - Have you guys ever been to Colorado? It’s the most beautiful state I think! The bus might have a hard time through the mountain passes though (; Otherwise I’ve been looking up my road-trip and there are SO MANY places I want to visit in the north half of Arizona. (The Grand Canyon obviously being one of them). Can’t wait to hear what you choose to do!

January 8, 2014 - 4:51 pm

Heather Cunningham Morrison - Beautifully written. Weight loss, travel, and faith… All such an emotional journey. You are sure to come out refined and renewed. I actually needed to hear some of this today

January 8, 2014 - 8:18 pm

Camille Packer Duckworth - I hadn’t really paid attention to dates, but it just occurred to me that I’ll be in Utah the same time as you. Would love to meet up with you guys if possible! The Big Blue Bus with my (small in comparison) Conversion Van! I’m excited for the rest of your adventures. What memories you guys have made and will be able to continue to make….oh and the friends you have made! The world is a wonderful place. So glad that you have been able to explore it! (at least part of it!)

January 9, 2014 - 1:36 am

Crystal Ward - I think the best part about this post is that you were in front of the camera, Amy. You look FABULOUS! There are so many possibilities on the horizon for your family – I can’t wait to see where you meander to.

January 10, 2014 - 4:39 pm

Chesha Oliver - Amy, I am so impressed by your bravery & faith… And Joshua’s too. You & Jake seem to have raised an exceptional young man.

If you do decide to come through New Orleans, I sure would love to meet you & have you photograph my family!

January 10, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Chesha Oliver - Oops!! Typed Joshua, but meant Jacob!! Though I’m sure Josh is a great kid too!!

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