I am no longer a Charlottean. Today was the closing on our house. Last week, we moved into our new house in Pembroke Pines, FL. Apart from the occasional visit to our friends in Charlotte and visits to our vacation place in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Carolinas are no longer home. As I drove out of the city, I could look into my rear view mirror and see Charlotte fade away. In spite of a (how do I say this nicely?) “tumultuous” last year, there is much about Charlotte that I will miss.
The Carolina Panthers, Pike’s Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain, the four distinct seasons, vine-ripened tomatoes, my back yard, the Charlotte skyline, the ability to be at the symphony in 15 minutes — the beach in 3 hours — the mountains in 2 hours and picking my own strawberries in 30 minutes, Max and Erma’s Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, The Speedway Club, apple-picking season and last-but-not-least some very, very dear friends.
What I won‘t miss is rather inconsequential and not worth mentioning.
I’m shocked at how much we all are enjoying our “re-entry” into South Florida (we lived about an hour north of Pembroke Pines for 17 years in the 80’s and 90’s). Each morning, I look out on the small lake behind our house and see the ducks paddling about and the giant fish breaking the surface of the water. Our yard is filled with orchids and palms and butterflies and flora of all kinds. South Florida food is amazing. The people in the west Broward County communities are extremely warm and friendly — more so than in Charlotte surprisingly. There are fewer Christians, but in many ways the Christians one meets are far more authentic and transparent than what you would find in the Bible belt with far fewer “hang ups”. The multi-ethnicity of our church and local communities is a tremendous blessing (we have 70 nationalities and ethnic groups in our church.) I’m only 15 minutes away from the Miami Dolphin’s stadium! Though real Floridians rarely go to the beach, it’s there if we want to go. Saturday, we’re taking an airboat ride out into the Everglades and will see tons of alligators and other amazing wildlife. Miami has one of the best zoos in the world (I love zoos.) I enjoy the sounds of Latin and Caribbean music about everywhere I go.
So all in all, it’s beginning to feel like home again.
Over the last year, for a variety of reasons — much of it related to weekly commutes back and forth between NC and FL — I haven’t taken the time to write as much as I had planned. My blog has been particularly silent. But I anticipate getting into a rhythm in the coming weeks and once again, I hope to hit the blog scene regularly. Because of my infrequent posting, my month blog readership has fallen from about 15,000 per month to less than 10,000, so I plan on getting that pumped up again. Tell your friends and neighbors that I’m coming back! :-) I’ve actually planned a few new categories of articles and features which I’ll be developing in the future.
If you would like or need my new mailing address or our home phone number, drop me a line and I’ll respond privately.
In the way of personal information regarding my family, Julie is happy to be back in her home state and will soon be actively involved in Bible studies and a little homeschooling, I’m sure. Nathan is going to transfer out of Liberty this year and attend college locally while we all get acclimated. He’s working with computers this summer. Megan will be a Senior at Dade Christian School this fall and is looking at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach for her college of choice. Katie is going to do homeschooling with mom this fall and has been a big help around the house as our resident “organizer”. Josh is already making friends and will be in 6th grade at The Master’s Academy about 5 miles from our house beginning in August.
Many of you know Rene’ — the young man I’ve affectionately called our “fifth” kid — who has been part of our life for the last 14 years. He has been living in South Florida the last year also and recently underwent very serious abdominal surgery. He has been in the hospital for two weeks and remains there recuperating. We’d appreciate your prayers for him and his recovery which has been very slow with multiple setbacks.
So that’s the latest and I’ll look forward to hearing from you and even sparring with some of you in the future. Please keep coming back to Whirled Views!