Hello to Norfolk, VA

IMG_3286I realize this post has been several weeks in coming. All I have to say is that moving is quite disruptive. Although we had physically unpacked our boxes in less than a week, the “emotional” unpacking and settling in can’t be managed that quickly. And especially since we journeyed back to Philadelphia after our first week here for an unexpected and permanent farewell to a dear friend (Beverlee Kirkland) who has gone Home to Jesus. I hope to be able to blog about her life in a future post. The emotions are a bit too fresh now. She had lived a very full life – 61 years – and she was physically tired from complications of diabetes for 25 years. But she is very dearly missed, as she and her husband, Collier, were mentors for us during our time at Cresheim Valley Church.

Now about Norfolk … in short, we love it. It’s been a very smooth move, with a warm welcome from the church where Seth is an assistant pastor (Trinity Presbyterian). Here are my top 10 favorite things about it so far (but not necessarily in order):

(1) our BEAUTIFUL spacious apartment!! where we even have a guest room … and the luxuries of a dishwasher and washer/dryer

(2) being walking distance from a river walk area and the church and the grocery store and friends

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(3) the Chrysler Art Museum, which we’ve visited twice already, is a 5 min walk from us and actually an impressive collection of art

(4) 30 minutes to the beach! (and you don’t have to buy beach tags once you’re there)

IMG_3282(5)  the people at Trinity Pres. Church – they’ve showered us with dinner invitations and beach invitations .. we feel very welcomed already

(6) the sound of Southern summer crickets every night

(7) people are friendly, for the most part – like you say “hi” to strangers you pass on the street

(8) the  local “Naro” theater in Ghent, where we walked to see “Up” (a good movie – I recommend it!) and paid only $6/ticket

(9) water, water everywhere … we’re a peninsula surrounded by water: the Chesapeake Bay, the Elizabeth River, and the Atlantic Ocean

(10) I’m back in the South again. Enough said y’all …

Farewell to Philadelphia

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I woke up  last night at 2:00 a.m. with two prominent feelings. One being excitement because we finally move today! I am looking forward to embarking on the journey we’ve been discussing for months. It is time to set sail. All is in order (or seems to be); farewells have been exchanged; welcomes are forthcoming and the adventure awaits us.

And the second feeling was that of muscle aches and pains that remind me that I’m 30. My body now feels the effects of scrubbing down our apartment yesterday. And it was sore and didn’t want me to sleep.

So after 45 minutes of tossing and turning, I saw this as an opportunity for my final entry from Philadelphia. What a five years it’s been! As we’ve said good-bye, I’ve been reminded of just how rich it has been … and just how many chapters have been written in these 5 years since September 2004. I am not the same person who arrived with my brother Jonathan and Uncle Billy and Mom to 308 Bethlehem Pike and the basement apartment I would call home for my first semester at Westminster Seminary.

I came as Heather Elizabeth Davis; I leave as Heather Davis Nelson. I arrived very much alone; I leave surrounded by layers of community – seminary, CCEF, New Life Dresher, Cresheim Valley Church, World Harvest Mission, The Counseling Center at Chelten, and Chestnut Hill. From single and alone to married and in love with Seth. From an elementary school Spanish teacher to a pastoral counselor. From a PC user to a lover of Mac/Apple. (Thanks largely to my husband’s influence.)

I will miss this place and these people very very much.  There will be future reflections I’m sure. Countless ones. In the rearview mirror, it will become clearest what Philadelphia has meant to me and the way this season and these communities have shaped me.

For now, I bid you farewell, City of Brotherly Love and those we love who dwell within it.