Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Ode to Friendship

The inspirations for this entry are our dear friends, Shane and Natalie, or Nat Nat, as I affectionately call her.  (The fact that she puts up with this nickname is in itself a tribute to the kind of friend she is.)  They flew down for the weekend from Houston — our first official visitors from home.  We spent three days doing a whole lot of nothing —eating chicken and potatoes on the back porch, lounging by the pool, watching movies, sipping coffee and catching up on the details of our lives.  They are the kind of friends who care about the details.  When they ask us how we’re doing, I know they really mean it.  Our friendship is a safe place to be honest, to let my guard down, and expose the real me.  It doesn’t have to be all roses, as they don’t mind the stench of our sometimes smelly lives.
Since their return stateside I’ve been pondering friendship.  It comes in all shapes and sizes — A college roommate, a sister, a colleague, a spouse, a grandmother, a childhood friend.  Regardless, friendship is a divine gift, one God graciously gives knowing how much sweeter and more fulfilling our lives will be when shared with others.  With the madness of life and the pace of the world, it’s so easy to isolate ourselves, and become convinced that we’re too busy or overworked or tired for friendship.  But now is the time we need it more than ever.  We need friends to stand beside us when the going gets rough, to remind us of our value when the world wants us to forget, to love us on the days we feel extraordinarily unlovable, and to challenge us to live for something greater than ourselves.
Shane and Nat Nat are rare gems.  Take a moment to reflect on the rare gems in your life today.  In doing so, you might be surprised by how truly rich you are.
With love,
Kevin & Cass

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A Tribute to Moms

It’s only appropriate to begin this blog by recognizing our two biggest cheerleaders during this transition:  Our Mothers.  They have rallied behind us, buoyed us up with their love and support, and stormed the gates of heaven with their prayers on our behalf.  In a season full of change they have been a constant.  There are no words to express our gratitude for these Wonder Women in our lives.
The day we moved out of our house in Houston I was an emotional wreck.  My mother- in-law took the day off work and showed up on our doorstep with Starbucks — probably after a desperate call from Kevin, who was simultaneously managing packers, taking apart furniture, organizing boxes, and trying to console his sobbing wife.  She listened while I rambled on about nothing and wandered aimlessly around the house, with so much to do but no idea where to start.  There was so much excitement on the horizon and while I felt thrilled about our future, I was also mourning the closing of such a sweet chapter of our lives.  I couldn’t articulate it very well at the time, but I didn’t have to.  She got it.  She got how I could be happy and sad at the same time, how I was simultaneously crying tears of sorrow and tears of joy. 
They say in stressful situations you revert to childlike behavior.  That’s how I felt on moving day.  But my mother-in-law was there — labeling boxes, ordering pizza for the movers, reminding me to eat, running unnecessary errands on my To Do list (that at the time felt very necessary).  She was there when I needed her the most, when I didn’t even know I needed her.
And then came our move to Kingston.  The much anticipated day finally arrived, and you know who was on the plane next to me?  My mom.  We moved Thanksgiving week, and my mom spent Thanksgiving Day unpacking 183 boxes in 95 degree heat — with no air conditioning.  To say it was the hottest day of my life is an understatement.  We worked without stopping from sun up to sun down.  Not once did my mom complain.  She hummed all day, became best friends with the movers and sweet talked them into assembling our dining room table AND eight dining room chairs — from IKEA, mind you, which means each chair started in a box the size of a dice and had at least 2309849 separate parts to assemble.  She had every box unpacked and our house looking magazine worthy by nightfall.  When my spirit felt fragile and my faith weak, she never dismissed my emotions or demanded stoicism.  Her joyful countenance and positive perspective did wonders for my soul.  She sacrificed so much to be there — not because she wanted to spend her Thanksgiving unpacking boxes in a foreign country, but because she knew that her 27-year-old grown daughter still needed her mom.
So this post is lovingly dedicated to our favorite cheerleaders.  Our #1 fans.  Our biggest advocates, who have our backs no matter what.  This post is dedicated to our mothers.  We love you.  You are super moms.  And super heroes.  We don’t say thank you enough for all you are and all you do in our lives. 

With Love,

Kevin & Cass

Friday, 13 January 2012

Welcome! Welcome!

Move in week in Kingston -- at the Courtleigh Hotel,
our home away from home while we waited for our cargo to clear customs
(and waited...and waited...)

Hi Family and Friends!
Welcome to the Murphy’s blog: Sweet Home Jamaica!  As many of you know, we’ve been living in Kingston since November 2011.  When we moved, lots of friends suggested we start a blog, to share our experiences abroad.   I waved off the idea, as it seemed a bit presumptuous.  Why would anyone want to read about our lives?  But people continued suggesting it, and I started giving the idea more serious thought.
I’ve been slow to come around, but I’m beginning to understand that the world of virtual communication is not about broadcasting your story; it’s about connecting with people you love and sharing your lives with one another, even when time and distance separate you. 
All that to say, at the top of my New Year’s Resolution List for 2012 sit three little words:  START A BLOG.  So here I am — writing our first official blog entry (mostly because “Start a blog” sounded like a far more enticing resolution to begin on a Friday than “Get in the best shape of your life”). 
If you’re on this site, it’s likely because you’re family or friend, and we want you to know we’re so grateful for you, and that we thank God daily for your love, support and encouragement during this adventure.
Sending you boatloads of love from Kingston, Jamaica!

Kevin & Cass