It’s time I made this announcement, even though I’d rather deny it.
We’ve lived in Philadelphia for 15 years this December. We moved into 1103 Cromwell Road, Wyndmoor (a suburb) in 2001 as missionaries to the 5th-largest city in the U.S. Our house was only about three miles from the church that hired us, a three-bedroom ranch in the midst of the endless sea of suburban sprawl that makes Philadelphia so populous.
Over the years I have pour myself into the city and the city poured itself into me, until I feel as if my circulation system somehow mysteriously connects, that some fragment of the roads, parks, vehicles, and buildings course through my veins with every heartbeat.
Here’s a brief summary of my adventures here: I ran a vegan café in Philadelphia for three years called Expressly Vegetarian between 2001 and 2004. Entering graduate school in 2005, I graduated in 2008 with a Master’s degree in mental health counseling and promptly opened a private practice called ABIDE Counseling that is thriving today. Shortly after that, Pennsylvania Youth Challenge (PYC) began, a book-selling summer program for youth with which my daughter Kimmy was involved for two summers. In 2010 I began working on a musical project called The Lamb Wins, a folk cantata from the book of Revelation, with a rapper and a beat-boxer/producer I met through the PYC program. We released the album in 2013 and have begun work on a sequel.
Milestones came and went. My children grew up and became independent; the oldest, Alison, married the dashing and noble John Segura. My youngest, Kimmy, struggled with and overcame addiction, with four years clean come next January. I suffered several health problems (as usual) and had two surgeries at one of those towering hospitals downtown. I changed careers. Mike retired. We got a dog.
So much has happened and continues to happen in Philadelphia that this short summary almost mocks the reality of it.
But on to the reasons for the move: My husband Michael is a wonderful gardener. In fact, we grow about half of our food in our 1/8 acre backyard at 1103 Cromwell. For a long time I have wanted to find a larger piece of property so we could expand our farm and even possibly create some kind of ministry where people who need healing could come and stay. I had raised some funds through my non-profit corporation. The property needed to be close enough to the city for me to make it easily to the airport and to have access to people yet “country” enough to be therapeutic. Such properties were unaffordable in the Philadelphia area. Add to this the fact that several of my family members lived in Florida—my mother, my sister and her family, my daughter Kimmy. I decided to see what I could find in Florida, and found a perfect property with eight acres of land only about half hour from the airport and twelve minutes from my sister. Check out the listing here.
Michael has moved already, and I plan to move in the spring, after finishing the sequel to The Lamb Wins. Already trials have come: Fred the dog became sick unto death. As soon as he recovered, the septic system backed up in spite of a full inspection and approval that the house was in good working order. I take these things as evidence that the devil hates us and our work, which I find oddly comforting.
Come spring, Abide Counseling will function essentially the same except that my in-person clients will either transfer to my partner Marissa Smale or will “see” me via phone/Skype. The Lamb Wins tours will continue from their home base in Philly with Lee Givhan and his new wife Hillary leading out and a growing community of other creative joining in.
I really don’t want to leave, but I believe God is leading. I suppose it’s a good thing to have to tear away—it gives evidence that I connect and love deeply, and that I will probably connect and love deeply in my new home.