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<I wake up. Sunshine fills the room, which is much bigger than I expected. The light on the ceiling is different and the walls are cream colored. Harold lies next to me softly breathing. Why is the dresser in the corner? I get up. There is a large double closet. Next to the closet is a long counter with a sink and a space where a small, padded stool is tucked underneath. A door leads to a room that contains a toilet and a roomy shower.

It’s disorienting. We have been in our apartment for 14 days. I still wake up with a bit of a start to the not yet familiar surroundings. Last Thursday my best friend, Patty, flew out to help me finish unpack and decorate the apartment. It seemed even stranger picking out rugs, pillows and wooden giraffes to scatter through our space.

Before we moved we sold most of our furniture, which was pretty old, and bought new things last week. While all this was a huge amount of fun, in a way it added to the bit of strangeness we are feeling. We have been finding our way around, which Harold is much better at than I am. We have settled on a preferred bank, grocery store and gas station. There is a Starbucks on the corner a couple of blocks away. The vast number of places to shop is crazy, and I’m from Los Angeles!

Through all of this we feel the continuing grace of God and are acutely aware of his presence. We have been received with such love by Bread of Life church and for that we are most grateful. Everyone has been so kind and are a big part of helping us adjust to our new surroundings. Moving to a new city is one of the most stressful things you can do but when you are surrounded by friends near and far who support you and pray for you makes all the difference. Thanks to all!

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Wait. What Day Is This?

That is pretty much how we all feel. The last 2 or 3 weeks have run together so that they are blended into a frappe of images. Packing the U-Haul truck in 102 degree heat. Long conversations at the Smoyer’s as we reminisce about the last 21 years. Saying good-bye to Debbie M. and Sherry S. at the tiny Kirksville airport. Evan & I almost missing our connecting flight to Fresno because the plane got to Phoenix an hour late. (“Mom, I have to go the bathroom!” “I don’t care! Keep running or we’ll miss our flight!” We were the last 2 people on the plane.) Harold, Doug & Linda arriving Thursday and unpack the truck in 100 degree heat at 5pm but with tons of help from our new church family.

So many emotions too. The scary happy feeling you get before embarking on a new adventure. Harold & I have joined the Middle Aged Adventurers Club. Tremendous, painful sorrow saying good-bye to so many friends, not knowing if we will see them all again in this life. The confusion of finding my way around a new city when I can’t tell west from east. Happiness when we discover the grocery prices aren’t any more expensive than Kirksville so that means our budget will work. Exhaustion bringing deep sleep. Crankiness at having to unpack yet another box. Amazement at the provision and mercy God has shown us as we buy new furniture and pay cash for it, a first for us.

I’m going to upload some pictures later today and will post a link if you’d like to see them. But for now it’s off to the pool for Evan and I before it gets too hot. Supposed to be 108 today but hey, it’s a dry heat!

Posted in Moving Moments

A Moving Experience

Evan and I arrived in our new city of Fresno Monday night, exhausted from plane delays and running through airports. Gilbert and Ann picked us up and whisked us away to Mimi’s for a yummy dinner. We have spent the last couple of days recuperating from all the work of moving and the emotions of leaving our beloved friends in Missouri.

Life Church threw an amazing going away party last Wednesday night. I told people it was like going to your own funeral and listening to the eulogies. We were beyond blessed to see friends who drove over an hour to say their good-byes. We laughed at stories that were told about us and cried when the stories were about challenges we faced with our friends.

Sunday, however, was painful. Our friend Jeremy, one of the elders at Life Church, gave a wonderful and humbling message about following God wherever he takes you. Then was the time for prayers over us and the actual personal farewells to our church family. There is no way to get past that without tons of tears. Over and over I was reminded what a blessing it has been to serve with all these people. It is a great comfort to know that we will be together in eternity.

There is much to be written about the weeks preceding the move. I plan to elaborate over the next few weeks but for now I need to get ready for a 4th of July party where we will meet new friends for this next season of our life. Hug and appreciate those who you live life with every day.

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Time, the Cross, and the Blessings

Know how to live the time that is given you. – Dario Fo

An enormous amount of living has happened since my last post 3 weeks ago. My husband, Harold, told me yesterday that we have received so many blessings so quickly that we are in danger of starting to forget how this blessing shower began in January. I’ve decided to do a quick re-cap to not only remind us, but to continue to bring glory to God who is the source of all blessings.

January, 2012 – We receive an unexpected inheritance from Harold’s Aunt Erma who passed away a couple of days before Christmas. No one knew that she had any money socked away as she always lived with extreme frugality. This blessing enables us to pay off all of our debts. She also leaves Harold a gently used car, which we desperately needed.

February – April – Said inheritance also helps us to make needed repairs to our home so we can put it on the market.

Early May – We fly to Fresno to spend a week looking for a place to live and for Harold to work on getting a job. We look at a lot of houses and one apartment, which we fall in love with. Unable to put a deposit on the apartment because we don’t have Fresno jobs, the manager tells Harold he needs to come to work for the large company that owns the apartment complex. She extols the virtues of the company and gives Harold the name and number of the Human Resource lady. Next day Harold has an hour and a half interview with her. We return home hopeful.

Also – the day before we leave for Fresno, a realtor calls us. We have not put our house on the market yet. A friend of ours had mentioned we were going to sell our house. The realtor feels he has a buyer for it. They come and look at the house on Thursday. On a lay over in Dallas on Friday, we learn they have made us an offer. By the time we get back home a week later our house is sold never having gone on the market!

May 16th – I teach my last class at school. There are lots of tears. I will really miss these kids! Harold finds out he has the job with the property management company. What an extreme of emotions in one day!

June – On the 4th we celebrate our 29th anniversary by finding out that we can rent the apartment we had seen. Evan does a jig because the place has a pool and a basketball court. I am personally thrilled by the pool and the workout room. I plan on being slimmer and tanner. By the end of the week Evan and I have our last days at work.

Three weeks from today we will load up the U Haul and head out to our new home. There is a lot of packing yet to be done, but we are taking every opportunity to hang out with our friends. There is a wedding this afternoon that has brought friends from different states here. We consider that a huge blessing not just for the bride and groom, but for us. Can’t wait to have some time with everyone!

Every day we are praying for God to give us wisdom to live the time that is left here in Kirksville.  We feel the weight of the sadness of leaving our friends every day now. I know that really this is a “light, momentary affliction.” and I”m daily grateful that I will share eternity with you, my friends.

Posted in Moving Moments, The Move

The One Where Lori Tries to Cry

My family & I are freshly back for 8 days in Fresno. It was quite the trip. We arrived Friday evening and were whisked away to an amazing, authentic Mexican restaurant where we made up for the lack of airline food. We had left at 7am (CST) so by 7pm (PST) we were faint with hunger. Well, okay, a mild exaggeration.

On Saturday there was a church picnic at a beautiful park. We had a chance to meet some new people, refresh some friendships, and eat fist sized strawberries. Well, okay, a very slight exaggeration. There were games planned by the lovely Alejandra who had devised games that kids and adults could play together. Pure genius, huh?

Most of the week was spent meeting with church people, looking at houses & one amazing apartment, and enjoying the California weather. Harold had interviews with 2 different property management companies. He is awaiting  a follow-up phone interview with the company who, coincidentally, owns the amazing apartment complex where we want to live. Well, okay, not coincidentally.

We got back to the ‘ville on Saturday evening and have been recovering ever since. Right before we left on our trip, a realtor in town had a couple who he wanted to show our house. That happened the day we left. Today we signed papers selling our house! It’s stunning how everything is falling into place so quickly. We will be out of our house on July 1st. Which is coming round the bend at a ridiculous rate of speed!

In the last several days I have felt at turns overwhelmed, overjoyed, exhausted and full of energy. Mostly I feel like a good cry would really help! (It’s a woman thing.) I’m sure I’ll get there soon.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers. We have felt them and needed them!