Monday, September 25, 2006

Long in the Tooth

Grandpa made a mention that my blog is getting "long in the tooth," which I thought was a very good description. I haven't been online in weeks. But, to catch everyone up, we had a great time with Heather and David and the kids when they were here earlier this month. Our kids got along great, and it was nice to see that our house can handle two families. Heather and I went and found Central Market, which is a really upscale grocery store about 40 minutes away. I've been wanting to go there, so we had fun checking it out. Having the Shackelfords here made our house feel even more like a home. I'm looking forward to building fun memories like that as time goes on.

Madeline and Abigail are doing well in school, and Will's job is bumping along at a satisfactory rate. We are really settling into our life routine here.

I am enjoying spending time with Sam during the day, and I am also getting to know some of my neighbors, which is fun.

Church has been wonderful and encouraging. We had a gathering this last Saturday night, and I have to say that the highlight for me was when the worship leader moved into rap during one of the songs. David and Heather can understand what that might look like, having visited. Anyway, I definately enjoyed the spontinaity (sp?) and general fun we have there.

I am helping in the 4 year old class now, since we have moved to a two service format starting this week. So I work with the kids from 7:30am to 11:00, and then go to the second service with Will and the kids. I've committed to work through December, so we'll see how that goes. Anyway, I really appreciate all that my kids recieve there, so I'm glad to give something back.

Since Labor Day the weather has been much more moderate, and today was in the high 70's. Fall is in the air-my favorite time of year. I love being able to open the windows and air out the house.

Yesterday we went on a walk, and for fun stopped at the community pool. On a whim we let the kids go in in their clothes, which they loved. They shivered their way home, but it was a great unusual experience.

Friday, August 11, 2006

More daily details

I'm at the library again, so I can post some news. Things are slowly coming together, but we are still living in the moving chaos of unpacked boxes and bags with no place to put the contents yet. However, I conqured the livingroom furniture yesterday by finally arranging it in a way that feel right. And I took the trouble to hem all four sides of a 30 ft peice of fabric that I bought for a "window treatment" which is finally up and looking good. I took some photos, which I'll post as soon as possible.

Will has been working these last two weeks going to district conferences and setting up his room. There are a ton of details, but he's finally figuring out what the curriculum is. School starts Monday, August 14th for him, so we are down to the wire on prep time.

The girls are going to be attending our local elementary school here in Denton, and that starts on Tuesday, August 15th. I'm looking forward to the structure and schedule, and also time to concentrate on household orgaization tasks. Sam is pretty self entertaining, so I'll have time to think things through.

A few details about the physical location of our home...We are about 3 miles south of Denton's downtown area off of the I-35 west. Our tract stands alone surrounded by trees and fields, so it's very quiet and pretty. We are only 1/2 mile from the offramp, and Will can take the I-35 down to Ft Worth where he is teaching. It's about a 40 minute drive, but only a small part of it has traffic, which he can avoid with surface streets if necessary.

Our church, the kid's school, and downtown shopping etc are all about 5 miles away. So we get the luxury of a rural setting with the convenience of town nearby.

We really like Denton. Last night I was talking to Will about the homey feeling we have in certian parts of town. I love knowing that this is our hometown, and I love the history here.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lots going on

We have had a very busy and nice past two weeks. We moved into our new home on July 13th, and Dan and Jacquie DeHart arrived two days later to help us move our things out of storage and work on the home. We have been painting, bringing over loads of things, Dan built a shelf in the kitchen, and installed doors for the study/Sam's room, and other miscellaneous things. It has been great to have them here, and show them our life in Texas.

Then, my parents arrived one week later, and they just left yesterday. We had a nice grandparents birthday party for Abigail, (and my mom) and got to take them on a little tour of the Denton area and show them around. It was so nice to see both sets of parents, and now we are beginning to experience life at a more normal pace in our new home. There are still lots of things to do, but we'll keep plugging away.

Both grandparents took our kids school shopping, and really blessed us and the kids with some school clothes, shoes and supplies, as well as the emotional energy it takes to actually do the shopping. It was fun for the kids, and now their shoes and clothes have special meaning for them, as gifts from grandmas and grandpas.

One note of excitement (for me at least) is that I got a front loader washer (with matching dryer). I've been doing research for the last three years on them, and I am all excited to have my own new washer and dryer. I really like using the front loader because it uses so much less water, and gets the clothes very clean. Laundry is one of my favorite chores, so I am all pleased to have new machines.

On Thursday we went down to Fort Worth to find Will's school where he'll be teaching, and we were happy to see that it is at the very north of Ft. Worth, and as close to our home as possible. Also, it's a small school, with a good facility. He is glad to be in a real building instead of trailers like Agua Dulce. I think this will be a great situation for him.

School here starts August 15th, so we only two more weeks of summer, and then a real schedule begins. Will begins inservice days this week.

I'm looking forward to the luxury of time with Sam alone, and the schedule/structure that school brings.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Today is Finally the Day

Well, today is the day that we go sign all the paperwork and get the keys for our new home. The money came through yesterday, and all the ducks are finally lined up. So, 2:00pm is our appointment time, and after that we can start moving in.

We are all so excited, of course. And, Dan and Jacquie DeHart are driving to Texas as I write this, and should be arriving here Friday night or Saturday morning. They are going to stay with us, and help us move our stuff in. We will all be "camping" together. We are really looking forward to seeing them, and it will be great having them stay.

It's almost surreal to be at the day of move in, after all the ups and downs we've been through in this process. But, I give God the glory for our roots growing here. Our official address will be: 4500 Napa Valley Drive, Argyle, TX 76226. We will use our cell phones for a while. If you don't have those numbers, just e-mail me.

I found our digital camera, so I'll begin to post photos as I have internet access. Thanks for all your prayers during this process!

Friday, July 07, 2006


A quick update on the house...we probably won't be in until Tuesday, due to various loan red tape intricacies. But, hopefully that will be the day. More to come.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Wheels are Moving

Thank you for your many comments on Madeline and Abigail's blogs. They love reading them, and are so excited.

Today was a busy day. We found bought auto and motorcycle insurance, got a vehicle inspection done on our cars, ordered a new headlight casing for the Mazda so that it could pass the vehicle inspection, and did laundry. It was a very productive day, and we feel good and tired. As soon as we finish the inspection process we can register the cars, and then get our Texas driver's licenses. Lots of red tape, but we are charging through it.

I want to give the latest update on the house...It looks like we will be able to close on our house either tomorrow or Monday. We are just allowing ourselves to get excited about our new home, since we have kept it in check until we were more sure. I will really enter into the joy of a home when we have the keys in our hand. Already I've been thinking all about paint colors, and various decorating ideas. Its so fun to have a blank canvas before me to be creative with. I have to thank the Lord for His plans and provision in our lives. He is able to give us a better life than we could grasp for ourselves, and all the aspects that make up our "life" here so far are really orchestrated by Him.

It is neat to see the details emerge from the mist of possibilities and uncertianties that we've been living in for the last two months. Will has a job lined up for the Fall teaching ESL kids English, and preparing them for the classroom. I think he'll really enjoy the non-traditional classroom setting, and the various ethnic backgrounds he'll get to work with. And of course we have been hugely blessed and encouraged through this dramatic transition by our new church family at Glory of Zion. The Lord knew how much we'd need the support and community during this transition, and amazingly we found Glory our second Sunday here in Texas. So now, two months later, we are really fitting into the community, and getting to know quite a few people.

And now, last but not least we are getting a home to live in that we love, and that fits all our needs, and is in a great location for church and work. We could not have put together this triangle of structure if we had all the resources and knowledge ourselves. The Lord knows best.

We have felt so loved and supported (sometimes literally) by our family, and I want to thank you for your gifts and prayers. We have felt very loved by the Lord and by you. Of course we aren't quite settled yet, and there are still loose ends to tie up. And we know that this is just the beginning of our journey here in Texas. But it is nice to feel like the "vehicle for life" has been built. We'll see where we go in it.

I'm planning to post before and after photos of our house, as soon as I find the camera...

So all this is to say that I want to give all praise and glory to God because He has done, and is doing, the work of this transition. We are trusting and listening and obeying, but He is orchestrating the details. And he is doing work in our hearts too. The outside circumstances of life are all about the potter shaping the clay, and there is nothing like moving into the unknown to set up a big art session with God.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Two New Bloggers

In recent discovery of all the new cousin bloggers on the scene I decided to allow our two daughters to begin their own blogs. I realized how neat it will be ten years from now to look back and see the things they have written.

  • Chatter Box

  • Crosswords

  • It will be fun for them to hear from you all. You can bet you will be greeted with much enthusiasm.

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    The Latest in DeHart Drama

    I have not blogged for a long time due to the fact that each day is a new drama, and just living life is enough work to keep me from more creative endevors like blogging. Finally, however, I wanted to give an update.

    You can get caught up at Will's blog, too, if you haven't read it yet. Anyway, I am getting lots of practice at living one day at a time, and exercising my "faith muscles" in the midst.

    This week is a telling week for the possible purchase of our house. Will made a fleece with the Lord that if this isn't the house for us, either the loan or the down payment will not come through. So, the loan has gone through with no hitches (despite being unemployed, homeless, and penniless for all intents and purposes), and now we are waiting on my in-laws for the down payment, which is in process. We are supposed to close this Friday, so we'll see. I am not counting my chicken until it hatches.

    The Lord is providing for us in various ways as we walk through this transition. We have been blessed by some money from family at different times, and our church is helping us this week with room and board, and surprisingly, at mystery $99 turned up in the bank account through some kind of math error in the checkbook. So, each day we use what we have, and if we need something we pray about it. The Lord told us pointedly not to use the credit card at all, so we are being faithful not to, and really trusting Him to be faithful to provide.

    Each day is scary, exciting, dramatic, and, interestingly, we have a lot of joy. For the last three years the Lord keeps bringing to our attention the verse, "The joy of the Lord is your strength" from Nehemiah. It seems that the whole point of our life right now is to learn what that looks like lived out in a faith walk with Him. When you don't have all the stuff you are used to, you get to practice majoring on the majors.

    As a family we are doing well. The kids are great troopers through all this transition, and we are having good family time together in our small quarters. Will and I are getting good at meeting our basic needs for exercise by discovering lots of parks and indoor playplaces for the kids. It is quite hot during the day, so we avoid the park until after 6:30pm or so, and then enjoy the relative cool until the mosquitoes come out at dusk. I'd say we are definately more active and healthy than we were in Palmdale. There just seems to be more to do around here.

    We are all loving our church, Glory of Zion. They have a great kids ministry, and I am happy because the kids are on the same track as the adults as far as what they do and learn in their times. We are encouraged every Sunday and Wednesday by what we are learning, and by the worship. We feel so blessed to have a church where we are surrounded by people who understand what the Lord is doing in our lives, and can encourage us to deeper belief and faith in Him and his promises.

    So, that is the thumbnail update. I am experiencing a wide gamut of emotions, but even when it's hard I know that the Lord is doing a specific work in us during this time, and my job is to trust and obey him, and worship in the midst of it all.

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Words from the Kids

    Madeline says...I cannot wait to get my own room in our future house. I have lots of ideas how to decorate it, and I can't wait to paint the walls and put in my furniture. I hope it works out to get the house. My closet is really big in my room, and it has two rods for my clothes. I was thinking about painting horses on the walls, and making a background for them.

    I would love to have a dog. If it was a girl, I'd like to name it Hazelnut. But it would be an outside dog. Me and Abigail could take it for walks and feed it, and bathe it. And we could clean up after it. I hope we get a dog.

    Our house is really big. (1950 sq ft) We have a nice kitchen, and we can have both our tables in the house. It would be nice to have our own house.

    Abigail says...Hello everyone who reads this. I hope everything is going good. My birthday is coming up, it's on July 30th if you forgot.

    Hows all the grandmas and grandpas doing? If the person who reads this has kids, I hope they are doing well. Everything is going OK at this place. I've been a hungry hippo since we got to Texas. (Everything's bigger in Texas, including the kids) I hardly ever stop eating. We watch TV more than we did before. My favorite TV station is PBS kids. If you ever see Maya and Miguel, Arther, and Fetch with Ruff Ruffman those are my favorites.

    I was less hungry in California than I am here. But I still do have one problem. I am always hungry at bedtime, and mom says, "The kitchen is closed!" And I hate that. If I could have it my way, I would get food whenever I feel like it. I would eat grapes, pizza, and other good foods.

    How are everyone's dogs? Are they being nice right now? Write me back on the comments if you want.

    I want my room to be rainbow. The sheets are circles like a target. I want to hang four sheets on the walls. By the way, this is what I want. But I might not be able to get it, which makes me sad, but I might too. We will have to buy a lot of the same kind of sheets. It will not have dark colors, meaning like black, because I like colorful and bright colors, like red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

    Happy Father's Day, and also Mother's Day, even though it already passed. Tell me if you want when you comment back if your kids sent you a little note. I am very curious. Like Curious George.

    From Abigail Rose DeHart.

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    4500 Napa Valley, Argyle, Texas

    Hello, It's William posting on Heidi's Blog. Just wanted to put up some pictures of the house we are looking seriously at. Enjoy.

    Here is the Front View! Behold the majestic peaks!

    You can see that the back yard slopes up a bit in the back. However, half of the yard is level, and there is plenty of room for a play place. Yes! And the BBQ.

    The east side of the house.

    This is my favorite feature of the home--the fireplace. I am excited to have Claude, Tim, Stacy, all the Shackelfords, and of course the grandparents, and anyone else to come and sit by the fire.

    Here is Sam's future bedroom--the study. My suggestion: put some saloon doors there for Sam and his six gun to barrel through.

    Those aren't the Grand Tetons in the distance. You can't see them from here. However, the army corps. of engineers owns the property directly across from the house and we have a view of the forest.

    The westside of the house. See, there is some distance between us and the neighbors. We can extend our fence forward and I can practice my archery skills on the weekend.

    This Might Be The House

    We have been feverishly looking for jobs, and have been researching homes regularly. We spent one whole day with a realtor and saw 14 homes from Denton and down south to Flower Mound, and we have done a lot of random driving and looking up and finding too. What I am discovering is that the homes I love (old, charming, like Whittier) cost about 160k and up if they are functional. There are some even more wonderful old ones for 300k, of course. The ones we can afford are falling off their foundations, and need major work, which takes them back out of our price range.

    So, yesterday I looked up some 95k homes, and we took a tour. They ended up being either ugly in a run down neighborhood, or falling apart. On our way back from Denton, we decided to stop in at a tract that we saw the first day we were hunting to look again at a home that was 1950 sq ft. with 3 bedrooms and a study that could be a fourth bedroom. We had never seen inside, so we went in and looked around. And, now that I knew what our money could buy, I realized that this home is a great deal. It is brand new, trouble free, cute, and 5 miles south of Denton off the 35W. That means it is close to our new church, and out in the country. It is also 14 fwy miles from Jim and Erin. And, even better yet, the original price was 131k, and 15k had been dropped by the builder because the people had chosen their tile etc. and then backed out, and they really want to sell it.

    It has all the things we want including a fireplace, tile instead of linoleum, and the study room, is close to where we want to be, in a tract that is almost finished. And now I know that 116k won't buy us much in other places. It looks like this will be the one. I have photos which I'll download soon. Oh, and the other good thing is that it will be ready June 15th, which is perfect timing for us. The DeHarts are helping us with the downpayment, which makes it all possible, so I think we are really going to have a house to call our own.

    The next big hurdle is the job, so please keep praying for that. Will has put lots of applications out there, and will put out more, but we are waiting to see what turns up. Thanks again for your prayers!

    Oh, we have put our cell phone on hold for the next three months to save money, so I'm sorry we won't have that up and running. Please call us on E and J's number...

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Texas Life Continued

    I just typed a letter to Grandpa, and realized that it would be a good newsy blog, so here goes...

    We've been exploring our surroundings here, and last night we invited Erin and Jim to go down to the airport and watch airplanes with us. We drove all around the thing, and finally found a golf club right under the flight path for landing planes where we could pull off the road and get out. It was fun to see the jets come right over our heads. Sam and the girls loved it. They also had fun messing up fire ant mounds and watching the ants come flowing out in a panic.

    We are still in the job hunt. William has three resumes in the hands of temp agencies, and we are also going through the process of getting the Calif teaching credential examined and approved of by the Texas state education dept. That could take two months, maybe more. But I don't think the schools can really even look at Will until he has the approval letter in his hand. So, the hunt is on for anything else to fill the gaps.

    Dan and Jacquie DeHart are going to come out and visit us in a couple of weeks in their fifth wheel trailer. There is a really pretty campground about 4 miles from us that they can use, and we'll go hang out there during their stay. We are looking forward to that.

    Another fun event is that we discovered the town of Grapevine. It is large now, but there is a really cute downtown area surrounded by craftsman style homes. It felt like Whittier at it's best, and there are lots of festivals and events in town, including an old steam engine train that you can take to Ft Worth. I think it's pretty expensive, but maybe someday we'll try it. I am salivating over the old homes. My dream would be to buy one and fix it up, but I'm not sure that's practical right now. There were some homes that had been refurbished, and they were running at about 250-350k. We definitely need something cheaper.

    Oh, we also tried out a new church yesterday. It's called Glory of Zion, and its up in Denton, about 18 miles away, and it was a lot of fun. They had very lively worship, and the kids liked the Sunday School. The sermon was good, and we'll probably go back again. They pass out a book to all the visitors entitled "Experiencing the Holy Spirit" written by the pastor. It turns out that he is a Campus Crusade alum, and Dallas Theological Seminary grad who became a charismatic. I was glad to see that he had all the foundation of scholarly Bible study and Greek etc, because that shows that he can do it. He also announced that he is teaching a class called "The Word and Spirit" which is basically a how-to study the Bible in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. I was glad to see that Bible Study was highly valued from the pulpit. The other things I liked were that there were a mix of ethnicities, and a balance of men and women in the service, and a wide age range. So those are all healthy signs. We'll see how that goes.

    The weather has been really nice. Its in the 70's, breezy and not too humid today. I'm really enjoying not needing to use lotion after every shower, and the warmer weather. When we left Palmdale it was in the 60's, and chilly at night, so I always had to take a jacket with me. It's probably warmer there now, but it was a big difference when we arrived here.

    Walt and Judy Barnes are coming to visit on Thursday, so this week I'm going to help Erin get the house and room ready, and I'm also going to help her with cooking while they're here. I'll provide some starches.

    So far we are really enjoing Texas. It is very green and beautiful, life is a bit slower, and the people are very friendly. We've been scouting the surrounding areas for homes, and have had fun discovering what is around us, and how to get there. I'm definately finding that I prefer an older home, but I also realize that the tracts have a lot to offer in the way of general convenience. I know the Lord has the right place for us, and the right job. So, we are waiting and responding as He points out. I was talking to Gretchen the other day, and she quoted Chris who basically was saying that "Responsibility" is "the ability to respond." I liked that definition, and shared it with William. That is what we are doing every day...responding with action to the opportunites that come along. It's like casting the bread upon the water, and now we are waiting for it to come back.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    What Happened Today?

    We went to the library this morning to use their wireless internet connection, since the one here at the Barnes house wasn't running. While there, Meg called me and I hurried out into the library foyer where I wouldn't offend the quiet rules with my phone. It was a bit awkward, since we had the double cell phone silences, and my voice still echoed loudly against the hard surfaces, and the kids kept running in and out, but we still had a good talk.

    Meg gave me the local low-down on the area we are in, since she and Murry grew up here. The long and short is that she encouraged us to look in Denton for homes. So, on her recommendation, we drove the 14 miles north, and cruised the neighborhoods around the universities looking at houses. And, we found some great homes in older, treelined neighborhoods that were much closer to our price range.

    So, tomorrow we are going with a realtor to look again at the area, and see inside a bunch of houses. I'm looking forward to seeing what's there. I like the fact that Denton is an older college town. I even found some homes that felt just like Whittier.

    Surprisingly to me, I was super tired after we came home, so Erin and I made tacos together, and now the kids are in bed, and I'll go have some ice cream.

    Oh, by the way, our cell phone minutes are out, so we need to talk to everyone after 9:00pm our time, or on the weekends. If you call, just leave a message and we'll pick it up later. Or, you can call us on Erin and Jim's phone anytime.

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    We Made It

    I need to officially report that we made it to the Barnes' Oasis. We drove for three long days, day two being the worst, and rolled in at about 6:30pm on Tuesday. I have some photos of the drive, which I'll post when I can.

    Since we've gotten here, we've been enjoying home cooked meals, good beds, and the pool. Today we got to drive around town and look at some of the neighborhoods where we could buy. It was fun to get oriented. I will say that it is much prettier here than I was imagining. There are lots of old trees, and right now everything is green. It is a far cry from the desert landscape we are used to. And, I am really enjoying the silence of the neighborhood.

    So, tomorrow we go unpack the truck at the storage unit. I'm believing that it won't be as difficult to unpack as it was to pack, and it will be good to have the big yellow truck out of the yard.

    One exciting event, we saw our first snake in the pool. It was Erin and Jim's first snake too. Fortunately it was a garden snake, since we were all swimming and it swam over William's shoulder. You bet we left the water quickly. Now we look carefully before we get in.

    We are blessed by Erin and Jim's hospitality and generosity to us. And we are praying that the right job comes along for William. He'll be going to a teacher's job fair on Monday, and we'll see what happens. I know many of you are praying too, so thank you.

    Saturday, April 29, 2006

    It's Been A Long Time Since I Worked This Hard

    Today is the T minus one day in which we loaded the 26' rental truck with all our earthly posessions. William's uncles Jim and Jock, came and helped us, along with Dan and Jacquie. So, I figured out that we all worked 4 or 5 hours apeice, which adds up to 25-30 hours of work. Wow.

    Yesterday, our good friends Jamie and Christina came over, and we all worked together finishing all the boxing and bagging and cleaning out things. It has been such a blessing to have friends and family help us with this huge task, and it was a lot more fun, too.

    I have to tell a funny story about the Penske Truck rental pickup place. We drove this morning out to a part of Lancaster I'd never visited before, and for good reason. I was wondering if the store was really there because we were driving through Joshua Trees and tumbleweeds all alone, when we saw the place on the side of the road. We pulled into the dirt driveway, avoiding chickens, roosters and one large peacock who was showing off his plumes. We knew we were in the right place, because there were a number of Penske trucks parked in the yard. The business turns out to be a family owned business/homestead that has been in operation for 46 years. We walked into building, and began to notice the many collections lining the walls. There were Precious Moments figures, Pepsi bottles, various antiques, soaps and lotions for sale, more figurines behind glass, a lifesized poster of John Wayne, some calendars for tracking your pregnancy, a special pet food display, and two cats wandering it all.

    We eventually got called back behind the partition, where Grandma was at the computer (grandpa was down with the flu), auntie was at the other desk, and two grandsons were around playing with the other computer. We sat down on our side of the desk facing the sign on the back of the computer that said, "If you are rude, mean, or just plain difficult there will be a $10.00 charge added to your bill for the trouble." We tried to be extra nice. And, it was necessary because our records didn't come up when our name was entered. Next, when it did come up, it suddenly disappeared. There was a five minute mystery until Grandma ferrited out the fact that Grandson had just unplugged a cord on the router, thus cutting off the internet. That got fixed, and we were back in business.

    All the while, William was getting more and more nervous. I, on the other hand, was giggling at the uniqueness of the situation and surroundings. At one point, Betty came in. She was a skinny lady with long grey hair in a ponytail under a baseball cap. She wore an old flannel, and very baggy jeans that had seen many days of work. She told us in a raspy command that we had better be sure to buy insurance for the tow dolly, because one time some people had turned down the coverage and the dolly had been stolen, so they had to pay around $3000. Grandma sent her out to do her job, which was to locate the dolly, attach it to the truck, and bring the truck around. I think she is in charge of the outdoor inventory. I was just delighted to find so many unusual people in this unusual place, and it really started the day off right. We finally got everything settled, and left with our huge truck.

    So, tonight we are relaxing, and having a BBQ sendoff at the DeHarts. We'll try to go to bed early, and leave around 5:00 tomorrow morning. We are going to take the more northern route through Flagstaff, AZ, Albequirqe, NM, and Amarillo, TX. It is supposed to be a much more beautiful route, and for us here in Palmdale, it is also more direct. Next time I'll try to post some photos of the move.

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    More Direction

    Well, things are getting clearer. We have been waiting for some confirmation from the Lord about where to go, and, interestingly enough, He seems to be pointing towards Texas. I won't go into the various details, but things are pointing that way, and there is no other indication of somewhere else.

    So, we are going to go for it, knowing full well that the Lord can do something dramatic to show us differently if we are off base.

    We are leaving CA on April 30th in a moving van with the Hyundai towing behind. I'll drive the Mazda, and we'll do it in three days. We'll be moving in with Erin and Jim, while William finds a job, and we hunt for a house. Happily, there is a teacher job fair on May 8th which he can attend.

    And, excitingly, we can actually afford to buy a home there. I'm a little dazed even imagining owning a home, since I've given up on the idea so completely as long as we're a one income family in Californa. I feel like living in Palmdale has helped prepare us for Texas weather, and I have gotten used to seeing most of the sky, which I like.

    So, that's the latest. Please feel free to pray for us with the job and home hunt, and for safety as we travel.

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Some News

    Well, as most of you know, I have been waiting for news to see whether or not I was accepted to Wheaton. I got my letter today, and I was not accepted. Interestingly, William had a dream about a month ago in which we got the non-acceptance letter, so I kind of had to process the possibility then. So, while I am sad, I am also feeling a sense of relief in finally knowing for sure. I had to come to the place where I could trust the Lord to do the best for me, even if it was different that what I believed was best. And I know that He has dreams for my life that I have no concept of at this point.

    This does leave us with less direction than we would have had if I'd been accepted, but it also feels like we have freedom for anything. We are waiting to see what the next path is. Oh, we gave our 30 day notice at the apartment, so we will be moving by April 30th for sure. The questions is, Where? There is always Texas, with Erin and Jim, who are being very encouraging and helpful to make the path smooth. We'll just see what happens in the next 22 days.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Now I know what it means to be "Tagged"

    When Ariana tagged me, I actually didn’t know what that meant. I figured it out tonight when I was reading Aunt Lu’s blog, and I laughed at my own ignorance. So finally, Ariana, here you go…

    Four jobs I've had in my life:
    Wallpaperbook organizer/ duster of ornate objects for JP Adams in Whittier
    Receptionist for Parkville Insurance
    Customer Service Rep for Parkville Insurance

    Four movies I can watch over and over again:
    Pride and Prejudice (the five hour version)
    The Prince of Egypt
    My Fair Lady
    Beauty and the Beast
    (It probably seems juvenille to have cartoons on my list, but have you heard the music in these two?)

    Four places I have lived:
    Next door to the Mortuary, La Habra
    The Homeplace, Whittier
    The In-law’s, Agua Dulce
    The “Affordable Housing” Complex, Palmdale

    Four TV shows I love to watch (on DVD, rented from Hollywood Video):
    Arrested Development (hilarious, thanks Ariana and Jared for the tip)
    The Shield (Great writing, relationally/ character driven, but not for the faint of heart)
    Alias seasons 1-3

    Four places I have been on vacation (or just a trip:)
    California Coast
    Victoria, BC
    Mindanao, Philippines
    Grand Junction, CO

    Four web sites I visit daily:
    I don’t get online daily, but when I do, I
    Look at blogs
    Check the news at the Yahoo home page
    Balance the checkbook at the bank site
    Salivate over the Jjill clothing

    Four of my favorite foods:
    Pumpkin Seeds
    Whipped cream on fruit, or scones

    Four places I would rather be right now:
    In our next home
    On vacation at a hotel on the Calif coast
    At the Huntington Library
    Visiting with friends

    Four people I am tagging:
    Heather Shackelford (hee hee)

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    The Latest Transition

    I have become more comfortable with the idea that life is a series of transitions. And, just like in childbirth, transition is definately the worst time of the delivery. I said to William the other day, "I don't think I can handle this painful uncomfortable feeling for very long." And he reminded me of how quickly transition in labor occurs. Well, if he is right, this unknowing, excited, nervous feeling won't last for three months like I'm afraid it will.

    To continue the birth metaphor, I also feel like I have no idea what the "baby" will be. I still don't know whether or not I'll be accepted to Wheaton. The "pregnancy" of realizing I wanted to go, getting the application, applying, thinking about it etc. has lasted for 10 months now. The Lord has had me working through the process of giving up that dream if it is not His dream for me, and I can honestly say that at this moment I feel like I can trust him to lead me to the place that will be best for me. So, if I don't get accepted, we really have no clue where we will end up. And if I do get accepted, there are still real hurdles to getting there before that is a sure thing. Ehhhhh

    I am excited to see what happens. I am encouraged by your comments on William's blog, and really, I feel a lot of joy at the freedom to follow the Lord's leading, whatever that may be.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    A Little Fashion Fun

    We have been talking about letting Abby color her hair with KoolAid for around 2 years. I guess it is a sign of her personality that she wanted to color her hair (blue at the time) at age 5. So, today at Walmart, I happened upon the 20 cent packet of unsweetened KoolAid, and figured, why not? Here are some photos of the results. My red fingers are not included, but I think the color will last longer on them than Abby's hair.

    I also wanted to post some photos from our drive to church on Sunday with snow around. It was gone soon, but definately novel. Our apartment is the building in the bottom photo. We walk up the walk, and our unit is the top balcony in the back.

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Catching up

    Since last writing, Gretchen and Chris got married, we experienced a real snowfall, and we made camping reservations for April.

    The wedding was such a nice one. I loved the music, and it was a very meaningful time. I am happy to say that I think Gretchen and Chris got just the wedding they wanted. Erin's blog has good photos. I took mine with the 35mm camera. Too bad. We had a lot of fun enjoying the festivities, and Madeline, Abigail and Sam were running full steam looking cute and doing funny unique things during the weekend. It was great for them to be with family and friends who don't see them much.

    This last weekend we had real snow. It was about 2 inches deep on Saturday night. The kids went out to play with the neighbors. How unusual for us here! Sadly, and a little ridiculously, there were 4 auto accidents on our street. You'd think people would slow down a little during a snowstorm. I guess we are so used to non-hazardous driving conditions that we can't concieve of it being different.

    We are borrowing my dad's trailer and going camping over Easter break at San Mateo beach in April. We realized the we needed something unusual to look forward to, and it all worked out. I definately wouldn't have tent camped in April. We tried that a couple of years ago at San Simeon State Beach. After 3 night of 42 degree weather, and constant wind, I decreed that we must get to a hotel for the last night. Otherwise it wouldn't have counted as a vacation. More like affliction. So, that last night we really enjoyed ourselves cleaning up in a jet bathtub, and being out of the wind. I learned my optimistic lesson on that front. This time we should be fine in a trailer with a heater. I'm looking forward to it.

    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    A Little Chess

    Years ago, William taught me how to play chess. We played a lot, and I learned the basics. I finally stopped playing, though, because I never won. I am not very competative, but when my only experience of chess was losing, it just got a little old. The question was, "Do I feel like losing a game tonight?" rather than, "Do I feel like playing a game tonight?" I realized that I simply had no concept of how to go on the offensive and win. I could only defend until the inevitable end.

    Lately, William and the girls have been playing after dinner. He keeps asking me to play too, but until last night I held out. As we played, I experienced anew the fresh experience of Chess with William.

    Last night I actually gave him a run for his money. But I was helped immensely by the fact that twice during the game I was clued into his errors by his audible gasp as he realized his mistakes. (Nor did I let him take back the moves...What is chess anyway, but an exploitation of your opponent's errors?) I spent a couple of minutes figuring out what he saw, and for a while I was definately ahead. We played a pretty even game, but he finally did win. We each had a pawn and king on the board. This first photo is what William looked like upon his victory. He actually thought he'd lose, so his joy and delight were even more pronounced. In this next photo, he is showing Madeline (and Abigail, but not fully clothed) exactly what peices were left on the board before his luck turned around. Here are some quotes, "I have never won a game from that far down!" "Ha ha ha ha ha!" "Heh heh heh". I actually wrote them down because it was so over the top. There were others, equally colorful, which I could't capture in time. So, we had some excitement.

    It actually ended up being fun, even if I did lose. I might continue for a while, and maybe I'll beat him sometime. I'll let you know.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    Aging and Growing Up

    I've been thinking about aging, and the passing of time, and the kids growing up lately. It started off when I was in Barnes and Noble, and in the background they were playing a Cure song off the "Kiss me, Kiss me" album. That was the theme album of my summer before 9th grade, and it was definately edgy then. So of course I had to reflect on the fact that it is basically Muzak now, and how wierd that I have all these memories built with the Cure as the soundtrack. And, again, I am aware that I must be the target audience for that background music. Just like those Honda Odyssey advertisments. If you do the math, I am exactly the target for those too. And, scarily, I'd like a Honda Odyssey. I'm feeling a little too predictable.

    We passed a major milestone this week. I have been addicted to Sam having a number of pacifiers for bedtime. Yes, I know, he's way too old for a pacifier. But I've never taken them away because of my own need for him to have one. So, it was time for both of us to go off cold turkey. I decided to do what the Dollars did with Justin. He was allowed to "buy a toy" with his pacifier. I found a Thomas DVD with Percy engine attached; a very desireable aquisition. Sam was all excited about buying a Thomas video with his pacifiers. We gathered up all the ones we could find, put them in a baggie, and took them down to Hollywood Video. Incidentally, they all know me by first name-I'm there so much-Is it a bad thing? So, the girl behind the counter was happy to play along. Sam handed over the baggie solomnly, and it was over.

    The first night he was sad, and cried some. He took Percy engine to bed with him, although it was small consolation for the artificial suckle. But he eventually fell to sleep. Last night was better, and I think tonight will be fine. Incidentally, his very chapped lips are also healing up.

    So, we have crossed the potty training milestone, and the pacifier milestone. Just in time for his June 4 year old birthday. Heh Heh. I feel a sense of freedom, as my life slowly becomes less complicated.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    A Good Movie

    Last night I watched a movie that my Grandma Cox recommended called "Ladies in Lavender". It was really good; I'm going to watch it again with William soon. It felt like Babbett's Feast; taking place in a small English coastal village, with two aged sisters, played by Maggie Smith and Judy Dench, sharing a house. I found myself tremendously enjoying the beauty of the film, and wanting the slow, quiet lifestyle they lived. I definately recommend it.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    My Little Zoo Tycoon

    I just had the funniest conversation with Madeline. And it got me thinking....

    Madeline likes to play Zoo Tycoon 2. It is a computer game where you create a zoo. You build the fences, put the animals in, keep them fed etc. They have babies, and life goes on. Another aspect of the game are the visitors to the zoo, and the employees. You have to tell the employees what to do, or they sit on benches all the time. And you have to keep the visitors happy.

    Keeping the visitors happy is work. They need food, entertainment, trashcans, bathrooms, paths that reach the animals and people to teach them things. The visitors can get angry. They throw trash on the ground. They get mad if they can't find a donation box. They don't like standing in long lines. Madeline was pretty overwhelmed with the demands of the visitors at first. She got harried when they were upset. She got mad that they were so demanding. So, she began to solve the problems in a number of ways.

    First, she tried to meet all their needs. She gave them everything they needed, and spent less time on the animals. But they still had their problems. Next, she decided to keep all the visitors out by never opening the zoo. That way they weren't there to be a problem, and she could do what she wanted with the animals. That was fun for a while. But today, she told me about the ultimate solution.

    She made a cage with really tall fences, and no door. She can pick the people up, and move them to the cage. So, when they get angry, she just moves them. In the cage, she puts everything they need, including the Kangaroo Bouncy Rides that they love so much. And when they are happy again, she moves them out. Which takes a long time. They are able to leave the zoo on their own, so some of them just vanish. Good riddence.

    I laughed and laughed at this newest solution. And then I got to thinking about how sometimes we are more happy when we are in bondage, than free. It is scary to hold the power of free will. Why can't God just give me a safe place to live where I can eat and drink and ride on Kangaroo Bouncy Rides? How about some leeks and garlic? The safety of the fences that I create for myself can seem more appealing than the uncertian fresh air and potential danger that the Lord lets me live in. But, in the great unknown, I get to experience God. He speaks to me, and lets me dream. And as I choose, I begin to know Him better. I have found out that He is not a punishing God. Yes, He allows consequences for my choices. But He is there to walk with me through them, and teach me new things as I do it.

    I have also found that the Lord lets us live within our tall cage as long as we want. But slowly, over time, the cage becomes less and less appealing. We begin to suffer pain from our lies and safety measures, and eventually the part in all of us that wants freedom begins to cry out. God will not force us to leave our cages, but he waits until we want it bad enough to be humble, and then He can take us by the hand and lead us out of our bondage. It is hard to watch from the other side of the fence when others have a really high pain tolerance, and they suffer. But each person has to get sick of their cage walls before they can humble themselves and take the Lord's hand and walk out.

    I have come through my process with a lot of hope for myself and others. It has been amazing for me to see how the Lord does the work of freedom in such a gentle and speedy way, once I surrender my own ways of protecting myself. And of course, it is an ongoing process. He shows me cages in myself that I didn't know about when it's time to leave them. My guess is that I'll learn the extent of my own bondage once I get to heaven. But for now, I'll go with what He shows me.

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    Into the New Year

    We are on the road to recovery from the Holiday season. This week we got a cold, so the kids and I stayed home together. It was nice to have a week of down time. And, the house got totally out of control. So today we worked all day doing the much needed cleaning job to get things back to normal.

    Reflecting on this Holiday season, we are realizing that we do too much at Christmas and New Year's. We went to six family gatherings, and spent two nights with family friends in San Diego over New Year's. I'd say that overall it was fun, but the hecticness of showing up everywhere at Christmas began to take away the specialness of the Season. We are going to rethink our methods and priorities for next year.

    My two favorite gifts this year were from William. He gave me a food processer, and a Leatherman Tool. I've had fun using both lately.

    Yesterday I mailed off my Wheaton application. We'll see what happens with that in early April.

    Happy New Year to all of you!