Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sunday's church service

I forgot to mention in the last post that we'll be having a commissioning service at our church this Sunday. Then again, I'm so tired it's a wonder that I can even type this, much less remember to tell everything going on! It's all a blur of packing and sorting! We also have someone looking at the house tomorrow too in between all the packing and garage sale again tomorrow! I have no idea how we've managed to get things done, but it keeps on getting done! Lots of help from friends from church and lots of late nights and early mornings. The weeks of inactivity on the road will be strange after all this!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Packing, packing, packing

That's about all the news there is to tell. We're just packing like crazy, going crazy trying to find things in the house and running around trying to finalize all sorts of little details. We had a purchase offer, but it has some terms that needs to be adjusted so we're planning to counter. It is also listed now so hopefully that will light a fire under the other guy's backside to do some stuff that we've been asking for for weeks. So much stuff has gone already that it is just staggering. Still a lot to go and I've been feeling rather overwhelmed this week. I need to stop looking at the to do list so much and remember how much has already been done. One day at a time. Sorry this is so short but my mind is shot!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quick update/request

Today starts probably the longest, busiest 4 days of my life. Today we have 11 appointments, a couple of them at the same time in different places. Rodney's going to grab the late afternoon one that I couldn't possibly manage even with dropping off one kid a little early someplace. Tomorrow much of the furniture is moving out starting at 8:30 am and probably going until late evening. Then Friday and Saturday we are having the garage sale. A friend is going to come down and help with the selling part of that for me (with Andrei's help) so that I can stay up in the house and pack. We'll use walkie-talkies to keep in touch on any questions. I anticipate that I'll need to be out there for a little while the first day just because that's usually the busiest part.

The last canoe, tractor and stock trailer sold yesterday so we're down to just the van and hoosier for the big ticket items. There are still a couple medium ticket items but not many! It is truly amazing how quickly this is all happening! Well, I'd better get off the computer and get moving if I'm going to get it all done!

Monday, July 20, 2009

And a trailer!

It isn't that nothing has been happening that I haven't blogged. It's just that life has been so crazy plus I've been so sick with this cold that turned first into a sinus infection, then also ended up with an ear infection plus pneumonia. I've had the cold for three weeks now and it is still going strong. I ended up back on prednisone too and then didn't sleep for about a week because of that. I FINALLY got a decent night's sleep last night for the first time in a week! Yeah!

The biggest thing that happened since the last post is that we did buy a trailer. Rodney's parents will be bringing the truck down from Vermont this week and then Rodney will go on Thursday to pick up the trailer. It is a 28' 2002 Campmaster "toy box" which means it has camping quarters in the front (12') and 16' of packing space in the rear. Here's a link to one online that is similar: http://www.trailersforsale.com/campmaster_5.html It is a very nice setup so we should be able to camp comfortably.

There are still many details to work out, including getting an actual signed offer on paper for the sale of the house. We were FINALLY able to round up the septic inspector and contractor last week to discuss the system and what might need to be done. It turned out much more positive than we had expected. There are some minor changes that will need to be made and it might not look so great once they dig it up and look, but since it has worked well for all the years we've been here, they expect that it will pass with no problems. If it doesn't, the fix doesn't look nearly as daunting as an earlier contractor had told us.

I still haven't managed to bring myself to deal with Woo so that is a huge prayer request. I'm afraid I'll fall apart once I do that and I just can't afford to expend that energy but it does need to happen soon. There are still a million details to work though, primarily getting rid of 20 years of "stuff" but things are moving along. The cows all went on Saturday and most of the birds are gone now too. The cows all went together so that was very nice. Anyway, thanks for praying and I'll try to do a better job of updating from here on out!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We have a truck!



Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. I've been sick with a cold and sinus infection so I feel like I've lost about a week. Despite being on antibiotics since Monday the improvement has been very slow. I finally broke down on Thursday and started prednisone as well. I still feel kinda cruddy, just enough not to overdo it and get sicker, but I now have enough brain activity that I can at least think. Pollen counts are sky high now too so I'm pretty sure that doesn't help.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand! We have a truck! Well, it isn't here yet. We bought it at auction sight unseen. It was a VT State Police truck so Rodney was able to track down a lot of information on it though his brother and the contacts they listed on the auction site. He was able to talk to the guy who serviced it who says it is in good shape. They just replaced it with a lighter one to get better gas mileage. We got it for about half the blue book value. The sale of the cows covers the price of the truck. Once again, He provides exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine!

Man details: 2001 dark green Chevy K2500 Silverado pickup with 133749 miles. 6.0L V8 MPI engine. 4WD short bed with cap, manual windows, door locks and mirrors.

We still need a trailer. The options are mind boggling and we're having a really hard time imagining how much space we'll need. It would be really nice to have the trailer available VERY SOON so that we can start packing in some of the more delicate stuff and take our time fitting things in carefully. I've got a lot of non-necessities boxed already. Come to think of it, if they're non-necessities, maybe I ought to be thinning them out more.

One more prayer item is for Carter, aka Woo. We've been dealing with some attitude problems between him and 2 of the kids. I don't think either side is capable of the changes it would take to resolve the issues.

Ah well, another busy day ahead so I'd better get at it! Thanks so much for all the prayers, thoughts, responses, comments and everything! Your encouragement helps keep us going!




Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lilies


I was out walking my Woo (Carter, the Great Pyrenees, who lets the world know he is on duty with his woo-woo-woo) this morning and see that the lilies are in full bloom. I stopped for a moment to look closely at one and it took my breath away! They are stunning! I was reminded of the verses in Matthew 6 (NIV) that say:

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It was a powerful reminder that when it seems like there are more things to do than time to do them, that I need to just keep on doing as much as I am able each day and to trust God to work out all the little details that seem impossible.

On that note, since there are many things concerning us, I'll add a list of specific prayer requests for those who would like to pray.

* for a group of people willing to pray for us on a regular basis, preferably at least weekly.

* for a dependable vehicle to move what stuff we would like to take with us. In our minds that is a 4WD truck with a camper on top pulling a trailer. There are a number of alternatives that might work too, but this seems like it would be the most practical once we get there as well.

* for those we are leaving behind. There are a lot of people we will miss and who will miss us. The partings are already proving difficult.

* for the kids. Andrei in particular has difficulty with change. Please pray for his stability through this time.

* for the many other details that need to work out, for my brain to remember what I need to do each day, for wisdom setting priorities.

I think those are the big ones! I suspect I don't even know half of the ones I ought to be listing, but God does!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The back story

It’s really hard to figure out where to start the back story because it seems to have begun when I was born at a YWCA camp on Canandaigua Lake in NY. Camp was a GREAT place to grow up! It was practically heaven to a kid. I came to know Christ at a Young Life weekend retreat at a camp, and worked at camps in college. Camps have been there at many key points in my life, always tied to fond memories.

Rodney worked at a Young Life camp in college and I went up there to pick him up at the end of the summer. He LOVED working maintenance there! He practically glowed with the excitement and enthusiasm for the job. Through his 22 years with the frustrations of working as a State Trooper and State Police Investigator (especially the child abuse cases) that image of him there always stuck in the back of my mind. I thought that he’d fit perfectly at a Young Life camp after retirement.

My cousin Jeff lives in Palmer, Alaska (outside of Anchorage) and he's been sharing stories and showing Rodney pictures of Alaska for 10 years. Rodney has always been a bit of a mountain man type and Alaska has appealed to him for years. Jeff’s stories only served to fuel that itch! Last fall he had the opportunity to go build cabins for Kingdom Air in Alaska so I told him he had to go to find out if Alaska was really what he wanted. He went and fell in love so he wanted to move there, but didn't really know where to or what for. This was a really dark time for me. I felt certain that we belonged in camping ministry. He felt certain that we belonged in Alaska. For months people had been telling us that Rick Cornfield, who we knew from work he did in local ministries here in NY, was in Alaska at a camp but no one could tell us enough details to find him. Finally this spring someone at LeTourneau (the camp here that he used to work at where our kids now work) directed us to Victory Ministries. When we read a little about the camp and discovered that they were looking for a maintenance person, it was clear to us that this might just be the fulfillment of both of our dreams.

It has been a whirlwind of activity (our brand new kitchen was installed 3 days before we left for Alaska), a visit, application, so many details to work out, but God has moved in miraculous ways to pull it all together. We hope to start the trip by Aug 1 in order to have time for the kids to start school there in the fall. I don't mind leaving behind the kitchen if God wants us in Alaska! I've lived without a real kitchen for 20 yrs. I can live with a smaller, less fancy one there!

I have a friend who often quotes Bible verses. One of the ones that sticks out most in my mind is from the New King James Version. Ephesians 3 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. That phrase “exceedingly abundantly” kept coming to mind the whole time we were in Alaska. It really feels like He is providing exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or imagine. That house across the lake – when I found out they were considering that for us my first thought was “exceedingly abundantly.” Every time we would see another need at camp where Rodney has experience (site planning, logging) it would come to mind – “exceedingly abundantly.”

This spring many of the people in our church memorized Psalm 23 which in the New International Version says in verse 3 “He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.” This is Rodney’s verse for Alaska. He feels his soul being restored by the people and surroundings there. That verse hung on the wall in the small apartment that we stayed in at camp.

With God, ALL things are related! It is so much fun watching Him tie all these little details together! One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 46:11 which in the New International Version reads “From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” So many times I see Him bring a man (or woman) from a far off land to fulfill His purpose and I come back to that verse. I’ll have to save some of those stories for another blog entry. This is another exciting episode in that adventure! I can “feel” some other possibilities for future stories as well. Kingdom Air has ties to Russia and Victory has visions of possible future work in coordination with Kingdom Air there. That can NOT be a coincidence! We’ll see how that plays out some day in the future!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pictures

Since I'm a bit foggy and can't figure out how to get the pictures to fit IN the post without messing up the formatting that took me an hour to get correct, we'll go with pictures separately, because I'm too tired to mess with it tonight!

The cabin we'll probably be living in - once we get some water and electric figured out a bit. See, it isn't a dirt floor shack!


The view off the front porch and from the master bedroom window - it catches a LOT of sun which I'm sure we'll appreciate in December!


Rodney calls this the shack in the back - the guest house. Reserve your spot early! :)


Momma moose - Rodney says she was 25 yds broadside when she passed on the other side of the little building we were standing behind.


Matanuska glacier - the view from the school.


Down by the Matanuska River.

Progress!

Just to try to bring this sort of up to speed, the cows have been sold, but are still here until we can arrange to move them. About 2/3 of the chickens are gone and we have a few possibilities for the rest. We don't have a written offer on the house yet but we're working with the guy who called even before we left to try to put something together that will satisfy everyone. Rodney has started the retirement process and almost put in his official memo today but wanted a little longer to decide on what to take as vacation, what to buy back, etc. Things are moving quickly! 3 months ago we didn't even know about Victory! That story will have to come later! There's a dog to walk!

Back from a visit to Victory

This is a copy of an email I sent out on June 7:

Greetings, all!! I'm not even sure where to start. We just got back from Alaska and
it was AWESOME!!! More than awesome really, but it will take me a small book to
describe it all so settle in for a long read or hold on until you have time cuz this

isn't going to be a short one! For those who have not heard, we're looking at
joining
Victory Ministries out there. http://www.victorymin.org/ The story of how
that all came
together is ANOTHER long one, and not one I'll fill in today!

We arrived in Alaska at about midnight May 30 and it was still light out. Rodney
never
did get used to that but I was sleeping just fine within a few days. Tin foil
taped over
the windows would definitely help! I was waking up a lot earlier than
necessary, though
the 4 hr time difference also probably contributed to that.

We went straight to the camp so that we could go to the church out there (about 15
mi
from camp) on Sunday. Sunday morning we went to church and it was
AMAZING! I have not
been able to sing in 4 yrs. Now I know that I've NEVER
been able to sing WELL, but I do
like to make a "joyful" noise (Psalm 100:2).
Additionally, there is something
about the sound system in church that makes
me REALLY sick so I can't even sit in church.
We sat at the back in case I had
to leave but I was able to sit through the entire
service and sing EVERY song
with a full "carry my tunes in the bucket" voice!
A couple came in with a bunch
of special needs kids and that just touched my heart
because it is one of the
things I most appreciate about our church - how everyone is
accepted. Then the
pastor's sermon felt like it was tailor made for us. Granted, it was
also the first
Sunday for the 100+ camp summer staff so it was probably also directed to
them.
They also had daily devotionals at camp that hit the mark every morning. I kept

thinking about our pastor's wife praying for us that God's will would be clear and
the
message just kept on coming though LOUD and CLEAR. We really feel like
Victory is where
we need to be.

Monday we started with touring the camp, primarily with Rod who will be Rodney's
boss.
We saw a LOT and didn't even begin to see it all! Then we went to Rod's
house for desert
and got to meet his wife and some of his kids. He and his wife
Dianne have 13 kids, 6 at
home now are adopted (5) or foster kids (1). They were
the ones we saw coming into
church. I pretty quickly fell in love with their whole
family. They are wonderful,
sweet people. We had dinner there later in the week
and had bear for dinner. Dianne is
also a fantastic cook! The strange and funny
thing is that whenever there would be a Rod
story, there would be a comparable
Rodney story with a few details that were different.
Rod and Rodney are similar
peas in the same pod! Too funny!


Tues we went into Palmer (about half way between Anchorage and camp) to visit
my cousin
Jeff and his wife Luci and their kids, Nicole and Katy. Luci fed us
lunch and dinner -
another great cook! After a week up there I'm beginning to
feel like Alaskans are all
great cooks but I'm sure there have got to be some that
aren't! We had a great time
catching up a bit, seeing the work they've done on
their house, seeing Jeff's farm (he
works for the experimental farm part of the
university) and picking their brains a bit
regarding living and farming in Alaska.
They've been there for about 10 yrs so it is
great to have their wisdom to fall back
on. Unfortunately we didn't get to spend more
than a day with them. We were
way too busy!


The rest of the week was a whirlwind of visits and tours of camp. We had a busier
social
life than we've EVER had in our lives! That's ok. I KNEW Alaska would be
beautiful.
What I really wanted to know was whether or not I would like these
people and want to
live in a small insular community with them. Nate is an
interesting character. He
barely made it through high school because he didn't
care, not because he wasn't able
(sounds a LOT like Sergei). His dad was
frustrated with him and asked him how he would
get into college with those poor
grades. He said he was going to learn 6 different
trades instead. And he did.
He's about the most creative, inventive, handy person
you've ever met. He is
primarily the auto mechanic at camp but he does a lot of other
stuff too. We went
to lunch with Nate and his wife Maggie and Rodney was about to order
Halibut
until Maggie stopped him. She had some in the freezer at home which she said

she'd be glad to cook up for us so she invited us to dinner that night. That's pretty
much how things went all week. When we weren't looking at camp buildings
figuring out
what all needed to be done, we were VERY busy meeting people and
talking and eating.


I wish I could tell you stories about every person we met. They were all very nice
and
most were fascinating as well. I can't even begin to really characterize what
made them
so much fun without writing an entire book. Suffice it to say that
each one is as
interesting as Nate and Rod. It is really amazing how people who
come from so many
different backgrounds and places can all come together to
work and have so much in
common.

And to top it all off, I felt GREAT!!! It was truly amazing. I honestly didn't realize
that I could feel THAT good ever again in my life! I had energy, I could remember
things
- I met about 100 people and remember 100 names. I'm not a ditz!! I was
driving Rodney
a little crazy with my energy. I didn't have a Woo to walk so I had
to walk Rodney!!!
Ha ha ha!!!! He had a rough week between the hiking and the
abundant sunshine and will
need to sleep a week to catch up! When we came
back, as soon as we got off the plane in
Rochester it all started coming back -
the stuffy nose, sinuses, head, ears ringing,
stomach churning, voice cracking,
chest heavy, etc. The longer we're home the more it
settles in. I can slowly feel
my brain slipping away and I do NOT like it!!!


Oh yeah, and housing... My cousin in Alaska has a coworker who had no running
water for
18 years and just recently got it. Rodney was telling my mom and dad
that he was going
to take me up to Alaska to a place with no running water and
no electric. I laughed &
said, "Right!!!" So we were out for a walk the first day at
camp and we look
across the lake and see our DREAM home and say to each
other, "What we wouldn't give
to live there!!!" Guess what! That is one of the
houses they were considering for
us but it is off grid and the water supply freezes
up part of the year! And I don't
care!!! I must be CRAZY, but I LOVE it! There is a
guest cottage right behind the house
so yes, people can come visit. They can
also stay at camp VERY reasonably but it can be
hard to get spaces in the
summer so you need to reserve dates ahead of time. The guest
cottage doesn't
have a bathroom but there is one pretty close in the house and there is
also an
outhouse. Shoot, there's also enough room in the house to have people stay.

We'd DEFINITELY love to have company!!! Sign up now!!! The house is a 10-15
min walk
right now but they'd like to build an ATV trail for easier access. We can
also take a
boat in summer or a snow machine (snow mobile in the lower 48) in
winter. I'm already
thinking in Alaskan. It really feels like home.

I'd leave tomorrow if we could BUT we do have a house to sell! Granted, the first
time I
said that we had a guy call a few days later to talk to Rodney about the
place. He's
VERY interested and would like us to give him a call when we're
ready to sell. I'd
really like to get the living room floor finished before we have
anyone in so that is
first on the agenda this week! Meanwhile, last night when
we got to the airport we ran
into someone who works in the same department as
that guy, someone Rodney knows through
work. Rodney told him to tell the guy
we're ready to move!!! The longer we were at
camp, the lower the price we
wanted for this house! We'll see! We also need to raise a
list of prayer supporters,
people who will commit to praying for us at least once a week.
So that's pretty
much the first chapter in our Alaska story. I'll keep you posted on
when the next
installment comes out!

Alaska here we come!

Right now it is the beginning of July, the house is a mess with packing materials and boxes all over, it never really went on the market yet we have someone seriously interested, there are at least a million things to do and here I sit blogging! Life is NEVER dull! I decided to put together this blog to sort of keep track of the story for those who care to follow. I'll probably start with an email I sent to friends a little while back, eventually fill in the back story, and then try to keep up with developments as they occur. Fasten your seat belts 'cause here we go!!

Morning commute

Morning commute

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