Monday, June 15, 2009

It's been...ONE WEEK...

There is so much to say but most would be guesses as to what in the world we are in for here in California. Five days after we arrived I got an email saying that I am not needed to teach summer school. This is a big deal because we were hoping that a summer school position would not only pay most of our bills this summer, but also lead to a job for the fall. We are so thankful that we have a free place to stay for a while. We are totally enjoying our time as a family and trying to get plugged in to our new town. It has been fun to have family around. We have been to the beach and God has used so many to provide dinners and tire repairs. Our kids are happy and full of joy. Noelle is already on a T-ball team and Jude just drew his best drawing ever. We have been to the youth group and are looking forward to getting a chance to speak this week. There are so many things that are "right" about being here. However, the unavoidable issues of "how do we live?" and "where are we going to live?" are approaching our shores like an inevitable tidal wave about to sweep us away.

Ever seen the movie "The Abyss"? There is a part in that movie where the aliens that live in the Abyss start a tidal wave that would wipe out everything within 100 miles of any coast line. They bring the wave right up to the shore and stop it as a the wall of water looms over the helpless humans awaiting their watery doom. They essentially tell the humans to stop being mean to each other or else. The people look at each other with new eyes and they embrace as the waterwall recedes.

Here's the deal: aliens are lame. But we could be like the people sitting on the shore ready to go in for the titanic enema. Or we could believe that God has not asked us to move here for years only to leave us stranded. Plus, if the tidal wave of life is nearing us, God can stop the wave just like the aliens did, especially since aliens are lame and God is the Lord of the Universe.

So we are feeling a little stranded but we know that God is bigger than our circumstances. In July we'll be homeless and jobless and penniless but not God-less or hopeless or faithless. We will look back on this time in a year and say, "Remember when we were freaking out?!" We'll give a chuckle, says I.

This is a funny position to be in because it is forcing us to rely fully on God. So, while we're asking Him for things, I decided to ask a little bigger (the following is a real prayer):
We need $4,000/month of net income so Patty doesn't have to work and she can homeschool Jude. We need a place to live that has a good sized living room so we can have people over to meet/fellowship. I need job that allows us time to do youth ministry because that is one huge reason we are here.

If you agree with us then thank you. If you asked even bigger than me then thank you as well. God is in charge of all resources and He uses people to make things happen.

I will write another blog within a month to describe how the Lord of All met all of our needs. The enemy does not want us here so this is also in his face. He is even lamer than aliens.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

From the City of Destiny to the Salad Bowl Capital of the World

We knew moving would be bittersweet. We've known it from all along. How can there be no sadness when all you've known from your late teens until your thirties are embedded in a single community? It would be impossible. So this blog could be laced with mustered up positive words of affirmation about what is to come and how we are excited for the things God has for us. But we'd be skirting around the issue that we will miss our friends in Tacoma. We won't miss the rain and gloomy falls, winters, springs, and half of the summer. No folks, we say good riddance to the rain! However, each day we spent with our friends made those days a little less soggy.

Our last day in Tacoma was very special. Friends we've had throughout the years came to wish us well and our church prayed that we'd be blessed. We've only been gone for 24 hours but already some perspective has risen: friendship is a truly powerful force. It is no wonder that David wept when he had to leave his best friend, Jonathan. We wept as we left our best friends and we will continue to wring out the tears because the love we have is so real and deep. We kept saying to everyone, "We'll keep in touch because there's always Facebook!" Pretty lame but it will have to do.

In all of the mixed emotions of moving away there is some truth to acknowledge that is helpful:
1. Tacoma is a 1hour 45 minute plane ride away
2. We have a lot of minutes on our cell plan
3. We didn't die nor did all of our friends die. We will see each other again
4. There's always Facebook
5. Skype is free
6. Our Tacoma friends are LIFETIME friends
7. God called us to move to Salinas

We are interesting creatures in that we can give our lives over to a loving God in order to serve Him, receiving joy and purpose back. Along the way, however, we make connections that grab our heart and warm our souls. Yet, we are taught to hold loosely to these things. Why? Maybe man invented that approach to protect his own heart or maybe God gave us that instruction because He knew our heart's emotions are powerful. I tend to think that it was man's idea so that he would not hurt when he left the presence of those he cared for. We are created in God's image. That means our emotions, in their intended purity, are from God. Sometimes they get mixed up and manipulated but the fact of the matter is that when you love a friend the heartfelt connection is real and pure. You will die for them. Jesus said this was the greatest form of friendship. So, to all those people out there who think you need to hold loosely to friendship because God will call you elsewhere, you are fooling yourself. God will call you but if you keep a safe distance from loving those around you you're missing the point completely.

The heartache we've been feeling today is normal and to be expected. Otherwise, we weren't very good friends in the first place...

Thank you Tacoma friends for the years of love. We will visit and you better make good on your promises to visit us. When you get sad, refer to items 1-7 above.

- Gavin (and Patty)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

...preparing to move.

Preparing to move has a lot of moving parts (no pun intended). The packing, address changes, job searches, moving to a new home, leaving friends behind, etc. Most of the parts are practicals. But there are equally as important abstract thoughts. One of these is idea that we have dreamt of moving for sometime and now that the dream is becoming reality, it is a little scary and emotional.

We all have dreams. I'm not talking about the crazy scenes that develop as we sleep. Like the one I had the other night where I was being chased by The Matrix's Mr. Smith-like security guards as well as a dinosaur/insect creature. Discovering how to kill the security guard was pretty awesome. That was not the kind of dream I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of dreams where you stare out a window and think to yourself, "I wonder what life would be like if..." or "I have always wanted to...". Vision-casting dreams. It is fun to dream. But actually acting on those dreams is very scary and exciting at the same time. It always takes a risk to carry out a dream. You see, we have a dream of living near family and doing youth ministry in my hometown. For two years this dream has been stirring in our hearts and for the entire two years I have fought the fear that this dream is one I conjured up instead of being directed from God. I believe God gives us dreams that are promptings of certain things He wants us to do. How He wants to use us. At the same time, if we are running from His will, our minds will draft up plans that are not necessarily what God wants us to do. So, for two years I have been trying to decipher whether or not the dream is mine or His. However, I never thought to wonder if a dream can be both...

The Bible says that God will sometimes give us the desire of our heart. In our case, I think our dream to move is both the desire of our heart and the path on which God wants us to be. The Bible also says that God speaks to us in many ways. One such way is a "still, small voice". I have never been "whispered" to more than in these last two years. He has been very quick to hush a little encouragement that we are going the right direction. I have also never been "yelled at" more than I have during this season. The loud voices say "Stay where you are! You are crazy! You are running away! You won't have any friends if you move! Your kids will be ruined! You wife will be attacked! You will go broke! You are rebelling against God!" Do any of these voices sound familiar? Day in and day out this is what I have been hearing. But I am thankful that the Word of God tells us how He speaks to his kids and it is NEVER with a fear-laced shout. So, when I talk about preparing to move, the most preparation has been shuffling thoughts around in my head while tilling the soil in my heart. But I will tell you this: I have learned more from going through this fire than 100 sermons could teach me. The sorting out of the origin of this dream to move is just one of many lessons.

In case you were wondering, the way to kill the security guards in my night time dream was to find the king dude, who was a lot bigger than the others, and stick a grenade on his neck. That move blew his head off...



I am highly insecure about having correct grammar, so posting a blog (posting on a blog?) is nerve racking for me. first post shall be a list!

*I may or may not have found chocolate that had melted and dried on my bra and a closely related body part this morning. A piece may or may not have slipped down my shirt last night not to be found until I was changing this morning.
*In overeager premature packing of our house I packed our camera charger weeks ago. Of course, the camera battery died soon after. I've reminded myself 9873494793845 times to charge the battery, but am distracted on my way every time. I don't remember to charge it again until its the opportune time to take a picture and then remember that the camera battery is dead. Its a vicious cycle. UNTIL this morning! I actually went to plug the cute little battery in, thinking that today will be a lovely day to take some new photos, and realize the charger is no where to be found. After unpacking a handful of boxes, a phone call to Gavin, a few text messages, rummaging around under my bed and through nightstands and a trip to the basement (started a load of laundry while down there), I finally remember where the charger is. I'm proud right now that my camera should be ready to go just about the time it warms up enough for my kiddos to run around in the sprinkler this afternoon.
*I woke up 2 hours before my kids this morning because I couldn't remember what time Gavin's dentist appointment was this week and was worried he would sleep through it. Got up to check the email reminder from the dentist, realized the appointment isn't until tomorrow, and subsequently got sucked right into facebook/email/twitter/blogs at 6:15am.
*When my friend Ronda "Skyped" me this morning, I ran out of the room because I didn't have any pants on. It is video chatting after all. Gavin informed me that no one would notice since the camera is only on my face. I still went and put pants on. It just felt weird talking to someone in Australia without pants on.
*Gavin and I have toothbrushes that look exactly the same. Same color and everything. Rather than taking the time to mark one of them, I just use whichever one is dry. Sorry babe.
*I had an ingrown EYEBROW hair this week. It was bizarre and painful.

Moving in 6 days. Off to pack!

The pic is of Noelle outside of the playhouse at the Ranch in California. We'll be staying there for a little while until we figure things out. At the Ranch, not at the playhouse.

Posted by Patty (first blog ever)