Friday, October 21, 2011

An Update

In case someone out there in the huge world wide web is actually reading this, I wanted to give an update on our current status across all fronts. Hold on to your seat, it's going to be fast....


  • Our current full time job is itineration- which means we are traveling to churches almost every Sunday to share about what Chi Alpha is and to ask if those churches would partner with us financially and through prayers. Phone calls, meetings, trips, etc are also part of it all. 
  • We are currently sitting somewhere between 52-55% of our budget. We need to crunch some numbers to get an exact percentage. So you don't have to do more math than necessary, that means we have somewhere between 43-45% left to raise. 
  • We are still basement dwellers. Our temporary digs were supposed to last only 4 or 5 weeks. So far, it's been two months. Here's why....
  • We have attempted to purchase 4 homes. House #1 failed because the bank & real estate agency were holding out for someone to offer more than us, typical short sale situation. They never progressed on the sale of the home, so we had to make a choice to wait it out (which could be forever) or move on. We moved on. House #2 was cute and I liked it a lot. We put a bid on it the day we saw it, which was a friday. Monday morning Gil went to sign the contracts and upon signing it, he learned that it was also a short sale. This information was on NONE of the paperwork- even our agent didn't know. House #1 and #2 are being sold by the same real estate agencies. Armed with that knowledge, we immediately wanted to look elsewhere since it would be the year 2057 before either of these houses actually sell. House #3 was another cutie in a great little town on a corner lot. It was NOT a short sale or being represented by the previously mentioned agency. We were ready to step further with the house until we learned that a previous buyer had completed a home inspection on it and backed out. We were given a copy of that report and also backed out. The house needed >$30,000 worth of work to make it safe and livable. We were very thankful to have received this information without having spent a penny on our own home inspection. At this point we were getting very discouraged. Our agent was determined and hopeful. (She rocks and is the only real estate agent I trust.) 
***pause quick rundown for a brief rabbit trail***

During the week we walked through house #3 and backed out, Gil went to a meeting with a handful of other pastors. One of our colleagues prayed specifically for a home for us. Gil said he prayed that God would provide a home that would be our dream home and a sanctuary for us, a place we would love to be. This prayer was on constant re-run in my head and pushed back the feelings of discouragement. 

The confusing part was that we had seen every stinkin' house on the market in our price range-at least 30 homes. Our list of expectations/must have's for a home kept shrinking. We were tired of spending hours walking through homes and never feeling at peace with them for one reason or another. How can so many houses be on the market and none of them be within our budget, be healthy and safe to live in, be within a decent radius to campus, and not be purchased the day before we find it? But, the prayer kept running through my head. 

Armed with the last strands of hope, we hit the house hunting command station again. Gil searched on his laptop, while I did the same. We shared mls numbers and cross reference different websites to find out all we could. Then, I'd take the address to Bing.com and look at it from their bird's eye view map option- a 360 degree view of the house, sometimes as close as 40 feet from the ground. We sent our agent another list of homes to check out. She quickly gathered her agent-only information sheets and emailed them over. 

**Ok, back to our regularly scheduled programming***

  • We left for a morning of housing hunting with 3 on the list. The first house we looked at has officially been called House #4. It's not a short sale. It's safe and healthy for our family to live in as it sits today. It has appliances. It's as close to campus as we can get. It's (barely) in our budget. It had only been on the market for 23 days as of the day we walked through it. It had a few other perks that we had previously crossed off our wish list. We did not look at the other 2 house on the list for that day. Right now, we are still in the home inspection/final contracts/appraisal part of, but we are hopeful this is our house and I am clinging to the prayer that was prayed over Gil. Will you pray with us? 
  • We found and became members to a gym that has adequate childcare and a pool. This was harder than expected. Exercise and interacting with others in our community is an important family value of ours, so this was a huge win. 
  • I have made friends with a handful of other moms in the community. 
  • I know where multiple grocery stores are and the perks to each one....I think. 
  • I still find comfort in knowing that UPS is here. It's like a taste of home for some reason. That brown truck is a warm fuzzy. 
  • The girls have decided they want to unpack their dress-up basket first. I can't decide whether I want to laminate something or cook everything imaginable first. I have a few weeks to debate.
  • The girls are happy with their new classes at church, Daisies and Rainbows.
  • I am gathering necessary winter clothing for us...and trying not to worry about the serious amount of snowblowers, extreme ice scrapers for car windows, snowshoes, and ski shops I see around. I think they are trying to tell us something. Someone told me that school kids aren't allowed outside for recess unless they have snow pants to wear. Are you kidding me???? I am used to a half inch of snow=no school. Boy, have I got a lot to learn. 
  • We are sending out email newsletters now, so if you did not receive one a few weeks ago and would like to, please email me your preferred email address and we will add you! 
  • We were able to see the other Chi Alpha staff (from Boston U., UMass, Brown, Yale) in our district on Wednesday. That was fun! Go XA Nation. 
  • I have become a loyal Patriots fan and discovered the fun of investing into an athletic team. Why didn't I know this before? (I've been told I was too stuck up? Probably.)
  • Homeschool is still going well. You can read about that on our homeschool blog. Sometimes, when people ask Adison if she has done her schoolwork for the day, she tells them "no". I hope they realize that she often has no idea she's done her schoolwork. Ha! 
  • New England fall is OFF THE HOOK! lovely. 
Shoooo! That was a lot. Did I miss anything?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Top 10 Reasons I Enjoy Itinerating:


(In no particular order!)
  1. My kids get to play in a different nursery/children’s church each week. This is ideal while their toys are in storage. 
  2. We get to meet awesome people from all over the area. 
  3. I get to wear the same outfit each week, which is awesome since that includes my new brown boots. 
  4. I frequently get told I don’t look old enough to be married, have kids and have spent this much time in ministry. To this I kindly chuckle on the outside and smile huge on the inside. 
  5. A new group of people get to hear about what Chi Alpha is each week. 
  6. Eating. Lots of eating. 
  7. I get a chance to take a peak into the life of a local pastor, whom I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to meet or learn about. Just as any individual would be so dramatically different than the next, so are these pastors. It’s fun learning about them, their family and their unique personalities. 
  8. Crossing back and forth, this way and that, both near and far across the state of Connecticut (and Mass. later this month) helps to learn the geography of area. This is helpful to a new resident of the state. 
  9. We get to brag about God and his miracle making moments in our lives and the lives of those we have walked alongside. Which is super cool. 
  10. I get to give the pep talk in the car on the way: “Girls, today we are going to a different church. Yes, different than the one last week. You must act like ladies, not monsters. You will be polite and stay with mom & dad until we find the kid rooms. Got it?” 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Oaks Replanted?..............Part One

Around the same time we felt a stirring in our hearts for a facing a new challenge, a little lady prayed for us at a Women's Ministry event. After her prayer, she looked up at us and said something to the effect of, "You two are tall in stature like oaks and God will use you to call others to him, you're like oaks of righteousness". We never forgot that moment. Her words were beautiful, but the difference in height be her and us brought flashbacks from elementary school when I towered over everyone uncomfortably. But, the image of a strong, mighty, tall, visible oak tree seared in my mind.
A sturdy place with small and tender beginnings.
A covering and shelter for those that need protection.

I knew that we weren't righteous. We were and are just people. We have our bad days and our sinful scenarios, too. But I also knew we had a vision to see people know God and in our imperfectness, God's perfectness would shine through.

We spent the next several years thinking, processing, praying, and planning what this transition would look like. We weighed the sacrifice of leaving everything comfortable and familiar. We shared our hearts with each other and sometimes others around us. And when the moments of incredible fear overwhelmed me, someone would read the eleven verses of Isaiah 61 aloud. Every time. When I was scared or thinking of backing down from the task, this is what I heard:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has tanointed me
to bring good news to the poor;1
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and uthe opening of the prison to those who are bound;2
vto proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
wand the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
xto give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
ythe oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
zthat they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lordathat he may be glorified.3
bThey shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

cStrangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
dbut you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
eyou shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
fInstead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.

gFor I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;4
hI will faithfully give them their recompense,
iand I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

10 jI will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
kfor he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself llike a priest with a beautiful headdress,
mand as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause nrighteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.


Slowly, I began to believe it. I was always thankful for the reminders in my moments of doubt or fear. I began to believe that somehow God was going to make this miracle happen; that the poor would hear the good news, that the brokenhearted would be bound, that the captives would be set free, that mourners would be glad again, that righteousness would flourish- all in a land that historically was filled with people that held God close to their hearts. Could it really happen?

Thanks http://www.esvbible.org/Isaiah+61/ for the Bible passage. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Things Learned About CT

Things I have learned about Connecticut thus far:
- Do not expect to finding a shopping cart in the grocery store, unless you either (a) pay 25 cents, refundable when cart is returned, or (b) grab a carriage from the parking lot. Do not use the term "cart". Nobody knows what that is here.
- Expect to pay 60-70% more on most grocery items.
- People own snowblowers, just as Virginians own efficient air conditioning systems.
- Pay attention to the different prices on the sign at the gas station- one for the cash price and one for the credit card price. There is about a 10 cent difference. Lesson learned- keep gas cash in the car as much as possible.
- I only have to drive 26 minutes to the closest Sams Club, which beats the 1 hour trip I made in VA.
- There is a 30 cent (I think) fee for buying drinks in plastic, aluminum, or glass containers. You can turn in your containers and get your $ back at the grocery store.
- Teenage Connecticut drivers do not have to take a behind-the-wheel course. They may simply take a written test at the DMV and get a license.
- There are a surprising number of pick-up trucks, camouflage, and hunters in this portion of CT.

**I forgot one IMPORTANT thing!
- As a girl raised in VA, I had the assumption (and was often reminded before we moved) that northerners were cold, rude and brash. In the month that we've been here, I have not met a single person that fits that description! I realize that I am in a more rural place in the north, and perhaps people from the cities keep to themselves more. However, do not believe stereotypes about these Yankees!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Mommy, is this Connecticut, too?"

During our first few days in Connecticut, we went on a camping adventure. We stayed in two different campgrounds in the evenings and ran errands during the days. Several times during those first few days, our oldest daughter (5) would look at me with big, curious eyes and arms wide open and ask, "mommy, is this Connecticut, too?" I quickly answered her and got on with what I was doing. She did this at the campground, post office, on campus, at the next campground, and many other places. After the first three or four times, I realized she was really confused as to when Connecticut started and stopped.

For months prior to our move, we shared with the girls about Connecticut and what was going to be there; our new church, our new campus, new students and friends, a new library, and so on. I never thought to give them a head's up that it might appear so different than Virginia. Passing the Welcome to Connecticut sign was helpful for me, but for someone who can't read or understand invisible-yet-actual boundary lines, it was pointless.

She had entered a new part of life and became a little unsure if this was what it was actually supposed to look like- or not. When I shared this with a friend, she thought it sounded similar to what happens to many of us as we enter new phases of life. Think about it.

"Is this what dating is like, too?"
      (Because sometimes it's more confusing, than straightforward.)
"Is this what paying bills is like?"
      (Because it stinks...and they just keep coming!)
"Do we really own this much stuff?"
      (You can read more about that here.)
"Is this how real chocolate tastes?"
      (If you have only tasted Palmer, you need to get out more. Geez.)
"Is this really what house hunting is like?"
      (Because it isn't like the property shows on HGTV, head's up!)
"Is this what marriage is like?"
      (Cause it can be tough and wonderful, all in the same hour.)
"I have been waiting to see what adulthood was all about, is this really it?"
       (You start wishing for kindergarden nap time again.)
"Is this truly how lovely, wonderfully made boots actually feel like? Really, really?"
       (Don't try on a pair unless you are financially prepared to replace your entire shoe collection. Another head's up!)
"Is this what having a newborn is like?"
       (Because I haven't slept or showered in days and the scent-o-puke is really beginning to get to me. Read this!)

Sometime we find ourselves in a place we had been hoping for, waiting for, wishing for....all to be surprised that we a little unsure of what it is actually like in real life. Sometimes we cross into new phases that aren't marked clearly with boundary lines and feel a little unsettled. I bet people were a little shocked and surprised when they met Jesus; seeing him in the flesh, learning from words that came directly from his mouth, hearing his voice, observing his miracles. "Is this really the Messiah I have heard about?"


Matthew 16:13-20 (NLT)

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

I can imagine people were a little surprised to see who this Jesus actually was. People today are still shocked to find out who this Jesus actually is. 


Sometimes we just find ourselves in a place and realize we are unsure of what it's supposed to look like. 


Thankfully, we can calibrate ourselves to our surroundings- and to the creator of our surroundings- and feel a little more settled. We can keep asking, "is this Connecticut, too?" until we are confident that everywhere we go (for right now) is, indeed, Connecticut...or better yet, "is this really who you are, Jesus?", "did you seriously just ask me to do this, Jesus?" We can keep asking as we learn new aspects of his character, as we keep pushing past the thick, invisible-but-actual separation between our visible world and the spiritual world, as we wrestle with what it means to be adopted by a King. 


Keep asking. 
He'll keep answering. 


And we'll keep exploring parts of Connecticut. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I never liked the name Irene

Hurricane Irene has come and gone. She left quite the mess. I do not like girls that leave messes behind. We lost power Sunday at 10:30 and had it restored today, Thursday, at lunch time. Power companies from all over the country were in New England helping to restore the electricity.

New Englanders aren't used to hurricanes. Perhaps it all the old trees (aren't trees in the south just as old?), but there was a huge mess and enormous amount of people without power. Gil and I are still in the process of house hunting, so we took advantage of offices being closed (no appointments to be made or kept) and followed our real estate agent around on a wild ride of wires hanging in the road, trees clogging streets and flooded lakes...all to see a handful of houses. She was helpful and gracious as we looked at each one and still wanted the one we had been waiting for.

Today, we went to look at a house that was built in 1740. It was HUGE and had 29 acres. It sat surrounded by a horse farm, on a quiet road and definitely had a story. We drooled walking through it. The price was amazing....and so would the heating bills. The second floor had the extra wide hardwood planks with deep cracks. History could be found in those cracks. Sadly, we had to walk away from the amazing offer. It's just not the time in our family's life to commit to such a huge daily TO-DO list. We need simplicity right now as we pioneer Chi Alpha @ UCONN.

After we walked through, I went and sat on the little knoll outside the house and just looked at it. I tried my best to be mature about the decision. I knew that if I pushed hard enough, Gil would do his best to make it happen for me. Thankfully, that little voice of reason (and holy wisdom) kicked in and told me to let Gil make the final decision. We got in the car and drove away. While I was imagining us in that old farmhouse, stacking firewood, sucking 300 year old dirt out of cracks with a shopvac, acquiring large farm equipment somehow, and stumbling over critters I never want to see alive (or dead, for that matter), Gil asked what I was thinking. I simply said, "I am just glad I don't have to make the decision".  I am honestly very settled with his choice to go ahead and follow through with the bid on the first house we liked (now that our mysterious seller made his appearance in Puerto Rico and signed a document!).

Maybe one day we will have a place like this old farmhouse. Something that has stood the test of time, seen wars and generations come and go. A place to brag about God's goodness.

But ya know what? I don't have to wait for a place to brag about God's goodness. I can do that right now. Right here. Right where I am. Because he is good and always will be.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

SUCKERS! (8.15.11)

Our goal is to explore something each day while our schedules are slower. So, for our adventure today, the girls and I decided to plug in the address to the bank. We made our way to the other side of town and found the bank. I filled out the slips, handed it to the teller and waited for her to double check my math. To distract the girls from their impending boredom, I thought it would be a good idea to get them interested in a counting game. We counted to the bank tellers. We counted the computers. We counted the “this window closed” signs. We counted the money counter machines. We counted the cameras. At this point I began to wonder if the employees were considering me and my lunch-stained preschoolers a potential threat to their safety. Don’t all bank robbers take inventory of the possible items to confiscate or demolish before they strike? (This has absolutely nothing to do with my point, other than the fact that my kids were involved.) 

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the teller came back with my receipt. My youngest asked if she could have a sucker. (We also counted the sucker storage devises in our game, so we KNEW they had them!) So, I asked her to ask the teller if she could have one. She looked at the teller and said,

“Can I have a sucker please?”. 

And with the biggest, most sincere smile in all history, the teller looked at me and asked me what she was talking about. Like an idiot, I repeated the child’s question, “she’d like to have a sucker, please.” 

Again, big-smiling-teller, still had no idea what we were asking for. Then it clicked. Perhaps we are using Virginia lingo in a Connecticut bank. If so, we have just sounded like the biggest hicks ever to arrive this far north successfully. I quickly flipped through my mental thesaurus and grabbed another term. 

“Lollipop?” 

“Oh, sure!” said the bank teller with the big smile. 
Connecticut vernacular lesson #1: Assume the term “sucker” means something other than the sweet confection on a paper stick. Use “lollipop” next time. 

A Counter Full (8.13.11)

When I had approached my nearness-to-nature limit, my new friend called and invited us to come into their home a date earlier than we expected. 

Perfect timing. 

They had been traveling and arrived home just a few hours prior. The girls had been begging to swim, so we took them to the pool for a bit, packed up camp and made our way- via a pitstop at Panera- to our temporary accommodations. My family, included Judah, was welcomed into their home and given a tour of our space. It is more than sufficient to meet our needs. Our hosts had even thought to provide for us a supply of snacks and drinks, new bedding for the girls, cleaning supplies and other necessary items...a counter full of blessings. This melted my heart. 
We settled in for the evening. I took a long, hot shower to disinfect myself from any camping thing that decided to use for for a free ride. The girls enjoyed their fun beds. Lastly, we went to bed for a long, deep sleep and rested well...for the first time in a very long time. 

Engaging the Mind (8.12.11)

After many days of hard work packing our house up, then loading the truck, driving for 10 hours with two adults, two kids, an 80 pound dog, and a packed van, I was just plain tired. Too tired to think. Too tired to process all that had happened. My lists had been completed. Everything that needed to be accomplished before we pulled out of town had been and now my mind was left to churn. 
   
During the first few days in Connecticut, I was unsettled. I cried easily and at the most unexpected things. For instance, I was standing at the counter in the local post office registering us for a PO Box. While filling out the form, I had to officially change our address. Duhh! That’s why I was there...but this hit me hard. Right there, in front of the lady that would sort my mail for the next chapter in my life, I lost it. Laughing as I think about it now, I tried to cover up my face with the sun-is-in-my-face-so-I-turn-my-hand-into-a-lame-visor move. I didn’t think she noticed my volcanic emotions until she asked why on earth we would move from lovely Virginia to here! (Spoken with a stinky face and all!) I couldn’t even speak thanks to the knot in my throat the size of basketball. What did she think my reason was? What would cause some random woman to start crying in the post office? Was I running from someone? Had I obtained a new identity and sad for the loss of my old one? I wanted to talk, but that basketball just wouldn’t dislodge. I had just moved myself to Connecticut. (Again, duhh! Where had I been for the last 4 laborious days??) However, something about officially changing my address and forwarding all mail from Farmville made this more permanent in my mind. This moment was life changing. Right there in front of my new mail lady. Nice. Priceless. 

So, what did I learn from this scenario? There are things inside my head and heart that have been forced to be put on hold, but must come out. Whether it’s to the mail lady in Chaplin, CT or to my husband late a night in a tent. Eventually I have to think about it, or who knows who will be my next meltdown observant. It might be you! 

An 18-Wheel Blessing (8.9.11)

After weeks of packing and saying long, hard goodbyes to people we love and friends that have changed our lives; an 18-wheeler from Missionary Transport, Inc. arrived at our house to haul our things from Virginia to Connecticut. An army of friends helped load the truck. Jim, our driver packed the truck as if he was playing Tetris. He built walls and new floors inside the truck, encapsulating our beloved belongings in a safe way. His attention to detail was amazing. He draped quilts over each piece of furniture and secured things to the walls of his truck. He taught me about E clips and the strategy of loading and driving a moving truck. 
    
Mia came to play with the girls during the load. She treated them to the royal-tia-mia-treatment. Swimming, breakfast and lunch out, mini mani & pedi’s, and time with one of their favorites. She comforted their concerns of us forgetting something important to them and brought them back in perfect timing for a nap in the car. 
    
In 3 hours, my entire house was packed and Jim drove away. His plan was to get to northern Virginia, get dinner and sleep for the evening at a truck stop. He would arrive in Connecticut Thursday morning. Until then, everything we own (minus what we stuffed in our car) was in his care. While Gil and I grabbed a slice of pizza in the kitchen, Ginger and Diane began cleaning my house from the back to the front. They were amazing. And despite my pride crumbling at the thought of someone else cleaning my nasty bathrooms, I needed the help and was thankful for true friends. 
    
Long hugs were given to my helpers and we jumped in the car. We sat, with the car running, in the driveway. It was hard to put the car into reverse. We just sat there for a few minutes of tortured love. We loved that house. We needed to say goodbye, but didn’t want to. Gil prayed for us, for our safe travels, for our house to be used for God’s glory and for the things God had before us. Driving away was so hard. Can I say it again? It was really hard. I cried for the first 15 minutes of the drive. After 15 miles, we stopped to make a turn and Emma asked if we were in Connecticut yet. Her innocence and unawareness as to the impeding magnitude of change in her life was what we needed at the moment. 
    

We drove to a friends house that evening. After a good meal and nice shower and some great conversation, we headed to bed. A few hours of sleep later, we hit the road again at 6am Wednesday morning. 
    
With all my planning, I failed to remember to charge the laptop battery for our on-board movie viewing. My computer only lasted about 45 minutes. Ha! For our lunch and long leg-stretch, we stopped at Cabela’s in PA. We were even able to put Judah in the kennel in the parking lot so he could stretch his legs too. Gil made a few calls and checked some emails while the girls enjoyed the excellent animal displays they have around the store. Our one hour stop was far too short, but we had places to go! 
We arrived at the campground around 8pm, tired and ready for a hot meal. It was nice to get out of the car finally. Gil set up the tent and I started dinner. Adison burned herself on the cooktop. Despite her grit, the pain from the burn was too much. She cried herself to sleep as I held her hand against an iced water bottle. Her pain was gone by morning. 
 As promised, we met the truck Thursday morning around 10 at the storage crate. Christian Life Assembly provided a space for us to store our things until our home becomes available later in September. Six sets of hands met us there to unload and 90 minutes later, the truck was empty. Jim told me that our things weighed 9900 pounds. With his formulas, I had estimated that we had 9780 pounds, just a few pounds difference! It was a little sad waving goodbye to Jim. We had only met him 48 hours prior, but we felt like he was a true friend. Before he left, Adison and I checked out the cab of his truck. Maybe one day, I will see him again. 
Matt Kitchie met us at the storage crate to help unload. Seeing a familiar face was heart warming! Plus, he smelled clean and fresh- a rather different fragrance than the rest of us were wearing. He stayed with us for the afternoon and we enjoyed lunch with him. 
We went back to the camp ground and decided we needed to find a different place the next day. Friday, we found a better, more pleasant camp ground, Salt Rock State Park in Berlin, CT. We also got our PO Box, visited campus and showed the girls the house we are hoping to get. While saying a few prayers over the property, I nearly stepped on a snake. This gave me a good case of the willies and was convinced that Judah needed to take control over all critters around the property once we move in. 

Enough writing for now. More to come later.