Archive for November, 2015

Day Nine – Safe in Sioux Falls

Thanks be to God!  Our entire convoy arrived safe in Sioux falls around 3pm yesterday.  We’re settled into a nice hotel near the airport with a fantastic indoor water park that will help keep three grand-critters happy.  Today is closing day for Nate and Jenne’s house.  We’re praying that the wire transfer from Friday’s settlement from their home closing in Pennsylvania will be completed before closing at 1pm today.  Now come the move-in challenges.

Our 1,000+ mile drive was long but exciting.  It had been a long time since I visited the upper Midwest.  Things are so compact on the east coast, but everything along our route through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota was so wide open.  The agricultural might of our country is truly awesome. It makes me wonder how we as a society allow any American to go to bed hungry!

Western Iowa was particularly interesting, with hundreds of wind turbines generating electricity in the middle of cornfields and grass beef cattle grazing ranges.  I wish we could have stopped and made a video of the massive turbines that in some spots covered the horizon for 360 degrees.

Wind Turbines Wind Turbines 2

Having previously lived in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arizona I had seen big sky before, but I’d forgotten how beautiful it is.  We enjoyed a particularly beautiful, big sunset two evening ago as we trekked along I-90 west.

I really like the wide roads here and the 80MPH speed limit on the interstates is fantastic.

I can’t wait to get settled in and begin exploring.  Lots of work ahead though. Praying for strength and stamina!

Days Five, Six and Seven – God’s Amusement Consists of Watching Us Make Plans

Laughing JesusThe beloved Scottish theologian Oswald Chambers wrote frequently about how God orchestrates our circumstances in order to help us grow closer to him.  Days five, six and seven of this move were solid proof Chambers was right.

To recap day five (moving day), things began normally, but around 8am, an hour before the movers were expected,  my son-in-law received a call from the moving company telling him the moving truck had been delayed in route and would not come until the next morning.  The remainder of the beautiful, sunny day was spent in a flurry, rearranging hotel reservations along our route to Sioux Falls, rescheduling the house closing on the departure end and basically dealing with a load of frustrations.

Day six would  be  the new move day.  Torrential rains in the morning and a grim weather forecast didn’t do much to lift out spirits.  Miraculously, God provided intermittent breaks in the rain which allowed the moving crew to load without getting the boxes and furniture wet.  A squad of eight movers arrived around 7:30am, but no moving van.

Finally, around 9:30 the long haul van arrived.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t make the sharp turn onto the small side street where our daughter and son-in-law’s house was, so it was necessary to load into a shuttle truck and make multiple runs to the large semi-trailer which was parked about a quarter of a mile away in a ball field parking lot.  Using the shuttle method of loading meant it required twice as much time to load.

As the movers cleared room by room, son-in-law Nate and I cleaned-up behind them.  By the time the long haul van was full, we were finished cleaning the house. Unfortunately, there was still a lot of furniture and boxes sitting on the driveway that wouldn’t fit.  The packing crew had to inventory all of these items and take them back to their warehouse.  They will come to Sioux Falls on a second load later this week.

Nate and I finally drove away from his former house a little after 9pm.  What a day.   Fortunately, we had already dispatched my daughter Jenne and my wife Linda with two vans, the grand kids, dog and cat around 1pm.  They spent the night in a hotel a couple of hours west of Cleveland off of I-80.  After a nice, very late prime rib dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse, Nate and I crashed at the home of some  very gracious friends, Amy and Burt.  God bless them!

On day seven (Saturday), everyone departed their particular locations in the early morning.   Traveling without the kids and pets, Nate and I were able to link-up with the ladies near Gary Indiana and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  The ladies and kids had a chance for a short visit to the park to play on the dunes.  Nate and I linked-up just in time to watch everyone else eat lunch at Quaker Shake and Lube.  We had already eaten sandwiches along the way.

After lunch, we all headed for Sioux Falls together at last.   It was a beautiful, sunny day and the big sky was spectacular. It was fantastic crossing the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa.  I’ll have to get use to the flat landscapes of the prairie. Everyone was tired last evening, especially Nate and I who drove about 800 miles in separate cars in one day.  Ugh!   That’s not to say that the ladies weren’t exhausted as well. They had all of the kids and pets to manage in their two vans.

Today, day eight, we are packing up to depart our hotel in Urbandale, IA, a suburb of Des Moines.  Sioux Falls or bust!  We have a little over 200 miles to go. God has blessed up with a safe journey thus far.  I pray for his continued grace as we begin the final leg of our journey.  Please keep us in your prayers.

Day Five – I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul

I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul

Pslam 131- O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore. (ESV)

Day Four – Reaching Critical Mass

nuke_explosionThings are reaching critical mass now.  It’s nearly 7:30 pm and the movers will be here in about 14 hours. There are still MANY things left undone. Any hope of a relaxing evening is quickly slipping away.  It looks like it’s going to be a long night. I’m quickly running out of gas, but Linda continues to chug along like The Little Engine That Could.  She’s incredible!

I’ve been doing a lot of work with my hands these past two weeks and they’re beginning to show it.  Five of my fingers have those painful cracks that are like little paper cuts.  How can such small wounds hurt so badly? They look like the gnarled fingers on the hands of the fantastic wood carvers I remember from the Alpine village of Oberammergau, Germany.

It finally struck me today that in less than 48 hours we will be headed for Sioux Falls.  I’ve grown very fond of Pittsburgh, but I have a history of growing to like the places where I live.  What really hit home today is that I will be leaving so many good friends and colleagues behind.  There are many great cities in this world, but it’s the people who make a city worth living in.  Thank God that the digital age has given us so many ways to remain in contact.

God continues to bless us with good weather…just give us 24 more hours please!  It looks like rain on Friday, but our moving van should be well underway before then.  Please lift up your best weather prayers for us and join me as I pray:

Dear God–my wife and I are moving to a new place. Please make this a smooth and joyful experience in every way.  Please decide for us how the details should unfold to reveal your perfect will in our lives and the lives of those we are following there.  Thank You for providing all of the resources and and wonderful people who have helped us prepare for this adventure. Help us to trust You, knowing that your perfect will is for us to be joyful in Christ, regardless of the place or circumstances we find ourselves in.  I pray this in Christ’s name.

Tomorrow promises to be a very busy day, so I will most likely remain silent until the end of day 6 when, God willing, we’ll be on the road.

Day Three – Call 911!


Somebody call 911.  My 60 year old body is rebelling today.  I had to make an unplanned trip to the chiropractor this morning.  For the record, my sacroiliac joint (did I spell that right) locked, causing severe muscle spasms in my lower back.  Thank God for “Complete Chiropractic Health’ in Cranberry Township and Dr. Eric.  I’m good to go for another 100,000 miles.

Today was an exercise in the fine art of packing.  The easy stuff is done and now it’s time to figure out how to pack those 20 lawn chairs that somehow ended up in the garden shed.  First we had to remove the residue from the psychopathic squirrel that ravaged the shed.  Yuck!  Squirrel mess cleared, shed packed and on to the next task.

Many thanks for the prayers.  Weather report is still good for a moving day on Thursday.  God help us.  Nana took the grand kids to a movie and dinner at “Fun for All” this evening.  How she musters the energy to deal with those three wild dogs is beyond me.  After 38 years of marriage I continue to be amazed by her tenacity and energy.  It’s not like Linda is a ball of energy.  She just digs down deep to pull it out.  Amazing woman!

Tomorrow looks like more creative packing…trying to figure out how to ship those odd remaining items.  Hoping to finish up in time to enjoy a bit of relaxation time in the evening.  I must be hallucinating!

God is good!  All of the “to do” lists seem to be getting shorter.  Dreading saying goodbye to “the Burgh,” but at the same time looking forward to seeing Sioux Falls for the first time.  I hope it lives up to the expectations our daughter and son-in-law have cultivated.

I’m beginning to realize that writing a daily blog entry isn’t so easy.  Where is my muse?

Day Two – the Clock is Ticking!


Moving is hell on Earth.  By my count this is the 18th time that my wife Linda and I have relocated.  Most of those moves were courtesy of Uncle Sam and my Army career. Military moves are very structured and come with a great support system.  Civilian moves are much more difficult to manage.

Linda and I moved out of our condo about two weeks ago and have been living in a bedroom in the home of our daughter and son-in-law–the ones who are moving to Sioux Falls.  Into this single room we’ve crammed a queen size bed, desktop computer and desk, large screen TV, a chest of drawers, clothes stand, piles of boxes and the list continues.

Only two more prep days remain before the movers arrive and we still have so much to do. Three days remain before the house we’re living in closes. Timing is critical.  We’re praying for sunny weather on move out day and that the movers are on time and finish quickly.  God help us!  There are so many details to deal with.

Today was full of small victories–fuel and oil removed from a snow blower and a lawn mower.   We bubbled wrapped and boxed the power tools.  The garage is beginning to look manageable.  Sadly, almost everything inside is coated with a fine layer of dust from the new drywall ceiling that son-in-law Nate and I installed last week.  The dust seems endless.  There are countless bags of trash, much of it stuff accumulated over years of occupying the house…things that never get tossed because you’re afraid you might need them sometime.

Tonight we’re focusing on individual details of moving out of the house, things like beginning to pack suitcases and garment bags.  Energy levels are running low. Time to get the kids bathed and put to bed. On top of the moving work we still have to deal with the demands of three small boys, a large dog and an extroverted cat.  On Friday afternoon, after the closing on the house we’re leaving behind, we’ll pack the kids, animals and luggage into four cars and roll for Sioux Falls.  We’re going to have a convoy.  Yikes!

Day One – The Saga Begins!!

When I started this blog I wanted to focus on things that make life simpler.  That seemed pretty easy at the time.   Today my wife Linda and I are making preparations to follow our grand kids from Western Pennsylvania to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  No matter how much I wanted my life to  be simple, this isn’t going to be simple.  God please help us along this new path!  Check in daily to see how things are going.  Sioux Falls or bust!  Check back tomorrow to see how things are going.   God help us!