Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A New Life

I'm three days into my new job at Logos Bible Software, and I'm really enjoying it. It's been a challenging week--I'm still getting used to west coast time and weather (absolutely perfect one day, cool and cloudy/rainy the next).

I've been fighting a cold all week--tired and congested--but I'm drinking tea nonstop and pushing through.

Work is going really well. I'm kind of on information overload; but excited about what I am learning, and about what I'm going to be doing. I will be searching for and connecting with people with conferences, churches, ministries, universities, seminaries, denominations--building relationships and looking for ways that Logos can partner with them and help people with Bible study, theological research, sermon prep, etc. The potential is huge to help people and help Logos achieve more.

I am working on a team with some great people--young and eager and fun to be around. I'm the old guy in the group, but as always, I never feel that much older.

We are getting settled into Jamie's mom's house, she has been very generous in giving us lots of space and helping us feel at home.

The boys are getting adjusted--having fun playing with their cousin Ira and getting to know some kids in the neighborhood.

It's been an eventful month--lots of stress, lots of fun, lots of change. But I am at peace. Each day I leave Logos and take a scenic drive down I-5, surrounded by beautiful mountains on both sides. I go home to an amazing family, and thank God for my fantastic life!

Friday, July 22, 2011

In Washington

The last three days have been kind of a blur and a whirlwind. Tuesday we arrived in Buffalo, Wyoming, to visit Jamie's sister Marty, her husband Harv, and their four kids. We had Elk and Antelope for dinner--really good! The boys had a blast playing with their cousins.

On Wednesday I left Buffalo, WY at 6 AM and drove 1030 miles to our new home in Burlington, WA. Long, long day; but a very beautiful drive. Montana was gorgeous; I've never seen such beautiful country. I took my time and stopped every couple hours to eat or fill the car.

Idaho was really beautiful as well. Eastern Washington reminded me of Kansas, pretty flat and not much to see, but I drove through it at sunset, so the sky was amazing.

It was a long day; I got into Burlington at 1 AM.

It was also a very emotional day. As I began, I reflected on everything we were leaving--our home, my family, friends, the boys' preschool, Ashley's school...and started to think, "What the heck are we doing?!"

The magnitude of the change we are going through fully hit me for the first time, and I was feeling pretty anxious. But after a while I calmed down, and started looking ahead. I thought about new opportunities for relationships, ministry, places to go and new things to do.

My anxiety eased and I began to feel something else--hope.
Hope that God is going to take care of us, even through all the confusion and uncertainty.
Hope that we will all get along well while staying with Grandma Vicki (who has been incredibly generous with her home).
Hope that we will find the right place to live.
Hope that Jamie will get a good working situation (transferring with Starbucks).
Hope that I will like and succeed at my job.
Hope that we will find a church that is right for all of us.
Hope that Ashley will like her new school and make good friends.
Hope that the boys will adjust, and that we'll find a preschool for Cash.
Hope that Brady will enjoy kindergarten.
Hope that we will build deeper relationships with family here.
Hope that we will enjoy a new life in a new place.

Thursday, my brother-in-law Chad and I met the mover and we unloaded the truck at the storage facility. One of the guys that we hired to help unload was a former professional wrestler named Mark Lewin. (For you wrestling fans, here's a video of Lewin wresting Ric Flair in the early 80s.)

I spent much of Thursday and Friday unpacking and putting my stuff away. I spent some time with Chad and Linde and their son Ira; Chad was a huge help these last couple days. Grandma Vicki had us all over for dinner Thursday.

Jamie and the boys got in late Friday night; it was a great reunion. Grandma gave everyone the tour of her house (she has done an incredible amount of work and sacrificed a lot so that we can have comfortable space for all of us).

We're still incomplete--Ashley will arrive from Texas on Wednesday. Then the whole family will begin our new life together in Washington!

One prayer request--we are all struggling with colds (my voice went out; I could hardly speak yesterday). Hoping to feel better when I start my new job Monday!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 5--Heat and Great Pie

The temperature as we crossed Kansas was 103. Yesterday we started in Hays, KS; crossed into Colorado; turned right at Denver and headed north. We stopped for the night in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Kansas may have some neat places and things to do and see, but none of them are near I-70. It was pretty flat and plain all the way across--about 400 miles.

I spent most of the day by myself in the Civic, with Jamie and Grandpa Lyle in the van with the boys. We stopped at a McDonald's and let the boys play and run around.

Once we got settled in the hotel in Cheyenne, Grandpa Lyle took us to dinner at the Village Inn, where they serve "The Best Pies in America." (They've even copyrighted the phrase.) It was really nice to get away from fast food and microwaved leftovers and eat a good meal around the table. Thanks, Grandpa!

The boys had a really good day yesterday, and everyone went to sleep pretty quickly.

Today we will drive about 4 hours to Buffalo, Wyoming, and visit Jamie's sister Marty, her husband Harv, and their four children.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) will get interesting. We found out yesterday the movers will be in Burlington Thursday morning. We had planned to arrive Thursday night, but are now altering the plan.

After spending the night in Buffalo, we are going to split up. I'm going to get up early Wednesday and drive straight through to Burlington, arriving there late Wednesday night.

Jamie, Grandpa Lyle, and the boys will take their time, stopping halfway for the night, and arriving in Burlington Thursday evening.

I'll miss everyone else for those two days, but will enjoy the alone time while driving!

So far we've driven 1881 miles. More than halfway!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 4--In the middle

We are in Kansas, right in the middle of the country, and about halfway to our new home. Got a slow start today--Cash woke up about 4 AM with a bad cough. We gave him a couple inhalers and we was able to go back to sleep.

We drove through the rest of Missouri and into Kansas. We had planned to go north at Kansas City, but there are some roads out because of flooding, so we are going west instead, all the way across Kansas, into Colorado, and north at Denver.

It was really hot today--almost 100. Kansas is flat, and not really exciting, but parts of it are pretty. A lot of it is still wide open; I thought of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, and imagined that parts of what I saw probably looked the same as they did when the Ingalls built their home in the middle of the prairie.

We made it to Hays, KS, before stopping. Grandpa Lyle, the boys and I swam for a while, then we came in, ate, and everyone went to bed.

Everyone is getting a little tired and grumpy from the traveling, and being cooped up in the van and hotel rooms together. Jamie and I take turns driving the Civic--that gives us a little alone time.

I'm hoping tomorrow we can kind of take it easy, and try to make it halfway to Buffalo, Wyoming, where we will visit Jamie's sister Marty and her family, hopefully on Tuesday.

I had a great conversation with Ashley tonight; she is visiting her father's family in Texas. She had a great time at a wedding yesterday, and is now spending some time with her grandmother. We all miss her and can't wait for her to rejoin us in Washington!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Move--Day 3

Fading fast; long day. Got up and had breakfast (Krispy Kremes) with Grandma Dorothy (my grandmother) in Nashville, then hit the road--up through Northwest TN, into Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri.

It was great seeing Grandma, but hard saying goodbye.

We had lunch at a Steak 'n Shake in Illinois, then found a park to play in for a while. The boys did great.

We were hoping to make it to Kansas City, but didn't. We stopped in Kingdom City, about about 140 miles short. Try to make up some distance tomorrow.

Jamie fixed a great dinner with leftover brisket and chili; we swam a little in the hotel pool, now off to bed.

Enjoying the driving, but I'm tired.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cross country, day 2

(Reprinted from our family blog)

After a challenging few days, we are finally on the road. I think the last 10% of our stuff took longer to pack than the first 90%. We had help from several friends, and Grandpa Lyle (Jamie's dad) was a huge help. With the help of some friends, we finished up at our house at about 2 AM Thursday morning, went to my parents' house to sleep, and left Northern VA about 2 PM that afternoon.

Saying goodbye to my parents was really hard. As we all began hugging, Cash went up to Grandma Helen and said, "I'm going to miss you so much." Everyone started crying. I am so thankful for Mom and Jerry!

We drove to Wytheville, VA the first day and spent the night at a Comfort Inn. It was a nice drive--I was by myself in the Civic (well, the cat was with me), while Jamie, Grandpa Lyle and the boys were in the van. I got caught up on Mike and Mike and Stuck in the 80's podcasts.

We stopped at a rest area and played baseball; then had a nice dinner at Cracker Barrel.

I saw a beautiful sight while driving around Blacksburg. The sun was going down in the distance, the sky was full of different shades of reds and yellows. Jamie, Lyle and the boys were ahead of me in the van. At one point they were the only vehicle in my sight, driving up a hill with the sunset as background, they drove under a bridge that framed them like a beautiful piece of art.

Today we got up and had breakfast at the hotel, then hit the road. This time I was in the van with Grandpa Lyle and the boys; Jamie drove the Civic. We stopped a few times for gas and food and restrooms, and got to Nashville late in the afternoon.

We had a wonderful dinner with Grandma Dorothy and Aunt Sheila, then came back to the hotel where I took the boys swimming. Everyone is in bed; I'm going to follow soon.

Tomorrow we hope to get to Columbia, MO.

Monday, July 04, 2011

What I leave behind

For about the fourth time in my life, I begin a new chapter, a new season. The first was going into the army after high school. The second was moving to Texas after college. I spent ten years in Texas, teaching, umpiring baseball, doing ministry, growing up, having fun.

The third was leaving my life in Texas and going back to Virginia, to a new job, some old friends, my parents, and a new role--husband and father.

Now, nine years after beginning this chapter, I start a new one. Moving as far as possible while still being in the continental US--2,837 miles to Burlington, WA. I've written, and will write more, about why we are going, what I will be doing there, etc.

But today, I write about what I leave behind. Why, even though I am excited about the new adventure, leaving Virginia is probably the hardest thing I've ever done.

Nine years ago, when I left Fort Worth, that was the most difficult change I'd ever made. This is bigger, harder, more challenging. Nine years ago I was single, and was going home. I loved Texas, and enjoyed my decade there, but while leaving many friends and my church, I was coming home--to my parents, my college friends, the place where I grew up.

Now I leave for a place that I have enjoyed visiting, but has never been home. I've spent 34 of my 46 years in Virginia. I left twice (for the Army, and grad school), but always come back. I probably won't come back to Virginia this time (except to visit). Of course nothing is certain, but it there's a good chance that this is my last big move.

We'll probably raise our boys in Washington. When Cash graduates high school, I'll be 60.

So this parting seems bigger. More permanent. The things I leave behind are things I will probably never come back to, except to visit.

I will miss Virginia, the place. The trees, parks, beaches, mountains.

I will miss the places I love to eat. I will miss Hard Times Cafe, and Carrabba's, Fat Tuesday's, Penny Lane, and ice cream at Gary's and Carl's.

I will miss DC--the stadiums, the museums, the history.

I will miss downtown Fredericksburg, a place I used to walk around with my dad.

I will miss driving through Dale City, where I grew up.

I will miss the campus at GMU, where I spent 4 years as a student, then another 4 as a campus pastor.

I will miss the churches in Virginia that have impacted me--Parkwood Baptist, FBC-Alexandria, New Hope Church, Convergence, Waterford Baptist Church, and Little River Baptist Church.

I will miss Leland, where I learned to think about God and theology in ways that finally made sense to me. Where I made great friends and had wonderful discussions.

I will miss Kings Dominion, where I laughed and played as a teenager, and where I experienced joys of fatherhood while riding and swimming and laughing with my children.

I will miss Northfork Camp in Front Royal--camping out, swimming and tubing on the river, relaxing by the fire with my parents, my wife, and my kids.

I will miss the house I grew up in. My mother and step-dad are still there, 38 years after we first moved in. I walked through the house the other day, looking at the room I grew up in. The walls that were covered with my posters, the window that looked out at my elementary school. Wherever I have gone, that house has always been home.

And I will miss this house where I now sit, writing in the dark. The first house that Jamie and I moved into together. Where our two boys first lived. I will miss the gravel roads, and the trees, and the lake where I first took our boys swimming. I will miss the backyard where we have had cookouts and picnics, played baseball and burned leaves.

I will miss this house which has become home over the last seven years.

But more than any of this, I will miss people. I will miss the people who have encouraged me and supported me; some over the past nine years, some for much longer.

I will miss my basketball buddies--Kenny, Andy, and Johnny (and more recently, Mark and Jerry). For ten years we have cheered the Patriots at almost every home game. We traveled to Richmond each spring to watch GMU in the CAA conference tournament. Those weekends were some of the best of my life.

I will miss my Leland friends--too many to name--but especially Josh, Tom, Seth and April.

Dozens of fantastic ministers I met and worked with through NorthStar and its churches...

Dear friends through New Hope and Convergence...

Teachers I enjoyed working with at North Stafford and Mountain View...

Great guys I got to know through umpiring in northern VA...

And some who have been there for much longer than this last season in Virginia--Dan, Elise, Mike, Rusty, Bryan--people I have been close to for half my life or more.

My brother Eric, with whom I've grown closer over the years; I'll miss our times talking, eating, and watching UFC together.

My step-brother and step-sister, and their families--people I love and enjoy seeing when we can.

And of course, most of all, Mom and Jerry, who have loved me unconditionally, who have supported and encouraged us, and always been there for us. It will be strange to live so far from them, and I will miss them terribly.

Next week I leave many of the people and places and things that have made me who I am. I am already grieving over that. I have shed a few tears and know I will shed more in the days to come. But I am also excited to take all of that with me, to a new town, a new job, new ministries, new relationships, and new opportunities.

And the sadness over leaving is made a little easier knowing that God, and the people closest to me, most important to me--my bride and my three amazing children--will be with me through this new adventure.