Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's An Awfully Big Country

Well, we have managed to spend the night in each state that we have passed through (except OR). The states in the west are quite large when driving from side to side. Tonight we are in Urbana, IL and are done with I-80. We are nearly through with the long trip. We spent Sunday night in Sidney, NE the home of Cabela's. For those not trained in "outdoors" - that is a hunting, fishing, camping, outdoors-y type store that is a lot of fun to roam through. It is full of "Stuffed" animals and often has an aquarium in it. We did spend a little time roaming before hitting the road for the day. We also mananged to pass the mother store of JC Penney in Kemmerer WY while looking for lodging one night. Last night we stopped right on the NE - Iowa border in Council Bluffs. I wanted to make it to a new state for the night and we were still able to stop early enough for a workout and a nice meal and still got to bed in order to get a good jump on the day and make it to IL tonight.

We crossed the Mississippi today and both looked at each other and said "We're home!" We both have such a love of the east coast. We stopped at a rest area with a play ground which I just had to play on and as we returned to the truck Chris asked if we could just lay in the grass for a minute. Yes, the west has grass - but it is just not the same.

Tonight I am doing laundry and we can have a little later start in the morning because we are only going into IN tomorrow to stop and see Donald and his family for church and then for the day on Thursday.

We are eager to get to our new home. We will probably stop just shy of "home" on Friday and then get into Shelby before noon on Saturday and be able to unload the truck.

The trip is going well. We have managed to make fairly wise choices for eating and have taken a walk each night along with some workouts in the hotels. We are trying to avoid the weight gain that we had when going from east to west four years ago. Tomorrow morning we can use the hotels fitness center. The truck rides well (better than a compact car) and is doing fairly well towing the car. The high winds of the plain states have made things interesting sometimes but we have had no incidents.

We are reading the autobiography of John Bunyan as we travel "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners" It is a profitable reminder of our weaknesses and God's amazing grace on our behalf.

We are almost there and ready to start new things. I am ready to be settled again.

Until IN, KY, TN, or NC ... TTFN (Ta Ta For Now)

Proverbs 21:31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

On Our Way!

Well, today I blog from Rock Springs, WY along the I-80 corridor. We have many miles on 80 to go. We got an earlier start than we planned - we were just too excited. We picked up the truck on the morning of September 24. The loading started around 9:30 and by 2:30 the truck was loaded. I still had a lot of cleaning, but by about 6 pm we were on the road. We got to Ellensberg, WA on the first night cutting about 100 miles off the 3000 mile trip.

On the 25th, we started to the Boise, ID area. We arrived at 5:30 to stay with Chris' sister and brother-in-law for a few days. We were also able to visit with his oldest brother on our last afternoon and morning there.

Yesterday was a long day with about 530 miles. We planned to stop earlier, but there just were not real great accomodations along the way and the exits are few and far between.

Now on through WY and Nebraska the next few days. We are planning to be "home" in Shelby, NC on Friday night or Saturday morning. We do have a trailer waiting for us in a park owned and managed by Ambassador staff. It is nice to know we can unload when we get there.

Got to get ready to get on the road again. Just wanted to update those following us and praying.

Psalm 126:3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

Columbia River Gorge and a Shy Volcano

Our last trip from the Seattle area was a trip that I had planned each year for four years - a trip to the Columbia River Gorge. I finally got to use those plans.

We headed out for Mt St Helens first which is in the Southern portion of Washington state. It is a little drive from the highway, but both Chris and I had longed to see it. We drove to the lookout point, but the fog at the top of the mountain was so thick, we could not even see each other when we got out of the car. So we left sad, but promised to hit the mountain again on the way home.

Next stop - Columbia River Gorge - the border of Washington and Oregon and home of many, many waterfalls. We followed the Historic Columbia River Highway which is a quaint two lane road through a rain forest and the road is lined with white picket fences and stone work. It was a gorgeous drive. Then we hiked to 5 or 6 waterfalls. Chris was enjoying the opportunity to use our "fancy" camera including "stitching" pictures together to make panoramic shots of the falls. I had planned the trip for the fall hoping for a little "leaf peeping," but it was still a little too early. It was beautiful weather though. Even though it was raining, we hiked without getting soaked because the forest was so thick. There really is nothing like an "old growth" forest. Absolutely breathtaking.

After 2 days in the gorge it was time to head back to Mukilteo. We planned to arrive at St Helens around 3:30 hoping all of the fog would be burned off. Alas, the mountain proved shy again. Our drive was clear, but a cloud sat just on the top of the volcano. We did see the base of the mountain and the powerful destruction that is still evident almost 30 years later. The power of 1000's of atomic bombs displayed by our awesome God. It is amazing to me that anyway living through that could deny a powerful God.

It was a wonderful end to our stay in the west. We were both sad to miss the volcano, but glad that it did not "make any noise" while we were there either.

Psalm 115:3 Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Glacier National Park

Well, with all of the miracles surrounding us, we were given extra time together in the west and an opprotunity to share some of the magnificent sites around us. We needed to get together with the western family before the move east. Originally they were going to come to the Seattle area, but since Chris was granted all of his terminal leave, we did the majority of driving. We met up in Hungry Horse, MT and decided to see Glacier National Park. Chris' folks stayed in their motor home and we rented a "rustic" cabin. Rustic means rustic. Just a bed and four walls. No electricity. Yes, it did get quite cool at night. We did enjoy some beautiful days and some wonderful evenings around a campfire. It was nice to have the motor home to cook in and just to warm up in in the morning. I am still getting used to the whole camping thing, but am improving each time.

The most hilarious part of the whole trip was when Chris and I got up at 6:30 one morning to shower before hitting the park. We heard the alarm, got up and headed to the shower house. When we got back to the cabin, Chris looked at his watch and asked me what time it was. We checked all the watches and cell phones to discover that it was 4:30. The last time Chris had used his alarm clock was in Norfolk, VA on the way home and now we were in Mountain time ... not eastern time! We returned to our sleeping bags for the next 2 hours!!!

We were able to drive the "Going to the Sun Road." It is a twisty, turny, cliff like drive ... but very beautiful. We saw half one day and the other half the next. Yes, we saw the glacier, but I must admit that it was smaller than I expected. Chris and his family had driven around the park many, many times in their trips to and from the Arctic, but had never actually driven through ... so it was new for all of us.

Psalm 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Be Still, My Soul

Just another 4 days until we begin terminal leave (it was moved from Wednesday 9/10to Friday 9/12). The excitement mounts and I think that my sailor is finally relaxing. He said that in the beginning of his time home his body would just tense up because he "knew" there was SOMETHING that needed to be stressed about. Then when he realized that the pressures of the ship were truly in the past he would relax.

So - change is on the horizon. Change is good, right? In the process, I realize that I - a person who loves planning and mapping things out - am struggling with uncertainty. Imagine that? Am I ready for the new life? Yes, I am excited, don't doubt that - but the change? All I have known in the last 6 years is the life of a military wife and the predictable unpredictability of the life. Imagine taking comfort in that?

So my dear hubby gets home and senses the commotion within me and recommends that I memorize the song "Be Still, My Soul." I break out the hymn book (yes, there was one still unpacked) and read the words. I asked him if he knew what the second verse said. "No" he did not. So I will share these words that have reminded me about where my trust lies.

Be still, My Soul! Thy God doth undertake
To guide thy future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my Soul! the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
-Katharina von Schlegel

So I don't know where you are today or if the sin of worry and anxiety ever claim your time needlessly, but this song and the verse the song is based on have been a rebuke and comfort to us in these days.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God:...
Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. ...