Ready for Change

Ready for Change

autumn GR

The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation.
Psalm 33:11

On the last Wednesday of October, I took Mom for a little drive. The trees, dressed in fabulous fall colors, put on quite a show. Every so often Mom would point and say, “There’s a pretty one,” or “Look at the color on that one.” The day was lovely and our time together was a delight, but the autumn colors were a reminder that winter, my least favorite season, is coming, and I can’t do a thing about it.

The weather isn’t the only thing changing this fall. Our country will soon have a new president and new members of Congress. State and local governments will welcome new faces, too. Our family faces changes, too, as we prepare to move to a new home in a new town. And our church is preparing for the changes that will accompany the arrival of a new associate pastor.

We all respond differently to change. I dread the arrival of winter’s cold and snow. Hiram looks forward to putting in cross country ski trails after each big snow. Voters who vote for this year’s winning candidates will be pleased on November 9, while those whose candidates lose will be disconcerted. And even though God has made it clear that our upcoming move is part of his plan for our family, Hiram and I vacillate daily between the excitement of watching God’s plan unfold and panic about the downsizing, packing, paperwork, and the million little details that are part of our adventure.

As a church body, we are eager to welcome a new associate pastor. We are ready for the guidance of a godly man who will be a support to Pastor Tim by providing vision and leadership as our church grows. But how will we respond when the changes he recommends are different from the way things have always been done? When we are pushed beyond our comfort zones and complacency? When change is welcomed by some and painful for others?

How can we respond to change in ways that honor God and draw onlookers closer to him? That is a question God wants us to ponder. It’s the question he brings to mind each day while I sort through old family treasures and photographs. When I think of leaving the house where my children grew up, where we made 25 years of family history.

“Your memories are enough, and I am enough,” he whispers gently and insistently. “I will not change, and I will never leave you,” he promises. “I am still good. My ways are good, and I will accomplish my good purposes within you wherever I take you.”

His words give me the power to part with material things and a home I hols dear. His words will be our nation’s source of hope the day after the 2016 election. His words can fill us with grace and confidence to welcome the changes God has planned for our church body through the work of a new associate pastor. His words are the unchanging beacon of truth that allow us to respond to changes, good and bad, in ways that honor God and make him irresistible to a watching world.

His words are enough.
He is enough.

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The Purgeal Vortex of 2014

The Purgeal Vortex of 2014

closet purge

Can you believe it? While our nation catches its collective breath after the Great Polar Vortex of 2014, an even scarier event is taking shape in the country’s midsection.

Get ready for the Great Purgeal Vortex of 2014.

The epicenter is located in an unassuming farmhouse on the edge of a small Iowa town. The vortex began gaining strength last fall when the unassuming residents of the unassuming farmhouse helped rellies pack up their households and move to new digs. Those moving experiences made the farmhouse residents think about their intent to pack their own household in a few years, when they hope to move closer to their kids. And they realized, that after 25 years in the same house, they have too much stuff.

Hence the Great Purgeal Vortex of 2014.

It begins this weekend, so consider this your warning to take cover. For the next two months, do not, repeat, do not hide in the closets, cupboards, attic, or basement of the unassuming farmhouse as they will be purged with great vigor and ruthless determination. Do not take cover in the back of the pick up truck parked in the farmhouse garage or at the Goodwill and Salvation Army drop off locations in this small Iowa town as they will serve as purge depositories.

Above all, do not try to stop the woman who instigator the Great Purgeal Vortex of 2014.

She is deadly serious and believed to be armed with old cookware and hangs around with craft projects gone bad. She was last seen wearing an old sweatshirt and dusty blue jeans, and she had a pair of ice skates that looked like they’d been stored in an attic for decades hanging over her shoulder. She was carrying several bulging bags and boxes, and had a Goodwill Donor’s Valuation Guide clutched in one sweaty hand.

Again, do not try stop this woman.

Just stay home, safely out of her way until the Great Purgeal Vortex of 2014 is over at the end of February. Or better yet, start a purgeal vortex at your own house. It’s ugly while it lasts, but once it’s over the people who will one volunteer to help you move after you’ve lived in the same house for 25 years will thank you.

Don’t ask me how I know this.

Top Ten Tips for Moving Day

Top Ten Tips for Moving Day

Hiram and I are back from helping our son and his wife, our new daughter, move from Minnesota to Wisconsin. The weekend was a sequel to our August trip when we helped our daughter and her husband, our new son, move from Iowa to Ohio. Through the twin adventures, we gained some do-it-yourself-moving-tips to pass along to you.

10.   Always move in the heat of summer or in questionable winter weather. It makes for
better stories later.
9.    Make sure the house being moved into is near a decent coffee shop and/or bakery. 8.    If you a dog is moving with you, talk to my new daughter. She knows how to keep
animals calm and happy.
7.     Budget for breakage and trips to the coffee shop/bakery.
6.     Take Hiram along on all moves. He is the calmest person on earth and good at fixing
stuff. Unlike his wife who shall remain nameless.
5.    Assign the wimpiest of the moving crew, who shall remain nameless, to plan and
prepare meals ahead of time. She will feel like she’s doing her part even when
passing heavy boxes on to her husband, son, and new daughter to carry.
4.    Move on the day the new village has their annual Christmas festivals. The sound of
fireworks during supper makes the day feel festive.
3.    Take plenty of hand lotion. Breaking down cardboard boxes dries out the skin.
2.    Look carefully at cell phones before stowing them in your purse or pocket. Otherwise
you could discover your son’s cell phone in your purse and yours in your suitcase.
1.    Walk completely around the U Haul truck before getting in and driving away.
Otherwise, you could drive away without shutting its back door, scattering suitcases
and table leaves for several blocks until the loud honks from other vehicles alerts you
of the problem and you pull over just before getting onto a very busy road. Don’t ask
how I know this.

How about you? What have you learned about do-it-yourself moves over the years? Your tips would be greatly appreciated!

Monday Morning Jig

Monday Morning Jig

The weather was glorious this morning, and so was my mood. During my walk along the gravel road, I ticked off the blessed unclutteredness of this new week:

  • Daughter and a truckload of her belongings and some of Grandma’s old furniture safely deposited at college.
  • Daughter’s boyfriend and some of Grandma’s old furniture safely deposited at his apartment.
  • Son and some of Grandma’s old furniture safely deposited in his apartment.
  • Son’s fiance and some of Grandma;s furniture safely deposited in her apartment.
  • Some of Grandma’s old furniture safely deposited at cousin’s house.
  • The rest of Grandma’s old furniture put to good use in our house.
  • The walls of the guest room are now visible with extra furniture gone.
  • The garage stall, full of this and that since Mom’s house sold in March, finally empty again.
  • Anne’s bedroom, minus the truckload of stuff she took to college, is now available for house guests.
  • Mystery novel compete, edited, and on its way to the publishing house considering it.
  • Different Dream website ready to be launched.
  • I have uninterrupted work time now that daughter is safely deposited at college, along with a pickup load of her belongings.
  • Mother safely tucked away at brother’s house, her finances organized and under control, the last of her keepsakes being distributed to appreciative owners.

Finally, after months of boxes and extra furniture, after weeks of overwhelming projects, I was ready to move on. Feeling light as a feather, I did a little woo-hoo whoop and jigged up the driveway, arranging and rearranging my week’s vast, uncluttered expanses of time and space. When I came around the garage, my happy dance ended. Stacked in front of the kitchen door were three boxes. The books I’d ordered from the publisher had arrived, much sooner than expected. As my vast, uncluttered expanses of space and time evaporated, and I hauled the cartons into the kitchen, I checked off one last blessing:

  • We got the shelving unit from Mom’s basement painted and moved into our bedroom on Saturday. Just in the nick of time, I have a place to stack the books.

My feet and heart are dancing again.

Not What We Expected

Not What We Expected

Sunday was different than we expected. My mom’s been dealing with health issues lately, staying at my brother and sister-in-law’s off and on for the last six weeks while she doctors and tries to regain her strength. Yesterday, Hiram and I went to their house for lunch. After lunch, we planned to visit an assisted living facility with Mom, then discuss with her what she wants to do for the next six months – go to the facility or stay with my brother and sister-in-law.

We got down there, and Mom had already decided to stay with them this fall and winter. A look at the calendar told us we’d better move clothes and furniture immediately while we had the chance – the next several weekends are booked and busy. So we canceled the appointment at assisted living, loaded Mom in the truck with John and followed them forty miles to her house, with a brief stop at our place to exchange our car for Hiram’s pickup.

Three hours later, we were done loading, driving and unloading Mom’s car and two trucks full of Mom’s stuff. Whew! When we were done, we celebrated this new stage of Mom’s life with ice cream sundaes.

Mom won’t make final decisions about her house until next spring. Her health has improved somewhat in the past few weeks, so by next spring she could be ready to live there again. If you’d like to celebrate this temporary move with her, email me and I’ll send you her contact information. She’s had lots of changes lately and many more to come, and she’d love to hear your familiar voice on the phone.