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July 13.2012 005Moving is an adventure.  There are few words that describe this transition in life better than this one term.  In three syllables it encompasses joy, newness, glitches, concerns, shock and awe.

Timing is everything.  Trying to plan a home purchase, utilities sign-up, insurance costs, bank accounts, automobile registration, licensing and smog inspection along with church shopping, store shopping and post office shopping, the list is long for setting up our home in a different state, culture and neighborhood.

Yet, it is invigorating to start-up a new life.  New friends abound, new sights fill up our eyes, new road trips lead us in all directions of the compass.  Of course our palate is looking for different ways to cook beef, chicken, pork and fish.  Here in Texas there are distinct flavors of food that make the locals very proud.

The Texas heat made us get creative quickly.  We found places to go where the inside A/C was so refreshing.  Sometimes it was a shopping mall, other times it was a movie theater.  Still at other times we let the air conditioning of a friend’s home welcome us inside from the heat.

High on our memories of our move to Texas one year ago was juggling the timing of purchasing a home and moving our “priceless stuff” from the West Coast.  Our home in Texas had not yet closed.  The moving company was ready to pick up our possessions in California.

Movers charge according the time that personal goods are in their possession.  Keeping that time to a minimum was important.  Stewardship means a lot to us.

Juggling our California departure, my Texas work start date and the closing of the house all had to be coordinated.  If you take it too seriously, you could lose your mind.  We were determined to roll with the punches, adjust and flex.

To do so meant that we ended up being in our new home before our furniture arrived.  Trying to be prepared, we threw a folding table into the back of my pickup truck along with two folding chairs.  Then, we added a box of pots, pans, dishes and flatware.

Once the real estate agents handed us the house keys, we ceremoniously walked into our new home.  It was very spartan, almost “collegesque”.  To us it was part of the adventure.  It was like a picnic in our newly adopted state.  God gives us blessings no matter how odd they may seem.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

We have been friends for years.  Our lives have been directed into positions of leadership that have surprised us both.  In the course of being in the chair where the buck stops, we are deeply sympathetic toward each other.

My role has been changed.  Just as I simply followed God’s directives that led me into the office of leadership I have also followed His sovereignty to relocate to into roles of shepherding.  Questioning Him in times of elation, responsibility or pain is never productive; obedience and trust are sufficient.

Wherever He has led me I do the same thing.  That calling has not changed. Implementing a priority on preaching the Word, loving people and discipling men have been my priorities for generations and will continue to be.

My friend leads a school that God has powerfully used over generations.  They have produced amazing individuals who have served the LORD all around the globe.  It is an honor to not only be an alumnus but also to pray for the school regularly over the week.

Now, he has asked me to consider a very special invitation.  It has blown me away.  Never have I ever thought that this would ever be a real option for me.

Dallas Theological Seminary has called on me to serve as the Dean of DTS-Houston.  DTS has a full campus in Houston and I am ecstatic to accept God calling in this direction.  To be a part of what invested so significantly in my life is stunning.

Houston has surpassed New York as the most diverse city in the USA.  That demographic alone is exciting.  The church and DTS-Houston can model what the impact of the Gospel is all about.

As the Spirit calls those who God touches into the ministry, we can now train them to handle the Word well.  Those who lead others in the Word can love the people who gather to hear the Scriptures made clear.  They will also need to stand firm against the wiles of the Devil, persevere against the trials from enemies and remain resilient as they endure the demands of ministry to people.

I look forward to being a part of shaping those lives that God has called to ministry.  Cheering them on and training them to withstand all that come up against will be my commitment.  God is moving us to Texas and I am ecstatic!

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

We made an aggressive move this week.  Our garage was the last vestige of storage center for boxes desiring to be unpacked.  Enough is enough!

A day-off matched our open schedule.  We tackled all of the boxes that needed to be unpacked.  It was triage time.

Neither of us knew what to do with so many of the boxes.  We looked at each other, hoping for a solution.  Then, the word came to us, “Triage!”

We opened each box and decided if we knew what we would do with the contents.  If it we were certain where the items would go, then, we moved those boxes into a certain pile.  However, if we didn’t know what to do with the contents they would go into another pile.

One thing for sure, we wanted to clear out the garage.  Either we would store what was in the boxes, donate it to a charity or throw it away.  Those were the only three options.

Whenever the boxes were Yvonne’s or mine we would move those into our separate offices.  That made the pile of boxes shrink very fast.  Of course our offices are full again!

The biggest pile include the items that we are giving away to the Salvation Army.  That pile can stay in the garage until my next day-off.  Then, I’ll transport those items to the collection truck that is parked a couple of miles away.

I carried a few boxes into my office.  Of course I played the knight in shining armor and carried Yvonne’s boxes into her office for her.  Now, in our living room there are six boxes left.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It is such a relief!  Now, our garage is a garage again.  There is so much room to move around.

My tool chest is free to open the slider drawers at will.  The storage closet next to my tools can open up too.  I’m thrilled that this unpacking only took us ten months.

Whenever I walk through our garage, I smile.  You can breathe in that wonderful space.  It a man-thing. 

I love it when a car can pull into its own room and feel protected from the elements.  My motorcycle has the other bay all to itself.  Also, my sports gear can be reached without any more climbing over boxes.  It is a good thing!

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Monday is my day-off.  But, this Monday would NOT be a day for fun and frolicking.  Instead, today would be a work day; we are moving.

We have a new place to call home.  For the last couple of weeks we have been collecting boxes, packing boxes and organizing boxes.  Our garage is our staging area with categories ready for loading.

Over a number days we moved boxes and boxes of our earthly possessions downstairs into the garage.  Regularly, I would scan the mounting mountain of stuff and marvel that we were Costco, Wal-mart, Target, Marshalls, Home Depot and Cabela’s all wrapped up into one distribution warehouse. We  could open our own discount small box distribution center.

But, moving is a side matter.  We are excited about moving or maybe we are motivated to do so.  The past robberies have us in a suspicious state.

whenever an unsavory sort walks by our complex, we watch them with an eye of suspicion.  We live on a block in the city of San Francisco that many use as a walking corridor to catch the bus into downtown.  Most of these pedestrians used to look normal. 

Since we became victims of a common city crime we are tackling every suspicious person who even glances at our apartment.  We frisk them, take their picture, water-board them until they confess every sin in the past year and then we invite them to church.  It keeps us busy.

In between population wrestling, we load Bubba with another load of our worldly stuff and head off to our next home.  We download everything that we just loaded a mere 9 miles away.  Then, we carry them up the stairs.  Will there be elevators in heaven?

It struck me during our ascending of the stairs that each time we have moved I have gotten older.  Now, I huff and puff then sit and rest when I am moving boxes.  Maybe a large dumpster should park on the driveway and I’ll pause and ask do I want to carry this up the stairs or save a climb and dumb this load?

Yeah, I’m just musing.  I’m afraid that if I did order a dumpster, I just might jump in it and take a nap.  Hey, leave me alone. I’m tired and ache all over.  I didn’t even know that I had muscles where I’m hurting right now.

photo credit: google image

Our new home is wonderful.  Yvonne and I have enjoyed its location and close proximity to many shops, restaurants and markets.  It also gives us easy access to the freeways making our once laborious journeys swift and easier to manage.

But, before we can really call it home, we have to unpack.  Yep, we are living in a forest of boxes again.  It seems like it was just a year ago that we were in the woods of stuff packed into neat 1.3 cubit foot corregated storage containers.

Then, it was just a year before last year that we were moving boxes from one place to the other.  That’s three moves in three years.  You might think that we are experts at this and it gets easier and easier.  Ha!

Moving was very efficient this time.  We had far more less to move this time.  With each of our past relocation moments we substantially reduced our earthly possessions.

We both had a good idea of how to pack our stuff, at least what we had left.  There was no need to write out lists.  We don’t have that much any more.

But, maybe we should have made a list.  I have been looking for a few important items.  First, it was my electric razor.  It was missing for a long time.  For a while I was sporting the lumberjack look.

Second, I was looking for a rain jacket.  Of course it has been raining for the last several days.  Finally, it was found!

Now, I’m still looking for my power cord for my cell phone.  There are now a dozen boxes that I have opened hoping that my power cord would be there.  It has not materialized. 

There are a few more boxes left to open.  Before I can get to them, however, I have to find some place to put everything that I have taken out of the last dozen boxes.  But, I’m tired.

I was so pooped that I looked up the stairs and wondered if there was another option to climbing them.  Oh, I forgot to mention that to get to the boxes that I opened I had to move solid oak dresser down the stairs, a rolltop desk DOWN the stairs, two full sized solid wood bookshelves down the stairs and a few other large furniture pieces into our garage.  Moving is not my favorite passtime.  Digging through a haystack would be much more desirable.

photo credit: google image

Getting ready to move was natural.  We were motivated to wrap things up and relocate.  Deadlines and limited available time urged us to make good plans, structure our days to prepare for the big move and do everything that we could to move enough on our own to save the professional movers from taking longer than necessary – they work by the hour.

We are exhausted.  This house seems stuffed with furniture and boxes.  While the move was well organized, the unpacking was never a part of our thinking.  Rats!

My electric razor is missing.  Yvonne was mortified that I did not shave for several days.  Oh well, that rough beard is the Brad Paisley look, eh?  Can’t get cooler than Brad.

It’ll be a while before we can entertain guests.  We have to place our furniture, unpack the boxes, store our goods, hang up our clothes, etc.  There is also the challenge to reduce our stuff even further. 

Our list is long.  The chores are substantial.  Time is a precious commodity that is in very short supply.

A surprise awaited us.  Both Yvonne and I were plumb tuckered out from the move.  We didn’t have a lot of energy left for the unpacking or managing a home set-up.  Our kids came to our rescue.

They showed up and the extra hands and strong backs helped us move the major pieces to their prefered location.  This young lives with fresh ideas helped us organize how we could best utilize the available space in our new home. 

But, what was really fun was our first dinner together.  Yvonne cooked up a storm.  Then, hungrily  we gathered around the table.

After thanking God for provision, family and fun we dug into the feast.  Each of us filled our plates and passed the dishes to the next family member.  Laughter, teasing and good conversation linked our feeding frenzy.

During several moments I paused and took in the very fun sounds.  Stainless ware clinked on plates.  Hot soup has several blowing steadily to bring temperatures to tongue-soothing levels.  Serving spoons became foils for fencing for the next piece of chicken, all in good fun of course. 

Home is where the heart is.  Our hearts are filled with the joy of our children filling up our home, our new home.  Boxes may fill up the space but our lives are filled with the joy of family.

photo credit: google image