Brand New Count

July 30th, 2018

Today is the end of the worst drought of our lives. Unemployment drought, that is. 689 days. Count em! Mull over them! Just imagine, you’re next. I don’t really want you to face that but after what has happened to us, my husband….I will never be so naive again! It literally could happen to anyone!

The day he came home in the middle of the work day and told me that his company was outsourcing him for a month-to-month IT company, I had NO IDEA what hell lay ahead. July 7th 2016 was and still is one of the hardest days of my life.

Dreams burned to the ground, security out the window and self-confidence smashed like a head-on collision with a train. I cannot lie, we are not the same people. So much has happened. So much hardness, so much sad stuff.

All of it ordained by God.

I feel like I’m in a sort of recovery mode now. Bouncing back is going to take time. We visited a great new church yesterday in Bozeman and the pastor just happened to be preaching on patience. His sermon was laced with advice that specifically addressed where I am this very moment in life.

Anxious to move forward.

One of his points spoke of how jealousy can make us hate. I admit, I have felt heaps and buckets of jealousy over the last 2 years. It’s so shameful to be transparent but I hated seeing the world pass me by. I felt angry that others were living blessed lives while mine was falling into a pit of hell.

Hating the goodness in others lives just reflects on how much fine-tuning God needed to do in my own heart. Ouch.

I’m trying NOT to live screaming through yellow lights right now. My flesh wants to run as fast as it can to escape all the yuck parts of my life. I want everything back. All of it. Now. I know that’s not what I really need.

I need patience.

1. Everything, ev.er.y.thing. takes time.

– I will have a house again.
– I will do the things I think are important to me again.
– I will recoup what I have lost.

….in time.

2. Resentment will only ruin what I’m waiting for (in faith) from God.

– While I’m impatient, God is always patient with me.
– I am hard to handle.
– God is going to use everything, all the hurt…to make me more like Him.

3. I can camp at my broken places.

– If I only knew how incredibly God was going to arrange our lives, I would’ve shut up!
– I’m packing up my resentment & anger. If Joseph can do it, so can I.
– I don’t belong in a state of brokeness.

Listen, life is full of IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING struggles. Losing and winning is all part of the game. Somehow, as children of God you and I have to surrender what we cannot control. I could not do a single thing about my husband’s job loss. Nothing. It put me in such a powerless state and for that I almost lost my dang mind.

What I’ve learned since is that the road may be long and the pain so intense that it feels unbearable…but God is doing something.

He will make a way where there seems none at all. Every time.

Today, I’m starting a brand new count. No more days of unemployment to stack up against us. We are walking in a newness that fills us up and blows our minds everytime we think about it. What we thought we needed…. oh, haha haha! Nope, not at all.

God had a better plan.

Lord,
Your ways are beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you. You know what I need and you love me more than I could ever deserve.
Amen

It’s a Big Sky World

July 26th, 2018

So much has happened in the last 13 days:

We moved to Bozeman slept there 3 nights, packed up our car and left Bozeman heading back to Indiana. Spent a few days packing up our junk, sorting and regrouping all over again to put our things in another storage unit….cause, we homeless! We rented a big ole U-haul, filled it to the roof and took off back to Bozeman again. For forever.

All in a week, give or take a few days.

I cried a lot for the first 2 days in Indiana. Some of it sheer ache of leaving my family and a little of the D R E A D of all the moving work and traveling across the country to put it all away again in another storage space.

Moving is already painful. It’s hard work and of course it was hotter than heck in Indiana. So, every moment was spent sweating our heads off. If you’ve ever rented a U-haul truck then you know it ain’t a pleasure to drive. Imagine almost 1700 miles of jerking and jiving…. no fun!

But, look….it is all behind us now.

Right this very minute I’m sitting in a swanky sweet cafe in BIG SKY, Montana and it’s the week of the Big Sky Professional Bull Riding event of the year. The town is alive! We arrived last night just to camp out amongst the critters and found MY NEW FAVORITE TOWN! The place was buzzing and a huge Farmer’s Market was blocking the streets. We joined right in and that’s when I knew, Big Sky was stealing my dang heart!

Everything is falling into place, really.

For the last 2 years I have prayed like my life depended on it and THIS is what God is showing me.

— Hang in there. He is working and the blessing will literally blow your socks off. ( I LIVE IN MONTANA, PEOPLE!)

— Trust Him with ev.er.y. detail. From the top to the bottom of our needs God has gone beyond and blessed us.

— People don’t know what you’ve been through and that’s okay. We haven’t met a single turd along this MT journey, yet! Every single person has OPENED THEIR ARMS WIDE to welcome us. They are really good at sharing their good fortune of living in the most beautiful state in the USA!

— One thing may lead to another. (I’ll tell ya more on that another time!)

— The peace….it is permeated all through my mind, soul and body right now. Even not having a real house, no big deal! I am in love with this next stage of our lives.

— My husband is so good right now. This crappy crap trip has not been for naught! He starts work Monday and he is going to rock it like a hurricane!

— Still taking applications for besties here. Don’t laugh but….I’ve been offering my friendship to everyone I meet and NOT ONCE has anyone said, “Get lost, loser!”. Even at the gas pump at Costco, made a sister friend who works at the hospital where Don will work. Yea!!

— When we arrived in town on Monday (at lunch time) we had no stinkin idea how we were going to unload that moving truck all by ourselves. We were dead tired from the loading and driving for 3 days…. God provided the most precious 2 young adult dudes to help us! That truck was empty by 9pm and we were D O N E with it all by midnight! 2 days ahead of schedule!

PRAISES!!!

I love that many of you are following along and cheering us to the finish line. Thank you, thank you…..really THANK YOU! The world needs more of YOU’s! People who love and pray and give a rip about people struggling or lost. You make it easier to KEEP ON KEEPING ON!

I can’t wait to get a little more normal and fill my blog with great Montana stories. For now, I gotta run… cause, I’m in BIG SKY y’all!

I LOVE IT HERE! I AIN’T EVER LEAVIN!

Move It Move It

July 19th, 2018

I’m an hour away from picking up the U-haul that is going to be our vessel of transport to Montana and I AM PSYCHED! For the last few days, I’ve sorted and packed all the most important items we own and today we start packing it onto the truck!

I don’t have time for diddly!

My devotion this morning was a good reminder to live my life with a fragrance of gratitude. Moving can really pull out every ugly frustrating selfish attitude if we are not careful. I’m really living in the middle of some extreme thankfulness right this very moment.

Here’s just a few ways:

My storage unit in Indiana – The owner’s have been like friends and have helped us in a million ways. I am so thankful for good people!

My daughter & her hubby – They have not only allowed us to LIVE with them this last year (only a month or so) they have also let us store many of our most treasured items in their home. I am so thankful they love us and our things too!

My son – He has a job over an hour away but will be here after work this evening and again tomorrow to help us LOAD THAT MONSTER TRUCK!! I am so thankful for a hard-working young man!

My girl in Florida – While she might be my most alike workhorse, she can’t be here to tag team boxes and junk…she is CHEERING ME ON from her job in the dirty hot south!

My hubby – HE IS NEVER AFRAID OF HARD STUFF! Maybe that’s just one of the many reasons God put us together. I manifest ulcers at even the thought of all that has to be done. He is like water off a ducks back cool!

Let me just be up front. It is hotter than the hinges of hell in Indiana right now. Today is the first day that the humidity wasn’t strangling you as soon as you walk outside. It is clear, sunnnnnnnnny with a smidgen of a breeze if you can find a tree to stand under. This heat, is what we have to work with for the packing. Nothing we can do about it.

So, suck it up buttercup!

However, one last thing I’m feeling grateful for today….

Some sweet gal OPENING her pool up to her mom & dad…and our work crew (her brother & hubby)!

Splish splash!!

All the Details

July 11th, 2018

Thank you, sweet readers & friends for following along with our journey and for the many encouraging cheers after my last post. I read each of them aloud to Don as we barreled down interstate 90 to our beloved Montana life. We both cried and again praised God for such a force of love behind us. You will never know how much we have needed each of you and at JUST THE RIGHT time God has used one or the other’s of you to lift us up and push us forward.

Giving up has been one of our biggest challenges.

We arrived in Bozeman on Monday afternoon. As God would have it, He provided brand new friends through our dear & faithful small group leaders back in Indiana. Instead of having to drive around looking for a place to park Imagene, God made sure we had a warm welcome in Brooke & Paul. They talked us up to the top of their beautiful mountain farm and I may have thought I’d hit heaven. Who lives like this? When I picture Montana, this place is pretty much exactly what I imagine.

It is view-tactular! No matter which way you turn…..incredible views!

If you have ever wondered whether God is in the details of your life, let my own be a prime example. Brooke & Paul fed us, talked with us and listened to our hopes for this new beginning and offered options to help us get this show on the road. After dinner, they drove us down to a property they own and showed us around to see if it would work to park our camper and live there while we get our feet back under us.

What?

Getting sent to Bozeman, Montana is thrilling! The fact that over 10,000 other excited newcomers are joining us in the search to put down roots is over-whelming! In the last 3 years, that’s the number of newbies have hit the streets of this mountain wonderland!

Housing. Nope. Not happening.

So, the details.

When we sold our house in Indiana…we made enough money to pay off some debt, put our belongings in storage, purchase a new camper and live off of the small amount that was left.

We. Were. Believing. God. Was. Opening. A. Door. Soon.

If not, we were going to work at Costco, Lowes, someone’s farm…whatever! Forget about education or degrees in this or that. None of it seemed to be working all these months, so….

We hit the road, traveled our way to visit Don’s parents and continued to apply for jobs EVERYWHERE in the country. Time just kept screaming by and nothing. Until June 29th!

Details. God is in the details.

We were almost to the end of our moola. I could really get sad and complain but I am eternally grateful that we were not completely tapped out and hungry. We can pay our bills, carefully and with great discipline. But there AIN’T no downpayment for a Montana house.

July 16th was the decided start date for Don at Bozeman Health. Yesterday, his new boss called and said it just wouldn’t work for them. They needed to push him off to the 30th! We were really hoping to get started and begin bringing in a real paycheck again. Instantly, I knew what that extra few weeks meant….

Our whole house is in a storage in Indiana.

We haven’t hugged our beautiful grown up kids since April & December.

Don has been out of his very important medicine for over a month and needs to see his Doc in Indiana.

We will not have time to go back and move our house to Montana once he starts work.

DETAILS.

Look, I could not…even in my pushy make things happen personality orchestrate all these very important details. God knew exactly what we needed and He managed to make room for every little issue. We need this extra time. We have to get our things here and this could not have worked out any better.

I want so badly to find a place to move my house into but there is just no opening for us financially right now. However, if I’ve learned anything through this last 2 years….it is DO NOT PUT GOD IN A BOX! He is in the details!

What I see as impossible, He proves over & over to be a matter of details.

I’m not worried, like before.

I’m not afraid, like before.

I’m not in a hole of doubt, like before.

I’m not concerned about the other 10,000 people searching or competing for a space to live, I believe God will provide for them and for me. No need to fret.

I’m not bummed out that I have to move from one storage to another right now. I’ll at least be able to get to my things again.

I’m not going to doubt God, He is working. Look where I am today!

(Denise, I TOOK THESE PICTURES!!)

The dark spot is a black bear on Ted Turner’s ranch.

FYI:

There are no parks with openings to set up our camper. None. They have waiting lists. God knew that so he gave us Brooke & Paul. They have property and even rental homes if the need arises.

Storage companies do not have any available space for the size of our house items. NONE! Again, waiting lists. I called a guy yesterday who flat out told me, I have NO SPACE. Before we hung up, he offered me a 10 x 20 storage space for $65. I pay $130 in Indy.

My dog Miss Lizzy has been very sick. The vet in Washington discovered heart disease and put her on 7 different medications. She just wasn’t improving to us. The first words out of Brooke’s mouth when we pulled up were YOU DO KNOW I’M A VET, RIGHT? Come on, Lord!

We are going to be okay.

God,
You see every need before I do. Thank you for working out all the details and I appreciate how you remind me to be patient. Good things really are coming!
Amen

It’s Moving Time

July 9th, 2018

After 658 long, beat-the-bushes, cry in your beer (we don’t drink beer, but you get the point) and about 2400 resume changes along with hours spent filling out applications for jobs that force you to jump through a hundred ridiculous hoops and then never email or call you back to say, NO days….

My hubby has accepted a J O B !!!

By the time you read this post, we will have probably arrived in our new “home” town and we are flippin’ out!

Oh the places we’ve been the last few months since we left Indiana! We have pinched ourselves over & over from all the incredible jaw dropping moments. Oregon Coast? Hands down, my fantasy land! I don’t know why it affected me so deeply, it will stick with me forever! Love it. And, Washington is a wonderland itself. The USA is beautiful and I’ve seen firsthand the rolling fields, snow-capped mountains, deep whale infested waters, waterfalls, red canyons, stood on the top of mountains…animals of all kinds and eaten donuts in every state. My life is one to desire, honestly. I ain’t kidding!

We feel incredibly blessed, in spite of the rocky road we’ve traveled personally. Life is challenging, for everyone. I could probably write a novel of all the ups & downs but I’m really tired of being a dang Debbie downer! It is time to pick myself up and get back to being ME!

In all our miles and out of all the many states, we did not step one foot in this particular state during our travels. Not because we feel indifferent, but because we planned to enjoy it on our way back home….only God had other plans.

I mean, really crazy plans.

First, let me say….I am really missing my people back in Indiana (& Ally in Florida). I’ve wished I was home a million times to hug my kids, have a meal together and just be normal. That isn’t easy to do when you’re on the other side of the country. So, I stuck it out. Okay, maybe I’ve threatened a few times to arrange a flight home and never leave again. But that was just the mama in me talking. I MISS MY DANG KIDS!!!

I won’t miss the Indy traffic, well, maybe somedays.

I might need a bit more cold weather items, perhaps a 2nd pair of Sorel boots (huh, babe?). I’m so glad I bought a pair last year! Oh, and you betcha we’re going to add to our fishing equipment!

It was voted #10 in the best places to live in the USA! That’s gotta count for something, right?

Have you guessed yet?

It’s cold. It’s mountainous. It’s expansive & expensive! It’s far from Indiana, like 23 hours far. It’s full of stuff to do, places to see and I’m certain… GOOD PEOPLE!

I am so excited!

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I bet you had it figured out, I just wanted to be dramatic. Thanks for hangin on!

It all began when my hubby saw a PART TIME job opening at a hospital in Bozeman, MT. He applied only because we were traveling and thought we could park our wagon there to do a p/t stint while still beating the jobhunt streets for a full-time real life j o b!

Then, they called. Called again. And then called several more times.

The funniest part? From the first call, the HR gal got acquainted with our situation and knew we were ON THE ROAD traveling. Every call, she would ask where we were. Never, not once did she say…I wish you were close-by so we could actually interview you in person. Each call, she was encouraging and made arrangements to skype talk or connect with other HR folks to talk with Don too.

It started to get annoying.

Weeks seemed to keep zipping by and no offer. We crossed them off the wish list. According to her, they wanted to hire by June. Yea, June was flying by too. We gave up. Done. Bye, Montana!

Friday the 29th will forever be etched into my brain because it was more like a Friday the 13th. Emotion over-load. Stress, frustration and defeat pounced like a roaring lion on both of us. We argued, blamed, threatened, planned to pack up and head home….and we cried.

THE
STRESS
WAS
UNREAL

I mean, seriously!!! How long can this craziness go on? What is the deal? Why is no one offering him a job? HE IS AWESOME!!! I’m not the only one who loves my husband! Really!

We scraped ourselves together and decided to get out and explore to drown our sorrows and to regroup. We were a m e s s! While I was locking the door, hubby came running over showing me a missed call on his phone. EYES BULGING!!!

We stood there stunned out of our minds at the timing. Then, ran inside and began praying! Minutes later, the call came again and the rest is history!

Or future. Cause, we’re moving y’all. Bozeman, Montana is our new town!

Not only is it a beautiful place, the job offer was primo and NOT part-time! So good, so exciting and so answered prayer. 2 long ugly years of praying! God provided a better job than he had before, higher pay and excellent benefits to boot. PLUS, WE WILL LIVE IN MONTANA! What?

I can’t wait to get this next chapter started!

Lord,
You have remained steadfast, even when I whined & cried and lost all sense of faith. Thank you, for loving me anyway and for providing every single meal, bed to sleep on and people to love me. I want to be useful, no matter where I live and Montana will surely do.
Amen

Did y’all hear me? They hired my guy without ever having an in-person interview. For a management job? Come on, that’s Jesus at work!

You Don’t Deserve It

July 6th, 2018

I cannot wrap my brain around the part of our society that DEMANDS all reward and compensation be given to them. For doing nothing, just free.

I do not have a single thing in my life that I did not have to earn.

Nothing worth having is ever valuable to you if someone just hands it to you. Each of us have a responsibility to care for ourselves, help others we see in need and to honor God with our lives while doing both.

Look, I’m not talking down on any person who CANNOT physically work or help themselves. Please hear me with love on this, my husband hasn’t had a job in 2 years! Never did we turn to government assistance in all that time. We nearly lost everything we own because there was ZERO money coming in. Still, we pushed on and worked here & there just to make it. Taking jobs that were often out of comfort zones.

I cannot accept garbage posts on social media ranting about the atrocity of unfairness for subjects such as NOT PAYING FOR government EMPLOYEES TAMPONS. Really? No one I’ve ever worked for has ever GIVEN me any of my feminine hygiene products for free. Ever.

Who can honestly take this kind of outrage seriously?

Please. Tell me.

I’m listening.