Monday, April 10, 2017

Pesky Plans

We've learned much in the past few years. We identify with Paul in many ways. I have always loved his passion and zeal for intimacy with Jesus. We identify with his fervent prayers for healing; to be answered, "My grace is sufficient for you."  (2 Cor 12:9).

Our hearts broke (and continue to break in small ways) when we realized we would not be living in Japan for the next decade or so. Again, Paul proved an example of one who lived with a diverted plan. Knowing what we know of Paul, he did not make plans willy-nilly. He would have prayed about the plan before voicing and committing to it. As did we - for years.  (Acts 16).  I don't know why God would lead one way, then seem to change plans mid-route. He did it to Paul.  Great fruit came from Paul being willing to follow where God led - daily. This BIG change of plans began a work in my "passionate planning heart."

It was followed by a zillion littler plans which refused to stay planned! Pesky Plans. 😁Faithful blog readers have watched my struggle with this aspect of our full-time experience. We found a host job; we were needed in CA. We planned to visit ID; we were told to stay in OR. Perhaps, this is one of the biggest lessons God has taught me during our season of full-time RVing. Oh, I KNEW it, I taught it, but I have had to live it in the grittiness of  life's transitions, unexpected health plans and ever- changing circumstances.  Hold the plans with open palms....don't grasp.....allow God to change them....surrender to Him and flex....FLEX.  Ps 33:11, "The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation." God has a plan. He's working out His heart for us and for our children and for those He has designed for our lives to impact in Alaska. We don't see it all clearly, but we know He's moving.

We shared our summer-winter plan a couple of months ago. Yes, they've changed!😏
  • June - Alex and Nolan join the three older male Gherkins for the Epic AK hike
  • July/Aug - AlCan; introduce the younger to Alaska; possibly buy some property - see JaRissa and Cy after their moves to AK. 
  • Sept - Nov - Travel across the North and spend the fall in the NE and then down around the south (See friends along the way).
  • Nov-Dec - spend the Holidays in OR with family and BreZaak and CoRielle
  • Move  to Alaska spring or summer 2018????
This plan allowed us to travel - which we desperately want to do. It allowed us to be here for Baby D2's birth.  It allowed us to begin transplanting our roots in Alaska.  It allowed us to slowly and carefully transition from full-time RVing to a more planted life. We weren't 100% sure we'd settle in 2018...but the property would be there if we did. We were a bit unsettled about Nolan's senior year - but all in all it was a good plan.  It was orderly, slow and very doable. 
Bella has deep thoughts about plans! Lovely hat m'dear.

When BreZaak talked to us about all the upcoming challenges they face - both being unemployed the end of May - I told Bre, "We know what you and Izaak can do. Let's see what God can do in this situation." We all prayed. Those words stuck with MY SPIRIT. 

"OK God. I don't know what you're doing in OUR lives. Nothing has gone as expected since retirement. I don't know what you're doing in BreZaak's life.....but I KNOW you ARE working. I'm going to stand back and watch what You are up to."

One day a couple of weeks ago, Izaak called and asked if we could go to lunch and talk. We knew they had several feelers out and guessed they'd like to talk through some options. They managed to surprise us.

"We wonder what you would think of us moving to Alaska."  Izaak has always wanted to live in Alaska. We knew they'd discussed it, "when the time was right." We knew Bre was reluctant to live in the cold (maybe it's genetic?).  Why these men can't pine for Hawaii,  I don't know. 😉 Alaska simply wouldn't leave them alone. This seems a good season for them to take the leap of faith. We understand being drawn to Alaska. They wondered if they could live with us until they find jobs. Well - that would be great. Of course, we need to find a home! Our time-table and plans changed again.   
See Grandpa Mike's blurred hand - playing a game of wits and speed w/ Bella
We are in the process of searching for a spot to call home, with some special elements....we aren't sure what this will mean for full-time RVing/traveling. In 2015, we didn't expect to retire in Alaska.  Michael dreamed of doing so, however,  I like HEAT (tropics, W TX). Alaska didn't seem like a compromise. Beyond the temps, we decided it would be hard to be elderly up there without children and we wanted to live near children. This became even more important when we started the Parkinson's journey.  Of course, our children weren't settling in any ONE spot at that point.  We agreed to find some central location between them all to settle - eventually.  We joked we'd stay in the RV until the kids lighted somewhere. 

Last May JaRissa moved to Alaska.

This May Josiah is moving to Alaska.

BreZaak are moving to Alaska by the end of the summer. 

Six of  the nine Gherkins will be in Alaska by fall (including the three who travel with us). I guess we should join them. Seriously, after Josiah mentioned his plans, the kids would like us up there, we would like to be near the kids as we age (you know in 30 years) - last summer I mentioned maybe we should explore moving to Alaska. Michael jumped on the idea.  Our two wanderers will live the wandering lifestyle and we plan to visit them often (Krista and Jamin). Arielle and Cory are in college and we don't look to see them settle in OR. We suspected, even a year ago, BreZaak would not be at the college "forever." The biggest concentration of Gherkins is in Alaska. 

I still have my concerns about icy roads and COLD....but I've been convicted. I was willing to go to Japan, which is cold and icy in the winter, at God's calling. Can I see God may have ministry for us in Alaska? Can I not be as willing to go to Alaska? I can. I just have to keep surrendering and looking forward. It's a good plan, full of blessings. It does require surrendering the dream to be full timers....

In the process - God is putting together another lovely dream - living in the same area as many of our kids. I grew up watching The Waltons. Growing up as a missionary kid and then a military spouse - I KNEW I'd never have all my kids in one spot - but look what God is doing! 💗

It's like an Alaskan chip was planted in the Gherkins during those years long ago...and they're migrating back 12 years later. 

Our new sketchy plan:
  • May - Denver CO for Mom G's burial, see as many friends as we can
  • May 12th (or maybe 11th) Jamin graduates from A&M 
  • Make our way back to OR
  • First week of June  - guys have their Epic Alaskan Hike; Michael, Stacia and I will fly up and attempt to find a home. 
  • Back in OR for the remainder of June/July as we celebrate Baby D2's arrival 
  • End of July/August move to Alaska
  • Possibly visit OR around Thanksgiving
Eventually, we'll be able to travel some....and BreZaak can watch the homestead. LOL  We are debating taking Uchi up for some of us to live in, or parking her in the lower 48 for quick traveling when the itch arises. The allure of hopping a plane, grabbing Uchi and heading for TEXAS is big. LOL

Do your plans stay planned? Are you a planner or do you like life to be unplanned? Will you pray for us as we look at buying property and/or a house? This is big stuff for a family used to pcsing/moving every 3 years.

Psst....If you're Air Force or Army - put ALASKA on your dream sheet and come visit us! We'll scout out the fun things to do before you arrive. We even hope to have a guest cabin.

Editor's Note 15 May 2017 - CoRielle are expecting a baby in November and are joining the great migration this summer.

Note - if this post is impossible to comprehend, you may want to check the Acronym file linked below the blog header. Uchi is the name of our 38 ft Class A home on wheels; Gherkins is a loving term for our children - our ancestors were pickle makers in the old country. 

Monday AGAIN?

The weekends go far too quick.....and so begins another week. Mom is seeing an Oncology Physical Therapist as there is concern she is developing lymphedema. It's been amazing to see the progress she is making in range of motion and more by working with the physical therapist. Today, she got to work on a couple of machines.
Mom at PT
 After  the appointment, Michael and the boys left to drive to Portland. Josiah drove down from Seattle. Alas, the Spurs lost - but the photo shows they're enjoying each other anyway. 
Spurs fans! 
Stacia and I took advantage of being "stranded" at the RV to bake (Stacia) and work on some admin things (me). I'm also tackling a laundry pile that got out of our S/B house it would have been 3 or 4 loads. With the RV washer - We're already on the 5th load and I *MAY* be 1/2 way through the job. My goal is to have it done before the guys return. Lesson learned - it doesn't pay at all to let laundry pile up in the RV - even if the family jokes about taking clothes off and finding them folded and in the top of their drawer two hours later. LOL