Friday, December 28, 2007


What a pleasant Christmas time for us. I have been off work since the 20th (my birthday) and have done absolutely NOTHING but rest. Waking up around 9:00, taking a nap with Gresham, then laying down with him again around 7:00 for the night. What a life a child has huh? I wish those days of being told to take a nap, going to bed early, and have rest time during the day were part of the adult world. I wonder how that would change attitudes during the day?

We decided not to go to Ohio during the Christmas break. We haven't found a farm that has captured our attention enough to drive the 8 hours to get to it. Ildi is still diligently looking at property, and I have contacted an old high school friend to tell me about the areas we are looking at. We are starting to narrow down our search. It is exciting to be closer and closer to buying our place.

It's Friday night again, pizza night, and the girls have set the dough up for pizza tonight. We have been watching Wives and Daughters the last few nights and will finish up with the special features of the DVD tonight. Not having a television has been great so far. I have found a online TV video site that I am able to watch the 3rd season of Lost on; certainly not like watching a DVD or regular TV but it suffices. It is nice not to have the temptation to turn the TV on when there is nothing to do. So many times in the past, when there was nothing going on, it was easy just to turn the TV on and sit and watch for a few hours. Inevitably though, it usually consumed more time than what I would like to admit. I am thinking ahead to the Summer Olympics in Bejjing 2008. How am I going to get the coverage of the Olympics? The Summer Olympics are one of my favorite things to watch. I guess I could always borrow a TV for the eight weeks or so. I am wondering if Youtube or another video hosting site will air them?

It's rainy and cold now in NC. The temperature here should be making a shift toward colder weather in the next week or so. Hopefully we will have snow!

Monday, December 17, 2007

after 10 tears (i mean ten years!)

Last Sunday night, I sent the culminating work of the last ten years of my education. The Thesis Research Paper on multiple intelligence. I started the Master of Education in Cross-Cultural Teaching 10 years ago in 1998. Technically, you are supposed to finish the teaching part in five years or less, and the master part in two years or less, accounting for a total of seven years max. Whoops! I missed that one. I had to write an extension letter to the University and wait for their approval of extending the program for me. They did, and I just finished with it by sending the work. Now, I wait for a couple months to get the piece of paper I paid $29,000.00 dollars for! Yeah for me. (or not)

I have missed this type of writing...not having to cite all my sources. I was joking the other day with Ildi saying that I would write or say things like "according to Ildi, (2007) in her comment about our lives here in NC..." around the house. She didn't seem too amused by it.

We are now going to be actively involved in the "hunt" for the farm. Ildi has continued to research online about property and has built quite a base of knowledge on what is available. She could have written a Thesis on "property" and the pursuit of it with the amount of time she has spent researching. I am thankful that she has that "researching" gift. I don't. Hence the 10 tears (I mean years).

Christmas is quickly approaching, we are experiencing some colder weather, and school break time is this week. I really want it to snow here for the children to experience, but if it doesn't, we will probably travel up to Ohio for a short visit with family and friends.

Tradition, and traditional activities have not always been part of our lives. We have however, started a few over the years. One of them is that we have Crepes each Christmas morning for breakfast. It is the only time Ildi makes them so it makes it a special type of tradition. I am wanting to establish traditions more and more in our family's life. They have a sense of belonging and purpose to them.

Please post some of your family holiday traditions for me to see.

Asher said the other day that we should only get one Christmas present a piece this year. I asked why of course. He said, "If we get too many presents, we will just have to box them up when we move". He is a practical thinker :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

into the holiday season

For our readers, I hope your Thanksgiving celebration was filled with joy and peace. And that you had Thanksgiving dinner several times afterwards as well. I almost enjoy the left-over meals more the second and third time!

Our family spent the several days that I had off from work doing very little. The children continued to build their houses, and got involved with another craft activity (they are now making toy cars). Doesn't seem too out of sorts for them to be constantly involved in making something. :)

I am still continuing to plug away at some finishing work for school. The past two months I have taken online classes through National University, and have spent most of my time posting on discussion boards, reading books, and writing papers. This next month, December, will be my final class where I get to choose the topic I want to explore in education, and write a final paper on my research and observations as it pertains to the classroom. I am choosing the topic of multiple intelligences to research but haven't decided on what question of it that I want to address. I have a day or two to decide.

For the next week or so we will spend some time making Christmas cards. This personally is one of my favorite activities to do with the children. We have already decided on a design, and are thinking about the kind of message we want the card to say. I love involving the children and working with them on sending out holiday greetings. I did a small research on the Christmas card and it's origin. The first Commercial cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London around 1843, but the original Christmas card started three years earlier in 1840, when Queen Victoria's Royal Family sent cards out to share personal events of the year. It seems the purpose of the card has not changes that much over all these years. Ildi asked the question concerning why we send cards in the first place. Here are some of the reasons I send Christmas cards.

1. I like to make them.
2. I like to work on things with the children.
3. I want others to know that I am thinking about them during the holiday season time. (that really should be number one)
4. It is a way to bring cheer to others.

Each year the children and I look forward to making "this year's" card. I have been keeping one from each year for the last few years so that when the children are grown, they can take the ones we made while they were at home.

Side story...Macy has broken the family record for the most amount of teeth lost in a week, and a day. The record stands now at three per week, and two in one day. I pulled two of them out just a few hours ago. And she was brave!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

i never thought this would happen

A few months ago I started this blog for a couple of reasons. My first intention was to create a site that would give friends and family a chance to see where we were going, and what we were doing, since we were moving so far away. Secondly, I wanted to get something up and running so that I could encourage Ildi to post and "speak" to the vast amounts of women that call for advice on mothering things. But, there now is a third reason, and why I am continuing to post. I never thought that I would enjoy writing the way that I do when posting. Sort of letter writing, sort of journal writing, sort of informative writing, and the list goes on. Years ago, and throughout my life, I have started, and stopped, many journals. There was something good in writing down what I was thinking. This place gives the format for writing what I think, and writing for an audience as well. Which brings me to the newest part of this whole process of getting involved with blogging.

For years I have heard that I should write a book. From friends it has been books about parenting. From teachers and colleagues it has been that I should write about classroom teaching. So, last week I started a new blog that deals with classroom issues. It is located here and will mostly deal with teaching practices that work. The posts might not be the most popular methodologies that are being taught in education classes, but they are tried and true methods that have worked, or are working in my classes still today. Please stop by and leave me a comment or two. If you don't agree with me on a post, I can handle the criticism!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

recent photos

For those who have been asking to see updated you go. These were taken at Bur Mills Park in the city of Greensboro. We have been attending a church that meets there at the community center and spend time at the park after the meal together. It is a really pretty place and full of geographical history. There is no need to post pictures of Ildi or me because we still look the same as several years ago. If you forget what we look like, just pull out an old picture, put a few pounds on, grey the hair only slightly, and there we are!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

in addition

I went on the dashboard and read a post that Blogger was having a problem with video uploading. Whew! I am not crazy.

AS well, the last few mornings it has been around 32-37 degrees in the morning when I leave for school. Wow, I didn't think it was going to be cold until December or January. For those friends who live in Ohio...don't poke fun at us, we did JUST move from California three months ago. It's going to take a little while for our skin to thicken up. Ildi bought me a pair or fleece-lined jeans. They are great to wear. And Friday, I wore long underwear under my pants to school. I was warm all day. Secretly I am enjoying the colder weather. shhhhhh....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

without too much of a history lesson...

For those who have never heard of being "plain", it's sort of the cross between Amish and Mennonite in dress, without the all of the religious affiliation, even though much of the doctrinal beliefs are the same. From what I understand, which is quite limited mind you, is that the Anabaptist were a group of people that remained outside the mainstream of the Reformation. (middle 1500's) They were labeled the lunatic fringe. The label Anabaptist applies to the movements today known as the Amish and Mennonite communities. We have met several families who embrace the plain movement and have become friends. The Farmer's Market we attend in Greensboro has a couple of families that dress plain.

Last weekend we visited a Plain church. Some of the people we buy goods from at the market invited us to a special service they were having. It was a great day and a wonderful experience for us and the children. Since it was an hour and one-half away, we woke early to get there on time for worship. Worship is the whole service including the meal afterwards. Almost all the people where dressed plainly. It made the way we dress look like a fashion statement. The men sat on one side of the meeting hall, the women on the other. Boys with dad's, girls with mom's. After the (a capello?) singing time, a man from Massachusetts preached. When the service part of the meeting was over, we all sat down to a meal together.

After worship we were invited to go to our friend's house to stay for the afternoon. The children were allowed to help with the chores. The chores...milking the goats! They loved it.

The family we visited is renting the farm now until this winter. The beginning of the year, several families will go in together to purchase the land for personal and church purposes. Right now they are only paying $700 monthly for a house and 150 acres to farm on. Sort of makes you want to move to North Carolina huh? This plot of land is on the border of NC and Virginia right along the Dann River.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

i quit...

Today I wanted to quit my job. I thought it would be funny to leave this post to just that sentence.

Two children got into a huge fist fight in my class, and after it was done, the Vice Principal came in to talk to me about it. (taking up my entire lunch period mind you)He asked me questions about what I could have done differently so as to have not let the situation escalate into the fight. It happened so quickly that the only thing I was able to do was to separate them. He kept pressing the issue that I could have done more and I finally broke. I gave him my usual "garth" analogies and it didn't satisfy him. So, I just asked him want he wanted me to do. He was wanting me to own up to the fact that if I had been paying closer attention to the situation, if I had de-escalate the problem, if I had ... He even asked me if I agreed with the direction the school was going. All to say that I didn't give him the right answers. So, I felt like saying "thank you for all your input, and you may now find another teacher to not only deal with the students that attend this school, but also the way that you support them when students are not doing what they should be doing". I didn't quit. But I wanted too. I actually told another teacher after school that I wanted to move back to California. It was just my wanting to go back to something familiar.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


So we came down here and did the whole "find a house thing" and got settled a bit. After a few months Ildi and I (mostly Ildi) were talking about moving up to Ohio. I didn't mind after I had made the move here, after all, once you move across the country it's easy to move eight hours away.

While here, I emailed my old art teacher from junior high. I had visited him several years ago when we went to Ohio and since I (again Ildi) was thinking of maybe moving there I let him know I was possibly going to move back in the area and wanted to know how he was doing. (Really I wanted to know if he was nearing retirement time...crazy me!)

Meanwhile, back at the rental,the new friends we made in Ohio emailed and called me to let us know that there was a farm that was only seven miles from them that was going on auction the 23th of October. Low and behold, we decided to to go to the auction and make it a visit at the same time. We were set to leave early Saturday morning the 20th to Ohio. On Friday night after schol, I came home and checked my email as usual. My previous art teacher had emailed and mentioned that he was RETIRING! I about flipped! So, our trip up there was filled with hope.

Long story short, we didn't end up buying the auction house, but it will come up on the HUD market in a few months. We did peruse several other homes/farms and now have over eight under our belt. We a few more looks away from finding the place.

There were some other crazy/exciting details I left out so as to not get too detailed with this post. Maybe I will weave them in on some other ones.

Monday, October 29, 2007

interesting experiences

To begin with, last Tuesday we arrived back home after a weekend visit to Northwestern Ohio. In all, we were there for four days. I first need to tell you what spurred the visit in the first place and also some interesting experiences we have had prior to, and after our trip there.

Last summer, on our trip across the nation, we stopped in to visit some friends and family in Northwest Ohio; the place I spent the first 18 years of my life. We had decided to vist since it was only an eight hour drive south to get to our new city here in NC. While there, we stayed with friends that we have known for a few years and they introduced us to a family who are living a sustainable life. Meaning they make a living off of farming and eat from the garden. The family is a "plain" family and we ended up having dinner with them on a Sunday afternoon. Our families really had a lot in common so we felt comfortable sharing our family vision and direction and received and gave a whole bunch of encouragement. I think for two reasons. They are already living the way we want to start living, and they had some people (us), visit them and validate what they were doing. It was a reall good connecting time...

Monday, October 15, 2007

a time of reflection

On the way to worship, (our new term for church) Ildi and I were having a converstion AGAIN! :) about where we wanted to live. NC, TN, OH,... We were reminded that God had given us a plenty choices in our lives so far, and it seems this question of where to buy a farm is another one of those "choice" factors. It has been a huge responsibility to decide where to live and to narrow potential living situations. We are not taking this decision lightly.
For so many years in our early married life we lived circumstantially. Living paycheck to paycheck and not faced with the questions we are faced with now. Our choices back then, in comparison, seem quite easy to the ones we a working through now. For those of you who know us and have heard us harp on the strings of family mission, vision, and direction, we have been going back over those same things on a regular basis. It seemed like it was going to be clear once we got here, and our decision to buy a farm was already decided before we left California. However, it has opened our minds and hearts up to more questions about where we are going and what we want to spend out lives doing.
In our reflection we were reminded that we bought our first house in 2000. In September. It was today that we realized that we got into house debt seven years ago and that now (seven years later) we are at the point were we are a few days, or months, away from buying a piece of land with a house, COMPLETELY debt free. That means, no loan, no mortgage, no payments. What a testimony to God and an example of His goodness in our lives. What a way for Him to bring Glory to Himself. It is truly by His grace that we have arrived at this point in our lives.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

back in time...

Today we stepped back in time and visited the Old Salem Fall Harvest Festival. We filled the afternoon with watching churning butter, weaving baskets, decorating pumpkins, and making corn husk dolls. The Festival is a one day event that attracts visitors from around the state, nation, and world.

The sisters who were helping the children make were surprised when they started making accessories for their dolls. Seems juxtaposed. Corn husk dolls with accessories. :) This activity only inspired them more to get creative at home! Oh no..........

Friday, October 12, 2007

all together

This is one of the first pictures that we have had in a long time where I am not taking the photo. Here we are in Ohio visiting friends of ours. We are on our way back up this Friday to go to a farm auction. Who knows, we might find ourselves in Northwest Ohio by the summer. The auction is a foreclosed 22 acre farm that has a half-finished, restored brick home. It has several buildings on the property as well. Friends of ours visited the house and took about a hundred pictures of it. When we see it I'll post some.

Friday, October 5, 2007

weekend "to town"

Tomorrow is another busy Saturday. Not really busy as much as eventful. It has been fun to weekly go as a family shopping at the Farmer's Market and then to a couple of other stores to pick up odds and ends. This time we are adding a little bit of city history to the daily agenda. The FAIR!

The Dixie Classic Fair has been here in Winston for many years. A cute little fair with the charm of a smaller city. I had to put some artwork up from my school students so I got a sneak peek at the fair this year. It's to the market early, then off to the fair in the afternoon. Sounds like a small-town type of day.

The more Ildi and I talk about the future farm idea, the more solidified we get on what we want. We have decided that we definately want snow now. Snow was out of the picture earlier when we decided to move to the east coast. But being here in NC and hearing the report that it hardly ever snows here has been a little dissapointing. So........ :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

a city with history

Saturday I took the children to Old Salem. It's a historical part of the city that was started by the Moravians. The south side (Salem) and the north part (Winston) joined together to make the larger city of Winston-Salem. We went to the Children's Museum that houses toys from the early inhabitants of the area. Lot's of Folk Art! As well as the museum, we visited only a few of the 100 plus original homes located in the historic Living Museum district. They call it a Living Museum because people live in the area, and while working at the place dress in period costumes.

The Dixie Classic Fair is in town. We are planning to attend this next weekend. We also have some plans for some friends in Ohio to come down and visit for the week. It will be exciting to have 12 children in the house! I love having people visit.

Today after church we drove around in the country to look at the farm area of Rockingham County. It's a might pretty place (hee hee) and there are some "parcels" for sale. Ildi has been looking in Kentucky at farms. She's gotten the "Amish farm" bug and wants to buy a house and convert it. The crazy part of it is that she found a house today that is only a 7 hour drive from us, and I am half tempted to go there jsut to look at the house!

The children have been making some more Lego art. You can see them on our school gallery at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

aound the house

Just a couple tid-bits of the "happenings" around the house. The children are having fun being creative as usual. Here are a few costumed as clowns.

and the creativity with LEGO's has reached a new plateau. Flat tw-dimensional scenes!

and the rainy days that are hot.

and did I mention the frogs that are on the house?

And lastly, from August 15th to September 15th we ran the air conditioner almost all day and night. We were slightly concerned that we would have to take out a loan in order to pay Duke Energy for the wonderful service of air during the record heat out here. I got the bill today....including all electric, running the entire bill was $141.00! What in the world is that! I told Ildi she could run the air as much as she wants and turn a few extra lights on while she's at it :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

You may be wondering.....How did their big adventure to Tennessee go? Did they like it? Was it pretty? Are they going to move there? Follow along and I'll give you the shorter account of our weekend (really only Sunday)in the Appalachian Mountains.

Sunday morning we woke up at six. We planned on leaving at half-past the hour but didn't roll out of the barn until seven. We spent some time feeding and milking the chickens (all six of them) and had to spend a few minutes pumping the hot coffee into the tank for such a long trip to "church" We headed North through the upper part of the state and passed Pilot Mountain.

We then traveled up into Virginia and over to the western most part of the state. It was there in the corner that we found Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee. Church started at ten, and we went to an all church picnic after. If you want to know more about the church you can visit, and if you want to know what we thought about the visit you'll have to call us.

The picnic was a great way to actually meet and talk with the church members. Here's where we spent the afternoon.

Looking back down at the road...

And then leaving for the day...

Finally, we got home around 9:30. Made for a long day just to go to church!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Today was the usual Farmer's Market run. Ildi got some Kombuca mushrooms so we will have some tea shortly. In the morning, we are leaving for Tennessee for the day. 6:30 AM is going to come around real soon! It should only take us around 2 1/2 hours to get there. The children are excited to go on another road trip. It has been a couple months since our trip across the nation so they have forgotten what it is like to sit for long periods in the van. I don't think I will EVER forget.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

it's beginning to feel a lot like.....

HOME! Not really. However, we are starting to feel a regularity with what we are doing. The schedule is as follows. Monday through Friday I go to work (school-pretend work) and the children are at home studying. We are getting out of the habit of calling what they do here at home school. Saturday we go on the shopping trip. It consists of late morning trip to the farmers market, and several little stops to local stores in Greensboro. Saturday evening working around the house still putting things away from the move. Sunday morning back to Greensboro (it's only 20 minutes :)) for church. Back home and relaxing by playing outside, reading, or watching T.V. Oops, no watching T.V. Since we left Los Angeles we haven't had a television. We did watch some when we stayed in hotels until we got here, but since we've been in the house, we haven't seen any. I have one in my room at school and I am not even tempted to turn it on.

This weekend is going to be an eventful one. We are going to visit a church in Bristol Tennessee/Virgina. It's a city that borders both states and is only two and one half hours away. This will be the first of many visits to neighboring places to scope out the land for our future farming needs. Kind of sounds like Future Farmers of America huh? Which is an organization that I would have greatly benefitted from had I been involved in it earlier in life.

The children are working hard at studying and are developing nicely into fine young ladies and gentlemen. They still squabble a bit but are working hard on honoring me and their mother, and treating each other with kindness, truthfulness, and helpfulness. (thanks Sara fro your stuck!) I am reading another parenting book that is challenging me to be more involved with the implementation of scripture in the "milieu" of life's situations. Milieu being French for middle of life's circumstances.

The weather has been a little nicer lately. Two nights ago I went to the store later in the evening and it was around 88 outside. I laughed at myself when I said to myself that it felt nice outside! This morning it was actually chilly outside on my way to work/play.

Ildi has been making homemade ice cream in the evenings for us from her raw milk. It is DELICIOUS! I have actually been drinking the milk "naked" as well. The first taste if cow and I am finished though.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Today was another day spent in Greensboro. We went to the Farmers' market again and along with the usual pickup (eggs, milk, grain) I made a great contact with a local agrarian farmer. Sort of a Bohemian kind of man who has lived in the area for years and has grown sustainably for 18 years. "Growing for the table" as he put it. :)

Here's a shot of the place.

It's an indoor market that has been running for over twenty years. What's great about it is that most of the people who are selling products are local farmers who sell out of "excess" and they are extrememly knowledgable and helpful when asking questions about information relating to providing for your family by growing your own food. We have had two men invite us to visit their farms. One has a dairy farm (the man we are getting some of our milk from) and the other tends bees. The children hover around and ask lots of questions because he has a live bee display for everyone to see.

On our visit to Costco, we began talking to a women who had many small children. Long story short, their family seems to be just like ours and we struck up what could be our first friendship in NC.

The children have started studying for the year as well. Back to the math in the morning, and the usual thousands of hours of reading. Books on milk, caring for chickens, and books of God's grace are on the top of the list. We are starting a "farm" notebook that records the valuable information we are getting here about how and what to do in order to buy a farm. We are looking online at property in many areas of the south. It is difficult to narrow the search but we are working on ways that we can limit it so that it makes it easier to find a place. The children are crawling out of their skin in anticipation of actually owning animals.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

the home

For those who are interested, here are a few photos of the rental home.

The house was rented to us from a property rental company. The nice thing about it was that it is new. Everything works. Also, it is a comfort being able to fell good about putting the youngest down on the carpet.

The building company is building a new house right next to the one we are staying in. It's so like God to give us a first-hand look at a house being built from the start. I wonder what He is planning for us. :)

The back yard is a far cry from the Pasadena house. It's a pretty view of the forest though!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

back to school again

This Monday will be the first day back to school. I am somewhat excited to get the year started, but more excited to get it over with. Not that I don't want to teach this year or in the school that I am at, but that this year the task of finding a farm will be consuming our thoughts and actions. Although it hasn't taken any of our time yet. We are still slowly moving into our rental home! Yesterday and today were successful days in the house. We got most of the boxes of books unloaded onto the shelves. More and more it is feeling like home.

I read a great article in Newsweek today. It was an article about the newest trend of Universities to go Green. Going Green is just a shorter way of saying that the school is interested in the environment and is doing it's part in trying to reduce, reuse, and recycle. From the looks of it, over the next few years we should see some graduates come from the schools with more of the "good life" desires. New degrees are being offered and even new schools like the School of Sustainability being offered in the fall of '08 at Arizona State University.

Which leads me to the reason we moved. We had talked about sustainable farming for awhile before we actually sold our city home to move the more rural area of Winston-Salem. After being here for a month now, we are beginning to feel like this too is a little too city-like. Our original plan was to purchase a house on a couple of acres and grow some food for us to live by. As well as vegetation, we would add some animals to the mix when we were settled and knew how to take care of them.

Now the story is unfolding slightly different than that. We are now working on the thoughts of owning several acres and the possilibilties that come with owning a substantial amount of land. I can hear some of my friends saying "what are you guys doing NOW!" But, you know us, willing to take the risk a do something a little different. Speaking of different, it doesn't seem all too different with the amount of people we read about who are already working on family farms and now this new information about schools working on becoming more agrarian

In the next few weeks, we are going to visit a church in Tennessee. It's right on the border of Tennesse and Virginia. It's a family integrated church that Ildi has been looking at online for awhile now. For the meantime, we have been attending a church in the neighboring city of Greensboro. Quite a lovely group of Christians who love God and one another.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

In reflection of today's events, I thought of several things. During our school/county training, we were required to role play several times acting out real life school situations using the new teaching strategies we have been learning. (using William Powers' work on PCT)

Anyway, when most people were acting out their skit, they spoke with a pronounced southern accent. It dawned on me that they were not "putting" on a southern accent like I had done before. In fact, they had a southern accent.

Tonight, after I got home, I went to the store to buy half/half for our morning coffee, two other occurrences reminded me that I was no longer in proverbial "Kansas" anymore. One was the shock of going outside after dark and it being as hot as it was during the day. That's just plain weird. Secondly, frogs were crawling on the side of our house. Two of them were sitting on the shutters like they were waiting for the next convention. When I get a moment, and a service besides dial-up, I'll post a couple of photos of their visit!

Good report...We have found the MILK. Ildi contacted someone today who purchases milk in SC and then transports it to the lucky customers here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

a leisurely drive

Today I drove through the country to get to my scheduled school workshop. The point being that I drove through the country and not that I went to another school workshop. Even though the workshop was good (Perceptual Control Theory and applications in the classroom) the drive to and from it was even better. It took me around twenty-five minutes to get somewhere that could have taken me only fifteen. But, I had a mission in mind......

I knew that if I continued driving south from the city that I would eventually run into a cross-road that would get me to the south-west part of the city that I needed to be in. I gave myself plenty of time so as not to be late for the training, and enough time to drive slowly and look at the farms in the area. By far, it was the prettiest part of this area that I have traveled so far. Slightly rolling hills, houses set back off the road, ranch style home intermingled with older country farm homes. The kinds of places you know for sure that work is happening and that at the end of the day, you could sit for a spell on the porch and watch the traffic go by.

Which reminds me of an encounter yesterday at the post office I had here in town. I needed to send some packages out and wanted to pick up some postcards to send to some friends. I stopped by the Old Salem post office downtown knowing I could accomplish both things there. It was there that I realized I was in what seemed like another world when I heard a lady from the museum giving directions to a man, who along with his wife and daughter, where visiting the Historical Living Museum of Salem. In passing, I heard her give him directions about how he could just walk right out the front doors and take the first road to the right to get to the historic buildings. To which he replied "Oh no! I'll be driving around the back o' this place cause it's the only place I saw that I can by cigarettes and I ain't had one in THREE hours!" I chuckled as I walked out the door with my postcards and stamps. Not that I was laughing at him, his need for a smoke, of how he even said it, but more at myself being in a place that is so different than I've been in the last twenty years of my life.

On the way home I traveled the same way. I noticed a blacksmith shop on the corner of one of the turns I made and I made sure to stop by to check it out. The Smithy wasn't in so I peeked through the doors and got a real good eyeful of some of the work he has done. It looked like a shop that had been there for years. I'm going to return to see if I can actually go in and see his work. On the last leg of my trip home, I deviated from the path a bit to do a little more exploring. To my benefit, I came across an antique store (which was also closed) that I will be SURE to visit soon. I saw a couple of Tiffany lamps in the window and am curious to see if they are authentic. Tomorrow I am going to travel the same way to catch all the things I missed today.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

in and settlin'

The trip, in hindsight, wasn't all that bad. Looking back over the last few weeks it seems to have gone all to plan. Traveling, staying with friends, finding a place, then moving in. Rather simple really.

Our stay at our friends was refreshing. Lovely couple with six beautiful children. Having been raised in Ohio only a few miles away, I was completely taken by my new attitude about the northwestern part of the state. I actually could envision myself moving there! We spent time visiting, cooking outside over the fire pit, and visiting some local agrarian farmers. The time spent with them completely motivated me to action. I really want to own a farm now.

After our stay, we drove down to NC to find a rental home. Our idea was to rent for a year while we look for possible places to buy. The hunt for a home was exhausting, mostly due to the time crunch with finding an address to have our furniture shipped, but after two full days of looking, we settled on a house a few miles from the school where I'll be teaching. Here's a picture of the side yard. I mean the side forest :)

We have begun to travel out to see what the countryside looks like and are excited about the possibility of actually owning some of it to farm!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

o.k....that was crazy!

Since the last few days has been a whirlwind of activity with the move to the eastern part of the country, this is the first night that I actually have time to sit down and write. How nice it feels to be rested and and somewhat settled.

On Friday of last week, the moving truck showed up at our house around 4:oo pm. As usual, I was interested in getting started on the packing knowing that it was going to take a LONG while to get it all done. That night, my children and I loaded as many of the house items as wee could and then waited for the big Saturday move. It really was helpful t0 have people pop in throughout the day and help pack or move things for me.

The plan was to finish packing on Saturday, then leave late Sunday night after an all church picnic that was planned for another family and us. Not only did we not finish packing that night, but we also spent two more days packing and adding three-fourths of second truck to the moving caravan. After all was finished, we loaded up the van with several snacks (and children) and started our journey across America on Monday night.

The first night we drove from Los Angeles to Amarillo , Texas. All together about it took us about 19 hours. We switched driving roles a few times which gave us resting periods to drive for such a long time. That night, I took the children swimming and then as a family, we went out to eat. They loved it!

The next day, we drove around 5 hours to make it to some friend's house in Tulsa, OK. We stayed, ate dinner, and talked until midnight before we set out on the rode again to get to Ohio. We landed at some close friend's house by the late afternoon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

DMV cont'

to have a chance to smog it before I left. She again barked what seemed like another order to me about having started registration here that I needed to finish it here. That other states did not receive and register cars that were "fleeing" from other states. All of this made complete sense to me and I knew that I would have gotten that type of response. However, I stood there looking dumbfounded by her response as if I did not expect it. She again reminded me that I needed to "finish up" business here before moving on.

As I stood there, I was not necessarily thinking that she was going to change her mind, nor did I want her too. I was just standing there thinking "wow, not what I wanted to do." Then God stepped into the situation. I told her that the whole problem was not even an emission issue but rather a sensor issue that was going to cost me several of my precious green dollars. She exclaimed, "A thousand dollars! That's crazy" . . . to which I agreed. I told her I was trying to sell the car and wasn't able to sell it before I moved and that I would need to take it with me. Then the funniest thing happened. She said, " Wait a minute, hold on, there is something else you can do." I about flipped! She then started informing me that if I filled out a certain form once I got to NC, and sent it back to CA that they would EXEMPT me from smogging the car just this once. Just this once! Since when did the DMV EVER exempt anyone from smogging their car! I thought that the odds of this happening were as good as me winning the lottery in Los Vegas. (and I don't even gamble :)

Making a long story shorter, she gave me more paper to carry to my seat so I could wait for my letter and number combination to be called to be EXEMPTED from getting my car smogged this year! What a move of God on someone's heart.

The only sad situation was that on the way home, prior to giving God ALL the credit for the earlier DMV OFFICIAL PARDON, I thought that the way I stated my situation, you know all humble and innocent, was what converted her mind. Within seconds, thankfully, I came to my senses and realized my selfishness.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

in the midst of moving....God moves

What a crazy time to be sitting and typing. Almost 3:00 am and today was a successful day moving some BOXES! Had some friends stop by and give some help, and along with the dedicated work of my wife and children, we got almost half of the truck packed BEFORE the big move day. I am still wondering what I am going to leave behind because I know that the whole house is not going to fit.

In making this move, one of the biggest challenges has been the sale of my car. Through several circumstances, it has drained time and money from me with no hope of letting up. However, in the midst of such a troublesome situation, God has again showed his mercy and grace on me. The story goes like this: I was at the DMV, well let me start before that. I needed to get my car smogged before I left California. In order to get a certificate I was going to be required to fix a whole bunch of things on the car that did not necessarily need to be done yet. About a thousand dollars worth of work. So, I am driving to the DMV and I ask God to be gracious to me and get me through the smogging situation by giving me an extension on it. When I got there, I waited in the usual line and when it finally was my turn, I approached the window.

Barking, the DMV Nazi asked me how she could help me. I told her that I was not sure. I then told her my situation about moving out of state and that I was not going...I'll finish it tomorrow :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

oh the boxes!

Now I remember why I am so reluctant to move. The boxes are never ending. Today I spent the whole day unloading the garage. That's not even getting to any of the work I needed to do on the INSIDE of the house. Hopefully, I will be able to get through it all and have it ready to put into the container by Saturday.

Tonight again was a time for saying goodbye. We spent some time having dinner with a favorite couple and talked about all sort of things. Kind of felt like that last night out before the move. A little sad. :(

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

feeling the nerves...

Today, it finally hit me that we are REALLY moving. Not that it hadn't occured to me before, but today it took on a new feeling. You know the one....the pit in your stomach accompanying the multiple questions.....will we have enough space in the truck......what about the baby during the trip.....what if we find no place to live.....and the list goes on.

As I sit here, after rumaging through the gargage boxes, I am reminded of how much "stuff" we have that is not necessary. I have collected all this seemingly important and useful material only to arrive to the decision that I have indeed waisted time and space again lugging stuff from one place to another. Things I have not used in years still following me around everywhere I go. And, I wonder why it is so difficult to part with it all. What is the big attachement? Am I afraid that I am going to miss it even though I rarely use it?

I have been reading more about the agrarian life through some popular blogs. There seems to be tons of others who have gone before us fleeing from the city and establishing themselves in a rural lifestyle and living life like people used too. I have (really my wife did!) decided to label what we are attempting, Hobby Farming. We are still so early in the process that the idea of running a farm seems so foreign.

Tommorrow is a big packing day. I can't wait to sift and purge more!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

waiting for the day...

As the day of moving draws nearer, the anticipation in our hearts is increasing. The days seem to "linger" and we are filling them with last minute visits to the beach, and saying goodbye to old friends. Saying goodbye is always difficult, however, we are finding excitement about what awaits us.

There are still a few things that need to be wrapped up before we actually leave and drive across the entire United States though. Hopefully, those tid-bits will be quickly and easily handled. From packing to selling, the list of items to take care of before a move seems to never end!

Today I spent some time online looking for banks in the area as well as where the local post office was. I also spent some time studying the names of streets and how they run through the city. Seems boring huh? Also, a local realtor sent some literature about the city and the surrounding area that gave me insight on the various places to visit, places to eat, and cultural activities that are planned. What fun it is to find out about the place prior to moving!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

a little history

What prompted this move was the closing of my position teaching art in the public schools here in greater Los Angeles. Ildi had been talking about moving to the country, getting a cow, growing food........and I was reluctant. Having come from a small rural town, I was in no hurry to go back to the place where everyone knew everyone, and the checkout line at the local grocery store took hours because the checker needed to catch everyone up in the line on the local gossip. Hence, the reason I moved to the city! Anyway, coming from different angles, she convinced me that tending "things" was something that I was already doing and that it wouldn't be that different to just increase the scale. I wasn't completely convinced, until January, when I recieved the notice that my position at school was closing. With the state tests becoming more important, classes like art are being phased out and replaced with additional math and language arts classes. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to see if God would open the door for us to move out of state and possibly start on the process of purchasing some land to work on. After some research, we settled on North Carolina, and I started down the road of finding a new position teaching there. After visiting and interviewing at several schools, we decided on a place to land. We were insecure thinking that once we decided on a city, that we needed to move there, buy a house, and start living our lives. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that that we realized that we are not bound to any city, and that we could move there, stay for awhile, and then evaluate our needs at that point. It is so freeing to know that at any time if we want to move, we can. This is completely different that my previous mindset of staying in one place forever.

INTO the world of BLOGGING

I think it has taken me too long to start the online diary of my family's story. So, I am starting today, (short and sweet) with the the most current and exciting news. That news being that we are only two weeks away from moving from our beautiful home in Pasadena, California to embark on the journey of living completely debt free and learning to live a more agrarian lifestyle in the state of North Carolina. After years of reading about others leaving the urban life to retreat to a simpler way of living, we have finally come to the place where all the circumstances, of course orchestrated by God, have worked out for us to make the jump from city to country folk. I can hardly wait to get where we are going and start the life we have been planning for years!