We are officially settled in Salem but not quite home owners, yet. After a flying trip to Montana and back we are now in possession of all our goods and it was a bit like Christmas to see all the things that have been in storage since last June. Everything is unpacked and in place which means we are open for house guests. We are planning a house warming but not until the closing in July. Consider this your invitation with details TBD! We are a bit nervous because the VA still has not come through with Donald's settlement. As we have to prove viable income to get a mortgage Donald has been busy filling out job applications. He is very educated but also highly specialized and really isn't sure what he wants or what he is capable of doing. And, of course, it has to include Holly. Furthermore, there aren't a lot of jobs available so we are praying for divine leading to the perfect spot for him.
The traveling part of the Big Adventure is, indeed, at an end. But obviously life itself is a Big Adventure and no one's life is more a testimony of that fact than ours. We arrived in Salem on April Fool's day with intentions of being here two days. On May 1 we moved into the most charming house in the world with intentions of buying it and putting down roots. I intend to keep blogging since it is an effective way for me to creatively keep everyone abreast of our continuing developments.
Being an amateur statistician (it really entertains Me, if no one else!) I have been keeping track of Certain Items during our travels. You may, or may not, be interested to know that between November 9 and May 1:
1. We travelled nearly 22,000 miles and visited 7 National Parks.
2. We visited or stayed at 11 military bases.
3. We stayed in 18 KOA Kampgrounds.
4. We stayed in 3 hotels.
5. I made 75 sandwiches on my lap while Donald drove, most of them peanut butter and jelly. I haven't eaten one in weeks now!
6. We've changed our oil 6 times and used over 35 tanks of diesel. You can guess the math on that substantial expense!
7. I told Shakespeare to sit, during travel, approximately1,000 times. I obviously need to give that one up.
My summation of the Big Adventure is this: mile after mile we saw the changing beauty of the natural world in places we were privileged to see for the first time, we were introduced to local colors and flavors, we learned to share a very small space and didn't kill anyone in the sharing, and we located and were blessed to spend time with precious friends across the country with whom we had lost contact. The first stanza of a favorite Tolkien poem is this: "All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost, the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost." We spent six months wandering the country but we weren't lost. We remained confident in who we are and where we were at all times. Geography does not change that though in a deep trial and time of redefinition, we are still beloved children of God and we are always in His care and keeping. Our spiritual roots are deep, old and unchanged by life's frost. Our continual prayer was that God would lead us to where He wants us and we are certain it is Salem, for what purpose is still a mystery. Now that we have a home in Salem, Oregon we are planting physical roots and still feel very much on a Big Adventure, albeit in a house that is always level and does not rock when I exercise!