Monday, August 28, 2006


David and I were out this evening and happened upon this sign. I'm all for setting a time limit for the prime parking spots, but this is asking a bit much, don't you think?

An update...

My deepest apologies for the great lapse in blog updates. My reason is a combination of lack of internet and the fact that we've been INCREDIBLY busy the last couple of weeks. But, we now have internet up and working and here I am to catch you up on the whirlwind that has been our life.

Last weekend David and I flew back to our "investment property" in Michigan to move all of our belongings to Minnesota. We had reserved two U-Haul trucks (yes, it took 2, and yes, it's just the two of us...) about a month prior to the move. I don't know if any of you have had experience with U-Haul, but the way it works is you reserve the truck(s) in advance and then they call you the day before you are supposed to pick them up to tell you when and where they are available. Our reservations were to pick them up on Friday and our plan was to load on Friday evening and Saturday morning, clean the house, and be on the road mid-to-late-afternoon on Saturday. We got our call on Thursday, as expected, only they were calling to inform us that they had no trucks for us, but they would call back on Friday and maybe they would have some on Saturday. There was nothing we could do. So we kept packing and waited for our call on Friday. That call came and they again informed us that they still had no trucks for us, but they would call back on Saturday and maybe they would have some trucks for us on Sunday. At this point we were getting VERY frustrated; we were supposed to be on the road by Sunday; not loading a truck! Fortunately Saturday morning began with a couple of phone calls informing us of 2 trucks that had magically appeared in the night, I guess, and the marathon to load all of our belongings began. We were able to get loaded up and out of the house by evening and still made it to Minnesota by our expected deadline. Lessons learned: Michigan's economy is SO bad right now that U-Haul's are only leaving the state and none are coming back. They have to fly people to other places in the country and pay them to drive U-Haul's into Michigan. Also, we probably won't be calling U-Haul the next time we have to move...

We were blessed to have the help of Mom and Dad Gafford, both with the driving of the second U-Haul, and unpacking throughout the week that followed. I had to turn around and start preparing my classroom as soon as we got back to Minnesota, so I wasn't a whole lot of help at home. Their assistance was greatly appreciated!

Those of you who are addicted to the weather channel like me may have heard about the terrible storms and tornados that swept through Minnesota last week. Fortunately we didn't have any damage, but I was able to take these pictures from our back deck once the worst had passed by.

I hadn't thought about it at the time, but as I'm writing this blog, I'm reminded of that first rainbow for Noah and the covenant that it represented. Maybe this rainbow was for David and I and it was God saying, "Ok guys, it's safe to get off the boat. Continue to follow me and trust in me as you have over the last several months, and I promise not to send a flood of this magnitude ever again." Maybe not, but it sure is a good reminder and incentive to remember the lessons learned, so maybe I won't have to learn them all over again.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Home Sweet Home at Last

David- homeless for 72 days.

Melissa and Allie- home alone for 42 days, homeless for 30 days.

Having a home to call our own- priceless.

God has really hit a home-run with this one. We needed a home in Minnesota, but all we had was a home in Michigan. So, God put us in touch with the Sampson family. They had a home in Minnesota but needed a home in Poland. They are being transferred by 3M to Poland for two years and need someone to rent their house while they are away (still planning on returning to the same house in about two years). And just like that, God answers the prayers of the Sampsons and the Gaffords all at once. God provided a home less than five minutes away from church and school, where we can keep our dog, not have to sign a lease committing for a whole year, and not have to take on two mortgages for who-knows-how-long. And to top it off, it’s a much bigger house than we could afford on our own. God has truly blessed. Now we don’t have to worry about our Michigan house (as much), and when the time comes, we can take the time we need to really shop around and find the house that we really want; not just the best of what’s available at the time.

God is so good. He always provides. Why do I even bother worrying? He ALWAYS takes care of it by the time it needs taken care of. (Which usually doesn’t happen until a couple of months after I think it’s critical, but hey! Who am I?) These last 72 days (plus the 3 months prior) have been a very difficult time in our lives. But you know, now that it’s winding down (FINALLY!), I don’t know that I would really have it any other way because it has forced us to completely surrender to God. Our lives were completely out of our control, no matter how hard we tried. We eventually reached the point where we stopped fighting it and started living in faith literally one day at a time. It was a lesson that I admit, I needed to be reminded of. I’m just going to try really hard to remember it this time so we don’t have to go through this every few years!

Praise God for his provision and caring for the needs of His people.

Crisis averted with super-sleuthing skills

(Due to the content of this blog, the location of the following events will remain anonymous.)

So, we’re in house #4, expecting to move into our final destination later today. That will be a relief to finally be in our own home. We are incredibly grateful to all of those individuals who opened their homes up to David, Allie, and I over the last several months. You have all contributed to making this “unsettling” time of our lives more comfortable than we thought was possible. Before it’s all over, I had to have one great story to take with me, and it took place this morning.

David left the house around 8:15 to head to a Willow Creek Conference for the day. Allie and I followed David out the front door to wish him off and let Allie take care of her morning “business.” Upon completion of said business, we turned to head back inside. But alas, the door was locked. So here’s the situation: I’m in someone else’s house (in the middle of nowhere), while they are on vacation, I’ve locked myself out of the house with no shoes, no phone, just a dog. So I proceed to make my way around the house to check all other doors only do discover what I feared and expected… they were all locked as well. What to do? After pondering for a few minutes (in a bit of a panic), I decided to go next door and ask the neighbor for her spare key (we’d met previously and I knew she had one). One problem, though; she wasn’t home. Now what? Fortunately I’d at least left my car unlocked the night before so I stepped inside to warm up a bit. At this time in the morning, it was a bit chilly and breezy and I was in my bare feet. I sat in the car for about the next 45 minutes, hoping that the neighbor would come home, and trying to figure out some other way to get into the house. And then I saw it…the keypad on the garage door. Surely there was no way I could accurately guess the access code, but I had nothing but time to give it a try. So I got out of the car and approached the keypad. My husband will tell you that I am typically not the most observant person; I tend to be pretty oblivious most of the time. But this particular time something caught my attention. There was one digit on the keypad that looked particularly worn. Upon further investigation, I noticed another digit that looked worn as well. Not quite to the extent of the first number, but none-the-less worn. So I concluded that the access code must consist of these digits, with a repeat of the first digit. I tried a couple of combinations and then noticed yet another digit that looked slightly worn as well. I pressed it next and heard the most beautiful sound follow. The garage door was opening! I’d actually done it! I guessed the access code to someone’s garage! I ran inside hoping and praying that the door to the house was not also locked and was very relieved when the handle turned and I walked inside.

While this strategy helped me gain access to a house I was allowed to be in, I am also reminded to be cautious. If I was able to figure it out, surely a criminal mastermind could figure it out as well. So all of you with keypads on your garage, take a look and see if your digits are becoming obvious through all of the wear. It might be time to reprogram your garage door…

Monday, August 07, 2006

House #3: No internet

Sorry about the lapse in posts, but our third stop in our "Tour of Minnesota" is without internet and therefore it's been difficult to blog. David is in a meeting right now, so I'm on his office computer catching up on emails and blogs.

The big news here is that I got a job. I'll be teaching 4th grade at New Life Academy beginning September 5th. I used to teach 1st grade and then I took a break and taught 3 year old preschool for the last few years, so I'm a little nervous about the age jump, but I'm sure it'll all be fine. I know the job was provided by God and He, along with the school administration apparently think I'm up to the task, so I will give it my all. Wish me luck!