Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Hey y'all - greetings from "sunny" Alabama - right now, it is snowing outside! Doesn't happen very often and I am actually a little bit excited to watch it fall - knowing that it won't last long.

In order to start this blog in the proper place, I feel like I need to do a recap of the last few months. We sold our home in PA in September, bought a 31' camping trailer and headed south to Alabama. We arrived Oct 2nd after 2 overnight stays along the way - one in VA and the other in GA at the corner of TN, GA, and AL.

We stayed at Noccalula Falls Campground in Gadsden, AL. We enjoyed our time there, watching the falls recover from a tiny trickle to a rushing waterfall. We had the excitement of Mercy falling off a 40' cliff and surviving. We enjoyed the park around the corner with playset, train, petting zoo (complete with Sheila - the roaring lion) and fields for exercise and playing. We met some very nice people that came and went from the campground and also got to know the employees of the campground. We were getting adjusted to camping, John's ministry in the prison, homeschooling, and life in Alabama in general. Most of our free time, we spent looking for a place to call home. That was challenging, as we were a 45 minute drive from where we wanted to end up, so we spent a lot of time driving. We saw a lot of fun critters - lions, deer, wild turkeys, racoons, squirrels (grey, brown and black), cats and varieties of birds including blue jays and cardinals.

In November, John's responsibilities increased dramatically when the state chaplain suffered a heart attack right before Thanksgiving. The chaplain is recovering well, but will be out until at least mid-February.

In December, we were able to move our camping trailer to the state property near the prison. John is now 1/2 mile from work and we are tucked away in a quiet street in the woods. We feel very blessed to be here as it saves us a lot of time and money.

We found and put a down payment on some property that is very near the prison. We hope to settle on it in February and begin the process of building a house. We were able to put up a mailbox which was a very significant event. We ran into a lot of issues in doing ordinary business (banks, library, etc) without a permanent address.

The kids are adjusting well. We are still trying to find some good friends to have play dates with, but that will come in time. School is usually a lot of fun, but sometimes it is challenging to stay focused. We spend more time outside enjoying God's creation than we ever have. They love climbing trees when we go and visit the property (which is generally every weekend). They are doing super at hiking around - in the beginning, we had to carry them part of the way, but now they have very little trouble.

We have been attending HarvestField church in Rainbow City, AL. It is about a 35 minute drive, but we all like it there. We were invited to join a cell group and have enjoyed getting to know a few couples a little more.

I am also very thankful for the warmth and genuine friendliness of people in Alabama - we have met so many wonderful people that have welcomed us in. We do miss all of our loved ones "back home", too.

Above all, we are grateful to our Lord and Saviour for the opportunity to be here and are so thankful for all who have given and continue to give so that we can be here. I have said on a number of occasions that we would not be able to do this without the abundant grace of God poured out on us in behalf of the prayers of many. So thank you for your prayers!

Wow - the snow is getting serious now! Maybe we'll have to stay put tonight and stay by the fire - oh, can't really do that...our only fire is the outside variety.

Love to all! S

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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