Transition is the word of the day, the week, the month, the last three months. 

Dictionary.com defines "transition" as:

1. change or passage from one state or stage to another

2. the period of time during which something changes from one state or stage to another

3. (music) a movement from one key to another: modulation by linking passage between two divisions in a composition; bridge

Some change comes almost instantly, as when hubby says, "I got a call. The company is over budget, out of money, and sending the contractor home. The next inspection job starts next year. Can I retire?" Forrest Gump was tired and ready to go home. And just like that, without transition or that musical bridge, the music of our lives changed.  

Some transition is relatively short, like driving from one state (North Dakota) to another state (Texas) with two loaded trucks and a trailer. It was a three day transition on two lane state highways driving across our great United States, almost border to border. It was our sixth and final bittersweet drive on those roads. Then we were Texicans again.

Other transitions go on and on and on. And on. For example, when people have not really lived in a house for eight or nine years, and those same people bring in  boxes of treasures from the northland, only to find that every closet, cupboard, and corner in the south is already occupied over the maximum allowed limit.

Now, three months later, we have had a few side trips, gone to a premier vintage junk market, had our own non-premier vintage market (aka garage sale), and packed the dumpster weekly. We have donated a pickup load to the local thrift store and given another to a neighbor who will meet her sister on the Rio Grande River bridge to hand off a couple of suitcases of clothes for her Mexico family.

Change (or cleaning out a closet) can cause momentary chaos. You drag all that junk out, organize it on the bedroom floor, and make those three recommended piles - throw away, give away, keep. And put it back with a little new junk from a land faraway. Then....repeat.

Psalm 51:10 says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit in me". Someone has said that repentance creates room for Jesus. Repentance cleans out what is hidden in our closed heart's closets and drawers. But, as much as my kitchen utensil drawer wanted to be clean, organized, untangled, and easy to open, she had to give up some stuff. She had to be emptied, laid out, and counted. Purged. It was all good stuff, but after a good cleaning, her heart held only the best stuff. 

Then, if you, my friend, visit me, you will likely think, "she needs to clean up this messy house." But you can't see my orderly linen closet or the coffee cups I purged, because this house in is transition. You can't see that I started with the inside and someday, you can see the change on the outside. You might think that about me and my temple, too. Sometimes it takes a while for my temple to reflect the cleanliness of my heart.

We are reconnecting, and transitioning into whatever our lives will look like back here in the sometimes harsh land of things that of sting, prick, and bite. We are dining with people friends and critter-friends while we ponder who we are back in Texas. We are missing our northern friends, too.

If you are reading this from North Dakota, you need to know that all these photographs, except the cotton field, are from my inheritance - the family farm/ranch. You have seen my daddy's junk yard, prickly pear cactus, ripe mesquite beans, my happy place - the pasture, my back yard, a jack rabbit, quail, dove, and a scissor tail with her scissors closed.

Most evenings will find us in front row sunset theater seats in our back yard. This transition hasn't been easy or smooth, but it all dims in the evening light show.

"It is the goodness of God that leads you to repentance."
Romans 2:4


Travel Update and Wait

We sit and wait at an Alabama tire store, because there's a flat on the trailer.  My phone is full of pictures of the south. I have time and a blogger app. The pictures will not be formatted exactly right, but I'm sharing anyway. And the fantastic video doesn't want to be here on this blog post.

Our destination with a purpose was north of Savannah, Georgia to finalize someone's Ebay purchase of a vintage car like the one he drove in high school. Guess who? More on that later.

Then we heard that the Concourse d'Elegance (a classy motoring festival of vintage cars) was happening on Hilton Head Island,  and of course, decided to stay a few days. We found off season rates at a lovely beach side resort. The car show was great, but the ocean was therapy for the soul.

Here's some therapy for your day too. Pull up a chair, a rocker, or a porch swing and sit awhile, my friend.


Holding On

Sometimes a blog post is months and a series of events in creation. This one started when I first heard the song "I AM" by David Crowder. I was captured by the lyrics of the chorus and their double meaning.

I am holding on to you
(me holding on to God)
in the middle of the storm,
I AM holding on to you.
I AM (God) is holding on to me.

In Exodus 3:14 Moses asked God "Who should I say sent me?" 
and God said from the burning bush, "tell them 
I AM sent you, for I AM that I AM."

Click here to hear the song on You Tube

With my cerebral background music playing, I remembered scriptures like
"Be still and know that I AM  God." Psalm 46:10
"I AM the light of the world" John 9:5
(red because Jesus said it)
and knew there were so many more that I wanted to find - someday when I had time.

Last week at the Names of God Bible Study, we studied 
The Great I AM.
Now the music is louder and the words are stronger.
 It is time to look it up, write it down, and send it out. 
Here is a sampling from my research.

your shield (Genesis 15:1)
God Almighty (Genesis 15:7)
with you (Genesis 27:1)
with you always (Matthew 28:20)
concerned about suffering (Exodus 3:7)
the LORD (Exodus 6:2)
the LORD your God (Exodus 6:7)
the LORD who heals you (Exodus 15:26)
able (Matthew 9:28)
willing (Mark 1:41)
compassionate (Exodus 22:27)
holy (Leviticus 11:44)
your share and inheritance (Numbers 18:20)
your salvation (Psalm 35:3
He who blots out your transgressions (Isaiah 43:25)
the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6)
the Alpha and the Omega (Revelations 1:8)
He who will sustain you (Isaiah 46:4)
bringing my righteousness near (Isaiah 46:13)
the LORD who teaches you (Isaiah 48:17)
teacher (John 13:13)
faithful (Jeremiah 3:12)
your husband (Jeremiah 3:14)
the sovereign LORD (Ezekiel 13:9)
coming and will live among you (Zechariah 3:8)
coming soon (Revelation 3:11)
the living one (Revelation 1:18)
a great king (Malachi 1:14)
a king (John 18:37)
the son of God (Matthew 27;43)
bread of life (John 6:35)
from above (John 8:23)
not of this world (John 8:23)
the gate (John 10:9)
the good shepherd (John 10:11)
the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)
the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)
the vine (John 15:5)
in the Father and the Father is in me (John 14:10)
in you (John 14:20)
making everything new (Revelation (21:5)
going to prepare a place for you (John 14:2)
coming soon (Revelation 22:12)

When the storms in your life are raging, 
just hold on and know that HE is holding on to you.

the LORD your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you,
"Do not fear. I will help you."
(Isaiah 31:14)



At a convenience store somewhere in the south, an old woman (about my age) stopped to ask the time, the time zone, and what state we were in. I wasn't much help because I wasn't sure myself . I think we were both mostly in the state of confusion from too much travel!

This summer (May, June, July, and August) we have logged 12,000 miles on the truck and passed through as least some part of twenty-two states - North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

We have crossed the continental divide. We have crossed time zones. We have crossed rivers, We have crossed the continent and we have crossed our eyes.

Here are some highlights from a few of the states we visited:

The Yellowstone River

More Montana

Pacific Ocean (through a rain forest)

Salmon River

Pendleton Woolen Mills

Hunting Ancestors 
South Dakota 

Duck Dynasty

Gulf of Mexico

Atlantic Ocean

Lunch with Paula Deen in Savannah

Ohio River between
Kentucky and Illinois 

St. Louis, Bar-B-Q of course

The Geographic Center of North America
Rugby,  North Dakota

Now I can sing with Johnny Cash,

I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Travel I've had my share, man
I've been

but there's
No Place Like Home!


Goodbye North Dakota

Oh, North Dakota. How I will miss you.  Yes, the time has come to move back to Texas. You have defined and refined and changed me forever. This adventure with you has enriched my life so much that I will probably forever be driving my southern friends crazy with, "when we were in North Dakota" stories.

We came for work in the boom towns of your Bakken Oil Fields. We got here in June when the crops were lush and green, and some of the roads getting here were closed because of the record breaking Mouse River Flood where 12,000 of your neighbors were washed out of their homes. Oil workers were living in tents in the parks and sleeping in Walmart parking lots. When we found housing for rent, it was crazy expensive.  Things have leveled out a little now. Your town now feels like my town. Our little town of 1250 (2010 Census Count) has new houses, apartments, and hotels for all us new people in town to lay our heads. Because of low oil prices, budgets are cut and some workers (like us) are going home - it they have one elsewhere.

We were here for your first man camps, your first traffic light, and your rail terminal. We saw in your little peaceful valley town, a new grocery store, a new swimming pool, a new convenience store, and new pastors. We celebrated your Fire Department's centennial - "100 years and still making house calls", they said. 

I am sad that we (the oil industry) have destroyed your rolling prairies. However your canola fields of brightest yellow, the purple flax blooms, wheat harvest, hay fields, sunflowers, and corn rows have amazed us. You have a short growing season and long days. In July your sun rises at five and is not completely gone until eleven. Your Fourth of July fireworks celebration get started at my bedtime!

You native North Dakota sons and daughters are so close to your roots - as in knowing that your grandparents were Scandinavian immigrants. I have loved the stories of your grandparents coming over on boats to settle on free land and learn a new language when they got here. Your folks homesteaded land, built houses, built churches, and grew families. Some of their homes are still around. Yes, I have noticed how you proudly hang on to the family farms. You farm their land, live on their land, and love their land.  I've wondered away lots of traveling hours thinking about how life must have been in those tiny homes, especially in winter.

Oh, yes. winter. Your first snowfall (usually October) is exciting and beautiful and breath taking. Then your last one seems like it will never come. You taught us to shovel the white fluff, warm the cars, walk like a penguin, and bundle up.You have taught me more than I ever wanted to know about coats, and gloves, and scarves. You have shown me how to be stylish and warm at the same time, but all I really ever wanted was a nice warm hoodie - nine months out of the year. You don't let the cold and snow stop you - not your work, not your church meetings, and certainly not school. I  learned that it doesn't really matter how far below zero your temperature is - it's just cold. You are amazing, tough, resilent people (even those of you who go south for the winter!)

When your spring thaw finally comes in mid-May, so do your robins and your flowers and your road construction. You say there are really only two seasons - winter and road construction. I believe it.  After a long hard winter - yards and flowers explode in beauty. I have certainly enjoyed the fruits of former owner's labor in my yard. You have shown me how to fully enjoy those few months of warm weather.

Then there's your food - lefse, lutefisk, knoephla, borscht, meatballs, and slush burgers. Some I love. Some I like. And some I leave untouched. You have inspired me and stretched me. Thank you for your recipes and your cooking classes!

Some report I read has said that you have more churches per capita than any other state. I don't know if that is accurate since the population explosion, but you have a lot of beautiful, historic churches in North Dakota. You in the Lutheran church on the next block have welcomed and loved me since my first Sunday. From you, I have learned the apostles' creed, about Ladies Circle Group,and hot dish dinners. . You precious ladies I've been in Bible studies and circle groups with gave me a wonderful going away bash - and you brought your husbands along. You Baptist and Assembly of God girls have loved me more than I deserved, too.  You've welcomed me into your Bible studies, even when I talked too much. Your community church services inspire me to believe that we are not all that much different. And thank you for tolerating me when I tried to sing in the church choir

More than anything you have taught me "North Dakota Nice". That's when you say things like, "Oh but we were so glad to have you in our choir", even though the girl can't carry a tune in a milk bucket - bless her southern heart. I'm sure you would never even think such a thought. You stop your car a block away when I am crossing the street. You have brought me homemade bread, juneberry jelly, chokecherry jam, pickled beets, and have taught me how to harvest rhubarb for pies. You gave us your extra snow blower and loaned me your sewing machine pedal when mine broke and you hardly knew me. You closed our garage door when we left it open, you raked the sticks out of the yard, you hauled off our broken tree limbs, and you invited us over for holiday meals.

My man and I will love you forever, and our time together will always be etched in our memories.

The LORD bless you and keep you.
The LORD make His face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn His face toward you
and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26)

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