Category Archives: Moving

Winter Solstice

My parents have been here three full days already, and we have gotten some work done.

In the kitchen, we have installed wallboard along the East wall and Gina has painted a first coat of paint (it will need a second coat).  We had to remove a few electric lines and move one electric socket in the process, but we should be ready to hang some wall cabinets by Monday morning.

No work has been done on the garage.  It is still covered in ice and snow, negating any hope of working on the roof.  But it is a convenient place to cut up wallboard.  We did manage to move the doors and windows indoors, so they are no longer covered in ice and snow, but I don’t think there will be time to get windows or doors installed during Dad’s visit.

Last night, on the spur of the moment, we decided to celebrate the Winter Solstice by opening presents.  There were many happy faces at all the gifts exchanged.  Gina got a beehive, gloves, and smoker from me, slippers from Meagan, and towels from Caleb.  Caleb got a medieval battle axe from Grandpa, a $20 Orscheln’s gift card and $30 cash from Oma & Opa, three throwing knives and a Treehouse book from Gina & I, a few really cool gifts from Uncle Sean & Aunt Marlaina, and a Hardy Boys book from Meagan.  Meagan got a three-pack of musicals on DVD from Grandpa, a $20 Orscheln’s gift card and some Ukrainian gifts from Oma & Opa, a doll bed and some doll dress patterns from Gina & I, a stamp and color set from Uncle Sean & Aunt Marlaina, and a latch hook project from Caleb.  I received a wood-burning stove and a wave of Heroscape figures from Gina, Meagan got me chocolate-covered blueberries, Caleb gave me a key holder for my belt at work, Sean & Marlaina gave me two card games (Pit & Bible Mad Gab).  Gina & I were also blessed with a $200 gift card to Orscheln’s from my parents, and a ‘gift card’ good for one milk cow from Gina’s dad.  The kids also were given $250 to buy animals for Christmas from their Grandpa.  Gina & I were supposed to buy these animals already, but we haven’t found the right animals yet.

The real highlight, though, has been unloading Dad’s ABF pups.  We had two ABF pups delivered on Thursday and we tore into them early.  The truck that brought the two pups had quite a bit of trouble negotiating my driveway in the snow and ice.  He ended up putting chains on and tearing up my driveway a bit trying to get back out of it.  In the end, we have the two pups in an acceptable position.  Yesterday, it was our goal to get the Mustang unloaded and into the barn, because we wanted it to be stored as far forward as possible.  We went down to my neighbor, Vernon Hazen, because he has lots of cars and stuff in his yard so we hoped he might have the equipment to help us lower the Mustang four feet.  We talked a bit about getting a roll-off, but the closest one is 25 miles away and he wanted to charge $125 to come out and move the Mustang 200 feet.  Our neighbor said he could do it — his flatbed trailer is three feet high, so we could just roll the Mustang down off the ABF pup (4 feet high) onto the flatbed using some ‘bridge planks’.  Then, he could reposition the trailer and we could roll the Mustang off the trailer and into the barn.   So that is what we went with.  He showed up with two other neighbors, Omer (unsure of first name spelling or what his last name was) and Roger Wusk.  Omer lives a few miles away, but Roger is, I think, our closest neighbor at just 1/2 a mile to the north.  In fact, Roger’s grandfather, John Wusk built the house I am living in now.  Roger brought his tractor, and we used it to pick up the engine off the ABF pup and carry the engine over to the barn.  It was amazing to see them all descend on our home and accomplish their mission, helping out their new neighbors.  We feel very blessed to have such wonderful neighbors.

Today we plan to work through the 25 mph winds and freezing temperatures and possible 1-2 inches of snow to get the truck unloaded.  Tomorrow we plan to go to Lincoln for church, Fremont to visit family, and back to Lincoln to visit family.  On Monday and Tuesday I have to work, but I hope to visit the Beckers one of those days and work in the Kitchen on the other day.  Wednesday I would like to either slaughter chickens or work more in the kitchen.

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Filed under Family, Homebuilding, Moving

Welcome to Nebraska

Wow! After nearly two-and-a-half weeks without internet, I am back. But with limited time. Everything with the move went okay. We left Luke AFB on Friday afternoon, 14 September, and drove to New Mexico. That Saturday, we drove through New Mexico and Texas and arrived in Guymon, OK. Then, on Sunday, we drove through Oklahoma and Kansas, arriving in Nebraska!

Welcome to Nebraska

What a great feeling it was to finally arrive.

We spent those first few nights on the floor on sleeping pads, even my 7-month pregnant bride! On Wednesday, 19 September, the truck was delivered on schedule and we were able to locate one of Caleb’s mattresses, so Gina was able to get a good night’s rest finally. The rest of that week, I spent alot of time unloading items off the truck, trying to limit the amount of help we would need. On Saturday, 22 September, we got help from various family members. First, I have to send a mighty big thanks out to the great G-Pa (Rob) for his amazing help that day. He arrived early and worked all through the day and was there with me on most of the heavy items. We absolutely could not have done it without him.

Second, Gina’s aunt, Mary, was also an amazing help. She brought Gina’s grandfather down from Fremont, which is a long way away from here, so she arrive in the late morning, but she also was a huge help. Every time I looked, she was back in the truck just unloading at a furious speed — there was no way we could keep up with her. We would give her projects to do and she would complete them with an unforeseen vigor and come back for more. She also tackled the task of making my refrigerator small enough to fit through the door (by removing the door and cutting the water line). There was no hurdle too big for her and she never slowed down. Again, we absolutely could not have done it without her help.

Unfortunately, we were not injury-free on Saturday. My father-in-law, Dale, hurt his back very badly that day and spent at least half of the following week bedridden as a result. It was very disappointing and pains me to know of the pain he suffered on our account. As far as I know, he is better now. But I really appreciate the sacrifices he made to be there that day and the further sacrifices he had to make in the week following as a result of the pain from that day.

We also had help from Terry, Tate, Kaia, Dick, Hazel, Carol, and Cassandra. What a big help they all were.

There are so many more things to tell of, but I haven’t the time this morning. TTFN.

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Filed under Moving

Leaving Luke

Yesterday, my family & I turned and walked away from a great job. For the last six years, I have been an active-duty JAG in the US Air Force. I worked hard at understanding my job and I even occasionally called it my hobby. But over time I have come to realize that I want to spend less time in Iraq and more time with my family.

My family has had to make sacrifices. Everybody I worked with in the Air Force knows about making sacrifices, and my family is no stranger to the sacrifices. In my six years in, I have not been home for 3 of my son’s birthdays. On three of his birthdays, I was on a trip. For two of them, the family had come along, so we just celebrated in the hotel room. But one was in the middle of a nine-week training in Alabama. I missed my daughter’s birthday when I was in Iraq one year. My wife and I have grown stronger while in the Air Force, but it was in spite of the Air Force’s demands, not because of them.

I don’t want to complain about the sacrifices we have made when I know that MSgt Randy Gillespie and his family made the ultimate sacrifice for his country this past July.

I worked with too many great people to list them all here. I worked with commanders who were smart and understood their obligations and took the time to make sure they had the best advice they could get before they made decisions. I have worked with first sergeants who really understood people and I gained so much from their wisdom and insight. I got to work with federal agents from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations who were also very smart, hard-working, and wanted to find the truth; they didn’t just seek convictions. I thank God for the opportunity I have had to work with each of them. My Mom always told me that when I meet someone and then leave, I take a piece of that person with me. I am thankful for the opportunity to have met all of these people and made them a part of who I am.

I have even worked with great people from within the legal offices. I even met one person whose email address is ‘honestjag’ if you can believe that. Seriously, there are alot of honest folks out there working as lawyers in the Air Force. The lawyers and paralegals I have met are now scattered around the globe. Again, there are too many to list, but I feel that I have truly worked with some of the finest people in the world.

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Filed under Moving, Work

Updates on everything

So much has changed in the last week that I feel I can only post in bullet format.  I’m sorry for how this may look, but I hope you can forgive me. 



  • Today the ABF pup was picked up and is starting its long trek from Litchfield Park, Arizona, to Sterling, Nebraska. 
  • We packed the ABF pup from Saturday through Monday.  On Saturday we had lots of help and got 90% of the trailer loaded.  On Sunday and Monday I worked alone and finally finished the trailer.  Where did all that stuff come from?
  • We have moved out of our rental house and are now living in temporary lodging on base.
  • We leave Arizona on Friday.  There will be a going-away lunch at 1200 and the van will be loaded in the parking lot.  Immediately after the lunch, we will run down to the van, pile in, and start driving, aiming to reach Gallup, New Mexico.  Saturday we will drive on to Guymon, Oklahoma.  And Sunday we will finish the drive, possibly taking a slight side trip to visit family in Lincoln on our way in.
  • We have ordered chickens and expect them to be delivered during the week of 24 September.
  • I still need to set up a personal email account.  I have always used my work email account, but I think it is time I set up a personal account to keep in touch with folks.

Job Search:

  • When I visited the farm Labor Day weekend, I found a letter addressed to me telling me that I had a writing assessment with Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) in Lincoln!  The problem was that my test date was for the week before. 
  • I called CIS and asked if I could take the test in Phoenix or if I could wait until the week of 17 September to take the test.  Thankfully, they agreed to allow me to take the test in Phoenix on 11 September 2007!
  • I had an interview the first week of September with the Tecumseh State Corrections Institution.  The interview was a structured interview with pre-written questions that were graded by a panel of interviewers.  I felt like I bombed the interview.  Most of the questions were pretty far outside what I normally experience, and they left me feeling like I didn’t know what I was talking about.
  • Last Friday, I was offered a job as a Unit Case Worker at the prison in Tecumseh.  One of the things I like most about the job is that it is very close to home, only about a 10-mile drive.  After receiving the offer, I contacted my friend who is a warden and we set up some time to discuss Monday morning.
  • After talking with my friend Monday morning, I accepted the job offer with the prison in Tecumseh. 
  • Today, I drove into downtown Phoenix and took the writing assessment for the CIS job.  I told the kids we will just wait and see what God’s will is – will he extend a job offer from CIS?  And, if so, how good will the job offer be?  Hopefully, it will be clear to us what God’s will for us is.
  • I have an appointment next Monday at the Johnson County Medical Center for my physical exam.
  • I am scheduled to start the Nebraska Corrections Training Program (a 5-week program) the following Monday, 24 September.


  • There is still very little movement on this front.  Eighteen months ago, we were approved by CIS to immigrate two children from China.  That was about to expire, so a few weeks ago we submitted a renewal application, and last week we went to CIS in Phoenix to update our fingerprints.  The story about our experiences there is perhaps a story for another day.


  • Only two months left until our due date!  Abigail Ruth is growing quickly and is a strong little girl!

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Filed under Adoption, Baby, Moving, Work

Phase 1 of Travel Complete

Phase 1 of our move to Sterling, Nebraska, is complete. We have loaded the pick-up truck and it was driven to NE over the Labor Day weekend. Here is what I wrote about my plan (although I never published it before:

The Ford truck will be driven to Nebraska one of these weekends by Gina’s dad, Dale, and I. We are planning to take two days to cover the distance, and I plan to load the truck up with some bulky items that would take up alot of room in the ABF truck but don’t need so much protection from the elements. Some definite items for the truck bed include: the gas grill, chicken plucker, garden cart, wheelbarrow, possibly garden tools (sledge, shovels, etc), patio furniture, kids outdoor toys, and possibly Caleb’s punching bags (at least the bases). I will want to cover these with a tarp and tie them down with ratcheting tie-downs. I can also put other tools into the toolbox, and fill the cab of the truck with other sensitive items (perhaps two of our long arms that I don’t have any ammunition for and some of the photo albums).

Here is a picture of what finally made it onto the truck (1380 pounds worth):


I didn’t quite make it to my planned capacity. I wasn’t able to load all of the patio furniture, nor did either of Caleb’s punching bags make it onto the truck.

On Monday I drove out to the farm and I talked to our tenant and it looks like he will be out of the house at about the same time that we get there.  Almost there!

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Filed under Moving