Five years ago this morning I woke up as a stranger in a strange land. Gloucester, Va., where the county motto is "The Land of the Life Worth Living," was my new home. Our first home was a Comfort Inn. Two rooms to be exactly. When we hit town we didn't have a place of our own yet -- our house in Corvallis was still on the market -- and we shacked in a motel until we could find a rental. It turns out that we spent 15 nights in the Comfort Inn because no one would rent to us due to the size of our family (even though at the time we only had 9 kids). I'll share the story sometime of how some newfound friends invited us to live with them until we could buy a house. One of my first memories of Gloucester was walking outside the motel room and hearing this frightening screeching sound coming from a grove of trees out back. I could only imagine what sort of wild beast was back there, surely ready to devour my children. Needless to say I parked far away from those trees. Eventually I learned that the sounds were actually emanating from harmless little tree frogs making mating calls. Or something like that.
We moved to Virginia when the Lord gave us a peace about going out there to take a job with the Daily Press in Newport News. Let me tell you, Virginia is a long ways away. My running joke when I drive guests over the Coleman Bridge spanning the York River is that if you look real hard out to the east across Chesapeake Bay, you can see England. In five years we've had three children, owned three houses, started a youth Bible study that the Lord has blessed, moved back across the country to Corvallis (albeit temporarily), been stretched like a rubber band (the Lord has a way of doing that to all of us, eh?) and grown so much in our faith. It's been hard -- no check that, real hard. We left behind everything we knew, our family, our dear friends, summers without humidity, bug-free living ... so many things. As much as we love it here, our home is in Gloucester. We can't wait to get home.