•2:45 PM
House hunting in this economy, in our price range, in this area of the country - is a complete rat race! Every house we've been interested in enough to offer on, has been scooped out from under us sometimes even before we got the chance view the property! Investors throwing in their cash offers, properties that banks won't finance because it needs too many repairs or simply doesn't have a fridge, 5 other offers on the table, short sales and all their funny laws and ways... we haven't gotten anywhere.

Now one of the properties we wanted to offer on but couldn't because 3 other offers had already been submitted the day before and the bank chose another, went back on the market yesterday. This time we're the first offer in. Last night, I felt immense peace and excitement. That same anticipation I was assured with the night before we sold our house, and right before DH got invited to Oregon for his first interview. It's incomparable, and the message feels clear. I am sure this is... it.

AAAAAAAGGGGGHGHHHH before I could finish this post, our realtor called!! We got it we got it we got it!!!!!!

•9:50 PM

Now that DH is out of the film catering gig and received his last paycheck, I can finally spill the goods! I already said he wanted to leave the job because of the insane hours and relatively low food quality. But there was a whole lot more to it.

I guess you hear it all the time - the film industry is hard and cold. But if you're like me, you were probably thinking of it from the talent's point of view. Constant rejection and criticism, the casting couch, things like that. I was surprised, maybe more than I should have been, that it's hard and cold all the way down to the ground level behind the scenes.

It's a 100% fear-driven work environment. They do not want you to feel comfortable or secure about your position on the crew. I didn't mention it before because our mortgage lender would not have liked to hear this at all, but DH's company signed a contract with the production company every single night to be hired for the next day and the next day only. The upper echelon on set (the producers and execs) are rich, powerful and moody because they can be, and because it works to keep your performance on its toes. They know what you are being paid and they know 200 people would jump into your place in a dead second.

There is no loyalty to speak of, even within the catering crew. It truly is every man for himself. Mysterious 'complaints' run rampant on the set, and any one of these could be grounds for your termination, whether or not they are true, or even important (for example, if one person out of 120 thinks the table seating is too tight - and she happens to be dating one of the producers). DH was expressly warned not to do any special favors outside of what they were under contract for without speaking to his boss first, because today's kind gesture could become expected as an entitlement tomorrow and if you refuse to do it again, you may find yourself out of a job depending on whom you've ticked off.

Frenchy, DH's boss, has been in the business for over 20 years and seems comfortable playing any game that needs to be played to cover his own back. Sadly, it was hard to respect him in the end. It was interesting to me that his longest term employee has been there only three years (and he's on the verge of leaving as well). Despite the money to be made and stars to meet and the parties to go to, no one can do it for long. It's too demeaning, and too lonely.

The heavy paycheck was great, of course, but it came with many strings and ugly feelings, and the uncomfortable knowledge that it could end at any moment for any trivial reason at all. It's no way to live.

For us, anyway.
•8:54 PM

Ah...heh. Yep!

So it sure is good that God prepared us for the decision we made this week. Had He not, would we have been able to make the decision we did? Would the decision have even been on the table? You know what, I don't think so. We would have never been where we are now, physically and spiritually, if He hadn't brought us through so many storms. And now the financial waters may get kind of rough again, but our souls are soothed, and even assured that this is the right road.

DH decided to accept the job at the restaurant, at a rather crippling pay cut. If we had not gone through Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and rid ourselves of debt, saved a bundle and learned how to limit our living expenses, it is pretty much a given that we would not have been able to afford to take it. But I trust my husband's relationship with God as much as my own, and he feels strongly this job opportunity was a clear answer to his prayers. There certainly were many 'coincidences' of timing and events that made it very easy for him to nab the position. Almost like he was being prodded and pushed along towards it through doors opened by invisible hands.

Apart from the initial wage issue, DH is going to absolutely love the work ahead of him. The kitchen has its own gardens on site to grow produce, and close relationships with local farmers for pork and beef. The executive chef who hand-picked DH for the position previously worked under Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, which is pretty much any chef's nirvana. DH will finally be able to grow as a chef again, and have a good chance to advance up through the ranks (he's going in at the bottom). We have absolutely not given up on Paris, either. We're getting closer, in a roundabout sort of way. :)

I prayed that the wage would be 'enough', and even though, yes, in all honesty a few indignant tears may have squeezed their way out (how many times should one man be asked to 'start over' in the only field he's worked in for 14 years??), they have dried up now and I trust that it is indeed enough, simply because that's what we will be given for now. I am so, so glad that we learned that money cannot be our comfort and safety - only God can be that, and His arms are so much wider and loving than the hard, unfeeling god that money makes - counting on that god just stresses me out!

So DH has just two more days on the set. I do not know what this is going to do to my chances of going to the wrap parties! But it's cool. I'm going to get my husband back from the land of 17-hour shifts, and he's going to be inspired in his work again. He's even going to take a week break in between the end of this job and the start of the next. A whole week to rest and spend time with the boys and I, maybe take a drive down to CA to see the redwoods and hit 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' museum along the way.

To make it even better, DH's dad  'happens' to be stopping in for a visit one of those days! It'll be the first time his dad has ever met Theo in person. DH would not have been able to be off work from the set that day if everything didn't happen when it did, and he would have missed what is definitely going to be a rare and special time for our continentally-divided family. Life is good.

Thank God for change, and for new adventures! Let's get this show on the road!
•8:03 PM

Is there any such game as shuffle rummy? I don't know, but it sounds like an accurate metaphor for the way things are shifting around for us these days.

I've skipped a lot of news because I didn't know how to put it in a blog. It was mostly about money and the decisions it influences - not always the best fodder for a public diary. But I've come to see now that I can't skip over it completely, or else none of the subsequent stories would make sense.

So, here is the powerpoint summary of life since March:

1. DH has been earning decent money working for the film industry. Between his job and Abbamart, we'd have a 6-figure joint annual income for the first time ever. This blows our minds. And boy, is the sushi good out here!

2. DH has sacrificed almost every waking hour for the job since we moved to Oregon. Most nights he sleeps an average of 5 hours before pulling yet another 15-17 hour day. He spends the weekends basically in a daze of fatigue, trying to catch up before doing it all over again. Doesn't leave a whole lot of time to enjoy our new locale.

3. Despite having a healthy income and no debt or shoddy payment history, we found underwriters would not approve a home loan to us based on the contractor-type nature of his job. We wouldn't be able to secure a mortgage unless he stays with this job for 2 years (ack!) and shows continuous projects, or joins the Union.

4. DH's culinary spirit has been a bit depressed by buffet catering out of a truck every day. Not even having daily casual conversations with Amanda Seyfried makes up for it (thank goodness, I guess?? See inset).

5. DH's boss revealed he is going to move his company to Louisiana, which is apparently a hotbed of movie-making activity - who knew? - in September, or sooner. It took DH about .0019 seconds to decide he did not have any desire to follow him there, no matter how many blondes in lace bodysuits roam the bayou.

I had really wanted to be in a house by the time Samuel started school this September, but ironically the very job that brought us here and is supporting us so well is only reason we can't get one. At the same time, DH is becoming physically weary, and really does long to be in a restaurant kitchen again and stretch his skills with all the new ingredients available here. So all these intertangled bits have been tying my mind up, even though I know God is in control. He always is, which is why I didn't feel the need to panic this time around as the job search to fill the upcoming gap began. And ended just as quickly.

DH was invited to a group interview last Wednesday for an amazing restaurant he'd applied for twice before when we lived in MN. He was politely turned down both times then, so it was nice to get the invitation. However, of course it was scheduled for the middle of one of his bazillion-hour shifts, and he didn't go. They called him two days later, wondering why he didn't show, and if he was still interested!

They set a time for him this morning with the executive chef, who flat-out told DH he thinks he is the right person for the job. The chef remembered his applications from MN, and says he wished he had called DH then - he hadn't believed he was serious about making the move! Even though they would like him to start as early as tomorrow, they said are willing to wait for him if he needs to finish up things with Frenchy for a couple of weeks.

How amazing, right?? We feel completely humbled and grateful again for our Father's care. So many gifts in such a short time. If he starts this new job, our mortgage broker says approving us for a mortgage will be so much easier. We will also know what he can expect to be earning for the long term, instead of the unsustainable (but awfully fun while it lasted) megabucks from film catering. Yeah, we don't yet know what's on the table as far as wages at the new job. That will be talked about next week. But I believe God will provide enough.

I like this. DH is pretty thrilled, too, about the thought of working in that kitchen with all it's top-of-the-line equipment and locally grown ingredients. I can see the wheels turning, bringing us closer and closer to our new home, in every sense of the word. Just around the bend, now... maybe even by fall.

•11:52 AM

 I know DH is completely blasé about the whole thing (or maybe it's clinical-level exhaustion), but the boys and I visited him on set for the first time yesterday to watch him in action, and it was about one of the coolest things ever. When we were driving closer to the set location, there started to be little yellow signs tied to the street poles saying 'LEVERAGE' with arrows pointing out the turns. That was exciting. Then I had to talk to someone at the parking lot entrance. I told him I was there to have lunch with DH in catering, and he pointed me to 'Crew Parking'.

The boys and I found the base camp where DH was set up and then mainly lurked around the catering truck and tent to wait for lunch to begin. Christian K. was one of the first to come striding up to the table to table to eat. No thoughts of 'he looks shorter/fatter/paler/disappointing in person' here. Quite the opposite - he practically sparkles. Seriously. Like he walked - go figure - right off a tv set. He was tan, cut, upbeat and friendly with the cooks, complimenting them on the dishes and flipping his hair around like no one's business. DH says he comes out for lunch pretty often (many main actors just have production assistants run them food in their trailers).

Timothy H. made an appearance not too much later. He doesn't come out to the truck to eat very often, so I guess we were lucky yesterday that his son was on set so they came together to get some grub. He was tall and calm, mostly cuddling and speaking quietly to his son while they waited for their meals.

And of course I had to have an awkward moment with him. All Theo's fault, as most of my awkward moments are (usually involving his penchant for spontaneously stripping his pants off at inappropriate times). I was watching the boys play outside in the lot several feet behind TH, and Theo had just splashed into a deep puddle and soaked his pants up past his knees. I was just sort of playfully reacting to it by putting both of my hands up to my cheeks in a sort of Home-Alone-esque expression and that's when T turned around and caught my eye.

And he smiled and WINKED at me. 

Interpret that how you might, but I have no other theory except that he thought that was my faint-of-heart 'star-struck' face and he was throwing me a bone.

I wanted to crawl under a table and die!

OK, so now I have -80 dignity points with TH. Thanks a lot, Theo.

Anyway, beyond the cast, just watching the ebb and flow of activity on set was so much fun. Everyone is communicating constantly in their headsets ("Gina probably has two more takes and she'll be down to lunch,") and little go-carts are zipping about everywhere, and the extras were getting all dolled up in 1920's era evening wear, getting their hair curled in rollers and bowler hats cocked at the right angle, and red lipstick done in front of the lighted mirrors. It's just like everyone's getting ready for a play - and I guess essentially they are.

The boys loved the catering truck where DH works. They know really nothing else of what's going on, except that their Papa cooks in this big kitchen truck, and they are beyond impressed! His boss invited them to come inside the truck and watch him work, which I was surprised about (considering liability and whatnot). They loved the spigots of never-ending juice on the outside, and Mike the driver gave them a tiny toy monkey.

All in all, we stayed about three hours watching all the activity and in the end got to sit down with DH and his co-workers and eat some pasta before they had to start cleaning up. Let it be noted that this is the first time in our entire relationship of 14 years that I have gotten to visit him on a work lunch break! 

I'm proud of DH for being a part of a production like that, something that so many talented people are working so hard on. And I overheard CK say the chicken in the pasta was just awesome - yeah, my husband made that. :)

•6:03 PM

I woke up in the middle of the night not too long ago, and in my foggy 3am brain, I could just grasp at the tail end of this cool dream - our family had made the move to Oregon, DH was cooking for tv shows and movies, and I was about to start shopping (and working out amongst the moss-enrobed pines) for my dress for the wrap party.

Then I grinned like a lunatic at myself in the bathroom mirror and literally boogied my way back to bed - my bed that is safely anchored under a patch of pine trees right outside of Portland, empty because my caterer husband has left for the set over an hour ago - to envision what sort of pretty cocktail party dress and shoes I finally have a decent excuse to buy.

I'd had a lot of those dreams in the past year - the we-made-it-there-everything's-going-fine dreams - only to slowly surface and see I was still existing quite solidly in our unfortunately-decorated orange bedroom with brown marbled wallpaper in Detroit Lakes, with no hint of reliable employment in sight and the ever-present dread of having to visit 'the weird tenants' this week.

So what with already being so happy and thankful for our prayers having been answered about all of this, it's with a little trepidation, a bit of guilt (here it comes again) and a lot of shyness that I admit... I'm asking God for more.

A house.

It's been just 3 weeks since I got here, but I can barely think of anything else. We are so close to being truly HOME. This apartment, while quite nice and safe and happily not boasting the brown/orange/green color scheme of Detroit Lakes, comes with a Japanese businessman upstairs who unwinds by singing some karaoke into an impressive sound sytem every Saturday night and the constant threat of receiving a lease violation if I use the washer/dryer after 10pm (or fail to use the fan while I cook, or hang curtains without prior approval, or my bike rolls 6 inches off the patio, etc., etc.). You get the gist of it. This isn't really OUR place.

I can't wait to make a home for my family again. I've got stars in my eyes, dreaming of pretty paint colors, sparkling lights, a fenced yard with a puppy. And the best part is I wouldn't have to ask anyone if that's ok with them first!

We know the responsible thing to do would be to put this job DH has been given to good use and put together a 20% down payment. That would still be hard to achieve (and more hard to wait for, especially since we rented this apartment with only a 6 month lease in hopes of being in a home by then), but God has brought us this far; I know He'll give us His patience and wisdom and bring this whole journey to completion; I really can't wait to see what He's got in store for us.
•9:54 AM

I told DH I can't help it. I know it's dorky, and it's not exactly the food he ultimately aspires to create, but I think the fact that he works on film sets is just super cool. You can't deny that being based in MN for the past 28 years, you don't see a whole lot of this particular industry. I'm going to just sit here and be my dorky self and be gleefully delighted that this is the job God gave him for the time being!

There have been even more surprise blessings than we expected. In the matter of finances, we expected that he would be making one dollar less an hour than he did in Minnesota. When he arrived, he learned he would actually be making a dollar MORE per hour, with double overtime. We were so thankful for this news - maybe we could pre-qualify for a mortgage! - and there was still more to come. From next week he'll be officially promoted to 'chef' (which is yet another answered prayer - he gets to plan menus and actually use his passion for food much more than he has been), and be given a raise to a wage we have never even thought possible in this economy. We are joyfully amazed, and so grateful to God for this awesome gift to our family!

I love the strange little perks and nuances of his job, too. For instance, today he was told to park our van in the studio lot and leave the gas cap open. The transportation crew will fill the tank for him while he works. Much appreciated with a 20-mile commute and gas near $4.00/gallon. For another, he brought home an entire chocolate cheesecake. Not complaining! And best of all for this dork right here, an invitation for me and the boys to come visit the set when they film close to our neighborhood next week - I'm so there!

Yes, the schedule is grueling, but there seems to be a week off in April and another in May on the horizon which will be a lot of fun. Plus now for the first time in his career, he can count on having Saturdays and Sundays off.

All in all, it's a really exciting time for us, seeing what God has put in place for us here in Oregon. We're not entirely sure where this job will take him or how long he can do it, but we have the ultimate confidence the God does, and as long as we keep Him in sight, we'll be on the right track and enjoy the journey!
•10:21 PM

We are here! DH flew to Portland on March 13th, and had pretty much been squatting in our apartment until the boys and my mom and I arrived by van 5 days later with provisions. Thankfully, a friend who lives nearby dropped by with some sleeping bags and pillows so he wouldn't have to curl up with a pile of socks and his coat for a blanket at night.

We are still living pretty scrappy here since our moving truck has yet to make an appearance. But it hardly matters.

Driving over from Washington into Oregon and pulling up to the first gas station to have my tank filled for me (it's illegal to pump your own gas here), I seriously almost cried happy tears. 20 miles outside of Portland, seeing mossy boulders and pine-studded cliffs bursting with waterfalls next to the highway and raindrops sprinkling down even in sunshine, I did. To say the natural beauty here is breathtaking is an understatement. There are forest corridors that are dark even in daytime, tree trunks wrapped with vines, and twisted branches completely fuzzy green with moss, pink and white cherry and apple blossoms between the roads - and this is all within the city and suburbs! In MARCH!! It's gorgeous and clean and fresh pretty much everywhere, and boy do these people like to landscape! I am thrilled that this is finally our home! As evidenced by the number of exclamation points in this paragraph!!!

As for DH's work, it's a pretty brutal schedule. He pulled a 17-hour day just before last weekend, and most days average about 15 hours. He leaves our apartment at about 2:45am and gets home around 7pm on a normal day, but every day is slightly different and he doesn't know until the end of the work day what to expect for the next day's schedule. A praise, though - he's actually been making more money per hour than he was told at the interview - with double overtime, which he hits by the 3rd day of the work week. Some of the guys doing this job work only 6 months out of the year. They take their much-needed breaks between projects to take real vacations and rest up for the next.

And yes, the elusive titles of the projects are finally known! He has been working on two sets - the first is the TV series 'Leverage', and the second is a pilot episode for a new NBC series called 'Grimm' that will air this winter if all goes well. He says that it's funny to see people coming to eat in costume - for Grimm there are a lot of policemen and CSI personnel with fake guns and handcuffs, and last Friday he fed a zombie. After the pilot, he'll work on a movie called 'Gone', which we know nothing else about at this point.

All in all, we're messy, we're tired, we've spent a heck of a lot of money getting here and need to spend a whole lot more to get settled again (need to buy second car again and replace all our furniture), but at this point, it's all just details. By the skin of our teeth and the grace of God, we made it home, and we've got nothing but time to sort it all out.
•9:42 PM

I get to write a pretty awesome post tonight.

If you didn't catch my incessant second-by-second Facebook status updates yesterday, we've got some pretty incredible news.

Yesterday morning, DH was offered the same movie catering position he interviewed for earlier this month. They wanted him to be at work on March 14th. Two days after his last day at the Fireside. One day after we start paying rent on our Oregon apartment.

He will not be jobless for even a single weekend in Portland.

Humbled. Grateful. Excited. Joyful. In love with our Father Who is never late. Can't you just see Him grinning and chuckling a little as He sees us going crazy over His gift? Because we put our trust in Him and Him alone - not a job waiting for us in Oregon - He got to let us know now beyond the shadow of any possible doubt that we are moving under the cover of His blessing. This is love.

What I'm learning is that our migration west is not just about God wanting us to 'be happy' or eat more fresh fish. He likes to give good gifts to His children, yes, but ultimately this is a faith journey. It's all about the single most important thing on this planet - our relationship with Him. He's been drawing us close and teaching us about Himself over the past several weeks, not for His sake, but for ours. God is God and is unchanging; He will be the same whether we pray to Him or not, or whether we ask for His guidance or not. That the God Who made the whole universe loves us enough to use our desire to move cross-country to teach us about Himself in such a personal way is astounding to me. Life is so full. Whether we're in a valley or at a peak, He's waiting for us to seek Him out so He can enrich every moment. I could go on and on right now; I just think He's pretty amazing. I love these kinds of days, when He acts in such an easily recognizable way.

And look. Look above at how much I wrote about DH's new job versus how much I wrote about Him.

Guess I'm a little more excited about one over the other.

•6:22 PM

In the past few days, we've made subsequent steps of faith, the results of which are lining up at an alarming pace into a big arrow pointing WEST. We were approved for our apartment and have put notice in to both our jobs. DH's shoes will be filled by his boss, and our caretaker position is being advertised in the Help Wanted section in the local newspaper. Our moving van arrangements are being tied up. March 15th, give or take a day, we'll start out on our own Oregon Trail.

I'd like to be flippant and say we won't look back, but we will. We won't be looking back at Lake Detroit or our first house in Perham, or the Fireside or the snow or even the awesome county fair. We'll be looking back at our family and friends. We know what we're saying goodbye to - barbeques that we'll miss, friends' kids that our boys won't grow up with, and grandparents in Fergus Falls that Theo likely won't even remember apart from yearly visits. Those will be the parts that sting. They already do.

We need to find our own family's home, though. I want to be close to the awesome beauty of craggy mountains and mossy forests every day, not just once every couple of years. Plus have a city close enough to enjoy without having to make an entire weekend out of it. DH needs to develop his talents and take advantage of more work and education opportunities than are available here. We are so blessed that we actually have the option to choose where we want to go now, and that we are both in complete agreement with each other about such a huge decision.

I just didn't want our friends to think they didn't factor into our actions at all. Good friends and family are rare and not replaceable, so it was not altogether an easy choice to make. I will never rest in my quest to convince you all that Portland is where you want to be, too!
•1:55 PM

After having the rug pulled out from underneath us somewhat with the interview and DH not getting the job, I prayed for a sign if we should stay and wait for the next interview, or move on ahead without one. Overnight, Abbamart sold $400+ worth of product. It was not a legendary, solve-all-our-concerns sort of situation, but it reminded me that after a year of being sort of a nice thing on the side to help with groceries, Abbamart really could be something now. Maybe something enough to count on a bit along with our savings to float us a few months while DH job-hunts. After all, one interview cost us about $900. Do too many more of those, and we might as well have paid rent in Oregon for 3 months.

But the job market is rough out there, and that's no joke. The doubts started creeping in again. It could turn into a bad situation if we move and he doesn't find work. We were still scared... and that's the responsible thing to be, right? No guaranteed money coming in, no security, right? We could burn through everything we've worked so hard to obtain.

I told my mom everything we were considering, expecting to hear, 'You guys are crazy to think about taking a risk like that.' But instead, she asked me, 'What are you going to do in faith?'

You mean... without a job? What are we going to do in faith about moving to Oregon without a job for DH? She said yes, to show that we trust that God will keep His promises. He's definitely told us we can go. Why were we so worried that He wouldn't take care of us and help DH find work when we get there? What were we waiting for?

Um, OK. Mom tells me to do something in bold faith. A step out of our comfort and cautious and yes, even our common-sense zone, placing the situation squarely in God's hands like He continually tells us to. Yielding control and doubt and fear and taking a leap of faith. And see what happens. If we take a step and the doors don't open, step back and pray some more. OK. The Israelites had to battle for their entry into the Promised Land, too. Just because we've been promised something doesn't mean we should wait around and do nothing. We have to do our part.

So, with the help of a friend in the area, last week we chose an apartment complex in Beaverton, OR and applied for a unit coming available March 13th. It cost $80 to apply. I told our property manager that we are planning to leave next month if the apartment accepts us.

Then Abbamart exploded. In less than 2 days, it brought in about $1700. Can you believe when that happened, my first thought wasn't 'Thank you for this, God!! Thank you so much for this HUGE, UNMISSABLE sign of assuarance that You can and will take care of our family!' I was caught up in the work and demand of getting all the orders filled for hours upon hours before I talked to my mom again, telling her about the flood of business and she laughed and said, 'See? What are you scared about? Move, and don't worry anymore.'

God knows what we need. He is God over money, food, safety, and loves us more than we love our own children. I know we'll be OK. God's got the perfect job all ready for DH at the right time. He knows how important work is and He won't forget or be late with it. He won't give us more difficulty than we can handle with His help. Taking our step of faith made this beautiful truth very real to us once again.

We are moving to Oregon!
•5:41 PM

This really isn't the post I imagined writing today.


It was a 'no'. Apparently he has gone and gotten himself 'too much experience'. That darn experience will get you every time.

For those who didn't know, the position would have been an on-site caterer for casts and crews filming movies and TV series. We are so desperate to leave that the details of the job didn't matter. They flew around my head like so many flies to be swatted when I got the time. But, I guess they did matter. Or, would have. Here's a few:

* One dollar less an hour than he earns now (but possibly more hours!)
* Some projects would require travel for up to 3 months at a time (I'll homeschool the kids! We'll come visit! We'll live in an RV!)
* Past projects of the company have been adult films (He won't look!)
* Hours often would begin at 4am to get the breakfast spread out (Well, he doesn't have to do it forever!)
* Possibly could be gaps between projects with no work (Uh...I don't know, we'll figure it out!)

If we're brutally honest with ourselves, it wouldn't have been a good fit for our family. We kind of like having DH around every day. We're adventurous though, and ready for something, ANYTHING new, even if it is inconvenient or different or means we have to adjust further than we imagined. Plus it would have been just plain cool to have DH catering to movie stars (or soon-to-be ones, anyway). The connections and networking could have been amazing.  

Aaaaah, I can't lie - it hurts to have been so close and have the door shut on our toes. It hurts pretty bad. DH and I look at one another and have no words to say. I want him to know it's not his fault; he did everything he possibly could, and now we have to accept that this job was not the one. Not today. It has to mean something better is in the works. 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

- Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you for your answer today, God. We have faith.

•12:34 PM

DH's interview has just started. My stomach is soup.

He says Portland reminds him of Korea because he can see the mountains again. He sounds happy!

My head is spinning, and I'm thrilled. I've got the thrill of anticipation, of excitement and fear and even sadness of the things that will end. There are friends and family here. I'm going to be pulling as many of them as I can to come with us!

I don't feel him coming home with no answers. I don't feel we'll be here to mulch the tenants' flower beds in the spring.

I don't know, but I do feel the change, the building.

15 more minutes...!
•3:50 PM

It's probably been pretty obvious that I have not been a happy girl for the past few weeks. I'm sort of ashamed of how much I've complained and 'uuuuggggh'ed and 'urrrrrrrgh'ed on my Facebook updates. I know my attitude has been less than exemplary. But it's really been driving me crazy. This waiting.

I kept taking it back to God (only after indulging in week-long pity parties, of course - when will I learn?). And every single time, He's assured me in no uncertain terms that He has us covered. It's ok to be wanting to leave. The end of our reign of these townhomes is near.

But how near? God is eternal. He's not necessarily on my timeline.

I thought maybe we were too focused on Portland as our destination city. Maybe that's not where He was leading us after all. All I was hearing from out there is that there are next to no jobs, and the competition is fierce (think 400-500 applications per position), and generally, employers strongly prefer to hire locals. Plus two cooking schools within the city limits pumping out fresh culinary students every few weeks. Willing to work for crumbs. How is DH supposed to compete with that, and beyond it, support a family? Of course nothing is impossible with God, and I don't doubt for a minute that He can give DH any job out there, but sometimes these circumstances can be His way of saying 'no', too. I just have to trust Him.

So I opened my heart up the possibility that He was saying 'no' to Portland. Even though we've spent hours upon hours getting to know the neighborhoods, housing prices, parks and restaurants. My mind hit the wall and exploded, going in no particular direction. I started at Square One, searching towns and employment climates on the other side of the Cascades, in Duluth, in Minneapolis, in Chico, CA, and - what in the world - Austin, TX.

Two hours later I was scrolling through Craigslist help wanted ads out of Dallas, my stomach in my throat about how we were ever going to figure out where our home is supposed to be, when the call came. A fellow with a thick accent asking for DH. I am so glad right now that I don't hang up on telemarketers!

DH has an interview in Portland tomorrow.

God brought us back.

I think He wanted my willingness to change our plans to His will, to be flexible to His direction. To make sure we know that none of this is happening by chance and that He has us very firmly by the hand. We're on the right path. We didn't think twice about the cost of the plane ticket to get DH out there. It's no fluke.

It's for a real job. With a real chef, a French-born chef, who has worked in France.

2:15 PM tomorrow... could this be it?
•9:38 PM
Don't get me wrong..  I love Minnesota.  The reason why we lived here as long as we did is because I love it.  If I lived in, say, Nebraska, I'd get out of there the first chance I get.

I was shoveling on one fine day.  It was still lightly snowing and blowing.  The wind was not pleasant.  But that unpleasant wind was spreading fine ice crystals all over the sky creating a complete circle of rainbow!  It was much more beautiful in person than this camera can capture.  How God turns something unpleasant into something beautiful is amazing.

What's more amazing is that there wasn't just one rainbow.  There was another one!

Driving is always fun.  Especially when you can't see the road!!!

I'm looking forward to reminiscent these days as those days.