Where Am I? {chronicle}


If you’re wondering where I am, and what’s going on, this the answer to your question, Where Am I?   {I’ll warn you, this post is longer than most.}

It’s been three months since I quit my job, packed my worldly belongings into a rental truck, loaded my car on a car carrier, drove 750 miles east to where my daughter and I packed it all into a storage unit.  Except those things which belonged to my mother, which went to my kids.

Thus ended the plan.  Since then I have engaged in job-hunting, house-hunting, church-hunting and sightseeing (not in any particular order).  And mostly I have prayed .. for wisdom, for direction, for protection, for God’s will and not mine.

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So three months later, Where Am I?  I’m at the end of the first leg of my search in New Hampshire.  I’ve been staying at campgrounds, sometimes at rest areas.  I’ve been in New Hampshire for a month.  I’ve found a wonderful church.  I’ve found towns I love.  I’ve applied for jobs.  I’ve had rejections.  I haven’t had any calls for interviews.

Apparently a host of more qualified people are applying for the same positions in hordes, overwhelming the human resources at these potential places of employment.  Some of them encourage me to keep trying.  Some of them are not that gracious.

What these human resource people don’t know is that God has a job for me somewhere.  I only need one, and eventually I’ll find it, because God has promised to provide for me.

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I’ve met some interesting people in the past month.  I camp in state park campgrounds.  Park Rangers are very interesting people.  They are helpful to someone like me who wants to know about the local area as a potential place to live.  Who ever said New Englanders were ‘cold’ hasn’t met a NH park ranger!

I stayed in a park where you couldn’t hear anything but the birds and an occasional airplane.  I stayed in a park where you had to yell to be heard over the road noise.   I’ve stayed at a rest area where people were standing outside their cars watching the lunar eclipse.

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I’ve traveled through the White Mountains.  I’ve gone to lakes.  I’ve watched horse and oxen pulling at local fairs.  I’ve enjoyed local food.  I’ve spent days in local libraries.  I’ve photographed the State House, covered bridges,  weathervanes,  colonial houses {instead of that awful yellow brick of the midwest}, farmers using old-fashioned hay-balers, and a myriad of other New England-ish things that you may or may not appreciate.

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I’ve immersed myself in the culture of this state where I grew up, and the people who think as I do.  I have shopped in the famous Market Basket stores which the Artie DeMoulas — well, one nearly destroyed, and the other saved.  Let me tell you, those employees love their job!  And they are friendly, too.

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So, what am I telling you all this for?  Without boring you with the details, I am telling you why I have not gotten back on my blogging schedule.  And if you are praying for me, how you might continue to so do.

What I mean to convey is this.  That in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, for whatever reason, no matter what the timing, God is in control.  Whatever we ask, He hears.  He answers.  Not always in the way we expect.  But He is always faithful.

And this.  When we pray and ask God to lead us, we had better stay back and let Him do the leading, not run out in front.  It is so natural to expect an immediate answer, and to get discouraged when we have to wait.  It is our human nature to have a picture of what the answer should look like, and thereby we miss the answer.

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And this.  I have learned, if nothing else, to genuinely say ‘Thank You’ to God for every thing.  Oh, I’m not always happy to have whatever it is, but I say thank You now.  Because I know it is right.  And I ask for help more, though this is still an issue for me.  Why do I not ask — because I think ‘I’ve got this, LORD.’  Ha!  will I ever learn?

My routine on the road:  daily Bible reading schedule, Scripture Memorization — I am up-to-date on memorizing 2 Corinthians, believe it or not, and keeping my laptop and camera batteries charged.  Other things have had to slide somewhat, not by choice.

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Where is God taking me?  I do not know.  I am going back to spend time with my family and regroup.  To be honest I’m quite tired.  I would like to go home, wherever that is.  And I know that I will when God provides for me.  For now, home is where I am.

I’ve tried not to draw attention to my circumstances in writing this.  I’ve learned that everyone has them, and they are all different, and we can all be distracted by focusing on them.  I read Joshua 6 this morning, where the Israelites marched around the walls of the city of Jericho which God destroyed for them.

Sunday night the evangelist reminded us of the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea on dry land.  God may not knock down city walls or stand up the waters for me to pass on dry land, but He is leading me through this set of circumstances, and He will never leave me.  He is my strength from day to day.  His Words are faithful and true.  He is unchanging.

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No matter what goes through my mind, no matter how much the climate ‘changes’, or how many thousands of refugees are displaced, or how many of us are homeless and unemployed, or how many suffer with chronic illness or the dreaded cancer(s), or heroin addiction, or the effects of war, poverty, abuse, or natural disaster, no matter what — God is Who He says He is, He cannot change, He loves me (and you), He is intimately involved in the details of our lives when we trust Him, and He provides peace and strength and comfort and hope and faith for every step of the way.

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Where Am I?  Physically I am sitting at a table in the Baker Free Library in Bow, New Hampshire, typing on my laptop.  My soul is redeemed by the blood of Jesus, I am standing in Christ’s Righteousness as a child of the Almighty Father God  Who is providing every thing that I need at every moment.  I am under His wings, safely abiding in His care.  And I pray you are as well.

If you are praying, please pray for wisdom and discipline in the job search and the housing search, and for physical strength and discipline while living outside my ‘comfort zone’.  I love New Hampshire, but it may not be where I should live.  I need wisdom in this decision.  And I need wisdom in knowing what to do meanwhile to provide for myself.

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The Blog.  If you’ve read this far, perhaps you’ll read this too.  It’s about this blog.  If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you know that I floundered around a bit trying to cover so many areas.  At some point in  my praying over it, I came to the current order of Categories, which put God first, hence the emphasis on the Vessels’ posts with the daily Bible Reading Schedule, and the Heart Hiding posts, with the Scripture Memorization posts.

Both of which are merely my own creations to keep myself going in these areas.  Not polished or fancy, but encouragements to myself and others.

God has used these both to keep my spirits up in this search.  They have been an anchor to keep me focused on Him.  All of that to say, God knew I would need these, and this blog, during this time.  He was answering my prayer before I ever knew what I needed.  I’m so glad I listened to Him!

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I am extremely grateful for You, my dear reader.  Thank you for your encouragement to me to be faithful, and for your prayers and comments.

Where Are You?  I would love to hear how God has worked in your life, how He is providing for you in your areas of need.  Please share in the comment box, or to share privately use the Contact form at the top of the page.

God’s Blessings to You, my Friend!

 

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Home Town Flavor – Part 1 {Chronicle}


Combining words and pictures for a taste of Home Town Flavor {Chronicle}.  Destination:  West Lebanon, New Hampshire.  First of four parts.  Part 1 shows the streets, their intersections, and the view of the Upper Valley.  [The Upper Valley is comprised of Lebanon and Hanover, NH, and Hartford, VT, located in the valley formed by the intersection of the White and Connecticut Rivers.]

The main destination of my 2013 Road Trip was the town in New Hampshire where I grew up,  West Lebanon.  Previous posts included some parts of the town.  W.Lebanon has operated separately from Lebanon in the past, but is currently part of the small city of Lebanon.

This series of posts is an overall view.  You may view a post on the houses I lived in here { From Main Street to the Corner House}.

The photos in this post are not shared for their photography,

but for their sentiment.  They are a bit random.

I lived in W.Lebanon in the 60s and early 70s.

Tons of change since then.

The Interstate (two of them) came through during that time.

Where we shopped at the Sears catalogue store

and the S&H Green Stamp store,

it is now a shopping mecca.

First a short explanation of the street layout.

Main Street runs north/south parallel to the Connecticut River, and becomes S. Main St. at the foot of Seminary Hill, where S. Main St. follows the course of the river westward and becomes Rte. 12A which goes to Plainfield, which is in the Lebanon School district.

Seminary Hill Rd. is the road to Lebanon, Rtes 4 & 10.  Main St. followed to the north (Rte. 10) takes you to Hanover.  Those are the only roads into town on the NH side of the river.  Bridge St. intersects with Main St. after coming up the hill from the Connecticut River  from Hartford, Vermont.

Maple St. runs parallel to the east of Main St. and curves to intersect Main St. at both ends.  There are four streets (Church St., Tracy St., Dana St., Highland ) which intersect Main and Maple Sts.  Prospect St. runs parallel to Main and Maple, between them.  Mack Ave. runs parallel to Maple to the east, along with two other streets, all of which run for a block or two.

Seminary Hill has three or four side streets, one block deep, on both sides.  S. Main has no side streets.  Crafts Ave. runs parallel to the west of Main St. with one intersecting street.  There are no other streets west of Main St.  Are you getting the picture?  W. Lebanon is still a small town.  There are a few new areas developed, but the streets are largely the same as in the ’60s.

Mt. Lebanon (or Crafts Hill?) rises to the east in the same valley as the town.  There are no roads to the east.  The road connecting Hanover to Lebanon, Rte. 120, is further to the east, curving around and not passing through this largely undeveloped woodland.  Rte. 120 runs to Claremont, NH to the south, after passing through the countryside of Meriden and Cornish.

The Appalachian Trail (AT) runs from Vermont, crossing the Connecticut River in Hanover, NH  northeasterly through the mountainous wilderness to the White Mountain National Forest.

Now for a pictorial tour of the streets of W.Lebanon, New Hampshire, nestled between the mountain to the east, and the Connecticut River to the west.

View to the east toward W. Lebanon at I-89 overpass on Rte. 12A.

View to the east toward W. Lebanon at I-89 overpass on Rte. 12A. The Sunoco station was there when I was growing up.

Powerhouse Mall at the intersection of  Glen Rd. and Rte. 12A in W. Lebanon, NH.

Powerhouse Mall at the intersection of Glen Rd. and Rte. 12A in W. Lebanon, NH.

One of many shopping plazas on Rte. 12A in W. Lebanon, NH

One of many shopping plazas on Rte. 12A in W. Lebanon, NH.  Hey, looks like a thistle on top of the sign!  Highly recommend Cantore’s Pizza 🙂

Intersection of Main, Maple, South Main Sts. and Seminary Hill Rd. viewed from South Main.  Straight ahead is Maple St. Main St. is to the left, Seminary Hill to the right.

Intersection of Main, Maple, South Main Sts. and Seminary Hill Rd. viewed from South Main. Straight ahead is Maple St. and the ‘Congo’ (Congregational) Church.  Main St. is to the left, Seminary Hill to the right.

Intersection of South Main St. and Seminary Hill Rd. aka Rtes. 4/10 in W. Lebanon, NH.

Intersection of South Main St. and Seminary Hill Rd. aka Rtes. 4/10 in W. Lebanon, NH.

View of Main St. looking north from Seminary Hill in W. Lebanon, NH

View of Main St. looking north from Seminary Hill in W. Lebanon, NH

Seminary Hill Rd. sign at the end of Elm St. in W. Lebanon, NH

Seminary Hill Rd. sign at the end of Elm St. in W. Lebanon, NH

View to the north on Rte. 4/10 from Seminary Hill Rd, W. Lebanon, NH.  Large white apartment building is on corner of Maple and Main Sts. at the bottom of Seminary Hill.

View to the north on Rte. 4/10 from Seminary Hill Rd, W. Lebanon, NH. Large white apartment building is on corner of Maple and Main Sts. at the bottom of Seminary Hill.

Intersection of Main and Tracy Streets, W. Lebanon, NH. and Kilton Public Library

Intersection of Main and Tracy Streets, W. Lebanon, NH. and Kilton Public Library

 View up Tracy St. from Main St. facing east. Kilborn Library to the left. This is the street I walked down to get downtown.

View up Tracy St. from Main St. facing east. Kilborn Library to the left. This is the street I walked down to get downtown.

View of Vermont from Bridge St. facing west. Road is diverted to new bridge over the Connecticut River, with old bridge to the right.

View of Vermont from Bridge St. facing west. Road is diverted to new bridge over the Connecticut River, with old bridge to the right.

Intersection of Main and Dana Sts. facing east from Bridge St. looking toward Dana St. in W. Lebanon, NH

Intersection of Main and Dana Sts. facing east from Bridge St. looking toward Dana St. in W. Lebanon, NH

View down Dana Street from Mt. Lebanon School, W. Lebanon, NH

View down Dana Street from Mt. Lebanon School, W. Lebanon, NH

NE and SE corners of the intersection of Maple and Dana Sts. from Dana Street, W. Lebanon, NH

NE and SE corners of the intersection of Maple and Dana Sts. from Dana Street, W. Lebanon, NH

View looking west down Dana St. from corner of Dana and Maple Streets, W. Lebanon, NH.

View looking west down Dana St. from corner of Dana and Maple Streets, W. Lebanon, NH.  The porch on the left is 18 Dana, aka the ‘corner house’ here.

View to the west from Highland Ave. between Maple and Main Sts. in W. Lebanon, NH.

View of Vermont to the west from Highland Ave. between Maple and Main Sts. in W. Lebanon, NH. This is the street/hill I walked up to school in 2nd grade.

Hope you enjoyed Home Town Flavor {Chronicle}.  The tour is not all-inclusive, but a good representation of the town for the purpose of remembering my childhood.  The day these pictures were taken was extremely hot and humid.  I hope to go back when it’s cooler to walk more.  This is Part 1 of 4 — more to come next month!

Sunday Pondering {Churches}


Sunday Pondering {Churches}. 

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Changes.

This morning I have been researching churches in New England, looking at what’s new since I left in 1974 and 1986.  Looking at new pastors of old churches, and how the new churches began.

History.

There’s a long church history in New England, several centuries’ worth.  And there’s the history of Baptist churches, the effects of evangelicalism, the influx of new translations of the Bible, new youth camp ministries, and a growing population which came from somewhere else.  Much to study and ponder.

Doctrine.

I also studied the doctrinal beliefs of different churches and church associations, and found some differences.

I grew up in an independent Baptist church, which has since changed its requirements for membership and removed ‘Baptist’ from its name.  I graduated from Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania, which, as far as I can tell, has maintained its doctrinal position.  Since coming to Wisconsin I have been involved in Baptist churches with slightly different beliefs from both of those.

At the time I was involved in those churches I was too busy to notice the difference.  Now I am noticing.

Old Faithful.

I met a pastor in New Hampshire on my 2013 Road Trip.  We had stopped at a roadside spring.  Our meeting was entirely random.  Or was it?

We had both been in church, different churches in neighboring towns, the ones in which I grew up.  He was on his way home.  I was on my way to Newfound Lake.  The spring is on a state road, a pipe coming out of the side of a hill.  Just a  tiny pull-off in the dirt.  Easy to miss.  The same spring that we stopped at when I was a child, going to or from the lake.

Memories.

The man handed me a tract as I was returning to my car with my bottle of water.  It had the name of a Baptist Church on the back.  I went back to talk to him, wondering if I should know him.  I told him where I grew up, in what church, and of my childhood memory of people who came the long distance (once in awhile) from the town where this church is, to attend services at my church in Vermont.

It was the same church.  Not the same person, but the same church.  This man started the church in Lebanon, from which he was driving home.  He pastors three Baptist churches, in three towns, alternating between them.  One of the churches, the one in Plymouth, which I remembered from the 1960s, has a Christian school, for which he is responsible.  I saw him on the website of the church and school when I was researching today.

I am pondering the awesomeness of God.  He is in control of the small details.  

I am reading a book by a woman who grew up in New Hampshire at the same time I did, fifty years ago.

We went to Bible College at the same time, to sister schools.

We were each married at roughly the same time.  She went to live on a small island just off the coast of the island where I was living in the Gulf of Alaska, at the same time (she still lives there).

We were associated with the same Baptist Church (there are two) in that small Alaskan island town.

She has a Masters degree in writing, which I would dearly love to earn.  She writes memoir and non-fiction, which I aspire to do.  I am reading her book about living on the island.

We have never met, except through email. Her forthcoming book was announced on another author’s blog which I read.

Our churches’ God.

I am pondering her God and mine.  I am awed by His perfection.

He does not do all this for us, though He does all things for us.

It is for His glory, and for us to bring Him all the glory due to His Holy Name.

Sunday Ponderings {Churches}