For graduation gifts these days, I like to give Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go! I hope the high school graduates really read them. I hope they laugh...and dream. Life is a special occasion. May our dreams know no limits...
In the midst of all the exciting May events, last weekend a group of us homeschoolers also helped some friends move. We got to talking about how many times we've each moved, and one mom asked me where-all I've lived. Ha! When, during our house closing, we had to list all our addresses for the past ten years, I used a whole sheet of paper and our banker called me a gypsy!
The memory got me to thinking...
The Places I've BeenI grew up in northern CA and southern OR...
Went to college in MT
To study English and sociology while canoeing the Yellowstone
And alpine skiing at Red Lodge...
Married and moved to my husband's family's ranch in northeast WY
During a summer of great drought,
And lots of grasshoppers,
So no grass...
Thus, the cattle were shipped off to the feedlot early
(Everybody asks: It was 40,000 acres; 10,000 owned, 30,000 lifetime lease, 16 miles long, 30+ miles across; 1,000 cattle and 750 sheep)
And we took off to AK
To make big money for school by sliming salmon...
For the next few years, it was WY...AK...WY...AK
Back and forth between college in WY (where I now majored in geography)
And salmon (where I packed and shipped frozen filets, loved shoveling shaved ice, and spent my free time picking fish scales off my arms),
Until we ran out of school money and moved back onto the ranch
To help with the cattle and raise 360 of our own sheep.
I liked moving and branding the cattle,
And buying and raising sheep,
But not with my husband or his father.
Thank God for the neighbors...
At the same time,
I worked in the office at the local bentonite plant for three years,
And then went to work for the USFS,
Inventorying timber and fighting fires,
Which I loved...
But my husband hated.
I trained and fought fires for one more season in the Black Hills,
Where I met my future HE (Husband Extraordinaire!),
Then moved to ID to live with my sister while
Working as secretary and teacher's aid for forestry professors
And finishing my bachelor's degree,
A very strong degree in general studies,
With plans to hurry up and start a Master's in fire science...
(So I could write curriculum and teach wildland fire mgmt/ecology...)
Then moved to MN and married my HE, Bear Bait.
Colleges in MN were not willing to work cooperatively with U of I
And we could not leave Bear Bait's mom and younger siblings,
So we managed apartments for a few months,
Then rented a basement apartment while we shopped for a home.
Which we found and bought
Just in time,
Because God promptly made us parents,
Then sent Bear Bait out as a suitcase steamfitter.
And while we've now had a home base for over a decade,
My gypsy days are still not over.
Until my mother-in-law, N, moved in with us four years ago,
The kids and I packed up our school supplies
And traveled alongside of Bear Bait,
Coming home only for a few rooted, stationary meetings like
Church, dance lessons, wrestling practices, Scouting events, etc...
At the same time that N moved in with us,
Bear Bait "just happened" to be hired for jobs closer to home,
And THANK GOD!, because N's needs kept me on the road!
Doctors, hospitals, Mayo, Social Security office...all hours from our home.
God made me a caretaker,
A place I never expected to go,
But it was good...very good.
Now I am a dance mom of two young teens,
Which is like a soccer mom in that
Chauffeuring keeps the gypsy blood from boiling over,
But different in that every year
I get to watch the kids graduate!
Psalm 139:7-14 celebrates that our comings and goings need not be blind wanderings. They can be joyfully led, securely guarded, and satisfyingly purpose-filled:
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,"
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;