Yesterday we moved into our new home in Tupelo. After nearly two years of living in the cabin in the woods, we moved into a home on the west side of the city, in a nice subdivision near the airport. Herewith a few reflections on the whole process:

1) The decision to buy a home in Tupelo came as a surprise to us. We told many people when we moved here that we only planned to stay in Tupelo for a few months. As the wise man said, “You want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” So we did, and he laughed and said, “Why don’t you stay in Tupelo for a while?”

2) I have gotten out of the prediction business altogether. Yesterday as we surveyed the mountain of boxes in our new home, Marlene said, “Is this our final move?” or something of that nature. When I laughed and said, “Probably not,” she smiled. I used to know the statistics, but isn’t it true that most families move five or six times at least?

3) Memory is a blessing but so is forgetting. You forget how exhausting moving is, and if you didn’t forget, you would never move again.

4) We moved to the west side of Tupelo because that’s where the growth is. The new Toyota plan (opening 2010) is being built a few miles away so the growth will only accelerate in the next few years.

5) Living near the airport–we’re right next to it–will help also.

6) Plus I can once again ride my bike out of the garage. At the cabin I had to put the bike in the trunk or on the rack because we lived at the end of a gravel road.

7) When we came back from Chicago in early May, we knew we had two weeks to find a house we liked. Marlene did it in four days. On Monday she started looking, on Tuesday she found it, on Thursday we bought it. That was less than a month ago.

8) We’re definitely in a downsizing stage of life. After years of accumulating, we’ve been de-accumulating, giving things away or discarding them, paring down, revising our “must-have” list, and in general trying to live simpler.

9) Here’s an example. Like most pastors, I love to collect and read books. When we left Oak Park, I had dozens of boxes of books, most of which went into storage in the lodge across the lake. Some of those books I had lugged with me from Texas to California to Texas to Illinois to Mississippi. I eventually realized that I hardly ever used most of them. I have gotten along just fine with my books in storage. And with more and more books available in electronic form, if I really need a book, I can usually find it on CD. So the vast majority of my books are staying in boxes in the lodge.

10) One of my college professors who had moved many times said that every time you move, you lose 20% of what you own. If you move five times, you end up replacing everything. Let’s see. We moved from Dallas to California (1) back to Dallas (2) to north Oak Park (3) to central Oak Park (4) to the cabin in the woods (5) to our new home in Tupelo (6). I think my professor was right. We have almost nothing left from the early years, we gave away a lot when we moved from Oak Park, and we’re replacing some things that didn’t survive this move or the storage in the lodge.

11) The house was built in October 2005, making it the newest home we’ve lived in. At 1900 square feet, it’s also the smallest home since our first one.

12) Moving would be impossible without family and friends. Nick spent last weekend helping us move from the cabin to Alan’s garage in town. B. J. Lundy spent hours loading the truck we borrowed from Linda Hale. And the weather has been typical for Mississippi in June–mid-90s with high humidity, guaranteed to make you sweat the moment you step outside.

13) Yesterday Nick came over again and we packed the things we had stored in Alan’s garage. Because he has worked for “Two Men and a Truck,” he knows how to pack it high and tight. After delivering our first load, we were both pooped so we stopped at a gas station and bought some Gatorade and corn dogs. When I asked Nick if he wanted some mustard, he said, “You shouldn’t worry about taste when you’re buying corn dogs at a gas station.”

14) Things are chaotic at our new home this morning, and they will remain chaotic for a few days. But we’re plunging forward with gusto because Mark comes home from China on Wednesday and Josh and Leah will be arriving on Tuesday or Wednesday. They’re storing their stuff in the lodge while they are in China (they leave in August).

15) Did I mention that after Mark and Vanessa get married in California next month, they will move to Tupelo and live in the cabin we just vacated?

16) We’ve having a fence built in the backyard so Dudley will have a place to roam.

17) The neighbors we’ve met seem very friendly.

Moving is a pain and a hassle but this one has gone reasonably well. By the way, here’s our new address:

316 Valley Vista
Tupelo, MS 38801

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.