Steve and Lisa – The Interview

The Loma-Linda “News and Views to Use and Abuse” stopped by for a visit with Lisa and Steve  The following is a transcript of that interview.

News:  Thanks for taking time for us today and first let me ask what brings you to Loma Linda California?

Steve:  We came in a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer.

Lisa:  I think he means – why did we come to Loma-Linda?  Let me answer that for my moron husband.  I am a travel sonographer and I was offered a position here at the Loma Linda University Medical Center through the first week of March.

News:   And have you found the area to your liking?

Steve:  With the exception of the crazy traffic, rainy and cold weather, not starting work for two weeks, being away from home at Christmas, and missing our family and dog, Agnes – I’d say yeah it isn’t bad.  Plenty of Mexican restaurants.

Lisa:  Actually the people have been very nice and the weather is far better than Kentucky this time of year.  Plus we are just an hour from Disneyland.

News:  Speaking of Disneyland – Steve, I understand you had a job interview there.  How did that go?

Steve:  Well, I didn’t get a job – but it was a good experience.  I had not interviewed for a position in over twenty years and I could not stop smiling at the thought of interviewing at Disneyland in Anaheim Ca.  They were looking to hire for the spring and were not hiring temporary cast members.  Had I been here in October – there may have been a chance.  A funny story – while waiting to be interviewed Lisa noticed that I had on a plaid coat with a striped shirt.  Fearing that the person interviewing me may be gay – (not that there is anything with wrong with that) she thought they may also be more fashion conscious than I am and she suggested I remove my coat.  Turns out he was not gay (at least he talked about his wife and kids pictured on his desk).  He actually was very nice and said I seemed like a good fit for Disney.  It just was not meant to be.

News:  Tell me about the thirty hour drive out to California.

Lisa:  From about the Oklahoma line the landscape changes drastically – lots of open space with a lot of nothing to look at.  We thought we would never get here.  We did detour and go to Las Vegas for two days since our apartment would not be ready.  We enjoyed that.  Stayed at the “Vdara” hotel – which does not have a casino and it was great. ‘ Priceline’ gave us a good price.  We walked up and down the strip and…,

Steve:  Let me interrupt here a moment – I had so many blisters from all the walking we did – I thought I may need to find a hospital.  The second day I was walking on the side of my left foot and on the toes of my right.  People were offering me wheelchairs when I went into a casino.  A “Grits” bus stopped to pick me up once (yes – here in Las Vegas).  I bent over once to tie my shoe and a man dropped some coins in my coat pocket.  So my first experience in Las Vegas was not so good.

Lisa:  Well – I love Las Vegas and one night while Steve was back in the room nursing his blisters – I went to the casino and sat down at some nickel slot machines and there I met a couple who lived right outside Gettysburg.  Can you believe that?  We had a great time. I was telling them about places Steve and I enjoyed eating at in Gettysburg that they had never heard of.  It was a hoot!  Worth every bit of the twenty dollars I lost at the slot machine.

Steve:  See – I could have used that twenty dollars on blister cream.


News:  What was it like being away from home at Christmas

Lisa:  This was the first time in both our lives that we had not been in Owensboro, Ky for Christmas and it was a little weird, and a little sad.  We say we will never allow ourselves to do this again.  With Heather having her baby in April – it allows us to be home for that and so the sacrifice now is necessary.  We are sort of glad Christmas is over and we can move on.

Steve:  Our family has been great in their support of our travels – but we hope to never be gone again during the holidays.  It made it even worse that Lisa had not started work.  Plus they talked about this really big snow they were expecting and we really missed not being able to share that.  Turns out – Owensboro did not get as much snow as expected.  Snow forecasts in Owensboro are, I’m convinced, a Kroger conspiracy to get people to stock up.

News:  I understand, Lisa, that your work is not what you expected.

Lisa:  No it is not anything like I was told it would be.  I came here expecting to do EKG and treadmill tests but learned they need me and some other travellers to basically do computer data entry of medical records as they transition to a new computer software program.  The upside is I don’t have to wear a uniform and I’m still being paid.  It is a change of pace for me and the people have been very nice and appreciative of my help.  The way I look at – they are paying me the same so who cares.  I’ve learned to just go with the flow and I think they appreciate that.

Steve:  Lisa is amazing at adjusting to change.  I think that is why traveling so far as been so natural for her.  Plus she has a really good sense of direction and I don’t.  But she can’t cook and I can – so she needs me. (wink, wink).

News:  How do you like the area where you are staying?

Steve:  Our apartment is really nice and is in a very safe neighborhood.  I walk a few miles everyday and it is convenient to the grocery and other shopping areas.  The weather here is actually very nice – just a little cooler than we expected southern California to be.  It is in the high fifties to mid sixties during the day – and mid to high thirties at night.

Lisa: The mountain ranges we wake up to see are breathtaking and we have driven up into the San Bernardino’s and the view from the higher elevations is amazing.  We will definitely miss that.

Steve: To be honest Lisa and I loved Gettysburg and the people we met so much – this has been a tough place to embrace – so far.  The history of that area gave me so much to do with my free time that I find that lacking here.  We even talked about her accepting a position in Hanover if it is offered at some point.  We can see ourselves living there.

Lisa:  But to be fair – we have only been here a couple of weeks and there is so much more to see in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.  But – Steve is right – it will be hard to beat our experience in Gettysburg.

News:  Thank you both for your time.


A Saturday Morning Hallelujah

One of our first blogs way back in July after Lisa and I just moved to Hanover, Pa. was the story of trying to find the First Baptist Church of Hanover. Our GPS mistakenly took us to the First Church of the Nazarene – which happened to be right next to the church we were looking for.  We stayed and fell in love with the little church – having never made it to the church we were originally looking for.  I spoke of GPS standing for “God’s Positional System” and how it seemed crystal clear to us that He wanted us at this little church for the blessings that we unexpectedly received.

Now we find ourselves in Loma Linda, California and living in a community made up of a hospital, university and an academy associated with the Seventh Day Adventists. Lisa and I had unsuccessfully been looking for a Southern Baptist church.  We even considered trying to attend a church linked to the mega church, “Saddleback”.  Then God stepped in – again.

Friday night I decided to walk over to the hospital campus (just a five-minute walk from our apartment) to mail a couple of bill payments.  I never thought God could use such mundane activities as paying bills to teach us something – but I was wrong.

While walking across the campus – I noticed some little booths set up in the center quad area and as I got closer realized they were little scenes from the Christmas story.  A couple of people walked up and explained to me it was called, “The Simplicity of Christmas” and would be starting in the next few minutes.  I called Lisa and she joined me for the guided tour of the different scenes depicting the Christmas story. Some of the youth from the church played the different roles of angels, Mary, Joseph and the wise men.  It was spectacularly simple.  Afterward we were invited into the church (located on the hospital campus) to sing Christmas carols and have refreshments.  We met a couple during that event who attended the church – the Loma Linda University Church of Seventh Day Adventists – and they invited us to the church yesterday (Saturday) for their regular weekly service.

It seemed so strange getting ready to go to church on a Saturday morning – but when in Rome…,  We noticed right away that we were waaaaay under dressed for their church service and felt really out-of-place.  I searched for any man in attendance who was like me – not wearing a tie. Lisa was in search of woman not in a dress and high heels.  We both spotted a few dressed similarly to us but still felt the need to sit in the back and cover ourselves with the huge programs we were handed as we stepped into the sanctuary.  We started feeling more comfortable as they allowed us in the door with a smile and their traditional greeting, “Happy Sabbath”.

We walked into the surprisingly huge sanctuary where on the stage was a seventy person choir and a fifty piece orchestra.  The organ itself looked like something the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would approve of and the decorations were stunning.  We had walked past this building numerous times but had no idea it was a sanctuary.  I thought back to that first experience in Hanover and the contrast of styles between the “high” church of this place and the simplistic style of that little Nazarene church in Pennsylvania.  God had brought Lisa and I two thousand miles from home – away from family and friends – to show us He lives in high churches with trained musicians and in little brick buildings where cassette tapes are still used to lead singing.  What a contrast – but what a lesson.

The service was spectacular as the choir and orchestra performed selections from Handel’s “Messiah” including a heart stopping rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus”.  The simple message was about Jesus being identified as a “Nazarene”, a place disregarded as being without honor and shamed.  The pastor deftly turned that historic truth to say many came into the church this morning – “from Nazareth” – places of shame and sorrow.  But all should take heart in knowing Christ, the Nazarene – is who we ultimately will be identified with as His children.  Wonderful!

It seemed so strange to me as I sat listening to the music and message that this was Saturday morning.  All day Lisa and I felt confused thinking it was Sunday and I even joked as we walked back to our apartment that I felt like going home and watching an NFL game – but wait – this is Saturday.

Our travels have given Lisa and I a chance to meet some wonderful people, see amazing places and experience life from various perspectives.  But maybe the most important lesson in all our travels is knowing God is loved and worshipped in different ways and different places.  He is loved in small one hundred seat buildings and in thousand seat auditoriums.  He is loved in California, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.  He is loved by trained musicians and uneducated harmonica players.  He is loved on Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings.  He is loved by people who speak different languages and wear different styles of clothing.

During the choir and orchestra’s performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus” Lisa and I looked at each other amazed at the high, perfectly pitched voices of the (obviously) trained choir.  But behind me I heard a small, sort of squeaky voice trying to sing along with this powerful and soaring famous piece of music.  She was giving it everything she had.  Finally – I had to turn to see who it was singing and there was a small, older African-American lady – singing without embarrassment or restraint.  “Hallelujah” indeed!

God is loved in a lot of places by a lot of different people and where Lisa and I have found that love of God expressed – we feel like we are home.

Merry Christmas!

Steve and Lisa

Everything I Ever Needed to Know – I Learned in a Jigsaw Puzzle

We are waiting and waiting – still have not started work yet here in Loma Linda and we are trying to stay patient and busy.  Lisa has not heard when she will begin her new job here – but she is getting paid for doing nothing.  In the meantime – we wait.  While waiting I have been working jigsaw puzzles and in doing that remembered an idea I had years ago about lessons jigsaw puzzles can teach us – my “Prayer of Jabez”, if you will. This is something of a first draft of what may need to be expanded.  I would love to hear from you and your thoughts about my ideas here.   Here goes…,


Sturgis Ky. – a little town in western Kentucky with about 2,000 citizens where my grandparents lived and where I spent many weeks during my childhood.  There was not much to do in Sturgis – swing on the front porch, go to church, even made a game of killing black ants on the sidewalk.  It was there my grandmother first introduced me to working jigsaw puzzles.  When all the ants were stomped and the sidewalks rolled up we would gather around her little card table and work jigsaw puzzles.

Puzzles, I have noticed have gotten really fancy.  There are now three-dimensional structures you can put together and some that could be glued together for practical works of art – right up there with the black velvet Elvis prints.  But the puzzles that I am speaking of are those with the pastoral scenes – most of which had a running creek, red barn and wind mill.  My grandmother had a plentiful supply of those and seemed always to be working on one.  It was during those memorable times with her working those puzzles that I began to learn the great lessons they teach about life and who I am.  Allow me to explain.

Life is confusing.

To see all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle as it is first emptied onto the table is to see a mass of confusion.  In fact, many times I looked at all those pieces and felt a little overwhelmed at the seemingly impossible task of putting it together.  How long will this take?  Will I stick with it long enough?  Will I fail? There are times my life has looked like it was just dumped out of a jigsaw puzzle box with a thousand pieces in complete disarray.  The overwhelming feeling of trying to organize my life – make sense of the craziness is, at times, more than I can take.  So many things in life are out of our control and to step back and see the many pieces needing to be put together – makes us feel like just putting it back in the box.  Pack it in.  Many puzzles that I have attempted to put together were left partially completed or never tried.  We could all agree that we wish, at times, that we could just put our life back in the box and start over with a new one.  The message of redemption and grace that allows second chances is what draws me to the message of Christ.  Show me another religion in the world that offers such radical forgiveness and unending, unchanging forgiveness and I’ll give it a serious look.  Trust me – they don’t exist except in the Christian faith.

We have to start somewhere.

Our life can look like a big pile of pieces – many not even turned over yet to see what they reveal about who we are.  So to work our puzzle we must first turn all the pieces over to reveal what they are and eventually discover where they fit into the big picture.  To look closely at the different pieces of our life may not be easy and certainly not always pretty.  Having worked in public education as a social worker for years I met many who had given up trying to understand those pieces of their lives that made them who they were.  It can be extremely painful to look closely at ourselves and admit those crazy looking pieces with the odd shapes are part of us.  Making excuses and blaming others is far easier.  We can choose to throw away some of those unwanted pieces of our lives – stick them back in the box.  But we have to know our lives will never be complete until we admit they are part of us and put them in their proper place.

Getting started

At times it is even difficult knowing where to begin putting a puzzle together.  My grandmother taught me to work the straight edges first until the border of the puzzle is complete.  I love that part of puzzle making.  Create the border with the straight edges and then you know how big the puzzle will be and build some confidence that you can really get this done.  Some puzzles are actually made without a border – just to add to the challenge.  You can have it!  I need a border.  I discovered years ago that people, particularly young people, really want borders in their lives.  Kids will continuously complain about the limits parents put on them.  But never be fooled to think they don’t actually want limits.  So many middle school children I worked with through the years were never given limits and it is what they craved from their parents the most.  Limits suggest concern and when a child lives without parental concern – their lives turn into a mess.  I love putting the border together for a puzzle and see, for the first time, how big it will actually be.  To not have that sense – I may feel overwhelmed, perhaps not even certain the table will be able to contain its unknown size.  Likewise – I love the idea of dreaming big.  But we may be doing an injustice to children by not helping them to understand their limitations and to be successful within the boundaries of their abilities.

The piece that does not fit

There are pieces to my puzzle that just don’t seem to fit.  They look right – almost fit right but I have to finally admit – they don’t go there.  In fact, they don’t even belong to this puzzle.  This piece I have been struggling with belongs to another puzzle entirely.  It is in the wrong puzzle – it is part of someone elses puzzle.  You get the idea.  But here I am pressing, pushing, bending – whatever I can do to make this alien puzzle piece fit as I think it should.  Finally, exasperated and weary – I admit it does not belong.

I will never be six-foot seven.  That is a reality I have finally had to admit.  But, I am only a foot away so maybe – just maybe – I have a chance.  Nope!  I am 53 years old and I ain’t never gonna be six-foot seven.  In fact – I think I’m getting shorter.  That piece of the puzzle does not fit into this picture.  Real peace in my life had always taken place when I can accept who and what I am – not what I think I should be.  People look back on their lives with too much regret thinking they should have done this or that – should have been this way or that way.  Never really finding peace in who and what they became in life.  I learned in jigsaw puzzle making that some pieces were never designed to fit into your puzzle.  Let me repeat that – some pieces of a puzzle were not designed to fit into your puzzle.  Those pieces were designed for another puzzle – not yours.

Accepting that principal in your life will lead to wonderful peace of mind.

The piece that should not be here

So many times in my puzzle making experience I work with a puzzle piece that looks completely out-of-place.  It doesn’t look like it belongs in my puzzle – has to be a mistake, I think.  But it fits perfectly – it just does not look right.  In fact, the puzzle may be nearly finished before I can make sense of how it is part of the big picture..

In recent days our nation has been shocked and saddened by the senseless death of school children and school staff at the hand of a crazed gunman at their elementary school.  Our minds struggle to find a place to file that one – it just makes no sense.  And so we watch and mourn with the parents and for now – set this aside because we cannot understand what just happened.  This piece to our puzzle just does not look right and even more than that – we don’t want it to.

But it is a part of our puzzle – we grudgingly have to admit.

Not until the puzzle is nearly complete can we begin to see how those strange, unwanted parts fit into our lives.  This may take years and for some it may take us standing before God himself before we fully understand.   I agree with C.S. Lewis who once said, “The loudest sound we will hear in heaven is the sound, ‘Ah-hah!’  That makes sense – because we certainly cannot make sense of some of these things now.

The finished product

There is nothing quite like the feeling of putting that last piece of the puzzle in place.  Finished!  A job well done!  Congratulations!  LIfe is not always easy or understandable and there are times in which we want to quit or grow so frustrated we wish all these pieces of our lives could be boxed up and exchanged for something else’s.  But these pieces – all the tiny parts of different shapes and colors – are who we are.

When we stand before our puzzle maker someday – we can only hope he looks at that finished product and says, “Well done!”



Yup! Here We Are!

“It never rains in California but girl don’t they warn ya – it pours, man it pours!” 

Been a cold, rainy few days here in Loma Linda as Lisa and I try to get adjusted to this new place – quite different from Gettysburg Pa.  If we closed our eyes – we would think we were back home in Kentucky.  It has been just slightly warmer here than what we are used to in December but locals here say this is unusually cold for this part of the country.  Well of course when Lisa and I get here we would be met with record cold in southern California.  It has been in the fifties during the day and low forties at night.  We did a mission trip to London England once during a heat wave that set record temperatures in a country that does not have air conditioning.  It all stands to reason.  We went to a movie last night and I commented to Lisa as we were walking to our car in the drizzling rain it felt like it could actually be sleeting.

This first week here has been a mix of joy and frustration.  Our apartment is a blessing from God as it is in a safe neighborhood and a stone’s throw from the hospital where Lisa will be working – eventually (we think).  The situation with her work is that she is one of many travel staff brought in here while the regular hospital staff is trained on a new computer system (same one our new hospital in Owensboro will be using BTW).  She checked in with the HR department her first day as instructed but was informed that there had been some sort of mix up and they were not ready for the cardiac techs and were not sure when she would actually begin work.  Because she is under contract they must pay her regardless which is a good thing and right now we are enjoying a paid vacation.  But Lisa is not comfortable with that arrangement and is wanting to get settled into her new job asap.  We think something will get started for her next week.

As for me – I interviewed with Disneyland yesterday.  The drive from Loma Linda to Anaheim is around an hour (although it did take us two hours during rush hour the other night).  Driving the California freeways is everything you heard it was – how we miss south Frederica on a Friday night.  I remember once looking down at my speedometer while trying to change into one of the eight lanes and realized I was doing eighty mph in bumper to bumper traffic.  Then all of a sudden as you are driving white knuckled to the steering wheel – praying not to spin out and into one of the canyons below – a motorcycle will come flying between you and the car in the other lane.  If I swerved six inches that motorcycle rider would be in the next life – one, I hope, does not have freeways like this.  I look forward to the ‘streets of gold’ – just hope they’re not eight lanes.   Finally arriving – I went to the “Casting Center” and checked in and was called back into an interview room to meet with a “recruiter” named “John”.  I had applied on-line weeks ago knowing we would be in the area and finally an interview appointment was scheduled.  John told me to not be nervous (you kidding? – I couldn’t stop smiling thinking about being here in Disneyland applying for a job – how could I be nervous?) and that he would be asking me some questions and just getting to know me.  Unfortunately, after I explained our temporary status and reason for being in the area – he informed me that Disneyland was hiring for the spring and for permanent positions only.  Had I been here in October – they may have been able to hire me for Halloween and Christmas.  I thanked him and told him I didn’t want to take up anymore of his time – but he said I could stay and talk to him about Disney if I wanted since his next interview was not for thirty minutes.  So we talked Disney – and he explained how he had begun at one of the Disney hotels and was now a recruiter.  Disneyland does not hire “seasonal” staff to the extent that “Disney World” in Florida does.  He did say that I seemed like a perfect candidate for Disney since I was such a big Disney fan and understood their commitment to their “guests”.  I was very impressed when he said, “Our cast members have to understand the sacrifice guests make in paying the high cost for being here – it is not easy for families.  And we have to treat them accordingly.  They deserve our best.”  I love that!  (I wish schools would view and treat students as “guests” – that could really make a difference).  We had a great conversation and I thanked him for his time and headed back to Loma Linda.  I was a little disappointed but also a little relieved – that drive back and forth may have been too much to take.  And if I have to drive this freeway everyday – there are sure to be some dead motorcylists.

It has been a struggle trying to figure this area out.  As you drive around you will see a sign saying “Welcome to Loma Linda” but then street signs will say “City of Redlands”.  It is all in the San Bernardino Valley but hard to distinguish one community from another.  So far we have found all the people here to be very nice but feel we are a minority not understanding Spanish.  We will not be lacking for Mexican cuisine – Mexican restaurants are more abundant here than McDonalds.  I think I even saw Ronald McDonald wearing a sombrero.

It is weird being away from home at Christmas.  I suggested to Lisa we should at least put up a little tree – something that makes us feel like Christmas.  But then she begins yet another cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie and we feel at home again.  (Who writes this stuff and can I get in on that gig?)

We were so sad to hear about the tragedy in Connecticut.  Hug your kids and tell them you love them.


Steve and Lisa

Finally – Loma Linda!

Loma Linda at last.  Lisa and I pulled into our apartment complex around 3:00 pm (PST) yesterday and got settled into our new place.  Our apartment is in a small complex of four “cottages” and is an upstairs unit with a balcony.  We met a really nice couple living here while the husband receives cancer treatments at the hospital.  Apparently many patients stay here during their treatment.  Donna and Gary live in Northern California and told us they were members of a Latter Day Saints church.  We hit it off really well and will enjoy getting to know them.  Gary said it was an hour and half to two-hour drive to Disneyland (depending on the traffic) which sort of disappointed me as I am hoping to be able to work there but that may not work out.

We met one of the apartment office managers who came by to see if we needed anything.  Prince is a native of Ghana and is in his second year of med school at the University.  The Loma Linda medical campus consists of the hospital and a university and is about a five-minute walk from our apartment.

It took us about four hours to get here from Las Vegas and the traffic became insane the closer we got to Los Angeles.  We were told that the Loma Linda area is very quiet and safe with many seniors in the area (they can now add two more) but that the San Bernardino side of the interstate is a lot different with higher crime rate.

Hopefully we will get all that figured out and soon.

We will tell more of our story and experiences here in California as we get settled.

Thanks for reading!

Steve and Lisa

Where Water Runs West


Here is a classic moment between Lisa and I as we traveled across the country to California. Yesterday we passed a sign that said “Continental Divide”. Lisa noticed the sign first and exclaimed, “Hey! We just crossed the Continental Divide”! To which after a long pause I replied “What the hell does that mean?” She “googled” the answer and explained it is where the water (rivers, streams, etc.) begin flowing to the west or east depending on which side of the “ridge” you are located. Every continent has a “continental divide”. So we are now where the water runs west. 

Our long journey from Owensboro Ky to Loma Linda California is nearly at an end as we rolled into Las Vegas last night around six o’clock (PST). After stopping off at Hoover Dam (where Lisa nearly fainted as we drove along the edge of the canyon) we checked into the Vdera Hotel and took in some of the sights. Lisa has been to Vegas a few times – even brought my mom with her once – but this was my first Vegas experience. Wow! Just walking from one resort to another was amazing. The Christmas decorations are absolutely over the top and the sprawling size of some resorts had us disoriented to the point of not being sure where we were. There are no clocks, no chairs (except at the slot machines) and very few exits. This place wants your money and is expert at finding ways to get it. We hope to see more of the sights today before leaving tomorrow (Tuesday) for our final three hours to Loma Linda.

Driving across country is something I’m glad to say we have done – but I’m not sure I want to do again. There is just so much I can take of the western landscape. Enduring canyon after canyon after vast plain after more open, flat, dusty, windy, mile after mile is a test in patience and will power. Not saying it isn’t spectacular in terms of scope and unique beauty – but not twelve hundred miles of it. I never thought I would say I missed the farmlands of Kentucky – but at least there are trees. About the only thing that saved our sanity was that we managed to listen to Christmas music on the radio all the way across the country but even Burl Ives “Holly – Jolly” became a little “Holy – Crappy” after 24 hours.

Viva Las Vegas!

Texas Tumbleweeds and Lots of Nothing

There really are tumbleweeds rolling across the highway across the panhandle of Texas.  Lisa and I had just never seen them before.  But that is about all we did see coming from Oklahoma across I-40 into New Mexico.  Much of the morning was overcast until we hit the Texas border and finally saw some sun.  That was also the time the winds picked up and we could imagine what a tornado could do across the flat lands all around.  Trees are actually permanently bent toward the north from the constant southern winds.

We could not believe the vast expanse of land that exists as far as the eye could see across Texas and New Mexico.  Who owns all this? And what do ranchers do with such enormous acreage?  How do they make money?  I commented to Lisa that I will never fear overpopulation concerns – We could move China in here with room to spare.

We had lunch in Amarillo at a place we had seen on the travel channel that features a free 72 ounce steak to anyone who can finish the entire meal in one hour.  The meal includes the steak, baked potato, roll and salad.  The steak itself is so big it takes seven minutes just to cut it up. If you fail to finish the meal in the hour you pay $72. “The Big Texan Steakhouse” has had some gluttonous champs here in the past.  The record was 8 minutes – 52 seconds by a man who, from pictures, looks to weigh about 110 lbs.  Another famous eater includes a professional wrestler who, in 1963, eight two of the meals in under an hour.  That’s 144 ounces of red meat that I doubt he actually digested until sometime in the seventies (if he lived that long).  For your information Lisa and I had the 8 oz chopped steak.

We finally arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico last night around 7PM (Mountain Time – which is another adjustment for us – I’ll be in bed at 5:30 when we get to Loma Linda).

We are unsure if we will make it to the Grand Canyon (maybe on the way home) but we would like to get to Vegas today if possible.  From there it is only three hours to Loma Linda.

Thanks for your prayers and thanks for reading!

Steve and Lisa

700 Miles Down

Lisa and I left for California yesterday (Friday 12/7) morning and made it to Oklahoma City (700) miles). Today we hope to get to New Mexico. The trip across Missouri was dreary with rain and fog throughout the day and the Missouri landscape is mainly farms and more farms.  We got excited to see anything – “Look Lisa! A dead deer! Wow!”

By the time we made it to Joplin Mo. it was getting dark and we did not see any indication of the devastating tornado that wiped out the town a year or so ago.  By the time we hit the Oklahoma line it was completely dark and we have no opinion of the state because we never saw anything.  Speed limits are 75 mph and we covered a lot of ground quickly.  Finally arriving in Oklahoma City (Lakers played the Thunder here last night, btw) we checked into the Wyndham Garden hotel that Lisa proudly “Pricelined” for $50. We met a lady at the front desk who asked where we were headed and said she lived in Loma Linda, Ca. for a time and loved it.  She even knew the area where we will be living and raved about the hospital where Lisa will work.  Small world.

Settling into a hotel late at night when you are tired and hungry is one of the greatest tests of a marriage.  Lisa grabbed her little overnight bag and casually made her way to the room while I practically unloaded the car to find a change of clothes, my C-Pap machine, the computer, a coat, medicine that somehow got buried beneath something really heavy that caused me to cuss really loud and then I placed the bag holding my supper between my teeth, and with the only two fingers I had left not doing anything managed to use them to shut the car door and carefully hold my extra-large “Whataburger” diet coke to wash down the “Whataburger” hamburger and fries that were now clinched in my teeth.  As I shuffled toward the room (second floor, of course) I remembered my phone charger was still in the car. I had to have that so I backed down the steps – unloaded – stuffed the phone charger in my pocket and slowly gathered everything back up.  It was then that I heard the sweet, soft, soothing voice of my wife yelling to me from the balcony – “Are you coming?”  Whatever happened to ‘O Romeo’?

Anyway – Lisa’s Romeo, the human U-Haul, finally made it to the room and yes we are still married..

We hope to stop at the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas on the way out and be in Loma Linda by Tuesday when we can get into our apartment. Lisa begins her work on Wednesday and I have an interview at Disneyland next Friday (not kidding – I may clean toilets or be the one of the fat seven dwarves – how about “Stumpy”).

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Steve and Lisa

Loma Linda?

For a while there we thought it would be back in Pennsylvania.  Then it started to look like North Dakota.  Then came a couple of possibilities in California and finally Lisa’s next assignment was secured in a place called Loma Linda, California. Whew! Now how do we get to Loma Linda?

Before all that – let me say it has been great being home for the month of November and getting to catch up with family and friends.  I actually started substituting at school a few times and got to see my old co-workers again.  (BTW – teachers who work with severely disabled students are angels of God – I’m just saying).  Lisa, in the meantime has been helping out with her brother and sister-in-law’s florist shop – working their kiosk at the mall and doing some arrangements.  It has been a really good break for Lisa but we both are ready to get back on the road.

The timing for all this was not what we wanted but it turns out to be really good.  Waiting it out for six weeks has been stressful but this thirteen week assignment will allow us to be home in mid-March just in time for Heather’s due date (April 2nd).  We will be gone for Christmas which will give a “too realistic” feel when we sing, “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you.”  But there is no turning back now.  Our kids and family have been great – God bless them!

For multiple reasons (none of which you would care to hear about) we have decided to leave our RV at home for this trip.  We have secured a furnished apartment not too far from the hospital where Lisa will be working and where other travel medical staff have stayed in the past with good reviews.

We will be leaving either next Thursday or Friday and hope to see and blog about some of the sights and experiences along the way.  Lisa’s work will begin December 12th.  The response for our blog has been encouraging (some have read it faithfully that don’t even know us) and we will do our best to share our experiences, bring a laugh or two and stay in touch.

California Dreamin!

Steve and Lisa