Simplifying – Logistically Easy, Emotionally Difficult

Just for laughs: how we plan to live in a one bedroom home

We have had a lot of friends ask how things are going with our plans, so I thought it was time for an update. At times progress has seemed slow, but then again, we have paced ourselves so that we have time to accomplish all that we need. We are seeing Jehovah's blessing in so many things and we are still on schedule; here is what we've been up to.

Simplifying – Logistically Easy
So far we have had two large 'yard sales' - one at my brother's home (good location) and another just a couple weeks ago at our home. You never realize how many 'things' you accumulate until you are ready to move. So, we've sold a bunch of 'stuff' - clothes, furniture, tools, doo-dads, electronics, etc., and have given away other small items that wouldn't sell, so the house is looking a bit empty. For those of you that know me (and know how I like my at-home theater experience), I have taken down my surround sound system and have it for sale (still available if anyone wants it - $100); so yeah, this is for real - ha! I will also be selling some of my camera equipment, so photog friends stay tuned.

Simplifying – Emotionally Difficult
Some simplifying is easy – like getting rid of things that you wonder why you had them in the first place – while some other efforts pull a bit more at the heart strings. Sure, I will miss some of my camera equipment and my surround sound theater system, but that doesn't compare to having to part with family members, that is, our pets.

Bella, the most recent addition to our family, now in a new home.

All in our family are pet lovers and take seriously Jehovah's charge at Proverbs 12:10: "The righteous one takes care of his domestic animals." Jehovah gave animals great personalities and features, and this has endeared us to our pets; they really are like family members.

I'm not a 'cat guy,' but these cats were pretty cool dudes.

First, we had to find a new home for Bella, the most recent addition to our family. Just a couple of days ago, Leiane started the search for a new home for the cats, brothers Mac and Manny. I'm not a huge 'cat person,' but Leiane and Manny were close and Mac was Sebastian's 'orange kitty.' Finding new homes for animals is not an easy thing to do. Leiane teared up a number of times, notably when she got the first inquiry about the cats from an ad she posted. I think because the response came so soon after she posted the ad and she did not have time to prepare herself for the reality of these guys leaving us, and perhaps mostly because Sebastian was so attached to Mac - how would she tell him?

Mac would come find Sebastian and purr as he fell asleep holding him.

In a world that does not appreciate our Creator's intent for us to care for and live in harmony with the animals, it can be daunting to find a good home for animals you feel are in your charge. Fortunately, we found a really good home for Mac and Manny; a family that loves animals and has a young son, so hopefully they will warm right up to him.

This next one will be even harder. Mondo has been our 'family dog' for over seven years, and he is the best dog you could ever hope to have.

Best. Dog. Ever.

When we first brought him home from a last chance shelter, he was malnourished and you could see his ribs. Despite how he may have been treated, he was extremely well behaved.

Mondo's first day with us - malnourished and showing ribs, but happy!

On the first night with us, he was on the floor playing with Izabel, who was not quite three years old. That might not seem like a big deal, until you consider that Mondo is a full grown chocolate lab / red doberman mix weighing about 80 lbs at the time (now healthy at 100 lbs!).

A true family dog - protective and defensive, yet gentle enough to play on the floor with a 2 year old.

From the day he came home with us, we discovered that Mondo knew hand commands, was house trained, and would play fetch until the sun set. Most of all, he loved playing with the kids and was gentle with them, always aware of their small size and being careful not to knock them over. His full name, Raimondo, is so appropriate; in Italian it means 'mighty protector.'

Me and Mondo hanging out.

I could write on and on about Mondo, but I fear that is not good medicine for me. If you can't already tell, I am quite attached to him. Most likely he will stay with us for a while yet, but we are looking for a great home for him. In case you are wondering, yes, we have already looked into and counted the cost of taking Mondo with us. After prayerful consideration, we have determined that it will be in his and our best interests to find a new family for him locally.

Parting with pets, as well as some possessions we have emotional attachments to, is difficult and puts each of us on edge at times, making for some discord at home. We remind ourselves though, that Jehovah is blessing our efforts, and we recount all the ways we have seen this already. This fortifies us, builds our faith and enables us to move on to the next step in our journey. Bible reading, meeting attendance, regular association, field ministry and fervent prayer are our constant means of successfully dealing with any negative feelings that may encroach on us.

Those who expend themselves in the ministry give evidence of their strong faith (Watchtower study 12/13/15)

How timely it was for us to see the picture (above) from last Sunday's Watchtower study in which the son is thinking about having to part with his dog while the family looks at the map of where they are going to serve where the need is greater. Yes! Jehovah, the One who "know(s) the pains [we] suffer," acknowledges and praises the sacrifices we make in behalf of his Kingdom (Exodus 3:7,8).

We want all of you that have been there for us with hugs, reassurance and friendship to know how much we appreciate you and your support. Thank you. We love you all. Leaving you behind is . . . not something I want to think about right now.



If anyone reading this feels that they could provide a good home for Mondo and that he would be a good fit for your family, please email me at vincentllora@gmail.com. We would love for him to be able to find a new home with one of our brothers.

Also, let me know if you are looking to move to the Simpsonville (Greenville), SC area and are looking to buy a house, or if you know someone that is. Our home is 1,920 square feet with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, living room, den and fireplace on a one acre private wooded lot (feels like 10 acres) with a pool, fenced yard and kids playground. I can provide you with many more details; please email me at vincentllora@gmail.com.

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