First and foremost, I've looked at the community and it is a community I wouldn't mind living in. Neither is the place where we live now. Nothing rules Fort Wayne out. And there are some community advantages. It's a larger city. There's even a ballet company. There are more opportunities in the arts, a few more museums, a huge library, and different things to see and do than there are here. So we can't see a good reason to rule it out.
Indiana has fewer testing and reporting requirements for homeschoolers than West Virginia does. Neither state is really hard to deal with, but Indiana is a little easier. It will be nice to stop having the annual burden that says we need to be sure our daughter is prepared for whatever testing or the person who reviews her portfolio feels like looking for. Like anyone else, Hannah is better at some things than at other things. She's more interested in some things than other things. I think the Indiana laws will make it easier for us to provide her with the education that is well rounded and still fits her personality and interests.
Housing and cost of living are similar. But we're interested in leaving our present house to move to a smaller house. I know, some people think we have a nice little house, at about 1800 square feet. At the same time, some people think it is a pretty large house. We think it has more room than we really need. More room adds up to more utilities, more repairs, more taxes, you name it. Our family has just shrunk a little bit. We're ready to deal with a little less living space.
At the same time, we've been wanting to become less dependent on the cash economy. If we can do more of our heating with wood, if we can grow a good portion of the food we eat, including raising some chickens and maybe even a goat for milk and cheese, we don't think that will be a bad move. We can't do that here. Our entire property is 30 by 60 feet, including the space taken up by our house. And somehow I don't think the neighbors would be amused by our cultivating the entire yard and keeping a bunch of "exotic pets." I try not to grumble too openly about taxes, but let's be real. As a self-employed person, once you count all the various taxes I end up playing, the total tax burden ends up close to 50% of my income. If I want to have another dollar, I have to earn two more. If I manage to save a dollar, that means two dollars I don't need to earn. Along those same lines, there's something really positive in my mind about having an exercise program which serves to keep the house warm. There's something very comforting about the idea that much of what we are planning to eat is outside growing. There's a big comfort in the idea that if I can cut several thousand dollars a year from the cash needs we have I could afford a pay cut or an emergency expense more easily.
Fort Wayne came to the surface of my inquiries because of my interest in historic Lutheran belief and practice. As the home of Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne ( www.ctsfw.edu ) It's not only a place where I could study for the pastoral ministry if that remains a desire, but it is certainly a place where I could find a wide variety of solid Lutheran churches. When I last counted there were over 15 LCMS congregations in the greater Fort Wayne area. Compare that to two small congregations within 30 miles of my current home. Of course, we don't want to say that because there are more they are necessarily better. And I don't wish to say anything negative about those near my home. But I'd like to see some of the broader world of confessional Lutherans.
Since about 1984 I have toyed, sometimes more seriously than other times, with the idea of training for pastoral ministry. Within the Calvinistic and Baptistic churches that I have attended in the past it would have been relatively easy to make that jump. Lutherans are a little more guarded about the way they view the pastoral ministry. If I think it is right to make that move, I will need to go attend a seminary.
So, back to the original question. Why am I wanting to move to the Fort Wayne area? I don't know. There are a lot of things to do there. It's a good environment for homeschooling. I can surely find a property where I'm free to garden and have some animals. I like the idea of barbecued chicken, homegrown eggs, fresh tomatoes, peas, beans, corn, and carrots, as well as fresh milk and cheese. If we don't like the gardening and animals we can choose not to do that and not be worse off. There are some different church congregations, as well as some educational opportunities. Yet I can't give an overriding reason to want to move. Maybe I just like moving boxes.