He left JFK at 8:30 en route to Raleigh/Durham. Their flight arrive in RDU at about 10:50am and the flight to Cincinnati was supposed to leave about 11:10am. The airlines told them there was a 2:30 flight leaving that would still get them into Nashville at 5pm which would keep them from having to race to meet the Cincy plane and give them just a little more than an hour layover in Cincy. So, they took it and got a meal AND $400 travel voucher for their trouble. 2:30 rolls around and they are going to be delayed "a few minutes, but they would still make their connection" in Cincy. Well, 90 minutes later and their flight was ready to leave, but at the time they were leaving Raleigh/Durham, their flight leaving Cincinnati was departing. Needless to say, they missed it. Before they left RDU, they confirmed them on the 9pm flight from Cincinnati to Nashville. When they finally reached Cincinnati, the very nice Delta attendant booked them right away on the earlier, 7pm flight to Nashville. Rachel, Hannah, Jenna and I were at the airport early, found the luggage which was all there (amazingly enough) and then went upstairs to meet the men. They came dragging off the plane and there was Jenna and Hannah holding a "Welcome Home Daddy" sign. It was the best part of the week in my opinion!
Steve was home today and resting, but it's back to work tomorrow. We've had some time to talk about the trip and he says he would definitely do it again. I'm about to upload his photos and I'll post some later this week with the stories behind them.
Thanks for your constant prayers and support while I was a single mom. What I learned was that if ever I was faced with being single again (heaven forbid) I am strong enough to do it, but given the choice, I DON'T WANT TO!!!!
Such a pity to be right in the Big Apple and not able to sightsee. Although at this point, they are all so tired and punch drunk, not many of them would care anything about sightseeing. Steve said he was NOT going to get postcards from Raliegh Durham or Cincinnati! I had encouraged him to at least get postcards from the airports he went to (Moldova, JFK and Budapest) because it counts as "been there" if he gets a postcard. Plus, it will go into his Moldova scrapbook that I'm going to make him.
Anyway, that's the story. Keep the prayers coming. I won't feel at ease until his plane hits the tarmack at BNA!
At about 3:30 today, I decided to check online and make sure there were no delays in the flight from JFK to Nashville. As soon as I signed on to the Delta homepage, there was an "advisory" stating many flights had been canceled due to weather. Immediately I knew...sure enough, I searched for his flight number and in big RED letters was the word, "CANCELED". UGH.
It's a repeat of what happened to us in Thailand. You fly half way across the world and get so close to home and then you are unable to make it the rest of the way. What's even more frustrating is that when I saw it, I was unable to reach Steve as he was still in the air. I immediately called Rachel (whose husband David is also on the trip) and she totally sympathized. Can I say what a blessing it is to have someone understand your disappointment? Thank God for her.
Anyway, I went ahead and left Steve a voice mail on his cell to warn him and also let him know that I was OK. I knew he'd worry about me after my complete meltdown in Chicago trying to get home from Thailand. I finally got a text from him saying he had landed safely and would call soon. However, at this point, I haven't heard anything from him. After I talked to Rachel and calmed down inside a little, I went into survival mode thinking of all the RE-arrangements that had to be made. I'll be fine...just another night in bed with Jenna I guess!
I'm off to eat Mexican (my favorite comfort food!) with Rachel and Hannah. Hopefully soon we'll know when we'll see our MEN. I'll update you all later...but don't stop praying...
This was done today. He's already getting bigger...he might weigh 1.5 pounds now!! :) He is a little thing as you can see by Jenna's tiny stuffed animal next to him.
Horseback riding was fun, but it went fast. When I was a youth, we'd go for what seemed like a couple hours or so. This time, it was only 45 minutes. Jenna wasn't ready to stop, but I was because being in the saddle with another person is just tight.
I finally finished mowing the grass. It took a while because I kept having to stop and rest, but I finally got it done. It's about 95 degrees here, so we are now showered and clean and about to go ruin our dinner with some ice cream!
Texted Steve earlier and he is trying to stay up until about 4am Moldova time when they have to leave for the airport. Tonight will be my last night sleeping alone (well, with Jenna I mean!)
Jenna and I are getting ready to head out to Cedars of Lebanon for a little horseback riding. We were going to make a day of it and picnic there afterwards as well as swim and play in the park, but our friends Rachel and Hannah aren't able to go with us, so we are going to ride and then come back home. I have a few things to do around the house before Steve gets home, so I need to get that taken care of.
Well, if we are going to be in Lebanon on time, I'd better head out. More later!
Anyway, as excited as I am to have Steve coming home in a few days, it will be hard for him to leave these children I'm sure. And hard to adjust to being home and remembering the situations these people live in. Continue to keep those prayers coming please. I know he'll appreciate it.
Jenna and I went to eat at my sister, Teresa's, house tonight. Jenna's cousin Garrett was there and they played and just had a great time. It was nice because now that we live here and they live in Cane Ridge, we don't get as much time together as when we were living down the street from one another. And I enjoyed the adult company. I love Jenna, but I like to talk with other adults too! We got home and I have put Jenna to bed. Right now, Mittens is laying on my chest just purring away. Soon as I'm done here, I'll read a little and get on to bed. Sounds game is tomorrow night. Saturday is horseback riding and Jenna can't wait.
Again, please go to www.sweetsleep.blogspot.com and read Steve's post. Thanks for your prayers this week.
In one of my texts, I asked him if his sugar was OK and he said no problems, so I'm thankful for that. One of the sweet ladies that are traveling with them have been "mothering" him. I'm eternally grateful because I think I, myself, can give my dear mother-in-law a run for her money in the mothering department. I am very protective of Steve and I know it annoys him sometimes.
Last night, Jenna and I visited with Rachel and Hannah. Hannah's Daddy is also in Moldova with Steve. They live in Spring Hill, so it was a nice couple hours of pizza and playing. After we got home and got Jenna in bed, I finished reading Harry Potter (it was great!), but I suffered because I stayed up until 11:30 to do it. It hasn't been difficult to get up in the mornings like I thought it would be, but I've dragged the whole day. Tonight, I plan to get in bed a little early or at least on time at 10.
Steve said today they painted the playground...guess they must be done with the beds already. He texted me at 9:30 our time (which is 5:30 there time) and said they were in for the evening. They'd finished early and took food to one of the families. He also said they visited a nursing home and it was very bad and sad conditions there. I can't even imagine.
On another note, we did make it to the vet with the kitten yesterday. He is in great health and looks to be a long haired cat. He got a couple shots and weighed in at a whopping 1.2 pounds! He is a little tiny ball of fur. But, she said there would be no problem in keeping him with the two adult female cats already in our house. He's right about 6 weeks old, so in counting backwards, that would be right around Jenna's birthday, so we decided his birthday is also going to be June 15. And we have an official name....in keeping with our "M" theme, our new little guy will be "Mittens". We finally narrowed it down to Mittens, Murphy, Magic, Mikki (pronounced like Mickey) and one other (the name escapes me at the moment)...I wrote them all down on a piece of paper and Jenna drew. We agreed whatever we drew was it. So...Mittens it was. And we both really liked that name, so there you go!
I got some stuff accomplished today, but not going to list it here in case Steve is reading the blog. I want it to be a surprise.
OK, it's 8:15 and I was supposed to have Jenna in the bed at 8. So, away we go!
I told him to be sure and drink lots of water to stay hydrated and he said there wasn't much else to drink. Ah, yes...we encountered that in Thailand...a little different in the sodas there than here and I'm sure he's already missing his Pepsi. :)
This afternoon, I got a text from him saying they'd had a long day and he was headed for bed. Here is his text: "Hey we've had a long day. We were in the shade most of the day but I did fine. I drank a two lt (liter) bottle of water. I'm very tired. It's sad to see these kids. They just want attention. I was throwing ball with a girl aboutr 4 or 5. Very cute. I asked if I could bring her home. Getting ready for bed. I miss u both. Love u." I'm sure he will have many stories about these orphans when he returns. Remember to pray for these children as well as the volunteers that are over there.
As for Jenna and I, we made it another night alone. Jenna says at least 2-3 times a day that she misses Steve and I wonder if he really knows how much she loves him. I know sometimes he feels like she's a Mama's girl, but deep down, I know better.
We got up this morning and headed to 2 weeks of camp at the YMCA. Got her dropped off and to work. Tomorrow is a big day as we have a vendor in all day. This afternoon after I got her picked up, I stopped at the Quick Lube place and got my van's oil changed. There's no telling what else I might do this week...
That's about it. Thanks for your prayers and well wishes...continue to pray and check the Sweet Sleep blog at www.sweetsleep.blogspot.com .
"So They Can Sleep"....
Jenna and I finished eating and headed off to church. I thought I might try to call his cell just to see what would happen and much to my PLEASANT surprise, HE ANSWERED! I think he was just as surprised as I was. The connection wasn't the best, but I certainly could hear him and him hear me. We again, spoke briefly and he was able to talk to Jenna. He sounded so good. In the days leading up to his leaving, he expressed several times about his uncertainty about going. Well, it wasn't "going", it was more or less leaving Jenna and I behind. And he sounded just normal until I spoke with him upon his arrival in Moldova. And there he sounded excited and happy. He said it was very hot, but he was laughing and cutting up with the others and that just thrilled my soul.
I have a feeling that Steve is about to experience way more than I ever thought I could in Thailand. It's one thing to go to a modern, westernized country like Thailand and stay in a 4 star hotel with air conditioning, eating at Amercian restaurants, working with missionaries from the US AND where everyone speaks English. It's quite another to go to a third world country, stay in a guest house, work in th 100 degree heat, work with kids who have no parents to speak of and have to use an interpreter and eat no telling what! I can't imagine what God is going to do in Steve's life this week (as well as the other volunteers). And I'm praying all the while that Steve is open to the changes in his life. To all of you who are praying...thank you. Words can't express how appreciative I am (as the one "left behind") for your prayers especially for his safety.
OK, so, yesterday after my last post, Jenna watched TV and I read some of my Harry Potter book. Doesn't look like I'm going to have it finished by tonight...it's 700+ pages and I don't have as much time to devote to it being a single parent as I would if Steve were here. But I finally put the book down and got showered and ready to go to Hannah's birthday party. We left and made a couple stops on the way and arrived on time. We were there until 6pm and then Jenna started getting antsy to get home to the kitten, who has migrated from "Lovey" to "Tiger", to "Marshmallow" to now, "Smoky". Not sure where we'll end up on that. I might try and figure out how to get a survey on here to let you all vote for your favorite...Last night we just sat around and watched TV and read.
I put Jenna to bed in her bed because if I'm not sleeping with Steve, I prefer to sleep alone as does Jenna. But by my bedtime, I started hearing noises and getting really lonely, so when I went to bed, I carried her there with me. It was comforting to have her there rather than down the hall.
Church was good today, although I felt weird being by myself in Sunday School. I can tell you right now, I'm NO GOOD at being single. I guess that's why God introduced Steve and I before I had the chance to move out on my own, alone. After church, my dear, dear friends the Morgans asked us to lunch. I originally thought we'd just come home and eat, but after we went (yummy Mexican), I was so glad we went. Now that we are home, I've cleaned the kitchen, moved the garbage to the street and started the laundry. Now, we are again, watching TV and I'm about to read. It's 5:30 and I'm not yet hungry for dinner, but think we'll have Mexican Casserole tonight. I made a list of things to do this week while Steve's gone. I won't mention them here as some of them will be a surprise for Steve when he gets back (not the carpet, honey!)...
So, all this to say, nearly 2 days down and 6 more to go. This week will be over before we know it and I will be thrilled to have him home in bed with me again.
OK, more time for Potter. Until next time...
P.S. Don't forget to check the blog... www.sweetsleep.blogspot.com for updates on his trip. There are several posts there already for the team...
Steve-if you are reading this, Jenna and I miss you and love you so much. We are so proud of you for hearing God's call and being faithful to answer! LOVE YOU and be safe!
The kitten is officially a boy. We ran by the vet's office right before they closed to let them do an age and gender check and she said I was right...it's a boy and he's about 5-6 weeks old. He's quite fluffy, but underneath all the hair, it's mostly skin and bones. Unfortunately, he has fleas, so I bought flea meds for him and the two big cats...Maggie and Molly. Jenna's decided since we know he's a boy, we'll call him Tiger for his stripes, but I think we should think of an "M" name to go with Maggie and Molly (Mack and Missy dogs). We're about to surf the net to see if anything else suits him. Stay tuned...
As I type, Steve is in the air on his way to JFK airport and my life as a single mom has begun. He called about a half hour ago to say he was boarding the plane (which was 20 minutes late already). From JFK, he'll fly to Budapest and then from there to Moldova. I'll keep you posted on his goings on. So far, so good. He said he forgot his check card, but he has cash and the card was only in case of an emergency which I'm praying doesn't happen!
Of course, I'm talking about the last Harry Potter book! After I dropped Steve off, I stopped by my brother's house and then my dad's and then we came home. On our way out of the house to the vet, I ran by the mailbox and it was already here! YES! I'm avoiding the internet because I'm afraid there will be spoilers...I'll probably have the book finished by tomorrow night at the latest. So...with that said, I'm off to begin reading.
For those of you that are interested, you can keep up with Steve's group in Moldova through their blog (which Steve will be writing one day this week I think)...it's www.sweetsleep.blogspot.com. Keep those prayers coming!
Friday before Steve comes home, we are going to the Nashville Sounds game. It's Faith Night and also fireworks night. I hope we can make it that long because Jenna loves the fireworks. Saturday afternoon I'm planning to take Jenna horseback riding...not sure where yet...having a time trying to find a reputable place.
To add to the fun, I have a couple of crafty things I want to try. I guess I think I'm going to have all this free time, but that's probably not going to be how it is. I will have some quiet time at night after Jenna goes to bed. I'm not much of a TV watcher. I'm into watching all the episodes of The Wonder Years right now so I'll watch an hour of those, but other than that, I'll mostly read, surf the net and catch up on my magazines. Saturday is when the last Harry Potter book comes out and I have pre-ordered from Amazon, so it's guaranteed to arrive that day. I'm oddly enough looking forward to it!
Well, I have to get busy helping Steve pack or else he will be going to Moldova with an empty suitcase!
During our sermon last Sunday, our pastor, Mike Glenn, stepped on our toes in talking about getting families to pray together. So, beginning Sunday night (again) we started praying together as a family. Every night so far, when Jenna has prayed, she has said something along these lines, "Dear God, thank you for this day and please, PLEASE give me a baby sister. Mommy and Daddy both have to work and I really want to play with someone. So, please, PLEASE give me a baby sister." Ouch.
The first night, it bothered me, but I figured it was just a passing thought...you know how kids are. But night after night, she's said the same thing. And so I began to think about it. Jenna has friends at school. In fact, we are told by her teachers that she is friends with all the kids and doesn't gravitate to any one or two. I thought that was good...she's just an all around friendly kid. But then, when there are parties, several of the kids spend the night with other kids and their parents are going on vacation with the others etc. We are normally not in any of those groups. At church it's the same way. She's friendly with all the kids, but there's not one she always gravitates to. Same way in the neighborhood.
But when it comes to those places, she is what I call "desperate for friends". She BEGS us at church and at home to go to other kids' houses, play with them, spend the night. Like I remember a time not so long ago where I stopped by a friend from Sunday School's house to look at some clothes she was going to put in consignment. She has a little girl a few years older than Jenna. While we were there only a 1/2 hour at the most, she was instantly all about the little girl. They played while I looked and for a day or two after we visited, she talked constantly about going back to see the girl, spending the night with her, asking her over, going to her house etc. She just became obsessed with seeing her again. And that's the way it goes.
And then comes this prayer...this constant prayer. Every night. For a sister. Or a brother. I think she'd take either one at this point. And like most parents, there's not anything I wouldn't get, buy, find or fetch for my child. I would go to the ends of the earth for her. There's not anything I wouldn't do to make her happy.
Except this. I can't give her this. I can't even come close. And I have no idea what to do.
I've come far enough to know that this hasn't happened for us because it's just not the Lord's will. But how do you explain that to a child? How do you explain that a God who loves us, answers our prayers and wants the best for us could answer "no" to her request? Shoot-I'm not sure *I* understand God's will with this much less trying to explain it to her.
I think of myself when I was her age and even older. Living in a neighborhood with no kids my age, I had no siblings, all my friends from school lived "far away" in Antioch, so it was "too far to drive" to go to their houses most of the time. And here, I've re-created this same life, same longing, in my child.
There's no way I can express how it breaks my heart to hear my child ask for something that I can't give her. The thought has crossed my mind to adopt a child just to give her someone to play with! This isn't so much about my wanting a child anymore...it's about not being able to give the child I DO have something she wants...I can't give her this.
But God can.
I know that God can answer any prayer.
And He might answer hers yet.
Yes, I'm fully aware that it's a Barbie dream house. But Jenna has wanted one of these since way before her birthday. But believe it or not, these things are expensive and so I didn't want to blow all her birthday budget money on one gift. So, I told her if she would save up half of the money, we'd pay the other half.
I know that doesn't sound like much, but remember, she just turned 6 and 1/2 of this house cost $60. I know none of you mom's of little kids will judge me because you're just as crazy as me for buying mess like this to make your little ones smile.
Anyway, she had about $15 from saving previously (do you know how long it take a 6 year old to save that much money?) and then she got some for her birthday. And after that, it didn't take her long to save the rest. I mean, she's pretty darn helpful around here when she's trying to earn money! Of course, we paid for the taxes and everything, but she did most of it and we were proud.
She has played with it for hours at a time and it's so neat to hear her stories and imagination run wild. I tell you, it's worth every penny I spent to see her exercising her imagination and out from in front of the TV. Awesome!
We had several items of business to take care of and one of them was regarding what is known as "re-entry". "Re-entry is similar to culture shock. Sometimes it is called reverse culture shock. In re-entry, you may feel 'out of balance'. You're not the same as when you left so there are some adjustments." There are several ways that one copes with re-entry stress, such as fun or the honeymoon period where you are just excited to be home etc. But the one I identified most with was "Imitate (be re-socialized)" Our handout explained it this way, "This is where you go back to life as it always has been and ignore the changes and struggles you are going through. You resume life as if nothing happened."
Being a preschool worker on this trip, I was unable to participate in the worship services we did for the M's. I continue to hear others speak of how they were let down in our own Sunday worship services after being on such a high in Thailand. The M's rarely (if ever) get to worship like we at BBC do, so when we arrived with our orchestra and worship team, you can just imagine how they soaked up the opportunity. I'm sure it must have been something else to see and be part of. Unfortunately, those of us in preschool had only a 10-15 minute window on one day to see what that was all about. So I really can't understand the "missing worship" part of it or feeling depressed. To me, the worship at BBC was welcome as I'd been 2 entire weeks without it. Interesting that voluteers from the same church can see things totally differently. For me, I came home, went back to work and began my summer routine all over again. But it just doesn't seem the same somehow. Anyway...
They also asked what we learned or what we think God taught us through this trip. The biggest thing for me is being convicted of judging someone because of the way I think they are before getting to know them. I was asked last night who I got to know and like better on the trip. I thought of someone right away. And the funny thing was, I kept adding to the list, telling the inquirer about all the different people from BBC I had not known before, that I know now. Some, a LOT more intimately than before...and how much I LIKE them. People who I sat near in the service or saw in the choir who meant nothing to me are now friends in this journey.
And I think...this is why I felt like I was home tonight in that room. I have formed a family with many of this group. And I won't ever be the same.
And I hope I never am.