Home Sweet Home

We finally got Steve home last night about 7:30pm. Well, we didn't actually get HOME until nearly 9pm, but his plane landed around 7:30.

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!!!!




Well, looks like it will be tomorrow before Steve gets home. And not just tomorrow, but tomorrow night about 5pm! The flight he and David are confirmed on leaves JFK at 8:30am, but flies to Raleigh-Durham, then Cincinnati and then into Nashville. Unless by some miracle they get an earlier flight from Cincinnati, they are due to be in at 5:07pm. Tonight they are staying at a Clarion Inn in Queens, NY.

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!

Not tonight... :(

Well, it doesn't appear Steve's going to make it home tonight. :( :( :(

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...



Horseback Riding and Mittens

OK, I'm going to try and upload some video of Mittens the kitten (oh, good grief...I didn't realize how that sounded until just now).

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!)

Moldova-the last day

Well, it's Steve's last day in Moldova. As I type this, it's Saturday afternoon there. I am sure there is excitement to be coming home, but deep sadness to be leaving the children they've grown to love. Continue to pray for the team as they head back...for safety and peace of mind. By the way, I did talk to Steve today and they were somewhere getting ice cream for the kids at the orphanage. He's doing well. Said he's taken about 250 pictures and I can't wait to see every one!

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!



Update from Moldova...

Be sure and check out www.sweetsleep.blogspot.com. Steve posted the latest blog (I think it's the latest...someone might have posted after him). I was not able to contact Steve this morning and it worried me a little. I finally did talk to him around lunch and he had left his cell phone at the guest house. I actually got to talk to him instead of through texting. He said he missed us and was ready to come home. He also mentioned that he had asked someone the cost of adoption from Russia, more specifically, Moldova and they said it would be about $40k. YIKES! He said a little girl there about 10 years old asked if there were any Americans that would want to adopt a 10 year old girl and when they said they didn't know, she got upset and went away in tears. How sad. Here Jenna is begging for a little sister...perhaps she's take a big sister???? :)

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.



1/2 way there!

OK, it's Wednesday night and we are halfway into our week without Daddy! I got a couple texts today from Steve. Seems that it has cooled down just a bit and they got finished a little early today, so they were going to rest. From the blog, it appears that they are having lots of chicken and potatoes in various forms. I'm glad to hear that because Steve is probably the pickiest one of our little family, so I was worried about what he would eat to keep his blood sugar up.

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!



Moldova-Day 1

Steve texted me today and said he was staining beds for the kids at the orphanage. He said it was very hot and when I checked the weather for there, it said 100 degrees and that was at about late afternoon their time, so you can imagine how hot it was during the heat of the day.

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"....



"So they can sleep..."

Well, Steve has arrived safely in Moldova. PRAISE GOD! I don't know why, but I was a nervous wreck waiting to make sure he arrived there. I think I mentioned his flight from Nashville to JFK was delayed by about 90 minutes but when the flight finally left, it was uneventful. They were supposed to have a layover of about 2 hours in NY, but that turned into about 6 I think. They finally left JFK headed to Budapest. I got a call at 4am our time that he'd landed safely there. I think I slept the last 3 hours of the morning better than the previous just to know his long leg of the flight was over. It was a very brief conversation given the time (and the cost of $3.50 PER MINUTE!). He was supposed to call me before he got back on the flight into Moldova, but he didn't. I woke up about 7am and couldn't go back to sleep despite staying up until almost 11pm. I finally tried to call his cell about 7:30 knowing even if they had landed, the phone wouldn't work. I had spend quite some time on the phone with "the new AT&T" on Friday and was told that while there were cell towers in Moldova and there was a signal, the phone Steve had was more advanced than the tower there and the bandwidth wouldn't work. So, we didn't expect to have any phone conversation once he left Budapest. However, while Jenna and I were eating breakfast, my phone dinged and I had a text from him stating they were on the ground in Moldova! I was so excited! I texted him back and he received it and said we could text, but he couldn't call out.

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!


It's a boy! A departure and arrival!

It's a boy!
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...

A Departure...
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!

An Arrival..
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!


The time is near...

...for Steve to take off for Moldova and boy am I in a F-O-U-L mood. I'm sure it has to do with him leaving. I just don't even want to think about it. Again, it's not that I'm not confident in my ability to parent without him...I just...don't want him to go is about the extent of it.

I know he's doing a great thing and I know he'll be fine and we'll be fine, but I just can't get out of this mood. I'm grouchy with him, Jenna and everyone in between. Of course, we've had a pretty interesting turn of events in the house this afternoon.

Yep...that's a kitten you see. He's (at least we *think* it's a "he") a sweet little thing. Steve said he showed up early this week at his office. He was scared of everyone and wouldn't get near them. Steve was afraid he was going to starve to death. Or worse, die in the heat (it was near 100 degrees this week). So, Tuesday, he went out to Publix and got some food and he came right over. He gobbled the food up, but then he disappeared for a day or two. Steve figured he'd wandered off into the woods behind the office and became dinner for some larger animal. But apparently he got hungry again and showed up today. Of course, Steve, the man who "hates cats" just couldn't leave him there today because he knew no one would feed him while he was gone and he didn't want to think of the little guy starving to death. So, when I got home, I came upstairs to this site.
Jenna is smitten. She's never been around a little baby animal before. Our cats and dogs were here long before she came along. Like any small child, she wants to touch, hold and carry this cat everywhere. We are threatening her in order to convince her to leave him alone. He's pretty thin and dirty. I need to get him to the vet next week if possible. Like we have the money for that. I haven't decided whether we are going to keep him or not. Our other two cats, Maggie and Molly are nowhere to be seen. They are off pouting somewhere.
I'm torn. I don't know what to do. I'm tempted to put him on Craig's list. I had a pretty good response from my other stuff, so why not? Well...for one, Jenna is going to be heartbroken if we get rid of him. But she will get over it quickly enough. I mean, I can put it out there and if I get no hits, then we can keep him. I just really don't want another cat. I always said if I had another cat, I'd adopt an adult one from the shelter and here I am with a kitten again. Of course, the good deed is that we saved him from certain death... And now Steve's leaving in less than 12 hours and leaving me with this decision to make. And without him here to distract Jenna, there's no way to slide this past. We'll see. Right now, she's calling him "Lovey" but she says she also likes "Tiger" because he has stripes on him.
Well, I'll keep you as posted as I can on all that develops this week while Steve's gone. You that are praying folks, keep us all in your prayers.


4 Days and Counting...

Steve leaves in 4 days. I already feel like I'm going to cry. I think about having to sleep in that bed alone for a week or more and I just cringe. My friend, Rachel, made a good point in that the weekends are the slowest. This weekend we don't have much planned because we have to drop Steve off at the airport (another one of those things that make me cringe!) I think his flight leaves about 11am, so we'll have to drop him off no later than 9am. Jenna and I are planning to go visit my brother and then my dad while I'm on that side of town. Then it's home to relax for a while and later that day we are going to celebrate "little Hannah's" birthday at McDonald's playland. I was thinking that Sunday afternoon, we might go to the park and have a picnic. I'm not sure about that yet. We might go to a matinee movie instead.

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!


I've grown up.

When did THIS happen???? I realized this afternoon while standing over my washer and dryer that somewhere along the way, I'd grown up. The realization was a total bummer.

A series of events led me to this realization...first of all, I've been worried sick about finances all summer long. With paying tuition over 12 months and then the additional cost of camp during the summer, we are barely scraping by and we typically live very comfortably. When I was a kid, it was my mom and dad who did the worrying about money. Now...it's me. UGH. That's definitely no fun.

Then yesterday, I woke up before everyone else (another bad sign) and my thought was, "I want to clean out the garage today". Yah? What is THAT about? We will have been in this house for 2 years in October this year and I still had one corner of the garage to go through boxes and clean out. And I wanted to use my Saturday to do this. And that's EXACTLY what I did. I guess I got started about 10am. And I quit about 6pm. The garage is definitely neater, but there's still some stuff that I gotta get rid of. I have a huge amount of 2T and 4T clothes, a karate punching bag and some strollers to find homes for. I put them all on Craigs List and believe it or not, the punching bag is gone. I have a meeting with a lady on Tuesday for the 4T clothes and might have a bite on the 2T clothes. Anyway, I digress...

So, after I finished cleaning the garage, I had to go inside and clean the house where I'd dumped all the boxes and stuff that came inside. I think I finally sat down about 9pm and put in Coyote Ugly from Netflix. I fell into a restless sleep until I woke up this morning.
And today...went to church (drove separately), grabbed some lunch, then dropped Steve back at the church for his last meeting before leaving for Moldova. Jenna and I stopped by Best Buy to pick up something Steve needed for his trip. Then home to finish cleaning the kitchen. I threw a load of laundry in then left to get groceries before Steve went to bowl. (breathe) Got back, unloaded the groceries and put them away all the while putting laundry in the dryer and more in the washer. Steve left to bowl and I did some pictures of the clothes for Craigslist and sent them to the interested parties. Then I made 2 chicken pot pies and some cookies...one pot pie for us for dinner tomorrow and the other (and the cookies) for a family in our Sunday School class that just had a baby. Got Jenna some dinner, put a DVD on for her, finally sat down about 8:40pm for a bite of dinner myself. Finished that and got Jenna in bed and sat down to relax and...FOLD THE 4 LOADS OF LAUNDRY I JUST DID! (big breath here).

And somewhere along the way, I realized I'd grown up into a full fledged adult who if she doesn't do the dishes, laundry, clean the kitchen, feed the fish, answer emails etc., then it just won't get done. On the contrary, Steve does more than his fair share of the work around here...he mowed and weed eated the grass yesterday, cleaned the deck and helped me clean out the garage. He leaves in 6 days and he hasn't packed the first thing for his trip. That's one thing I haven't done yet is make him a packing list. Maybe I can do that tomorrow during lunch at work...

You know, I'm not sure I like this growing up thing.

Not one little bit.


A Child's Prayer

For the first time, I can't do it. I can't make my child happy...here's the story:

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.


Poppop turns 80 and other celebrations!

Sounds kind of like a Curious George episode doesn't it? :) I haven't posted in a while and have lots to catch up on! So, here goes...we'll do this in chronological order...

Happy Birthday Debbie!

My sister, Debbie, had a birthday on July 3. I don't really know how old she is and even if I wanted to sit here and figure it out, I'm sure she appreciates me not announcing it to the world on my blog. Not to mention, I saw here (and much of my other family last night) and didn't bring her Thailand souvenir or her birthday gift. I'm such a loser! She brought my gift and it turned out to be the book by Randy Alcorn entitled "Heaven" which I had in my hands to buy yesterday afternoon, but didn't. Little does she know it was a book Steve had gotten interested in also, so she actually killed two birds with one stone! Anyway, Happy Birthday Debbie! Sorry it's late in coming (on all accounts).

Happy Birthday Steve!

As many of you know, Steve's birthday is on July 4, so I had the privilege of having the day off with him (as I do every year!) We started our day in Pegram where Deanne (Steve's sister) lives. We saw the parade and that's a big hit with Jenna...always getting a bagload of candy...we also had baby Gage with us which was nice for a change. He spent the night on Tuesday, so that was fun (he sleeps through the night of course!) Here's Jenna, Steve and Gage getting ready for the parade.
After leaving Pegram and dropping off Gage, we headed downtown to Riverfront to watch the big fireworks spectacular down there. We sat on the lawn of the Titans Stadium (more recently named LP Field). My former boss, now co-worker, Sherri invited us to join her family there. The fireworks were absolutely awesome. I got some unbelievable pics...But trying to fight the traffic to get out was almost unbearable. The fireworks ended about 10pm and my head hit the pillow at 12:01am. So, you can tell how long it took us to get out and get home. I think we'll probably stay at home next year (after Pegram), cook out with friends and watch the pretty spectacular fireworks from our deck. We did that last year and discovered our neighbor in the next subdivision does a bang up job (pun intended) on his fireworks display.
Happy Birthday Poppop!
"Poppop" is what Jenna calls my dad. Several of the other grandkids call him Pappy and a couple more call him Granddaddy, but Jenna wouldn't do either. She picked Poppop. Poppop turned 80 YEARS OLD on July 5! And to be 80, he has very few health problems (hence living till 80!). He has the run-of-the-mill "old folks" problems like aches and pains, bad teeth (but still his!), shortness of breath (from COPD...smoking most his life, though not anymore) and forgetfulness. But to our knowledge (and trust me, he's see ALL the doctors) he has no heart, blood pressure or stroke problems. It's slightly amazing if you want to know the truth. He's not really taken care of himself that well over the years. But he's made it to 80 which I think is a true milestone! We had dinner with him on Friday night. It was so nice to see him in good spirits and Jenna just loves her Nana and Poppop. We don't get to see them nearly enough. Anyway, it was a nice evening and I'm looking forward to doing it again.
Anything else?
Not really. Steve is starting to prepare for his Moldova trip. He's 2 weeks out now and he's starting to realize he needs to be getting ready and packed. Yesterday we went to BassPro to pick us a gift certificate for Jim (my neice's husband) and since I had "Boat Fever" we looked around at the different boats and compared prices etc. OK, so now STEVE has boat fever too! :) It's not something we want to do this summer, or maybe even next, but perhaps something for the future. Who knows...but it sure was a lot of fun looking for them. We stopped at the book store to see if we could find a "Boating for Dummies" book, but we couldn't, however, I managed to spend $50 on books for me (as if I need more). I bought a couple books that I'd seen on a friend's website. "The Chronological Bible"...it's a read-the-Bible-through-in-a-year Bible but it groups chapters, verses, books together in the time they actually happened. So, the story of David and Bathsheba would be grouped with the Psalms David wrote during that time. I haven't cracked it open yet. It's NIV and I was thinking I might want the NLB or some easier to understand version, so I'm debating on taking it back. I don't think they had anything but NIV at B&N, so I am hesitant to return it and then get a refund and go elsewhere to find it. I also bought several other books and have started reading them.
Oh, and we are already planning our vacation for 2008...A CRUISE! We've been wanting to do this for a while and we have always chosen something else. But we are really planning ahead this time so we can be sure to get it paid for before it's time to go. The best part is that part of my family who lives in Jacksonville, FL are going to most likely join us! We have vacationed with them before (mostly down in JAX) and I can say without hesitation, we enjoyed EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of it! We don't get to see them as often as we'd like and so Steve's about to come out of his skin with excitement at the prospect. I think they enjoy spending time with us too...I know she (Tracey) reads this, so I'm going to wait for an email or comment saying they do before we get too excited! :) Anyway, we are planning for the Western Caribbean in August 2008. We haven't reserved it yet because it takes about $1000 deposit, so we are waiting unti the summer is over to commit to that.
OK, well, it's time to get the rest of the family up and ready for church. I'm showered, dressed and ready to walk out the door (as usual) and neither Steve or Jenna has rolled out of bed yet. Hope you all are having a good weekend and I'll be back later. I'm trying to figure out uploading video from my digital camera, so I'll be back to test that.
And a special parting message for a reader... TATTOO!!!!! You know who you are!


A Dream House

We purchased our dream house this weekend. Well, actually, we purchased Jenna's dream house. Here's a picture of it.

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!



Tonight, we had our Thailand debrief meeting. Can I just tell you how excited I was for this meeting? I couldn't quite put my finger on why...I've definitely enjoyed my Sunday afternoons being free, but I was really excited for the meeting. When I walked into the room with all my fellow volunteers, it felt like I was home and I realized at that moment why I had looked forward to this meeting as I had.

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.