Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Awesome Fundraiser to Bless Many Families!

I LOVE these products! 

Sevenly is doing a fundraiser again this year for Reece's Rainbow, but this year the proceeds are benefitting families who are waiting to travel to bring their child home! 

That includes us! I haven't said much, but with the new regulations, we are no longer fully funded (we will be needing around $1,500 or more in addition to what we have already raised). But so many other families are far short of what they need to bring their child/children home!

 All the proceeds from this fundraiser will be divided equally between all of the families! Check it out and order some T-Shirts - $7 from each item purchased will go to these families  - these are the "almost home" families/children, and we are only one of many families in this category!

These hats are hand knit by women in Uganda

Over $3,000 has already been raised for these families already!  This campaign only lasts a week (I think it started today, but I am not sure).  
These are made in Costa Rica providing jobs there! 

Please consider purchasing something, and please share on your social networking (blog, FB, twitter, Google+) and help these families bring their children home!!!

This event ends January 6, so don't wait to order!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dalek Invasion...Calling Dr Who!

I admit it, we are Dr Who fans.  We are late in coming to this, but this year we discovered Dr Who, and have watched every episode from the newest series.  The blame lies squarely on our oldest son, Jeremy's, shoulders!  He got Jessica to watch the 2009 Dr Who series with him, and she encouraged us to watch...we actually watched the first few from way back in the 60s and Daryl enjoyed them but I was not interested.  So when Jessica got the Dr Who, with Matt Smith, on our Netflix queue, I was not really interested.  But I was so wrong.  We watched all the Dr Who that had Matt Smith as the Doctor that we could get at the time.  His companion for this series was Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillian, and she was very endearing and tragic. We were hooked, but left wanting more.

So we started watching all the episode starting with the March 2005, with The Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston.  While he had his charms, we were not thrilled with this version of the doctor, but found Rose wiggling her way into our hearts.  When it was time for The Doctor to regenerate, we had seen some clips of David Tennant as The Doctor, but we were skeptical.  Matt Smith was our favorite, after all.  And it took a few episodes (OK, so a lot of episodes), but we found that David was THE BEST Doctor of all...so far.  We just finished with the episode where Matt Smith is introduced as The New Doctor and we all have a need to watch a few with him again, just to see if the absence made us forget how awesome he was....time will tell (pun intended).

So, for all my readers who have not caught The Doctor bug (hehe), he is a Time Lord and is over 900 years old and travels through time and space, mostly combating aliens and saving worlds to make up for losing his planet to the Daleks in the Time War.  He travels in his time machine, that looks like a British Police Box, era 1950s.  It is called the TARDIS, which stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.  When The Doctor "dies" he regenerates.  When he regenerates he looks completely different, and has unique quirks/mannerisms.  He like to travel with a companion, and they are almost always a young girl.  There have been older companions, but they are usually in their 20s.  The Doctor has always wanted to be a red head, and is always disappointed when he regenerates and is not a "ginger."  He is a tragic hero, which endears him to us.

Anyway....the epic villain in the Dr Who series is the Dalek.  The Daleks are full of hate and war and want to "exterminate" all other life forms, especially The Doctor.  There are lots of villains in the Dr Who episodes, but the Daleks just keep coming back, no matter how many times The Doctor kills them off.  The are relentless, and terrifying.  If you've never seen an episode, you might think they don't look very scary, but it's the voice and what they do to people that is terrifying....you have to see it to believe it.

Our younger children are not allowed to watch Dr Who, unless it's in the afternoon.  They are scary.  I don't even recommend this series to many people either.  I know lots of Dr Who fans, but there is a down side.  One of the writers is "deviant."  And it comes through in the episodes written by Russel T Davies, so I'd recommend being careful when viewing those episodes as they often have distasteful elements.  Davies stepped down from writing for Dr Who when Matt Smith became The Doctor.  Steven Moffat is an excellent writer and his episodes always have you on the edge of your chair, and they remind me of the early Hitchcock movies...thrillers, without the gruesome gore in his later movies.

So,why am I writing about Dr Who?  Well, our children were inspired to create a Snow Dalek.  The only problem is that we rarely get a decent amount of snow.  But last Thursday we were blessed with around 6 inches of perfect, compacting snow.   So they remembered their wish, and they made it happen.  It took hours, and more than one person. The majority of the work was done by Reuben and Rebekah. They also had to enlist the help of their dad to get the arms and eye right.  But they nailed it!  I send the images to our local newspaper, but we got ignored.  I guess there aren't enough Dr Who fans on staff there!  

So, without further adieu, for all my readers who are Dr Who fans, I present "Invasion of the Dalek", Einfeld style!

We just got news that our photo was recognized in our local paper!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Surprise Blessing!

Photos taken 12/14!
We had something amazing happen last week!  While I was reading a blog from a family who was on their "meet ya" trip this week in Christy's country, I recognized Christy's city!  This family was able to bring their son to stay with them for 3 days instead of visits twice a day like we had!  Then she commented that now they have to find things to do.  I contacted her, as I had seen that she had the same translator/driver that we did (Yavor), to see if it would be possible to check in to see if the thickener I was able to have brought to Christy was working and how the supply was lasting.

Not only were they able to do that, but Yavor was allowed to visit Christy and take photos!  He said she was quite tired (probably just laying down for a nap).  He also found out that the thickener is working well, and that the supply I sent should last a long time.  The nurse also requested that we send her some orthotic hose to help with her legs as she is super flexible and they think it would help to limit her movement.  It would take yet another miracle, actually a series of miracles, but we might just be able to pull it off and get her some "hip huggers."  I will work to get the hip huggers to our adoption agency attorney over there through a family who is going over there for their first trip in early January, and then she'll need to give it to Yavor and he would have to be going to her city with another family and have time to go to Christy's group home in order for us to get them to her, but it is possible...Please pray that we will be able to do this for her.

Her email was so fun to read, I'll quote it here:

"Dear Ruth!
We were able to go to Christy's group home today twice. The first time we went and Yavor went in and the nurse wasn't there until 12:00. This was in the morning. Yavor got to see Christy, and the care giver told him that Christy was doing really well, but she didn't know about the thickener, or anything about the supply of it needed. She said he should ask the nurse. Yavor said Christy was doing really well, though, and the caregiver told him that she'd had a medical appointment the week before and that went great!

So we went and had Jerry's visa picture taken and then we went to the mall and had lunch and then came back to the group home after noon. I said to Yavor, "see if you can get some photos of Christy and tell them her American Mama would be soooo happy!"...so Yavor took my camera and went in to check with the nurse. On his way in he said.."Now you realize that I probably won't be able to take any pictures, but I"ll try anyway!"...and then when he came out he brought me these on my camera!

Oh Ruth! She's so beautiful! I'm so thankful that we got to encourage you in this way! I said to Yavor..."Bravo!" "Bravo!"..he was beaming that he got to do that!

So..the report from the nurse:
Christy is doing great. She's off of her heart medicine now and only on her brain medicine. She's growing and actually outgrowing all of her clothes! She doesn't need any more thickener at this time. It's working well, but she has enough for a long time to come she said. Also, she mentioned wanting some stretchy ortho type socks or tights that would help to keep her legs straighter. Not sure what that meant, but she thought you might know, and if you could send those, that would be great. When you come for picking up, you'll need to bring her bigger clothes, the nurse said!

Okay..love to you!! Praying this blesses your day greatly!


Um, yeah!  That totally blessed my socks off!  And she's a woman after my own heart with all those exclamation points!  LOVE IT!!!!!!

As far as our adoption stuff goes, we were able to get our fingerprints done last Thursday, and I will be mailing them in through an FBI Channeler.  This way we should get our background checks back in about 2 weeks instead of 6 - 8 weeks!  Then I will have to send them to Caring Hands (a service that hand delivers documents to the US Secretary of State in Washington DC to get apostilled) and we will have them send the apostilled background checks directly to our adoption agency!

I am still hoping to hear any day now that our second stage dossier has been submitted.  These fingerprints/background checks will not be needed until we are assigned a judge/court date (and they might not be needed at all, as it depends on which judge we get), so this is not slowing anything down.

So here are the steps we still have left to go through:

-Article 5 translated/authenticated and  added to complete dossier submitted to Big Wig (approx 12/18)

-Complete dossier goes through 1 month of passing through lots of hands (finish approx 1/20)

-Gets signature from big wig (approx 1/27)

-is taken to the courts. (approx 1/31)

-assigned to a judge (approx 2/14)

-assigned a court date (approx 2/20)

-court date/adoption granted (approx 3/1)

-adoption gets signed court decree from the judge (approx 3/10)

-new birth certificate is applied for (approx 3/11)

-travel dates given once new birth certificate is done (approx 3/18)

Then we get to go bring her home (end of March?)

We also were blessed to have one of our photos of our visits with Christy put in a video that was just released today!  Please share this video, and consider participating in the 2013 

And please read about the Winslow family and there visits with their precious children last week.  This is the family who worked with Yavor in order to get updates on Christy! They still stand in need of funds to complete their adoption, so please consider donating to their grant!

Thank you Mary Winslow!

Thank You Yavor!!

Thank You God!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Messiah, from a very different perspective...

Tonight I had the privilege of going to a live performance of the entire Messiah (by Handel).  Three of my children were in the choir (there were about 80 voices).  There was a live small orchestra, with an electronic harpsichord. a trumpet and tympani drums.  I was only 4 rows back so the sound was very good.  They were all talented musicians and the performance was incredible.  I'm sure there are better/more professional groups doing this around the world this time of year, but I think that the little town of Lynden outdoes itself with this performance every year, and this year was the best I've attended.  This is only my third time I've attended, but it is also the third time in a row.  It is the first time I have heard the Messiah in it's entirety live though.  In the past I have sung the Messiah several times, both in a mass choir and in a college choir.  Every time I loved it.

But today was different.

I didn't expect anything different.  Yes, I looked forward to seeing/hearing my children in the choir.  Yes, I looked forward to hearing the beautiful music that is The Messiah.  But I got so much more.

Things started out normally enough.  The tenor solo of "Comfort Ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.....that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned."  The soloist is amazing.  One of the most beautiful voices in our area.  He goes on with "Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain."

About this time I start looking into the program and I notice something for the first time. There are "Parts."  Three Parts.  And Scenes.  This looks more like a play.  Part 1 - Prophecy and Promise of the Redeeming Messiah" Scene One - God's Comforting Promise.  I have never thought of it that way.  The Messiah....a play.   Scene two: The purifying Messiah is Prophesied...Scene Three: God's Glory Comes Through a Virgin....the soloist are singing verses from Isaiah that foretold of the virgin birth...Scene Four: The Christmas Story....Scene 5: Christ, the Shepherd-King's Ministry on Earth

I'm reading ahead....and then WHAM....it hits me.  This isn't an entire book of songs about Christmas.  Handel did not write this to make Christmas more memorable.  This is about Christ, THE MESSIAH.  What the Bible tells us about Him.  How it foretold His coming, His purpose.

And then in some Twilight Zone movie I get this perspective in my head that blows my mind.  It's like I'm standing outside of time and space looking down at creation as more of a timeline...able to see the past, the present and the future....

The Messiah reveals in the beauty of music God's eternal plan.  He revealed His promises and gives men prophesies about how the Messiah would come into the world to save mankind from sin.  That the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all shall shall see it together.....that the God of Heaven would send His only Son to be born of a human virgin girl....that God's WORD would become flesh!  That the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light!  That "unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given....

Now I'm really into this performance.  100% committed.  We are at Scene Four:  (I've been mulling all this over during "Scene 3").  This part is the "Pastoral Symphony."  You know, that part you skip because it's an instrumental piece...or you ignore while you find a fresh piece of gum...or start looking around to see if you see anyone you know in the audience....Only today, I hear it.  I hear the meadow.  I hear the crickets.  I hear the rustling of dirty stinking sheep.  I am in a pasture...Pastoral Symphony....it's so calming, relaxing and lovely to listen to.  And then I see them...the shepherds!  "There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night."

"And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were sore afraid"

I'm getting it.  The music, the solo...it's painting a picture in my head.  Almost like I'm watching a movie.  Out of the blue, the quiet of the night in an wilderness outside of Bethlehem, the shepherds are doing what they do every night...and the WHAM there's an angel and the night is lit up by the glory of the LORD!  The soloist continues with the unbelievable message that The Messiah has been born This Day....and Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  (do you hear the soloist...I still can!)

"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men"

The power of the choral voices conjure images of HOSTS of angels shouting Glory to God.  I can see it.

But that's it about "The Christmas Story."  I'm reading ahead again during the next solo.  This is when it really gets into my brain.  The Messiah isn't a Christmas Cantata.  It is So Much More.

Scene Five is Christ's ministry on the Earth.  The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will leap as a deer, the dumb shall sing.  Christ feed His flock like a shepherd.

This solo really resonates with me.  "He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young."  He is a loving, gently savior.  We can find rest from our labor, and his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

It makes you really want to have been there.  To witness Christ walking on the earth and loving His people...how they must love Him in return.  Who wouldn't love a man like that?  "Gently Lead"...isn't that we all look for in a leader?

But it's intermission.  And while I really need to stand a stretch and I'm sure all the performers need a break, I don't want a break.  I'm afraid I'm going to lose this epiphany I am experiencing.  It's too incredible to talk about, so I just do small talk.  I can't wait for it to start again...I really want this experience to continue!

Finally...the lights flicker signalling time to get in place.

Part 2 - The Suffering Lamb Who Redeems

Scene 1:  The Abandoned Messiah Suffers Scorn.

Wait a minute....I wanted more of this gentle shepherd thing.....

Then I remember that I am out of time and space and this is something long ago and that I am only witnessing it from some crazy, far out place....and my eyes were focused on this tiny, three year spot in history when God walked the earth and loved on His people...but it came to an end.  An abrupt end.

Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.....

Yes, we are still talking about a lamb, but no longer is this a lamb with a loving shepherd...we're talking about a little lamb who is perfect, that is being SACRIFICED in our place to pay for our sins.

"He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  Surely, Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.  He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him...and with His stripes we are healed."

Those people who The Messiah came to love on, in God's amazing sovereign plan to make a way for men to be reconciled to Himself, turned on their shepherd.

All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned everyone to His own way...

This is were it got really interesting.  The music for these words is bouncy, reckless, fast paced....all we like sheep...all we like sheep...have gone astraaaaaayyyyy.  Voices running over each other.  Near chaos in the intertwining of the different parts.  Intense...unrelenting...everyone to his own way....everyone to his own way...almost like all the parts are doing their own thing, going their own way....chaos.  And then suddenly the entire choir is saying together "HIS OWN WAY"  and the music stops for a moment...time suspended....not one moves, not a muscle...no one breathes...and suddenly the music starts again, still intense, but so different, like a dirge

"and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all....."

And then I see Him.  My shepherd...with stripes on His back, with sorrow etched on His face, surrounded by hostile people....but it's my sins that had been laid on Him....my sins that caused Him to be stuck....

"All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn;  they shoot out their lips and shake their heads saying.....He trusted in God that He would deliver him; let Him deliver him if He delight in Him."  And I see them all in the voices in the choir.  Chaos again.  So many voices running over each other all jeering at the wounded Messiah.  So terrible, so sad....I'm breaking inside.

And then the soloist comes again and sings something I've never heart before..."Thy rebuke hath broken His heart.  He is full of heaviness.  He looked for some to have pity on Him, but there was no man, neither found He any to comfort Him."  Oh the tragedy.  The loving shepherd abandoned, abused, rejected, scorned...having loved and comforted so many in His short ministry....but no one to comfort Him...

"Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow...

He was cut off out of the land of the living.  For the transgression of Thy people was He stricken"


and then.....hope breaks anew!

"But thou didst not leave His soul in hell, nor didst thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.  This is amazing.  This is a message of great hope!  Yes, The Messiah died, but He did not stay that way!

Part 2:  Scene 2

"Lift up your heads, o ye gates and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors and the King of Glory Shall Come In!!!!!!!!!"

This song now has an entirely new meaning to me!  The King of Glory!  The Glorious resurrected Messiah, coming through the gates of death.

Who is this King of Glory? Who is this King of Glory?  So many voices asking who this could be!  No, it couldn't be...

The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle!  Yes, it is the Messiah!  He has won that battle over death and lives again!  And He's returned to heaven to continue....

Scene Three:  Spreading the Gospel

This was another song that really came to life for me.  The voices are singing "The Lord Gave the Word"  in unison.  All the men.  Strong...loud, like a voice from heaven.  And then the many voices start running over each other again:

"...and great was the company of the preachers"

I see it - the baby church.  The disciples and the new converts.  All preaching the good news.  That The Messiah has come and that He has conquered death and made a way for us to be made right with God.  So many voices, each saying it a little different, at a different time, different volume....and then the voices merge to one voice, and then back to many voices.  I see it.  So many people sharing the good news...different places, difference voices...yet ONE Message!

And then more about these preachers..."How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.  Their sound is gone out into all the lands, and their words unto the ends of the world."

I picture the early church, scattered by persecution...sharing the good news as they scatter across the world...through time and space....mankind finding God through The Messiah's blood, and then sharing the good news...spreading all over the world..many voices...yet one story.  A perfect ending...right?

NO...man does not get it....not everyone...

"Why do the nations so furiously rage together?  Why do the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and His anointed."

But the people who have found the Messiah say "Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us"

Victory In Christ!

"He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron. Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

The victory is victory over sin and death.  And when that is realized, that death and sin has been conquered for you, that you are no longer under the bonds and yoke of sin...you HAVE TO PRAISE GOD!

I am so ready to stand up for the Hallelujah Chorus.  I get it now.  The Hallelujah Chorus is about realizing that Christ has done it all for us...He has won the battle over sin and death and hell and has offered us the free gift of salvation!

Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.  The kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and of His Christ!  And He shall reign forever and ever.  King of King.  Lord of Lords.....

I see this song in a whole new light.  I've always loved to praise God through this song, but I never grasped the meaning of the words, until tonight.  This song is a song of amazing enlightenment.  You know, the moment you get it.  You realize the truth of what Christ has done for you...that He has done it all for YOU...and praise gushes form from a thankful heart!  When there comes a firmness of faith...faith in the one who has redeemed your life...

"I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.  And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.....

We are WAY beyond the Christmas story now....this is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even though it doesn't make sense...I will behold HIM FACE TO FACE!  MY Savior!  My God!  My Gentle Shepherd!

For Now is Christ risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep.....

"Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

Yes...Christ became the solution to the crisis that happened in the garden of Eden.

Praise God....

"Behold, I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet."

Oooohhhh....I'm getting goosebumps now....I know what's coming...I've read to the end of the book....but I've never heard it like this....never seen it like this....

"The trumpet shall  sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible"  And then the trumpet rings out in the music.  I hear the trumpet call.  I imagine what it might be like on THAT DAY when THE trumpet will sound, heralding The Return Of The King!!!  And then I see them - all these precious believers who lived before rising up in new bodies and the living believers being changed in an instant to incorruptible bodies and going to be with their Lord!

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality!"

"Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallow'd up in victory"

"O death where is thy sting....O grave where is thy victory"

No grave can hold us back!  Praise God!

"But Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ"

And then, my really truly favorite song from the Messiah takes on a whole new level of awesomeness.

"Worthy is the Lamb, Who was slain,
and hath redeemed us to God by His blood"

I see the risen Christ, The Messiah, martyrs standing around Him dressed in white...all the characters from Revelation appear in this room...and millions of people....and everyone realizes fully what The Messiah has done by His life, death  and resurrection....

"Worthy is the Lamb to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing...."

I am caught up in this picture of millions upon millions of voices joined together in spontaneous praise of our risen Lord and Savior.


I have a glimpse of the difficulty that John had, in describing  in the book of Revelations,  trying to share what He saw when He was caught up to the heavens and shown so many wondrous things.  There are not words to describe...it will be beyond amazing...beyond description.

Worthy is the Lamb.....Worth is the Lamb...to be praised.

I am humbled that God gave me this today.  I will never hear the Messiah the same again...and I don't want to.  God used Handel to take thousands of years, hundreds of books and authors, and condensed it down and put to music His amazing plan of salvation in the one, The Messiah.

My Messiah.

I am out of words...but still praising Him!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jeremy and Sam's Wedding!

I just realized today that with all the craziness of leaving for Eastern Europe just days after Jeremy's wedding, I totally forgot to blog about it!  So, here is that day, almost 2 months ago now!

I LOVE Costco's dresses!
It really started early in the morning, with my sister, Beth, getting some hair done for our girls.  Rebekah, Rachel, Elizabeth, Esther and I all had our hair done at home, and then she left with me and the girls to go to church where she fixed Jessica's hair.  She did an amazing job!  We all looked marvelous!!!!  Daryl brought the boys with him.

Beth also took lots of photos for me, most of these are her photos, and the other are from the photographer who was hired, Furry Portraits.

Not sure she recognizes herself!

I had brought all the children's clothes to the church when I went for the rehearsal, as I had a nightmare earlier in the week about forgetting the clothes at home.  This actually worked very, very well.!  So once we arrived at the church I began the process of getting the little girl's dressed, and spending some fun time in the bathroom with the girly part of the wedding party.  Bringing in the little girls all dressed up was a highlight of my morning!

Oh my!  Amazing beauty
Man, my sister's got talent or what???
All my family looked their best.  The girls in their new clothes were amazing.  The three oldest young men of mine were so stunningly handsome in their tuxes!  My husband, all decked out in his new, first ever, suit was amazing too!  I had fun shopping for him - all new everything!

We were all ready ahead of time, but that worked amazingly well.  The family of the bride were having a little trouble getting everyone ready, so we had our photos with Jeremy first, and then the brides family did theirs.  They did no do any photos of the bride and groom together ahead of time as they had planned for Jeremy to see Samantha in her wedding dress for the first time as she came down the isle.

Here's my little sweety!
What a handsome young man!
After the photos, Jeremy was sent to hang out in the conference room, so he wouldn't accidentally see his bride.  I did the motherly thing and brought him some pain killer for his headache and made him drink some water.  I also got to pin on his boutonniere earlier!

We did steal into the auditorium to see the bride and watch some of the photos. It was amazing.  She was beautiful. The bridesmaids were so pretty!  The love between the bride and her parents was tangeable.  It was beautiful.

 Then we had time to just hang around and greet the guests.  The little girls stole the show, I must admit.  We also had two women helping me by watching after Esther and Carese, mostly in the nursery, but taking them out and about and where they needed to be for photos and such.  This worked so well. I really didn't have to worry about them at all.  They did an amazing job of keeping them happy all day.

Then before we knew it, I was told it was time.  My entry with Jeremy was the signal that things were beginning.  I was supposed to look happy, say witty things to Jeremy on the way up and then sit down.  I have no idea what I said to him, except something about being so very, very proud of him.  Then spontaneously I kissed him on the cheek before sitting down, surprising both of us, but I'm so very glad I did it!

Then I sat down between my husband and my mother, holding hands with both of them and trying to not cry!  I can't just wax nastalgic though, as after the mother of the bride, my friend Julie, sits down, both of us have to, in sync, walk up onto the stage and light the unity candle! We pull this off without a hitch, and I even spontaneously hug after lighting the candles.  She shared with me later that it did her good, helped her to calm down.  I just know it was the right thing to do at that moment.  We've been friends for a long time now (around 10 years) and it was so wonderful to have our children go through such an amazing, God honoring courtship, and now to be getting married.  It was just amazing...

And then it was time.  The bridesmaids made their entrance.  Jessica looked like a model or something.  Graceful and beautiful!  The adorable little flower girl tripped going up the stairs, but the pastor saved the day and got her where she belonged.  Then there was Sam, coming down the isle, looking radiant!

The ceremony went perfectly.  And you could see everyone's excitement as the moment approached...their FIRST EVER KISS!  This was, for both of them, the first kiss of a lifetime.  They did a great job, as you can see.  Another friend of mine sent me this photo that she took with her phone.!

Before I knew it we were taking more photos, and they got more kissing practice too!  After that, it was time for the reception.  It was fun, and the games made it very enjoyable.  The nice part about being a parent in a wedding is that you always get front row seats!  I loved everything about that day.

Jeremy and Sam looked so in love that day.  Their sitting so close together at the reception (for the first time too), was endearing.  I just couldn't take my eyes off them.  Then it was time to say good bye, and then they got to leave, after emptying the Mustang of a million balloons first, for their honeymoon.

God has richly blessed us with an amazing son, and now an amazing daughter in law!

For Unto Us....

A Blessed Holiday Season to all of you!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Trim Healthy Tapping Mama update!

My posts on Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and T-Tapp are getting a lot more attention/hits than my average posts about our family, so I thought I'd give you all a little update on how I'm doing.

In preparation for our son's wedding and for our trip to Eastern Europe I was trying to be as consistent as I could possibly be and it paid off!

 At the end of September, I had officially lost a total of 90 1/4 inches since starting T-Tapp (13 months total).   I was too busy to measure after that.  I stayed on plan for eating right up until the day before Jeremy's wedding.  After that point I went to eating as healthy as I could under the circumstances, with a few treats here and there.  This meant I made far better choices while we were traveling than I usually do!

The result of healthier choices was that for the first time ever I experienced no digestive trouble while traveling, with the exception of the very last flight (ate french fries forgetting in my tired state that I do not tolerate french fried unless they are not fried in vegetable oil...Five Guys Burgers and Fries, for example, deep fry their french fries in peanut oil).

I also did not do T-Tapp after the wedding.  I did, however do the primary back stretch the morning after we arrived in Christy's country as the long flights had really done a number on my circulation, my back and a few other places.  It really helped me to feel like I could move again.  I had planned on  doing this more, but it just plain slipped my mind.

I really expected that traveling would mean that my neck/back would get messed up, as that always happens when I sleep anywhere besides my own bed.  Due to the strengthening of my spine, I was able to sleep in many different beds, and even in an airplane, and I never had back or neck problems!  I've had some issues with some tightness in my right hip in just the last week, but I'm doing some stretches and have high hopes that doing T-Tapp again will resolve this!

So, last week Daryl and I had to go in for updated medicals.  We found that I have lost 21 pounds since last June!  That means I've lost nearly 50 pounds since I started T-Tapping, and 21 pounds since I started THM, and that after being off the plan for 6 weeks!!  AWESOME!  And, I measured this morning and I had a net gain of 3/8 inch in the last 6 weeks.


Normally, in the so many times that I have done diet and/or exercise plans, I'd bounce back once I went off them.  I'd gain back some, if not all, the pounds I had worked to hard to lose.  Not this time, baby!  I ate healthier as I have come to appreciate the benefits of eating good foods.  But I did have some decadent deserts and even some chocolate bars and other naughty foods!  I was active, but not doing any "workout" and I maintained for 6 weeks!  Unheard of!

So now I have recovered from the trip and am ready to get back into the program.  Last week I ate on plan for most of the week, but had a few too many treats over the weekend so I'm more than ready to start eating the THM way again.

Since it had been a whole 6 weeks since I had done the Basic Workout Plus, and since I had found all my T-Tapp DVDs (some had gone missing), I decided it was time for a new workout.  Today I did the instructional for Healthy Hormones, Menopause Management.  I wasn't able to do the entire workout due to time constraints (it was much longer than I had planned for), but I only missed out on the T-Tapp Twist and Hoe Downs.  I'll do the entire workout on Wednesday.  It felt wonderful!  And, as usual, I could tell that I was losing fluids due to the wonderful effects of T-Tapping.  It really works the body in such a way that it sheds any fluid retention!

Yesterday, I even had someone ask me if I had lost a lot of weight!  I saw her last at the end of the summer. Man, did that ever make my day!

And you know, eating the THM way is so not depriving....I had a chocolate muffin (Muffin In A Mug) for breakfast with a tall coffee with heavy whipping cream and Truvia.  Both were delicious, satisfying, healthy and kept me from getting hungry for over 3 hours!  I'm not supposed to go so long between meals, but I was gone all morning and did not plan for my snack!  Oops!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Long Hard Trip Home, Longest blog post ever!

This is going to be a long one, so go get a cup of tea of coffee, put your feet up and get ready for the longest, most stressful blog entry to date.  When it gets overwhelming, just be thankful you are experiencing this from the relative calm, quiet and comfort of your home and not experiencing this in real life like we did!

I'm not sure if you noticed or not, but I have not blogged anywhere about anything that happened after my last visit with Christy.  There's a reason for that. It was one of the worst trips of my life and it brought me to the end of myself in many ways.  But is God it good, and now I can finally talk about that trip home.

My last moments with her
So, on my last visit with Christy, I had no idea that it would be my last visit with her, as we had one more visit scheduled for the very next morning.  At that last visit I found myself quite tired and had this weird burning sensation in my throat.  I tried very hard to play with Christy and I even got down on the floor with her (something I rarely do since I injured my knee so badly in 2012).  The visit seemed to go on forever...I just wanted to go back to the hotel room and take a nap.  But we made it through and I even got to feed her dinner which extended our visit another half hour.  As we left, I had no idea that it would be the last time I set eyes on her...if I had known, I would have held her and cried.  It still hurts that I was unable to say goodbye, and yet I know that she would have no idea why I would be crying over her...it would have been for me, to hold her tight and somehow tell her that we were not leaving her forever, but that we were going home to work hard to bring her home with us very soon!

So we left and went out for dinner, all the while I kept having to clear my throat as that silly burning sensation would just not go away.  I didn't even order dessert, I just wasn't in the mood.  So we headed back to the hotel with plans to pack everything tonight, so we'd be ready to check out in the morning before our last visit with Christy.  While packing, that burning began to really get to me - why was this happening?  And then I noticed that I had a tearing/burning sensation just below my ribs on my right side.  Like I had torn a muscle.  Bending over was just not an option.  This made packing difficult, but I could do it.  I just wanted to go to bed, but I had to pack.  I was able to get the packing done, and crawl into bed.  It took me hours to fall asleep as my throat was so sore.  By midnight I knew that I was getting sick and I got out a supply of my butterscotch hard candies (I had brought them along for helping with popping ears on the flights if the gum wasn't doing the job).  Those helped me to get some sleep.  By morning I knew that I could not justify going to our last visit.  I really had no idea where I had gotten this virus, so I was not willing to expose the children in Christy's group home again to a virus if I had gotten it elsewhere (like any of the restaurants we had eaten at or the store we had gone into, or even from the hotel itself).  So I told Daryl that I would not be going, but would be resting in the hotel room while he went on the last visit.  He agreed that it was the best plan.

I cried for a while and prayed, and then after Daryl left I felt asleep and had a very restful sleep until my alarm woke me up.  Daryl had already taken the luggage that I no longer needed, so I just got dressed and zipped up the suitcases and headed downstairs.  Soon Yavor (our driver) and Daryl were there picking me up.  Daryl told me that several of the children were showing signs of fighting a virus as well, and that the director herself had called in sick, but had shown up at the group home in order to sign the appropriate papers for our adoption processing.  He related that Christy had not been playful, but mostly just wanted to sit in his lap and cuddle.  I still felt that remaining in the hotel had been the wisest choice as I was able to get additional sleep.

remodeled on the left, getting remodeled on the right.
The trip from Christy's city to the capitol as long and difficult.  Lots of traffic, lots of trucks going slow, lots of passing of those trucks.  For the first half I was in the back seat trying to rest and not talk (my voice was nearly gone).  But due to the ride, I began to get car sick, so I requested to sit in the front.  After a stop for gas, I was also able to get some throat lozenges.  After that the ride was better, but still not exactly restful.  I had noticed every so often that there would be a young (or not so young) girl sitting or standing by the side of the road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  They were usually dressed rather trendy.  On further research later, we found out the prostitution is actually legal there, and that those were gypsy women on the roadside looking for "work."  How tragic.  I felt so sad for those women out in the heat and cold, exposed not only to the elements, but also to who-knows-what in the form of "customers."  I'm sure their life expectancy is not long, nor healthy.  "Pimping" is no legal, but I found out that that doesn't stop it from happening, and that they get their "girls" at a very young age...so very, very sad.  This is where many of the orphans come from.  So very, very sad.  There is also an unbelievable amount of what most would consider pornography in public places - statutes, magazines, art work...and I'm not talking about Roman styled statues, we are talking immodest and sensual portrayals of women (mostly).  And the advertisements on their TV stations were definitely not any better....such an oppressive atmosphere.  There is less than 1% of the population that claims to be protestant, as the dominant religion is Orthodox (very similar to Catholic from what I understand), with Atheism and Muslim religions coming in with a greater percentage of the population that those of all protestant religions.  I know that Europeans think that American's are prudes, but I see this as a compliment - living there for over a week I am so thankful that our families are not attacked on all sides by this demeaning of the beauty of sex in marriage, making it common and foul.  I can not imagine raising a young boy in that culture...unbelievable.  We even had to remove the photo in our hotel room as it was very offensive (photo of a nude woman).  We carefully removed it from the wall and set it up against another wall.  Sadly, most other times our only option was to look away and hope that something worse wasn't in the other direction.

trying to get a photo of a horse and cart on the highway
I only got the horses head...LOL!
So on top of feeling unwell, my soul was heavy...very heavy.  Having to leave Christy behind, and thinking about the sad state of moral affairs in this country caused me to feel so very very sad.  The trip seemed so very long, and scenery just more run down buildings and endless graffiti.  The amount of graffiti in Christy's country was unbelievable.  Every where, on all surfaces, it was there.  Run down buildings, covered in graffiti, with crumbling sidewalks in front...and every now and then a whiff of raw sewage...a country desperately in need of a Savior both spiritually and physically.

And then we began to get hungry.  I had missed breakfast, but had not even missed it, but now it was well after noon and no lunch.  Yavor said he knew of a good restaurant, but then when we got  there it had gone out of business.  He said there was another about 45 minutes further.  But that one was also out of business.  Finally, around 3 pm, we found a very good restaurant that is part of a huge resort.  Once again we met with something very foreign to us...they had only one bathroom for men and women.  But at least they had toilets (read about the bathroom that didn't have toilets).  It took me a little while to find the sinks too, as they were outside the bathroom, and they looked like big brass bowls sitting on top of a kitchen type counter...but they were the "bathroom" sinks...right out there near the seating for the restaurant.  At least more people would be pressured into washing their hands as there would be witnesses to whether or not they washed their hands after leaving the bathrooms!  Thankfully we were not sitting anywhere near the bathrooms!

After a very nice lunch, we started on the last leg of the journey.  Before we knew it we were getting dropped off at our Hotel at the capital.  We would not see Yavor again this trip, so it was kind of hard to see him go as he had been our (nearly) constant companion for 5 days!

Needless to say, we went straight to our hotel room and went to sleep.  We slept for a few hours, and then mustered enough energy to go down for dinner, but we ended up sharing dinner as neither one of us had much appetite. After dinner we walked down the street to get some water and to find the "pharmacy" to get some cold remedies that our lawyer had recommended (her sister is a nurse).  We had the front desk guy translate it to Bulgarian, and it's a good thing we did.  The "pharmacy" was a "store" that had about 10 square feet for customers, and all the merchandise was behind glass walls.  The "pharmacist" would dispense what you were looking for.  So we left with two cold remedies, and picked up water and chocolate (to bring home to our children) from the grocery store.

After a good night's sleep (well as good as it gets in a hotel) we were up early and once again packing - I re-organised so I could get what I needed for the trip home.  After a good breakfast at the hotel, and a little relaxing, we went downstairs and our cab was already there.  Our cabby didn't speak a work of English, but that was OK as he was prepaid by our agency and knew where we needed to be dropped off.

At the airport, things went quite smoothly, and I was able to use the extra cash I had to get some drinks and chocolate from the vending machine.  Soon we were loaded on a bus and brought out to the airplane (that was new!).  On this flight I ended up sitting next to another native!She had just spend over a month visiting family and friends and was headed "home" to the US (Pennsylvania).  She was pleasant and I enjoyed talking with her.  She warmed to our adoption and was asking lots of questions before long.  She was fascinated that an American family would choose to adopt a child from her country, and one that had special needs.  After a time of not talking, she touched my arm and said in a  voice that spoke of much emotion, she said "you are such a blessing.  God will bless you for this, it's so amazing."  Everywhere that we shared out story, we found such a positive response.  People are just amazed.
near tralfalgar square, where it was all cordoned off
for a NFL event of all things!

Big Ben up close
After that flight, we got on a "Hoppa Hotel Bus" and headed to our hotel.  There we relaxed and slept and after that we went down for dinner.  Again we shared a dinner.  After a decent night's sleep, we got up very early and headed to downtown London to do some sightseeing.  After a few hours, we hopped on the Tube, then switched to the London Express - both times literally walking right onto the one we wanted.  We traded in our Oyster cards at the airport and hopped on a bus to get back to the hotel.  The bus dropped us much farther from the hotel than we expected so we had to walk about 3 blocks.  We quickly checked out from the hotel, knowing that we were a little late, but the Hoppa Bus promises to get you to the airport in "just 20 minutes" so that meant we would still have nearly two hours when we arrived at the airport before the plane was scheduled to take off.

Once on the bus, the driver notified us that his mirror had broken, and that we would be switching to another bus at terminal 4.  There would be a replacement bus waiting there for us.  Not good news, but it sounded like it would work.  At the next hotel, there was a family with two young children and literally 20 pieces of luggage!  The driver made a snide comment about "travelling light" to the father, and he replied that they had been living in London for 3 years.  Oh my.  It took a while to get them all on board and the someone hopped on the bus, discovered it was the wrong bus, and stood there asking questions for at least 5 minutes.  Our stress was mounting with each minute!  FINALLY the bus left that hotel.  Once we got to Terminal 4, there was no replacement bus.  We talked to another bus waiting there, and he said he was heading there and would leave in about 5 minutes...So we got on. Then as the bus driver prepared to take off, a man got on.  He found out that this wasn't the bus he wanted, and proceeded to talk with the bus driver for at least 5 more minutes before exiting the bus.  Can you say STRESSFUL?
Our last view of the City of London
Our date/time stamp proved we left in time....
should have gotten to the hotel and on to the
airport in around an hour

Halfway to terminal 5, the bus driver took a wrong turn!  He ended up going in an out and having to turn the BUS around!  That is not easy in a full size metro style bus!  Finally we were on the way again (really?  A bus driver not knowing his route????).  It took forever..I really think he took the wrong way around the airport as it took over 30 minutes to get from terminal 4 to terminal 5.  So much for getting from the hotel to the airport in 20 minutes!  In fact, I just looked it up and I knew he was going counter clockwise around the airport, and guess what?  That's the LONG WAY around to Terminal 5 - amazing, he was going the wrong way....it almost seems that we were not meant to catch that flight no matter how hard we tried!

So we arrive at the airport at 12:00 for our 1:05 flight.  The kiosk won't let us check in and there's a LONG line for the baggage check in, so we go to the ticket counter, and yes, we have to wait in the baggage line.  Then some yahoo is going through the line checking passports and putting stickers on luggage...slowing the line.  FINALLY we get to the desk, and he checks and yes, we are late, but he thinks we can still check in, but needs to check with baggage.  The baggage guy is in no hurry, but radios that "late runners" have arrived.  After much discussion, he said that the baggage department is not willing to have us check out luggage for the flight and that we have to re-book our flight.  I figure, no problem we'll just leave later today.  I've never missed a flight so I have no idea what to expect.

Then we get to the ticket desk, and they say that they can not re-book our flight for us but that our travel agent needs to do this.  A quick reckoning reveals that it is 4 am on a Saturday in the US!  Realistically, we could be stuck until Monday is the travel agent doesn't work from home on the weekends.  They did allow us to use their phones to call him, and I got an answering machine.  I left a message to email us as quickly as possible.  All hope had failed me and I was beginning to think I was going to break down sobbing right there in the middle of the airport.  Then he emailed me and said he was working on it.  Eventually I was able to get him on the phone and he got things worked out...but it would cost us $700 to re-book the flights. WHAT?????  I was dumb-stuck...so close to losing it...I was sick, tired, hungry and lost and now our money was going down the tube, money we didn't really have!  It all seemed so unreal.  But what could we do.  Thankfully we have an American Express for just such emergencies.  So we got our flights booked, but they didn't leave until tomorrow (and there was a tropical storm slated for tomorrow!).  OK, so we had tickets, but 18 hours to wait.  There was no way I could spend 18 hours sick in an airport, so we tried to book a hotel, but that wasn't going well, so we decided to just go back to our hotel and see what kind of a deal we could get (the desk clerk had been so friendly every time we were there).

We found out that the stop we were dropped off was the right bus stop (from others on the bus), but as we were getting ready to get off, the bus drove right past the stop!!!!  I was like, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME???"  This just keeps getting better and better.  I was sure at this point that I was in a "story to tell my grand kids" and that someday I would be able to laugh about all this, but that time will be a long time coming....

So we get dropped off about 4 blocks from our hotel, in the rain, across the street, a 6 lane street with traffic on the wrong side of the road.  I wanted to walk to the next light (adding at least a block to our walk) but Daryl wanted to Jay Walk.  I'm like "with 6 pieces of luggage????"  But that is what we did.  We finally get to the hotel, wet, sweating, exhausted and demoralized.  I don't see my friendly desk clerk, anywhere.  I approach the gal at the desk and tell her that we missed our flight and that we needed a room for the night.  She then did the unimaginable!  She said things like "you shouldn't ever risk being late for a flight.  Don't you know that Heathrow is the busiest airport in the world?  You shouldn't have risked it"  I told her that our bus had broken down.  She went on as if she didn't hear me "I saw you checking out and knew you were cutting it close, You should have known better. Oh look, there's no rooms, we are fully booked" (almost as if she was relieved that she wouldn't have to give these American losers a room.   She said that we could try the next hotel down the street "it's only a 10 minutes walk"  WHAT?????  I still can not grasp her attitude.  Unbelievable.  I just stood there for a minute or so starring at her in disbelief.  REALLY?  Finally I had the presence of mind to ask her to phone the hotel to see if they had any rooms (like I really wanted to have a nice stroll over there only to be told that there weren't any rooms, right?)/  After sighing like I was such a HUGE bother, she said she would call.  After conferring on the phone, she said in her most patronizing voice, "yes, they have 60 rooms available starting at just 95 pounds."  I said thank you and we left we and our 6 pieces of luggage and my strained abdominal muscle, sore throat and the beginnings of a cough.

Off we trudged.  It was about 6 blocks away, six VERY LONG blocks.  I trudges along behind Daryl, not even looking up.  Halfway there a bus went by and sprayed me with water.  REALLY?  OK, God, time for a talk.  I'm so done.  I can't go on.  I'm going to lose it right here.  But then I prayed for strength.  And while I didn't get any miraculous strength, I notice that it wasn't raining.  It had been POURING down rain when we left the airport, but it had stopped raining when we got off that first bus.  Thinking back, we had only been lightly rained on once during our entire trip, even though everywhere we went in London the streets were wet as though it had just rained, and often it would start to rain as soon as we boarded a bus/train.  So I try to play the 'Pollyanna Game" and try to yell to Daryl, "At least it's not raining" only he can't hear my as my voice is mostly gone.  I try again, and on the third try he heard me.  All this time we are trudging along.

So,finally, we arrive at the hotel down the street.  We must have looked like lost, wet dogs by then.  I approach the desk and there is a beautiful young lady there.  I tell her that we need a room as we missed out flight.  She says "Oh, I think we are all booked"  WHAT?????

I relate to her the phone call and she says she will check for sure.  Sure enough, there are rooms available.  What was that all about???  So we get the room, and I ask her where she's from and find out that she's from Christy's country!  I share with her our trip and it's purpose and suddenly she is the sweetest thing and so unlike how she talked to me when I first approached the desk.  I still wonder what that was all about, "no room at the inn" and all that???

So we go to our room and crash.  Hit the bed and sleep.  So Done.  We go down to dinner and get the sweetest waitress and a very good dinner (which we split again).  On our way back to our room we find that it's daylight savings time there this night, so I ask for a wake up call as I seriously doubt that I can change our clocks properly at this point.

Back to our rooms repacking again, taking meds and try to sleep.  Come morning, we are up before the wake up call, get to the airport via CAB (just to be sure) and get there nearly 3 hours early.  We check in and go through security (we are old pros by now) and go to see what gate.  We have to wait until just 45 minutes before the flight is to leave before we even know what gate to go to.  REALLY?  That means that the day before, when we arrived to check in our luggage, in all probability they had JUST announced the gate for our flight.  Really.  You've got to be kidding me.

So, we wait.  We people watch.  We look at chocolate (but the cheapest thing in that airport was 14 English pounds, which is over $25 USD.  Not happening.  Don't have enough English money left for that, the CAB ride used up almost everything we had left.

Finally our gate shows up on the screen, and it's almost the farthest gate from where we stood. So off we go.  It takes about 15 minutes of walking to get there, thankfully there were those walking escalators so some of the time we were able to just stand there.  I use the last few 1 pound coins I have to get some water, iced tea and a candy bar from the vending machine there.

After boarding, We have the last two seats in the back of the plane.  No neighbors.  The typhoon has not arrived, but it looks windy our there.  We get movies and I get right into watching a movie.  I turn up the volume and ignore my surroundings.  When I'm about halfway through the movie we are finally taking off.  Lift off seems to take forever, but we make it up into the sky, rocking and bouncing in the wind.  The first hour or so of the flight is lots of turbulence, but then it calmed down.  This was an 8 1/2 hour flight during the day, so I just plan to watch 4 movies, and I get everything watched except for the last few minutes of an old favorite of mine, Jane Eyre, which I know the ending, but I might just have to rest this one as it's new version and I really like it.

Anyway, we land in Detroit for a 5 hour layover.  We walked all the way across the terminal and it was beautiful (research Detroit airport, it's amazing).  We stopped to get some coffee and hot cocoa...I can't  tell you now pleasant it was to get real American coffee!!!  We got to our gate and then hung out for a while, enjoying the free Wifi.  Then we got dinner in a nice little bar and grill there.  Our first real America burger and fries in such a long time.  Very good food, and again, we split the meal.  Then we headed back to our gate for the wait.
Detroit Airport - beautiful and efficient
The sky tram running up there on the left.

At that point I started to really hit bottom.  I'm feeling miserable and can not for the life of me remember when I last took the cold meds, and it was in another time zone.  I could not get my brain to work.  So I posted on Facebook that someone needed to help me.  I knew I had taken one just about an hour after take off in London, and the other about 2 hours later.  One was to be taken every 8 hours, the other every 6 hours.  Someone finally came to my rescue and I was to take them in about an hour, both at the same time.  I was totally used to calculating 8 hours ahead and 10 hours ahead, but we were in Detroit and 4 hours ahead and so sick that I just could not wrap my brains around it.
Sunset as we prepared to board the last flight.

So we use the bathrooms and board our plain.  My neighbor is a business woman on the phone, talking loudly about the inconvenience of this flight and that she'd be flying back late tomorrow.  For  some reason I knew that she would not be a pleasant neighbor and proceeded to work on going to sleep.

Just when I thought the worst was over, I began to regret those French Fries.  You see, I have found that my body hates anything fried in vegetable oil.  Peanut oil or olive oil or coconut oil is fine, but my body thinks that foods fried in any vegetable oil is poison.  I had forgotten.  Oops.  BIG OOPS.  Add a stomach ache, serious intestinal gas and a rough, turbulent flight after a long difficult journey and the equation adds up to the end of your rope.  I have never had such a miserable flight.  I had to talk myself out of throwing up several times.  I also had to pray my way through some moments.  You know the kind of prayer that goes like this..."Oh God....Oh God...I can't do this....Oh God."  You know, this is the prayer that scripture talks about where the Holy Spirit intercedes for our groanings.  Yeah, this is what that passage talks about. Now I know.  Very similar to child birth.  Only I didn't have a cute adorable baby to cuddle at the end.

So the flight finally came to an end.  It was a long 4 1/2 hours.  I was able to talk to the steward about our experience with Delta, and he suggested I write to them and see if there was anything that could be done to rectify anything,  I did that, but I haven't heard back from them and it's been over a week.  The auto response said to allow for up to a month if the email required a response.

We found our baggage, and Jessica met us outside.  I rode in the back at first, but I was so miserable, that I moved to the front just north of Seattle when we stopped at a rest area.  We finally pulled into our garage just after midnight.

The longest Sunday in my life.  I was awake for 26 hours straight.  From 5:30 am until just after midnight, all in the same day (well except for the last 30 minutes).  We came home to a cold home as our heater had malfunctioned.  Seemed insignificant at the time.  We just reset/restarted it and went to bed.  I could not get my brain to stop imaging trains, planes,cars...every moving thing.  Then, sometime during the night I was hearing the weirdest sound, waking me, and as I tried to make my way to the bathroom, I totally ran headlong into a wall and my brain kept trying to turn the shadowy images of my bedroom and bathroom in to a hotel room.  I discovered that the noise was coming from outside.  On further investigation the exhaust tube from the heater was gurgling and burping - not good.  So I went down and reset/restarted it again.  Then it was quiet.  Back to try to sleep while my brain continued to think we were still on the road.

 I pray that I will never have such a difficult journey ever again.

Once we got home, Daryl took Monday off to recover and was back to work, though tired and having difficulty sleeping past 2 or 3 am.  I, however, was quite sick.  It was the next Sunday before I found that my cold symptoms had gone leaving just bone weariness.  That muscle pull, however, did not respond well to the dry hacking cough, so that is still with me.  This week I feel almost normal. We started school yesterday.  Our furnace continued to give us fits all weak, finally stopping altogether late Monday.  The repair guy was out last night and got it working but has to order parts. So thankful for a warm house once again.

As our trip home got more and more difficult, it was just natural that our thoughts should wander to what it will be like to fly home with Christy.  As you might understand, that thought was quite daunting.  But we have also used what we learned to begin to plan for that trip, and hopefully we will be able to avoid the hardships we experienced on this trip by better planning next time.

Please pray for us that our return trip to bring Christy home (probably in February) will go smoothly, I'd appreciate it!

If you made it to the end, congratulations.  I blogged this more as therapy, figuring no one would ever get to the end before declaring me a whiner and unsubscribing.  I'm impressed.  Please comment below if you read this entire post!

Edited to add....It was so worth it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat (and I will do it again) to have her in my arms again.  Every orphan is worth ever amount of sacrifice to give them a family, a home and to show them the love of Christ, no matter what their worth is in the eyes of the world.   When God calls us, He also equips us, and goes along side us each and every step of the way.  Even when it was so difficult to go on, I felt Him by my side and knew that it was worth it no matter how hard it got.  She is worth it all.