Monday, October 31, 2011

England Day 2

Day 2:

I slept not so well last night. Thus I slept late this morning. I don't like the feeling of oversleeping, at all. Chris woke me up and I had to rush to get ready so we could catch the bus. We ended up having to wait for it anyways...

We took the kids to Trafford Centre today. I needed to get a new Sim card for my cellphone, so we would have a way of communicating. I got one for 10 pounds. Not bad. I can add to it if I need to. When I went to the TMobile store (pronounced T-MoBILE - long I), the tech guy took one look at my phone and asked me in an awed voice, "Is that the new 4G from America?" "Um, yes." To which he then called the girl who worked there over to show her the "new 4G from America." Again, awed voice. My eyes were a little big at this point. When he asked permission to hold it, I started to feel the first twinges of guilt for all the countless games of Spider Solitaire played on it. I nodded and he took it over to the next guy to show it off. I feel pretty certain that guy's look was slightly derisive. I felt the sudden urge to defend myself. "I have every right to have that phone. Every right." Anywho, they got me all fixed up with unlimited web and all that jazz and I left feeling sorta like a rock star.

We shopped and shopped and shopped. I watched the kids watch the people. We ate in the massive food court and the kids watched the jumbotron. I took a picture of the Egyptian themed Pizza Hut to prove its existence to the Friday Night girls. I was grilled by the pharmacist at Boots for wanting to buy Gracie some Tums. I truly thought he was not going to allow it, but he finally did. Thank goodness.

We rode a double decker bus to the mall. Gracie got some nauseating video footage of it. Let me know if you want to see it. I even took Ty's and Gracie's picture with the super nice driver. The kids like being the foreigners, I think. They like being the novelty.

Then tonight, we got to eat Indian food with Roy and Ruth. We gave up all ordering rights to Roy who chose wisely for us. He ordered the Josh Groban... no wait... the Rogan Josh for me. SOOOO yummy. Ty got lamb something. So did Chris. Brody and Grace got the Chicken ghura. Maggie got "the soup thingie and the wrap thingie," as Roy so eloquently put it. He cracks me up. After stuffing ourselves to an uncomfortable degree we walked back to Trace and Ginger's for dessert and coffee. The Kunar's (Pastor of Grace Fellowship and his wife) stayed for quite a while and the discussion was so edifying. They understand the intricate joys and heartbreak of church planting and have a lot of wisdom. God was very good to let us spend time with them.

We rounded out the evening by watching the latest episode of An Idiot Abroad. There are no words. So. Funny. At one point, Ginger and I thought we were going to throw up. Trace was in the floor, literally. And Chris was having an asthma attack. Ricky Gervais and this other guy, Steve somebody, found this really negative, slightly slow, clueless fella and sent him around the world doing different things. Like go to Egypt and see the pyramids. He was totally unimpressed. Tonight, he went down Route 66 in America. I cannot explain. You have to see it for yourselves. It was great to laugh that hard.

Now, I am in my room, which is usually Cullen's room, typing and listening to Chris snore. All the boys are in Trace's office and the girls are in Ansley's room.

Having a lovely time. Wish you were here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

England Day 1

Day 1:

After sleeping 13 hours, we awoke at 8:30. Their time change was last night, so we got an extra hour of sleep. Oh yeah. The kids slept an hour longer than we did...

We got dressed and walked to church, about 1/4 mile from here. The kids thought it was cool that we can walk everywhere. As we walked past the front of the school where the church meets, I heard a frantic knocking and looked up. Shirley was waving to me from the upper window and smiling her head off. It was awesome. When we walked in, we were immediately hugged by Jevon, Neil, Shirley, Roy and Sean. Big hugs! Then Paul and Ruth found us and gave us hugs as well.

Bruce preached this morning out of Hebrews. When he finished Maggie and Ty both turned to me and mouthed "Wow." It was challenging and I'll try to share my notes later. Their music is slightly different and they were new to us. But we picked them up and worshipped along with our brothers and sisters. I did notice a couple of cultural references in the music. One was about God being over every throne ever known. It struck me that to Americans that would be a historical reference... to the English, this is a modern statement of reality. It was interesting to me.

After church, we hung out for a bit and had coffee and tea. I got to talk with Jevon and Sue's daughter, Lizzie, for a while. Then we went to The Cherry Tree for lunch for a traditional Sunday Roast. Wowza. So good! (I know. I was surprised too!) I had sliced roast beef, parsnips, roasted potatoes, boiled new potatoes, carrots, mushy peas and Yorkshire Pudding. Turns out I've had Yorkshire pudding before... I didn't know it though. It looks like hollow dinner rolls. And tastes like soggy bread. Not impressive. But everything else was wonderful.

After lunch, we walked down the road to Bruce and Bea's for coffee. Bruce is almost seven feet tall and one of the most genuinely nice and funny people I've ever met. He spent months saving up to buy a fancy coffee maker. By the time he had the money saved up, Bea said she was desperate for him to just buy it already. lol. Reminded me of Chris when he shoe shops. Funny. Anyways, we spent a few hours  just sitting and talking and laughing. They asked us a lot of probing questions that gave us a lot to think about.

When we left there, Trace and Chris walked over to Neil and Shirley's to retrieve Gracie who had gone to spend the afternoon with their oldest daughter, Emily. Ginger and I dropped by Sainsbury's for canned tomatoes, corn and chili powder (Beef Skillet Fiesta - Jevon loved it!). Then met the guys at the house.

Jevon came over and we had a Halloween party since the kids can't Trick or Treat here. The kids dressed up (nerd, princess, hippie, 2 rock star, gangster). We gave them (and Jevon) each a plastic bag. Then Trace, Ginger, Chris and I went upstairs and each chose a bedroom. We shut the doors and the kids came and knocked. When they said Trick or Treat, we gave them American candy that we'd brought over. It was really, really silly and fun. Then we came down and let them dig in. :o)

Now, the kids are in bed asleep and we are watching the British television show, An Idiot Abroad. Ricky Jervais. 'Nuff said... So ridiculous.

Good night America. Good night England. Good night Moon...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Expressions of Love

My heart is very full tonight. It's not that I've had a terrific, fun-filled day. I've been busy and checking things off my to do list. But I have felt the love of my Father today...

1. in Coldplay's new album that came out today.

2. in getting to know some really cool kids at CORE and enjoying their company. Geeks are awesome.

3. in my kids' faces and laughter.

4. through Amber, who took my kids to the movies to see Real Steel so I could get all my errands run.

5. through Missy and Kim (sis), who rode with me and gave me the gift of conversation and laughter.

6. through the girl who helped me pick out and put on my phone case at the TMobile store. She kept me laughing and served me well.

7. through Michelle Davis who "shopped" with me at Target while we talked on the phone.

8. through Poe on the Porch at KimHill's.

9. through Cobi who is one of the most interesting people that I know and makes me more interesting than I already am. ;o)

10. through watching the sweet babies play in the yard at Kim's.

11. through the hot cocoa placed in my hand while I hung out.

12. through seeing my youngest be brought to tears because a song had moved him so much.

13. Did I mention Coldplay has a new album...

14. through Tiffany making sure she could hug me and give me a proper good-bye before I left for England.

15. through coming home and seeing all our bags packed in the living room.

16. through my brother-in-law and Dad reassuring me that the squealing of my van was not "critical" and they would fix it.

17. through sitting in the van with Brody and listening to a song, full blast, twice before we came in the house.

18. through my neighbor Dave who, I know, would protect my family with his life and puts up with my dog and kids like it's no big deal.

19. through the volitional family that put their arms around me and mine and LOVES us.

20. through looking at my passport and knowing how HE has provided a way and a ministry for my family.

21. through knowing that in 85 hours I can hug my friend Ginger breathless and live her life with her for a while.

22. through the anticipation of building up already formed friendships in England and making more.

23. through knowing Christ and Him crucified.

I have been busy. I have been rushed. I have been relaxed. I have been lots of things today. Most of all, I have been loved. And I am grateful and my heart overflows.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 19th

I got all of our suitcases out of the attic and the closet. I measured and placed them in two categories: checked and carry-on. We have 5 checked and 3 carry-on. Then we carried them out to the van and they will ALL fit in the trunk. Now to figure out what to put in them...

Ginger just called me. We talked for an hour and a half. Everything from budget to travel plans to menu. I think the details are mostly ironed out. I've talked to my cell carrier and know how to get a new sim card when we get there. I talked to the bank and they know we're travelling. There are still things I have to do, but the list is not too overwhelming.
It's finally sinking in that we're going to England. I've been planning and praying and it's almost here. I've been in touch with Sue and Shirley and we have play dates planned. We'll be eating with Bruce and Bea while there. I know that none of you friends reading this post know who they are but, oh, how I wish you did. And you will one day in heaven. They are such lovely people. I know you would love them too.
I'm going to be teaching while there. God keeps bringing me back to 1 Corinthians 2:2-5. I know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. And that definitely leads me to a place of fear and great trembling, but I know that I have nothing to offer these wonderful women from another culture. The Holy Spirit, however, has so much to offer them and if he can use me, even a little bit that is a privilege.
So today, we are doubling up on schoolwork, adding things to the To Do list, cleaning, packing and trying not to let myself get overwhelmed.
One of my children, who will remain nameless, has zero coping skills today. Lots of whining, screaming and meltdowns. It's pushing my nerves to the breaking point. I am struggling with the reality of grace for this child. I have too much to do to deal with this issue... oh wait, no I don't. They need me more than my lists need me. Dang. I forgot again.
There is no real point to this post. I have no moral or lesson. Nothing profound or funny. In fact, I'm second guessing why I'm even writing this...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


I am wondering what God has planned for me. I'm not down or depressed or even unsettled. It's just... well, I'm having a moment of peace with the fact that I have no idea what God will do. Gone are the days of assuming I know what is best for me and my family. Gone are the days of pleading with God to keep my children close.
I wonder where we will be in ten years. What we will be doing in five. I wonder what my kids will do when they grow up. I wonder if I'm preparing them.
I feel a flutter of excitement in the pit of my belly. I take a deep breath when I think about the times coming that will not be easy. I know God is sufficient. He is real. And his path for us is already laid out. I wonder what it looks like...