Thursday, August 31, 2006

Next Steps

Many have asked about our next steps and when we will actually be going to Brazil. Well, here is what needs to be done in the next few months before we go.

1. Wrap up things in Saline, LA. As I've mentioned before I believe, we would LOVE to have a place to come back to on furloughs and such. The best place to have that place, as far as we can see so far, would be in Saline...kind of a good home base. For some, having a house here in the States would be a little frivolous. But, for several reasons, we feel the need to at least explore the being that we were actually strongly advised and encouraged to do so by a missionary there in Brazil. Also, it just seems that it would be so practical for us specifically since we will most likely have a jillion kiddos. O.K., maybe not a jillion, but too many to just stay anywhere with anyone. Not quite do-able with a slew of children, all ages. But, we'll see...just going to look and see what opens up to us, if anything.

2. Find and set up everything with a "sending agency." This is a group/company/church that would basically handle the finances, etc. for us. It is much more involved than that really. But, another thing that must be done and set up through a series of meetings.

3. Raise support.

4. Get together a "packet" of information about Asas de Socorro and our involvement there to share with friends, family, church groups.

5. And, of course, last but not least...we are to add another baby to our family in the next 5 weeks. So, that will take some time out of our schedule too. :)

These are just some of the big things that need to be done...along with many small things. So, maybe you can get an idea of how we are just not sure how long these things will take, or the timeframe in which we will work on each. But, we will just let you know what we are up to day by day. It will be a fun time of continuing to just "play things by ear."

Please continue to keep us in prayer concerning all of these things. We are very excited to see how everything unfolds.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We're In

We have been accepted with Asas de Socorro!!

After a long day of more processes, we just had a meeting with the main recruitment couple and the president and his wife. It was a GREAT meeting. And, we were accepted.

First of all, today started early as usual. Joel went to fly the simulator and do more maintenance testing. I went to get my nails done. :) Seriously, it was part of my "cultural" experience. :) Anyhow, so me and Kristin spent a few hours at the salon getting all prettied up.

We got back and Joel and I had lunch with Milton and Haidi. Then we came back to the aviation school to get was interview time. This whole week has been one big interview really, but this afternoon was the time when the whole group (almost) was together and got to ask us a jillion and one questions if they wanted to. It was a fun time and they asked great questions.

Then we had free time...the first free time we've had all week. We drove around the city (Anapolis isn't huge, but the population is about 300,000 just to give you an idea) for a while and wanted to go gift and souvenir shopping, but everything closes around 1:30 on Saturdays here. So, we drove around and then found ourselves at McDonald's. :) Yes, we came to Brazil to go to McDonald's. But, we have had Brazilian food all week and didn't really know of where the best places were to go (we were by ourselves), so Mickey D's it was.

We came back to our room, did a few last-minute things, talked to Freda (the owner of the gorgeous house where we are staying), and then headed over to Steve and Kristin's to find out our fate.

Like I said, it was a great meeting and we are just super excited to be accepted with such a SUPER organization. We love these people already and we feel like God has already knit our hearts together. It's all very exciting.

There is much to be done and many things to pray about and figure out. We still aren't sure of a timeframe and won't be until we look into some things after we get back to the States. But, we will definitely keep you posted.

Thanks so much for your prayers during this time. We have had a great trip!! We will start our travel back to Boston tomorrow afternoon. Our first flight leaves at 7:40PM Brazilian time (1 hour ahead of Boston time; 2 hours ahead of Texas/Louisiana time) and we arrive in Boston Monday afternoon at 2:43 Boston time. So, please just continue to pray for safe travel...and comfortable travel esp. for me and my feet, which have started becoming tree trunks by the end of the day if I don't put them up regularly.

Again, thanks so much and I will post again after we get back to the States.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Anapolis - Day 3

Friday is almost done (although we still have a few more things to do on the schedule before our day is done and it is already past 9PM...Joel is still at the hangar...eeek) and I can't believe it. They are keeping us SO busy that the time is just flying by like crazy.

Last night for supper we went to Josemil and Drucilla's house. They seem to have the hang-out house, as there were several other young people there...5 to be exact, one being their daughter. I tell you what, the people here are so much fun. I don't even know their language and still I am impressed with how much fun they are. Anyway, after we ate we walked over to Steve and Kristin's house. This whole little dirt street between the hangar and Asas de Socorro's offices is where most of the missionaries live. So, you can just walk to each other's houses, walk to Asas, walk to the airport, etc.

So, anyhow, we walked over to Steve and Kristin's and watched a short video which had Asas planes in it. Then we got to know each other alot was me and Joel, Steve and Kristin, Josemil and Drucilla, and Rocindes (the president) and his wife, Edna. So fun!! We just did a few little activities that revealed more about each one of us. It was great.

This morning Joel went on a cross-country flight, so he had to be at the airport earlier than planned...7AM. I stayed in my room this morning to do my work...I had to answer a Values questionnaire and write an essay. After that I went to the Asas offices and did an activity with newspaper...I had to build a house with it that I could go into...and had to be on the floor. For someone who is 34 weeks pregnant, not an easy thing to be crawling around on the hard floor stapling newspaper together, but it was a good activity. I'm telling you, these ladies are getting to know me really well through all of these really crazy activities and the questions they ask regarding the activities.

I then worked on some promotional material (making posters to show to people about Asas) until lunch. Joel got done with his cross-country flight and we went to lunch with Rocindes and Edna. We went to a restaurant in town since we were pressed for time. It was really good. Joel did a maintenance test and I worked on the posters some more after lunch until it was time to go for the psychological evaluation again. Joel went first (they do more with him than they do the wife) and then me (I saw more of the city while Joel was being evaluated)...then we both did one things together. Man, I felt like I had taken a mini-ACT test when I got done, and I didn't have to do half the stuff Joel did. It is crazy the things psych. people do to try to evaluate you. For instance, one was a personality test...but, to evaluate that what you had to do was draw lines on a paper...try to draw them perfectly straight and the same distance apart. It was a little crazy.

After we got done with the psych. evaluations, we headed back to the hangar and dropped Joel off for more maintenance testing. Be praying for him. He is having a rough day. His flight was a little rough this morning (things are just much different flying in another country). He did well on his maintenance test this morning, but the psych. eval. was very draining for him and now he is still over at the hangar looking up things on microfiche...ugh...I hated having to do that the couple of times that I've ever done that. Anyway, he did that sort of thing in college to look up maintenance things, but not since college, so just pray for him and that he has a much brighter day tomorrow.

So, after we dropped Joel off I went with Steve and Kristin and their kiddos to an outdoor churrascaria (shish-ka-bob place). It was really good. We came home and I went back to where we are staying for the first time since this morning. Now I am about to finish the posters and Joel still isn't back (it's 9:30). We are going to need a vacation after this. :)

Thanks for your prayers. We are doing well, although tired. And we are still very excited about Asas, even though they are working us to death. :) Just kidding. They are super great. And, the kids continue to do great there in Boston. If any of you read the comments, you know that it sounds like they had a blast with their Uncle Andre, Aunt Kristin, and cousin Alexa at Chuck E. Cheese. SO FUN!! I can just see Grady staring's very common for him when seeing any form of entertainment. :)

O.K., the posters are calling my name. I'll update again tomorrow.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Anapolis - Days 1 & 2

Hello everyone. Thank you so much for the prayers. By the way, Auny...dinner and a movie...we flew TAM, which is Brazilian. Not sure if other international flights do that. I kind of assume they would though, since you are traveling so long in some cases, but maybe not. Did Brock have that sort of thing when he traveled overseas to do the Discovery Channel show?

Anyhow...update on us...we arrived in Brasilia around 7AM yesterday morning and were picked up by Steve, our main contact here. He drove us to Anapolis where we grabbed a bite to eat for breakfast (cheesy bread...Joel said that there are lots of pastries here) and then went shopping. We then went to Steve and Kristin's house for lunch and then for a tour of Asas de Socorro's offices, hangar, and flight school. We had a small break where we were able to take about an hour nap before we went back to Steve and Kristin's for supper. There we met Rezindes and Edna, Haidi, Brian and Shirlee, and Josemil and Drucilla. Rezindes is the president of Asas de Socorro. They are all SUPER great people...and, a big plus, they are also REALLY fun.

After supper and some socializing, we came back and crashed...after getting about 2-3 hours of sleep at the most on our flights down. By the way, the place we are staying is great. It is a little "suite" on the side of a house...they are retired Asas people. They now work doing other things ministry-wise here in Anapolis. But, we have a room with a sink, little fridge, and microwave, and a bathroom all to ourselves.

Today we woke up and Joel went flying and got checked out doing several things in the air. I went and did a little "devotional" with Kristin, Edna, and Drucilla. Then we went to Brian and Shirlee's for lunch. Joel then had a maintenance test and I watched a video about Asas and learned some more about the bases they have along the Amazon. After Joel's test, Kristin and I drove him to have part of his psychological evaluation done (I will have that too...I think tomorrow) and then we ran some errands. We picked him up and then went for some Brazilian ice cream...not quite the same as my wonderful Baskin Robbins, but still good. Now we are back in our room resting for about 30 minutes before we have to go to supper.

2 pieces of fun news:
1. We have access to wireless internet on our laptop here in our room. We thought we'd just try it, but didn't really expect to get it. Well, I guess either the couple we are staying with has it, or someone really nearby, but we can email in our room now, even though we are hardly ever here.
2. Our bags should be getting here around 7PM...a huge answered prayer. Thanks so much for praying for that.

Anyway, that's about it for the update. Oh, and our kids are doing great. They are enjoying their gifts each day that we left for them and their time with Grandpa, Grandma, and extended family there in Boston. Joel's mom said that once yesterday they asked about us, but she just got the book that I wrote for them (I wrote a little book "illustrated" with stickers explaining that we were taking a trip and what they would be doing, etc....we read it for a few days before we left, just to prepare them) and read it and they were fine...didn't ask anything else about us.

Better go. We have about 10 minutes to walk to where we are having supper.

I'll update more tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers. We are having a great time.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

We´re Here

We are in Manaus, Brazil. Our bags are not here. :(

That´s a super bummer, but oh well...the up side is that, although terribly inconvenient after traveling forEVER, we get to go shopping once we reach our final destination in a few hours.

As I said, we are in Manaus. They have a little area where you can use the internet for $2 per half-hour. We have about another hour and a half here before our 2-hour flight to Brasilia takes off. Then, we will be met by an Asas de Socorro friend and have about a 2-hour drive to Anapolis, our final destination.

The flights have been really good. The first flight we had 3 seats for us 2. Then, the longer flight (5 hours) we each had 3 seats. It was nice. And, we watched Mission Impossible 3, got gifts from the airline, and had dinner as we watched the movie.

This is the first time I´ve flown without kids since we had them. It´s amazing how much time you have to just do whatever you want. Although we miss our kids immensely already, we are enjoying our ``free time`` too. Thanks so much, by the way, for your prayers regarding our saying goodbye to our kiddos. It went very smoothly, just laughing and hugging and having fun. They will have a great time and will get a gift from us each day, so I´m sure they will be loving us ``going on a trip.``

I will update more later. Just wanted to let you all know that we arrived in Brazil. Be remembering us, our kids, and now our luggage too (we should be getting it sometime Thursday). Thank you so much.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Giving Up

And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will have eternal life. -Matthew 19:29

About 6 years ago, this became one of my "life verses." Actually, it is probably my most favorite and most prominent life verse. The spring of 2000 was the start of this verse being true in my life...the giving up part, and also the receiving a hundred times more part. God is faithful and His Word is true.

Lately I've been feeling like we are living smack-dab in the middle of that verse. Tomorrow is no different. We are headed to Brazil. Please remember to keep us in your prayers concerning our future and our time with the organization that we will possibly be going with there. Also, remember us as we are away from our kids for the first time...and for 6 days. And remember them too. Thank you.

Here we go.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Back when Mrs. Kay Gabbard warned me about always putting on the armor of God, I did a little study on the actual pieces of the armor. This is what I found:

1. Belt of Truth - Satan fights with lies, and sometimes his lies sound like truth; but believers have God's truth, which can defeat Satan's lies. Living a life of honesty and integrity enables the Christian to be one in purpose with Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, and to be unhindered in the battle against Satan. You must be able to differentiate between Satan's lies and God's Truth to truly be able to win and live victoriously (and you can live victoriously no matter your circumstances).

2. Breastplate of Righteousness - Satan often attacks our heart--the seat of our emotions, self-worth, and trust. God's approval is the breastplate that protects our heart. He approves of us because we have trusted Christ to save us and cleanse our hearts from sin. The breastplate covered the body from neck to thigh. The heart must be kept pure and righteous because sin gives a foothold to the enemy. Confession and forgiveness cleanse the heart.

3. Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace - or, readiness to spread the Good News. Satan wants us to think that telling other the Good News is a worthless and hopeless task--the size of the task is too big, and the negative responses are too much to handle. But the "shoes" God gives us are the motivation to continually proclaim the true peace that is available in God--news everyone needs to hear. Be about your Father's business. The Roman soldier wore sandals with cleats made of sharp nails designed to give firm footing on even the most rugged terrain.

4. Shield of Faith - with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The shield of faith protects us from Satan's flaming arrows in the form of insults, setbacks, and temptations. With God's perspective, we can see beyond our circumstances and know that ultimate victory is ours. The fiery darts try to instill doubt, fear, and guilt. Faith acts as an invisible shield that deflects such false accusations. The Roman shield was a long, oblong, or oval shield which was crafted from two layers of wood covered with linen or animal hides, bound together with iron. When fighting side by side, soldiers could hold these shields together to form a long wall (speaks of the power of a group of like-minded believers). Soaked in water, they served as adequate defense against the enemy's "fiery darts"--arrows that had been dipped in pitch and ignited. The shield of faith offers God's unlimited resources of power and wisdom to resist the fiery darts of distressing circumstances and temptations to evil.

5. Helmet of Salvation - Satan wants to make us doubt God, Jesus, and our salvation. The helmet protects our mind from doubting God's saving work for us. A helmet protects the head, that is, the brain and thoughts. Assurance of salvation is a mighty defense against doubt and insecurity and the kinds of works bred by them. The Roman soldier's bronze helmet had leather attachments to hold it in place. Christians can experience protection from Satan's attacks as they rest confidently in their position as members of God's family, set apart for His purposes. Further, they can know God's present work of sanctification in their lives, experiencing deliverance from sin and having the guarantee of future, eternal deliverance from every kind of evil.

6. Sword of the Spirit - which is the Word of God. The sword is the only weapon of offense in this list of armor. There are times when we need to take the offensive against Satan. When we are tempted, we need to trust in the truth of God's Word. The Word of God was used by the Lord Jesus against Satan. The living Word is powerful, effective, and instructive. The Roman soldier's short, two-edged sword enabled the heavily-armed soldier to attack deftly and defeat his enemy at close range. The believer's sword may be understood to be either "supplied by the Spirit" or "used by the Spirit." Paul further identified this sword as "the Word of God." "Word" most probably refers to specific sections of Scripture the Holy Spirit brings to mind to meet a particular need (therefore, you must know the Word). All of the armor is obviously important, but basically if you don't know the Word and if you can't hear personally from God, then you don't know true Truth (even though you may think you do), so the Sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God, is very important and ties into all of the other armor.

And, we can't forget what Paul tells us after he lists out the armor...PRAY. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Prayer - In the midst of battle, we as believers must keep in constant communication with our Leader for directions and encouragement. Our prayers for one another are important and effectual. Prayer is to be constant as the Christian prepares for battle, engages in it, and rests from it. All kinds of prayer are to be offered through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Get Dressed & Dress Your Kids

A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground,...
--Ephesians 6:10-14

Once when I was having a REALLY hard time with something, I asked a wonderful friend at our church in Phoenix to pray for me. She wanted to make sure that I was putting on my armor every day. I wasn't. I would haphazardly do it, but not every day. She stressed the importance of literally praying the armor on every morning, just like we put on our clothes. God gave it to us for a reason...we should use it.

The best advice she gave me that day was this though...something that I had never really thought about at all: She told me that just as my kids weren't old enough to dress themselves and I was responsible for putting clothes on them every day, I am also responsible for putting their protective clothes on them too, God's armor. She said that I needed to be sure to dress them in the armor until I had trained them up to do that themselves, just like I put their clothes on until they learn how to dress themselves. It was a huge piece of advice. I will remember it is so important.

So, put it on:
1. Belt of Truth
2. Breastplate of Righteousness
3. Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
4. Shield of Faith
5. Helmet of Salvation
6. Sword of the Spirit

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Camera Considerations

We are in the middle of an electronics shopping spree. We said that when we sold our house, we would buy some updated electronics...actually just some that actually worked. So, we have now bought a laptop (HP DV5220 Notebook) and a videocamera (Sony DCR-HC26 Mini-DV Handycam) in the past week. As with all shopping, it's kind of fun, but kind of a pain in my booty...except for shopping for the kids...that's always fun to me. Anyhow, just wanted to ask for any advice you might want to give:

We are now in the market for a new one...a good-quality one. I personally love the Canon Rebel, but Joel likes the kind that you can just put in your pocket. You know my love for pictures. And, I would love to really get good at taking pictures, esp. of the kids...and then also, looking ahead, of the missions activities we are involved in in the future.

What are your thoughts? Anyone just love their camera? Please, give us all the input you can. I want to hear about all kinds of cameras so that we can make a good decision. Thanks.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Family Lesson

A couple of weeks ago, we were in Saline. We were driving down the road at the regular speed limit. We were all talking (Joel, the kids, and me) and didn't notice the signs for road construction up ahead. We were about to the top of the hill where the road workers were and noticed that a man was waving his cap at us. We immediately started slowing down of course and were slowed very sufficiently by the time we got to him. We weren't slowed enough to suit this guy though, and he let us know that by yelling at the top of his lungs and hitting the van as we drove by. I was appalled...appalled and EXTREMELY ticked off. We had stopped the van at this point and I promptly rolled down my window and started yelling at the man. It went something like this: "What the heck?!?! You don't hit somebody's vehicle like that!! We were slowing down, you just need to calm yourself!!! Geez!!!!!!" The man proceeded to yell back, just as much as I was yelling and then we drove off. I was so mad. But, the bummer was that I was so sad too.

Since I've been married to Joel and since I've become more and more like Jesus (as we Christians are all doing hopefully), I have become more and more tenderhearted. I had never even really seen "tenderhearted"...the Jesus kind of tenderhearted...until I met Joel. Not weak or a pushover, but just meek and tenderhearted. Anyhow, it is a good thing and a few seconds after we drove off, I started bauling like a baby. Had I really acted that way? It was very disappointing. I knew that it hurt God to see me reacting in such a way. Even if I didn't have kids that I am trying to be an example to it would be horrible. It wasn't about the kids. But, the kids were with us and it made it that much worse.

We went to where we needed to go and then were driving back by the construction and that man about 30 minutes later. I knew that I was supposed to stop and apologize to him. That wouldn't even have been an option for me about 6 years ago. I hadn't had much practice or example of apologizing when wrong. But, now I am much quicker to know when I need to apologize and I know that I am at peace when I obey and do it. So, even though it still doesn't come easily at times, when I am supposed to apologize I do it.

We stopped as we passed by the man. He was abrupt at first and probably wasn't expecting an apology...probably expecting more griping. But, he was nice and seemed softened by the apology when he heard it. We pulled off the road after we left. I was crying, Joel was crying, and the kids were just looking at us. :) We turned around and explained in the simplest terms possible what had just happened and why it was important to apologize. Then Grady noticed some horses on the side of the road and started screaming with glee. :) It may not have made a huge impact on our kids at present, but I'm excited about raising them and being an example of humility and tenderness to them. God help us.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fever Blisters

On my list of things I despise (along with leaving my kids per the previous post).

Does anyone else get them? I HATE them I tell you. I always feel like I should shout, "Unclean, unclean!" wherever I go.

I usually get a fever blister about once or twice a year. Sometimes they are really bad. Sometimes they aren't so severe. I developed one on Monday that is a pretty fierce one not fun.

Fever blisters are so gross though. I mean, it is herpes on your lip. Yeah, a little disgusting to think about. But, just to clear up the whole "herpes" is a different strain of herpes than the other kind. And, just to make it clear, I started getting fever blisters at a very young age before I had ever even kissed anyone. So, clearly not a result of bad behavior or anything. Is that too much technical nursey information for y'all? O.K., let's move on.

I am one who likes to get things out in the open. I feel like just making an announcement everywhere I go..."Yes, this thing on my lip? It's a fever blister. I have a fever blister. Now, it's out in the open. Let's talk."

Hopefully this thing will go away soon. It is not only disgusting, but also very painful I must say. Although, last summer when I came to Boston I developed a mouthful of ulcers...I couldn't eat or talk or hardly even was one of the most painful (worse than childbirth honestly because it lasted way longer and there was no wonderful joy of a baby at the end) and uncomfortable and inconvenient things ever. I finally had to go to the ER and get some lidocaine swish and swallow for it. It was horrible. I guess I'll take a "leprous lip" over that any day.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Going to Brazil

Well, it is official. Joel and I are going to visit Brazil and get evaluated by Asas de Socorro. We leave the 22nd and get back the 28th of this month. The kids will be staying here in Boston with Joel's parents.

Be praying for us. We will be traveling around 20 hours each way. Whew...makes me tired to think about it. :) On the other hand though, we won't have the kids with us...that will be much less tiring. But, that is the other prayer request...we won't have the kids with us. Pray for me especially...I DEPISE the thought of leaving them for 6 days...ugh. We have left Grady overnight, but only a couple of times...and have never left Hadley overnight. Pray for me. Pray for the kids too, that they will just have so much fun here (as I'm sure they will) and not even miss us. Leaving the kids is hard, but we really do feel peace about that decision. I know that that is what God wants, for both of us to go. It will be a good trip.

Besides leaving the kids, we are super excited about this opportunity to go to Brazil. Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

With Some Hitches

You know that saying, "that went off without a hitch." Well, yesterday we traveled to Boston from Saline...with a few hitches. :)

First, we had stayed up late Thursday night getting everything packed and in order. I had a load of laundry to do, but all of those clothes were just going to be thrown in the suitcases and off we go Friday morning. Didn't really work that way. Grady woke up around 7:15 (we were supposed to leave at 8) sopping wet (with pee). Joel ran him through the bath and I quickly grabbed his blanket that we take everywhere to throw in the wash. I took along Hadley's too since I was going to wash Grady's. I went out to the washer/dryer and threw them in, then discovered that the laundry from the night before wasn't quite dry. So, those clothes had to dry more before I could put the blankets in the dryer. It was an unfortunate setback.

We finally got all the laundry done, the house straightened, and the kids and luggage in the van. Then, Grady's suitcase stopped latching. We threw it in the van anyway and headed for Mama's house (she was driving us to the airport). Again, an unfortunate setback (that we thought we'd have plenty of time for the night before...besides, we didn't have a choice...there were no gas stations open the night before)...yes, we needed gas. So, we stopped for gas. We made it to Mama's house and had to unload some things that were staying there and borrow one of their suitcases and switch all of Grady's things to that suitcase.

Finally on the road about 45 minutes late, we were able to make up some time due to my husband's unmatchable (well, matched only by his wife) speeding skills. We made it to the airport, but only to find that we had missed the absolute last cut-off time to check in by about 5 minutes. Oh, and there was a very lengthy detour surrounding the airport, and a very slow driver in front of us...both of which added to our unfortunate events.

So, we headed to McDonald's and ate and let the kids play on the nice, oversized inside playground.

One gift that was just from God...they had originally said that we would be flying standby from Houston to Boston (our 2nd leg of the trip), but right before we boarded in Alexandria, LA they told us that we had definite seats...whew...always iffy flying standby.

So, on the plane we got. A quick jump over to Houston, about an hour layover, then on a bigger plane to Boston. The kids did GREAT, helped out at the very end (the last hour) by the new bags we got them full of new fun things. But, we only had to pull those out the last hour of our 14 hour travel day. They are great travelers.

One other unfortunate event we found out about when we got to baggage claim. Thankfully all of our suitcases were here, but the kids' carseats were not. The airline had one loaner carseat. And, it just so happened that Joel's brother and his wife had gone out to a movie not far from the airport without their little girl who is 3 months younger than Hadley. Therefore, they were close by with an empty carseat, so they swung through and we had carseats for each of our kids for the ride back to Joel's parents' house.

Oh yeah, one other little thing. We got to their house, visited a while, and then started getting ready for bed around 11pm. At that point, we realized that another one of our bags was missing although we had gotten it from baggage claim. It was the bag that had all of our shoes and toiletries in it, along with some other random but necessary stuff. It was just a great way to top off our day of unfortunate events. :)

Thankfully this morning Joel called his brother and it had been inadvertantly left in his vehicle last night. Whew...thankful for that. The airline promised to have our carseats delivered to us this morning, although we still haven't heard from them. I'm sure we will get them soon, it's just a hassle is all.

Anyhow, I can laugh about it now, but last night at about midnight I was done looking at the bright side and really wanted to let somebody (anybody) have it. Thank goodness it was time to go to bed, so I just went to sleep (although, as Joel would tell you, I did "vent" a little). :) Oh well, we got here safely and are having fun. We spent today at the nice.

Still, you gotta love hitches.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Goodbye Castle

As you all know, we closed on our house last Friday. The weekend brought some more major emotions as we had to give up our cat. The WONDERFUL people who took her, Ernie and Trudy Williams (and their daughter Jamie) actually offered to just "babysit" her for us to ease the pain. It's funny how looking forward to and the actual moment of that critical time of separation can be so hard, but sometimes after the moment is gone you are fine again. I love Sassy cat and it makes me sad that the kids don't have that perfect cat for them right now, but I don't know that we'll take her back. I'm totally fine at this point and Grady was sad and crying when they left with her, but they went right down for a nap...after they woke up, they never mentioned her again. So, great times with Sassy, but we may just wait and get another cat in Brazil...and pray for a cat as perfect and wonderful as Sassy. We'll see...maybe we'll run to the Williams' in October and beg for her back. :)

We moved out of our house Monday and ended up spending the night with John and Nicole Graves and their brood of 5. It was a really great and fun night with them and a great send-off.

We are now in Saline and will be here until that point we will board a plane to Boston and be there for a month. Things are absolutely crazy and nutso...but, it's not chaotic, which is a sign that God is totally in this and in control. We have to remind ourselves of that at times, but it is definitely evident. The big prayer requests at this time are:

1. what to do mid-October after the baby is born - God has so faithfully provided for us up until that point as far as a place to stay. And, He technically has provided a place to stay after that as well, here in Saline. But, we just need wisdom as to what to do with our remaining time in the states at that point and what to invest our time and money in (buy land?, build a basic house for furloughs?, etc.).

2. trip to Brazil - We had tentatively planned to head there at the end of August for Joel to get evaluated and just to check it all out. Well, we may not be able to go then. It all depends on whether or not the guy down there who has to evaluate Joel will be available at that time or not. That is what we are waiting to hear. So, just pray for that and the perfect timing for us to go.

It's like I told a friend a few days ago...God is definitely leading and guiding us along. He is moving us this way and that...and through "supernatural" (although I guess everything He does is supernatural) means at times (dreams, divine appointments, etc.) and it is so encouraging. But, it is crazy. Mostly these days it seems we are mid-step, going in slow motion, and God is literally bending down and taking our leg to place our foot where He wants it to be. It really is crazy, but wonderful to have to rely on that kind of dependency on Him. He is teaching and preparing us for many things and times like this to come I'm sure, as He does in every season of our lives.

By the way, hopefully in the next month or so we will have a website of our own up and running. It will be filled with news and pictures, so be on the look-out. I'll let you know all about it when it's ready.

Thanks so much for your continued prayers.