Saturday, May 9, 2009

So far....

About a week ago we set out on a crazy adventure...a seven week drive around these United States. Crazy because it is just me and my six kids and a fifteen passenger van. We really do like to travel and I know that this is my last trip to take with all of my kids. My life is going to change drastically over the next year and so I am taking advantage of this great opportunity and living life to it's fullest.
Boo took this picture of us while I was driving the lonely Arizona highway. It is very straight and practically deserted so there is no reason for alarm. We have a lot of fun driving. Boo, Goose, and I take turns which makes the labor of driving 8,000 miles much easier. There is a lot of singing, listening, talking, and relaxing going on. Goose is in Illinois with some friends though so the first part of this trip will be traveled by the girls, Lil' Cowboy and I.
One of our stops was Albuquerque. What a wild city out in the middle of nowhere. It is brown, brown, and more brown! I enjoyed a lovely jump in the pool with the kiddos but wish it had been more refreshing. They obviously had not experienced summer warmth as of yet because the pool heater was still on. It felt like a bathtub with the temp pretty much matching the temp outside. But, we had fun anyway.
Love this one.

Our next stop was Carrollton, TX. Long drive days to get there but also a great learning experience We are getting better at self-control and thinking before speaking. If we keep working on this we should be able to see a great break-through in this area.
We were visiting a dear friend whom I went to high school with. Of all my friends of the past, she is the one that I most identify with. We have been on very similar paths...from rebellion to reformation. It is always wonderful to sit and chat with her but our time together is always too short.
They work for Gospel for Asia and so we enjoyed a tour of the ministries headquarters.
Miss M with the littlest Lodi kiddo standing in front of one of our favorite Gospel for Asia pictures. If you have never heard of this wonderful missions organization I would encourage you to visit by clicking here.
We had the privilege of having lunch at GFA with the Lodi family Talk about a great and loving staff. We were blessed by the willingness of so many to help those who help the indiginous missionaries in Asian countries...and, the food was great as well!
Our trusty guides through the maze of GFA!
The next day we took a trip down to Waco to meet a family that I have known through the blog world. We also have a LOT of friends in common. They weren't sure if I would be interested in going to the Branch Davidian Compound but I assured them that I would actually like to see one of a few great disasters of our modern-day government. I wanted my children to see and learn from the intrusion. Above is a picture of the Gunn kiddos and my kiddos on the steps of a new church erected on the grounds. As a side note, I boviously do not hold to or promote any of the doctrines of the Branch Davidians BUT I do hold dear the Constitution guarding and protecting us from being hunted down by the government.
If you click on this picture you will see a larger size of this photo. I love the smiles and the hair all over the place. These two were just too cute together.
All the girls together....oops, actually we were missing Boo and the littlest Gunn child.
And, the boys...always outnumbered it seems. These guys had a great time together as well.
Emily and was a bit strange inviting myself and family over but quickly relaxed and we had such a great time. Emily, hope you like this picture as much as I. You are adorable dear and such a sweet mom...keep up the good work!
O and Daisy are only one day a part. They have been friends since birth because well, their moms are friends. It was sweet to see them enjoy their friendship all the more this visit.
The Lodi kids with my kids. What a bunch of nuts. They kept us laughing!
This is my dear high school friend that I referred to at the beginning of this post. We had a lot to talk about this time around but I am afraid that I did not plan enough time for us. This simply means that I must come back! I was a bit distracted and incredibly tired. Last year I ventured on our trip across the U.S. only four months after Eric had died. I think was too numb to realize what a crazy idea it was. We encountered many obstacles including a failed transmission, tire blow-out, getting stuck in the mud, bad weather, etc.
This year I am more aware of my surroundings and my body is more aware of how exhausting this all is. I will continue to press on but I must say that it is not easy. There are many things that pull my heart home.
Today I was reminded how God providentially guides us. Sometimes we get a glimpse of how He orchestrates things for our benefit. Today was one of those days. We were driving along when I saw a Best Buy. Hadn't seen one in a while and needed to get something to help me download my photos. We ran in and out and then decided to go to Target as well. Daisy asked me if I thought the sky looked like a tornado was coming. I told her that just because it was starting to rain did not necessarily mean that there would be a tornado.
Can you guess what is coming next? Yep...we started hearing rumblings from customers that there was a tornado warning. Within a few moments we heard over the intercom "all guests please move to the men's department in the back of the store. There has been a tornado sighting." You could hear the sirens going off outside the store.
This has been one of my greatest fears of traveling during this time of the year. I quickly called a few close friends and asked them to pray. I started praying and wondering what could I do to protect my kids. Nothing. Praying and singing Psalms (something one of those close friends reminded me of) was all I could offer. After a while my adreneline calmed down and the jitters subsided. We found out later that the tornado touched down a quarter of a mile away. I have faced a major fear of mine and survived. Not sure I want to do it again though!
We decided to stay in that same city and not brave the roads. The weather system was going the same direction we needed to and so we are huddled in a hotel room waiting out the storm.
Did you see God's provision? We were "safely" in Target (better than Wal-mart! :) rather than out on the road.
For you that live through these kinds of storms on a regular basis I am not sure whether to be amazed at your endurance or craziness!
All I know is that this girl is a Californian through and through. We might have earthquakes but you don't have to wonder if they will hit you. They are quick that before your mind wraps around the idea that the earth is moving the sensation is gone. Mind you, not fond of them either but I think I would take them over a tornado any day!
Now I sit here listening to the thunder wondering how in the world we are going to make it to Tennessee! All in good time.


anika said...

Sitting here on my very own adventure in France friend, and Praising God on high for His awesomeness in keeping you safe in such a powerful way!!! May you rest in His peace !!!
you are so loved!

Christine said...

Love the pictures-- O and Daisy could be sisters, they look so much alike!

As for the tornadoes, you NEVER like them but you do get used to it. God is so very good!

You will make it to TN in His time :)

I'm still trying to figure out how we could make it to CO in June :)

I have faster internet now and can hear you music on your blog :):):)

howiesgal said...

Thank our good Lord that you were in a Targ*t. I don't even want to think about what could have happened to you in a Walm*art!
Missing you all. Look forward to your return and catching up.

kristin said...

So you did get to experience a tornado! Darn, you should have stayed with us one more day just as you wished you could have. :) Just think, if you hadn't forgotten your sleeping bag and come back for it, the timing would have been different and you might not have been in Target for the tornado! God is so sovereign!

We loved having you here. Reece is already planning a trip to California to see Joe!

We are praying for you as you travel.
Love you, friend!

E.T.'s Mom said...

Oh wow, sounds like a great trip!

Nan said...

Goodness! What adventures and misadventures! Did you know that Shawn and I lived in Carrollton? For three years back when we first got married (12 years ago.) Shawn was a youth pastor there for a while and then worked at a classical Christian school for a short bit. After living there we lived in College Station (south of Waco) for a few more years. I think I met Colin and Emily *years ago* at the Kersey's house... I think that's where it was.

I heard about the tornado. I'm so glad you all are alright! Tornadoes are probably my biggest fear (as far as natural phenom.) I too would choose earthquakes.