A God We Can Depend On

If you’re hoping for another funny story about flying with all our boys, you are sort of in luck. 😉 This photo is us waiting at baggage claim at 11:30 pm, filing claims for lost luggage–on New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year to us! Hang with me, this is a long one…

Upon our arrival to the South, we realized we were missing a bag. We reported it, and 10 days later, that bag was still missing. That’s unusual. Airlines are usually pretty good at getting your suitcases to you. If you live close enough, they’ll even drive it to your house.

Let me tell you, after spending 5+hours on an airplane with your children, the very last thing you want to do is spend an extra hour and a half more in the air port upon arriving. At least in Atlanta we had family there helping us. As we waited there for our suitcases to get on the belt, I spotted an employee standing with a BIG empty cart. Not like the little ones that hold two suitcases. This was like the kind you get at hotels.  I said, “Oh, man, that is what we need.”

“You want it?” he asked.

“How do you get one of those??”

“Oh, I just put your bags on here for you and take them to your car, and you can just tip me.”

What!!  How had we not known about this??!! Happiest moment! Oh, it is the little things!!!

“Oh my goodness. Yes!! We have 15 bags!!!”

Fast forward to the return trip. It was a LATE night trip.

By the time we landed in San Francisco on NYE, we had to wake our children up, and do the major production that we do to complete the miracle of flight: deplane. I can’t even begin to explain why this is hard, so let’s just move on.

We got out. It took us all 30 minutes to use the bathrooms. We got almost to baggage claim, when all our talk about the coughing, influenza kid that we were sitting in front of on the plane, made us sure that we should stop and wash the boys’ hands again.  Was that really what happened, Alan? I don’t remember. It was 11pm. We were barely functioning. I definitely remember that we made someone rewash their hands. I just am not completely sure why, but there went another good 10 minutes for some reason.

We walked across the airport the wrong direction, to realize our luggage was a mile in the opposite direction. Gates were going down, employees were leaving, and we hadn’t even picked up our suitcases yet: 7 of them, plus 2 car seats.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that, yet again, another duffel bag did not make it. At least this time it was the baby’s suitcase, rather than the ELECTRONICS suitcase that went missing the first time. Sorry ya’ll, but I will be flying with expensive electronic equipment again never.

We have now ordered a new video baby monitor. We figured we’d never see that suitcase again, and it could also help me watch Caleb at night for seizures. (That’s another story for tomorrow’s blog…)

It took 20 minutes to get the claim written for the second bag and another half hour to write the claim for the still missing 1st bag, which had apparently never actually been reported. Thank you, Atlanta.

Ok. I think You should know that I probably exaggerate time frames because by 11:20 or so we had finally made it outside, and there were no shuttle buses at all. I called the hotel. We were in the wrong place……back to hiking around with our 15 suitcases.

No really. 7 large. 2 car seats. 8 carry-ons, a double stroller, and a baby.

We spotted what looked like our shuttle and dashed to it in relief.

“No, I don’t go to that hotel. Actually I go to blahablahblah….” the driver informed us. Nooooooo!

So we kept hiking and looking hiking and looking…there!  We see it! It’s coming!!  And it zoooooomed right past us. It’s almost midnight. That was the last run of the night, and Dude didn’t even stop.

We had made it through an entire day of traveling. We had converted to central time, so for us it was actually almost 2am. 2.a.m.

The baby didn’t cry. Daniel didn’t melt down. The boys were fine.

I was not. This is the point where I got reeeeeeal whiny. Noooooooooo!

Alan got on the phone with the hotel, and we got the driver back. Alan managed to get me on the shuttle without me chewing out the driver, and that was an accomplishment in itself.

At check in, they informed us that our Silver Club Level (like frequent flyer miles for hotels…Thank you, Cross Country Road trip), entitles us to FREE breakfast on the 14th floor. Yes!

The boys and I headed to the hotel room, and Alan headed to our minivan. There was a moment where I was afraid that I actually rang in 2015 in my hotel room with the bellhop, while Alan was still downstairs getting the ‘pack and play’ out of our van. Then I realized the hotel room clock was just fast, so I am so happy to report that at 12 am Pacific time, I kissed all four of my children and my husband. (And just to be clear, I did not kiss the bellhop.) 🙂

This will be a wonderful year. 🙂 I have HIGH hopes.

Let me tell you what happened today:

-JD woke me up at 1am. We have tried everything. Literally everything, so let’s not discuss this any further.

-Daniel woke me up at 5am and said, “My stomach hurts. I need some milk.”

“Daniel, if your stomach hurts, you don’t need milk. You can have water, and maybe you need to pee.”

“No me go pee. Me need water.”

“Okay. Here you can have mine.” Daniel climbed into our bed, and I rolled over to Alan and said, “I think Daniel is about to throw up.” People who guzzle water and say their stomach hurts always throw up.

Somehow Daniel managed to wait until 8am to begin the barfing.

We had some rough moments today, and I might have sort of lost it at one point, but I never did apologize to the children. We’ll come back to that later.

Early on, the phone rang. “Are you missing a suitcase?”

I felt like that man on the milk commercial, you know the Aaron Burr expert. His mouth was full of cookies, and the radio contest calls with an Aaron Burr question, but he can’t answer because he has no milk!!?? Remember???  So funny.

Anyway. I had JD holding one leg and screaming, and Daniel crying to watch “Paws Patrols” on the other leg. This was before Daniel barfed big time and I quarantined him in his room. I could barely make out the words on the other end of the phone, but I got the gist.

Don’t worry. I managed to speak.

“YES!!  YES!!!  We do! We did!”
“Can you describe the contents of the bag?”

“Oh ho yeah buddy. Hundreds of dollars worth of video equipment and a baby blanket!!!!”

dingdingding

The suitcase was found in Atlanta, 16 days after our flight. Isn’t that something?

“This is great!!! Thank you!!!”

I called Alan around 3pm. After a day of cleaning up puke and teaching school, I needed this to be an early day. Thankfully, Alan is in a much less stressful place right now than last semester, so he was able to be home early today.

I dashed off to the beach. First, I did such a poor job of parallel parking that I finally gave up and paid the $1.50 to park. Boo. My walk was nice, but kind of ho hum. Have I become spoiled??? I prayed about my problems, especially about the way I panic, or “freak out” too easily.

God told me I need to learn to depend on him more. Rather than panic, take a deep breath and pray about the problem.

Now, just in case anyone is new here: I don’t mean the audible voice of God, just that God speaks to my heart, my spirit if you will. Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship. It’s about having a relationship with God.

I got back to my van. I took my jacket off. I was hot. I cleaned out the pockets back into my purse. That’s when I realized that my identification was missing!!! What! I wanted to cry.

I retraced my steps back to the beach. I had walked a looooong way. I was so furious with myself for having put that ID card in my pocket and then not knowing it had fallen out. I looked and looked. I panicked a little. I prayed and prayed and looked and looked, but there was no sign of it.

I was very shaken. I drove home disappointed in myself, and disappointed in God. Why hadn’t he answered my prayer? Then I remembered about how I’d panicked and lost it with the children when they were all four hammering me at once this morning with their needs. I had never gone back and apologized, and I do believe that sin hinders our prayers. The Bible has a lot to say about reconciling with those that you have offended.

I prayed that my ID would fall into the right hands. Maybe I would still get it back.

I knew God was saying, “I got you back your suitcases. Why can’t you calm down and trust me with your ID?”

I went home, told Alan my problem, and walked straight over to the boys. I told all three that had seen my melt down from the morning, “I am so sorry. All four of you needed me at once, and it was just too much for me to handle, and I lost it. I am so sorry. You know that is not how I want to be. Please forgive me. Next time I start to raise my voice, I want you to touch my arm and tell me, ‘Mom, you’re starting to yell.'”

They all nodded and jumped to other topics. I walked straight to the kitchen to clear things off for pizza. I kept praying that the ID would fall into the right hands. The doorbell rang. We figured it was the pizza.

Nope.

It was the police. “Someone found your ID on the beach. Here you go.”

Excited doesn’t begin to describe it.  Thank you, God. We have a God we can depend on, and thank you to the kind stranger who handed my ID into the police. SUPER thank you! And thank you to the police man, who drove that card straight to my house. He arrived less than 10 minutes after I did.

So now you see why I am feeling unusually optimistic about this year, even if I do spend tomorrow cleaning up puke…hope I don’t end up hating myself for eating all those Christmas clearance cookies….

 

 

 

God provides, as always. Hallelujah!!

“Cheese.” Sweet deal: I eat some dirt. I get a bath. I knew I left my cow in here!

I’ve been struggling lately. It’s been a year of lots of change, it’s overwhelming, and Alan is so busy with his engineering classes. Some days I have been a borderline bitter/icky person. I didn’t realize just how gloomy I’d gotten until I was at Bible study Thursday night with some gals in my neighborhood, and I just HEARD MYSELF. Woah. I need to get it together!

This week I really hit a low point, and I just sat on my balcony (love that thing) and cried and prayed. I prayed something like, “God, I don’t know how or what, and I’m not even 100% sure what my problem is, but I need help.” And just like he ALWAYS does…..

God sent help. I didn’t have any ideas for Him on how He could help me. I just knew I needed help.

My patience has been tried and found wanting.

But God. But God.

God answers prayer. I remember in 2011, Daniel was a newborn, our third baby. The other boys were ages 5 and 3 1/2. Alan got orders:  Afghanistan for 6 months. There I was with three small boys, and no relatives nearby.

God provided. He always does. This wonderful mentor of mine, Deborah, sent me help in the form of her daughter and a couple of their friends. They took turns staying at my house from Sunday night through Wednesdays, every single week, just so I could have the help I needed. I was actually able to go to the grocery store by myself–and make dentist appointments. Such a luxury!!

Then when JD was born–I was such a pitiful c-section recovering, anemic, postpartum MESS. God was there. I just prayed, “God help.” He sent my mom. My neighbors brought food, constantly. It was such a blessing.

Dear God, I’m sorry you have to keep bailing me out of troubles!!!

I get the feeling he doesn’t mind doing it, though. I was just reading in the book of Jeremiah today. (Yes, I’m still in Jeremiah. I’m calling it the read-the-Bible-through-in-two-years plan this time.) I’m plugging away, but I’m also doing a new Bible study now.

Thursday nights I am now going to a Ladies’ Bible study group in my neighborhood. I’m excited about this, and it’s after 8pm, so I don’t have to feel guilty about leaving my husband, who desperately needs to be doing homework, alone with four little boys because they are all already in bed. This group is going to be a great blessing. I can see that already.

Then the very next night, Friday, I went to my homeschool moms’ group’s “Moms’ Night”. Lacy is uniquely talented at coming up with questions to get the group talking. When she announced the question this week, “How full is your tank right now, and what do you do to fill it back up when it’s low?”………..Oh, I knew I was in trouble. I knew I could not answer this question without crying.

“Maybe no one will notice if I slip under the radar and don’t take a turn at answering the question,” I thought.

hahahahaha Well, that didn’t work. So of course, I bawled like a baby, in front of a whole group of women that I only met less than two months ago. What else could I do? Say, “Oh, I’m great. My tank is so full. I love getting lost all the time, missing all my friends and family, and never getting to just hang out with my husband.”  Don’t get me wrong. Alan faithfully comes home everyday, in time for dinner, and he even manages putting the boys to bed. Usually, he tucks in all the boys and I do the baby. But once that is done, Alan stays up until at least midnight doing homework, just to keep up. We rarely ever get to just chill.

So there you go. These are not the easiest of times for us. I don’t know many people. It’s not perfect.

However, I totally think God put me in this position on purpose. I think God wants me to focus more on my own house and children right now. He knows I need as few distractions as possible to survive this FIRST year of home schooling.

The only hitch is that I tend to fill my tank by hanging out with friends. I hardly even get to hang out with my best friend, Alan, much less others, so it’s hard to keep my tank running.

This isn’t all bad either. It has forced me to depend more on God, to pray more, to humble myself more. I needed this, whether I like it or not.

Well, I told the Friday group some of this, through the crying, which probably made it impossible to understand anything I said. So embarrassing. They were wonderfully understanding though.

I even got the BEST compliment ever:  One of these sweet, sweet women said to me, “You remind me so much of Anne of Green Gables.”

YA’LL!!!  Best compliment.

I told you that God has answered my prayers again, right? He did. First, I got to go to the Bible study on Thursday and the Ladies’ Night on Friday. Both nights were so helpful.

Then today, two of these women invited me to two different things. I had to turn down both invitations because of Alan’s studies, but it felt so good to be invited.

THEN, and this is really exciting, Alan’s mother called and said that they are coming in just a few weeks for a help visit!!!  They want to come and help us!!  They want to take care of our children while we tend to the jobs we can’t get to. They want to be here on Saturday so Alan can actually work at the library.

Now we have this beacon of hope to look forward to! Help is coming, and we need it. I can’t even explain why we need it so much, but we just do.

I love my job. I love teaching the boys. I love holding my babies. I love getting to watch Daniel go from baby to big boy. I love writing my blog and growing it into something that more people will want to read. I love cooking. I love keeping a house that looks nice–haven’t actually managed that last one in a while. I love it all, but I just can’t DO it all lately.

My prayers have been answered. I feel so full of hope today. God is a gentleman. God will not force his blessings upon you. Just think how many atheists would be disappointed if he did!! It’d be like those women that get angry at men that hold doors. He will gladly help those who ask him to, though. He only asks that you obey his commands, but he does not force us.

Jesus summed up God’s commands in two things, in Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

That brings me back to what I was saying earlier about reading in Jeremiah. In today’s reading, Babylon had taken over Judah, and the remaining remnant went to Jeremiah and said, “Pray to God for us, and ask him what we should do, and we will do whatever he asks us to do.”

Jeremiah prayed on their behalf, and God told him that if the people would obey Him and stay in Judah through this time of Babylonian rule, there would be no famine or hardship. God promised to look over this remnant of people, if they would only trust him and not flee to Egypt. If they left for Egypt, all of these horrible things would happen to them as a result of their disobedience.

This should have been a true comfort to these people. Just trust God! He will take care of you! The prophet Jeremiah said it, and he had a spotless record!!! He’d been warning them that the Babylonians were coming if they didn’t cut out their evil ways for YEARS!

Well, in true faithless “do what we wanna do” form, the people ran off to Egypt. Of course, Nebuchadnezzar crushed Egypt too, so that turned out to be the wrong decision, just as God had said. If only they had listened. The thing is, God will not make us listen. He only asks us to. He is a gentleman.

I don’t want to be like the remnants of Judah. I want God in my life. God is always FAITHFUL. I know I can follow him anywhere, and so far he has brought us to such wonderful places, given us a precious family, and overwhelming peace in the midst of all storms. We know this too will pass, and we are seeing our God carrying us through already.

sweet moments

So today I’m praising him, and nothing else is going to get me down.

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