I hope you will visit my ministry website: http://ajourneyoffaith.net .
Monday, August 31, 2009
If you read yesterday's post, you will know that we had a very disappointing day ... we missed Papa's First Church Service as the pastor of Lopez Island C.T.K.
If you read last Monday's post, about The Ferry Schedule, you will know that ...
"The first thing we've had to learn about planning our new life around the infamous Ferry Schedule is: Don't Plan."
and, that ...
"If we want to be successful as Islanders ... we must Be Flexible (and) we must be able to Go With The Flow."
Last week's test was ... How flexible can we be if the ferry is full and we miss a scheduled boat or two? We passed the test.
Yesterday's test was ... How flexible can we be if the boat we are planning to ride, just never shows up? and How patient can we be when other boats are coming and going on time?
Well ... I am happy to tell you ... once again ... We Passed the Test! Yes we did!
While our 7:45 boat never showed ...
While an 8:45 boat came and went for another island ...
While the announcer told us 3 times
that our boat would "arrive in 30 minutes" ...
By God's grace, I stayed patient and flexible, laughing and enjoying my children. Thank you Jesus! I learned long ago that: "If Mama keeps a good attitude, the children have a much better chance of keeping a good attitude." Both last week and this week, by God's grace, all of the children even kept a good attitude. So, it looks like we are suited for Island Life.
Usually, in the midst of challenging and frustrating situations, if you look hard enough you can find something positive in the situation. Well, we didn't have to look hard at all. As soon as we realized that we might be missing church, I said, "Boy am I glad that Papa spent the night on the island last night." I can't imagine if Jim had been sitting in the van with us, waiting 2 hours for the ferry. Oh how sad that would have been.
In yesterday's post, I mentioned that one of our Adopted Big Kids had driven 150 miles to be with us, and that she had brought my dear 90 year old Daddy with her. Since Grampa wanted to be there for Jim's First Service, we had made arrangements for both Jim and Grampa to stay the night on the island Saturday night. We don't have a place for all of us to stay; and all of the Bed & Breakfasts were booked for the weekend. But, Grampa was able to stay with one church member, while Jim was able to stay at another house.
If Grampa had NOT been with us for the weekend ... Jim would have missed his First Church Service. Every other Sunday that we have gone this summer, Jim and I have both (with assorted children) caught the 7:45 ferry to the island. He has never before gone over on Saturday night. It has never crossed our minds that a scheduled ferry might just not show up. Sunday morning rides to the island are usually pretty empty, so we've never worried about missing a ferry because it's full. But, because dear Grampa is 90 years old (and nearly blind), we didn't want to get him up at 5:00 a.m. for our crazy Sunday morning schedule. Praise Jesus for Grampa! Praise Jesus for showing us that Jim needed to be on the island before Sunday morning.
So, while we were very sad that we were going to miss Papa's First Service ... we were rejoicing that he was not going to miss his own service. And, we were glad that Grampa was going to be there for his first service.
We got into the ferry line at 7:20, and finally pulled away from the dock at 9:30. We arrived at Lopez at 10:20 (still thinking that we might actually hear most of the sermon) ... but it took the ferry a full 15 minutes to dock because of thick fog. The captain couldn't see the dock and we had to back up and pull back in multiple times.
While sitting at the ferry dock, it was implied that our "late" boat was caused by the fog. However, that didn't make sense, because two other boats came and went on time, while we waited 2 hours for ours.
So ... where was our boat ... if not lost in the fog??? Well ... one of the ferry boat employees overslept and showed up 1 1/2 hours late for work. Can you believe it??? The boats cannot run without the proper personnel. Oh my ...
We DID make it to the island. We got to church just as the last worship song was sung. Papa was glad to see us. We visited with the church folk for about an hour after church. Then we took all of the kids over to the 10 Acre Farm we are praying about purchasing. Then we went to our sweet friends, T & T's, house for lunch. Jeremiah drove the van down and put it in the ferry line at 1:30 (for the 3:30 ferry); and T gave him a ride back on his motorcycle. Then, at 3:10, we piled kids into Papa's car and T & T's big truck, and they drove us to the ferry. Papa stayed overnight on the island again; while we brought Grampa home with us. Papa will now be spending 3-4 days per week out on the island, without us, as we stay here and wait for our house to sell.
Overall, we really did have a good day on the island ... even though we were very sad to have missed Papa's First Church Service.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Today was Jim's official First Service,
as the pastor of Lopez Island C.T.K.
He has spent weeks preparing the sermon.
We have spent weeks,
excited to take almost the whole family,
out to the island to be a part of his first service.
(We miss you, Cassie!)
Since we can't afford the $150 ferry fee,
for the whole family every week,
we've taken just a few kids with us,
each of the past few weeks.
But, today ...
all of the big kids asked for the day off from work,
so that we could all be there to support Jim.
Even one of our "Adopted Big Kids",
drove 150 miles to be with us for the weekend,
and she brought with her
my dear 90 year old Daddy
(who hasn't come to visit in 6 years).
We got up at 5:00 a.m..
Loaded up the car at 6:00.
Got to the ferry docks at 7:20 (right on time).
we got to the church at 10:55,
just in time to hear,
the last worship song being sung.
we paid $150 to ride the ferry,
and missed the church service.
More details to come ...
it's been a very long day ...
and I am exhausted.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
My life is truly overwhelming right now.
I am usually quite good at multi-tasking ...
but my brain is on overload.
My kids want to help ...
but I can hardly give them
directions for what they can do.
What's On My Mind???
Papa's First Church Service on Sunday:
90 year old Grampa Will Be Joining Us.
Saturday Night Lodging for Papa and Grampa?
Sunday Morning 6:00 am Travels Again.
Which Kids Are Able to Join Us This Week?
Who's Taking Care of Jacob?
Physical Therapy Appointments
Finances to Pay for the Surgery
Moving to Lopez:
Where Will We Live?
How Will We Fit In a Small Farm House?
When Will Our House Sell?
How Will We Afford a House on Lopez?
How Can We Get Everything Done That Needs
to be Done to Even Put The House on the Market?
A Toilet Seat to Replace
A Sink to Fix
More Doors to Paint
More Trim to Install
More Books to Sort
More Boxes to Pack
How Can We Keep the House Clean,
Once We Get It Packed-Up,
Clean, and Organized?
Will Things Work Out with Rod & Katie?
What Paperwork Needs to be Done?
How Long Will It Take?
Finances for the Attorney Fees?
Who will Escort Jacob Across the Country?
Finances for the Plane Fare?
How Can We Keep Our Medical Insurance?
How Will We Pay For It?
Doctor's Appts. Before It Runs Out:
Carissa's Surgery Appts.
Carissa Dental Appt.
Carissa Eye Dr. Appt.
All Kid's Immunizations Up-To-Date
Last Year Our Income was Cut in Half.
This Year Our Income is Cut in Half Again.
(leaving us with 1/4 of what we lived on just a year ago)
Yesterday ... Unexpected Attorney Fees of $1,500
Yesterday ... Unexpected Car Repair of $1,500
Medical Insurance ($1,000 / month)
Homeschool Curriculum for this Year ($1,500)
Carissa's Plane Fare Back to Argentina
Adoption Disruption Attorney Fees
Jacob's Plane Fare
Papa had a $12,000 painting job on his calendar,
that isn't going to be ready now
for several more months ...
money that we were counting on.
STRESS is Disrupting Our Household.
The Children Aren't Getting Along.
Jacob Wants to Meet His New Family.
Rachel & Sarah Want to Know
WHEN Jacob Will Be Moving.
Ben Wants to Move to the Island NOW.
Hosanna Is Already Missing Her Friends
(and we haven't moved yet).
Elijah Wants to Spend the Night
at His New Friend Gavin's House
(on the island).
The Kids Want to Know WHICH
Farm We Will Be Moving To.
I'll be going through my day ...
doing well ...
working hard ...
when all of a sudden ...
I just want to curl up on my bed ...
and cry ...
Please keep us in your prayers.
I KNOW that GOD WILL provide
for ALL that we need.
I KNOW that HE has a plan
for our move to the Island.
I KNOW that HE will provide for Carissa.
I am not really discouraged or depressed ...
Monday, August 24, 2009
On Sunday night, August 16th ...
I wrote an email to several close friends.
The subject of the email was,
"Just Can't Take It Anymore".
The content of the email started with,
"I don't know if I can last
another day with this kid."
The email ended with,
"I am mad ... frustrated ...
tired ... embarrassed ..."
It had been 9 weeks
since the beginning of
I was at the end of my rope.
I seriously didn't know if
I could last another day.
I had lost hope.
I did not see any light
at the end of the tunnel.
The very next morning ...
I checked the email account
that I had set up
just for The Crisis.
And found ...
... a glimmer of hope.
... a family that was interested
in finding out more
about Jacob's situation.
For the past week ...
I have corresponded with a mom
that lives across the country.
We talked on the phone,
for over an hour.
I believe ...
We have found
the Forever Family
Please pray ...
... for wisdom for Jim and I,
as we research exactly
what needs to be done now.
... for peace for Rod & Katie,
as they prepare their
hearts and home for Jacob.
... for peace and comfort for
all of our children as they
face the upcoming transition.
Yesterday was Jim's "Installation" as a pastor; he was ordained into the Christ the King association of churches. However, our kids decided that "Installation" just didn't seem like the right word ... they chose, instead, to call it their Papa's "Inauguration Day". So, on the drive home, Hosanna asked me if I am now the "First Lady" of Lopez Christ The King. Hmmm ... I kind of like the sound of that.
As always, our day trip out to the island was a long one ... but a good one.
5:00 * Papa and Mama up
5:30 * Kids up
(the 6 youngest went with us ...
the 6 that will be moving with us)
6:00 * On the Road
7:45 * Catch the Ferry in Anacortes
8:00 * Yogurt & Muffins for Breakfast
8:30 * Arrive on Lopez
9:00 * Meet up with Pastor Jim C. & Family
(from San Juan Island C.T.K.)
at the Bakery in The Village
9:30 * Off to Church We Go
The church service was simple, yet touching. Pastor Jim (from San Juan Island) exhorted the congregation to not expect too much of the new Pastor Jim. He shared that the new Pastor Jim was not going to be able to meet all of their needs; but that that wasn't his job. It is the Lord's job to meet all of our needs, and we must not expect our pastors to be everything to everyone.
Pastor Jim C. shared 10 scriptural qualifications for being a Pastor; and shared how Papa meets those qualifications.
Pastor Jim C. shared that there are 3 types of leaders, and he shared what he believed to be Papa's leadership style. This was very interesting, as Papa had never specifically shared these things; but we saw that Pastor Jim C. was very perceptive. He shared that some leaders are out in front of the pack yelling, "Come on. Catch up.", and that some leaders are behind the pack, kicking people in the rear and saying, "Get going. You've got work to do." However, Pastor Jim saw that Papa will be the type of leader that is right in the center of the pack saying, "Come on. We've got work to do." Yes, I absolutely believe that will be the kind of pastor that Papa will be.
Then, Pastor Jim C. called Papa up front, asked him to kneel, and asked if there were a few leaders of the church that would like to come up front, lay hands on Papa, and pray for him. What happened next was unbelievable. The entire congregation ... 50 people ... went forward, surrounded Papa, and prayed along with Pastor Jim C. Beautiful! While the church members went forward, Pastor C.'s wife came across the room and laid hands on me, while Pastor C. was praying.
At the end of the service, Papa asked me and the children to join him up front. As he opened his Bible to share a few verses, the tears started to flow. Yes, Papa was choked up. He thanked the people for the warm welcome they have given us, and he told them how excited our family is to be a part of the Lopez community. He then shared some scripture and closed in prayer. The ending of a church service ... the start of a whole new life. Wow, God!!!
After visiting with people for about an hour after church, Mr. P. invited all of us out to his place. He had just heard that his neighbor's 5 acres might be about to go up for sale. He spoke with his neighbor just a few days ago and it looks like this property might actually be in our price range. So, we headed out to Mr. P's place. What a BEAUTIFUL part of the island we found: near the State Park ... near the water ... near the end of a quiet dirt road ... in the woods ... Wow! ... it was QUIET out there. We weren't able to tour the house today, but are hoping to next week.
We visited with Mr. & Mrs. P. until 2:30 and then headed to the ferry docks. We thought we were about to head home ... but, ferry boat schedules are designed to teach you that you really can't make plans. (see the following post for more details)
The first thing we've had to learn about planning our new life around the infamous Ferry Schedule is: Don't Plan.
Many people have already told us that if we want to be successful as Islanders ... we must Be Flexible. We must be able to Go With The Flow. Yesterday, we experienced first-hand why it is imperative that we take the Islanders advice.
We left Mr. P's house yesterday at 2:30 ... planning to get to the Ferry Line at 2:45 ... planning to catch the 3:35 ferry ... planning to get home at 6:00. We had previously gotten in line at 3:10 on a summer, Sunday afternoon, and we had caught the 3:35 ferry.
Yesterday, however, as soon as we discovered how long the line was ... we knew we were in trouble. Not only were we sure that we were NOT going to make it onto the 3:35 ferry ... but we knew there was a good chance that we wouldn't make it on the 5:45 ferry either ... which would leave us waiting for the 8:30 ferry ... which would put us home at 11:00 p.m. (after leaving home at 6:00 a.m.)
To make matters worse ... we had eaten our yogurt and muffins at 8:00 a.m on the ferry ... we had nibbled on crackers and cupcakes after church ... we had eaten cheese and crackers at Mr. P's at 2:00. We had a couple of muffins left from breakfast ... it was now going to be at least 7:00 before we were on the mainland ... and, we were at the far tip of the island with nothing within walking distance. Uh oh!
We were all exhausted, so we all took a 30 minute nap before the Ferry Line began to move towards the 3:35 ferry. We were actually very surprised by how close we got ... just 9 cars away. Oh well ... we KNEW we weren't going to make it on, so it wasn't a surprise.
9 cars, you say? Obviously, you will make it onto the 5:45 ferry. Not so. The 5:45 ferry loads up at the other islands first. All they promise is room for 10 cars from Lopez. We are car #9 ... and we are a MONSTER VAN. Nope ... no guarantee that we will make it onto the 5:45 ferry either.
It's now 3:30, we're parked in line for at least another 2 hours, with the possibility of 5 more hours. We do not have the church directory with us, and we do not have any of the church members' phone numbers. Jim and I KNOW that we've got to keep a good attitude, or our 6 tired young kids will most certainly fall apart.
Just as the reality of the situation begins to sink in ... up drives Mr. P. ... in his 15 passenger van. He knows that we might not have made it onto the 3:35 ferry, so he comes to the rescue. We all jump into his monster van, and head into town. We go to The Market to buy corn dogs, chips, and water for the kids lunch/dinner. Mr. P. takes us to The Bakery for dessert. Then, Mr. P takes us back to his place to visit and play. Mr. P. plays horseshoes with Josiah. Elijah plays with the dogs. Papa wanders next door again, to ponder the possibilities of this beautiful 5 acre piece of property. Ben dreams of Paint Balling in the woods. I chat with Mrs. P. for a bit. Then ... at 5:15 Mr. P. drives us back to our van, hoping that we can squeeze onto the 5:45 ferry. He also gives us his phone number and tells us to just call if we don't make it on ... he'll come get us again. What a guy! We are certainly thanking the Lord for Mr. P.
Not only did our monster van squeeze onto the 5:45 ferry (we could, seriously, hardly open our doors to get out of the van), but a few more cars squeezed on as well. However, there were quite a few cars that had arrived in line shortly after us, at 3:00, that had to continue to wait for the 8:30 ferry.
Because we weren't in a rush to get home ... because we had already decided that fellowship was more important than catching a specific ferry ... because we were laughing about it all, rather than crying and complaining ... we all had a GREAT afternoon.
One thing we did learn, however, is that we are now going to keep a fully packed Ferry Basket in our van. It will include: a church directory, books for all ages, granola bars, and a few games. (Lots of families were playing cards on the ferry yesterday, and we LOVE to play cards.)
I still LOVE the ferry boats. I actually look forward to quiet reading time in the Ferry Line, and I look forward to many more spontaneous times of fellowship with Mr. P. and all of the other wonderful members of Lopez C.T.K.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
August 21, 1982
I talked to a friend on the phone yesterday, and when she heard that it was our 27th anniversay, she said, "27 years? That's like old people." I had to laugh, because her husband happens to be the same age that I am; they've just been married only about 15 years.
If you think I look a little "droopy" ... yes, it was about 95 degrees out that day ... and I was SICK. I had a temp of about 103, and even threw up on the pastor's shoes while kneeling at the prayer bench. Oh what joyful memories!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Beautiful bedtime prayers were
said at our house tonight.
Carissa prayed in Spanish.
Lindsey prayed in German.
Jacob prayed in Fra-Fra.
Papa prayed in English.
If Jeremiah would have been home,
he could have prayed in Arabic.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Oh what fun!
I have 12 of my 13 children home.
Makes this Mama happy!
Cassie ... we miss you!
Carissa arrived home from Argentina on Tuesday afternoon. We met with the surgeon yesterday, who confirmed that it is most likely a torn ACL. Tomorrow morning comes the M.R.I., with probable surgery next week.
Tuesday night, Papa and I took Carissa out to dinner. (She has missed her favorite Mexican restaurant.) Last night, Papa and I went out for coffee with Carissa and Jeremiah ... and played cards at the coffee shop for a couple of hours. (Yes, she has missed her favorite coffee shop, too.) Today, she enjoyed visiting friends, and having dinner at home with the family.
While we are sorry about her torn ACL, we are all THRILLED to have Miss Carissa HOME. Yippee! Yahoo! Fun Times!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
We're having some good discussion in the comments section of my last blog post, "What would you do?"
I just had to share this one ... as we all had a good Laugh Out Loud. Sometimes, during The Crisis, it is hard to find things to laugh about. So, thanks to Laura, we got to laugh this evening.
Here is her comment ...
I'm sure these adults mean well ... let's hope they do. However, I'd be tempted to make t-shirts for my son that stated the obvious, and have him wear them all the time.
(the personalized t-shirt would say)
I have a family.
My mom and dad love me.
I am their son.
They take care of my every need.
Please do not give me money, candy, bikes, or
bring me into your home without their permission.
We are continually surprised by how complete strangers respond to our black children (especially the young son). The survival skills (manipulation and the ability to garner pity) dear son learned in the village in Ghana, are proving quite impressive in our Small Town America.
What would you do ...
... if a stranger invited your 3 black children to their home to ride their horses; but didn't acknowledge that you happen to have white children also?
... if a stranger handed you a basket of expensive presents for your black children; again with no acknowledgment that you have other children the same ages?
... if a neighbor that you didn't know, continually invited your child into his home without your permission? (and your child went, knowing that he was not allowed to)
... if the same neighbor randomly gave your child a bag of presents (a new watch, etc...)?
... if another neighbor bought a brand new bike for this child (with no acknowledgment that there are other children in the family who would like a new bike)?
... if a stranger handed your child $20 because your child told them they were hungry? (Your child will talk to anyone that walks down the street.)
... if a Parks Dept. employee gave your child a free meal from the concession stand; again, just because the child told them they were hungry?
... if a stranger wanted your child to spend the night at their home, just because the child said he was mad at his dad?
... if a family from your church saw your child alone at the park, invited them to join them for a picnic, told them they knew who your family was, asked them where their family was ... and did NOT call you to tell you that your child was at the park alone?
... if your child asked a neighbor to be their new dad, and your neighbor reported this conversation to his church small group, without discussing it with you, the parents?
We have parented for 25 years and we have NEVER had any of these experiences before.
We've never had a stranger invite our children over to their house.
We've never had a stranger give our children expensive gifts.
We've never had neighbors invite our children into their homes (unless they also had young children that ours regularly played with).
We've never had anyone just randomly buy a new bike for any of our children.
We've never had a stranger hand our children money.
We've never had a Parks Dept. worker give our children a free meal (while I'm sure that many of our children have stood around the concession booth, looking longingly at all of the yummy things there).
We've never had a stranger take our child home from the park.
We've never had people from our church (that our children don't know) invite them to join them for a family picnic at the park.
I would never invite adopted children to my home without inviting their siblings (unless one of my children had developed a close relationship with the specific child).
I would never give a basket of expensive gifts to only a few select children of a family (unless it was a birthday gift for a specific child).
I would never invite children into my home without the permission of their parents.
I would never buy gifts for children, without asking the parents' permission first.
I would never buy a new bike for a child, without speaking to the parents.
I would never hand money to a child just because they told me they were hungry. (Aren't most 13 year old boys always hungry?)
I would never take seriously the request of a child to join my family, and I would certainly never tell my church small group of this request. (Two of my older boys decided when they were little that they wanted to live at a friend's house, because he had more Legos. If they had told their friend's mother about this desire, I KNOW that she would have told me, and we would have had a good laugh about it.)
I would NEVER take an unknown child home from the park. I would phone the police when I first discovered that there was a small child at the park ... by themselves ... after dark. I would NOT take them home ... feed them brownies and ice cream ... let them watch a movie ... and then decide at 11:00 p.m. that maybe I should phone the police.
I'm completely stumped.
I just don't get it.
It doesn't make sense.
I cannot fathom why the adults in our
community are treating our children this way.
My children do not look like
poor neglected children.
We feed them well.
We dress them well.
We do provide for our children,
even if we have 13 of them.
If someone really feels led by the Lord to financially help our large family, wouldn't it be best to speak to Mama or Papa about what the needs might be?
Since when do strangers buy a child a new watch, a new bike, or a meal at a concession stand, just because the child says he wants those things?
Our children came to America with the vision that they could have anything they want ... and, our Small Town America is fulfilling our young son's every dream.
This is not good ...
not good at all.
* every time our young son is off of our property without our permission, the police are called and he is reported as a runaway. we do not allow young son to wander the streets of our small town america whenever he so chooses. so, if these people that are inviting him for picnics, taking him to their homes, buying him dinner at the ballpark were really concerned about him, don't you think they should call the police? they would quickly find out that he'd been reported as a runaway and that he is not the poor neglected child that he pretends to be.