I spent the past few weeks driving a total of 26 hours by myself with FIVE children to spend some time with family before the big move. That doesn't count the 10 days of visiting and all the driving we did during that time. As usual, we had started the trip with a prayer for our safety, for a functioning vehicle, and for God's blessings in general as we hit the road. And as usual, God heard and answered those prayers and everything went off without a single hitch. We had an incredible time visiting with both friends and family, and Abby once again got an amazing welcome. She was loved instantly by everyone who met her and just fit right in. Another example of how we are blessed, surrounded by people who can unconditionally love each other. I am truly grateful for the way she was treated and loved on.
We went back home to officially check out from our base and to get a little bit of rest before the 14 hour plane flight that awaits us. The plan was to leave on our 3 hour driveto a certain major city on Wednesday, turn in our van for storage (where it will sit for the next three years), check into a hotel right next door to the airport, and be ready for our very early morning flight on Thursday.
So, on Tuesday morning, we got into the van to run some last minute errands. And behold, the engine light comes on. Mind you, the van is, well, getting up there in years. So we knew that even though it has been 100% reliable in the past, and DH takes care of the engine like it is one of the kids, it would eventually begin to show signs of its age. But the day before we turn it in to storage and move to Japan, for goodness' sake?????? No WAY!!!!
We consulted our owner's manual, which said it was probably some emmissions issue, but didn't make it sound so completely urgent. We talked to several friends and family members who said, "oh, that happened to us and we drove around with the light on for a couple of years". Nothing at all made it seem like a big deal at all. We started to feel more at ease, but we really, really needed about four more hours out of the good ol' Oddyssey before we parked it for a while. We figured if we can make it, we'll deal with it in, well, three years.
So again, we prayed. And prayed. Our three hour drive was completely uneventful. So we started praising Him. All we had left was checking into the hotel and unloading our ridiculously large mountain of luggage (ever try moving to the opposite end of the world with SEVEN people???), and then getting the van the last fifteen miles to the storage facility. We got off the highway, made the first turn (about one mile from our hotel), and the van started stalling. Like REALLY stalling. DH shifted gears a couple of times and somehow managed to make it to the parking lot. We unloaded our mountain, and off DH went, on a song and a prayer.
The kids and I held hands and prayed some more. After two hours, he finally returned. With a smile on his face. The van had run fine most of the way there, and then stalled out right in front of the storage, amazingly enough on top of a hill. He literally ROLLED it into the parking lot, went inside to process paperwork, and got enough juice out of it to pull it into it permanent little spot for the next three years. And as long as it turns over once a month or however often it is they go in there to do that, it should be fine. And it gives us three years to save for a new transmission. Or whatever crazy work will be needed on that baby when we get back.
Much more satisfying ending than the horror story it would have been if it stalled out in the middle of the drive, with 5 kids and 1000 pounds of luggage. And early morning flights to Japan.
And it makes for a much greater show of His grace. We are blessed.
So here we sit, to lazy to hit the swimming pool, too tired to go find some food. And what do seven people stuck in a hotel room (OK, two adjoining hotel rooms) do to keep from killing each other? Here's a sampling:
Some choose to play hide and seek.
Some get very serious about their DS.
Some try to solve puzzles.
Some choose to read (or act like goofy teenagers).
And others choose to spend all that down time slowly working their way through a slice of pizza, never mind it's the first (and probably only) real meal of the day. This is slice number two, and about hour number two.
And what about me??? Well, Im not only updating YOU, I'm finally getting to catch up with all of my bloggy friends. Oh, how I' ve missed you the last few weeks. So glad to be back.
Now I'm off to see if I can talk everyone into killing some bunnies.