Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What airline NOT to fly

I need to vent!!! I am on my fourth D*elta flight in about two weeks. I've been traveling alone with FiVE children. And every.single.flight they have seated all of us scattered all over the plane. HELLO!!! When I say scattered, I mean not even my three year old is sitting next to me. Most of the time I've been able to get the seats switched at the gate, but not today. They made me get on the plane and beg strangers to switch seats with us...

And I would have a lot more to say about that if I wasn't so tired!!!

Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life Interrupted, Part 2

Over the last few days, we felt several more aftershocks. It was becoming more and more unsettling to sit around, just waiting for the next one to come. And then we started hearing more about the problems at the nuclear power plant in F-kushima. The first few days we figured everything would blow over in no time. Just had to wait it out. My MIL even emailed me at some point, asking if the kids and I were planning on coming home. I told her I wasn't ready to leave my hubby, and that we would make that decision when it was absolutely needed.

In the meantime, we were becoming more and more concerned for the way these consecutive disasters were affecting the Japanese. We know this country has a mostly non-Christian population, and we felt a true heartache for all those lives lost without coming to know the Lord. We felt a deep sadness for the people suffering without knowing His comfort, and spent many hours in paryer for this difficult time to become a wake up call to all of those who needed to have a greater hope. It was very conflicting to be hurting for the people around us, and at the same time to want to depart that very place and bring your children to safety. But with each passing day, things seemed worse instead of better. We were trying not to give in to panic, but also trying to have wisdom and make the plans necessary to do what we felt we needed to do as parents. And then we woke up one day and decided that we'd had enough of the guesswork. Quite simply, there was really no reason for us to be staying put.

I personally wanted to be a help in some way to the recovery efforts in Japan, but at the time that wasn't really practical. Not with five kids in the house that I was homeschooling, and trying to keep calm as well. In those initial days, there was such an outpour of volunteers that the Red Cross was turning people away, and even asking the public not to call their offices anymore. Nobody but official rescue workers were allowed in the areas affected by the tsunami. I just felt we were more in the way than an actual help. There was a huge emphasis being placed on conserving energy, and I thought maybe we could help do that best by being gone. As it stood, we felt we were sitting around waiting for a disaster to unfold. We didn't want to wait to be given the order to go, because we thought that it would be complete chaos to try to evacuate at that point. So, even though it was a huge stretch for us financially, we decided it was time for the kids and myself to take a little trip home to visit family.

With the decision finally made, it felt like someone had pushed the fast forward button. I had one day to get everything packed to take five children and myself halfway around the world for an undetermined amount of time. We had a flight leaving at 8:10 in the evening, but still opted to take the very first shuttle our base offered to the airport. We figured in the current state of things, we could not be sure that the shuttle would be running at all by the end of the day. That meant we'd have to spend 9 hours sitting in the airport, waiting for our flight. Did I mention I had five children with me???? And that one of them is THREE????

The airport in Tokyo was completely packed. But just like I've come to expect from the Japanese, everything was very calm. Lines ran smoothly, people seemed at ease, and everyone was being friendly and polite. I thought I would lose it when a strong aftershock hit at about 1 pm that afternoon, but everyone else just rolled with it. We tried to check in as soon as we arrived only to find out we had to wait another three and a half hours. We asked if there was an earlier flight we could take and she pretty much laughed at us. So we found a spot in front of Mickey D's and parked our two cart-fulls of luggage while we ate what they had left on the menu. When we finally got to check in, the lady told me that if I could PLEASE agree to switch to a flight leaving only one hour later, we would each get a $400 voucher. And I will be completely honest - my first reaction was to turn it down. After that afternoon's aftershock, I was really just wanting to leave. But good reason (and a wise husband) told me to accept the deal. So with shaky knees we sat around for an extra hour, while I tried to convince myself that nothing terrible would happen in that hour between when we WOULD'VE left and when we actually did. The original plan when we made arrangements to leave Tokyo was to fly to the West Coast to spend some time with my extended family there, and then fly on to the South where my nuclear family is. But the vouchers gave us the opportunity to add a leg to our trip, and get to visit with my in-laws in the East Coast as well.

But that also meant......5 children, THREE time zones, in THREE weeks.

Part 3 to come.....soon

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Life Interrupted, Part 1

Exhausted doesn't even begin to describe how I've felt for the last almost two weeks.

The events of March 11 shook up our world in ways we could not have anticipated at the time. Shortly after 2:30 that afternoon, the ground started shaking beneath our feet. Having spent several years in Southern California, this was not a new experience for me. The earthquake didn't seem particularly big to me at the time it was happening - but what did stand out was how.incredibly.long it seemed to go on. I kept thinking it must certainly be done and I was just feeling dizzy, but then I'd notice the door was still swinging, or things rattling on the shelves. However, once it was finally done, we thought "No big deal. We are in Japan - there's earthquakes here all the time." We were even surprised it took us nine full months to get our first one. Back to business as usual. Boy, were we wrong!!!

That evening, however, things were still going on as usual. I even attended the dinner to kick off the women's Bible conference our chapel was sponsoring that weekend. We followed our scheduled program but took the time to pray for the people of Japan, since we were already starting to hear reports of damage from the tsunami that had hit Sendai following the earthquake. We had no clear concept, however, of how extensive that had really been.

It wasn't until the next morning that the reality of what had happened in the aftermath of the earthquake started taking place. The women's conference went on with Day 2, which was in a nearby town about a 45 minute bus ride away. I opted to pass on that day, feeling a little too nervous to be so far from my crew. Initially, we focused on how merciful God had been that in such a BIG quake (it was measured as a 9.0 at the epicenter), there had been so little damage from the shaking itself. We heard virtually no reports of major damage due to the earthquake. That, however, turn to a deep concern as the realization of the massive damage from the tsunami became a reality. And a true and very real concern for a nation of people who for the most part do not know the Lord.

The next few days were spent in prayer for those experiencing loss due to this tragedy, and pleading that this would be used for God's glory and that those in need would turn to the true source of all comfort.

I can't even remember when we started to hear about the concerns relating to the nuclear plant. The days all kind of blur into one another now. We did not want to panic, and patiently waited out the first few days hoping the situation would be reversed and it would turn into a non-issue. We tried to reassure family members stateside, telling them we would be sent home when deemed necessary. We just didn't know how fast that would be.......

Part 2 to follow........

Sunday, March 13, 2011

God is our refuge and strength
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

(Psalm 46:1 - 2)

All By Myself

Josiah is learning to dress himself.

I like it - but I don't at the same time!! youknowwhatImean

He's also VERY particular about what he wears.

His absolute preference is jeans.

As a matter of fact, if it's not jeans I'm trying to get him to wear, I literally have to wrestle him into his clothes.

And then he walks around for half the day holding his pants up as though they're burning into his legs!

Sensory issues, or strong-willed child?

I'm honestly not sure.

He even says he wants a "jean" shirt!!!!!!

And if anyone else is wearing jeans, he goes up and rubs them and says "I love your jeans!!"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Be Still

Again, we are thankful that we are all OK at our home, and all our immediately surrounding communities. However, there is devastation all across the country, and that leaves one feeling helpful, fearful, and frankly, somewhat depressed. It reminds me of the feeling we had being overseas on 9-11, or the awe and devastation felt following Katrina.

It is exactly at times like this, when we are at the end of our ropes, when we are brought face to face with our helplesness and our total LACK OF CONTROL - that we must turn to Him!!!! A time of crisis serves to remind us that we are in fact NOT in control, that each day is a gift - not a guarantee, that at any moment it can all be gone - all in the blink of an eye.

Please continue praying along with me for the families of Japan, and also that all of those affected will not give in to fear, but instead use this opportunity to draw closer to our Father.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love...." (2 Tim. 1:7)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Shaking Things Up

Thank you to all who have contacted me to check on our family. We are well, thank God, and the quake was not huge where we are at. We are also far inland enough that the *tsunami did not affect us either. It still certainly is scary even when you grew up with things like this - especially when there is such devastation around you (not in my immediate surroundings, but feels a bit "close" to home). Please lift the Japanese people up in prayer today - and that somehow God's name be lifted up through this in this nation that needs Him so much. Maybe through outreach in the days to come some of us can help that happen!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!

In honor of Dr. Seuss, we had this for lunch:

I just make them, but I can't actually eat them. I can barely even cook them - they look too pukey to me. So I make them for my kids, who enchantedly eat them, and then I make myself good-ol' yellow scrambled eggs. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

No Milk, Thank You

Well, we spent a whole week waiting for a doctor's appointment. Lanie had been having a lot of tummy issues lately (she's really kind of had tummy issues her whole life, but they were getting significantly worse), so I wanted to check out what was going on. But of course I couldn't sit for a week and do NOTHING, so I started researching. Between that and the little tiny bit of nursing knowledge that remains in my brain after all these years being not so formally used, I came to the conclusion that the problem might be lactose.
So, I took her off all dairy (all "visible" milk, anyways) and she started feeling MUCH better.
Today was the much awaited doctor's appt.
And what did the doctor say???
Well, if she was having belly issues, and you took her off dairy, and she's feeling better, then, yeah, she probably IS lactose intorelant.
Wow!!!! We pay her for that?? And to think I interrupted a perfectly good homeschooling day to hear her say that!!!