Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane...

Ok, we aren't leaving on a jet plane, but we are leaving with a small SUV, a trailer, a minivan, 2 adults, 3 kids, lots of coloring books, a DVD player, some toy cars, dolls and a little dog too!!

In just a few hours we are heading out on the first leg of our journey to Iowa. Before kids, it took us 18 hours. Last time we made the trip with kids......24 hours! We have scheduled ourselves to allow plenty of time. This will be the first time I have ever driven more than a couple hours. You know how men are about driving on trips! So I am a little nervous about having to drive that far myself. John will have Aiden and the dog. I will have the girls. We are hoping to drive about 10 hours today and stop over night in Kentucky.

Please pray for safety and sanity as we travel!! We have many miles ahead but we know we are not traveling alone!


We recently had the chance to have lunch with two people whom I believe fit the definition of the term "faithful". Dr. and Mrs Joe Haas are 2 of the kindest and most welcoming people you will ever meet.

Some of my earliest memories of the Haases are seeing them walk into the gym, at FCA, hand in hand. I have always thought they are such a great example for young couples on having a Christian home. They are faithful to each other.

They were there, at FCA, to watch their grandchildren play sports. They are so faithful to their family.

They were never afraid to stand and cheer for their school or blow that silly horn they brought to every game! They are faithful to their school.

They are in their 80's (sorry Mrs. Haas, hope it's ok to tell your age!) and are some of the most active members of our church as they lead a Sunday School class, reach out to others, and work in the church. Just tonight they were at VBS helping with the children. They are faithful to their church.

For nearly 2 decades they served on the mission feild in France in addition to years serving as a Pastor and Pastor's wife here in the US. They have been faithful to the Lord.

John & I could have sat and talked with them for hours. Such godly wisdom and insight they have! It was such a joy hearing their testimonies and seeing them with our children. The fellowship was sweet and the meal was simply divine!!

The kids had a blast riding around on the little sled. Aiden now calls them Mr and Mrs. Hassy!

We are so thankful for their friendship and know that just as they said, they will pray for us faithfully....because that is just who they are, faithful!

Behind these doors...

Friday was my last day of work in the Intensive Care Unit. I very vividly remember the first time I walked through these doors. It was 2001 and I was entirely too overdressed! My heart raced as I saw the unit that I dreamed of working in. The vents, the tubes, the drips....I knew I wanted to be a critical care nurse.

Friday, as I walked through the doors I was struck with many emotions. Behing these doors I have spent countless hours with co workers caring for the sick, praying with the grieving, and holding the hand of the dying. We have fought with all our strength to save a life and stood humbly by as we watched the Great Physician at work. Behind these doors we have had great discussions at 3 AM while we all naviagate through life trying to be the very best we can be. We have laughed over silly things, cried over the loss of a patient, debated religion and politcs, celebrated weddings and births of coworkers and grieved the loss of family members. We have spent countless holidays together behind these doors....because although it seems strange to some, we in healthcare are indeed family. It was behind these doors that I learned of the loss of my home and it was behind these doors that dear friends hugged me when I cried and provided for our family.....beacuse they too, were our family.

I will miss the moments we all shared together and know that I am a better friend, nurse, mother, wife and Christian because of my time behind these doors.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Savoring every moment

I think one of the goodbyes I dread the most is for these guys.  Cousins are such fun and these cousins have the best of times together.   One blessing is although we are leaving some great cousins behind in NC....now we get to go to Iowa and spend some time with cousins there before we leave for Africa.  We thought it would be fun for the kids to spend one more night together before we leave.

Livi and Milyah are both the "middle child" are both the crazy ones in the family! Definitely two peas in a pod!
These are both the oldest and they seem to gravitate towards each others.
We have already gotten rid of all our furniture so the kids had to eat breakfast on the kitchen floor. They didn't seem to mind!
Aiden and Blaise are both happy to have another boy around!
It took a while for these 3 to get to sleep. There was a lot of giggles....but it was a welcomed sound. I love these girls!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Be still my homeschooling heart!

A couple days ago, the kids and I came home from running some errands and this was waiting on our front porch. My heart immediately began to race in my chest!!! I am terrified of homeschooling. I have so much respect and admiration for home educators. Their passion and dedication to teaching their children simply amazes me. I do feel that we as parents should be the primary teachers for our children, but I have to admit....it terrifies me! Maybe if they were a little older it wouldn't be so daunting....but the thoughts of teaching them how to read and how to multiply nearly overwhelm me. I am praying even now that the Lord will guide me as I take on this huge responsibility! This is just one of many areas that I am learning to lean on the Lord for help.
I am terrified.....the girls, on the other hand are super excited that mommy is going to be their teacher!

On the Road Again

This was ctually taken last Sunday on our way to another church. We have been so proud of the kids as we have traveled countless miles visiting churches and sharing our burden for Togo. The girls have enjoyed singing in the churches and Aiden did well going to all the different nurseries. Sundays weren't always easy, but they were little troopers. I can't even begin to count the hours or miles that we have spent in our little minivan traversing the state! I am so thankful that our kids have loved all the traveling.
This was our view as we traveled home tonight. We have been so blessed with safety of travel. The sky was a great reminder of God's hand in our lives.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We love our Preacher

Sunday morning after church our Preacher and his wife had us over for lunch.  It as always fun to spend time with them.  They are wonderful Christian people, so warm and loving.  The girls had the best time as the Preacher told them jokes.  They thought he was just hilarious!!  He told jokes and they sang him songs.  It was quite the exciting lunch.  

Another goodbye

This last Saturday evening, we got together with some of my family from Richlands, NC.  It was so special to see them before we leave.  I am so thankful for the loving Christian family the Lord blessed me with.

These  2 men are so very special to me.  Growing up, I never had a grandfather so I always had a special place in my heart for my 2 great uncles, my Grandmother's brothers. I so vividly remember curling up in my Uncle Cecil's lap and him singing to me and spending hours in Uncle Edward's mechanic shop watching him work on cars while I drank an ice cold Pepsi from his Pepsi machine.  He always called me "tad pole". 

The older I get, the harder good byes get.  I think mainly because I realize that people like my 2 sweet uncles are getting older too.  But no matter how old I get, I will always love my uncles and will always be their little "tad pole".

Packing up!

Saturday July 22nd

Wow!!  It is hard to believe that we are really packing up.  We still have a little over a week left here in the house but I wanted to get packing done early so I could enjoy the last few days here with friends and family rather than stressing about packing. 

Aiden loves helping John.

My boys.....hard at work!

The kids had a ball playing in all the boxes.  Although after about 30 minutes of trying to pack with them around and pulling stuff back out of boxes, I had to call my parents to come get the kids.  They were just trying to help....but they were a little bit too much help!

Shopping Galore!

People often ask me how you even begin to prepare to take a family of 5 to Africa for 2 years.   And this is my answer.....lists!!  I have lists for everything from clothing needs, to toiletries, to schooling materials to food items.  Over the last few months I have accumulated lists of things we will need to ship over to Togo.  And Friday was our big shopping day.  My parents watched the kids so John and I could do our shopping quickly and effeciently......meaning, without 3 little people to wrangle!!

It was hard trying to decide what to actually buy.  Everything is made from scratch so I made sure to buy things that would allow me to cook snacks and things for the kids.   I was tempted to get carried away saying, "Oh!!  The kids will need this!!".  Thankfully, John helped me figure out necessity versus luxury items.  Although he did let me get a couple special things (like NesQuick and Ranch Mix) for the kids.

Ready to check out at Sam's Club.

Loading up our goods

After a trip to Sam's Club, we went to WalMart. 

Kool Aid for the kids (sorry the picture wouldn't turn)

Flash Lights are an ABSOLUTE necessity to keep from stepping on snakes after dark.

Pepperoni!!  And water coolers

And enough deodarant for a small army!  But hey....you can't have stinky missionaries!

Sweet Friends

Recently, I was able to ge together with my 3 best girlfriends from college.  All through college we were inseparable.  From 3 different states, the Lord knew we needed each other to get through 4 years of nursing school.We wanted to get together before we leave for Togo.  

Saying good bye to my little people at 5:30 in the morning.

So thankful for my sweet husband who encouraged me to go on this trip and who was so willing to keep the kids!

We spent the weekend in Baton Rouge

Amber (Baby Eva) and Kim

Kim & Summer

We didn't plan it, but actually all packed similar shirts!

I am so blessed to have these amazing women in my live.  They encourage me to live for the Lord and help me to be a better wife and mother.

Sweet Summer!  She cracks me up!

Flowers the kids gave me when they picked me up at the airport.

Roses John gave me when they picked me up.

I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend with these girls. We are altready planning our next get together.....in Africa!

Saying "Goodbye"

Last week,  our co-workers had a going away party for us and one of the other nurses, Mindy, who is leaving.  We had a great time watching the kids swim and sitting around talking.  This is a special group of people. We work in such a stressful work environment and rely so much on each other it is so fun to be together away from work.

This is definitely the best group of nurses ever!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I love these Moms!!

Today was my last Mom2Mom meeting. For the last couple years a group of moms at church get together for activities and Bible studies. We met today for water day! There was around 50 moms and kids! It really was a blast!

I didn't think to get a picture until most everyone had already left, but these are a few of the other moms...my dear sweet friends.

All the moms brought stuff for us for Togo...from band aids, to jello to bug spray, to hand sanitizier. They loaded us up! How very thoughtful!

I will miss these friends. Some of them I know well. Some of us grew up together. Some of us have just met. Some have been saved for years, while others are just starting their journey with Jesus. Some work outside the home and others work in the home! Some are military wives and others are Wayne County girls. So many different backgrounds and so many different paths ahead, but we all share one common thread in our desire to be godly wives and mothers.

They have all taught me so much and have been such a good support system as we all navigate this journey of Christian Motherhood. Whether discussing diapering, playdates, prayer requests, women of the Bible, tips for a successful marriage,new recipes or home management, each of these women impacted me in a tremendous way. I am eternally thankful for knowing each of them and so thankful for our Mom2Mom group!

My family

My family