Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity, Jig

We got back to Bolivia last Tuesday and are so glad to be home. It was such a fast trip it almost seems like a dream. Our schedule was crazy, but we had such a great time. Here´s a quick breakdown of our journey. We arrived on Saturday (my birthday) and were greeted at the airport by Seth and my parents. It was wonderful to see them all. It was Seth´s first time to meet his newest sister and he wouldn´t put her down; they bonded and became buddies right away. On the way home we went out to eat at Cheesecake Factory (yum). After we arrived at my parents´ house I nursed Mercy, left her in the good care of my parents while Joe, Seth, and I went to Kohls for a few things we needed before the conference. Next stop Wal-Mart to pick up the rest of the stuff. By this time it was around 11:00 p.m. and Joe and I had been up for almost 40 hours. This is where I had my infamous break down. I was overwhelmed and couldn´t seem to find anything that I needed since there were just way too many choices. (See Joe´s blog for a longer version of this part of the story.) I headed for the car and asked Seth to pick me SOME kind of soda since I couldn´t make any more choices. Back at my parents´ house we crashed hard.
We just thought this signboard was an amusing taste of culture in Latin countries. This was taken at the Cochabamba airport. Here you can see that the American Airlines flight scheduled to arrive at 21:35 (9:35 p.m.) did not arrive until 22:05 (10:05 p.m.) which is actually 30 minutes late, but according to the right hand column here that is considered ¨on time¨.

Almost there....Here we are on our way to the States. We´re in the Miami airport waiting for our flight to DC. Joe is faking asleep....but Mercy is NOT.

My Dad grabbed Mercy right when we came off the plane.

Looking for a hug from my mom.

Here is my mom and Seth who is already holding his sissy.

Lots of kisses from a brother who has never held her before. So, now he´s making up for it by not letting go.

More Bubba kisses

My birthday lunch at Cheesecake Factory.

Joe enjoying his ´precious´...a real cup of Starbucks. His first on this trip, but certainly not his last.

We got up relatively early Sunday morning since Joe was preaching at our home church. It was sooooo good to be at Blue Ridge Bible Church and get to visit with so many of our friends there. There just wasn´t enough time (the reoccurring theme of our trip)! Joe preached (a great sermon I might add) and I gave a testimony about how in our early days here in Coch I learned to depend once again completely on God as I realized that He was indeed all I had, but truly all I needed. I had asked Tom to sing the song ¨Rescue Me¨ by Newsong to go along with what I had to say. He did an awesome job. Thanks, Tom. And thank you Jack for letting us speak especially when I know you would´ve loved to after so much time gone recently. It was so good to worship together with you all.

Mercy with my sweet friend Karen Gill.

More loving from Seth at church.

After church we went out to Cracker Barrel (being a missionary you realize that trips back home are all about the food) with Seth and my parents. Then Joe, Mercy and I headed up to Sandy Cove Conference Center where Joe and I were the speakers for this year´s homeschool week. It was great to be back there in a place so dear to our hearts and see so many good friends. The week was amazing. The worship was as awesome as ever and Joe did a great job speaking (of course). It was fun to co-teach with him and it was a great opportunity for us to reconnect with so many good friends. As we opened the door to our room on Sunday night we were overwhelmed with what we saw. The Jacob family had filled our room with all manner of goodies....a variety of kinds of soda (none of which we have in Coch), a coffee pot equipped with Starbucks and Duncan Donuts coffees, ice cold Frapuccinos, pounds of our favorite candies, everything we needed for Mercy, and a bag full of Bath and Body Works stuff for me. What great friends we have!! The week was a high light for us. I haven´t had that much fun seeing old buds and making new ones in a long time....if ever. My parents got to come up midweek and stay with us which made it even more special. We got by on very little sleep, but just couldn´t justify spending time sleeping when there were so many people we wanted to visit with. (Again, just not enough time!) Thank you, Mark, Brad and J.J. for having us. Thank you to all our friends who treated us like royalty by spoiling us with all manner of gifts and compliments. More than anything we just liked hanging out with you and seeing how God has been working in each of your lives. Thanks for sharing your week with us. Thank you, Stephen (Sandy Cove´s new program director) for letting a couple of ¨nobodies¨ speak for the week. I guess we didn´t do too bad since he asked us to come back in 2011 when our whole family will be on furlough and able to attend. (I can hear my kids rejoicing now!)

Mercy with her new friend Sarah....the Jacobs´ newest daughter.

Worshipping together was great!!

What a wonderful group of people...all in one amazing place. (Can ya tell I like it there with them?)

It was so good to be there with you.

Sadly Friday came too soon and we had to pack up and head out. With left with our hearts full...overflowing even, but wanting just a little more time with our friends at Sandy Cove. On the way home that afternoon we went to Jimmy Buffet´s Cheeseburger in Paradise (more good food!) and then we stopped in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a fun show of music through the years. Mercy danced and clapped away in my lap and my parents had more fun watching her than the production. It was another late night and we got in bed around 2:oo a.m. The next day my mom and I went shopping in order to fill my suitcase with all kinds of goodies from the States and Joe flew to St. Louis to preach at the one of our supporting churches that just happens to be the church of some of our favorite friends, Ron and Debi (or however she is spelling it now ;^)) Cathcart. (Love ya, Debi and wish I could have seen you too....only 2 more years). Joe had a good time spending the 4th of July weekend with their family. Mom, Mercy, and I heard the Fourth of July fireworks in Leesburg from inside the local Target. ;^) I figure I see plenty of fireworks in Bolivia and there aren´t any Targets there so I had to make a choice. I choose wisely. I am thankful for my mom´s help and stamina and Mercy´s I´m-just-happy-to-be-here attitude through 2 full days of shopping.

Here is Mercy sporting one of her many 4th of July outfits that her spoiling Grandparents bought for her.

Joe was supposed to fly back on Sunday afternoon, but his flight was cancelled. The good people of American Airlines told him they had re-booked him on the same flight the next afternoon around 4:00. He promptly told them that wouldn´t work since we were supposed to be on yet another flight back to Bolivia at that time. Thankfully they got him on a later flight into another airport, but at least he made it back. My dad picked him up and they got home around 2:00 a.m. where I was still packing all the treasures I had bought the last two days. We went to bed around 4:00 a.m., got up the next morning and stumbled to the airport to have a farewell lunch with my Seth and my parents. A few final hugs and kisses and we were off to Bolivia.

A final nap in my mom´s arms

At the airport saying least for a while

We ate more good food at the DC International Airport at Friday´s...the real deal....not the Cochabamba imitation version known as ¨Tuesdays¨. Joe laughed at me because I was already trying to plan and see if we had enough time to eat at Chili´s in the Miami airport.

Mercy sucking her toes in the Miami airport waiting for our overbooked flight. Yes, every seat was taken. No sleeping on the way home, either. At least not for me or Joe. Mercy slept fine in my lap.

Here she is sucking the other one. Joe and I got our last taste of the States from Pizza Hut in the Miami airport....we didn´t make it to Chili´s. Don´t tell, but we brought home a few extra parmesean cheese packets which caused quite a celebration with our teens.

Mercy was a great traveler. She didn´t cry one bit on the entire more than 8,000 mile round trip journey. I didn´t either, but she was much happier overall than I was.

It all was way too fast and we wish we would´ve had more time with everyone, but we are so thankful that we got to come. We just wanted/needed to get back to our kiddos as quickly as possible. They did an awesome job of taking care of themselves and each other. Mercy was glad to be home to her ´peeps´ as were.

Here I am back at home reading the kiddos a book I brought back with me...¨The Monster at the End of This Book¨. It was a favorite of my older kids when they were little. Everyone sat around and listened while I read it 3 times that day.


@ngie said...

You certainly did choose wisely... Target. yes. :-)

Glad you had such a great time.
Glad you are back home, too.

Love you guys!

Gallo Pinto2 said...

glad you had a good trip home and so glad Seth finally got to meet Mercy!

Denise K

Jennifer T. said...

What a neat trip!! Very special sounding - I can only imagine how exciting it was for Seth to finally meet Mercy!

Love the recurring theme of food... I think only those who lived abroad for years at a time can truly appreciate that one. =)

Anonymous said...

It was so great to have you guys back at Sandy Cove... to see you in person, chat and hear you both teach. It really was a wonderful week! We were blessed by you all. Thank you for coming! Praise God for watching over your children and answering our prayers that all went well back home! Looking forward to two years from now :)
Love and Blessings,
Jenny Holsinger

Jessica said...

I love that book! :-)

Sounds like an excellent trip! Too bad we were no longer at BRBC to hear Joe.

And btw, Mercy is SUCH a DOLL!!! I of course have to think my kids are the cutest, but she is definitely up there! ;-)

cheeseburger_in_paradise said...

Thanks for stopping by CIP! We are glad that you enjoyed the food. What did you order?