Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav and Katrina

So, I just got back from WalMart where I stocked up on some extra batteries, water and some canned goods which I almost never keep in the pantry. Pickin's were slim. I feel a little reactionary doing all this since the likelihood that I'll need any extra staples is pretty unlikely, but three years and a day after Katrina, I'd rather be prepared.

It feels like yesterday that I was gathering up some things to take to our church which functions as a Red Cross shelter during emergencies. I was just about ready to load everything into the Camry when Todd called and politely informed me that I was not going anywhere because Katrina graced us with her presence 30 minutes early. From where he was calling limbs were already falling into the roads so I was confined to the house feeling pretty helpless. This was not the first time I was going to feel helpless over the next few weeks.

I cannot, for one, describe how strong this storm was where we are. Clinton is three hours from the coast, and when the storm blew in with sustained winds at 60 mph and gusts to 80, I cried knowing that I could not possibly imagine the devastation that most certainly had occurred on the coast. At the time, we didn't know what had happened because they had lost all power as did portions of Clinton for days and even weeks.

I can also not explain how strange and odd it was to watch all that was going on in New Orleans, also only three hours away in areas that I knew so well knowing that I could do nothing physical to help them. I've been back there just once since the storm about a year ago, and the neighborhood where we lived is almost a ghost town.

The way life changes in such a small amount of time amazes me. When Katrina hit, we were not a minivan family. I was not even pregnant with Aubrie, and Jessie had been walking for only 3 months. She looks so grown up now, and Aubrie is quick on her heels. Emma is ready to take over running the house.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

We Need Daddy the Most

Tonight Jessie was upset about Daddy Todd not being able to come home this weekend; we thought there was a slight chance, but it just didn't work out. I was trying to cheer her up by telling her about the football game we're going to tomorrow night - cheerleaders, bands, food. Her eyes lit up for a second, and then she said, "But we need Daddy the most." You know you have a high standing when you trump football, cheerleaders and marching bands. They really miss him.

So do I.

A friend sent me a message today asking how I was holding up. Most days we do pretty well. I have to say that I have no idea how single parents do this. I really think I am past tired, and it's so weird knowing there's no back-up when I'm tired or not feeling so great. Today was also difficult because I felt like a bad mom. Emma has had a persistent cough, but I waited it out thinking it would go away, plus she'd had no other symptoms and was completely functional. Anyway, the last few days she had said that she was just not feeling well, and it was starting to show. So, off we trek to the doctor today where she had a breathing treatment, was prescribed an antibiotic, steroid and and inhaler. We also made a visit to the radiologist for a chest x-ray to make sure she didn't have walking pneumonia. She was one sick little girl. I felt so low...I cried. And later, I cried some more.

The great news is that her lungs are clear. The weird news is that she looks really bad tonight. When I married into this Williams clan, I learned that I could tell if Todd is sick by looking under his eyes. If they're dark, I send him straight away to the doctor. Apparently this is a whole-family thing, and it works with Emma as well. Now the doctor said we would see marked improvement within two days and that she should be completely better in five. So, I leave our appointments feeling very cheerful, but she did not feel well tonight, and her Williams signs were not looking good. Will you please pray for her when you read this. I sure would appreciate it.

While you're at it, pray for me - I need my heavenly Daddy the most.

Update - I need to add that I have great in-laws and friends who have helped me out immensely and check in on me! When I said there was no back-up, I mean when I don't feel like baths, bedtime, daily routine stuff. I re-read my post and thought it sounded most ungrateful which I am most definitely not! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Little Rest

I was actually so tired at one point today that I wanted to cry, and I almost did except someone started fussing just about then so my focus went somewere besides my exhaustion. Emma sweetly reminded me that at least I wasn't a Hebrew slave during the Egyptian captivity because she was sure that they had to work harder than I did. Is she sure??

We got a call on the house yesterday. Sure, you can come see it tomorrow (after I do about a million and one more things to it)! So, quick call to Nanny Judy who keeps the girls last night and ALL day today - thank you - and let the house marathon begin. I painted, culled, and straightened last night and shopped, painted some more, cleaned and straightened this morning. I literally feel like I have been through a serious workout. My thighs hurt. And, my back is in such a state that I really can't even discuss it - because I'll probably cry. I had five trash bags and a broken set of folding doors to set on the curb this morning, and even more than that went to our local thrift store.

Just about the time when my tears were trying to resurface, Judy calls and says that the girls can spend the night again if they want. This makes me want to cry again - tired, wondering how I'm going to make it through dinner and bedtime, to not having to worry about it. All these emotions at once - just about can't handle it! So, now I'm fed, watching Entertainment Tonight, and wondering what to do with my evening. I realize I'm not chained to the house for the first time in ages, but I feel too tired to get up. I've thrown around the idea of Blockbuster, but we'll see if I can muster the energy. A good book and a bath are definitely on the menu.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Big Changes - Texas-bound!

For those who keep up with our goings on, you know that we were supposed to be commissioned in November to serve with the International Mission Board in Mozambique, Africa. Well...

A few weeks ago Todd's company offered him a job in Austin, TX. Of course, my first reaction was, "No, way. We're headed to Africa." Then, I decided to at least try to be psuedo-submissive/supportive and pack us all up so we could drive to TX to check it out and be there in the flesh to pray about it. Tuff Shed made the offer on a Wed. morning and wanted an answer by Friday afternoon. Nothing like a little time to make a life-altering decision. Anyway, Friday at noon came and went, and we were still unsure until I realized that we had been looking at the decision as either/or and not both. We had a Holy Spirit moment where we knew we were supposed to come to TX and re-apply to go overseas a few years from now. We called TS and told them we would come. It is very odd for us to make this kind of decision on a "feeling," but we've been praying about our direction for so long that we had total confidence that God had spoken. There it is, I know we sound a litte (or a lot) wierd.

Let me backtrack a little for a minute...

Todd's trip to Nampula in June/July was wonderful, but when he got home, I expected that he would have an immediate, "Yes, God confirmed that this is what we're supposed to be doing," or a "No, it's not." Since life is not always as clear-cut as I would prefer it, that's not how things worked out. He did have some reservations about the girls and what their life would look like in this city. And since he thought it would be particularly hard for them, he figured that would have a huge impact on me. Thanks to the wife who is constantly at his side saying, "Are we going or not?", he relented and said that we would go ahead with the process, but I don't think he ever had complete peace about the situation. This ought to be a great lesson in nagging!

Now, I know lots of folks who are on the mission field with more kids, younger kids, babies, in fact, and that God sustains them and takes wonderful care of them, and we know that He can do this for us, too. But, one thing echoed in our minds from our time at Candidate Conference back in May and that was the issue or question of timing. We heard over and over that a family's ability to stay and thrive on the field depends largely on timing. Is this the right time for your family? We have no idea what God has for us while we're still here, but we do know that His timing is perfect and we have complete trust and peace that we still have some lessons to learn before we're ready. Can't wait to tell you what those are!

The other strange and slightly confusing thing was that when we verbalized our decision with each other, it was as if a burden was lifted that I didn't even know I was carrying. Now, please understand that I WANT to be on the mission field. I don't think I've more sure of any of the other details of life except that I was supposed to marry Todd Williams. In fact, you could say that I'm utterly heart-broken that we won't be there next spring. When I read about Africa and my friends that are there, I lose it. So, I'm not sure what the burden was - did I have doubts about timing that I wouldn't even let myself admit, was it fear, wondering if I was going to have a meltdown when the electricity went out, and my dinner was in the oven? I'm not sure, but I look forward to the things that we have planned to learn in our extended training time.

For instance, we really want to be able to keep goats and chickens while in Africa. It's okay, you can laugh out loud, especially if you know me. We figure it might be easier to learn how to take care of them here while we're in a familiar environment. (I'm a little scared of powdered milk and would like some fresh eggs - the ones in the market are boiled.) Where was I? Oh, so we're looking for a place in TX that would give us the room to learn about getting hens to lay, milking goats, making goat cheese and whatever else one might be able to do with goat's milk. See, I don't know! Also, we've heard that it's easier to learn Portuguese after you've mastered Spanish. Great! There's lots of places to practice where we're going, and we're going to try to squeeze that into homeschooling.

So, my next blog will most likely be filled with much more whining because Todd is already in Texas, and I'm holding down, clinging to the fort with the girls trying to pack and get the house in decent shape to sell. (Todd did all of the hard, manual labor before he left.) But, there is some painting to do and lots of clutter to clean up so that someone will think that they have to have our house immediately!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Things That Make Me Smile

Recently, I downloaded from iTunes a few Toby Mac songs (my first time to visit the iTunes store and to download - I was very impressed with myself...). The girls love the song, Lose my Soul. Apparently, they have a favorite line in the song because every time it comes around, they bob their heads (car dancing they learned from me; it's my only move) and sing very loudly, "I'm a little kid in a three-ring circus." Makes me laugh every time.

I've just finished reading Isreal, My Beloved by Kay Arthur which I finished pretty quickly for me. When we were returning it to the library today, Jessie commented, "Mommy, you really like that book, don't you?" We had already talked a little about the book, and the girls knew that the book was about Isreal and how they were scattered throughout the world. Emma was commenting on that when I added that God had promised that He would gather them from the four corners of the earth to which Emma replied, "Is the world a square?" Sharp one, that Emma.