There and back again (or how I ended up in VA for 5 days)

Several of you have emailed me to find out what happened.  The following is the condensed version.  There was and is so much more to the story, so much God has done,  and so much that I can’t really share since it is not just my story.  The pictures in the post are just some of the 200 I took of her daughter.  A word of warning–I am still exhausted and rather incoherent as far as writing goes–which is why I haven’t explained any of this until now.

Last Friday I got a call from my friend CJ  asking if she could come for a visit, that she needed to get away from the stress for a weekend–to which I answered, “Of course!” and proceeded to child proof our rather large, rather messy house for the sake of her 2 year old.:)  May I say here that my son collects marbles, Legos, and Construx and has a huge supply of coins which seem to be strewn across every corner of our house? I hurried to get done so I wouldn’t miss my daughters’ end of VBS activities (Issac had gone to the races with my parents.)  I managed to get done, shower, and get to the church right on time which absolutely thrilled my girls!  I think that earned me some serious mom points.

After VBS we had to stop and get a treat (they didn’t like the prize for memorizing the weeks Bible verse–putting a pie in one of the teacher’s faces, so I promised them a special on the way home.)  It was 10:00 pm before they were home and beginning to settle down.    A little bit later I got a call from CJ saying that her car had died an hour and a half from home.  She managed to get to the side of the road but only just and things did not look good, plus her daughter had awakened and was screaming.  We prayed then she tried to figure out what to do next.  She called several times that evening getting phone numbers (like the local non-emergency police number–she waited and they never showed.)  It was a long night and a long story but in the end the car was towed and she and her daughter found a hotel room then a rental car to get back home.

When I called the next day to find out the rest of what happened we talked about everything going on (there was a lot) and I hatched a plan.  I asked her if I could come down instead, and asked my husband what he thought.  Pretty soon I was packing my bags, checking the car over,  and heading out.

It rained the whole 5 hours.  Really rained.  Hard.  And my car nearly overheated.  But God is good and for some reason I actually noticed that it was starting to overheat and pulled off at a service plaza to let it cool.  Finally, about halfway there I checked the fluids only to find that the coolant, which I had just filled, was empty.  Bought some more an refilled it–all good, praised the Lord for his help and protection and headed out again.  While driving I realized that this is the first time I have traveled on my own, sans kids, ever–and that I needed that time alone with God.  It was awesome!  Due to the rain I had to drive with blinkers on for some time but finally arrived, a few hours later than planned.

We went to eat at the incredible Mexican restaraunt her husband and his family works at and had a lovely time.  Afterwards we headed to her place where I met her dad (whom, though I have known her for 7 years, I have never met).  As she predicted her dad and I hit it off, in fact we ended up talking hours past my bedtime about everything from art to education to languages. 🙂  And for those of you who know me know that I was in heaven.

We went to church together in the morning, to a bilingual church, taking a Spanish speaking friend of hers with us.  It was wonderful!  I also found that I remember much more high school Spanish than I thought I did.:)  The church was wonderful about her car and some of the other things going on in her life.  We then spent the rest of the day hanging out with her friend and her dad, he practicing his English while we practiced our Spanish and her dad translated the rough spots.  When we drove her friend home we spent quite a bit of time laughing at the crazy drivers–especially the lady trying to fit in a parking space only 2 inches longer than her car and the guy telling her it would fit.

Monday I went to work with her.  I discovered Trader Joes and stocked up on all my kids favorite things.  I planned to go to A.C.Moore but the traffic was CRAZY and I decided against it.  (Have I mentioned the crazy drivers?!?!?!?)  It worked out well but at the time it seemd like a snap decision.  A few hours later we had a severe thunderstorm.  The electric snapped off and on but pretty soon we learned that we were one of the only places that still had electric–including the traffic lights that were every block or so and spanned the 6 lane highways that serverd as roads.  Suddenly the crazy driving people were much worse.  It knocked out most of the stores electricity as well.  On the way home we stopped at Toys R Us looking for somethign for the kids and when we returned to the car we found that my battery was dead (not an uncommon problem with my car when driving with lights on constantly, but a problem since I forgot to bring my charger.)  Good came of it though when she realized that the one person she knew with jumper cables was a friend she hadn’t seen in ages and who was miraculously actually home and able to come.  They got to chat while we jumped the car (you know that thing about never touching the two sides together when you have it connected–well, there is a reason for that.:))  When we got home we had no electricity, which made things interesting.

I had planned on leaving the next morning but we decided I should wait till the electric was all back on AND until we knew that the car wouldn’t die again.  So I headed to work with her again the next day, got some painting done, and some other things.  The electric didn’t come back on until that afternooon and I began to prepare for the trip home.

Next day I made it home safe and sound with no trouble.   The visit rejuvenated me spiritually as I had to rely on God at every step since I had no idea what was next.  I had a lovely time driving alone with my God, visiting with my friend and her daughter, not to mention getting to know her dad.  The kids and hubby were THRILLED to have me (and the groceries)  back.

There is so much more about this trip , so much that God did that I can’t share, so much that might seem small but all together was amazing and wonderful.  I am still wiped out from the lack of sleep (I have slept at least 12 hours since I returned home)  but excited about all God is doing.  There are still issues that need prayed over for my friend–if you have a moment pray for wisdom and peace for CJ, health for her dad, and that things would all come together for good.  I am looking forward to our trip (the kids and I) back down there in a little over a month.  God is good!