May 27, 2009

Pit Check

5/27/2009 — cori
No one ever informed us that we would ever have need of something called a "Pit Check". Why would anyone ever want to smell someone else's pits on purpose??? That is the most important question here. I guess love and personal responsibility for younger people you brought into this world makes you do things you never thought you would.

Take for example, Bennett. He can spend all day in the shower and never even use soap. I truly don't understand. He was hugging me goodnight one evening when a noxious fume came between us. I kept smelling him until I located the origin of the odor. It was his pits - and this was after he had showered. Ughhh! Daddy made him get back in the shower and gave him detailed instructions on what to with the soap and where!

I can't even tell you how many times Bennett has gotten out of the shower, Chuck given him the 'pit check' (which includes smelling feet - because the water at the bottom of the shower doesn't automatically clean them) and marched him back into the bathroom for his second shower. At what age do you just assume they can adequately clean all their bodily parts?

Oh the joys of parenthood that no-one warns you about. But if they did, do you really think you would believe them? You'd probably think...not my child, that would never happen to us, we know how to raise clean kids...and then you become a parent and all thoughts of perfection fly out the window. Especially with boys.

The old saying is true afterall:
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That's what little boys are made of !"
What are little girls made of?
"Sugar and spice and all things nice
That's what little girls are made of!"

Changing Times

5/27/2009 — cori
I was at a park today where I've taken the kids to play since they were all babies. I saw lots of moms there today with little ones at the stage of life we were at a good 5 to 7 years ago. It made me melancholy wondering if I enjoyed it to the fullest as much as I could. I'll never get those years back. Was I too worried about 'the schedule' or making sure I packed everything in the diaper bag or too frantic from the exhaustion that life with toddlers brings? Or did I sit there and smile as I watched them play, giggle and explore their new little world with excitement and energy? I really miss that time of mommy-hood.

In the same vein, I've also been wondering if I'm enjoying my kids enough at their current ages: 10, 7 and 5. As much as I miss their teeny, tiny toddler voices and needs, I also love where they're at now. They are super fun. I love who they are as individuals. I love how they see the world through this age. Everyone is still good, there is no bad in the world - at least nothing that a superhero couldn't fix (yes, the line is still fuzzy with reality vs. fantasy). They are so, so innocent. They are not self-conscious - yet. They do everything with abandon. Playing is by far the most important priority in their little world.

Even though I never dreamed I would ever homeschool my children, I've enjoyed the challenge and excitement the past 5 years have brought us on this journey. I think I've learned more than they have. I never realized how much work it would be; how much I would love it and hate it simultaneously; how rewarding it is; or how much I would stand in awe as I watched them learn and the exciting process that is.

But the challenge, for me, has come with juggling my time with the kids. Many moms are able to work out a routine that fits their family's needs wonderfully. I, on the other hand, seemed to struggle with this non-stop. It's understandable being that 'time' is one of my strongest love languages and I value it greatly. Feeling like I had to choose between the kids and who got my time when, started weighing very heavy on my heart. It started taking away all the advantages that homeschooling seemed to be giving to our family. And most importantly, it started taking away my joy in them.

We always said we'd take it year by year to see what God wanted for the kids and their education. This has been a very humbling road for me. As wonderful as it has been academically for the children, it has also been a huge growth in my heart and way of thinking. I love the challenge. I love the research. I love having the freedom to pick and choose topics my children have an interest in and watch that knowlege expand as we learn through it together and go as far as we want. But, as with all things, there is a season. And the season to walk off the homeschool path and walk onto the public school path has come.

I was very surprised by the timing. I thought God was preparing my heart for a year from now. I was already excited about a charter school I had looked into for the children. But he knew they and I needed the separation even sooner - even though I wasn't able to admit it. And I have to say, I'm soooooo excited about the prospect of just being mom again. The line between 'teacher' and 'mom' became so blurred. I know moms are always teaching their children in life lessons, but also teaching academic lessons can at times be challenging. Don't get me wrong, the rewards of homeschooling have been numerous and I would do it the same way all over again. I thought I'd homeschool forever, actually.

We're walking into this new path with excitement, optimisim and a little trepedition of what lies ahead. But we trust God in all this. He's been in control from the beginning. But most of all, I feel I can finally get back to just enjoying my kids again...not feeling like I have to divide my time up equally between them all and still find time to get lessons prepared, dinner cooked, house cleaned and everything else.

Chloe and I are planning on having a wonderful year of playing dress-up and makeup everyday and doing whatever it is girly-girls do. She's probably born the brunt of the lack of my time in this whole venture. Granted, she didn't know what she was missing (time with me), but I did and my heart was very heavy because of it.

This is just one of the many changes life brings. I'm glad for change...other wise life would be boring and predictable and we'd never grow.

May 26, 2009

It's The Weekend!

5/26/2009 — cori
This is what our gameroom looks like most Friday and Saturday nights. The reason being..."It's the Weekend!" and the kids all love to sleep together. They normally make their forts/rvs/hideouts, gather all their favorite books and settle in for the night together. I wonder how long this will last. I'm just glad they enjoy being together and want to do this. Why anyone would ever voluntarily want to sleep on the floor when there's a perfectly comfy bed in the other room is beyond me! I guess fun outweighs comfort!

May 24, 2009

Random Thoughts

5/24/2009 — cori
I was visiting with a friend this week who I used to go to school with 20 years ago. I can't even believe I'm old enough to use that phrase already - "20 years ago". We were reminiscing about all the crazy ideas we were brainwashed with. The years at this school were not good years. Every aspect of our lives were controlled by the headmaster. The memories that we shared together were only for giving solace to one another because only those of us who went to this school understand how each other feel. But God truly does work all things for good - even this experience.

I got to thinking when I got home about one of the many 'key phrases' the head instructor used to say to us. He would tell us, "Pressure and Conflict build Character". This was ingrained in us. It was their way to get us to do anything we didn't want to do. We were not allowed to question or disagree, just follow. We were not allowed to think for ourselves - that might have been dangerous.

But now I look back and see so many lies that I thought were truths because adults were teaching them to us. And adults wouldn't purposely lead you astray, would they? I trusted them. Anyways, I realized that I didn't buy into that phrase any longer. I have come to learn that suffering and pain lead us to Jesus and that pressure and conflict just reveal our character - not build it. Character is built under the education, care, instruction and guidance of our parents. Hardwork, perserverence and having to give up something (your time, your stuff, your money, etc.) builds character.

Then I started questioning. If this was a "Chrisitan" school (I use that term in the loosest sense of the word) why did they care more about building morals than pointing us to Jesus - our only hope. I'm afraid that's often the horrible downfall of too many well meaning "Christian" schools, organizations, etc. Let's just make "good kids". If they question or rebel or disagree - they're not good. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Those kids are seeking answers, seeking a way to fill the void inside them that religion and morals aren't filling.

That was a blast from the past, wasn't it?! I think my brain is still processing this. As God reveals more truths to me it only makes me all the more thankful that He leads me through 'pressure and conflict' and is changing me from the inside out.

New Nomenclature

5/24/2009 — cori
This kid never ceases to crack me up. At lunch today he was telling us a story about how one of his friends hit him in the gutters while they were pretend fighting. Wait a minute...what gutters??? "You know" he says, "my boy parts." Oh, I see. "Honey, how did you come up with that name?" Last I heard, they were called something different. He replied, "I don't know. I just think we can come up with something better than boring old 'boy parts'." We wouldn't want life to be boring, would we?

May 23, 2009

My Nemisis

5/23/2009 — cori
Do you see this???? This is the bain of my existence! My children sure do know how to push my buttons. Why oh why do all my pillows ALWAYS end up on the floor? I can always tell when Chloe has been in a room because each and every pillow will be expertly resting on the floor. Of all the things they can torture me with, why must they take the pillows from their precisely, predetermined, precious place? I have a 'thing' for liking things in their spot. Who cares if the spot is clean or dusty, old or new...but by golly, if I have put something somewhere and someone has moved it, angled it, rearranged it or even looked cross-eyed at it - I know! It's a gift and curse - mostly a curse. You can imagine the mind games people like to play with me when they've discovered this little, tiny, unimportant personality quirk of mine. I'm hoping this is just a phase...my dream is that one day, they too, will come to appreciate proper placement of household items. Until then...I pick up one pillow at a time day in and day out...and remind myself, they won't be this age forever...so just laugh it off. I'm laughing on the inside - trust me.

My Favorite Place

5/23/2009 — cori
Of all the places in my house, my favorite is here. The dinner table (or breakfast table or lunch table - depending on the time of day), is by far the most entertaining, memorable, happiest and craziest part of my day. It is here where we tell each other what we're thankful for each day - even on the days we have a hard time finding something to be thankful for. It is here the children learn manners and have the opportunity to practice eating politely. It is here where the children (and us) can be crazy during our "Dress Up For Dinner Nights" - always an unexpected and funny treat. It is here where we share the ups and downs of our days with one another and learn compassion, empathy and encouragement. It is here where I get to set a pretty table each night to show my family how special I think they are. We even have special plates we give out: an "I Love You" plate, an "I Appreciate You" plate and a "special" plate. I also have come to enjoy the luxury of fresh flowers on table each week. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they also give us something to talk about (like we ever need a conversation starter in this house!). It is here that so many questions have been asked and attempts at answers have been made (i.e. - "Mom, if there's no gravity in space, why don't the planets bump into each other?", via Gavin. It was directed to me cuz I was the only adult sitting there at the time - that question multiplied times a million other random ones).It is here we attempt to solve the world's problems. It is here where you learn that your opinion matters to others. It is here where we unite as a family each day and build memories that my children will carry with them through their lifetime.

All that and....we just like to eat alot!

May 13, 2009

What's Up?

5/13/2009 — cori
Evidently, this is a very confusing question to Bennett?

We're driving along today when he asks me, "Um, Mom...what in the world are you supposed to say when someone says, 'hey, what's up?'...I mean, I just have no clue how to answer. Reed (a 14 year old neighbor boy) always asks me that when he sees me."

Have I really neglected teaching my children the finer points of salutations? Do we really not have the ability to reason this through? Does this question really cause you to stop dead in your tracks and give the 'deer-in-the-headlights' look? Have we not introduced this question into the little bubble world you currently occupy? So many questions running thru my head and so few answers.

So, as nonchalantly as I can, without any remnants of guilt laced in my speech, I educate him on 'The Proper Way to Respond to a Teenage Boy". The instruction began by informing him that this phrase was in reality just a synonym of the word "hi" or "hello". You should have seen the look of understanding lighten up his face...i know hello. I then lead him into deeper waters, explaining that he's just asking in a 'cool' way how his day is going. The light bulb of his mind is now officially on and a knowing comprehension glows across his enlightened face.

He now knows how to be cool, in the teenage sense of the word...and isn't that all any of us want in life.

May 10, 2009

What Do You Value?

5/10/2009 — cori
During our family Bible study time today, Chuck brought up the ever so abstract concept of values. Sometimes you think you speak above your childrens' head, but they know alot more of what's going on in the world around them than we often give them credit for. We had such an amazing time discussing this topic and seeing into their little hearts.

First, Chuck and I gave examples of what we value. He defined "value" as something you put importance on and helps shape how you think and make decisions. Such as, he really values our family and time spent together. When he has the opportunity to take a freelance job he weighs the time it would require for him to get the job done against the time it would take him from spending time with us.

The object of this lesson was to give them the tools to make good decisions when they're not with us and they are faced with a choice. We want them to draw from the values we are trying to model and teach them. We want them to learn to listen to their hearts and make a decision based on the value that they hold strong to - not what we tell them is important, but what they know to be true in their heart. This is their value. This is a growing and learning process that we get to continue with them until the day they leave our house.

The kids seemed to grasp this and gave us examples of their own. We wrote all these values on the chalkboard and then had them pick their top three. It was so fun to see how the values they put importance on are already modeled in their little lives and how they match their little personalities.
Gavin said he puts value on solitude so that he can have time to think, refresh and pray. Gentleness (a fruit of the Spirit) was also high on his list. He is a very gentle soul. It's just in his nature to treat others with a gentle attitude (except for when he's light saber fighting). Lastly, he felt helpfulness was a character trait he also valued. He exhibits this in his actions daily. He comes and asks if there's anything he can do to help me at random times throughout the day. I know that in the future, these three things will motivate him in his decisions and actions he chooses towards others.

Bennett definitely values friendship. He will always choose doing something with others over doing something alone. He's a social butterfly and hates to see anyone being left out. He likes to include the down and out. He also makes choices that stem from faithfulness. He's adamant about keeping his word. And lastly, he places much value on peace (another fruit of the Spirit). He is a peacemaker. He values this to a great degree. He can really sense when I'm not peaceful and does whatever he can to try and calm me and bring peace back into my world. I know he'll draw from other values he doesn't even realize are important when he's out of the scope of our parental eye, but its nice to know that the three he does treasure are exemplified in his life already.

Chloe definitely values beauty. This isn't the kind of vain, external beauty (although, truth be told she loves to look beautiful too) but the kind that sees beauty in the world and people around her. I also know that helpfulness is very high on her list. If there is an opportunity to help, she jumps on it. I'm hopeful that she chooses this outside of my presence as well. Lastly, she chose friendship. I was a little surprised by this because this is a relatively new area for her. She's finally crawled out of her 'shy shell' and stepped into the world of other people and realizes she loves being around others. Since she values friendship, I can only hope she treats her friends with respect and thoughtfulness, the characteristics that come with something you value.

My top three were time, considerateness and simplicity. Many decisions I make filter through these three values. I do not want our life to be 'over-booked'. I value the simple life...time to smell the roses, unplanned activities, flexibility to be and to do. I hate being locked into a schedule. Time together is also another treasure. I show others love thru the time I give them. Time is very high on my list. I don't need as much solitude as Gavin, but just enough to enjoy a nice hot bath and then I'm refreshed and ready to give more time to those I love. Lastly, considerateness envelopes so many of the fruits of the Spirit in my opinion. For someone to be inconsiderate is one of the greatest offences I take. Putting others first just plain shows love. I value that because I value making people feel loved. I want others to be in a loving environment when around me. I know this is only a pipe dream on many days...but on the days when I actually choose the Spirit to live His life through me, it is very rewarding.

Chuck values family, time and quality. All of these are very evident in each decision he makes. He values family time so much, that when given the choice to work overtime in the middle of the night or after work during dinnertime...100% of the time he'll sacrifice his sleep to show us how much he values his time with us. He values quality by 'if something is worth doing, its worth doing right'. He never does something half-way. This is perfect for his detailed personality. This value has also helped him get far ahead in his field of work. His bosses and clients greatly appreciate his value of quality. And I'm so thankful that we both treasure time and show/give love through this medium. It doesn't even have to be quality time, just plain old time together...watching t.v., taking a walk, talking for hours or reading books in silence together.

You can learn alot from someone by what they value.

May 9, 2009

The Wall

5/09/2009 — cori
My children are often forming a wall (a.k.a, barricade) in front of me most everywhere I go. I know that deep down in their little hearts, it comes from the desire to stay ever near their mother dear. They don't want to leave my side, wander, stray. We seem to be attached by a string of invisible glue at all times. Although I greatly appreciate the thought behind the action, I'm beginning to tire of my 'wall of children' everywhere I go (let me clarify - I'm tired of the whole wall action - not the children).

You see...they think they're 'helping me'. Say, hypothetically, that we're at the library and we're looking at a row of books. Guess where the children are? Yep...right in front of me, blocking my view of the books that we're trying to look at. Again, hypothetically, say we're at the store and we're checking out. Guess who's blocking my use of the the little debit/credit card thingy-ma-jig? You got it. I mean, it's not like I am capable of sliding my card myself, or inputting my own pin number. I must bring three helpers along for such tasks. They must be in the center of all the action. They don't want to miss a beat.

After 10 years of parent-hood, you'd think I'd have some sort of system to combat this by now. Yet I fall prey to this simple, little trap they set up time after time. I'm either way too naive, give them the benefit of the doubt too much or just plain idiotic not to see it coming. I have tried the whole 'Speak in a Soft, Kind Voice to Get Them to Listen and Step-Aside' approach. But often it comes out a little too sarcastically, or hissing like or with an evil eye attached. I will get the desired action for a good minute...but then the wall migrates back to its predisposed position.

I absolutely loose it at the library most times. They have found my breaking point and it just so happens to be at the library self-check out. This is my personal torture chamber. And what's worse, is that we go to the library 1-2 times each week. Our family is addicted to books. We leave with like 50 at a time. Now imagine 'the wall' helping you check out 50 books/movies. This does not go well.

This scenario is pretty-much an exact replica of each and every visit to the library:

mommy - "Let's go check-out guys", said while taking deep, cleansing breaths inward and remembering to exhale slowly. Remain calm is my mantra.

kids- running like a herd of wild elephants thru the quiet library so they can claim the coveted 'first in line' position at the self-check out stand.

chloe - in a less than angelic voice, "I was here first!" while squeezing and pushing in between Gavin and Bennett.

bennett - "No you weren't, I was here!" standing his ground. He stands for truth, justice and the American way 100% of the time. There will be no giving on his end. Justice and fairness for all begins and ends with him. If you're weaker, smaller, whinier...there is no grace for you. You lose. Period.

gavin - dropping books out of his arms left and right as he, unsuccessfully, tries resting the books on a small corner of the table. Very clueless. Most often times I have to ask him to stop reading the book at this moment so we can check it out. Please...focus here Gavin. I need a little help. But I shall get none. I'm alone in this little venture.

Now that everyone is in position in front of me and in front of the scanner where I need to scan my library card, I can contort myself around, through, beneath, over them so as to get through with this wretched process.

Each and every time we go to the library, I ask the kids to have all the books they want to check out OUT of their library bags BEFORE they line up in front of me and BEFORE they attempt to scan their books. Do you think this has ever happened once? That is just way too much to think about with the excitement of scanning your own library books looming so tantalizingly close at hand.

And each and every time, I end up rolling my eyes, sighing heavily and holding my tongue as I watch this whole fiasco unravel before my eyes. And if I might happen to have any books to scan...it's near impossible because of my little wall...they don't budge. They might just lose their place in line if they scoot over even one millimeter. Why this boils my blood, I will never quite know...but it happens each time like clock work.

Don't even get me started on the whole pushing the elevator button first thing. I might just fall off the deep end. Suffice it to say...I refuse to be an elevator button referee any longer.

Please don't ever come to the library with me...you'll see me at my worst mommy moment.

May 4, 2009

The Airport Adventure

5/04/2009 — cori
We LOVE to travel. The kids are awesome little traveling buddies. Granted...we've gotten stuck in our share of automatic circle doors and caused alarms to go off, stood at baggage claims for almost an hour and had to run to the bathroom right before boarding...but overall, it's always a super fun, exciting experience. This time was no different.

We were on our way to D.C on a Friday afternoon to see Grandma and Grandpa and Daddy (who was working up there at the time). A friend kindly dropped us off an hour and half before boarding. We made it through check-in and security with no sweat. We were like a well oiled machine. We made it to our gate with plenty of time to spare.

Unfortunately for us...we were also in the middle of a thunderstorm. A thunderstorm in Dallas normally shuts down DFW. They normally always produce high winds and severe weather. Thankfully, the friendly skies like to look out for our safety, so they canceled our flight. Except...nobody told me. I found out on one of our many jaunts to the big screen to find out its 'status'. Well what'd'ya know...we're not leaving after-all. Hmmm...I wonder when we are leaving? Valid question. Except, nobody was at our gate to handle all the questioning people. So, naturally, I gather all the kids and all the gear (each of us had a large carry-on) and desperately go in search of some answers.

I come upon a ticket agent who does her little clickity-clack thing on the mysterious, hidden computer that I can't see and she tells me, "A flight is leaving in two hours, but out of another terminal. You can either run the 10 minutes it will take you to get over there or take the sky tram and talk to the ticket agent over there." Like the naive idiot that I am, I say, "Okay" instead of "Why can't you just clickity-clack me into your computer from here? Why do I have to go to another terminal on the other side of the world for them do it on the same hidden computer?" This same question would come to plague me the rest of the day.

Naturally, the kids and I RUN all the way from terminal A to terminal C to try to squeeze ourselves on the next flight out. The lady tells me its already full, but that there's another flight leaving at 3pm and she'll try to put me on stand by for that. "Oh thank you so much!" I respond. Again, naivete is guiding me through this day. We're only 7th on stand-by...we're very optimistic we'll get on.

This same little charade plays itself out over the next 10 hours. Yes...you heard me right. We got to the airport at 10:15am and were still waiting for a flight at 10:40pm that night. The worst part was that half that time, we were the first 4 names on the stand-by list!!! A list that consistently had at least 70 people on it.

We were really hopeful at one point (I mean really, you've got to have hope when you're stuck in an airport with a ton of people all trying to get out) when the ticket agent called our name and issued us tickets to get on the 6:30pm flight - WOW! I knew we'd get on! We weren't seated together, but that didn't matter - we were actually on the plane - goal accomplished. Unfortunately, someone was already sitting in the seat I was assigned. Bummer. I talked to the flight attendent about it and she told us we had to get off - that there was a mistake - ya think?! That's a great feeling - everyone watching you get off the plane, with all your kids and all your things. The kids asking very loudly why we can't go see Grandma and Grandpa. Even the Captain came out and asked what was going on. I asked him if I could sit with him - seriously....but he said something about being against the rules.

Once we got back to our familiar terminal all hope was lost. It was like someone popped our balloon. We had already taken at least 6 rides on the sky tram (which I found out was free - very helpful information to know!) - the excitement about the 'roller coaster in the sky at the airport' wore off about the 3rd time.

You know me and food...I came prepared. I brought plenty to feed us for lunch and a little snack for 'just in case'. It was long gone by 10pm. I didn't eat dinner thinking we'd be getting on the next plane (and the next and the next) and I'd eat once we got there. Oh where does this eternal hope spring from???

I felt like a momma duck with all my little ducklings trailing behind me back and forth through-out the airport. At one point, as we were exiting off the escalators into yet again, a new terminal and a new gate number, the kids saw something that made them gasp. As we were walk/running to our new gate, we almost walked over a giant mosaic on the floor. The kids did a collective gasp and backed off it inorder to view it better. They were all astounded by the amazing artwork on the floor. We had to analyze every aspect of it...the colors used, the pattern of the tiles, what kind of bird was in the picture, what he was doing and why oh why did they let such beauty be on the floor and not of the walls for all to enjoy? At certain points through-out the day, Gavin would give me a hug and say "Mom, I feel like I need to give you a hug right now" and all frustration would leave me. Or Chloe would start massaging my shoulders and Bennett my fingers. How can you stay tense with such attentive children trying to keep you calm.

We also played our share of games. I made the mistake of passing the time by teaching them one of those hand clapping games where you sing a sing-songy rhyme and pat your hands together in a pattern. I cannot even tell you how many rounds of "Knick knack patty whack give a dog a bone" I sang over and over and over again. Also, thank God for stupid Happy Meal toys...that also provided hours of endless, brainless activity. We were armed with perfect tools to weather out this storm.

Realizing we were not going to make the 10:40pm flight either...we settled in for the long haul. The kids curled up on the floor and got comfy. They amazed me. THEY DID NOT COMPLAIN! If they didn't, how could I? Afterall, this was an adventure...we've gotten to ride the sky tram multiple times, run on the moving sidewalks too many times to count and enjoyed untold trips up and down fun escalators - how can you NOT be having fun?! Then we decided that getting to camp at the airport was even more fun cuz, really, how many people have gotten the chance to camp (without the tent) at the airport? You can now add us to the list.

Around 11pm, some generous soul finally brought us blankets and another asked if we could use some cots. I got the kids uploaded on to the cots (no easy task dragging a sleeping 10 year old, who is almost as tall as you and dead weight, 4 feet over to a collapsable cot). I sat up for the long haul. I gave my word to Chuck that I would not sleep that night. I would stay up all night and watch over the kids. Needless to say, he was beside himself the entire day and night being so far away and not able to fix our problem and not being able to convince me to go home or to a hotel. I'd eventually found out during one of my encounters with the multiple ticket agents that we had been confirmed on a flight that left at 6am the next morning (although my luggage had already been sent on a different plane to a different airport - that was the least of my concerns!).

I tell you what...I am NOT a night person...I am the epitome of a morning person. I'm dead on my feet by 10pm. So this was going to be a challenge. Short of labor, this was the only time I've ever pulled an all-nighter. Seriously. But do you know...it was such an amazing time. I sat there mulling over the day in my head, praying and thinking. I knew there had to be a purpose for all this. I love efficiency and this was anything BUT efficient - why did this happen? As I was praying the Bible verse where Paul says, "I want to know you in the fellowship of your suffering and the glory of your resurrection" came to mind followed by the question, "Is this too much to suffer for me?" Wow. If this was suffering...then bring it on. I've lived a very 'suffer-free' life. If I have to 'suffer' my convenience...then so be it, if it brings me closer to knowing Him. There was a wonderful peace that enveloped us that day and night, despite the small trial we had to endure.

Two other, tiny miracles occurred that night: 1. I did not get a migraine. That is huge people. I'm hypoglycemic and normally graze all day long. I get a headache if I don't eat every two hours. Plus, when I get stressed a headache will normally envelope me faster than you can say "stuck at the airport". I was absolutely astounded that my head and stomach remained relatively 'normal' (under most people's standards) the entire day and night despite my lack of food. And 2. My contacts didn't pop out of my eyes. This is a big deal. I was wearing contacts that I should have thrown away 2 months ago. They are normally so dry by 3pm that I have to take them out. I had no replacements (that's why I was wearing them for so long). I was expecting them to just fall out with each and every blink as I stared mindlessly at CNN on the large screen tv trying to pass the hours away in the middle of the night. Yet...that did not happen. That is an honest to goodness miracle in my life. Look at how many good things can happen when you're looking for the good instead of complaining about the way things are.

Lessons learned: never try to leave for D.C on a Friday afternoon and always pack more food than you think you might need - you never know when you might have a random camping adventure.

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