Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pilgrims Passing Through


Wow! I can't believe that next week will mark 1 month of traveling and living as sojourners. :) I truly feel like I am a pilgrim. Good thing God knew how much I'd love to travel! We've had a fabulous time over the past 2 weeks spending time with my sister and her family, a few of Stephen's sisters and their families, and his mom and dad. On our way up to Maryland from Florida, we stopped in North Carolina to visit with my sister and brother-in-law, Shantell and John. I haven't seen them in about four years so it was a very special visit for us! Here's a few pictures of our trip in New Smyrna Beach, Fl and our visit with my sister and her family:

Me on my first scooter ride :) Such a fun time! My beginnings of becoming a "biker"
This picture turned out blurry but it was the only one I caught of the beautiful sunsets we were having!

Stephen and I standing near the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse in Daytona Beach
(the Lighthouse at the top)
Just a neat bridge we were passing as we traveled up through GA and SC
Me and my oldest sister, Shantell. Love my family!

Stephen and I with our cute little nieces and nephew: Sarah, J.R., Jasmine, and little Julie ;-)Me with J.R. He was making me laugh SO hard! Gotta love little boys

Jasmine, little Julie, and Sarah

After spending the night at my sisters, we drove up to Virginia and got to have lunch with my sister-in-law and her family before the last leg of our journey up to Maryland. It was awesome! Our dog Mac Mac, did very well and we made it to Stephen's parents house in good time. I wish I would have gotten a picture of our room after we unloaded our car! There were piles knee high covering the entire floor with our "stuff". I have no idea how we got all of that into our car! It took us several days to get settled in but we finally did. :)

The question I feel we are getting asked the most is, "What do you guys do everyday?!" Ha! Well, let me tell you, it's been very different for us to not have something on the schedule everyday and every night. Since the day we got married, Stephen and I have been on the go 24/7 with work, school, ministry, and events...never was there a dull moment. Our lives have been changed dramatically and now we are just enjoying this free time with each other! As we move closer and closer to going into the military, I know there will be plenty of times when I will be far away from Stephen...so I'm soaking up all I can now. He's such an amazing, fun, and lovable man! We've been able to take care of "loose ends", do some eeeearly Christmas shopping (it's just us and the senior citizens at the mall during the day), got to go to my very first football game to see the Redskins vs the Eagles, a Pearl Party with my mom-in-law, a Candle Party with my sis-in-law, a Golf Tournament/Memorial for a family friend, Nick, who was killed while fighting in Iraq, visited Arlington Cemetery and Nick's grave, visited Natural History Museum, and I've been able to cook for my in-laws throughout the week (which I love to do!). Here are a few pictures that I've taken while we've been here:

Stephen has been wearing a "Freedom Isn't Free" wrist band in memory of his friend, Nick, for the past few years. He wanted to visit Nick's grave and leave the band on his tomb. It was so moving to watch and so heart wrenching to see new graves being dug for those who are still giving their lives for our country.


Redskins vs Eagles football game!

Just a little bit of Fall over here in Maryland!

I know it's time to end this post, but before I do I wanted to ask for prayer. Stephen and I leave for Duluth, GA this Monday for a three day conference/interview with the North American Missions Board. If they decided to endorse us then Stephen's next interview will be with the Navy on November 17th. We're very excited about this trip and pray that God's will be done.

"Lord, thank You for Your provision for us and Your protection. I pray that You would forgive me for my heart that is prone to wonder far from You and the shelter of Your wings. Thank You for Your continual mercy and grace. We would be lost without You. Please remove any fear, anxiety, or worry from us and grant us peace that passes all understanding. We love You and are SO grateful for the intimacy we are able to share with You through Your Son, Jesus! Amen"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reflection

This is the view from our resort room on the beach here in New Smyrna, Fl. It has been absolutely amazing being able to wake up and go to sleep to this sight for the past few days! We feel blessed to have the opportunity to spend this time together before (Lord willing) Stephen goes into the Chaplaincy in Jan. We were just sharing with each other last night that moments like we've been able to experience with each other this week are the ones that will be hardest to go without while in the Military. Needless to say, we are soaking it all up now!
We leave here early Saturday morning and will pick up our puppy from the VIP Pet Resort. :) Then we'll begin to make our way to my sister and brother-in-law's house in North Carolina for the evening. Next stop will be Richmond, VA to spend time with Stephen's sister and brother-in-law and then we will finally head "home" to Maryland. Thank you all for your continued prayer for us! We ran into some complications with getting our dog's immunization shots so he could stay at his puppy resort. We thought he had all of his shots current but evidently one of them expired a couple months ago. So we had to locate a PetSmart, wait to get the shot, only to find out that ALL of the pet hotels had closed for the night by the time we were finished! SO after lots of frustration and getting worked up about "my" plans not falling completely into place...I was reminded quickly that GOD is the one that is in control and nothing comes as a surprise to Him. :) Everything worked out perfectly in the end, I just thought it was crazy how quickly I took my eyes off of God and focused in on what was "rocking my boat". Stephen and I can look back and laugh at ourselves now but I don't think I'll forget the lesson.
We were sitting on the beach and we saw lots of these little birds trying to find food in the sand. They were so cute so I had to take a picture of one. It reminds me of Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Just thought I'd share. :)
Until next time,


Friday, October 9, 2009

Journey Mercies

I've heard that phrase used often in prayer but never desired it so much like I had today! Our drive from Houston Tx, through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, to land in Pensacola, Florida was quite an adventure. We woke up from our fabulous night of rest to find rain with strong winds blowing outside our window. We are traveling with our dog and he has had his "suite" set up in the back seat of our car. Along with our bike, we had our suitcases strapped down to our trailer. However, with the strong wind and rain we had to put the suitcases in the back seat and our puppy's new home was in the passengers seat with me. :) I wasn't sure how I would handle having our 40 lb puppy on my lap for 8 hours but we didn't have any other options. "It's all apart of the adventure," I reassured myself.

As Stephen drove, we came across 8 hours of almost non-stop heavy duty rain. We've become very acclimated to the blissfulness of San Diego weather...so needless to say...we received a big wake up call! With motorcycle and trailer in tow, Stephen had his eyes intensely fixed on the road through thick traffic and tough weather. There were many times I thought we were going to hydroplane or our trailer was going to flip over. I had to close my eyes, step on my imaginary break petals ;) and just pray for safety and protection! We saw God's graciousness to us as we passed many car accidents that could have been us.

With great thankfulness I can say that we've made it safely to our hotel in Pensacola, Fl! Thank you again for your prayers!

Good night all~

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Journey Begins

On Monday of this week, we finished loading our container with the help of friends and began our journey back east. I cried for a while as the realization of leaving "home" settled in. I will miss the privilege I had to live so closely to some amazing family and friends. The idea of being on this adventure with Stephen brought encouragement and excitement for what was up ahead.

We arrived in El Paso, TX early Tuesday morning and enjoyed a fabulous visit with Stephen's extended family. I brought a stomach flu bug with me from San Diego and it decided to raise its ugly head on our second day in El Paso. Other than being bed-ridden while visiting family, we both had a great time! This morning we started our 11 hour drive to Houston, TX and have finally reached our hotel. Our puppy, Mac Mac or Maximus :) is already nestled into his doggy bed fast asleep. Stephen has driven the ENTIRE way so far. We have a trailer hitched to our car with his motorcycle balanced on it. That may be one reason he has decided to take the reigns so far. ;)

Tomorrow we begin another drive to somewhere around Pensacola, FL. It's been so much fun taking this long road trip with my hubby! I love how we both enjoy just "being" together whether it's singing songs, talking, planning, praying, studying, or being silent. I'm so blessed to be married to him! However, we both are anxious to get to our destination in NSB, FL where we will stay for a week before traveling up north.

I'm going to log off now, but I just wanted to post an update with where we are at right now. Thank you for your prayers as we have been blessed with safety this far! I hope you all have a good nights rest and I'll post more as soon as I'm able to.

God Bless!