Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts Before I Leave

Last night at dinner I sat down with tears in my eyes and hoped no one would notice. Michael, my brother-in-law, asked me from across the table if I was alright. I said yes and looked away but the tears still fell. A lot. I started crying, and when I looked up, my sister was crying as well. This is so hard.

Tonight at dinner was a different story though. Everyone was eating and during the silence I broke out in laughter. My family stared at me and wanted to know what was so funny. I told them I was picturing myself refusing to get out of the car at the airport, missing my flight, cancelling my "plans" and coming back home forever. This was a really funny scenario in my head...until I realized I could actually do that. Unpacking my bags wouldn't be near as hard as packing them, and then I could stay in my comfort zone! I didn't let myself dwell on this past two seconds, otherwise I might do it.

This feeling is like none I've ever experienced. I'm not going three hours away to college or even just a few states over to work at camp. Nope. I'm flying 4,759 miles to an unfamiliar country with no place to live and no job lined up. I don't feel adventurous right now. I feel weird.

Final thoughts:

1) I packed too much. My bags are heavy, and I don't know how I'm going to cart them around for two weeks until I get settled.

2) I wish they had Dr. Pepper in the UK.

3) How cold is it actually going to be in England?

4) I'm tired but know I won't be able to fall asleep.

5) I didn't pack enough. What am I forgetting that will pop in my head while sitting on the runway?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Alyssa and I waiting to play Ping Pong

Austin and I before I beat him :)

Going into this Christmas break, everything seemed to be going wrong. Two weeks ago I started having sharp back pains, leaving me unable to bend down or sleep on my back. I found out that I have scoliosis with four curves in my spine...this is not normal. I had a few adjustments done at the chiropractor that took away the pain for the time being. One week ago, my brother, Austin, was in a serious car accident when his Jeep hit a patch of ice and rolled over into a ditch on the highway. He is alright and is just having to suffer through some muscle pain, but he definitely scared my family. All of this happening right as I'm getting ready to leave started to worry me. I let fear take over my thoughts and didn't understand why things like this were happening right before I left.

God is so good though. My back is feeling better, and my brother is pretty much back to normal. He does have chest pain when he laughs, so naturally us siblings try and make him laugh and then watch him try not to. It's quite entertaining! This past week has been amazing, and I feel lucky to have the family I do. Seriously. I cannot describe how much fun I have being with them. This week we paired up and each took a night to cook dinner. This is a new tradition with us, and I'm thankful my night is over! Today was a wonderful day spent playing in a two hour ping pong tournament, playing games, and eating lots of good food. I have always said that the 4th of July is my favorite holiday, and although I really do love it, this Christmas is giving it a run for its money.

Last night at the Christmas Eve service, I was again reminded of what a great season this is to remember God's gift to us, His son. All of the classic Christmas carols sing about this truth. My dad talked this morning about the history of the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" and what it really means. It's not just a song about random gifts some guy gave a girl, instead it is full of parallels to the Bible. The line "My true love gave to me" is referring to God, and all the gifts given are ways for us to remember what He has given us. For example, the partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus. Check it out here.

My heart is full. New memories fill my head. I am blessed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's really happening...

I'm moving to Sheffield, England in 18 days!

That means in less than three weeks from now I'll be boarding a plane that will set down in London and then take off again without me. For five months I will be living in the UK while working (please pray I find a job) and serving in a local church.

I'm so excited for this opportunity, and I want to share more about how God orchestrated this adventure. In the next few posts I will be doing a lot of backtracking since I didn't have a blog when some things took place and also becasue I simply didn't blog when the rest of it happened. For some reason the thought of having to sit down, gather my thoughts, and then write about them doesn't appeal to me, but I'm making a committment right here and right now to improve on this. Blogging will be my main source for updating friends and family on my weekly happenings in Europe, so I want to keep it updated. ( Plus I don't want anyone to forget about me while I'm away!)