Friday, January 30, 2009

A day in the life

Today was another long day of classes although we have our evening free tonight to work on some of the papers and projects that have been assigned. We receive work from classes at the farm plus regional assignments.

Today we talked about TCK (third culture kid) safety and policies regarding working with children, sadly in today's world we have to be cautious in our actions as well as watching out for our own children. It was a long, and hard to hear, kind of session.

On our way to lunch today we passed Campbell's class playing red light/green light as they walked back to class. Haddon was on one of the many playgrounds at recess and they were both having a blast. It was great to watch them be able to enjoy the sunshine with their new friends. Campbell's classroom has all these little buildings set up in the room that look just like miniature homes around the world with all kinds of dress up clothes and items from those countries, she loves it!

One adjustment we are having to make is walking everywhere, now I know there could be worse things but for Haddon in particular this is a "not so fun" activity. Our quad is at one of the extreme ends of the farm so we have a lengthy walk to school and an even further walk to the cafeteria, and in freezing rain at 7 in the morning it can be a test! However they really have adjusted getting them to learn to take their shoes off at the door is a whole other issue! They really try to help us get used to how most of the world lives and for our spoiled American selves it can seem like a nuisance. But we try to remember that it will be easier to transition some of those small things here then over there where our actions may offend someone.

The kids and Barry and I are having to do personal evaluation and then setting goals for our 8 weeks here. Pray for me.......I am NOT a goal oriented person and this is going to be a hard assignment. Somehow it just doesn't come easy. We are being stretched and refined to enable to do the work we have before us, tomorrow we have a personal retreat that I am really looking forward to and then a meeting with Hudson's teacher after school while the kids go to the Library.

I have more to say but the brain is shutting down, pardon the rambling I am just writing as the thoughts come.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto

Wow!! I don't even know where to start this blog. We officially began our program today and it has literally been non stop since 5:30 this morning. We have to be at breakfast from 7 to 8. After that we take the kids to school and have 10 minutes to be in our class. We have classes of varying types (usually with a mother load of information) until noon where we have lunch until 1. Classes then resume until about 4 with dinner from 5-6. Then in some cases like tonight we meet with our regional leaders from 6-7:30.

It has been wonderful and at times overwhelming. Barry and I were chosen along with a few others to be Small Group Facilitators which adds a bit more responsibility on our plate along with a "job" that we are required to sign up and do in our 8 weeks here.

The kids were so excited about school once they got to go see their rooms and meet their teachers. Campbell wanted to know why they had to wait until morning to go! Her teacher actually worked with the company in our assignment location so she will be able to tell her a lot about our area. Marshall has seven kids in his class ranging from 12 to 15, he is very excited about all the projects they will be doing, especially the Power Point presentation they get to make. Hudson is in a class of 16 third and fourth graders and he gets to make some pretty cool cultural projects. Haddon.......well Haddon has come into her own. I think she knows more people here than we do, she makes the rounds to all the tables after our meals, it's a riot! She really likes her school and already has a best friend "L" who will be going to Austria.

The rooms are nice but simple and sparse, all of our quad mates are moving to the same region so it is nice to get to know them! They kids are adjusting to no tv. Oh, and before I forget, I just found out today that they all have to get their blood drawn again because they need to know their blood type and it was left off the last time!!!! I can't believe it! I told the kids they would be getting more shots but also told them no more blood being drawn...YIKES!! It happened to several of the kids and as you can imagine they were disappointed. Please pray that it goes better than the last time!

Well, it is about time to eat, I will try to update further with some details of what all we will be doing as far as our classes and assignments. I can't wait to see all that God does in our lives while we are here!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Looks like we made it......

We have survived!! I'm not sure how it all figures out with the changing of time zones but we were in the car almost 14 hours yesterday. 14 HOURS. That my friends is too long to ride in a loaded down vehicle with 4 kids. They really did great and after a few timely (and very funny) sarcastic comments from their mother :) they quit asking, "Are we there yet?".

Knoxville was our stop last night and on the way we passed Leeland MS, home to Jim Henson, who knew? They even have a little museum dedicated to him, we stopped as it was on our path but it was too early and wasn't opened yet. If you are from there I apologize if this offends you but MS is ugly and the worst part of our drive, nothing but flat land and offensive gambling billboards. Getting to TN was like a breath of fresh air!

The scenery in TN and VA has been absolutely beautiful. Rolling hills, the Cumberland Gap, and the Appalachian Mountains all surrounding the quaint colonial architecture in this part of the country. It's like driving in a postcard.

We rolled into our destination in VA tonight with a little extra time to let the kids burn off some energy in the pool, while Barry and I melted in the hot tub.......thank you God for hot tubs........we are feeling old after this long drive! We are able to have a late check out and are planning on sleeping in before we check into the farm after lunch.

Please pray that we will learn all that we need to to accomplish our job, that we will be willing to dig deep and chip away anything that will hinder our work. We will start orientation on Wednesday. Let the fun begin!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Eastbound....loaded up and truckin'.......

We made it to Arkansas after leaving a day later than we had planned. It was hard to leave my mom as I know life will really be different for her and she will be greatly missed by all of us. However she truly is surrounded by family and great friends who I know will be there for her, she is definitely blessed in that area!

We've had a great visit with Barry's mom although as usual it is too short. Barry helped her get things set up in preparation for our absence and we took her to shop at a mall in Louisiana where she took the kids to "Build a Bear". It was a great memory building moment with their Grandma Ruth as we also rode a two story carousel! We will stop by and see her again one more time when we return from the farm. It is so hard to imagine not seeing people for three years, I like "see ya' later" so much better than "goodbye", I know they are really the same but it just sounds better to me.

We are all excited to get to the farm and truly begin this process. I think the kids will have a great time although it may take a little getting used to being at "school" all day, they are not used to that, but they will get to go on field trips to International markets and restaurants, museums, etc. I think it will be a blast for them and they'll get to be exposed to some really cool things.

I think that 5:30am is going to come early so I better end this, we are hoping to make it to Knoxville tomorrow night (with the help of our little GPS friend we affectionately call, "Lampy")and be close to the farm by Sunday night. Please pray that we arrive safely and well. Also that our kids are not in complete zombie form from all the DS, PSP's, DVD's, CD's and whatever else they can electronically veg out on during this DRIVE. I used to stare out at cornfields or stars when I was their age on a long trip, my how things change!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shipping and Packing and Crates, Oh My!!

Well, you haven't heard from me in a while and that is because I have been a packing fool!! The crating company gave us another week to have all our items ready.

Good Idea....because Barry really needed the time to go through all of his files and books.

Bad gave me more time to think and dwell and lose sleep over whether I had all we would need in a year.

I have given or thrown away a ridiculous amount of items and whittled our life down to about 50 boxes, two guitars, a keyboard and a hutch. It was painful at times my friends, but completely necessary and I have been given a great peace over leaving it behind.

We have had a couple of great things happen in the past few weeks. First, we had a prayer request answered for a need that we did not tell anyone about but just prayed and trusted God to meet it, and He did! Secondly, we were able to be the answer to a lady's prayer when we felt moved to give all my puppet ministry items to her family and we had no idea that it was something they were praying about. Amazing!

In the past few weeks we have had the opportunity to meet with some businesses who are going to be involved in supporting our work. The people have been so warm and encouraging which is a real blessings for us. We will visit a few more before we leave as those contacts are the backbone of what we will do.

Tomorrow they will get our crate ready and then we leave for the farm on Tuesday, January 20. We are driving so that we can go see Barry's mom on the way there and back, that will be a hard goodbye so we would appreciate your prayers.

Last but not least, well....kind of least, we all got our flu shots which were required to go to the farm and we had....NOT ONE TEAR!! Yippee! It went much better than the time when I took all four by myself to get their blood drawn! I think I was temporarily insane when I did that, it was awful! But we will have many more shots in the days ahead so hopefully it won't be so bad.........well, a girl can dream can't she?