This past Wednesday, I flew home to Erie from Huntsville, AL. I was scheduled on Delta. Unfortunately, I was rerouted due to my first flight being cancelled for maintenance. So, I flew to Atlanta. And waited. I flew to Cleveland. And waited. I ate supper. And waited. I read. And waited. The last leg of my trip was with United. Because of a delay four flights earlier, the flights using that plane were delayed at each airport. So, we waited. We finally left Cleveland between 11:30 PM and midnight. The flight was OK, not much excitement...until we were closing in on Erie. We were informed that some of the landing gear did not come down properly. The captain was going to fly over Erie and try using alternate ways to bring the landing gear down. So, we flew over Erie for 15 to 20 minutes. A couple of times, the flight attendant would speak with the captain, then check to see if everyone had their seatbelts on. I could hear people praying, and I know I was! Eventually, we landed safely and very grateful passengers were ready to disembark. The captain had a few things to tell us first. The landing gear was not the only problem, although he did not expand on the additional issues. We were flying in emergency mode and he had spoken to Logan airport in Boston, ready to land there, if needed. As I gathered my belongings and exited the plane, I didn't notice the cold weather. I was too busy thanking God for arriving safely. He was watching over me!
Friday, January 25, 2013
The snow and ice finally melted, the outside temperatures were high enough that people could safely drive, so I was back on "schedule," a revised schedule! Friday evening, a dinner was held at the Gandy's Cove Church so people could meet me and I could meet them. After a delicious meal, which included Dairy Delight chicken, I presented a program sharing stories of my special needs kids and some of the beliefs of the Traditional religion practiced in the area. The pastor and his family had lived in Ghana for five years and I was so happy to reconnect with them again!
Saturday began our scheduled R & R...a visit to Alabama's Gulf Shores! Carol was kind enough to be the hostess for a "Wild Women Weekend" and four of us left bright and early for warmer temperatures. It was so good to be with these women again! What a blessing! We made a stop or two along the way, then had dinner at the Tin Top Restaurant and Oyster Bar. Afterwards, we went down to the beach to watch the sunset. I was amazed at all the colors in the sky. It was beautiful!
Sunday, I woke up early and made coffee, taking it to the beach with me. I watched the sunrise. I thanked God for all the blessings He has given me, especially this week. The sky was gorgeous! The day was filled with worship, walking along the beach, relaxing in the hot tub and enjoying the company of wonderful friends. Monday came way too soon and we headed back north!
Tuesday was filled with some of the things that were cancelled the week before...typhoid meds, lunch at Gibson's Bar B Que and a few hours at the United Cerebral Palsy Center. I met some therapists there who answered all my questions and who will be great resources for the future. And, the parents I met with their children...what a blessing to have had our lives cross for even a short time.Such love and commitment. These families love their children and work so hard with them, day in and day out, with no break. May God bless them!
Late Tuesday afternoon, I attended a basketball game (Go, Wildcats!) and had dinner at Cricket's, a favorite place to eat. I had heard so much about it. And, it was good! Everything I heard about it was true. I was able to share with Dr. Danny some ideas for his upcoming mission trip, ideas of things that worked or didn't work on trips I had been on previously. Then, in the parking lot, Dr. Danny, his wife and son all prayed for me. It was hard saying, "Good bye."
Then, it was time to go "home" and pack. Wednesday morning, I would leave for Erie. To my Alabama family, I say, "God be with you 'til we meet again."
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Last week, I had the privilege to visit a great group of people in Gandy's Cove, Alabama. (Roll Tide!) I arrived in Huntsville on Tuesday morning and was met by my friend and soul mate, Karen and her husband, Larry. Although it was raining, the temperatures were balmy...in the 40s. Ahhh! Lunch was in Huntsville with Dr. Danny and his wife, Rosario. I feel as if I have know them forever. Dr. Danny even prescribed my typhoid meds for me so I wouldn't have to track down the health department in Erie to get them. I found out at lunch that the basketball game I was to attend was cancelled because of ice on the roads. (Go Wildcats!) When we arrived at Karen's house, my room had fresh cut flowers and a bath set with soap and lotion and lots of fun stuff to pamper myself while there.
My schedule was set for the week. On Wednesday, I would just hang out and relax. So, we visited the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. We saw lots of space capsules and even a space shuttle. I crawled into the mercury capsule. (It was not a pretty sight, me getting in and out. Karen likes me enough that she didn't take a picture of that!) An IMAX movie of the Hubble telescope and a visit to Miss Baker's grave (the first Monkeynaut) completed our excursion. Wednesday evening, I was able to celebrate Isaac's birthday with his family. It was really good to see these co-workers for the Kingdom in a relaxed setting and to share stories of ministry.
Thursday, I was to pick up my typhoid meds and spend a few hours at the Cerebral Palsy Center in Huntsville. And, Friday was a Bible study breakfast with some women from Gandy's Cove UMC. Instead, there was four inches of snow and everything was cancelled and / or closed down. It was nice sitting in front of the wood stove watching Celtic Thunder, but I was anxious to do the things that were scheduled. I guess God had other plans, R & R!
I sometimes don't take time for myself. Don't take time for friends, to really develop those relationships. This was the perfect time to do that. It took me a little while, but, I was able to be grateful to God for the down time, for the BEAUTIFUL scenery and for getting everyone home safe! Lessons learned or reinforced...take time for me, relationships and gratefulness.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
This morning as I was taking my shower, I realized I was grateful to God for so many simple things that I used to take for granted. They are the numerous things that I don't have while living in Lawra, Ghana. Oh, many are available in Ghana, just not where I live. While in the United States, I have been grateful for:
~ hot and cold running water
~ stable electricity
~ drinking water from the tap
~ rocking chairs and recliners
~ very nice roads on which to drive
~ nice, clean rest areas while traveling
~ heath care that is easy accessible
~ no bugs at night while I am reading in bed
~ worship in my heart language
~ grocery stores filled with familiar foods
~ Christian book stores
~ Christian radio stations
~ home delivery of mail
~ consistent telephone service
~ a variety of vegetables
~ easy banking without long lines
~ excellent Internet access
~ shampoo and conditioner
~ pump hand soap
~ decaf hazelnut coffee and hazelnut creamer
~ seasonal decorations
~ the ability to flush toilet paper down the toilet
~ garbage and recycling pick-up
~ Bible study books
~ wooden snack tables
~ fun dishes and coffee mugs
~ stamping/card making supplies
~ heat when it is cold
~ a/c when it is hot
~ machines that wash your clothes...no hand washing needed!
~ lack of okra
Friday, January 4, 2013
Yesterday I was driving on Interstate 79 South. I was on my way to the dental specialist in Robinson Township. I was thanking God that the directions were simple and the office would be easy to find. I was listening to KLove radio, a really nice Christian station. The closer I got to Robinson, the more uptight I felt. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. And, the heavier the traffic got, the more stressed I felt. And, all at once all the stress of the last few months hit me. I wanted to pull over and just sit and cry. I kept thinking about all the driving I had done during the last few months, in all kinds of weather and how many times I spoke in churches and other venues and how long I have been here and not in Ghana and how long it takes a dental implant from start to finish and how hard waiting is and now I have to go to a voice specialist and I have to drive fron Erie to Pittsburgh to see the voice specialist and what about changing my tickets and I miss my kids and I miss my home and did I ever mention that it is COLD and SNOWY here and...
So, I finally arrived at the dental office. I was early, so, I checked email, etc. Then, when I had my appointment, I found out my implant is healing nicely. THANK YOU, JESUS! So, I call the travel service to change my tickets and the tickets that were previously available weren't anymore. My choices were for a flight a few days before the crown will be placed in my mouth or March 3rd. Now, I am leaving for Ghana even later than planned, March 3rd! I could hardly stand the ache in my heart. I want to go home. I want to see my kids. I want to sleep in my own bed. I want to...
Notice anything wrong here? It's all I and my and me and mine. And, in reality, it's not about I and my and me and mine. It's all about God and living a life that reflects Him and glorifies Him and leads people to Jesus. My mindset yesterday failed in many ways. I know that God has plans for my time here. Five years ago, I needed to take voice lessons to strengthen my vocal chords. Maybe that has to happen again. Maybe there is something else He wants me to do. Who knows? Not me. Obviously, I am not in charge here, He is.
Lord, forgive me for not placing my trust in You. Forgive me for getting stressed out and not turning to You right from the beginning. Help me to accept these things that I cannot change. Thank You, that I am in a place where specialised medical care is available. Thank You for a vehicle to drive. Thank You for providing for me while I am in "Your Waiting Room." Help me to see You in all circumstances. May I glorify You in all things. Lord, Just like I prayed four days ago..."I am no longer my own but Thine..." In Your Son,Jesus' name I pray, amen and amen!
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
From John Wesley's Covenant Service , 1780
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.