On a Mission: 48 hours+ back in the United States recap.

I find it every difficult to accurately put into written language what I experienced between the dates of December 26th and January 7th. I have had several people ask if we had fun on our trip. Fun isn’t an appropriate.  Sure, we played games with the boys and experienced fun things, but overall, the trip wasn’t fun.  Eye-opening, for sure.  Humbling?  That’s like saying I like chocolate.  Is that statement true?  Absolutely!  But it doesn’t fully describe why I like it, when I like to have it, which grade or which style I prefer.  It couldn’t possibly communicate the satisfaction or delight I have when the first bite melts on my tongue.  And we’re just talking about chocolate. The bible says in Issaiah 55:

8“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.

“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

9For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so my ways are higher than your ways

and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

I understand what happened during our stay in India in my soul far better than I can pretend to convey in words or pictures.  You will have to come with me next time to fully grasp what happened.

I am going to do my best to go day by day and recap what was experienced, funny sayings, God appointments and the such but right now I am just not sure I can do it.  God was definitely in the middle of all things and he is so good.  He has show myself, and I feel it safe to say our whole group, that we are disgustingly privileged beyond measure as Americans.  God purposed to have all 14 team members born here in the United States and not somewhere else in the world for a reason.  I am just not 100% sure what that reason is yet.  It is by His grace that I write to you in my warm and safe home where I am pretty sure we will eat tomorrow.  It’s only by His grace.

In the next paragraphs, I will attempt to explain why I am in the state of mind that I am in…not being about to form a clearly communicated thought.  Right now, at nearly 6 am on Friday the 9th, I find myself able to sit up on my own without swaying back and forth.  My entire body doesn’t ache, my ears don’t feel like they rupture anymore.  When swallowing, mere glass shards are felt instead of full sized razorblades.  Nausea has passed.  It is a good day.

Let me back up to Tuesday morning, 7:30am Jaipur time.  All 14 team members are waking up, gathering their belongings and preparing to head downstairs to the restaurant for breakfast.  Once all of that is done we move all said belongings to the lobby where we turn in our keys and say goodbye to any form of bed for the next two days.  From there, we spent the day finishing up gift shopping, eating at India’s version of KFC and walked through the historic Jaipur district, also known as the Pink City.

When we left the hotel, we headed to our friend’s house for a cooking tutorial of how to make authentic Indian chai.  Before getting on the buss to Dehli, we went to their version of Wal-Mart to pick up authentic spices to take home and recreate it!  Several years ago, my sister introduced me to chai at Starbucks and I fell in love.  Little did I know that years later I would find myself in a country where it is found on every street corner, available for pennies a cup, and served at least 3 times a day.  Starbucks is good, but authentic chai is much better.  MMmmmm…

Once we left their house, we went to downtown Jaipur and shopped at Rajasthali.  It’s a four-level department store with everything from framed paintings and marble items to textiles and woodworking.  Though many people bought items to take home to family and friends, we didn’t find anything we had to have.  I’m sure part of that is because this is when I started to feel less than 100%.  My throat started hurting and my ears began to feel like they had pressure behind them.

Seatbelt laws don't apply in India.  Nor do you have to adhere to the suggested seating numbers.  At one point in the trip we had 13 people in this vehicle.

Seatbelt laws don’t apply in India. Nor do you have to adhere to the suggested seating numbers. At one point in the trip we had 13 people in this vehicle.

Part of our group waiting for the rest of the group to finish at Rajasthali.

Part of our group waiting for the rest of the group to finish at Rajasthali.

After we shopped, we went to KCF, India style!  Most of us got chicken tenders, fries and a drink.  The chicken was great, the fries weren’t like they make them here and the drink was cold.  All in all it was a great trip.  It facinates me how differently other cultures translate things.  I don’t mean just in language but in the way they portray things.  See pictures below:

It seems most places deliver where we were.  KFC does it by motorcycle.

It seems most places deliver where we were. KFC does it by motorcycle.

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Part of our team waiting to order.  I think the majority of us just got chicken tenders (which were really good), fries and a drink.  They cook their fries in a different kind of oil so they were different than we expected but all in all, it was good.

Part of our team waiting to order.  This is done on ground level and then you go upstairs for seating.    I think the majority of us just got chicken tenders (which were really good), fries and a drink. They cook their fries in a different kind of oil so they were different than we expected but all in all, it was good.

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Selfies...even in India!

Selfies…even in India!

Melissa giving Tangy Sauce (Ketchup...sort of) a try.

Melissa giving Tangy Sauce (Ketchup…sort of) a try.

Once we finished eating, we had about an hour and a half before we had to load up and go back to our friend’s appartment.  We had to allow enough time for a few to go to a music store to pick up drums like we used in our worship time with the nationals and for the women to run to the store to get the spices for chai.  Seven of us decided to head to the Pink City to check it out.  Scott, our fearless leader, had never been there before and he has been to India I don’t know how many times.  It was an adventure for sure.

One of three gates to the old city.  The Pink City is the original layout of the original city of Jaipur.  There isn't much of a difference between the two sides of the gate, but it was fun to say we'd been there!

One of three gates to the old city. The Pink City is the original layout of the original city of Jaipur. There isn’t much of a difference between the two sides of the gate, but it was fun to say we’d been there!

Truth be told, the gates are more orange than pink.  India is kind of like that.  You many be told one thing, but you come to expect something completely different.  In all of my research of India before we went, it was often said that India is full of contradictions. We, too found that to be true a time or two.

Pink City is full of...basically mini storages side by side by side by side with apartments above.

Pink City is full of…basically mini storages side by side by side by side with apartments above.

One of the things you can see in this picture is kites.  The kites are part of the Kite Festival which will take place on the 14th.  Kids and adults alike will try to fly these kites to see who can fly A. the highest and B. the longest.  The first 20 feet of string closest to the kite is coated in glass.  When the kite is in flight, each person tries to cut other people’s kite strings.  I wish we could have seen it!  The festival takes place on the 14th which will be…Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

It had been several hours since we had taken chai, so we sought out the closest chai stand.  We crossed the street and found this little, traditional stand.  There we met a group of Muslims how educated us on the five-per-day call to prayer that can be heard all over the city.  Very informative.

pink city chai

All of that conversation was going on while we waited for our cups to be poured and served.  They serve it straight from the big pots right into plastic cups thinner than Solo brand cups and much much smaller, too.  It is a mystery to me how this near boiling mixture doesn’t melt right through!  When it is handed to you, you have to hold it by the thicker rim at the top.  One, because the hot liquid isn’t there and two, because the plastic is thicker and harder there.  Theoretically that means it’s safer to hold there.  Unless you are me.

Have I mentioned that they serve chai VERY HOT and in thin plastic cups?

Have I mentioned that they serve chai VERY HOT and in thin plastic cups?

I was contributing to conversation and having a great time until…the upper lip of my cup snapped, the cup caved in causing the liquid the temperature of lava to flow down my arm.  It was pure luck that my friend took this picture when she did.  I am gasping for air…it burned so bad.  Eventually, the chai man swapped my cup and poured it’s remaining contents into another cup.

There were cows everywhere in India.  They believe that their ansestors are reincarnated into cows so they don't kill them and certainly don't eat them.  This cow was just hanging out on the road.  Just...hanging out!

There were cows everywhere in India. They believe that their ancestors are reincarnated into cows so they don’t kill them and certainly don’t eat them. This cow was just hanging out on the road. Just…hanging out!

One of our team members is 17 and came with her parents.  At one point, we had to make our way through a herd of cows and bulls on a very narrow side street.  There were cow pies EVERYWHERE and if there wasn’t one of those, then there was an actual cow/bull.  Feeling overwhelmed and without thinking, she yells, “Holy COW!”  We couldn’t help but crack up because, well…there, they are considered holy!

Scott ordered some hushpuppy-like things from a street vendor and he shared them with Josh and me.  Whoooooooo weee!  They were HOT!  That was my second adventure eating food from street vendors.  Later, I will share about pani puri.

We made it back to our rendezvous point (KFC) pretty much on time.  We saw half of our group on the other side of the street so we each had to make our way over there to be together.  Want to see how to cross the street in India?

Afterwards we went back to our friend’s apartment and Josh went to buy drums for the boys while I bought chai supplies.  Our host family’s wife had a birthday that day (Jan 5th) so we sang happy birthday to her, ate cupcakes and ordered pizza to take on the road with us.  Once it arrived, we loaded all belongings into the bus and made our way to Dehli via bus.  This bus was supposed to be nicer than all busses we had been on but several still got sick.

Dehli greeted us at about 12:00am on the 6th.  By this time, our team had been up for 17 hours.  We went right away to check in, get bags checked and headed to immigration.  At this point I had body aches and was sore all over.  My throat was hurting  pretty bag, too.  Immigration could also be called the inner depths of hell, the iron grid, a long winding hallway with a thousand people pushing/cutting/yelling/cussing to get to the end to claim free money.  There was one…1…one security guard.  Like one guy can control that many people.  I cannot describe the heat, attitude or atmosphere…the stress, anxiety and tension we went through.  It was horrible.  This alone will make me seriously examine things a second time when deciding to go back.  The Dehli airport.  Ahhh!

Because it took us so long to get through security (our flight was at 3:25, they were holding the plane for us) and immigration, we literally had to RUN to our gate, somewhat ushered by a British Airways employee.  We all get checked in only to find out one of our team mates didn’t get her bag stamped when we checked in before immigration.  She had to go back to a secondary check point to get her bag checked again and stamped.   When she was there we learned that earlier in the day a bomb threat had been made on a flight headed to London so they just had to be sure.  Great… so after all of the stress through security, running to the gate, now we have supposed bomb threats to flights going to London?  Enough is enough, folks…

We get on the plane finally.  I wasn’t able to sit with our team because of original seating arrangements and the fact we were the last to board the aircraft.  All I wanted to do was go to sleep, get off of this plane and make it on to my next connecting flight.  I don’t remember much of that flight except for the horrible food.  Up to this point plane food had been awesome.  Not so much this time.  It was an English breakfast of sorts but it just wasn’t so yummy this time.  I was just glad to hear the tires hit the pavement in London and the “fasten seatbelt sign” go off.

It was very clear to me

at this point that I was coming down with something more than just a sore throat.  My head was killing me.  I couldn’t stay awake, I was coughing and my entire body was wanting nothing more than to crawl in my bed and sleep.  Unfortnately I had a 6 hour layover (I think) in London and another nine hour flight plus another four hour car ride until we reached home sweet home.  We made our way through security again and then found our gate.  A gate.

I settled into a chair in the airport and napped for about an hour, I think.  Josh went on a search for a charging station so we could get some juice back into our electronics.  When he got back I set out to find Starbucks.  I had really wanted to find mugs from India and from London.  Unfortunately I didn’t find the first but I did find the second.  🙂  I also got a Peppermint Mocha but it wasn’t like they make it at home.  I paid nearly five pounds for it so I felt like I had to finish it.  Ughhh…  Josh and I got some lunch once resturants started serving.  I didn’t have much of an appitite but figured I could at least finish a burger.  Boy was I wrong.  I took a couple bites and had a few fries and that was all I could stomach. Josh ordered a “Take away bag” and we went back to our seats.  It was about then that we realized that our flight was moved to gate C.  That meant we had to go back down to main level and take the transit over to another terminal and take the trek back down that terminal.  I was near to tears the whole time.  My body just didn’t want to go anymore.  All I wanted to do was sleep.

After sitting in our gate for a bit I looked at my ticket and realized that I had been upgraded from coach seating to World Traveller Plus!  That meant I got a choice of nicer meals, more elbow room, bigger TV screens, better earphones, nicer pillows, more drinks and a few more snacks.  I was very happy to learn this because I really really really really wanted to be able to sleep in a more comfortable place.  I got to my seat and snuggled in.   I got the first flight attendant I could and asked for water to take my motion sickness meds.  I took those down and attempted to start a movie.  “Jersey Boys.”  It was a movie about the Four Seasons.  Because of a broken tug, the little vehicle that pushes the plane back from the gate so it can taxi to the runway, we had to sit for nearly 40 minutes.  Thankfully I had my blanket, a pillow and a good movie to pass the time.  When we finally took off, snacks came around pretty quickly.  I was glad to have something to drink but I had really wished I could have had something warm because I was sooooo cold, even with my sweatshirt and blanket.  I am actually suprised they let me on the flight without checking me out first.  Praise God they didn’t, because I probably wouldn’t have been able to board the plane.  I was officially sick.  Dinner came around.  I ordered Filet of Beef with roasted potatoes, baby carrots, fancy bread roll, caramel dessert and some other things.  REALLY NICE meal.  I opened the foil and closed it again.  I took the water off of the tray and passed everything else over to one of my fellow team members who also got an upgraded ticket.  I went to sleep and didn’t wake up again until the captain came on to say we were scheduled to land in Atlanta in 40 minutes.

At that point they were serving breakfast so I flagged the flight attendant down and asked to be served since he had already passed my row.  I ate the biscuit and jelly and attempted to eat the chicken salad sandwich.  I did take the water and drank it slowly.

As soon as my feet hit US soil a small part of me rejoiced.  It was an interesting feeling.  I was sad to have that small chapter of my life done, rejoicing because it was one step closer to my bed and yet another part dreading the 4+ hour car ride home.  We made it through all of the check points, customs, etc with no problem.  We collected our bags and met our church family at the doors.  It was so nice to hear English and see familiar faces.  I enjoyed my time in India but there truly is no place like home.

Part of the way home, we stopped at a Wendy’s for a burger.  I just couldn’t stomach the thought of eating so I just got a drink.  We got back on the road and at one point had to take a detour because of road construction.  Outside of that, we had an uneventful trip home.  The last twenty miles were the longest.  Finally we reached our home church, gathered our bags and headed home.  We decided we would leave our bags in the garage and deal with them in the morning.  The needed to air out anyway from being in India for two weeks.  I took a nice, hot shower and then went to bed.

By this time, our team had been traveling, without a bed for 53 hours.  Needless to say, that was a very long awaited moment.

I woke up the next morning at 5:30 I felt like death warmed over.  I made the decision to stay up until 8 to see if I could get chiropractor appointments for both of us.  Our backs and joints were hurting so badly.  I wasn’t able to get in with our chiropractor so we called the local one that we used to go to before insurance changed.  We made appointments for both.  We made one for that day (the7th of Jan) and then another one with our chiropractor for the following weeks.  I needed it so bad.  I figured if I could get my neck in line, maybe all of the pressure and congestion would go away.  While it did help it didn’t solve everything.  I had planned to go to a walk in care clinic afterward but decided to give the adjustment and massage time to work. The therapist who worked on me for an hour said I felt as bad as some of her better MS patients.  I don’t doubt it.  I felt better but far from all better.

By the time I got home my mother-in-law had gotten to my house with my boys.  It was so good to see them but I couldn’t fully enjoy the moment because I felt so crappy.  At 2:00pm, I had to go take a nap.  I slept until the next morning(8th of Jan).

I woke up and knew I had to go to the walk in clinic.  I was there when the doors opened.  They did a urine annalysis, took two viles of blood and gave me a bag of fluids.  It took them three times to finally get into my veins.  Yuck.  Man did that hurt!  I did feel a little bit better after the fluids but was still far from better.  I was given instructions to rest as much as possible and to wait for their call the next day (9th of Jan) which would show my results from the blood tests.  As of noon on the 9th I still hadn’t heard from them.  I am really not concerned because after I got home from there, I took their advice and went back to bed.  I didn’t wake up until 2am on the 9th.  That’s a Friday.  For the first time in DAYS I finally felt a little bit better.  As a matter of fact I got up and made breakfast and even had two of our team memebers over to help us eat it all.  I actually ate a full plate of food!

Finally I can say I am on the mend.  However, as you can see I have had a really full, stressful and sick filled last few days.  I am just not sure I can relay everything I’d like to about the days of our trip right now.  Hopefully I will be able to work on it more and more as the days go on.  Please pray for me and the rest of the team to recover 100%.  We’ve been through so much in the last few days.

Cheers,
Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Get Answers to Your Prayers

Susan is on the left, myself in the middle and my friend Liz is on the right.

Susan is on the left, myself in the middle and my friend Liz is on the right.

Andy and Susan Lepper were in town this weekend!  The last time we saw them was clear back in April when they came to speak to our church about their children’s home in Alwar, Rajasthan in the country of India.  The day after they left, we agreed to go on the vision trip to India to seek a location and pray for God’s direction regarding full time service there. We will be spending a few days with their boys when we travel in December!  It was SOooo good to see them again!  We spoke of their expectations of us while we are there, what we have seen God do in our lives and prayed for each other.

Truth be told, I was SO looking forward to their visit.  I had been for a while, but I had a vendor event on Saturday that I was stressing about.  I didn’t have the inventory that I would have liked to have had.  My organza gift bags weren’t sewn.  I had to pack up my supplies.  I was possibly short a helper for my table without a replacement in sight.  My youngest son had cough that was marginally helped by Claritin but was still nasty nasty. I was super stressed out between those things and small quarrels amongst my family.   I seriously considered staying at home and working all things out and, to be honest, wallow in my self-pity of things not going the way I thought they should.  I would have missed out on hugs, conversation and best of all hearing my three-year-old pray and be used by God!

Susan had expressed her desire to be a biological mother.  She and Andy have forty boys in India whom they provide for daily and whom they love very much (Check them  out at www.nolongerorphans.org ).  Her heart’s desire, however, is to carry a child of her own.  I shared with her Matthew 18:10:

“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.”

I have seen three times where I have had my children pray for people to be with child and God answered their prayers.  Let me be clear, it is God’s will that we fill the Earth.  When we, especially kids, pray in faith, according to His will, we will see mountains move!  I experienced this first hand.  Jackson wanted another sibling and set to praying.  God changed my entire body, He changed my cycle even.  The day I got pregnant should have been a safe day where natural family planning is concerned.  Ha, well, on July 4th of 2010 I got the unexpected pink + sign on a home pregnancy test.  Jackson was THRILLED, I was confused, Josh was panicking to say the least.  I can imagine God was filled with joy seeing Jackson praising him with excitement.  “God answered my prayers!  He actually listened!”  It built both of our faith for sure.

Then there is Gage’s preschool teacher. We prayed for her every night as a part of his bedtime routine.  When we returned to school after summer break, she was pregnant!

A couple in our church had been trying for years and were told they would never have their own by doctors.  Their son is around the 6 month mark I believe.

Back to Susan.  She was telling me how she believed that Matthew 18:10 was true because her Papa at her orphanage when she was growing up used to tell her that all the time. I asked her if Peyton could pray with her and she agreed.  Here’s how it went:

ME: Peyton, Mrs. Susan really wants God to put a baby in her tummy.  Would you pray and ask God to put a baby in her tummy?

Peyton:  Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. (If you know Peyton on a personal level, you know how that sounded) *Climbs up in my lap next to Susan*

ME: Ok, let’s pray. *Folded hands, head bowed*

Peyton: Dear God, please put two babies in Mrs. Susan’s tummy.  Thank you.  Amen.  (I am laughing at this point…where does he come up with these things?)

Susan: Why are you laughing?

ME: Did you hear what he said?

Susan: NO, What did he say?

I repeated what he prayed to her.

Susan: *Stunned face*  THAT’s what I have been praying for!!

I am speechless at this point.  She didn’t say anything remotely close to twins in our conversation.  She even told me the names she has picked out.  There was no way Peyton overheard anything in our conversation.  He just prayed what he felt.  I am so convinced that God will provide in this way for the Leppers.

I am so thankful that I got off of my rear and went to visit with friends.   I am so excited to meet them again on their home field.  I am excited to see the work that God accomplishes through these friendships.  Not to mention the faith built by holding each other up in prayer and seeing things come to fruition.

Cheers,
Andrea

PS: I can’t wait to see the kurtis you pick out Susan!  And I promise not to attempt to pronounce that word without your language coaching.  No need for profanity here.

Beauty in Poverty

Claire's Dominican Summer

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On Saturday I went back to Po Plume, a little town right across the border into Haiti. The organization that runs this children’s home also sponsors this town through a church and school. I went with Caila, another intern, two translators, and a doctor. The doctor did the Saturday clinic but the rest of us went to work on Caila’s research project for Washington Universtiy. She is researching the nutritional status and overall living condition of the people there by going house to house with her questionnaire. We got the heights and weights of the family and heard about their daily food intake and occupations. We did finger pricks to get hemoglobin levels in the kids. Obviously the kids did not love that part but we gave them candy. They were lucky because our machine stopped working so we couldn’t do many. All of the kids were anemic, meaning they…

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I’d Rather Have Crowns in Heaven than Crowns in My Mouth

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I went in today to have my crowns seated.  If you haven’t followed my dentist drama over the past month or more go here.  Needless to say it’s been a long, long period of time and I’m sorry to say it’s only going to continue.  The two crowns didn’t fit.  One had a significant “rock” in it meaning it didn’t sit flush with my tooth prepared under the crown.  The other one just didn’t fit.  The dentist kept saying, “You are remarkably understanding with everything you have gone through.  I really appreciate it.”  Truth of the matter is this.  I have an obligation to be an example of Christ.  It doesn’t pay to yell and scream.  It isn’t going to make the teeth fit any better.  And to be honest, it’s par for the course where dental work is concerned for me.  I have grown to almost expect hitches along the way.

On the 13th of June, my husband and I are traveling to the Dominican Republic for a mission trip.  I made it clear that I needed to have my teeth in my mouth by then so that I didn’t have to worry about anything while I was out of the country.  Please pray nothing else happens with this process.  We took new impressions today so hopefully everything will be great with the new crowns the lab will be making.

Please pray these new crowns will come in on time and fit like a glove.

Cheers,
Andrea

Why Do You Fear the Dentist?

The last eight days of my life have been spent in bed or walking around like a zombie because of pain killers.  What could make me feel this way?  Teeth.

Three weeks ago I went in to have my teeth cleaned and to have a total exam because I hadn’t been in in two years.  I knew I needed extensive work done so I braced myself for the news once the dentist had time to review my xrays.  It actually wasn’t as bad as I originally thought!  Sweet!  He said I was going to need three crowns, 1 filling and an extraction.  I can handle that!  I went ahead and made an appointment to have it all done the two weeks from then.

Lets fast forward to the day of my appointment.  Oh and let’s also back up at the same time for me to explain that I have a HORRIBLE fear of all things dental work.  I hate the pain associated with it. I hate the vibration feeling in my mouth.  Do I have to talk about all of the complications I have dealt with regarding dental work?  I can’t stand to hear dental work being done and I don’t like the smell of the office.  I’d rather not even drive past the dentist office.  When I was little bitty (four or five probably)  I was getting a filling from a dentist who didn’t care for kids.  No compassion was in this man’s body I don’t think.  He begins working and I start screaming because I could feel everything he was doing.  Everything.  I begged him to stop and he told me to shut up.  This was far enough ago that parents weren’t allowed in the waiting room.  I am not sure it would have done any good though because when I got out to the waiting room, my mom commented that she could hear me “giving the dentist a hard time.”  She heard me and didn’t even do anything to help.  I could tell you about my first extraction when I was in 6th grade.  How the dentist, a different one than before, accidently hit a nerve when he was giving me the Novocain shot which resulted in my very first migraine headache.  Once I got out on my own I learned there was something called laughing gas.  It could be administered during your visit to help to chill your nerves and make the dental work a little easier.  Where do I sign up??   I was hooked!  Cleanings, procedures…Gas please!

Everything was wonderful on gas until the day in 2008 when I went in for a root canal and used gas.  Actually the gas wasn’t the problem.  The fact that it slowed my thought process down enough for me to forget to tell the endodontist that I needed double shots to dumb me, that one dos isn’t enough.  You know how they give you the shot and then let you sit for 10-15 minutes while it kicks in?  On gas, that’s when my brain decides it’s time to take a quick nap.  I didn’t realize I hadn’t told the dentist until he was working that I hadn’t informed him of my need for an extra dos.  So picture this:  His hands and instruments are in my mouth, my brain realizes something’s wrong but I can’t get my thoughts straightened out until it was too late.  All of a sudden he begins drilling out the nerve in the tooth he was working in and my body responded without me even having to think about it.  My knees shot up to my chest and I assumed a fetal position right there in the chair.  Apparently they had a cart rolled up beside the chair that also went over my body.  On that cart was a tray of all of the instruments needed to do a root canal.  Are you following what happened as my knees shot up?  Yep, the tray with little instruments went everywhere!  The dentist begins yelling, the assistant is scurrying around trying to find the instruments and opening a new instrument kit, all the while I am freaking out because, again my brain is about 30 seconds behind reality.  I apologized and then began breathing VERY deeply to try to calm myself down.  During that visit I learned a very valuable lesson.  NEVER do that when you are hooked to laughing gas.  It will make you sick.  I began to feel like I was going to throw up.  I am trying to tell everyone this inevitable act is about to happen and thankfully they understood me. I was sat up, mask of gas taken off of my mouth and I proceed to throw up everything I had had for a week.  There’s more to the story but that should paint a pretty big picture of how things went.

After that, I had a few things done but my anxiety about the dentist was at such a high that I barely went in for cleanings.  I found a pediatric dentist who would give gas during cleanings and advertised to “cater to cowards.”  Great!  That brings us to the time I started telling at the beginning.  My husband took out a flex spending account last year because of the amount of work I need to get done to my poor mouth and we realized we only had like three weeks to get those funds used or we’d use it.  The dentist I had been going to didn’t have the available appointment slots to get the work done that I needed so I contacted a local dentist.  They were able to get me in right away for a consultation and cleaning so that was good.  However…they don’t have gas.  I literally cried when I realized I was going to have to do it without gas.  I told them from the first visit (consultation) about my fear of dental work and they assured me they would look me up with sedatives to make it easier for me.  As scared as I was to trust them, I agreed because, well I only had a limited amount of time to get the work done and they had the openings to do it.

The consultation goes great.  Xrays showed that my teeth weren’t as bad as I had thought and that several of my teeth were actually able to be saved!  We all agreed I should first get my teeth cleaned and then schedule a time to have the rest of the work done.  Sweet!  Three crowns, 1 filling and one tooth that just needed pulled would all be done in one shot.  They prescribed anxiety meds for me to take before the cleaning.  Unfortunately they didn’t kick in until an hour after my appointment.  When they did kick in everything was GREAT…for me!  I don’t remember the rest of the day!  My family has stories they could tell about how I acted on that medication, but thankfully they don’t have my blog password!  The plan for the day of the procedure was for me to take this same medication so needless to say I met with them and had them tweak things a bit so I would be out for the procedures, not just afterward.  They were so good to work with me and accommodate my fears.

The procedure comes and goes.  I remember hearing things during the procedure but it was almost as if I were dreaming.  I don’t remember whole conversations just bits and pieces.  For example:  “This tooth isn’t salvageable like we thought.” “Trauma,”  “This tooth is making me earn my keep today!”  “blood pressure,”  “IV,” “we are getting close to the half life [of the drugs].”  Because I wasn’t really thinking none of these comments bothered me at all.  Until afterwards when I started asking questions.  Apparently the two extractions didn’t go as planned.  Instead of my appointment taking an hour and a half (the half life of the drugs), it took two and a half hours.  Apparently the medication relaxed me so much that my blood pressure dropped quickly, forcing them to have to start an IV in my arm to bring it back up.  When I got home, I went straight to bed.  I woke up with an ear ache that hurt so bad I couldn’t even cry. My jaw hurt like I had been hit with a sledge hammer, my head was killing me!  This song and dance went on until Friday.  I was hurting so bad my hands, arms and legs were shaking.  Not only that I was having trouble breathing.  Friday morning I called the dentist and requested to be seen.  The soonest “work in” appointment was at 10:30.  I broke down in tears to the woman on the phone and begged to be seen sooner but it didn’t work.  I went in a half hour early and was sitting in the waiting room when one of the two dentist there the day of the procedure walked by and tried to wave and joke with me but then saw the tears streaming down my face. I was taken back to a private room right away to be seen.  They were so good to make me comfortable and to reassure me.  They called in antibiotics and stronger pain meds because the prescription I had been given wasn’t touching the pain at all but was making me sick to my stomach.  I stopped taking it all together.  The conclusion was that I had two cases of dry socket and a secondary infection.  They told me I could call the emergency line anytime over the weekend if I needed anything else.  Not wanting to bother anyone, I waited until Monday to call.  The pain was significantly better but I could tell it wasn’t all the way fixed.  Once again they packed the back socket with the antibiotic gel stuff.  Yesterday was great!  I didn’t have to take any pain meds at all!  Today is Tuesday, one week after the original procedure and one day after the second packing.  I have been very uncomfortable and had to take pain meds again today.  I was told if this second packing didn’t work, we would have to make an appointment to have my socket “scraped” which I’m told jump starts my body into the healing process.

I am still on a soft/liquid diet.  I am ready to eat but most of all, I’m ready for the pain to go away.  I want to get outside and run again.  I long to be able to get up and go about my day without having to take pills just to get through.

Will you pray for me please?  Also pray blessings for the families who have sacrificed to bring my family dinner and for those who have brought shakes and protein powder for me to have during this time.  I feel so love and grateful for all of you!

Cheers,
Andrea

PS:  I am not going back to proofread this because it’s time for another pain pill.  I just don’t have it in me so hopefully my thoughts aren’t clouded by horrible grammar and spelling errors!

I just don’t get it…

tennessee snow

Seriously, I don’t get it.  Snow could be in the forecast as a dusting and you won’t be able to find bread, milk or eggs anywhere….

Can someone enlighten me?  What are people making with bread, milk and eggs?  French toast?  Egg sandwiches??  Does cold weather make people want to eat those things???

Cheers,
Andrea

You want me to move where and do what?!

He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.
– Venerable Bede

Over the last month, my family and I have been packing up all of our belongings in preparation to transport them to our new home across town.  You see, God has given us an amazing opportunity to get out of the house that has major issues (structurally and otherwise), into a home which has been maintained with utmost care.  Even still, it was a very hard decision for my family to make.  We LOVE our neighbors at the house we are in now.  Two of our neighbors go to church with us.  Across the street is a retired couple who adore our boys.  However, we would have to give up our family dog whom we’ve had for three years if we moved.

My oldest son with our 3 year old black Great Dane that we have recently found a new home for. His name is Cooper.

My oldest son with our 3 year old black Great Dane that we have recently found a new home for. His name is Cooper.

 At the new house, we would have more space, a newer (in age) space, less yard maintenance, further away from the local grocery store where the prices are much higher and easy to walk to on a whim, a perfectly measured out 1.1 mile loop for race training and other members of our church live there.  There were definitely pros and cons to both places.

Two weeks ago, I was sitting in church and our pastor introduced his 4 week sermon series that he was kicking off that week.  Guess what it was about…Money.  Yes Money.  We’ve all heard those sermons before…

  • “You aren’t fully trusting God unless you are giving your tithe, or 10% of your income.”
  • “Money is the root of all evil…don’t hold on to your money too tightly.”
  • “We have an exciting time coming up for our church family!  We are going to triple the size of our church’s structure.  We need you to commit to tithing and an extra 10% because let’s face it, Baby needs a new pair of shoes!”
  • “We are going to take up a love offering to help the poor.  Give more than you want to because if you don’t you will go home and your cabinets will catch on fire, your house will collapse and your family dog will fall out with convulsions.”

Ok no maybe not the last two verbatim, but don’t you feel like that sometimes after money sermons?  Yea I know the feeling.  This time it was different.  Instead of “Give give give or you are going to hell,”  Pastor Scott made some very good points.  He told us that giving is more than just a concern of financial means.  It also includes time and talent.  Money is such a small part of it.  The big part  of all of the “giving” a Christian is called to do deals with discipleship and our relationship with God.  He made the main point like this:

Until you realize that you were bought at a price, through Christ, and everything you you are and have are his, you will never understand what is being asked of you as a Christian.  Your mind, body, soul, house, family, money, time…it’s all Gods that He has given to use to use for his glory!  It’s not yours to begin with.  Use those things as he would use them.

For some reason, it really hit home with me.  Not really the money part but the part that our home doesn’t belong to us, that he gives us the home we are supposed to have so that we can serve him with it by way of outreach, ministry use and whatever else he decides to do with it.  There is no reason we should have been able to obtain this home, so it became the focus of my thinking and praying.  “God are you telling me that we should move to this new home because you have a plan to use it for your glory?”  Hummmm, I camped there for the rest of that Sunday.

The next day I got my phone out to read my reading plan for that day.  I am reading the bible through in a year, chronologically.  Currently I am in Isaiah, chapter 40ish, or I was at the time.  Anyway, my childcare kiddos had arrived by that time so I selected the “read to me” option.  I push play and am floored because instead of reading the scripture like it was supposed to, a sermon by Malcom Heading came on from almost a year ago.  Guess what the first thing was he said…

You were bought with a price!  Don’t you know that everything you have has been given to you by God?  All of it is his on loan to you for you to use for his Will.  Your body, mind, soul, house, family, money, time…all of it is on loan from him and he could take it away at any moment if you aren’t using it for what he’s given it to you for…

I could…NOT…believe what I was hearing.  Two days in a row, nearly the exact same message.  Clearly God was telling me what we were supposed to do.  Clearly he has a plan to use that house for something big and he wants my family to be the ones to carry it out.  Who was I to say no?

That day we agreed to take the property and had our pastor over to pray a prayer of submission to what God wants for us in this season of our lives.  I had decided the first thing I would do once we got in the new home was to go around and meet the neighbors as I do each time we move to a new area.  I fully plan to make little baskets to give each family as a friendly way to establish a positive relationship.  Soon I will do a blog on what exactly I plan to give each family but right now I’m still not 100% decided.  There’s a conversation going on over on facebook if you want to give your ideas.

Fast forward to last week.  Our church has just started a new outreach ministry called “S.H.A.R.E.” which stands for Share Him And Reach Everyone.  I am planning to sign my family up for their outreach opportunities so figured I’d see what their upcoming events were.  Take a wild guess what the one in November is…yep…  “Neighborhood Outreach.”  Looks like I will be starting that one early and then following up with them in November!  Just another bit of confirmation for God himself.

We have been in the transition stage for a couple of weeks now and will complete this portion of the move on the 23rd and 24th of August.  Stay tuned for more updates and to witness God’s full plan with this house.  I, like I said before, will be sharing the friendship baskets with you all.  Please be praying that God uses these baskets as a way to open up communication and fellowship with those who will be living right around us.  Mother Teresa says we need to be concerned with our neighbors.  I pray that our family can be that light of hope in our neighborhood.

In parting, let me show you what our school room is shaping up like:

From the front door.

From the front door.

From the book cases (see other picture).

From the book cases (see other picture).

My goal is to have it look like a normalish room as people walk in but then from inside the room it is supposed to look more exciting and fun for the kids.  I still have a few things to bring in but all in all it’s coming together.

Cheers,
Andrea