August 05, 2014

Answered Prayers

It's been ages.  I apologize.  But ohmygosh I had no idea how fast life would become after hitting the tarmac at Charlotte Douglas International.

So here's a quick recap - remember our list?
Here are just a few (amazing) ways we've been checking it off.

Rest & Refreshment - 
Phoenix for 2 months + a pool in the backyard.  'nuff said.  :)

Seriously though, we had a nice & slow pace in Phoenix and it was extremely refreshing.  We spent a lot of time in the pool & Owen had his own room and big kid bed (which he loved) so Bill & I had a lot of free time in the evenings to relax and catch up on TV shows using the amazingly fast internet.
Unexpected Opportunities - 
God answered this one in a rather {unexpected} way.  I think he was trying to be ironic.
When we prayed for this, we prayed for unexpected opportunities to be able to share our story and spread the word about what God is doing in Tanzania.  What God gave us was some crazy-amazing unexpected opportunities to bond and connect with families.
We got to meet Bill's cousin that he hadn't seen in over a decade, and I had never met.  We hit it off immediately and had such a great time with them!
We ended up being only 5 miles away so we got to hang out all the time!  They're members at some local museums so we got free admission into the childrens' museum and the science center - such a blessing!

We had no idea how close we would get to these guys in such a short time- Owen constantly talks about his cousins and has a very close hold on a little train that his youngest cousin Max gave to him.  :)
My mom's job gives her perks all the time, and she was ever-so-kind to share some WNBA tickets with us, floor seats with VIP passes to pre-game food and post-game dessert even.  It was a great, fun, unexpected date-night for hubby & I - and completely free!

And then there was California.  A trip we didn't even know we needed until we got in the car and started driving.  Such an amazing opportunity and blessing to be able to drive the 6 hours to California to see our friend (whom we taught with in Moshi!).  Mom was generous enough to let us take her car, we packed a cooler and took a leisurely drive toward Anaheim.  We stopped and saw giant concrete dinosaurs, stopped again for a picnic lunch, and spent our time together, just the three of us, making memories and enjoying life.We are thankful beyond words to Megan and her parents for letting us crash at their house for four days and have a little vacation.  It was just what we needed.  Megan toured us around Laguna Beach one day, we spent time at the neighborhood park, and Owen got to play with toys older than him that Miss Megan used to play with and he even got a magic show from Miss Megan's dad! :)
And then... the ultimate surprise for our little bear... a free trip to DisneyLand!
He was so excited, so star-struck by all the characters, and he loved every.single.minute. of it.
And so did we.  Honestly - we went into the day fully prepared to completely do whatever he wanted.  If he got tired and cranky, we'd leave when he was ready.  If he wanted to take a nap, we'd let him.  But this kid went strong for 15 hours at the park with only a 1 hour nap under the shade in his stroller.  I can't express the joy we had being able to make these memories! We're so incredibly thankful to Megan, her brother-in-law, and her parents for their generosity, hospitality and FUN!
After our California trip things sped up pretty quick.  My gramma and aunt drove up from Texas and we took yet another road trip - this time to the Grand Canyon!  With gramma in the car, they only charged us $10 for admission so that was a huge bonus! It was a lot of fun to spend time with gramma and aunt deb.

Owen had never met Aunt Deb and this little road trip afforded them plenty of time to bond.

He was also very excited to see Great Gramma again!

Not to mention the 'duper big hole made of rocks!'  - what? I didn't know how else to describe the Grand Canyon to a three year old.  :-D
We all had a great time exploring, hiking over 5 miles, taking in God's creation and spending time with family. 

Deeper Relationships-
Spending so much time in Phoenix definitely let all three of us grow in our relationships, not only with each other, but with my mom, gramma, aunt and Bill's cousins and Megan & her family.  It was so great to be able to deepen our relationships, especially because we wouldn't have had the opportunities we did had we only been there for our original planned three weeks.  What Satan meant for harm (stupid kidney stones!) God has turned to good! 

Okay, that's all for now - Stay tuned for more answered prayers and what's been happening during our time in Charlotte!