Thursday, March 20, 2008

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Ju

Well, I'm home. I had no internet access after my 1st night in London. I arrived home and my cold became much worse. Probably due to the fact that I walked a bazillion miles in London and had very little rest....but oh the memories. I will tell you all about it very soon. Love, Jackie Sue

Thursday, March 13, 2008

London It Is

Soooo, how's your mom?(just a random phrase we say at home sometimes to make ourselves laugh. Davie said it while on the phone to one of the boys we traveled in China with and it was hilarious b/c she sounded oh so grown up. anywho, that might just be one of those jokes that just doesn't translate)

I'M IN LONDON! Yay! I have internet access! Yay yay! I've been up for about a bazillion hours exaggeration. Ok, a little. I have fallen asleep on a plane and a train today, but not for very long either time. I cannot sleep on airplanes. It is not comfortable. It hurts my neck. None the less it was an uneventful flight which is always good. Get this, I did not talk to ONE SINGLE PERSON THE ENTIRE FLIGHT! Yes way. There weren't any friendly people near me. I guess that's because I booked seats with empty seats beside me. Go figure. I would suggest that if you enjoy chatting with total strangers on flights then put yourself in the middle of a couple of them. First lesson learned on my London trip so far.

I arrived at the Gatwick airport a little late,(well, not just me, the whole flight was late), so I missed my train(well, it wasn't my train, just a loaner)to Reading to reunite with my friends from 25 years back. I managed to call her from a pay phone using my credit card(wonder what that cost me!) and let her know that I would be an hour late. I got off the train and there she was. Sweet Val. It was just lovely(I sound so British don't I?) to see her again after all these years. She took me by the church where I performed with the Fellowship Singers all those years ago and then to her home for a wonderful visit with her sweet husband, Graham. I even got to see their boys, now grown men of course and I met their daughter in law and little Will, their grandson. It was a lovely 5 hour visit. Too short really, but it was the best we could do. Then Val put me on a train to meet Sarah. No one talks on the trains so I fell asleep off and on. Sarah met me at the Waterloo Station. She looks great and it was so good to see her. We began the journey to my hotel. Journey is the opperative word there. Keep in mind that I was lugging a 46lb suitcase behind me all the way and a smaller bag too. We needed to get from the train to the tube(subway for you non Brits)and we traveled much distance, stairs, escalators and even an elevator to get to where we needed to be. It was a very difficult journey. Did I mention that it was raining? Well, it was, which really mattered after our tube ride where we had to now walk the busy streets lugging before mentioned suitcases. Poor Sarah. I get so stressed if I don't know where I am or how to get to where I'm going. She wants to chat and I keep saying, "where do we go now" and all the while she knew right where she was going. Remember this is after little sleep.

When my hotel was in sight I sent her on her way b/c she had a "Jack the Ripper" walk/tour to go to. (Doesn't that sound fun??? "And here is where he killed his 3rd victim..."said in a lovely british accent...yuk!) So I walk up to my hotel and walk in, totally fatiqued from all the suitcase lugging and I kid you not, the young gal at the counter said, "Your room is no.11 at the top of the stairs." I said, "I have to climb stairs?" And she said, "yes" and I said, "how far?" and she said "just 3 flights"! OMGoodness!!!!!! I nearly died. I said, "you're kidding me" and she said "no, would you like some help?" and lo and behold Antonio came to my rescue. Just for the record, it was not 3 flights...but 3 floors of stairs. 5 FLIGHTS OF STAIRS and the last flight is like all curvy and really steep. By the time I got upstairs I was huffing and puffing and sweating like a pig. I think that qualifies for my workout for the day and as soon as I get my ATM card to work I'm gonna give Antonio a big tip and let him help me down the stairs with my bags tomorrow. Antonio is my bff in London now.

My room is nothing to write home about, so I won't, but the bathroom is tiny and the floor has a drain in the middle of it and the shower is connected to the rest of the bathroom and you can't turn around in it without hitting the shower curtain, ew! and I saw 2 hairs on the floor. YUCK! I HATE hair. But, the good news is that I am clean and I'm here and I'm going to go to bed momentarily because apparently Sarah is not coming back from her Jack the Ripper talk anytime soon. I'm winding down from the "Up Your Gas" pill I took earlier(thanks Cath) and so I think I can sleep now. I'm betting this is way more than even Brandi thought to hope goodnight friends. Love, Jackie Sue

Monday, March 10, 2008

Over the Pond

Hello blogger friends! It has been a very busy couple of weeks. Wait, didn't I say that in my last post? I think its a theme. I could change my blog name to "Too Busy to Post" or "Its a Busy Place Around Here, Who Has Time to Post?" or "We're All So Busy, What Are We Doing Reading Blogs?".

Well, I'm about to get on an airplane and hop on over that pond. I know I should be excited and I am in some ways. I am very excited to see Sarah and share London with her. I am grateful for the chance to celebrate her 21st birthday and maintain my perfect "never missed a birthday" record. I'm thrilled to get to spend time with my good friend, Leslie and her delightful daughter. I am very very excited about getting to visit the family David and I stayed with as newlyweds some 24+ years ago. But, with all these blessings there is this underlying fear that the enemy uses to steal my joy and as hard as I try to live in the truth and trust God with this trip, I find myself in the midst of worry. Last night after David and I spent some time together I found myself weeping and thinking, and then saying, that if I died on this trip I would miss him every single day until he joined me in Heaven. I am a blessed woman and I have every bit of the family I ever dreamed of and a husband I wouldn't trade for anything and it feels like such a risky thing to leave them and take an airplane to a far off foreign land (i know they speak the same language, but it requires my passport to visit, so its foreign). It feels sort of irresponsible to take unnecessary risks for a trip of fun. I know this isn't logical...I know my days are numbered by my trustworthy God...I know that I can give all that I love to Him again and trust Him to care for them better than I ever could. I know all these things in my head, but my heart is struggling to live what I believe. I can remember traveling some years ago by myself and praying to God and giving Him my loved ones over and over again. I remember flying home from a trip to Germany with my mom and praying for the chance to see David just one more time and when I finally landed thinking how I understood why people kiss the ground when they finally get where they are longing to be. I think I will be praying that same thing on this trip and as I wrestle with God about this trip I know He is calling me to take it. He has spoken to my heart that I need to go and to trust Him again with those I love. It will be hard for me to get on that plane and leave 5/6 of my family here. That is the deal though. I have to leave them to be able to minister to that precious 1/6 that is over there. None is more important than the other, but in this case I am called to the 1 over there. To share in her London experience. To love her and celebrate with her as she comes of age and becomes an official adult. No one could have asked for a better daughter. She is far better than I deserve and so I go to celebrate her and I trust my God to take care of the rest of my blessings here.

My trip to London is an act of faith. Who would've thought that? I had NO idea when I began to plan this trip that God would use it to bring my heart to a new level of faith in Him. I thought I was just going to see Sarah. I love that about God. He will take anything that we dialogue with Him about and use it to grow us. He has taught me to take my heart to Him with all its imperfections and to allow Him to work and change and make me into the image of His Son. Christ Himself left the security of Heaven for me. Surely I can leave my home for Him. Blessings to my readers, whoever you for God in the midst of whatever you are going open to all He has for you and walk in obedience to whatever He is calling you to. Take His hand and determine to enjoy the journey, but don't forget our enemy who loves to steal our joy in the process. He is a vicious foe, but greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world. I will let you know all about the fun I have with Sarah and all that God teaches me there. I'm excited! Love, Jackie Sue