Friday, January 21, 2011

i {heart} Arla

We have been back into "normal" life/routine for about a week now.  God truly blessed us throughout our time apart as Chad was at seminary for 2 weeks.  I was overwhelmed with support from family, friends and our church family. (you know, a good indication that you are majorly blessed is having a list a mile long of thank-yous that need to be written) Chad felt affirmed in his decision to pursue a Masters of Divinity while he was there and really enjoyed meeting his "cohorts" and professors face to face.   I'm still glad it's done though ;)

So anyhoo, back to my topic of this post.  Arla.

She was my traveling companion last week when we flew to meet up with our hubbies in Michigan. (her guy is in his 3rd year of the same seminary program) She is the kind of person that is easy to talk to and you feel like you have known her for years after only spending a few minutes with her.  She makes you feel like a good friend right from the start.  I think she is a super-woman.  She works in ministry full time plus some.  She has 4 kiddos, 3 of whom are in that "busy stage" of activities and school functions they can't drive themselves to.   She is a crazy crazy busy busy woman.  Yet, she takes time to listen to people and love up on them when they need it.  She keeps a sense of humor and calm demeanor through it all.   Seriously, she is SUPER funny and laid back.

Now on to my day, last Wednesday.  I told Arla I would leave my house at 5:30am to pick her up.  After watching the weather like a nervous nellie I had decided I would leave at 5:20am instead to give myself some time.  I set my alarm for 4:20am to give myself plenty of time to get all prettied up for Chad.  I hardly slept and saw every hour on the clock.  I looked at the clock at 3:50am and then the next time I looked it was 5:04am.  WHAT? HOW?  ugh. seriously. I decide that a shower is a must and my plan for 5:20am is not gonna happen.  I get ready at the speed of light (amazing how fast it goes when you don't have anybody else to get ready but yourself) and was backing out of my driveway at exactly 5:30am.

When I pick Arla up I am still a bundle of nerves I ask her to drive for awhile, even though the roads are totally fine.  She agrees cause she's cool like that.  Off we go.  After a bit the van starts "bottoming out" and scraping the road.  Weird.  It happens sometimes when we are loaded down with people in every seat and luggage to the roof, but not regularly.  Arla is thinking it's snow/ice built up on the bottom of the van and as we approach a small town she pulls over at a gas station so we can kick it off. 

Nope. No snow or ice down there.  Just a flat tire. ugh. seriously.   I had prayed REALLY hard for clear roads to the airport but I had neglected to pray for functioning and trouble free vehicles.  Lesson learned.

I run inside the gas station to see where their air is and am told they have none. In fact, there is no air for at least 6-8 more miles.  ugh. seriously.  

Then I remember I have our little air compressor thing in the van but have no idea how to use it.  Arla pipes in "Oh I do!"  cause she is awesome like that.   She fills the tire and we say a little prayer that it will get us to the airport (which is another 1 1/2 hours away)  We make it about 5 more miles down the road and it starts to bottom out again.  ugh. seriously.  

We pull over on the next exit and Arla proclaims that we need to put on the spare tire.  awesome.  how do we do that?  "Oh, I know how to change a tire, my dad taught me when I was younger."  See? AMAZING woman I tell ya!  She can even change a tire. On a side note, I am pretty sure my dad showed me how to change a tire as well, however I must have been a bit distracted during that demonstration and thinking that I would never need to truly remember such skills.  Lesson learned.

We made good progress and considered signing up to be on a pit crew for NASCAR.  Especially considering it was a whole 2 degrees outside.  (that would be Fahrenheit and before factoring in wind chill, ugh, seriously.) 

Time to get the spare off... at this point I am searching in the back of the cargo area of  my van for a way to get to the spare out and not able to see where to access it.  Arla in her vast knowledge and smarty pantness says we have to get it unscrewed from underneath.  Awesome.  We are parked on the side of the road in snow and gravel, it's still dark and it feels like the Arctic tundra out.  However, amazing Arla lays down under my van in her heels and starts trying to unscrew the tire.  But it's stuck.  I try taking a whack at it with the "tool" thingy we have been using (see?  i don't even know what that is really called).  Still stuck.

We get back in the van to warm up and start making phone calls for help. A gentleman pulls over and tries to help.  He has no gloves and just a light jacket on.  (bless his heart he gave his gloves to his brother)  He makes a bit of progress but it's still really stuck on there so we send him on his way since we have called the state patrol for help and they are "on their way."  As we are waiting for the state patrol to arrive another dear soul pulls over to assist.  He takes a look at it and after cussing out the whole "spare tire" being kept under the vehicle thing, tells us he owns a trucking company just down the road and right next door is a tire shop.  AWESOME! 

We hop in with him and haul the flat tire with to see if it can be repaired (which by the way, had just been repaired two days earlier.)  Nope.  It's shot.  BUT they have 1 used tire that will fit.  SOLD!   Mr. Trucker owner brings us back and puts it on for us and away we go.  Just a little 2 hour pit stop on the side of the road.

We missed our flight but we were allowed to go stand-by on the next flight scheduled to leave 4 hours later than our original one.  We ate a relaxing lunch and reveled in the fact that we had made it to the airport and we were warm and safe.   Flight went great, rental car was still there for us when we arrived and after only one wrong turn out of the airport we made the 3 hour drive to meet up with our hubbies.   (again, awesome Arla drove us through "lake effect snow" with perfect calmness, despite the fact that her traveling companion was hiding her face behind the map and gripping the dash on occasion) 

On Thursday we hung out much of the day while hubbies were in class.  To make her even more awesome in my eyes I find out that she loves antique stores and thrift stores just like me! YAY.  Awesome, awesome day.  Antique & thrift store shopping, yummy food, good coffee and amazing Arla for company.

SOOOO, that is why I {heart} Arla.  She is the coolest.  love. her.  girl crush love. love. LOVE.  :)

The end.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hello 2011

this year has begun with a challenge for me (and my fam).  chad started a distance learning seminary program this past fall and twice a year he has to go to Michigan to take "intensives" for two weeks.  he left jan 1 for the first round of intensives.  happy new year to us, right? 

well, so far so good.  it is a challenge, that's for sure.  but i am surrounded with supportive people and chad is doing well over on his end too.  each day passes full of blessings big and small and brings us closer to reuniting. 

the biggest challenge for me is the nights.  for a long time i have had issues with falling asleep at night and fear.  fear of what?  when i was young i was afraid of fire, the boogy man, etc... and i would wake up in the night and stand by my mom and dad's bed, staring at my mom until she "felt" my presence as mom's do and let me climb in bed with her.  in high school and college i hated being the last one to go to bed.  when i went out with my friends i was relieved when i came home and found someone waiting up for me.  quite often if i was last to go to bed i would lay awake in fear that someone was going to break in to the house.  fast forward to married life.  the first time chad left for a few nights our dog Norman came to be ours.  chad was in California at a conference and i couldn't sleep at night.  i was so scared someone was breaking into our house.  by the last day chad was gone i went temporarily insane and went and bought a puppy. (because everyone knows cute little beagle puppies are known for their fierceness and protective skills, right?)  well, each time chad is gone i face this challenge and manage to get through it.  some nights are better than others. i've tried lots of things, sleep-aids, "sleepy tea," meditation, etc...  however, this summer chad was gone on his second mission trip for the summer and i broke down while he was gone.  i had two horrible nights in a row.  feelings of terror in the night are not fun. i felt so alone and scared.   i had a night terror where i literally felt "something" on top of me breathing heavily in my ear.  i prayed it away, but that feeling of sheer terror stayed.  the next day i was feeling so full of anxiety i could barely function.  i asked my mother-in-law if i could come stay at her house.  i packed us all up and headed to her house for a few days, running back and forth to my own house to let the dog out and such.   i thought once chad was back i would feel that big sigh of relief as i always did when he returned.  this time however was different and that feeling of anxiety didn't go away.  it came and went.  some days i feel completely normal.  some days i just went through the motions of taking care of my family, doing just the bare minimum of what has to be done.  as time passes the bad days are occurring less frequently i think.  i dreaded this trip chad is currently on for months.   my mother-in-law promised me she would stay with me if i wanted. (yes, please) my friends also assured me they would stay with me if she couldn't.  but i still dreaded this trip.  anyhoo, here i am smack dab in the middle of it.  i have not spent one night alone yet.  i have slept each night without fear thanks to my friends and my grandmother-in-law (who is staying here since she lives right in town vs. my mother-in-law who would have to drive back and forth).  i am so so SO grateful to them for their help.  but there is a voice inside me that keeps telling me i am a failure.  i am weak.  if i just had better faith i wouldn't have to be afraid and i could stay by myself.   i don't like that voice. 

i'm not sure of my point in writing all this.  confession?  venting?  i wish i knew how to get past my fear.  maybe that is my reason for writing this.  i am looking for answers. for help. for assurance that i'm okay.

for now i will take it one day at a time.  grateful that i don't have to be alone at night.  blessed by friends and family.  trying to be okay with needing help. i try my hardest to live by these verses that I have memorized over the past 6 months:
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34
"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety."  Psalm 4:8
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again, Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all! The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:4-7

anyhoo.  enough about my "issues"  (i also have an irrational fear of driving in snow.  there.  all my confessions are out in the open) 

so yesterday (or day before?) i get miss j out of her crib in the morning and she says to me "daddy is missing!"  i respond, "yes, he's still at school"  she again says "daddy is missing! we need to go catch him!" 

funny girl.

a typical moment: mouth open talking, crazy hair, insisting on wearing her hood "hat" all day long, hoarding toys up on the table where her baby sister can't reach them, blankie and "baby" -the garage sale free-box bear that she has attached to, nearby.   thanks girly for both driving me insane and keeping me sane each day.