I just looked up a calendar on Google because it doesn't seem that 29 weeks have passed since we left home...because, to be honest, it feels like a LOT more. But...29 can be a big number when you multiply it by 7 days a week!
To best explain what I mean by an emotional journey, here is an excerpt from my journal...
Emotions are running high this week – or maybe its hormones…probably both. We’re 6 weeks from being home and I think our brains and hearts are trying to process the change that is happening, let alone the change we will have when we get home.
Life doesn’t go back to normal for us when we set foot back in Washington State. We have to find housing, Josh needs to find a job, and I await what my hip surgeon will say about the condition of my hip and my constant and continued pain that affects what I want to do and us as a family.
God is providing along the way and I know He won’t stop doing so. We actually have a place to stay for 6 weeks when we arrive home, house-sitting. This will give us time for Josh to find employment and get our housing in order while settling into a new normal. We are definitely ready to not live out of suitcases!
During this transition we try to mentally prepare for the future while still trying to live right where we are, but it’s as if we can feel the ends coming undone and at some point we have to let our grip go and trust in the process. We have to grieve what we can’t control – what things we will miss of this crazy lifestyle and what we long for now – stability and comfort of a place to call home and the security of an income. We have to let go of the fears – sometimes daily- of how we will afford to live and wondering if things will get as hard as they were before, with not enough money for haircuts, used clothes and many other things.
God has brought us through many tough times. It has not always been easy. We haven’t had all we want, not even on this trip, but He always provides what we need and often shows His love and blesses us with the funds to get a meal out for all of us, items needed provided for, as well as many amazing experiences.
When at home, God provided by honoring our discipline with money and providing for us to make ends meet when it seemed near impossible, and I know He will do it again or provide something else.
When I depend on Him, I feel closer to Him. I hear his voice more and am sensitive to the needs of others. The more independent we get, the more we forget how much we need Him or how much we can help others with what we have. I know this, but no ones wants to be in that place all the time. Still, I accept and embrace and trust - and that is where I want my heart to be.
NOW onto what we did this last week!
This past week we stayed in Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maine, Vermont and had a short stop in Connecticut.
Josh had a TV interview in New York earlier this week and while he stayed in NY, the girls and I were blessed with hospitality by a family in New Jersey. They were so kind, feeding us well, making this swing just so the girls could enjoy their time outdoors, and giving us their bedroom so we could have some privacy.
Any free time we had, the girls were outdoors. I love that they seize EVERY opportunity to be outdoors instead of settling for electronics or even books, because they have so much time in the car and hotel rooms for reading and school time. ;)
We don't have time to stay in every state, but we do attempt to visit each state capital as we drive through.
Below are photos of the Connecticut State Capital. I LOVE the outside detail of this building. Life size figures of famous men, all made of marble, are placed above the front and back entrance. The inside was beautiful too!
On our day in Maine, the State Capital was closed due to Patriots Day - a holiday we do not celebrate on the west coast. But we did stop and get a photo of the building.
The big plans for that day was to tour Acadia National Park. We underestimated the time it would take and ended up in the car most of the day and not a lot of time at the park due to how cold it was, but I have a few photos that capture the memory.
Rhode Island! We toured the capital, found some good seafood for lunch and took photos of the first Baptist church in America - for all my Baptist friends. :)
If you know me, you know I have a love for making bread! I love mixing it and kneading it through my fingers, I love the smell as it rises and the color and texture went it comes fresh out of the oven. I find so much joy in a kitchen and sharing food with others...So it seemed fitting to visit the King Arthur Flour Co while in Vermont!
We ended the week with a visit to a famous cemetery today. It's famous because many of the tombstone makers came from Italy and they would often design their own tombstones before they died. Some are very ornate!
We also had THE BEST maple syrup of our lives today!! Vermont is famous for it and now we know why! Here are some photos of the maple farm we visited.
We head off to Quebec and Ontario this next week. We live just an hour south of the British Columbia border so it will be fun to visit the other side of Canada!
As many of you know, my Grandpa Petey passed away last week. I flew from Boston to Northern California to attend his funeral and be with family for 4 days.
It was a wonderful celebration with lots of laughter amongst the tears. We all talked about how he managed to tell inappropriate jokes while at the dinner table or in front of the children, and how much joy he brought to our family. I'm sure going to miss his sheepish grin and twinkle in those eyes.
He was the rock and glue; marrying my Grandma with her 6 children as a package deal and never regretting a day of it. I'm told he was the best father they could ever have even dreamed for, and I know he was the best Grandpa to all his grandkids!
It's healing to share stories, I think because we can hold onto that joy, even while knowing he has left this earth.
My favorite memories are of the time I was around 8 years old and our cat had died the night before he came to visit. When he arrived, he had hopped out of his truck and said in his gruff voice, "I brought something for you" and pulled a kitten out of the lining of his jacket. I'll never forget it. That was love in action.
I was fortunate enough to have my Grandparents very active in my youth group when I was growing up. My Grandma would be behind the scenes with mostly administrative stuff and my Grandpa would willingly drive his van all over Washington, Oregon and Canada for all our retreats and pantomime performances - Allowing us to crank up our 80's rock music and trash his vehicle. Every retreat when it came time for the youth to give a testimony or repent and turn their life back to God, he would sit in the back and cry - every one of them mattered that much to him. He loved seeing God work in the lives of teenagers and gave so much of himself, expecting nothing in return. A true hero to many and a blessing to anyone who knew him.
The day I flew back to Boston, my husband took us to Plymouth Rock and to Cape Cod for a seafood lunch. I slept in the van most of the day due to coming off an all-nighter flight that morning, but it was just what the doctor ordered.
The following day we walked The Freedom Trail in Boston where we witnessed a line of people waiting to be sworn in as US citizens, took a tour of Paul Revere's home (photos were not allowed), walked the Holocaust Memorial, and viewed other historical sites.
The best part of this week was hanging out with old friends. Jen and Israel treated us to great hospitality and fun times together. We ended today with a stop at the water ... because when else are my kids going to be able to throw a snowball in a lake?? ;)
The plan is to cover 4 states over this next week. As an introvert, I am hoping for some down time and I think my kids could use a routine! But I wouldn't change this opportunity for much of anything.
Till next week! Marilyn
This past week we visited Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York! We only spent a few hours in most states - just enough time to see the state capital and learn a little of the history.
We were blessed to spend Easter weekend in Pennsylvania with friends of a friend. We have not had to spend one holiday in a hotel room or alone. :) God is taking care of us every step of the way.
While in Pennsylvania, we traveled around Hershey, PA with a family we connected with when we were in Florida. We toured the Hershey Factory, enjoyed two dinners at their place, and visited an Amish community- which has the MOST AMAZING pretzels EVER!
We stayed a night in Philadelphia and took in as much sights as possible in one day. The Liberty Bell was a must, as well as Independence Hall, Ben Franklin's grave and a few other historical sites.
That afternoon we asked a local police officer what place had the best Philly Cheesesteaks. It was the perfect meal to eat on a park bench on a chilly but sunny day.
New York City!!
It was a high of 44 the day we toured The Big Apple, but we warmed up half way through the day with a true NYC style pizza...we ate it folded so we didn't look like tourist. ;)
We spent equal time traveling the subway as we did on the streets, but we did manage to visit the M n M factory, Lego store, Central Park and Times Square - where my girls laughed at us calling it, "The land of consumerism"
On our last day in New York state (0n our way to Boston) we toured the state capital.
Oh, how I wish all of downtown was done in this style, it would be spectacular! The simplicity of the sandstone with the elegance of the carvings is absolute perfection.
As some of you may know, my 12 year old and I flew to California from Boston on Friday. We are here to celebrate my Grandpa Petey's life. I received the phone call on Tuesday morning that he was passing and was fortunate enough to say goodbye. That will be a moment I will never forget.
He was an example of selfless love and a hero to us all. I will post photos and share stories of my visit and of my Grandpa in next weeks blog. For now I will say that heaven got one heck of a blessing this week!
We have completed a full 27 weeks of our cross-country adventure! (That's 6 months if you are counting.) My mother- and father-in-law, along with my 17 year old niece and 19 year old nephew, flew out from Seattle to spend last week with us. And what a week it was!
We visited a few sites each day, but never felt stretched thin due to places of interest being so close and fairly easy parking thanks to my handicap placard. I’m in a wheelchair for any outings, so I don’t get as fatigued as others, so maybe I’m only speaking for myself! ;)
Vacations are always as frugal as possible for us, but this week we were blessed with some money from my husband’s grandfather to help with meals at our condo, a couple meals out, and the gift of a ferry trip to George Washington’s home. He also pitched in so that we could rent a place very near the capital. Our needs were met once again.
I’m a relational person, so as much as I loved seeing the sites, my favorite moments were with my niece and nephew. When they told me about school or their hobbies and how they are understanding more of who they are as people and adults. I also loved watching my own kids discover and explore. This is what I cherish.
I will post a few photos of each place for those curious what Washington DC has to offer, and for those who have been, to reminisce through these images.
Day 1 was the Air and Space Museum where we saw the original Wrights Brothers Airplane.
Day 2 was the Nations Capital followed by a carousel ride and ending with a trip to Washington's Memorial.
Day 3. The Library of Congress
Day 4. We took the Metro (Practice for the crazy Subway when we get to New York with 2 kids!). We ended the day with a crab dinner at the condo. YUM!
Day 5 was the Zoo. What a blessing to have so many free things available! We also snuck in time to visit the Native American Museum and the Lincoln Memorial.
Day 6 was the Natural History Museum where they hold one of the worlds largest blue diamonds, the hope diamond. Later we visited the History Museum where we saw the carriage that Abraham Lincoln used on his way to Ford Theater, where he was assassinated.
Day 7 was a ferry ride to Mt. Vernon- George Washington's home, where he spent his life and his final days, as well as his grave site.
I had to put 2 weeks into one blog post because we toured DC from a Wednesday to a Wednesday, and with being so busy, it just made sense...and I have a need to keep things clean and tidy. ;)
Next week could be a post full with adventures in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York.
Till next week! Marilyn