Sunday, October 31, 2010


I must say that today has been the hardest day we, as a family, have had since we got here. Sundays have been the hardest anyway, because it is on Sunday that we feel the biggest loss. We loved and were loved so deeply in our home church and in many ways, we considered them our family. We visited our fourth church today, and while all of the churches we have visited have had their positive aspects, we just always realize that we are not home. Up to this point, I have been the one hit the hardest with the homesickness. To be honest, I have been very surprised at how homesick I have been, but nonetheless, I have been, and terribly so. The kids have seemed pretty good, though, and as long as they are good, I can be good, too. It has all changed in the last 48 hours, though. Megan has had a really hard time getting to sleep the last two nights and wants her bed at home back, not to mention, she keeps pooping in her pants for some reason. Emilie is getting weirder by the day and Clara, well, she is still doing very well. She certainly misses home and talks about home, friends, and Grandmas a lot, but otherwise, she's been steady. I guess what really broke me today was what happened at church. It is very normal for me to get teary during the music time. Music affects me so deeply anyway, but church music is so different here. So I guess that is what makes it add to my homesickeness. But then, while I was mouthing the words to the song today because I was too choked up to sing, I looked over at Alyssa and she was crying, too. It took us both about three songs to stop. At lunch she said, "It was already a song we sing at our church, and then we got to a part where the trumpets come in...", and then she stopped because she was choked up again. (There are no orchestras here that we have found, thus, no trumpet entrance.) For the first time since we've been here, Jeff is homesick, too, so I guess we're just having a rough day.

So, in light of all the sad stuff, I wanted to share with you one of my BEST memories since we've here. As I shared before, my brother, Thomas, came up here with us to help us move. That was really great, because 1) I love his company and it was very good to spend that time with him. 2) He is made of solid muscle and was a huge help to us, and 3) it felt like we still had a little piece of home with us. We worked so hard for the first week and half we were here, we decided to do some fun things before he left and show him a few of the really neat things about this town. So, we went to the South Bend Chocolate Factory.

We went to Silver Beach.

And he and I went to Chicago. I have never been to Chicage, and he used to live in Chicago (and I think would really love to live there again). His plane was flying out of Chicago, so he and I went two days early so we could spend a day together and then he spent the next day by himself. We rode the train from Niles to Chicago, which was definitely more cost effective, not to mention I still couldn't find my way home from the grocery store at that point, much less find my way from Chicago. Once we got there, we rode the "L" to the area Thomas wanted me to see first. This was my first subway ride ever (MARTA does not count...especially after seeing this transportation system).

Cool statue!

The first thing we saw was the Buckingham fountain, which absolutely took my breath away when we walked over the hill. I couldn't get over how BIG (and loud) it was!

We walked through Grant Park and saw the big bean. (Okay...that's not the real name, it's just what I call it.)

The amphitheater aliens least that's what Thomas told me. :-) Brothers can always be trusted, right??

Then we went to the Navy Pier. That was so very cool....I can't wait to go there with Jeff and the girls.

We rode the World's 2nd Largest Ferris Wheel. (40 buckets...or whatever you call them)

This is the view of Chicago from the top of the ferris wheel. It takes 7.5 minutes to go around one time.

We saw the big anchor from the 3rd Chicago warship,

We did the Macarena...I mean, Macaroni....oh, wait..... Heeeeeeyyyyy Macaroni!!!!

And I ate my first authentic Chicago-style hotdog. Overall, we just had a great time being together. It was while we were at the pier that I got a text from Jeff that scared me to death. Clara woke up that morning very lethargic and throwing up. Remember that miracle I mentioned before? Well, this was it. Her glucose numbers and ketone numbers were the worst I have seen them, and I was in Chicago with no transportation. It would have taken a minimum of four hours to get home. I was convinced I was going to end up meeting Jeff at the hospital once I got home. I called her doctor, and in the few hours it took for her to get back with me, Clara quit throwing up and seemed to be feeling a little better. By the time I talked to Dr. Kendall, she had not thrown up in three hours and was able to keep a little soup down. She said to have Jeff check her levels again, and depending on that and whether or not she threw up again, we would have to take her to the hospital. In the meantime, we had many friends praying for her...that's all I knew to do at that point. When I hung up with Dr. Kendall and Jeff took her levels again, everything was normal. Praise the Lord! There is no other explanation but the healing power of God. She could have never come out of a crash like that on her own.

With Clara doing much better, Thomas and I continued our day together. The last thing we did was go to the Field Museum across from Soldier Field.

At that point, I was exhausted. I am not quite the trained athlete my brother is, and my legs and feet were failing me. It was "free" day at the museum, so I didn't feel bad sitting a while to catch my breath.

Really, this was one of the best days I have had in a long time. It was just relaxing and fun, even though we didn't really do anything "spectacular". We just enjoyed hanging out together. In many ways, I saw Thomas the happiest and most at ease I have ever seen him. I realized that day, that a lot of who Thomas is was created when he lived in Chicago. He seemed to be at peace with the world and with life, and very happy just to be there. It also made me realize how very proud I am of him for the sacrifices he has made to be where he is for his family.

Finally came the part I had dreaded all day...."Good-bye".

While I thought I had no more tears left in me after all the "good-byes" I said at home, they must have had plenty of time to replenish. I got on the train and could NOT quit crying, no matter how hard I tried. The only "up" side to that was that the train was very full that night and people were having to fill in all the seats to make room...except me. It's funny how people pretend not to notice you when you are blubbering like an idiot, but you know they are thinking, "I am NOT going to sit beside that blubbering, dripping-with-snot woman". So while it was not intentional, it was nice to have some space on the way home (except for the really LOUD woman across the isle from me...Facebook friends know who I am talking about).

So, that's it. The memory I have been going back to whenever I get sad. The memory that lifts my spirits right before I realize, again, how homesick I am. Don't get me wrong, I know without a shadow of a doubt that we are in God's will. I just realize now the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary to do the work He calls us to. He never promises us happiness, just peace.

Hopefully I have not depressed you. Just trying to be real. Sometimes when I am typing here, I feel like I am talking to my friends. I miss that. :-)

Much love to you all!! A fun post about all of our Fall fun is coming in the next few days!!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Finding Our Way Around

Hello from Michiana!!

I used to think that was such a funny name, but it makes sense. Depending on which way we drive, we are only 3-5 miles away from the Indiana border. Half the time, if I am out running errands, I don't even know which state I am in. Well, confusion mostly, but you know what I mean. :-) We are learning our way around. We can usually get to our house on the first try, and after two failed attempts at finding the National Ministry Center, I think I can actually find my way there, too, now. The neat thing is that I am less than five miles from almost anything I need to do. There is a major grocery store about half a mile from my house. It is a little too expensive to do my normal shopping, but has been great in a pinch. Wal-Mart and Lowes are only about 3 miles away, and there is a Dollar General, Family Dollar, Big Lots, and every fast food imaginable in between. Most major shopping is about 15 minutes away, but considering we had a thirty minute drive, at least, to EVERYTHING at home, this has been a nice switch. :-)

So, our biggest news, our house is under contract! Right now, barring anything weird, we are set to close on December 15th. We still have to make it through an inspection and loan approval, but it all looks really good right now. Unfortunately, in this market, we are making nothing on the house, but considering it has been almost two years and we have had no offers, we decided to take the deal. Please pray with us that everything goes through without a hitch.

We are doing well. There are signs of settling in around here. We can finally find enough of our stuff that our day-to-day life involves a lot less of, "Have you seen my...." or "MOMMYYYYY......Where is myyyyyy????", so that is good. I finally found my tennis shoes...a very good thing, since it was 45 degrees when we went out last night. The sandals just weren't cutting it anymore. :-) There are plenty of boxes left to unpack, but it feels much less urgent now. Jeff is at work, training to do his job. He says there is a lot to learn, but I think he is really going to love it! The work environment is definitely a step up from where he was before, and he is a much happier, well-rested Jeff Bryant. Our prayer is that he will touch the life of every person he talks to and that God will work, in a huge way, in the life of every church Life Action visits.

The kids are adjusting remarkably well to this move. Considering we have uprooted them from everything they have ever known and loved, there have been very few problems. Alyssa and Emilie have started school again (well, most of it...we can't find all of our books yet, despite the fact they were supposed to pack them in their backpacks so we could find them when we got here...but that's another story. I'll have to tell you what was ACTUALLY in those backpacks sometime.) and they are adjusting pretty well to having to share a room. That situation has not been without its problems, especially considering that they have almost always had their own rooms, Alyssa's room was the size of Texas in Georgia and this room is smaller than either of their rooms in Georgia, and they are, without a doubt, the Odd Couple. Overall, however, they have had really good attitudes about it. Right now, our biggest issue is bedtime. One is an early bird the other a night owl, one likes no light but a little noise, the other likes lots of light but no noise....we'll get it eventually. The only other option is the garage out back, so it has to work for now. :-)

Clara is doing very well. We have been blown away at the way God has protected her though all of this. This climate has been much kinder to her little body, and her energy level is the best it has ever been. We have really only had one incident with her, but God brought her out of that in a miraculous, and I do mean miraculous, way! I have been doing research here trying to find a pediatrician for her. I am not having much success right now. That is actually one of my biggest frustrations at the moment. I know God will provide. He has certainly provided in every other way. It would just be nice to already see that provision in this area. As far as her therapy, I cannot set up her traditional therapy without a doctor, but I have found a therapy ranch for her to do her therapeutic riding. God is going to have to provide in that area, too. At home, Clara did hippotherapy, which, as I explained before, was paid for by insurance because she was working with an actual physical therapist. However, every ranch I have found close to here offers therapeutic riding, which is still wonderful, but not covered by insurance, as they have no physical therapist on staff. So, that will have to come out of our pocket. The only problem is, I am not sure our pockets are deep enough. This therapy has done so much to benefit Clara. We have seen her torso strength, her balance, and her confidence improve so tremendously. We are praying that God will provide the $35 a week we need to make this possible for her. Besides all of that, she is adjusting well. She occasionally asks when we are going home, but after Megan responding, "We ARE home." a hundred times, she will now ask, "When are we going home?" but then quickly answer her own question with, "Oh yeah, we are home."

Megan is just Megan, the bowl of sunshine. Her biggest adjustment has really become my biggest adjustment. She is up at the crack of dawn now, and when she is awake, she is AWAKE! Since we moved her to a big-girl bed upon arriving here, we find her sitting at our door every morning when get up. We open the door and she quickly says, "Good morning, Mommy. I need some breakfast." Did I mention that I don't wake up that fast? Needless to say, Megan and I have had some very sweet quality time, though, every morning. With her being the youngest of four girls, she probably needs it. :-)

We have been to three different churches in the three weeks we have been here. We will visit another new one this Sunday. Being a part of a church family is what I miss the VERY most. I so love my BeechHaven family at home, and I long for that here. Every church we have visited has had something wonderful about it, some really great things happening, but I think it is going to take a while to get used to the way church is done up here. We are definitely not in the south anymore. But again, we know God will provide.

As far as Christmas in concerned, right now our plan is to leave Michigan on December 13th and be in Georgia until New Year's. I am hoping that we will get lots of quality time with friends and family while we are there. It might be our last trip for a while. Thank you for the way you have loved and prayed for our family. Please continue to pray for us as we settle into our house, try to make new friends, and find all of the care Clara needs. In closing, I thought I would leave you with some pictures. :-)

Once a Dawg, always a Dawg!

The beautiful van that God provided for us, by way of the precious people at BeechHaven Baptist Church.

Making caramel apples. These are the times that remind me that as long as we are together as a family, we will be just fine. My, oh my, how I love these girls!

Have a blessed day!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Hi Everyone!!

We are here, safely in Michigan. I am still without internet, but thanks to my brother's laptop and his handy little gadget that operates the internet with the satellite, I am able to get online. The signal here is terrible, but while I have a window, I thought I would jump through it. :-)

Moving week from our house was absolutely nuts, but we are so thankful for friends who came by to help pack. I don't know how we would have done it otherwise. You don't realize how much stuff you have until you start packing it...and we had even gotten rid of a ton! We still managed to need two trucks to get here, though.

One of our biggest prayers before we moved was that our van would make the trip, and ideally that it would last until Christmas. We didn't know what we were going to do after that, but we figured that would give us some time to figure it out. Did you know we have a GREAT BIG GOD?? We definitely do, and some of His most precious children worship at BeechHaven Baptist Church. When they became aware of our need, they came together and bought us a van. WOW! To say we were surprised is an understatement!! As soon as I am on my computer (Thursday!!), I will post pictures. They didn't just get any ole van, either. It is beautiful! We are the most blessed people on this planet, and we miss our BeechHaven family terribly.

Our trip was eventful, to be sure. We had prayed so hard for our van, but forgot to pray for the car. We were already so exhausted, and had planned on having three drivers and two cars since my brother, Thomas traveled with us. However, since we apparently did not get rid of enough of our junk, we had to bring a U-Haul, too, so there were no driving breaks. When we reached northern Kentucky at about 9:30 p.m., the alternator in Jeff's car went out. Unexpected truck+unexpected failed alternator+unexpected hotel=a much more expensive and time consuming trip than we had planned for. God has been faithful to take care of us, though! More on that later.

We arrived at our new (rental) home on Wednesday and got to see it for the first time. I was a little shocked at first, for various reasons, but it is growing on me. The families from the ministry have brought meals, and two of my Michigan friends stayed Friday (official move-in day) to help me settle in. We are still covered in boxes, but settling in a little at a time.

My phone has been acting up, and for about two days I couldn't even find my charger, but I have been able to check e-mail on my phone, although it is very difficult to reply. On Thursday we will have our land line and internet hooked up...I'll keep you posted!

We only have a few more days to spend with Thomas, so we are going to try to have some fun for the next few days. The boxes will still be here, right? :-) I am so thankful he has been here. He has been a huge help, to say the least, not to mention, I just love having him around. :-) It will be very hard to say "good-bye" on Thursday....oh brother. More tears. :-) I am definitely more homesick than I ever imagined, but it is getting better slowly.

That's all for now. sorry for all the typos...this keyboard is missing the "t" and "shift" key, so typing has been a little challenging....but don't get me wrong. I am sooooo thankful it is here for me to use!!! Friday should bring a better post, complete with pictures!

Love to All!!