Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Plane is always waiting

I’ll make this short, as I have a million things to do. I leave home first thing tomorrow morning for my fifth trip to Kenya. Every time I start planning such a trip, I intend to get my ducks in a row, get myself in good mental and physical shape, and not run around like a crazy nut the last few days trying to get everything done I should have done weeks before. And here it is, almost crunch time and my ducks have run amuck, my foot is still aching (though not nearly as bad as it had been a few weeks ago), now I have a horrible pain in my right arm and can only lift it to shoulder-height and well, basically a hundred of those things are not going to get done.

But I’ve gone through this every time I’ve gone to Africa. The first time, in 2006, I was just plain a nervous wreck because I had never taken such a trip. In 2013, I had just taken up running and was already having heel pain. I came home alone after two weeks, with a cold and leaving my daughter there for the next three months while she tried to figure out if we were really going to start our own nonprofit and how that was going to work. In 2015, I had bursitis in my hip to the point that just five days before we left it took me three hours to get off the couch one morning because of the pain. Just last year, my mom had died just two months before the trip, so even though I was for once physically sound, my head and heart were absolute mush. Returning to Africa then was maybe the best thing for me, except I came home in an even worse state emotionally.

And here I sit with my left ankle in a brace, knowing that I can power through the pain but wondering how much damage all the walking is going to do. And my right upper arm, killing me and kind of reminiscent of that hip bursitis, just not even allowing me to move that arm in every position it should go. (Of course, that reminds me of another trip to Kenya, this one in 2010 when Val went there for six months and I had a frozen shoulder most of that time.)

I know. When am I going to say, “enough, your body really does not want to go there again.”

The very first time we went to Kenya, our team leader said that all kinds of bad stuff may happen leading up to the trip and it is all Satan trying to make you stay home. If that’s true, it is pretty scary that Satan is that vested in my travels, right?

Well, no matter, I believe that God has got me covered, no matter what afflictions assail me and no matter where my travels take me. Away I go.    
Seems there is always a plane waiting to whisk me away. 
With Val in 2006
With Val on the back of a motorbike in 2013

With Denise and Maggie in 2015
With Val in 2017

Thursday, April 19, 2018

MO Vacation Log - Day 6

All right, this will be my last post covering our spring vacation in Missouri. I still can’t believe that a month ago we were complaining about the weather. I would take those 40 degrees sunshiny days back in a heartbeat compared to the two feet of snow that fell around here in the last weeks.

The forecast for our last day in Lake of the Ozarks was sunny and seventy. About time.

Earlier in the trip, while perusing a travel brochure section somewhere, I found a handout of the “Self-guided driving tour of the Highway 134 Historic District”. It looked like a mission I was willing to take on, all within the Lake of Ozarks State Park.

First stop was the Portal Structure, which was originally built as a shelter and place for gathering information. Too small to serve that purpose today, it stands as a reminder of a simpler past.
  The Park Office.

 The Trail Center.
 Airport Bridge is one of three single-arch stone bridges along this highway. When we went over the other two, I naturally wanted to stop for more pictures, but kept quiet and let Hubby keep driving.
 We did stop at the Lee C. Fine Memorial Airport. It only looks like Hubby is standing atop those boulders.
The Old Homestead Building.
 Wandering around the grounds of this building, I suddenly got the feeling I was being watched.
 The Open Shelter.
 The Restroom.
 The Beach House.
And then, not on the list of historic sites, was the Beach.
 And what must have been a fish cleaning building which has seen better times.
 Last, with the sun warming up nicely, we drove through the campground and then hiked along the Fawn’s Ridge Trail.
 The trail was appropriately named, as we discovered these four deer and I took way too many pictures of them.
 Lake of the Ozarks.
 And that’s all folks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MO Vacation Log - Day 5

I keep thinking that I could just stop boring you with our family vacation to Missouri last month. But the OCD person in me insists that I finish. One more after today, and I’m on to something else. Like my upcoming return trip to Africa!

So, it was mid-week in mid-Missouri. Our kids had gone home the day before, so Hubby and I were on our own and hitting the open road. Two years ago, when we vacationed in Illinois, we drove part of historic Route 66. Our plan for Wednesday was to see another section of the Mother Road.

First, we drove by the Haunted Castle House B&B in Brimley. 
Not so much for the house, but because when I looked up the satellite picture of it on Google, next door was a ridiculous collection of lawn mowers and we wanted to see if there really were that many. Yup. There was.
First real stop was the St James Winery in St James. They open at 8:00 am, and even though it was after that when we got there, it was still way too early for any wine tasting.
Next stop was the Donut King in Rolla. Don’t know why it’s listed as one of the Route 66 stops, but because it was, Hubby had to stop and buy us donuts. 
Next in Rolla was their replica of Stonehenge.
Then we drove through Hooker Cut,
Past the Elbow Inn,
Over the Devil’s Elbow Bridge,
And stopped at the horribly touristy, glitchy place called Uranus, next to the town of St Robert. 
Interestingly enough, there is nothing about the Uranus stop in any of the Route 66 literature.
Then drove through St Robert, apparently home of the Tigers,
Past WH (for Waynesville Hill) Croaker,
To the Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville.
Motored into Lebanon, where we saw the famous (but I don’t remember why it’s famous) Munger Moss Motel,
The deserted Forest Manor Motel,
And Wrinks Market.

Last we toured the Route 66 museum inside the Laclede Public Library. 
Whoa, it didn’t seem like that full of a day, but it sounds exhausting here. I might need to order a root beer float. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

"I am with you always"

 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20, NIV

Hard to believe that Easter Sunday was only two weeks ago. On that day, we celebrated – and on every day we should celebrate – the joyous resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Forty days after that, which would be May 10 this year, we celebrate Jesus’ return to heaven. During those forty days, Jesus appeared to the disciples at least ten times and the above verse is what He said on one of those occasions. Perhaps it is a familiar passage to you.

I share this today because I don’t plan on posting here again until after May 10. My calendar is pretty full. Next weekend I will be in Milwaukee at a conference for my career as a medical assistant. The following Thursday I leave already for Kenya, returning late on Saturday, May 5. I was going to power-through and put together those missing three blog posts, have them automatically fire on their assigned day. Then I said to myself, “Chris, what would Jesus do? Would He be all crazy, writing these things when His heart and mind was some place else? (which of course would be no problem for Him coz His heart and mind are always in a million places at one time, looking after all of us) Or would He be like, my children, I am with you always, whether you see Me or not?”

I don’t want you to think that I think there is any similarity between myself and Jesus, but I am going to take a rest from my Sunday devotional blogs for a couple weeks, keeping you all in my heart and mind and hoping that you do the same right back at me.  

Friday, April 13, 2018

MO Family Vacation - Day 4

I promise that after today, I am only going to post two more logs from our Missouri trip, then you can follow my more exciting travels.

On Tuesday morning, Hubby and I left the resort around nine, once again leaving the kids to wake up and get going on their own. We didn’t know where we were headed, just out for a drive. We drove around the Osage Beach Outlet Mall but nothing of interest was open. And yes, I took pictures, but they were pretty boring. All except maybe this one which was across the street.   
We next discovered the Osage Beach City Park. It was pretty nice and would have been even nicer had it been warmer than 40 degrees out. But I wasn’t going to complain, at least the sun was out.

 I don’t know about swimming at the beach though, no matter how warm it was. It needed a lot of cleaning up.
 We drove around some more before stopping to explore a different section of Lake of Ozarks State Park.

 I took way too many pictures of this beauty that Hubby spied in a tree.

 By 12:30, we headed back to the resort. The kids were waiting for us just down the road at Dog Day’s Bar. I can imagine the place really hops in the summer, but not so much in early March.
 The kids wanted to take us out to lunch before they left to drive home, and they chose El Charco Azul Mexican restaurant. Val ordered whatever was in this monstrous bowl. It was really good though. 
We got back to the ranch around two and by three the kids headed out for their ten hour drive home. We hated to see them go but were glad that they could spend at least part of our vacation with us.