Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's here!

My passport came in the mail today... the day after my supporting documentation was returned to me.  Yes, the "overnight" package was slower than the regular mail.  

I also got my long form birth certificate in the mail today.  So glad to verify that I was actually born. 

This weekend we will head out for a trial-run for our "Big Vacation" as the kids are calling it. 

Shopping, planning, cooking, I have run around crazy this week.  

I want to S-L-O-W   D-O-W-N this weekend and think, and reflect, and just BE for a little while. 

I will check back in soon.  

Rejoice with me that my passport is here and I can meet my deadline for the Show Hope Team documents to be in! 

If ya'll want to pray... 

... pray for REST for my body, mind, and spirit.  I so need it. 

... pray for HEALTH for my family. 

... pray for PEACE AND DIRECTION as we pack and purge that we'd be able to clearly and quickly make the ten thousand decisions that are required daily as we continue to prepare for big trip. 

... pray that God would LEAD AND GUIDE us to do EVERYTHING to His glory, discovering His purpose in our lives. 

Many Blessings Friends!  And if you do pray, leave a note and let me know, it's so encouraging.

Life is Beautiful Chaos

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Little Update

I spoke with the Oh-So-Helpful people in New Jersey on Friday and found out part of the hold up was that they had been looking for my BIRTH certificate under my MARRIED name.  

Funny, I wasn't married at birth, go figure. 

So, we got the name straightened out, they found my certificate and mailed it, snail mail.  Anyone know how long it takes to get mail from NJ to Houston?  Yeah, me neither. 

So, more waiting... 

Once I have the birth certificate, I will overnight it to the Houston passport office (cha-ching! another $12 bucks - just doin' my part to stimulate the economy!) 

Then wait... a day or two... then call the Senator's office again.  

P.S.  I bet you did NOT know I was born in New Jersey, did you?!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What A Day...

... and so we pray.

I spent my day on the phone with three government offices.  

Entirely unhelpful, the first office transferred me to voice mail, placed me on hold for 37 minutes, and finally informed me that they could not find the document I faxed and if they did find it they had 15-22 business days before they would process my request. Not. Helpful. At. All. 

The second office I talked to was better. Marginally helpful, they offered some suggestions which might work for my situation.  Reluctant to give her name, the woman told me she often got in trouble for spending too much time with each customer. 

I was wowed by the third office I connected with several times today. They kept calling me back with new ideas on how they could help, new people for me to contact, and new forms for me to fill out.  They were willing.  They were persistent.   They were HELPFUL!  This was Senator Ted Cruz's office.  I'm genuinely appreciative of their help.  

So where are we now? 

- Informed that the request for my long form birth certificate order has been approved and is in process, I am still not clear is how long "in process" takes.   PRAY!

 - I mailed some other documents and a EXPEDITE fee to the Houston office. PRAY!

So we'll see what happens from here.  I am thankful that God is in charge of this process and as I've reminded myself all day, none of this caught Him off guard.  

God is so faithful.  

God doesn't need our strength or ability or courage.  He needs HIS ability flowing through us. For that, we have to trust in Him and His ways which are not our own.  

Isaiah 55:8-9 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Want To Cry

Remember the 80's song by Twila Paris "The Warrior is a Child?"  I think in my case it should be "The Warrior is a Big Blubbering Baby."  That would have had better use of alliteration anyway.  

This morning I opened my email and was so relieved to see an auto-email from NJ Vital Records certain that it would say, your birth certificate has (FINALLY AFTER 22 BUSINESS DAYS WHICH ACTUALLY EQUALS A MONTH!) been mailed.  But it can't be that straight forward.  

Here is the message I received:

Thank you for requesting a vital record through the Vital Record Request service.

The status of your online order (confirmation number xxxxxxx) has been changed to: Deficient.

Please read the following communication:
Your order cannot be processes due to missing information.  Please fax a copy of your marriage certificate proving your name change and your name AT TIME OF BIRTH to 609-633-3861.

WHAT?!  Do you think maybe, just maybe you might have asked for that at the time of my original request!?  

I am angry. 

I am frustrated.

I am apparently easily defeated.  

This is ridiculous!  I was issued a passport when I was thirteen years old.  It has expired and now I need a new one.  I am obviously a US Citizen there is nothing in my record to even remotely look otherwise.  

So if you think of me and my passport today, just pray, and maybe send an encouraging word my way.  It's going to be a work of the LORD to make this seemingly easy task actually happen because apparently nothing is easy anymore. 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Blown Away!

Astonished!  Amazed!  Overwhelmed!

Over the course of the last week I have sorted, thrown out, set aside, and purged books.  Now if you have ever been a teacher you know how painful it can be to part with books.  But something very freeing happened this week and even this morning as I saw other families blessed by books that have sat on my shelves.  I didn't own most of these books, they owned me!  They took up physical and mental space in my life it was time to cut them loose.  

Several weeks back I decided to have a used book sale to raise funds for my trip to China this summer.  I instructed my kids to pull the books that they loved off the shelf so we can decide to store them or take them on our Great America Adventure.  The rest were fair game.  Putting them in bins to take for the used book sale, I reminded myself I can get more books when I return if I need them and that God ALWAYS provides what we need.  Little did I know what He had in store!

As I unloaded the van this morning my sweet, oldest, book-loving daughter waved solemnly and whispered, "Goodbye, my babies" to all those books who have lived in our home for so long.  She didn't know how God was going to use those books either.  

As the morning wore on, I talked with friends, telling them about their selections like I was introducing them to a new pal.  Then I humbly received their gifts which far exceeded the value of the books.  It was such a rich experience.

So with huge, heartfelt thanks to all my sweet friends who donated at the Used Book Sale this morning to my Great China Adventure I am happy to report... 

$1260.00 was raised! 

Why do I doubt?  God is so faithful and I have the best friends ever! 

Join the Adventure and keep updated by entering your email in the sidebar on the right.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Passport Hold Up... Prayers Please!

Apparently my birth certificate was not sufficient to prove my worthiness for a U.S. Passport so I had to request a new longer form with more information on it.  

I am desperately trying to avoid the ironic political commentary that is threatening to spill out at this point... 

However, I will refrain and just request your prayers for a speedy remedy to this situation.  I have to wait SEVEN more business days before I can follow up on my birth certificate request. Groan. 

Patience... that's what I will learn.  And Trust.  God's got this. Right?!

Please pray friends. Thanks

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It's Happening!

Little by little... 
  One step at a time... 
      A box out the door...
         A book shelf empty... 
             A drawer cleaned out... 


This afternoon Doug and I spent about an hour in our trailer looking at space through new eyes. 

This drawer is useless, this space needs shelving, this board needs to go, we need a piece of plastic here, carpet there... 

OH LORD, Let me look at my life and my time with new eyes!  What needs to go?  What have I held fast to for so long that I didn't even realize I don't need it anymore?  What can be streamlined?  Lord, where is the waste? the excess? the idolatry? It needs to GO!  Lord, make me yours, truly ALL YOURS!  I don't want to be owned by my stuff, I want to be owned by YOU!  

Preparing to live in 300 square feet is cleaning my life in more ways than I imagined.  Praise the Lord!