Friday, December 31, 2010

The Great Ethiopian Adventure (Finale)

And so, we hopped on the plane and headed home.  Have I ever mentioned that I don't like to fly?  I'm guessing I have.  LOL  It's true - I don't.  Makes me nervous.  Well, flying doesn't make me nervous, turbulence makes me nervous - and it's not the normal turbulence on take-off and landing, I'm ok with that, but it's when we're 35,000 feet above the ocean and we start bopping and rocking all over the place.  If it really drops a lot, I will definitely scream out loud, without a doubt.  So, all this to say, the big prayer I had was to  have smooth flights.  I must have forgotten to make it plural because out of six flights, only one was smooth.  And to be honest, I ended up popping a little white pill over this.  I just needed to sleep and not sit and panic about falling from the sky.  I guess the pill helped although I was definitely very aware that 3/4 of the first flight was a bumpy mess.  The flight to London was no better, but the flight to Addis Ababa was the smooth one - which was really a blessing after the fiasco at the airport.

So, jumping back to the flight home - I kid you not, it was super bumpy.  I popped a pill.  I tried to sleep, but it was so turbulent that I was just pretty much starting to panic so I just sat there and started crying.  I was on the isle of the three seats in the middle.  Gatlin was in the middle, and Cooper was on the isle next to Brian who was on the two-side isle.  Poor Brian, he couldn't walk over to comfort me because even the flight attendants were told to sit down - and he couldn't even reach me to hold my hand - so he just sat there watching me cry.  Now, honestly, I was just SO tired, both emotionally and physically.  I'm really not one to break down very often - almost never - so I know that part of the tears were just the emotional dam breaking.  Thankfully, I was able to get a grip and finally just let the stinkin' turbulence rock me to sleep.

We had a three-hour layover in London and went straight to our next flight because we knew not to mess around in that crazy just takes so long to get anywhere.  We got on the next flight and Gatlin and I were literally in the very back row and Brian and Cooper were in the row in front of us.  It was a nice plane, though, so that was good.  Ok, I am NOT kidding when I tell you that the turbulence on that flight was just out of control.  And seriously, I just started laughing out loud.  It was ridiculous!  It was obviously some kind of mental breaking point because I wasn't even scared - I had just given in to my life as a bounced-about flyer.  It was my destiny so I guess I sort of embraced it.  I closed my eyes, pulled my coat over my head, and fell fast asleep.  I slept hard.

We were originally scheduled to have a 5 hour layover in Chicago but before we left for our trip, I realized there was an earlier flight that I thought we'd have time to catch.  I tried to change our flights to that flight but would have had to pay a fee so decided to just try to fly stand-by once we got there.  However, before we left Ethiopia we decided to ask the agent there about the possibility of changing to that flight.  We spent almost 30 minutes with her and she handed us a pink confirmation paper saying we had been changed to that flight.  So, when we landed in London we showed that pink paper to the agent there and she said, "Uh, no.  I don't know what she did, but you're not confirmed on that flight.  Just ask the agent in Chicago about flying stand-by".   Alrighty then.

We went to the gate in Chicago to try to get on the earlier flight but were told that would cost us $50 per person to be on the stand-by list and that the flight was oversold.  Ok, no.  So we waited for our 7:00 flight.  However, it was delayed.  Then delayed again.  And again.  And again.  You get the picture.  We left Chicago a little after 10:00pm.   This was one of those small regional jets.  You know what I'm going to say now, right?   We bumped around the sky like nobody's business.  Honestly, ya'll, it did NOT bother me one bit.  I was so resigned to it at that point.  I just closed my eyes and thought about our sweet kiddos in Ethiopia.  I prayed.  I slept a little.  Gatlin reached over at one point to hold my hand and she asked me if I was ok.  I told her I was.  She said, "Mom, I have never been closer to God.  I have been praying SO hard for you".   PRECIOUS!!

We landed in Nashville.  Brian went to get the car and the kids and I went to see if by any chance our luggage had made the trip back with us.  Nope.  We headed home and arrived at our house at about 12:30am and we were totally wired.  It was funny cause we walked in the door and my friend, Stephanie, was here painting the kid's bedroom.  I had told her we were going to be home on the 30th.  Oops.  Well, technically we did end up getting home on the 30th.  LOL   She has been so sweet to paint the room for us.  Love her.  Anyway, we called the airline and Brian went over everything with them again and at the end of that conversation we were told to call back in 24 hours.  We read the mail, we looked at our emails.  We didn't end up going to bed until 3:00am.

Yesterday was just a lazy day of unwinding - I actually can't remember anything about it at this moment. ha!!

Today I actually started laundry and went to the grocery store.  My sister's family is coming over for dinner in just a few minutes.  Yay.  I will miss them when they leave this weekend to go back to Thailand.  It has been so awesome having them here.

Throughout yesterday and today there has been a Scripture passage that just continues to play in my head so I'm gonna post it here.  God must want me to remember this very important truth.

Matthew 6:25-34 (New International Version, ©2010)

Do Not Worry
    25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Sometimes life takes us on adventures that we never imagined we'd go on.  Or maybe we imagined parts of it, but it played out so differently than what we expected.  Right now, I'm just needing to remember that God has got it all under control and that I don't have to worry about any of it.  He had that ridiculously bumpy plane right in the palm of His hand.  He has our luggage right in the palm of His hand.  He has my three precious Ethiopian children right in the palm of His hand.  It is my job to seek Him.  It is His job to keep His promise and work all things out for His good and for His glory.  I really do believe that I can trust the Creator of the universe with my little life.  I hope you believe that, too - no matter where your adventures take you.

Thank you for reading about ours.


  1. It's been so amazing reading about your trip and your sweet children, all 5 of them! I am praying it's only 30 days too! Thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. I'm gonna have to inspect my ipad for water damage now....I just boo hoo-ed over the whole thing!! As excited as i am to meet the kids early.....I'm dreading leaving them behind. Praying for 30 days with Bennett!!!!

  3. I've been out of town (staying at my Grandma's so no internet access for me the last several days. I just read every word of your ET trip summary!! Wow!! So many adventures for you guys!! I am LONGING for my sweet Dinks more than ever!!! I just want to love on her!! Praying the important dates come quickly for both of us.

    Looking forward to coffee soon!