Saturday, April 28, 2012

Friendship Bracelet

I used to make friendship bracelets when I was a girl.  Seeing a pin on pinterest reminded me of these little gems!  I popped right up and grabbed some embroidery floss from my art room and got to work.  I  had to do a little work on remembering how in the world to do it and it took me a few days to finish this bracelet, but Sparkle didn't mind at all.  She was tickled when I handed this to her today!  I finished it like a beaded bracelet so that she could take it on and off for her dance competitions.

 Shine modeled this bracelet for me.  She is so tiny compared to her big sister.

 She LOVES this bracelet!  Its hard to get this thing out of her hands.

 And finally on her sister when she got home from school!
 Sparkle loves it too!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day Eight

I was up early this morning to make sure that I was able to get my Progesterone shot and make the train that would take me to the Manchester Airport.  I feel that I have been run into the ground.  I’m totally whipped.  I was falling asleep on the train and having one heck of a time trying to stay awake on the plane to Copenhagen.  Right now I am sitting in the boarding area in Copenhagen leaving to Chicago.  I am praying that it is a good flight and that finding my luggage after this flight and going through customs in Chicago goes smoothly.  I am loathing trying to lug everything all over the place.  I have my camera bag and a backpack, but I’ve aquired two other shopping bags in the Manchester and Copenhagen airport.  Then I also have to rolly luggage bags to find once I land in Chicago.  One thing I am really looking forward to is being back in the states where I know how things work and finding someone who understands my accent isn’t going to be hard to find.  At least if I get grounded there I can rent a car and drive to Wyoming.  I would probably get a hotel and sleep the day away and then drive at night, since I am used to be up at night US time.

I have a ton of math homework to get done before tomorrow.  I have an exam at 8 am tomorrow morning.  It will be rough trying to do that one!  I also have a photo shoot Friday and Sat.  I haven’t had time to make any customer orders, so I have to do that as well tomorrow.  My poor clients.  LOL They are so patient with me!

Well, we had a little snag in Chicago about the duty free Italian wine I had bought in Copenhagen.  But a wonderful lady packaged it all up for me and sent it to the plane.  She also was asking about my pregnancy and ended up finding out my whole situation.  She totally cracked me up!  She had no idea that I loved the Lord, but started praying for me southern Billy Graham style in the middle of the airport!  Made me laugh out loud!  I love how God works!

The flight to Denver was uneventful.  I couldn’t sleep a wink so when I landed and saw Pastor Bob I was so excited!  We got all my luggage, even the boxed up wine, and headed home.  I fell asleep in the car and when I got home it was a wonderful, blissful sleep with Strong working nights and Sparkle safe with her grandma.  Of course, I was up at 10 am and wanted desperately to see her.

Day Seven

I am having a wonderful time here.  I am absolutely exhausted and can’t seem to sleep as well as I should be.  I desperately miss my family.  My heart is torn.  I wish that I could have my family here so that I would be okay extending my trip.  SAS has my flights for tomorrow open and I am excited about that.  I am running out of medication and I have so much planned for the days that I get back.  I have a math exam on Friday and a photo shoot Friday and Saturday.  I have a ton of client orders that I need to submit so that I can send them out.

Today I finished editing the pictures that I shot yesterday.  I was so disappointed with the ones that have been coming out of me.  I realized that I hadn’t really prayed about the shots.  I felt devastated about that and hit my knees inside my heart.  I have been struggling with my new flash and making it work how I want it to.  The staff photo that I shot yesterday did not turn out how I wanted at all.  I was so exhausted that I was running on reserve battery power that my brain was so not into what I was doing.  I struggled with not knowing the area, the sun that decided to shine when it hadn’t all day, a British grandmother that I was trying not to make angry because I was taking too long, and two beautiful little children that were scared of my camera.  If I could shoot it over I was have taken more time with the people in the shot and not really cared about some of those factors.  I was nervous about the shoot in the first place.

I also shot the little girl and she was a complete doll!  Her name was Martha and she had such a sweet personality!

I am shooting Brian and Mindy’s family pictures this afternoon.  Angie and I are going shopping and getting a few pictures of us before lunch and then obviously eating lunch and then going to a cream tea party at 2:30.  Angie and I are probably going to eat dinner some time and then totally crash.  I need to figure out how I am getting to the train station tomorrow morning to head to the Manchester Airport.  I am ready to go home and see my family!

Angie and I headed for some lunch around 11 and some shopping.  She took me a a Viking Pasty shop that was phenomenal!  I was so excited about trying some new food for most of my meals.  I was on a mission to find a soccer jersey for Strong and a doll for Sparkle.  Angie took me to a great sports shop were I was able to get a Man U jersey that all the locals told me to get that one.  I have no idea who they are.  LOL the only team over here that I know of is the team out of the movie Goal.  I know, I need to get out more, right?!  Well I was in Europe for the last week!  I got a hoodie for me. Mindy was able to meet me up at the sports shop and we had the whole afternoon to play!  Just being able to watch and see the ancient buildings and a whole different way of life was amazing!  Angie had to head back to the office, so Mindy and I pressed on together.  One of my favorite shops was an herb and mushroom shop called something Hairy.  Outside the window was a whole variety of tomatoes, mushrooms and herbs.  It was fascinating!  We walked all over the city of York.  We found an obscure doll store that was absolutely adorable.  It was hand painted glass dolls with hand made clothing.  I bought Sparkle a beautiful glass doll for 24 pounds, which was about $40 US.  It is amazing the care the Brits take in the things they make and sell.   We found a different toy store and I got Sparkle a beautiful hand puppet that’s a ballerina with blond pig tails and fairy wings.  This is my daughter to a T.  I thought she might like something to play with and not just another foreign doll to put on her shelf for dolls around the world.

Mindy and I shared a coffee at Starbucks.  Of course, we got a picture outside of it!  We stopped at various shops all around York.  One of the most memorable ones we stopped at was a fancy hat shop.  A man answered all of our questions and we swapped culture stories on how people wear hats in our countries.  As we were heading out Mindy chased him down and handed him a track on the gospel.  I tell you what I almost tackled her!  It scared the goodies out of me!  I was thinking, “There is no way this petite little thing is doing this right now!”  It totally cracked me up and really pushed me outside my comfort zone!  She asked him if he died today if he would be going to heaven.  Without any shame, he answered, “No and I’m actually looking forward to it.”  It felt like I had been punched right in my gut.  I just couldn’t believe someone was that blatant about being a sinner and welcoming Satan.  What crafty work he’s done in the UK.  The guy said that as long as there was alcohol and other men, he would be perfectly happy in hell.  I told him there was a lot of fire and burning.  Mindy explained to him what exactly the Bible says hell is like.  Unfortunately he would not accept the gospel, but Mindy was able to literally launch me out of my comfort zone, especially in a foreign country.  Absolutely blew my mind that she was so bold.  It made me ashamed that I was cautious them and even in the states.

After this crazy moment, Mindy and I headed to our afternoon tea outing at the McGhie’s.  I was able to see what another real English house looks like.  They are more like cozy hallways filled to the brim with elegance and fine craftsmanship.  They are absolutely beautiful and I know what I want our future house to look like.  An English house is exactly what I want.  I love the beauty and old fashioned style and the fine china they use.   The McGhie’s are from New Zealand and just recently moved back to England.  The tea was so lovely and was a warm time sharing stories and learning about each other.  I was able to share websites and Beth (one of the beautiful daughters) is very talented in sewing and knitting.  I asked her to make a hat like I had seen on that I want to use for infant pictures for our new baby.  I am very excited about making new friends all across the globe.

We left our afternoon cream tea at about 4 and headed to the bank to get some more British pounds out for me.  We headed back to the GFA office and grabbed my things.  I burned a CD of all the pictures I had taken while I was there for Brian.  Mindy and I went back to her house and waited for Brian to get home.  I took a few family pictures for the Kiriks and we had a ball walking around the area by their home snapping pictures and watching Elijah bounce all over the sidewalk!
We were heading to a fantastic Italian restaurant that night.  I have never had Italian food made by real Italian people that you can’t understand because their accents are so thick.  It was absolutely incredible!

So as my time here comes to a close, I am absolutely exhausted and very ready to see my family again.  I feel like a piece of my heart is missing and the void is Sparkle and Strong.  It’s really blows my mind how one can love and miss others as much as I did my family.

Day Six

I am asking that all that read this take a moment and pray for my little girl.  Two days before I left she began to get very sick.  The doctor’s originally thought that it was 5th Disease.  But after she hasn’t gotten any better in the last few days, she was retested. Strong spent three hours at the pediatrics center and they told him that she has mono.  The mono brought on another disease called HsP2.  Which makes her immune system attack the joints and makes them flare up like she has arthritis.  My daughter is 3 years old and in an incredible amount of pain.  It breaks my heart that I’m not there with her.  Please pray that she heals quickly and that God would allow her not to be in pain.  Pray that my aching heart is strengthened and that I am comforted. 

This day began earlier than normal because Angie and I were on a mission for some scones for breakfast.  We walked the city going to every bakery known to her hoping that just one was open at 8 am.  Which none were.  We hopped over to Starbucks and got some coffee, then we headed to the office.  Angie refused to even let me walk past her flat until I had run upstairs and gotten some breakfast.

When I arrived at the office I began to finish editing the photos that I had taken the previous day and update my blog.  I took some more pictures of the office staff and got some more information on what they did.  My conversation with Caroline was probably one of the most difficult ones that I’ve ever gone through.  She told me about how she works with getting children and missionaries sponsored through Gospel for Asia and the mentality of those children.  I had no idea that children in certain parts of Asia are treated as the untouchables.  Its a heartbreaking self-racism that ripped my heart out.  The lower class children are not treated tenderly as children should, they are treated as barely human and loathed beyond leapers.  Children that grow up without understanding that they are precious and a gift.  They don’t think they have any impact on the world around them or that they have a purpose here on Earth.  They have never heard the gospel, much less wrap their heads around the fact that Jesus loves them and died for them.  When GFA sends national missionaries to them, and they are able to hear the gospel, many of the children accept Christ and then tell their families.  Whole villages get saved through their untouchable children.  It’s amazing to think that the UK office is England’s link to Asia.  It’s a way for the church here in the UK to make an impact on Asia.  They plant 17 churches every single day all across Asia.  Its unbelievable.

Brian and I started videotaping a tour of the office as a welcome video for supporters for GFA.  We ate lunch as a team and then began interviews of the staff for the same video.  This video will enable the staff here at GFA to be able to send a DVD to their home churches and supporters.  Prayerfully it will be a way for them to raise more support and give updates on what they are able to do as part of GFA.

I am taking a group staff photo tonight before the prayer meeting at 6 pm.  But here are the staff members for the Gospel for Asia in the UK.

Brian and Mindy will be up tomorrow.  We’re taking their family photos tomorrow.
This is a family the volunteers a lot for GFA.

Here is their website for more information on exactly what they’re doing here in the UK and in Asia.

Day Five

Day five began with a wonderful night’s sleep at my roommate, Angie’s, flat.  It felt so good being someplace that I was supposed to be and know that I was safe.  It was a much different sleep than anything I’ve had since being in Europe.

We ate breakfast and then headed to the GFA office.  We had a prayer meeting that I couldn’t really tell you about if I tried.  One of the blessed drugs I take, makes me feel like I drank a pint of hard liqueur for about an hour.  Which just happened to kick in when we arrived at GFA.

I got a tour around the office, which was really a tour of the pictures on the walls.  It made me feel that me, and us as Americans, are not doing enough for outreach or missions.  It gave me goosebumps to know that Indians wait for months to hear the gospel because there are not enough missionaries to tell all the hungry souls that flock to centers.  Stories of Indian women that are in their hundreds that say that have been waiting to hear the gospel.  After being told the good news at 116 years old, a frail old woman meets her Savior after only a few months.  The world is so much bigger than what I have ever dreamed that it was.  You could watch the Discovery Channel everyday for a year and never come close to all the things that God is doing.

I met the volunteers in the office and the staff.  The wonderful Americans and Brits that have given their lives to Christ and walk with Him.  Brian and Mindy took me to lunch with their son Elijah to a fantastic little tea shoppe called, Betty’s.  I must explain that instead of pronouncing the “t’s” in Betty’s like Americans do as “d’s” they must be pronounced with a harsh T sound.  It was a light lunch of some wonderful English food and an education on English etiquette.  I have never had anything quite like British scones with jam and whipped cream (which is NOT cool whip and should never be in the same category…ever.)  I am making a stop on the way home of some scones and whip cream.  It was simply amazing!   While in the shoppe, I saw some British cakes and puddings.

The city was absolutely fascinating.  One of the most interesting things was this man.  He is called, The Purple Man.  He cracked me up!

This is the York Minster.  This place was amazing.  When we go back I am taking a full tour around this guy.

This church took my breath away.  I studied this church in my humanities class a few semesters ago and it was amazing to be able to see the same things that I studied.  It took my breath away to see such enormous buildings with such character.

All the streets of York are really narrow, but this is called the Shambles.  This used to be an old Butcher’s street.  That’s why the building are constructed with a overhang to protect the meat from the sun.

This is the Walmgate Bar.  A gate refers to anything that allows you entry through a wall and a bar refers to something that can keep you out of the wall.  Calvary Chapel has on outreach program that’s called Gatehouse Coffee.  It was rated in the top 35th best coffee shop in England, which is absolutely wonderful considering that it’s a Calvary Chapel outreach program.  This is a true “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” program!

This view from the city wall made me giggle with a childhood laughter!  I thought my pastors from Wyoming would get a BIG kick from this!  This is my home church.  I am so excited to see that it is worldwide and that God is using it in a mighty way!

This wall is the historic walls were built in 867 AD over top of walls that originally constructed in 71 AD.  It was unbelievable to be walking on top of something that dates back to when the when the apostles were walking around on earth.  It’s rumored that some of the stones came from Jerusalem itself because Roman’s tended to carry large things around with them.  This is Constantine's Wall.

Day Four

I am writing this post two years after I originally went on this trip.  I am transferring all my old blog posts to this one and I realized that I never wrote a day four.  It actually makes me laugh.  I was on a bus ride through six countries, a ferry ride from France to England and then another bus ride and a long car ride.  It took about 24 hours for all of this and I think I was above and beyond any resemblance of okay.  I was pregnant, miserable, and sitting for HOURS.  I do remember bits and pieces of the ride and being astonished at the beauty of Europe.  I have dreamed of going back, but this time with my family. 

Here is a map of where I went on this, ummm...journey.

Day Three

I am extremely exhausted this morning.  I am thinking that jet lag is finally catching up to me.  I will have to take it a lot easier today that I wanted.  There are a few things that I really wanted to be able to go do.  I am planning on going to the King’s Garden which is near where I was yesterday.  It’s a beautiful walk around the city, so I really don’t mind.  I am going to head to the mall, which is right next to my hotel.  I need to buy a backpack, which I forgot.  The people here are incredibly simple and relaxed.  When I am carrying my purse, a camera, two lenses, water and coffee, talking or texting on my phone, they just shake their heads at me.  I am not really in the business of sticking out like a sore thumb, especially when I am alone in a foreign country.  I look like they do though.  Blond hair and blue eyes, although mine is shorter than everyone’s here.  My skin is darker than they are, even coming from winter in the states.  They are a beautiful people nation, with fair white skin and striking features with blond hair.  Some have this rich red hair and makes me wonder if they are from Ireland or Scotland.

I am also thinking about going to see some friends of ours we met last year in the Bahamas.  They both live in Sweden, which is about a 4 hour bus ride.  They have said that I am more than welcome.  So I am thinking about making my way there tomorrow depending on how exhausted I am and if SAS is going to continue to pay for the hotel here.  The beach is another stop that I must make before Tuesday.  I want to collect some shells and rocks for Sparkle.  She loves the beach and is constantly asking to go.  We took her with us to the Bahamas and she loves the water as much as her parents do.  We both grew up in Michigan which is surrounded by water.  Although, they don’t have things that can eat you in that water.  I call her my little water baby.

I am not planning on going to the King’s Garden until after lunch.  My lunch is paid for today and I am not really wanting to pay $12 for a pizza and coke again today.  But it did make a good dinner too…  (Yes, babe.  I did eat cold pizza.)  The coke here is fabulous.  My best friend and I have a game we play about the coke around the world.  When we were in Mexico together we compared the coke from there to the states.  So when I was in the Bahamas we did the same thing there.  So far here is the coke stats for Alicia!
  1. Denmark
  2. Bahamas
  3. Mexico
  4. USA
Coke really does taste much different based on the country that you are in!  I’m waiting for coke in Venice!  I heard it’s about $16 US for one there!  Can you imagine how good that would taste!  LOL  So later tonight I will update this with my adventure today!

I had some amazing time with God this morning.  I have such a busy lifestyle that it’s hard for me to settle and be still.  There is always something that needs to be done, a preschooler to play with or meals to be cooked.  I fired up my laptop this morning and got my iTunes going with some good ole’ worship music.  Staring out my window over the town of Copenhagen, I prayed and talked with God.  All my fears and worries about being here and the mess that is going on.  My daughter has 5th disease and I was with her for two days before we knew what it was and while it was contagious. (It was actually hsp2)  It’s is extremely dangerous for pregnant women and their baby.  So I have a fear now about neural defects in our unborn little one from this sickness Sparkle has.  I am not home, taking care of my very sick daughter.  My whole “purpose” in coming to Europe is not happening.  I thought that in working as a missionary that I would come closer to God.  There was a gap growing between us and I have been craving God like never before.  And now I am worried about having to pay hundreds of dollars for a hotel that is not in the budget because of a volcano hundreds of miles away.  So this morning, God gave to me a peace that wrapped it’s loving arms around me and God just comforted.  I have no idea what will be happening with the hotel.  I know I get one more day paid for.  I don’t know what’s happening with my baby or Sparkle .  And my flight doesn’t leave until Tuesday morning.  So nothing has really gotten solved, but the flight.  But it doesn’t matter.  I have my God.  I trust Him and know that He will work all things out for me.  It’s funny the person that I have grown into being.  All these events that string me up and freak me out, and all God wants me to do, is relax, enjoy myself, focus on Him and love the journey.  Why is that so difficult?  Because I am a mother.  God gives us talents and instincts that allow us to nurture and protect the gifts He’s given us out of our second nature.  When we are not allowed do those things, we get hijacked and almost put ourselves into a mental institution.  The hardest thing for me to do is not control the situation or explode on the people working for Expedia and SAS.

So…the lesson that I learned this morning…over again…is to lean on God and know He’s got your best interest at heart.

So there was an enormous change of plans.  I was headed out for the day and there was a sign that SAS Airlines would have a meeting about the “situation.”  So I hung around for a few minutes and found out that I would be on a bus in a few hours headed towards London.  So I headed to the enormous mall and tried to find a backpack to “blend in” a little.  After about a half hour I figured out a way to get some Danish kroner and pay for a backpack.  I headed back to the hotel and packed up and headed down for a shuttle to the airport.

When I got to the airport I met a few people from Ireland.  It was wonderful to meet people from the country that my family is from.  They were an absolute blessing to me!  The conversation in the airport, (for about 7 hours) passed quickly because of it.  It worked out that we all managed to get on the early bus out of there at 6 pm.  So it worked out great!  With my brain half functioning the details are still a little foggy.  I will have to do a better job of updating this later!  ;)   I have been through 5 countries, one bus, a ferry, a car ride and a terrible smelling bathroom, I have made it to London.  I have met even more new friends and some beautiful children.  And I am sitting outside on a lovely English terrace.  I am surrounded by beautiful gardens and green grass.  It is about 70 degrees and I am told this is unprecedented in English history to have weather this lovely.  I am astonished that God has made something like a world breaking record in a an Icelandic volcano and beautiful weather in England.  I feel very loved by God in the blessings He’s given me the last few days in wonderful new Irish friends, and English friends and beautiful  countryside and weather.

Day Two

Day two has begun and I am hopeful that today will be relaxing, but still brings answers and solutions.  I am still in Denmark and contacting Expedia to get a flight out.  I had breakfast at the hotel and I am still completely amazed at the quality of food in this country.  Everything is fresh.  Fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh baked breads in every shape and consistency that can be imagined, fresh eggs and sauteed mushrooms, even fresh milk.  I know that I am not supposed to be eating unpasteurized foods, but I couldn’t resist!  It was AMAZING!!!  They had fresh meats and cheeses that in the states are considered a delicacy.  I had one of the best omelets that I have ever had.  I am totally disgusted that the US has turned out food supply into worthless junk.  Maybe we’ll move to Europe…. ;)

After breakfast I attempted to call Expedia again.  Without anything being accomplished.  So I just shrugged my shoulders and made my way downstairs.  I bought a train ticket at the front desk and after being re-affirmed several times that it was easy, I headed to the train station.  It’s a strange thing that everyone here speaks English and Danish. They’re street names and train stops are all in Danish so I was really nervous about being able to remember where I was going and came from.  I had things circled all over my map.  But I made it to the stop circled in a big black line on my map and jumped off.  Walking out of the train station and up onto the street was like walking into a dream.  Beautiful building lined the narrow streets.  Squares in the middle of some streets rang with people’s laughter and conversation.  There were so many people, but the volume of the noise was much softer than I expected.

People on bikes were everywhere!  These are very simple and clean people.  The shops were not jam packed with products for people to buy, they were simple and neatly displayed with only enough items to display on walls.  So much different than America.  I thoroughly enjoyed looking in all the display windows and not being bombarded with stuff everywhere.
Another really neat thing, was at the palace, the queen had palace guards everywhere.  They had a similar routine as the US Marines at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Washington DC.  They were stunning and looked like teenage boys.

Between the fountain and the cathedral was the palace square that was HUGE!

The Danes love their country!
So this is it from day two. Tomorrow I am thinking out going to the King’s Garden and the mall.  My hotel is right across the street from the largest mall in Scandinavia.  So until tomorrow!  God bless!

Thoughts on this Situation

It is 4 am local time in Denmark.  I have been awake since 3.  It’s weird being stranded in a country that I am not supposed to be in, according to me.  But I know God has a purpose for me here.  I am eating apples slices, Pepperidge Farm milano cookies and coffee.  I brought a ton of food with me and it’s a good thing too.  These weird hours make me hungry at times when meals are not served.  The coffee in this country puts American coffee to shame.  How have we become a country of convenience and little taste?  We have become a nation that thrives off speed and quantity versus a little more time and superior health and taste.  It’s pretty amazing to me that when wheat bread and naturally low fat and healthy foods are what is part of your culture, not as a fad or “what’s in,” that you have relatively healthy people.  I haven’t seen one overweight or obese person since my arrival here.  None.  I’ve seen high BMI people, but not heavy or obese.  Also I haven’t seen any fast food restaurants.  Not even in the airport.  These people thrive off relaxation and quality.  The food in the hotel is good.  Very different than what I expected, because I am in Denmark.  I think this is a very neat culture.

I was told by a hotel employee to take the metro downtown tomorrow and catch a glimpse of the queen and her festival.  I am excited to see what the town of Copenhagen looks like.  Even though I am not where I am supposed to be, I am curious as to why God meant for me to be here instead of working in a ministry for Him.  I asked the employee if it was safe for me to walk around alone downtown and he said, “Oh yes!  Very safe!”  That makes me feel much better!  I will be attempting my very first solo exploration of a foreign city this morning.  I rely on  my husband  for everything.  Comfort, protection, security.  Everything.  I never realized just how much I need him.  I used to think that I was a pretty self-sufficient woman.  But God had turned me into just what I should be, a wife.  I know that I should be relying on God like this all the time, but in the comfort of America and my home, this fact slips through the cracks of my heart.  So this trip has become not just another trip, but an adventure.  I am thankful that all my luggage made it, our plane didn’t crash and that I am safe.  So all things considered, God has taken care of every need that I have and left me someplace without an agenda and all I need to do is trust Him.  It’s a remarkable position to be in.

Manchester or Bust

Manchester or Bust

I thought that I would give an update on my trip since I had some time.  I was up at 5:30 am yesterday morning to be able to make it to the airport on time for my flight.  The I made my flight on time and left my sick daughter the capable hands of her daddy, even though it nearly broke my heart. My flight left at 10 am and when I got it Washington Dulles it was 4:10 their time.  I was totally confused.  It was only a 3 hour flight.  My mind is still a little boggled by that.  I was able to grab a $16 chicken tender and fries meal and make it to my Scandinavian Air flight to Copenhagen, Denmark.  This is an eight hour flight.  It was only 2:00 pm my time so I thought it would be an alright flight.  The flight was uneventful. I was able to write my 8 page paper on how the Greeks borrowed early Jewish law to create their occult mythology, watch Avatar and try to sleep.  I had bought a neck sleeper thingy before I left and in all the confusion when Strong dropped me off at the airport, my pink dreaming machine was left in the back of my van.  The gentleman behind me was a rather tall man and scruntched his knees in the back on of my seat which didn’t allow me to recline my seat at all.  So needless to say, sleep did not come.  We arrived in Denmark finally at 7:15 am local time.  Which was about 11 pm our time.  I was exhausted but I was still managing to keep my eyeballs open!
I was making my way to the terminal for Manchester and when I arrived, no one was there.  The doors were locked and it was a ghost town.  Travel in foreign countries is a little bizarre.  They don’t have TSA agents swarming all over the airport like American airports.  When I finally found someone it was the Passport checker guy.  So here I am, a hormonal, exhausted, hungry and having to use the restroom pregnant American bursting into tears at the Passport checker in Denmark who looks at me like I have a third eye.  He tells me to check the monitors, I think so he can collect himself of the floor from my total lack of formality.
I check every monitor that I can find and don’t see any flight with my number or even to Manchester, for that matter.  Finally, in one screen on the opposite side, I see that Manchester flights have been canceled and so have all those going to England and northern France.  In tears once again I make my way to the poor Passport checker.  I tell him that it has been canceled and I have no idea what I’m doing.  The Copenhagen airport is a little different than any airport I have ever been to. There aren’t a lot of signs or agents to help you with much.  He tells me to go through to the Transfer Station and stamps my passport quicker than than you can say, “Bob’s your uncle.”  I can only imagine what he thought of me and my hormonal mess.
I make it to the transfer station, past the mall of fine clothing and ritzy suits.  The sheer number of people at this station made me cry all over again.  The one sign in this place says, “Take a number.”  No agent to ask questions, so other directions.  Crap.  This is going to be a long day.  I wait there for about a half hour when I see someone and flag her down like my life is on the line.  She tells me that I need to go to a different station called the SAS arrival desk.  I thank her and find my way towards it.  Keep in mind, I still haven’t used the restroom, gotten anything to eat or even taken my medication for my pregnancy that I desperately needed.
The only friendly sign that I recognize is Starbucks.  The joy it brought me in seeing something familiar was almost too much.  I didn’t get a coffee although it nearly killed me not to.
My hips were starting to ache, a sign that an injection was needing to be given and right away.  And I can’t give this one to myself.  I was counting on having Mindy do this for me when I saw her in Manchester, but Manchester was a long way away.  I was shoving aside the worry until I found out what was going on.  After another 30 minute wait, the SAS arrival desk tells me they can’t issue me another flight and I would have to call Expedia to book another one.  I am thanking God that He led me to purchase a global phone where I could call anyone that I needed to.  I called Brian who I was supposed to see in less than 3 hours and explained to him what was going on.  He prayed for me and told me to hang on.  It was a relief talking to someone who completely understood what I was going through.
Expedia though was less than helpful.  They said they can’t book me a flight either.  They tried to call SAS to secure another flight for me and they were closed.  So the SAS attendant gave me a hotel and taxi voucher for a 24 hour care.  After finding someone that could tell me where in the world my luggage was, I broke down in tears again when I told him that I was pregnant and needed an injection and couldn’t find my luggage and that I was stuck in a country that I wasn’t supposed to be in and didn’t know what to do.  Oh the poor people of Denmark that have to witness hormonal Americans and their plight.  I waited for an hour for my bags and when they finally arrived the gentleman from SAS bag claim called the firefighter paramedics to give me my injection.
I nearly doubled over in laughter when they arrived.  They were two handsome late 20s and early 40s handsome Danish men.  I was totally embarrassed.  I needed a shower and some sleep and now I will be bending over a chair and exposing my lower back to a total stranger that was very handsome.  It totally cracked me up and made me wish I had my husband with me more than any time before on this trip.  We had to wait for permission from Danish authority (whoever that was!) for them to give me my injection.  We couldn’t get it.  So we did plan B.  They escorted me to the restroom and said I would be doing it myself with “assistance.”  He did it for me.  He was an EMT for 10 years before he was working for the airport.  So, now that I had made it through that fiasco, I hailed a taxi and headed to my hotel.
It’s weird when you arrive in a country and everyone is driving the same manufacturer of a vehicle.  Volkswagens were everywhere.  It was hilarious.  I get to my airport and it was one of the greatest scenes ever!  The entire counter top was covered in Apple computers!  I know!  I’m a big nerd!  They said they were a very environmentally friendly hotel.  I chuckled!  It was because they didn’t need to trash their PCs every two years!  I got checked in and was told that lunch and dinner was also on the airline.  Oh, thank you Lord!  Had someone take my bags up to my VERY nice room and grabbed a shower and headed downstairs for lunch. I did a lot of people watching during lunch.  They don’t use salad dressing here to top their salads, they use cottage cheese.  They also don’t eat with just a fork.  They have both a knife and a fork and use them both for the entire course of the meal, not just when they need to cut something.  They seem like a very formal society as part of the culture.  It was interesting.
After lunch, I headed back up to my room and nearly collapsed on the bed for a nap.  And so here I am.  I have called Expedia and was told that every flight from here to Manchester today is completely booked.  They have flights for tomorrow but Expedia can’t get through to talk to them.  They said that everything has to come from SAS.  So I am stuck in Copenhagen with a airline company that I can’t even get in contact with.  I feel so alone and helpless.  I covet your prayers.

Europe Mission Trip

This is being transferred from my old blog to this one.  I hope you enjoy this trip as much as I did, despite all the craziness that happened while I was there!

I will be posting all my posts on being in Europe here.  I was going to try to just post everything on the main page, but I think there will be too many post to keep them all jumbled up there.  This is the parent page.  All the details will be in the sub pages of this one.  Here is what has happened in a time line so far. This will be updated day to day as my trip progresses.

10 am Mountain Time: My plane departs for Washington DC.
4:10  pm Eastern Time: I land in DC and grab some food.
5 pm Eastern Time:  My plane departs from DC and heads towards Copenhagen, Denmark.  Its an 8 hour flight.

7:15 am Denmark Time:  My plane lands and the chaos begins.
11 am Denmark Time:  I get to the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
12 pm Denmark Time:  I eat a fabulous lunch and people watch.
1 pm Denmark Time:  I finally am able to sleep after 24 hours of being awake.
7 pm Denmark Time:  I make my way downstairs for dinner.  Ox meat.  Wonderful!
8 pm Denmark Time: I head back up to my room, find an English speaking news channel and watch the updates on the volcano in Iceland.  I write in my blog, do some more homework, talk to friends and family on Facebook.
10 pm Denmark Time:  Time for bed.

3 am Denmark Time:  I am awake as awake I can be.
4 am Denmark Time:  I finally crawl out of bed, eat some breakfast that I brought with me.
5 am Denmark Time:  I crawl back in bed to attempt some more rest.
6 am Denmark Time: I get up and start to get ready for my day.
6:30 am Denmark Time:  Breakfast downstairs.  The most amazing breakfast that I’ve ever had!
7 am Denmark Time: I head up to my room to call SAS airlines…again… no answer for 2 hours.
9 am Denmark Time:  I decide that I’m going to head downtown.
9:30 am Denmark Time:  I arrive downtown via the train.  It’s a beautiful city!
10 am Denmark Time:  I find the Queen’s square and explore a little.  Around 10:30 am the police begin to herd us all into the tight middle part of the square.
11:45 am Denmark Time:  The palace guards begin a parade.
12 pm Denmark Time:  The Queen appears in the balcony with her family.
1 pm Denmark Time:  I find an exit from the square that hasn’t been blocked off for the queen’s parade and head out.
1:30 pm:  I spotted a small pizzeria on my way to the queen’s square and I head my way back towards it.  Being pregnant and standing for the last several hours, I was tired and really had to use the restroom.  ;)   I order some good pizza and sit down to relax and enjoy a Danish coke. (Alicia…it puts Mexican coke to shame…)
2:30 pm Denmark Time:  I met a junior in college from the USA who is studying abroad here.  She showed me around a little bit and then directed me back to the train station.
4 pm Denmark Time:  I get back to the hotel and crash for a nap!
7 pm Denmark Time:  I wake up and call Expedia one more time.  This time I finally get somewhere.  Although that one phone call cost me $200, I got a flight to Manchester for this Tuesday…
8 pm Denmark Time:  I do some editing of pictures, post to blog and facebook, talk to family, find out my daughter has hand, foot and mouth disease and there is nothing I can do about it. (Update, it wasn't hand, foot and mouth.  It was something called hsp2.)
11:30 pm Denmark Time:  I sit for some quite time with God.

6 am Denmark Time:  My day begins
6:30 am Denmark Time:  Another fabulous breakfast at the hotel
7:30 am Denmark Time:  I head up to my room to get ready for the day
8 am Denmark Time:  Some prayer and quite time.
9 am Denmark Time:  I head downstairs for an update from the hotel on SAS picking up my tab until Tuesday

Celebrate Spring

Here in Wyoming our springs usually consist of several feet of April and May.  Our yards stay a drab brown until June.  Then they flourish into a vibrant green for a few weeks just to return to a shade of brown that blends into the dirt nicely.  A few years ago we had a fall that was absolutely stunning.  It was everything fall was supposed to be.  I grew up in mid-Michigan and spent most of my childhood on Lake Michigan.  Fall is magical in Michigan.  Moving to Wyoming I felt that I had been cheated out of the best season ever.  I love fall.  Everything about it.  The smell of the air, the leaves all over the yard, carving pumpkins, harvest decor, candles on the mantle and a fire in the fire place.  To me that is genuinely next to heaven.  Something that I didn't really appreciate when I was growing up is the Michigan rains.  They are fabulous.  I try to plan a trip home in May or June just to be a part of those rains.  They are invigorating and I absolutely LOVE them.  Wyoming doesn't get rains the same, but one thing that Wyoming has is prairie grass.  I have never smelled anything so amazing after a good rain, than prairie grass.  The air is filled with the incredibly sweet smell of it.

This year, spring sprung very early.  March was record breaking warm for Wyoming.  Temperatures of 80 degrees for several days and then hanging between 60 and 75 for weeks.  I was so grateful for such a gorgeous spring!  We have these amazing pink and white flowering trees in Wyoming that blossom for only a few weeks but the whole city smells fabulous because of them!  In our new neighborhood almost every yard has one of these flowering trees, except ours.  Needless to say, I will be planting several this year.

I snagged a photo of Sparkle last year in front of one of these trees.  I have no idea what they are called, but I love them.

She's such a trooper and lets me use her as my guinea pig for pretty much every photo whim that comes my way.

To celebrate spring this year, we've been spending a lot of time outside.  I really wanted to have a green lawn to do our Easter egg hunt outside and thankfully we were able to have just that.  See the post about that * here *.

On this particular day, we had bought Sparkle a new bike for her birthday because she outgrew the one we bought her for her forth birthday.  She grew several inches last year.  I was shocked by her growth.  She didn't gain any weight but just shot up.  She went from a size 4T to a 6x.  Amazing how fast little people grow.  Daddy had taken my truck to the gym, which had her bike in the back.  So we waited outside in the grass and just had a ball looking at the clouds.  Clouds like this are rare in Wyoming so we were enjoying the snot out of them.

We were totally rocking the pajamas outside.  It was close to bed time, but we let her wait to try out her bike for the first time.  Here she is waiting patiently for daddy to come rolling down the street.  She's totally looking the wrong way though.  LOL
 Shine was grubbing on some whole grain chips.  We had just finished dinner and she still has evidence of it on her face.  Apparently I am one of those moms that don't scrub their children the second I removed them from the table.
 Shine wasn't into grass at the beginning of spring, but has warmed up to it.
 Sparkle and I had planted some freesia the last week of March and they FINALLY have sprouted.  Only a few out of the 60 or so that we planted.  I kinda bummed.  I do not have a green thumb to save my life.  So the fact that I can have something survive is happy.
 We are a goofy family.  We have fun...a lot.  We are silly and dance and sing, even out in our front yard. 
 My girls absolutely adore each other.  I am so blessed that they care and dote on each other like they do.  I count that as a MAJOR blessing.
 Look at that crocked little smile!  I love it!
 I love capturing feet and hands.  They grow so fast that it's impossible to remember them, so I photograph them all the time.  This one is a tushy scooter, so all the rear ends in her clothes are either stained or thoroughly filthy.  I try putting her in darker colors and it just ends up going through her clothes and making her diaper dirty.  I am hoping she either walks are crawls before summer...
 Sparkle's feet are so much bigger than what they used to be.  That makes me sad, but I am thankful that she is a healthy, growing little girl.
 I love cute shoes!
 My girls and me.