Where to start? I'd say the last two weeks have been crazy but honestly crazy is our new normal so I'm just going to say the last two weeks have been extremely routine! I am TWO MONTHS away from my 14 day mission trip in the Ukraine. WOW! Time is passing by and yesterday I started getting into fine details...you know the logistics of packing and luggage and TSA requirements all the minute details that can mean the difference between easy travel and problems at every turn. I'm a bit of a clothes horse and ALWAYS worry that I'm not packing enough clothes. Hermione's beaded bag from the Deathly Hallows would be soooo greatly appreciated at this time!
I have felt a tugging at my heart for years to do some type of mission trip. I've supported quite a few, prayed for friends as they have went, and always been so excited to hear how it went after they got back. My grandma Gene use to say "I'll be surprised if you don't make a missionary, I've never seen a kid with the bug to travel like you do" My dad called me the go go girl, he'd say "if I say 'I'm going...' Laraine would meet at the door with her coat before I could even say where". I choose a trip to Europe over a car when I was a teen (spoiled enough to actually get the car also). My husband had never flown until our honeymoon...when he suggested we go somewhere we could drive I informed him unless he wanted to be home alone a lot he needed to get on board with flying.....literally. This trip is so different. I'm not going for a vacation or to see the world I'm going with my heart set on making a difference in the lives of the teens we are serving. I'm going to share the love I have for Jesus with the world and I'm expecting amazing things to happen!
This has been a big leap of faith for me. Financially, the last thing I needed to do at this point in my life is "sign up" for an expensive trip that I had no idea where the finances were coming from. I have been amazed at the blessings I have received in the area. Our youth minister told us "send out support letters, let everyone you know hear about your financial needs, pray everyday....God will take care of this!" I do believe God can move mountains and I hear stories from others about how he provides, but for some reason I have a hard time believing his blessings are meant for me. I'll be honest three years ago I would have just written a check, not sent out anything, and then patted myself on the back for not needing help. The only way I could go on this trip is if it was completely taken care of. I sent out letters and have been amazed at the outpouring of love for this venture. I needed two-thirds of the trip paid for by May 1st. Two Sundays ago we had a missions meeting, I needed a chunk of money to meet the deadline. I was freaking out a bit and my husband told me "I've got the kids covered, you go pray about it" I prayed for a bit right then and then prayed on and off the rest of that day. Less than twelve hours later I get a text from someone saying that they are donating X amount of money. It was the exact amount of money I had been praying about needing. I think after all the donations were tallied I had a few dollars over the amount due. I had goosebumps. I still have a way to go... I need about $1000.00 more but I'm not worried I know that it's going to get covered. I'm hoping to get enough to pay for me and then to roll over to others on the trip.( I'll add a shameless plug here if you would like to donate ANY amount....even a few dollars please contact me and I'll send you the designation form, it's tax deductible so you will get a receipt. :) )
This is also emotionally hard because since I met my husband I don't think I've ever been away from him for more than a week... yes we are attached at the hip and have been for 20 years. He's my best friend and no matter how irritated he can make me at times, he is the first person I talk to when I need to share anything. I was comforted with the Skype/cell phone placebo, but have found out there is no service at the camp where we will be teaching. I got a little teary eyed over the thought of not hearing from or seeing my husband and kids for a large portion of the trip. However, I'm a Newman and we are made of pretty tough stuff. Many call it stubborness I call it fortitude! A bit of the Gray temperament doesn't hurt either. I'll be busy, they will be busy and I just have to keep a journal of all the cool things that are happening and take a lot of pics. Being a stay at home mom of four with so many responsibilities , well I think I make myself believe that I'm the only person who can take care of them. I know that's disrespectful to my husband, and the scores of people who are offering to help with my kids while I'm gone, but I can't help but worry just a bit. I tell my husband "Just because I don't do things YOUR way doesn't mean it's the WRONG way" I need to take my own advice and let him parent the way he needs to without me here. I swear I am NOT leaving a list....it's killing me but I refuse!!!! haha. I've been blessed with a wonderful husband who has a real heart for Jesus and his kids they will be fine.
My Ukraine language and culture book from Amazon came in the mail yesterday and now the biggest worry I have is trying to pack my bag and trying to learn the Ukraine alphabet.... Whew! Who knew fundraising would be easier than that!
The other thing that has been taking my time the last two weeks is distressing... Literally distressing. I'm a pretty boring decorator... I use lots of neutrals and go to stores and pick out all the matching furniture. I was sick of the same ole same ole and two years ago hired an interior decorator to help me punch it up a bit. She is great and has helped with color schemes and some staging but honestly I just can't afford her to redo entire house. I've been bummed about it but then a dear friend ...Alana.....said "Girl we can do this..... I'm going to teach you to go to Peddlers mall and get you looking up stuff on pinterest and we'll do this our own way". Apparently I'm one of her more "high maintenance" friends and she's very excited to teach me DIY and shopping for deals. I found (OK actually Greg found it) an old wooden dresser that was pretty beat up even missing a door for $59.00. It's solid wood and had all original door pulls. It came home with us it was really really ugly.... like I wouldn't have even owned this in the 80's...really ugly. I used Annie Slone's chalk paint and OMG this stuff is AWESOME. Very little smell and you have NO prep... No stripping finish off, no sanding... NOTHING. Just paint it on the messier the better. Riley even helped he thought he was hot stuff! Since I have a gray room I used gray paint and then bought Annie Slone's dark wax to "distress" it. Not to be disrespectful to my hubby but he gave me the hairy eyeball that it couldn't be that easy.
This stuff dried in like an hour and then I rubbed the dark wax over the entire thing then wiped it away. The dark wax stayed in the crevices and gave it a distressed old antique look. My husband even said "I would not have believed it if I had not seen it" I have pictures but I can honestly say it does not look as good in the pics as it does in the room! We had a college friend help us move the dresser to our room and he thought we had bought it like that. The only trouble is the Annie Slone's paint is expensive but it goes a long way and the people who sold it too me said I'd never buy dark wax again. I used such a small amount I'd believe them. I also found a huge antique mirror (gold) that I distressed using a teal wash where the gold shows through and then using dark wax to give it a bit more dimension. Again, boring ole me was going to do black on mirror but thought "lets try it I can always paint it black if it doesn't work out" The teal/gold/black kinda gives it a patina look which is neat. It's sitting in my room waiting to see how it works. I think I'm going to hang it and wait until I get my teal headboard to see if it works in the space. However, I am NOT handy at hanging stuff so must wait on hubby to do that. It's fun having these projects to do I'm pretty happy about it. Peddler mall shopping is kinda like treasure hunting but I have to go with a specific purpose or I'll try to get too many projects going. I'll try to get pics up later and I'll keep you informed on how the ongoing projects go.