Friday, April 26, 2013

Long Island to Alaska

My sister-in-law and her family are currently on a cross-country trip from Long Island, New York to the great state of Alaska.

I met Mike's sister, Rachel, when she was a young sixteen year old girl. I remember the day I met her she had her long, brown hair in pigtails and was wearing an old vintage Tide t-shirt. She had just started driving and was playing basketball for her high school team. I watched her grow and mature throughout college. I remember when she met a special guy named Juan, and I stood with tears in my eyes the day she married him. I have seen her become a mother to our sweet niece, Velda, and I have watched her develop into an amazing wife, mom, sister and friend. So I should not be shocked to watch her make a major move across the country with such amazing confidence and grace. Her husband has accepted the call to be a pastor at a church in Wasilla, a town made famous by its notorious resident--Sarah Palin. Rachel and Juan are embracing this move with a great sense of adventure, trusting God fully to take care of the details. They left New York over a week ago after selling most of their possessions and packing what was left in a trailer and heading out on the road. They are making many stops along the way, visiting friends and family as well as seeing this great big, wonderful country of ours.

Their first stop was in Tennessee to visit Juan's sister. Next up was a stop to see us in Oklahoma! We loved having them here for a few days. My kids went nuts playing with their cousin, and Rachel and I stayed up late chatting each night. It will be a long time until we see them again, so it was a blessing to have a chance to be with them before they left. Their sweet dog, Lola, even came along for the journey. My kids have now officially started a "we need a dog" campaign. They may just win us over. Tuesday morning Rachel and Juan hit the road again. They stopped to see friends in Denver, then toured Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota this morning. Today they are driving across Wyoming on their way to Yellowstone National Park. From there they will stop in Montana, then cross over into Canada. After driving through Banff and Jasper National Parks, they will finally arrive in Alaska sometime next weekend. What an adventure. Have fun, Rachel, and enjoy the view out your window. Hopefully we'll see each other again soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

These Girls

These girls have been changing so much lately. No longer toddlers, but elementary aged girls in the last few years before they are "Tweens". Their baby teeth have been falling out only to be replaced by large, crooked adult teeth. They are still beautiful in a sweet, awkward way, but the change in their smiles has made them appear older, less baby-like. They both read chapter books like crazy. When given the choice of a book at bedtime, they no longer scan the picture books on their shelf. Their conversations have become deeper as they are trying to make sense of who they are and what they stand for. Of course they are still silly and sweet and innocent, but sometimes I stand back and am amazed at they little girls they are becoming.