His Mysterious Ways

If you haven’t met me maybe you don’t know that I am, and have been for a very long time, a Christian. I tell you this because we subscribed to the well known Christian magazine “Guideposts” for years. Each month they would have an article titled “Mysterious Ways” about someone who had been touched by God’s hand to do something.

This happened recently to me.

A friend called Sunday very upset. Vandals had come through their neighborhood on Saturday night and, using a pipe or bat, beat in windshields on cars. She had been hit and now her car was undriveable.

My friend was frustrated because she would have to miss a day’s work to take care of the windshield which she could ill afford. But things went from bad to worse the next day when she discovered she had missed a payment to the insurance company so they denied her claim and cancelled her coverage. When I called to check on her that late that afternoon I could tell she was struggling. After we talked I phoned my husband. Bob always keeps a cool head and his common sense as well as work experience tends to give him amazing suggestions as well as contacts. When he got home he said he was sure the windshield could be replaced fairly reasonably but it might be a challenge to drive the car to one of the companies.

We decided my friend needed some moral support and Bob wanted to see if he might be able to drive the car so we drove over to her house. I looked in my cupboard and found my “rainy day” stash of $100 and stuck it in my pocket. By the time we got to my friend’s house it was nearly eight. Bob took a look at the windshield and then headed in the house asking for the phone book. Sitting down at the table he began leafing through it. While he was doing so, I visited with my friend and discovered that she had found a new insurance company that she could sign up with the next day but that the unexpected expense would pretty much tap her dry. She didn’t know what to do.

The next thing I knew Bob had pulled out his phone and was calling a company. “It’s 8:00,” I said. “Who can you reach at this hour?”

To my surprise someone answered the phone. They talked a few minutes and he hung up. “The company will send someone out tomorrow morning and replace your windshield at the house for $99.” I reached in my pocket. It was amazing. I had exactly enough.

My friend was so relieved. She would not miss another day’s work.

On the drive home Bob and I were talking about how we both had expected the windshield to cost much closer to $150 or $200. Then as we were nearing home it began to rain. My rainy day fund was being used on a rainy day.

What a coincidence. Or was it Providence?

Travel Day

Up early this morning to catch a ride to the airport. One of the strictest airports we have visited in the US is Raleigh. They seem to follow all the FAA rules to a T. Today there was a woman with a small child and some of those tiny juice boxes. The rules allow for babies and milk but apparently juice boxes are suspect… After I got my shoes back on they were still trying to decide whether or not to let the juice through. Of course, it would be okay for this mom to buy juice at an exorbitant price on the other side of the screeners.

But I promised more today than the usual flight information.

If you are reading this most likely you remember the Kool-Aid commercials where all the neighborhood kids would be out playing and one mom would pop out calling, “Who wants Kool-Aid?” Then all the kids would cheer and run to that house. Everyone wanted to have the cool “Kool-Aid” mom. Well, I think I saw her in action this weekend. All the kids want to go to the Weiss house. That’s where the fun is…even if Kathy isn’t offering Kool-Aid. But what we got to see during our visit was that it’s not only Kathy but also Mike who makes this a great family. I know Kathy has told me before that they rarely use a babysitter…if they can’t take the kids along they generally stay home. There is a lot of love in that house and they enjoy being a family. What a great home to grow up in.

7:00 pm AZ time: Home again, home again, jiggedy jig. After a long day flying we are again in our own home. Both cats were puffed up like blow fish when we walked in. It took them a half hour to remember who we are. I expect they will be racing around tonight after sleeping the past week. We are still on Eastern time so it’s off to baths and then to bed. Tomorrow will be soon enough to catch up with everything.

Day 7 of a Super Vacation!

Raleigh, NC almost 9pm EDT Last day of vacation. We were sad to say goodbye to the Weiss family. But the kids there still have school so they were up and off on the school bus early this morning. I have to tell you that they live less than a quarter mile from the school…maybe less than that. But PA law says that no kids can walk to school so the bus comes to pick them up for the two minute ride. While it seems pretty silly I am sure there are good safety reasons. I will write more about our action filled weekend in PA maybe tomorrow on the plane.

Anyway, back to our day. Today we decided to avoid the DC area and its traffic and come down the old road US 15. The good thing was that we were able to visit James Madison’s museum. I was right when I guess that he was our 4th president. We also learned that he and Monroe were good friends. It seems somewhere in my brain I also knew that he was cousin to Zachary Taylor…but apparently it maybe not so important file in my brain. Because Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution we picked up a copy of the constitution for a friend (who shall remain nameless) who has a bumper sticker on her car declaring we should “Legalize the Constitution.” One thing I realized while driving through this area is that we need to come back and spend time just visiting the presidential homes and museums. We were close to so many this week. Ah, another vacation to plan.

Today it rained almost all day. The only plus is that we were spending most of the day driving. I think we were lucky that the weather has been beautiful every other day during this trip. Taking the interior highway was really interesting. You can tell it followed the old road because every town was 10-20 miles apart…we figured that must be a day’s travel on horseback. Most of the road was two-lane which made it much slower than the interstate yet we probably drove 100 miles because it was a straight line. It was probably a wash in total time. We were able to see many plantations and other large farms mostly in Northern Virginia. The southern part of the state was much more rural and you might be surprised that there were lots of pine tree stands. Actually, we noticed how much “unfilled” space there is, even along the East Coast where we tend to thinks it’s just one giant city.

Rebecca’s Perspective… I’ve been deciding how much rain is a tolerable amount. Being born and raised an Arizonan, I’ve always found extra rain exciting, but a full day’s worth like today? That seemed like quite a lot to be a regular occurrence…

I’m starting to miss the Weiss family already! We managed to pack so much action into such a short time. If only I could travel a few thousand miles to babysit the “Weisslettes,” they are the some of the best children out there.

I’ve also been thinking about what the most exciting part of this trip has been, and after a bit of thought, I think it was the fact that I could spend the whole thing Out Side. It was wonderful! The weather has been beautiful (even with the driving rain today.) and I could even work on a tan 🙂 Definitely different from Arizona!

As Mom mentioned, we made it to James Madison’s museum, and ended up passing by Monticello. We took a little country highway that was often only two-laned… while we did seem to go a bit slower, we also saw a lot of country side.

Well, dearest readers, we are heading back to Phoenix mere hours from now. It has been fun blogging our vacation, hope you enjoyed!

Day 6 of a Super Vacation!

Day … Something.
Rebecca’s perspective… Memorial Day 9:00 pm Whoa! Action packed days, these were… We started off at the Weiss family church, St. John Lutheran, and were just in time for the service. We enjoyed a lovely day afterward; once lunch was had we headed to Gettysburg! The history was interesting, yet as every bit started to come to life, it became even more unbelievable. We came home from dinner, and while everyone was tired, no one was quite ready to stop socializing… as you might expect.

Today was wonderful as well. Daphne and her mom were in a Memorial Day Parade as representative Girl Scouts, which was very exciting for us all. The short parade was filled with regional charm. We all enjoyed going out on a pontoon boat on a nearby lake for a few hours before returning for a barbecue! You wouldn’t believe the steak, it was great. Neighbors were met, as well as their cows. The nearest neighbors raised cattle and had a few John Deere tractors, and both Matthew and Dad were pretty jealous. The next thing we did was set off bunches of fireworks! I realize now why they’re illegal in Arizona…. They would probably set the whole desert on fire by just setting off one.

Our visit comes to a close… we’re leaving tomorrow for Raleigh and for Phoenix early Wednesday morning…

We packed a lot in our time with the Weiss family. There is so much to see and do here. And what beautiful weather! I told Bob that we will not like returning to the heat of the desert Wednesday. But tomorrow we will go back to NC–I am thinking we might be able to stop at at least one president’s home on the way.

There are many tales to tell (Kathy is spilling family secrets as I write) but they will have to wait at least one more day.

Day 5 of a Super Vacation!

What a great day! We tried to surprise our friends by meeting at their church in York, PA. Due to good gps navigation we made it in time but only half their family were there due to a sick kid. Still getting to worship in their church and listen to their pastor has given us a better insight to why they drive past umpteen churches to get to theirs.

We returned to their home to see the rest of the family and note: to those who requested…hugs all around have been shared 🙂

After visiting and some lunch it was decided we should visit Gettysburg. None of our family have been there before. More impressive than me seeing where the battles took place was watching and listening to all the people sharing heartfelt accounts of the details. The Civil War might have been over 100 years ago but you could still hear the emotion–

We visited some of the town curio shops and got to watch a short reenactment of one battle. Matthew got a real kick out of the guys firing their rifles. He was especially glad when those shot got back up and “survived”.

I will write more later about our friends–and include pictures. But now we are heading off to a Memorial Day parade which will feature the local Girl Scout troup and our friend Daphne.

Day 4 of a Super Vacation!

5:51 EST (Rebecca’s perspective) Jet lag must be catching up to me. We’re in Raleigh, a mere hour away from picking up my dad at the airport, but only 15 minutes of travel time. We spent most of the day driving around, first to Raleigh to see my older cousin Josh, and after to rid ourselves of errands before picking up my dad. There is a gluten free bakery here done by Whole Foods, so after lunch that was the first of our stops. Would you believe, we found gluten free cupcakes?! Trust me, Mom and Matthew were beyond excited. As was I. Which means I need to eat one soon so they don’t disappear on me… After a few more stops, we had extra time and decided to find a local library, in hopes of wasting time with free wifi. My GPS led us up and down small roads and through neighborhoods (I’ve found that the larger houses in Morehead City were a bit ostentatious… there are some other, less grandiose mansions in Raleigh in which I may reside) We didn’t ever find the supposed library, but we did walk around the block, admiring many magnolia trees and old houses. Still suffering from multiple sun burns and jet lag, the three of us are quite tired and ready for a siesta. But alas, traveling awaits us… Mom would like to make it past Washington DC tonight, a mere 266 miles away. We’ll see where we end up!

Sat PM…not as late as it seems… Had a great lunch with my sister and BOTH her boys. She smartly recommended we all drive up early to Raleigh and catch up with Josh. She was going to give him reprieve from the summer session and a ride home for the holiday weekend.

We ended up with just a short time before Bob’s flight. I thought we might find a library or park to visit while we waited so we followed the gps instructions down through Raleigh. That’s where I almost made a major faux pas… “There’s a nice park,” I pointed to Rebecca. We slowed down at the gated entrance.
“How beautiful,” she agreed. “Let’s go there.” I was just about to turn in when she spotted the house (no really it was a mansion). Yikes, we were about to run around in somebody’s front yard! So we didn’t quite find a park…but we did find McDonald’s which served us just fine.

Bob’s flight was even a few minutes early so we got off to a good start. He hopped in the car and we are now on our way to see those crazy Weiss people. I am not sure where we are tonight. An Econolodge somewhere… All I know is Bob saw the sign that said “Free Breakfast!” and here we are. Tomorrow should be a very eventful day. We are very excited to see our friends.

Day 3 of a Super Vacation

Day 3in MHC (as the locals call it). We have heard that the weather in Phoenix is almost as nice as it is here. Maybe so, but here they do have the beautiful ocean. We spent time at the beach yesterday. It is so relaxing. Maybe it’s the sound of the never ending waves crashing on the shore. Maybe it’s the fresh breeze that constantly blows or the exercise that you get without realizing it walking along the shore. Whatever it was we all slept well last night.

Today my sister took us out on their boat to a small sand bar that they call Sand Dollar Island. It’s not really an island since it covers completely at high tide. But we were there just at low tide and stayed until the island almost disappeared. On the way we saw a dolphin playing in the water (I think spotting a dolphin means good luck). We found lots of sand dollars and a good variety of shells. Rebecca and cousin Jacob put some effort into dissecting a dead giant jellyfish. The body was the texture of a stale gummy bear. Matthew did amazingly well. I was worried he would be afraid to get into the boat and especially didn’t know if he would jump out of it at the beach. But he did and he had fun. He didn’t get in to the water right away but gradually was more brave. He did have his limits how far away from the “shore” he would go. I’ll not have to worry about him going in to water that is too deep. I have to say that the sun really snuck up on us today. We are all burned. I told Matthew that he should leave his shirt off and let his white stomach get some color…now he has a pink tummy…

But I think the more important story today is about my sister. I have Bob to do all the “manly” things around the house. My sister is a single mom and does whatever needs to be done;today it included hooking up the trailer, driving it down the road and backing it up at the ramp (straight, I might add) just far enough to float the boat. Then, after the rest of us clamber in she drives the boat out to sea. She is teaching my nephew how to drive the boat and all the “rules of the road”, stay between the channel markers, watch for the sand bars, remember the sail boat has right of way and more. It was really amazing watching her resolve, determination and knowledge. In two weeks she and her younger son are coming to AZ and will hike down the Havasaupai trail. Her strength is admirable.

Rebecca’s perspective: Good Ness, it’s 8:47 PM our time, who knew I’d be so tired by now! What a great day; first waking up, I realized immediately how wonderful the day was going to be. Beautiful weather with cheerful moods all around, we got my cousin Jacob out of school (No worries; his class was watching a movie, and he wasn’t about to miss anything productive.) and loaded up the boat to head to Sand Dollar Island! My Aunt Linda and cousin are really good at loading/unloading the boat and driving it around… I wasn’t sure if I should trust my 14 year old cousin’s steering the boat, but he seemed to do pretty well. All but my aunt managed to get sunburned, but let’s hope it turns into a tan soon. We spent hours out in the sun relaxing while searching for sand dollars, unique seashells, and anything else that suited our fancy. Mom and I found a few dead jellyfish, one of which Jacob and I dissected with a shell! (NOTE: No Live Animals Were Killed During the Making of this Blog) His mantle was hard and thick, like the consistency of very thick Jello. We both scooped chunks out, only to find that the insides were watery, nothing exciting.

Mom, Matthew and I did a little exploring yesterday around my aunt’s community. There are some beautiful houses looking out to the ocean, most three stories with many guest rooms! When I become a doctor, I’ll let y’all know where I reside; if I choose the South, there’ll be plenty o’ room for visitors. Y’all come visit for sweet tea, ya hear? 😀