Monday, July 21, 2014

Cleveland, Mississippi and Forrest City, Arkansas

The boys and I unpacked from camp and put everything back in our suitcases once it was clean.  We left Fred Sunday afternoon after being home about 36 hours.  Whew.  We met up with a great team and had a wonderful week serving internationally in the Mississippi Delta.  Ha, I kid about the international part...but seriously, it felt like we were in another country.  Seriously.
We spent the week in a mission house designed for groups to stay while they serve in the area.  Let me tell you about our consisted of 5 children, 1 teenage boy and his dad, 2 middle aged women and 4 senior adult women.  In about 1200 square feet...and two bathrooms.  What can I say?!?  There was a lot of togetherness.  Each room had 3-4 bunkbeds.  I slept in a room with four boys.  One was in the middle of the room on an air mattress.  With the air mattress there was no room to navigate.  This became very clear to me one night as I was sleeping and Jack, who was on the top bunk, began screaming because he was having a night mare.  I stumbled, tripped and stumbled some more in the pitch dark to get to his bed before he...a)  woke up everyone else and b) fell off the bed.  It was exciting.  This happened three times that same night.
Oh, and these bunkbeds...they were handmade from 2 by 4's with plywood and a mattress that was 1 1/2 inches thick.  The pastor of the church told us that they got these mattresses from the prison up the road. Nice.  Our room also had a window unit that hummed all night long.  I had a difficult time regulating the temperature.  Anyway...after the first night and not wanting to miss a teachable moment I told the boys that this is how you have to sleep if you go to prison.  So, don't make choices that will land you in prison.  Clayton said, "Is it this cold in prison?"  Ha.  I guess he missed my point.  Parts of my body kept going numb in the night.  Oh, to be 10 again and be able to sleep anywhere!!
Each day we served by conducting VBS at one church in the morning and at another church at night. It was a blast and such an eye-opening experience for our boys.
Here is our group.  We were a lively group and this is the best picture we could get!!  Fred and another dad had to work, but they joined us Thursday and Friday.  Making our total 15 in the house...with two bathrooms...and prison mattresses.
One day we went to the Baptist Student Union Building at the Delta State campus to help clean up the facility in anticipation of students arriving.  All the kiddos helped out, but Clayton and the other young lady that we took were just out of this world.  They vacuumed a huge room, disinfected about 15 tables and then ASKED if they could mop this kitchen.  They found the mop bucket, filled with with water and cleaner and proceeded to mop the kitchen.  I snuck up behind them and got a picture.  It just blessed my heart to see him in action.  What an answer to my prayers for his life.  I pray he always has a servant heart.

This was one day after VBS.  Can you say tired?!?

We loaded up on Friday after our morning VBS session and headed back to Memphis to meet up with Fred's family.  Then we left the boys there so they could have Christmas in July with Grandma Beulah. We had no kids here and I was exhausted, but I chose to go with Fred to his triathlon and cheer him on.  I'm so glad I did.  Triathlons/Races with three kids are the worst.  The absolute worst.  Since we didn't have them we headed out at 5:00 a.m. for Forrest City, Arkansas.  We were almost out of gas so I dropped Fred at the swim area and headed in to town to get gas and breakfast.  While I was getting my breakfast Fred called.  He had forgotten his goggles.  Could I bring them?  The race started in 10 minutes.  I was a good 15 minutes from the lake and then there was a mile hike to get to him.  I had almost given up hope and I saw him.  He was about 20 people from getting in the water. Good timing.  Side note, I felt like going back in to town to get a donut since I had worked so hard, but I decided not to.  I totally should have gotten one...or four.

This triathlon was the first one Fred ever participated in.  It was 8 years ago.  He beat his time this year by 12 minutes.  I encouraged him to go fast in the beginning, fast in the middle and fast in the end.  (Have you ever seen the episode of The Office where Michael Scott ran a 5K?)  I guess my pep talk worked.  He was thrilled.  Thrilled.  I still wanted a donut.
We got back home, gathered our kids and spent an afternoon at home.  It was lovely.  We start school two weeks from today and quite frankly we are not ready.  We still have so much we want to do!  We will make the most of every moment.

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