Jesus, I Come

Jesus, I Come

William T. Sleeper

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,

 Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;

Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessèd will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,

Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy throne,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

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Separation Anxiety

I’m gonna be honest: it was very hard to get up and go to Walmart at 6:00 this morning. After getting the food put away and a few other things done, I headed up to the fabric store to get a couple of things.

Then I got the phone call. The kind of phone call that mothers dread. The phone call from your daughter saying that she is in agonizing pain and what should she do? Mercy has been in pain for two days and I could hear it in her voice. Her hostess wasn’t up yet and she didn’t know what to do, because in this family, we never go to the doctor unless it’s life-threatening. The last time Mercy went to a doctor was over 13 years ago.

I told her to get help ASAP. Tell the doctor she didn’t have insurance, but get help! I was so worried. Before long Mangy and Nikki were taking her to an urgent care facility. They took x-rays, blood work, and did an EKG. Then we all waited anxiously for results–and prayed.

I finally got the word that Mercy has been diagnosed with viral pleurisy, a very painful condition affecting the covering of the lungs. All they could do for her was prescribe a painkiller and advise her to wait it out. She may feel better within a couple of days or it may take longer. She is due to fly home on Tuesday, so please pray that she feels better by then! Right now any kind of movement is agonizing for her and she got almost no sleep last night. It is so hard to be a mom that is separated from her son or daughter in trouble! At the same time, I am so relieved that Mercy’s pain is not caused by any of the horrific things I imagined when she first called.

We made some headway on getting the house back into shape today, and I made regular and gluten-free banana bread. Apparently, people expect me to start cooking again now that I am home . . .

Quote of the Day:
Jasper, describing to me his first experience with chicken pot pie: “It was so good! It had peas in it but I couldn’t taste them at all!”

We Were “That” Couple

You know, the one that fast food employees hate with a burning passion. Yesterday we drove all the way from Colorado Springs to East Texas. This was not a particularly fun 874 mile drive. It was made much more bearable by the fact that my sweet husband charged up the car’s air conditioning system for the trip (a charge lasts a maximum of two days).

So anyway, we blew through Wichita Falls at supper time, but didn’t see anything that looked like a good option, so for some reason we just kept driving and driving and driving. We still had a long way to go. Finally, though, we acknowledged that we were hungry and needed to stop for something to eat. We saw a gas station with a Grandy’s restaurant attached, so we decided to go for it.

We walked in at 8:55 and not until we had started ordering did we realize that the place closed at 9:00. I felt so awful. The employees (all Hispanic) were trying to clean up and get out of there. We tried to find out what would be the least trouble for them. I, of course, needed a gluten-free option. So what did those fast-food workers do? They fried up some chicken nuggets for Walter and gave him more than twice as many as he had ordered, plus a mountain of fries. They found a marinated chicken breast for me and served it on a pile of rice with two very generous vegetable sides. Then they brought out a whole box of rolls for us to take since they didn’t want to throw them away. And right before they turned out the lights, one sweet young lady brought out a heated cinnamon roll for Walter’s dessert! Not one of them displayed an impatient or bad attitude. I wish I knew what town that was so I could let their manager know what a great team he has there!

We didn’t arrive home till after 12:30 a.m. and didn’t get to bed until quite a bit later. And yes, I still got up at 6:00 this morning and went grocery shopping.

Last Day

This is just a perfunctory entry because I really need to finish packing and go to bed. I thought you should know that Walter still got to watch the soccer game today and was very happy with the result. Evangeline took us to meet our friend Dianne at a German restaurant where we had yummy German food and a great visit with an old friend. Our car got fixed and we picked it up. Mercy took us to a huge Asian grocery store and it was awesome and we bought quite a bit of stuff. And then Mercy’s friend Mangy invited us over for supper again and we had fabulous gluten free crepes and stuffed ourselves yet again!

Now our time in Colorado has come to an end and we must say goodbye to our wonderful hosts and make the long trek back to Texas. I’m ready to see my kids again but sorry to be leaving this beautiful state.

If It’s Not One Thing . . .

Today there was nothing planned for the morning so I kind of lazed around and took a shower and then went down to Donita’s “hobbit hole” in the basement to help her sort through some books, some of which ended up in a box which is going home to Texas!

Then it was time to go meet my friend Jane for lunch. It was the first time since arriving in Colorado that I have driven the car. The brakes have been hissing in Darth Vader-ish fashion for the last several days. To be honest, once I started driving, I found the brakes to be downright alarming.

However, I made it to the restaurant and soon after Jane arrived and we had a lovely long visit. Then, having said goodbye, I headed back to Evangeline’s. I found myself passing a Whole Foods Market, and remembering that I needed something there, I pulled into the parking lot and almost hit a car before I could stop. I got the item I needed and continued on my way, thankful that Walter has been doing all the driving on this trip.

After I returned, I reminded Walter to look for a place where we can watch the USA/Germany soccer game tomorrow. He found a sports bar that seemed like a good choice, and decided to drive over there to make sure they would actually be open during tomorrow’s game. When he returned, he was not a happy man. The bar will be open–yes. But the brakes on the car failed and as a result he ran a red light and was lucky to make it back to the house in one piece!

Yikes! Evangeline recommended a mechanic and Walter was able to call and talk to him before he quit for the day. Then we sat down to a delicious spaghetti dinner, after which Walter and Kory took the car down to the mechanic so he can start work on it in the morning. Meanwhile, I spent some time visiting with Donita.

Tomorrow we are supposed to meet up with my old college suite-mate for lunch. Not sure if that is going to happen unless she is willing to come get us! Please pray that we will be able to get the car fixed in time to leave for Texas early Friday morning. And also pray that the repairs don’t wipe us out financially . . .

Parting Shot:

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Here is the best photo I’ve been able to get of the fabulous fused glass bowl my friend Kim gave me for my birthday. Isn’t it gorgeous?

The Colorado Middle Eastern West African Birthday

So, today was my birthday. I did not plan to say anything about it, and figured that we would just wait and celebrate after we get back home. That plan failed in a major way.

The first part of my plan was to sleep in till 8:30 because I have not been sleeping well the last few nights. However, my sweet daughter Mary texted me at 7:30 this morning so that plan died on the spot! Later in the morning, when I was actually sentient, we had a nice chat on the phone.

My lovely hostess Evangeline made sausages for breakfast, and then offered to take Walter and me out for a birthday lunch. Her mother Donita came as well and we went to a Middle Eastern restaurant called “Heart of Jerusalem.” I had one of the best meals I have ever had in my entire life: falafel and hummus and beef and chicken and various other morsels of heaven all arranged in a beautiful design. The falafel were heart-shaped! I love Middle Eastern food so much!

After lunch Walter and I had to rush to pick up Mercy, who wanted to take us to a movie. We went to see Edge of Tomorrow, which might also be titled Edge of Your Seats. So much action! As we walked out of the theater, Mercy diverted us to a bubble tea establishment, and we all had a delicious cup of bubble tea before heading to Walmart to go grocery shopping.

We got all the ingredients for the birthday dinner which Mercy was planning to make–West African ground nut stew. Then it was over to Mangy’s house where I took a nap, drank some tea, and spent a couple of glorious hours reading while Mercy slaved in the kitchen. I also had a birthday phone call from my brother Matt.

By the time our delicious dinner was ready, it was late, but since we had such a big lunch, that was no problem. Mercy and her friends made it such a fun meal, and we topped it off with the chocolate gluten-free cake which Mercy had made and her friend Rachel had decorated with a beautiful design. What a great birthday!

And then we came back to Evangeline’s and I had over 100 Facebook birthday greetings waiting for me. I am so blessed. Thank you to everyone who made it such a wonderful day!

Pike’s Peak and a Surprise Rendezvous

Today was the day for our big excursion to the top of Pike’s Peak. Mangy, the lady that Mercy is staying with, had graciously offered the use of her vehicle, since there’s no way Valvados is in shape to make a drive like that. We arrived at Mangy’s house only to learn that a second toilet was leaking. Yesterday they missed church due to a leaking toilet, which they replaced. It seems hard to believe that two toilets would fail in two days in the same house, but it happened!

We left the toilet to be dealt with later and took off for the mountain. Walter specifically wanted to drive up so Mangy let him behind the wheel once we got to the base. As we were beginning our climb, I got a phone call from my friend Kim, with whom I was supposed to have lunch tomorrow. Her plans had changed and she wondered if we could meet today instead? We decided to go for it. She left from her home in Kansas as we drove up the mountainside!

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It was a beautiful drive up and I only felt anxious a few times. The weather was spectacular and the views awe-inspiring. When we finally reached the top, we took a few photos and cruised through the gift shop. I sat down to watch the movie which they show every few minutes, and was surprised and delighted to see that it was made by William Hellmuth, my friend Connie’s son! Meanwhile Walter, who had been looking forward to the special high-altitude donuts, was disappointed. The donut machine was broken.

We bought a few souvenirs and then headed on down the mountain. As we proceeded downward, some dark clouds moved in and there was a little rain. Then we were held up for some time because there had been an injury on the mountain and a helicopter had to come in to evacuate the victim.

By the time we got all the way down, it was almost time for me to meet Kim, so Mangy dropped me off at the restaurant and Kim was already there! Kim is one of my writer friends and is very talented in many other areas also. We had a great visit and I just wish it could have been longer. We were the last ones out of the restaurant after it had closed for the day. Kim brought me here to Evangeline’s house, and she also gave me an incredible birthday gift which she had made for me. I will show it to you tomorrow when I can photograph it properly.

Walter went back to Mangy’s house and spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening replacing the toilet tank and getting everything back up and running. I’m so glad he was able to help.

Parting Shot:

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Walter on top of Pike’s Peak

In Search of ESPN

Yesterday we had two goals. One was to watch the Germany/Ghana game of the World Cup. The second was to eat dinner with Walter’s cousin Erik and his wife Tammy. Since we can’t get ESPN here where we are staying, we decided to drive up to Denver at lunchtime and eat in a sports bar where we could watch the game. I did some research and found a sports bar that was not too far away from where Erik and Tammy live. I went on their website, wrote down the address, and entered it into Delilah (our GPS).

It was a beautiful drive up to Denver despite the bumper-to-bumper traffic. We followed Delilah’s instructions to get to the restaurant, and we found the address without trouble. The trouble was that the address was a house in a neighborhood made up of other houses. It was most certainly not a restaurant.

By now it was getting close to kick-off time, and Walter was very frustrated. We pulled into a shopping center and I went back on the restaurant’s website on my phone and wrote down the their phone number. When I called and explained our predicament, the waitress gave me the restaurant’s address and guess what? It was NOT the one on the website! Now why would a place of business have a website with the wrong address on it? It doesn’t even make sense!

Delilah tried to get us to the new address, but we somehow both didn’t see the place, so I had to call again. This time we were just yards away, literally, and we soon made it to the right parking lot. Of course, by the time we walked in and parked ourselves in front of the big screen, the game had been going on for 20 minutes!

We had a good lunch while watching the game and then left to kill time until supper time. We got a drink at Starbucks and stayed there for as long as we could stand it. Then Walter went for a walk and I went back to the car and took a nap. Finally we went to a nearby store to buy some flowers for Tammy and then headed over to Erik’s house.

We had a great time visiting and eating out on Erik and Tammy’s lovely deck. Walter and Erik told stories of their daredevil deeds as kids growing up in Germany. An adorable baby rabbit appeared in the yard and didn’t seem to be afraid of us at all.

Finally, we said our goodbyes and headed back to Colorado Springs. Today we went to church with our host family and then enjoyed a cookout this afternoon. We also watched the Algeria/South Korea game and the USA/Portugal game, which were actually on broadcast TV today. Mercy and her friend Rachel came and we had a good time of fellowship.

Tomorrow: Pike’s Peak!

And finally, on a much sadder note, I awoke this morning to the news that a longtime friend and high school classmate of mine is now in Glory. Gary was a fellow Zambian MK and a great gospel singer and a funny guy. He will be greatly missed.

Yes, We Did Actually Make it to Colorado

So, you haven’t heard from me for a while. It’s not that nothing has happened; it’s just that I’ve been busy while it’s happening.

I believe I left you hanging on Tuesday night. Our “fixed” brakes weren’t working, and we were supposed to leave on Wednesday morning. My poor husband got up at 5:30 in the morning and went to get help on the brakes. He was back with good news before I even got up to finish packing.

We got packed, got the car loaded, and were ready to leave close to our (revised) target time of 10:00. We said goodbye to the kids, got in the car . . . and the car did not start. Seriously? I could hardly believe it!

So, Walter had to jumpstart it and then drive it back to the campus to see if we needed a new battery. Thank goodness it turned out to be a loose wire connected to the alternator. This car has had that exact same problem before. Only that time it was on the way back from Colorado instead of on the way there.

It was almost noon by the time we finally pulled out of the driveway. We decided to try an alternate route which required driving all the way past Fort Worth before turning north to Amarillo. It seemed to take forever! And Delilah (our GPS) was estimated that we wouldn’t arrive in Amarillo until after 11:00 p.m. Fortunately, Delilah was wrong about that, like she is about so many things.

We stopped in the tiny town of Childress for supper after going without food all day. Since it was a small town we felt we had to stop at the first likely eating place we found, because it might be the only one and we were starving! So we stopped at a Pizza Hut. I knew this was a bad idea because of my dairy and gluten restrictions, but I figured I could just get food from the salad bar and feel sorry for myself.

Guess what? No salad bar. So, I took a massive withdrawal from my LSA (Lifetime Stupidity Allowance) and ate pizza with husband. It was delicious. At the time, I thought it would be worth it. I was so wrong. I should have gone hungry.

We got to our hotel in Amarillo at about 9:00, and by the time we went to bed a couple of hours later, I felt very sick indeed. I stayed sick all night and all the next day, which made the drive up into Colorado a whole lot less enjoyable than it should have been. At least Walter enjoyed it! Here’s proof:

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You can see how worried he was about the snakes here.

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He actually was a log more worried about standing on the rotting boards surrounding the ice cream cone.

We were warmly welcomed by Evangeline and her mother Donita when we arrived yesterday afternoon. I was not nearly a sociable as I would have liked to be due to the fact that I just wanted to curl up and die.

This morning I felt much better. I have had some lingering symptoms, but not enough to stop me from participating in my friend Donita’s critique group. It was very intimidating to me because I had to come up with opinions on the spot and I felt like such a dummy. But it was so interesting to read what everyone else had written and they were able to give me some helpful feedback on the pages that I had brought.

After lunch, Walter and Mercy picked me up and we all went on an excursion to Garden of the Gods. I was dismayed to discover that my silver sun umbrella never made it into the car for this trip, so I was not able to venture as far afield as Mercy and Walter did because the sun was fierce!

So I found a nice shady spot where I could watch a very kind and patient gentleman help a succession of children learn the basics of rock climbing. It was actually very interesting.

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We dropped Mercy off where she is staying and then came on back to our home base at Evangeline’s. She and her family went out for dinner, so Walter and I stayed in with Donita and ate supper in front of the TV while watching two episodes of Dr. Who. It’s been a great day! Maybe tomorrow I’ll be all the way better! And no, I’m not going to cheat on gluten again no matter what the temptation.

Parting Shot:

6-20-14 garden of the gods climbers

Spot the nutcases climbers in this photo.

Surprise! You Just Won a No-Expenses Paid Trip to the Dentist!

Why does going on a trip seem to create so much drama? The Suburban was still in the shop today so once again I had to drive the van. This morning I went back to the store where I got my $90 dress for nothing and performed a similar magic trick. Using a combination of a sale, a coupon, and the balance left on my gift card, I got 3 garments worth $112 total for nothing. I am so tickled to have something new to wear on my trip!

Meanwhile, I had called the dentist’s office this morning because the gum infection that they had treated a couple of months ago has returned with a vengeance. I was hoping he would just call in a prescription but was told that after such a time lapse he would have to personally inspect my mouth. Grrr!

To my surprise they were able to fit me in right after lunch. The x-rays didn’t show anything, but when the dentist took a look at my mouth he confirmed my self-diagnosis and complimented me on my perspicacity. (He didn’t use that word, exactly.) After some poking around, he found a cavity that had formed underneath one of my crowns, and speculated that it might be making the infection hard to get rid of.

So yes, I went under the drill, only today it was more like a jackhammer because it turns out that drilling through a metal crown is not that easy. Over $100 later, I walked out with a numb mouth and a prescription for another course of antibiotics–something I really hate. However, I hate not being able to chew even more, so I got the meds.

Finally, it was time to go pick Lucy up from the bus. She was tired and has a cold that she picked up in New York, and which I’m hoping she won’t share. It is great to have her back!

Here’s a gratuitous photo of her with the Balto statue in Central Park:

Lucy with Balto

I had an easy sewing project to finish–a plain navy skirt that I planned to wear quite a bit on my trip. Then my serger balked. After rethreading it five or six times, I gave up. The skirt was close to being finished, too! Now I will have to pay to have my serger serviced, and come up with a new wardrobe plan for the trip. *sigh*

A couple of Walter’s friends have been working on the Suburban’s brakes, and it was done at supper time. We thought. However, when Walter went to pick it up, the brakes were even worse than before! Clearly, something will need to be adjusted in the morning before we leave. Please PRAY that we will indeed be able to leave tomorrow and have a safe trip to the mountains.