Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Weekend in St. Louis

I had the joy of going to St. Louis this past weekend to celebrate Easter with my mom and her husband Ned, my sister Katie and her husband Chris, my nieces Ella and Lilly, my nephew J-Rod, and my grandparents. I wasn’t able to go home this past Christmas because of the difficulty of my previous chemotherapy treatments, so it had been almost a year and a half since I had been home. It was such a joy to be back in St. Louis, to be with my family, and to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I brought Samuel with me on my trip and we had a pretty eventful time travelling to and from St. Louis. We left early Friday morning and our first flight – from Savannah to Atlanta – went very smoothly. Once we were in Atlanta we had to take the train to a different terminal to connect to our second flight. Just as I arrived at the gate, they made an announcement that our flight was going to leave from a different gate in a different terminal. I told myself, “This is fine – I will just get a little more exercise.” So I returned to the train and made the long walk to the new gate. Just as I got there I saw people on my flight walking the other way. I found out they had switched gates a second time, which meant walking once more to the other side of the terminal. By that point I wasn’t thinking of this as excercise…I was exhausted. Thankfully, the rest of the flight to St. Louis went well.
I was excited to attend the Good Friday service at Trinity Church where my brother-in-law is the pastor. It was a wonderful, worshipful service. As we all walked outside in silence (in remembrance of Christ’s death) there was an eeriness in the air. The sky above looked very ominous. We got in the car to drive home and as we were driving the weather got worse and worse. We turned on the radio and heard there were tornado warnings all around us. I kept looking out my car window thinking that in a flash of lightning I would see a big twister heading my way. We spent the next thirty minutes driving and praying a tornado would not pick up our car and that we would make it home. Just as we got home the tornado siren sounded by our house. We went into the basement and waited it out. Thankfully, the big tornados hit further north of us. There was a lot of devastation in St. Louis Friday night and I am praying for all those families who lost their houses. The airport (where I arrived earlier that day) was hit directly, causing damage to planes, taking off part of the terminal roof, and shattering a lot of windows.

My grandparents were supposed to fly in the next day but the whole airport was closed. They were able to fly into an airport a few hours away later that evening. It took a total of 18 hours to make it from their house to my mom’s house, but they finally arrived safely.

On Saturday morning I woke up feeling ill with a very bad chest cough and sinus infection. I didn’t think I would get sick because my blood levels looked so good at my appointment last week, but I guess germs have a way of getting in no matter what! I guess it did not help that Samuel was also sick and had been up a lot during the night. But my sister Katie was so gracious and offered to keep Samuel for the afternoon so I could rest. What a blessing! I spent the whole rainy afternoon sitting by the fire reading and sleeping. 

On Saturday night I had a lot of fun playing with Ella (9), J-rod (7) and Lily (3). They have grown up so much! I made bracelets and played checkers with Ella, played castles and swords with J-Rod, and was just entertained by Lily. 

We had a wonderful Easter Sunday. Once again we went to Trinity Church and enjoyed a wonderful and worshipful service. Then we spent the afternoon and evening together as a family. 

My flight was scheduled to leave Monday afternoon. I was kind of hoping that the airport would still be closed so that I wouldn’t have to do chemo on Tuesday, but it had reopened on Sunday. We were planning on shopping before I left. Since the suitcase I brought was full to the brim, I figured I might need to borrow an extra suitcase if I was going to get things while shopping. My mom found an extra suitcase in the basement and gave it to me to use. To my disgust and surprise I opened it up to find a dead mouse inside! Now, this might be more surprising to me if it hadn’t been for the dead bird that my sister found in her closet a few years ago!

My flight to Atlanta went well. I had to hold Samuel the whole time (which hurt my chest  and arms because of my surgery), but he was fairly good. He was very entertaining to those around me. When I got to Atlanta I found out that my flight was going to be delayed by an hour. This was not too surprising since flights can get rather backed up later in the day. But for those of you who know me…you know I HATE flying, so the next few hours were a real test for me! When we finally got on the plane at about 8pm they realized that one of the doors was broken. At this point, Samuel was screaming because he was so tired. They told us we would have to go back to the terminal, but stay on the plane while the maintenance crew fixed it. About an hour later (about 9pm) they said that it was good enough to fly. I was hoping the door wouldn’t fall off in the air! Of course, Samuel was still crying at this point. He likes to be moving all the time so he was not happy and was not giving in to sleep. Just as they cleared us for take off, the airport grounded all of the flights because of a huge lightning storm. Finally, after forty-five minutes or so they cleared us for take off. We waited in a long line of planes for another thirty minutes or so and finally took off at about 10:20pm. By this time, Samuel was asleep and staying asleep for our short flight to Savannah. 

I missed Matt, Lydia, and Hudson so much this weekend. I was so grateful to Matt for watching Lydia and Hudson and allowing me this opportunity to go and spend the weekend with my family. Even though the travel was hard and I was not feeling very well, it was a nice break from all of my treatments and appointments. Of course, I came home to two doctors appointments today – one of which was for chemotherapy (my seventh of twelve treatments).

Thank you to everyone who is continuing to pray for me and for my health. God is so good. He seems to take us on so many ups and downs, but he will NEVER leave us or forsake us. Thank you, Jesus, for all your many blessings!

 Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
I will not leave you or forsake you.
 Joshua 1:5