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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Travel Tips

I recently had the privilege of flying down to see my sister for her birthday. The flight was only about an hour and a half, so the trip itself was pretty quick. For someone who hadn't flown on an airplane for nearly 20 years, the whole process made me a bit nervous! However, it all went well and I enjoyed my time with family down south.

In an effort to help others who don't travel often, I have put together a hit list of travel tips that I hope you will find useful.

    Travel Tips (When Flying
  • Do you really need that laptop? Leave it at home - it's heavy!
  • Wear a thin belt - they didn't make me take mine off.
  • Yes, slip on shoes are convenient for the security checkpoint, but unless you have really supportive shoes for walking miles across an airport, go ahead and wear your comfy running shoes.
  • When your sister tells you to take the tram to baggage claim, do it! (unless you enjoy hiking for what seems like miles)
  • Just because you have a carry on bag doesn't mean they might not check it for you. My bag was checked as I walked onto the plane because there was no more room. Your luggage is not always right there when you walk off the plane, so be sure to ask the stewardess if you'll need to visit baggage claim. Ask for your ticket!
  • Pack snacks in your bag - the food at the airport is either too greasy, too fatty, and/or just plain expensive. You will have to purchase drinks on the other side of security unless you can wait until free beverages (pop, water, juice) are served on the airplane.
  • You're told that you can take 3-oz liquid containers as long as they are contained inside a one-quart size zipped baggie. Just buy the trial sizes to get you to your destination instead of buying a bunch of 3-oz plastic containers. They don't all fit (believe me, I tried).
  • Cell phones must be turned off on the plane during the entire flight. Imagine my surprise when I realized I couldn't listen to my music that's on my cell phone! Take a good book along.
  • Roll your clothes - you can fit a lot more in that suitcase than you ever dreamed!
  • Bath salts may or may not be permitted through security...depends on whether you're lucky like me and get a security guard who thinks bath salts are "the best!".
These may seem simplistic, but perhaps these will be helpful to you if you are thinking of traveling for the first time in a long time. Was the trip worth it? Absolutely! I had a great time with family once I arrived at my destination. I also have a brand new respect for men and women who have to travel on a regular basis for their jobs. That is a rough life...very tiring and physically draining. If your husband or wife travels to provide for you and your family, give him/her a hug and say "thanks!". All my best to you,

Coffee Granules...

Have you ever had your coffee pot literally "spit up" everywhere? I mean, coffee granules all over the counter, covering the coffee pot, and splattered on the adjacent microwave? It was the oddest thing this morning...I came out at 5:55 and turned the coffee pot on to brew. I went about a few other tasks only to return and find coffee granules all over the place with very little coffee in the pot! My first thought in my still-very-groggy state was, "ah, c'mon!" But then I seemed to go into automatic mode and began cleaning it up. It was as if the coffee granules were multiplying before my eyes - there were more and more of them. (Mental note - check under the microwave when everyone gets up - there's probably some lurking under there.)

What happened to make the coffee "explode" or "hiccup" like that? I am sure there is a technical explanation for it, but at this hour of the morning I am not inclined to figure it out. I simply cleaned up the mess and brewed a new pot of coffee. Pretty simple, right?

I began to think about how we go through life sometimes and things are as smooth as silk. We're humming along with nary a thought to adversity or heartache. And then, one day, there is a "hiccup"...and sometimes there is what seems to be an "explosion" of heartache and adversity. It's as though we look around and wonder, what happened? How did I get here? Lord, where are you?

I can recall one time like that in my life when I felt as though things were so bad that all I could do was sob and cry out to my Lord. I had broken my leg after just finding out that we were 5 weeks pregnant with our second daughter. (Thankfully, she was ok!) I was in more pain than I could have imagined, but the Lord was faithful. My mother-in-law was in the hospital at the very same time and barely a week following my fall, she went home to be with the Lord. My husband was so broken and moving through his days on auto pilot I think...but the Lord gave him a strength and resolve that only He can give. I couldn't be there with him at the nursing home to say goodbye to my mother-in-law who was so wonderful to me. It was so sad that I couldn't be there for my husband to comfort him. But I know the Lord was with him.

My parents were so faithful to us by being here and taking care of me and Julie. My Momma stayed for three weeks caring for all of us and my Daddy traveled back and forth several times taking care of their place and animals at home while taking care of us while he was here. I don't know what we would have done without them!

Our church family was faithful to bring us meals and sit and talk with us, pray with us, cry with us, and laugh with us. We had many friends do the same - they were all such a blessing!

Oddly enough (but no coincidence), that was a time in my life that I remember feeling the closest to my Lord and Saviour. I had to sleep on the couch sitting up with my leg elevated up above my heart for several weeks. Sleep was fleeting at best, so I had a lot of time to think, pray, and cry. It's true - when we are at our lowest point, the Lord is there. When we think we cannot go on anymore, the Lord is there. When we think we'd like to just give it all up, He is there. In the midst of my pain and all that was going on in our family at that time, we had a sense of peace that only the Lord can give.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." My friends, this is so true. He is with us during the days when we feel as though we can stand on top of a mountain and praise Him! But most importantly, He is with us in the valley when we can barely lift our head to lift our eyes to Him. He is carrying us when we need carried. He comforts us in our darkest hours. Reach out to to Him...cry in front of Him...He already knows your heart, but trust me when I say that you'll feel His peace when you share it with Him.

You're probably wondering...what do coffee granules exploding everywhere have to do with crying out to the Lord? It may be a challenge to clean up coffee granules, but it can be done. However, when things aren't going as we hoped they would in our life, it's not always easy to "clean it up". But the Lord is with us and He is able to clean up our lives and to help us through the process of doing so. That's not to say that everything will turn out exactly as we hope it will, but we can be assured that the Lord will walk right beside us as we go through the "messes" in life.

There are so many people walking through the valley today...and feeling like they're not sure what today will bring. Perhaps it's you...wondering what happened when you weren't looking...wondering where the Lord is in all the heartbreak and chaos...My heartfelt prayer is that the Lord will comfort you and that you will feel the inexplicable peace in your heart and mind that only the Lord can give. Lean on Him...He is strong enough to take it.

My blessings to you,