yes. yes. yes. i am going to detail our vacation chronologically--of course! can i ever get away from the chronological format without feeling that some meaningful detail of *the way things were* will be lost? but tonight, as i sit in this very quiet house in this very quiet. large, oceanless desert, i have--sentiments. i strangely am feeling a lot about my car. almost as if it had been a faithful dog. and i say "had been" because... it is dead. yes, that's all part of the story. you don't get to hear that til the end. so tozer (the car) is fried, sitting in some auto mechanic's shop in santa barbara, never to be seen again, and here i am. visions of the sea, lingering memories of jasmine scented days are my companions. i. miss. california. i *know* it's just a passing thing, that one generally gets a hollow feeling upon returning home from a fun sleepover or exciting travel, but... for tonight, i'm just gonna let myself feel that, be ok with missing it.
i am overwhelmed with gratitude about how the whole trip unfolded--i felt God's grace strong upon us through the whole journey--from the day that we left under cool cloud cover, to even the day the engine died and we coasted straight into a perfect, shady little parking spot! the whole trip, God provided. I felt "sent" and was soooooooo excited to participate in church on the coastlands!!! i knew right off the bat that the trip was a good idea, that it did not have to be expensive, and that it wasn't just going to be a "sitting around" vacation. it was a purposeful one, and i was happy to jump in. but when God sends you to the most beautiful place on earth, well... i guess it's ok to feel a little forlorn when the whirlwind has dropped you back in tucson.
next day--God's goodness is so overwhelming. thomas was perfectly fine on his antibiotics and is now scheduled for minor surgery to remove all traces of the cyst. even now we already have a prospective new used VAN that is available to us for free--we only need to fix it up. i had told mike and dia when we said goodbye to them on tuesday in oxnard--"i guess the car breaking down was God's way of telling us to spend the tax return money on a van!"
truly, this kind of situation is the only time we could ever take any semblance of a "vacation," so it is amazing that it was so refreshing and everything clicked. even in unimportant things: i had really been thinking about taking sparrow to disneyland, but in the end i wrote in my journal. "i have decided not to go to disneyland unless someone gives me money specifically for that." i could not justify spending the money, especially cause my children are still so young and can't go on a lot of the rides. and also because people had been helping us out during thomas' loss of work due to his illness, i could bring myself to go to disneyland and basically say--"thanks! here's how we spent your money!" so, you ask, did anyone give me money specifically for DL? no. we skipped the middle man and just got free tickets! thanks, holly tuggy! what a blast. that was the icing on the cake, and my children LOVED it, even silas.
there were a few times when thought, "yes, i'll be ready to go home. mostly when i noticed my children were getting untrained and out of control. and was i ready? ...no. i could have stayed. but here is the word that the Lord gave me this morning!
"...having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. for those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. and indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. but as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." Heb. 11:13b-14
AMEN! I AM A STRANGER AND AN EXILE ON THE EARTH!