Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Almost home!

 We got up bright and early on Tuesday morning, ate a quick (YUMMY) breakfast at the hotel then headed to the airport.

I had all kinds of things written on this post but it all got deleted. Boo. 

Monday, April 14, 2014


I didn't realize how quickly we would form bonds with the mission team. It's surreal coming back to reality and leaving the people you lived/ate/served with for six days. I know it sounds weird to be close to someone after only six days but man I really miss those people!

The missionary families we got to know, students, church members, and school staff are missed too. Brian and I find our selves talking about them more and more...and just thinking about their daily lives compared to ours. We've grown closer as a family...and as a couple from this amazing trip. There isn't any 'one' thing but just the whole experience caused us to want to slow down, serve more, and rid our lives of the meaningless.

Small stuff does NOT matter. Forgiving, moving on, and continuing life is the way to go. Forgiveness seems to be a confusing concept for some. It is a verb. An action word. When you choose to forgive it means you choose to not think about it anymore. To not hold past sins against someone. To continue to reconcile and choose the better path.  This rings true of our children as well. I realized that I struggled with not forgiving easily for dumb things or just bringing up past (as in the past 40 min) when something else was done. We have to let it go. (Insert Elsa). Even the BIG things. EVERYTHING. We just have to let it go. How will our children learn to forgive if it is not modeled well for them? I would hate to have God say that He forgives me but I can't talk to him anymore. Or He forgives me but He can't be around me anymore. Or He forgives me but feels 'awkward' around me. He just FORGIVES. I forgive you BUT... is not forgiveness. I forgive you AND I love you no matter what. It's so so hard and a constant struggle but it brings peace and is commanded to us in the Bible.

It really amazes me to be gone for such a short time and have so many thoughts swimming around in my head.

Monday-City Tuesday-Home

     On Monday our plan was to go shop in Santo Domingo and then head to the airport. First Miguel drove us to the market. In the city there were a lot more cars than motorcycles and people were yelling "Come check out our beautiful bracelets!" or "Look at our at our beautiful designs on wood carved by me!"

      Our team stepped into a busy building filled with at least 20 shops in it. We headed to the biggest shop in the building, owned by another man named Miguel. Steve knew him so he promised to give us a bargain if we shopped in his store. When I first walked in the store my eyes saw colorful masks lined up, beautiful paintings, and a lot of handmade items. I had fun looking at everything. I  got to buy a little decoration pot, a doll that matched my friend Cora's, and a bag that was the same kind as one of my other friends, Julia. I also got to pick out souvenirs for my siblings. I got Kinsey a matching doll, Ephram a wooden dog that looks like Frank, and Mommy and Daddy chose a chess set for Braden.

     After eating a bagged lunch in the bus we headed to some historic buildings. Our tour guide, Steve, showed us the forts that were used during wars and dangerous times. We also got to visit the graves of important people. Just like in the United States there was an eternal flame above the unknown graves.

     As we were walking in the park I saw people giving bread to the pigeons and I wanted to do it. Ms. Lora had bread with her so Julia and I fed the pigeons. We held the bread up high in our hands so the birds could see it. Then they flew up and sat on our arms and heads and ate the bread out of our hands. Luckily none of the pigeons went to the bathroom on us!

     As we were walking along the historic buildings some poor boys came up to us and wanted to give us flowers or shine our shoes. Mr. Maxwell let the boy shine his shoes and gave him a dollar. Then the boy kept following us to do it more. I gave him a dollar (from Ms. Lora) then he gave a beautiful purple and yellow flower.

    When our team got to the airport we found out that our flight was delayed until seven o'clock.We asked the front desk people if they could delay the plane in Miami to Raleigh so we wouldn't miss it but they said it probably wouldn't work - nineteen out of two hundred people, the chance is really low. The people were right, the plane in Miami ended up not being delayed. So the plane from Miami to Raleigh left........without us.

That night we flew to Miami really late and only got four hours of sleep. In the morning after eating a little bit of breakfast our team headed to the airport. Finally at 10:45 we got on the plane and flew to Raleigh. It was sad having to say goodbye to the people I had been with for the last six days.

When we got home I was happy to see my siblings again but sad that I had to leave the Dominican Republic friends. That afternoon I took a two hour nap and then watched Frozen. At night I cried because I wished that we could've stayed longer. God taught me to be thankful for what I have at my house because a lot of the things I have other children don't have.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Monday in the DR

 Sunday night we said goodbye to all the new friends we met while in the Dominican Republic. Thankfully most of them have facebook so we'll still be able to keep in touch...YAY! While I was out walking the last morning I saw horses at the end of this island. As I walked closer I actually saw TONS of them all along the way. Most of them were tied to trees.

 this was on the other side of the wall beside our resort

 saying farewell to the big hole

last pics at the resort

 time to board the bus

 the view once you enter the resort...and where we had all of our bible studies

 this picture makes me sad:(.  it would've been PERFECT if the photographer knew how to zoom out on the lens or get everyone in. this was our only group picture (other than the one at the airport on day one)

 We headed to the Capitol city for some shopping and a History lesson.
 first up was the shopping. it reminded brian and I of being in Korea!
 these are traditional masks used for parades, etc.
some of them were quite scary looking!

 Brian and his machete. Goodness did he love that thing!  He DID end up bringing one home too...and
has played/looked?? at it everyday since we've come home...lol! It makes me laugh to see how much he loves his machete.
 take a picture of me, mommy!

 After getting souvenirs we got back on the bus for lunch and drove to another area. Lora saw a place outside selling cinnamon and sugar things but it turned out to be something stuffed with cheese...fried and bought off the street:)

 this picture is for Ephram and makes me smile. Every time we saw a one way or stop (PARE) sign I thought of him.
 we saw GORGEOUS architecture but there wasn't anything that didn't have power lines attached to it.
 Cailey learned who Michael Jackson was...and what he did when he performed...grabbing certain body parts. Great lesson.

 I LOVED the lamp posts and cobblestone roads. 

 this was the first church built there.
 the kids had fun posing like Christopher Columbus

 this girl and her animals:). she had bread in her hand and was covered in pigeons. thankfully Steve let her borrow his hat so she didn't have to risk getting poop in her hair.

 Hard Rock Cafe...Dominican

 there were so many cool doorways
 so so beautiful

 Oh! I forgot about this group picture...yay!

 this was the fort built way back (clearly my Dominican History isn't great)
 looking in

 building across from the fort
 loved the old buildings!

 This building was used to hold their eternal flame and the tombs of important soldiers.

 it was beautiful inside
 eternal flame

 as we walked back towards the bus we were able to look out and see ships in the harbor

 and old canons

 again...SO gorgeous! the day was perfect

 there were boys who would run up and try and 'polish' Brian's crocs. yup. crocs. He was able to say no thank you and get away then they ran to Brian M. and succeeded in polishing his tennis shoes. good times.
 I learned how to tell time using a sun dial!

 on the side of these walls were very small prison cells open to the weather. i imagine it would have been a very miserable place to be. our kids, however, enjoyed trying them out.
 Cailey and Dominic up on top 

After our tour of the city we went back on the bus and drove to the airport.

 Our flight was at 4:00 (we got there a little early at 1:30). We were planned to have a three hour layover in Miami and were praying that would be enough time to get through customs there and run to the plane.

When we checked in we saw that our flight was delayed until 5:50 and knew we'd be missing our connecting one.
 Little by little the flight kept getting pushed back and the plane still hadn't left Miami because of mechanical problems. Things were not looking good for us to leave the DR but everyone was laid back about the whole thing...even me! (shocking, I know)

 This picture has a story. Jeremy was protecting us while the dads were standing in line to change tickets.
 The girls were singing Frozen songs as we waited to find out what was going to happen.

We decided that if we didn't fly out of the DR that night then we'd sleep in the airport to fly out at 5:30am so we could get the connecting flight in Miami at 10:30. I literally thought we'd be sleeping there and somehow was totally at peace with it. I've seen enough Amazing Race to know it would just be another adventure.

 Our plane FINALLY left Miami (Yay!) and we would get to leave...sometime after 10:00pm. (Just six hours later than planned). Miami planned to get us hotel rooms, food vouchers, and transportation.

We were all pretty tired at this point and tried to get some sleep on the plane. The one up side to arriving so late in Miami was not having to wait in long customs lines. We got through pretty quickly then found our luggage and got our hotel/food/transportation vouchers.

 thanks for organizing all the vouchers, Nick!

 the adventures continued (sadly) after we we outside to load the shuttles. Lora accidentally grabbed the wrong suitcase BUT she was a super hero and somehow got back through (the exit doors) and fixed the problem. THEN the shuttle took us WAY out of the way to the WRONG hotel. Yup. So we all loaded the shuttle again and were finally taken to the right one.

 checking in at 1:45 am

the room was super nice...and the water didn't scald OR freeze us. the pressure was awesome. Es MUY bueno:). We got our stuff ready for the next day, rearranged the suitcase and crashed for four hours.