Wow...God does answer prayers! Yesterday, I had a really hard day feeling SO far away from everyone and nothing seemed to be going right. The furniture had been delayed and wasn't due until next week, among other things. I was ready to take a flight back to Illinois. Then I decided to give it all to God. I read some verses given to me by my good friend, Lee Reese and went to bed (After all, it has been a really stressful week and I was exhausted). Then we got a phone call saying the moving truck WOULD be here Saturday. This morning after the truck got there, neighbors started stopping by and everyone was so great! Two of the women I met were definately Christians and one was even friends with one of our old pastors. Later in the day I even found out that the neighbor two doors away is the youth pastor at the church Larry has been going to. It was like God reminding me that no matter where we go, He's the same God here as He is in Illinois or Colorado or California. So even though we're not "settled" yet, we WILL be in church tomorrow morning to praise Him for all he's done for us.
We made it! We arrived late last night in San Antonio, Texas. It was a looong.... drive, but we did have some neat things happen along the way. First, we stopped to see Shelley at her training camp for the Royal Servants mission trip she is preparing for. Wow...it was impressive! Not the facilities, but the people. The camp is in a field where they have blue nylon tents set up in rows that make it look like an army ready for battle. There are no shower facilities...very primitive, but the awesome part was seeing the kids worshiping! Everyone, including leaders and high school age kids, so focused on praise and worship...and they run together in teams to get where they are going (trying to push themselves). I'm so glad we got to see it. After that we got in the car to head out and Larry got a phone call from Ken Ruge saying they were spending the night in Tulsa, OK. They didn't know it, but that was EXACTLY where we were headed that night! So we had a wonderful visit with dear friends. GOD is so awesome to provide surprises like that for us. I wonder what He has for us today...
After a hectic day with the packers at our house, Shannon and Josh invited us over for barbequed chicken. It was a great dinner, but I chose to spend my time outside exploring Lydia's world...I didn't want to miss a second with her while I had the chance! She was exhausted, but her parents allowed her to stay up late one more night. Lydia was a hoot playing with Bella! I finally put her to bed for the last time...at least for a while! Then we had time with the kids after that. We ate some Culver's custard (I'm sure going to miss that too!) and looked at old pictures on their computer... God has blessed us with the neatest kids! Tomorrow will be our last day with Stacey. She took the day off to be with us on moving day. I have a feeling it's going to be a hard day!
Well...last night was our Goodbye Party at church. Shannon set it all up in the fellowship hall and Josh provided Culver's custard and all the yummy toppings. I couldn't believe how many people were there! It was fun seeing all of our friends, but it hit me late last night that we really are leaving Illinois! Just before the party, there was an all church meeting where we voted in a new pastor, and it was strange knowing we won't be around long enough to get to know him and his family. When we come back to visit, Hope will be a whole new church! I don't have pictures from the party, but if you check out http://www.thenordgrens.blogspot.com/ you can see the pictures that Shannon took.
Almost every Sunday after church, we go out to lunch with our VERY good friends, Bernie and Lee Reese. Well, today was another lunch, but a very special one because it's our last Sunday in Illinois. Bernie took us all out to a lovely luncheon at the Butterfly Club where we enjoyed not just the fabulous food, but some very special time with our dear friends who we will miss a lot ... especially Bernie when he breaks out in song! Both Bernie and Lee have been our strength during difficult times and we have depended on them for Godly councel during those times. I'm sure we can still call on them, but it won't be the same because of the distance. I know God has a plan for all of us and I'm looking forward to what He has for us in San Antonio ... I'm just going to miss the friends He's given us here.
What a great Saturday! Not only did I get to spend the whole day with Stacey and Lydia, but Larry finally came home from San Antonio. Lydia was so much fun today because she was feeling better than yesterday. I had all my knick knacks taken off shelves ready for the movers, so she had free reign of the house without the usual fear of destruction! I've been a little afraid that when Larry got home after being gone for six weeks, Lydia wouldn't remember him. Not the case at all! She went to him just like always...I'm not sure she even realized how long he had been gone. I hope that's a good sign...I've been worried she would forget us.
Well, it's less than a week now until we move to San Antonio and I'm trying to squeeze in all the time I can with Lydia. After a busy couple of days doing our yard sale and getting rid of all that we won't be needing in Texas (like snow shovels), I finally got to spend an evening with my favorite 17 month old toddler! She wasn't feeling really great tonight because she's teething, but we had fun anyway. My mom and Stacey joined us for a trip to the mall, where we explored all the kid friendly spots. Her favorite parts were buying a "Dumbo" cup with a straw and eating "Dippin' Dots" ice cream! We were only there a couple of hours, then we went home for bathtime and a snack before her mommy showed up to pick her up. Tomorrow, Larry comes home after being gone for six weeks...he's going to really see changes in his grandaughter!
Tonight was Lydia's very first baseball game! It was Culver's Night for the Rockford Riverhawks and Josh had free tickets, so we all spent a beautiful summer evening at the game. Right after we got there, one of the players gave Lydia one of the game balls, so we spent the early part of the evening trying to prevent Lydia from throwning the ball back on to the field! She is so cute at this stage, and as I followed her around later in the evening, I realized how much enjoyment I get just from watching her discover the world around her. I guess that's part of the fun of grandparenting!
Today was Father's Day and since Larry was in San Antonio, we celebrated at Shannon and Josh's house. Josh's dad and Dee were there, along with Stacey and my mom. Josh barbequed hamburgers and the dinner was delicious! After dinner, miss Lydia was the scheduled entertainment. She got into my purse and was delighted to find that if she pushed the "right" button on my keys, my car alarm would go off! What a little charmer! It was really strange not having Larry around on Father's Day, but I guess next year I'll be with him...but then we'll be alone...that's not a fun thought. I'm really struggling with the idea of holidays alone, but I'm sure God has plans that I'm not even aware of...I just need to trust Him!
Today, Stacey and I traveled to Bloomington for her friend's wedding shower. Stacey and Sara have been friends since the seventh grade and Sara is getting married in two weeks. I was so glad I was able to go to the shower, because I'll already be in San Antonio the weekend of the wedding. Stacey will be one of Sara's bridesmaids and I really hate to miss the wedding...she will make a beautiful bride!
Shelley left this evening for her missions trip to Scotland. My Mom and I drove her to Chicago where she met the rest of the team leaders at O'Hare Airport. Many of the teens were flying in from other states. They were traveling down to the "Royal Servants" training grounds where they will go through an intense program which will prepare them for what is ahead. She was extremely excited as she has felt called to do this sort of thing for a long time. A part of me is so excited for her as she is extremely gifted at serving in this way, but it was still hard to see her go because when she returns the end of July, we will be in Texas and have to hear about the trip over the phone. I pray this will be a growing experience for Shelley as God continues to stretch us all to new heights!
Two of my good friends, Laurie Yost and Vicki Jones have been planning a trip to Chicago for months now, and it finally took place today! We're all so busy that we couldn't seem to find an entire day we all were free. Well, it was worth the wait! We had so much fun not only shopping, although we did plenty of that, but just talking and laughing together. We went out to lunch at Olive Garden, and spent the rest of the day at Spring Hill Mall. By late afternoon we were all trying to squeeze in as much fun as we could because the day was coming to an end much too quickly! I only wish I had more hours left before the move so that we could spend more time together. We got home just in time for me to pick up the dinner I had prepared for Stan and Dorene Burruss. What a special evening that was, too! Getting to share a meal with long time friends and catch up on all that's new. How am I ever going to survive without these people God has placed in my life?
Wow..a day like today makes me never want to leave Illinois! After a sunny day at the zoo with Lydia and Shannon, we all met for dinner at Pizza Ranch. I know most people go there for the pizza and chicken, but I go for the Ranch Stix and the Cactus Bread...mmm! Then after dinner, everyone (except for my mom) went to the forest preserve to walk off some of those calories. Lydia had taken a long nap after our trip to the zoo, so we all played with her in the park until the mosquitos organized an attack! Oh well, it still was a perfect day!!!
Today I got to take Lydia (and her mommy, of course) to the Madison Zoo. We left early this morning and had a picnic lunch at the park before going into see the animals. It was so much fun to look at everything through the eyes of a 16 month old child! Every animal we looked at was a "doggy" to Lydia. She quickly learned the process of going site to site to see the different animals...she is SUCH a bright child! (Spoken like a true grandma, huh?) The last place we went was the petting zoo and she even fed the goats all by herself, until one of them got a bit over zealous and nibbled a finger (gently, of course). Oh well, other than that, it was a great afternoon!
Tonight was the business meeting at church. Since I knew we were moving soon, I volunteered to work in the nursery because I know how difficult it is to get volunteers. When I walked through the door and went to sign in, I couldn't find my name. It seems we've already been taken off the roll. It made me feel really strange, kind of like "Wow...this is really happening". I did enjoy my time with the little ones, especially Lydia, but it was kind of sad to think of all the changes that will occur. When I come back in the future, it will be as a "visitor", but then I remind myself that God has new adventures planned for all of us. I just have to hang on for the ride!
My good friend, Melody, requested pictures of our new house...well, here they are! If you look at the top corner of this blog, you will also see a picture of the front of the house. It's in a gated community that has a children's play area and a beautiful swimming pool. The house is on a cul-de-sac and our house is actually one of the smaller ones in the area. I liked it because of the yard. Most of the houses I looked at in San Antonio, had little tiny back yards. Coming from Illinois, that was kind of like culture shock!
Now that I know I'm going to be moving away, there are so many people that I want to spend time with. Today I went out to lunch with some good friends from school. It's hard to believe we won't be together next year, but actually it's not just me that's moving on. Terri (in back), who I've worked closely with for the past 12 years, is moving to a Second Grade classroom. Jaci and Traci are moving to Prairie Hill School, so we wouldn't have been together anyway. I guess it's just God's way of helping us grow in this adventure called life!
Yesterday was my last day of school...an end of an era teaching at Rockton Grade School. It could have been a sad day so I planned an outing with my friend, Laurie Yost. My mom joined us for a trip to Anderson Gardens, where my good friend, Brenda Warren just got the Directors position there. It was a BEAUTIFUL place to spend a summer afternoon. I was impressed because unlike some Japanese gardens, this one actually honored our LORD and His creation. It was awesome and I would recommend a visit to anyone.
Well, it looks like I'm going to have to become technical if I want to keep in touch with everyone when we move to Texas! The kids were over tonight and Shannon helped me start my own blog. Lydia had a ball outside while her daddy was helping out with yard work. She's SO much fun at this age...it's going to be hard missing times like this when we live in Texas.
Three years ago we moved to San Antonio from the midwest, leaving family and friends behind. It was the start of a whole new phase in our lives. Well, it looks like God has us on the road again...this time to Dallas!