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Welcome to My Mommy Thoughts. I originally created this blog to document our lives hosting foreign exchange students in our home but I quickly discovered a passion for writing and blogging. This blog has become a little bit of everything.

So sit back, relax with a cup of coffee and enjoy!!

~Randi

Me and My Hubby

Me and My Hubby

My Loves

My Loves

The Princess - Maggie

The Princess - Maggie

Me & my Meg

Me & my Meg

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Dreaded Weekend

Well, it's here. The weekend that I have dreaded for the last 6 months. In 2 short days, Ahmed will leave us and begin his journey home to Egypt. Actually, it is less than 36 hours. My gosh - where has the time gone.

Why am I blogging when we have such few time left, well, it is 10:45p on a Friday and he is out with friends. My heart hurts when I think about the pain that will come so soon. I know he has to leave, but that does not make it any easier.

The last 6 months have been incredible. Better than I imagined. But I am not going to lie. There have been a few trying times, but nothing that we couldn't make it through.

We have experienced so much... and yes, I have lots of pictures to post... but we have had some major computer issues. 2 laptops are now down, 1 with a cracked screen, yikes, and the other now has a major virus, double eek!! We have had to revolt back to the good old classic desktop that is slow as Christmas. I do promise to get some pics loaded real soon.

So much has been happening the last couple of months. Keith is still very actively searching for that full time ministry position. We know that it will come in God's timing. But like I have said in the past, patience is not my best virtue. There was a position open recently that we all just knew was the perfect position for Keith. No seriously, I don't think there could have been a more perfect one. Well, I guess there is one out there, just haven't found it yet. But anyway ... this position was with a well know Baptist Association and it happened to be the Marketing Director. It was the perfect mix of ministry work with TONS of churches plus marketing, photography and videography - all of Keith's years of experience. There were 6 up for the position, then down to 5, then down to 3 and quickly narrowed to 2. Keith was one of those 2. Our prayers were strong but that was not obviously God's plan. We soon received a letter that said they had chosen the other candidate. Of course we were heartbroken. Just devastated.

I knew at that instant that the chances of us staying in Bham were slim to none. Or, should I say, I knew the chances of us having to move from Birmingham were higher. Oh the pressure. Well, just a few short days from receiving the letter, Keith got a set of questions to answer from a church that had previously emailed him. Then he got an email from another church asking if he was still looking for a position. Then a 2nd set of questions came from a 3rd church. Wow, Lord, is this really happening? We had gone so many months with no response and all of a sudden 3 different churches interested in 3 different cities and states.

So much is happening so fast that who knows where we will be. It scares me SO much to move from Birmingham, but I know that God will help calm those fears if that is the plan he has for us!

But for now, we focus on our last time with Ahmed, spend some much needed quality time with Noah and then prepare for our next student who will come in August. No, we are not hosting full time next year, again, a much needed break, but we will have a student for 6 weeks and for that, I am excited. We have just about decided that we love hosting and know that is a great ministry for our family, but will probably be something we consider every other year so that we can also focus on our little family.

Please keep Ahmed in your prayers over the next week. He leaves Birmingham on Sunday and heads to Nashville. From Nashville, he will fly to Washington, D.C. He spends a short time in D.C. then travels by bus to NYC where he waits on his plane to Germany and then to Egypt. It will take him a full week to return to Egypt - yikes!!

Please also keep Noah (and our family) in your prayers. We have gotten quite attached to Ahmed and it is going to be so hard to say goodbye. We do not know when we will see him again. Could be just a few months, could be years, could be ... well, I won't go there. But Noah has gotten attached to his "bro" and I almost dread explaining Ahmed having to go home to his Mommy. In Noah's eyes, I am Ahmed's Mommy. And pray for Maggie -- she's fully accepted Ahmed into her "pack" by not eating her dinner until everyone is home for the night. She may not eat for a couple of days and I'm really nervous. Guess that will mean extra treats for Maggie!!

Well, good night, friends. My Ahmed has gotten home and I'm off to tell him goodnight for the next to last time!! (sniff, sniff!)

~Randi

Sunday, June 19, 2011

By God's Grace

I have yet again failed at the blogging world. I specifically created this blog to tell about our family, brain thoughts that I have, our family ministry, and the experiences/challenges of hosting an exchange student in our home. I feel like I have done none of that. So, where do I start?

Since I have last blogs, life has been a whirlwind. A major natural disaster hit our home state, and let me tell you, that has totally changed my thoughts. I sit here in the comfort of my home, typing/writing my blog and yet my home should not be here today. It is only here because of God's AMAZING GRACE! A major tornado came through Alabama on April 27th. Just 10 days after my last blog post. April 27, 2011 will forever be a day that I remember vividly. Weather people kept predicting that weather would be bad that day. Then it progressed to a moderate risk of sever weather. We left work at noon so that everyone could get out of the warehouse before the storms. Moonwalks are not first priority when they are talking about tornadoes. School was obviously closed that day, as it is when it either snows 2 flakes or tornadoes. Keith, Noah, Maggie and Ahmed had already packed up and headed to Gigi's house earlier in the day. Storms started off pretty bad that morning causing our power to be out. I left work and swung by the house to get a few additional things - diapers, wipes, juice, and Bo, my beloved stuffed dog. I headed to Gigi's for a day of waiting and weather watching. We do not have a basement at our house, which I hope to have resolved in the near future, so we head to Gigi's so that  we can get to a basement if need be. It was about 3:30/4p when we needed to get to the basement. We watched the tv as a tornado tore apart Tuscaloosa. It was probably the most frightening thing to watch. My bestie lives in T-town and it was horrible to watch this F5 vicious animal rip through the town. We headed to John and Melissa's house for cover! Dorinda, Jamie and Meghan were on a bus headed to NYC for a band trip. I kept her up to date on the weather, often texting her pictures that I had taken from the tv. Dorinda called to ask where we were and if we were ok. I told her that the tornado was headed straight for Trussville. It was probably in the Pleasant Grove area at this time, completely shredding an entire community. My sister told me to please be careful and that she loved me very much. I hung up the phone with tears in my eyes, swallowing a huge lump in my throat. I honestly did not know if my sister would ever talk to me again. We hunkered down in Melissa's basement. Pillows all around us. My bag of "items" was around my arm, Maggie's leash held tight in my hand, and Noah in front of me, ready to lay on top of him when the time came. I knew it was coming, just a matter of time. GrandDanny, Keith, Ahmed and John stood at the door, watching the weather on the tv in anticipation. Hoping they could give us a 30 second heads up. The sound came but the boys never came in the room. I never had to lay on my child. Keith said that he heard the freight train as it crossed in the sky above us. Ahmed said that was the most terrifying thing he had heard. (What a story to go back and tell in Egypt.)

It eventually passed. We walked outside to a very grey area. It was the calmest I had ever seen outside. Very eery. Almost indescribable. My phone would not let me call out to family. I borrowed a phone to call Mom and Dad and let them know that we were ok. They were manning a storm shelter in Lincoln, where a tornado had gone earlier in the day. I was unable to call Dorinda to let her know that we were alive and well. She finally did check-in a little while later ... but she called me scared to death. Someone on the trip had found out that there was tornado damage on Old Springville Road, the road we live off of. When she told me this news, all I could say was, "oh, I don't doubt it." Finally, she said, "no, Randi, we've heard that (our neighborhood) had been destroyed." I silenced myself for a second. I finally replied with "I'm sure that it is. (Again, swallowing lumps in my throat...) It's just a house. We are a live, that's all that matters, house can be replaced but we can not." Keith, GrandDanny and Ahmed rushed in the car to discover that our house was perfectly fine. Not a tree was down. We have no idea where the wrong information came from, but it didn't matter. We still had a home to go to. So many others were not so fortunate.

What we later found out was the tornado came through Tuscaloosa, came through Pleasant Grove, went through Pratt City and then Fultondale. It hit the ridge/mountain between Fultondale and Pinson, right by my office, and picked up in the sky. It stayed up in the air and came back down in Ashville, again where it destroyed communities. This massive killer tornado went above our house. In one day, we could have (and should have) lost our home and my job. Fortunately, both were spared. Only by the Grace of God!!!

We spent the next several days picking up tornado debris from our backyard. This massive thing destroyed these other cities and threw parts of houses down in our yard. We found some paper from Tuscaloosa in our yard, and pieces of roof, shingles, wall paper.... even more eye opening several days later.

Thank you, Lord, for your hand around us. Instances like this reminds us that only God is in control, we are not.

~Randi