Whirlwind Trip to Denver

Our family completed our whirlwind relay race to Denver last Wednesday night when I returned with Zoe, Abby Grace, and Hannah to Okinawa.  We went briefly to be with Mark's mom who continues to suffer greatly from ALS.  It's a heart wrenching and unpredictable disease and Mark felt compelled that we should squeeze in a visit (he booked the tickets right after hearing sweet Abby Grace say, "I really hope we get to see Grammie again.").  Because Rebekah is still not allowed in the US (until she becomes a US citizen in October, Lord willing) we relayed it with Mark going first, me high-fiving him in Denver, and him running back while I visited for one more week with the kids.  Though it was fast, we are all so glad we were there for the brief time that God allowed. Janet, Mark's mom, indeed puts her hope in the Lord, which is so encouraging.  She did not let her lack of mobility inhibit her playtime with her granddaughters.  She has two electric wheelchairs and so she let Abby Grace sit on her lap and then let Zoe drive the other one and they had races in her cul-de-sac!  She's always been a hands-on, super-fun, playtime kind of Grammie.  Though she was tired, had very limited mobility, and suffered from great pain while we were there, she tried hard (and succeeded!) to leave her girls with wonderful memories.  I count it a huge privilege that she is my mother-in-law.

As I mentioned before leaving, a crises erupted in my own nuclear family the week prior to our trip home.  It was still at its height when I arrived and drove me to my knees to ask the Lord to spare the lives of those involved and to please pursue them with His relentless grace, that they might commit their lives to His care.  That situation continues to be a source of anxiety for me and has me prayer dependent indeed.

While the situations at home in Denver were hard, we were so thankful for air travel and the means to go there.  It's hard to encourage from afar and was a blessing to be there in the flesh.  

As we do our best to wrap our minds around Mark's mom's suffering and the crises in my family, we find our humanity incapable.  It's all just too much.  The what-ifs are too many.  And so I find myself scripture dependent.  I'm reveling in the scriptures that speak of hope in God.

"...those who hope in me will not be disappointed." Isaiah 49:23

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:5

"Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."  Pslam 42:11

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5

"Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers?  No, it is you, O Lord our God.  Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this." Jeremiah 14:22

I'll close with some pics from the US.  Tomorrow I'll add photos of our Memorial Day weekend--we just returned from a Harbor camping trip to a neighboring island.

Abby Grace and Zoe about to fly out with Daddy.
Hannah received a tie-dye kit for her fifth birthday (yes, I think the gift-giver actually hates me).  We took an afternoon when we were home alone to make some shirts for everyone.  Very fun!
Here's Hannah and me in our new creations.  What a flower child.
This was on mother's day.  I took Rebekah and Hannah to a walk-up Thai restaurant.  It was pretty fun!
The girls in Denver with their cousins--my brother's son Thor and his daughter Axel.  Such sweet kids!
The girls with Grammie.
The girls plus Axel with my mom.
When we flew back this is how my kids looked in Tokyo.  We still had one more plane to catch and they were all out COLD when it was time to deplane.
We were the last people off after I relentlessly harassed them to wakeup! Traveling with three kids across the Pacific isn't exactly easy--but like I said, we were so grateful for the chance to fly "home" and enter into life with our loved ones.