Tag Archives: travel

Road or Air?

Road trips. Yeah, I just laughed out loud at the memories. If I were an author, I could write children’s novels on the subject using my family’s experiences and adventures. As a family, we took many road trips especially in the younger years–even when Marcia was in a car seat. I don’t know how my parents survived.

My extended family circle is big. I am extremely blessed. When my Dad felt led by the Lord to move West (Colorado) for work, my parents made every effort to make certain that we kept in touch with all three sides of the family. Because of this, road trips took different directions: one year, we would go northeast states in a loop, squeezing in as many family/friends as we could in the short period of vacation time; the next vacation, we would go in the opposite direction doing the same pattern. Road trips also gave an opportunity to visit historical places and other tourism specialties in different cities.

In our suburban, there was this unwritten form of conduct for the seating. Because Melissa and I didn’t get carsick, we were always smashed in the backseat. Melissa’s long legs could only handle so much of the no leg room and for myself, my pet-peeve was not being able to hear the music. Literally the example: No one is talking, so I ask, “Can we turn up the music, please?” Mom turns up the volume. As I have now broke the silence, now everyone is talking or bickering between the middle/backseat–Mom turns down the music. Unfortunately, the only music we never wanted to ask to be turned up was Dad’s oldies. I finally learned to appreciate them (before I went deaf.)

Now, the backseat was responsible for getting the snacks, packed lunch or Dad’s Diet Pepsi from the cooler. Being efficient packers, the cooler always landed in the farthest back of the trunk, in which one had to unbuckle their seat belt to practically climb over the pillows and duffle bags to get in the box. Somehow, someone upfront was always hungry when the backseat persons were sleeping. The middle seat was responsible for the trash bag. I am not sure why this was a big deal, but most of the seat bickering was based on the trash bag, or the fact that they had controls for the air vents, their windows rolled down and they had the best seats when we played the Alphabet game (of course, Dad driving had the best seat of us all!)

When we started traveling by plane, I liked the convenience of getting to our destination quicker and always tried to act more mature when we sisters got to sit by ourselves apart from Mom and Dad. The only real code of conduct our family has for air travel is that we get to the airport a prompt two hours early to check in our luggage and get through security. Traveling the air was a breeze, until this time my ticket officially labeled me as a disabled passenger.

The disabled label does not have any real grasp on my mentality…it used to irritate me significantly, but now it is something that I have come to acknowledge. My disabilities are not always visible, which is why no one fully understands the amount of physical pains, pressures and problems that my body endures. I don’t blog about this subject–even though it is one of the biggest physical challenges I daily encounter–but to understand the significance of my fear for this flight, you must understand that like any other area in my body in which the tumors destroy the nerves–there is disaster in waiting. In this instance, it is my bowels. I have little to no control of them or their patterns. I often feel controlled in fear of having accidents; no 26-year-old should be having accidents, but it has happened. It’s humiliating.

So as I started preparing for the flight to Colorado, I felt fear take a strong grip over me and I asked a few close friends to join 1me in prayer about this–I needed peace. Our flight out left at 7am, so in code, we arrived to the airport around 5:15am for check-in and security. We checked in our two suitcases, as well as my walker. I was then pushed through security and only stood (Mom holding one of my arms to keep me balanced) when they performed the security pat-down. Passing the requirements, we headed to our gate.

You can tell that it was our first time traveling in this manner, because when we arrived at our gate, we said our thank you to the girl who pushed my chair and then she left to go help another wheeled chair passenger. When they joined us, Mom and I saw the lady tip the employee. As she left, I looked at Mom and she asked exactly what I was thinking: “Were we supposed to tip her?” We looked in our wallets and resolved to use what few dollars we had to tip any others that help in such a manner. 🙂

Being a disabled passenger flying Southwest airlines is sort of like having First-class seating. I was wheeled to the plane door, then helped to the seats…Mom and I decided just to sit the first row. There is a first time for everything. Still nervous for the flight, Mom gives me reassurance prep-talk and soon the plane is running down the airstrip. I remember take-off. Then sleep found me. We landed in Denver and I was one of the first few of the plane, once again pushed in a wheel chair to baggage claim, although this time they buckled me in…which I found quite hilarious! It made sense, however, once we rode on the concourse terminal train. I have never felt so much freedom at the sight of my walker waiting for me at baggage claim!

In both my flights, I had to completely surrender myself and trust in God’s protection. It was NOT easy! But I saw answered prayer; I lived answered prayer. On the last day of meeting friends, I had the chance to see my interpreter from CCU. We were discussing this flight story and I told her that I had been challenged by the experience. How often it is that I say the simple phrase, “I’m praying for you.” Then I forget or say it once quickly, then get busy and move on with life.

It humbles me to know that I have prayer warriors who daily lift up my name to God; they present my personal, detailed requests…as well as the need for comfort and strength. Prayer in my life, as of late, has seemed to be an unwritten code of conduct–very formal, lacking zeal. Like the Disciples (Luke 11:1-4), I often in question say, “Teach me to pray.” And I know He will answer.

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.

Soren Kierkegaard


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories, Uncategorized

When waters still

I’m not a person who dreams of a vacation at the beach. I am not one you would find fishing while sitting in a boat, kayaking down a river or swimming in the ocean, signing up for snorkeling lessons, or being a lifeguard; I don’t even like swimming pools. Maybe because we didn’t grow up near beaches, but did fish/canoe in the mountain lakes and there was a nice hot springs about an hour from home that we sometimes went to in the evenings, big bodies of water are not something I enjoy. They scare me: the depth of the waters and what is unknown underneath is what it is. That and I can only backstroke.

This past weekend, we visited family in Wisconsin. My uncle is very passionate about sail boats and sailing, so it was no surprise that we discussed a sailing adventure, as it was going to be a full moon and the winds would not be as bad in the evening. I had to humble myself and remind my lack of enthusiasm (plus I was feeling extremely sick all weekend, but no excuse) that even though sailing was nothing I loved, it was something that my extended family did as a family activity and I should at least follow along and enjoy being with them rather than moping in negative thoughts.

We had to borrow their jackets, gloves and hats as we were not prepared for how cold it turned out to be, but once we layered up, we were on our way. Me, getting on the boat, would have been a Youtube video sensation. 🙂 Once I got on the boat, I sat and didn’t move until we made it back to the dock. I must admit, I had momentary jealous thoughts, because my cousins were balancing on the front of the boat just hanging on to the sail’s ropes. You would never catch me doing that sort of thing!

We get to the middle of the lake and it is a pretty view…darkness had settled in for the evening and all around the shores were lights shining. Then the wind stopped. Inner panic set in and the first thing I think of is C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Chronicles of Narnia series where they experience a time of no winds. Of course we were not in a huge boat and have modern technology, so after trying to get a natural wind..we ended up having to use the motor to return.

I did find just sitting there–although thinking Narnia thoughts–relaxing, and when I stopped panicking, almost peaceful. Then I remembered how opposite the situation was for Jesus’s disciples:

And when he [Jesus] got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.  And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:23-27

If anything, my weekend was much like the seas in this passage–just personally in all the physical, mental and emotional. I am not sure why it all flooded in at the same time, but last night–once again crying myself to sleep–I told God that I didn’t know what to do about pretty much everything (mostly physical as that affects everything else.) I don’t even remember what my words were because I found myself in a deep, calm sleep. It was as if Jesus rebuked my waging body and instead told my being, “Peace. Be still.”

I still woke up feeling the same physically…but felt refreshed mentally and emotionally. There are going to be more storms in life…but I shouldn’t fear them: I am secure in The Lifeboat.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times

Jungle Jim’s

Now, if you are like me…the first thing that comes to mind when someone says “Jungle gyms” is a playground. 🙂 In a different context: Yesterday my sister, her friend and I went to Cincinnati. To Jungle Jim’s!!!! It is a huge international grocery store! What a great time!!!

When you first walk in, you enter the olives and cheese section. It was actually my favorite section! Next time I go, I am going to dedicate more time trying samples of all these cheeses from around the world! Very cool!!!

Melissa…this is for you! 🙂

I thought this cheese section was neat, mostly because my first job was milking sheep. Yep…three summers in high school and that was my job! It was stinky, disgusting and a good time all together!

We decided to check out the restrooms. After all, they seemed world famous!



After that…you walk around and see just about everything! Different nuts, coffees and teas, fruits, veggies, candies, meats, shelf items…all these things from different cultures and areas of the world.

Above: Celery root.

I forgot to write this one down. Reminded me of the fish, Bloat, on Finding Nemo. 🙂

Red bananas and sugar cane.

I am not sure what these were either.

Dried squid.


I had a short visit back to Greece. 🙂

I bought the Swedish cookies. Delicious!

The Asian food section.

Wooden shoes in the Holland section. Then my camera battery died. 😦


We had a good time! If you plan a trip, reserve a few hours. There is so much to see! We did not even go out to the garden section where they had all sorts of different plants and flowers.  Next time I hope to see that as well.

While we were walking around, my mom text me and told me the results of my MRI scans for the brain and neck. They are stable!!!!! 😀 Another big praise!!! Thank you for your prayers!

Off to enjoy a beautiful evening!


Filed under Family Times, Random

The color red.

Think of the color red. What comes to mind? I see a bright red, almost like a Delicious apple. I see lipstick. I see STOP signs. These are the first things I think of when I say the word, “red.” Isn’t it interesting to think that we all see different shades of colors? My shade of red is not the same of your shade of red. Not sure where I heard that, but I did once…maybe in a science class. Just another example of how unique each person is. 🙂 (Don’t believe me? Look it up. I just did and found many sites to confirm.) 🙂

Red. Seems to be the infamous color of most major sports teams here in this side of the country. I see red every day at work…I even wear a red shirt. (Of course some have seen their better days. I have a red shirt with pink polka dots on the bottom. I was helping a lady get things out of her cart and did not realize that her Clorox was leaking…or had been leaking her whole shopping trip. The grand finale was all over my red shirt and hands. I was very clean, but the smell gave me a headache. To reduce the white spots, we colored it in with a red magic marker. Genius, but it is now fading with every wash.)

There are different tones of red. Have you ever stopped to see around you the different tones of colors? Red. It can have several different meanings.

Beauty: Male birds such as Cardinals–very bold red! There are also Robins…their chest is a shade of red/orange. The only other red bird that I can pick out in the crowd is named…are you ready for this? It’s named “Purple Finch.” What on earth?!? It is red! I don’t understand that one! But hey, we all see different shades of colors. 😉 I found a website where it names all the birds (primarily the North American birds) that have shades of red. Very interesting. http://www.whatbird.com/browse/objs/all/birds_na_147/110/color/2066/red

Old barns. (Why do farmers paint them red anyway? Is it for a specific purpose or just the classic farm look? Either way, I think they are beautiful to see among the farm-house and equipment.) There are also a lot of red fruits (which happen to be my favorite!) Strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, watermelons, raspberries, cranberries, grapes and apples–each designed in a different shade of red and also flavor.

There is beauty in red when I think of love. There are red hearts and red roses. Just thinking of love made me think of passion. Passion reminded me of lust. Did you know that “lust” is an actual shade of red? I just learned this! Of course in context and definition, love and lust have different connotations. Love, so much more than just Valentine’s Day. C.S. Lewis said,

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

There is a beauty in symbolism, such as the USA flag. As Secretary of the Continental Congress, Charles Thompson said, “Red, [signifies] hardiness and valour,” (Duane Streufert. 2005.) There is a red ring within the Olympics five rings (representing the five continents). And of course Christmas. Red and green. There are obvious ones that I am not sure of the meaning. Why is Rudolf’s nose red? Or why does Santa wear a red suit? There are red berries on mistletoe, red strips on candy canes and the wise men gave three gifts to Jesus: Gold, frankincense and myrrh. I thought maybe myrrh was red based, but was not certain until I looked it up. It is. 🙂 I found this site so interesting! http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/botany/question2831.htm. And last, when I think of myrrh, I also think of red rocks. I lived near Denver’s Red Rocks amphitheater. Beautiful! There is also the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and my personal favorite that I hope to see someday: Petra (Mount Hor, Jordan). Truly beautiful!

From: http://www.oddee.com/item_89087.aspx (If you love history and architecture, then read this site. It is about the 10 lost cities.)

Practical uses: STOP signs, which were not always red. In fact there were no such things as stop signs at the beginning of the 20th century. You think seeing a person run a stop sign or run through a red light today is maddening, listen to this:

At a time when there were no driver’s licenses, speed limits or clear lane demarcations, the notion of a stop sign was revolutionary. In fact, aside from the occasional road markers letting riders on horseback know how far they were from the next city, there was no road or street signage at all. (Greenbaum and Rubinstein, December 2011.)

Sounds pretty chaotic! Even when they were put into place they were “a 2-by-2-feet sheet of metal with black lettering on a white background” (Greenbaum and Rubinstein). It wasn’t until 1954 that they turned red. There are other warning signs. I took this picture at an old mill. I thought it was hilarious considering my history of falling and weak ankles:

Fire extinguishers, EXIT signs in buildings, rear lights on automobiles, and flashing lights of police, fire and ambulance vehicles all contain red. People who take pictures like to take out red: reduce red-eye functions. Growing up, we graded papers at school with a red pen. Red helped you see your mistakes. Have you ever read the classic book, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne? The scarlet letter is an uppercase A attached to Hester’s dress, representing the shame and punishment of adultry. Although I was not a big fan of the book in high school, I would like to read it again realizing that there is so much imagery and symbolism that I might not have understood before. My Bible uses red print in the four Gospels and Acts to show when Jesus speaks. When I paint, I have to be careful; red takes over the other colors. Sometimes the blendings make a deep blend of purple, which helped on my mountain portrait…but other times if I use too much red then it ruins the painting. Likewise in opposite cases, I add red to bring out some flavor of an otherwise dull piece of art. Red is so practical.

What do you see in red? I started out with a short hand written list. The more I thought of the color, the more came to my mind. Take time this weekend to enjoy your favorite colors, whether it is red or another. Red is not necessarily my favorite color, but it was a great place to start (it is the first color of the rainbow you know–at least from top to bottom. I learned it as ROY G BIV. Others learned it the opposite way with violet starting, VIB G YOR. Makes more sense to me the first way.) 😀 More to come…


C.S. Lewis. http://thinkexist.com/quotes/c.s._lewis/

Duane Streufert. 2005, February 10. What Do the Colors of the Flag Mean? The Flag of the United States of Amercia. Retrieved April 20, 2012 from http://www.usflag.org/colors.html

Hilary Greenbaum and Dana Rubinstein. 2011, December 9. The Stop Sign Wasn’t Always Red. The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2012 from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/magazine/stop-sign.html

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Filed under Books and Movies, Paintings, Uncategorized