Home for Christmas and the Miracle of the Bat Jerky

The miracle of the Bat Jerky

The miracle of the Bat Jerky

Well guys, we made it home for Christmas!  The journey from Ada, OK to Hudsonville, MI took us an unprecedented 22 hours but somehow we arrived in one piece.

God’s hand was on our van and he protected us from winter storm Draco.  I really know it was going to be alright when he sent us “The miracle of bat-jerky” God had our backs like a caped crusader.

The only remnants of the winter storm we encountered was the wind, which was sometimes gusting across our van at speeds of 22 MPH.  As we drove through Illinois we saw at least 3 semi trucks that had tipped over on the side of the road due to the ice and wind.

onion rings on a car antenna, why not!?

onion rings on a car antenna, why not!?

The best part of the trip was what we’re now calling “the miracle of Portage” where we met up with two other carloads of family, mid-journey and had a reunion lunch at Quaker Steak and Lube (a car themed restaurant which the kids loved and actually served good quality food- color me pleasantly surprised… although Lube fries?  Salad Lubes?  Really?)

Get out your mental maps, this part gets confusing:

We were traveling from Ada, OK to Hudsonville, MI

My Uncle Jim and Aunt Mar were traveling from Hudsonville, MI to Chicago, IL

My brother was flying from San Antonio, TX into Chicago O’Hare where his wife Lisa picked him up.

Somehow we all passed through Portage Indiana within 3o minutes of each other and got to enjoy a two hour lunch.  It’s always so good to see my brother, even if it’s always in his military garb.

Also, good news! He’ll be stationed at a hospital in Kansas after he finishes in San Antonio, so he will likely never get deployed to the Middle East.  And all the people said PRAISE GOD!

Since we’ve been home we’ve had reunion after reunion.

http://www.quakersteakandlube.com

http://www.quakersteakandlube.com

We got to go see my lovely cousins Carissa, Breanna and Kally play basketball. They all play varsity ball for Calvin College’s varsity basketball team and they’re amazing athletes with the most lovely hearts imaginable.

Kel took our kids to Great Lakes Chinese (while I slept off the road trip) and I cried because they do sweet and sour chicken “the right way!”

I tear up over getting to shop at Meijer, my old usual grocery store.

I cry over getting to share omelets at Big Boy with my Cousins (and I don’t even like Big Boy!)

I get weepy over being able to buy good yarn at Country Needleworks in Jenison.

I choke up at the simple pleasure of being able to take my daughter to Bigby for a “coffee date”

I keep joking that I will not be driving back to Ada, the thought of another 1,000 miles in the car makes me want to gag.  I tell him that he can go back and sell 90% of our stuff and the kids and I will look for a new house.

Because I want to be here, I want to be part of the scenery, I want Noelle to be familiar with all these arms that long to hug her and tickle her to the floor.

I want a late night chat with my bestie Becky to be a weekly thing.

I want to shop at Meijer all the time and go to story hour in downtown Holland.

I want to have a pass to the John Ball Zoo in my wallet

I want to go to Art Prize (at least twice) next year

I want to sit sidelines at all of my cousins basketball games

Yet I know that in about a week we will re-load the van (ugh) and drive the 1,000 mile trip back home to Ada, OK.

I really do love our little town, the one that gave us our ministry lumps and saw the birth of our children, yet the tug to return here is so strong.

This is where our family is and we are so blessed by all these Aunts, Uncles and cousins who love us like their own, because we are their own.

Yes, I know God’s timing is perfect and that contentment in everything will save my life. Yet still, I ache for this place and as I drive through these streets I wonder… is that our next neighborhood?

Will we teach Caedmon to ride a bike in that driveway?

I have no idea, but for now I’m going to soak in every second of being home for Christmas.

Also!  I will be doing a “Best of 2012 Countdown” for the rest of the year so that I can soak up my trip properly.  Do you have a favorite post that you’d like to see make the list?  Did one stand out or make a big impact?  If so please let me know.

  • http://addingaburden.com Jill – addingaburden.com

    I think I like living in West Michigan more than you love living in Ada, but I can relate to a lot of what you say b/c I miss so much about where I grew up in Ontario. Probably the hardest thing is raising your children and knowing their childhood is so different from your own. You want them to know the same parks and libraries and sit in the same shopping carts you did as a child. I totally hear that and I think about that a lot with Arie. I’m only going home for 3 days this Christmas but will also be soaking up every last minute! Praying you find a deep satisfaction in your time here, enough that relieves your homesickness until you can return again. xo Leanne.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      Thanks friend! I hope your Christmasing with Arie in Canada is sweet!

      • Rebecca

        You have no idea how much I want a weekly catch up night too! At least we will have several opportunities starting tomorrow. 😀
        And on that note, I’m going to clean my house some more. Haha.

        • Kat

          I relate to this so much – I’m so glad to be only 2 1/2 hours away from our West Michigan home, and I do love living where we are now. But it makes me sad that my kids can’t be right there with my family and get to experience all the West Michigan growing up joys that I had. It makes me sadder to think there is a possibility that we will never live there again, but I hope someday God will return us to the beauty of West Michigan. My mother-in-law told me that churches in other states often don’t like to hire pastors who grew up in Michigan because they always want to return! :) I hope you enjoy your week and that it is filled with long, slow moving, wonderful days!

          • http://joycannis.wordpress.com Joy

            I love this post. I felt like I was right there with you. Enjoy your time darling.

          • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

            Merry Christmas Joy!

          • http://joycannis.wordpress.com Joy

            Merry Christmas, friend!

          • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

            Merry Christmas!!!

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