Our kitty cat was meowing and even growling this morning and shortly after that - kitten number 1 popped out!! Then there was the 2nd and the 3rd and the 4th, and then we left her alone for about an hour and I came back and noticed there was a 5th!! I've heard from a couple people that she could even deliver the next day, so we'll just keep an eye on her. I predicted she was going to have 6, so we'll see! I'll keep you posted! They're so cute!!!
We were so thankful for our supporters for our missions trip to Lebanon that we threw an appreciation dinner this past Friday night with authentic Lebanese food that we prepared (for the most part) from scratch! You can see the menu here:
Our friends, the Storms, hosted the dinner (and they hosted 2 of our main fundraisers!), and so we spent the whole day Friday cooking at their home! Ronda said she had pretty much always had buffet style dinners, but in Lebanon our meals were almost always served family style sitting down at long tables. So we created a zig zag long table and put the food on the table just like they do in Lebanon, with all dishes on the menu repeated between every 3 or 4 seats:
In Lebanon they kept bringing out so many dishes you just don't know where you're going to put it and then they bring out more! Our menu was actually a limited version of what we were served while we were there, and it was still a ton of food with lots of leftovers. After dinner we showed the pictures that I posted in this blog along with a video testimony from one of our translators who was a converted Muslim. I had been able to text him before hand to get his permission to show the video, and he asked that I please, 'thank them for sending you guys here. You were a big blessing to me personally and to my country as well." We still feel so incredibly thankful for the amazing opportunities we had there, and we're so glad that we were able to bless the people who had blessed us so much!
So - guess where this picture was taken? You guessed right if you said our garage! A nameless person turned the bathtub water on in our 2nd floor bathroom last night and then forgot about it. Discovery was made probably a couple hours later at around 11pm and the sopping up of water began! We called our insurance company, Tower Hill, last night and were told we could either get a mitigation service out there in the middle of the night (ensuring none of us would get any sleep) or we could call them in the morning. This morning I had jury duty, so Tim made the call to our insurance company, and the mitigation specialist was out here in no time installing about 9 fans and 2 dehumidifiers. In the meantime, I'm waiting in the jury auditorium and finally about 10:30am my name gets called along with 29 others. We get taken to a courtroom where it is explained that the case before us was a civil case where the plaintiff, who is from Brandon, is suing his homeowner's insurance company for not paying on a claim of water damage in his home. And guess who the Insurance company is that he was suing? You won if you said Tower Hill!!! Are you kidding me? So when they asked if there was anything that might make it difficult for any of us to be unbiased in this case another guy raised his hand and said he was in the process of suing Tower Hill for not paying on his claim!!! I, of course, then shared my sob story and said I was really pulling for the plaintiff in this case and I hadn't heard any of the evidence. Needless to say, I wasn't selected for the trial. I came home to our house sounding like the tarmac of an airport! We called Tower Hill and asked if they would pay for a hotel room tonight, but were just told we could pay out of pocket and see if they would reimburse. Aha! After the earful I got today, I don't think so. So we may just camp out in our bedroom since our bedroom is the furthest away from all the noise, and if you close the door you can hardly even hear it. I still can't believe all that has happened in the past 24 hours. And of all the trials that were going on today in Hillsborough County, I got called into that one! That's just crazy! Our policy is pretty clear that it covers accidental water damage, but I'm not feeling all warm and fuzzy about it after today! So please be praying they pay for this.
On another note, Nicole bought another car about a month ago (you may remember her first car was totaled), but it started giving her some trouble shortly after bringing it home. It was just taking 2 or 3 times to turn over when she tried to start it. We took it to a mechanic who said it was the fuel pump and gave us an estimate of $450. Yikes! So we were going to get a 2nd opinion but Nicole was really busy with work and school, and then she ended up driving it some distance a couple weeks ago and, long story short, a rod was thrown into the engine and now there's a hole the size of a fist in it. So I think she's just going to sell it for parts at this point. We may sell her our van and then buy a car ourselves, but I think a lot of that depends on our insurance claim! So again, prayers for wisdom would be much appreciated!
I've been practicing being thankful in all circumstances, so I just want to say that I'm thankful for a wonderful, supportive family, and amazing friends, and a literal roof over my head and plenty of food and no worries about money because I have a God who has ALWAYS provided for me and He causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purposes. So there!! :-) Blessings to all!
We keep seeing blessing after blessing out of Nicole's accident. First and foremost is that she wasn't injured at all, praise God!! Another blessing is that Geico totalled the car and then gave her $1500 more than what she paid for it! Yay!! Another blessing is a bit of a longer story. Tim and Noah have been planning a trip to Nashville for this coming weekend for months. The only question was which of our two 100,000+ mile vehicles were the lesser of the 2 evils?? Enter Geico's rental reimbursement! Since Nicole's car and policy were in my name first (Nicole's name second), Geico reserved a rental car in my name. And spouses are included! And they can take it out of the state no problem! So Nicole will drive our van here around town while we're looking for a replacement vehicle for her, and Tim will be able to take the rental to Nashville!! Woohoo! We are just thanking the Lord! We know we're getting to the place where we're going to need to replace at least one of our vehicles - we have been budgeting $300 a month on auto maintenance for the past couple years and we've been spending it and then some every month! Argh!! But hopefully we can hold off on that a little bit longer. Anyway, I just wanted to report all this good news!!
BTW - They didn't put Nicholas on the schedule at Fred's until August 8, but he's scheduled to work August 8, 9, and 10 from 5pm - 10:30pm, and he starts back at school on August 10! Tomorrow I am taking him to get his senior pictures made. I think this school year is going to fly! Our last kid in high school - such a weird feeling. But please be praying for his first day at work at his first job next Monday - he's understandably feeling a little nervous, so I would appreciate any prayers you could throw his way! Well, that's it for now. Until next time - blessings to all!!
This is Nicole's car Sunday evening after she hydroplaned and hit a BP sign post. Thank GOD she is perfectly fine - no injury whatsoever!! And I'm thankful no one else was in the car. The adjuster is going to look at it tomorrow and let us know if it is totaled or not. What do you think? I'm thinking probably yes, but we'll see. So grateful she was in a big car!! I don't really have anything else to say except I'm just so happy for no injuries!!
That's right - the last of the Gregory kids has a job! Nicholas went in to Fred's restaurant here in Riverview at the beginning of last week after filling out their online job application just to make sure they received it and to put a face with his name. They asked him to come back on Friday for an interview, which he did. Then they asked him back for a 2nd interview today, and then offered him the job as a busser, gave him a couple of shirts and his name badge and said they'd call him when they had him on the schedule to let him know what hours he'll be working! Pretty cool! It's crazy to think that school starts in less than 3 weeks - what??? Didn't they just get out of school? I can't believe it. But at least it should keep him busy for these few weeks before school, and then he'll probably just work after school and weekends after that, and he'll get some much needed money in his empty pockets! Good job, Nicholas!!!!!!
Nicole and I had a lovely time having brunch together today at the The Egg and I where she and Nathan work. She was off today, but Nathan was hosting alone, so we took a few opportunities to harass him just a bit. That place has been a blessing and a great place for both of them to cut their teeth on in the working world. I'm very thankful! Now if we could just get Nicholas a job for this summer - that would be GREAT!!
This past Thursday was my first BCG treatment in a series of 3 once-a-month treatments. It went incredibly smoothly - just minimal pain. I even felt well enough to go dancing with Tim at a Fred Astaire dance party Friday night. It was so much fun getting out on the dance floor - I would do that every day if I could afford it!! Fortunately, the dance parties are free, and we had a great time cutting a rug!
For the 4th of July my dad made a rare visit up to our neck of the woods, and we had a very nice time visiting and eating hot dogs and hamburgers (veggie burger for me, thank you!). I can't believe we took NO pictures of the momentous occasion - so sorry!! My friend, Hollyhead, even came over - it's always SO good to see her! It was such a great day! Both my dad and Hollyhead left by around 5pm, and Nathan & Nicole went to some friend's house, so the question was, what would the rest of us (Tim, me, Noah, & Nicholas) do? I looked on the map at the nearest fireworks, and noticed that if we went the back way from our house up US41 and around by the port we could probably go down a side street and have a great view of the downtown fireworks. So that is exactly what we did. It took us 15 minutes from our house to a great side street where we could see the fireworks that had just gotten underway. We watched the whole show from the comfort of our air conditioned car, and then drove 15 minutes home with no traffic - it was AWESOME!! It's my new favorite way to celebrate the 4th!
Well, I think that's all the news fit to print. :-) Hope everyone's summer is going well so far! Until next time, blessings to you all!
I'm not exactly sure what that phrase means (I think it's from a movie or something), but for me it means it has been a very quiet week without 4 kids running around here! I've had a LOT of alone time, which I love, but even I am feeling ready for a little of the noise and clamor. The kids have been completely without electronics all week (no service up where they were along with no outlets for them to plug into), so we've had ZERO interaction with them!! Very weird! So when the youth pastor texted us around noon today and let us know they were on the bus heading home, I thought I'd text Noah and see how he was doing. He was feeling extra talkative as you can see - ahah! So we're just waiting until they get home around 10pm tonight to find out a little about their week!
It's been strange to picture our lives, and experience it, without kids running around. We decided we're pretty boring people! I actually think it would be different if it were more of a permanent thing - we would purposely fill up some of that time I'm sure. In fact, when I was leaving Winn Dixie last night I saw this young couple get out of their car and head in, and let me just say, they looked like 2 walking solid muscles! And I was thinking - you know - if I had all the time like I had this week, I could look like that. Minus the young part, of course, and maybe only 1/2 that toned, but even 1/2 - that would be great! So, I think that would be part of it - I definitely would like to get this flabby (I wrote flappy first, and that's pretty accurate, too) body in shape So maybe I actually could have time to do that! But for now, and for this week, apart from our date with the carpet cleaner on Tuesday and Wednesday, we really didn't do much else, probably also because we have still been recovering from that stomach thing. Today I would say I'm at 98% - have still had a couple of tinges of stomach upset but overall I would say I'm all better! Woohoo!
So, enough of this boring stuff! This morning we decided to have a little date morning. We have some gift certificates to the Lazy Days RV Store that they gave us this past January for taping one of those Big Time RV shows (which I think is due to air some time this August), so I thought it might be fun to scope it out and see what we might want to spend the money on (I know - we really know how to shake things up!). Well, Tim decided he wanted a pair of sunglasses, and I had heard all about these YETI tumblers, so we took one of the $50 gift certificates and blew it on those 2 items. I have to say, I couldn't be happier!! I put a few ice cubes in that thing at about 10am this morning, and it is now 3:30pm, and they just barely look melted!!
What the heck?? How do they do that?? I'm totally sold! I told you we were boring!! So, we decided we'd go back with the kids and work on spending the rest of the gift certificates - it shouldn't be too hard! :-) Anyway, that's the latest and greatest from this end. I'll try to update again this weekend with news from the youth camp! Can't wait to hear all about it!
And then we collapsed! We finally had to get up because Tim had to work yesterday (Monday) from 3pm-10pm, so I spent the rest of the day unpacking, cleaning, straightening up, etc. I woke up this morning feeling worse again - argh! Tim and I planned on cleaning our carpets today since the kids aren't here and he doesn't have clients until 6pm. We both woke up draggy and not feeling well, but not wanting it to beat us, we went through with the carpet cleaning. I vacuumed all the carpets while Tim went and got the cleaner, and then he cleaned all the carpets, then I cleaned the upholstry on 9 chairs. We're wiped! Here's a picture of the chairs - how did we end up with white upholstry on our chairs?? That's about as smart as naming all our kids with the same initials - NMG! Ahah!
For some reason they let us have the cleaner until 9pm tomorrow, even though we went and got it this morning and it's a 24 hour rental. So maybe we'll get to do the couch and the cars tomorrow. Woohoo! Can't wait!
I tried eating oatmeal for breakfast this morning, but that didn't help me feel any better. I finally got a bright idea around 1pm to heat up some organic chicken bone broth I had made months ago and had put in the freezer, and oh my - I finally got some relief from the tight and nauseous stomach I've been sporting all day! I called my doctor's office and they said there's really not much you can do but to let it run it's course and drink lots of fluids. I called my urologist because I'm scheduled for a chemo treatment on Thursday, and predictably he said we should hold off a week, which makes sense but I just want to get this stuff over with! Because now since that treatment is pushed off a week my next treatment next month will need to be rescheduled, along with the treatment the month after that, along with my urine sample the month after, along with my cystoscopy 3 weeks later, along with my biopsy the month after. EVERYTHING gets pushed out now. But I know it is better to not compromise my body too much all at the same time. So please be praying I get over this bug FAST!!
I talked to my dad today, and he said my brother called and said there was a bombing in Lebanon yesterday. Sure enough, there were 4 suicide bombers who attacked a Lebanese village near the Syrian border, about 45 minutes from Baalbek, which is where we were a little over a week ago - crazy! I remember that day was the only day out of all the days we were there that I felt a little nervous about - I even mentioned it in my blog post that day. I remember telling Tim about that in the morning and he prayed for our protection - thank God! Wish we had known to pray for this village ahead of time. So please be praying for the families affected by this tragedy.
Well, I'm not sure what else to say on that note. I think we get an inkling of what a big part of the world lives like when something like the Orlando tragedy happens in our backyard. Hopefully it makes us a little more aware of others and helps us all re-evaluate our priorities. Makes things like carpet cleaning seem a little pointless! Ha!
Right before we left for this trip people would ask Tim how he wanted them to pray for us, and he said for family cohesion and I would add 'and for team unity'. Those prayers were so answered, thank you all who prayed for us! We just had a family pow-wow to kind of debrief and also get ready for this upcoming week as the kids head to youth camp in Georgia tomorrow morning at 5am! Glad for the energy of the young! Please be praying for Nathan as he is still dealing with the same thing Tim and I had/have - this stomach thing.
Our team leader sent us all an email this afternoon with a link where we can upload our photos, so I am waiting for everyone to upload theirs. Then I will download the most interesting ones to my computer and post them here! So stay tuned!
Tim & Jodie