Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day #19: At the zoo ... and other stuff too!

Today was our last day in El Paso with Jesse's family. We had clear blue skies and a high of 77 degrees ~ perfect. We headed over to the zoo in the early morning, arrived and entered without one single line or problem, and saw every animal possible to see ... mind you, there was a great many habitats EMPTY with signs saying that the area was under renovation and animals were yet to come, etc. But thankfully, there were enough nice exhibits and interesting animals to competely fill our morning and into the early afternoon. Grandpa Jones took 100's of pictures of the animals, and the children watching the animals ... but I am too tired to look through all of them tonight. Plus, it takes about five minutes to load just one photograph onto this blog ~ so I'm going to wait until I am home in Grand Rapids and then show you the best of those pictures.

The rest of our day was basically a re-run of previous days ... enjoyable, but nothing really new to share with you. Except I do have one sweet little story to tell you about. The kiddos and I had been playing outdoors around their neighborhood, flying more airplanes, and exploring around. Somehow we got talking about how people throw their trash on God's beautiful earth and make it look ugly. I was telling the children that we really should be careful to throw our trash away and not just throw stuff on the ground. So a little bit later, Emma came running out of the house with two trash bags ~ one for her and one for me ~ and we very enthusiastically picked up trash around the neighborhood! Emma was so delighted to "clean up the earth" and it was wonderful to share her happiness.

We also had a really nice storytime tonight. You know how I love children's literature, and in the past few months, I purchased some new books to read to the kids. We read "Piper", a story of a little dog who grew up and had to leave its mom and go live with an angry and cruel owner. The story was real sad in places, but it had such a happy ending. We also read, "Lord of the Dance" (based on the song) ~ except mainly we looked at the beautiful pictures of Jesus in this book and talked about His life a little bit ... and then I sang them the song! "Grandpa's Soup" was another book we read, as well as "The Best Cat Ever." You should see these three children engage with a good story. It's such a neat experience to see them light up, look at the pictures, anticipate what is coming next, and really enter into the story.

For our bedtime story tonight, we read from "The Jesus Storybook Bible" (which is my very favorite children's Bible book) ~ we did the story of the sermon on the mount and how Jesus was talking to people who were worried about not having enough food and clothes and being taken care of. The illustrations are wonderful in this book and the story re-written so that children can really understand it. And then we talked about the never-ending love of God for each of them. We had such a good time!

Jesse returned home mid-afternoon from his field training, so we did get to visit with him the rest of the day. I was very thankful for the time with him. I know it seems like we travel around only to see our grandchildren, but our children are very important to us as well.
Jes showed us some of his equipment and explained what all of it was. He's got a lot of really expensive stuff ~ protective gear and stuff like that ~ and it was fun to see it up close and hear all about his soldiering.

And this is a sample of an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) or as the soldiers joke, Meals Rejected by Ethiopians. This particular MRE was a vegetarian one (!) and included vegetarian lasagna, crackers, peanut butter, a fruit cocktail, other dehydrated stuff and a heat pack (just add water) to help you heat up your food when out in the desert in a faraway war zone like Iraq. Jesse is scheduled to re-deploy no later than August. He has not received a definite date yet, but that's the general time frame.

So ... here we are at the end of another Texas trip. Whew. Grandpa Jones and I are exhausted. But so thankful that we have good health, a reliable vehicle, and enough finances to allow us to travel to see family that we love dearly. We are sad to leave everyone again, but we do trust God to watch over our family, lead them in His ways, and work His kingdom and righteousness into their lives. We truly do have a great and powerful God!

We are leaving El Paso very very early tomorrow morning. The weather has predicted high winds here tomorrow ... and a SAND STORM ... I really would like to see what a sand storm looks like, but Jesse says a sand storm is impossible to photograph and quite an uncomfortable experience.

We'll try to post along the way if there is anything interesting to tell you about; otherwise, we hope to make it back to Grand Rapids sometime Sunday.


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mom and dad hand said...

Glad you got to the zoo. It sounds
like you had a great last day and spend time with everyone. God Bless
and have a safe journey home.