Survival Beach, Sea Urchins and Australians

Dustythe journey continues 2 Comments

March 12th 2023

Ah, yes, that’s right. We’ve entered into March already. AND we sprang ahead. I got up this morning and I really didn’t know what time it truly was. All week my watch wouldn’t get the correct time zone unless I connected it to my phone but for some reason this was spot on without connecting it to my phone. But I still wasn’t sure. I happen to catch something this week about springing ahead, otherwise, I wouldn’t have had a clue but I guess with wifi and digital clocks…I didnt need to worry.

Ya know, I don’t even know where I left off. Before heading off to vacation I had to head up to Beaver Island for one night to check on an ongoing project that should be in full swing soon. It had just snowed and was beautiful up there and super sunny so it was a really good time to visit. I wished I had bought my xc skiis but its no biggy. I came home and packed and got ready to go! I guess I did also do a little local 5k that was raising money for a relay I’m doing in August. The relay raises money for a Portland foundation (Oregon, yes) that does Cancer research. It’s the number one relay event in the United States and really hard to get into. If you are willing to raise money then not only can you get in but you can obtain VIP at rest stations etc. I was asked to join the team but I had no idea I had to fundraise. (sigh) I’ll get more serious about that later, right now I have to concentrate on Coras fundraising!!

Cora is going overseas with a program called GEM (greater European Mission). Its part of her Interculteral Studies Major and her plan is to serve Christ overseas long term when she graduates as a missionary. This is her internship. She was able to select her top three choices but ultimately, they choose where she goes. She is goign to KOSOVO!! This was her second choice (first was spain) and is excited to not only just to be there and do this but she has had experience in Chicago working with Muslim people (with their kids in their homes) and really had a heart for that. 95% of Kosovo is muslim. If you listened to our podcast interviewing Cora she talked about that. She has to raise $5600 for the trip (which also includes a stipend given to her while she is there) and then she also has to pay for her flight. I told her not to worry about it, it will work out. She has shared her link online and I will here as well but I believe (well I KNOW) people are generous and want to see her go where God is sending her and that God works in peoples hearts and it will work out. We are planning a huge sale here in May though to cover costs of the flight and whatever else she might need but she does leave May 24th. I plan to shed the remainder of things I thought I needed to keep and then add to that and hoping friends will too. It’ll be fun. (and alot of work so if it’s your forte, please contact me, you can help!). If you want to donate to her, you can do it here. CORA’S LINK I believe you have to scroll down to her name and click on it.

Cora , ever since she was a little girl, was interested in Missions. I think she thought she might be a pilot (and she still might one day) but even when missionaries came to church or camp or VBS, her heart was moved and she asked me to take money out of her bank account to give to them. And not $5, she would take out $100 at 10 years old and give it away. No hesitation. It always amazed me because not only did I not have $100 at age 10 (she saved everything!) but I’m not sure I would have given it away! Would you have? Anyways, that’s not a guilt tactic..I just want you to know her heart has been there and now she is doing it! Like really doing it! When she comes back she will have one year left and she will be ready to conquer the world. Okay, well she will be graduated anyways..maybe not ready to conquer but I think ready to go where God asks her to go. Scary or not. Mostly scary to me but I’m learning through this whole process to trust…to know that it’s all part of a really cool story and that I”m not in control of it. It’s going to be good, even when it’s bad or feels scary.


Then we packed for vacation! This might be the last time we can all go away together. Aly plans to transfer and her spring break will not align with Coras. We will have to vacay in the summer and really with everyone’s schedule, that seems really hard. Its hard to get everyone together once they disperse into the world! I’ll keep trying but I know it will be hard. The hardships of momma’s continue on ..forever and ever. (just kidding but not)

I want to give ALL the details of our trip but it would be way too long and I didn’t keep a journal and details are slipping already.

I had to plan all of this alone. Mark always took care of hotel and car (usually with points) since he traveled all the time and had loads of experience with all of it. I mean, part of his job was renting cars for his “clients” he was flying, and making sure they had what they needed and then he booked hotels and such for himself. This time I had to do it by myself and as anxious as it made me, I did it. I did it and as it turned out it wasn’t that hard and I pushed through the very anxious feelings and made it work. Some of you might chuckel at this but when I don’t know how something works…I feel very out of control. I LOVE to be given exact instructions on how events or encounters will happen. I’m not super organized but I love to be given an exact list as to how to proceed…for anything. Then I know I’ve done it right. I was messing around looking at places OTHER than Florida for spring break. For fun. I looked into Puerto Rico (PR) and found some killer tickets. I ended up purchasing them and so then I just had to find a rental house and a car. I almost waited too long but did obtain one. The story is fun. How about we do this is a couple posts….so this isn’t too long.

I tell my kids, and friends, all the time. If I can give you advice, it is…to meet people, talk to them, learn about them and then keep their contacts. Cora and Alyeska went to Rougewood Elementary in Rockford for Spanish Immersion. Their Kindergarten teacher was Cleidy DeLaCruz…who is from Puerto Rico. They loved her, she was awesome and somehow I got connected with her mom who taught at Buchanan Elementary in Grand Rapids. I went into her (Claudenice-Cleidy’s mom) classroom once a week to help out and to expand my Spanish knowledge. I met a gal there (not part of this story) named Fiorly. We’ve stayed in touch virtually and she actually came to Marks funeral. Couldn’t believe it. I consider her a friend even though we don’t see each other. She was fun..anyways….when I thought we might maybe should go to PR, I contacted Claudenice (Cleidy’s mom-the teacher I helped out) because she grew up there and we’ve still been in contact a bit with FB (see social media is not all that bad) to ask her where we should go or if there are places to highlight or to avoid. She said its a fairly “safe” country and its all worth seeing but we should try to stay on the west side. She also told me her neice and her nieces husband lived there and she would connect us. She gave me Lori’s number and I called her right away and we chatted and I felt really good about booking because I knew they would guide us, so to speak, as to where to go and what to see. I sent her 2 options for Airbnbs and she told me one was close to her but either was fine. I was taking too much time becuase I went to book the kids first choice and it was taken so I booked the one near her. You guys, I’ve never been here, ever. I had to idea what it looked like or what neighborhoods were like or anything. I just winged it. Things were booking up so I had to grab something!! I couldn’t book that place for the last night but just figured we could check out, go somewhere and then end up at the airport for our flight out. I just went for it.

Friday I picked up Aly and drove to Chicago and I never checked the weather. I was 2 hours from Chicago before the sleet and slush fell from the sky like Manna. It was awful. I have never driven in such bad winter weather ever. I didn’t know if I should stop, continue or retreat. I drove 35/40 on the expressway…for what seemed like an eternity! White Knuckles!!! I mean, seriously, it was like one of my worst nightmares. I asked aly to ask Cora if it was snowing in Chicago…and it wasn’t and so that gave me hope that it would end. It’s that dang St. Joseph/South Bend area!! Curses!!! After Gary, (thank you Gary) it stopped, returned to rain and then gave up totally by Chicago. It took us at least one hour longer to get there. I didn’t cry, but wanted to. I picked up Cora and then we went straight to a hotel near the airport. Here was my thinking:

I had to get Cora anyways. I would get tickets out of o’hare/chicago because they were cheaper. I would use points for hotel and it would be no big deal. However, the hotel didn’t take points for the Stay and Fly package and that is what I wanted because it was like $10 a day to park at the hotel vs. what awful price ($20 or more per day) they would charge you at the airport PLUS last time we parked at ohare we had to walk 30min-1 hour to get to the concourse we needed for our flight. crazy. So I did NOT use points but paid the price because that’s $80 worth of parking and then when you take that our of their cost…it was a cheap hotel price. Hatcher was able to work out Friday night. Saturday, me and aly ran on the “mills” and Hatcher got another lift session in before we jumped the shuttle to the airport. I felt like part1 and part 2 of the trip were accomplished. I got to Chicago (without dying) and stayed at the hotel and got to the United gate all in one piece and ready to roll. I just needed to get onto one more flight…and rent a car. I played it in sections in my mind. X out what I did and move to the next thing. The funny thing highsight. Cora ended up bringing a car to school so she could have driven home. I could have avoided ALL the Chicago junk. weather, hotel, shuttle, parking, flights..all of it. Because the money I saved flying out of chicago, I spent on food, gas and hotel. Ha!! Think people! More advice from the not-so-wise-Dusty. You are welcome.

I’ll continue this later. I am EXHAUSTED!

You will NOT believe all of the things/experiences we encoutered. I’m still taking it all in. YOu do NOT want to miss this..


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