Thursday, November 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home! Back from Charlotte,NC

Well, after a fun rolling home school session, we made it to Charlotte last night and enjoyed  a wonderful dinner our friends had prepared for us.  The boys had so much fun!

Guess who their best playmate was?

This sweet girl ran them both ragged!  All three of these critters slept great last night!  They had a blast playing and running through the house.  A very sweet animal, who, were I not firmly rooted in my right mind, would have convinced me to get a dog! LOL  After the wonderful spaghetti dinner, we played FARKLE. (Dice game)

 Anyone heard of it?  It was a new one on me, but it was so easy and fun and Colin picked it up very quickly.  I think that it might just have to be a MUST have for our trip to China when we get Cameron.  That and UNO, of course.

Our sweet hosts, Laura and Brent Wilson were the best and made us feel right at home. Thanks you two!  You were wonderful hosts and really blessed us with your hospitality and your flexibility in opening your home on such short notice!

This morning, after a YUMMY pumpkin bread, we gathered our things and set off for the Department of Homeland Security.  

*** WARNING***
For those of you who are squeamish about things of a bureaucratic nature, you might want to put down that sharp knife.  I care about the safety of your family.

After getting through security, we were asked  for our appointment letter. I promptly replied that we did not have a letter because our appointment was made very quickly by our Senator's office and that we were instructed to arrive anytime today between 7:30 and 2:30.  To my utter shock, they were clueless about how that could be and had never heard our names.  So, in the absence of a real plan, they sent us to the waiting room where people with "real" appointments wait to be called in. 

After about 15 minutes of waiting, I decided to risk the use of my cell phone and email our Senator's staff who had made these arrangements to find out exactly who we should be looking for.  (Never fear.... my 7 year old blood-hound, Tommy, did not miss the opportunity to tell me that I was breaking the rules and that the sign on the wall CLEARLY stated "NO Cell Phone Use!" 
Ok, this wasn't the ACTUAL sign, but it seemed fitting.

 Like all good moms, I told him that this was to keep the "talking" down in the waiting room and that it probably didn't apply to sending emails. (Wishful thinking?)
I emailed and when the response came through, they asked me to go show the email about our visit to the front desk. When I did, the female security officer was a little upset that...... wait for it.....
My Cell Phone was Turned On!  


I tried to explain to her that having my cell phone on was the only way I could prove to her that I was supposed to be there and why! (She was not moved to compassion)

Just then, a wonderful woman (35 year vet of immigration services) came for us and ushered us in to a room where Colin was to take his Oath and sign his official Certificate of Citizenship.  Because he cannot understand the words to which he would have pledged allegiance, I was given the opportunity to take the oath on his behalf.  (Sorry. No photos.)

Here is the happy, now documented, US Citizen in all his teenage glory!

And the other males of the family....

Of course, all of this was exciting, but the highlight of my day...

the absolute icing on the cake...

was when the immigration officer asked, 
"You all live in Charleston, why didn't you do all of this THERE?"

{Breathe! Breathe! Dear Jesus, hold my tongue!!!}

That is how I feel about that!

I softly (I swear, I was nice!) explained to her that we were told that we had to come to Charlotte and she said that this could be handled at any USCIS office and she couldn't imagine why our file was sent to NC rather than SC!  I told her that we would be doing this again very soon, so she was very apologetic and gave me her direct line in case I needed her help next time.

{Ok, looking at the bright side: We will only do this once...}

Many of you know just how excited I was to make this journey to Charlotte, however, I was determined to make lemonade out of this situation, so at Laura's recommendation, we took the boys to see the Billy Graham Library in town just a couple of miles from the immigration office. 

Even though it was rainy and yucky outside, it was well worth the stop.  

Free admission and parking and they had a great temporary exhibit on the Bible in China.

One thing that I learned today was that Rev. Graham's Wife was the daughter  of a missionary in China.  While the Grahams had a heart for all people groups to know the Lord, there was a special affection for the people of China.

This framed print of the character for Righteousness was special. Colin immediately recognized that part of that character stood for "I".  He wasn't sure what the rest of it meant.  How cool is it that the Chinese character for Righteousness is a combination of the symbol for "I" and "Lamb"

Behind this statue of a young preacher is a portion of his book collection that is on display. Over 3900 books from him personal library are encased in "Ruth's Attic", the Library's bookstore.

This beautiful bovine is "Bessie".  She welcomed us at the beginning of our tour and told all about the younger days of "Billy Frank" when he was a boy out on the farm in Charlotte, NC.

We were glad that we could turn an inconvenient trip into something nice for the whole family. Growing up in Lynchburg, VA in the middle of the "Bible Belt" of America, listening to the preaching of Rev. Jerry Falwell for many of my younger years, I was struck today by so many things in Rev. Graham's ministry that I remember from my childhood. Memories like the Gaither Trio and other wonderful evangelists that worked along side this incredibly impactful man. A simple man who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, was able to gain access to millions of people and was allowed to influence some of the most powerful men and women in History with the gospel of Christ. My prayer is that these experiences will someday be ones that all our boys remember with the same fondness.


And now... a word from our sponsor!

"Thank you Angie for all that need to know information.  I'm sure you all enjoyed the novel for television by my wife who thinks everything we did is important.  Tune in tomorrow when I (Tom) tell you where we stopped to pee, where we got gas, how much, what it cost, where we ate, what each of us had, etc., etc.  
Are you snoring yet?" 


kimjax said...

I would be interested in what you ate...must be a pilot thing...;)

kimjax said...

I LOVE Billy Graham - his TV evangelism is part of my somewhat TV-ish testimony, lol! He used his gift to the fullest - I'm so thankful. SO cool that they had the Chinese display today - how nice for Colin. :)

Anonymous said...

even cooler: the "I" is the bottom half of the word, thus "I under the lamb" = "righteous". Righteousness is when we place ourselves under the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. See for more examples of christian concepts in Chinese characters.

Mom2Four said...

So cool! I think it was God-ordained that you go to Charlotte for this appt. You just "happened" to be there when the special exhibit was there about the Bible in China. I'm sure this is quite impactful for Colin.

As for the signficance of the character for "righteous", there is a TON of significance, especially in the traditional characters. The director of the Chinese school has talked to us numerous times about how there is so much of the Bible in Chinese characters. Just search for "bible in chinese characters" and there are many videos about this.