Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kentucky Bound

Well, I've done it. I've committed. I've jumped in. I'm going, to Kentucky, that is.

Curly Girl and I have decided to go on a mission trip this summer, and we are super-excited about it. I have been tossing around the idea of going on a mission trip for a while, but I've always made excuses about why I couldn't go- cost, scheduling conflicts, children to take care of, etc. Well, this time there are no more excuses- we'll figure out the money, I've cleared my calendar for the week, my mom will take care of Car Guy while I am gone, and, even better, Curly Girl is going on the trip, too. That was really the deciding factor for me- giving eleven-year-old Curly Girl a chance to visually understand how blessed she truly is. She and I have previously tutored at a local Boys and Girls Club, but I think that a week-long trip where we see how people really live will impact both of us in a greater way.

I am thankful that my husband, Patrick, cajoled me into going on this trip. He has sensed that I have been rather restless lately (call it a mid-life crisis) and needed to step out of my comfort zone to get myself out of a rut. What better way to do that than by serving others in Appalachia for a week in mid-July.

Before you get all misty-eyed and sappy, you will probably find some humor in our group's assignment for the week- building. Yes, I said building which is almost absurd since laughing at the tilted storage shed (It looks straight if you lean your head to the left) that Patrick built in our backyard is the closest I have ever come to building anything. Aside from hanging pictures in our house, I've never even used a hammer, so I'm assuming that I'll learn some new skills in Kentucky, too. If you need a really good laugh in mid-July, picture me insulating and installing vinyl siding and roughing in a room addition on a single-wide trailer. See, you're probably already snickering at the thought of it.

While I am stepping out of my comfort zone, I thought that I should really go for it. I have three phobias- heights, needles, and snakes, all of which I may have to address on this trip.

Heights: I really don't like heights. The escalators at the mall, especially when you can see several stories down, even make me nervous. I'm assuming that installing insulation and vinyl siding will involve climbing a ladder and possibly being on the trailer's roof. If I didn't hyperventilate during a hot air balloon ride on my honeymoon, I think I can certainly manage being eight to ten feet off the ground on a ladder to improve someone's home.

Needles: I am really afraid of needles. So much so, that I refused to have a needle for an epidural anywhere near my spine during labor. I even tried to get out of having the IV, but the hospital wouldn't go for that. I'm hoping that needles will only come into play in Kentucky if I have a building accident requiring a tetanus shot. You see, every time the nurse asks about a tetanus shot at my annual check-up, I tell her that I am absolutely sure that I have had one (had one over twenty years ago, I mean.) Let's hope that I responsibly wield my hammer and nails without incident for the entire week of our trip.

Snakes: I am freakishly terrified of snakes, even harmless, non-poisonous ones. I was the teacher who jumped on top of table leaving several middle school boys to remedy the wild animal invasion when a snake crawled into my classroom several years ago. Now I really wish that I had not listened to the snake stories told by previous Kentucky trip members. One of the ministers at our church laughingly retells the story about ripping old siding off a trailer in Kentucky only to be bombarded by slithering snakes coming out of the area where insulation should have been. It certainly has not eluded me that this apparently non-snake-traumatized person was doing the exact same job that I will probably be performing- eeekkk!

Honestly, though, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to step out of my box with my daughter by my side. In addition to helping others and learning some life skills, I'm looking at this as a great reason to work-out a lot for the next three months. I'm determined to pull my weight and contribute on the trip, even if I will be hammering alongside a retired Green Beret. Here's to hoping this trip is a fabulous experience and one of the first of many service opportunities I will be blessed to participate in around the world.

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