Teenagers and duffel bags were piled high like sardines in our cars; we were finally headed for "Challenge"...Kansas City, here we come! For those of you wondering what in the world "Challenge" is... it is a church youth convention that gathers youth together from all over the United States. This convention always includes special speakers, concerts, group time with your own youth group and community service projects....ON VERY LITTLE SLEEP. So long story short...THIS TRIP IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!
So off we went...promising our kids we would be as
"hip and cool" as we could possibly be at the age of 38!
When it comes to traveling with drama, we do aim to please. Let me set the stage....we (our entire family and the entire youth group) started our trip with a "red-eye" lay-over flight from Portland to Detroit....arriving in Detroit around 6:30AM... YES, AM... WITH YOUNG CHILDREN. Lets just say, our 4th of July was not starting off with fireworks! We still had to catch another flight shortly after landing, which would take us to Kansas City. One thing was for sure.. traveling with cranky young children is a piece of cake compared to traveling with a "high tech" wheelchair! NO JOKE....
Lesson #1: No red-eye flights with young children!
Lesson #2: $150 saved because of 1 layover is not worth it with YOUNG CHILDREN AND A CHILD IN A WHEELCHAIR... I would have paid $200 and my left leg THAT NIGHT to stay on a plane going STRAIGHT to Kansas City!
We are getting ready to catch our last leg to Kansas City. Jacoby had been transferred into the plane chair (not an easy feet, as many of you know) and her own wheelchair had been broken down to the smallest size it would go....and then we waited....and waited....and waited. Everyone had been seated for quite awhile when the airline stewardess came on the intercom and told us they were having trouble loading a "precious piece of cargo". We looked out the window and saw several men trying to load Jacoby's wheelchair into the small loading chamber. Before we knew what was happening, we were de-boarding the plane because her chair had scratched the engine while being loaded and the plane was not to be flown. R WE HAVING FUN YET?! Not to mention the sweet comments coming out of people's mouths about the "stupid cargo" that made them have to deboard and get on a new plane. It was here that I wished I wasn't traveling with the youth. I really wanted to say a few "choice words" to these people, but I was supposed to be a good example...so.... I did the right thing and put my "momma claws" back in their paws.
Delta Airlines was awesome had another plane waiting to accommodate everyone; there was only one catch....it was the exact same model we had just deboarded. We said goodbye to the youth group and half of our children and Jason, I, Jacoby , JJ and Vincie waited to catch the next available flight out. Lord, WE NEED A JUMBO JET!
As always, God knows EXACTLY what He's doing; His ways are higher, His thoughts are higher. They weren't able to get us to Kansas City that day, but they did put us on the 1st flight out the next day... IN FIRST CLASS...WITH $2,000 IN FLYING VOUCHERS! And to be completely honest, that wasn't even the best part. We ended up sitting right next to Rick Sutcliffe on the plane. We had no idea he was a an ESPN announcer who had played as a successful major league pitcher for 18 years. He DID know who Jacoby was because his buddy, Jaime Moyer (also a major league pitcher for the Mariners) had told him about us. We had sat by the Moyer family on the way to stem cell treatment for Jacoby. Rick told us they were praying for Jacoby and then took some time to personally talk with her. He knelt in front of her and said
"Jacoby, I understand the mind of an athlete. I know to play in the big leagues you have to be gifted from the neck down....but to be SUCCESSFUL, you have to be gifted from the neck up...you ARE, Jacoby. Don't be afraid to speak of your story; I know public speaking isn't your favorite thing to do, but God will give u the strength you need."
He had no idea that the Challenge board had asked her to be willing to share her story for a video clipping when she arrived in Kansas City. Let's just say when we arrived in Kansas City, she was ready to share her story and CONFIDENT she had flown in right on time.
We provided the video clip on the link below...
" Now to Him Who is able to do IMMEASURABLY more than we could ever ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory......" Ephesians 3:20