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“Six Word Memoirs” has been one of our Day2Day themes over the last two years and it’s coming up again this year in September.  Apparently, Ernest Hemingway was asked to write a full story in six words.  Legend has it that the novelist responded: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  So much said in just six words!

“Not Quite What I was Planning” is the title of a book full of fabulous, sad, funny and amazing stories all told in six words.  My six words … “Not Quite What We Were Planning!”

In my last blog I wrote that “life is just one big adventure” (another great six word memoir!) and I talked about a job opportunity that was offered to my husband, Dave, and the BIG decision we had to make as a family about whether or not to join Mercy Ships in West Africa in August this year, for a minimum period of three years.  When I wrote, we had 106 days until we had to be in Texas USA for training and we had 4 days to decide.  To say that a trip like this was “not quite what we were planning” is an understatement!  However, we now have 64 days until we have to be out of our house and 78 days until we have to be in Texas … YES!  We are going!

We took longer than the four days to decide.  Annabelle our middle daughter was adamant that she didn’t want to go – “could possibly go for one year, but three?”  She listed (very colourfully) all the reasons that she had for staying and a few of the things that she saw as wonderful opportunities and fun and exciting for her.  We decided we needed to let her process things – after all, she was  “never going to go to school in Australia again”, “miss her formals”, “miss family, babies won’t be babies anymore” and she was also concerned that she had never changed schools before, let alone countries!  All very valid concerns for a 15 year old finding her way in the world.

In the end we sat everyone down and said that we had considered all of their feedback!  We told them that it was probably the hardest decision we had had to make, since the decision involved all of us and would impact all of us, but that Annabelle in particular had to trust that we thought we were making the right decision.  After some tears, she quickly responded with questions about clothing restrictions, what she should take and what she should leave, and with every day that has passed, has become more and more excited about what is in front of us.

It is all very exciting and a little daunting as we start the process of packing (some) and selling (most) of our belongings.

First task was completing all the paperwork required, having medicals and organising travel vaccinations.  Part of the vaccination process involved all three girls having their Varicella (chicken pox) vaccinations up to date – Chloe was included in this even though she is staying here in Australia and continuing with her university degree. She is doing nursing and needed to be updated too.  The day before we were booked in, Chloe comes down with a fever and … chicken pox!  I think that is hilarious and utterly bizarre – Chloe is yet to see the funny side – maybe she will when she is feeling better?  Knowing that everything happens for a reason and that God has a marvellous plan for all of us, makes me curious as to what this one is!

To know that this trip is all part of that marvellous plan is also reassuring.  Lots of wonderful things, both big and small have been happening along the way – there have been some difficult things too but I find it easy to trust that this is exactly where we should be even if it was “not quite what we were planning!”



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19 Responses to Blog: Not quite what we were planning!

  1. I’ll be tagging along with you in heart Justine! Mercy Ships is such a wonderful organization. Praying you’ll be surrounded by God’s peace and protection as you head off on this next adventure!
    I even dreamed of the photos you’d have the opportunity to take – how weird, huh!

  2. Cheryl says:

    Looking forward to hearing more about your amazing adventures. Proud of you as parents for making the tough decisions for your family. Blessings to your family as you embark on this journey together.

  3. Sandy says:

    Being raised as a “Navy brat” I never went to the same elementary school two years in a row. Our family always looked at the change of stations as a new adventure. When I was in 4th grade we were stationed in Naples, Italy. We had such a great time during the year and a half that we lived there. My sister, brother and I made friends with some of the kids who lived in our apartment. They helped us learn Italian and we helped them learn English. It soon became apparent that even though we didn’t speak the same “verbal” languages, we shared the same interests. We traveled around a little bit to learn more about the country and history of the area. I recently had the opportunity to visit Rome and went into the Vatican. I stood in the same spot I had stood in 1970 with my Girl Scout troop and a was flooded with emotions about that trip and where I have been since then.

    Your family will also have some amazing experiences ahead. I hope that when your girls have the chance to look back in the years to come that they will have a special understanding of the great opportunities they had while sharing their lives and experiences with those who appreciate it. I can’t wait to tag along to see and hear of your adventures.

    Best of luck to all of you.

  4. Penny says:

    Talk about a life-changing experience! What an amazing journey you will all make, in more ways than one. My adrenaline is racing just thinking about it!

  5. Jan says:

    Juzzi, I read your blog to JB this morning – she is so impressed!! Counting the days to see y’all!!

  6. Barbara says:

    How awesome for you and your family Justine! I can relate as we made the decision, when our son was 5, to take a job assignment in Brazil. I remember all of the tasks we had to do, vaccines, shopping, selling and trying to learn a new language. At times living in a foreign country and small town, 150 miles inland between Rio and San Paulo, was frustrating and an awesome adventure at the same time. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay as long as was predicted, 3-5 years, because the building and plant start up went smoothly, and our parents never got to come visit us. We have never regretted going and treasure those memories. You will have so many new experiences. I know you will all be blessed with all the people and adventures that you will experience during your journey.

  7. Glenna says:

    It is going to be all of you adapting to the new environment, but what an adventure. Looking forward to you keeping us up on what is going on and shows many pages.

  8. Deanna Emmert says:

    What an exciting, scary, fun, frustrating, adventurous, “what were we thinking?,” hopeful, taking-one-day-at-a-time life you are having! Will continue to pray for smooth paths, safe travel, and the Lord’s peace upon you all. (Isaiah 42:16) Blessings to you and your family, Justine! 🙂

  9. adakallen adakallen says:

    I agree with Carolyn…yes, you have already begun just keep it up!

  10. Carolyn says:

    I’m so looking forward to following along with your adventures on the ship!

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