Friday, September 7, 2012

Move In Day!!

So, today is the big day!!  Tuck and I both got up around 8 ish and got ready for our 10 am meeting with Darius.  We each grabbed a last cup of coffee from "Barista", the coffee place in Circus, Circus, then packed up our stuff and checked out.  We got to the church a little early and kind of drove around the building trying to guess where the house might be since Darius said that it was "right behind the church".  We discovered that behind a fence on the back side of the church, there are, indeed some homes, and figured that it must be one of these.  Darius showed up right at 10 am and we followed him out of the church parking lot, through a locked gate (yes, the house is in a "gated" community) and to the house, which does sit just on the other side of that fence as we suspected.  Now I have to confess that I was kind of expecting some sort of hovel and found myself very pleasantly surprised.  This is a 4 bedroom home, fully furnished and it looks relatively new.
He will be sharing the house with 4 other guys, 3 of whom are on the pastoral staff at the church and my first impression of all of them are that they are great guys.  The 4th guy will be a student at the Bible College, just like Tuck, and he and Tucker will share the master bedroom.  Tucker is the youngest of the group and I feel secure that the other guys will make great mentors.  Tucker's roommate, Joseph, is from Washington state and had played college basketball before coming here.  How perfect is that??

After seeing the house and meeting the guys, I feel much more at peace about leaving him here.  I feel God's presence and His work in this move and think that this is a great opportunity for Tucker.

After getting a tour of the house and unloading Tucker's stuff out of my suitcase, we headed to the nearest grocery store (Vonn's) to load up on some groceries.  Joseph joined us which gave us an opportunity to get to know him a little better.  He loves to cook and was intrigued by Tucker's PKU and wants to cook some for him.  Gotta love that!!  Once back at the house, I took a pic of all the guys.
From left to right, we have Darius (associate pastor and director of the school), Cardiff, Tucker, Jake, and Joseph.  I think he is in good hands.

I hugged him tight, shed a few tears, said goodbye and left my boy in God's hands.  I think he's gonna be ok.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Las Vegas

Wow!!  Haven't posted anything here in a while!  But this weekend is a momentous enough occasion to warrant a little something here.

I am sitting in a room at the Circus, Circus hotel and casino with Tucker as I prepare to leave him here to go to the Kairos School of Ministry at the International Church of Las Vegas.  Sounds weird doesn't it?  Coming to Las Vegas to drop your kid off at a Bible College??  Yet that is exactly what I am doing.

We arrived Saturday evening around 8:30pm at the Las Vegas airport where we were met by Tucker's girlfriend Shannon (who attends UNLV) and her aunt Robyn.  Shannon wanted to spend the evening with us and, of course, Tucker wanted her to.  After standing in line for an hour or so at the car rental place, we finally loaded up our stuff into our Honda Accord and headed for Circus, Circus.  Turns out that Circus, Circus is at the complete OPPOSITE end of the strip from where we exited the airport so we had to drive all the way down the Las Vegas strip to get to the hotel.  Being Saturday night, this took us about an hour due to all the traffic.  The fountains at the Bellagio exploded into their dance as we were slowly driving by there so we got to enjoy that show along the way.  There are times when the water appears to shoot up as high as the building.  Quite impressive and very beautiful.  Upon arriving at the hotel, I had to stand in yet another line to get checked in and we finally opened the door to our room at about 11:30pm.  Whew!!!
This is the view from our room.  Since we are nearly at the end of the strip, we don't look over all of the  "cool" hotels, but you can see the Stratosphere from here.  The original plan was that we would all hang out together here for a while, eat at the buffet, then take Shannon back to her aunt's (where she lives during the school year).  Turns out the buffet was closed and I had absolutely NO desire to get back in the car and drive some more, so we got food from the Westside Deli (the only restaurant still open in the hotel at this hour), and Shannon ended up staying in the room with us.  We watched some TV (the end of Mission Impossible 3) and I dropped off to sleep.  Tucker and Shannon walked around the hotel a bit before turning in.

Sunday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny day, got some coffee, showered up and headed to the International Church of Las Vegas for the 11 am service.  BIG church!  The main church can seat 3100 people and there are 3 other physical campuses, as well as on-line church.  Quite impressive.  I was hoping to connect with Darius Hughes, who is the associate pastor, as well as the leader/director of the school, but he was attending a service at one of the other locations.  After about 30 minutes of worship, the pastor of the church, Paul Goulet, came out to do the sermon.  I LOVED it!  He is a very powerful and passionate speaker and I loved his message.  In addition, the people of the church were all very warm and friendly and, true to its name, multicultural.  Something that Salem, for that matter, all of Oregon, is lacking.

After the service, we returned to the hotel to take a trip through the buffet, which was incredibly disappointing.  Tucker came to the table with a plate of white rice with teriyaki sauce.  Period.  Are you kidding me???  No way was I going to settle for paying $15 for him to get a plate full of rice.  After searching through all the choices laid out, I finally ended up speaking with the chef who prepared some stir-fried vegies for him.  Even the salad bar was sadly lacking in vegetable choices.  I was trying to figure out how a vegetarian would fare at this buffet.  The ONLY vegetable dish that I saw that didn't have meat or cheese mixed into it was carrots.  Sad.

After eating (sort of), we came back to the room for a bit of a rest.....well Shannon and Tucker napped while I downloaded Megan's picture with Demi Lovato that had been taken the day before at the Demi Lovato concert.  Yes, while Tucker and I were in Vegas, Megan had an exciting adventure of her own.  Front row seats at the concert as well as a meet and greet and photo.

Naptime over, we had to get Shannon back to her aunt's house because she had a meeting that she needed to attend for school and Tucker and I needed to do some shopping to get him outfitted for his stay here and get him a bus pass for the month so he can get around.  After accomplishing that mission we attempted, once again, to connect with Darius and failed again, but we did get a chance to talk with Samuel Goulet, the pastor's son who is also involved with ministry in some capacity with the church and found out that he heads up a round of basketball every Sunday evening.  Sounds like something right up Tucker's alley, don't you think?  So Tuck and I head back to the hotel where I drop Tucker off to go in and get some food while I circle the parking lot for a good 1/2 hour to 45 minutes trying to find a parking spot...........AAAAAAHHHHHHHHhhhh!!!!  We meet up in the room where I pretty much dig in for the evening.  I thought about walking up the strip a way and checking out some of the cool stuff at some of the casinos, but decided that I really didn't feel like it.  Tucker cruised the hotel a bit before calling it a night and settling in to watch Oceans 11 on the TV (how appropriate!!)  We have a 10 am meeting time set with Darius tomorrow morning to get Tucker set up in his home away from home.