Thursday, April 30, 2009

Award Ceremony

My younger brother Zac was awarded last month by his company....for good behavior! I'm so proud of him. This is just further proof that he is a good, hard worker. He is a Military Police Officer also stationed here in Hawaii on Schofield Barracks.

Zac's company.

Zac being pinned.

Zac and the others receiving their awards.

Zac is on the back row, second from the left.

Zac and his lovely wife, Sissy.

My "little" brother and me. :) He's so handsome.

Hawaii going to the dogs...

Here are some random pics of the Windward side and the story of my travels yesterday below.

Ruth and Bo have officially made their Hawaiian debut. Suffice it to say, Hawaii will never be the same. :) I don't believe they have met a stranger yet. Everyone they run across seems to be enthralled by them.

Jehovah Jirah, the Lord provides. We were going to be taking two days to get to Hawaii and it was going to cost roughly $1,800 to Delta alone to get here (and an additional $330 to Hawaii upon arrival). I was also concerned about how Bo and Ruth would handle flying as I have read so many horror stories about English Bulldogs dying during flights and the embargo that starts in May and doesn't lift until is April 30th!!! Then my parents were also worried about how I was going to physically handle everything: me in Atlanta and LAX airports with two dogs, two huge dog crates, plus my luggage and the regular crowds. I was silly enough to think I could handle it by myself. Ha! When did I become a comedian?

The Lord took care of everything. I found favor in the eyes of everyone we came across, either that or pity.

1. The driver of the shuttle from the hotel to the airport (La Quinta to ATL) would not let me out of his sight until he knew I was being taken care of at 5 am.

2. Mr. G. Lee of Delta personally saw to it that the dogs, the crates, the luggage and I were all hand delivered to the right personnel. He didn't stop there, he literally followed us through each and every step to ensure everything was taken care of for us. He would leave for 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there, but he kept coming back with his genuine and welcoming smile. He could have just pointed me in the general direction and said "Have fun!" like so many other workers do now, but he took the 1.5 hours out of his day to walk me around from station to station pushing the cart himself. By this point the dogs were in their crates loaded on the cart and I was carrying my luggage.

3. Mr. Craig W. (manager at Delta) immediately saw Mr. G Lee helping us and made a bee line for us with that walk and strut of authority only a manager can perfect. Mr. Craig W. was so good with the dogs. Within one minute of kneeling by their crates, while I was doing paperwork, he had Ruth wiggling her whole body and crate with excitement. He, too, hung around to make sure we were taken care of.

4. Ms. Deania B. was the sweet lady doing all the paperwork with me. She was the one who noticed the opportunity to swap my flight from a two day to a direct flight. She also noticed it would save us over $550 in doing so. This just isn't typical of a money hungry company. She made over 40 minutes of phone calls getting everything approved, apologizing to me every 5 minutes for taking so long. Ha! I didn't mind, I had 2 to 4 hours of waiting to do at the airport and she was saving me from the extra money, the extra day of travel, and stress of dealing with LAX.

5. The flight crew also took extra time and energy to assure me Ruth and Bo were down below in their crates, alive and well. They gave me paperwork/stickers from their crates confirming the dogs were on board before we left the terminal. They also reminded the captain that live animals were on board so he could take the necessary steps to increase their chances for survival.

6. The State of Hawaii Airport Quarantine office even gave us tips on how to collect an additional $550 from the Army to reimburse us for the cost of moving our pets. You have to pay the vet for a Health Certificate for each dog and for the visit to get the Health Certificate. You have to pay the State of Hawaii a minimum of $175 per dog and potentially $15 per dog, per day (up to 120 days) they have to stay in Quarantine if you mess anything up. Then you also have to pay Delta $275 per dog, per flight.

Note for anyone PCS-ing with animals across any sea: the Air Force will move your pets for you at the cost of $100 per pet. Ask your local Travel office about it for details BEFORE you PCS. These are the little details no one wants to tell you about, but will save you a thousand dollars easily.

I was very impressed with the professionalism and courtesy the Delta representatives displayed. Instead of trying to increase their capital, they put the customer's needs first. They did everything within their power to make sure the dogs were comfortable and my mind was put to ease.

Maybe we found favor because we were in Georgia territory and I had two English Bulldogs, one of which looks a lot like Uga himself? Or maybe it was because we were in God's country of Southern hospitality? :) Grace - that was for you. :)

Oh and on the flight I met a new friend returning from Iraq on R&R for two weeks. His wife is going to help me find a job and they live just down the road from us. I believe Dave and I are going to enjoy getting to know them. Did I mention they love the Lord?!!!

Yesterday was one of the better days I have spent in Hawaii where everything went better than well, it was fabulous. The Lord went ahead of us and prepared the way. He took care of every little detail and left me humbly amazed. I was telling Shireen this morning about how I feel so stupid for continuing to learn the same lesson over and over and over again. After 27 years of seeing the Lord faithfully provide for all needs, abundantly above all I could imagine, one would think I would have learned my lesson to not worry and trust in God. I am a stupid Isrealite wondering in the dessert who so easily forgets all the Lord has done for me in Egypt.

Wherever you are and whatever situation you find yourslef in, I pray He will remind you of His lovingkindness that endures forever. And I pray He reminds you of how He lovingingly saved us and provided a way out of Egypt for us so many times before. Whatever your Egypt may be, God will provide. He is faithful and just.

God bless you. Love you.

Look how stressed out these poor puppies look here at home in Hawaii. :)