Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles..plus more emotion than I can handle in 8 days.

Buckle up - it's going to be a long post!

No way out

Okay - so I have known for months that this trip was coming up. Clint convinced me to go to Romania with him again - I am not a traveler, seriously! I am totally content sitting in my house with my little family and knowing that we can't get injured or harmed in any way - did you know I have a paranoia problem? Well, I admit that I fear life a little (lot) more than I should, so I am stuck with my own little battle of traveling and leaving the kids. Now, before you say it's a mom thing - it is, but times twenty - so Clint has convinced me that he will help me through this by making me travel. Well, long story short - I told him that if I was going to go, then I wanted to take time to see another country in Europe. (This is why we pay for all of our traveling and lodging expenses - we make it a little vacation amongst the charity work).
Anyway - Italy quickly became the first stop on our trip. So, fear of flying? Make that 8 flights in as many days and you have one scared little wife saying, what the heck was I thinking???

So, we had 3 flights to get to Rome, Italy. We planned on taking the train to get to our hotel, but wouldn't you know it there was a strike so the trains were closed that day. Into the shuttle with 2 other couples from the USA and introduction to driving in Italy - let's just say they know how to get around those little cobblestone streets and have no problems honking horns and cutting anyone off. Pedestrian? Well - you need to watch for the cars, 'cause they ain't looking for you.

BUT - holy cow! I will say we met the nicest people in Italy - I am not kidding, they were so great and helpful. I could listen to them speak forever because the language is absolutely beautiful.

Tired Feet

By the time we checked into our hotel and started walking around I was exhausted. It had be 24 hours since I left home and I didn't sleep on the planes like I wanted to. It was hot too - so humid and I wore pants - huge mistake! So, I sat for a bit in the shade and grasped the fact that I made it here without any turbulence.


Because of the strike that day, the Colosseum was closed and so was our tour! So, we walked around the city and I found plenty of things to take pictures of. I chose a few of my favorites to share with you. This is just a gate door that I thought was beautiful and I couldn't help but just stare at it.

Vatican City

We went to the Vatican City and surrounding Museums. This is just a taste of how amazing it was - everything I saw had quilting potential. I look at things so differently now because of my quilting. It never ceases to amaze me the work that goes into creating something beautiful.

Vatican City

Seriously - like how long did this take? It was so beautiful.

Vatican City

Okay, Clint and I were in Saint Peter's Square on Wednesday when the Pope made his weekly speech. We watched him ride in on the Pope Mobile and the crowd just went crazy! It was really cool being there and seeing him in person. We have video of him riding right past us.

It's the Pope!

Here he is - not the best picture, but this is a super zoom camera shot because we were so far away.


We were able to get into the Colosseum that same day. We lost out on our tour, but we were able to walk around. The size is unbelievable - huge, massive! and then to read about the gladiators and the other things that went on - wow. I had to really grasp the fact that this building was over 2000 years old. Amazing. The detail and workmanship was unreal and I would give anything to be a time traveler and see it in its day. I am still baffled. The whole city of Rome was just incredible and I will always remember how it felt to be there.


You should go, you would love it. Just warning you though, you have to learn how to say "no thanks" a ton because the soliciting there is rampant. They get you coming and going at every turn, selling anything that would make them a quick buck.


I loved the trees there, but I am a huge fan of trees. The fact that this group of trees were growing up on the wall and close to the buildings - even better.

Clint and I had a wonderful time in Italy - it was a much needed getaway for us.

Charity Shopping

Now the charity work begins. We flew to Romania from Italy - an easier 2 hour flight for me. Gica - the man in charge of the Archway Foundation in Romania picked us up and we got to work. The boys in the picture with me are orphans, but Gica has given them the opportunity to work with him and the Foundation and they were there to help us out. We spent the morning shopping for food and school supplies. That is where your donations come in. With your donations we were able to get 30 back packs stuffed with school supplies for kids starting school, who wouldn't have had these if we didn't get it for them and also food for 50 families. Thank you again for everyone who donated.

Charity Shopping

Here we are with Gica. Seriously the nicest and most giving man I have met. He works with all of the kids and their families and he has such a giving heart.


At this point I was having fun just collecting supplies, I had no idea what the rest of the day would bring. It was an emotional roller coaster for me.

Ready To Go

Here is the van packed and ready to go. We were dropping off food, quilts and the back packs to the people most in need. At the first stop we were just bringing food and we walked into an apartment where a Mom, Dad and 6 kids sleep in a room no bigger than 10' x 10' - I noticed that the single bed in this room had a quilt from last years trip nicely laid out on the bed. It made me feel good to know that the quilts you donate are being loved and used. It was a beautiful addition to the sad living conditions these people are in.
When we were walking out I saw a lot of little kids - all of these kids were in the same living situation as the peoples whose room I had just left, but aren't being helped by the foundation and I felt it was a good time to give some quilts out. So, I told Clint and we asked Gica to have the kids gather around the van. What I didn't realize is that this would create a situation where desperate people, kids and adults were so anxious and hopeful to get a quilt that they started to get a little pushy and we had to stop. The boys that were helping Gica and Clint and me were very protective and at one point (because of the aggression of a few adults) had to shove me back into the van and close the door and we had to drive away. It was so sad, I wish I had had a quilt for each one of these people, but most of all for the kids. They looked up at me and were so anxious to get a quilt and it just broke my heart that we had to drive away.

Kids and Quilts

But, to the kids who did receive a quilt - they were so grateful. Their grateful hearts and the sweet "thank you" they gave us made all of the chaos before worth it.

Kids and Quilts

I witnessed so many families and kids in situations that were so sad to me. It made me realize how truly blessed I am. I saw kids that were sleeping on the floor in the rooms of abandoned homes. These homes should be condemned, there is no working plumbing and the rooms smelled like wet mold. The stairs had no railings and had nails sticking out, plus they were ready to fall apart. These families move from place to place as they get kicked out because they have no where else to go. I found out that some of these people that grow up as orphans don't have identification. They are "unknown" in their country. One of the places that was hardest for me to witness was in an abandoned home where a new mom and teenage mom was sleeping on the floor with her baby on a pillow next to her. I left bawling, I couldn't imagine how hard that must be. I have a room for each of my kids, I have food in my fridge - I have a husband and father to my kids - and these people don't have any of that. It was such a hard thing to witness, but it also made me realize that what we are doing is helping, even if it is just a little bit.

It was an experience that I will never forget. And, although I don't think I can make it each year with Clint, I will be a better and more supportive wife when it comes to him going. I have struggled, and have been a little selfish just wanting him to stay home, but I realize how important this is. I won't ever be the same, I pray that I can teach my kids how lucky they are and also that serving others will help bring peace and joy into their life. I know it has mine and I pray that we can all just do a little to make a big difference in the lives of those in need around us.

Side note - we will have a charity video with more of what went on - so keep a look out for that. Clint just has a few orders to catch up with before we can finish the video.


Leeanne said...

You were very brave, but wasn't it worth it to see those wee faces!

Quiltin' Sandy said...

Hi Judi, Bless you and Clint for the kindness and charitable work you are doing. There is so much want in this world, and then there are the others- folk who will never be satisfied or thankful for what they have. It is hard knowing that you can't help every single person who needs help but you are doing a wonderful job in helping all of those that you can. You are both a real inspiration! Hugs from Australia! Sandy. :)

Karen said...

I am so glad you and Chad made the trip there and back safely. What an exeperience. You are an inspiration to me. We will need to up the H2H quilt challenge next year.

Thearica said...

Bless you and Clint for the work you do! I amm too chicken to fly so my work is on USA soil and by car so I am always very thankful for those who take the initiative to reach out farther than some of us will ever be able to...

This is a trip to remember for you and you will never be the same. Hubby and I drove to Nayarit, Mexico once...I had no idea just how bad it really was in places like that... I had been sheltered my whole life... everyone should see these places in person at least once... It would make them really appreciate what we do have here...

Khris said...

OMG this post has brought me to tears...I can only imagine how you must have felt being there seeing it and feeling it for real...God Bless you all for all the wonderful things you all do for these people.
Hugs Khris

KaHolly said...

Your post leaves me speechless. What an awesome gesture. I know next year, I will need to be a small part of this. ~karen

Sarah Craig said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip, Judi! And it's wonderful to see all those smiling faces in your pictures. I know you have been changed forever by your experience - thanks for letting us share in it!!

Barb said...

So glad that you are back safe and sound, that you had a successful trip and got to have a little pleasure out of it as well. I hate to travel myself....I don't like getting out of my home but I do travel and I am so much like you it is unbelievalbe...except you are skinny and young (ha).....loved the pictures and was truly having a hard time to not cry. Thanks for sharing this and for letting us be a part of it.

Cindy said...

Wow...that brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much Judi and Clint for taking the time to do this. I'm already thinking of my quilt(s) for next year!
Looking forward to seeing the video!
Thanks again!

misselaineous said...

Wow...amazing heartfelt post...tears in my eyes...wow. *e*

Anna @FreshDewDrops said...

God bless you!

Auntie Pami said...

I'm so glad you did go. I really believe that it's important for all Americans to understand how lucky we are. The things we take for granted (clean water, indoor plumbing and an abundance of available food) are not things all people have access to. I applaud you and Clint for your efforts. You can expect at least two more quilts from me. Off subject, isn't Italy the best!? I spent a lot of time there while in the Navy and I loved it. Hope you got to see Trevi Fountain. It's in the most unexpected location. I felt so overwhelmed in the Vatican. The marble statues looked so much like fabric, I just wanted to touch them all.

Paulette said...

Thank you for sharing about your trip. I'm glad to hear you went along. You have such an important ministry there. I'm in for next year's H2H challenge!

Larissa said...

God bless you and Clint for the wonderful demonstration of love you show these people each year! You have a heart of gold - and I know they were rejoicing in heaven the day you decided to start up Green Fairy Quilts!!
You show us all how to put Romans 12:13 ("Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality") into practice - we applaud you for this courage and strength!!
*May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. - 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17*

Larissa said...

Oh, and I will be definitely helping out with next years H2H challenge!! Watch out - you'll end up with more quilts than you'll know what to do with, lol!

www.randomthoughtsdoordi.com said...

Thanks for sharing this trip and the photos. It makes it so real after participating in the H2H quilt group. I hope I see someone hugging my quilt in a future post.

Shannon said...

Oh wow!! It is amazing what you two are doing. I am so sad for those people. We here in the USA need to be more thankful for what we have. Good for you for going on the trip. I can tell it has changed your life for the better.

Snoodles said...

Thank you, thank you for letting us participate in your work. The tears are rolling down my face as I read this...I saw a little boy hugging the quilt I made and prayed over. What a blessing to be able to help! Looking forward to seeing the video, and helping next years, too!

Denise said...

Your charity and love for these people is so inspiring!

Dee said...

May God bless you for going and helping out. Even if it was outside your comfort zone. I think all of us would benefit from going on a missions trip and seeing how other people live.

Jenny said...

What an amazing experience!! One I'm sure you'll never forget!

Petit Design Co. said...

my heart was breaking just reading your post. I know it's hard to help when it seems like we are doing so little. We always wish we could help everyone but we can only do the little bit that we can. And that is very important, especially to that one child, one family that received the help. We can only hope that others who have been blessed do the same and share of their "bounty" even if it is just the "widows mite."

Thank you for sharing your story.

CJ said...

Thanks for the recap and I can't wait to see the video.

Juels said...

Glad to see you both back safe and sound. I love the pictures of your trip to Romania, and the trees are wonderful!

Kristi said...

WOW....what a wonderful thing to do!

Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

It is a wonderful thing you are doing, glad you could make the trip. The really sad thing is that there are kids living here in the USA, Canada and all other countries that live in those same poverty levels. Just it is never publicized so most people don't realize that in their own town kids sleep on the floor and go to bed with no dinner. Maybe you could get something going to help kids in your own town, that will give you the satisfaction without having to travel, while your husband does all the traveling. Then you can see the kids excel with your help too.

Unknown said...

While the last blogger meant well, I agree that Romania is much more in need of help than we can even imagine.
I do agree that charity begins at home, but, what you two did is so appreciated beyond our wildest dreams.
|'m sure there are no food banks in Romania, no church charities, while in America, we have so much available to us.
Wonderful works you have done, much more good will than can ever be imagined.
Wait till next year!

WesternWilson said...

Thankyou for this post, Judi. We are truly blessed here in North America, most of us. But as one comment mentioned, there are children and families struggling here as well. No matter where you live, there is a way to serve others. I was so moved by the fact that in Romania, as in many other countries, orphans (illegitimate children, developmentally challenged children, often mixed race or mixed religion children) are "unknowns" and are barred from full citizenship rights in their countries. It is very sad. And my heart goes out to the moms sleeping on a bare floor with their babies. The world can be a tough place, but we can try to make some difference while we can.

Sherri said...

What an incredible experience. Thanks so much for sharing all about your trip. Can't wait to see the video as well!

Michelle said...

What an incredible thing you and your husband do. I just sat in awe as I watched the video and read your post. Those gifts are such a blessing to those children and families. I'm so glad you squeezed in a little couple time too! Thanks for sharing.

The Rx quilter said...

Tears in my eyes and heart full of joy...that is what being Jesus to a hurting world means. God bless you and your family, what an amazing ministry you have. Lisa in Texas

Heather A said...

I'm late commenting but I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post ... the story and photos. Thank you for the charity work you and your husband do. Thanks for making a difference. I so admire you both for it.