Can you believe the incredible total over at MckMama’s blog? Over $10,000 has been raised to benefit String of Pearls, the ELISON project and No Hands But Ours. Incredible. And there is one more week to go, the fundraiser ends December 14 so if you haven’t ventured over there to see what all the hoopla is about, you should 🙂
In light of all the amazing things going on over a MckMama’s site, I thought it would be appropriate if I joined in on her Not Me Monday, you know, cuz there might be a thing or two that I haven’t done lately. Things I’m really glad I didn’t do. Unfortunately this weekend was full of things I DID do. And wished I hadn’t. So onto my list of things I DID do. All done yesterday.
It was one of those days. Right out of the starting gate. Shortly after we moved here, we found what we thought to be our ‘church home’. In the process of becoming members, we attended their ‘101’ class… a get to know your church kind of thing, I guess. Well, good thing we attended, because we realized shortly into our free pizza dinner that we, that is my husband and I, and this particular church differ greatly on one topic: salvation. And there is no way we can go from here to there on that one. No way. So we had to pull up roots and move on. That’s where the tough stuff comes in, our kids were loving this church. So were we. But we just can’t make ‘comfort’ and ‘ease’ ahead of what we truly believe. So church hopping has begun in earnest. Well, not in earnest… let’s face it, it’s no fun going to new churches week after week unless you have the personality of, well, my mom. And I definitely do not. For me, it comes a close second to listening to Shepherd shriek when his brother steals his favorite toy. Then add our kiddos to the mix (we keep them with us in the service unless we know we’ll be actually attending a church… don’t want to burn any bridges before we even get started) and I would honestly rather listen to Shepherd’s screech.
This particular church we visited looked great on the website. GREAT. We were excited to check it out, even though it was a solid 30 minutes from home. And 30 minutes away = getting up and going 30 minutes earlier. But we all managed to be dressed, fed and decent looking in time to arrive right when the music started at the crack of 10:45. For their version of the contemporary service. Well, disillusionment ensued as soon as we walked into the sanctuary. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I just have a sense about these things. Or at least I think I do. Nothing against this particular church, it was a perfectly lovely church full of what I am sure were perfectly lovely people, all praising the King. But finding a church that you truly want to join is like finding a piece of a puzzle. And this didn’t feel like a match.
Since we’d read such great things about this church and we’d driven all this way and we’d brought all these snacks… we had to stay. Chris on one end of the pew and me on the other. And a whole lot of potential public humiliation in between. Add to this the fact that the service was on the long side. And that our snacks were on the inadequate side. So about halfway through, things began to go south. Quickly. If I had to draw one more rendition of Thom@s the Train, I was going to scream. By the time the service was over, I was ready to get in the car and drive far, far away. By myself.
As is tradition on Sunday, we headed to lunch after church. This Sunday it was my choice and I picked a favorite spot for providing comfort food, perfectly appropriate after the hour and a half I’d endured shushing and bribing and threatening my children to keep it down to a level of appropriate noisemaking in a sanctuary. If there is such a thing. Even with Jude in my grill the entire meal (it’s pretty hard to fit a crew our size into an oversized booth), a burger and fries definitely took the edge off.
Then it was on to our next adventure, the Christmas tree farm! I’d done my internet research on this subject and felt confident that I’d found the place to not only supply our Christmas tree, but to make some wonderful Christmas-time memories for our kids. And of course, the place to capture those memories on film. As in: a perfect family photo for our Christmas cards. I even called, just to make sure that 1) it was still open and 2) they actually had trees. Yes on both counts. And my eagle scout husband wrote out directions so we wouldn’t get lost, because, well, we never get lost on family outings. Once on the way to the farm we realized that those directions had somehow been misplaced… huh, wonder how that happened? That something, written on a scrap of paper, might somehow be gobbled up in the sea of ‘stuff’ we travel around with in our overloaded minivan for “just in case”? Surprising. Initially, this wasn’t a huge concern since we still felt that we knew where said tree farm was and we felt like we were headed in the right direction. 10 minutes later with no tree farm in sight, I began to search for that little scrap of paper. In earnest. No directions. About the time Chris decided to turn around, we happened upon the tree farm… an oasis in the desert! All was not lost, our 30 minutes in the car were not in vain! The kids started jumping up and down in their seats… we were going to get our tree! And make beautiful memories in the process!
Our excitement was dampened a tiny bit as soon as we opened to car door. The wind was blasting. Like we were, well, in the mid west. And it was significantly colder out on the open plain than in the city. And I forgot coats. But we pressed on, undaunted. We went into the tiny office and got the rundown on the trees available, and even caught a glimpse of a sadly unkempt Santa. You know, one of those Santas with the clearly misplaced fake beard, in an ill fitting cheap Santa suit. The kind who just makes believing in the ‘magic’ of Christmas that. much. harder. The kids were pleased to get a candy cane and if I’d have known how hard it was going to be to get a picture of those little buggers, I’d have filled my pockets with that red and white striped bribery- on- a- stick. Asher got to carry the saw for our potential tree and we all set out, determined to come home with the most beautiful tree ever.
Once we rounded the bend, it became evident that no perfectly rounded 8+ footer was going to be coming home with us. In fact, nothing more than a lowly Charlie Brown tree was available for the trimming. We did manage to get a bit of a walk in and upon noticing the large cows and single bull on the property next door, Sophie exclaimed, “Look at those bears!” Yes, my love. Look at those bears. You city girl, you.
We moved on to the next order of business: the pictures of the memories we were making. Who needs a Christmas tree to make beautiful memories?? I had the fam gather around in a cove of trees, placed them just so and then backed up to take this picture of Christmas-time glee. All I saw through the viewfinder was 2 irritated and cranky 2 year olds, 1 stomach baring 4 year old, 1 extremely distracted almost 5 year old year old and a defeated 7 and 9 year old. No memories- in- the- making were noted. So I snapped a few (which were almost all soon deleted) and we moved on to the sleigh on the property that I hoped would contain the perfect Christmas picture. With bribes of candy abounding and daddy doing his silliest daddy dance, we managed to get a few pictures of the kids actually smiling. You know, acting like they were having fun. But nothing worthy of a Christmas card. We all piled back in the van and headed home.
I think we’ll be heading to Home Depot for our next Christmas tree hunt.