Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Finding A New Church #2

We were invited to try a new church this past Sunday. Boy, did it bring back a lot of memories of when I was young. My family went to a very traditional church when I was little. I won't bore you with all the details but it ended in a public hell fire and damnation humiliation during the sermon and my family said adios. My five year old self cleary remembers that the pastor's son was always Joseph in the Christmas play. Joseph was always bawling through the play because the pastor belived in corporal punishment. I wonder how "Joseph" is doing today?

I'm not going to say the name nor the denomination of where we attended because I didn't love it and I really believe that everyone should have their place without judgement. With that said... we attended a very traditional service. All the little girls were in fancy dresses and looked just divine. I am relieved that for once I had the girls wear sundresses instead of their shorts and t-shirts which we normally wear. I was one of the only women in pants. Every one else had on beautiful outfits. Wearing pants to church is something I always do because I don't own a skirt or a dress. I am just not comfortable in them. Normally it doesn't bother me to be the only girl in pants because I am attending a church service as a guest and the other members know me and like me for me. We didn't know anyone here except for one family so we just felt wrong - like big fat sinners who didn't fit in. It just so happens that my "Sunday Best" is a pair of black capris. I was adorned with my "sacrificing a virgin on top of a mountain" necklace. That's what Gene called it when he first saw it. It is big, silver, and geometric and probably saved my outfit. Gene wore his very best pair of shorts. Not even the little boys were in shorts. I really got a kick out of that one. Gene always says that it is a little known fact that he was born naked so God doesn't care what he wears. Whatever.

The sermon was way over my head. I did appreciate the fact that it was Bible based. Most of the sermon involved skipping around to different verses in the Bible... if you brought one, which we didn't. I like my sermons at a fourth grade level just like my novels. However, there was one part of the sermon that got my attention and that I clearly understood. The pastor preached to his flock that being a Christian makes you superior over every one else on the planet and if you are of that particular denomination then you are even more superior. I was surprised he didn't put on a super hero cape at that point. Now, I am a bit of a liberal tree hugger and my God is a God of love not petty judgement so that claim didn't sit well with me. I choose to be a Christian and believe in Jesus but I am not fully clear on where that leaves the rest of the folk in this world and I don't think I am supposed to know. I'll leave that up to God.

There were a couple of great things about this church. Number one was that the chairs were wide and cushy. My butt is wide and cushy so I need a wide and cushy seat. I really appreciate that luxury. No more trying to scoot my chair away from the person next to me so I am not hogging part of their seat. If I wanted the experience of sitting in an airplane seat then I would buy a ticket. Second notable experience, we crashed the after church potluck. YUMMO! I like a potluck. Unfortunately, we didn't stay for the next sermon that was after lunch.

I am thankful to Gene's friend for inviting us. His face lit up when he saw us come in (late). It was touching to watch his older son interact with his little sister. God is working in that family and I am glad that they found the church that works for them.

Happy Birthday Bug

The family party with Papa Bill. Greta chose the menu of watermelon, mini corn dogs, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Make a wish!

Gotta love the rainbow cake...and yes, I know I messed up the color order but the cake was delish!

I hope your dreams come true this year. Greta and her guests enjoyed pink lemonade cupcakes.
What a great bunch of girls.

Greta turned eight this past weekend. It was a bitter sweet birthday because we had just moved a few weeks earlier and she was missing her friends. Luckily, we have great neighbors with wonderful accepting kids. We had only been in the neighborhood for a few days and the kids were playing together like they have been together for years.
Normally we don't host big sleepovers. Greta gets overwhelmed by the large numbers and all the chaos and noise (as does her Mom). However, that is how she wanted to celebrate this year so all the neighborhood girls in her age group were invited over. It was fun. They laughed. They made jewelry. They laughed some more. They ate lots of yummy snacks. Then everyone piled into Greta's room for bedtime... which came much later.
I hope she loved her birthday. She didn't pick a theme, which the girls normally do, all she wanted was a rainbow cake with green frosting. Simple enough for me.
This year will be filled with challenges... a new place, a new neighborhood, a new school, a new church, and new friends. I remember my eighth year. It was a moment in my life were I was starting to notice myself and was sensitive to how people responded to me. I can see this beginning in Greta. She is a sensitive child who notices all the details. I pray that this year she focuses on the beauty in herself and others.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

He's a player!

See that sad face?

Friday is a player and I don't mean that he runs the neighborhood chasin' down all the uhhmm... beautiful strong independent female dogs. (Hey, what did you think I was going to say? This is a pg rated post!) Nope, he loves to play fetch with his tennis ball... or volleyball... or softball... or soccer ball... but his tennis ball is his favorite.

He was playing fetch and skidded in the wet grass so hard that he RIPPED the upper pad that is on his "wrist" (for lack of a better word) partially off! OUCH!!! After a consultation with our vet, I learned that it is torn in such a way that it can't be stitched together. So his private nurse, that would me, gets to flush it and bandage it twice a day along with a giving him a round of antibiotics. No biggie, I used to give my Poppy Cat a dose from her inhaler when she would have an asthma attack. I also gave oral antibiotics to a dying hamster for two weeks until Creamsicle met his maker.
Friday will be on the bench/in the dugout for at least a week. (That's right!!!!! I made another player joke)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

God Is Good

Good morning girls. I hope you have a great day at school! I try to be cool and not embarrass them (although they are used to my antics) as they wait for the bus. So, instead of standing on the front porch or at the rock with them until the bus comes, I stand at the window and obsessively watch them get on the bus and ride away... with my heart.

Polyphemus Moth: This guy is huge! I wish I could have held up a ruler while I took the photo but I could barely hold the camera. The only thing I can firmly grasp this early in the morning is my coffee cup!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finding a New Church

Oh, fellow military families... I wonder how you go about finding a church every time you move? We usually pick out a few and go once or twice and then decide from there. I have worked for a church before and I know that the "powers that be" (that's a joke, get it?) put a lot of thought into attracting people to their church. A select group of very outgoing folks meet once a month or once a quarter to decide how to best greet new comers.
Wow! We were really greeted today at Waynesville United Methodist Church. Those people are ALIVE and lively. We took a few steps into the parlor and a perky young lady with Red Bull racing through her veins greeted us with a very firm handshake (she probably runs marathons and benches 400 lbs). I like to sneak in and quietly go to my seat... no handshakes, no loud good mornings, none of that. A free doughnut is much appreciated and will probably get me and my family to return. I was scared. I grew up in a Methodist church and share the joke of "the frozen chosen." I have never been to a rowdy Methodist service... until this morning.
However, we don't always go to a Methodist church. We believe in equal opportunity. We look for the church home that is comfortable. I look for someplace with a pastor who is funny in a sarcastic dry humor sort of way. I get distracted easily... there are so many different hairstyles to see and purses to covet. I need a place that I leave with the message clearly in my mind. I need something to think about for the week.
I wasn't comfortable this morning. I mean really, who lets you have Hawaiian Punch in the sanctuary? Don't they know that stains the carpet? Who is doing cheers with the pastor in the a.m.? We sang a song about pulling the devil out a little black box and bashing in his face. Yes, you read that right!!! I was slightly confused but I also felt appreciative. Kudos to the pastor - way to step out of the box.
By the time the service was over I was thinking... maybe I need to "wake up" a bit more. I know I haven't found my energy since we moved. This might be the place for us... especially since I can't move our old church to me. I loved our old church! Now is time for change and letting go. I might not have fully understood the message from the pastor (I was distracted by one lady about four pews up. She had amazing hair. I wonder where she gets it cut.) but I did get a message... I need to wake up and make some changes. I need to be alive.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New School

This year the girls start a new school in Missouri that is HUGE! There are approximately 2000 students for grades 3rd-6th. Having the 6th grade there is a relief for me. If puts off Gigi going to middle school for another year and they will both be in the same school while we are stationed here.
Tuesday night Greta said that she is excited for school to start back because she likes making new friends... then she hesitated and said "but I don't like leaving my old friends." Oh, the life of the military family.
Gigi is her usual self - holding all her feelings in. She has mumbled a few times that she is nervous so that probably means that her anxiety is in high gear. Poor baby, she puts such pressure on herself to be fabulous at everything she does. One of the things that I know she is worried about is if she gets into the Talented and Gifted Program. That is an important way of how she identifies herself - a self proclaimed nerd. This new school is four times as big but fewer kids test into the program. Note I said test. She hasn't had to take a test to get into the program before. I keep reminding her that she just needs to do her best and that is what matters. She is fabulous not matter what.
I have been working on this post for a few days and two school days have passed.
Greta is not so sure about her teacher. She says she is nice but bossy (exactly what Greta needs). Today she brought home a little collection of papers all about her first week of school. Her first page said "My first week was not the best. Cause this school has diffret rules. But I am still haveing fun learning." I am not sure how I feel about that statement. I want her to have fun but I know Greta's idea of fun is only doing what she wants. This sums up Greta - The only part of "no" I don't understand is the part where I don't get what I want. Her art teacher seems like he will be awesome. He is excited to have the kids try all types of art... you know, the fun messy stuff.
Gigi loves her teacher. Ms. Lewis is quirky. She was wearing homemade clothes when we met her at Meet The Teacher night. I love that. She is into recycling and rarely turns the lights on in the classroom. Love it. Today she had the kids squirt toothpaste all over their desks. After they were finished she handed them toothpicks and asked them to put the toothpaste back into the tube. LOVE IT!!!
The bus turned out to not be as scary as Gigi thought. Each day they have had bus stories about who sat with who and how they felt about it. It was the highlight of Greta's day. ha ha

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Moving Stinks

How many moves has it been? I think it has been nine total but my memory gets a bit fuzzy. I am feeling a bit fuzzy - and not in the good way, more like the way your head feels after a few to many drinks and not enough hours of sleep. So, I guess I have a moving hangover. I think I will make that an official military wife term.
Time heals wounds, right? Well, I am wounded right now. I miss my friends who became my family while we lived in Iowa. They would understand that right now I am not in a good place but it will get better. They wouldn't be alarmed that I am counting the days until I laugh. They would rub my shoulders and get me a cold beer because my feet, back, and fingers are aching from moving and unpacking boxes. I have a great friend who has a darling daughter who would rub my feet while they dangled in the pool. It doesn't get any better.
I am tired of unpacking boxes. I wonder, why do we need so much stuff? Each house is different and I have to find a new place to store everything. Then I have to remember where we put things. Sometimes we just plain old forget and then we forget what we were looking for.
My last complaint is about the housing. We are in a rental that is nice but the previous owner didn't take care of her home. In her defense, her husband was in the desert for 18 months. You know you are in a military house when the doorbell is The Army Song! My complaint isn't necessarily about the rental... it is about the on-post military housing. Gene jumped through a lot of hoops to get us on the waiting list for housing. When I saw it I cried. It was insulting. My husband has served his country for almost 20 years, regularly works 12 hour days, deployed three times, and has been shot at, bombed, and had his life changed forever and we are offered a home that is pathetic. I would be grateful for any home if they didn't take so much money out of his pay in exchange for a 1,000 square foot building that has zero storage... and a stove shoved up against the counter top... and an apartment size refrigerator... and a one car carport... and dirt patches for a front yard... and... I could go on but it is too frustrating.
Now, I guess it is time for me to dig deep into my military wife reserves and find the silver lining. Moving is a special time for Gene and I to bond and count on eachother. Our back deck looks out over gorgeous full grown trees. Friday loves his big fenced backyard. I get to make a home for our two girls and help them through the pain of leaving behind friends. It gives them an unique opportunity to build their relationship as sisters and friends. We have another chance to simplify our life by donating unused household items to people who need them. But mostly, this move is an opportunity to realize how important family and friends are and to go out there and make more friends who will make my life special.