Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In the year of our lord PART TWO

So John drove and drove and looked and looked...and we found this Elks Lodge. A sort of grange hall space, and decided to give it a shot. At this point, I assumed we would follow the perfect little blue print going on in my head. John would sing and lead worship, while I sang with him and played piano. Who was going to hit the arrow key on the computer to switch to the next song? me of course. while I played piano. Why wouldn't that work?!
Oh my it really did not. We set up our little service in the hall...and I remember feeling so nostalgic there. It reminded me of the grange hall in beaverton that my parents church had been at. That musty sort of smell that accompanies really old buildings, the yellowed walls, the peeling art that had aged over the years and looked like leather. There was even an open bar behind us and disco ball...Lord knows old folks like to get their boogy on.
Anyways. We set up. I begged my two children (22months and 3yrs) to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE sit still and not fight, I mean, how could I sing, play piano AND deal with children?! So we began, me playing keyboard, and hitting next after songs...but lo and behold, Emry wasn't having it. So then the piano would suddenly have to stop while I yanked a squirmy two year old up onto her chair, then the song wouldn't change because the old woman who had stayed to lock up after us was coaxing mailey to come sit with her unbeknownst to me. (is that even a word, unbenounced?unbeknownst?) But I remember that service so clearly its like it happened last week. I remember wandering around the building, imagining it full of people, peeking into the kitchen and imagining church potlucks...reading all the creeds on the wall in the foyer and wondering if I would stand there on Sundays next to John and greet folks.
But I think we only used it four or five times. The location was marvelous, but the building was old, and it was associated with BINGO...sadly, we had to continue searching.
Although it was stressful, I so enjoyed searching for buildings...peeking in windows of vacant store fronts, walking into empty buildings and hearing your footsteps echo and bounce off the walls. My mind would immediately begin to decorate this wall, create a little nook for nursery here, a space for pastor's office there...set up a table for coffee in this spot, and so imagine would suddenly take flight when I would wander through these spaces.
But back to the Elks Lodge. We had one woman come that first service, I can't for the life of me remember her name, but she sat through that horrible song service and listened in earnest to the sermon, and at the end came crying to the altar and accepted Jesus Christ. I could hardly believe it. We soon got to know her little family. Two boys, both teenagers, J and T and a daughter, A and a younger daughter I don't remember. They were such a broken family. The boys were always high, and Allison dressed like she was trying to rival any standard hooker for who could show more skin. It was awful. These kids were so young, but they had already lived a thousand more lifetimes than I ever had. A was so sweet. Naive and ignorant, but at the same exact time, so full of street knowledge and so horribly touched by this world. She would come to our home for studies, with a skirt that barely covered her, and a shirt that exposed so much...and then she would get so sad as she talked about the girls at school and how they called her a slut, a whore, and an easy nobody...she truly never could understand why they would give her that label. I never could understand her confusion. Didn't she have a mirror? But her mother hadn't been a mother, just a friend and usually absent, and so she had raised her self...and her little mind hadn't been given the guidance and respect it needed, to see that she was portraying EXACTLY what those girls were saying.
A was a riot. She was a little chunky, and super cute, raspy voice and infectious grin..but good grief that girl did not have manners. I remember picking her up to take her to a revival service in Oroville, and stopping at Wendy's because she had said she was hungry. When I asked her to just order what she wanted, after I had ordered the chicken nuggets off the dollar menu, and a water, she heartily ordered the triple baconator, a chocolate milkshake, a coke, and extra large fries. I almost passed out.
who does that?!?!?! hahahaha....I had expected her to realize that I was obviously trying to not spend my life's savings on feeding one fourteen year old at Wendy's. She never got that memo apparently. That meal cost me fourteen dollars!!! Oh my goodness...I still laugh every time I think about it. I remember staring aghast at her as she just kept ordering as she leaned over my lap to yell out my window at the drive thru was ridiculous.

Monday, December 27, 2010

In the year of the Lord

(This is one of my favorite pictures..taken just two weeks after we got there, Emry was not even two and mailey only 3..I was five months pregnant and so full of the unexpected. No idea what the gender of my baby was, no clue what the year would hold, so unsure of how to navigate so far away from my family....)

It’s been a year of complete juxtaposed emotion and circumstances. A year that in retrospect seemed to have lasted a million lifetimes; not because it dragged on, but  quite the opposite, because so much happened it seems impossible it took place in just 12 months.
Pioneering has done things to me that I could not have ever fathomed. I have wanted to write about it for awhile…but I find myself so hesitant to write anything about our church etc…because I’ve realized that so much of my perspective on what is going on, is so based on my current emotional state. So the joys and fears, the highs and lows…they don’t reflect honestly, what is reality. However, as the year concludes, I don’t want to forget it, and this blog is my online journal. So I’m going to take a moment to reflect and dissect it; To try and wrap my mind and vision around what is happening here in Chico.
When we first got here I was full of expectant and na├»ve dreams. I had such a young and immature view on pioneering, despite all my insisting that I didn’t have fanciful visions of what pioneering entailed. In fact, I did. My parents had pioneered twice, and I had seen the physical labor it required, had experienced the persistence it required, I had LIVED in the hectic stress of a pioneering family. But I had never encountered the spiritual battle…the demonic warfare that would fight constantly and painfully, everything in my soul and heart and mind. I hadn’t a clue.
As we began we to build a church we started in our little 860sqft apartment. I was five months pregnant and we had a three year old and an almost two year old. We started by first inviting everyone in our complex to a bbq and bible study in the complex park area. We had a two ladies bring their children, two boys and a girl. We had two young men come…we were filled with so much hope and joy…for our first try that was pretty incredible! I remember being so completely overwhelmed and unsure, because one thing about this job, you have got to keep a positive, energetic front up. And it IS A FRONT. Lets be honest right now. Outwardly I would be smiling and energetic, I would be talking and socializing and keeping everything going smoothly, but inside…inside I was shaking and my tummy was in knots. My mind was spinning in a million directions, doubt and fear that these people were uncomfortable and thought we were freaks, would start to make me feel like I wanted to just go back home. But I, WE, carried on and the ride started to smooth out.
Then we moved to services in our apartment rec room. And the shaking doubt came back. I remember my grand idea that our first service would be just like that first bbq…but people who would GLADLY come eat and socialize, balked at the idea of a service and real church…and that first service, one guy came who reeked of alcohol and urine, and a girl wandered over with her little baby. That service still brings a smile to my face. I had gone to the dollar store and bought these funky star balloons to tie to our sign, I had bought yummy things for a bbq after, and made sure to buy enough for twenty so that God didn’t think I was doubting how successful we would be (insert major laugh). I remember the hectic chaos of setting up our sound equipment while our two toddlers ran around causing havoc with the water fountain and free coffee…oh my! it was chaotic.
And then I remember sitting in the little room next to it, trying to keep Sarita’s baby from crying so she would stay in service. I remember Johnny (the transient who came) immediately taking his shirt off as soon as service was over…I remember talking to her and all the while I just wanted to go home and take a nap and forget the service had been so exhausting.
The next few were even rougher…we had our third and I believe final service there, and only an old lady came. She sat there smiling as we sang and powered through the song service with our kids, and then during the sermon Mailey made Emry mad and Emry hit Mailey, and they both started crying at the top of their lungs, so I rushed them out to the bathroom and as I barely contained my anger I threatened every toy in their room with imminent death if they did not shut their screaming little traps and sit nicely. I was about to snap…if you’ve never sat in a service with your two squirmy kids and only one other lady while your husband tries to preach and ignore the fact that he’s preaching only to his exhausted wife and an old lady (wow, ladies and gentleman that is called a run-on sentence)..Well, I highly recommend it. Truly, it makes you horribly aware of who you are and how much you need God. Anyway, I got them both to settle down in about a minute and drug them back out to find my husband standing at the pulpit looking like he was about to vomit. When I had walked out, the old woman had walked up to the front, handed my husband a couple bucks and walked out. She was the only one there, and she walked out.
Can you imagine? It was awful…that morning we had just found out that a man in our congregation back home had committed an awful suicide and so the day had already begun to sour…and then it quickly spoiled….we didn’t really speak to each other, just quietly packed up and went home. In fact, I don’t think we even spoke about it that whole afternoon…it just sucked so badly to be honest. I think we decided then we needed to find a more fruitful location..the apartments we were at were owned by "Christians", but we have quickly realized, the religious crowd is the greatest enemy to a true Christian trying to save perishing souls. And they very soon began to do everything they could to make it impossible for us to use the facility in any way.

I’m going to continue to write more this week…I need to just remember this year and document it…if you’re one of those sorts that thinks its distasteful for a pastor’s wife to be honest about what she’s going through, then go ahead and navigate away from this blog…because I don’t really care what you think. This is MY BLOG, and I really need to do this. I wish someone would have done just this, that I would’ve been prepared for the actuality of what I was about to endeavor on…that I would’ve known how much of an actual BATTLE it is…so this is just for those women…who want to hear the painful stretching and shaping that happens, and the tremendous soul healing joy that comes as well…
More tomorrow…

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Emry turned 3 and Reagan's Bionic!!!

So..this is late late late. Sigh. But on December 3rd, little Emry Addyson turned 3 years old!!! It was so cute...John had that friday off, and so her day began with breakfast with daddy...they got bundled up and headed out into the rain to get waffles at the breakfast buzz.

Then after breakfast they day presumed as usual...then that evening we headed out to redding to run wild at Chuck E Cheese!!! (we have one in chico but I swear its secretly a place where very bad people come to sell things on the black market and shoot up meth..I kid you not.)
Redding has a very new Chuck E cheese and our kids were mesmerized. So was I. By the hoards of people and screaming children. Really. I couldn't even focus. ha.

The obligatory play structure chaos...

Where Mailey forgot to stay with Emry so I paced frantically under the structure trying to figure out where Emry was shrieking for help from..good times ya'll. good times.
And Reagan devoured an entire piece of pizza while staring shamelessly at all the wild things running a muck. 

And sadly thats all the photos I got from Chuck's (you like that? I condensed it ha) because my camera was dead and my phone had a dying battery...yikes...I really need to step up my A-game. (does anyone know what that EVEN means?!)
And then we had a little lunch and cake after church on sunday ( I'd post more, but it turned out to be a pretty sad day..and then a very good one, but not how I expected and I don't care to embellish. sorry!!!)

And in other news! Reagan is bionic. I'm convinced she's like secretly injecting herself with steroids..okay thats gross, but seriously, this kid is SO physically advanced!!! She started walking between furniture and taking a few steps WEEKS before she turned nine months, and then the week after she turned nine months she was off!!! Its weird!! Mailey walked the week before she turned ten months, so technically it was nine but mostly ten if you get what i'm saying...then Emry walked the week of her first Reagan, well, she takes the cake! Here's a quick video from yesterday! She's even standing from a sitting position!!! holy cow!!! this kid is crazy!!! (yes she likes to play with electrical sockets, yes she got shocked last week. no I will not go buy covers for the sockets...I really really can't control the angry feeling that overtakes my good senses when I need to plug something in and can't flaming pry the stupid thing kids will have bad memories from their childhood of being shocked out of their wits...sadly it doesn't phase my cold cold heart.)

Please, PLEASE consider this post before you move on.

In just ONE DAY, little Olga received $3400!! That was just one day guys! But she needs about $17,000 more. Won't you please, please, please donate just $10 to her? If everyone did just that...well...she'd be on her way to a forever family. I know its a tight economy, but we still have far more than we need..I know I do...and so...I'm donating more right now as we speak...join me?
Getting this baby the money a family needs to be able to love her forever..means Olga doesn't have to spend the rest of her life in a mental institution, where lots of little ones pass away, because there simply isn't the care they need.
Don't let that include Olga. Please.
Donate Here. or for more info read THIS.
thank you for reading all the way through. this is worth it. I promise. And if you check out that last link and donate and leave a comment, you are entered to win AN IPOD TOUCH!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

please meet little Olga...UPDATE!

Please...please take a moment to really see this little girl. Her name is Olga. She has downs syndrome. And if she doesn't get a family soon, she'll be sent to a mental institution for the rest of her little life. Can you bear that? I can't. I really can't. Read a dear friends blog HERE to learn more, and to be entered to WIN AN IPOD TOUCH!!! seriously!!!...or just go straight HERE to donate to her fund to help a family financially, so that they can save this little one from a tragic, horrifyingly unjust end.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just so you know I'm still alive...

I haven't posted in a while...I've been back home for two weeks..John was able to go to Israel this year (his grandfather graciously paid for him) and so I got to go back for two weeks. During that time I was asked to speak at a women's fellowship at the corvallis church (thank you Patti!!!) and my home was one of the most humbling, wonderful experiences I've ever had. What an honor to even be asked, that they would trust me with something to share that would edify their women...
more later..but wanted to end with a little fun project...

scented playdough guys!!! whoop whoop!!!
Mmmm...almost makes you hungry eh? Go find the recipe's and instructions HERE!