I have fond memories of Sunday afternoons growing-up. As a family we would attend church and, more often than not, head out for lunch after the service. There are two places that come to mind when I think back on those days; Fuddruckers and Grandma Lee’s. These were two polar opposite lunch destinations, but both equally delicious.
Grandma Lee’s was a little mom and pop joint. I remember their towering sandwiches made with, what seemed like, the thickest slice of fresh bread you’d ever seen. The classic brown coffee cups and poorly decorated walls made it feel so comfortable and homey.
Fuddruckers was a chain burger joint. You went up to the front and placed your order and gave them your name. When your order was up they’d call your name over the intercom and you’d then put all of your desired fixings on your burger. After you were done eating you’d take your little ticket up to the dessert counter to redeem it for a cookie or slice of pie. They had some video games that kids could play while they waited for their food. This was a fun place to be as a kid and my dad would do his best to embarrass the poor worker who had to read the orders out over the intercom by coming-up with ridiculous names. The funny thing about Fuddruckers was that James would also go there with his family after church…I was probably seated close to him on more than one occasion.
Rarely were these after church outings to restaurants made by ourselves, we were usually with friends and the plans were usually made last-minute. So much of Sunday morning is about community and fellowship and I always liked that my parents made an effort to extend this beyond the church service. It’s something that I hope my kids can grow-up with and something that I’ve realized we haven’t done enough of. I know that we don’t need to go to a restaurant to visit with friends after church, this can easily be done in someone’s home. With a little planning and a little willingness to host it can be accomplished for much cheaper. Maybe I should make more of an effort to invite people over for lunch after church. Spending time gathered around a table is a great way to get to know people and feel like you are part of a community. It seems to me like Sunday afternoon was made for good food, good friends, full bellies and good conversation.
I watched as this awkward lanky boy turned the red brick corner of the school, scanned the Kindergarten courtyard for safe faces and then made a b-line for Rhys. He approached quickly with eyes darting around, determined and unsure all at the same time. He abruptly halted right in front of where we were standing and lifted his hand, palm out, and greeted us. “Hello Humans!” I had to stop myself from letting a chuckle escape. This boy was so horribly nerdy with his too short sweat pants and Super Mario backpack. I looked at him with a smile and then looked at Rhys waiting to see what would happen. Clearly this child was trying to overcome some fears and make a friend. Rhys raised his eyebrows, said ‘hi’ and then turned slightly away. The boy took a step closer and greeted Rhys again. I got down to their level and asked the boy his name and if he liked space aliens. He gave me his name and with a smile said that yes, he did like space aliens. I told Rhys to introduce himself and then backed off to see what would happen.
It’s interesting to see your child learn how to make friends. It can be a little bit nerve wracking to be honest, but interesting none-the-less. Rhys had already made a few friends in Kindergarten, his closest being a little boy that shared the same birthday as Rhys. They both got birthday crowns on their first day of school which must have helped kick-start their friendship. According to Rhys the two of them play together all of the time. While I’m happy to see that Rhys has a few people that he’s gotten to know because the situations have warranted it but it’s totally different to step out and make a friend. It’s different to be intentional and deliberate about it. It’s much harder and I know this because I’ve gone through it.
I was curious to see how Rhys would deal with an awkward kid stepping out and trying to be Rhys’ friend. Within the few seconds after my boy had introduced himself and said that he liked robots I had high hopes. I had hoped that Rhys would then talk to the kid and make him feel welcome. Rhys ran away. He turned and ran to the opposite side of the courtyard to kick a ball around. The boy slumped his shoulders and walked to the school door waiting for the bell to ring. The thing is, Rhys isn’t sure how to make friends without someone else facilitating it. He’s still learning how to be social with people he doesn’t really know.
I called Rhys over and asked him if he’d like to go and invite the boy to play soccer. He sauntered over and asked and the little boy didn’t want to. I think his feelings were hurt. So I told Rhys, quietly, that he needed to include the boy. I’ve observed this boy a few times and he seems to be a bit of a loner. It seemed to me that he had a hard time opening up and now he was probably kicking himself for taking a chance. Rhys went and got the soccer ball and started kicking it to the boy. The first few times the boy angrily kicked it back and yelled for Rhys to stop it but I think that by this point Rhys had clued in. Rhys just kept on kicking it back to the kid and with each pass the kid got more and more into the game. He started to enjoy it and then started to play with Rhys, running around and having fun. Rhys’ other friends showed-up and now this awkward little boy was playing with a whole group of kids instead of sulking in the corner.
Last week I had an interesting encounter with an aspect of the public schooling system. All Friday afternoon my heart was burdened and heavy with wondering if we’d made the right decision putting Rhys into his community school. After some prayer and a long talk with James we both came to the conclusion that we’ve done the right thing. We feel that Rhys can be a light into his classroom and into the kids lives and I feel like this morning was an affirmation of that. I had to pull Rhys aside and give him some pointers, but that’s what I’m there for. My hope is that as Rhys grows up he will learn to be compassionate and inclusive. I believe that one way to teach him this is to expose him to people that are in need of these things and these people are right in our community.
By the time the bell rang for the kids to line-up and meet their teacher this little boy was included. He was still awkward and a bit weird but he looked so happy.
One of my closest friends has moved away…again. I’m sad. I’ll miss her. But she’ll be living-it-up in Thailand for close to a year and I’ll be trying my darndest to live vicariously through her. So this one’s for you Julia.
Hey, so if all y’all could do a HUGE favor for me…head over here and vote for my friend Jen and I. Scroll down to the bottom of the post (of the linked page) and vote. Then go back up to the top of her post and click on her link and vote again on a different photographers page…yup, vote twice! We’d have tons of fun if we won the contest and you could feel good about helping us out! And while you’re at it, you could tell everyone you know to vote for us too! It would make Jen and I so very happy.
I just had a conversation with a friend about stress and worry. We talked about our stresses and we talked about other people’s worries. It’s easy to be concerned about tomorrow; what we will eat, what we will wear, how we will pay for things, about our stuff or our children…it’s very easy. Too easy. When we worry we have this death-grip on that which is bothering us and we are unwilling to let it go, to give it over to the one who is ultimately in control. It seems that often when we just continue to tighten our grip on our situations we are leaving no room for God to step in and work in and through us.
I sat down in the kids room yesterday (after a few hours of too much stressing and not enough praying) to read some books with Rhys and Amelia. Ammie brought over her story bible and I started flipping through the New Testament stories reading every couple of pages. One story that came up was called Fishing For Gold. It brought me so much peace and hope that I thought I would share it (keep in mind this is from a children’s bible).
Peter was worried. Jesus didn’t have any money to pay the tax collector. Peter didn’t have any money either. But Jesus wasn’t worried. He knew God would take care of them. But how? Jesus told Peter to go fishing. When he caught his first fish, he was to look in the fish’s mouth. Peter didn’t understand, but he did as Jesus said. When Peter caught his first fish, he looked in the fish’s mouth. There he found a gold coin! Now there was plenty of money to pay the taxes. God had given them what they needed.
-from Matthew 17:24-27
God will take care of our needs if we are willing to step aside and give him room to work. I’ve seen this play-out time and time again in my life. Most recently I’ve seen God move his mighty hand in providing for out Haiti trip. Both James and I felt this trip was something that we were needing to do. Sure, it’s a lot of money, but we felt that we needed to be faithful and take a big step into the unknown. We assumed we would just take a long time to pay for the entire trip ourselves but let me tell you, God is good! I’ll leave it at that. We have been provided for and it’s just another testament to the faithfulness of God meeting our needs. If only we could be people who’s first reactions are to turn our worries and unknowns over to God, how much more joyful we would be! After all, Christ says, “In the world you will have trouble, but take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
(*I didn’t mean to get all preachy-preachy when I started writing this post…but it’s what was on my heart so you get to listen to it!)
The world is getting smaller. For me at least. In 6 days James and I will be taking up residence in Haut Limbe, Haiti. It’s amazing to me that with a short plane ride (sometimes not-so-short) you can be in a totally different country around totally different people. They look different, they sound different, they eat different but in actuality, underneath-it-all, they’re just the same as us. They like gardening, baking, learning, making new friends, playing with niece’s and nephew’s just as much as we do. I bring this up because (I’m totally geeking-out here) I just got my first letter from my new pen pal!
I was so excited to see an attractively crinkled brown package sitting in my mail box this afternoon. I flipped it over and studied the mailing address and Michael Jackson postage stamps. Uganda! It had been a while since I sent my letter introducing myself to my pen pal and to be honest, I had occasionally forgotten about the whole ordeal. But I was certain she would write back sooner or later and my patience paid-off. She sent along a beautiful piece of batik artwork made by her brother! So special. There’s nothing better than getting something in the mail, especially from a friend.
*On a totally unrelated note, did any of you hear about how the 8.8 magnitude earthquake shortened our day? It jolted the earth a bit closer to the sun and thus made the earth spin a bit faster, shortening our day a quarter of a millisecond (or something crazy like that). Apparently they can’t even scientifically prove it because it’s so minute.