Friday, May 5, 2017

Spring: "Filled & Fried"

 "We were both so filled at Easter, and also kinda fried," is what my friend Christina said the other day when we were catching up via text message. (Hopefully she doesn't mind me quoting her.) She is also a pastor's wife, but you don't have to have that role to feel that way. Everyone I talk to lately has been feeling the same...filled by the warm weather, the meaningful times of worship, the sweet fellowship, the fun activities, but also fried by the frenzied pace of it all.

Here's a little glimpse into our spring - things that have passed and things upcoming. Warning: this is a long post (again), but I just needed to get it all down.
 Weeks of Shakespeare rehearsals and then a weekend of performances - also known as the time of year I get to live out my secret ambition of being a hairstylist. Jessica's hair was a bit of a dilemma, since she had to turn into a boy in the middle of the play (As You Like It) and then back into a girl.
Kayla did an excellent job in her smaller role, which she always has to balance with her track practices and meets. Lots of hurrying back and forth for both of us the last weeks of March.

 Our church's women's retreat had been booked and on the calendar for a year, and then the Shakespeare play was booked for the same weekend. This meant I could only help with dress rehearsals and one performance on a Thursday night.  Friday, it was off to New Hampshire in the middle of a raging March 30-April 1 snowstorm!
 Every time a woman arrived at the conference center, I was silently thanking the Lord for safe travel. It snowed for over 30 hours and left over 18 inches behind before it was all over, but in the end, all of these ladies made it, and we all had the best time being snowed in together.

With Sarah hosting games, this is Elisabeth and me - about to compete at charades.
Household chores the theme; "Dusting a lamp" was our acting assignment. 😩
Every Sunday after church we hosted a small group Bible study, except that it wasn't very small. Some of you know that one of my favorite things to do is have people over for lunch after church. Hosting a small group at that time is really just a sneaky way for me to get to do this regularly.
 We enjoyed discussions on the book of John, and then broke into smaller groups for prayer.
Abby and Maddie, two Mount Holyoke students, came home after the first service with me every week and helped prepare the meal. Kayla and I loved spending time in the kitchen with them chopping veggies and making multiple pots of coffee.

(We also did some informal scientific research during those weeks and came to the conclusion that more women than men enjoy hazelnut coffee, which led to changes in grocery purchases, and number of pots of regular vs. hazelnut since we had far more women in the group than men!)
I should have put these next photos right after the retreat photos, because less than 45 minutes after I arrived home from the women's retreat in New Hampshire, Robert and I left for Indianapolis for The Gospel Coalition Conference. Unlike the scheduling of the Shakespeare play which we had no idea would fall on the same weekend, we were well aware of the back-to-back nature of these events. But the conference was going to be in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and the list of speakers included all of our favorites and more. We couldn't resist, and we're so glad we made it happen.
Josh Moody is one of Robert's good friends and a fellow pastor. He used to pastor in Connecticut, but is now at College
Church in Wheaton, IL. We had fun catching up over dinner one evening. Josh has written several books lately -
you should look him up at God Centered Life!
I'm just now realizing I didn't get a picture of our whole group, as we had friends from Ohio join us, but Chris and Katie were with us for the whole conference - and beyond. (!) Both from Texas, newly married, Chris an Amherst College grad, and Katie a University of Texas grad, they are now on staff with Intervarsity on our local college campuses and a part of our church as well.

It was so fun to have them with us, but I think they got much more time with us than they bargained for, as our flights home were canceled mid-trip, and we were forced to take hotel vouchers in Detroit. It was quite an adventure, and I think I have finally learned that is it wise to take some toiletries and a change of clothes with me in a carry-on bag. I bought a $6 t-shirt at the airport to sleep in and Katie was kind enough to let me borrow some mascara the next morning. Thanks to Katie and that fateful morning, I am now in love with this mascara. Grounding us in Detroit was clearly God's way of showing me His mascara will.
Then it was Holy Week and Easter. We had a wonderful Palm Sunday, 9pm worship services at Amherst College every night after that, a Passover Seder, a Crosswalk through town, a Good Friday service, and ended the week with an 82 degree Easter Sunday and fun lunch gathering at our house.
Grant is a senior at Amherst College and preached at one of the evening services.
(I've just turned off the "live" photo feature on my phone, since it gives me 2 second videos
rather than still photos.)
Friend and church member, Shannon, took photos of anyone who wanted them after each service. They all turned out so great!

Robert led the congregation in a song he wrote especially for Easter. Cindy accompanied on viola. So beautiful.

Coop was home for the long weekend.

More college kids home - friends old and new.

The warm weather meant we could be outside.


Texas, Iran, Massachusetts, Rwanda, Kenya, Mexico, and China - all represented around my table
Such a beautiful sight, a true gift, and a glimpse of heaven.
Some of the frenzy is by my own choosing, but peer pressure plays a part. The following Saturday I ran my first half marathon trail race with Betsy and her friend, Liz. The race was Betsy's idea (definitely not mine!), and since she moved to Natick last year, I decided to join her as a way to spend some time catching up. This meant that during Holy Week and the week after Easter, I was having to up my running mileage quite a bit to prepare. You know...not much else going on those weeks, so why not? Sigh...

These things always sound like a great idea two months prior.
I'm pretty sure that running on an actual trail would have been highly recommended for training purposes, but the edge of the bike trail is the closest I got to the real thing. There were some rocks and roots, but no mud or hills. Oh well.
The route was a 6+ mile loop...or cloverleaf? It rained the whole day before as well as the last half hour of the race. We were freezing by the time it was over and all had blue lips when we met up at the finish line. I was the last of the three of us to finish at 2 hours 24 minutes - about 30 minutes slower than my last half marathon.
 Kayla has been running and jumping a lot herself lately with spring track. She's been doing the triple jump, the 100m, 200m, the 4x100, and the 4x400.
 Several of her fans joined us at a recent meet, and she had fun racing some of her beloved kindergartners, first-graders, and toddlers.
 Yep...breaking all of the blogging rules with the length of this, but here are a few more things we've done this spring...
A trip to the Boston Opera House with friends to see The King and I. So good!

Betsy's son (and Pete's!) Dustin was baptized last Sunday. He had to have a special, early
baptism due to his UMass Ultimate Frisbee team schedule.
 After Dustin's baptism, we hosted a graduate luncheon at our house - about 20 of them were able to join us, but as you can see there are so many more leaving us this year! This pic reflects only those in the second service.



Alena (and Lois) were over on Saturday night and Sunday helping prepare, host, and clean up.

Grant and Parker - we'll be back in Indianapolis next month for Grant's wedding!

 This week included Kayla's Challenge III Protocol Night. Along with the Challenge I class, we enjoyed an Italian dinner at a local restaurant and then headed to Amherst College for their Christian A cappella group's spring concert.

Challenge I (Freshmen) and Challenge III (Juniors) classes together

I took my final exam in Theology III on Wednesday...
 ...and instead of blogging, I should be reading that top book and writing a 5 page paper on it, because it's due next Wednesday at midnight, but we'll be in Texas by then...
 ...and helping another graduate move out of his house in Waco. I am so happy and so sad all at the same time over this. Happy that he has had such an incredible experience and education at Baylor and sad that he'll be entering the real world which will no longer include long holiday breaks and summer vacations during which he can come home for extended visits.
He was kind enough to take one last picture for me on his last day of class, and while I know he was
celebrating this day, I was truly grieving!

So...Wednesday we'll move him out (and I will finally move IN to the Magnolia store and bakery for some shopping rather than stare at a hopelessly long line of Fixer Upper fans - hopefully!?), Thursday we'll have a party, Friday we'll head back to Waco, Saturday we'll graduate, Sunday we'll do church and lunch with him in Waco, and then say goodbye as he heads to Pine Cove Camp for the summer. He'll move to Austin in August for his first "real world" job at Oracle.

Cooper won't be able to join us in Texas for the graduation festivities due to his final exam schedule at Gordon, and this totally ruins my plan to have a family photo for the Christmas card this year. It also signals the end of a season - the full nest season - and it's affecting me more than I thought it would. I'm so happy that my kiddos are growing and thriving in their individual lives and paths, but so sad that there will be so much less family time.

So...yes - filled by the recent joys and fellowship and experiences and hopes for the future, and fried, too - by the pace and the effort and the emotion of it all. I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way, but am looking forward to some rest as well as some different adventures this summer. (It will be our 25th wedding anniversary in August!)

Back soon with graduation picks and maybe even some updates around this little space. June will mark 10 years of blogging (and nearly 800 posts) for me, and I'm looking forward to celebrating with a bit of a "fixer upper" of my own.

Happy Spring! 

No comments: