Tuesday, July 2, 2013

For Gerald

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This post is for Gerald. He came up to me Friday night, at the ice cream social that followed the closing ceremony of this year's VBS, and said, "So I noticed your blog is dead."

Well, and it is. But only "mostly dead," as any "Princess Bride" aficionado can attest.

So here I am, struggling to figure out what on earth would be worth posting, and coming up with very little.

But when has that ever stopped me?

Here goes.

I am going to write about Gerald.

Gerald is a woodworker, a Southerner, an outdoorsman, and the husband of one spitfire named Mary Ann. And of course, you say both of her names when you say her name, because she is a Southerner and a spitfire. And don't all spitfires have their middle names said often?

Miriam Marlys (8), our own spitfire. And as my mother-in-law said, "Oh, no! I'm a middle name!"
It gets used often.
 Gerald and Mary Ann thrive on ensuring that the younger generation in our church does not grow up ignorant nor unspoiled. So they do things like take the oldest boy to the gun show and reward anyone who sits with them in church with an entire family-sized package of cookies.

Are you aware of the candy war that is an ongoing part of each Sunday's worship service? Every Sunday, at least six of my children are usually to be found cuddling with adopted grandparents and aunts and uncles all over the congregation. They sit with them through the service, asking for help to find the right hymn or their place in Scripture. Or for a different colored marker.

And then at the end of the service, these longsuffering saints rifle through their pockets and pocketbooks for a Werther's, or a package of mini-M&M's, or some rainbow goldfish, or a lollipop, or whatever little bit of sugary goodness they can offer.

(Except for the one time Midge offered a box of raisins. The ensuing tears and tantrum from a certain son of ... someone's ... ensured she did not offer raisins again. ::sigh::)

But the love that my children experience every Sunday does not stop with the evening service. Within the last month, Midge and Dotti gave two of my children painting lessons (and baked cookies with them), Paul dropped off an "awesome" tent and camping pack (complete with gear) for Ben, Barbara took a child out for his birthday (and the other Barbara post-poned taking the boys out for pizza so that Birthday Child could also attend), Mary Ann had several children over to "help" (help what? consume root beer floats and Happy Meals? I'll come over and help!!!), Gerald chauffered Miriam (8), Karen chauffered Ben (11), Helen supplied us with vintage kitchen glasses (delivered via June), and myriads of others loved on them during VBS.

And I wonder, I really do, if my children know how very blessed they are. I wonder if they understand this mystery wherein the older generation thoroughly loves on the youngest ones, and not just the pastor's kids. It's universal. If you are a child, you will be cuddled and hugged and smiled at and held and prayed for fervently.

And in return? Well, my children know the names of the members of our congregation. They pray for them daily. They often know more about their week's plans than we do! Lily (9) has decided that the previously abhorred piano lessons are absolutely wonderful because Anna (16) decided to talk to her one Sunday, and Anna plays the piano beautifully.

It's overwhelming, and in a totally wonderful way.

When I met Ethan, I thought how ridiculous all those lists were that our youth group leaders made us write. You know, the "My Ideal Husband" lists. He blew those lists out of the water. He was more than anything I could have even known to list or want or expect. He was more. He is more. He becomes more.

And the church is so very like that. If I were to write a list of "What I Want in a Church," well, it would be inconsequential. The closest (and wisest) I could get would be to stick with what the Bible demands of a church. A shepherd and his qualifications. Elders and their qualifications. Deacons and their qualifications. The means of grace. Discipline. All the "one another" verses.

But my children will expect so very much more. They will expect to have others correct their own children when they need it. They will expect to be able to have other children sit with them when they are grandparents.  They will expect to call church members "Brother" and "Sister" and then really treat them as if they mean that.

And I couldn't be happier. I just couldn't! Without words, without lengthy explanations, without a treatise or a formal study or a lesson plan, and with only a reasonable amount of chocolate, these saints have taught my children what it is to be the Body of Christ.

We are so very blessed.

And in other summer news...this is what Ethan calls "The Ramona." After having her flick her unbrushed hair into my face for the 3,000th time during a reading lesson, I asked, "Do you want a haircut?" Eden (6) said, "Yes!" and so we watched a youtube and I gave her one.

And I must admit, she fits the part of Ramona perfectly, often to my chagrin!

And the trampoline. After years of debating and "but is it safe?" we realized that we were arguing against our normal sensitivities and falling into "Worst Case Scenario" thinking, which is a stupid place to be. So Memorial Day brought the trampoline, and we have been thrilled with it!

And...there you have it. See, Gerald? Only Mostly Dead.


  1. Love the cut! We have been chopping hair around here too. Way easier. :)

    1. Oh, you are so very right! I love that the upkeep is so minimal!

  2. What wonderful "to blave" your church family shows! So sweet.

    1. But we all know "to blave" means "to bluff." And there's no bluffing here!!! (But plenty of sweetness, yes. Especially the chocolate kind ;) )

    2. Ah, only those who don't want to hear it think it's "to blave"...when it's really true love.

  3. Well, Thank You, Gerald! :)
    And Eden is adorable!! Nice job on the haircut, Rachel!

    1. You have to know I thought of you when I cut her hair. "I'm going to give you shorter side bangs, like Mrs. Hollen used to have," I said. "Oooooh!!!" said Eden. "Thank you!!!" :)


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