Monday, May 15, 2006

Back to the Trip...

Let’s see… Where did I leave off on the trip to CA? Oh yeah, the first day. At this rate, I may be 36 by the time I finish telling it.

I’ll move to Day 2. Sunday morning.

Can I just share with you now how wonderful it is to get ready for church and not worry about whether your son has gotten dressed or if your daughter has brushed her hair? I wouldn’t want to make any kind of habit out of it, but it was so relaxing to wake up, make coffee, go back to my room and read my Bible and then leisurely get dressed. What I missed most were the morning snuggles from my kids… Yep, some things just need to be done to get me through the day.

On the way to church, Barb and her family have a tradition of grabbing a box of fresh, hot out-of-the-oven bagels and some schmear from a NY style delicatessen to eat on the way to church, which is so appropriate since it is HEAVENLY! Mmmmmm. I want one right now just thinking about it.

It was so cool to see what other Christian services are like. I am in no way close-minded to the services of other churches, but I don’t really have tons of opportunities to visit other churches. You know the drill… You go to your church because that is where you have made friends, where you want your kids to make friends, to keep with the routine set – not only for yourself, but your kids, too. You don’t want to jump from place to place because then your kids will never learn the idea of commitment. So you see why I haven’t had many times to attend other churches.

In Kansas I attend an a capella congregation. However, I have no qualms with instrumental music. I love singing praises to God with or without a piano, a guitar, or drums. I like choirs and praise teams and soloists. I just want it all to be done for God’s glory and not the performers.

So I had the pleasure of singing some songs with a band that week. It was a unique, uplifting experience. I didn’t know all the songs, but I knew how to clap and I could sing the verses and chorus the second time through. It helped that the words were projected up front on a screen, too.

The lesson was insightful and detailed. It’s encouraging to hear the love of God preached on every shore. Really that is the best thing to get out there, that God loves even me, despite my stupidity and stubbornness. Yep, I can hear that loud and clear in California as well as in Kansas. Heck, I should head to Maryland so that I can hear it there too! Next I’ll work on Michigan and Texas to reach all directions!

Afterwards, since it was a gorgeous sunny day, we headed out to do some family walking at an outdoor mall. That mall had some great shops, with some really energetic places as well. There was an area that had an indoor rollerblading/skateboarding area. We stood and watched those practicing do some neat tricks and some superb falls! Ouch! It’s a good thing they were required to wear helmets and pads. We ate at the food court and I got a great slice of NY style pizza. Thin and oozy with cheese… Now I want a slice of that instead of bagel and schmear.

We came home and relaxed around the house. Well, I relaxed. They did some yard work. It was so encouraging to see the two eldest girls working together without complaining or griping. They helped each other and took to their tasks well. I just wish that my two kids could see it too. We will get there eventually…

That night, I earned my keep. I made them some Cajun rice, a meal that my family loves. Easy and flavorful and really cheap… a necessity at my house! Oh, and some how Barb and I got on the topic of lumpia, a Filipino spring roll type dish. (I love it, so much so that it was served at our wedding reception.) She said, “How do you know about that? Only Pilipinos make that.” (Barb is from the Philippines and knows all about it.) I told her that my mom learned to make it when she visited the Philippines while my dad was stationed there. Then we had a detailed talk about how I make mine and how she makes hers and how the kids usually get involved because it is fun when you make it a lumpia rolling party. (You can make hundreds at a time to freeze and eat later.) Then she made some to go with the Cajun rice. It was DI-VINE, dahling. Light, crispy and full of flavuh. (Now I want those instead of the pizza…)

And she introduced me to an amazing sweet chili sauce to eat with the lumpia. I always had them straight or with some soy sauce. I’m on the search to find it in KC. (No I haven’t found it yet, Barb, but I’m not giving up!) My family will love it, so I will find it. Oh, yes – it will be mine one day. Mwah ha ha ha… Okay, I’m getting a little carried away.

Something else that I loved about Sunday was the fact that it was so casual. No one was trying to impress anyone else. It was fun, relaxed and casual. We laughed with each other, teased each other and basically treated each other like family. I found some extended kin on the west coast. (But of course I wasn't smart enough to take a picture of them when I was with them! Sheesh...)

I’m already looking forward to the next time I can meet my sister Barb. Maybe next time I can take my family to make it a family reunion... with pictures and all the lumpia we can eat.

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