Yesterday was Sunday. And when it's Sunday, we go to church. This is complicated by the move thing. I think finding a new church is my least favorite part of moving. Church is such a center for us and we meet so many great people through church. Finding the *right* church is so important. It needs to be friendly and have some kids for our kids to be friends with. And it has to be Lutheran. LCMS, to be exact. There are three of them around here, that we know of. You'd think that would make it easy, but it doesn't.
The one we went to yesterday was 45 minutes away. That would seem like a long way, but apparently we have to go to the church that is the farthest away and pass several other suitable churches on the way to church. It's what we do. Actually, it's usually how it just works out.
Anyway, since it was 45 minutes away and we were trying for the 8:30 service, we were late. By about 10 minutes. But probably more like 15. We haven't been that late for church in a long time. That is a miracle in and of itself.
I should add here that we had taken two cars so we could stop at Home Depot on the way home and get a 10' counter top. More on that later. But Violet had a complete melt down on the way in because she dropped her blue crayon and Grace and Calla, her usually helpers in such a situation, were in the truck with daddy. Bad sign.
We were walking across the parking lot and Grace, who is 8 now, said, "Too bad Carsten isn't asleep." Great point. The kid gets it.
We get to the sanctuary, which is down a big, twisting tunnel, and the usher says, "There are some seats down in the front corner. We'll wait for the hymn and I'll take you down there." Bad sign.
While we're waiting Brent excused himself to the restroom. Leaving me with all four kids. This isn't a horrible thing. Usually.
Then Carsten steals my purse and starts rummaging around in it. He surfaces with Violet's box of crayons. And Violet isn't interested in sharing. So she's in edge and whining. Carsten then reveals that he's learned a new word by hiding the crayon box behind his back and declaring quite loudly, "MY!" (In case you need a translation, they are now HIS crayons and he has ZERO intention of sharing them.)
So the hymn starts and we, four kids--two of them intent that the ONE box of crayons is theirs--and myself, follow the usher halfway across the sanctuary and way down to the corner--it may have been a mile. But it was probably two miles. Violet is whining. Not good.
We get to our seat and Grace and Calla settle in and start to read the Bibles they brought, after getting their dolls situated. I am able to get the box of crayons from Carsten and gave them to Violet. But, ALAS! CARSTEN HAD RIPPED THE HANGER FLAP THINGY OFF THE BOX! HER WORLD IS ENDING. AND IT'S ENDING NOW!!!!
So, I leave Calla and Grace contently reading their Bibles in the pew and, with Carsten on my hip, I escort a screaming Violet roughly the two miles out of the sanctuary and all the way outside. This is not how you behave in church. I don't care if you are three and have just had the flap thing ripped off your crayon box by your little brother. You do not scream in church.
She gets my point, so we go back in. On the way in a grandmother-like lady in the back smiled at me. How nice. I smiled back.
Daddy is there with the older two. Good.
We sit down and settle in some. Carsten steals my purse and when I try to move it, he pulls it away from me and declares very loudly, "MY!"
He's learned a new word. Lovely.
Then I notice that it's communion Sunday. Nothing wrong with that. But it usually does extend the service by 10-20 minutes. And we're already on the edge here.
The sermon finally rolls around. Carsten starts climbing on the pew in front of us. And then makes a shot at the pulpit. I grab him and head the two miles towards the back. The grandma lady smiles at me again. I must admit, it was genuine. Daddy has Violet under control and the older two are doing really well quietly reading. So I spend a few minutes out with Carsten. Then I trek the two miles back in.
Calla walks over to show me her drawing. And I notice she needs a tissue. So, because I am obviously not prepared and don't have any sort of a tissue anywhere, we take Carsten and head out again to get a tissue. I put more miles on during church than I have in the last week, I think to myself.
The grandma lady smiles at me again and I say to her as I pass, "Is this the fourth time?" Her eyes just twinkle. I kinda wanted to hug her. But that would mean I have to let go of my kids and they might bolt.
By the time we get back from the tissue run, communion is in full swing. Every church does it differently. But before I can get my wits about me, Grace is saying, "We need to go, dad!" So we all get up and follow the leader to communion. Of course, we end up first in line and, as a newbie, we're obviously not too sure what to do. But we're apparently good at faking it.
Carsten noticed that someone was coming down the line and putting a little wafer in open hands. And people are eating it! FOOD!!!! When the guy handing out the wafers gets to us, Carsten is ready with his chubby hand open and waiting.
And he is offended when he doesn't get a wafer.
But there's still hope. There's a tray of little cups coming, too.
But he isn't offered one of those, either.
He is equally offended.
We get up and head back to our seats. And Carsten spends the rest of the service trying to escape and go up front so he can get the wafer and the wine that he was cheated out of.
FINALLY, the Benediction.
And the final hymn. "Sent Forth by God's Blessing"
It's good to know we still have God's Blessing. Even after making a total spectacle in a new church.
After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.