Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Joining


Here's the church, and here's the steeple
Open the door and see all the people.


This summer we inteded to go to our church's new, small contemporary Sunday night services so we could do family type-things, leisurely together on Sunday mornings.  While that lasted a couple weeks with good cheer, Anna Cate said on Saturday night a few weeks ago, "Let's go to Sunday morning church. I miss everyone."

I can relate. Church family has been a part of my life, my entire life.  I grew up in a small town church where I sat on the pew with my grandmother and held her hand every Sunday. I loved Vacation Bible School as a child, and my mother was the youth leader when Douglas and I were teenagers.  The first Sunday I went to a Methodist church in my college town of Mount Vernon, it was raining and a lady befriended me by offering me a ride home.  Ruth's husband, Steve, was the football coach at Cornell College and she and I had a special friendship where we went to the away football games together.

I didn't go to church regularly in college my freshman year but when a tragedy occured in my circle of friends my sophomore year, my dad called Emory Gillespie, the Presbyterian minister in town who was from South Carolina and he hoped to help me see a connection. She invited us girls to her home for dinner and introduced me to French press coffee over pleasant conversation.  Emory and I became dear friends and I regularly attended that church through college, taught Sunday school and enjoyed spiritual and social nourishment.

When I moved to Fredericksburg, I recognized the face of a friend of my brother's from his college days at VMI.. Norah. She invited me to church and I sat with other friends of my brother's, who became my friends, Mary Helen and LC Smith.  While attending this  church, I stopped a woman in the hallway of the high school where I taught  and said, "hi, I'm Sarah. I recognize you from church and I just wanted to introduce myself." That woman would be the grandmother of my children. Several months later, Norah introduced me to BJ, who had just moved back to town, and encouraged me to accept his invitation for a date.

There is much about churches today that embarass me.  There is a lot to criticize about church people, but my parents showed me and taught me that you find good people in church.....people I might miss in life, much like Anna Cate and  the regular Sunday mornig crowd.  My relationship with people of faith in churches has enriched my life, my spiritual journey and my family.

I've written often about the special place that is Fredericksburg Baptist Church and the people who make up our church family, and Sunday night Anna Cate accepted an invitation to join them.

We went to the Sunday evening service and when David said simply at the end of the service, "I'm here if you want to join our church," Anna Cate raised her hand.  I smiled at Patti and said, "is this just so you can take communion?"  And her face dropped like I was telling her she didn't belong.  So I told her if you want to go down by yourself, you are ready.  As the music echoed around us, I held her and prayed outloud "Dear God, please lead Anna Cate. If now is the right time, give her the courage to walk down by herself." When we opened our eyes, she was crying and I was so moved (as well as guilt-stricken about being sarcastic about the communion bread). She walked out and Patti went down with her. At the end of the service, the small crowd welcomed her and she beamed.

Anna Cate has been talking about this for a while and asked Patti and me about baptism and communion.  We don't exactly see rituals or meanings the same, but this community Anna Cate joined accepts me and I want her to learn to accept differences as well.  While my spiritual journey doesn't always parallel Christianity, I'm happy to be welcoming my sweet daughter to a community of faith whose people, not necessarily dogmas, have enriched my life.  At a young age with a deep soul and loving heart, Anna Cate knows the truth of belonging.  I'm thankful for her and those sweet spirits who have nurtured her and who welcomed her. My prayer for her journey in joining a church is a continued sense of belonging and love wherever she may go or whichever community of faith she seeks.

I looked for some pictures to reflect this journey of hers, of ours to add to this blog. I looked for images to represent how I feel, what I think, but I really couldn't find a coherent progression or of a distinct  moment that represents her decision.  But what I did find is a legacy of good people...the kind you can find in church (and for the record, you find them outside of church, too)... who love her. In saw images of my grandmother and hers, for whom she is named, both women of faith.  I saw many pictures of BJ's childhood friend David Haun, now minister of the church they grew up in, who asked the question Sunday night to which Anna Cate answered yes. I'm thankful for her journey and for these stories and people who have made her feel like she belongs in a family of faith, which I believe is a very large family. Welcome, sweet girl.


AnnaCateandChurch from Sarah King on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Fun

A little catch up on some pictures of our summer...


In the midst of facilitator of meals and entertainment, I've carved out a chunk of time for myself to be at CrossFit daily during the week...and it has been fabulous.  The girls like hanging out here too and I love watching them play with the other kids.
 


We enjoyed July 4th festivities with new friends.



We've enjoyed the fruits (and veggies) of other's labors during the seasonal Farmer's Market.

Paleo Blackberry Cobbler and Grilled Peaches.


Swim team continues to be such a great experience.  Anna Cate has taken almost 30 seconds off her 25m free style since last year.

Anna Cate with her sweet "buddy," and older swimmer. Anna Cate is learning competition and comraderie.

It takes so many volunteers to run a swim meet, which is nice to see so many parents involved.


She has fabulous coaches and an all-volunteer board of competent Moms who help to make this happen. Anna Cate doesn't go to school with our neighborhood kids since she catches the bus at Miss Diana's so it is a nice way to connect.

Molly finds ways to enjoy herself as well. She's great at cheering.



The girls have enjoyed their weekly visits and special attention from Patti.

On night, Anna Cate's best friend Leana joined them and the girls made bracelets and tshirts.



All three of us enjoyed a special week of Vacation Bible School. It takes a lot workers and thought to put on such a spectacular week but hearing and experiencing these children sing and learn about God is precious and good for the soul.
Molly was too young to participate but I let her stay and learn some of the songs.  

Anna Cate enjoyed being around her church friends and making new ones.

I could be fooling myself but I think Molly has an idea about what is going on.

If not, she knows how to fake it, making us think she is clued in.

We are quite thankful for our church family.



One afternoon, we hosted Baba and Maeve over for lunch and a spa day. 


Now Molly only wants Baba to paint her nails.

Kristen, like myself, a teacher, gets to be a woman of leisure in the summer and could join us.

Those of you who know Brenda will appreciate what true love this was for Molly to get blue stuff (face cleansing masque) near Brenda with her eyes closed.

Baba, you are beautiful!! We love you:)



Summer is so grand.
We are digging in with determination to enjoy its sweetness...sort of like Molly with this cone.



Norah and I took our kids bowling.

All the kids bowled excpet Libby who just sat sweetly in her stroller.

Fun...

There was a teenager playing with grandparents in the lane next to us and she said, "can you keep your kids in their own lane?"  I jokingly said to Norah we should have said, "no, obviously, we can't...so say what you want to them!"  


We've enjoyed play dates.



On an extremely hot day, I took the kids to the library and I'm embarassed I've only done it once this summer. What a wonderful experience!!! 

Molly calls the shirt she is wearing her "abc" shirt. When I read to her what it said, she added, "I love Anna Cate. I love Rosie. I love Nana. I love Daddy Doug. I love Baba. I love Uncle Doug".... she is a sweet child and I should probably quit saying she is such a stinker. 




Today we skipped morning church to go to the Museuem of American History, which I love!


I revel in awe of the exhibits myself and appreciate the opportunity to share the stories of the past with Anna Cate. I remember visting the museum when I was 10, and falling in love with the First Lady's dress section. I anticipated and enjoyed watching Anna Cate seeing this exhibit. Here she is staring at Michelle Obama's dress and jewels.

When we saw pictures of the Declaration of Indpendence and pictures of the Constitutional Convention, Anna Cate noticed there were no girls.  I said something about a long time ago, women were considered useful in different areas...in the home, cooking, being pretty and having babies. I look forward to the day when little girls don't have to just see women represented by dresses and china...although, don't get me wrong -- I like dresses and dishes too.  One day...



The stories of our young country still intrigue me. The Jefferson exhibit focusing on his positions on slavery was fabulous.



After some culture, the girls enjoyed some of the worst of pop culture (spounge bob ice cream) on the Mall.
 
Then, we got back to Fredericksburg in time for Sunday night service...which is another story. 


This week is our last swim meet and then we leave for Tennessee for two weeks.  When I get back, I'll be thinking about school and first grade.  So in a way, this little chapter of our summer is ending.  There has been lots of schlepping, packing snacks, lunches, running to swim practice, to crossfit, picking up, rushing around mixed in with quality conversation, cuddling and a few lazy naps together.  I'm not good at everything, but I know we are having a good summer. I don't watch the news and my biggest concerns are getting everything together and out the door, but in the mix memories are made in this chapter of their lives. 

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald,The Great Gatsby