Monday, April 1, 2013

Resettling & Easter

I've been stateside for three days as of this morning, but only back Fresno since Saturday afternoon.

When we pulled into Fresno, I had energy.  After unpacking and distributing kids, I headed home and started moving.  I committed to sub in a Spades group that evening.  Laundry was put in baskets ready to run a couple loads through.  Car was cleaned out.  Did a little yard work.

Spades was fun, except that there were seven of us subs, so I didn't get to see a lot of the regulars I was hoping to.  We play 12 hands of Spades (in three rounds of four hands) in a night.  First round, pretty low score.  Second round, awesome score.  Then, on hand 3 of round 3, the fatigue started to set in.  I barely made it to the end.

I stuck around (we were playing at Amy's house) to hold Krissy for a little while, and Amy and I talked a little more about the trip after everyone else left.

As I started to drive home, I remembered I had nothing "easy" in my fridge for a quick breakfast the next morning, so I forced myself to make a stop at FoodMaxx for some milk and toaster waffles.

I came home and crashed.

I woke up and showered.

Easter was wonderful.  My Fresno church abandoned their Sunrise service this year (maybe taking the hint that I hadn't attended once in my ten years of being here).  They inserted a brunch in between the two morning services, pulling 1st service back to 8a from normal 9a, and making both services shorter.  Marie Callendar quiche, apple turnovers, strawberries, cereal and orange juice.  Made that FoodMaxx stop totally unnecessary.  Oh well.

It turns out we had a two-part Easter musical.  I had thought it was all on Palm Sunday and I had missed it being in Mexico, so that was a pleasant surprise.  I was a little antsy listening to the mini-sermon that followed, but I think that was due to over-stimulation from the trip and trying to get back to regular life.

I went over to Craig & Sarah's for Easter lunch.  They have a very laid back home, so much so that they know if they don't see me for awhile, I'm upstairs taking a nap.  They also had his parents, her mom, her sister & bro-in-law & 2 kids, and Katie & her family from Modesto over for the afternoon, along with their three kids (Bailey 13, Matt 11 and Torin 2).  And Darrin, a church friend of Matt's, had been dropped off to spend the night.  Awesome mix of people.

Craig put his slack line up, and a few of us tried it.  I haven't been on one since Bijan's 2nd birthday in August, and Craig's is a bit higher off the ground.  I was expecting the overhead guide rope to be taut, so when I slipped off the slack line and hung on to the rope, I was very surprised to get the wind knocked out of me as my back slammed into the dirt instead of doing some in-air acrobatics.

Craig had a pile of dirt in the front yard.  Best thing in the world for boys, he told me.  Matt and Torin had been playing in it for three days, and now Darrin was enjoying it too.

Craig BBQ'd tri-tip and asparagus, and Sarah cooked pilaf and green beans on the stove.  Three desserts: Shelly's (Craig's mom) banana pudding pie, Amy's (Sarah's sister) lemon cheesecake with gingersnap crust, and Sarah's peach pie.  All delicious, but I think I liked the lemon dessert the best.

When Torin needed to go down for his nap, Craig carried him past me to show that even Uncle Karl thinks naps are a good idea.  Melts my heart to hear Torin say "Unctle Tarl."

Katie's family got back on the road to Modesto, Amy's family and the parents all left, so it was just Craig, Sarah, their kids, Katie and me.  Craig showed me some new things he had been doing on his property (he and Sarah just purchased this huge lot a year and a half ago).  Some lightning showed up in the distance, promising more rain, so Craig pulled in or covered tools and equipment.  We talked about playing a game of Settlers of Catan, but the lightning show became more fascinating.  Katie, Craig & I climbed up on his turn style of pull-up bars he had built out by the chicken coop.  They lightning was still pretty far off, so we figured we were safe for awhile.

We all talked for awhile longer, Katie left around 9 and I left around 10.  I was glad I had taken Monday off work as well.

Now Monday morning, I have finally turned on my computer to catch up on life.  100+ work e-mails have poured in, I received an "A" on the seminary paper I turned in last week, I learned that Fred went into and was released from the hospital, and I'm slowly working through bills and e-mails.

I kept a shorthand journal of the week in Mexico.  Now I will attempt to turn it into one of my traditional travel journals, but we'll see how that goes.  I filled up about 3 pages of a composition notebook each day just in my bullet point reminders.  Some highlights from the trip:
  • Enjoying God make me eat a "never" in working with junior high students
  • Being lauded as an awesome driver in the eyes of the kids (and even adults) in swerving across two lanes of traffic to make our exit when the caravan didn't properly plan space for me to get back over, changing positions from caboose to lead car as we exited the freeway.
  • Learning to be flexible through the MANY glitches in our construction efforts to transform some dilapidated bathrooms into showers at the church we were helping
  • Getting to know our junior pastor Lee & his wife Bri better and being even more excited about them overseeing the youth in our church.
  • Being blessed and prayed over by the pastor and his wife after a week of serving with them
  • Getting pulled over by la policia due to a misunderstanding of traffic signals in Mexico and ALMOST having to go down to the Mexico police station.
  • Feeling enriched and spiritually strengthened from a dynamic chapel speaker that had a gift for reaching both adults and junior high students
  • Getting flagged for 2nd stage inspection (full car x-ray only, not bag search) coming back across the border
  • Seeing my parents and sister on the last leg of the trip home
  • Maintaining my 100% return-rate on children entrusted to my care
I'm still processing all that God did in me.  I loved it there.  If I had more clothes and the time off work, I would have gladly stayed longer.

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