Friday, September 18, 2015

Church, Children, and saying Grace.

I miss saying grace with my family.

It used to be what we did - at my request -  at meals, at home, out to eat, wherever,
Even my granddaughter said grace with us, till one day she decided she didn't want to hold hands and say grace, so we didn't make her, then - somewhere the past few years it just stopped completely.

I miss the handholding, taking turns praying,  I miss that a lot. Although it got to the point where no one would but Daryl or myself. That's when I think it just stopped.

My kids didn't want to participate and I felt I was pushing my need to thank God onto them when they did not feel the same.

Three of the four have told me they just don't believe.
They aren't atheists just agnostic (as they have told me).

I don't know when this changed, or started, probably when we left the church we attended with our kids for over 11 years,

When I grew up my  parents were not active church going people. I never saw my dad in church unless it was for a Christmas pageant or a wedding  The first time I remember attending church was when we moved to Texas. My mom took us to church for a while when we lived at Carswell, she even assisted teaching Sunday school.  I went to Sunday school and Church service until we moved away from Carswell. That was from about 1972-1975.

My family moved to Everman, and my sister Laura and I would ride the bus to the baptist church on Wichita every week, Then we stopped when the bus stopped picking us up.

Less than a year later I started going to an Assembly of God church with my best friend, I publically accepted God there.  I loved the people, the Missionettes, I loved my best friend Lisa and her family, I had times I was uncomfortable (speaking in tongues was something I had never seen) But I attended for about 2 years with my friend, I am not sure when I stopped, but it wasn't long after that I got married. (I was 16 1/2 when we married)

I base my religious preferences on the church we attended at Carswell - my first experience in attending. The chapel had two services, one for Catholic members, one for Protestant members - it was - as I learned as an adult - more Methodist in format. So I felt very comfortable attending a Methodist church after we got married.

Then I visited a Baptist church, Decided it wasn't for me, I was never comfortable with the raised hand praying. And I loved the "traditional" format of the Methodist church.

But when we finally found Trinity in 1988 I felt right. I felt this was the place we belonged.we joined a Cumberland Presbyterian church and knew that was what God wanted for our family.

I loved Trinity from the day I was invited to visit, I was very active, I played handbells, was active in several groups, absolutely loved our first minister Bob.
Even Daryl who had been reluctant to attend  - since he had attended Baptist churches growing up - He really liked Bob.

And when Bob left after about a year,  I felt even more fond of our second one.

Vernon was great, he had kids my son's ages, he always made me feel part of things.
He was there when my marriage fell apart, and he was there when we put things back together and remarried.
He was someone I felt I could trust with anything. Then when I wasn't attending regularly, I was pregnant with Becca, and having lots of problems, anyhow somehow things in our church family changed, and he left. It seemed very sudden to me, I was out of the loop while on bedrest and never realized he was being made to leave.  (If I didn't go, Daryl didn't go - he never would go without me)

After Vernon left things were never the same there for me. We were without a permanent leader for a while, then when they finally got one, it didn't take long for me to see he just wasn't what our church needed, or maybe what *I* needed...  It was during his tenure that we left.

Daryl and I were remarried in our church, by Vernon. both my boys were baptised when we joined, by Bob. My girls were baptised as infants there, But when Jessie was about 3 or 4 things had changed so much and I didn't feel "at home" there anymore.

We attended a Baptist church for about 2 years and it was an ok fit, girls enjoyed children's church, and Awana, But in the end it felt the people there cared more about things, and less about God. So we left.

Even if we didn't have a home church, I made sure to keep God in our lives, we prayed, I made sure my girls went to VBS every single summer until they were too old.

I visited many other churches, never found the right fit. so I don't attend church.

It doesn't make me less a Christian, or less a person. I still pray, I read my bible, I believe what I do.

Somewhere down the road my kids chose differently.  They don't share my beliefs. I don't know why, probably because we didn't continue going to church when they were tweens and teens.

I don't love them any less, I am sad about it, and I get upset if they argue with me about it. (which I wish I did not, but it does hurt that they feel the way they do.) I get upset when I see things posted that are "anti-Christian" on Facebook, One recently posted article really bugged me, but I didn't comment, just know that there are those I love and care about (family and friends alike) that do not believe in God.

I pray for my kids daily. I know God takes care of them, even if they don't "believe" in my God.

But I do miss saying grace with my family.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Anniversary trip 2015

Daryl and I took a week vacation to Europe for our 36th anniversary.  We flew into Frankfurt, and rented a car. Then we drove - (well actually, Daryl drove - on the autobahn, wishing he had a fast car instead of the economy Opel we rented) to Rothenberg.  (Funny story about cars on autobahn, will be in separate blog)

 Our first day started at getting up about 3am for a 5 am flight from DFW to Miami.  Then our flight to Frankfurt didn't depart Miami until about 2pm Miami time, Arriving after about a 10-hour flight to Frankfurt at 630 am Tuesday morning.

We hadn't made a decision where we wanted to go when we left the airport, so we just plugged in a city and drove.

We first went to Mannheim, it was a pretty city, we didn't stop just drove around.
Then decided to head to Rothenberg, on the way we stopped in Waldenburg, because we had seen a castle from the autobahn, and decided to go visit it. Waldenburg was a beautiful tiny village, The castle was at one end of the town, I also got my first "German" pretzel there :)


Then we drove on to Rothenberg.  We were so totally worn out that when we arrived at our hotel at about 130 in the afternoon, we thought we would 'take a nap' then go to dinner.  We slept until about 10pm, woke up for a couple hours, then slept again until about 8am the next morning.. So our Tuesday of travel was really just used to recover from the travel there.

But on Wednesday we started our vacation for real -  after an amazing breakfast buffet at our  hotel, we set off for "Old Town" Rothenberg.

Rothenberg ob der Tauber is like a town out of a fairy tale..   Built about 1000 years ago,  it is an unbelievably beautiful little village.

We had a great day walking around this village. It was a lot bigger inside the fortress walls than we expected.

Markplatz Rothenberg ob der Tauber
The village had two thick tall stone walls, with lookout towers all around the village. We went into one of them, and saw some cannons that had been restored and on display. The Marktplatz was beautiful, and the Chapel we visited there was also quite lovely. There was a garden on one end, and it had some beautiful views of the village, and surrounding areas.

There were a lot of amazing shops... Bakeries, Butcher shops, Sweet shops, tons of souvenier shops. We also visited Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas store, and museum, Birkenstock shops, clothing, toys, so many shops, including a shop dedicated strictly to Teddy Bears.  We had coffee at a sidewalk cafe, and ate our supper at a bakery/cafe.  It was such a great place, we should have stayed longer.

Teddy bear shop

Schneeball bakery - a treat specific to Rothenberg ob der Tauber

Kathe Wolfhahrt

The next day we drove to Zurich to visit, spent a few hours there, shopping, walking around the central area, visited the Victorinox store, and ate at McDonalds there (Ridiculously expensive chicken sandwiches..   after the exchange rate our meal was almost 30.00 American for 2 sandwiches and drinks) 

I did get some pretty photos from there..  and there were some really cool shops. We did buy a gift at the Victorinox store.. a swiss army knife - directly from Switzerland.  

They had a toy store that was over 100 years old, and an amazing clock shop, as well as the sweet shops, and butcher shops that seem abundant in the places we visited. 

And there was this pretty overlook over the River Limmat.  

We drove on to Strasbourg France from there. Got in about 10 pm on Thursday night.
Strasbourg was my favorite place.  The town center was perfect. There was the Strasbourg Notre Dame cathedral, the Palais Rohan, and "Petite France"

Strasbourg Notre Dame Cathedral

Beautiful organ in Strasbourg Cathedral

Astronomical clock in Strasbourg Cathedral

La Petite France

La Petite France

Our second night there, we went to a light show on the side of the cathedral  It was spectacular. Celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the Cathedral.  

You can see a video someone else recorded earlier this summer here  -

On Saturday we drove back to Frankfurt, went to a Birkenstock store to see if we could find Daryl a comfy pair of sandals,  did not have any luck. He had tried some in Rothenberg and they fit well, and he liked them. But he wanted to look around and see if he could compare to other stores.  But he didn't. so we were regretting not getting them at the first store.

After our little unsuccessful shopping trip, we drove to our hotel for the night, and Daryl went to return the rental car - we stayed very close to the airport. Our flight left Frankfurt on Sunday morning at 10 am. so we got a cab from the hotel to the airport. And headed back to the states,

We had a good trip overall, there were a couple of things we should have done differently.

First of all, we should have decided exactly where we wanted to go before we left the car rental parking center. Instead we made an error and drove out of the way, and a 2 hour drive ended up taking almost 5.

Second - we should have just skipped Zurich. While parts of it were pretty, between traffic, which was either horrible, or REALLY horrible,  The thousands of people on the street walking, or on bikes. The enormous cost of a simple McDonalds meal, kind of really made that visit not very enjoyable.

Third - We needed to plan our hotels in advance. The Holiday Inn in Stuttgart was a great disappointment. The smaller boutique hotels were about the same or less cost, and were much better in our opinions.

We were so lucky to fly 1st class on the long legs from Miami to Frankfurt and back again, It made the travel much more tolerable.

We did not get on our first flight out of Miami, it was too full, but we did manage to get on the next one. Upon arrival at DFW, we were greeted by our welcome committee - complete with signs..  Michael and Jessie were there waiting to drive us home.  

We had a wonderful time overall, traffic stressed Daryl a bit, we wasted a day going down to Zurich, But it was a good trip. One that we will have memories from the rest of our lives.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wedding Planning..

 We have been looking at a lot of venues for Becca and Michael's wedding next summer. 

There have been a few we knew were not right, pretty much immediately. 

 There were a couple we really loved. 

And so far one we think might work..  But we haven't settled on anything yet 

Here are a few we have checked out..  

I do think our final choice is in this list.    

Here are a few photos from the various venue websites
YWCA Ballroom


White Chapel Estates

Stockman's Club at theStockyards Station


Bell Tower Chapel