Location: Oregon, United States

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Latest

Here's what's been happening since Red Tape Days:

William finished out the school year! He had been saying his contract ended on June 8th, which was when school ended in Minnesota, but he toughed it out and made it. We also met with the staff at his school and got services set up for him for next year. He is actually looking forward to next year as the school is a much nicer facility and he will have some choices about electives and so on. Prayer request for him: his stomach has been upset for some time now. I thought he was better, but noticed he is actually looking thin and asked how he'd been feeling lately. He said he'd been feeling woozy and his stomach had been upset for a long time. (Good job, mom. Way to be on top of things.) Hopefully, with school being done, lowering the anxiety level, and eliminating dairy for a few days, we can get him back on track.

Thomas was in a play/skit at his school. They had done a unit on Japanese culture, and the skit was a way to put together all they had learned - dances, Kabuki theatre, martial arts, etc. Thomas portrayed a young person in conversation with an older gentleman about the various things young people did long ago to pass the time. He was also in a graduation ceremony for all the 6th graders at the school. This is a big deal here, as they move on to the Middle School next year.

Stephen also finished out his year well. They went to the Children's Museum during their last week and he came home with a sculpture he'd made out of wood and foam and announced that he wants to make more stuff out of wood. Hmm, I wonder where that will take us? Maybe we will make a bat house... more trips to Lowe's!

Paul has wisely given up on his car and is driving the van to work most days now. When I need the car, he has been able to get a ride from a co-worker. We are considering our options re: our next vehicle. Bus? Bike? Another car?

For Father's Day, he wanted to go to the beach again. Then a co-worker told him about a Christian Surfers club that was holding a competition in Lincoln City, so we decided to swing down there on Saturday for the day. The drive was really nice but not what we expected. First, as we went south, the land suddenly turned into farms and stayed that way for the majority of the drive. Along the way, there were tiny little towns that had one or two nicely renovated or decorated buildings that ended up being wine tasting boutiques. Then over the mountains along the coast, and there is the ocean! It was a cool, windy day but we were dressed appropriately and had a great time. William found a place to hang out out of the wind with some of the people at the event and ended up being a great helper. We enjoyed time with Paul's co-worker and her husband and met a few of the other people putting on the event as well. The rest of us took turns running around on the beach, watching the surfers, and playing "chicken" with the sea (and losing - note to self: also bring a change of clothes for the kids). Then they had a barbeque, which we were not going to stay for until we found out that they had salmon and chicken in addition to hamburgers. Nice! We drove back a different way, this time through more mountains than farmland (where is that mini cooper when I need it?) and got home at bed time.

Lydia tried out two churches, volunteered to do set-up for Thomas' graduation program at his school, painted the master bedroom and the downstairs bathroom, attended a training for the homeless youth service she is volunteering at over the summer, and got pulled over by the police.

First, about the church shopping. (Yes, I will tell the story about getting pulled over, just relax.) Church shopping is weird. The first place I went to was almost exactly like the church we've been going to - right down to the chairs in the sanctuary. The worship was good, the message was sound. However, I was only greeted by one person and then only when we were told to say hello to the people next to us. After this person greeted me, she turned to another person that she obviously knew, greeted him and had an entire conversation while I stood there looking for someone else to greet. Everyone was in little mini conversations with one another so I stood for another minute and then sat down again. Too bad. Amazing how important being greeted and welcomed was to me.

The next church I went to is a new church plant meeting in a high school nearby. At least five people greeted me, asked my name, showed genuine interest and thankfulness that I had showed up, and welcomed me. Wow! Worship was good, word was solid. Downside here is there is no established program for youth and because they are meeting in a school cafeteria, it felt REALLY LOUD which would wreak havoc on William's nerves. Still, I would definitely go back. They also spoke of a building fund and a new building by August so the noise may be a non-issue. We'll just have to wait and see.

Okay! The story you've all been waiting for: True Confessions.

The entire family was in the car in order to go to a meeting at William's school. I, Lydia, was driving. Our house is near a main thoroughfare called "T.V. Highway". Running parallel to the highway is a railroad track which we must cross every day when we want to get on the main road. This railroad track has been giving me a hard time since we got here. There is a Big
White Line where you are supposed to stop so you don't get squashed by the oncoming train but nobody ever stops there. When I stopped there for a red light, someone honked at me like I was screwing up so I went across the tracks and stopped at the crosswalk. They scooted by me and turned right but it felt like the back end of my car was hanging precariously close to the track. I'm sure this is not the way it is supposed to be done but what am I going to do, get out of the car and explain it to the people in back of me? Yeah, right.

So, on this particular day, we are all in the car and we approach the tracks with the Big White Line in front of it. At this intersection, the Big White Line is WAY back from the highway and the crosswalk because the track runs at an angle. I needed to take a left, the light was green, there were two cars in front of me waiting to take a left as well. The first car was in the intersection, the second was on the crosswalk and I crossed the Big White Line thinking no problem, the light is green and I will have plenty of time. Little did I know that there was the slowest pedestrian in history making their way across the intersection, that the light would begin to change, and that my car would be sitting squarely on the tracks. I made a split second decision to go for it and follow the other two cars rather than sit on the track. The light turned red before I hit the intersection, Paul (being extremely funny) made a cute little siren sound, I said yep, I know that was a screw-up but I'd rather do that than get hit by a train. Then I saw the lights in my rear view mirror. I said, "Oh man, I really am going to get pulled over." So I pulled into a parking lot, the cop pulled up behind me, blocking part of the main road (I'm sure they do this just to embarrass you), and came up to the car to have a chat.

He asked me if I knew why he was pulling me over and I said I imagined it was because of the left turn. He asked me what I thought I was doing and I explained my reasoning. He asked if I knew what the Big White Line was for and I said yes, that I had made an error in judgement and I admitted it was a mistake. I said "Sir" about 25 times and turned 8 shades of red. Then he looked at the kids and asked them if they thought he should give me a $242 ticket. They all graciously said, "No, please don't!" Then he looked at Paul and asked him why he hadn't said anything and he graciously said, "Well, actually, I did." Thanks. After picking on me, the officer then said that not only did I deserve a ticket, but so did the two others in front of me. Then he said that because I had been very polite, and because I had the peer pressure of the family in the car, and because he was four minutes away from the end of his shift, he was going to let me go with only a warning this time. SWEET!!! Thank you, SIR! All I could think was that if this had happened during Red Tape Days, I would have gotten a ticket for sure. And for the record, Paul said that it was particularly funny to him that I got pulled over because by all rights, he should have gotten pulled over 100 times but he never gets stopped for anything.

Later that night, Thomas was called to dinner along with the rest of the gang but failed to come because he was sucked into the vortex of a video game. After dinner, he wanted to finish the level. We confronted him about not coming when he is called. He had all sorts of excuses but the bottom line was he DESERVED to be punished, which I made very clear. No sooner were the words out of my mouth when I remembered the story of the ungrateful servant from the Bible. He was forgiven a debt, but turned around and demanded payment from someone who owed him money in return. I looked at Paul and he looked at me. I told Thomas that he deserved to be punished just like I had deserved to pay that fine but that I had been given grace. And I let him go finish the level.


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