We Went to Church!!!

I went to church.

Let me rephrase that… I WENT TO CHURCH!!!!

Okay, WE went to church. Haha.

Wait, let me get this right... WE WENT TO CHURCH!!!!

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know why that’s such a big deal to me. If you are new - first of all welcome - it’s a big deal because I have been yearning to go back to church for quite some time now. To spare everyone a repeat of all the details, you can catch up here if need be.

Our friends Cayla and Brandon moved back to the Lou from Florida recently. They came back for multiple reasons, but the main being that they are going to start a church in the city. I’m fuzzy on the details, but the main point to this is that they are back, and wherever they are, is where I want to be. Okay, that sounds so funny to me now. I should clarify. I say that I want to be where they are because I had no idea where Gene and I (and Emma) would fit in since we are not from the same religious background. I was so confused that I just put it off and we never went as a couple or as a family. I always knew that our best bet in finding a church home would be to follow the Smothermans. And they’re back, so we can!

So, with their invitation, we went to their church on Easter Sunday. August Gate.

August Gate (South City) is not in a well-known area to most. Some may even say that it’s not in the friendliest area – although the area is very updated and recently built-up, so yes, it is “friendly.” But, when you drive up, it is BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, in the middle, of a random neighborhood, you’re just driving along and there it is, in all its glory. Lol. I sound so sappy. But looking back now, I may have heard the choir sing as the sun was hitting it. “Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.” Haha. I laugh, but it’s no joke. It was magical. I wish that there were pictures on their website because just the outside is inviting. Even the inside is pretty. The windows, the ceiling, everything. It’s. Just. Beautiful.

Anyway, moving on.

We walked in and while we didn’t know anyone there, everyone said their hello to us. I noticed that there was a coffee bar right there in front. That’s so nice. I love how relaxed they are. I can drink my coffee as we listen to the sermon! We saw the signs for the kids area and we headed that way. Emma was a concern of mine when it came to going to church. I know some don’t have “daycare” and some do. August Gate does, thank goodness. However, Gene and I have never left Emma with someone other than immediate family. We found the area, and it’s so great. So many toys, so much to do. I filled out a form and asked a few questions and Emma couldn’t care less that I was walking away from her, leaving her with people that I forgot to introduce myself to. Oops. It turns out that if she has a meltdown they will text me. Awesome!

Not only is that awesome, but looking around at the people there, it’s all families (well, mostly). It’s a lot of people like Gene and I; 20s or 30s and most starting a family. I think the reason I noticed that so quickly is simply because most of the time, Gene and I are hanging out with people in their 50s and 60s. It was refreshing actually. It was just the thing I needed to get Gene onboard. :-)

Having previously been a member of a Christian church, I knew that Gene was in for a culture shock (for lack of a better term). He’s catholic, and I’m sure everyone knows how uneventful Catholic Church is. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just pointing out the difference. Anyway, August Gate had a pretty great band. The guy on the guitar in the back right corner of the stage was wonderfully into the song that they were playing. The man and woman who did the most singing were great! While Gene didn’t really tap his foot, or dance, or show much emotion, he seemed to enjoy it (even though he had this look to him like he felt awkward). In fact, at one point he grabbed my hand and held it. Nothing huge, but to me it meant that he didn’t dislike or disapprove.

Now, the sermon? It was heart-wrenching. It hit home. We went on Easter Sunday, so it was all about the resurrection. “He is Risen. He is Risen, Indeed!” I’ve read the Bible front-to-back in my younger years, but I think that I just wasn’t into it then. I knew the stories, I could recite scriptures, but I guess I had other things on the brain back then. Who knows. Either way, when Pastor Noah read verses from Luke, it hit me. I wouldn’t have believed. The women who went to tend to Jesus’ body in the tomb ran back to town to say that He had risen. The town people did not believe. They may have even followed Jesus while He was alive, but when He died they changed their minds. Even when those women told them what they had seen, they still didn’t believe. If I was there then, I don’t think I would have believed. And I’m ashamed.

I started to think more about why I wouldn’t have believed, and I keep thinking that I still have doubt today. How could I doubt God? I remember learning when I was younger that even the strongest of men can be swayed by Satan. Is Satan why the “what if” is in my head? I pray all the time, I talk to Jesus and God like they were walking beside me throughout my day, so why would I think “what if?” It’s like I’m saying “I believe in God, I love Jesus, but WHAT IF it’s all made up?”

That brings me to my next point… the movie The Invention of Lying ruined me. I can almost guarantee you that many, many people were slightly doubtful after that movie. I think it’s the reason I have doubt.

Getting back to my point of the sermon. Pastor Noah did a fantastic job. Have you ever noticed how no matter what the sermon is about, it’s always about you? By the end of the service I was crying. And I was relieved. Pastor Noah told me what I needed to hear. And he prayed with us (of course). I have been happy ever since. Seriously. It has been so long since I was truly happy, and I am now.

That being said, I’m hooked. I want to go back every Sunday. And on Wednesday nights they have gospel community so we can talk on a more personal level about what the sermon meant to you. Right now, just typing this out to you, I am getting teary because this is what I have been longing for, for so long. However, I’m trying to hold back. I don’t want to scare Cayla and Brandon with my obsessive need, and I don’t want to scare Gene away from wanting to go back (he’s from a town where church is just church and not fun). How do I squeeze my way into this without scaring people away?

If you’re wondering how Emma did in her hour and twenty minutes of “daycare,” we had to bribe her to leave. She didn’t want to leave with us, and she wanted to stay there with them. Lol. Makes me giggle thinking back to how I was luring her out with goldfish.

We chit-chatted a little bit with Cayla and Brandon (and their kiddos) before we left; Gene ended up having to go to work Easter Sunday so we couldn’t hang out longer. We did get a CD from the church for being a new member (so we can sing along next time, yay!), but I haven’t gotten to listen to it yet because it’s always either Elmo in the CD player, or I’m talking to Mom on the way home from work.

Every day I’ve been wondering when I get to go back. I’m one of those people that gets obsessed and paranoid at the same time. So in my head I’m saying to myself “What if Cayla and Brandon want it to be THEIR church and they were just being nice for the sake of Easter?” Or, “What if Gene isn’t going to want to go back? Am I going to go without him? If he does go, will he ever open up and get into it? Is it weird for him for us to do this together?” Oy. It’s like my brain just won’t stop.

I’ll pray about it, of course, and maybe you can too. :-)

Thanks for checking in… and if you have time, check out AugustGate. You’ll like it!



Spring Ramble

It’s funny how a little goes a long way. A little smile can make me just beam inside. A little sniffle can make me worry all day. A little dance makes me want to quit my job and stay home every day. Yes, you’ve guessed it; I’m talking about my Emma. I seem to be infatuated these days. I am beyond happy to have her, and I just can’t get enough! She is now at the stage where she wants me around (granted, it’s ALL THE TIME) and I love that she does! Life is good. :-)

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…….

Are you as excited for Easter as I am?!?! Not only will Emma really appreciate her Easter basket this year, and actually be able to help dye eggs, but we are going to church Easter morning! It’s a new church, so I’m sure we will all have jitters about it come Sunday, but I haven’t been in so long and I desperately want to get back. So, keep your fingers crossed that we are comfortable there as a family. :-) I’m already daydreaming about vacation Bible school for Emma, and church camp, and Sunday School. Lol. A solid church community is something I think everyone needs. It’s even in the laundry list of “things that will make you happy in life.” I’m excited.

My Mom and I took Emma to Purina Farms last weekend for an Easter event. It was great to see Emma’s reaction to everything! Baby animals to watch and pet, a dog show, sand layering, a wagon ride, etc. It was only a two hour thing for us because we were starving and she was getting tired, but it was great! I’m so glad we went. And I’m so glad that my Mom went with us. I hate to admit this, but I almost like it more when she goes with us instead of Gene. Haha. No offense to Gene, but I don’t think he’d pick up on the cute factor since he’s a male. And that whole morning was cuuuuuuute!

Here are some pictures from that morning:

That same day, but in the afternoon, I took her to The Little Gym for their open house. There was to be balloon animals, face painting, jamberry nails, etc. Well, I’m not sure what happened, but all that we saw was balloon animals. So, we played in the extremely-crowded gym for about ten minutes, and then we waited in line for 40 minutes for a balloon animal that turned out to just be a balloon shaker/rattle because she was done at 5 and our 40 minute wait took us to 5:20. Emma did get a cookie and lemonade on top of a goodie bag, so all wasn’t lost. :-) It was a good time. I may have even stopped for a tropical snocone on the way home for us to share. Mommy-and-me time to the fullest. By the way, I learned while we were at the gym that Miss Emma can now do flips on the bars with a little help. She’s obsessed with it too. My big girl.

I’m actually contemplating not renewing Emma at the Little Gym for the summer. The hours don’t work well for us since my Mom goes on Days, and Gene isn’t the greatest at handling her by himself, so I’m just not sure if I should or not. The only reason I’m still on the fence about it instead of just saying no, is simply because she absolutely loves it. It’s hard to tell your baby “no” when they get such innocent joy from it.  

I’m already behind on Emma’s birthday party. Haha. I know it’s not until July, but I’m so paranoid about picking the wrong venue that I just keep putting it off. Sky Zone would be fun, but for $400, is it really worth it at 2 years old? The Little Gym is a possibility, but also $200. Jaycee park is only $50 and would be great since it has a splash pad, but we’d be against the odds with Mother Nature (not to mention they’re booked already). So now I’m thinking our only options are at my house or my parents house, or The Little Gym. Ugh. I can’t decide.

Emma’s vocabulary is intense. She has full conversations now and it’s delightful and sad at the same time. How did she get so smart?!?! Where did my baby go?!?! Just this morning she kept on about how Pawpaw was asleep, and she wanted him to wake up, but since Gramma won’t let her she will play with his hat instead. Seriously?!?!?! It was more like “Momma! Momma! Pawpaw’s seepin, Emma wake, Gramma says no-no, Emma play Pawpaw’s hat too.” But still, a whole scenario all played out by Emma. It’s insane. She also counts to twelve now (that’s how high Sesame Street usually goes) and knows lots of letters (not in order though).

Oh, yeah. With her new knowledge comes a new phase. The “scared” phase. So, going back to the beginning… The bad Momma that I am, I vacuumed while Emma was home. I had no idea it panicked her so much, so when I was done with my one minute vacuum job I found her cowering in a corner of the dining room screaming and crying so hard that her shirt was soaked. In. One. Minute… Soaked! I was able to calm her down and I thought everything was okay, but that night she had a dream about the vacuum (I’m assuming) and it was non-stop blood-curdling screaming like she was dying for close to 10 minutes. It was bad. Really bad. We’ve had bedtime issues since, and now she understands the word “scared.” So, anytime she’s remotely scared or nervous, she cries and says she’s scared. When we rode the wagon, when we walked to the car, when we left Gramma and Pawpaws, when she doesn’t want to go to bed at night, and when Thomas the Train (toy) moves. Is this a phase that will pass? Is anyone else’s child dealing with this? Are there any tricks? I’ve tried a lot of talking and hand-holding, but it only goes so far. I scarred her for life with the vacuum!

For a bit of adult talk, granted I’m not sure if I should be talking about this publicly - some of you know this already, and some of you don’t… As of April 1st I took over a new role at Crown Vision Center (full-time). I am now the Product Assistant (previously the Managed Care Administrator). I went from handling insurance matrixes, training stores on submission, answering help-desk calls, etc., to ordering and transferring product, meeting with vendors to pick product, etc. Do I like it? Yes. Let me rephrase that… YES!!!!! I no longer have the stiff neck and shoulders from the stress of being unhappy and I have a bit more freedom (which is hard to adjust to). I enjoy it a lot. However, with the enjoyment comes a lot more work. I work longer hours (which in all honesty I wanted fewer hours), I don’t take breaks like I used to, I sometimes eat at my desk, and I don’t get to make small talk “at the water cooler” anymore. But, I guess you have to take the bad with the good, right? It’s definitely a keeper.

With spring here (although you can’t really tell right now) I keep getting the urge to do things like fishing, camping, etc. None of which Gene has the slightest interest in. I’d go fishing by myself sometime, but I can’t take the fish off the hook. I’m too scared of getting “finned.” And he would probably go camping with some coaxing, but he’s not the manly type so I don’t think he’d be much help with putting up the tent or fire-building. It’s hard to do one-off things like that when your husband doesn’t care for the outdoors unless he’s at a baseball game. :-/

Speaking of baseball games, we haven’t been to a single one yet. I know, it’s nuts! If you know us, you’ll know that we are huge baseball fans (Gene more than me obviously). This year though, we didn’t buy our 10-game pack so we missed out on the Home Opener. In fact, we didn’t even watch the game. I took off work for Gene and I to go downtown, but it rained so I played with Em in the morning, Gene and I met Holli and Russ for drinks at the start of the game, but we left in the 2nd inning to run errands and go pick up Emma. Am I upset? No. I had a great extra day with Emma! I also haven’t watched any part of a game since. Crazy, right? However, I am craving Busch Stadium and my Cardinals, so I need to go soon.

Back to spring though, the Farmer’s Markets are opening up. We stopped by one on Sunday, but because we already had plenty of food we didn’t buy much. If you know me, I’m a diehard Schnucks shopper, so I buy all fruits and veggies there. However, I’m going to try my hardest to buy from the locals because while I want to support my hubs and the company he works for, I also want to support our communities. I want to go down to the Soulard Farmers’ Market soon too. I keep seeing my Aunt Vicki post that she’s going, so I may just have to invite myself!

We did attempt to do something fun last night… we went to “Food Trucks in the Park.” It was cold. Haha. It was at Frontier Park in St. Charles, and it wasn’t as crowded (which we were hoping for) so we were super stoked, until it kept getting colder and colder. After two trucks we decided it was time to go. We got some cupcakes and went home to finish our food. Did you know that I want to own a food truck? I already have it all planned out in my head what I want it to be, but I stink at cooking and it’s a lot of work starting something like that. Not to mention that I have no idea if it’s even worth my time profit-wise. I guess it’ll have to stay a dream.

So that’s just some of the stuff that’s been going on. As you can probably tell from my jumbled mess of a post, this took me three days to complete. I just don’t seem to have the time to blog right now. I really need to get a better schedule going and give up some of my sleep time because I can’t seem to get much done. Who am I kidding though, I love my sleep. More wishful thinking I guess.