The antibiotics I mentioned last Friday kicked in and did the trick! I was well enough on Saturday to start a full week of conferencing. Last Saturday, our church offered an all-day parenting conference. I wasn’t sure if my throat would heal in time for me to attend, but it did! Being a homeschool mom has scaled back my ministry participation, so it was nice to jump into a one day event and be a support to our pastoral team. The conference was a full day with breaks for parents to discuss what they heard and make intentional plans forward. We received many positive comments from those who attended. It’s always a joy to equip and encourage parents. This is where world changers are formed – in our homes, with our parenting! The investment in our families has an astounding ripple affect. It’s neat to be a part of something much bigger than I can see and understand in this moment.
After the full day at the parenting conference, our family packed up on Sunday and took off for another conference. The boys got a “spring break” with Nana and Papa while Jeremy and I attended a ministry conference with our Assemblies of God network of ministers in Idaho. We are so thankful for Nana and Papa! They gave our boys an awesome experience while we were at both the parenting conference and Network Conference. We couldn’t have achieved all this conferencing without their support! Coeur d’Alene, ID is a beautiful location for a conference. We enjoyed eating out with our pastoral team, connecting with other children’s pastors, and learning from engaging and challenging speakers. My favorite moments of the conference were slipping away for time with just Jeremy. We don’t get a lot of kid-free time, so it was a treat to have a few “date” like moments for ourselves in the midst of the conference. My favorite times were walking around the park near our hotel and taking a hike along the lake. It was so nice to get out of our seats and stretch our legs. The hike along the lake was delightful and the fresh air (though chilly) was invigorating!
Now our family is back together and settled at home. I had book club last night, which is always a highlight of my month. I’ve had plenty of laundry to tackle and just general resettling to do around the house. The boys purchased Uno Attack and Uno All Wilds yesterday, so we’ve been alternating between variations of Uno and Wingspan at the dining room table. It feels good to be home! The margin for rest is appreciated. Between holidays, illness, and travels, all our social plans have landed in this coming week. I, personally, need to recharge before we tackle the week ahead. I’m thankful for the buffer this weekend offers before we dive into more good stuff!
The title of this blog has a double meaning. Yes, we do the whole March Madness thing around here. Jeremy and I select our own brackets. This year the boys are sharing a bracket. Owen, especially, takes the brackets seriously. We have them printed on the counter with a yellow and red highlighter to mark wins and losses. As someone who doesn’t follow basketball at all, it never shocks me when my bracket is a bust. But it’s fun to guess and see how the cookie crumbles…
The other madness of March is not sports related. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday my kids love to celebrate. I’ve tried to make it less of a “thing” this year, but some traditions have taken deep root. Leprechaun traps were made. Some minor mystical shenanigans ensued… Owen tried a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s for the first time. He is my mint kid so I wanted to see his thoughts. He didn’t love it but he was fascinated with the color. I, on the other hand, had no problem sucking my green drink down in a matter of minutes. (Side note: Shamrock Shakes are as close as you’ll get me to a “green drink.” Don’t follow my blog for nutritional value.)
St. Patrick’s Day also coincided with a women’s conference I was invited to attend in Tacoma. I spent Friday morning with my family before adventuring off with my forever friend, Christa. We checked into our hotel, grabbed an early dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, and took a walk around a lake at a local park. It was a beautiful day in the PNW and it was lovely to be outside. It was a treat to find little piece of nature in the city to take a walk. The food, walking, and talking are some of my highlights of our time together. It’s a trifecta when you get a good friend, tasty food, and a beautiful day all at the same time! Another dear friend of mine was the conference organizer so part of attending the conference was to cheer her on and see the fruit of her labor. The sessions we attended were fantastic and I’m so proud of my friend for pouring her heart into so many women. Watching her shine (and seeing shine Jesus through her) was a joy!
An unforeseen thing happened Friday evening which changed my conference plans. Jeremy texted saying that my uncle was bringing my grandma down to visit on Saturday (technically, to visit my dad, but since we’re neighbors, it pretty much the same thing). It had been too long since I seen my sweet grandma. In fact, Friday morning I told my mom I was trying find a time to visit her soon. The chance to see GG in my neck of the woods was good to pass up. Christa completely understood and graciously allowed me to cut our conference time short so I could get home to my family. I arrived home with enough time to tidy up after my bachelor boys and then invite my family over a visit. My aunt and cousin joined the road trip as well and it was my first time for my aunt to visit our house. We love giving the house tour and sharing our space with others. It was a fun surprise! My only sadness was missing part of the conference. Maybe next year I’ll shoot for perfect attendance. You never know with life, though. Plans find a way of changing. Am, I right? Overall it was a great mix of friendship and family with a dash of holiday cheer all in one weekend.
Then things went a little haywire… Last week, after Graham’s weekend flu, Jeremy went down with the same bug. After 5+ days of being symptom-free, I thought Owen and I were in the clear. Apparently, we came into contact with something similar at church on Sunday, because on Monday evening, it was Owen and I’s turn to go down with the flu. Now all four of us have had it. Such a bummer! The good news is, apart from missing co-op, we’ve had a quiet week to rest and recover. It was no problem to catch up on up on the missed day of school. Our fun weekend plans are still on because we are back to our normal selves. It’s sad that it happened, but it happened at the “best” time possible.
Now that we’ve said good-bye to the March flu, we are excited to dive into Jeremy’s birthday weekend! Lots of fun plans and celebrations are ahead of us. We are excited to honor our favorite guy and give him the attention he deserves. Birthdays are a big deal in our household, so we can’t wait for birthday weekend to officially begin. Time to party!
We are swiftly sailing through September. The month has disappeared in what feels like a blink. I’m not used to the pace we’ve been keeping. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that the last week of September is upon us. The good news is October is my favorite month and it’s full of fun. While I’m baffled that September is almost over, I’m very happy to welcome October soon! Autumn adventures are the best and now I can fully revel in all that is fall!
My last post found us in the thick of hunting season for Jeremy (and the boys) and a conference for me. Prepping for a conference with Jeremy out in the woods wasn’t always ideal. Thankfully, Jeremy had the boys with him a few times so I could practice for my workshop without kid chaos in the background. The boys love tagging along during hunting season. While I had girl time during the conference, they had boy time in the woods. Win-win.
The day after the conference, Jeremy and I dropped the boys off with Nana & Papa so we could attend a staff retreat with the church team. The turnaround of conference prep, attending the conference, packing for a trip (for the kids and myself), and curating school (so Nana could substitute teach) meant I came into the retreat worn out. Fortunately, there was plenty of time for this introvert to recharge in the schedule. It was a good mix of conversation and connection while still finding time to be quiet with a book and journal. My highlights were our conversations about the Enneagram (which I adore), our rides on the golf carts to and from meals, and taking morning walks with the sun shining on the Columbia River.
We got home on Wednesday and I had Thursday set aside as a recovery day. We still did school, but the rest of the day was very chill. Jeremy took the boys out for the final evening hunt of elk season. I was able to recharge enough on Thursday so we could adventure out on Friday. We met some friends at the Ape Caves yesterday for some spelunking. We hiked our way through the more challenging cave and did another hike at Lava Canyon. I didn’t feel it yesterday, but I can tell today I climbed over boulders yesterday. It was a very fun outing and I got a chuckle that on a beautifully sunny day, we went underground for our recreation.
September sure has kept us busy. It’s been good, but I’m tired! I’ve been able to rest more today. A quiet home day is doing wonders for my soul. It’s the small things like working through the laundry, making mac & cheese, and sitting down with a book that fills me up. God has been so good to sustain me through this non-stop month. I’m certainly ready for things to slow down a bit!
Today’s blog will be more pictures than words. I just got home from a women’s conference at our church. It was a Friday night and most of the day Saturday event. I led a workshop this morning based on the book Habits of the Household by Justin Whitmel Earley. I don’t get many opportunities for public speaking so studying and practicing my notes was a big portion of my week. Now that it’s done and the adrenaline rush is over, I can feel the crash coming. Thus, a post of mostly pictures! A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Right!
This week felt a like a juggling act. I seem to say this every September and yet I continue to forget – September takes so much energy! It’s a lot of work. I thought without kicking off a new MOPS & MOMSnext year this fall, September would be less effort… less energy? I don’t know. Just less. But September 2021 chuckled at me and went on being just like the many Septembers before it.
We finally had our first four day school week and it made a huge difference. Getting into the school routine has taken more energy than I expected. Shocking, right?! I thought we would pick up were we left off on in May. Easy peasy. I didn’t account for how much we really slowed down over the summer. Graham being in kindergarten and using new curriculum has also taken more mental energy than I realized. Three weeks in, I am happy with the direction we are headed and I am hopeful that very soon we will be settled.
Hunting season for Jeremy means lots of single parenting for me. Jeremy’s alarm goes off at 4:30am and I do my best not to let it stir me. My mind doesn’t need to be awake and processing before dawn! Jeremy sometimes comes home in the afternoon for a short break before heading back out until after the boys’ bedtime. One of my highlights from the week was Jeremy falling asleep on Graham’s bed during afternoon quiet time. Graham also fell asleep and thought it was a dream come true to have a nap buddy (those were his literal words – dream come true). Our family routine is all thrown off, but it’s doable because it’s a season.
Our Friday adventure moved to Thursday because Friday was forecasted to be damp. I knew Jeremy would be out hunting so I invited my mom along for a hike at Lewis & Clark State Park. Let me tell you, I deeply appreciate Jeremy’s sense of direction. When I’m with him, I never worry about where I’m at or if I’ll be able to find my way back to our vehicle. I had a very specific trail I wanted to hike and it was embarrassing how long it took me to find it. I also had many moments on the trail where I hoped we were going the right way (and it was supposed to be a simple loop). We enjoyed hiking and exploring a new area, but I never had full confidence as we wandered the park. Being the co-pilot is a role I appreciate even more after trying to lead the way in unfamiliar territory. So thankful my mom came along as a second adult just in cause my worst-case scenario fears came true. I’m a big fan of the buddy system. Also, my mom carries bear spray, so that’s helpful, too!
On top of juggling school, Jeremy’s schedule, and extracurricular adventures, I had a conference to prepare for this weekend. Being real here, I have a complicated relationship with indoor church. I agreed to be a part of this conference at the beginning of July when COVID restrictions were loosening. Things have changed since I said yes. I’m not the type of person who backs of out a commitment easily, but I sure thought about changing my yes to a no. Ultimately, I decided to attend the full conference despite my discomfort. It was a lot of time in a mask (worshipping in a mask is possible, but a very sweaty experience) and I was in the minority for following current mandates. It’s uncomfortable being someone who noticeably stands out. Prepping for the conference while being on the hunting schedule was also challenging, but I felt prepared by the time Saturday’s workshop arrived. My class was small. Seven moms joined me to talk about finding time with God as a busy mom. The workshop had MOPS vibes so I felt in my element. Plus talking about how I love spending time with God and giving suggestions so others can connect with God was an awesome opportunity. I’m glad I followed through on my yes, despite the discomfort.
Side note: I’m thinking of turning my workshop into a mini-series here on the blog. As I was preparing my notes I realized that these suggestions for finding time with God could apply to anyone, not just busy moms. When busyness is a barrier, it’s good to go back to the basics and keep things simple. Stay tuned! I can’t let all those words I typed sit on my computer. I want to send them out!
Despite the juggling act and out of sync schedule, I still had what I needed to to get through this week. The boys begged Jeremy to take them out hunting on Friday which gave me a big window of quiet time to prepare for the conference and to be still before lots of activity. While church is complicated for me, I loved the moments of worshipping in a dark sanctuary. I’ve missed being surrounded by loud music, raising my hands, praising God with words that stir my soul. It was sweet to revisit a spiritual practice that means so much to me. Yes, I am tired after the big weekend… and yes, I still have another week of elk season left. But today I am happy to be home, to listen to praise music as I vacuum, and to know that nothing is pressing or urgent. God has been so good through all the juggling of this last week. He will continue to sustain me through September and that brings so much peace to my heart. I can do this!
This last week was a big one even though at a glance it might have looked somewhat average. It was far from that, though! This week could be defined by beginnings and endings. Some things are just starting and somethings have come to a close. So let’s dive in!
I’ve been praying about a big decision that I finally went through with last Tuesday. I took time to talk it out with trusted people and I sat with my decision over Labor Day weekend to see it stuck. I’ve been a part of a team that supports women ministers in the Northwest Ministry Network. When I said yes to this commitment two years, I thought I was heading into the school-age years with my kids and I would have more time to pursue vocational ministry. But… I couldn’t predict a pandemic. Because we are homeschooling, I’m still home with my kids 24/7. Also, due to COVID conditions in my area, my in-person attendance at church is limited. I’ve loved being a part of this team because the women are incredible. I enjoyed getting to know them and I’ve been inspired by their leadership. But I’ve felt like the odd duck on the team. I am not actively pursuing vocational ministry. It’s just not the season of life that I am in. I would love to be a part of this team in the future when my season of life aligns better with the purpose of the team. I’ve been feeling the conflict between the life I thought I would be living right now and the one that I am actually living in this moment. It’s okay to say that this isn’t a good fit right now, but I hope it will be someday.
The other ending in my life has been a long time coming. I finally let go of my Usborne Books & More business. For the last year, I’ve kept the business active so I could receive discounts on my personal purchases. Now the cost of keeping the business active is no longer saving me money. I’ve been a UBAM book lady for 4.5 years and I’ve loved it! I loved introducing families to great books. Our home library exploded because of this business. It was such a blessing to my family. In the season of building our house, this book business gave me something to focus on in the waiting period. It was an important part of that building season for me. I’ve collected the last of my rewards and placed my final order as a consultant. It’s bittersweet, but I’ve known the end was around the corner for awhile. I will remain a loyal customer. I truly love this company and their products. Books are the best!
Endings can be sad and it felt weird to end two things in one week. I will admit that as my commitments continue to scale back, I’m often left wondering what is God is doing. For so long I’ve been defined by all the things I’ve been able to juggle. The pandemic has certainly made my world smaller. Instead of being worried or upset, I’m choosing to see this as a strategic time in my faith journey. Letting go of things isn’t in my nature, so I know that God is teaching me and guiding me. I’m trusting that he has a purpose in all the change.
Let’s focus on the the beginnings! It’s still the beginning of the school year. Somehow I always forget how much adjusting goes into the month of September. We are getting into our new school routine. It’s mostly gone well, but I’ve learned a few things the hard way. With Owen, I had him hit the ground running with school instead of easing him back into it. Our schedule will be lighter this week. We’ve been doing five days of work in three days for the last two weeks. This week we’ll do five days of curriculum in four days. The extra day should make a difference.
I’m happy to report that Graham is beginning to read! It hasn’t fully clicked, but he has made so much progress! I’m starting to feel more confident in the program we selected and in my ability to teach him. I’m so excited because learning to read is the beginning of beautiful things! Reading is such an adventure. I can’t wait for Graham to experience the joys of reading. We’re starting small, but we’re definitely making progress! Praise the Lord!
This week we met up with a few other homeschool families to launch rockets. We aren’t a part of a formal homeschool group, but a friend of mine hopes to facilitate a monthly outing or experience for homeschool families. The boys had a blast chasing rockets through the field with friends. We used bigger engines this time and that made our rocket even more impressive than when we launched it last fall.
Hunting season has also begun. Jeremy needed a new long sleeve camo shirt and while running errands, he picked up shirts for the boys, too. They got to join him for the evening hunt yesterday. Graham talked with me for a solid 10 minutes about his adventure when he got up this morning. The highlights were seeing the other family members out hunting. He also mentioned that he would be sad if they killed an elk. I’m guessing he is going to be a social outdoorsman verses a serious hunter (at least at this at this point in his life). Hunting season can be an intense season with early mornings, late nights, and a lot of single parenting. Since Jeremy took the boys out last night, I was able to work on my upcoming workshop I’m teaching next weekend. My parents also watched my boys for a few hours this weekend so I could prepare. I’m thankful for the extra support during hunting season.
That wraps up this week’s recap. Lots of big decisions, but also lots of fun. I’m glad the school year is underway and we are finding our groove again. September always takes way more energy than I expect, but it’s full of good things and important adjustments. I am learning a lot in this season and I’m keeping my eyes open for what God is doing in my right now, right here, ordinary life. It’s good and I’m grateful!
June has been an unpredictable month. While it’s been busy, we’ve also had some unexpected down time. I will always cheer for a day at home, but this month, I would have preferred the reason we stayed home not to be because of colds. It’s been an over a year since our family has shared the sniffles with each other and last weekend was our time to go down with a bug. Right before Father’s Day weekend, Graham came down with the sniffles so we canceled our Father’s Day Friday plans with Jeremy in order to rest. Then Owen got the bug so we canceled our Saturday plans with Jeremy’s family. Then Jeremy and I caught it and we canceled our Sunday plans with my family. It was a bummer way to celebrate Father’s Day weekend, for sure. Jeremy deserved more of a celebration than he got and we missed spending time with our families. Jeremy is the best dad ever. Hopefully, we can enjoy a make-up outing to compensate for the quiet holiday weekend.
When Jeremy realized that he was under the weather, he took off for the pharmacy to get an at-home COVID test. Jeremy and I are both fully vaccinated so we highly doubted this cold was anything to be concerned about. However, we had VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) right around the corner (like the next day). We wanted to make sure that if we were working with kids we were officially okay. The test was negative and Jeremy and I refamiliarized ourselves with the flavors of Dayquil to get through the big week ahead. I was concerned about the kids being healthy enough for VBA, but they pulled through just in time. While they were good to go by Monday, their stamina (mine included) wasn’t 100% yet. We had fun, power-packed mornings at VBA and then quiet, restful afternoons to make sure we had the energy to attend the next day. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but I’m so glad that everything worked out. This was my first time leading kids in over a year. I was nervous, but it was like riding bike. Even with a cold, it all came back to me and I was ready to roll. So many of the kids in my crew I hadn’t seen in over a year. They had all grown so much. I think I had just as much fun as my kids as we reconnected with friends.
After VBA, we started to prep for our local heat wave. Washington state has mild summers, but our weather this weekend is much more like Arizona than the PNW. We’ve been spending plenty of time in our backyard pool and doing our best to keep our chickens in the shade. We don’t want any chickens to literally roast in the yard. I’ve visited Arizona in August, so I’ve experienced high temps before, but never anything like the forecast for today and tomorrow in Washington. We are forecasted to be 111 degrees tomorrow. I’m just praying our air-conditioner can keep up and keep us cool. Just like the unpredictable theme of this month, the heat has been shifting all our plans this weekend. I made it up to Puyallup to celebrate a baby shower and a birthday yesterday. It was a early and quick visit before the heat of the day. The boys stayed home to rest after the big week and to keep an eye on the chickens. The boys and I had plans to help Jeremy at our Downton church campus today, but those changed when I realized there would be no AC in the building. We even canceled our dinner plans with a family today because we didn’t think it would be safe to outside. While we have air-conditioning, we didn’t want to overtax our system. We’ve stocked up on microwaveable food and items for cold sandwiches so we don’t overheat the house with cooking.
Every week comes with it’s own surprises. So many ups and downs. While I’m not a fan of plans shifting, I am thankful for flexibility. We’ve been able to rest when we need to rest. We were able to show up for our church. And now we’re able to lay low and be chill as we ride out this heat wave. Crazy times in the PNW. Hopefully next time I touch base with you all, it be under much cooler circumstances. Wherever you are, stay cool and stay hydrated!
This week a chapter of my life came to a close. I’ve been keeping this to myself since the news wasn’t known in my community until this week. Our MOPS & MOMSnext group has decided to pause for the time being. There are a few factors that went into this decision, but the main factor was childcare being complicated in these COVID days. Our facility has a learning center in the building and with new cleaning protocols, our group start time would be too late to serve young families well. Not to mention, rebuilding a childcare team is a challenge. Some are willing to volunteer again, but MOPS & MOMSnext takes a large volunteer team and some aren’t ready to dive back in yet. COVID and kid germs are still a concern and I totally understand.
When I was asked to coordinator our MOPS & MOMSnext group, we were a daytime group of mostly stay-at-home moms. The learning center opened right as I started coordinating. I got to be a part of the pioneering process as we moved from a daytime group to an evening group. Meeting in the evening allowed working moms to join us and we saw a rise in attendance. When the pandemic shut down in-person gatherings, I got to be a part of another pioneering process. This time it was moving from in-person to online. This year of MOPS & MOMSnext online has had it’s ups and downs. We’ve definitely made the most of the online platform. We had wonderful guest speakers. We still managed to do group crafts and have a spa night and a game night. We got creative and made it work! However, we also saw a decline in attendance as the year went on. We heard often how complicated it is for moms to meet online especially without childcare. I am blessed to have my husband watch our kids while I’m online. I was able to be fully present for the meetings, but I know my mom friends felt the frustration of managing both their homes and the meetings at the same time.
I knew that my term as coordinator would last through my youngest’s preschool years. Once Graham graduated preschool, I knew my time was up. I’ve known this end date was coming from the very beginning of saying yes to leading. I just didn’t predict a pandemic. I will admit that I’m disappointed that I’m not handing a the group over to a new leader. I always thought I would hand over the leadership of the group and still be involved – either as a team member or a group member. I am wrestling with my emotions because this ending looks different than I had expected. I believe in the heart and purpose of MOPS & MOMSnext. I will miss the community it created in my life. I joined MOPS when I was pregnant with my oldest son. I have never known motherhood without it. Despite my disappointment, I am optimistic that the group can relaunch in the future when factors have changed. I believe this pause could be a catalyst for change and bring a new vision for the group. God does great things in and through what we see as disappointments. I believe there is a greater good still possible that I can’t clearly see at this moment.
I almost didn’t share this news here. I thought maybe I would silently let my MOPS & MOMSnext updates fade away. But I’m learning that it’s okay to acknowledge disappointments. I try to keep my posts optimistic while being realistic as well. MOPS & MOMSnext has held a huge place in my heart and has been a vital part of my calendar and community. I’m proud of what this group has accomplished over the years. We’ve been through so many transitions. Adapting isn’t always easy, but we’ve been able to bless moms in our community through creativity and flexibility. It’s been an honor to serve on a team with amazing women. It’s been an honor to encourage the moms in our community. These last eight years have been a meaningful chapter of my life. I’m giving myself space to feel my feelings and celebrate all that has been accomplished. It’s been good. God has been good to us.
MOPS & MOMSnext was a huge ministry opportunity for me. I grew so much through leading this group. One of the hardest parts of letting go is I’m not sure what’s next. God is stirring my heart. He is about to do a new thing. I’m not sure what it is yet, but my eyes are open and my heart is ready. A new chapter always begins as another chapter comes to a end.
It feels like my life is in the “home stretch” on lots of levels right now! In the next month and a half, there is a lot to look forward to! I can feel that change is right around the corner. I’m deeply excited for these upcoming changes, but I’m also trying to stay in the moment and wait patiently. Honestly, to distract myself, I’ve been flying through novels this month. My next post will be all about the books that got me through this season of waiting. April has been a good book month.
What is right around the corner you might wonder? Well, first, we should have our floor replaced for (Lord willing) the final time either the 2nd or 3rd week in May. If you remember at the end of February we accepted and selected an upgrade. We are hopeful this upgraded product will hold up better and this will be the final fix! I can’t wait to see this new floor in place. I’m cautiously optimistic!
We will be wrapping up our 36th week of school on May 20th. I hope to have a small celebration for the boys to mark this accomplishment. Since Graham won’t get the same preschool graduation experience that Owen did, I ordered him a little cap and gown. I plan to do a little photoshoot with him to capture the memories. We’ve all accomplished so much this year and I’m proud of us – myself included. Learning a new role as homeschool mom had me nervous, but I’ve found a good groove and I’m enjoying it. It’s crazy to think we have just a few more weeks to go!
My ministry opportunities are about to shift as well. MOPS & MOMSnext will wrap up in the middle of June. I’m working hard to finish the year strong. Ending well is important to me. I am excited for all we have planned for our final meetings. I’ve been facilitating a Mastermind group that meets via Zoom monthly. I check-in with a small group of women ministers about life and ministry. This commitment will wrap up at the end of May. Our church gatherings plan to move outdoors in June. I’ve been watching church online and this move outdoors will be a good step forward. It feels like the right time to reconnect with my church family in-person.
The last thing is kind of big deal for me. I’m in the home stretch of waiting for my COVID vaccination. I have an appointment this week to get my first shot. My second shot (and the two week waiting period for the full efficacy) will be just in time for my return to church and hopefully the start of a somewhat-more-normal summer experience. I realize that the pandemic isn’t over and that precautions will still be necessary, but I looking forward to a little more peace of mind and a taking a step in the right direction.
I’m in the home stretch! Change is right around the corner! Until then… you’ll find me reading novels and passing the time as best I can with my little family.
This Halloween looked different than any other Halloween in our past. Thank you, 2020. Instead of our usual harvest, carnival style event at church, we offered a “Fall Fest To-Go” event for our community. The church offered a bag of candy, carnival game ideas to do at home, small prizes and a teddy bear to each child that drove through our parking lot.
It’s been a while since I volunteered on-site for a church event. The boys and I have been sticking close to home these days. The nice thing about this event was our family wore our masks and our exposure to the community was as quick as passing a bag through the window of a car. I felt fairly safe with this ministry opportunity. I had a friend question me about the boys being at the event for the entire time (about three hours). I told her that my kiddos are pastor’s kids and they haven’t had to fill that PK role in a while. We could all step up for the night.
When our family pulled into the church over an hour before the event, we already had cars waiting in the parking lot. We knew that our social media posts had received a lot attention, so we weren’t shocked, but it was still a surprise. We quickly got our materials ready and we started handing out bags an hour before the event was set to start.
Jeremy planned for 300 pre-prepared bags. This was on par with our usual Fall Fest kid attendance in the past. However, this is 2020. Our community was desperate to make Halloween special and safe. Jeremy quickly asked me to move from passing out bags to creating more bags. We were handing out bags as quickly as we were making them. At one point, we ran out of candy and sent team members to buy more. When the event wrapped up at 8:00pm, we had handed out a 1,000 bags to kids in our community. It was truly mind blowing. My Fit Bit said I had been “swimming” for and hour and a half due to the pace and movement of my gift bag filling.
The number of kids we saw was shocking, but what really impressed me on Halloween was Owen and Graham. Our boys showed up to volunteer at the event and they took that role seriously. They transported bags for us, they filled bags, they handed out bags. They were little worker bees. It was truly an honor to serve together as a family. My mama heart was so blessed to see my kids buy into the idea of giving to others.
Jeremy and I came home tired from the hopping pace of the night, but also amped up from the results. We definitely didn’t expect this drive-thru event to explode the way it did. 2020 is so unpredictable. You plan the best you can and make the most of what you’ve got. We saw major success with this event and it left us with questions of what does mean for next year? Was this a special one-time thing? Is this the new way events should look? It’s impossible to answer those questions right now, but we are mulling them over and taking notes.
This Halloween was memorable to say the least. We had fun, we served our community, we worked together as a family. Halloween 2020 was one of the record books. It was certainly a special way to wrap up such a special month.