Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig!

November 3, 2008 at 4:18 am 1 comment

As I finished the title of this post (it always takes me a few minutes) I realized that if I wrote about the ENTIRE weekend, this would be the longest post ever, and I have a tendency to write long posts anyway, so I’m just going to show the utmost restraint and just write about our trip. Halloween, such that it was, will just have to come later.

Maybe because the kids have to go get fillings tomorrow, I’m not feeling any Halloween love tonight.

But Ponchatoula…lovely, lovely south Louisiana. I had no idea that I missed it. I mean, we moved, a month later had Aidan, and were in the throes of a new town, church, people and baby…so missing Ponchatoula kind of passed by quickly.

But as soon as we got to our wonderful friends’ house yesterday, I wondered why it’s taken almost 6 years to come back! I mean, I know why…we’ve moved 5 times and had 3 children. We haven’t even really gone on vacation yet since all of that started. Our life has taken so many twists and turns, and it has been such an awesome journey, but unfortunately, relationship upkeep gets put on the backburner.

Anyway, we stayed with a family that treats us like family. When Michael was working as a youth minister in Ponchatoula, this family in the church opened their home and their life up to us. After the very first visit, we knew where everything was, and didn’t have to ask if we wanted something. They truly know the meaning of hospitality and through this gift, they share Jesus. I don’t think they realize it, but they are showing Christ by extending such a warm welcome into such a happy home.

We sat outside on the patio while my kids played in the pool. Yes, you read that right. They were playing with trucks, which “accidently” ended up in the pool quite often. They just HAD to go get them, right? Apparently, the chilly water didn’t faze my oldest two. Michael and Jay caught up as he fried turkeys, while Susan, her precious girls and me watched the kids and enjoyed the weather. Her girls are so grown up, and are beautiful inside and out. My kids loved having the attention from them and they had a wonderful time.

Then there was fried turkey.

I would have gone to Louisiana just for the bird.

I’m having a moment just remembering. Bear with me.

Since we’ve been back in Mississippi, we’ve had some attempts at fried turkey. Oh, no ma’am.

My friend, the turkey icon (he’ll laugh if he ever reads that), Jay, is THE MAN when it comes to frying the bird. It’s quite possibly one of the best things I’ve ever had in my life.

The only time you’ll ever see me standing over a platter picking at bones is for one of Jay’s turkeys.

So we gorged ourselves and enjoyed hanging out with our host family and another sweet family. It’s so hard to believe all of our youth are in college or beyond now. Crazy.

And there was football. Lots of football. Jay is a junkie, and so is Wormy, who came to eat with us last night. They are the biggest Saints fans I know, but I try to put that behind me and love them for who they really are. So Michael got his football fix, and got to talk sports with people that really get it, and not his wife who tries so hard, but ends up saying things like, “who is that guy? he’s cute!”

We were up until after midnight, but we gain an hour, so no problem, right?!

We stayed in Alex’s room. She’s 12. Michael and I had the double bed, with Paisley on one pallet beside us, and the kids at our feet on a pallet. They did great, until Paisley got her head stuck under the bed at about 6:00 a.m. It was pretty much over at that point.

Church was wonderful. So many sweet faces. So much love and acceptance in that room that it brought me to tears. These people loved Michael even though being a youth minister was new territory for him in every way. They loved me, and were so excited about me being pregnant. They really got a big kick out of us bringing our 3 kids to church.

They gave us a place to stay every weekend. They fed us. They provided for us when we had needs. Our car had a flat on the Ponchartrain bridge, and a sweet, precious friend helped us out. They hugged us when it was tough. When it was obvious that we were so tired, they gave us a place to rest.

We took the youth to Lake Forest Ranch for camp one summer. Those 7 days were probably some of the best memories I’ve made. I learned that week that grown men from Louisiana can’t eat without a lot of Tony’s.

Our time there was sweet. Today was such a reminder of how God works and grows people and how the family of God can reach past time and distance and make it seem as if you were never gone.

We’ve moved so much and had so many changes, close friendships have been hard to develop and foster. I’ve written about that before. It was awesome and humbling to be reminded that when you invest in people, then you don’t ever really leave them. You’re always family if you open yourself up and love others. It’s hard with the kids to just get up and head down there whenever we can. But I know when we go, there will be open doors and open arms. And I wouldn’t trade that love and acceptance and friendship for anything in the world. Today was worth every conversation, every teachable moment, every frustration, every prayer, every Bible Study that Michael and I participated in there. As we sat and talked with one of our former youth, now quite grown up, he said, “I remember something you guys told me when I broke up with my girlfriend….”. He then shared how something we said really encouraged him and stuck with him.

When you invest in people, the return is immeasureable. You will get back what you put in, even though it may not seem like it at the time. I have to remind myself of this all the time, but it has proven to be true time and time again.

And if you’re lucky and invest in the RIGHT people, you get fried turkey. Everybody wins.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Ponchatoula Bound I Can’t Wait to Get My Sticker

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer  |  November 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for the reminder that what we do as “ministers” really does matter…it is not a waste of time if you do what you are called to do.

    Reply

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