Ice cream & Eschatology

Fear not faithful readers, we are still alive. We’re just in a Butlin’s Bubble. But yesterday we managed to escape and go for a walk in Exmoor National Park. It was so beautiful and little lambs were everywhere! I’m still hoping to get a lamb for my birthday tomorrow. Meanwhile we’ve been busy trying to manage 400+ 8-11 year olds, going to eschatology discussions, enjoying the unlimited soft-serve ice cream and going on carnival rides here at Spring Harvest. And on the 15th we celebrate our second anniversary and head out backpacking in the Yorkshire dales. Got to run, but I thought I’d leave you with this joke from one of the kids.

What do you find inside a clean nose?

Finger prints!

Skip to my McDonald’s my darling

Still no internet at Chalk House* my dear readers. I know you’re wasting away, eagerly awaiting more updates, but patience is a virtue. And today your patience is being rewarded!

On Thursday we ran an assembly for 4-7 year-old kids at a local school. We acted out the Creation story: Dan was a marvellous monkey and I was a fantastic fish. Afterwards we asked the kids if they remembered any of the things God had created and one cutie responded, “dragons!” Classic.

We also volunteered at a happening centre for those over 60. As soon as I walked in, a man grumbled to me, “This centre is for over 60s!” Apparently I don’t quite pass for 60 yet. We met two harmonica players, which Dan was excited about since he’s currently
learning how to play. He’s already mastered “Jingle Bells” and “Skip to My Lou.” We’ll have to post an mp3.

Saturday night we hit up McDonald’s, where our housemate works the night shift. Let me tell you, in the UK they have Cadbury crème egg McFlurries and the McDonald’s are posh!

And a sermon by our pastor, Greg, is in the Washington Times. Check it!

*Our house is called “Chalk Squat” because chalk is the opposite of cheese. And we’re not cheesy. If you don’t understand, just ask Dan.

World Wide Web Woes

It’s a hard knock life without internet at our house. Thankfully we will have it soon but for now our “internet cafe” is the local pub. It’s not so bad on a weekday afternoon when the pub’s fairly empty. Then you only have a handful of people pointing and laughing at you as you type away. (No, seriously, the locals DO point and laugh). But right now I’m surrounded by 100 rowdy lads enjoy rugby. And I’m sitting all on my lonesome typing at my laptop… feeling like an absolute loser. Not to mention the facts that a) the urgent files I needed to use the internet for aren’t ready yet and b) I stupidly only brought 60p with me and the cheapest drink here – lime soda – costs a pound. Hmm…thankfully the waitress gave it to me anyhow. So now I am just drinking away my blues.

Christmas at my house

Christmas in my family begins the day after Thanksgiving. Heck no, we don’t head to the mall; rather, my dad is finally allowed to start playing Christmas music. All of our usual CDs disappear and are replaced by dozens of Christmas CDs. Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, A Tender Tennessee Christmas and Handel’s Messiah fill the air. Non-Christmas music is strictly prohibited!

Then out come the Christmas decorations. And in our family it’s not just a wreathsanta-cycle.jpg on the door or candles in the windows. Every inch of the houses is decorated. We have a Christmas gravy bowl, Christmas salt & pepper shakers and tacky Christmas trees that spin as they shine psychedelic fiber optic lights through plastic pine needles. The electricity bill usually doubles due to all the lights. This year my dad won a enormous inflatable Santa, complete with sun glasses, riding a motorcycle. “Sorry, Rudolph, but this Christmas I won’t be needing you…”

And the Christmas tree… when my dad was younger his family owned a Christmas tree stand and even long after the stand closed, they still drove up to the farm in Pennsylvania where they had bought the trees to get a special batch of Christmas trees just for the family. My dad usually picked out a 12 foot tree and then cut 2 feet off the bottom & top to get it to just barely fit in our house with 8 ft ceilings. The result, as you can imagine, is one FAT tree.

And traditions… we have plenty! Christmas Eve we always head to church and then go out for Chinese food. And then my dad stays up late doing the final touches (filling the stockings, placing candy canes on the Christmas tree) while everyone else is shooed off to bed.

Then Christmas morning finally arrives! We used to have a rule that the kids couldn’t go downstairs until 7am since we were usually awake and eager to open presents around 5am. So, we’d all scarf down some cereal and then head into the Christmas tree room. One of the kids would always read the story of Jesus birth from the Bible. Then Santa (daddy-O) and his elves (kiddos) would begin the distribution of presents. We always had the presents opened one at a time, so depending on how many relatives were visiting, it could take hours to open all the presents.

All I want for Christmas is you!

Then we’d leave the piles of wrapping paper behind and have our second breakfast – French toast made from homemade cinnamon bread, bacon, eggs, sausage, hot coffee and orange juice. Then we’d open stockings, do some elaborate candy-trading and then pig out on candy. Finally we’d have a few hours to lie comatose from the presents and food before heading over to Big Daddy’s house for a second round of both.

I love Christmas.

Things year things were slightly different since we were away in Ohio at my aunt & uncle’s house. But let me say it was a rockin’ Christmas. And Dan even got to be Santa… or should I say Father Christmas!