Anniversary & Dad’s visit

Last week was the 14th anniversary of my wedding to my dear husband, Martin.  We celebrated twice, but neither celebration was on the night of our actual anniversary, the 12th.  First, on the 11th, we got takeout from PF Chang’s, which is rather our go-to for special-occasion meals, largely because it’s good food that both Martin and I like, and they have a very reliable gluten-free menu, which (unlike the few restaurants that have g.f. menus) sees frequent updating, so I’m not stuck ordering the same dish over and over.

But, I digress.

It was a nice meal, after the kids were in bed, hubby and me, Chinese food, a bottle of inexpensive pinot noir…  and we had the best conversation we’ve had in weeks.  It was just what we needed.

Then, on Saturday, when we could actually get a babysitter, we tried out a new place.

Before I found out about celiac disease, we were very adventurous eaters, living for our next hole-in-the-wall, mom & pop ethnic gem.  Since celiac disease, we’ve become very predictable, eating out only where it’s safe.  “Safety” has become the operative word in eateries, instead of taste or even price.

But, starting a few years ago (literally), I keep reading good reviews for a teensy Ecuadorian restaurant that is reasonably close by to our house.

I knew it was in an old strip mall, but when we drove up, it was even older and strip-mallier and a wee bit scary.  We stayed in the truck for a bit, eyeing the restaurant.  My hubby said, “I don’t want this to be a ‘slap the burrito on the paper plate’ kind of place.  It’s our anniversary.”  But, I figured, since we were there, we might as well at least poke our heads inside.

We did, and we stayed.  Mi Cocina Mi Pais was fantastic, all you’d want in a hole-in-the-wall, mom & pop ethnic gem of a restaurant.  It wasn’t fancy, but they did have real tableware, and not a burrito in sight.  The mom was in the kitchen, the son was the waiter, and the dad was the busser.  Even though the whole place had maybe seven tables, I was worried that it was going to take a couple of hours to get our meal, since each table was full and there was a “kitchen help wanted” sign on the front door, but it wasn’t so.  Service was very friendly and reasonably paced.

We’ve eaten at more than our share of Mexican food places, so I thought South American wouldn’t be a very large leap, but about 80% of the menu offerings had to be explained to us by our waiter, Michael.  I’m sure it’s an effort he’s made thousands of times, but he was very helpful and patient.  I picked a few dishes that I thought sounded like they would be gluten-free, and explained my need to Michael.  He poked his head back in the kitchen to double-check with Mom regarding their makeup, and happily, the dish that I most wanted was free of any kind of flour or wheat.  There’s still always a risk, especially when those preparing/serving a meal really have no idea about celiac disease at all… but I suffered no gluten-induced symptoms.  Woo hoo!  🙂

And, Mi Cocina Mi Pais is fairly inexpensive, and had a “you can take the kids” ambience, so I’m sure we’ll be back.

We had Fiala with us.  She stayed asleep the whole time.  We finished our meal before 8:00, and though we had our babysitter until 9:30, if we stayed out that late, I would have to feed Fiala in the truck before we went anywhere else, like for coffee.  We just decided to go home.  Party poopers in our old age, I guess.  It wasn’t for lack of pleasantness;  we just had had a very nice time already, were full of good food and good conversation, and it felt like the night was a success and it was all right to call it a night, early.

Good thing we did, because my Dad arrived very shortly after we came home.  I think it would have been awkward for the babysitter if my Dad had been there, even though I told her that it was a possibility he’d arrive before we did.

So.  My Dad’s here.  He’ll be here until Friday.  Right now, though, he and my three boys are at the Titan Missile Museum, south of Tucson.  At least, I assume they are.  That’s where they were headed when they left home at about 9:00 this morning.

It’s been a nice visit with my Dad.  We have a mixed history, but for the last three years or so, all has been well between us.  He came to church with us on Sunday, and seemed to really enjoy it, which is good.  I feel a little badly because we’re all sports nuts, so we usually have on whatever game is playing, and he doesn’t care for sports…  I’m sure my Dad has watched more basketball and football in the past few days than he has in years.  We’ve also spent a good deal of time at the neighborhood park…  We went to a dentist appointment for the three boys yesterday.  Martin, my Dad and I had a great conversation last night that started with parenting issues mostly about Grant.  We had a tense evening… well, part of the evening, anyways, because of behavioral stuff from Grant.  Sometimes ALL THE TIME, it’s difficult to sort out from where his difficulties stem:  a) his immature 9yo boy-ness, b) his brainy, purposeful manipulations, and/or c) his learning disorder (he has an odd learning disorder called Nonverbal Learning Disorder, and some things about Grant are startlingly brilliant, and some things are frustrating to the extreme, “Why can’t he just get this???” and he just can’t — or at least, it’s very hard — because of the way his brain is wired).  The conversation morphed into dietary interventions that we’ve tried with Grant (and my Dad had a few new ideas that I’ll likely try), dietary issues with Wes & Audrey… then somehow turned the corner to the theological, and the way God speaks, and what God might be doing in the American Church and in our country right now…  My Dad and I have had theological disagreements in the past, and I can’t say I even agree with my husband 100% of the time on politics.  But the three of us agreed that God is not a God of fear.  He doesn’t want us to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the goings-on in Church and Country, but He’s still not a God of fear.  When He speaks, when He acts…  He doesn’t do things out of fear, or move in fear.  He’s sovereign, He’s good, He has His ways, He’s powerful, He’s not thwarted by whoever is or is not in power, and can use anything for His own purposes, including letting someone rise to power with whom we don’t agree.  My Dad likened it to America in the 70s when things were morally and politically bleak under Carter, but the climate rallied Christians to a deeper commitment to Him, and a greater involvement in politics, and my Dad believes that’s what led to Reagan being elected in 1980.  (All of us are fans of Reagan.)  It was a good conversation.

Yesterday, I started apologizing to my Dad about what was surely the most boring trip ever, but as the words were coming out of my mouth, I realized (and he did say) that “boring” was exactly what he needed.  He’s on focus-burnout right now, due to the nature of his work, which is heading up a company that is inventing some new artificial intelligence hardware and software.  It’s funded by an investor, which makes things all the more tense, because there are lots of $$ waiting to be reimbursed when the technology becomes finally marketable.  It’s getting there, but the huge contracts that are continually in the offing remain just so.  And it doesn’t help that the main investor has made his money from oil and gas, and since prices are plummeting — which is great for 99.5% of us — that means the investor has less money available and is all the more antsy.

Welp.  I need to feed my baby, then do some cleaning.  Though I am at home with only my two girls today, it’s been a startlingly unproductive day.  Peaceful, though…


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 18, 2008, in Celiac Disease, Christian Living, Christianity, Family, God/Christianity/Church, Marriage, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Parenting, Political Thought, The Dear Hubby, The Kids, Vineyard Phoenix. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I just wanted to say, after doing the ‘9yo boy-thing’ three times, that nine year old boys are just difficult. Nine is my least favorite age…well, until fourteen rolls around, but nine is still tough.

    In another year or two, you are going to see amazing changes, I’m sure of it.

  2. I know you always think fear is just not something we have to reckon with….but I have to say that it *is* a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God which is wear the US and the whole earth is going. You cannot make a case from Scripture otherwise. Do you think Corrie Ten Boom and her family were ever fearful in the Concentration Camps? Do you think the folks in Britain were afraid when bombing raids were a daily thing during WW2? Do you think our men and women in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with fear and fearful events moment by moment? Was NY– on the whole– afraid in the hours and days after 9-11 hit? When God judges, the question is how much we will also suffer with those around us who are *not* repentant. If you read the OT, there were at least two times that Daniel saw a vision of the things to come and he was staggered and almost catatonic for a week after for the things that he had seen that were to come. I’d have to study the whole thing to see if other Biblical characters had similar responses to the things they were shown. DH says Isaiah and Jeremiah had similar moments of being undone by the visions and prophesies give to them. Do *you* yourself have to be afraid because I or others are? No. Can God comfort and protect any or all who call upon Him? Sure, if He so chooses in His Sovereignty, but there may be some fearful things that come. And it all seems to me that it all depends whether Obama is just left of left or truly evil with unholy alliances of whic we who don’t watch CNN area already aware…..whether this is just another hard stretch for us or the final stretch of the whole shootin’ match. I am asking God for peace (and how to pray), but I am not there yet. If we don’t win those last 2-3 Senatorial seats we are really screwed on the law making horizon for ill. The unborn, guns, homeschool, everything will be fair game. The gun shops are FULL to overflowing. DH has stood in line several times just to get questions answered. A seller at a recent gun show that usually sees 5-6 guns a day sell is selling over 100 a day. There’s a reason. My prayer right now is for the fear of the Lord to fall on the church and even on secular people for a spirit of repentance. That’s what will turn things around and nothing else imo. And when was the last time you heard a call to repentance? I keep asking the Holy Spirit to do what the so- called shepherds are unwilling to do.

  3. Julie ~ Thank you sincerely for your encouragement. “This too shall pass,” eh?

    Shellie ~ I think you misunderstand my position on fear, though, admittedly, I wasn’t very clear in my post. I’m not saying that fear doesn’t exist, and I’m not suggesting that God can’t use fear. And, I’m not suggesting that we should just all say, “Peace, peace” and hold hands while Iran nukes us into oblivion or anything like that. But, in the conversation I related above, both Martin, my Dad and myself came to a general agreement that fear-mongering does little good — though those who sound the alarm CAN be very valuable to our nation and to the cause of Christ. But… the idea is, what does that fear make us do? Does it just make us immobile and trembling? Does it make us intimidated by man? Does it cause us to be intimidated by the enemy? Does it cause him to keep us squashed and ineffective, under his thumb? Does it cause us to be hateful and ugly? Or does it make us (like it did with that amazing sister in Christ, Corrie ten Boom) turn to Him as the only source of help? Does that fear prompt us — compel us — to look to the Father for His provision, His solution, His power, His peace?? Ideally, it would, but too often, it doesn’t. What I would suggest is that, too often, fear-filled prophesies, fear-filled essays, fear-filled blog posts, fear-filled lives just make us focus on… FEAR, which is ultimately focusing on the enemy, satan, instead of the help, provision, solutions, power and peace from God our Father.

    Ultimately, fear most often causes us to be self-focused, or satan-focused, instead of fixing our eyes on Jesus in the midst of the waves in a way that will cause us to walk on water.

    I was just talking with my old friend, Lori, this afternoon (she’s not old; we’ve just known each other since literally the nursery at church, when we were 2yo or so) and she was telling me about the really, really difficult year she’d had this year. She said that never in her life had she, until this year, prayed so much. Her life became a minute-by-minute dependence on the Father and His solutions — to put food on the table, to provide spiritual shelter, to heal relationships… Dependence on the only One who could help.

    In my book, THAT’S what fear should do to us… not just make us more full of fear, but drive us to the foot of the cross.

    Jesus did what He saw the Father doing. Everything He did was to bring glory and attention to the Father and His plan. When we are filled with fear, the only one that that gives glory to is satan and his efforts to lie to us, steal from us, and destroy us.

    In my mind, there is a big difference from experiencing fear (like servicemen and women, or even heroes of the faith) and being consumed by fear. My stance is that we, as a people of God, are not to be consumed by fear. IMO, that’s sin, because everything not done out of faith is sin. (And, that makes me a sinner, for which I have to repent, at times, because I can’t say honestly that I am totally free from fear and 100% walking in faith. But, that’s my goal.)

    In my ideal world, we would have a Godly (and Republican) President, and the Congress controlled by Godly, Republican men and women. But, even if NONE of that happens for years to come, God is STILL on the throne, and the Church can rise, and glory will be given to God for His saving power — just look at China. (NOT that I’m suggesting that we, as Christians, should stand idly by and let our nation become like China. I’m just saying that God will show His power and have His way, and bring more people to Him through Jesus, no matter what the government will do.)

  4. I already responded privately. But what I am thinking as well is….is telling people the truth, is prophesying to them of coming destruction if they don’t repent….is it biblical (opinions aside) and is it right to alert sleeping, oblivious people that the house is on fire?

    We have a church that is by and large diving into emergent village and drinking and cussing and smoking and hitting Vegas and getting nasty on MySpace and is totally oblivious to the judgment of God and the concept of holiness and repentance. Not a good state of affairs. Do we tell them the truth or is that “fear mongering”?

  5. You’re welcome, Karen! Not only will it pass, but your son will be so different you’ll wonder if was as bad as you thought at the time. Kind of like childbirth. 😉

  6. That is so nice that you guys had a nice time together for your anniversary. Ironically our husbands have the same name and that is my youngest’s middle name and his cousin’s too. We have been married one year less than you.

    We need to exchange some info on our boys. My 12 yo is still a handful and I am often standing there wanting to tell him only a 2 yo does such things. I keep hoping 13 will be the magic number. But I am certain if we continue on the road that God has laid before us it will turn out alright in the end.

    About the fear thing and the comments that you have already recieved. I do agree that most of the church really needs to be warned of the wrath to come because they have fallen asleep. But for those of us who have been truly seeking God’s will we don’t need to fear (although I am a little). I do think that we might experience some of the judgement on America for turning from God, bu primarily because we live in a sinful world and we aren’t immune to the bad things that happen. However we serve a great and awesome God and if death is what comes than we will wake up in HIS presence. The bible clearly states that he has given us a spirit of peace and not of fear. Sometimes we just forget!

  7. We are coming up on the 9 yo boy phase SOON. Somehow we all survive these stages (and dare I say, even prosper?)

    A Very Happy Anniversary to you both!

  1. Pingback: Fear, God, childhood, motherhood, etc. « Only Sometimes Clever

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