the promised Manhattan post

I figure I’d better get this post written before my constantly disappearing brain cells make me forget my trip entirely.  🙂  I realize that many of you will not really be interested in my goings on in Manhappiness, so if you are one of those people, just wait until my next post, which will be about a very exciting subject, I’m sure.

So here’s the run down on the trip highlights:
Mindi:  Somehow Mindi and I managed to enjoy meaningful (albeit frequently interrupted) conversation while there were eight (yes, eight) children in her home: 2 of mine, 4 of hers, and 2 extras.  Now that was a busy household!  Neither of us like to talk on the phone much and both of us are often too busy to email, so our correspondence between visits is sparse.  However, whenever I walk into her warm, inviting home, we can pick up where we left off.  I love having friends like that.

Ellen, Jen, and Baby Wyatt:  There’s nothing like pizza and beer with my former library pals.  🙂  There wasn’t a dull moment that evening, and it was so wonderful to meet Jen’s little baby, Wyatt.  He’s so stinkin’ cute!  Jack loved him, too (perhaps a little too affectionately).  Jen and Roger also have this great cat, Andy, whom both Amélie and Jack absolutely adored.  And while they were tormenting the cat I was enjoying time reconnecting with two good friends (and former co-workers).

Kristey, Annika, and Baby Alena:  Since my last visit to Manhattan, Kristey had given birth to an awfully cute little baby girl, Alena (and I just love the name!).  We got to hang out together while our kiddos (minus her baby) played in a little pool in her front yard.  We had a great time catching up and hanging out.

Rachel:  I spent 4 (mostly sleepless) nights at Rachel’s, so we spent lots and lots of wonderful times together.  Some of the highlights………
Food.  Rachel and I both love food, and we both love to cook and bake, so I really enjoy the culinary experience in the Andresen household.  You would, too, if you had eaten yummy stuff like oven pancakes, Green Curry Rice Bowl with Tofu (this was so incredibly good that I’m fixing it tomorrow night for dinner), Flaxseed/Bulgur Bread, Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake, and Chocolate Ganache ice cream.  I am drooling as I write.
Food Issues:  Rachel had this book at her house called 101 Reasons I’m a Vegetarian by Pamela Rice.  I got through reason # 52 before I had to leave her house, and I’ve interlibrary loaned the book so that I can read the other 49 reasons.  I’m not completely ready to jump into the vegetarian camp (and after reading what I’ve read of this book I still don’t have a problem eating the venison I get from my grandpa, which is pretty much the only meat I eat anyway), but the book is really compelling on environmental, health, spiritual, and humanitarian (or maybe I should say “animalitarian”) levels. 
Birth:  Rachel was my doula, as you all probably already know, and she was also my inspiration in my quest to become a doula to help women take back birth as an empowering, beautiful, and powerful experience.  We watched The Business of Being Born together, and that was just…wonderful.  It was incredible to stay up (way too) late afterwards discussing the film and our “birthy” passion.  Plus, we spent a lot of our time together talking about doula-y stuff, and I just loved that. 
etc.  Rachel and I connect on so many levels (I could go on…and on…and on…).  What a blessing it was to share her home and her life for 4 days. 

New Hope Community Church:  I was a little anxious about going back to this church, b/c a lot of changes have occurred since I left there 2 1/2 years ago.  However, I had nothing to fear.  It was great to see old friends again there.  It was also absolutely wonderful to be part of worship as led by Patrick.  Then there was the message.  Todd Stewart spoke, and his topic, “Affluenza,” couldn’t have been more relevant to my thought processes at the moment (not to mention that it’s also a hot topic that Rachel and I have in common, so it was a good thing that there was a chair in between us during the service of I think I would have elbowed her so often she’d have bruises!).  I have actually been carting my sermon notes from place to place in this house for that free moment when I’d get to sit and write this post, but of course I have no clue where they are at the moment (insert collective sigh of relief from all of you who have absolutely no interest in my sermon notes!).  I’ll have to summarize, then.  First, I found it incredibly refreshing for someone (an all-American pastor, no less) to stand up in front of a congregation and make the audacious statement that chasing the “American dream” really has absolutely nothing to do with our lives as God has intended.  Nothing.  In fact, he went as far as to say that chasing such a dream goes pretty much against God’s plan.  To exemplify just how sick most Americans are with affluenza, he displayed this quiz from the PBS show Affluenza (which I have yet to see).  I could not believe the stuff in that quiz.  Amazing.  Todd said something early on in his talk that has been bouncing around in my head since I heard him speak.  He stated, “What you consume will consume you.”  Wow.  Isn’t that true?  If I spend my life in the pursuit of consuming things, things, and more things, those things will consume me (this reminds me of a quote you had on your blog, Michele, about your belongings owning you, or something like that).  Then, the last sentence of his closing prayer was, “Jesus, free us.”  Wow.  How powerful.  I really do need to be freed from the soul sickness of affluenza.  After that, Patrick closed the service with two of my favorite worship songs that totally fit that day’s message:  “From the Inside Out” and “Blessed Be Your Name.”   Good stuff. 

When I arrived home late Sunday afternoon, I walked into a house with beautifully refinished hardwood floors.  Matt had sanded and refinished the dining room, living room, and office, and my floors are now absolutely gorgeous.  You’ll have to ask him about the night that he worked himself out the door, couldn’t get back in b/c of the wet floors (we have 3 entrances to our house: in the living room, dining room, and office!), and had to climb in through the dog door….  Now we’re back to life as usual.  Sort of.  There’s uncertainty and excitement and apprehension and stress buzzing around our house.  I’m not ready to write about it yet, but if you really really want to know you can email me. 

In the meantime, I’d better get to bed.  I have two kids upstairs who are coughing horribly.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a long, long night……………


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by clbeyer on June 9, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Oh. Hm. I’m fighting some jealousy right now, wishing I could spend four days in Manhappiness with my dear, sweet sister Rachel.


  2. Posted by Ashley on June 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Hey Jill! This is off the subject but, I had the baby!!! I emailed you all about him!!! Miss you!!! Love, ash


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