Brian didn’t preach Sunday- Beau filled in. And that gave Brian, and therefore all of us, a sabbath type of weekend.
Brian is good at making the most of his weekends off from preaching. He is good at resting in the best ways.
Friday after school we went downtown to Union Rescue Mission where we helped deep-fry turkeys for their feast on Saturday. What a place that is.
It was rainy and cold out. A tough -tougher- night to be on the streets. And there right on San Pedro Street, outside their kitchen, under pop-up tents on the sidewalk, close to 20 deep-fryers and their propane tanks, sizzled and popped, cooking up turkey after turkey.
They had started at 4am and would work through the night to cook around 700 turkeys which would feed 4000 or more people Saturday. They let us help for a couple hours.
The boys, armed with meat thermometers, oven mitts and “hook grabbers,” wove through the steaming fryers, peaking under lids, checking for doneness. As the birds reached shimmering golden tan, the boys would hurry over, Kade with the oven mitt would lift the lid, Chase with the “hook grabber” would heft the turkey up, and Finn would poke the thermometer in. All three heads would lean close to read the temp and discuss readiness or further cooking.
Various passers-by stopped and watched, asking some questions, lingering in the residual warmth and inviting smells. We got to invite several to join the feast the next day. During the moments when the turkeys just needed to cook, we stood and watched. Thinking. Wondering. Waiting. As one of these pauses ended, and he headed back into the steamy frying zone, Finn turned and said to me, “I am having so much fun doing this.”
Saturday morning, we hit the road to adventure to a new spot Brian had read about- the potential of trout in a new creek in unchartered (by the Kellys) lands. We drove up the coast to the 126, through the Santa Clara River Valley to I-5 and up the grapevine to Hungry Valley.
We crossed through the valley, crisp and clear, with cheerful boys and happy dog in the back, ooo-ing and awe-ing at the 4-wheel drive trails ribboning over hills and through the brush, with hillsides above freshly dusted with snow. Hoping the road would stay open, we climbed up the winding mountainside, marveling at the increasing snow and the vistas of the valley below. Soon we were in a winter wonderland with every pine needle and twig individually frosted with crystal, glistening white.
At the top we got out and frolicked in whiteness. Didn’t take long for the cold of the white to hit snowball making fingers, but we savored the quiet, perfect winter on a little walk together, listening to the muted crunch of our feet and wondering at the crystal details of each twig and branch.
Piling back in the warm car, we headed back down the hill, to explore the creek, where instead of the pristine white, we were umbrellaed with blazing oranges and yellows and reds. We climbed over and along the rocky banks, blazing a trail, catching glimpses of trout.
Up and across, over and through the boys so big and strong now, mountain-goated over the rocky banks. The boys and I have switched roles already on these hikes: I am the one they wait for and offer a hand to as we climb hills and rocks. With sweet gallantry they offered to carry the camera for me or make sure I knew where to put my foot.
And then, after hitting a steep spot in the rocky canyon, we turned around and found our way back to the car, where Chase took the wheel for a little driving practice. I was in the co-pilot seat and Brian hung on the side, next to Chase’s open window. Chase maneuvered around the dirt parking lot like an expert following his dad’s directions- laughing and making us laugh.
With Brian back at the wheel we made our way back to the 4-wheeling trails and put the land cruiser to the test up a couple crazy, rocky, straightup hills- Mom and boys squealing- I even had to close my eyes- and even Brian even admitted that he was a little nervous on one of them.
After hours of grand adventuring we headed back toward home- needing and wanting to make it back in time to watch the Mulder kids so Scott and Laura could celebrate their 11th anniversary. We had a sweet night with our sweet friends, tired from a great day filled with all the best things in life.
Sunday dawned bright and busy as we had the annual Thanksgiving dinner in the evening so lots for me to do and organize. I piled and organized stacks and boxes for all the trappings of a usual Sunday along with all the decor for the party, before heading over to the property. Church was sweet as always, and I got to sit in for Beau’s sermon after running home during announcements to put the turkey in the oven.
After church everyone helped set up chairs and tables, and a sweet gaggle of ladies helped sand and candle the jars and set them on the tables. Hannah stayed with me as everyone left and we finished the sanding of jars, hanging of lights, arranging of food tables etc. Two Kelly boys and two Mulder kids played in the quiet with us. Hannah wrapped silverware in napkins, I hung lights and string for thankfulness cards, and the kids chattered and played in the still afternoon. The kids gathered beautifully colored leaves and berries from the ground and littered them on the tables and they wrote thankful cards and hung them up. It was quiet, and peaceful, lovely and comfortable quiet.
And after a bit of time at home, making green-bean casserole while Hannah studied for her test and I graded TKAM tests, it was time to head back. A little time all by myself at the property, candles to line the driveway, snacks for ahead of time, more lights, dusting chairs, adjusting candles, thinking and praying for the sweet people that would come soon to this place. The people God has given to me and my family- thinking on the sweetness of getting to do these things- to make a lovely night for them. A night where they could breathe and know that God had provided a family and a place for them. Where they could think on Him and thank Him for His grace and goodness.
People and dusk arrived together, candles lit, lights glowing, golden in the growing darkness- warmth and light beckoning amid the night. Food and people, laughter and talking and eating and gentle true friendship. It was lovely. All of it. Sweetness and life, truth and grace.
It was Brian’s weekend off from preaching- our sabbath weekend- and if you’d asked me how I wanted to spend it ahead of time, I would’ve said by doing nothing but hanging around. I wanted to just rest. But I’m glad that we didn’t rest that way. I’m learning that rest can come in different ways. I found rest in doing the work and activity God had orchestrated for me, in savoring in the family and the friends He has given me. Even in busyness was rest. Even in tiredness my soul was rested, and filled with the beauty of the family and body He has made me a part of.