Those of you who know me can pretty much hear my tone of voice as I utter the term "Hickville" with apparent disdain. After all, this is the "city girl" who relished her opportunity to work downtown Chicago, travel Europe, and leap at the chance of any other such adventure. But that was in another life. Or so it seems.
Jonathan and I have pictured our lives in various parts of the country and different types of areas, throughout the year in the all-too-familiar roller coaster of hoping, fearing, thinking this church will be the one and then ending up disappointed . . . again. Well, as we've gone through all of that, we seem to have arrived at some interesting (to me, anyway) conclusions about the kind of place we'd like to live and raise our sons. Now, of course, geography isn't the #1 consideration, and we really have no offers, as yet, but that is incredibly beside the point.
Here are some of our findings:
We'd prefer a church that does not have a Christian school (You see, if he's the pastor, and the church has a school attached to it, for better or for worse, we've lost our privilege of making decisions regarding our children's education.)
We'd strongly prefer someplace in the Midwest or Northeast part of the country, particularly where there are lots of trees and a significant amount of fluctuation in temperature throughout the year. And yes, snow. (I love that pink little nose!)
We'd like to find a somewhat quiet ministry and area, not one that would have us running the rat race. I strongly believe that many public servants and, yes, people in Christian ministry, often become workaholics to the detriment of their own families. And many ministries almost require that a person do so.
That last one has been startling to me. I mean, I want my kids to have opportunities and culture and all of that. I don't want them to be "hicks." But at the same time, I don't want to miss their growing up years or our chance to truly enjoy and influence them. I've been hearing so many people say (and even write, in Christmas letters and such) things like "well, like everyone else, we're busier than we'd like to be." I even know of one mom of teenagers who said she and her husband had always wanted to take a trip to the Grand Canyon, but their kids preferred to spend that money on fine arts and sports camps. Now they're all grown, and I wonder if she regrets not doing that kind of thing.
So many of my students' families, when I taught at a Christian school I still think is one of the very best, really had little to no family life. I don't want that. The rat race will be fine if we leave it. It's been fine for a while now, while we spend most of our hours trying to live "quiet, peaceful lives" (1 Timothy 2:2).
With our current financial situation, I'm also really learning to re-evaluate my definition of "need" and what is really important. I'm learning how materialistic I am and how unimportant most of what money can buy truly is. My boys don't care about "stuff" nearly as much as they desire my attention.
Now, my undivided attention would be easier to give them, if I wasn't constantly applying for jobs--mostly for Jonathan--and finding ways to earn and save a few bucks here and there on-line, but still! (On that note, a recipe I love will be featured on "Raining Hot Coupons" tomorrow, er, uh, later today--yikes! I need to go to bed! Anyhow, "Like" them on Facebook for great deals and to see yours truly--and vote for me at the end of the month, please! If I win, I'll get a rare $20 fun money!) Some money definitely makes life easier, but I digress.
Currently, I'm surprised at my "okayness" with a prospective church in Michigan's UP. It's literally 2 hours from a town of 20,000 people--the closest Super Wal-Mart, mall, etc. Really, I am. I guess I've changed. But if they don't have high-speed internet capabilities, that might be a little too far . . .