This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves
to be my disciples. John 15:8

More fun than I deserved.

>> Monday, August 6, 2007

Anyone who has known me more than a few minutes knows that I can talk your ear off. My old boss used to say that I have enough tongue for ten sets of teeth. He used to also say it about his wife, though, so I knew he meant it good-naturedly. (It's probably why I have this blog....too much to say, not nearly enough people to listen to it.) What people sometimes don't realize is that I am actually very shy around people I don't know. It's something I really don't like about myself and am constantly praying about. It makes me less effective for the Lord that I have trouble approaching people I don't know.

For me, this shyness has been one of the worst parts about being married. Having to meet all of his "people". First, when we were dating, I had to meet all of this friends and family. The first Christmas we were together, I had to go spend the day with all of his extended family for a Christmas potluck. Not only was this traumatizing because it was my first Christmas ever doing anything away from my family, but I had to meet about 247 people (or maybe it was more like 20? It sure felt like a lot). I had so much anxiety about this day that I worked myself all up and spent the entire day running to the bathroom (which gave Mark's family a great impression of me, let me tell you). Then there was the work picnic where I would have to meet all of his co-workers while at the house of the man who owned the company. I (very foolishly) decided that a little wine was what I needed to take the edge off my nerves so I could relax and be myself. Let me just summarize by saying that I was more "myself" than I had ever been until I was so "myself" that I had to go and sleep "myself" off in the car. (I want to defend myself by saying that this is not really indicative of the amount of wine I was more about the combination of wine/heat/too nervous to eat anything along with the wine.)

As I'm re-living these stories, I'm realizing it's a wonder Mark ever married me. I sound like a real catch, don't I?

So fast-forward 6 years and I had to attend another company picnic this weekend. I have been able to avoid all since for various reasons (too pregnant and too hot to spend the day outside, previous commitments, etc...), but I had no excuse this time. The weather even bailed on me and wouldn't give me an excuse (it was only 75 degrees here on Saturday, which is strange for August). So off we went. My stomach was in knots and I was worried way too much about things I rarely care about, like my eyeliner (I made Mark run back in the house to get it once I got in the car and realized that in the light of day, I was not fit to meet all these people with the state my eyeliner was currently in. I had lost my mind). So off we went, to a park about 30 miles south of where we live, so I had a nice, long drive to stew in my nerves. By the time we got there, I was sufficiently keyed-up about the whole thing, but fortunately, it was only 10:30 in the morning and there was no wine being served, so I couldn't make too much of a fool of myself again.

Then a funny thing happened. We had a great time! His company was so generous at this picnic. It started with us dropping off our raffle tickets (more about that later) and then picking up the age-specific backpacks they had filled with goodies for the kids attending. Elijah and Micah each got one for the 0-3 year olds, which contained (besides the nice backpack), small toys, crayons, a book and bubbles. Then we made our way to tables they had covered in snacks for everyone to load in their backpacks (pre-packaged stuff like granola bars and raisins and graham cookies). Gigantic coolers filled with water, juice and soda were under many of the trees, and you could smell the food being prepared for the BBQ. While we waited for the food, the kids got to play in an adorable bounce house filled with large, inflated animals, and Mark took Elijah down a gigantic inflatable slide (more than once). All the while, Mark's co-workers were with us, laughing and enjoying the day just as we were. They introduced themselves and told me how Mark was the nicest guy they'd ever worked with (not a surprise to anyone who knows Mark), and that he was such an asset to the team. They made me feel right at home and I was genuinely glad to be there. While we ate lunch, the CFO of the company asked if he and his family could sit with us (Mark is an accountant, so this is a very big deal). I got to know he and his wife and I found myself laughing easily and often. The CFO then proceeded to tell me how valuable Mark has been and I got to beam with pride at the compliments my husband was receiving.

From there, Elijah got to have his first snowcone and participated in his first water balloon toss (which consisted of him laughing maniacally as he threw the balloons on the ground and watched them burst). We also won a $25 gift card to Best Buy and a $200 gift card to Circuit City, so we basically got paid to be there on top of all the other goodies we had received!

All in all, it was a really great day. I met a lot of nice people and watched my sons participate in several fun things. Mostly I was so happy for Mark. He works so hard for our family and he asks very little in return. He is a wonderful husband who is the definition of self-less. I knew he (despite previous picnics) was really looking forward to this weekend and showing off his super cute kids (and I guess me, too) to his co-workers. He deserved a good time and I hated that my nerves might get in the way of that. I am so grateful that God was good and calmed me down so that I could bless my husband with a good day.


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