Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Southern Comfort

I learned a valuable lesson, taking a trip to Louisiana.  Here it goes….

Don't allow someone else's opinion to be your own.  Form you own opinion on your own experience.  Lastly, don't be to opinionated.  Allow others to form their own opinions.

It does not seem that deep, does it?  It seems rather simple, really.

Here in Colorado, I feel like most people believe the south is nothin' but hot, muggy, racial,  and full of bugs and creepy crawlies.  I just spent a week in there and this is was my experience...

I never got a bug bite.  I never saw anything scary, except some alligators and they were behind bars.  I loved the humidity.  My skin and lips felt fabulous.  But perhaps what stands out the most is the people.  They were truly wonderful.  The people down south are some of the most hospitable people I have ever met.  We felt so welcomed everywhere we went.

It was so much fun to drive southeast about 1,000 miles and experience a completely different culture.  There was one disappointment, but the pleasant surprises far outweighed the disappointment.  I am sure you are wondering what was so disappointing.  With as much clarity as possible I will say…

Racial Tension.  The blacks and the whites.  The stereotypes.  The bitterness.  It is still alive and well in the south.  Now, there were African Americans who smiled and called me "baby," but the majority choose to not even look our way.  Not being from the south, I was not expecting it.  I am used to there really not being a wedge at all.  The friends we stayed with work every day at "building the bridge."  They go, without hesitation into "Cotton's," the black neighborhood grocery store.  The man of the family, stops by "V-Baby," to get an occasional haircut.  Each time he enters, the place falls silent.  He pretends he does not notice.

I know there has been progress.  However, we need to pray for the southerners eyes to be opened and only see one another through God's eyes.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Extending Our Stay

So much to do, so little time!  We went to church this morning and then played in the water all afternoon.  We would like to go to some of the privately owned locals shops in town so we are going to stay another day and head home Tuesday.

The kids have spent 95% of their time wet. They will be going to art camp tomorrow while I do a little shopping with my friend.

One more day...(for real this time).

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Loving The South

My own personal tea glass

We have been shown such great hospitality and kindness since we have been here.  Some of our friends' friends, had us over for dinner and homemade blueberry cobbler, with blueberries she hand picked that morning.

The kids went swimming in their first salt water pool as the adults drank frozen drinks and listened to worship music and a little bit of reggae on the patio.
Swimming at the Stanberries

Tonight, 6 ladies from the church came and watched the children while we enjoyed an adults night out.

The ladies were incredibly sweet and the kids were drawn to them right away.  Ivor had a temperory freak out at the thought of me leaving but recovered quickly once I was gone. 

I ate crawfish for the first time. It was pretty good.  The best part of dinner was the lemon martini. Wow!

One more day!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Love the Gators and the Humidity

No- really! I love the humidity.  My skin feels amazing!  I look younger. My kids don't suddenly get bloody noses.  My feet feel nice and soft.  It's great.  Everyone warned me about the weather. I love it!!!! I spray a little mixture of water and peppermint on me, and I am good to go! 

The kids braved the 4 year old alligator, George. Even Ivor took a turn...next his big sissy of course.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Roadtrip to Louisiana!

We were invited to Louisiana by one of the families we travelled with to China to adopt the boys.   A couple of the other families live in neighboring states and they came down as well.  We are having a great time and I have to say, the drive here was not bad!  The kids had these wonderful snack boxes I made (thanks Pinterest for the fabulous idea). 
These were awesome in the car! They loved them and still had a lot when we made it to our destination!

Our friends have a great place!  It is right on a lake and there's a pool in the back yard. It's too cool! 

Day one and two in Louisiana have been awesome.  My super organized camp host has lots of great things planned for us. We are happy, happy, happy!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Oh Summertime

Helping dad plant grass
The late nights, the popsicles, the dinners out with friends, baseball, rodeo, warm mornings on the porch drinking coffee…I don't what I like the most.  I love all of it…every single bit.  It's officially here.  The kids wrapped up their school year, t-ball is under way, the new driveway has children riding up and down it all throughout the day.  The dogs seem happier, popsicle wrappers lay about.  We sleep with the windows open and the last thing I hear are the croaking of frogs and prayers in my head.  I know He hears them too. 

We leave to Louisiana in about a week.  We get to sleep in for the next few months.  Speech is on the back burner.  So is math and reading.  The kids get to be kids, and run around half dressed, mostly dirty and totally free. 

We had the most fabulous weekend.  Rance surprised husband and I both at his progress in riding skills.  He did an awesome job at the rodeo.  We had our last t-ball practice before the big game tomorrow.  We went to dinner and hung out with friends, and bedtime was not a concern.  We planted shrubs in front of the new house.  We still need a weed eater, but who cares.  We have shrubs!  We ate a mouthwatering lunch at our favorite wholesome Mexican restaurant, Zia's.  There was no rush to get home for naps.  We read three chapters out of Winn-Dixie even though it was past 8:00.  It was 9:30 actually.  I tucked in sun kissed kids after lathering them with lavender.
Trigg and Ivor, being rodeo rats

Pearl, our pet walrus

Planting shrubs

We hung the American Flag today!  
I am more relaxed than I have ever been.  Life is good, and I am writing this all down so I remember, God gives us rest.  He answers prayers.  Things change.  Hectic times pass.  We pull through.  It's up to us how we spend our time, but we each get the same amount in our day.
Lola, the muskrat serial killer
It  helps that Ann Voskamp has reminded me to count my gifts from God…each and every one.  So far I am on #103. She has made me realize that when we are thankful we can't be angry or sad or upset.  We can't have the two emotions at the same time.  So with every little piece of this wonderful weekend I was careful to stop, be thankful and enjoy, live in the moment, take it in.  Eucharisteo.

Oh summertime…I am so glad your here.
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