Shattering Pinterest Envy - The Van

This is Day One of a series on shattering Pinterest Envy.  Click here to read the introduction to the series. In high school, when girls talked about their futures, they regularly planned who they'd marry, how many children they would have, where they'd live, and what type of vehicle they'd drive.

I always said I wanted to marry a man who played guitar and could sing. I loved music and at that age, had a major passion for it. I pictured myself going to small concerts and watching my man sing to a crowd. I also knew that I wanted to marry a minister.

Well, I obviously married the Reverend, but, have you ever heard him sing? The kid can carry a tune well enough to keep you from wanting to change seats during worship, but he would never be able to sing a solo. At ACC, he'd ask the sound person to mute his mic during the invitation hymn, for fear that it might cause a convicted person to change his or her mind.

Don't even get me started on his experience with musical instruments (Fifth grade. Stomped on. Girl's violin. Allowance gone. Forever.)

As a high schooler, I also knew exactly how many kids I wanted. This number even carried through when Chance and I met. In premarital counseling, we stated that we were for sure going to have two biological kids and then probably try to adopt one from China or Ethiopia (like good little Christians).

Well, fast forward through three miscarriages and burdened hearts for the cry of orphans - we currently tell people that we plan to fill our dining table with mostly adopted kids. The thing that most people don't realize though is that our dining table seats fourteen...

As a kid, I had no idea where I'd live. I knew I wanted to move out of my hometown, but beyond that, I had few expectations. Athens was never really high on my list though.

"My grandma lives in Athens. My mother grew up in Athens. I'm probably related to EVERYONE in Athens (yup.) and honestly, who wants to live in such a small town?"

Uh, well, me?

Finally though, I never, ever thought I would drive a minivan. I swore up and down, left and right that I would drive an SUV.

And then I learned about a little something called miles per gallon.

While Chance was a youth minister, we would regularly haul students to events and dinners and services. The place where we served didn't own a church van, and even if they had, Chance was too young to be covered by their insurance.

So Chance and I shattered my dreams of being an SUV family, and we bought a minivan.

At the time, since Chance was the one working with the youth, he was the primary driver. My 24-year-old, musically untalented husband, was driving a minivan full of sweaty junior high kids.

We began affectionately calling it the "man van."

The "man van" was a great purchase and really helped when we needed to haul students on trips. The Reverend quickly realized that he could also haul "man stuff" and I would regularly find plywood or leaf blowers, or table-saws shoved in the back hatch.

One time, he even squished four ready-to-plant fruit trees in the back and made me drive it home. It was similar to being on a safari.

Chance used the van to its fullest, but he always took good care of it. It was clean and maintained.

Shortly after we moved to Athens though, Chance decided he didn't need to haul grown-ups in the same way that he hauled kids, so the van became mine, and he bought a shiny truck (because that's what men do here in Athens). And thus, my dreams of being the SUV mom were once again shattered.

Now, many of you only know me via the blog world or have never been given the opportunity to ride in our van. You all may be picturing a shiny, well-taken care of mini van sitting in the driveway. We just seem like people who, you know, have it all together. I know you are thinking, "Those Newinghams are great stewards of God's gifts. It's nice that they've had that same minivan for 6 years."

While Chance was driving it, that may have been true. But now that I'm the primary driver...


For the sake of shattering Pinterest Envy, I plan to share the reality of my van here on the blog.

Let me take you on a brief tour:


This crack was probably the beginning of the damage and neglect to our van. The crack has grown over time, but began when a rock hit the windshield around FOUR YEARS AGO. I've always had great intentions of having insurance replace the windshield, but I have never gotten around to it. Recently though, something else happened, and I no longer think insurance will cover the replacement –


And thus the second stop on our tour...

(By the way, do you know how hard it is to photograph a windshield?!)

You might think that this shattered area is the result of another rock, but you would be very wrong my friends...

This crack originates from the INSIDE.  A few months ago, the Reverend was attempting to haul some long boards, and he put them inside of a long carpet tube. As he was loading them in the Menards parking lot, one of the 2x4s slid down the tube and came to a stop only after cracking my windshield.

Yeah, no insurance is going to cover that...

Since I'm already picking on the Reverend, the next stop will also show damage done by him:


That is a dent.  In the back of the van. Caused by Chance running into my grandmother's mailbox.

The sad thing is that I, the primary driver of this vehicle, did not notice the dent for over two month. It just sort of blends in with all the other dents, knicks and bugs...


If you can get past the filth, you might be able to see an visual illustration of what happens when you don't pull your van far enough into the garage before closing the door. Ahem, twice.

Yup. That was all me. Both times.

20131112-162738.jpgYou'll also be able to see what happens when you don't back out straight, and your passenger-side mirror slams into the side of the garage door. Ahem, also twice. And also me.

This post doesn't even highlight the kool-aid stain I can't seem to remove or the fact that I typically wait until I'm at least 5,000 miles past due before getting an oil change. It also doesn't show the pictures I took when my oldest spilled a whole bag of sunflower seeds in his car seat and I neglected to clean them up for three whole weeks.

Friends, my mini van does not, I repeat, does not induce any kind of Pinterest Envy.

What about you? Are your vehicles a priority? Do they remain spotless and pristine? Or would you, like me, benefit from a Pinterest board full of car maintenance tips?

Shattering Pinterest Envy - The Fit

Pinterest Envy