Sunday, December 14, 2014

Random

Sometimes I think one of my biggest mistakes as a blogger is only posting when I feel like I have something big to share, but I was just on a friends blog and was captured by her style. They aren't always long posts, but usually very thought provoking, and giving a relevant picture of her life too.
 Something I need to learn.
  I'm just bouncing around today so in the spirit of randomness here goes.
Sunday:  We stayed in town last night because the girls got a chance to go see Anna Laurie perform in The Nutcracker and the rest of us spent some quality Pinterest time with my sisters. ;) Ed is working, kids are currently watching some Veggie Tales, and I'm online while we all wait on our much belated soup to cook (well, ed isn't. not sure what his lunch was today. ;) It will be back to church at 5 for kids choir, followed be evening services. I'll be heading straight home after church since I hate driving at night and don't want to prolong it if I can help it.
  This week will be spent hopefully getting our homestead whipped into shape for any random company that might drop by. aka Pete and Holly are coming and I want them to be impressed. lol. Also hoping to finish up some Christmas gifts I've been trying to work on, and then get stuff wrapped. Sleep and meals are debatable but I suppose the family would appreciate it if I gave them some thought too.
 Also on my mental to do list is to begin to set some goals for 2015. Even as I type that it seems weird, cause I'm not used to using 2014 yet. C'est la vie, huh?
  Relationships. Goals. Beginnings and endings. Old things and new things. Journals, blogging, and scripture memory. Teaching and being taught.
  I told you. I'm random today.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Asher and Wyatt clowning

Wyatt will one day thank his sister for putting a pink and purple scarf on him.

This is the beginning of a beautiful road.

More thankful than words...

How do you find words for those moments when you feel the most deeply? The ones that bring you to your knees in gratitude, or leave you shaking with fear?  How can words capture the entire range of raw human emotion and experience with all its nuance and fragility in the moments of life that leave their marks the most deeply on our souls?
 I'm not sure words can. And if words even could, I'm not sure I will find them. But I feel compelled to try. Not because I'm unique among mankind, but because the Bible says, "One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts." Psalm 145:4

   Starting earlier in this month, we were blessed with a special gift to start work on our road. To fully appreciate just what this means to us, please imagine a year of trekking roughly 100 yards back and forth from where we had to park the truck to our cabin. More than half that time we were slogging through mud and water carrying everything from sleeping children to building supplies. It would take too long (and distract from my point here) to go into very much detail about all the ins and outs of our road, but suffice it to say it was a project that we had hoped to have tackled much sooner and it just hadn't worked out. But as I am learning, God is the God of our stops as well as our starts, and His timing is so perfect. So, early Monday morning we got our first loads of dirt dumped. And because The Lord is so perfect in His detail, He allowed a co-worker of Ed's to volunteer to bring his tractor to help spread and pack the dirt, allowing us to not only get done in a little over an hour what would have taken us the rest of the week to complete (with all of us working and using shovels, buckets and a wagon), but also to get one more load of dirt dumped after the first two were spread. (And I'm sure that is the longest run-on sentence in the history of ever. =)
We have such a long driveway that Ed and I have a friendly little bet going as to how many more loads of dirt it will take to complete the driveway up to the cabin. I'm saying 10, Ed says 5 (my Dad says 12-15). I'll let y'all know who wins. =)
 Anyway, I have to confess to a whole lot of doubt that this project was even going to be started before rains came again and made roadwork impossible for another 9 months, but The Lord always does exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think! And watching an almost total stranger spend hours of his day off to work on our road while we just watched, and then not accept payment, is one of the most humbling experiences ever. My prayer was one steady stream of "Thank you, Lord!". Moments like those, 'Thank you' feels so inadequate, and yet that is all you can say.

 In amazes me how quickly we can move from one overwhelming experience to another….I feel as though we have been riding a wave of just one blessing after another over the last few months as we see one project after another be completed…and then last night we had an experience of a whole different kind. And yet one that leaves me more deeply thankful than any of our previous blessings.
  I went Black Friday shopping yesterday with my sisters and cousins, and we had a good time chatting and laughing and seeing if there were any bargains to snag. After we were done, Josh and Rachel took me home. They hadn't been there is a few months so we spent a little time showing off all the improvements since they were last there, and then we all sat down for coffee. The kids were as usual shrieking and playing in the loft and enjoying their cousin. All in all a normal, happy evening. But we hadn't been sitting there long, when Wyatt slipped coming down the ladder from the loft and fell about 6 ft. landing on his front/side. Full body impact. It's one of those moments when time freezes and then restarts in slow-motion. Ed was there is a second, picking him up and taking him to the bed to examine him. (Side-note: Ed is an EMT, so he knew what to look for.) I was in a full panic and near hysteria and Ed initially wouldn't let me close, and rightly so! but there is no more helpless feeling in life than knowing your baby is in a life threatening crisis and there is not one single thing (physically) you can do to fix it. I was thrown on God's mercy and His alone. And in that moment, silently crying out to my Heavenly Father for the life and health of my baby boy, not even knowing what to pray or how to pray it….in that moment was crystalized the reality of life. We are living every moment dependent on God's grace and mercy whether we know it or not. And I think so often we lose sight of that fact. I know I do. I wouldn't have said I did, but it's these kind of moments to strip us bare and leave us with the raw truth of our own frailty before an Almighty God. I am, by nature, a do-er. If there is a problem, I want to find the solution. If there is a conflict, I want to resolve it. But God wants us to acknowledge that "without Me, ye can do nothing". In that moment, at the core of my being, I knew that. Not with my mind, but with my soul.
 But our God…..is merciful and gracious.
 Wyatt passed out for about 30 seconds right after Ed picked him up. And after he came to, he was foggy and confused and barely responsive in general. Nothing seemed broken, but he was so pale and fluttery that Ed decided pretty quick we needed to make a trip to the ER in Hattiesburg. Thankfully Josh and Rachel took our truck and all the kids to their house and let us use their car to go to the hospital.
 We had prayer as we took off, and it is surprising how hard it is to admit aloud that our lives are in His hands in moments when that might turn out to have a different ending than we want to demand. The trip took as long as trips do at times like that and we spent it just trying to get him to stay awake. We sang and counted fingers and toes and asked questions, and while he would repeat with difficulty what we said he couldn't answer questions. He kept fading out and it was all I could do to keep him awake. Then just as I got out at the ER to go inside he started vomiting all over both of us. Thankfully we didn't have a long wait, they took us back pretty quick and then after an initial exam got him scheduled for CT scans of the head and neck. Of course, waiting always takes forever, but it gave me time to get cleaned up a bit and he got a gown and warm blankets. ( I had forgotten to even grab his little backpack, so we had NO clothes.) I was thankful that Ed and I were able to hold him through the entire wait and even when he went for his scans they let us go to and go his head and hands. He laid perfectly still for that which amazed and scared me. It was good for the scan but not normal for him at all! He did perk up for just a minute when the nurse gave him some stickers after that which was good to see but it didn't last long. Then we were back to the room to wait for the results. At this point he had been awake for so long, (it was about 10:00pm and he had fallen about 7:20pm) that when he started to doze we just let him sleep. We kept checking his breathing and skin temp and he napped about 20 min before he woke on his own. He seemed much more alert at this point even asking a few questions and noticing what was on the TV in the room, which was hugely encouraging to us. Shortly after that the Dr came in and let us know that all the scans were clear. They had waited to see how he was acting before they let us know the scan results, but they released us not long after that. My relief in hearing that left me feeling a little limp and shaky. I'm convinced the Lord performed a miracle on our behalf. All in all, not a long stay, just an intense one. By the time we headed for the waiting room, he was acting much more like himself.
 We are so thankful for family who are always there when you need them. Josh had called all our family in Wiggins right after they took off, letting them know what happened and asking them to pray. We started getting texts and calls assuring us of prayer not long after we got to the hospital, and then Uncle Phil, Bryson, and Ivan drove up just to wait in the waiting room to find out how things were. Wyatt was able to greet them with a smile (although a pale one) and show them his stickers. And then Uncle Phil led us in a prayer of thanksgiving right there in the waiting room!
  We spent the night in town with Josh's and Wyatt slept well and seems good as new today. I can't help wanting to keep him close and not let him do anything today, but I know it's not me that keeps him safe, it's the powerful, mighty God of the universe, Who sent His only Son to this earth to live and die for my sin. He loves my children more than I possibly could (hard as that is for me to fathom!) and our lives and times are in His hands.
 This Thanksgiving, I'm more thankful than words that:
" Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable". Psalm 145:3

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Looking forward, looking back

What a gorgeous week of perfect fall weather. I am just enjoying every minute of it! and I am enjoying it even more this year than last year. :)
  Last year at this time we were still in the throes of moving in to our cabin and adjusting to "pioneer life".
Ed and I jokingly told each other in those first days, " Now we know what freedom is, it tastes a lot like dirt." :)   In spite of many of the physical difficulties we were facing, it was seriously such a relief, once the move was over and we were out of a rental and on our own land. It took a few weeks for it to sink in that we could put down roots and do whatever we wanted 'cause it was ours.
 I  do have to confess to a bit of apprehension going into this venture about how the kids were going to adjust and how was I going to keep them clean and healthy and safe and warm. But they have thrived. Truly. As anxious as I was to be out in the country, and knowing that they would be better for it, I was still amazed to find that in the space of a few weeks they were gaining muscle and weight and their appetites were huge and they were looking less pale and more rosy. Not that my kids have been sickly…quite the opposite. But like all moms, I would worry. The LORD has provided since day one, above and beyond what we expected.

  Then:
 - our cabin was a lot more primitive
 - I was cooking on a 2-burner propane camp stove,
 - we were pumping our water by hand from our well and carrying it to a barrel to treat with bleach      before running it through our Berkey water filter
 - we were dealing with lots of dirt and mud
 - I was either washing clothes by hand or hauling them into town to the laundromat
 - we were hauling every last thing we brought from town 100 yards over a log "bridge"(which is a fancy name for it) and through mud and water to get it to the cabin
 - we were figuring out how to adjust our expectations to a slower lifestyle
 - we were doing dip baths out of an old toy tub in front of a heater on the porch
 - did I mention, dealing with lots of dirt?
 - and yet with all of that enjoying our first taste of freedom. :)

And now? Well, now we are a lot more settled and stable. Still rustic in many ways, but so much stronger for our experiences and confident of the Lord's care and direction even when we might not know exactly what the next thing is. My faith has grown and my confidence has grown.  It feels strange saying this, but I feel as though the Lord has allowed me to experience so many new things and see just what I am capable of, with His help, in areas I have never been tested in before.  I learned how to use power tools in helping frame and build our cabin. We have felled trees and cleared brush and timber. We've learned to improvise and be innovative.  And lest I sound like I'm bragging, I in no way think I or we could have done any of this in our own strength. It's all the Lord's doing.  And I'm also not saying it was easy. Or that there weren't days when I struggled and wished for the easy way out. 'Cause there have been those days too. But living outside so much more has not only improved my mental outlook but also my physical strength. There are constant reminders of our God's awesome power and creation in nature. It's harder to be depressed when a fall sunset or a starlit sky are just beyond our fingertips.
 So here we are. We just celebrated one year on our homestead and we are looking forward to what the next year has to offer.
  I'll try to include a few pictures over the next little while to show you where we are today and also give a peek at where we are headed. In the meantime, we are trying to just live each day as the Lord gives it to us. Uneventfully and simply and hopefully making the best use of our time and resources.

PS. The song "Home" by Phillip Phillips became a favorite when we first heard it right after moving. :)