Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Any way, we were doing that little song and dance this morning just before the kids arrived. I was just reminded of how patient and amazing my husband is with me. And in walk my three precious kids. It's always such a good feeling to all be back together again.
A few hours later two of our friends arrived who are spending the week. These two teenage boys from our church in Atlanta are coming to help Andy with the farm work this week. I told the kids that we get a break this week from picking vegetables and there were hoots and hollers and all manner of jumps and dances. (Mostly from me.) Our farm helpers are staying up the hill in an old trailer. I think it is one of the yuckiest places ever. But the guys seemed pleased as can be to have their own place. My Joshua is already enjoying having two older guys around. He rode four wheelers with them and helped them unload groceries. He asked if he could spend the night in the trailer with them, too. But when I mentioned the five o'clock wake up call they are getting he decided to stay in his own bed. Smart boy.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
**This picture is a little yucky. But when she smiles you can't see the bottom teeth!**
Sunday, June 19, 2011
My parents just bought a lake condo that is about an hour away. It is brand new with beautiful upgrades and amenities. My brother and his family came, along with my parents, and we spent the day on a pontoon boat together. My kids have no experience on boats (except for one week spent on a cruise ship last spring!). I think they really enjoyed it, especially being pulled on a tube behind the boat. Later we also enjoyed the swimming pool and then a meal at Niffer's, a favorite burger restaurant. I was completely unprepared for Father's day. We just bought cards and gift cards for our sweet Dads and Andy only got homemade cards from us this year. (I figured a day at the lake would be a treat, even if I didn't actually pay for it. :) ) We actually just mailed Papa's card today, that's how incredibly behind we are this year. But our rudeness has nothing at all to do with our feelings for our Dads. We are both incredibly blessed to have wonderful examples. Our Dads are both fully devoted to their families, generous, supportive, and very unselfish. We have reaped heaps of blessings just by being in their families. Thank you, thank you Poppy and Papa!!And I can not being to express how I feel about Andy as a Dad. He is everything I could hope for my children. I have numerous times had people comment to me that he is a wonderful Dad. He is attentive, kind, involved, wise. He really enjoys spending time with our children and with me, and it shows. He knows how to lovingly correct and lead, but also how to get down and dirty and play with the kids. I never see him belittle the children, which means a lot to me. He honors them with kindness and patience. He sacrifices a lot to provide for us and give us the opportunity for me to be at home. And he demands that the children respect me, mostly through example, sometimes by force. :) There's nothing more beautiful than seeing a Dad doing an excellent job. And I get to catch a glimpse every day. I am so thankful. Happy Father's Day, sweet heart!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Back to my point, even though we were two young, naive, lovebirds, not a single friend, family member, or pastor advised us against marriage! And that has been the case with our move to the farm. We are living proof that sometimes God calls us to do the illogical. To follow Him down a unique path. My Aunt sent me a message that was so encouraging and touching last week. It said,
"Renee, I thought of you and Andy this morning as I read in my daily prayer book. "Almighty God, we thank you for making the earth fruitful, so that it might produce what is needed for life: Bless those who work in the fields: give us reasonable weather; and grant that we may share all the fruits of the earth, rejoicing in your goodness." Have a great day. We love your family."
I am so thankful for the support and lovingkindness the Lord has shown to us through words like these. Thank you especially to those who have prayed for us so faithfully! Thank you, friends and family!!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
10:00 Free hour for the kids while I get a shower and get dressed. The book worm typically reads, the computer nerd typically plays video games, and the artsy girl usually draws 52 pictures with glue and glitter, changes clothes 4 times, and gets out all the dolls and stuffed animals for a tea party.
11:00 We read the Bible together and they journal in their notebooks about the verses they heard. We discuss what they teach us about God and ourselves. We pray. We do a few chores around the house (dishes, trash, make beds, put up clean clothes...the basics).
12:30 Swim at the country club, go somewhere fun, or run errands. Or we stay here with the slip and slide, sprinkler, etc. Andy comes inside about now to avoid triple digit heat. He might be talked into coming with us if we aren't gone too long. OR he will be getting ready for a farmer's market. We usually tag along once or twice a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and/or Fridays. Just depends on our plans.
4:00 Kids play or watch a movie. I clean an area of the house.
5:30 Cook dinner, they read quietly in their rooms. Andy is back out in the fields.
6:30 We eat dinner. Sometimes we take dinner as a picnic and eat with Andy. Usually he eats late.
7:00 Kids play in the sprinkler or slip and slide, trampoline, swings, four wheelers, and/or with our neighbor. We might go on a walk or a ride. We might have game or movie night with popcorn or maybe even a snow cone or some ice cream.
8:30 Showers, bed time stories, and finally sweet sleep! Andy usually comes in around this time to tuck the kids in and so we can talk about our day.
9:30 He's asleep. I snuggle in the bed with him, pull out a flashlight under the covers, and read and hang on as long as I can until I give in to sleep. (Most days I'm snoozing by 10:00! Do the math and see how much sleep I am getting in the summer. It's crazy, I know. I have boundless energy all day long!)
It amazes me how much the kids love these summer days. They said they had no desire to go to any camps this summer, their same response as last summer. They also rejected gymnastics class and swim team. They didn't want to participate in any classes or camps. Period. We will spend three weeks, spread out throughout the summer, with our best friends from Atlanta, including a beach trip and a week in Atlanta. We will spend time with new friends here. We will spend a lot of time with family, including our weekends with our cousins which we affectionately have named "Camp Stinky Feet" (boys) and "Camp Twinkle Toes" (girls). We hope to go to the zoo and the water park, have fireworks, and make home-made ice cream. We will make bi-weekly treks to the library and swim a lot at the country club. It's so simple, cheap and fun! No frills, just ten weeks of balanced play and work time, with lots of family time memories to treasure!
Summer is a beautiful, wonderful season and will end too soon!!
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
I don't interact with God that way. My husband always encourages me to "wrestle with God", to have it out with him, so to speak. I am too big a wimp for that type of interaction with the Creator of the universe. I don't think anyone could convince me to spar with God. So instead I just plead. I say, "Deep in my gut I don't think you want this thing for me, but please, please, please could I have it?" It sounds like my four year old. It sounds childish. But I promise, I really do this.
This past week, for example, I pleaded with God to give me a peace about sending the kids to a different school. Never mind that all of the classical schools that make me squeal with delight and drool with envy are an hour or more away. Never mind that God has told me that he wants us immersed in this community. Never mind that every time I ask for guidance in His word or through fellowship with His people, I get the same message over and over again: STAY PUT. I just kept stomping my feet and digging my heels in. They are MY children after all (that beginning premise right there is where I got it wrong), and I have a vision for what kind of education and environment they need, and YOU (God) must have lead me to read all these books and talk to all these people that gave me this vision, so please just LET ME MAKE THE DRIVE! Let me have my way! I even told God (and why is this any less scary than wrestling with him??), that He has already taken away enough, could He just leave my dream alone? Maybe I didn't tell him, per se, but I thought it. Lots of times. These are crummy thoughts that lead to crummy attitudes and behaviors. I think I felt mad at everyone at some time or another.
Since we moved here to our farm, at every turn God has used other people, my devotions, His Word, personal conversations- everything at every turn- to ask me to serve Him right here. Honestly, it's been annoying. I am way out of my comfort zone. But when Jesus is Lord of your life, eventually even for a stubborn fool like me, He wins because His grace and love for me are too amazing to not change me! He melts my heart of stone and changes me! His love compels me to open up my white-knuckled fists and hand over my greatest earthly treasures- my darling children- and trust His provision. I argued with Him that some people do this and things don't turn out like they would like. They have a child or children who rebel. But I know deep down that an environment doesn't draw a child to Christ. That happens only by the very Spirit of God and it can't be thwarted by a school decision, that's for sure.
So we will press on where we are. We will not make a daily commute to Birmingham to attend a top dollar, classical Christian school. Instead, we will commit ourselves to our small, traditional Christian school. (Which is still a good school, by the way.) We will pray for good conversations while the children take dance, golf, and basketball in town and we will follow God's prompting to visit the sick and elderly on this quiet country road. This week I will ask to be considered as a candidate for the 5th-8th grade history teaching position. (Crazy right? Three months ago I was a homeschooling mom. Now I am considering a teaching job.) I also hope to teach art history and art. We will join committees and share ideas. We will pray for teachers, parents, grandparents, and children. We are conceding to follow Christ. But we will take our educational philosophies/passions with us! :) We will host lots of bonfires, parties, hayrides, and guests at our farmhouse. We will dive in.
I do not want to compare, contrast, and plead. This is our new community and it is our great honor to love and be loved right here! It never amazes me what a sinner in need of grace I am. Deep down I think I know what is best for my family when I have the Living God as a companion! I taste the riches of His grace, yet I still desire a self-centered life as opposed to one that makes sacrifices in order to serve! And He still loves me! The greatest way to see the depth of the love of Christ is to just look inside myself at what He has redeemed and rescued!! When I do that, I don't want to fight Him. I truly want to follow Him. As our former pastor said once, "God's grace awakens holy fear."
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Last weekend we saw friends from college and their adorable two boys for the first time in ten years! They are working on the farm's website for us. Their passion for the Lord is contagious and I really enjoyed our time with them. We have many similarities and I think the next ten years will be even more interesting for both of our families! (But hopefully we won't wait that long to share our stories again!)