Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Ramblings From Rest

Vacation Sunset
We began our track out with Josh's family on our annual vacation at the lake. I told some of my family that there are some years where we are just super stoked to get to vacation to enjoy the adventures ahead, and then there are other years where we feel like we barely come stumbling across the finish line to vacation; weary, tired and just ready for some time to regroup mentally, physically and emotionally.  This year was the latter.

But even after a week of sleeping in and 6-mile morning walks with my sister-in-loves to catch up on all things life and reading and soaking up the sun, I came home still not feeling ready to reconnect with all my responsibilities.

Josh's parents requested to hang out with the kids for a few extra days since it was still track out (Josh and I certainly didn't argue) so after a short, two-day respite to do laundry, go to Biology class (Rainy), beast another soccer game (Cai and Jude) and repack, I relinquished my children over to the grandparents to come back home and...wait, I had NO AGENDA!  

I am always trying to figure out projects to accomplish when I don't have the kids. And if I'm not here I'm typically off playing a gig somewhere so I'm not even at my house.  So on the ride home I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do with these three days with no kids, in the comfort and quiet of my own home.  

Just breathe. Rest.

I DID organize the kid's rooms for them, because that is so very life-giving to me, and they stayed like that for THREE ENTIRE DAYS (you know, the three days that the kids were gone, lol)!  I woke up the next day not feeling well AT ALL, but I believe the Lord was just using my body to help solidify His plan for me to continue to rest while the kids were gone.

Cleaning. Organizing. Taking care of what God has given us. Order. Rest.

We took flowers to our elderly neighbor (she turned 104 last week, ya'll!). Then after praying over her (and listening to her sing sweet praises to her Heavenly Father, which I will not soon forget) we headed down the hallway and said our goodbyes to her granddaughter who cares for her and her 84 year old daughter, Mary.  But after a hug and farewell we ended up sitting at Mary's kitchen table and talking for well over an hour about life.  Listening to her stories of how she grew up, a black woman in a white town determined to keep her out.  Wow, our little town has come a long way! Their family has been here for ages...literally.  They walked through the Civil Rights movement and we heard first hand accounts of things that occurred right down the street from our home.  What a treasure that afternoon brought. 

Listening. Neighboring. Resting.

I have nearly completed three books in the past couple of weeks.  Through these books I've learned so much about my own self-centered heart and how offended I tend to live.  And some ways I can begin to live LESS offended and more compassionately and patiently FOR others.  I've read the most refreshing homeschooling book I've EVER read.  It has completely reshaped how I view success in a school day and it has helped me regain focus of the "why" behind the schooling choices we have made. Now I'm reading such a good book about the division in our country. This one is completely out of my typical reading genre but it has been VERY good for me. 

Reading. Learning. Opening my mind to new ideas. Thinking. Processing. Resting.

Josh and I found ourselves sleeping late, reading through breakfast, eating dinner at 8pm and talking into the night. We even took a couple of dates out on the town just because we could. New places. Places we found all on our own. We truly enjoyed each other's company.  Even the silent moments together (because let's face it, we have NO time without kids with early rising grade-schoolers and late-night-talking teenagers so silence is golden).


Reconnecting. Dreaming. Talking. Being. Resting.

One day we were driving home from Wendell and we passed a house that we have passed dozens of times over the past couple of years.  It has been for sale since we first saw it.  So Josh and I decided we were going to pull in and take a look around. Why in the world was this BEAUTIFUL home STILL for sale?!  Now, we KNEW it was WAY OUT OF OUR PRICE RANGE, but we wanted to just see what was up anyway.  I knocked on the door but nobody was home.  So I began walking around this country home and looking through the windows.  I mean, ya'll, this house is like 10 times the size of the Colony Casa.  EVERYTHING is like 10 times as big...including the mortgage we found out, lol!  It is literally over a million dollars after asking our realtor friend to look into it for us.  I mean, the laundry room is as big as our living room.  (I actually thought it was the kitchen, haha!)

Anyway, the entire ride home Josh and I daydreamed about all of the possibilities this home could provide for a family like ours.  The worship mentorship program we've always dreamt of having where people can come, live with us for a season and do life with us. The foster kids that would actually have a real SPACE to be.  The family we could entertain.  The worship nights under the stars by the fire pit area. The live recordings and music...

And as we pulled into OUR home I couldn't help but explode with gratitude for the perfectly imperfect home that God has provided for us. The community just on the other side of the woods that we have been able to connect with. Head-strong Lois next door, 104-year old Lizzie who talks to Jesus as if He is sitting next to her bed holding her hand, 84-year old Mary with all the stories we still can't wait to hear when we get to visit again, the stained carpet that people continue to come and sit on during MC, the kitchen table where we've been able to share meals, tears and hard life with so many, the kid's rooms that they share that keep them close, the piles and piles (because all the bookshelves are full) of books from a husband who loves to love and lead and learn.

Perspective. Gratitude. Resting.

That night I fell asleep rather quickly but at midnight I woke up and just couldn't fall back asleep.  I tossed and turned for a while but then decided I might as well get up.  Josh and I came home from vacation to some pretty heavy situations others are going through around us so I decided to take advantage and pray specifically for so many I love and care for. I finished up the book I was reading and then decided to try to lay back down. I found myself completely overwhelmed to tears with the goodness of God.  Even in the hard. Even in uncertainty. Even in the things that seem not-enough or insufficient enough.  God is so much bigger than it all. And I could actually FEEL it that night.  I was so emotional the rest of the night and into Sunday morning. My sleep-deprived state kept me moving slowly through the hallways, allowing for multiple conversations that may not have happened if I were more rested or if I had the 5-7 kids I am typically trying to keep track ofJo on Sundays.

Tangible closeness to the Lord. Intercession for others. Overwhelmed by God. Resting.

Jemma has been VERY sick.  Alethia has been comforting her with back scratches and reading to her.
Since the kids have been home I have found myself continuing to move more slowly. I'm watching my kids more closely. Not like a helicopter mom, but like an observer. Watching the way Cai walks through the field as if he is dribbling an invisible soccer ball, or the intricate way Alethia sets up her Barbie's living quarters all over the bedroom floor, or the faces Rainy makes while she is reading an exciting part in her book, or the determination Jude has as he duct tapes his stuffed animals to his remote control motor cycle to drive around the park trails, or how incredibly old Zeke looks all of a sudden. 

Awareness. Cherishing. Resting.

My kitchen is much dirtier, the bed is still unmade, I keep forgetting things that would typically be top priority in my get-it-done mindset, and I only have kind-of an idea of what I should make for dinner in about an hour. But Josh said he thinks this new me is kind of sexy.  I don't know how long my anxiety-tendencied self will allow these feelings of peace and deeply grounded purpose stick around, but I'm going to hold on to them as long as I can.

Even in the doing. Resting.

This is Fred. He has enjoyed his duct taped rides around the 1-mile loop at the park, ha! 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Track-Out Adventure To Laurel Hills Park - Another MayVia Experience


Traveling back in time to our spring track out.

We had a rocky start on this particular day.

After piling out of the party van and devouring our picnic lunch we quickly realized that the park we came to had just closed the day before for a renovation.  We were all pretty disappointed! We tried to make the best of it by walking along the trails but we kept coming to dead ends, except for this really cool tunnel. The kids were looking for "clues" through the graffiti and stuff they found inside.








It was hot. We had a plethora of disappointed kids. And we needed a plan fast.

Us mama's put our heads together. were on a quest for some kind of water hole.

Luckily we live near Falls Lake with a million different opportunities for adventure. And that's exactly what we did.  We found a deserted camp ground and took off for a cove to let the kids play around in the water.







Tuesday, July 30, 2019

2018 Backlog - Zeke's Fort


Zeke has been working on his fort for over a year! 
It has morphed and grown so much since the beginning.
In fact, here is where it began.  A little makeshift kitchen area from a few years prior.


He asked for plywood and other wood scraps for his birthday last year...


...and just kept adding on. 
It is one of the first places he takes visitors when they come over to the house.








Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Track Out Adventures ~ Photos To Remember

I'm an entire track out behind on photos and memories...again!
But nevertheless, I'm determined to keep it going.

So here are some favorite memories and photos from the last track out
between the 3rd and 4th quarters.


Backyard sunsets before the garden took over, ha!

An evening with Nils Frahm. One of the BEST shows Josh and I have ever been to!
A visit with two little Safe Families lovies

Friends. Friends. Friends.


Celebrating a goal

The owners of the Colony Coffee Shop


Creativity at its finest, using the contents from the recycling bin.
Jude's gas tank for his bicycle.

Cai's virtual reality goggles.

Zeke's candy machine contraption.

Library book reading all day er' day

plenty of fort time

More bicycle riding at Nonnie and G-Daddy's

March Madness bracketology!

Journey days with Daddy

We had to say goodbye to Toby and Ace.
Rainy is still grieving them:(

Jemma is always begging for something, lol

Sibling sleep-overs!

Art Gallery ~ 2018 - 2019





Zeke

Cai - wondering if I should be worried, lol
Rainy - July 30, 2018
Zeke - August - Nearly finished picture for Year Book cover contest
Cai - January 2019 - Google header contest