Adjusting…sort of

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You know you’re a little homesick when the news that a Publix Grocery Store is coming to your new city brings tears to your eyes. Sorry, but I don’t think Harris Teeter will be my choice when Publix opens up across the street. It’s just a little taste of home.

Ends up, tears well-up often when you move to a new city.

Tears of frustration.
Tears from being overwhelmed with so. much. stuff.
Tears when you realize you need to put a new toilet in the girls’ 1952 bathroom.
Tears when your son’s shower, which was a big deal to him, has next to zero pressure. As Mack put it, “That water stream couldn’t drown an ant.”
Anyone know a plumber in Charlotte?

Tears when the hardware store doesn’t have any of the curtain rod brackets you need. I just wanted the curtains hanging this week. Was that too much to ask?

Tears when the 3M strips that you bought for a pretty penny don’t actually hold up 16 pounds. Not even 2 lbs. 3M, I hate you.

Tears when you spend two hours sorting packing paper and tearing down boxes with your kids.

Tears when you realize the master closet is much smaller than you remember.

The tears all threatened to come at each of these moments and even more, but I fought them back and kept working. Kept unpacking and putting things in their new place. Kept cleaning the filthy kitchen. Kept rearranging the pantry that is 1/16 of the size of my other pantry. Kept praying all the while that the Lord would just help me not fall apart. I didn’t want to scare the children. And I didn’t want Josh to have to deal with my emotions in the middle of all of this. So we all just kept moving.

Then, Sunday morning we went to church. Each kid went to their own class while Josh and I went to the worship service. And we couldn’t just keep moving. We were still. We worshiped. And then my tears flowed. They flowed because I am so grateful to God for helping us all along our journey, in particular the last eight months. They flowed because I missed my Woodstock friends more in that church service than any other time so far. Church was our place! We knew so many people and loved each of them. And now here we were at church without any familiar faces. Yet, we were with the body of Christ and I could sense the Spirit there. It felt like home, even though we don’t know if it will be our church home for sure yet. But there was a comfort and a familiarity being there with the body of Christ.

Tears well-up now as I finish up this blog because I am sitting in my little office with my little light and pretty decorations from my friends back home. Hymns are playing softly in the background. I can hear the washing machine and dryer working and things feel a little normal for the first time. This feeling might not last long, but I will take it.

Help me see that I’m blind.

I read in Luke 18 a few days ago and have been thinking about it off and on ever since. I’ve been asking God to not let me miss what He wants to teach me in the truths He offers there.

Luke 18 introduces us to two men, two very different men.

The first is a rich young ruler. “A ruler questioned Jesus, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ And he said, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.’
When Jesus heard this, He said to him, ‘One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’
But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.”

We who are extremely rich (which is likely everyone reading this right now) are in danger of somehow thinking all of life is all about us somehow—even eternal life. What can I do to inherit eternal life? What ministries should I give to? What church should I attend? I mean, somehow there is something I can do to help myself gain eternal life…I already do so much, as a matter of fact! I don’t cheat on my husband. I haven’t killed anyone. I don’t steal things…I mean, why would I? I can buy anything I need and most of what I want. I don’t lie, and I love my mom and dad. What more could I possibly do? I think the young ruler thought he was already doing everything he could possibly do to inherit eternal life. He just kind of wanted to hear it from the “Good Teacher’s” mouth.
But Jesus shoots straight for the heart, doesn’t he? He reminds this man that not his wallet nor his list of good things earns him eternal life.

Right here I wonder if maybe a lesson on this topic could have helped the guy—a flannel board story? A little parable, maybe? Like, did Jesus have to go straight to “sell all you own and give it all to the poor and then come follow Me” ? Evidently, He did need to go straight to that. He shoots for the heart. He loved this young rich kid very much and wanted him to let go of all he was holding up to God for approval and find that Jesus already did everything for him. But our stuff blinds us. We hold on to our stuff because so many times our stuff defines us—we think. Our stuff comforts us—temporarily. Our stuff is fun—for a season.

But our stuff is dangerous. We are so full of our stuff that we don’t even see our need for Jesus. We operate in life as if it all depends on us. Instead of raising our empty hands to praise God, we drop them in sadness and walk away from following God. Our hands are just too full for what He has to offer.

And then there is the second man— Bartimaeus, the blind beggar. He didn’t ask any properly worded questions to the “Good Teacher.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18 tells us that Jesus asked for Bartimaeus to be brought to Him, and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Wow! What a question from the Lord!! Some times we are quick to say (especially after reading about the sad young rich man) that the Lord isn’t concerned about our comforts or what makes us happy. And I get that line of thinking. He does want our hearts right with Him more than our physical desires fulfilled. HOWEVER, He does care about our wants. He loves us. He loved this man so much that He asked him “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Well, duh! Didn’t he know the man wanted to see? Probably so. But Jesus wanted the man to come near, and he did. Jesus wanted to hear him ask, and he did. To hear his faith come out in words. And I want to come near to Jesus and pray with much faith and ask of the Lord things that only He can do. I want to hear my faith expressed in words to my heavenly Father who asks me, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Wow. What an example this blind man is for me.
He was blind, which made knowing his need very evident. He didn’t have a large bank account to go to for help. He had no stuff to speak of…he was a blind beggar.
And so am I. My stuff can sometimes make it hard for me to see my need of Jesus. But I am just a blind beggar, in need of a touch from My Savior. Every. single. day.
I want to go with Jesus, glorifying God and causing others to see His work in my life and praise God….instead of going away sad and alone with my stuff.

How about you? Do you see yourself in the rich young ruler? Is your stuff blinding you to your true need for Jesus’ touch? Are your hands just too full of temporary things to hold onto the eternal?
Do you want to be like the blind beggar? Painfully aware of your need for a touch from Jesus and desperate enough to cry out to Him no matter what? With faith to ask of God what you want? To walk with God and bring great glory to His name?

Lord, help me see that I am blind. I need a touch from You. I want a touch from You. Help me live open-handed before You. I don’t want all of my material blessings to fill me. I want YOU to fill me.

Sometimes you need a “moment”

I’ve needed a “moment” quite regularly lately.  So much so that Molly has adopted this saying…”I feel a break down coming on.”  A-hem.  I have no idea who she picked that up from!

Anyway, tonight Josh took the kids out of the house (which is totally weird on a Saturday night…we are usually right here in the house, in the bed at this hour each Saturday night of the past 15 years, give or take a few, because of Sunday School responsibilities), so I did some rearranging to get a little more organized for the move.  And with all the quietness around here, the empty school room prompted my need for a “moment.”

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These doors have led into and out of the school room for many years.  Not every bit of learning happened in this little room, but much of it did!  Before it was a school room it was a play room for the little toddlers that overtook our home for a few years.

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Boy, oh boy, I remember them at this age like it was yesterday!  Pajama days happened way more often than I am willing to admit.  But we were surviving, people.  Surviving the crazy.  And I am so thankful I was here for all of it.

I remember the year we put this pitiful tree in the play room so that the kids could put their home made decorations on it.  I mean, they could get overlooked if they were on my tree in the living room.

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Looks like another pajama day.  They were singing “O Christmas Tree.”

Schooling the kids at home is not easy.  I do enjoy it, and I know I am supposed to do it this way.  But it comes with its challenges.  I told the kids that starting in a few weeks they are going to get flashbacks from the book MISS NELSON IS MISSING.  They are going to wonder where their laid back, patient Mama went.  I am ready to whip these children into shape.  We must get back into our routine!!!  I can’t take limbo very much longer.  And if one more kid huffs when I suggest reading a book to pass the time, I am going to strangle someone.  Ok, obviously I just had another “moment,” so let me get back to the positive moment I was intending to have.

We have had fun times in this little room.

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That is the solar system all across the back on the room hanging up.  And then that whole wall on the right was filled with art work and charts and test schedules.  And now it is all gone.  Boo-hoo.

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Learning sight words in Snow White heels…whatever it takes!

And then I found this precious memory of Mack learning to read in our little school room.

When he asks “Can you send it to Dad?”  Oh, be still my heart.

We won’t be schooling in this school room here on Towey Trail, but, wow, we’ve made some memories here. Lots of learning, growing, stretching, and enduring…for them and for me…throughout our time here.  I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world.  There are moments I doubt this path the Lord has us on with home schooling, but looking back and having all these memories in my heart of time together, I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world.  It gives me encouragement to press on and give these next nine or so years all I have in educating the kids and maximizing the time the Lord gives us together!  It really does go by so fast.

Catching up a little

Lots going on around here, and yet it seems like nothing is going on.

We are buying a house, selling our house, doing little repairs, scheduling final dinners and ice cream dates with friends, going through drawers and cabinets and making donations to whomever will take what we no longer need!  And yet, we are doing no school, nothing extremely productive in the way I think about being productive. We are moving towards a goal–get to Charlotte and get settled before Josh starts his new job.  But these day to day little things we are doing or not doing make this process feel like it is moving at a snail’s pace.  I know, I know.  It’s not going slow.  But it can still feel like that time from time to time.

So let me take a little moment to record some of what we have done lately.

Sold a house, bought a house.  Yippee!

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I’m kind of hoping I never have to move again….but I suppose one should never say never.

We celebrated Deacon’s first birthday!

I took tons more pictures, but they were taken with Merrilee’s camera while she did all the birthday stuff.  He was so cute and had such a fun party!

As I have been going through so many drawers and cabinets, I have found many old pictures. I love looking at pictures. I was reminded that Molly has always been a handful.

She has always been going through my makeup at all the wrong times, doing all the wrong things with it.

And then there were these sweet faces!

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And this one of Josh and me just a few weeks after being engaged…June 2000.IMG_7275

And I found this sweet picture of Josh’s mom and dad.  Sure do miss her!

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We have about a week left here in Woodstock.  So weird to think about that!!  But also extremely excited to get to Charlotte and get settled in our new place!  And super-excited to get started with schooling the kids.  I am sure they are just as excited about that as I am!