Saturday, May 2, 2009


Last night we had a sweet surprise. My husband called while he was on the road home from work and warned us that if it wasn’t raining where we were, it soon would be, so we all hustled to pick up things in the yard and feed the animals before the rain hit. My middle son was out feeding the dogs when I felt the first drop of rain and I hollered at him to hurry in before he got soaked. He started running immediately and it seemed he was actually running just in front of the rain. I have never seen him run so fast! We laughingly ran up on the deck and through the sliding door into the kitchen just as the heavens broke loose. The three little ones joined us and we all stood at the door watching the rain pound the deck boards, glad that we had managed to get everything done and could now just enjoy the rainstorm. With dinner smelling so delicious in the crockpot, the prospect of a rainy evening was not half bad. The kids always love to use rain as an excuse to make a fort, or play a board game, or both.

However, the rain did not last very long. Only about ten minutes, maybe. There was still plenty of light outside once it was over. In the spring, summer, and fall, any shred of daylight means that my kids will want to be outside, and the prospect of fresh puddles of water to splash in certainly makes that sound even more appealing! Don’t you just love (generic) crocs and galoshes? They are so easy to clean up that you can feel free to let the kids just be kids without worrying about the mess you have to clean up later on! Anyway, as we gathered their shoes back up to put them on, my oldest daughter noticed that there was a rainbow forming over the neighbor’s cornfield, stretching over our house and pastures and ending in the woods beyond. My goodness, it was BIG and beautiful. Absolutely brilliant.

What is even neater is that just last week, after I was put on orders by my OB to "limit your activities, etc.," I decided to use my extended hours sitting in my bedroom at the computer to start working on our dream of writing children’s books. We started by writing one for the littlest child, then the next oldest, and so on. We had worked our way up to the third youngest and you can guess what her story is about from the title of this post…a rainbow! And not just any rainbow, but a rainbow specifically over our house, Blessing Farm! How much fun is that!? It was like a little present from God. Just a reminder that like that quote, "Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery, but today is a gift…that’s why we call it the present" so eloquently, yet simply states…we need to appreciate each day for what it is. A gift from God.

In any case, the kids did not hesitate to jump into the moment and start appreciating things. All three little ones immediately ran outside in their bare feet to jump in the tiny puddles on the deck, oohing and ahhing over the rainbow. My middle one, ever helpful, ran in search of my elusive camera so we could capture the moment with a photo for the book. While he was looking in the car for the camera, a second, not as bountiful, rainbow formed right under the first and we were awestruck. We stood there, reveling in the impressive display. After a few moments, and quite a few snapshots, we noticed that the second rainbow had faded, and that a small section of the larger one had begun to disappear. It was the oddest thing to see bold and clear colors arcing over the forest, and another leg of colors arcing from the farmland, then this crystal clear gap in the center. Within another minute or so, the whole thing was gone and we decided to go back inside since it had started to lightly rain again.

What the whole thing made me think of this morning was how God used the rainbow to promise Noah that he would never destroy the earth and its creatures again using a flood of waters. The rainbow is a symbol of God’s promises. Then it crossed my mind that like the rainbow over our house, the rainbows, or the blessings in our lives, sometimes come in bountiful spleandor, with clear, vivid colors. Sometimes you even get more than one at a time…What a miracle that is! Other times you get one with a few holes in it, and that is harder for us to deal with, but still worth appreciating. Even more often, you see nothing at all, and that is when we falter. But what we need to remember is that even when we don’t have visible evidence through a beautiful rainbow, the colors are still there. They don’t go away just because we don’t see them in that way. God’s promises to us are always there, too, even when the way seems hard. He loves us and is with us and wants us to be with Him for eternity, so we need to rejoice in those things He gives us, even when times are tough and the rainbows, or blessings, are unclear.

The funny thing about the way God works is that He often uses those rainstorms to bring out the rainbows in our lives. I think that is what I need to remember for today. Instead of focusing on the storm, focus on the rainbows ahead, and enjoy the gift of the day. Enjoy your day…it’s time I went to enjoy mine!

Friday, May 1, 2009


It has been over a year since we bought our little blue house and fifteen acres way out here in the country, but less than a year since we moved in. The old farmhouse required a lot of renovating…and still does. We had to completely redo many of the walls and ceilings downstairs, reconstruct the rotting bathroom on the first floor, and add a bathroom upstairs for the children to share. We knocked out a window in the very small kitchen and added a sliding door and a deck to give us more least during the temperate months. A friend and my oldest son helped tear out rotting kitchen cabinets, resize and remount the usable ones, and paint them. Every room needed a fresh coat or two of paint. Most of the fixtures needed replacing.

But the bones are good and the property is BEAUTIFUL. There is a peace people feel when they turn onto our long, winding, tree-shaded road and drive leisurely out into the countryside past country estates, horse farms, and old homes. Green grass, shady trees, bright flowers, singing birds, dancing butterflies, orderly crops, waving neighbors...all the nice things you find way out here in the boonies. I felt it the moment we turned down that road for the first time and started praying right away that THIS would be the home we'd been praying for. A peace settled on me that lasted even through the tour of the too small, too run down, too-much-work-needed place.

I'd like to tell you that the peace stayed no matter what. We bought the house knowing that life would be tough for a while, while we got things ready to move in, and even past that, but more came at us than what we foresaw, from unexpected places, and it threw me for a loop. I'd like to say I got through it gracefully, but even though I think I did all right, I do think there were things I could have improved. The one thing I wish I could change is the way those hardships have affected my percption of this beautiful place. I sometimes now feel it is a trial rather than a treasure. As a mistake instead of a blessing. How sad. I am ever so grateful for it, but aware of what transpired that did not go so well and that sometimes colors everything.

I suppose we moved in too quickly. We had been staying in my parents’ home for some time…all seven of us, plus our three dogs, two cats, three horses, one pony, and two potbellied pigs! They were very gracious to allow us to stay for so long while we searched for the house God wanted for us, but we all felt it was time to get the "new life" we planned out in the country started, and we were anxious to see what that new life would bring. Now I look back and see where we are and wonder if it might not have been better to stay put and get more done before moving in. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess. At the time, the pressures were real, and the choice to move seemed clear. I feel more strongly now that waiting to start will give you a better start, and I think that understanding will benefit my kids, if I can teach them that lesson. It's just that I was eager to get started on what we all felt God had for us, that the idea of any more delays than necessary seemed ridiculous (mind you, this was after spending a year with Navy hubby gone, having a baby six-weeks early the day after our move, thankfully selling a house in a sluggish market the day of the birth, and even more craziness too tedious to list).

The funny thing is that in spite of my eagerness to begin "living the dream," I often feel we still haven’t quite started yet. It seems there is so much to do and so little time in every day…or at least there is limited energy (Well, on my part, anyway. Maybe not on the part of the kids!). It frustrates me when I work all day, yet feel I have not accomplished enough because there is still so much to do. I heard a sermon the other day that said if you reach the end of the day feeling like you did not get done what you had to do, then maybe you are not doing what GOD wants you to do because God always gives you enough time to execute HIS plans. Hmmmm. That makes me think this morning.

I woke early and lay in bed thinking about: "When will I get the garden put in and the flower beds built? Where will we put the new baby (who is due in June)? How will I get all these things organized to make room for everything a new baby requires (especially with me being on limited activity for the next month to avoid an early delivery)? When will we get a chicken tractor and coop built to house the 37 chicks living in a brooder on our front porch? When will I get the kids together to go on that field trip I promised (so I can feel like we are homeschooling properly)? When will I get our homeschooling, chores, kitchen, closets, drawers, bookshelves, garage, barn, etc. organized enough that I don’t feel like I am failing in some way all the time?"

I realize I need to get past this impulse to achieve what I in my flesh see as "good enough" and just focus on what God has for me to do at this time…namely loving God, loving my kids and my husband and my family, homeschooling, and making a healthy and happy home. These other things I find to focus on may indeed be a part of that picture, but on God’s timing, not mine. That control is the most difficult thing to relenquish.

I will have to trust that the Lord will give us time to accomplish the important things…at least, the parts that HE thinks are important…and that is what has to matter. The rest, well, I need to give it to Him and He will provide, or we will discover that it wasn’t something we really needed after all.


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