“I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety.” Ezekiel 34:25
The weather turns cold and dreary one day so we pull out canvas, brushes, and paint. Two youngest find pictures they like and I trace them onto the canvas. They fill in with colors from nature. I take colors and an image I have seen and try to recreate it on the canvas. We work diligently all day putting the brush to canvas bringing the art to the front. At the end of the day we are all pleased with the results.
Another day the weather is perfect for sitting outside A few clouds hang in the sky and the temperature is a moderate 70 degrees. We load the van and drive up the hill to the pasture. Sensitive son sets up his hammock and Princess daughter pulls out a camping chair. They both open English books while a curious goat glances over Sensitive son’s shoulder.
We enjoy the freedom of schooling indoors, outdoors, or wherever we happen to be. I have been known to take school to the beach and even to the mountains. I am always on the lookout for creative ways to learn. Two youngest share my enthusiasm and are always on scanning for signs that read museum or library.
Pulling out a box of cards I think back over my life and thank God for friendships that have stood the test of time. These are people who I shared life closely with at one point on the journey. Even though time and distance have separated, I still keep in touch with most of them. Slowly I write each note, praying, expressing gratitude for these relationships…
Day 14 - The friend I have known since 8th grade. We shared the ups and downs of high school. She was the maid-of-honor at our wedding. Her life has blossomed into a pastor’s wife with three lovely daughters. Hard to believe we have known each other for over 30 years – it just seems like yesterday we were teenagers.
Day 15 - The friend from our days at college. We shared being pregnant together, twice. Even to the point of living together for five or six months of our first pregnancies. We have shared parenting tools, lending listening ears, and many prayers together. I am glad we have shared the last 24 years of life together – sometimes in the same state, sometimes separated by many miles.
Day 16 – The friend who reached out a hand of friendship after a particularly difficult move from one state to another. Her faith and perseverance through her own difficult physical trials and other personal trials has inspired me so many times. Our days of lunch breaks under the trees, ice cream runs, and quiet dinners only lasted a little over a year, but our friendship has continued for 23 years despite living three states apart.
Day 17 – The single guy who became a friend to Precious husband at an exciting part of our journey. His love for the Lord and tender heart for others always evident. Watching his life expand to a wife and two beautiful girls was a blessing.
Day 18 – The young married couple who moved in next door to Precious Husband and I while our husband’s were in college. Their challenging my faith and driving me to search the Scriptures to prove what I believed. I still believe those things, but their challenge gave me the ability to share my beliefs.
Day 19 - The friend who welcomed us to a new fellowship when we were battle weary from a previous place of worship. She reached out and has loved our children well. Our children have found solid friendships in her children. When my father was ill and at the point of death she took the children into her home and loved them as her own freeing Precious husband and I to be at the hospital full time with my father and mother.
Day 20 – The married couple who was in our lives for a time and encouraged my growth in the Lord. Their belief and encouragement that I could hear from the Lord and had a gift to offer Christ’s body.
I close each card, push it into the envelope, and lick the nasty seal. As I write the address on the front I think of how each of these individuals has imparted a part of themselves into my heart. They have all magnified Jesus by their life and I have been changed because of them.
“We were slaves…but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand….He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers.” Deuteronomy 6:21, 23
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
Foundations are built by wise families. In a family it is easy to take one another for granted. Here I have an opportunity to say thanks for the friendships forged through time shared together as family. I pull out the cards and pen to express my gratitude.
DAY 7 – She gave me birth, raised me in the paths of righteousness, and continues to council me with Godly wisdom. My mom has become a trusted friend and advisor. She walks with strength and dignity and I am blessed to be her daughter.
DAY 8 – Precious husband has been a source of stability, security, and strength as we have journeyed life together these last 27 years. He has challenged me to stretch, to grow, and given me the confidence to try new things. He is a selfless, caring father to our children and a strong support to me. He is my best friend.
DAY 9 – Our eldest child, darling daughter, has grown into a woman of faith. She stands bold and confident in the Lord. She is creative and artistic, we enjoy these pursuits in common. It is a pleasure to watch her grow as a wife and mother, to grow as friends at this time of life.
DAY 10 – This past weekend one of my mom’s sisters came to the farm and went to a harvest festival with us. She is totally thoughtful – never forgetting to send a card for a birthday or anniversary. She has always been one in my life to celebrate the milestone moments.
DAY 11 – Precious husband has a sister who has impacted my life through her friendship. She made me feel welcome and part of the family when I felt like an outsider. She brought joy and laughter during times of trial in her own life.
DAY 12 – Precious husband also has an aunt who has always welcomed us into her home. She is an amazing hostess and cook! She takes the time to listen and learn about our lives. She is always kind and encouraging.
DAY 13 – My mom has another sister who is a friend. She paints lovely china, mugs and even rocks. She creates fun jewelry and crochets useful items. She generously shares her creations and her abilities. We have shared letters over the years as she and her family moved around out west. She always offered words of encouragement.
I have been greatly blessed by those in my family who have poured into my life. Perhaps this will encourage someone to take the time to give thanks to God for family friendships.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.” Luke 10:22-23
DAY 1 I opened our farm the first Monday of October to one of the ladies I meet the first few weeks at our new fellowship. She brought her three girls out for the afternoon. Her girls played with the goats and chickens and roamed the woods with my three. We sat in the sun and spent the time getting to know one another. It was such a relaxing afternoon. So on Tuesday I took the time to drop her a card expressing my thanks.
DAY 2 Wednesday night the Bible study leader was very transparent and honest. This is a trait I have noticed in her since the class began back in August. It is an admirable quality and has brought an intimacy and openness to the class. The study they have chosen has so fit with my desert journey with the Lord. On Thursday I arose early so I could write a card letting her know how much I appreciate all her work to make this Bible study life changing.
DAY 3 I met a woman at the gym, Princess daughter calls her my gym friend. Shortly after we began going to the gym she motioned for me to leave the treadmill and join an aerobic class. It was 60 minutes of pouring sweat but it was a lot of laughs at my lack of rhythm and missing steps. Princess daughter and I have continued the class. I am glad she took the time to invite me to class. Friday I jot her a note to drop off at the gym.
DAY 4 There is another woman in the Wednesday night Bible study who has made me feel so included. When I enter the building she opens her arms wide and embraces me. She takes the time to look me in the eye and inquire how things are going. It even made me feel like one of the girls when she took the time to arrange my t-shirt properly. I love her boldness and zeal for the Lord. Saturday afternoon I take the time to pen her a thank you.
DAY 5 We spend so much time at the library it would be a shame not to mention how helpful the ladies there have been. Whether it is looking for a book, recommending a book, suggesting homeschool activities or ideas, or just keeping us on track with our returns, these women have been so kind. It was fun to have one of them recognize us as a homeschool family and offer a classroom timeline. Sunday evening late I express my thanks in a simple notecard.
DAY 6 Sunday mornings I have been attending a life group. One of the ladies there has been so helpful in finding information regarding youth activities. The Sunday church left the building she extended excitement to have me participate with her group. It went a long way to helping me feel relaxed and accepted. Monday morning I open my Bible and pray for her and her family. God brings a Scripture to mind which I place inside a card written for her.
I am an introvert and solitude does not really sink me. However, I leave the feeling of loneliness that first followed me when we moved to the farm. Taking a risk I open my heart wide to embrace these new relationships. God knows where time and our journey will lead – I just walk in gratitude for these people at this moment and their impact in my life.
One of our favorite places for schooling is our local public library. There are plenty of tables for everyone to spread out their assignments. Comfortable chairs are spread in quiet spots in order to encourage reading. Of course, there are lots of books to choose from.
We visited one local library several years ago. Fun son sat and tried to work, but after several minutes he turned to me and said, “I can’t do school here. It is too noisy.” It was a very busy library.
I have found different libraries have their own personality. Some are more formal, some are more relaxed, some are more technology driven, some are more cozy. The library staff at each has always been helpful. They truly want to encourage the joy of reading and learning.
“When we SEE GOD FOR WHO HE IS the strength of our idols lose their pull.”1
Since July God has been encouraging me to SEE HIM FOR WHO HE IS. When I reach the page in the Bible study that holds the quote above a big grin spreads across my face. God was encouraging the children of Israel in the desert to do the same thing, SEE GOD FOR WHO HE IS.
These only begin to list who God is. The Father says it is time to pack the tents and leave the desert. This is difficult, I have become comfortable here in the desert. His presence has been near and carried me along the way.
the groping & the glory
the giants & the grace
No longer should I allow the idol of lack to keep me wasted in fear. I need to leave the idol of believing I am lacking or will always receive only lack and SEE GOD FOR WHO HE IS. He is full of grace and truth – His grace is completely sufficient.
“…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete NOT LACKING anything.” James 1:3-4
It is time to exalt God’s strength, to be wasted for His glory. How do you see God?
1 Kelly Minter, No Other Gods, P. 138
2 Kelly Minter, No Other Gods, P. 105
After the animals are fed, we get cleaned up and find a spot that fits the subject. Bible, Literature, History usually find us stretched out in a comfortable reading spot. Science, Math, and English require a table for working. Each works at their own pace and I am available to provide assistance and guidance when needed.
Most days everyone cooperates and the day runs smoothly. These days are productive and make homeschooling enjoyable. Other days we are easily distracted, in each others way, or just annoying one another. On these days I question my abilities. Every day I cling to these words…
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
After spending a week at the beach my mind is not fully back from vacation. Over the weekend dear son-in-love and a kind friend brought their animals to our place. So now we have goats, ducks, and a few more chickens to add to our chicken, horse, donkey menagerie. We are learning how to care for these new critters.
Monday rises and I don’t feel ready to start school, but ready or not we begin our second nine weeks. Monday afternoon some new friends come to the house and we enjoy roaming the woods and conversation.
Today I have lots of thoughts and ponderings in my mind but they will not come together in a cohesive manner. Precious husband and I ride the ATV up the hill to check on the new additions, so I will leave you with a few photos. Hope your week is off to a blessed start.
You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
Had to repost this verse after the amazing week we just spent at the beach - the last frolic of summer.