Two Tiaras and a Sword

Friday, March 27, 2020

Quick! Someone Go Paint Your Garage Door Black!

I did a great job yesterday of staying out of the pollen.  A great job I tell ya.  The girls went outside, and I really wanted to go out with them, but I refrained,  I really wanted to go out, but I exhibited self control.  Plus, I did not want a repeat performance of my headache from the night before.

My Prince saw that someone had posted a scavenger hunt list online, and he thought it would be fun if we took the challenge and did the scavenger hunt as a family after the Young Prince got home from work.

Now that I had everything I needed, we had our fried chicken dinner, along with green beans, shells and cheese and rolls. It was very good, even if a day later than we had planned.

Just as we finished dinner, My Prince received a phone call.  The kids and I washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, while My Prince was on the phone talking about the churchy things.  We finished, and hovered around while he was finishing up his call so we could head out on our great quarantine scavenger hunt adventure.  We were on the front porch, and I couldn't help but pull a few more weeds from the flower bed.  What was I thinking?!?  Evidently I was NOT thinking.

My favorite niece called the Oldest Princess while My Prince was still talking churchy things, and we talked and then face timed with her for a while.  Meanwhile My Prince finished his call and was waiting on us.  When we finished the call, we all (including Pup) loaded up into the car.  We rolled the windows down and headed off...Here's how the first 30 seconds or so went...

OP: I've already found a house with three cars in the driveway.  It is Mrs. A's house.  (across the street from us).

YP:  I found a dog!  Pup! 

MP:  No it can't be our own dog.

Me:  There's a dog!  No wait, that is a cat!  Is that a cat or a dog?

MP:  It's a dog.  Or we can just pretend it's a dog.  Look there's a house with a small Christmas tree in the window.  That could pass as a plant right?  Sure it can!

Me:  (Wondering why there was a small Christmas tree in the window of that house) You can't just change all the rules like that or we will be done before we make the block!

Oh the fun!  Anyway, we slowed down and took it a little more seriously after that.  We stopped and talked out the window to several folks we knew and waved at those we didn't.  The Young Prince taught us how to play a new game called, "Hey Cow!"  And we surprised a church member who was on her porch talking on her phone at about dark.  After our last conversation, the Young Prince asked if we could go home because his allergies were going crazy.  We were done and ready to head home anyway.  

About the time we got  home, whatever was getting to the Young Prince attacked me with a vengeance.  We were trying to watch and movie, and I could not even watch it for sneezing my head off.  So I gave in and took a Zyrtec and a shower and headed for bed.  Still sneezing.  The Youngest Princess brought me a Benadryl, and that along with the Zyrtec I had already taken, finally seemed to help some.  The Young Prince was in the same boat I was in.  It is misery folks.  Pure misery.  Teach us to ride around in the spring with our windows down!  

Which brings me back to our scavenger hunt...There were three things we did not find.  Christmas lights, a recycle bin, and a house with a black garage door.  And I really hate to leave things unfinished.  So if you hang up your Christmas lights, buy or put out a recycle bin and paint your garage door black anytime soon, would you let me know?  We would love to drive by your house with our windows tightly shut and be able to check those things off of our list.

Seriously, we had fun, we got out of the house, and we made some great memories.  I definitely recommend doing it as long as you are not on total lock down that is.

This morning, after a good night's sleep away from any and all pollen, I woke up feeling better.  The Youngest Princess started school, and I worked on my Children's Ministry lesson.  My Prince, the Oldest Princess and I went to the church to record the children's skit and message.  While we were recording the skit, my phone rang.  It was one of our friends/church members.  She said that she wanted to drop something off at our house.  I told her that the Youngest Princess was at home.  So she said she would drop it off with her.  Before we got home the Youngest Princess was calling to see if we knew what it was.  We told her that we had no idea what it was, but that we were on our way home soon.  The surprise from our precious friend was a steak for each of us, as well as baked potatoes and bread.  Our friend had said that since My Prince is always bragging about how he can make a cheap steak taste good, that she thought she would treat us to good steaks.  How absolutely precious and thoughtful was that!!  We are blessed beyond measure many times over.  I love our people and I love how they love us and each other.  There is nothing like the family of God!  We called and thanked her, and we will be grilling steaks tonight!  Woo Hoo!

The Oldest Princess is now working on some of her class work.  Home colleging is going well for her.  She has made 100's on her first two home college quizzes.  The Youngest Princess had to miss her riding lesson on Monday due to the weather, so she is doing a makeup lesson now.  I did not go with her even though I really wanted to, because I did not want another allergy attack.  My Prince went to the local grocery store to pick up a few things we needed, and he said while he was there, he felt led to pray with the owners.  They were very thankful for him doing that, and I am thankful that he is a man who follows the leading of the Lord.  As we are blessed by others, I pray that we continue to be a blessing to others as well.

Praying that you all are blessing and being blessed as well!  Until the next adventure...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Who Let the Dog Out?

One of the backyard dogs got out this morning.  My Prince was sitting at his desk doing his work, and he jumped up and yelled, "I need all hands on deck!  H is out!"  So the Youngest Princess and I sprang into action.  The Youngest Princess was in the middle of her first class of the day and still in her pajamas.  She ran upstairs to throw on some clothes.  I ran to make sure that Pup was where he could not get out of the house with the door open.  He had somehow gotten a small roll of toilet paper (Gasp!!! NO PUP!!!! NOT THE TOILET PAPER!!!!!! Here! Chew on my gold necklace instead!  It is less valuable!) and was having a good time tearing it up.  I as quickly (and I do mean as QUICKLY) as possible got it away from him, and made sure he could not get out of the living room.  We were also in the middle of fixing breakfast, and the timer on the oven chose that exact moment to go off.  I ran to check on the bacon.  The Youngest Princess, The Oldest Princess (who had been upstairs studying) and I then all ran out to help corral the dog back in.  Trust me when I tell you he is almost as big as a horse, and it would take us all to get him back in.  The Youngest Princess caught him on the neighbor's front porch.  We lured him as close as we could with food, and then finally My Prince just picked him up and hauled him to the backyard. Crisis averted. We are still not sure how he got out.  If you live close and see a HUGE black lab roaming the streets, he probably belongs to us.

That is how today started.  But yesterday well...

Yesterday was pretty much a "normal" day.  As far as normal days go these days.  The girls and I got up and got started with our work here.  Me doing my Bible study, and the girls doing their school work.

My Prince and the Young Prince were both off to work themselves.

The girls and I decided to go to one of our local fruit/veggie stands and get some strawberries.  We took Pup along for the ride.  When we got there, they were out of strawberries, but told me that they would have some first thing the next morning.  We were not ready to head home just yet, so we decided to ride around for a few minutes.  We played Left or Right.  And whenever we came to a choice in the road, one of us would call out left or right, and that is the way we would go.  We saw some places that we have not seen before, and it was good to enjoy some different scenery.

We came home and ate lunch.  Then we hung out on the porch.  I did a little work in the flower bed.  The girls read and studied.  My Prince came home and sat with the girls on the porch for a while.  Our friend/new neighbor pulled up with a load of big stuff, so My Prince and the Youngest Princess ran over to help.  I finished what I was doing in the flower bed and the Oldest Princess, Pup, and I headed over to see if we could help as well.  They were just finishing up, so we stood (at a good distance) and visited for a minute.

We came home and the Youngest Princess finished her History test.  I had a terrible headache - I know it was from all the pollen and being outside for a while - so I took a short nap.  I did not sleep well, and was not able to get rid of my headache.  But, it was time to fix dinner.  So I came down to do just that.  I realized that we were out of the spice I use on my chicken.  I used it all the last time I fried chicken.  I had a different kind that I could use and was planning on using that, when My Prince announced that we did not have enough cooking oil.  He had been to the store earlier and had forgotten to get some.  SOOOOOO...he said he would just run and get something for us to eat.  My head was still pounding, so I went back upstairs to lay down again.

My phone alerted me to the fact that My Prince left home.  I text him to let him know that I loved him and was praying for him.  The Youngest Princess came in to let me know that the Young Prince was going to pick up a pizza for us to eat for dinner.  The Young Prince called me from Walmart, but the connection was terrible.  He hung up and text me.  He wanted to know something about a spray fragrance for Pup. Y'all.  This is our first indoor dog, and he stinks!!!  If he is out in the yard for any length of time at all, he stinks!!  So we try to brush him and spray him with doggy perfume each time we have gone out and come back in.  Our first bottle of perfume was about empty and we are having a hard time ordering some online.  Thankfully the Young Prince found some.

I watched My Prince do church online.  I hate that we are having to do church this way, but I love that we have the ability to do it and that we are not missing church all together.  I love seeing who is watching with me, and I love it when friends from my past join in and watch as well.  We have lived lots of places, and it is like a mini reunion just knowing that friends from other states are watching My Prince with me.  I also love seeing and hearing stories of those who would never go to church but are watching online services and their lives are being changed.  It is extremely encouraging to me.

Speaking of church online, for kid's church, we were supposed to play a game where the kids do their best barnyard animal impressions, but since we can't all be together for them to do that, I asked the parents to record the kids doing their barnyard animal sounds so we could put them all together and show them after the recorded lesson for Sunday morning.  My kids and parents did not let me down.  I got videos of precious kiddos doing barnyard animal impressions all day long.  It made me smile and miss them all even more.  I can't wait to put it all together and see the finished product!  I think the kids will enjoy it.

The Oldest Princess found a box of VHS tapes.  Things like My Prince singing with his college ensemble, and some of me doing my student teaching, and of my high school Scarlet spring show.  She and My Prince worked hard to get our old VCR hooked up to our television so that we could watch them last night, but they never could figure out how to make it work.   We were all a little disappointed at not getting to watch them.  Maybe we can figure it out and watch them sometime soon.  It would be great for something to make us laugh for sure.

We watched a show about Disney weddings instead, and talked about our Disney memories.  The Youngest Princess does not remember going, because she was so young the last time we went.  She and the Oldest Princess started looking up prices and how we could save up and go.  Maybe one day, girls, maybe one day.

I woke up this morning with my head feeling MUCH better.  My Prince and I went back to the local fruit/veggie stand to get some strawberries, but they said that they did not have any and probably would not until Saturday.  Two strike outs on trying to get strawberries.  But I will be there Saturday morning in hopes of getting some then.  It gives me something to look forward to.

The girls have worked on school off and on again today.  I have worked on my Bible study on and off all morning.  The Oldest Princess and I have rearranged a few things so that she can have a desk area of her own.  She was feeling industrious and decided to wash her car and ours.  Woo Hoo!

I have tried to avoid going outside and being in all of the pollen that is everywhere right now.  And thankfully, my head has not started hurting today.  Allergies are for the birds.  I am thankful that when we get to heaven, we won't have to worry about allergies ANY MORE.

And that my friends, is what we have been up to.  I thought I would blog daily, but I'm afraid I will bore you all with the mundane things going on.  I will just say that I hope to blog again when something worth writing about happens.  Until then...

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The First (Almost) Two Weeks

I had to look back, because I can't really remember the last time I went out, before all this began.  And I'm pretty sure that it was two weeks ago, tomorrow.  It was church on Wednesday night.  I was enjoying dinner with our church family and partying with my kiddos in kids church.  It was life.  And life was good.

Then all this Corona Virus craziness happened.  And life as we know it has drastically changed in some ways and hasn't changed at all in others.

The Oldest Princess is home from college.  Several months before her graduation ceremony.  Now we are home schooling the Youngest Princess and home college-ing the Oldest Princess.  It is an adjustment for all of us.  The Oldest Princess and the Youngest Princess have two TOTALLY different ways of studying.  One likes complete silence, the other likes to talk about everything.  One wants to be left alone, one wants to be in the middle of all the action and still try to study.  They drive each other crazy.  And me...I'm usually caught in the middle trying to keep the peace, and not lose my own sanity in the process.

The Young Prince is still working.  And we are thankful that he still has a job and can go to work.  But he is off a little more.  It is hard to get up and go to work when everyone else is home most of the time.  It is different having all five of us back in the house together, with two of the three kids now adults having lived out of the house and on their own for a while.  It makes for some really interesting dynamics, folks!  The Young Prince gets on the girls' nerves when he is here and they, in return, get on his.  And me...I'm usually caught in the middle trying to keep the peace, and not lose my own sanity in the process.

My Prince.  Bless his heart!  And the hearts of every other pastor out there who is trying to keep doing ministry in the middle of all of this!  It is a whole lot of learning all kinds of tech type stuff, and trying to add bandwidth and trying to learn how to be in front of a camera and look as natural as possible, and trying new apps and new websites to see which one would be the best to host small groups like Sunday School classes and Discipleship groups, so that all of the momentum they had going before is not lost in the shuffle.  And just about the time that they find something that they think is going to work and get the instructions out to everyone in the groups, they learn that it won't quite work after all and they are back at square one.  It is learning how to pour your heart out to a blinking light on a camera, with no human feed back.  And y'all, when people are your passion, THAT is HARD.  It is a lot of trying to connect with people over the phone and a lot of making sure people are okay and have what they need.  It is a lot of maneuvering of troops to get food and supplies to those who need them.  It is a lot of changing schedules and making sure that everyone gets the time they need with the equipment so that they can stay connected with their groups.  It is a WHOLE LOT of praying, and making decisions, looking to church leadership to help make decisions, second guessing those decisions, being accused by some people of making the wrong decisions, third guessing decisions, losing sleep over decisions, fourth guessing decisions, etc.  It is never ending.  And me...I'm usually caught in the middle.  Trying to help him, trying to encourage him, cheering him on, reassuring him, and not lose my own sanity in the process.

We are continuing with school as normal.  I think it is best to keep the routine as much as possible with the things that we CAN control.  I have been thankful for mostly great weather, so we can be outside as much as possible.  We have used our crafting supplies to be creative.  We have blown bubbles, picked flowers, made homemade bird feeders, gone for walks, and bike rides, we have read books, we have played with our new puppy (we got him last November), we have watched TV, we have experimented in the kitchen, we have helped a friend clean her new house, we have passed out food at church, we have eaten in a lot, and we have done take out a few times, we have cleaned out cabinets and have some closets to go.  AND we had a parade for the Youngest Princess for her 14th birthday.  Which was a total blast.  I can not thank all those who came enough.  You all are the BEST!

I have recorded a couple of terrible kids lessons for my church kids.  It is really hard to do a kid's video!  My full respect to those who do it on a regular basis.  It is certainly not my favorite thing to do, but I love my church kids, and I want them to know it, so I will do them until we are able to meet in person again.  My Prince and the Oldest Princess have agreed to do the skits for me for this four week series, and that helps to make the videos a little more bearable.

So far, I've been handling things mostly okay.  I'm a homebody anyway, and love being at home.  But today I have been feeling a little stir crazy.  I did take a few minutes to take the Youngest Princess to the barn, and while she did "horsey" things, I looked over my children's lesson, and tried to think of some things that can help it to be more interesting and interactive for the kids.  And I read some of my book.  I decided to read Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl.  Probably not the best choice of books right now.  Maybe it is helping to contribute to my stir craziness.  I am about 1/4 of the way through.  I have started it, so I must finish it.

Grammy and Poppy have safely arrived back from the D.R. We are glad that they were able to make it before any bans on travel.  They came by this evening and we sat out in the front yard to visit, to keep in line with social distancing. 

I waffle back and forth between not being concerned at all about the Corona Virus, and being scared to death.  I can't let myself think about it too much, or my fears can run away with me.  I do my best to control the things I can, and not totally stress out over the things I can not control.  I am just doing my best to use common sense and follow the suggestions of those who know far more about it than I and most importantly putting my trust in God who is not surprised by any of this and knows what tomorrow holds.  I know that I can trust the One who loves me enough to die for me and that whatever happens, He is in control, and that it will be for my best (Romans 8:28). 

And that my friends is our last two weeks in a nutshell.  I plan to try to blog daily for a while, so Lord willing, I will see you all tomorrow.

Why not?

Hey everyone!  It has been “a hot minute”, as the Youngest Princess would say.  I figure that since we are stuck at home, with not a lot to do, I would brush the cobwebs out of the writing room in my brain, and throw the windows wide and let some fresh air blow through.  Why not, right?  So I am going g to make an attempt to share life as a quarantined wife/mother/pastor’s wife/children’s minister/disciple group leader.  If ya enjoy it, keep checking back.  If ya hate it, you are free to never return!  Just trying to break up some of the monotony of these long days.  Love to you all, and see ya soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

We are talking WIDE OPEN, y’all!

A little back story before we get to the main story.

I grew up in the suburbs of a large city.  It was drilled into me by my protective parents to lock doors.  House doors - when we were gone and when we were home.  Car doors - when we were parked, and when we were driving.  Before bed each night, Daddy made sure all the doors were locked up tight and we were all safe and secure inside.  It is just what we did.

Now I live in a small town.  Some of our friends admit to not locking their homes - day or night, home or away...ummm...NO.  I just can't do it.

So, this last weekend, My Prince and I went as chaperones on a beach retreat.  Our kids were all going, and well, a beach retreat = a no brainer.  I'm in.  I mean it.  ALL IN.  Bring on the sunscreen and the sand!

 Our group had one side of a mirror image building (the main street side), and shared the other side with a  group that brought down 3rd - 5th grade inner city kiddos.  I saw them pass by one afternoon on their way to the beach, but otherwise, I never saw the other group.  We all followed the rules and kept to our own sides.

So, we were among our own people.  Church members. Family.  People we were comfortable with.  I shared a room with three other ladies.  Our room connected by a door into one of the rooms where some of our girls were staying, and then there was one more room where the rest of our girls and our youth pastor's wife were staying.  All of the rooms had an outside access door.  The boys had a similar set up.  Only they were on the first floor and the girls were on the second floor.

The first night, I never even thought about locking the door.  Not once.  The thought never even crossed my mind.  We all got ready for bed, did some soul sharing (as women tend to do when we get together), and went to sleep.  Because tomorrow was coming early, and we had teenagers to chase around in the sun.  SOME sleep was necessary.

The next night, one of the ladies and I went up a little earlier to get ready for bed.  As the other ladies came in, I mentioned that I think we had forgotten to lock the door the night before, and that we needed to be sure and lock the door that night.  I guess it was on my mind after the Youngest Princess came in and told me that there had been a little incident (after I had already gone upstairs) where some guys off the street had tried to join our kids in a game of basketball.  The strangers were asked nicely to leave, and were not really keen about vacating the premises (or being told what to do in general).   Our men chaperones stepped in and handled the situation.  Then the daughter of another lady came in a few minutes later to tell us that she had passed by at some time during the day and our room door had been standing open and that it was really hot in our room.  She said she just shut the door for us.  All that said, I wanted to be sure that the room door was locked for the night.  I mentioned it to the lady sleeping closest to the door, as I was already on my top bunk, and she said okay.  I then got busy talking, and promptly forgot to watch her and make sure she actually DID lock the door.

Maybe it was the missing flip flop situation that captured my attention...but that is a story for another day.

We all got in bed.  We talked.  We laughed.  We said goodnight and went to sleep.

Then sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up.  I woke up because I was hot.  I am RARELY EVER hot.  And I was in a room full of ladies who like it COLD.  So I knew instinctively that something was WRONG.

When I opened my eyes, I was staring straight out the door.  It was standing WIDE OPEN.  I mean like alllll the way to the wall WIDE OPEN.  And y'all.  I was WIDE AWAKE.  I mean like fight or flight WIDE AWAKE.  Because I know we talked about locking said door.  And she said OKAY.  Which meant that she was going to do it.  So why in the world was it standing WIDE OPEN!?!?

From my lofty perch (top bunk) I did a quick head (or body) count.  We were all there.  The other three ladies who like it cold, were sleeping through the heat wave caused by the open door.  NO movement in any of them.  I played mental tug of war with myself.  Should I wake them up?  Was it the wind that blew open the locked door or was something more sinister going on?  What about the girls in the next room?  If I woke everyone else up would everyone be able to go back to sleep if it had just been the wind?  What if it wasn't the wind?!?  What should I do?!? Will they be mad at me if I wake them up and it WAS just the wind?

So I took matters into my own hands.  I got off of the bed and tiptoed across the room to the door (meanwhile, all the people watching from home are going "Don't do it!  Don't do it!).  I gingerly peeked both ways out the open door.  Saw no one, and shut and LOCKED the door.  Then my sleep deprived, sun baked brain thought, "Well, maybe I should check and make sure no one is in the room with us..." which may have been brought on by the thought that I should go to the bathroom before getting back up on my top bunk.  I know that was backwards, but I was scared, and not really thinking straight.  Meanwhile, my sweet friends slept peacefully on. 

I quickly did a check, and thankfully there was no intruder in the room with us.  I climbed back to the safety of my bed.  I grabbed my phone and started texting My Prince.  Long story short, I finally got ahold of the Young Prince.  The Young Prince woke up My Prince.  My Prince texted me to let me know he would come up.  He came to our door, and stood as lookout while I checked on (and locked the doors behind me) the girls in both rooms. All was well, so My Prince and I went back to bed. 

This all took place at about 3:30 a.m.  I think my first text was at 3:24.  I did not go back to sleep until about 5:10.  My friend got up at 5:30 to go watch the sunrise on the beach with her son.  I woke up with her alarm, and told her what had happened.  She asked me if I had dreamed it.  I told her no, that I had the texts to My Prince to prove it.

So, in the end, all was well that ended well.  Two of the ladies left that day, because they had to come back home early.  That left only two of us in the room for the last night.  We made SURE the door was locked, and we put our luggage in front of the door, so the wind would have a harder time if it decided a repeat performance.  I was not going to wake up in the middle of the night to an open door again.  Thankfully, due to our extra precautions, all was well the last night.

Now.  That's my story.  What is your's?  Have you even thought about locking your "door"?  Have you considered that there are forces out there that want access to your heart and mind?  God's Word tells us that we wrestle not with flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).  We are in a spiritual war.   And most of us are too comfortable here and too distracted to even think about taking precautions and locking our doors.  But I will tell you for sure.  You do NOT want to be blindsided and wake up from a dead sleep to find your door WIDE OPEN.  You do not want to find yourself completely vulnerable to the elements.  I pray that we will remember that we are not meant for this life.  And that there is a spiritual battle going on around us.  I pray that we will put on the "whole armor of God" that we will be able to "withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand." (Ephesians 6:13)  After being caught off guard, we made sure to make every precaution that it would not happen again.  Let's learn from mistakes.  Let's put on that whole armor each and every day, no matter how comfortable we feel or how distracted we get.  Because I promise you, the wind did not stop blowing that last night, and Satan won't stop trying to blow your door in and destroy you and your family.  Don't let him!  Wear that armor like the good soldier that you are.  Don't find yourself wandering around in the dark, trying not to disturb others but wanting to make sure that everyone is safe.  Barricade your door.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Adjusting our sails

The winds of change.  They are blowing through.  As a family, we are adjusting our sails, and looking forward to our new adventures.  I thought I would write a quick blog to keep you all up to date.

And with that said, I am really not even sure where to begin.

I guess I will go back several months ago to a conversation that I had with my sweet Mother-in-Law.  She knows that I have wanted for some time now to stop teaching in the classroom, and to begin homeschooling the Youngest Princess.  She and I were discussing that I would still need some way to help our family financially.  She mentioned that I could tutor.  I thought about her suggestion, and prayed about it for several weeks before I mentioned it to My Prince.  When I did mention it to him, he told me we could pray about it.  I was overjoyed.  It was the first time that I felt that he was actually considering the possibility of letting me quit and start homeschooling.  I prayed continuously, and we would talk a little about it here and there, as time moved along.

I talked to other family members about the possibility.  Everyone seemed to think it would be a good move at this point in time.

I joined a group on Facebook for people who used the homeschool curriculum that I knew I wanted to use.  I did not post, but watched carefully and read just about every question and every answer posted and soaked it all in.  I learned a lot, and grew more and more excited every day.

And then there was a "chance" conversation that opened doors to the opportunity of me doing some tutoring this summer.  I nervously stepped out in faith.  I had no idea if anyone would even want me to tutor their children.  But I put it out there, and the Lord supplied.  I was very excited at the response.  To My Prince, it solidified that we were making the right steps and that the Lord was blessing.

I casually mentioned homeschooling to the Youngest Princess and she was very excited about the prospect.

My Prince and I talked more and more about it, and we finally set a date by which we wanted to make a final decision.  We wanted to give the school plenty of time to fill my position before the beginning of the next school year.

The day came, and we went to talk to the principal.  I was very nervous.  I guess because I knew it would finalize everything.

Over the next few days, as I had free time, I cleaned out my classroom.  It was bittersweet.  I taught there for 14 years.  My oldest two children went all the way through school there.  Many memories were made there.  We have made great friends there.  We have laughed and cried there.  We have prayed and praised there, and we have learned many, many lessons there.  I love the school and its ministry to the community.  We will miss it, no doubt.

And on the flip side of that, we are over the moon excited about this new chapter in our life.  We know there will be challenges.  We know it will not be smooth sailing all the way.  We know that we will have to make sacrifices to make it work.  But we know that this is what and where God has called us to at this point in our lives.  Yes, there are days when I have doubts.  And yes, it is scary to make changes.  And yes, it has taken faith on our part.  But we know that God will be with us every step of the way.

We signed up for homeschool and ordered books on a Wednesday, and had the books by Friday.  I have been like a kid in a candy shop going through it all to learn everything I can before we get started and working to get it all organized.

God has worked out little details that I was concerned about, and some that I didn't even know to be concerned about.  And He is still working out other details, but everything is falling into place.

On top of that, The Oldest Princess and the Young Prince will both be heading off to college on the same day in August (About 64 very short days away).  So that will be another big change for our family.  Until then we are soaking up the summer and making as many family memories as we can.  But getting us all together is harder than it used to be with the oldest two both working, and me tutoring, and My Prince's sometimes abnormal schedule.  More of that change I've been talking about.

Change stretches us. It wakes us up from the lethargy of routine. It moves us out of our comfort zones, and it helps us to grow.  It brings us closer to God as we lean more on Him and exercise our faith in Him.

Yes, the winds of change are blowing through.  We covet your prayers as we adjust our sails, and set out to experience uncharted waters and exciting new adventures.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

It’s Broken - And I Can’t Fix It

It is about as broken as broken gets.  And I can’t fix it.

I do not like this realization I have come to recently.  I would still rather reside in the happy land of “Maybe If...”or “It is Possible That...”.  The land where, in my heart,  I try to make things work out, and physical realities and the free will of people I love all line up and “voila!” everything is back to normal.  There are smiles, and rainbows, and happy endings.  A place where people are happy with themselves and are kind and loving to others.

But my mind has had to give my heart a reality check.  And I’ve had to vacate the happy land of “Maybe If...” and “It is Possible That...” and move into the smaller tighter reality of “It is Broken.” and “I Can’t Fix It.”

Broken things make me sad.  I don’t like things that are broken.  I want them to be fixed, restored, and made whole again. I like happy.  I like smooth sailing and sunny days.

Storms and rough seas are not my cup of tea.

But as much as I want to fix things, I’m only good at easy fixes like bandaids and kisses, ice packs and treats, hugs and smiles, causing laughter, encouraging toughness, tenacity, and persistence.

And this brokenness, well, it's bigger than those quick fixes.

 I’m not an expert fixer.  I am definitely not a miracle worker.  I’m not good at broken bones, stitches, surgical procedures. I am not good at broken lives, broken hearts or wounded souls.

When serious broken happens, I have to call on an expert.  So, it is a good thing that I know one personally.  One that IS an expert on fixing bodies AND souls.  And He is just one call away.  Even better, when I call Him, He already knows what is going on.  He already has a plan, and He has already set things in motion to heal and restore.

He speaks gently and lovingly to my heart.  He tells me to “fear not.”  He calms the storm raging in my mind and heart, and restores peace to my soul.  He allows me to cry over the brokenness that I can’t fix, while He wraps His arms of love around me and assures me that He will fix it, in His time, and in His way.

Our family seems to be under attack from every side and and every angle these past few weeks.  Satan has been working hard to discourage us.  Fiery darts rain in from EVERY side.  The winds blow, and our ship is tossed.  From big issues with a couple of our cars, to little issues with the washing machine.  From broken phones (which are hard to fix from several hundred miles away), to the stairway falling from our attic entrance (which was fixed fairly quickly by the Young Prince who was assisted by My Prince).  From heartbreaking situations at church (bearing one another's burdens), to discouraging issues at work.  From loved ones facing health issues to loved ones facing seriously tough life circumstances.  From death in our extended family to broken relationships among those we love.  From putting out one "fire" to putting out three or four "fires" at one time.

The other day, I had had all I could handle.  I felt like one more thing, and I was going to lose my mind.  So I went to God's Word, to assure and encourage myself.  I posted a few Bible Verses with the declaration of Not today, Satan!  Not today!  And I decided to call it a day.  I laid my head down on my pillow, and before I could relax, my phone buzzed.  Before I could completely handle that situation, the phone rang with more disturbing news.  Needless to say, it was a long night. After a really long day. And the next morning picked up right where the night before left off. Another really long day, in a series of several really long weeks.  A whole lot of broken.  In a short amount of time.  With little - if any - reprieve in between.

But through it all, God has remained faithful.  He has not left us.   I do not know how people face life without Him.  I am beyond thankful that I know the greatest Fixer of all things.  He has it all under control.  I just need to rest in that assurance, and trust that even when I can't fix it, no, especially when I can't fix it, God can.  I was reminded in my Bible study class that God does not run from our "messy", but he climbs right into the boat with us and calms our storm.  And for us, He has done just that.  In each and every situation, He has been right there.  He has calmed each storm. Even when they came back to back to back.

Is everything resolved and restored?  Unfortunately not.  But (for now) all is calm.  We have actually had a couple of calm days in a row (Hallelujah!).  And when I look back at just how faithful and good God has been in the past, I know that I can trust Him with my future.  It is broken.  And I can not fix it.  But I rest in the assurance that I know The One who can.