My Sunday afternoon siesta was rudely interrupted by a persistent, buzzing fly. Keane was sleeping peacefully, his warm, soft skin pressed against me when the fly landed one too many times. Keane’s jerk woke me up, and I laid there for a bit, wishing I could zap that evil fly with a stare.
Summer is here with its heat and flies, and sometimes I don’t know which is worse. I think Emily Dickinson got it wrong when she wrote, “I heard a fly buzz when I died.” It should be, “I heard so many flies buzz that I died.” But somehow that doesn’t sound very poetic.
I crawled out of bed and mixed up a batch of Chocolate Turtle Brownies to appease myself then decided to write a bit about family life.
The last month brought us several different batches of out-of-state company! First, my brother Evangel and his family came from Pennsylvania. I felt sorry for them that they came when everything was in such a hibble from moving and we couldn’t take a lot of time just to relax, but they were good sports and cheerfully pitched in to help. Our children loved having Evangel’s four little kids here to play. Desiree spent hours playing outside with Annette and Katrina, making mud pastries and setting up house under the trampoline. Somehow I failed to get a picture of that, but here’s one of the three girls.
We enjoyed eating and talking with Evangel and JoAnne, even if it was just around a card table in the living room.
One evening we took them out to a ranch in the Gyp Hills. We had the most lovely time fishing and picnicking. We are grateful for dear, generous friends who gave us permission to enjoy this spot!
Elijah caught a nice bass! The babies entertained themselves by playing in the bucket of fish.
The same week, Will’s brother Andrew and his family (also from PA) came to visit. Friday evening, the Schmuckers got together at Will’s brother Levi’s place for a fish fry. After supper, the children entertained themselves with explosives. Several of the adults had to resort to earplugs to preserve their sanity.
Saturday, the family rented Oasis Ranch and Retreat Center for the day. We spent the day chattering hard, playing, and eating. Such a lovely break!
After all that good partying with family, it was a little rough to get back into life at home. Since we moved into a very unfinished house, it’s not easy to do a passable job of housekeeping. The bedrooms don’t have carpet, doors, or trim yet, so we’ve been camping out in the living/dining room and kitchen. Will and I slept on a mattress in the dining room, until one day I was fed up with that so I dragged our mattress onto the concrete floor in one of the bedrooms. The children don’t mind sleeping on the couches–it feels like a party to them, even after a month of doing it!
All our furniture is crowded into the main living area so I can’t really put things away. As a woman who spends most of her time at home, the upheaval is hard on me. I want a peaceful, uncluttered space that makes it easy for me to do my daily work. Our kitchen is not that big, and it has three dressers parked along the walls. Not to mention that the cabinet under the sink is rotting out, and the fridge door opens only halfway before it bangs into the island. The cabinet doors and drawers make awful creaking sounds and don’t want to shut. This has been a time of needing to lean on Jesus to help me be patient and care for the family the best I can.
Last weekend my good friend Kelly came to visit, which perked me up considerably. Kelly and I talked constantly! And she poured so much love into the children. It blessed my heart to see their little hearts soaking up all the love. Elijah affectionately called her “Kelly Blue Book”.
Sunday evening we walked with Kelly to the lake, another evening we walked to Simple Simon’s on Main Street for pizza. Did I mention all the stimulating discussions? It felt good to put my brain to work again! Her visit was a breath of fresh air for all of us.
Kelly left on Wednesday, then on Thursday afternoon I took the kids with me to a homeschool mom’s group. The ladies in the group are committed Christians who care about educating their children well. I always feel refreshed after being with the other moms. This time we shared some curriculum ideas with each other, and I had to face the fact that one of these days I will have to start school again! Dear Lord, please let my house be (more) finished before then!
Friday afternoon I met with another group of ladies from town. We use the IF:Table format, spending two hours once a month discussing four pertinent questions. I felt tremendously enriched by our time together. Next month can’t come fast enough!
I don’t know if any of you attempted the little “hearing God” exercise I posted last week. Perhaps you did, but didn’t want to tell me, and that’s ok. But…there is a story behind that exercise.
While I was writing my series on hearing God’s voice, I felt His presence with me. But as I published the series some weeks later, I felt this thick fog, as if I couldn’t hear Him or even sense His presence. Why, as I was speaking about God’s voice, could I not hear Him?
I wandered through several more weeks with this pain in my heart. Then about two weeks ago, I suddenly realized one evening that God had been trying to talk to me all day! I did what He told me, and the response affirmed that it was God speaking.
Last Sunday, I experienced God in a deep and powerful way. At church, the pastor taught on the Lord as our Shepherd, then we spent a chunk of time “lying down in green pastures”. We quieted our hearts and listened to beautiful hymns and scriptures while inviting God to speak to us. It was incredibly moving for me. I’m not sure if I have ever before experienced a church group listening together for God’s voice. But I definitely heard Him and the place was full of His presence.
Through that experience at church, God gave me an idea for one of my children with a problem I had no idea how to go about solving. I implemented that idea, and am astounded with how well it is working!
A day or so later, I asked God to give me the name of a Bible character, the part of the story I was supposed to think about, and what His words were to me through that. What came to me was: Moses–the burning bush–your common ground is holy ground. Talk about God knocking me over! Here I was, in my shambly unfinished house, burdened down with my children’s needs, worn out with life in general–and God tells me He is talking to me right here. His voice is not something I can demand, but something I deeply desire and humbly accept.
When I returned from taking Kelly to the airport, I snapped this picture on the outskirts of Medicine Lodge.
Right here in the town I love so much, God speaks to me. Right here, even though my kitchen sink is crawling with flies and my floor has wet, grassy tracks, and my bed is full of popcorn crumbs. Common ground is holy ground.
Thank you, Jesus!