Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Value of Play

You know the little reminder boxes that pop up on your computer? 
The ones where you always hit “remind me later”
because you don’t want to read all that stuff? 
That’s what I’m doing now. 
The “School is Almost Here” notification keeps popping up in my brain,
and I hit “remind me later” just as fast as I can.  
Our homeschool starts in three weeks,
but until then I will savor freedom of summer.

What I see from the back door window.

I let the girls play with the past-their-prime garden vegetables,
and they think I gave them the moon! 

Can't you just feel the glorious squish?!

I could almost eat this.  Other than there's a lot of "pepper".

At the beginning of this year’s summer vacation
 I was a little concerned that the “I’m bored” bug might hit. 
The concern wasn’t necessary. 

Play has kept the boredom away.
A grocery store sprung up in our living room.

 I love to see the incredible creativity of children at play. 
And as the hours of school approach
I don’t want to see the time for play disappear,
even though I know it will lessen.  

 I love school.  I love the learning. 
I love the requirements of discipline and hard work. 
I love this thing of learning to keep on going even when it’s drudgery.
This is preparation for life in the real world.

A mind too full of work and responsibility has no room for creativity.

It’s in the unstructured times that ideas blossom. 
New things are tried.  Failure is bound to happen. 
Fresh attempts are made with a different technique.
These play times are also important preparation for life in the real world. 
Flower lady in her lovely ballgown.

The mamma helped with this play!
 “Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant,
and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.
 Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”

 -- Lousia May Alcott,  Little Women

My native maidens.

 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God,
and he will give it to you.
He will not rebuke you for asking.”
James 1:5

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bits and Pieces of Summer

This summer’s been unique.  But good.  Life goes on at a pace I can’t seem to keep up with, but I’m trying my best to grab hold of what is good and rejoice in the Giver! 

We started out by saying goodbye to our “daughter” of the past 3 ½ years.  It was bittersweet.  We miss her, but at the same time are so happy to see her choosing to help others by being a cook at the Fairplay Wilderness Boy’s camp in South Carolina.  We did some special things as a family before moving her south.  

 Ever have a zebra or ostrich’s head inside your car?  The Virginia Safari Park was quite an experience!  It’s a drive through zoo on 180 acres near Lexington, with over 1000 animals roaming “free” in a very happy environment.  They’re extremely friendly due to the fact that visitors can feed them right from their vehicles.  We all loved it!

The other big change was in our church building location.  Our church group, Koinonia Christian Church, is relatively small, and we’ve been renting a community center in downtown Charlottesville for about 3 ½ years.  We found out, with about two months of notice, that this building was being sold, and we wouldn’t be able to rent the place any more.  Well now there’s a challenge – in two month’s time find a place to hold at least a hundred people for services and space for seven Sunday school classes to include the kid’s ministry.  It needs to be in the city or very nearby so we can still bring the kids from town with the bus.  Oh, and there has to be a somewhat functional kitchen and place to feed all these people dinner.  Did I mention that we can’t afford a high price tag?   In Charlottesville that doesn’t work out so well!  We were praying!  And trusting the same God who has been working miracles since the beginning of time.  There was a peace. 
The gym where we met in town.

 And now for the story.  I get goose bumps sitting here typing this.  We had two Sundays left to use the community center building in town.  No leads for another location were working out at all.  One evening my husband Nathan got a voicemail message from a man named Bruce who’d been attending our church for the past few months.  Bruce said he may have a lead for a building.  

He was getting gas at Sam’s Club when he asked a random fellow customer about a sign on his car.  As they proceeded to have a conversation, the stranger mentioned a building just out of town that was owned by Christian Aid Mission.  It had recently been vacated by a church group who’d built a new facility.   The place was not in great shape, but it might be a possibility. Another random note:  this Christian Aid Mission president is our close neighbor and we already knew her.
Here are Bruce and our pastor, Robert, discussing things after Sunday dinner.

Delicious Sunday dinner.

Kids doing kid things on one of the last Sundays at the community center.
 Nathan got a tour of the possible new location and came home with the details -- we were beyond excited.  There was a large sanctuary area, a sound room, a nursery, plenty of Sunday school rooms and a commercial kitchen to boot!!!  Now, lest this all sound too glorious, let me mention that it’s an old building.  There have been no apparent renovations in at least 20 years.  Most of the A.C. units didn’t work.  The carpet was stained and filthy.  The place smelled from sitting empty.  Cleaning the place would be a HUGE task!
Hard at work in the very grimy kitchen.
You know you've got two great pastors when they're the ones installing a new toilet.

When we got the news that we could rent for at least one month at a very reasonable price, we were happy.  We were having our last service in the community center in just a few days!  Our work was cut out for us.  People came and scrubbed.  And scrubbed. And cleaned carpets.  And cleaned them again.  And fixed things.  And fixed more things.  Finally the place was looking (and smelling) better! 

We had our first service here on the sixth of July with hopes of staying at least a year.  It was a service of rejoicing and praising God!  He proves Himself again and again to work through ways we would not invent.  He is worthy of our trust and our praise and our very lives!
First service in the new building.

Learning how to run the range.  We are loving the large kitchen space where we are not so cramped!

Once again the summer and all of its activities has taken a toll on me.  Here’s one of my To Do lists for the day.  Only it’s a To Possibly Do list.  I’m learning not to overcommit and to be more flexible. Lately I’ve had more “bad” days than “good” days with my Lyme journey.  (Therefore you may have noticed a lack of blog posts here.  Creativity has waned, and energy is at a premium and is spent on other things!)  Taking meds and more meds and herbs and more herbs gets tiring.  Headaches, fatigue, and brain fog make a person slow down.  But there is humor even in that – asking your husband for yogurt when you mean lotion, telling your daughter that her elbow is dirty when you mean her chin – stuff like that.  The human brain is walking a thin line sometimes!  I actually think the Lyme and Babesia (or something similar) may be in remission though.   If you’d like more details, ask me.  I find the body, medicine, and disease details fascinating, but I realize that other people might not. ;)

Meet Susan and Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia.  Our girls attended a local VBS since our church didn’t have one with the building move and all.  They loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe theme, making new friends, and a dress up day at the finish!

I’m enjoying the garden more than ever.  
Going to the grocery store and completely bypassing
 the fruit and produce section is a great thing!

Cassia is working on no training wheels this summer.
  Thank you Grandpa, for catching her when she falls!

Take time to enjoy (and even notice) the little things. 
This Praying Mantis is having bumble bee for lunch.

Happy Summer to all of you!!!  
And go find a freeze pop or two to share
 with someone you love!

“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, 
because of your love and faithfulness.”
Psalm 115:1

Monday, August 4, 2014

Friendship -- I Heart Faces Entry

This is the theme for August at I Heart Faces.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand.
"I just wanted to be sure of you.”
   ~A. A. Milne

(Note: I'm so excited to have this photo picked as one of the top ten at number four!)  
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