Friday, March 28, 2008

The Day Our World Changed

(...Continued from here)

The twelve hour drive to Louisiana has always be long, but this time, it took forever. We all sat in silence for most of the trip. Once Lauren, who was three at the time, spoke. I looked back to see her in her car seat coloring in a coloring book with a serious look on her face.

"I am happy to be going to see MawMaw and PawPaw, but I am sad that I won't ever see Uncle Daren again."

(this is a photo of Lauren at about 1 year with Uncle Daren at about 16 or 17 years old.)

I knew then that she understood that death was final. I turned back toward the window and into myself and my grief. I pushed aside thoughts of what I would find when I arrived at my parents house. I didn't want to face them. I knew that they would be inconsolable. I knew they would be devastated.

The miles went by and there were times I just wanted to open the door and jump out and start running. I couldn't stand to just sit there, confined in the car. I felt that my pain was to great to be contained inside such a small space. I felt like I would explode...I prayed again for God to strengthen me face what was to come.

We arrived at my parents house around ten o'clock that night. I could see the lights from a distance and I could see movement through the windows. It was apparent from the cars parked there, that there was a house full of people there with them. As I walked in the dark to the front door, a movement in the yard caught my eye. It was Kazan, Daren's dog. My breath caught, I had to take a moment to compose myself before entering into the house. Seeing Kazan reminded me so much of Daren, I had to push that aside and deal with the issue at hand...facing my parents.

Upon entering the house, I was greeted by several friends and family members. My parents were both lying on the bed, completely distraught and mourning. When my dad saw me, he said, "NO! NO!" and turned away from me. Knowing I was there, meant it was true, it was reality. I walked around to my mom and reached down to hold her. We both cried and she begin telling me about something...

Slowly, the friends and family left, returning to their lives and homes. But we were left there, to continue on in the nightmare that had become our lives.

Morning came, after a sleepless night, and we dressed to go to the funeral home to make the arrangements. As we entered I was greeted by a young woman and I told her who we were and why we were there.

"Would you like to view the body?" She asked, as thought she were offering coffee and a snack.

This completely caught me off guard. I couldn't think of seeing my brother now...We had so much to do; make arrangements, pick out a casket...I could feel my wall begin to break down.

"No, No, not now..." I choked out. "...Let's take care of everything first."

We were led into a large office in the back of the funeral home and a young man came in and greeted us. Offering his condolences and being very sensitive to our emotional conditions. We begin to go over the arrangements that my mom had written down. The funny thing about this was, in the weeks before Daren's death, my mom had felt impressed to write down funeral arrangements for herself. She showed them to Daren and told him that if something happened to her, that is what she wanted done. She didn't know that she would be using those arrangements for her son instead of the other way around.

Then came the time to pick out a casket. We were led into a room across the hallway and when the door opened and I saw a room full of caskets, my knees went weak. I stepped back away from the door and put my head into my hands and prayed again for strength. I steadied myself, turned and walked into the room. After a few minutes, I found the one I thought was right for him. It was lined in light blue and on the inside of the lid was embroidered, four flying birds, three were flying one way, and the fourth had turned and was flying away from the four. The text was "Going Home". I felt this was what was happening and it mirrored us.

With that done we were taken to a waiting area, where several friends and family members had gathered to meet us. I was numb and unable to talk to anyone. I sat alone, withdrawn and trying to process everything that had just happened.

They called us into the chapel area where they had him ready to be viewed by the family. I froze...I couldn't do this, I couldn't go into that room and see my brother, who was once so full of life lying there...dead! I couldn't do it.

After some time, my cousin came to me and put his arms around me and begin to talk to me. His mom had passed away a couple of years earlier and he had faced this same moment. He shared with me that when he did go in and see her, he felt a peace and knew that she was in a better place. He had been in to see Daren and told me that I would feel better once I saw him.

Until now, I hadn't thought about what he would look like. I had learned that he died from severe head trama when his head hit the windshield. I couldn't imagine what injuries he may have suffered that would make him look different. But there were none. The only visible evidence that he was in an wreck was a small cut on his chin. It was small, less than an inch long. His face was perfect, with no brusing or swelling. It looked as though he was lying there asleep.

I was escorted into the chapel by my cousin. He held me tight and walked and talked with me as we neared the casket. I felt weak and my mind was numb, I couldn't believe this was real. It must be a bad dream. It was what nightmares are made of. Nothing in your life ever prepares you for this moment. Death is as natural as life, but it is something we run from, something we don't want to have to face. Death is so final.

Only four months before, one of my co-workers had passed away from a heart attack. He was in his late 50's and it was so sudden. At that time I had written a poem about death and the finality of it. In the poem I wrote that our minds shouldn't be able to accept that someone we loved so dearly, someone that was there yesterday, was suddenly gone, gone forever...our human minds can't get a grasp on that, but somehow we do. It should be possible, but somehow we get up the next day and dress and put one step in front of the other. I don't remember the words I wrote, but just the idea that somehow, God allows us to heal, like taking a drink from a cup. When the sip is gone, there isn't a hole in the drink, just less drink. The other liquid comes together and fills the spot instead of leaving a visible empty spot. I wrote this from an outside prospective. I had not experienced it first hand. I had not experienced this great void left by losing someone so dear. It does leave a visible hole, an empty spot that nothing or no one can fill.

We stepped up to the side of the casket, and as I looked inside, I saw my precious baby brother lying there, as though he were asleep. His face looked so sweet, so innocent, so...perfect.

I begin to weep...the dam that had held back the emotional flood was weakening, and I could feel myself giving in to a break down. But just as quickly I remembered my parents who were standing nearby talking about something, anything to keep them from collasping onto the floor in a heap of grief. And I braced myself again, I prayed again for strength. I regained composure and made it though...

We left the funeral home and headed for the church. They were bring his body to the church for viewing and visitation for two days before the funeral. There were still many hours remaining before I could fall apart. be continued on another post...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Sunday and To be continued....

Here are a few photo's from Easter Sunday. I will continue The Day Our World Changed on another post. Due to the emotional nature of the story, I am just not up to it today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Day Our World Changed

March 19th has for years marked an anniversary that I would prefer not to have to remember. A passage of another year without...A yearly reminder of what may have been, what could have been, and what isn't. It is a day that will be remembered as the day our world changed forever!

It was March 19, 1993, I was living in Tennessee with my husband and three year old daughter. My parents and brother, (only sibling), were living in Louisiana where I grew up. I worked late that night, an unusually balmy, clammy feeling Friday in March. I had to close the store and had worked an extra long shift. I hadn't eaten since breakfast and I was tired beyond the normal. My head hurt, my body ached and I just felt an overshadowing of dread. As I drove from the parking lot of the business where I worked, my truck went dead on me, and would not restart. I was in the turn lane of the highway that ran through town. I looked behind me and the man that had closed the store with me that night, had pulled in behind me. We decided that he would push my truck back into the parking lot and I would leave it till morning and he would drive me home. I only lived a couple miles down that same highway.

When I entered the house, I could hear my husband on the phone.
"Here she is now, do you want to talk to her?" Andrew asked
I took the phone and my father's voice greeted me on the other end. We spoke for a few minutes and my tiredness grew stronger. I don't remember much of the conversation, but as we were speaking, I was suddenly griped with fear. I questioned him as to where my brother was at the moment.
"He and Brandy are in Pitkin."
Suddenly I wanted to scream, "Go now and get him!" I felt such an overwhelming need for him to go and get him right then. But I passed the feeling off as just being tired and hungry and a little agitated by the events of the evening.

After a little more conversation we said goodbye, and I proceeded to look for something to eat. My daughter was already in bed asleep and Andrew said he hadn't eaten supper yet either. So I agreed to get in the car and go up the highway to Subway and grab us a sandwich.

After going to bed that night, I was restless. I thought that perhaps it was due my being so tired that I couldn't get settled in to a good sleep.
My husband and I both woke several times in the night unable to find that deep, restful sleep we were seeking. I got up at some point around 1:00 or 2:00 and got something to drink, went to the bathroom and checked in on Lauren. The air was thick, and muggy. It was almost an oppressive feeling, like I was breathing in liquid. Or as thought something heavy or someone was sitting on my chest.

Finally about three or four o'clock, I feel into a deep sleep. So deep in fact, I barely rolled over at six when Andrew got up and left for a morning run. Somewhere around 6:30 or so, I heard a ringing in the distance. But I couldn't drag myself awake enough to realize that the phone was ringing. I don't know how many times it rang, but finally I jump up suddenly, realizing that it wasn't a dream. I went to our phone which was hanging in the hallway between our bedroom and the living room. When I answered it was the familiar voice of a friend who also lived in Louisiana. She was pregnant with her first child and had been having a few problems. I realized by her voice that something was definitely wrong. My mind immediately went to her baby.

"What's wrong?" I asked

"I don't know how to tell you this, but Daren and Brandy were in an accident..." she hesitated as I tried to understand her words. My mind was still thinking something was wrong with her baby and I couldn't figure out how Daren, my brother, and Brandy, our first cousin, played into this whole scenario.

"...Daren didn't make it." Just like that..."Daren didn't make it..."

Those words played over and over in my mind like a needle on a record player running over the same grove again and again...

Somewhere between the awake self and my sleeping self, I hoped this was a dream. I prayed out loud that this was not so...

"No, dear God No!" I felt my body slid down the wall under the phone. "No!" "No!"

"Let me talk to Andrew" I heard her voice come through the phone line.

"He isn't here." I replied through tears.

"Not there, where is he?"

"At the track, running?"

"He's not there." She said to someone in the room with her.

"Oh dear, if I had known, I shouldn't have told you, I should have asked for him..."

"I have to go, I've got to call someone..."

"Look, call me back in a few minutes, I wish I had known he wasn't there."

"I've gotta go..."

I hung up the phone and leaned against the wall feeling sick to my stomach, unable to catch my breath. I had to call someone. I had to get Andrew home. What could I do...

I called my mother-in-law, who lived a few miles away.

"I'll be right there."

I called 911. I explained to them what was happening and that I needed someone to get my husband.

The phone rang again and it was my friend from Louisiana again.
"Are you okay?"

"Yes. No! Yes. Mary is on her way over, and the police are going to find Andrew." "Tell me what happened." "Where, when, who... " I want to know everything you know."

Her husband who was with the military police at the base near where my parents lived was on duty that night and they drove to the scene to assist the state police. Her husband didn't know my brother, but knew there were two young men involved that went to the church where my friend and I grew up. When he got home that morning he told her about it and she called around and found out for sure who it was.

A man from a nearby town was driving at a high rate of speed going into a curve, lost control of his truck and fish-tailed his truck into the oncoming truck that my cousin Brandy was driving and my brother was a passenger in. It happened around midnight while they were on their way back to Brandy's house. They were a few miles from home when it happened.

The driver of the other truck, Garry Fox, fled the scene. They used dogs to try to track him. At the time of her call, he was still unknown and missing. She reassured me that they would find him and she would call me with updated information when she knew.

As I tried to process all of this information, I grew sick at my stomach and my head began to swim...everything went black. I heard a loud crash somewhere in the distance, then nothing.

I awoke to my three year old daughter standing at my head.
"Mommy, Mommy, wake up!"

I prayed, "Dear Lord, you know, I have never had to face anything like this before. I don't even have the tools with which to deal with something like this. I can't do it. I can't carry this...You have to help me. You have to give me strength to make it through this. I can't on my own...Please give me strength."

As I looked into my daughter's face, I thought of my parents and what they must be going through right at this moment. I knew that I had to get to them. I had to be strong for them. I knew that difficult times lie ahead for all of us.

I slowly stood and walked with her to the couch. I didn't want her to know what was going on. I had to wait until I could get a hold of myself and explain to her... how do you explain this to a three year old? Just then my Mother-in-law knocked on the door.

We sat in silence on the couch, Mary holding me and me holding Lauren for what seemed like an eternity. In truth, it was only a few minutes until Andrew raced in through the back door with a scared look on his face.

"What is it, what's wrong?" he asked as he looked from my face to his mother and back to my face.

"Daren." Mary mouthed his name so Lauren couldn't hear.

Andrew's face fell as he looked at me questioning, trying to read my expression.

I stood and took him into the bedroom and I calmly begin to explain to him. He sat on the bed with his face in his hands crying, "NO!"

I felt a calm like I had never felt before as I proceeded through the motions of packing and preparing things for our trip back to Louisiana. I know we had to get there as soon as possible. I dreaded what I would face when we arrived. As I started out the back door of our house, I looked around before closing the door, I wanted to remember things how they were then, because I knew that when I returned, nothing would ever be the same again...

To be continued....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Days of Pi, Pie, Trips, and Bridges...

Well, I have been away from this blog as of late. My parents are visiting and I have been pretty busy. So I just let this one go for a little while.
We celebrated Pi day last Friday, 3.14...

We had big plans for the day and would you believe, I got called to go to work that day. So we had to rush around on Thursday preparing for Friday. Megan was so upset, she didn't want to do the Pi day celebration if I had to work. But we agreed to do it when I got home Friday evening. So Thursday, she and I made three pies; chocolate(of course), lemon, and we made a square cheesecake "pie". Because you know Pi r square! LOL! We also made tee-shirts for the day. Megan made a design on the computer and we printed them onto transfer paper and ironed them onto the shirts. I wore mine to work Friday.

So Friday, I picked up pizza pie for supper and when I got home we talked about pi and completed a chart by measuring the circumference and diameter of different size circles and then adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing them, we filled in the chart with the answers.

We made a pi necklace. We ate pizza and pie and we just had a great time. Although we were all tired from the day. Work was rough and I had not gotten much sleep the night before, thanks to Noah and a storm. Anyway, in all the rush and tiredness, I forgot to take photo's and we forgot to read the book, Sir Circumference and the Dragon of Pi. So we had to do that later.

Megan was also tired by that time, she and my mom had gotten up early and had a yard sale that day. Megan is quite the salesgirl. She made over $70.00 just with the things she sold. She was very proud. She loves having yard sales and making money! She wanted to do it again on Sat, but Andrew and Lauren had to go to Tennessee for Andrew to meet with his brother and sister to get the final things from his dad's house before they sell it. So there was no one to see to Noah while they carried on the yard sale, seeing as though I ALWAYS have to work Saturday's! That is one thing I hate about my job. I MISS OUR SATURDAY'S!!!! I WANT THEM BACK!!!!! We use to do neat things on Saturday's. Even if it was nothing by go to the book store and all get a book to read, and go out to eat. It was just a day to spend together as a family. We even use to go away for the weekends! There's a lost concept in our household now!! I remember many times just getting away to a different place on the weekends, getting a hotel and going out to explore the area. Wow! I need a vacation. I have been in Arkansas to long! Time to move on...even if just for a week or so. I want to go out west. We always go east. This year I want to go west. I have only been as far as New Mexico. That was years ago on a skiing trip. But I want to go to Washington State, The Oregon Coast, Colorado and back to New Mexico. Well, we shall see. I know we can't do it all; with time constraints and all that, but I would love to fly to Seattle and drive down the Oregon Coast, go to Portland and just enjoy!

Oh well, back to my reality now. I need to end this post. I have to go get a battery for my mom's car, it wouldn't start the other day. The battery has been on the car since she got it, so I would say it needs a new one. Then we are going to go visit our dear Aunt this evening. In the meantime, I have to help Megan pack her things, my parents are leaving tomorrow and Megan is going to go with them to stay two or three weeks. I will then go down and get her and get a perm while I am there. I decided to wait until I can go back to the lady that always does it. I posted about this here. That was back in November and I am just now getting around to do it. Oh well, at least it will be fresh when the hot weather hits. I usually have a harder time in the summer doing my hair. The humidity and all!

On the Simple Living homefront; we are still trying to decide what to do about our housing. We are renting in town right now and our lease will be up in May. Then we can sign from month to month or move on. We really want our own place again. But are unsure what to do about it. The reason we moved back to town was due to the fact we did everything here in the city. We had three cars going back and forth nearly everyday and sometimes twice. It was 25+ miles out of town and the gas was eating us alive!!! Now the gas prices are even higher!

So we don't know what to do. We are praying for direction and guidance from God. He has a plan for our lives, and He has brought us on a journey. The events of the last three years or so, have all been for a reason. We are coming full circle. And I have changed so much in that time. I see the work and the hand of God directing me, but I am still unsure of where it is all going. I know there is discontentment for the place we are in... I feel a restlessness again in my spirit. I see the ideal out there...but haven't found the bridge to cross over yet. I am still looking...

Speaking of bridges and trips...I love covered bridges. So several years ago, when we were living in Kentucky, Andrew and I took a trip to Cincinnati, and on the way we drove along the northern part of Kentucky and visited several old covered bridges along the way. We had a wonderful trip! I had a great old 35mm camera and took lots of photo's. I thought I would share a few with you today.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lentil Soup Recipe

Lentil Soup

4 pork chops

1/2 onion

3 tablespoons oil


black pepper



1 cup of sliced carrots

1 can Rotel Tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1lb. bag dry lentils

First, put oil into pot and add pork chops. I add Tony's, black pepper, and garlic powder to meat and season while cooking meat. Brown on both sides then add water to cover chops. Cook until chops are done. Remove from pot and cut into small pieces. Remove all but small amount of stock from pot and set aside. Chop and add onions pot and soften onions. Add carrots, rotel, and tomato sauce. Add 6 cups of water and lentils, stir well. Bring to a boil and turn to low heat and cover. Cook until lentils are done. Add salt to taste.

Serve with cornbread and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I have been facinated by the idea of unschooling ever since I heard about the concept. I think it has wonderful merit. I have been reading more and more about the process and how it works. I have even practiced it to an extent with Megan.

Megan hated to take spelling test. When she attended a church school for a short time, we would study the words and she would spell most of them right, but when the test came, she wouldn't do so well. She grew discouraged and begin to have negative feelings about herself and her ability to learn. So due to this and other issues, I took her out of the school and started to homeschool again. (She had been homeschooled from 1st grade through the beginning of 5th, when she started the church school.) When I took her out, we just completly dropped spelling from her daily curriculum. At this time, she discovered blogging. She started a blog on homeschoolblogger and homesteadblogger. We had a small farm and raised goats, chickens, rabbits, pigs, cows and dogs. She really loved it and enjoyed blogging about it. She wanted her blogs to be nice and everything spelled correctly, so she learned to spell on her own. In the beginning, she would ask often how to spell a word, but soon she was able to do it without much assistance. Now she is in the 7th grade, we haven't had spelling in her curriculum at all, and she rarely has to ask how to spell a word. And she spells great.

So this little test of the idea of unschooling proved to me that it works. And if it works in one area, then it will work in the other areas as well.

While searching the internet for more information on unschooling, I found this article that I thought was wonderful. It reflects what I know in myself to be true and helps me to solidify my belief in allowing children to learn through their natural curiosity. Children are natural learners, they want to learn. If allowed to learn when they are ready to learn, they will learn it much better than if they are forced to learn something they aren't interested in or ready for.

With my older daughter, I took her out of public school after the 3rd grade. We did the traditional boxed school curriculum. It was basically just like school, maybe even more rigid. I felt pressured to continue the traditional way of educating. There were still nay-sayers regarding homeschooling. Even using the traditional method, I faced opposition due to my decision to homeschool. But something happened to Lauren in about 7th grade. She got tired of school. She got tired of working so hard at something she wasn't interested in. She still did well in school, (first-born, over achiever type), but she lost interest and just did what she had to do to get good grades. She no longer enjoyed learning. And it has continued through her life. She is now 18 and should have finished her high school curriculum last year. But she lost interest and has been lagging around. She really doesn't care to finish it. She is going to, but doesn't care if she does or not. She is very out going and has found success in the work environment. She has proven she can be successful in her adult life.

Both of my children are very intelligent and talented. I am not just saying that because I am their mother. They have always been advanced in their development and never had problems learning and retaining concepts. They each have different learning styles, and approach learning in their own way. So I know that they will learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. They have the ability, without question. But the interest must be their own.

I attended public school from Kindergarten to 12th grade. I graduated from college with a B.A. and have worked in various jobs through the years. My interest vary greatly. I know that the traditional schooling did not give me any advantage in life, and I learned what I learned when I was ready. I pursued interest and learned through various means. Twenty-four years after graduating from high school, I can say that the bulk of the knowledge I have, came outside of the traditional school setting. And the knowledge I have retained is the knowledge that I sought out on my own, not what was force-feed me by a set curriculum at a set time in my development.

So with all of this said, here is a link to the article I started this post talking about. It was published in Home Educator's Family Times newsletter. It is entitled Unschooling: Preparing Our Children For Life. The author's name is Marsha Ransom. I hope you enjoy it.

Our Little Snow

This morning we woke to a small snow. It is the first one we've had all winter. It has already stopped and beginning to melt and get nasty. But it was enjoyable for a few minutes.

Tractor Supply

I don't know about anyone else, but I love Tractor Supply! It is one of my favorite stores. I just love the atmosphere and the smell. I know that sounds weird. But when you miss living on a farm like I do, you take what you can get. And Tractor Supply is the closest I can get right now.

So I go in there often and browse around, see what's new, and just soak up the feeling. I reminese about the times I spent there getting things for Sugar Bend Farm. I usually leave with the latest edition of Hobby Farms magazine and Mother Earth News. And I always pick up the latest Out Here magazine.

This is the cover of the latest issue. The great thing is they are free! Inside you will find fun, interesting, and educational facts about farm life. You will meet interesting people who are living the "country dream". If you don't have a Tractor Supply store near you, then you can go online and read current issue along with back issues of this great resource. Just click here to start enjoying!

If you are lucky enough to have a Tractor Supply store near you and have never been in one, then give it a try. Inside you will find a special treat and something that will appeal to just about anyone.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Finding my place

Call me a gypsy or a nomad, but I have never seemed to stay in one place for to long. As much as I would love to put down roots, plant a tree and watch it grow, and all those things, when it comes down to it I am just a traveler at heart. There have been times in my life that I knew that I was right where I was suppose to be at that moment. And that is a pretty wonderful feeling. But other times, like now, I feel like a woman without a country; disconnected from the place I am living. I feel like a plane sitting on the runway, waiting for takeoff, but the control tower says to idle and wait. My engines are reved and ready to take off, but I am stuck waiting. I know in the spiritual sense, we aren't home, and we are just travelers passing through a foreign land. We aren't suppose to be comfortable here in this world. We are to be watching and waiting, ready to go to our true home. But this isn't a spiritual restlessness. This is a natural; physical, and emotional, restlessness.
I have always enjoyed traveling, going new places, meeting new people, and learning new ways of living. When my husband started traveling with his job, I loved it! It was so awesome to have new territory to explore. When we moved here to Arkansas with that company for a 2 year project, we decided to stay and make a home here. There were several things that went into that decision. The main one being the church we are attending here. Traveling around, it is sometimes hard to find a church that still teaches and practices the spiritual teaching that I was raised with. I want my kids to have that same foundation. And lets face it, churches of all denominations are getting more and more liberal and deviating from the "old paths" that were forged by the elders in the faith. This "falling away" from the old teaching has happened in so many places in the denomination that I grew up in. So when we moved here we found this incredible church body that still believed it the way I believe it. A pastor that still preaches against sin, and names it. A pastor that teaches prayer, prayer, prayer is the lifeline to heaven. A pastor that lives the example that he teaches. A church body that follows the man of God without murmur and complaint, a praying church, an on fire church, a church that reaches out to the lost and shines a light in dark places. A church that lives by the bible according to the teachings of the apostles. A church that is built on a firm foundation and doesn't waver or bow to the "political correctness" that has infested many churches. This is why I chose to stay here. I wanted my children to experience this kind of power and be a part of this kind of church.
Another reason for settling here was because we are about equal distance from both our families. His in Tennessee and mine in Louisiana. So it would be fairly easy to go to either place without much travel time. And our families could come and visit us.
At the time we moved here, I had just experienced a miscarriage and within a month of moving here, I was pregnant with Noah. So I was wanting to find a stable place, a place to put down those roots, a place so my kids could call home. But over the past three years of being here, I would say that it has been the most challenging, most stressful, and least enjoyable place we have lived. I have questioned our decision many times.
The prospect of leaving here, however is a daunting thing. I don't want to make a mistake, I don't want to bring trouble on us, or get into something worse. So fear has kept us here. But I don't feel like here is where we should be. But where? After deciding to stay here, my husband took a job with a local company. It hasn't been the best job situation either. But I won't get into those details. So the question is, What do we do? I have prayed and asked God for direction. I have prayed that if this is where we should be, that He would take this desire to go elsewhere from me. That He would make me content here. But neither has happened. There have been opportunities for my husband to take a job on the road again. But one glitch- Lauren. Lauren plans to start college soon. She is content here, and at 18 wouldn't want to move with us again...I don't think. But she isn't on her own, she couldn't stay without us. So what do you do? Do you let the needs of the one override the needs of the whole? I think, well if we stay a couple more years, until she gets settled in her life, then we could go. But then the other children would be older, Megan especially, and may not want to pull up and start over again.
All of this and more has been weighing heavy on my mind and heart lately. I see a life out there that I want, just finding the bridge to cross over into it is the problem right now. At one time my focus was Andrew having a job with more pay, and more benefits so we could have a better life. But I have found that the more money he has made, the more things we have gained, the less joy and enjoyment we have. I feel like the journey that my life has taken over the past three years has lead me to a new place, with a new desire, a new view of the world and my life. I now long for the simplicity of a life well lived, enjoyed, and felt. A contentment and a connection with place, a feeling of "this is my little slice of heaven--on earth". That doesn't mean more things or more money; however it does mean using what God has blessed us with, raising our children in a happy, stress free(as much as possible), home, with both parents feeling content and happy with where we are and where we are going.
I look at places and photo's of places and I think, could I feel at home there, is there a connection for me there? But I don't know, I don't know where home is for me. I know that I don't feel it here. I felt it when we were in Kentucky, for a while, then I felt it was time to move on.
Sometimes I look back over my life and I am amazed that God has allowed me so much. I love the mountains--they are my source of strength, I feel connected to them, I feel in awe of them. I think of the wonderful handiwork of God, and I feel at peace when I can look out and see the Majesty of His hand in the mountains. God allowed me to live in Kentucky and North Carolina for awhile. However, the contrasting part of me loves the ocean. The wonder of the vastness of it all, the return of the tides, set to God's time clock. The renewing of the sand with each tide. It makes me think of the vastness of God's ability and His grace that allows us a clean slate, when we ask Him. His forgiveness and mercy are like the tides, washing over us daily. It reminds me that we should spend time in prayer, in the morning, and evening, so that our shores, (hearts) can be washed clean and renewed. And God allowed me to live on an island, just yards from the ocean, for a time. I loved getting up each morning and going to the beach to walk along the shore and reflect, renew, and search for shells. It was amazing.
So here I sit, feeling that old restless feeling, urging me to move on to the next adventure, the next learning experience, the new territory that needs to be explored. God has brought me through so many things over the last three years, times when I questioned why! I questioned where God was in all of this. But now that I am on the other side of these dry, rough, and lonely places, I look back and I see where God was bringing me. I am a different person than I was three years ago. I have a new outlook on the rest of my life, I am less afraid to stre
tch and try those things my heart longs to try. I look ahead with a renewed feeling of awe, and understand that with God's help, the best is yet to come. I see this place as a necessary step in my progress to where God is taking me. I look back over the past three years and see this place as a teaching ground, a place God brought me through to teach me a new way and show me His faithfulness. But I don't see it as home. I don't see it as a place where we should stay.

I have always believed that as long as your relationship with God is where it should be, as long as your are allowing Him to direct and open the doors, you are safe to step through the doors of your life into new places and experiences. After a pit stop here, I am tuned up and ready to proceed on the road of life...where ever God leads...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My New Laptop

Today I bought a new laptop. Yes, I know I have been blogging away about saving money and building up savings, but, my laptop bit the dust. Well, actually the connection where the power cord goes into the computer bit the dust. So I have been without a laptop for a while. I have been fighting for time on the family computer. We each have a laptop, but along with my issues the router for the wireless internet had gone out and Andrew finally bought a new one yesterday. So everyone's laptops are up and running now, and I have a new one! Thank you honey. He suggested I go buy me a new one. I wouldn't have done it without him pushing me to do it. I am just conservative that way with the money. But he told me to go get a new one. So I picked out a new Dell. My old one was a Dell, and I really liked it, so I went with something I knew.


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