Returning home is a strange feeling after traveling for 5 months. Excitement mixed with trepidation but longing, all confused, makes for an unusual feeling in your stomach. Many things were joyous and long awaited. I couldn’t wait to roll around with Molly and hear her frantic, happy keening. The kids wondered how long she would go on, considering she is more dramatic the longer we have been away usually. Sitting around the kitchen table at mom’s and listening to all the comings and goings of life, it was as familiar and treasured as always that first evening in Centertown. Austin is driving now! Tyler is going to public high school this upcoming year. Thomas was eager with questions, considering how much he wanted to meet us in Italy, and picked up on the new cricket set right away. Kayeden’s sweet hugs and chattering told us all that we had missed. As always, I cherished Chad’s booming laugh and endured his heckling – we did survive, but Trump is still president (but who knows for how long). Mom stayed up with Ella and I, after Chris succumbed to jet lag and Walden to PlayStation, and listened to us tell a hundred stories. Pa and I had the whole day hanging out at the kitchen table later that week, catching up on life at home and telling stories about the trip. Uncle Al and April have made major progress on their new house and have a swimming pool, and we were able to see it a few days later. I still have to catch up with Jackie, but I am so proud she got a promotion at her job! Nanny Pat came over later for a hug, so relieved we made it home, and for a quick medical update.
Ella played her piano non stop that first day home
Then, on to Cookeville. We had missed El Tap more than any other food on the whole trip. So we met the Sissoms, Johnsons, and Browns for our first Mexican in ages. Then we celebrated Memorial Day with a cookout at the Browns, and the Johnsons made it too. It didn’t take us long before we were all solving the worlds problems again and debating the best way to go about it. Man, I missed these families. Somedays I’m not sure we could make it very long in this life without these guys. We were able to honor Susan’s mother with her family at her childhood church our first Sunday home. She was an amazing woman, just like her daughter.
I can’t wait till this Sunday to finally get to worship at Collegeside with dear Christian brothers and sisters, what a joy; and our Sunday school class will be a delight. And I’m so looking forward to seeing our old Core group and the Phillips soon for dinner. Being home has incredible blessings.
Not packing every morning has been nice too.
Chris’s first project when we got home
Wonder Woman with Friends
However, my ought self is always alive and well, but seems to take the forefront more at home. Some moments my mind has been consumed with questions and concerns. How will we be different? Or will we be different at all? I shared with Chris the other day, that I just always want to be growing wiser, for my experiences and my efforts to count for something; but this is an unpleasant way to live sometimes, and scary. This feeling was born somehow, because I always remember it. This growing burden I feel for the world and how to right its wrongs, will it ease? Will whatever action it demands of me become clearer, or will I just stay frustrated? The prayer, “God break my heart with what breaks Yours,” seems incredibly foolhardy now looking back. I pray He mends it day to day, or at least helps me bear it with more peace.
Our new rotary clothes line! I am really loving it; it makes you get outside!
I look forward to seeing the remarkable ministry Celebrate Recovery has become and joining them in their powerful partnering with God. Wonder where God will place me there? Homeschooling high school is also so intimidating for some reason. I have been doing this for almost 10 years, so what is the big deal? It just seems so much more is riding on high school. Keeping your core teaching philosophies central, while being bombarded by new requirements and tests and 4 year planning
is a hard balance to maintain. AP, IB, Core Paths, we didn’t study Greek yet, just Latin!
Walden’s crew at work camp his second week in the States
Boldly stepping out to realize your dreams to live that uniquely special story God has written for me and helping each of my little family do the same is a goal that seems essential to me. What will that look like?
Ella’s work camp crew
And sports, blah, it will be hard to witness the obsession return and have a good attitude; how will we keep perspective? And scheduled, purposeful exercise and fitting it into your overflowing schedule, counting calories – I do not look forward to that part of life again, Yuck. I think I deleted the my fitness pal app.
I am resistant to the speed of existence here. I feel as if I have lost the ability to spin all the plates at the same time. In some ways, surprisingly, I feel almost like a stranger to my own country. I have not been bored in years, but I experienced a few blessed moments on our journey and it was joyous: To giggle into the night with the kids as we describe what we would eat if we were home or laugh about the events of the day, not worried about how we will pay in fatigue the next day for our late night. Or watching the oldest, cheesiest netflix movies with Ella, because it is the only thing we could find and we have nothing else to do. Writing and reading for hours without concern of all that has not yet been done. Studying the Bible with zeal and no interruption on an 8 hour train ride and experiencing the deer’s thirst for water vividly. And, lying in darkness, completely still for an hour, while singing bowls are struck around you, brought about some of the best ideas I’ve had in years. These are rare moments at home. How can we make them less so?
Molly and I’s escape to Foster Falls to pray and seek a brief quiet
I remember something Helen Keller said in The Story of My Life about the disadvantages of going to college:
“The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time. I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent. But in college there is no time to commune with one’s thoughts. One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think.”
That’s what it feels like to live this American life a lot of days. Except instead of learning, it’s all about the doing. I want to have more of those moments with bright and clear understanding and boundless motivation, insight and peace. They are wondrous to experience. I know how elusive those moments can be. I wish I could hold them tightly in my mind, like you grasp on with a clenched fist; but so often they slowly slip through your fingers. One of my greatest fears is how life can just get so busy and full of to do’s that those moments never happen. I want to eliminate that four letter word, “B-U-S-Y,” from my vocabulary, for good.
Lord help me to protect our time, jealously. Show us a new way.