Fall in Virginia is absolutely stunning. I cannot help but marvel at God’s creation at this time of year. It really does take my breath away when I consider that everything I see, He did for our pleasure. Every changing color, every leaf that falls to the ground, every rainy day to water the dry ground after a long, hot summer. It blows me away when I ponder how very well the Father did it all. Instead of giving us one season, He gave us four to enjoy. It truly is one of the incredible wonders of God.
On Saturday we went out for the day. I needed time with my friend Rachel, and my kids needed time out of the house after a busy week of school.
The Apple orchard. Just an hour from where we live.
Three little treasures enjoyed their very first year at the apple farm. Whew, was I thankful that I actually remembered to take warm clothes at the very last minute. I literally ran back into the house once all the kids were loaded in the car and grabbed a few woollies. It was by far the coolest day we have had in months.
I totally laugh when I get e-mails from friends asking me, “How do you do it? How do you keep everything together so well.”
Ummm….that would be a no. I’m here to tell you that I hardly ever have things together all the time. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t forget something at home (usually diapers, wipes, or sippy cups). Or…ahem…forget a child.
Yep. I confess. It happened. Last week I popped over to have a cuppa with Rachel. It was getting late and I still needed to get a meal (of the frozen kind) on the table. I literally shoved all the kids into the bus, and off we went on our merry little way. We were heading out of the driveway, when one of my kids said, “Hey Mom, where’s Haven?”
“She’s right there at the back,” I said confidently.
Surely she must be there. I mean, what kind of mother would forget their kid at their friend’s house?
Surely not I.
So I keep driving.
“Mom, seriously, Haven is so not in the car!”
I reversed and sent one of the kids to run back in and find the missing member of the family.
There she was, playing quietly in the bedroom with some toys. She never even realized we had left, nor did Rachel know she was still there.
The joys of having a silent child…and a very imperfect mother.
I hardly ever have it all together, friends. If it looks like I do, I’m really just faking it.
We loved our apple picking time. The scenery was beautiful, and the company perfect. Even though I was missing one of my big boys who had his first ever Scout camping trip all on his own, with no one else in his family with him.
Heck, I must seriously have been missing him because we bought some lunch at the apple farm (who can resist some junk food every now and then?) and I kid you not, I bought seven meals for my kids. Seven. One whole meal for a kid who was not even there.
Ay-yi-yi! Sometimes I do the dorkiest things.
I’m sure we humans give God so many chuckles as He watches over us.
The workers hauling the fruit of their labor up the hill.
The biggest pink marshmallow in the northern hemisphere. Aint she sweet?
Harper has definitely hit the toddler years, I’ll have you know. She is into every cupboard, every computer, every make-up drawer, every toy she is not meant to have, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Harper has become curious about the world around her. She cannot sit still for a single second. Up, down, up, down, up, down. As she begins to find her feet and learn to walk, I’m thinking that a few more months on the ground may actually not be such a bad thing.
The time has come for everything to be lifted up and placed on higher ground…Harper is almost walking.
Look out world–the cutest marshmallow is breaking loose.
Thankfully she has two big sisters to run after her. Well, make that one big sister–the other is not really into the babysitting thing. Haven much prefers to sit and observe…and laugh at the silly things her baby sisters are learning to do. She is learning from her little sisters. I love it.
How blessed I am to have these two beautiful girls in my life. They just make life simply lovely.
So, as I shared in my post on Sunday, we spent some time at the Schwenzer’s church. It was such a sweet time in the Lord. I probably should have told you though that Carey and I are not wearing matching shirts. I know it looks that way. In this photo we’re actually standing in front of their computer which is projecting their blog onto a screen behind us. Matching shirts would have been pretty cute though.
We headed home in the afternoon, making our way down the busiest interstate in VA. All of a sudden we hear this huge bang, and the next thing smoke starts coming out of the hood. Not a good thing–even dummies like us, who know less than zero about cars and the way they work, know that smoke coming from the engine means serious business.
As we made our way over to the verge, Anthony and I could only but laugh. This was the third time we have broken down in less than a month. This time was just a little trickier considering we were stranded on an ultra busy highway with seven kids in the car.
Thankfully, one call to the AAA (who know us by name by now), and help was on it’s way. In a short while we saw him pull up in front of us.
Alrighty then…slight problem. You cannot take our bus and leave us stranded on the side of the road as we wait for our friend to come and pick us up. Surely not?
And all nine of us are NOT going to fit into that cab thingy at the back of the truck.
Next thing we knew, the nice man was calling for back up to help with multitudes who needed transportation.
Whew. Help arrived and we were on our way.
I think about this often–sometimes yukky things happen to God’s people. As of today we are without a large car for our family. The cost of the repair far exceeded what the van was worth. It was not worth putting any more money into that car. And so here we sit with no vehicle for our family–and very limited means to purchase another one.
There really are no guarantees in life, are there? Other than the absolute assurance we have that someday we will be reunited with Christ, everything else in life is so absolutely uncertain. We never know from one day to the next what will come our way. There is no guarantee that life will not throw us a curveball every now and then. On the contrary, the Word of God promises us that the trials will come our way. We’re warned about it.
But here’s the thing. When things get a bit wobbly and life is not going as smoothly as we would like, we’re commanded to “consider it pure joy” . A few translations say to “count it all joy” whenever we face trials of any kind.
Fail again. And again.
Pure joy? All joy?
So. Not. Easy. I’m not just talking about our lack of a car–that is such a small thing to be concerned about in the bigger picture of life. But finding joy in all hardships. Getting to that place where the joy of the Lord truly is our strength. To that place where absolutely nothing can steal our joy! I have such a long way to go before I am there–where my faith is so rock solid that it cannot be shaken.
I am reminded today to not only praise God in the storm, but to trust Him for the impossible, with joy in my heart. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. Praising God for His faithfulness in advance. Trusting Him for His perfect provision in our lives. After all, He has never, ever, not once, ever, let us down.
This really is just another amazing opportunity to trust Him for something which, in the natural, is impossible.
Trials are such a great faith builders. We’re learning to embrace them.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4