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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bumps in the Road

There is one word that keeps coming to my mind as I attempt to update our blog. That word is- tired. It is true that new and exciting evokes energy and stamina in many cases. For me and I daresay my family, new and exciting have become normal and predictable and always means we work until we are weary. I know that this position for Micah has offered challenges that have required a great deal of his energy. Regardless of how I feel, though, there is still a task at hand. This is not quite the end of this road. Thankfulness always combats tiredness. Sometimes it takes a good nap, though, for thankfulness to go from being a concept to a driving, exhilarating force~

The above paragraph is one I composed YESTERDAY... not knowing what today would bring. We have now sunk into a new level of TIRED! I have to be careful how I describe our current situation. One thing I can do as a writer for my readers is position a circumstance so that we are right and someone else is wrong. I in no way want to personify myself as infallible- my goodness, I am far from it. This present situation, however, in order for me to write about it clearly is going to paint another human being in a not-so-good light. It is what it is... and we need your prayers!

One thing we have learned about living in apartments is that being respectful to your neighbors is key to living peacefully. We have come to expect some noise in such close quarters and try to give grace to others as they live their lives with different schedules than ours. There is a lot written about children and apartments, so I have discovered. There are parents on two sides of the fence: 1)Those who value their children's growth and development and freedoms above those of their neighbors and 2)Those who have so many rules that children have no freedom to be children at all. We have tried with every move to intentionally make choices that would bless our neighbors and also give our children appropriate freedoms during daytime hours. Love our children AND our neighbors. Love conquers all, right? That is where I was completely wrong. What I have learned is that there truly are people living in apartments that do no like children living alongside them. They do not wish to get along. They do not like moms at home with children during the day (I am not just a stay-at-home mom/home school mom in title, I truly try to keep the raising of our boys centered around our home). Our approach to these people (and we have only met two in the last seven apartments we have lived in) is to do good to them (Luke 6:27) and not return evil for evil (Romans 12:17) among other things- not perfectly but desiring to show them love as we have first been loved. The boys and I, since we are the ones at home most of the time, have spent time praying for those around us as well.

However, what we have encountered at our last apartment has taken this to a different level. Suffice it to say that our downstairs neighbor has been dishonest with us, has demonstrated his quick-temper on several occasions, offered verbal/physical harassment, and not respected any warnings or directives given to him by the management office to take all his complaints to them and to stop the inappropriate behaviors. We have been in multiple conversations with our apartment managers to try and help the situation, but they assure us that we are doing nothing wrong and we should go on living our lives as normal. Unfortunately, there is nothing normal about being afraid of provoking another already hostile human being. It has created quite a bit of stress for me and in turn, Andrew and Elijah. We have decided to move... again... tomorrow. I know this person has no idea the kind of year we have had... moving so often. I don't know that it would make any difference. It really doesn't matter. He doesn't know us- But God ~two of the most beautiful words in scripture~ does.

I ask you to pray for us, specifically for peace, for strength, for rest, for perseverance, for love for others, for a safe environment for our children... But I also ask you to pray for this other individual. He has a much bigger problem than his neighbors. He needs the peace that can rule in his heart and change him from the inside out that comes from knowing and loving Jesus Christ.

There is more going on here than this. Since we settled, we have been trying to enjoy our surroundings the best we can. We found this lovely place not far from Micah's job. The photographs look like postcards due to the picturesque location and clear weather. This is believed to be the only remaining structure featured in the film Gone With The Wind. You can read more about it here.
We have also braved the heat and attended a couple of Arkansas Travelers Ballgames. The evening-sky backdrop for the stadium and the city across the river was spectacular. Our seats were right behind the visiting team's dugout. Thankfully, no one was hit in the head by a foul ball, though Elijah was really hoping to catch one. Andrew, on the other hand, made it his job to follow the cotton-candy guy through the stands so the moment Micah and I declared, "Snack Time!", he would know just where to go to get his ballpark food choice.

Even as we feel exhaustion, God is still God and His strength is perfect. We feel His protection in hotel walls tonight. Our desire is to echo the Psalmist:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with song I give thanks to Him. ~Psalm 28:7

Saturday, August 07, 2010

School Begins

One thing I am most thankful for is good, organized home school curriculum. This will be our third year homeschooling Andrew. He will begin first grade next week and Elijah will begin Preschool. It is hard for me to believe they are both such big boys! One of my priorities in unpacking was to get everything together so we could begin next week. Starting Monday, this house will transform into Synesis Academy. Yes, it took a long time to find a suitable name for our school; one that gave some glimpse into our desire for what will happen here every day. There are some good choices, but we liked this one using the Greek word for understanding. The boys are excited... and I am strongly aware of the amount of self-discipline required to be an effective teacher. Once again, I find myself growing through raising children.

To kick-off the school year and to have a time to recognize Andrew's accomplishments last year, we took the boys to Chuck E Cheese's at Andrew's request. He called it the "School Celebration!"

Our book list this year includes (just to name a few):

Henry Higgins
, Beverly Cleary
Mr. Popper's Penguins, Richard & Florence Atwater
Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
George Muller, Janet & Geoff Benge
Detectives in Togas, Henry Winterfeld
Homer Price, Robert McCloskey
The Year of Miss Agnes, Kirkpatrick Hill

These are read aloud books in Sonlight's Grade 1 curriculum. We are also using Sonlight's science, language arts, and reading as well as Math U See, The Story of the World for history, and The Church History ABC's.

We are so thankful to be settling in for our short stint here in AR. God provided so much strength in the midst of sheer physical exhaustion the day we unpacked our trailer. At the end of the day, it was probably our easiest move-in, with the help of two dollies that were provided at just the right time. Even with over 100 degree temperatures, we made it through unscathed. Andrew particularly has grown to be quite the helper. He has the energy and drive to get things accomplished and is always motivated. We love the place we live and are excited to see what new things we can see in this part of the country. Micah is working diligently. And so the adventure continues...