Saturday, January 28, 2012


Just the other day, Andy and I commented on how very thankful we are for our new neighbors.  With such a warm winter, we've been outside more than we normally would, allowing the kids to play and develop friendships, and we've walked over to chat outside in the afternoons.  After we moved in, two of the neighbors closest got together and gave us a welcome fruit basket and gave me the scoop on the nearest 24-hour stores, shortcuts to town and so on.  Days later, the folks on the other side offered their assistance should we ever need anything and welcomed us as well.  They have a young granddaughter who visits frequently; I look forward to the girls meeting her.  Did I mention how GLAD we are for kind neighbors?

We have other neighbors who have dropped by, but haven't said very much.  It was either early in the morning or late at night when they were here....They seem to be the type to keep to themselves - uh-oh, does this bode well?  You never know.  Our neighbor, Timmy, set up a camera in our back yard to take a picture of these stealthy neighbors....he shared these pictures with us:

"So, this where the party's at?"

"Gonna party all night long, oooo.....oooo..gonna party all night long..."
"I don't think I like these new people."
"Nope, I'm SO outta here."
"Where'd everybody go?  Hello?? ~ hello??"
"Party?  Someone say party??"
"C'mon Benjamin, she said thankFUL not thanksGIVING.....quit hiding and come outta' the bushes..."
"I was never here, got it?  NE-VER here!"

So, we're looking forward to seeing more of and getting to know our neighbors as time goes by.  Can't wait to see who else we're going to be meeting - I bet they'll be interesting!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

thoughts on Spring

Now that we've pretty much finished unpacking and are settled into our new surroundings, I've taken the time and had a good look around.  We've moved to this new home in the middle of what is passing for winter this year:  I think the average temperature has only been in the 50's and there's been no snow.  The trees are mostly bare except for the evergreens and some of the oaks which hold their leathery leaves until the first buds of spring push them off.  The grass of the lawn is brown, azaleas with their deep purple leaves look chilled and the underbrush on the back hillside where lumber was harvested a couple years ago is grey-brown and dusky-looking.

Whenever we've gone to the Maple Festival up in Highland County its been overcast, wet, slushy and cold.  So I always associate that type of weather with the area, although I know that in summer it is hot, green and lush.  It was like that too, in Oklahoma: for me, it is always cold, damp and snowy.

Here in Hardy the great outdoors is cold, washed-out, brown and damp.  Inside, the walls are painted with strong, earthy colors - too bold for my liking.  They serve to emphasize the heaviness that hangs on like a leaden blanket.

Somehow I am hopeful as the calendar promises to turn in the next couple days to February, a month closer to Spring.  Yesterday morning I walked in the back yard and flushed out five or six white-tail deer from down near the creek.  They ran, snorting, up the back hill and up to and across the ridge.  They must be the same group that mingles in front of the game camera set up by our neighbor on the back corner of the property.  I wonder if they, too, are waiting for spring, or if they realize its been over a year since they last walked through snow.  Of course I still hope that the Farmer's Almanac is correct in its prediction of a Valentine's Day storm; the girls and I want to put the hills to good use.

I can't imagine what the yard will look like in its Spring greenery, or how the sunlight will fall against newly-painted walls at a different angle than in the winter months.  I look forward to what berries might be growing after a long winter of dormancy in the underbrush.  I'm eager to enjoy the sound of the creek after clearing out an area to sit in the warm sunshine.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to join this property in a slow cycle.  We can afford a leisurely pace while the weather keeps us inside.  I have feeling that the spring and summertime will bring busy outdoor adventures in gardening, land clearing, animals and learning.  I think we're all looking forward to the changes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Still Here, Praising

I considered abandoning this blog all together, based on the randomness of my postings, but I think I'll give it another shot.  After all, I still have MUCH to say on so many things, AND I appreciate the encouragement from comments and e-mails that these posts encourage.

I'm very selfish, you see....

Many changes, great and small, have taken place in the last several weeks and months since I've updated.  Most momentously has been our move from the Alleghany Mountains outside of Covington down to the Blue Ridge Highlands of Franklin County.  God has moved in ways that are evident and we are thankful for His many gifts in this whole process.

Without dwelling on past experience too much, I'll share some of the ways we've been blessed by this move, both directly and indirectly:

1.  DH's commute has gone from almost 80 miles each way to 18.  He's home by 5:45 rather than 7PM.
2.  We have 5 acres - compared to 1.5, and our neighbors are thrilled to hear we're planning on having chickens!
3.  We have joined a large, God-centered, homeschool group here in Franklin County and the girls attend co-op with dozens of other children weekly.  Praise God.
4.  Our home has enough bathrooms that we don't risk an impromptu biology or "family life" lesson when daddy is in the shower and a little girl "has" to use the potty.  Ahem.
5.  We have a dishwasher.
6.  And central air.
7.  And a hot tub.

AND, the girls gleefully attend AWANAs on Wednesday night at the church we've been attending, which is just 7 or 8 miles up the road.  We have been encouraged by the relationships we're building in Sunday School and have talked about once again opening our home to a regular (weekly? bi-weekly?) Bible study once we're completely settled.

We continue to pray and ask the Lord to work in the details of the home purchase, safety for Andy and each of us as we travel on two lane country roads, physical health and motivation toward personal goals of spiritual growth and a healthier lifestyle.  For the girls, we have asked for help in parenting and direction in schooling.

Personally, I am struggling (as always) with self-discipline, motivation and organization.  But that is another post; one which, I anticipate, will be written in the near future.

Thank you for reading!

Psalm 27:8
When you said, "Seek my face," my heart said to you, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek."