I’ve done a lot of reflecting in the past few months as we prepared to move, but I didn’t have any time to write any of it down. So, although I will be blogging about my new life, I also want to document some of the thoughts I’ve had about our “old” life.
I also would like to share about the people God has placed in our path that have blessed us over-abundantly. Some of them have been blogged about before, but some, like the Wallers, will be making their “blog debut!” We have such an amazing “Cloud of Witnesses,” and I never want to forget what God has done for us through other people.
Two years ago around this time, my friend Mary An mentioned to me that she had a homeschooling mom friend moving to town who would be living near me and that I simply HAD to meet.
The day before I had Arrow, less than 12 hours before my water would break, we were at Mary An’s daughter’s birthday party. I had found a seat in the back yard as I actually didn’t have any children to supervise, and it felt like Arrow was trying to shoot out of my stomach like the baby on the Doritos commercial. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t creepy for me to be at a child’s birthday party without children – we brought some other children and some bunny rabbits!) (That might be creepier.)
ANYWAY, it was at this glamorous moment in my life that Mary An was kind of like, “HERE SHE IS! You must talk to each other!” And I met Alesha.
Less than a week later, Alesha was sending me congratulatory brownies. And I was kind of like, “She’s sending me Baby Brownies after knowing me less than a week? I LIKE HER.”
A few weeks later, when I was just starting to feel well enough to give my older children attention, (hey man, that third degree tear is NO JOKE,) Ava said, “I wish we could do more with art this year.” And I was kind of like, “Ummmm…I’ll try.”
The problem was multi-fold: A) I had a new baby and would be doing good to just go over the bare basics of schoolwork. B) Art is NOT MY THING. C) Although our city offered many, many classes, like art, for homeschoolers, they were all on the north side of town. We lived south of town, and I really couldn’t see adding another long drive to our weekly schedule since we were already making it once a week for Classical Conversations and twice a week for gymnastics. D) Ava had not had a stellar first year of homeschooling, emotionally speaking, and I was afraid that if I was not able to encourage her in her interests, it would lead to another not-so-great year. But I really had NO IDEA how I was going to incorporate more art into our days.
About a week after this conversation, we met Alesha and her kids at a local park. It was the first time our kids would get together. While we were there, Alesha said something like, “Hey, I’m thinking about teaching this art class for homeschoolers in the area – I’m going to ask the public library if we can use their space. Would you be interested?”
Ummmm. YES and YES and YES.
So I went from having no idea what I would do about art to having an art class less than two miles from our house pretty much handed to me on a silver platter.
And the thing is, I had not even yet taken the time to ask God for help on the art thing!
When I first started to get to know Alesha, she did not seem interested in Classical Conversations. She knew it was tuition based and had been successfully homeschooling basically fo’ free for years, so it did not have a draw for her. I didn’t really ever bring it up with her or try to convince her it is worthwhile; if I’ve learned anything about CC, it is that you can’t push it on people. It’s either perfect for them or it’s not for them at all.
Towards the end of the school year, Alesha announced to me out of the blue that she would be coming to the CC Practicum and that she was seriously considering putting her oldest son in Essentials the next school year.
By the time Practicum arrived, she had done her research, decided that CC would be a wonderful fit for her family and help provide them structure as they got older.
She also saw a need for a campus on the south side of town. I, of course, knew about this need, but had no desire to be the one to fulfill it. Alesha, on the other hand, immediately began considering it.
Not only did she end up enrolling her kids at our CC for this past school year with no coercion from me, but she also ended up tutoring her first year out of the gate! (AND she WILL be directing a campus on the south side of town this year!!! Fortunately, she made the decision AFTER we decided to move – or the move might not have happened at all! It will be half a mile from my old house!)
And the thing is, I never asked God to have someone that lived close to me come to our CC. But having someone? Someone who would pick up my kids when the baby was sick or to drop them at karate when I had to leave early for an appointment or just to hang out with during lunch? That was such a gift!
Ava is very selective about who she considers to be a close friend. I would criticize that except I know she’s just like me. So when our lobsters moved away AND her two best homeschooling friends ended up going to private schools for this past school year? It was looking like it would be a lonely year for her – so much so, that when we started talking about the possibility of moving, she was all for it!
But Alesha’s daughter, Peyton, swooped in to fill that gap and by the end of this school year, the two were quite inseparable. Not only that, but Alesha’s boys meshed so well with my boys that it just became natural to dump all of our children at each other’s houses.
And the thing is, although I should have been praying about my children’s friendships, I gotta be honest and say that I really wasn’t. But God answered that un-prayed prayer in such a beautiful way, and our house rang with the laughter of children in the past six months like it did before the Millers moved away, and that ministered to my soul, as well.
One day in January, Alesha asked if she could start picking our kids up on Sunday nights and take them to an Awanas program her family had started attending. Ummmm…yes! Sunday afternoons were my lesson planning time, and I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to pull it off with Josh being out of town for his new job. Thanks to Alesha, I had THREE glorious [almost] kid-free hours every week! Oh, and my kids were memorizing Scripture at Awanas, which is an area I’ve had a hard time with since we started homeschooling.
And the thing is, I did not ask for God to provide someone to pick up my kids for a few hours every Sunday.
We signed Ava up for baseball, but it was looking like that would mean I would have to sit up with the boys at the ball field a lot since Josh would be out of town for the first few weeks of her season. The Wallers signed Trevor up for baseball, but we had no idea if they would be placed on the same team. They WERE placed on the same team, and we were able to help each other out with getting them to their prospective practices and games.
And the thing is, we signed Ava up not even knowing the Wallers would be interested.
The week of our move, Alesha probably “kept” my kids more than I did because she knew I needed that packing time, and Ted was the first person at our house to load the truck even though I’m sure there are about 4,523 things he would rather do on a Saturday.
And the thing is, they volunteered to do these things before I could even think about what kind of help we would need.
So I’m calling this a series of Pre-Answered Prayers. God has used this family to answer so many prayers over the past two years…that I never took the time to pray! So many blessings that we don’t deserve have come to us through them over the past two years, and although I don’t understand it, I am humbly grateful to be on the receiving end of those blessings.
Oh, and along the way, God has blessed me with another friend that happens to share the love of Cherry Coke and Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms…another extroverted friend who can bring some [awkward] socialness out of introverted me…another friend that encourages me in my walk with Christ…and another friend who was very hard to leave.
And the thing is, I didn’t ask for that, either. But I can’t imagine these past two years without it.