Random Blog Clay Feet: March 04, 2011
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Friday, March 04, 2011

Fading Winter

Due to setting up my other blogs and mainly focusing on those topics I have not been very good about keeping this one up to date as far as my own activities. Some things happen that I intend to post about but by the time I get around to it it seems so far after the fact that I just don't bother. Like the singing Valentines event where I sang in a quartet all day to surprised women all over town. Of course there is also the fact that FaceBook has nearly taken over the role that blogs used to have for people's expression of their lives. But even there I almost never post anything because of the very public nature that intimidates me. Knowing that almost no one looks at this blog makes it a little easier to post things here than where I am guaranteed that hundreds of people will immediately see it.

Anyway, having rambled on about that too long, I thought I might post at little here both in review and in advance. The advance is that we have a concert coming up on March 20 with our Barbershop Chorus. It is our annual Lenten concert where we invite ladies to sing with us in the concert. This year it looks like we might even be outnumbered by the ladies which would be quite interesting. If any of you would like to attend this concert we would love to have you and I know you would enjoy it. I think my wife and my sister who recently moved in with us will both be singing in it this year.

As far as what has happened recently, my wife and I spent right at two months during the dead of winter in Michigan with our lovely (adopted) daughter refurbishing her house to ready it for rental. It had not been taken care of much for many years as far as painting and repairs so it took much longer than she had hoped to finish the job. But after spraying all the ceilings, fixing and painting the walls, replacing carpet with laminate floors and cleaning and painting the whole basement it looks better than it ever has since her original family moved in years ago.

But even more exciting was the deepening bonds that were experienced between all of us during this extended time we were able to spend together. We have taken her in as part of our intimate family for a number of years now since both of her own parents died less than a year apart, and at times it has been stressful for all of us. But over the past couple years she seems to have gone into a growth spurt as far as maturing emotionally and spiritually which has opened up our relationship dramatically. She is currently attending the seminary which is keeping her very busy and pressured, but then what's new – she is very smart and has always pushed herself very hard in school.

She also is keeping her eyes open to see if there is a man for her somewhere while training herself to rest in God's timing and guidance for her life. We are so proud of what she is becoming, the choices she is making to move into deeper intimacy with God and her willingness to take much bigger risks trusting others, especially in her relationship with us as her surrogate parents. She has chosen to be more affectionate, more trusting, more open and more patient which has allowed us in turn to be more open and vulnerable with her as well. What has come out of this while we spent this extended time with her is a much deeper bonding as she has allowed us to bring healing to some of the deep wounds from her past and damage from previous relationships that were less than healthy.

Like us, she is learning to trust God much more through this time and is learning how to distinguish His voice from other counterfeit communications which is something all of us need to learn too. Though she is often frustrated she is choosing to be patient, to open up to others and ask for help, for advice, for wisdom which is very brave of her given where she has come from emotionally. At the same time I feel suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that God is providing through her an opportunity for me to practice how to be a better father than how I performed when my children were younger. And though she is the same age as my other grown children now, she is still choosing to relate to us in a trusting way as a daughter which is allowing us to share our lives with her as caring parents and to have our hearts attached to her in a way that is uncommon today even within biological families.

Living in Michigan again during the middle of winter gave us time to enjoy more snow than we see back home in Illinois. While we were gone there was a very hard ice storm at home which we missed. Now the weather is finally starting to ease up and make us very hungry for warmer weather as it teases us in fits and spurts. But it was nice to drive in the snow again. I know, many might think I'm crazy that way, but I enjoy the challenge. It's like a game to use cars interactively with snow that can't be done under normal conditions.

While in Michigan we also had the wonderful privilege of connecting with some old friends and to tap into the many cultural and religious resources not available where we live. We had some wonderful times of refreshing in meetings, social gatherings and small groups that really enriched our lives and made us wish we could do something similar with people in our area. Maybe someday.

Toward the end of last year my sister and her husband moved in with us from Virginia. This means that our house is again overflowing with more stuff, more furniture and boxes and the garage is once again full to the brim challenging us to sort and shuck and make lots of hard decisions. We are remodeling one of the upstairs bedrooms into a kitchen which is nearly finished now. Another one is turned into an office with the intent of allowing them to have their apartment upstairs though they have not started staying there yet. The forth bedroom upstairs is still packed to the ceiling with storage which is not helped by the fact that both our child and their child have left some of their stuff at home for storage.

Since we now have found a way to deal with the Early Blight problem in the soil with products from the company I joined, we now plan to have a full-blown garden this year. It helps too that there are four people to help with it instead of just two. We are still trusting God to provide the income necessary to take care of our needs here, but He has been faithful to send us jobs and other things and we have all that we really need. We still are eating food canned by our parents years ago and have had some given to us from others on top of that. We live out in the country in the woods and have a creek running through the property. God has blessed us and we want to become better channels of blessing to others.