Monday, January 25, 2010

We moved...and this is why

   We are not fans of the valley. Most of that is due to weather, but there are a few other reasons as well. For now lets just stick with the weather aspect. We have always wanted to move out of California. After much research and even a trip to check it out in person we decided on Maine. Try as we might that goal has never been reached. Almost four years ago we settled on at least getting off the valley floor. We moved up to Coarsegold, in a rent-to-own home. Unfortunately the owners made some bad financial choices, and we had to move on. At that point we moved into another rental...still in Coarsegold. Before the year was up we knew we would have to move back down into the valley.

   Many factors went into that submission. Here's that story.

  You see when making the intentional decision to move up into the foothills Jeff's business was still new enough that he had clients in every which direction. There was no such thing as convenient. So it was an easy choice to move where our spirits were rejuvenated. However very rapidly his client base was centered in Fresno.
   In hopes of transferring as much of our lives as possible to Coarsegold we left the church we were attending in Fresno for one in Coarsegold. The pastor at that church made some very shameful choices. Apparently before we moved into the picture he had begun "cleaning house" in the church. Which inevitably caused a church split. That's about when we started attending. He continued to realign the church according to scripture. Yes that does sound good. However he stomped on people in order to accomplish it. He compromised for his own personal comfort. At this point we decided to slip out of the church. We enjoyed a few months of sweet home church, just the four of  us.  Then we began, once again, to attend the church down in Fresno. Which meant even more time on the road to and fro.
    Just a quick side step: Jeff had developed a friendship with the pastor and had called him to breakfast on occasion to talk about the church no avail. Most disappointing of all, the pastor secretly applied for positions in other other states. It was a devastating blow to the church, which was left in shambles.
And yet another side step:
  As we studied in our current church on Sunday I reflected back on the Coarsegold church. I thought about how God puts us through the refiners fire. How painful it is. How beautiful things turn out in the end. My thoughts transferred over to that Coarsegold pastor. I thought about the cleansing good works he started in the church. I thought about his methods in doing so. I especially thought about how he abruptly left. Our Lord will never leave or forsake us rang in my ears. The amazing picture I had on that Sunday morning will probably never leave me. I thought of

1 Corinthians 3:10-13 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, a  wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: Every man's work shall be made manifest: for day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

      "Gold and silver" melt in the refiners fire...but are not destroyed. God's authority causes the "metal" to be formed into something of beauty to show the world his sovereignty. I thought about the pastor of this church, who I think started out trying to do right by Gods law, but in the end turned to the call of his flesh.
   So? Because of this (in my minds eye) I see a clump of gold/silver that has been left to fall where it may. Heated and totally abandoned. Yet not all hope is lost. It is not wood that has turned to ash. It is still a metal..all be it ugly, that CAN be remelted and reformed by the refiners fire. That is hope.

 Okay. So back to my tale. So far you know we moved for work, a church and time on the road. The next issue that I want to address is the home school atmosphere. We joined a group up in Coarsegold and limited greatly any activities in Fresno in regards to home education....but then that group quickly dissipated as well. If someone where to have told me that Fresno was more anti-government than a little mountain town..well I would have laughed long and hard. However that is exactly what I experienced. I met family after family who could not imagine conducting school with out the governmental monies and programs...enter the Charter school movement. Such a wild difference. Wow. Just wow! Not to go into another side tracked tail spin....but I don't respect that movement. More on that another day.
  At any rate, that made up the majority of the home educators. That and the group of individuals who add rules to scripture. Who live extra-biblical practices and push those beliefs on others. It was a very judgmental, very pinched, angry, self righteous group of people. Can you say Pharisee or how about Sadducee? Now I never went to blows with anyone up there. However a saw a whole lot of pain. I witnessed many hurts caused by self praising bitter hearted fools. I just want ride in a small  airplane over the whole area with a giant banner stating....
Romans 3:9-20 "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: There for none that understandish, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways And the way of peace have have not known: There is fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin"

.....and drop little note cards stating God repeated himself many times in these verses so you would understand that he was including you as well!

 I'm sure you guessed by now we returned to the homeschool movement in Fresno...which meant even more road time. 

 So there we sat at an emotional impasse. We knew we needed to move. We didn't want to. We disparately clung to the mountains.

 Regardless we set out trying to convince "the bank" that a person with no credit cards, who is self employed and is wanting to buy a home for the first time can be trusted....they laughed, we scared them.  We ended up renting. However getting into a rental was also a chore. No one wanted our two big dogs to come with us. To make matter worse we were asked by rental agents why we were renting. Stating we clearly had the income to buy..yeah haha, real funny!
   As it turns out God used this waiting, this time of no answers, to make us long to move to Fresno. Yes you read that right. Long for the convenience. Long for the oppurtunity. Long for the time OFF the road. We ended up jumping at a rental that excepted our dogs, sight unseen. You know what? It turned out fine! The house has a pool, volleyball court, horse shoe pit and fruit trees in a BIG yard...for city living. Landscaping for front and back yards as well as pool service are included in the rent. It is a 4 bedroom, which means we don't have to rent office space for Jeff & we get a school room. It has a living room and a family room, which means plenty of room for books and instruments. We got into our neighborhood of choice. This is a nice neighborhood, within five minutes of basically all we do and there are lots of lovely trees to view! All in all God showed himself to know best. I accept living in Fresno now. However I hope to one day own a time share in Maine. For like June-August...Tee-hee!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

required decompression...and dogs don't mix

   I woke up very early this morning...4ish. I couldn't sleep due to overwhelming thoughts about my sisters. Rebekah-gone. Bethany-misery. Elizabeth-compromised. Melissa-stranger. So I did a little house work, read a few blogs, worked through a bit of school paperwork and made some coffee. Then I got my guys up & out the door to their Chitudo practice in Coarsegold..and then demo in Fresno.

If you don't realize....let me clear it up for you. I needed to be alone with my thoughts. Today had the potential to give me that clearness that only comes from being alone in the stillness.

 It all started out well, me isolated in quiet, dogs sleeping in kennels.  However as soon as I moved they begged to be let out. They eagerly searched the house for the guys. When they could not be found they panicked, as they always do. Now I had two watch dogs with puffed out chests perusing the joint. Which translates: NO MORE ENJOYING TIME ALONE.

 They become super heroes when all three guys are gone. I don't know why, but both dogs feel an intense need to protect me. When my guys are home they slack off. When it's just me and the out world.

  Sweet you say? Yes I will give you that it makes me feel mind blowingly special. However let me draw you a picture. I tried to do an exercise video, but from what I could hear they just about jumped through the front window. They sounded particularly gruff. So after stopping the tape, because I just had to make sure, and dressing appropriately for neighbor viewage, why do I have all the blinds open anyway, I walked out into the living room to see the mailman walking off our porch, I should have known better. Sweating and gross from the video I decided to go take a shower. I only had 8 minutes left to the hour long thing anyway. As I got in the shower they started up again. I told myself to ignore them...that it was just a squirrel or something. I did finish the shower, but it was not the long steaming therapeutic one I had dreamed of. You see because I ignored those two doggies they upped the anti. They came into the bathroom and sat at the shower door and cried until I got out. Then once I was dressed they parked themselves back in front of the living room window. Giving a careful eye to possible danger. Sweet? Yes. Peaceful? NO!!!!!

Sigh- so be it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hello, it's me.

  I'm sitting here sipping some amazing steaming hot ginger tea with a bit of lemon and honey. I'm Cuddled up in my warm fuzzy blanket with a book I've just read at my side and this laptop on my lap. I'm reminded of the following quote by C.S. Lewis, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me".  I have been catching up on my own personal reading this week including that of my bloggie friends. Most everyone has been diligent in updating their blogs with holiday recaps and New Years resolutions including my sons. Although I do have to interject here that my boys are told to "go and write something" and that their schedules are organized for them to have time to do so. I only point this out because a few un-named individuals have teased me about the diligence of a Mother vs her sons.

Moving on.

  I do have guilt about not being able to get to this blog, so here I sit today. Much has happened since I last blogged, far too much to be covered in one entry. Of course a good amount of that has been written over at Billy & Ricky's blog. They have done a fine job of talking about the holidays, so I won't back track on that except to say New Years Eve ended up completely wonderful.      You see for us New Years has always been a new games (received on Christmas from the Grandma's) fun activities and great food night. Always spent with our little four pack. This year due to a somebody-smack-me-now moment we almost joined the crazy rubble of a big party. You see at the youth meeting for our homeschool group I told of a homeschool group from another state. I shared about our friends enjoying a themed new years party each year. It sounded fun. Before I could come to my senses I even said I would run the debacle. What is my damage! Anyway it was canceled do to finances freeing us to resume our regularly scheduled program. Tee-hee!
  So we played new wii games, card games, board games & watch new movies. While we played we ate candy, chips/dip, nuts and the most amazing bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. I found the recipe at recipezaar. For dinner we had new york steaks, baked potatoes with all the fixin's, a green salad and some yummy bread. The house smelled lovely as we had wassail for drinking. Yep.  It was simmering all day long.
   Just before midnight we readied the TV for watching the ball drop in New York. We counted down and then it was crazy time! We toasted (with sparking cider, grape skewers and donuts...because I was told you haaavvvee to have donuts as your midnight snack on New Years Eve) to a new beginning and kicked 2009 out the door. We shot each other with silly string, blew into party blowers, popped party poppers, threw confetti, and ran outside to shout into the night air all while wearing our gorgeous party hats and Billy-Bob teeth!
   We did have a few mishaps. First the dog ate the peanut brittle..yea all of it and yes I made it. The second thing is that I accidentally picked up a bag of huge wild party blowers instead of fireworks. Although those were one seemed to suffer. I just heard a lot of oh wells and then it was a throw fest as confetti and smoke filled our driveway. This year my brother Eric and his girlfriend Crystal as well as her son Nathan joined us....that was a real treat!!
  We don't do New Years resolutions over here so I will leave you with a quick years glance of life with my two sons.
January: Billy shaves for the first time
February: Billy and Ricky add Sierra Summit to their snowboarding endeavors
March: Ricky re-begins guitar and piano. He self teaches through bks, DVD's & CD Roms until we move. (He is now receiving lessons for both instruments)
April: Ricky Becomes a Teenager
May: Ricky decides to get as much country yard activities in before moving to Fresno. He was very busy.
June: Billy Becomes a Scuba Diver
July: Billy plans a camping/ hiking expedition all by his lonesome
August: Ricky returns to his true love, Choir
September: Billy adds Jewish Music to his repertoire
October: Ricky attends the first of many Boy Scout camp outs
November: We move to Fresno
December: Billy passes Drivers Ed (time to move on to the permit)