My poor, neglected blog. I had every intention of filling it up last week, but we had Vacation Bible School and I had an arthritis flare and I ended up sleeping through pretty much all of my blog time and also most of my housework time. Thankfully on Friday I started feeling better! And truly, God gave exactly the strength I needed to get through VBS, and we had a great week. But the blog did get a bit neglected.
Honestly, the month of May was not what I had expected or planned it to be. Our vacation was amazing but we were beyond exhausted when we got home. I spent the next week getting caught up and into a good summertime routine, and then my grandmother became seriously ill with a blood infection. Grandma had leukemia, so this was very bad. Ten days after we got home from our Epic Sisterly Road Trip, I got in the back seat of my parents’ rented minivan and rode to upstate New York. It was such an exhausting trip. While we were en route we got the call that Grandma had passed away. Then there was family and strange beds and wild emotional outbursts and a funeral on a horribly hot day in a church with no air conditioning. And there was packing up clothes and trying to choose keepsakes and then there was the flight home, a friend at the airport, and finally my family waiting for me.
I feel like Grandma’s death has changed something in me. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but I have discovered in myself a deep love for home that I didn’t know I had. I grew up in Wisconsin and then Nebraska, and Iowa was always the state we made fun of– but as I flew over Iowa and looked down and recognized the towns near us and barely made out Tiny Town at the very edge of my view, I cried with the joy of coming home. I loved my grandparents’ house, and I cherish the memories there. And I had a wonderful childhood and in some ways I still think of the big house on Main Street where I spent ten years from 6-16 as home. My parents’ house will always be home as long as they are there, because family is a kind of home too. But I realized as I flew over the terraced fields and the simple farms that I just really love Iowa. I have lived here for nearly twenty years, and it has become my home, and I am so thankful to God for calling us to a place that I love. I would be glad to stay here in Tiny Town forever. I love these people and all their quirks and foibles. I love our neighbors and our house and our church family. I guess I had never realized it quite so strongly before. And it made me want to put my roots down a little deeper and open myself up a little wider to love the people God has placed in my life. I feel like that is a legacy my grandmother would be proud of.
Today I read a book where the main character goes on a trip to England and visits all these places in literary history. And I have decided that that is my dream vacation. I came dancing downstairs after finishing the book (It’s called The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay), and I informed my husband that we need to start saving our pennies for this. And he did some math and announced that we should be able to go in about eighty years. Alas.
So then I opened up my Bible study book to get ready for our meeting tonight, and the first question was this: What is contentment? And then I laughed really hard. I feel like God has an amazing sense of humor.
Darth Piggy is away at camp this week. Our house is weird without him. Today Angry Ranger mowed the yard next door and Pooka played in the dirt at her friend’s house and came home filthy. I read my book and Art painted a rock I brought back from upstate New York and Angry Ranger did computery things and I attempted to teach Pooka to do one of those plastic canvas stitching projects. And we had dinner and went out for ice cream and chilled and it was a lovely relaxing day but it was weird because one of us is missing.
I wonder if he’ll remember to take a shower this year.
God is doing really good things in my heart right now. I want to share them here, and I plan to return to regular blogging this week. I’ve been pondering lately how many of our issues could be solved if we would just remember to keep our eyes on Jesus. I am so easily distracted. I want to see more of Him every day, to remember that He is always there, at the finish line, cheering me on– and also right beside me, walking with me through every circumstance. One of the questions in my Bible study book today was along the lines of, if we really believe that we can do all things through Christ, then why aren’t Christians doing more? That is a question that stings a little bit. The good kind of sting– the kind that makes me want to trust a little more, obey a little more, press on a little harder, live a little purer, love a whole lot more extravagantly.
Last week’s VBS theme verse was Joshua 1:9–
Be strong and of good courage . . . for the Lord your God is with you.
What a sweet promise. Eyes on Jesus, everyone! He is with us, and He leads us and cares for us and calms us with His gentle voice.
How much He could accomplish in us if we would only keep our eyes on Him.