Learning How to Plod

I'm flying by the keyboard today, yet hoping to freeze time for just a moment to remember this summer.  Change is always happening around us, but for some reason it seems like we are transitioning more in this moment than we have in a long time.


Third grade for Greyson ended last week.  When math ends, the school year ends! We successfully completed his math book and all of this years readings for Year 3 (Ambleside Online).  We are proud of his narrations, many of which he dictated for me and we typed up for his portfolio.  Next year (Y4) is a big year for him, with the start of Plutarch's Lives and written narrations (instead of primarily oral narrations). I can't believe he's starting 4th grade.


My parents are moving to Kansas City, from Florida, so we're just thrilled with the new life we'll enjoy with them so close.  The kids are beside themselves.

Luke starts a new career, with a new company, in two weeks. I can't tell you how grateful we are for this opportunity.  He has really struggled for advancement within his current company over the past 5-7 years. He is extremely hard-working and faithful, but for whatever reason his character and work was overlooked and undervalued.  We do see purpose in these hard years, though, and Luke would be the first to say that the challenge is something he wouldn't trade, as he's learned a lot about the nature of the corporate world and himself.  We are really looking forward to watching him grow and succeed in this new venture.

As far as orchard news, we lost a few fruit trees (most of my Arbor Day trees didn't survive!) but most recently replaced an apple and peach tree, put in several blueberry bushes, and caught Home Depot's 50% off sale on shrubs to plant azaleas.  I love azaleas; they remind me of Florida.

We enjoyed almost an entire month with some friends who had moved from Missouri to Uzbekistan.  Greyson was able to spend quality time with Will, his best bud, throughout the month of June, while Will's family was back in MO on furlough.


Speaking of friends, we also took a road trip to Omaha and spent time with our dear friends, the Blonks! A two-day zoo adventure, good Dutch food and culture, and quality mama-friend time was such a treat.  We hope to go back often!


Luke is wrapping up a good two-week vacation at home, full of a few projects completed. He beautifully crafted bannisters for our front stoop and steps. He's connected the upstairs bathroom so that the boys can potty upstairs (woot woot!), and he's fixed all issues with the siding to satisfy the insurance company by the end of this month. Oh, and I planted blueberries and painted our front door. I do not like the color that I always dreamed I would, so it may change. Eventually. ;)


We always have people/neighbors/family ask us about the progress of the house or the cars (we have broken cars out front too, it's comical).  Don't get me wrong, feel free to ask, but I am realizing that our time table is never quite satisfying to anyone -- We do not have before/after pictures as expected or hoped for, we still don't have a kitchen sink, and it seems our plodding way is just plain odd. If I give full disclosure it might be apparent as to our reasons why things are done in the way they are (or not done), but underneath it all it's just slower than normal (if there is such a thing).

plodding
[ˈplädiNG]
ADJECTIVE

  1. slow-moving and unexciting.
    "a plodding comedy drama"
If you find yourself moving to a different pace, take heart.  If you find yourself going along with the tide, be on guard.  Both ends can be challenging to the heart and soul.  "What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?"

I'm reading Mother Culture, by Karen Andreola.  She says,
"Patience is in the legs of the plodder. Cherish patience. You will find use for it on more days, and in more circumstances, than you may foresee. Every day will call for its exercise...Patience is always crowned with success.  This rule is without exception. It may not be a splendid or remarkable success, but patient perseverance never takes anything in hand that it does not succeed with, to some degree. Water may even be carried in a spaghetti strainer if you can only wait till it freezes first."
Contentment calls for patience, and it is surely an inward grace that one can find in plodding well. Jeremiah Burroughs eloquently says we must learn the "way of subtraction" if we are ever to get to the sweet spot in our inner man of a quiet life and joy in any circumstance. From his The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, this idea resonates with me deeply this summer:

"Contentment does not come that way, it does not come, I say, by adding to what you want, but by subtracting from your desires. It is all one to a Christian, whether I get up to what I would have, or get my desires down to what I have, either to attain what I do desire, or to bring down my desires to what I have already attained."  
That's it! We must constantly bring low our desires to what we already have.  There is a lot I can change on a daily basis, but there is much I cannot.  When personal comfort is an idol, though, I might be tempted to (try to) control things or people, or that I "deserve" this or that.

Not having A.C. for a part of this summer was the perfect test.  We did get window units at the end of June--after about a month of growing discomfort.  We cannot afford to install a central A.C. unit this year (the whole house needs duct work too), so we entertained going as long as we could with fans and our drafty doors helping cool this ol' house. Our dear friends, the Van Duyns, gave us a whole-house window fan that made a surprisingly big difference.  But as the temps outside rose, so did the discomfort I felt, others felt for me, and the children felt over their attic-playroom Legos. By mid-June it was hot and unnerving.  I was maddened by the heat.  Now I'm not saying that one shouldn't seek comfort.  I desired air conditioning!!  My poor guests were uncomfortable! But my circumstances couldn't not be forced "up" to my desires in an instant. I had to wait and sit in the discomfort for awhile.  And I believe that one of the lessons of this trial was to see myself in the midst of discomfort--how quickly I wielded my "power" (anger, frustration, bitterness) as a manipulative force in this house when I am uncomfortable.  And that's just it. When Uncomfortable sneaks in, he wreaks havoc in my heart and then I wreak havoc in this house.

So, in all of this I pray that we would learn to wait and plod, even when we're uncomfortable.  That we would not give a second thought to the disapproval of others as it relates to our circumstances--especially as it relates to this house.  Luke and I are constantly grateful for this place, in all its warts, because it's a providence, a merciful gift.  We did not have another option (on one income) and still cannot believe what God has done for us in spite of the difficulties and our life choices.  Luke shared last night that he is often moved to prayer as he's working on a project or walking the property.  There may not be a kitchen sink or stove, but let me tell you there is so much more.  There is comfort here, just in a different way than one my expect.  It's in the plodding and the quiet life that we are finding a secret rest.
Praise be to God.

Dear Reader, you too plod without concern of approval.  "Stick to your knitting" an old friend of mine used to say.  Don't get drawn in to worry or anxiety such that you say mean things or act a fool. Be patient with your people, so that when jolted sweet water comes flowing out of your cup, refreshing them.  Remember, you lack nothing.

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4


 



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  2. You are one gifted writer, my dear friend. I love hearing your updates, as well as your heart. As always, you inspire, convict, and encourage me and I'm grateful for you. Miss you.

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