I have an ongoing project to make wee little photo books for the older children of their North Carolina days. When we first moved here, I began and completed books for Abi and Nathanael. Nathanael’s was more geographical and he might get another biographical one at some point. Anyway,  I am currently at work on Asher’s.

It is always hard for me. I am a visual person and sometimes the things my eyes and heart find in those photos can really hurt. It also always serves as a tremendous motivator for me to do better with each moving forward day. Finally, if I ever need a good shake-up and reality reminder of God’s kindness and direction and mercy in moving me to a new home state- those photos provide that for me! However, I am realizing and recognizing how my thoughts can paint a skewed picture. This is not a new realization! I will need to be “brought round” for the rest of my life, at times, I am certain.  A book that has helped me with this in the past is Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George.

Since I have been crafting this post, I have noticed two things (through scanning photos and old blog posts). 1.) As time moves forward in NC, the photos show a lot of emotional and physical improvement. The ones that tend to hurt my heart the most are the ones from our first two-three years there. Those were hard years for me. These are the ones I was “knee deep” in tonight.  2.) Blogging and recording Endless Gifts has been a tremendous channel for the mercy and grace of God to flow to me.  I am grateful for my posts here at Offerings. They record the heart, the grace, the goodness of our days and our story. I recently read a passage in a book that talked about the life changing ability of cultivating gratitude. It was utterly confirming of a reality I have realized in my own life. The book talked about how cultivating gratitude can literally change pathways in the brain (thought processes and channels). I have found this to be very true.

This is a favorite picture from those years.  Asher is the little guy in the middle. They were on a grand adventure to Asheville with Daddy to see Lipizzaner Stallions in action.

Anyway, back to my story: My heart was tending toward heart-sore and every now and then I check in with the older children and see how they are doing in their new state. (All are doing very well.)

Tonight, several of the older ones spontaneously began reminiscing right around me as we ended a read aloud time. Some of those memories focused on our beloved swing set. And I was suddenly and wrenchingly reminded of this day- the day the tree fell right on it and we were all mercifully inside. (I thought I blogged this event- but – tellingly- I didn’t. The tree fell within the hour that Todd had received disappointing news from a longed for CPA firm in Charlottesville. I wouldn’t have blogged that part and in our hearts- they felt intertwined. This happened in 2012.) My heart and stomach clench with the memory.
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The devastation

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The original. I think this is the original. It could be the rebuild. I am not certain. We did have it rebuilt that Spring. We did have the set completely rebuilt and dealt with the dead tree and checked for any other such trees!

Many of their memories tonight did stem from those first hard years. Mercifully, they were sweet memories for them with no concern- but for me, from the Mothering perspective- they just served to reinforce the heart overturn I was already feeling.

Lately, I have been pondering blogging and if I should continue and if it is a good use of my time. My children adamantly stated that they wanted me to continue and I truly think I can see the instrument of grace that it is in my life.

Tonight, I am grateful for the very safe and snug home God has provided our family here. I am thankful, that during our recent high wind warning, I had no fear of a tree falling on our house and no anxiety toward the children’s sleeping arrangements. The wind truly battered the house. And my thoughts raced that night to the prior two homes we have lived in and I would not have felt safe. Those racing thoughts were at rest here. I am grateful for the choices that have led us here and the Sovereignty of God in orchestrating the details.  I do not take for granted any of the conveniences that are just at our finger tips. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

After-note:

since I began work on this post, I had the unexpected opportunity to learn of a 5 foot land shift around the driveway of our old house on developer property. I could not help but reflect on how difficult to impossible it would have been for us to get the proper people to care for that. Thankfully, the house is in wonderful hands and I know all will be well.  However, it very kindly served to deeply underscore the mercy of our move!