The boys and I have been fervently praying that we would finish strong in these last few days. And so far, the Lord has been gracious. We are all tired (funny how working really hard to serve others rather than yourself can make a person weary) and we are all ready for our leader to be with us. Talking, laughing, smiling ... HERE.
But for now, it is still just us. And we are doing okay! Life goes on ...
* We woke up this morning to find maggots in our outdoor trash can, on the ground, and along the wall. AAAHHH! Thankfully, because this happened when Dennis was in the hospital after his surgery, I found out exactly what it takes to destroy the vermin. (I find them loathsome and am sure they will be part of the eternal darkness and gnashing of teeth) There is literally ONE thing that kills them. Boiling water. (nope, not even bleach will kill them) So, Luke rolled up his sleeves, swept them into a pile, and once the water was boiled, he found great pleasure in watching them melt.
He missed breakfast (oatmeal) while he was working, so when he came in and cleaned up I said, "Hey, you need to eat!" He looked at me and replied, with an appropriate level of disgust, "Do you think I can eat after what I just did?!?" Sorry, dude.
* Last night I watched "Return to Cranford." It is the perfect cap to the series, and gives a more complete sense of closure for the characters in the town. Delightful!
* Ellie is holding the LAST DIAPER that will ever grace the backside of an Eastman child. I vowed that when her current pack of diapers ran out, that would be IT! She will be potty trained by the end of the weekend - even if I turn gray in the process!
* A friend asked if she could bring dinner and her kids and hang out with my kids for an evening. Normally I would offer a polite, "No thank you, we are okay" but the Lord continues to work on me in the area of accepting gifts/help from others. So, I took a deep breath and replied, "YES! YES!" There was only one rule – I had to LEAVE and do something just for myself. I had a $50 gift card to TJ Maxx so that is where I spent the next two hours. I was in a coma-like state as I meandered through the isles, looking at everything that interested me and everything that didn't. I ended up with a new pair of patent leather black flats (a rarity in stores like these for a size 11 foot!), a box of stationary, and a Christmas gift for Ellie. The amount of items I refused to put into my cart were quite numerous, so I was pleased with my self control!
* Out of the 13 nights Dennis has been gone, I think I have put my pajamas on by 7 pm at least 10 of those nights! I will admit, I could get used to this! ( I LOVE pajamas)
* In His great wisdom and perfect timing, the Lord drew me and an older woman together "for such a time as this" and we have been meeting together once a month since the summer. I prayed for a mentor/discipler for seven years and the Lord said, "No. Not util I am enough." I stopped asking, and seven years later, He provided!
We met this week, and I was thrilled when she surprised me with gifts - BOOKS! I have been craving a new study and a new read, and she provided both without even knowing this fact!
* I must confess, the boys and I have watched quite a few movies together while Dennis has been away. Our family loves sports movies ... true stories about overcoming obstacles, persevering, investing in the life of another, and the truth that nothing worthwhile is ever easy. And no matter the bent of the film (secular, Christian) you can find Biblical application in them. Our library is full of such films and they never fail to inspire and open up great opportunities for conversations with our boys. (And thanks to Clear Play the entire family can watch them because they are C L E A N!) Some of our favorites: Miracle, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Remember the Titans, Facing the Giants, Pistol Pete, We are Marshall, Glory Road, Pride. (Some of these deal with prejudice which is a wonderful teaching opportunity from a Biblical perspective.)
* School has been going well and the older boys have worked really hard to do their studies without complaining or whining. Actually, come to think of it, we have only had one round of yelling over writing class since Dennis left. WOW! Talk about God's grace!
I have been trying to do more interactive and fun activities for the little boys (I do not like messes) and they are happy campers! They are very proud of their (painted) harvest pumpkins.
And now ... one more night alone as the seven of us. Micah and Luke are at a youth group event, the littles are in bed, Caleb is watching a movie, and I am in my polka dot pajamas dreaming of what life will be like 20 hours from now. Oh, what a happy day tomorrow will be, because Dennis will be with us!!