Country Living

Rileigh

Our rescue dog, Rileigh.

I am living the country life these days.

Typing that sentence has me sitting here contemplating my life choices.

How did I get here?

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s really beautiful out here. I wake up to birds chirping and last week I saw a bunny hopping across the expanse of the yard.  I’ve seen gorgeous sunrises and breathtaking sunsets. I could almost convince myself that I am a country girl.

Almost.

But, then reality slaps me in the face when I pick up my phone to hop on the Wi Fi.  It seems country life is void of internet.  I can hear you chuckling at my fate.  Some of you may even be thinking how good it might be to have limited access to the internet for a time.  Well, let me shake you out of your dream state, life without internet is, well, like living in a bubble with no communication in or out.

Sounds appealing?

Then you’re living in the wrong country.

Maybe the wrong century.

In case you’re wondering where I am, I am living with my dad and his wife out where the wild flowers grow rampant.  They’ve been wonderful to us and treated us with such kindness.  They don’t seem to mind one bit that they can’t check their bank account or pay their Discover bill any time they want.  Internet is nothing more than a luxury for folks who live in “town.”

So, in order to get on the internet for any length of time or to download something that has more than ten words, we take drastic measures.

There’s a coffee shop about two miles up the road and they have internet.  Wonderful, glorious internet.  We frequent this place.  We’re regulars now; they know us by name.  I have a standing order.  I don’t know what we would do without them.

Do I sound desperate?

This is me, internet-less me.

Once in a while we forget something that needs internet and the coffee shop is closed. We drive up there and sit in our car in hopes to catch the magical cyber powers in the parking lot.   We’ve discovered there’s a van that likes to do the same thing.  Last week, my husband and I realized we needed to get online after the shop had closed and we panicked.

“We have to get up there before the van does,” he said.

“Is this really what we’ve come to?” I thought.

We quickly loaded up in our pajamas and slippers, you can get away with that in the country too, by the way.  Who even am I?

Thankfully, we beat the van.  It’s not that we couldn’t park in another spot in the parking lot, but we wanted the prime spot closest to the router just on the other side of the wall.

And there we sat, in our PJ’s, in the dark. The only light was our computer screens.

And, you guessed it, the van drove up just a few minutes after we arrived.

We beat him or her or whoever drives the dark navy van.

Victory.

I’ve been doing all sorts of things out here since I’m currently not working.  I just finished helping hoist a lawn mower up so daddy could put on a tire.  I sit outside on the swing often since there’s no fence and two dogs who have to go to the bathroom frequently.  Our rescue puppy thinks it’s my responsibility to throw the ball so she can chase it every time we walk out the door together.

Life is slower.

I know this pace has been good for me, but I would be lying if I said it has been easy. I’m a get up and go kind of girl and I’m living in a slowdown and have some sweet tea kind of world.

Only I don’t drink sweet tea.

I’m asking the Lord what He wants me to learn through all of this.

There has to be a lesson, right??

Oh, and did I mention I’m picking up dog poo poo with a shovel and tossing it to in the very back of the yard?

I don’t know myself anymore.

All of these inconveniences have me ruffled and next thing you know we’ll be raising chickens.

But even in the midst of all the differences and changes I don’t want to miss a single moment of this life.

I get to live with my daddy and spend time around the dinner table most nights talking and breaking bread together.  Well, we don’t actually break bread since he’s diabetic, but you get the idea.

I help in the kitchen and we’ve eaten like kings and queens since we’ve been in the country.

I feel I owe my own family an apology because we’ve NEVER eaten this good.

I walk barefoot through the grass and stare out the window at the rain.

Maybe my soul needs this time to learn to slow down and be content in “whatever the circumstances,” as Paul says in scripture. (Phil. 4:11, see below)

As we march up to Father’s Day this Sunday, I want to publically thank my dad for sharing his home and his life with us.  We come as a package deal of three adults and two dogs.

He’s never once complained.

Not once.

He’s told us we’re welcome to stay as long as we want.  Secretly I wonder if he really means that, I mean, we are #extra.  I thought I might joke with him and tell him we love it so much we’re staying forever.  But then I remember we have no internet and realize it’s really not funny.

I’m so very thankful to him and his wife for taking us in and loving us well.

Goodness, how the world needs to feel some of this…good old country love.

The kind that comes with a beat up ball cap and a fishing pole.

Tonight we’re having hamburgers on the grill, we’ll sit out on the swing while daddy cooks the meat and the dogs will run around under our feet while we sip tea, unsweet that is.  We’ll listen to the crickets sing and hope the stars come out for wishing.

And beat off the horse flies.

Then, my husband and I will get in the car and head to the coffee shop so we can check our email.

Probably in our pajamas and high fiving each other if we beat the van.

 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

Philippians 4:11-13

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What’s Next

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The most magical place on earth. 

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken.  So much has happened I find myself at a loss of where to start.  It’s like those moving sidewalks at the airport, you know the ones that help you to take two or three steps for every one unassisted by the moving belt.

I feel like I’m walking beside it wanting to get on but I’m not quite sure how without lunging forward or backward and falling on my face.

But, because I can’t go another day without talking to you I’m going to take the chance and jump on, let the body parts fall where they may.

What I’m trying to say is it’s hard to bounce back into the stream of life when you’ve been out of step for a while.  It feels intimidating.

But, here is my best attempt to catch you up on things.

The last thing I shared was how difficult it was to pack all of my earthly belongings into small boxes and put them into a storage facility.  All the memories and organizing and purging had me an emotional mess to say the least.  Since then, we’ve sold our home of twelve years, moved in with my dad and gone on a much needed family vacation.

Wow, that last sentence was quite a mouthful.

Our house sold much quicker than anyone expected and for that we are so grateful.  But, with the sudden sell comes a whole new set of problems.  Good problems, but problems nonetheless.  Things like, “what do we do now?”  start to resonate through your mind at an alarming volume.

Thanks to my dad for opening his home to us for a while.  He and his wife have been so gracious and patient.  We come with baggage, two dogs.  One practically a puppy and the other with one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel.

I cried my eyes out throughout the whole packing a purging process.  We sold our dining room table, the one our kids sat around growing up.  I stood at the window as it was loaded on the back of a truck and pulled out of the driveway.

That was hard.

People ask me why it was so difficult and I guess I would answer it was like saying goodbye to a member of the family.  SO MUCH LIFE happened around the rectangle stained piece of wood.  It was like an old friend.

I put a price tag on it and sold it to the first bidder.

I felt like I’d betrayed someone who’d been nothing but faithful to me. I know, I know, I can hear you say it, “it was just a table.”  Yes, that’s true, but it also stood as a symbol, a reminder, of our younger years.  Like the ending of a chapter, one I was really invested in.

So, I cried.

And then, I let it go.

Multiply that experience by one hundred and you’ll get a pretty good idea of how packing the house went.

But, one million boxes later aaannnddd we finished!

Our vacation was so wonderful.  It was hard to come back to reality.  Can I live in Disney?  I think the most magical place on earth would be perfect right about now.  It was hotter than hades and the crowds were merciless but I had my three grown children with me and I’m just not sure it gets any better.

Well, that should about catch you all up, minus a few hundred unimportant details.

Now, we turn our hearts and minds toward what’s next and I find myself quoting scripture over and over to calm my heart.  Some might even say “chanting” God’s Word to help me cope.

Let me start by saying what’s next has to come after I get through saying good bye to what is.  I’ve never considered myself a small town girl, but the people of this little community have become such a part of my heart it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

I am a kaleidoscope of emotions.

I really want to learn something through this time of enormous change.  I want to pick through all the emotions and find the lesson.  More than how to pack and label a box so you’ll know what the heck is in it when you unload it off the truck.  Here’s a little helpful hint, be sure you label the side of the box as well as the top because you’ll never know what’s in them when they’re stacked on top of each other a mile high.

Trust me on this.

You’re welcome.

Also, I’m learning to let go of my need to know what’s coming next.  Notice I said learning, I have a long way to go.  White knuckling everything has become bad habit and I didn’t realize how bad it was until things began to change and I couldn’t hold onto it all.

I was terrified.

Something special happened recently and it was obvious the Lord’s hand was all over it.

I listen to the Bible app most mornings, this year I’m doing the Bible chronologically.  A few days ago as the narrator was reading Psalm 112 I felt the impression of the Holy Spirit in my heart.  I knew instinctively this Psalm was for me.  Later, I looked it up and read it in its entirety as though God was speaking directly to me and not written by a King long ago.  Verse seven nearly jumped off the page, “She does not fear bad news, she confidently trusts the Lord to care for her.”

Woah.  I needed, no I NEED that promise.

That’s the verse I’m chanting.

I don’t want to be afraid.  I want to walk in peace.  Is it possible I can walk in my fear with the intent of breaking down the hold it has on my heart?  Maybe peace isn’t a destination but a process. Something for you and me to chew on as we sip our coffee this morning.

I’ve decided to memorize the whole chapter.  This is a big deal as I’m not great at memory verses.  I’m more of a “well it says in the Bible somewhere…”  But, to walk into “what’s next” for me, for us, I’m going to need more than vague references, I am going to need confidence…confidence the Lord will care for me.

So, what is next?

We’re starting to have more of an idea as we look for places to live and pray diligently for a church family.

We visited the city we’ve decided to drop some roots in…can’t wait to tell you all about it.