The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Our Journey -- The Path of Trust

The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB

Strawberries came at the end of May.  They are the first harvest of the garden, their bright red a promise of sweetness and delight, and with it, sweetness from the Lord in this new journey the Lord has just set before us.

The Path of Trust

Fernando received a job offer, plain and simple.  He told this company, Y** (based in Rhode Island), he would give them an answer by the end of May.  He was hoping to hear back from at least one of the other two companies interested in hiring him; their potential job offers would be better--pay, benefits, situation.  But as each day came and went, and no phone calls were forthcoming, Fernando knew it was time to let Y** know he would accept their offer.  And we prepared to set off on one more road, a path, really, of twists and turns, of not knowing, of trust.

Fernando would be training to be a field service engineer for this company, specializing in robotics and automation.  With his extensive electronics background, we are hoping that this would translate into a new career path for him.

Fernando will leave in mid-June, to fly to Rhode Island for one to six months of training, including in-house, then shadowing another field service engineer, then eventually working on his own in the Midwest.  At least there is that.  At least there is something to look forward to.  We reminded each other it could be worse--we had been contemplating an opportunity for him to work out of the country for a year (huge income, paying off all debt, starting fresh--but a year apart).  The possibility of six months apart seemed more palatable than a whole year.  I kept telling him that six months will fly by, and it could be less time, too, if the training goes well.

The important thing it, it's a job.  It will pay the bills, at least we're hoping.  It's little more than half what Fernando was making previously, so I knew I'd have to work.  I knew the possibility of me having to find full-time work was very real at this point.  I was hoping for one of the other jobs for him, but this seems to be where the Lord is leading.  So this is where we need to go, on this new pathway of continuing to trust Him and His plan for our lives.

After all the past posts where I've excitedly shared how the Lord has worked and brought employment to us, this post seems dry, almost matter-of-fact.  In a way, it is just that--can I really be excited about uncertainty, about not knowing if this would work out, and just how did all this debt and struggle fit into His plan?  I don't know.

I don't know how we'll do it.  I don't know how we'll live on much, much less, while paying off debt that we never had before.  I come back, once again, to the overarching theme of all these posts I've written:  He is faithful.  I must trust.  This new path, this new way, wherever it leads, is simply a new way in which to trust--yet, and still, and continuing--that He knows, that He will direct, that He is good.  While I praise Him for providing, my heart still whispers help me trust You, Lord, down this new path.

Back to life,

Read previous segments here:

The Beginning
The Injury
The Furnace
The Waiting
The House
The Phone Call
The Truck
The Car
The Business
The Gift
Eight Days
Broken Path
His Plan, Not Ours

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May -- A Time to Plant

Well, Thomas is gone, planted in Orlando for four months of BMW STEP training.  Fernando surmised that Thomas would not be home again, that this was a finality.  That's as it should be, of course, but that was a hard thing for this mama to fathom--her baby in an apartment far away, not easily accessible, probably not coming home.

My thoughts now turned toward Fernando and his employment situation.  He has had three different companies express interest in him, three different phone interviews, and three time to wait answers.  I then turned toward the warmer weather and my garden outside.  As long as Fernando was home, we could both go out and plant something and watch it grow.

Fernando is such a generous worker; his heart gives of himself and he willingly works in my garden for me, especially at planting time, shoveling compost, doing the back-breaking work so that I can focus on getting little plants and seeds into the ground.

I scaled back this year, planting just a few tomatoes, a bed of green beans, another of carrots.  The garlic sprouted up from seeds planted last autumn, which I love because it's such a no-nonsense gonna-grow-no-matter-what kind of crop.

I planted two little cherry tomato plants, hoping they'd do well in this particular corner of the plot.

Herbs went in this bed below, with green beans in the middle, and carrots on the left side.  I am hoping like mad the carrots turn out well like they have in the past!

After letting this back bed rest last year, I planted my four tomato plants here.  My choice was Arkansas Traveler, an indeterminate variety that produced well for me last year.  Here's hoping for another good harvest this year!

In my front yard flower garden, I basically ignored the wild oregano growing like a bush in the front.  It's not the best herb in the kitchen.  But I planted a few more French sorrel plants, hoping to have a few harvests of sorrel for my delicious French sorrel soup.

French sorrel in the center.

The hardy English thyme was already a nice sized little bush (on the left in the image below).

Now it's time to wait, to nurture, to watch things grow, to hope.  I was hoping for more than vegetables, and herbs.  As I watched Fernando go through phone interviews, and one Skype interview with a company based on the East Coast, I hoped to watch seeds of change grow, to watch something new sprout, to see the Lord guide our path once again down a new road.

Back to life,

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Waiting, and the Big News

Time to Fly, Part Six -- May 10.

Thomas started his day with orientation, and Fernando and I returned to the beach to wait.  It was a gorgeous day (is there not a gorgeous day at the beach?), and we spent our time alternately swimming or sunning.

I ended up leaving my glasses in the beach bag at one point, and as Fernando and I were out during low tide, pelicans started flying into our area.  More and more, they flew around and over us, floating just feet away!  Some dived down into the water in search of fish, while more and more flew in.  It was amazing!

I took this photo right after we got out of the water:

Then, Thomas called--his orientation was over.  We headed back toward town; Thomas met us at our hotel, and we went out for a celebratory meal.  He wanted a decent photo of himself, and after several attempts, he approved.  I texted it to him, and he posted it on Facebook with his news:

I have been accepted into the BMW Service Technician Education Program (STEP) in Orlando, Florida. The program is 4 months long and my parents helped me move into my apartment where I'll be staying for the duration of my classes.
So there it was.  It's a pretty big deal--one of only 14 students in their program, paid by BMW, furthering his career in the auto technician field.  I'm still rather in awe of this amazing young man.

After our meal, we drove back to our hotel.  Thomas hung out for a little bit, then got in his car and drove away to his hotel.  That was the hardest goodbye, knowing I probably wouldn't see him until the end of summer, so far away from us.

I took this photo the day before, after we had helped Thomas move in to his apartment.  As we were pulling out of the apartment complex parking lot, I snapped a phone picture of Thomas' building.  When I looked at it I became frustrated that I caught the reflection of my cupped hands in the car window.  After editing it, though, I realized the photo captured something I never intended:  the illusion of my hands holding on to a son who had already flown our nest. 

This photo embodies the knowledge that holding on to our children means trying to grasp the air--they must fly, and we must let them go.

Back to life,

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

An Apartment

Time to Fly, Part Five -- May 9.

The Big Day had come.  Securing housing was the order of the morning, and getting settled in the apartment was the second.  Thomas met his roommate, Eddie, signed paperwork, paid some money, and we helped him move in.

He wasn't too happy about posing for this photo, but he let me kiss him anyway.

Outside the apartment complex, a hibiscus plant was blooming happily in an unseen corner.  It was a beautiful symbol of new life.

The Even Bigger Day awaits us--tomorrow.

Back to life,

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Hitting the Beach

Time to Fly, Part Four -- May 8.

A super late Sunday night arrival at our hotel resulted in a late morning breakfast in the hotel breakfast lounge.  Fernando wanted to fuel up on coffee for the day, which would consist of mostly relaxing--on the beach!

Less than an hour away, up and over the bridge, and into Cocoa Beach.

We passed the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, and I snapped a phone pic and sent it to my heart-sister Lori, whose family served as hosts for a week-long trip to this same area a several years back.  Fun memories!!

Since we were still not publishing the fact that Thomas was with us (and was the main "star" of this adventure), I left him out of my photos as you can see below--only two sets of feet.  :)

One glorious day at the beach, and then back to our hotel.  The exciting stuff will start tomorrow...

Back to life,

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Georgia Sunshine

Time to Fly, Part Three -- May 6-7.

Next stop was a quick (relatively speaking!) three-hour drive over to Atlanta and the T family.  I really do miss my friends, but it is fun being able to make stops along our journey!

Just after we arrived at their house, I started getting texts from a friend:  Where are you?  Who's traveling with you?  Is this a family trip?  Our "semi-secret" trip (per Thomas' wishes) turned into another fun adventure--how much could we post on social media without revealing who was with us or what we were doing?  So far we had just posted photos of Fernando and me, and left Thomas out of it.  At that point we just decided to have some fun with it.

Brian had the grill going for dinner with a veritable feast of food!

We rested, relaxed, sat together, talked, laughed, played games, attended church on Sunday...  Just normal things and sharing our lives together for a day and a half.

Aren't we a good looking group?  This was after church, just before we left.

You knew this would be the next photo...

Donetta and I, hamming it up together!

Then, we were off, ever onward to our final destination.

Back to life,

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sweet Respite

Time to Fly, Part Two -- May 5-6.

After our rainy day-long drive and midnight arrival in South Carolina, we spent the next few days relaxing with the S family.  Sometimes you don't realize how much you miss friends until you see them again!

The littler girls took to Fernando quickly.  He's such a big teddy bear!

The kids took us on a little tour of their five-acre property, and the most important stop for the girls was the shed, and their baby chicks.

It was cool that day, which was fine with me since it was even cooler back home.  And our little walk--heavenly!  Spring had definitely arrived here!

Most of our time was spent just relaxing, talking, and laughing.  On our last morning, I did a quick photo shoot with all the kids, then we took some group photos. 

The guys wanted to show how they had all grown...

Not!  Thomas is quite a bit shorter than their two boys!

Finally, one group photo before we left.

And of course, the requisite goofy-face photo!

It was hard to leave, but time was marching on and we needed to get on with the journey.  So away we drove, eastward and southward to our next destination.

Back to life,

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Time to Fly

Time to Fly, Day One -- May 4

There's obviously a back story to this photo of a crazy-eyed Thomas, a pair of kitchen shears in his hand and camping gear strewn around the floor.  These things, plus a few more essentials, were all that he'd need for the upcoming weeks.

This has to do with a few posts ago, and an announcement from Thomas.  As you can guess by the title of this post, it was indeed time for him to fly--fly our nest, and it began with a road trip.

Fernando drove the Suburban, and Thomas drove his car with me riding shotgun for navigation if needed.  Fernando took the lead, we followed, and a new journey commenced.  In the below photo, we had just gotten on to I-80 East, and just as we did, Thomas flipped a radio station and Come Sail Away began playing.  It was the perfect song, and the two of us started singing it at the top of our lungs.  It was one of those forever moments.

I'm sailing away set an open course for the virgin sea
I've got to be free free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board I'm the captain so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try oh Lord I'll try to carry on...

Secular song, for sure.  But it captured the moment, the very beginning of a whole new journey for Thomas.  I posted the above photo on Instagram with a post reflecting the words of this song, not thinking much of it.  Thomas didn't want it advertised until he was ready, so since Instagram isn't Facebook, we left it there and drove on.

It started raining, a light sprinkle about an hour into our road trip when I begged to stop (that mug of tea...!).  Then it rained...

And it rained, all through Indiana and into Kentucky...

And it rained some more, into the hills and around the curves of the highway...

And on into the evening, it kept raining.

Into the mountains of South Carolina and into the fog--the dense, misty kind--it rained and rained, and never stopped.

Our first stop on this trip was in South Carolina, a nice resting stop with a family we hadn't seen in far too long.  That'll be the next post...

Back to life,

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