How rich and yet at the same time misty and lonely ordinary time can be. I come to write this catch up on July after a long hard day with a preschooler who is wrestling with life, boundaries, a baby brother who is well and truly on the move and life just not always as he feels it should be. Yet after many tears and frustrations with bedtime consequences, no snack and no stories, he and I lay down and he told me the gospel. Of how Jesus is no longer on the cross and so we can all be friends again. Jesus is big enough for our bad days and that He is the one who helps us put on our happy attitude and voice. A day when at dinner time I was ready to hibernate and wanted both boys asleep promptly as I was done in with frustration to only be undone by our preschooler share the gospel of grace with me as we both brought our mess of the day to the cross.
Ordinary time has very much been the pattern of July as boxes have been unpacked and we begin to establish patterns for our weeks and make this house our home. Creating and planting are very much part and parcel of ordinary time. Creating a home, a sacred space for our family and all who come through our door, creating memories and planting roots between the four of us as a family and with those around us and at church. And doing so in the presence of the One who knows all there is about creating and planting. It may be ordinary time but in His presence it has a been an extravagant month. Not in the sense of money, drawing up our budget shows us life will be far from that for the next while but even that is cause for excitement and wonder was we wait to see how the One who called us here will seek to be faithful to His word and provide. It has been extravagant for the time we have had as a family, for learning, for prayer, for laughter. There have been days when we have had to dig deep into God’s grace for wisdom as far as parenting two boys goes and other days when God’s grace has lavished us with branches weighed down heavy with the fruit of the spirit.
One of the blessings has been having our own car, and we have loved making Saturday our adventure day and heading off into the countryside for walks and picnics. Traditions are also being formed with Friday Fun days, Sabbath dinners, pancakes on a Sunday for breakfast as we now life 5 minutes walk to church and it does not start till 11:15am. While everybody is on holiday for now this gives us time to create our own patterns before we add in Preschool 3 afternoons a week and Mark’s full time studies. Mark is working on his German over the summer and a creative project following on from his post on Jonah. This is helping both the boys and myself adjust to him not being around full time.
I am also enjoying a little bit more time and space with occasional evenings free for quilting and crafts with the long term loan of a sewing machine. So far one toy box and two cushions have been made, one full size quilt cover cut up ready to make and more toy box materials being gathered to be made.
One of the sacred moments for me was to be able to hang Noah and Elisabeth’s frames up on our stairway. In so many ways their lives are tied completely to our time in Vancouver and I wrestled with a sense of renewed grief in moving back to the UK as though for a second time I was unable to carry them through to fullness of being and yet they are so very full of being. But it was good to hang their pictures up and let them continue to have their place in our family and as part of God’s work in and through us.
Mark and I are enjoying no longer just reading on FB about friends back home with kids asleep and their M&S dine in for two dinners in the oven with wine open but are able to do it ourselves and are establishing time when we get to have an evening together having given the boys their dinner earlier though sleep is still a struggle and so we have either had one little one with us or one still reading in bed or both awake. Matthew is getting better at understanding that this time is for us and so is generally happy to stay in bed so long as we let him read and pop in and out occasionally.
For those of you who pray, sleep for our boys is something we would value. Matthew once down does alright but is a very early riser but an afternoon nap which he then needs throws bedtime out by a 2 to 3 hours so we are loath to let him nap but he needs more sleep. And going to bed late if he has napped does not mean he sleeps late, if anything it means he wakes even earlier. He finds sleep something to resist and does not welcome it freely. It needs to be something that more often than not comes over him while reading. This has been hampered by what we assume will be a need for glasses; headaches, difficulty seeing the words and the need to be right on top of the pages. We are waiting to be seen at the hospital. He also processes all of the day in his sleep which will it does not disturb him, we are all too aware of the conversations of the day being played out. This can be useful if it is before we have gone to bed and so can pay attention to what is going on to adress the next day but not so if it happens just after we have been pacing the floor with Jonathan for the previous hour or two or three. Jonathan, who has finally started to sleep in a cot and not on us all night or in the car seat. He will still not sleep flat, due to reflux in the first 6 months of his life and the association of pain that being flat brings. He also does not sleep through the night preferring if he can get away with it to do long feeds at night as he is far to excited by his big brother and life to really be bothered during the day.
Its been a month of ordinary time when the everyday of life has been given attention, when its not always joyous, seemingly rewarding or spiritual, but it has been a month of growing seedlings and young plants of so many forms: children, family, marriage, home and friendships. Saplings that can so easily get overlooked in seasons of waiting and grandeur and festivities. The ordinary has been a gift I never noticed before and I look forward to another month of ordinary time which we will get to share with all of our immediate family at various points as they come to visit.
ps, had hoped to include photos but computer not complying and its getting late so I am sorry for the lack of colour.