Many of you have asked how we are, where we are (still in Florida) and what is happening with our lives. Let me enlighten you. Settle in, this may get lengthy…
Where we live now, they call these dwellings villas. One must travel down a winding road lined with palms, hibiscus bushes, gardenia smells and other certain unknown trees with long pods hanging from them that rattle and clang when the wind blows, to even find this placed, tucked away from the mad hustle of the streets of commercialized Naples. It is as if we were led to a secret place (two months ago when we needed to move), with all the dishes in the cupboards, the sheets on the beds, the walls painted with paint that has glitter in it (it has a soothing gaudiness to it) and paintings of angels by Michelangelo hanging about and a large round tub to soak in. My easel and paints are set up in our bedroom. It is good to just see them. The long blinded window in the mauve-colored room (with a bed that has collapsed on one side several times so it feels as if you were sleeping on the edge of a cliff) overlooks a grassy lawn and a slushy but rippling little river-pond, and further on golf courses, flattened green and full of retired-age golfers that all look alike.
Benjamin works by day at a shop all to himself making elegant and intricate Japanese shoji screens hand milled and planed from the rough wood of mahogany and other exotic, imported woods I cannot recall. He hand seals the paper in them shipped from Japan and fashions runners and routered handles for them. It is good for now, but the work is unsteady and one never knows from week to week if there will be more. He fills in the gaps when he can, but I tell you this has taken its toll on him these last years as it would on any good man. Business details are not his love; service is. He has resumes out all over the nation in search of consistent work where he can work with his hands in direct help to building the Kingdom. Think camps, colleges, para-church ministries, paid mission positions. It is difficult to find such behind-the-scenes positions. We shall see what God has in mind, for it is always good as is the here and now surrounded by such beauty and perpetual sun.
I was thinking our boys are destined to have the seemingly contradictory nature of artist and missionology/theology blood mixed in them. It perplexes us what to do with the concoction; I hope they find a formula that works. We are utterly at the end of ourselves and all of our efforts. We can only offer availability and the choice to acknowledge Him in all our little ways. How pitiful we often feel. Perhaps you do too at times in such an economy or season of life? I am reminded how precious it is to be needy before God for it teaches us how to boldly ask when we know we are lacking.
I weave with words when the boys are asleep or otherwise occupied (this is my work). I cannot help but to do so; I think I have been writing books in my head my whole life. You see when I peel back the layers of what sort of clay I am made up to be, I see that I am called and write to awaken and propel others forward and further up. In hopes they may enter more deeply into Christ, to rather prepare the way and herald His coming I suppose. John the Baptist did get his head chopped off, though. Specifically I mean, to make the road clearer for women and their children around the world. I do not know what this all means, yet, but I cannot escape this—it is my good burden.
Our boys are well and good as you have read about and shall in my coming posts. Benjamin and I are passionate about delighting in our boys and raising them up to be mighty men of God. Our home is not perfection by any means; indeed some days feel like one speed bump after another. If you visited us you may feel the jolts and become quite exhausted or annoyed! We have our struggles, like you. But, we are running to Jesus as strong as we can, stumbling on some days and flying on others.
If you came to our home (our temporary home as most of our things are packed in the garage while we await our next marching orders), you would find books and paint and wood and games and singing and lots of fruit. And oh yes, Lego’s and balls and bikes and bubbles. Family films and documentaries, fresh gardenias, world maps, cultures of the world and what God is doing therein would show themselves to you. As well as one blue fish and a little boy learning to wear underwear while an older one learns to tell time. You might ride in Henry the Explorer our 17-year old vehicle with 200,000 miles on it to the Mexican tiendas, to watch the sunset over the ocean, stop for pancakes and of course, go to the library or the conservancy.
This is our life. We call it beautiful and count ourselves humbly rich.