Friday, July 29, 2011

Road Trip: A Wisconsin Adventure




During my two hour drive to meet my husband and get away for the weekend, I prayed. I petitioned for our safety during our travel, offered thanks for the opportunity to retreat from the stress of child rearing and work and focus on our marriage for a while, and asked that Amos and I grow together in Christ, being open to what seeds may be planted during our trip. I just love when God answers prayer! We left the ol' mini van in St. Louis, packed the Versa, and we were headed north!

An overnight stay with a great friend and a quick stop at my favorite cupcakery later, we found ourselves across the Wisconsin border. The topography looked much like Missouri's rolling hills, lush green foliage, and rural communities. We marveled in details unique to Wisconsin. The endless water that peeked once in a while from behind the hills and midwest forests felt foreign to this Missouri gal, used to endless rolling hills. In my travels, the land has always dissolved into sand and palms or jungle-like greenery before the horizon was filled with sparkling water. As we drove along the edge of Lake Michigan, we saw quaint red barns scattered like a city's Starbucks.



Being in Wisconsin felt genuine, simple, and wholesome. More than anywhere else I've been, the farmland and rural communities were filled with a love for Christ. It is a subtle excitement, one that seemed to be a way of life here. Communities seemed to be confidently rooted in God's Word.

Door County, Wisconsin's "thumb" is sandwiched between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Blonde haired children working the family campground greeted us with soft Wisconsin accents. Amos and I loved that we were never more than twenty minutes from a shoreline, and we loved that the sun rose and set over a water horizon in this rural community. What a blessing to have the awe of both in one place!
We sat on the dock of the bay and watched the sunset together.






Cherry season is serious business in Door County. Amos and I took our bucket to the orchard rows and filled it with dark red berries. We picked cherries as it started to sprinkle, and walked back toward the barn through a shower of heavy, cold Wisconsin raindrops. It was perfect.





We spent a day in Chicago before heading home, and while we hadn't planned on this adventure, we both enjoyed our day sightseeing together. I loved getting to show my husband a city that I love. We enjoyed the bustle of the city and the quiet of the parks with the Chicago skyline behind us.


We traveled to the 95th floor of John Hancock to enjoy the view from atop the city. We walked Navy Pier and Chicago's Riverwalk. We discovered new neighborhoods that left this girl excited to explore them on the next visit. We stopped into the world of American Girl which hit a soft spot with a certain Daddy who brought a very special doll home for his youngest daughter.

The drive home began with music and comfortable silence, and transitioned to a sharing of faith, struggles, advice, and appreciation for one another. If we had needed to be away from home for a month in order to share those last four hours, it would have been worth it.
Praise be to God who know what we need even when we are clueless!



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer/School


It's kind of amazing how much a mom's identity is formed by her children. It's been ten years since I've been home without children. From my first pregnancy, I've assumed my God-given duties as a mother with honor. I've been present as much as possible to raise my three, and even in my teaching years, my oldest was in school and I was home when she was. When Noah came along, I submitted my resignation, not thinking twice about explaining that educating my own child was my priority. I've been a homemaker ever since. There has ALWAYS been a need for me to be physically present with my children. If I was away from them, it came with relief mixed with a tiny bit of "I hope they don't need my while I'm gone." Mothering my children has been a constant, 24 hour/day job for years, but those hours are about to change.


The year ahead is daunting. One child is moving from elementary to middle school, another beginning kindergarten, and the third will start preschool. It all seems like too much all at once, and I worry about being able to be supportive enough of each one of them simultaneously. All three of them will need extra attention in the next couple months as they adapt to their new schools, and all the while I'm going to have to find my own way into my altered role as Mom. How will I cram all the teaching that I did over 13 hours each day into a mere six? Are they ready?

For now, I'm choosing to soak up as much summer as I can while it lasts!