02 December, 2015

Of This and That

The hero in our family

   It's been three months since we've set foot back in the States. It's been good. It's been hard. It's been stretching. In the last three months we've remodeled a store, bought merchandise, (it's a returned merchandise store) and opened the doors. That involved many late nights and much running between house and store as i took meals and boys back and forth. Sometimes we all work at the store and sometimes Emily stays home with littles so i can help when we're on a time limit. It's also been exciting to see God open up doors for ministry through the store. A certain lady comes in almost every day and while she claims christianity, it seems to be more of a "i'm not muslim so i'm christian" thing. I met her for the first time the other week and recently she told Marlin that there is something about our family that is just so peaceful. She thanked him for our family taking time to talk with her and including her. We were amazed because our family feels anything but peaceful most of the time! But we pray it's Jesus she is seeing. I really enjoy helping out at the store when possible. There is a mennonite owned bakery, deli, and bulk food store in the same building with doors that open into ours, making our store smell amazing with the scent of freshly baked breads and pies wafting through. It's fun learning to know the neighbors and we have people that come back on a regular basis to check out new merchandise. There's also stressful moments when we wonder why in the world we thought this whole store idea was a good thing but overall, it's been good. To keep things exciting Marlin sliced the tip of his finger totally off this past saturday. He was cleaning up an ice shaver and next thing he knew he had shaved his finger. He sent me the pic of his fingertip and at first i thought it was a joke but when he sent a pic of the bloody bandages, i knew it was for real. I of course wanted to take him into the ER but he insisted they would simply bandage him up and charge him a fortune so he's been taking care of himself. He puts Dr. Christopher bone and tissue salve on it along with antibiotic cream and it's been doing well. At least that's what he tells me since i haven't looked.

Setting up shelves in our store

Emily painting like a pro
  The last three months have also involved homeschooling and i might as well be honest and admit that it has been a tough readjustment in that area. Homeschooling is something we feel called to do, but i came close to seeing if our church school had openings. Then i remembered that God doesn't call us to things that are easy, but He does call us to trust Him for strength. He's not asking me to have it all figured out (i don't) or to so much as crack open a book without His help. So why do i think i'm tough woman and can do it by myself? We have finally found a rhythm of sorts and it's been a blessing to see the children pulling their share and growing in areas where they have struggled. Emily especially has relaxed without the pressure of trying to keep up and strangely enough, things are all of a sudden making sense to her. She's very self motivated and plans to graduate in the next couple of years. She has the will power and determination to do it. Zachary was very unhappy that we chose to keep him in CLE language but after some heart to heart talks (some threats may or may not have happened) he is doing much better and his grades are coming up. I sat down with him and went over lessons and explained, explained, explained. It looked so overwhelming that he had just given up and was winging it, which never works. Especially in language. Joshua is an easy learner and needs very little help which is a blessing because...........i have the twins. HELP!!! They are almost 8 and struggle to remember what their numbers or letters look like. Meanwhile, Jacob is slowly but surely passing them up. I have done research on dyslexia and suspect the twins have it. They are also immature so how much that plays into it i just don't know. I'm using a curriculum that specializes in dyslexia (http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-reading/) and so far so good. I'm also praying about finding a tutor for them if need be. Research has proven that the homeschool setting or personal tutoring is ideal for dyslexic students since they simply can't keep up in a traditional school setting but i feel quite inadequate. I want to do what's best for them so i'm continually praying for wisdom and direction.

School with my crazy crew

Reading time on mama's bed....one of their favorite times and places. :-) 

Making their letters in salt. We tried shaving cream one day for something different and none of us were real impressed, esp not Eric since we used up the last of his bottle. 

  We are really enjoying this part of Virginia. Farmville, the closest town to us and where our store is located, is beautiful with gorgeous, massive, antique brick buildings that are now retail stores. Lanterns line the streets and there are neat little stores for shopping. The weather has been quite warm for winter but we're not complaining. At least the adults aren't. The kids are hoping desperately for snow but while i enjoy winter, i no longer have a 4 wheel drive van and don't relish the thought of driving on snowy roads. 

What happens when you can't get along with a sibling? Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

Simply adorable!
     I think overall our adjustment is going well. When people ask me if i miss Kenya, i tell them sometimes that wish i could say i do. It would seem so much more spiritual. But in reality, i don't. I miss the missionaries we worked with and there's parts that i have a lot of nostalgia about, but Kenya itself i simply don't miss. I pray regularly that God will keep my heart open to whatever He wants for us whether that's Virginia or somewhere else, but for now i'm soaking up family and friends, along with building new friendships and relationships. God has been so very gracious to us.



  1. Nice update! I'm so glad I can visualize your store with the yummy smells of baked goods and all. *grin*
    I wish I could give you good advice for homeschooling... but I can't. I have my moments of brilliance, and then there is the other 23.5 hours of every day. Hah!
    As for your family being peaceful, I (she who has a hard time with noise) can speak to that! Yes, your family is loud at times, but it is a good loud - a loud full of life and vibrance and excitement and laughter. That in and of itself is peaceful! I know that the above mentioned woman is seeing Jesus in you for He shines all over your whole family. You have always been open, willing vessels for Him...

  2. Wow, am amazed and thankful that you feel our loud is a good loud. I'm not always so sure, esp after several days of rain.
    As far as homeschooling......i'm always encouraged by you and your view of it all. It helps me to relax. :)

  3. Was so happy to see an update. :)
    Glad you are readjusting. I love how you share your struggles and weaknesses and how you love Jesus and your family - all together. Real life just as it should be.
    I wish I had homeschooling answers for you as well, but I take one day at a time, too. Some good, many hard, but all worth it. :)

  4. Happy to read your update, Darla! Sounds like a mama in the throes of motherhood! Life with its twists and turns will come...and thankfully we can know the One who knows it all 'way better than we can. I like that bit about needing him before you so much as crack open a book. YES! YES! YES! I fully understand that sentiment.

    To God be the glory every day (in the messiness, loudness, and 'out of controlness', AND in the quiet, the peaceful and the more 'glamorous' side of family life),


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