Unfolding Adventures

“Let’s go for a walk through the acres. I have missed my gardens and our creek and my orchards.”

”But nothing is growing now, Mommy,” Davy said in the mature, concerned voice of the older child.

”I don’t care what is or isn’t growing. It’s all hidden under there waiting to come out.” I held out both my hands. “Let’s go and see.”
With precision, my boys grabbed each of my hands and we walked into the bright winter sun.
Right there, I began to reclaim my life.
I couldn’t know what might happen next, but I could take one step at a time with my work and my sons by my side.
— Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

One reason I enjoyed the book Becoming Mrs. Lewis is because it’s a story of a Mom with two sons. They adventure through life together. And now I find myself in a similar situation (but with a wonderful loving husband too); envisioning the days ahead, with Jeff and our two boys by my side.

In the past my favorite stories and movies were based on all-girl families; Little Women or Pride and Prejudice. Although I didn’t foresee myself with tons of daughters one day, I did dream of having one!

My great grandmother had boy, girl, boy. My grandmother had boy, girl, boy. And my mom had boy, girl, boy. So, yes, I had imagined my future the same. Yet here I am (joyfully and thankfully) with two boys!

So I needed a vision for this new unfolding storyline of my life. It’s a great way to get excited about your “actual life”. Look around or look in books to find others thriving or surviving or enjoying life in a similar circumstance, maybe facing similar challenges or disappointments, or that have similar goals.

During my college years I went through a period of chronic pain, and so I lived at home and missed out on the experience of college dorm life. I fell into the trap of comparison a few times, but God bestowed a gift to me in the form of a friend, a few years older than I, who was also living at home and had gone to a small college. Together we led a small group for high school girls, which is how I got to know her better. She was artistic. She held a side job as a gymnastics instructor (I loved tumbling and gymnastics)! She loved Jesus and studying His word, and she was engaged to a great guy! I always wondered how on earth would I meet anyone living at home getting my teaching degree at a small college; my classes were 90% girls. Anyways, seeing how God had provided a husband for my friend gave me hope for my situation too. I didn’t need to worry about that; instead I just needed to take “the next right step in love”, as author, Emily P Freeman would say. And sure enough God brought Jeff into my life out of nowhere at the right time. And yes I know it doesn’t always work that way, which is why finding a vision for your right now actual life can be helpful too.

At my baby shower for Ivan, my close friends decorated a wall with posters of National Parks around America. I was delighted by the sight of it and the big bold letters which read “The Adventure Begins.”

Yes, let this unfolding story of Jeff, Oliver, Ivan, and I begin.

You watch God weave his patterns in the story of your life. Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside of God’s drama. As you wait, you begin to see Him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder. You are learning to trust again.
— A Praying Life by Peter E Miller

I decided visiting neat places like the state parks on the poster would be a goal I have for my family of boys. Also, I love taking photos of nature. God speaks to me through nature. I find inspiration for writing and painting by being in nature too.

And in a spontaneous last minute decision we took our first adventure as a family of 4 this weekend to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. It’s only two hours away. “The Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is the largest (39,650 acres) protected remnant of tallgrass prairie left on earth.” My friend I mentioned above was actually the one who made me want to visit the prairie. Long ago she had posted beautiful photos from her visit to the prairies. It only took me several years to actually go.

Well, it did not disappoint, even in the dead of winter. The expansive sky, the open fields, and the free roaming herds of Bison brought awe, peace and calm to my soul. We went when the sun was setting. This allowed me to see all the colors around, in the sky and on the ground change and shift in slow dramatic drifts.

I am glad we didn’t wait until spring to visit, though I fully plan to go back with the wildflowers in bloom.

On Sunday, the next morning, I open my inbox to check the daily Bible reading plan. And I read Psalms 37 and then Genesis 45. In the Psalms I read about waiting on the Lord, dwelling in the land and enjoying safe pasture, about not fretting or worrying or being envious, and about the reward of the meek; inheriting the land and delighting in abundant peace. The imagery of the tallgrass prairies came to mind and the feeling of deep peace I felt out in nature.

But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
— Psalms 37:11

In Genesis 45 I read of Joseph and his love for his brothers. And I thought and prayed “I hope Oliver loves Ivan the way Joseph loved and adored his brother Benjamin. Another sweet vision I now have for my life with two boys.

So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.
— Genesis 45:4-7

and verses 10-11 makes me recall again our visit to the prairie as Joseph talks about the land and the herds and provision during famine. I think about wanting to be near to Jeff, Oliver, and Ivan, the gift of being by their sides while exploring beautiful landscapes or simply being on our little plot of land at home together. I think about Winter seasons of life and how God often provides for us through our family and relationships.

10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 There I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.’
— Genesis 45:10-11
“What has helped you get through this year?” she asked. “If there are so many ills?”

I folded my legs beneath me and set the empty glass sideways on the grass. “My sons. Writing. Drawing close to God, or what I know of him, as best I can.”
— Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan