Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Summer Fun

This summer was a difficult one for my family. It was incredibly hard and stressful, and we were not doing well. We were just surviving, clinging to hope, and holding on to Jesus.

The Lord knew we needed help, and He sent family and friends to help relieve the burden. During the weeks that they were here, there was fun and rest and help and relief. Today I want to share about the help and the summer fun!

My parents came to visit us for two weeks in June. While they were here they took the children on many fun outings. Here they are hiking in Pipestone National Monument.

Daddy, Adelaide, and William at the waterfall in Pipestone National Monument

I was able to be outside twice this summer, and this was the first time. I sat in my outdoor lounge chair for about 15 minutes. I watched Mom and William play baseball...

 ...and I watched Adelaide swing on the swing set. She was super excited to have me out there to watch her. Being outside with me is a rare treat, and not something William and Adelaide take for granted!

Whenever my parents come to visit they help with so many things around the house. My mom takes care of all of the cooking, laundry, and shopping, which takes a huge burden off of Will. My dad is a handyman, and he helps with various house projects. In June he put in a new dishwasher for us, did some painting, and helped out with numerous other things. 

My sister, Krista, came to visit for a week in July.

Krista, Will, William, and Adelaide went to see a local horse show. I had to stay home and rest, but I got to see all of the pictures and hear their stories, which was fun for me.

During the week Krista was here, she took the children on all sorts of adventures around our little town. They went bike riding, went to the pool, and went to parks and playgrounds. Krista even made a super-cool scavenger hunt for them!

Krista also helped me with lots of projects around the house, such as cleaning, organizing, and rearranging furniture.

This is the second (and last!) time I was able to be outside this summer. There was a cool evening while Krista was here, so we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores on the grill. Summertime at its finest!

At the end of July my friend, Elizabeth, from Georgia came to visit for a week. She brought her son, Asher, and he went to camp with William. William and Asher were best friends when we lived in Georgia, and they have kept in touch as pen-pals for the past 3 1/2 years! We were so excited that they could have the opportunity to go to camp together.

I was hesitant to ask Elizabeth if she wanted to stay with us for the week that the boys were at camp. I was doing pretty badly by this point in the summer. I could only be out of bed for 2-4 hours on a good day, and on a bad day I had to stay in bed all day long. Our home was not the most hospitable environment. It was hard and stressful and kind of boring most days. Will would be at work, I would be in bed, and Adelaide would be Elizabeth's primary hostess and entertainment for the week. I couldn't do anything to serve her as a guest in our home.

But Elizabeth asked if she could come and help. I told her what life was like here, and she still wanted to come! So we gladly welcomed her company and her help.

Adelaide loved having Elizabeth here for a week. The two of them went to the park every day. It was just the stress relief that Adelaide needed. She didn't have to watch movies with me or play quietly in the house. For a week she was able to go outside and play and be a kid. Adelaide told me a few weeks later, "When Elizabeth was here, she put sparkles in my heart."

Having a friend who was willing to come and visit and help on the hard days was a tremendous blessing. Elizabeth showed up when we were greatly in need. She loved us and served us well. A friend who will fly halfway across the country so that our boys can go to camp together and so that she can help me? That is rare. And it was a blessing to have Elizabeth show up and help in this way.

William and Asher had a fantastic week at camp! They were so excited to be together again. About two seconds after Asher arrived, you couldn't tell that the boys hadn't seen each other in over three years. They just jumped right back in to playing and talking and being friends.

My parents came back to visit in August. They brought with them this basket of gifts from someone at their church in Georgia. It was filled with some of my favorite things, plus some quiet crafts and games to do with William and Adelaide. The incredible thing was that this gift came from someone I have never even met! I was blown away by her thoughtfulness. This basket, filled with love and encouragement, was such a sweet reminder that I was seen and loved and not forgotten.

My parents were here for the county fair this year, which was fun! I was not able to go to the fair at all because I was too tired, and it was too hot. But my parents took William and Adelaide to the fair each day! They took lots of pictures to bring home and show me.

William rode this crazy ride with a friend! I don't think he'll be doing that again for a long time! There was much motion-sickness.

My mom took pictures of the children's projects and garden produce that they had entered at the fair. She texted them to me while they were at the fair, and I was at home resting in bed. It was so fun to receive all of the texts and pictures of our fair entries! William received a purple ribbon on this Star Wars Lego set! In the background you can see another Star Wars Lego set that William entered; that one received a 2nd place ribbon!

My mom helped Adelaide and me to make cookies and brownies for the fair. Adelaide won first place on her peanut butter cookies in the junior baking division! Her brownies won second place!

My parents took William and Adelaide on many more adventures in August. Here they are at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD. I have never been to Falls Park, so it was really fun to see the pictures and learn about the beautiful park.

My mom had to hold on to Adelaide a lot to keep her from falling into the water!

William at Falls Park

My dad completed a few more projects when he was here in August. The screened in porch was a huge project. He added extra support underneath, replaced rotten boards, stained the porch, and painted the boards on the "walls" of the porch. The screened in porch looks so pretty now! I was able to enjoy sitting on the porch twice in September, which was such a treat.

My parents usually don't stay longer than two weeks when they come to visit, but in August they came and stayed for a month. They saw how much we needed the help, and they stayed until school started. It was such a blessing to have them here. We would not have survived the past few weeks of summer without them.

Summer was hard, but there were definitely some fun times too. I am so grateful for those who came to see us this summer. Their help and company was a tremendous gift.

I am thankful for those who helped me to embrace joy and laughter in the midst of a very hard summer. To read more stories of how people have showed up to help a suffering friend, please visit the Mundane Faithfulness blog link up.

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