Monday, March 24, 2014

I was going to title this: The Oregon Garden, but then out spilled so much more

Life has been a touch gloomy around here lately.
And when I say "lately", I kinda mean for a long while now.

If I were to be truthful, {and I think that's important},
I would have to say that we've had a long {several years} season of trials.
That is not to say that it's been one dark rain cloud for years on end.
We've most certainly had some amazingly wonderful experiences recently.
But the fairly carefree life we led prior to, say, 2011 just doesn't exist anymore.

I always blame "the new house", lol.
That was the turning point in my mind.
If you're considering building a house, people, don't do it!
Hehehe, just kidding. Kind of.

I hated building.
I know plenty of people who love it.
{My parents, for example, who must've loved it because they built a new house,
every few years, for practically decades}.
And I think Jeremy liked it.
Even Sierra, the other day, was saying how she loved that time period.

I'm not a decision maker by nature.
And building a house seemed to be one decision after another after another,
for 10 months straight.
Also . . .
it was expensive.
Waaaayyyy more than what we had anticipated.
So yeah.
I'm getting off track.
Where was I?
Oh yeah.  The turning point.
That seemed to be it, for me.
We were faced with the enormous task of building, I was pregnant with our fourth daughter.
It was the beginning of a stressful season.
Finances became an issue, when they hadn't been before.
I had a fourth daughter.
Oh, did I already mention that?
Well, I'm mentioning it again, because I thought having a fourth child would be a
And that, my friends, is when this semi-organized and together lady, kinda fell apart.
Miss Taylor continues to be my . . . .
How shall I put this nicely?
I keep thinking she will grow out of it, but no.
She is just going to be a spirited child.
And I've made peace with that  :)

But then life started to unravel.
There was the accident which left our family broken upon losing Justin.
Almost two years ago, now.
If someone would have told me how it would affect us.
The pain that would come.
I still couldn't have imagined the complete and total destruction.

Very recently our church divided, and we've felt a great loss there.
Lots of emotion.
Missing those precious people we don't see regularly anymore.
It feels like a death.

TOO many people dealing with cancer.

So many deaths, and tragic accidents.
So many.
Most recently with our friend's loss.
It's like it just tears wounds that were beginning to heal, wide open again.

So. Wow.
I didn't really expect for all that to come pouring out.
It's been a tough season of life for us.
Ahhhhhh, the silver lining :)
God has seen us through, and given us the strength to continue on.
I can see a little flickering of light at the end of this long tunnel.

And that brings me to last Friday.
Or Thursday, rather. I had been trying to think of a fun outing, that wouldn't cost a fortune, and in which I didn't have to drive forever {not one of my girls loves a car ride}.
For years I have wanted to go explore
The Oregon Garden
And I just had never gotten around to it.
I thought it might be fun to make it a surprise for the girls.
They woke up Friday morning thinking we had some Math to do, probably figuring we'd do some house cleaning ;)
But instead we headed off to the garden.

And I am SO glad we did.
What an amazing experience.

I know it probably sounds silly, but it was like "old times".

No worries about life, no stressing about the everyday stuff.
Just being.

Oh, and the above tree? 400 years old.  FOUR HUNDRED.
It's like God was just telling me,
"Hey you, get out there and look at this wondrous place I created for you, that you've been IGNORING because you're so caught up in what you don't have".
He must really be trying to drive that point home, too, because that's specifically what we're discussing in our new Bible study right now.
Just because God isn't providing you with what you *think* you need,
doesn't mean He's not providing.

I love how He doesn't give up on us.
He just keeps making the point until we get it.

And to see the looks on my girls' faces as we wandered the 80 acres of beauty . . .

They loved it.
They didn't want to leave.
Sweet Kam . . . there is a beautiful lodge on the grounds.
As soon as she found out there were hotel accommodations, she was all over it.
She must've asked 17 different times if we could stay :)
She's my hotel girl.
I finally thought she'd give up, and just as we were headed home she gave it one more shot:
"Mama, PLEASE?  Can you just call Daddy and ask??"

 So, that's it.
That's my lesson I'm working on right now.
Being grateful for what He provides, even when it's not what I thought I needed.

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him".
Lamentations 3:22-24
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Jenny said...

Gorgeous pics! You all have been through a lot lately. That's a shame the church broke apart, how sad. I'm glad you guys got to go on a fun adventure. It looks like a pretty garden.

This Old House said...

I think if we were all honest, we could all admit to really hard trying seasons that press on and never seem to relent. So thankful for this post- and for you! Jesus shines in you, Liz!

Sarah Shumate said...

I agree with what This Old House mentioned above - in my experience, hard things always seem to happen all together, for a season as she said. Or an extended one in your case. I will pray that you guys come out on the other end soon. You've certainly dealt with your fair share of sadness and trials.

What a beautiful garden, though! I'm so ready for things to really start blooming here in London. We've got some lovely gardens here that I haven't seen yet - spring will be the perfect time to explore them!

Busy Bee Suz said...

It pains me that you and your family have had so many trials the past few years….but you are getting through it with grace and love. I loved all your photos and what a nice surprise for your girls. I'm with Kam…a good hotel can cure most things. ;)

Kelli Davis said...

I'm so glad you had a glimmer of JOY in the midst of your trials. You guys have been through so much and it's a great reminder to see how God still cares for us, even if we may not feel it at the time. But He does! Love all of the beautiful pictures!

Mama 2 Four said...

Thank you for your honest post. I need to do a similar post as it has been a tough couple of years around here (you would never know it by the smiling faces on my blog either)! Our church split too and it makes me so sad that some of our best friends left. And boy can I relate to having some spirited children!;) Sometimes I don't know how I will make it through one more day homeschooling this bunch! To top it off we are building a house right now and I am stressed beyond belief (don't know how you got through it). Your post really resonated with me and made me feel like I am not alone!
Beautiful pictures!


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