Friday, May 29, 2009

A Typical Spring Day in Maine

Well, the typical days have arrived. We arrived in Maine to A-typical days of sunshine a little warm and overall great days to play outside and enjoy the spring that arrived. Well, enjoyed is a relative term for me since my allergies hit when we arrived in Maine and recently let up - much to my relief. I guess with the sun went my allergies.
So today we are looking at our 3rd day of rain and grey skies. But that is okay. We have had unseasonable great weather so far, so a few rainy days will be okay. We trekked out to town today to give the kids and me and change of scenery. We are hanging out at the Rockland Library, one of our favorite places. The boys find some favorite fun comic books, the princess plays with the doll house or train table and Robert and I get our fill of the Internet.
One more week and my mom and Louie head up to visit us for a week. None of us can wait. We are so excited to share this wonderful place with them and introduce Louie to the North East! We are planning Lobster (of course), crab, a few light houses and maybe even a ride or 2 in the canoe!
Robert did get the boat out the day before the rain arrived, so the kids all got a boat ride (some got 2) and while boating with Dad they saw a seal (either the same one twice or 2 different ones) and they watch the Osprey aggressively defend its nest against a Turkey Buzzard. We also saw the Osprey on the Rocks the other morning while doing school, he had just caught something and settled on the rocks either to get a good hold, or to ensure it was not going to survive long to fight. We looked out the window to see him about 100 yards from the porch! He was huge! This was the closest I have been to him, and he was still which was a great treat too. Usually he is flying by overhead and it is tough to really see him, but we all got a good look that morning!
Well, things are still plugging along with us, the job search continues, the house is still showing, but no offers yet. So we continue to pray for peace and patience while things start to get a little more tense as time goes on.
We do trust that God has a plan in all of this, and I believe part of his plan was for us to have this time as a family to enjoy each other, to have lots of fun together and to just have some time away from all other distractions. It has really been a wonderful gift no matter how anxious we get at times. I am thoroughly enjoying every minute to this time with out kids and with each other. I have loved watching Robert's grandparents enjoy my children as well. They talk every day with them and have some great conversations too. Watching my little girl talk with her great grandmother at breakfast is priceless. I love it!
Thanks for your continued prayers!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Early Weekend for the Coles

Today (Thursday May 21st) we headed out from the Point in Cushing to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. It was a quick drive – about 2 hours, and then we arrived to the only light house on the island for our first stop. The kids wanted to stay longer, not knowing what other places we were planning to see.
We stopped for a picnic lunch at the Sea wall where the kids played on the rocks as the tide was going out. They were once again hesitant to leave that spot not sure where we were off to next.
We then headed to Bar Harbor since it was almost low tide and there is a sand bar you can walk across during low tide to another small island. The kids loved that stop too! Playing in the water and looking for treasures in the rocks. A little boy’s paradise!
We then checked in to our nightly accommodations to drop off food for the fridge and get some stuff out of the car. Then we headed out to Cadillac Mountain and the sights in Acadia. We took the scenic drive for 26 miles and stopped at several places along the way to include the Sandy beach where the boys were thrilled to be in the water as far as we would let them (above the hem of their shorts despite our warnings) even little girl was in the water squealing in delight!
Today is Friday now.
Last night we had 4 very tired children who went to bed super fast and slept almost 11 hours. We woke up early – what is new in Maine? Then after a breakfast of yogurt & granola followed by the last of our ice cream (could not throw it out!) we headed back to Acadia to take a couple trails. We did see a rather large deer near our cottage on the way out – he was out for a morning stroll looking for some food in the gardens nearby.
We started at the visitor center where the kids watched a 20 minutes movie about the history of the park. We were told to go to a couple great spots for trails and then to possible see a pair of falcons. At one stop there were 2 park rangers with lots of scopes set up to view the nesting area of the falcons. The kids learned a lot about these falcons in particular as well as the nature of falcons in general. The rangers were so informative about the area and the birds! Lots of fun, and school on the road again!
After that we found a trail from near Sand Beach to Thunder hole (.75 miles each way) and we took that trail and were rewarded with amazing views, great pictures, and more tired kids!
So we are hanging out in Bar Harbor now while the kids journal about their morning and I catch up on my blog before we head back to Cushing. Hopefully I will find a WiFi connection to upload some pics and my blog entries. We have had a great two days off on our own and enjoying God’s amazing work here in Acadia!

3 weeks and counting!

Wednesday May 20th
Well, it has been 3 weeks today, since we arrived in Maine. The trip was about 9 days to get here from Texas with a couple stops along the way.
It is funny how God can put the seed of an idea in your heart, and then he sits back and watches it grow. Sometimes he changes the weather to help that seed grow a little faster or stronger, but for the most part he just provides some water and watches. Maybe there are some plants like the one he is planting nearby to offer support, but for the most part I think he enjoys just watching the process. That is how I feel things are with us right now.
The seed was a simplified life. It sounds good, really I think many of us long for a simpler life. But how do you really get there? How do you weed the garden of your life? I cannot pull out perfectly healthy plants in my garden even though I know I planted too much and they may all die, I leave them and hope for the best. But what does that harvest? Not much! I know that a good gardener over plants seeds but then pulls up most of them to make room for the strongest. This is like our life, we have to sometimes pull some great activity, commitment, schedule just because it is not best – simply good. And if we are honest with ourselves we will admit that sometimes good is not good enough. Life is simply too short to not have the best.
I have been writing for a while now about choosing the best and say no to the good and better – being more intentional about when we say yes. But still there are so many commitments that we already have, so much stuff we still need to manage. But at this time in our lives we are getting to see the simpler life. We live in a house these days that we do not own, a smaller house with less stuff than our own house. Fewer appliances, less storage space (which equates to less in the kitchen). Less clothes because we only have what we packed (plus a few things we picked up at the Salvation Army/Goodwill store).
And after doing school this morning at the breakfast table (yes, no school room up here) and getting it all put away. Watching the kids run out to play and help daddy stack a new pile of fire wood, it hits me. I really like this simpler life.
But how do I make this my life since at some point Robert will go back to work, we are no independently wealthy. At some point we will leave the simplicity and beauty of this wonderful house and take up residence among our stuff again. And how do I make changes to our former life so that it looks more like this simplified life? My kids like this life, I am available more for them – not to mention having dad around full time! What kid would not love that?
My friend Kim said it is not just about being up here that is great, it about not being so committed even in the church, homeschool groups, all the good ideas, but maybe not the best at this stage of my life? I mean there is always work that will need to be done in the church when my kids are not young. The homeschool groups are great, but if I am running to do those things I am not at home “HOME schooling” you know?
Now, that “HOME” schooling is a loose term too because we are schooling like crazy up here and most is not at the table with a book. We are seeing light houses and talking about the tides; we are exploring the rocks at low tide and watching the barnacles eat their food from the water. We are comparing the size of crabs and star fish in our hands. I mean that is schooling but in an abstract way – that the kids will never forget! So we do not have to be at home to school, but in a group I love to catch up with my friends and talk about life, when I am with my kids I talk with them. So I see the value in fewer people to pull me away from the most important people…my kids.
I do miss my friends. I miss chatting with Jennifer before the day really gets going, and being encouraged by her enthusiasm and creativity. I miss dinner on Wednesday night in the fellowship hall surrounded by people I know. I certainly miss church on Sunday morning with our church family.
But more than the things I miss, I am thoroughly enjoying less, less business, less stuff, just less. And more family, more quiet time, more peace.
So as I am seeing the sprouting of that seed that God has planted in both my heart and Robert’s, I am excited to see how it will continue to grow in the weeks and months to come as our lives take a new course. A new job, a new home, maybe a new church and community. I am excited to see how these changes will affect our kids, I think almost all for the better. The less I am pulled away the happier they seem to be. They seem to sense our peace up here. They fight less with one another; they show patience and kindness much more. It is almost like they do better with less too. They have not played with toys since we left West Point. (they played with our friend’s son’s toys there) They have not asked for the legos, or the cars, or anything. They are totaling entertained with the woods, sticks, rocks, water, and the like. I brought the toys for rainy days, and we have had a few, but somehow have managed to get through the day without. Books have sure kept us busy too, the library keeps them new and fresh, so we are reading lots, but still enjoying the peace while reading.
God is so blessing us; showing us a new aspect on life. One that I am not sure we could see surrounded by friends and stuff. So while I am not ready to give up my friends, I am much more ready to give up some of that stuff and busyness!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Living it up

We have enjoyed both Lobster meals so far! The first was for my birthday, the second on Saturday when some friends came by for supper! Kim, Rosa and Gerri were trekking up the east coast on Saturday when they spent the day with me shopping in Camden and then visiting Owl's Head light house, then finishing up with Lobster Dinner at The Point. We had a great day - oh yeah, it started with Breakfast at Moody's Diner and for lunch we ate at Wasse's Hot Dogs. A perfect day!

The kids are getting quite good at climbing trees, not to mention identifying birds and other wild animlas around the house. We have seen wild turkeys three times now and the Osprey many times. They are just loving the room to run wild and free! It is going to be hard to go back to normal life - at some point!

Here we are with the ladies and the family eating lobster! Lots of fun!

Here are Kim, Rosa and Gerri near Owl's Head.

Trying to catch the sunset - a little too late.

Picking out lobsters from "Mr. Gut" or AKA the man at the Gut.

Here we are eating our lobster dinner at the picnic table

Here is our supper - so sad!

Here is our supper before cooking! The boys love this part!

Here are the girls at Owl's Head - a fun day for me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Praising Him

I can list so many ways I have been feeling like Praising these past few days.

Today the top of the list if the weather - maybe up into the 70's today which is a great day in Maine! The men are golfing, I am blogging and checking up on the Internet world, and then the kids (3 younger ones) and I are meeting my mother-in-law and her mother for lunch.

Still waiting patiently on the house. It is going to start getting hard I suspect - the waiting game, the holding tight to our faith, and the sitting back and trusting God has perfect timing.

I mean I know His timing is perfect, but sometimes it is hard!

So far things are great though. We are still thoroughly enjoying Maine, Robert's parents, and his grandparents. I even spent the day shopping with Betsy Wednesday when we went down to Portland to pick up her folks. We stopped at LLBean's, Reny's (a local favorite) and a few other places. It was nice to have a day without kids and just to get out and run around.

The weather is looking to be very pleasant next week which will make it a mostly outdoor week for the kids. It is so great to let them out to just go play!

Did I mention my fabulous birthday? Lobster lunch (compliments of my in-laws), several very nice gifts, and then Robert and I headed out to see a movie and that was free for me! (Since it was my birthday!) What a great day we had! Can't tell you the last time I had lobster for my birthday, oh wait, yes I can - NEVER! So this was a fun first.

Our eldest decided he is not a big lobster fan that day, which is just fine with us, one less lobster to purchase! But the 2 younger boys are HUGE fans and finished their entire lobster. The princess enjoyed both claws and a little of my tail - but it looks like she will follow suit enjoying her own lobster in the future!

The job search is slow too. As suspected! But we are still feeling good about things are not worried yet. I pray that the worry stage holds off for some time. I know that God has a plan in all of this, we just have to wait on him to reveal it, and stay steadfast in the job search. That is my take on it anyway.

Well, life it still great in Maine, it is hard for it not to be when you look out and see the ocean, Osprey, wild turkeys, hummingbirds, and more every day! God is blessing us every day!

Monday, May 11, 2009

MAINE - Life as it should be

That is the slogan you read as you drive into the state of Maine. And I have to say that I agree with that sentiment.

Life here has been slow and deliberate. The kids have not asked to play the wii, watch tv, or play on the computer since we got here. They have not woken up to ask what are we doing today and we rarely tell them to go outside. Instead, after breakfast they are eager to get dressed if not already done, and beg to go outside, despite the 40+ degrees. They are out playing for longer than I can remember them playing prior to our arrival here. Usually we have to call them in to eat - also not a norm for our boys - or call them in just to see their safe faces. I feel quite safe here with them running around outside but I still like to check every now and then.

We have not kicked school back into gear - we would have today but we all wanted to spend some time exploring the library (the kids) and then Internet (Robert and I) so here we sit. And we are the only kids at the Rockland Library - so while I am constantly reminding them to be quiet it is nice to have the place to ourselves.
So as for school, I hope to start back tomorrow or Wednesday - but today the Cole Srs arrive so I expect tomorrow morning to be a busy and excited one - not one asking for school. We will see.

There is lots of living school going on - the boys have been pouring over Maine books - marine life, birds, etc - and the running around and exploring in the woods is invaluable to say the least! We have been out to a light house - so we have gotten to see the remains of sea urchins the sea gulls have eaten and talked about that process too - living school! It is fun!

So days are spent outside playing, or even sitting on the porch in the sun with a good book. How fun is that? I am quite certain it does not get any better than this!

We have had to do some creative cooking to keep costs down - so lots of chicken and pasta and rice. But no one seems to be complaining so far! Too bad I did not bring any of my great crock pot cookbooks or one pot dinner books - those would have been handy here!

I will say that the family time resulting from our slight isolation is wonderful too! There is less bickering or fighting that I think I have ever heard! The kids are getting along so much better - I think it is the fresh air and the activity they are participating in. Maybe when you are running and playing you are a bit more easy going. Who knows!

Well, I will post some more pics in the next few days.

But life is good here. We are hoping God will offer a little guidance soon, but we are trying to savor the time we have before Robert embarks on his next career journey. I feel in my heart that the timing of this and the nature of it all demands that we delight in it. This time has been a gift that we never would have been privileged to take part in had things not happened when and how they did. So delighting we are - every day!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hangin' out in Maine

The family on the beach in NC -
The kids at sunrise!

I woke up this morning about 5am to the sound of rain gently falling on the house. While it was very early, it was the norm for Maine. There are no curtains on the house so when the sun comes up so does everyone else in the house.
The kids were up before us and shocked to hear it was only 5 something and not 7 like they expected.
Our trip from Texas to Maine could not have gone better. We were blessed to stay with family and friends along the way, cutting our costs dramatically. We spent some time at the NC beach which was tons of fun and just a great way to break up this trip. Then we stopped at West Point for about 18 hours and had lots of fun seeing some new improvements up there and seeing our friends. The boys made fast friends with Caleb the son of Kevin and Amy Lynn – our wonderful hosts – and were sad to tell him goodbye. Another pen pal friend I hope.
So we are settling in to this wonderful home, without issues! We have water, electricity and heat – yes heat! It was 50 yesterday and expected to be the same today. It is going to rain for the next 4 days too we expect, but I do not seem to mind. I know the kids will get a little stir crazy at some point, but for now sitting and enjoying each other and playing some games sounds just about perfect to me!
While at West Point with Kevin and Amy Lynn, Kevin shared a sermon he heard recently with the main point of :When times are tough do you ask Why or What? It was so relevant to what is going on with us.
Do you ask “Why God are you doing this” – in such a way as to insinuate that we would do things better if allowed to choose.
Or do you ask “What are you going to do with me in this situation?” I loved that – For the first time in my life I am asking – WHAT and not why. We have been asking this whole time “God how are you going to use us?” and we are excited to sit back and see him answer that.
He is continuing to confirm this journey to me and I still feel an immense sense of peace through it all. We have had a few hiccups – a nail in the tire (easily fixed during a stay at West Point, we had a situation with an immediate stop from speed of 65 with little warning. Enough to get my heart racing and my blood pumping because I was sure we would not make it – but God had his hand upon us and somehow guided us to a safe stop. We had wonderful kids throughout the trip – they were so well behaved despite the 30+ hours of driving we travelled. So all in all it has been a delightful journey and one that we will look back on in the years to come.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement during our trip and we appreciate your continued prayers for the sale of our house and the search for Robert’s job.

Monday, May 4, 2009

We have have had several busy days! We spent the weekend at the beach in North Carolina with the James & Kristen and James and Christy - and their kids (7 for those 2 families) and then us and our brood of 4.

We spent Saturday afternoon enjoying high tide and the sand and water. Sunday am we woke to take some sunrise pics - which I love - and then we played until about 10:30 (to check out) in the low tide and more sand and water! We even found a sand dollar, and some shark teeth! How cool!

Today (Monday) we left NC - and headed to DC to see some sights. We visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and the Air & Space museum. Then we took a brief driving tour of the city before heading to Baltimore and the Inner Harbor for supper. I concluded that my memory of Inner Harbor as a kid were not too close to the current reality there. I remembered a lot more food and just it being more fun. The food was okay, expensive and the fun part was disappointing too. But we got out and walked around so it worked out overall for us.

We are now resting in northern Maryland getting ready to head to West Point tomorrow to see the base there and introduce it all to the kids, then we are staying with some friends for the night and then heading to Maine. Just a great trek across the lower part of the US and now up the East Coast. We have been blessed every step of the way. We have had decent weather (if not great), tolerable traffic, and no car issues.

Did I mention that we had 2 showings at the house too? Not anything concrete but hey, 2 people wanted to see our house and one family liked it just too far from where they want to be. I am encouraged by having 2 showings and I still trust that God has this all worked out in his perfect timing!

Okay, I cannot get pics loaded, they will come later - but this is a post that I was working on...


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