I'm so thankful for following through with a prompting I had to talk with a couple at JoAnn's a few weeks ago. I was on my way home from a homeschooling conference and had just popped in to quickly get some plastic vinyl to protect our school room table (it's my grandmother's old dining room table which we would use as our dining table, but it doesn't fit our kitchen well---at any rate-it is very special to me!). I noticed the crocheted slippers (for adults) that Maryann had made and asked her about them. She and her husband (Joseph) were delightful to talk to, as well as their oldest son who was miraculously saved from death after a tragic car accident some 10 years ago. He suffered brain damage but from my short time talking to him, he is wiser than most, as he told me one profound spiritual truth after another and was continually praising God! Anyhow, as it turned out Joseph is a woodworker and I had just finished purchasing tools for my boys to learn whittling this year-so we exchanged contact information and Joseph very graciously agreed to teach my boys some whittling and woodworking classes! I walked away feeling I had met with the Living God through his body-knowing he had divinely ordered my steps to that meeting. Some people just seem extra special-and I knew I had just met some of them.
So our first whittling/woodworking class was this past Saturday morning. Joseph had incredible patience with the boys. They couldn't get enough of his tools, watching him work, and just taking it all in. They've been whittling as much as they can ever since and can't wait to go back. Isaac even commented that whittling "calms him". I'm all over that!!!! Here are some pictures of the class. Thank you so much Joseph and Maryann!
Their son David is on the front left of the photograph and their son Arif is on the right. David is very involved in Boy Scouts and had earned a merit badge in whittling, so he gave my boys a lesson in safety before they began. Thank you David! Unfortunately, the boys didn't listen well enough, and after three cuts this past weekend (not terrible ones, just minor) I'm afraid I'll have to put them all in leather gloves when they whittle!
Back to the special time theme, we try to take our sons out for some one-on-one time about once a month each. Today I took Andrew to the Ivey Creek Greenway. We had a fabulous time together! I just love my boys so much and I am so grateful for each one of them. Sometimes I think about the way I want to pour goodness and blessing into their lives, and I think about how that must be how our Heavenly Father feels about us, but even more so.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17
This is besides the point, but I'll share with you the little rabbit trail I just went on....
Have you ever noticed that this verse from James is often pulled out of context, I myself just did, I was using this verse to refer to the blessings of our children, the time with our new friends, and my special time with Andrew. But if you go a few verses back, you will find that James is referring to the gifts of trials!
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
What an encouraging and impactful realization-trials are gifts-that should be celebrated! I would encourage you to go and read all 16 verses that lead up to verse 17 and maybe you'll have an a-ha moment like me! I have been struggling with multiple health issues, and after thinking I was over the worst of it, I'm now having joint pain which has gone from just my wrist, to my wrist, my toes, my shoulder and my hip. I've felt so discouraged about this-but when I consider this trial as a "good and perfect gift" from my Heavenly Father who "loves me and gave himself up for me", I don't feel so discouraged anymore. I feel encouraged that my Father loves me enough to gift me with trials and challenges to grow my faith and grow me closer to Him. So I will give him praise!
(we are finally using our flower press that I've had for goodness knows how long!---boys-you know, I don't typically encourage them to do things like press flowers, but I figured it would be fine-and they are all boy anyway, so this will just make them well-rounded right?!!!)