Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Patience pays off

We have a fantastic backyard. We have a fantastic home really...when you add it all up. It's not big. It's not fancy. I don't have granite counter tops or new carpet, stainless steel appliances or big rooms. But we do have the things that count...to me anyway. We have great neighbors. We live on a kid-friendly cul-de-sac. At any given time there could be 10 children pedaling around on their bicycles or playing a game of hide-and-go-seek. Our backyard backs up to the elementary school. The sun rises and sets just right...we have shade in the front yard in the morning and shade in the backyard in the evening. Our backyard is large, but not large enough to make mowing a chore. It's perfect for for barking dogs and children with plentiful amounts of energy. Over the past 2 1/2 years that we have lived here, Earl and I have discussed purchasing a wooden play set. The backyard begs for it. There is the perfect level spot just asking for swings and climbing walls and slides. But sheesh!!!...have you priced those things? Well I have...and wowsa! They are expensive and heavy and difficult to put together. And before you say anything, YES...we've searched Craigslist for a used play set. But apparently, we're not the only family on the hunt and each time we found one in our price range, in our area...whammo, it's already sold. So we gave up. Yes...you read that right...we. gave. up. We bought the kids bicycles and a bottle of bubbles and told 'em to be happy with what they had. And I also took 'em to the park...a lot.
Now let's get this right. Patience is not a virtue I possess. So for instance, if someone were to describe me to you they might say "oh yeh, I know her...she's funny and crazy and a neat freak"...but they would not say "oh...and she's so patient". Nonononono folks...I am not patient. I am the exact opposite of patient. I am antsy, and worried, and busy. Very busy. So when I say "patience pays off" I want you to know that it is God who intervenes in my life, and pours His patience right over my little bitty impatient head. And I also want you to know that He is interested in every little minute detail of your life...including your search for a wooden play set for your children and your vegetable gardens and even your animals. He wants to be in relationship with us. He likes us. He thinks we are absolutely without a doubt fantastic, fabulous creatures. Even if we are insufferably impatient.
So...I suppose I should say...Enter God...and His overflowing patience.
Hang on, this will all make sense shortly. Last year, I went to a neighbor's garage sale. A neighbor that just happened to have a...wooden swing set! I asked this neighbor if they wanted to sell the play set to me. I worked all the angles. "I have two children who would LOVE to have such a structure! We live so close, it would be a cinch to move it!"...but nope. No deal. They weren't ready to sell. So I tried one last move. I gave 'em my card. Said if/when they were ready to sell it to please give me a call. Fast forward one year later. No call. No word. Nothing. The swing set remained--unused--in their yard. Bummer. But wait...you'll remember that we sorta gave up...moved on...decided that we didn't really need a wooden swing set. We were content with our situation. There is much to be said about being content. But (oh yes...there's a "but"!) then Earl called me on his way to work early one Friday morning about a month ago. "GET DRESSED! Go up the street! They're having another garage sale!" I didn't even have to ask who "they" were or why it was such an exciting thing that "they" were having a garage sale. I knew. I knew what he was talking about! The swing set! I threw on some clothes, loaded the kids in the car, and made my way toward our neighbor's house. And there it was...with a price tag hanging from the A-frame. $100!!! WHAT??!?!?!?! Are you crazy? SOLD!! Patience pays off. I'm glad that God is in the little things. Like swing sets.
With the help of a dear friend (Thank you Justin...we can't thank you enough!), Earl moved the massive wooden structure across the neighborhood and into our backyard. The backyard that was just waiting for children to come and swing and climb and enjoy.

Since getting the swing set, Grace has learned to swing all by her little bitty self. She is so proud! It sorta makes me wanna throw up watching her, she gets going so high!

And Brother...oh...baby brother. He is a dare-devil. Not an ounce of fear. He loves going down the slide. Head first.

But, unlike his big sister, he doesn't know how to swing by himself yet. So he has learned to say (in the world's sweetest voice) "Swing? Daddy? Swing? More?"

It didn't take him long to navigate the climbing wall...I'm not surprised. He's been climbing since before he could walk. Like really climbing...on the kitchen table and the counters. Before. he. could. walk.

The neighborhood kids are like moths to a flame. When we go outside to play, they come running to the gate. "Can we play?" "Yes" I answer "Does your mother know where you are?" This is Gage in the picture below. He is such a nice little boy. And is so kind to Sam.

Another neighborhood kid. Brooke. She's a mess. Talks non-stop. Grace loves her. You might remember her from this post.

And lastly...the boyz. They spend a good deal of time out in the backyard. Not a lot. Harry hates the heat. But more time than we have spent out there. And I think they are glad that we have finally come out to join them.

Oh, and just cause I was uploading pics and I had you held captive your attention. Here's my garden! Looking at this picture, I can't believe how much it has grown in just a few weeks! I need to take a newer picture. The green beans along the back fence are now up to the top of the fence and the tomato plants are out of control! The black "box" to the right of the picture is my compost bin! Holy moly! It's so much fun! No really...it is. I like to see how much of my food trash I can dump into it instead of putting in the "real" trash. Egg shells, coffee and coffee filters, banana peels...it's like a really twisted science project.

And now...let's have a moment of silence. See this sweet little tree? It's a Pin Oak. I planted it near the swing set in memory of my mother in law. I had dreams of it growing and shading my children as they played. Well...it died. Good thing Lowe's has a return policy. Anybody got advice on tree planting? Anybody? Well, I am open to advice...
So there ya go. A post about swing sets and dogs and gardens and neighbor kids and patience. My big sister says not to pray for patience because then God will put you in a situation that forces you to be patient. I dunno about that. But I do tend to do whatever my big sister tells me to do. And so I don't specifically pray for patience. I often pray "God...you made these kids...now tell me what to do with them"...Never "God...give me patience to not hide in the closet today" However, since this small demonstration of how God poured down HIS patience on me, without me asking for it or really even realizing it was happening until after the fact...I am more apt to look for opportunities to be patient. Waiting really isn't that bad...and it pays off. Most of the time it doesn't turn out the way we thought it would turn out...it turns out better. It turns out God's way...in God's timing. God is good...all the time. All the time...God is good. Be content.