Summer is dwindling down, well, at least for teachers and students here in Kentucky. The first portion of my actual 'vacation' was spent with an overwhelming amount of illness, but these past few weeks have still found a lot of sweetness.
My husband is the one who does the numbers budget wise, so recently he was looking at my photography account. He excitedly asked me to stop doing whatever I was doing to listen to the good news: pending an emergency or unforeseen financial hiccup, we currently have saved enough for me to have seven solid months off from teaching to stay home with the kids. I knew that it was possible, and for a while I felt like I was just working my tail off without getting anything in return, but now I see and am reminded that God really and truly DOES provide. I'll be going back to my home school this coming August, the one I started my teaching career at, and I am so very blessed for THAT opportunity, period. When I accepted the job, the sweet Principal sent me a text that read, "Welcome home." I've had full support of everyone to stay home when the time comes, so this winter, it looks like that will actually become a reality. Guys... I almost can't believe it!
We are praying for more photography and writing opportunities, and I really do think God has more big things up His sleeve as far as His plan for my life, so I will continue to trust and pray, a LOT. It was this time last year that we decided to take our home OFF the market because there was just no place to go, and while I've found a place of peace and contentment in where we're at, my heart still struggles with restlessness for our 'next home.' A few days ago we went to look at a place in Bloomfield, Kentucky, which is a whopping fifty minutes from our current home. We got super lost trying to find it, and the kids were troopers anxiously awaiting getting to visit "the country," as they called it.
FINALLY, we arrived. We pulled in to the gravel driveway where old, mature trees surrounded us. The white house, built in 1910, was absolutely beautiful, but still very clearly needed a LOT of work. We drove to the back where a gorgeous white porch greeted us. A peach tree stood next to it, and the neighbors had on their property an OLD, deep red barn (the kind that I dream about constantly!) Behind the house was miles of farm land. My son did three laps completely around the house, my daughter asked to take her shoes off, and it happened again, similar to when we looked at a house on land last summer: my heart stopped. When we walked in the back door, we were in the kitchen that housed a wood stove. In the entryway, was a breathtaking wooden staircase that led to the second floor, where there were HUGE, beautiful bedrooms. In the midst of looking, we were obviously searching for the 'problems,' and yeah... there seemed to be quite a few. Cracked plaster, no shower in the upstairs bathroom, an unfinished third floor (that could be an AMAZING loft area), water in the basement.... and the real kicker, it is at least 45 minutes away from ALL our Kentucky friends and family AND at least 25 minutes from the closest grocery store.
I went to bed that tonight of course dreaming of our family in that home. And then I also had thoughts of doubt like what would I do with the kids when I'm a full time stay-at-home Mom? No YMCA nearby, no playgrounds or parks, no Kroger, no Targets, no FRIENDS.......
Remember that I've been a city dweller for TEN years! And though I grew up in the country in Michigan, we were ten minutes from the grocery store (and Wal-Mart), and Target and the malls were thirty minutes away. I didn't have close by friends, so I practically lived at my Grandmother's farm (which I walked to through the fields), and I don't remember my mom ever being overwhelmed that there wasn't 'anything for us to do' because I played constantly outdoors with my big brother. But here I am, dreaming about my future white farmhouse, on acreage, and wondering a) does it exist? and b) will I be capable of living that lifestyle?!
Isn't life funny? It's just weird. I see our kids running barefoot around the trees, picking fruit from their branches. I see us feeding chickens and gathering their eggs, I see one or two horses peacefully grazing on Kentucky bluegrass. I see all of this, deep down in my heart, and sometimes I lose faith in not only my Creator, but in myself.
"What will make you TRULY happy, Ashley?" My husband has asked before. And the answer is usually the same: I'm not really sure? I have no idea what our life will look like if all of the above dreams come true... but I know that I can't personally make any of it happen. I can't find our next home, I can't tell you where we'll end up or what lifestyle we will be living. But I have to trust that God DOES know these things. He knows if I'll love staying home with the kids or if I'll actually be begging to return to my classroom at my wits end. He knows if I'll end up with a farmhouse in my twenties, or if our next place will end up being in a subdivision (please, God, no....)
Summer is almost gone, with just a couple of short weeks left before returning to our jobs... but I'm excited and hopeful to see where we go + what will be our future.