It's Monday night and I've been a bit sore all day. Travis and I have begun our get-the-house-in-tip-top-shape campaign and we started in the yard. Wowza! Saturday was actually, really fun. I've been dying to get out there with the hedge trimmers and tame the bushes that made our house look desserted. I hacked away at the holly bush and made it look like a holly tree- except that I can only reach to a certain point and we don't have a ladder. So it's nicely manicured until it reaches the roofline and then it's just crazy. Travis was going to try to do it but there just wasn't a steady enough thing to stand on that made it wise to take a chain saw to it. I was really bummed because out of all the work I wanted to get done, I wanted that tree finished the most. Oh, and I cut through two extension cords. The second one actually briefly burst into a flame. That was a little scary. But I hacked away at every bush in the front and cut them all so that you could walk behind them without feeling like something could hide in there and grab you. We ended up with 5 bags full of clippings plus a large pile of branches on the curb. Thankfully our city waste department will come pick them up.
Travis, Amanda and Chloe worked on the parts of the driveway that have washed away. It had gotten so bad that driving up and down was really, really bouncy. The girls liked it but I didn't. So they were outside with shovels and a, um, wheeled cooler (ghetto, I know) taking gravel and dirt from the end of the driveway to fill in the missing parts. I'm sure that we'll look back on this someday when we live in a house with an intact driveway and say 'you remember when we used to have to put our driveway back together'? And we'll laugh and laugh. Overall, we spent about 8 hours over Saturday and Sunday working on it all. Saturday was a lot easier than Sunday was.
Saturday evening Travis took me out and we went to Pancho's Place. It's in the same plaza as Target, about 5 minutes from our house. I've wanted to go there since we moved (nearly *3* years ago. I can hardly believe it.) and it was really good. Of course, anything tastes good when you've worked that hard. After that we ran errands. It was supposed to be a date but we have so much to do and it's just easier to run errands when the little kids aren't with us. Besides it was raining and apparently Travis had a big master plan that was ruined by it. Bummer. It was just nice being out with him. I don't care so much what we were doing. Well, I wouldn't have liked a monster truck rally, but you get the idea.
And lastly, the other day we got a Costco magazine in the mail. Yes, I think it's kind of weird that Costco puts out a magazine. I usually throw them away without actually reading them but Travis got to this particular one first. Inside there was a story about a family that supplies apples and cherries to Costco. It's called First Fruits Orchard and is run by a family that are Christians. This family started out small and then ended up losing everything and then rebuilding again. They are unashamedly Christian and also very socially conscious. When the husband was a child he wanted to have his own orchard and to help starving orphans in India. And as an adult he's done both- and has adopted 9 orphans from India. They have an entire cherry orchard that's devoted to ministry with 100% of their profits donated. And they take incredibly good care of their workers. At one point they realized that their workers were keeping their children inside all day because they couldn't afford childcare. So they built a daycare for them. Then they realized that their workers were unable to afford decent housing for their families. So they built a neighborhood of 3 and 4 bedroom homes and rented them to their workers. The rent on a 4 bedroom house? About $485. And they help them buy houses and they built an elementary school and they give scholarships. You can read the whole article here. I really encourage you to read it.
I came away from reading it thinking "God can use anybody to do anything". I think it's more than a thought right now though, it's a passion. According to Ralph Broetje, the farmer, he's good at planting trees. He shouldn't be running the business he's running. But he is. And he's impacting people in this huge amazing way. I'm not saying that I'm going to run out and plant some fruit trees and become a farmer. That's not my gifting. I do want fruit trees but that's something else- I just like fruit. I used to think that the only way to positively impact the world for Christ was to be in full-time ministry. But how can you be Jesus to people more than this family is? I'm sensing a paradigm shift in me. A very real big shift. And maybe this whole journey has been a shift and I'm just now realizing it. I've always known that I could do anything and minister to people. But now I *know* that I can do anything and minister to people. God can do anything through anyone that is willing to follow Him. It's is sometimes a very long, arduous, winding road. But it's His road and we're walking it out with Him. What's it going to look like? I don't know. But I'm very excited to find out.