You can't look out the window and see these beautiful autumn colors and not know there is a God is Heaven Who cares about every detail of our lives. If God put so much effort into painting each sunrise and sunset, coloring our world so brilliantly, allowing the leaves to show their true colors each fall---inanimate objects that can never return His love, His interest in and passion for us must be overwhelming. I'm so glad I know that my God loves me, that He created me especially for His purpose, and that He chooses each day to pay close attention to my life.
Our school took their annual field trip to the Pumpkin Patch yesterday. I absolutely dread these trips. I'm not kidding! I stress about them for two weeks ahead of time, freak out on the day of, and come home utterly drained of energy. But I always come back with a deeper thankfulness for God's wondrous creation. I am a homebody. VERY much so. Given the choice, I will sit at home all day and never go anywhere. Going out to the store or church or school is expected and, considering the frequency with which I make those trips, tolerated. But going 1 1/2 hours away and having to stay gone for six hours or more and being "forced" to be outdoors for nearly that entire stretch of time is akin to torture! But, as usual, I enjoyed our Pumpkin Patch time. I get a chance to see gorgeous colors of trees, leaves, and gardens; I get to breathe fresh air for more than just the time it takes me to walk from the car to the building; I get to enjoy time off from teaching while spending fun time with my class.
For the last few years, I've been able to divvy up my students among volunteer parent chaperones, thus leaving me free to take Dale around. This year, because it was slated to really rain (here in Washington state, we're accustomed to regular rain but severe rainstorms get a label of their own!) and last year taught me better, we borrowed a wheel chair for Dale. This made walking around so much easier! We got to walk around just about everywhere and then spent some time in the coffee shop drinking hot cocoa. Then, I discovered something that made me feel a lot more at home: a country store! We came to this same Pumpkin Patch last year, but I had no idea there was more to it. Dale and I and some goofy teenage girls walked over to the farmers' market and enjoyed looking at all the home-canned salsa and fruits and jams. There was a restaurant attached that sold wonderful mini pies, so I got my husband a strawberry-rhubarb pie which he loved. Then there was a country gift store with homemade stuff for sale. Boy, would I have loved to have had about a hundred dollars!! This "shopping" made me feel less jittery about being out and away from home and helped to pass the time until we needed to load the buses and head back to school.
Speaking of school, we just finished our first quarter. (Today is actually an in-service day for us teachers, but I've already update grades and attendance and computed honor roll averages; so I have some time to update the blog!) I am so excited to be able to say all eighteen of my students made A or B honor roll this quarter!!! I may not be able to say that the rest of the year, so I made sure to say it now! Plus, each of my own children is doing well in school. Ashley has a subject or two in which she could improve, but that is due to lack of studying.....which can easily be remedied. Emily is doing well; Katie is working hard but getting good grades. The best report is Dale: He's been improving in his PACEs to the point that he doesn't need as much help finding answers and taking tests. He is averaging (I think) a steady C in his classes! Praise the Lord!!! He doesn't require quite so much teacher hovering as last year, which means he's either matured a bit more and decided to do better himself or he's just getting the material better. He's taking Algebra I this year and consistently doing well; his English and science PACEs show improvement too. What a blessing!
I can't help but smile when I think of God's continued miracle in my son. We were told that the biggest leaps of healing would come in the first six months after the accident. The next six months would then show big improvements as well, and even the following six months (up to 18 months out) would show good progress. But, after that, Dale was supposed to be pretty much done with the healing/progress/improvements; 18 months after his accident, we would have to start taking a hard look at what he could no longer do and what we would need to help him make adjustments for. Yet, here we are at three years after his drowning, and God is continuing to show that He as the Creator can do what medical science deems impossible. Dale is thriving in his school work, beyond what we believed he could ever again. His attentiveness, his learning, his comprehension, and mostly his memory have all improved versus last school year. Even physically Dale surprises us. During the last hour of the school day Wednesday, Dale was sitting in the borrowed wheel chair (long story.....short version: the alarm kept going off and it was easier to keep Dale in the wheel chair that keep getting him in and out of it to exit the building!) and---get this---shooting hoops. Real basketball hoops! According to his sisters (who were almost in tears), Dale was making about 1 in 6 shots. Not bad, huh? I had no idea he could make shots from a seated position. This is something we will have to explore in more depth.
All this to say, our God is simply awesome. Just when we think we've reached the limit of His love/forgiveness/power/ability, He shows us something new. Never give up on God because He's far greater than we could ever imagine. He has depths we don't even know we should try to plumb.
Psalm 73: 24 - 48 "Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works."