Our family decided to do Christmas in July this year so we could all be together. We have not all been together since our last Christmas with everyone present 5 years ago. My brother, Dickie, and my sister-in-law (Melba) arrived Friday afternoon around 3 p.m. with their Boxer (Walker) that is still not even a year old but looks like a miniature pony. (Yes to answer your thoughts...... the little boys have tried to ride "Walker").
At around 5:30 or 6 p.m. my niece, Krysta, arrived with her husband, Will, and five boys ......... Nate-2, Jake-5, Sam-8, Drew-10, and Bryce-12. Oh, I forgot to tell you we already had one 2 year old (Braxton) at our house that belongs to my niece, Jamie. So when we laid our heads down that evening we had 12 people living in a house on the lake that my mom and her husband (deceased) had built as a retirement home for two. (Getting this picture - ha, ha).
Saturday morning my mom, Melba, and Krysta went to the airport to pick up my other niece, Priscilla, and her husband, Sasson. By the time they got back to the house my nephew, Justin, had arrived and/or came in just after them (who can remember all this..) with his wife, Haley, and their 3 boys and little girl...Keaton 3 mo., Teagan-19 mo. (Yes, the only girl so you can imagine), Landon-3, and Braden-5.
Sunday afternoon Jacob arrived with Courtney, his wife (they are newlyweds of just over a year). And last but not least my god-son flies in Tuesday evening. That gives us a grand total of 22 people sleeping in a house built for two. Of course my sister, Becky, is there but sleeps at her house around the corner from us. And lots of extended family - cousins, aunts, uncles, etc, float in and out. Yesterday we had a big fish fry at Melba's brother’s house in Russellville, AR. I couldn't even count all those numbers by the time we added all our numbers to it! ARE YOU GETTING THIS PICTURE - seriously! HA,HA,HA
We cleaned our garage out so we could turn it into an extra room. We did the same 5 years ago and put some make shift carpet down. This year we left pavement so all the little ones could ride their tricycles in there. My aunt Myrna donated a box springs and mattress, my cousin Shawn donated his Travel-All, Melba's brother donated his pop up, and we have cots and blow up mattress. It is sooooo wild! At night the adults turn the garage into their mini game room and play every board game and card game you can think about. My niece, Krysta, is very much into oils of biblical times and how we can use them to address health issues. I'm spell bound by the cost of some of the oil!! The little boys are out in Kayaks and fishing off the bank before half the adults are even stirring. You can tell the kids that have grown up in West Texas. They have no fear. Of course not, they are used to rattlesnakes and wild animals sharing the land with them.
Today, they all left to go up north to do a float trip and stay with Melba's sister, Delba, and Mike, her husband. They will be back tomorrow evening. I laugh as I think what it is like around our house this past 3 days as they moved in to set up for their stay with us and as they packed to go tonight. I can't help but think about Moses moving the Israelites across the wilderness. There they were grumbling about having no meat to eat.
"Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Oh that we had meat to eat!’”
Having meat to eat wasn't our issue at all. Praise the LORD. Our issue was where do you put all this food and stuff? Which also shows God’s provision for the children of Israel.... He gave them what they needed at the time. I doubt they were carrying a bunch of refrigerators with them.
I finally understand and have so much more insight into why God gave them clothes and shoes that didn't wear out! Can you even imagine the Israelites having to decide what to pack each time they moved? But because of God's provision for the clothes and shoes a conversation probably looked like this....
“So, what are you wearing tomorrow when we pull out, Krysta? Kyrsta's response for 40 years... "I think I'll wear what I had on yesterday.” (smile)
Deuteronomy 29:5 (ESV)
"I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet."
In summary, we are having a sweet time and it's fun to just pull up a chair and watch all the interactions and the kids playing, fishing, etc. I know when the week is over that everyone will go back to their real worlds but my prayer is that this week will stick with them and me and it will become more of our real world than the fast pace of this world. Seriously, STOP and take time for your family. God will honor that! We still have until Saturday together as a family.... pray for fun, patience, and a continued sweet spirit among us.
Continue to pray for Burkina Faso. It is only 2 and 1/2 months away! Wow! It will be so wild watching God work in that time span to meet all the needs from His riches in Glory! Be sensitive as He leads you to give.
Love you all....