I was awakened many times throughout the night because of the unusual sound of water. It had to be a broken pipe. But, where?
I finally roused myself enough to get out of bed and go looking for it.
The sound of water was coming from outside. Rain! Glorious rain was falling on our parched and burnt valley!
For two weeks I’ve enjoyed my favorite sound in the entire world. Early in the mornings, while I walk, drink coffee, and talk to God, the geese have flown overhead in their classic V configuration and loudly proclaimed their departure. Their flight is an annual announcement of fall’s impending arrival.
The geese sing out, letting me know soon there will be a change of seasons.
There have also been other signs in the last two weeks that a change is coming quickly. The dry season is coming to an end, and cleansing, cooling rains will soon extinguish the many hot spots smoldering and flaring up around the valley and in my life.
My heart’s desire is to be with my children and continue home schooling, but I haven’t seen a way.
I long for a quiet, homesteading type of lifestyle, but I’d given up on that dream now that I’m an older single mother of young children.
The fires of divorce, death, and debt have burned a large swath through my lifelong visions of paradise.
But, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, like the rain last night, signs and answers and hope have fallen quickly but gently upon me.
A young woman has been asking me for a long time if I would teach her young son preschool alongside my youngest daughter. She isn’t the only mother who has asked me to do that. But, I’ve repeatedly said no. To everyone. I’ve felt that I needed to clean and work hard to bring in a living. There wasn’t time in the week, and I could barely spend time with and educate my own children. I thought I was failing them. I didn’t dare take on someone else’s children only to fail them as well.
The young mother asked me again a couple of weeks ago, just days before my oldest daughter’s child care fell through and she asked me to watch my granddaughter.
I lay awake nights, fretting and stewing over it. I MUST work. I MUST provide for my children. But, my heart broke at the prospect of putting my tender children in school. My heart broke at the prospect of my young friend putting her sweet little boy in school. I was devastated to imagine my six week old granddaughter warehoused in one of the dirty local day cares full of sick children and child molesters.
Then, like the gentle patter of a late summer rain, God whispered to me. Stack my cleaning jobs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, going from one house to the next, and provide child care Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. My active participation and instruction could be provided for my own children on those days, as I “wear” my granddaughter. I can teach my friend’s young son to read and perform basic math, right along with my little girl. My children will only be with another home schooling family two days a week, and I can make up independent work packets to send with them on those days.
During this same period of time, my landlord shared with me that he doesn’t know what he’s going to do with this place. He inferred that he is aware a bank won’t loan on it, and he stated that none of his kids are interested in it. He has suggested to his wife several times that they just do an owner carry contract with me.
The house is a liability, but there’s a lot of land. Dry land, granted. On a hillside. But, it is zoned in such a way that the timber is required to be harvested and maintained regularly–something my landlord has failed to do for nearly twenty years. The potential money from logging off some of the overgrowth could go to fixing the pump and putting in appropriate pipes to the house. It might even provide for a cheap, used mobile to be moved onto the property. I’d only have to decommission the kitchen in order to put a second structure on the property, and it wouldn’t take much to decommission this kitchen!
My landlord is untrustworthy, so I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch. I’m still on the list for the Habitat for Humanity housing meeting this fall. However, I am researching through the county what my restrictions and possibilities may be.
I made a choice, probably a poor one, to use the power bill money and take the children to the county fair. We had a blast, and I’m not sorry I did it. While we were there, checking out the animals, a breeder approached me about buying two milk goats. It’s tempting. I adore Nubians. I can envision an entire herd, a small dairy farm really, grazing the madrone while climbing and playing on this hill. We even drove the fifty miles yesterday to visit her farm and see the goats in their environment.
However, I feel like the Lord is telling me that the answer isn’t no on the goats, it’s just not now. Hold off. Don’t get the cart before the horse. Or, the goats before some more important things.
Daily, we cram ourselves into the little Toyota Crapolla and pray ourselves around. The trim must look like wings, flapping out where the adhesive has given up, as we drive down the highway. The headliner rests on our heads like a floppy cap. And, I try to park where the oil leaks won’t stain my clients’ driveways. I need a car before I get a goat.
The children cried.
My dream is their dream. My youngest loves horses. The boys love goats as much as I do. They long for that homestead in the country, too.
The answer isn’t no. Just not yet. That season is yet to come.
Just this morning I used my commission from my little direct sales business to pay off one of the credit cards. That puts me one step closer to being able to qualify for and repay a car loan. This March, in the divorce decree, I was awarded $5,500 in credit card debt. I’ve worked my guts out all summer long and become depressed with nothing to show for it. Today, I can see what I have to show for it. As of tomorrow morning, when those payments process, I’ll be down to $1,750 in debt on those dumb cards.
I opened all of the windows this morning, so we could smell the rain and feel the coolness it offers. My heart is light, and I’m filled with hope that it will quench the fires on the mountains around us and the smoke may soon dissipate. Just as my mind is filled with joyful anticipation that I have been given an opportunity to earn money while staying home with my children. I imagine one day not cleaning houses at all but, instead, providing child care five days a week. I am reservedly hopeful my landlord may, even if not of his own volition but on a turning of his heart by God Himself, grant me ownership of this land I’ve occupied for nearly fifteen years, thereby, allowing me the opportunity to take dominion over it and make the necessary improvements.
I close my eyes and look down the road five years. I see goats romping up the hill and can nearly taste their fresh milk on my tongue. I see my children and I working together to create the life we all long for.
I see a change of seasons coming.