We are grateful that it in the 20's and might get to the low 30's today.
However, the reality of living on a hobby farm is that the animals really don't care what the weather is, or that the wind is blowing snow into drifts all over. And they really like to eat.
Well, today was the day that we run to get large square bales of hay from a place about five miles down the road. Actually, our easiest hay retrieval. We hook up the hay wagon (thank you Grandpa John and Great-Grandpa for reconstructing it!) to our big fifteen passenger van and cruise down the road to our supplier (sounds sinister doesn't it??).
Well, they are so nice! We drive up, hand them the cash and they load up our wagon with four large bales of hay. Each large square weighs 600-900 pounds, and there are four of them. Well, then we haul the trailer out their gorgeous winding driveway over a couple little hills. And home to feed our animals. Sounds easy, right? Usually it is!
But today, it is really windy. So the snow is blowing all over. It is sunshiney (is that a word?), but windy. So, the normally picturesque driveway is still picturesque, but with drifts. I was a bit concerned as I drove in, but we made it easily. Got loaded up, admired the animals there, and went to drive out.
No problem for the first half of the driveway. Then we got to the one slightly larger rise.
The van slowed to a halt as we were working our way up, hauling a huge amount of hay. Uh, oh.
We backed up to get a running start at it, but the trailer is really wiggly. Not too bad though.
And then we weren't moving anymore.
We are out of sight of the house and barns. So my embarrassment isn't visible, but neither is my predicament. Sigh. Moment of thought. Do I try to get myself out or admit defeat and walk back and ask him to drag me out with his tractor?
Pride won out. I would work on it. How do you rock a 6000 pound van pulling a trailer loaded with at least 2400 pounds of hay???
The answer is, very, very slowly.
We could see a clear part of the driveway about 75 feet ahead of us. Shouldn't be too bad, right?
Well, let's say that God is teaching me patience and perseverance.
I had one kid up front just telling me if we were still making forward progress or not. Literally rocking the van with pulses of the gas and then a short rest for the rock back. Trying to not polish the snow under us to ice. We literally were making progress an inch at a time.
For 75 feet......
It was depressing when we would stop making progress and have to back up to a clearer spot and take a short run at it to get onto some new ground. It was a lot of back and forth, huge progress, huge losses, and then slow, patient progress.
I could literally see a tree outside the window passing us one inch at a time for a while there. And we aren't talking slow going, we are talking rock forward an inch. Release the gas, let the van settle back and then rock forward again to plow through a little more snow, pulling this huge weight.
I could so relate to my van at that moment.
But, as long as we kept our calm, worked at it slowly and steadily, we could see that we were making progress. I have no idea how long it took, but eventually, we reached that clearer space and were able to take a good steady run at the next snowdrifted little hill.
And we made it out. We had done it.
I was thinking that sometimes life is like that. Sometimes you just have to keep an eye on the landmarks that show you where you have come from, the progress you are making, and know that even though it looks like small progress (maybe in what it seems like should be easy under other circumstances), it all adds up. Every little bit. Before you know it (and it may seem agonizing in the interim), you will have made serious progress, and maybe even gotten to your goal! Small progress is still progress.
I had a friend ask me about what we needed for our adoption - and she had a detailed request.
To look at the big thing - we think all total we need between $25000 and $28000 for the adoption of the girls. Wow. That looks like a lot. It is a lot.
However, from that we have paid $550 to the homestudy agency to get started, $4500 that we have paid out of our tax return for the agency fees, $150 for education expenses, 3 times FedEx charges of $50 each time, and a $300 application fee to the adoption agency. That is a chunk out of what we owe.
What we need (likely not totally complete):
Agency fees: $9000
Homestudy remaining fees, including post adoption work: $1000 due this week, $1800 due ASAP (before the homestudy is released) and $750 for more educational fees.
Immigration (for fingerprinting and application for children): $900 (approximate)
Airfare: $1200-2500 for each adult round trip (times two) and about $1000 per child (we think)
In country fees: $3000 that we take with us.
Mailing expenses: $200
I think that covers it. Again, this is somewhat rough, but really close.
I didn't ever really want to share it in total as it seemed too detailed, but my friend really wanted it because she thought it was helpful to see how things went and to know that even small things make a difference. It all adds up. In a huge way.
So, like my van, each bit adds up to make huge, huge progress. I look at how far we have come and am thrilled. I can see those landmarks passing. I know that if we keep at it, slow and steady, doing everything we can, that we will also get there. It is a heavy load we are carrying, but like my van, with slow, steady work, we can get there. I have living proof of it in my house. That carries me on this journey, even when I might get discouraged. There is no reason for discouragement. We serve the God who loves these little girls more than we can imagine. Certainly he will bring to completion the good work he has begun in us.
Happy March First everyone!!!
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11