Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blessings & Bike Riding

We spent an amazing week in Florida.  What a treat on so many levels!!!  We stayed with Christopher's roommate's family.  We first talked via email last April.  We met in August.  God was so in this story that it still touches my heart.  I'm not sure if I've fully shared this story.  I think I've only done it in pieces.

A little less than a year ago, I posted about Christopher's college decision.  (Read it here)  I had been praying for Christopher's college roommate for quite awhile before that.  Having worked in college housing and also just going through it myself, I knew that having a good roommate could significantly affect your experience.  So I prayed.  I prayed for the spiritual life of the young man that would be living with him.  I prayed for his family.  I prayed for him.  I knew that I didn't know this man, but God did.

What I didn't know, was that while I prayed, God had already been at work.  (Even now the tears are forming in my eyes.)  I posted in December that Christopher had gotten his acceptance letter from NCSU.  I posted a picture of the letter.  One that very evening, another mom "happened" to visit the host site and saw a list of recent posts.  The picture in one of them caught her eye.  She recognized that letter. Her son had gotten the same one.  So she visited my blog.  And watched.  And waited.  For four more months.  And then in April, when I posted his decision, she sent me an email.  I opened and saw a "msg from a homeschooling mom whose son is also attending NCSU".  I read it and we started corresponding.  And soon, our sons were also corresponding.  I was excited and thought this might be the answer to my prayer!

I was delighted when the guys decided to room together.  I still had no idea of all that  God was orchestrating.  No idea.

We talked some over the coming months and then it was August.  Time for college.  We met each other the night before move in day and had a great time together.  They have 2 younger boys close in age to 2 of my boys (and also 2 older girls).  We spent more time together as they were in town for several days and God blessed us even more.  We just genuinely liked each other.  :-)

An answer to prayer.  I wanted a roommate that would encourage Christopher's faith, and one that would be fun to spend time with.  My request was answered - but in a far bigger way that I could have even hoped for.  Why do I limit my prayers?  Why do I limit God?  I am blown away by His goodness and grace - and not just because of answers to prayers.  This was just an example of a loving Father giving a good gift to children that He loves.

The relationship with the guys grew and flourished and the rest of their family also enjoyed each other.  We had a short visit in the fall when they were here and they invited us to visit in Florida.  We all really wanted to come too.  March looked like a great time to go.  We had a free week at the same time as Christopher and Joe's spring break.  So we planned it.  A week in Florida.  Staying in the home of a family that we had known for just a short time.

I'm not sure I could have predicted how comfortable and easy it was to be with them.  Their gracious hospitality was so sweet for all of us.  We were all so welcomed and loved and relaxed being there.  It was a wonderful week!

I'm going to break up our trip into several posts.  Here is a start.  It was a beautiful day and we decided to go for a bike ride.  All of us.  We brought some bikes and then borrowed a lot from their friends.  Eliana rode as we just didn't think she would stay put in any other option.

Did I mention it was beautiful?  Check out the sky.  What you can't see are the tiny little bugs ("no-see-ums"), that don't bother you at all when you keep moving!
Rescuing a frisbee from the tree before heading out.
 It took awhile to get everyone ready to go!  LOL
Finally, we take off.  We ride around the neighborhood and then to a nearby neighborhood on our way to a yacht club.
My boys all really loved doing this and I know its something we need to do more often!  Its nice having all of them able to keep up (except for Eliana who is perfectly happy riding along most of the time).
Since there were so many of us - and 5 of us 18 and older - it made it easy for us to spread out some on the ride too.  Nice for those who wanted to go a little faster or slower.
It was a leisurely pace for most of us.  Really the perfect weather for biking.  I need to remind myself of this more often and get to biking NOW before it gets too hot.
Its just fun to enjoy being outside and being active with family and friends.
We checked out the pool at the yacht club.  The water was VERY cold.  I wasn't tempted in the least to get in.  I can't say the same about some of my children - but thankfully they didn't get in.
This was the deck leading out to the docks for the boats.  I know, I should have turned around and taken a picture of the boats in the water.  As you can see from my photo though, I was too busy looking the other way.
This little girl is fast and fearless and must be watched!  She doesn't have a good sense of danger yet which can be frightening at times too!
She loves to run and play tag - especially with someone else.  Joe is a great friend to play with too!
More photos from around the club.  (This is not the water the boats were in, but an  area of run-off or something?)
Just like sharing photos.
Heading back to the house.  More fun times playing outside in a backyard that is just designed for fun, fun, fun!
More photos soon and more on our adventures in Florida.  :-)

Thanks McDonalds for a wonderful week!!!