Monday, February 07, 2011

Weekly update

We had a very nice day yesterday with the church. Knowing what to expect made it a little smoother for us and we are getting to know some of the people. It is still a bit of a challenge when you are coming to the same point but from dramatically different directions. We are coming from a more traditional evangelical background where grace is (sort of) understood, salvation comes by faith alone and believers are assured of their salvation (as long as they “make a decision” for Jesus). That was coupled with an embracing of middle-class American values and a pretty sharply drawn distinction between what God has a say in and what He needed to back away from. Many of the folks we are gathering with are coming from an Amish background where they take simplicity and community as a given but with a tragic misunderstanding of salvation. So we are arriving in the same general place but our backgrounds make things a little complicated. We stayed afterward for lunch and it was quite tasty, we had all sorts of stuff but the big thing was peanut butter sandwiches on freshly baked bread. The peanut butter is apparently a traditional Amish concoction because it is sweetened (with caro syrup and marshmallow fluff?). It is not overly sweet but it was noticeable and the kids all like it.

We remarked yesterday when driving home that we already know a lot of people in the area after a short time. We haven’t even made our first mortgage payment yet! My wife frequently speaks with the neighbors directly across the street. We know the family “next door” (even though their house is probably at least half a mile from ours!) and the family “next door” the other way (and that is a solid mile away). We met a different family across the street and south a bit at church yesterday and we also have met several families in the area, some that just stopped by our house and spent time visiting. There are lots of other families around the general vicinity of our house who are either part of the local church we have been attending or related to someone there (there are more Schmucker’s and Graber’s around here than Smith’s!).

That certainly is in part a function of our mindset, the last couple of places we lived were necessarily temporary. It is also in large part the nature of where we live. It sounds hokey to say this but people in “the country” tend to be more reliant on their neighbors. When you don’t have the suburban support structure in place, it is kind of a necessity. It does speak volumes that people in the country will go out of their way to visit neighbors while people in suburbs often barely know one another. We were just as bad about that as other people and I think that when you couple that with our huge family, we just rarely got to know many of our neighbors very well. We are feeling increasingly comfortable in our new home and our surroundings. We have a bunch of baby chicks in the house growing like weeds under heat lamps, draft horses on the way sometime soon and are picking up a Jacob sheep ewe this week that will hopefully deliver a lamb in April. So by the time the weather finally breaks we will be well on our way to a functional little farm on our four acres and be ready to start turning ground in our gardens and caring for our fruit trees and grapes.

We are still stubbornly clinging to our TV but since we get pretty poor reception, about the only thing that gets watched is PBS for the kids. I still want to put it away but I haven’t quite brought myself to do it yet. We are also back to no internet at home after the failed Virgin Mobile experiment. We have a solution but they need the roof to clear of snow more than it is presently. With some warmer weather we might be able to get it installed later this week. So that is what is going on here, we now return you to your normal rant filled programming.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

Just do it Arthur! You could set it out on the end of your field and use it for a target...just sayin.
That's what we do up here in Northern Michigan...
We've been TV-less for years now--one of the best decisions ever for our family!!