Mark and I met many moons ago when I went to work at the local theater. He was my boss. (Are you laughing? Ah, you must know us.) He tells people how well he remembers my short black skirt; I tell people that I remember his fast black convertible. Eventually he gathered the courage to ask me out for dinner and it wasn’t long before he traded his Mustang for an Escort…
The two became one… on a cold-dark February 12th in those ancient days gone by.
Soon the two became three, and Cassie was born. (Wait didn’t the two just become one? Forgive my fuzzy/blonde math. Any-who!) Mark had just transitioned to working as a retail manager when a little thing interrupted our lives, Desert Storm. Cassie had barely turned one when he was activated. His six months of deployment seemed like an eternity. Communication was rare and I remember being glued to the TV with the rest of our nation watching the nighttime images of scuds flying through the sky. Thankfully he returned home safe and sound to our so-called “normal” life.
Life was lean but simple. Mark worked in retail management and I became a portrait photographer. After years of telling anyone that asked that I only wanted one child, I unexpectedly felt that universal pang for another. Ah well, I knew it could happen! Who knew it would take 7 years?
So the three became four… and Lexie was born. Alexis Faith to be exact. (Mark thought her middle name should be Mercedes, as in Lexus-Mercedes-Bentley, three fine vehicles. Funny? Maybe; but, I firmly declined the suggestion.) Soon we found ourselves pulled in a new direction, literally. A south-west direction.
And the Buckeyes became Hoosiers. Life was good. Life was quiet. Cassie was a busy bee in and out of school. All of our lives revolved around her activities. Little Lexie was toted from one of Cassie’s activities to the other; soccer, cheerleading, basketball, softball, 4H, and swim team. Remodeling our 1880s farmhouse was (and is) a never-ending task, full of joy and passion. I used my skills as a photographer and began teaching continuing education classes at the local college. I became an arctophile and developed many treasured friendships with ladies from across the country. (We had great fun traveling together and I miss them dearly!)
In the midst of Cassie’s 6th grade year our simple lives were being transformed yet again. The situation at her school was less than ideal and we found ourselves considering our other options. Homeschooling? Uh… really? That’s not for people like “us”. Boy, did I have my preconceived notions about homeschoolers! But we came to the decision that we COULD homeschool her for 2 years and then send her back to the public school system for high school. Who knew this decision was God calling us closer to Him? Our decision to homeschool seemed so academic at the time, so easily compartmentalized from the rest of our lives. We had no idea that this was the life-long journey God was sending us on.
And the four became… homeschoolers! It didn’t come easily. There were certainly tears along the way, but eventually our lives stopped revolving around outside activities and became more about learning together as a family. We’ve made so many mistakes along the way! Sometimes we’ve fought the wrong battles in life and we’ve made bad decisions. Life has been hard and we’ve been through some very difficult times that have diverted our attention away from what is truly important… but we’ve persevered. We’ve learned. Sometimes because of what we did right and sometimes we learned because of what we did wrong.
Even after more than 14 years here in our little slice of heaven we’re still more city-slickers than country-folks. I’ll always be more comfortable in a mall than a stall… but I adore our little country life.