Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We Build

One of the very first things that we noticed in blending our families, was that we were definitely going to need a shed!  Two households into one, you do the math.  A shed was a must!  What would be the best way to begin?  Should we buy one used?  Should we buy a kit?  Should we purchase the materials and build and design our own?  We decided to design a plan, get the materials and build it ourselves.  So, all day Saturday we went up the hill for supplies, and back down the hill to unload, dug up grass, poured cement and worked busily ALL DAY long!!  At the end of the day, I went out to see our new shed.  What I found surprised me!  After hours of work, many hands, what I found made a profound impression on me, and hence the inspiration for this post.  There before me, I found only a square in the grass in the shape of a rectangle.  I stood and looked at the wood framed, reinforced, cement foundation and a few stakes marking the shape of our future shed.  We are building a shed!  We are all building!  We are building friendships.  We are building businesses and communities.  Most importantly, we are building families.  And so, we build!  And because Families Change, we are never done!  The business of building families is a contractors dream----- always changing.  We don't have the option of buying used or finding kit with everything we need included.  We must design our families after the pattern of our choice.  Then, we must be willing go up and down the hills of life, as we work to create.  And so, We build!

Flexibility is a must for any builder.  Supplies at times may be scarce.  Designs may be flawed.  Problems may arise in the beginning, middle or even the end of a project, requiring us to change our plans.  Many times, as a mother, I have found my supplies scarce.  Just plain out of time and patience.  Perhaps our shelves are empty of emotional or even physical endurance.  We may realize a flaw in our design.  Perhaps a discipline plan or a schedule is not working------ so we change.  Maybe relationships have been strained ----- so we reinforce. Then, there are those times, that a project comes to a stand-still, requiring us to change or even create a new design for our future.  Death and divorce, marriage, remarriage and the realization that our nest is now empty, require us to regroup, be flexible, possibly even re-create---------And so, We Build!!!  I know that when I realized my first husband had challenges extremely difficult for a marriage, I needed patience, love and inspiration to create a new plan.  Then, a few years later, when he left our family for good, I had to sit down, cry, ponder, and create yet a new design, a new vision for what my family looked like.  I needed courage and strength beyond my own.  And so, We Build!

 3 years later, I found myself looking at a yet another new design, when dating and remarriage presented itself.  Again, I needed to sit down, be willing to toss my design aside AGAIN, and seek divine intervention and inspiration in creating another plan, just right, for all 13 of us!!! And, find the patience, trust and determination to start all over again------- in searching to find the perfect piece of land, and begin again.  We build!!!

 Patience is something that I have always needed to work on, and forever wish I had more of.  When my husband said he could design the shed and build it himself, I thought, "Super--- he has a couple of days off, we ought to have the shed built and the garage emptied by the end of the week."  However, I can testify that sheds are not built in a week, nor are families.  Both require constant hard work.  As well as creativity and endurance.

Each night, I have enjoyed discussing the progress.  "Today, we prepared the ground for the foundation."  "We just finished the foundation, a firm foundation, a reinforced foundation, a foundation that cannot be moved----- and it will take a couple of days to dry."  "The walls are up, I need to get up early in the morning, before work, and reinforce them, so they will be strong to withstand any weather."  Building cannot be rushed.  There are many things that need to be done, even things that no one will ever see, to make our shed sturdy and strong.  And so it is for families----- sturdy and strong.  This shed-building has already taught me so much more than the importance of moving your thumb BEFORE you swing the hammer.  I never realized how much building experience I already have.  (And, my husband thought he was the only one with construction experience!)  We all have more building experience than we realize.  Some have survived divorce as children.  Others have lost parents and siblings at a young age.  Some have watched older siblings leave home and witnessed, firsthand, the redesigning and building of families.  There are those who have cared for elderly parents and then buried them.  Both again, requiring a new design of family.  Then others, have withstood the tsunami of storms and buried children and suffered the loss of a spouse through death or divorce----- not only forcing a new vision for the family, but unseen strength and hands.  So, we all been builders of some sort or another all of our lives.  So, we too have experience.  We just need to dig deep.  I think we will find that not only do we have more knowledge than we thought, but we are stronger than we ever knew.

One thing that has really impressed me, is that even when the night comes, or the weather turns for the worst, my husband can be found searching for ways to improve the shed, drawing plans for the perfect roof or even calculating the exact amount of materials to be purchased.   This shed building experience has taught me so much about building families.  First and foremost, it cannot be done in day.  Building families requires a plan----- a plan of core values to instill and upon which to base our teachings, a financial plan, a plan for discipline, a plan for the future and even plans for fun.  I need to be willing search for new ways, study sturdiness and seek to improve upon the design for my sweet family, and be willing to work hard to implement what I learn.   Due to my shortage of patience, sometimes I want to wake up to the family unit I thought of and dreamed of, only the night before.  Or better yet, the perfect family EVERYONE else seems to be a part of.  However, in order to have the strong family I so desire, I need to plan and be flexible and be willing to change-----and sometimes just wait for things to settle and the cement to dry.  I also need to invest the time in pondering the days' accomplishments and coming up with a plan of attack for the future.  One day at a time, both our shed building and family building are coming together.  Somedays, there may not be visible progress, but our plans are in the works, our thoughts are focused, and we are building, and the cement of love and dedication are drying---------we are building and reinforcing in preparation for any storm or change.  Our foundations are strong.  We built the foundation for the shed out of a well-calculated wood frame, cement mixed with rocks for even more strength and wire caging to reinforce an already strong foundation.  For our family, we have chosen a framework of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and cement of faith, reinforced with love and rocks of reality------ reality in knowing that families change, and regardless ----We Build and even re-Build!  A plan designed  for the shed.  Time taken to reinforce the foundation and the walls, not in case of a storm, but in preparation for the storms that will surely come.

Families Change and there is no way around it. Loved ones pass away.  Children grow up and move on.  Jobs are lost.  Illness strikes.  Depression sets in.  Divorce divides.  But, if we remember to build upon a firm foundation of faith, change will come, and we will stand strong!  Put "HAPPINESS" back into families by taking out the word "Perfection," and replacing it with the words, "Perfectly willing to smile, to "build" and make it work------as families change.  With time and design.  Work and patience.  Flexibility and love.  Those we choose to Build up ----- in reality are Building us!   We design.  We wait.  We ponder.  We study.  We reinforce. We're flexible.  We smile.
 And, ---We Build!!!!

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