We slept on an air mattress, which the kids loved.
The Finns love being home in Wake Forest, but 54 Royal Oaks Place in Jackson was our home for six months. It was a blessing, and a sweet sanctuary while we were on sabbatical. Thankful for God's provision while we were in Jackson!
Thanks for your patience with my lack of blogging. My computer crashed and then summer started and then we moved back to Wake Forest. Maybe, should time allow, I will catch up some. We shall see. Just know that the Finn family has returned to Wake Forest after a wonderful sabbatical in Tennessee, and we are thrilled to be in our home, with our church, and serving at SEBTS.
For Memorial Day Weekend, we drove up to Kentucky and visited our friends the Weavers. Nathan and Steve have known each other for years, but this was the first time the wives and children met. Steve asked Nathan to preach at his church on Sunday, and to spend the weekend seeing historical sites around Frankfort. Since Nathan is teaching a class in Lousiville this week, it was the perfect 'add-on'. Steve and Gretta have six kids so for our outings we piled into the hutch can! It was a lot of fun to see all the sites and I get to know this sweet family. He Finnlings love the Weaver children and were so sad when we left. We look forward to the next time we can visit with them!
Lots of kids in a van:
Visiting the 'new' state Capitol and governor's mansion:
Seriously, when did we become the grownups with four big kids? That seems surreal:
Baxter loved these steps!
Fuller, being the youngest, was doted on a good bit:
Georgia and her new best friend for always:-)
Fun at the fountain:
Downtown Frankfort (which is adorable and has some great shops!)
My laptop has died so I am posting this from a Blogger app on my phone. I have no idea if it will turn out well, so bear with me:-)
Jackson has a minor league baseball team, so of course the Finns had to take a visit to a game! We had a lot of fun at the day game, meeting the mascot Sarge, and singing along with Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
Today I find myself with a longing that I cannot suppress
and which almost brings me pain on Mother’s Day. My Mother’s Day wish—my daily
wish—is for redemption and restoration. You see, my mother has dementia. She
was diagnosed six years ago, and since then my siblings and I have seen her
brain deteriorate to the point where she does not recognize me at all. I have
not blogged about this because I do not know the right words to address it, and
I would rather not submit my readers to my feeble attempts. Many of you know
what is going on, and for those who did not before now, I apologize for not
filling in this part of my life. It is difficult to process, difficult to
discuss, difficult to know how to answer when someone says “and how are you
handling [the fact that your mom doesn’t know you/is in a nursing home/has
dementia]?” Oftentimes I am matter-of-fact to a fault—I can always tell by the
stunned look on the hearer’s face. Other times the words get stuck in my throat
and lodge there like a big lump I can’t work around, and if I say anything I
will just burst with emotion.
Mother’s Day tends to get stuck in my throat. Last year was
particularly hard. Fuller was two weeks old and I was in the glorious throes of
postpartum hormones. It was also our first Sunday back at church. I remember
being in a cozy little room, checking Facebook on my phone while I nursed my
son. It seemed that everyone’s Facebook profile pictures was with their mom. Everyone
was writing tributes about how wonderful their mom is (or was, if she was
deceased). Mother’s Day got stuck in my throat and I thought I was going to
drown. My mother deserves all the tributes in the world, but it was and still
is hard for me to type them. That is my fault, not hers. Linda Phillips is no
less worthy of praise because I cannot broadcast those words on Facebook. And she
is no less worthy of praise because she sits in a nursing home without speaking
and does not recognize her oldest daughter or many others. She is a marvelous
woman, a child of God, and my beloved mother.
My mother’s dementia strikes home in different ways and at
different times, but on Mother’s Day (last year, this year, every year), I rejoice
even more in redemption, and long still more for restoration.
Redemption—God saved me. He used my family, my mother and
my father, to teach me his word, to
point me to the cross, and to walk with me along the journey of my spiritual
life. He saved my mother. She is a blood bought saint of the Lord, even when
she doesn’t remember it. I rejoice in her redemption. I praise the Lord that He
has been faithful to sustain my mother, to protect and keep her, and I trust
that she is resting in Christ even when her memory faculties are failing.
Restoration—One day all things will be made new. My mother’s
body and mind will be restored, not only in heaven when she meets Jesus, but in
the new heavens and new earth when the mind that has been corrupted and the
body that is failing are repaired and restored and reconciled to their maker.
Sin and disease destroy this world, and attempt to turn our affections away
from Christ and the cross. As believers, we are still awaiting our final
reconciliation and restoration.
Today, on Mother’s Day, and every day, I pray that I will rejoice
more in my redemption—what Christ has done for me through his death on the
cross. I pray that I will seek to see more family and friends and neighbors and
nations come to faith in Christ. And I long for the day when all things will be
made new through Jesus Christ. He is our hope and our reason for living.
Though we have pediatric dentist office that we like in North Carolina, a dentist office in Jackson that has animals on the roof is just too hard to resist! So, a couple of weeks ago, the three biggest Finnlings had a trip to the dentist. What is not to love about an office with animals on the roof, a tree in the lobby, and movies at every chair?
Unfortunately, one of the kids has several cavities thanks to genetics and really close teeth, so we will be paying a return visit or two :-( It was such a great experience, though, the kids are asking to return. I kinda wish I could go there and watch a kids' movie while getting my teeth cleaned. That might help me relax during a visit!
If you look at my blog labels, or follow me in any social media, you will see me mention "Clapham Academy" when I talk about homeschooling. In case you are wondering "What in the world is Clapham Academy?" this post is for you. If you aren't wondering that...I don't blame you!
In the lovely state of North Carolina, you have to register your homeschool academy, basically declaring to the world and the Department for Non Public Education that your children are not truant but you are attempting to school them at home. You fill out a simple form, give your school a name, and agree to a couple of requirements (attendance and yearly standardized tests).
The school name was the hardest thing to determine. If you do not choose a name, you become ______ (Last name) Academy. As terrific as Finn Academy sounds, Nathan and I wanted something else. We discussed names multiple times. Seriously, I think we had a harder time with this name than picking our children's names! British names just seemed to work best for us, so we talked about different British historical figures or places that were significant, particularly to Nathan's interests (Baptists).
Nathan suggested Clapham, we mulled it over briefly and decided that it worked. So Clapham Academy it is! Right now, Clapham is part of London, but it once was an area outside of London where William Wilberforce and his friends resided. They became known as the Clapham Society or the Clapham Sect, and the 'members' of this society are most known for ending slavery in England.
Nathan recently wrote about the Clapham Society at Canon and Culture. Here is an excerpt from his article:
The Clapham Sect was a close-knit group of mostly upper class Anglican evangelicals who were active between 1790 and 1830. They were named for the London neighborhood in which most of them lived and worshiped. The best-known member of the Clapham Sect is William Wilberforce (1759–1833), the famous Parliamentary moral reformer who played a key role in bringing about the end of the transatlantic slave trade and, ultimately, slavery itself within the British Empire. Though at the center of the Clapham Sect, Wilberforce was surrounded by other socially conscious laypeople like the banker Henry Thornton (1760–1815), the scholar Granville Sharp (1735–1813) and the writer Hannah More (1745–1835), as well as influential clergy such as John Newton (1725–1807), John Venn (1759–1813) and Charles Simeon (1759–1836). What might be called “Clapham Spirituality” is a model for how contemporary evangelicals can thoughtfully and effectively combine the twin emphases of personal spiritual formation and faith-inspired social activism...
The Clapham Sect’s commitment to personal spiritual formation helped to fuel the social activism that is commonly associated with Wilberforce and his contemporaries. The Clapham Sect is understandably most famous for its role in ending slavery, but it is important to understand that their anti-slavery motivations were grounded in their faith. Slavery was an abomination because every human being is created in God’s image. Aside from treating fellow humans as property, slavery promoted the worst sorts of vices: physical abuse, rape, separating families, malnourishment, etc. The crusade against slavery was a moral crusade born out of Clapham Spirituality...Clapham Sect members also championed prison reform, education reform, healthcare reform and (in the case of some members) the abolition of capital punishment.
Read the entire article here. The Finn family is excited to share in the legacy of William Wilberforce and his friends by naming our school after those great reformers. We pray that our children will be great crusaders for the gospel and champions for the needy.
The Finnlings love to hunt Easter eggs, and we enjoy participating in this 'spring event' every year. This year the kids had a different backyard (our rental house) to hunt in, and that was fun!
The egg hunters are ready to go...
Meanwhile, back at the patio, this monkey wouldn't stay put at all!
The kids with their 'loot'--the eggs had stickers, goldfish, jelly beans, and fruit snacks
Confession: we stepped outside on Saturday and caught a whiff of someone grilling in the neighborhood...and then we had to grill out for dinner too! One big problem: we left our grill in Wake Forest! Have no fear, Nathan picked up a small portable grill which works fine for our family and we were able to grill out in style:-) We enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs, some music by Durham natives Delta Rae, and fun times with the kiddos. It was a lovely day altogether.