Morning are becoming something I dread. The alarm is still set to wake me early so I can get the boys ready for school. So my eyes fly open and I involuntarily stretch.
Ouch.
My stretching causes Andy to turn and stretch, and I hear, “Ouch.”
I stumble down the hall and wake the boys, who look and walk like zombies. They eat in silence. The first noise they make is the inevitable groan when they try to stand. They are so sweet to suffer in silence. It’s almost unnatural.
But appreciated.
They don’t fuss or fret (much) when we spend hours cleaning the work site at our new house. We saved a lot of money by agreeing to clean the house and surrounding yard of cut lumber and debris left behind by the contractors. It gives us the ability to check every secured board and rescue cut lumber that can be reused. This work is necessary…but painful.
Anywhere from two to six hours bending over picking up a houseful of cut studs and decking is harder than we imagined. Not to mention that it is now June in Texas, which brings the threat of heatstroke and 3rd degree sunburns. We can only work late in the evening until dark because the workers slave from sun-up until early afternoon to avoid the daily high of 98 degrees.
We head over at dinner time, and take a picnic. After eating, we all head off to our posts. Andy and I hand pick most of the lumber off the ground. The boys help pick up strewn pieces from inside the house, then toss them through the transparent walls to the trash stack. They work in tandem to pass large orphaned studs through the front door of the future office to me, waiting on the ground, 10 feet below them. We sweep the sawdust and forgotten nails out of the basement and first floor. That’s where I discovered that if you sweep for two hours with a wooden-handled broom you are rewarded with blisters on your fingers. Who knew? As my brother pointed out, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman probably knew. But she didn’t blog, so I had to learn the hard way.
On the positive side, my skin is fabulous. Women pay lots of money to be tanned and exfoliated.  True, they may not pay for an exfoliating treatment of sweat blended with sawdust, but the effect is the same.
We are all happy to do the work no matter the cost. We see the house grow substantially every day and we all know that our home will have been christened with our drops of blood, gallons of sweat, and trickles of tears.
And God always seems to provide a little, “I’m thinking of you” at the end of a hard day.
Last night, as we were loading up the dump cart at the end of the work session, Grant yells, “Mom, there is a spark in the trees!” I look over and see nothing, so I go back to loading and he yells again, “There is the spark again, higher up this time!” All of a sudden my heart swells. A few days ago, I told Andy that I prayed that I would someday see fireflies in Texas.  I look at Grant’s puzzled face and ask him if the spark is moving like a bug. He says “yes” and then wonder and amazement flood his face. He asks with trepidation, “Momma, could it be a firefly, like we saw in Ohio when I was little?”

I turn around and stare into the trees and the fireflies are lighting up the forest like twinkling Christmas lights. I have not seen fireflies in Texas in the thirteen years that I have lived here. And after a long day, a long season, of working to fulfill this dream we have been given, that little answered prayer was like rain watering a parched field. Enough rain to energize the fields to put forth new fruit and for the wilting grass to reach toward the sky again.

Basement and first floor, from rear of house.

First floor from front.