This past year seems to be marked by one particular event- Joe and Naomi’s relationship.
In November 2012 Naomi and Bethany had planned a trip to Kansas in order help a friend who was dealing with cancer, Mrs. J. The J family was having trouble keeping up with the regular demands of life (homeschooling, farming, cooking and cleaning) in addition to a rigorous juicing schedule (as well as other natural cancer treatments).
Fast forward to January and our family is excited at the prospect of Naomi beginning a relationship with a young man named Joe. Before January we had no idea who Joe even was! Now here he was a prospect of marriage for Naomi. Joe was living only 10 minutes away from where Naomi and Bethany were going to be staying in Kansas. We thought that this could possible be an advantage for Naomi and Joe getting to know one another, in an otherwise ‘long distance’ relationship.
After e-mailing for a few weeks, Mike and Gina met with Joe and his parents to see if this young man was indeed a prospect set in place by Yahweh himself. This whole relationship was filled with prayer from the beginning, constantly asking God for wisdom and discernment. After a nice lunch and dinner together both families agreed that Naomi and Joe did appear to be compatible in beliefs, interests and life goals. Joe was the sort of man that Mike and Gina trusted to be honorable in his interactions with the girls, even when they were not present.
Naomi and Bethany’s trip to Kansas went very well. They both had fun and learned a lot. This time was a wonderful opportunity for Joe and Naomi to get to know one another. Joe helped on the farm and the girls spent several evenings cooking, talking and laughing with Joe and Kat (One of Joe’s sisters). Toward the end of the girls’ stay Joe called Mike wanting to know what the ‘next step’ was in the relationship. They agreed that Joe should come and meet the rest of the Potts.
After getting home from Kansas, we had a week and a half to prepare for Family Week, a week long camping trip that celebrates Passover, the feast of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. This was our second year at Family Week and we are hoping to attend again this coming year. It’s a great opportunity for cleaning out the leaven and re-learning to depend on God for the strength to live the life He has called us to.
Joe came to visit us two days after we got home from Family Week. The whole family enjoyed getting to know Joe over those two weeks! During that time Naomi happily agreed to become Joe’s wife! In other words, they got engaged-to-be-betrothed and the planning for the betrothal started. The remainder of Joe’s time in Indiana was spent with Naomi, writing out their Ketubah (written vows).
Naomi and Bethany had planned on attending Purify 2013 Retreat for Hebrew Singles, but since Naomi wasn’t single anymore, Emily went in her place. Emily and Bethany both grew in their relationships with Yahweh, with each other and with other singles. While those girls were at Purify, Naomi kept Lydia company at home and they started working out the details with the Betrothal ceremony. Emily and Bethany are planning to attend Purify 2014 and Emily is going to be one of the photographers for the event.
The Betrothal date was set for May 19th, Shavuot. The ceremony was beautiful- and exciting! Two sheep got loose and had to be chased down. The place was crawling with excitement as we celebrated their betrothal- but that’s not the only thing that was crawling! Shofar Mountian is also referred to as “Tick Mountain”. Naomi and Joe were excited to make their commitment to one another but the excitement was bittersweet. The Potts family and Naomi Fox left in the morning, and the newlyweds would not see each other again until September 10th, when Joe would come to take Naomi as his bride.
Throughout their betrothal, Joe and Naomi chose to keep contact through handwritten letters. During that time it wasn’t unusual to ask “where is Naomi?” only to find that she was writing to her husband!
In the summer we were busy harvesting the garden! With the harvest came the canning… is it just me or does the canning season always collide with the hottest, muggiest days of the summer? Either way, we were very blessed with many tomatoes, green beans and hot peppers.
Because our home fellowship has nearly out grown homes, Mike and Gina have been a part of a project started by two other families in our fellowship- The HUB. The HUB has proven to be a wonderful idea, bringing people together who, otherwise, may not have known each other. One of the main purposes of the HUB is to start other ‘home fellowships in central Indiana.
Naomi, Bethany, Emily and Lydia celebrated their fist “Blog Anniversary” this year. They have all enjoyed writing articles for young ladies and women, to encourage and challenge- not only to encourage and challenge these women but also themselves!
Finally, after a long separation, Naomi and Joe celebrated their wedding on September 10th! This is a definite highlight in our year. After the wedding, Naomi and Joe started on their way to Arkansas. We joined them in Arkansas for part of their Sukkot celebration and they came to Indiana for part of ours. Joe taught a knot-tying class for the boys at Sukkot, Sherman and Clayton enjoyed learning the new knots.
Now Joe and Naomi are soon to be parents and we have a house full of future aunts, uncles, one grandma and one grandpa. We are blessed.
May Yahweh continue to bless and grow our families in this coming year.