12/21/2012

Merry Christmas!


 Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 
May you find the peace and joy of Christ in this season of holy celebration...

12/18/2012

Pregnancy update, 25 weeks!

I was 25 weeks on Monday! The time has really flown, and it's so exciting to me that in about 15 weeks I will meet the LONG awaited 6th member of our family!

I am feeling very good, lots of energy, sleeping well, and just generally very comfortable. I attribute all of that to the healing that has taken place over the past several years by way of dietary changes and visits to our naturopathic physician.

Aside from my extended bout of morning sickness (last well into my 15th week), this has been my most comfortable pregnancy so far...as best as I can remember! Ha! I haven't been pregnant for many years (youngest is 6) so perhaps I'm forgetting some of the finer details...

We are planning a natural labor and birth, in a hospital that is natural labor friendly, assisted by a doula and a midwife. My other labors were fully medicated, in a "baby factory" hospital, attended (briefly) by an obgyn.

I have since learned that obgyns are actually trained surgeons, and nearly never familiar with a normal, healthy, natural birth. They are trained to look for opportunities for intervention and act quickly. If you have a very high-risk pregnancy they are probably your best choice. However, the majority of women will, if given the proper care, deliver their babies with no problems. Risky interventions are just not necessary and lots of times will actually CAUSE more complications. But that is a whole 'nother post!!!

I am optimistic about labor and birth, and looking forward to experiencing it the way God intended. On the flip side, however, since I have done this three other times all the same way, I am a bit apprehensive about trying something "new"!! Not afraid, just cautiously curious, I'd say. Our doula is fantastic, and we are intending to take a natural birthing class during my third trimester.

I'm trying to stay active, and am looking forward to starting my exercise routine back up once the craziness of the holidays and travel and birthdays is behind us in January.

Strangely for me, I'm craving fruit and potatoes, which are foods that I normally don't want or eat. I'm also not really able to digest any meat, nor does it sound appetizing to me. My appetite and digestion have hit a wall again, so my naturopath has suggested that I try adding diatomaceous earth to my daily routine. So far it's helping. He also suggested that I might need more antioxidants and vitamin D, and has me adding a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses a day, also. I love using food and naturally occurring minerals for medicine!

Things the kids are saying:
"Mommy, I LOVE the baby!"
"When will the baby come?"
"I want the baby to come NOW!" (to which I hastily replied, Oh no! it's not ready! If it came now it would be sick in the hospital for a while)
Still talking to the baby through my belly button.
Ava and Benji talk about baby all the time, Alec nearly never says anything...wondering if it's his age?

12/10/2012

Thoughts About Member Number Six

After Ava was born, I was done. Just done. Her birth was difficult, not complicated, but painful. She was my largest baby, weighing 9lbs 8oz and had HUGE shoulders!
I remember talking to myself in the mirror afterwards, forcing myself every day to remember the pain so that when I wanted another baby I could talk myself out of it!

How I've grown and learned since then! Once Ava outgrew her "baby monkey on speed" phase, as we so fondly called it, and became more independent, I realized that this was a very new stage for me to have only "older" children. No toddler to cling to me, no one to watch out for 24/7...At first I was like YAHOO! and enjoyed the freedom. Then came the sadness...the realization that perhaps I would never again nurse a little infant, never again enjoy baby belly laughs, never again have to buckle anyone into a car seat...all the little things, the little privileges of being a momma to a baby...maybe never again!

And I got sadder and sadder...and we ALL changed our minds! Or should I say the Lord changed our minds! There was a whole lot of prayer and correction of attitudes that happened...and learning about my true role as a wife and mother and keeper of my home.

And with the humble acknowledgement that my womb belongs in the Lord's hands, not mine, here I am. After 6 years of rebelling, being scared, and learning, I'm finally waiting for baby number four, family member number six!

My heart rejoices daily at the miracle of life growing inside of me, and at the privilege of being called upon once again to nurture a soul, a gift from our Creator.

BUT...

I can't help but wonder...

What will it be like?

After so long...will I bond with the baby? Will I remember how to breastfeed? We've been a little family of five for so long, we're a bit set in our ways...will I feel resentful towards the baby like it's an intruder? Will the kids welcome it with open arms? Will they welcome the changes or fight them? What will I say to remarks like,"Oh, was this a surprise baby?" because there is such a gap between it and the other three? Will I get annoyed and worn down quickly because I'm not used to round the clock vigilance anymore? Will I truly be able to welcome the new one into the fold with open arms and no resentment? What if I don't bond? What is wrong with me for thinking all of this? Why am I even worried about any of it?

And the truth is...I don't have the answers for my questions...and I do feel nervous. I feel like a first time mom all over again...but with "baggage"! I know the kids are excited...well at least the younger two. I really haven't taken the time to sit down with Alec and see how he feels. He's too old to be rubbing my belly and yelling things at the baby in hopes that it will hear him like his younger siblings do. He's just quiet about it...until I suggest that perhaps he's like to be the designated diaper changer!

And I really am excited, deep down. Whenever I think about that moment when my brand new, messy, squalling baby is plopped down on my chest and the ending of one thing becomes the beginning of another, I can't help but to grin...or get teary eyed...Because I know EXACTLY what that will be like! THAT is not something easily forgotten!

11/12/2012

Older


They are. Getting older, that is.
All taller, bigger, more mature..branching out...learning in leaps and bounds
Loving each other, loving God, loving this baby we are waiting for...


{The oldest}
...sometimes serious


sometimes definitely not...


wearing adult sized shoes
and the largest size there is in boy clothes...

growing into his new body...

never without his pocket knife or his machete if we are heading out of doors for the day

Taking on new leadership roles with his siblings
voluntarily helping his little sister with things around the house
putting her to bed some nights
(this will come in REALLY handy when Daddy and I are exhausted from nights up with a baby!)

Cooking some meals
fixing and serving breakfast on lots of mornings when Mommy is so tired from sleepless pregnant nights


Quickly and quietly getting his school work done and excelling on his violin

Really good at arguing...in a good way
It just comes naturally, his way of thinking outside the box,
looking at things from a different perspective...

Sometimes it comes across as disrespectful
(and sometimes it actually is)
but sometimes I'm genuinely surprised at how much logic flows out of his head!

Mix of child and man, still with a tender heart
Still mold-able and teachable...

Oh Lord, give us the wisdom to train him up in the way he should go!



{The younger son}


 Always funny...always smiling...except when he isn't...

Sensitive and snuggly
still has traces of "little boy" lingering
but fast approaching big brother

Really has a head for numbers
but hates math...


 Still finds reading challenging...and really would rather be playing during read-aloud time...but then again, what 8 year old boy wouldn't?!
Able to work more independently...and becoming much more independent in social settings.
I can hardly believe this is the same child who, only a year ago, would not leave my side at our co-op!

Still fascinated by food...
 Lego food, Playmobile food, real food, Food Network...
Will he be a chef? Is it because of his allergies?
Much less sensitive to lots of foods now, eats eggs regularly, oats with no problem, raw grass fed milk and cheese, still problems with corn


 Beginning to be his own little person, thoughts and interests uniquely different from his once-mirror brother...extremely funny and original
Still quite the artist...excellent handwriting...

Vacillates wildly between adoration of his little sister and complete disdain
Fascinated with facts and information about the new baby coming
He remembers the one we lost, keeps track of how old it would be now...

 "Mommy, I love you so much!" is heard daily...


Oh Lord, give us patience and tenacity to see him through this shift, and to gently guide him to the next phase in his growth...

{The girl}

Definitely a girl with brothers...
heading rapidly towards six
growing so tall
looking not so much like a chubby preschooler any more

Still the mix of sweetness and wild wind
Princess tomboy...


Budding little mommy...excellent helper in the kitchen
I find dollies put to bed and animals being fed in all corners of her room...
along with dirty clothes strewn...

Madly in love with this baby in my belly...talking to it through my belly button is a daily occurrence
Discussions of sharing her room are not going well, but she loves the idea of possibly a little sister...

Still somewhat of a picky eater, needs her pants glued to the chair during a meal...
Mommy needs to crack down on some manners...


Reading amazingly well, drawing and writing...coloring all the time...
loves her school books...but not always interested...
Champion fort-builder
Lover of ALL types of animals, even the ugly scary looking ones...

Still some sensory issues with clothes, although she proclaimed that she now "Loves socks!" 
Can ride a bike, jump rope, play chess, swim underwater...roller skate...
Amazes me every day with her insight and intuition WAY older than she is...

LOVES Dada and Papa (or "Popes", as she calls him right now)
Calls them on the phone on her own daily...treats them to long, syrupy messages, or long one-sided conversations that mostly consist of, "Now I'm walking around. Now I'm in my bedroom. Now I'm in the kitchen..."


Recently painted me a picture of her and I and said, 
"Mommy, the reason I made this for you is because I am loving that you are having a baby and I love having a Mommy like you!"

Lord, please aid us in protecting her innocence, give us grace to follow through on our parenting...



These precious blessings from God, on loan to us for a time, to nurture, train up, protect...
What an honor, privilege and amazing responsibility...
So humbling that the Heavenly Father would give me, lil' ole' me, a chance to cherish an eternal soul...











11/08/2012

Fear and Faith

I stand paralyzed in front of my closet. My bulging belly says I'm pregnant...nearly 15 weeks to be exact. But somehow, despite my nausea, feeling the baby move (early!), and not fitting into any of my clothes for a very long time, I don't feel like it's real.

I look down at the laundry basket where my one tired pair of maternity jeans sprawls out onto the floor, and then glance at a worn out, stretched out, pilly sweater and imagine myself wearing that outfit one more time. Then I stare at the small selection of maternity clothes that I purchased a couple days before and imagine myself wearing them. They look much better...in fact, they actually look nice on me.

And I actually need them. I can't wear my stretch pants and long tank tops and pretend that they are suitable any longer. It's too cold outside, and it's getting embarrassing.

I reach out to grab one of the new shirts and freeze. I just can't do it. I can't take the tag off.
It is then that I realize just how afraid I am.

"Lord! I'm terrified!" I cry, tears streaming down my face. "I'm terrified!" I repeat over and over, slowly letting it sink in.

This amazing gift I've been given, I can't seem to unwrap the package. It's sitting on the floor, all pretty in paper and a bow, and I stare at it every day, smile tenderly when I think about what's inside, even show it to the kids. But that's all. I step over it, walk around it, make sure it's not in harms way...but I don't tear off the paper in breathless anticipation...I can't even pick it up.

I knew that this pregnancy would be a huge stretching of my faith and trust. But I had no idea how hard it would be. The simple act of putting on actual maternity clothes, of committing, in a tangible way, to this pregnancy is more painful that I had imagined.

See, when we got pregnant two years ago, it was an answer to prayer. My kids had been praying, and I had been praying for a surprise, that my husband's heart would be changed towards having more children. And sure enough, our prayers were answered, to the letter. I also got pregnant at the same time as a friend who was new in town and had prayed that she would have a friend to be pregnant with.

We went shopping together for maternity clothes...and I purchased some comfy pants and t shirts...which I proceeded to wash and wear.

Then I miscarried.
Then I had to stare at those clothes hanging there, unused...
Then I miscarried again.

Yes, our prayers were answered, yes, my husbands heart was changed, yes, the Lord was with me through each painful moment, and yes, here we are again, more prayers answered...and I'm absolutely terrified.

Of course I have no way of knowing what the future holds, and this journey of faith is the most tangible one I've ever been on. I'm literally going day to day, believing that there is a healthy baby inside of me, praying fervently for it, but unable to see or feel it...stepping out in faith...for something unseen...but believing the promise of the Lord to fill my arms again.

I'm comforted by this: no matter what the outcome, I am in the refiners fire, and I will be changed for the good and for the glory of the Lord.

And this baby...well, it will be something pretty special. A physical reminder to momma on a daily basis, that she can, indeed, do ALL things through Christ!!!

{14 wks, 4 days 10/5}

11/05/2012

Fifteen weeks

No...no bump picture...

See, here's the thing...despite my whole food diet and my active lifestyle and my use of a holistic chiropractor and a naturopath...I'm overweight. I'm the beautiful fat girl that everyone wants to be friends with because she looks...well, comfortable...and non-threatening! And everyone says, "Oh, you are so pretty!" or "Oh, you look great, Shelly", because what else do you say to the anomaly that is me.

And, what's worse is...I have absolutely NO idea why I'm overweight. I've been there, done and tried that. And no one has any answers for me.

So. There it is. Naked honesty.

My "baby bump" is always huge from the beginning, making my first miserable, vomit-filled weeks even worse because I instantly look like I've gone off the deep end, burying my emotions in Twinkies and soda and white bread.

I do actually look truly pregnant right now, but that pretty belly curve that most women have is more like a series of badly graded hills on me.

But I don't say this to make anyone feel sorry for me, it's my life, I'm used to it...and sometimes I actually feel like I look cute pregnant. Thank goodness my husband is the amazing man he is, and manages to make me feel beautiful and lets me know he loves me for just me, not the package me is wrapped in...although he insists that he likes that, too! *grin*

Anyhow...back to the pregnancy update:

Still feeling queasy, occasional vomit, but rare
Gagging a lot, sucking on endless Starlight Mints and peppermint gum
Using doTerra's Citrus Bliss oil to smell to avert nausea
Sea Bands work sometimes, but I've used them so much, I'm developing round marks on the insides of my wrists

Craving: steamed cauliflower, apples, juice (cider and orange juice), popcorn, broccoli (cooked and raw), eggs/french toast
Can tolerate (but don't really want): beans and rice, applesauce, canned peaches, steamed green beans, raw carrots
Can't eat (results in vomit): meat of any kind, nuts, anything with much of a flavor (haha!) or much of a smell (hahahaha!)

Now really needing maternity clothes. I had one pair of jeans left from one other pregnancies that I am wearing and a huge dumpy fleece sweatshirt that I will wear in the house because I'm notoriously freezing in the winter. Other than that, I had just been wearing gauchos, tank tops, long t shirts with a rubber band in the button of my capris, etc.

But now it's cold outside...so I finally went and bought a few things...and *whew* I'm much more comfortable!!!

I'm able to do pieces and parts of our normal daily routine now. One load of dishes,one load of laundry, swish and swipe the bathroom every couple days, most days we can do school, I can take the kids to their activities, and run one small errand. But that's about it.

Normally I push myself while I'm pregnant, and pretty much ignore it and go on with life as normal. But this time, I think since I had those miscarriages, I'm a bit more respectful of the mystery and miracle of the new life inside of me...and I'm resting. A lot more. Things are getting done, just very slowly.

Things the kids are saying:
Ava,"Mommy, are those the baby jeans?" (referring to the maternity jeans I had just bought) She calls the front panel a "baby sack"! Every night before bed, she kisses me, and then kisses my belly.
Alec and Benji, "Mom, if this baby is a boy, I hope he's rowdy like Josiah!" (our 3 year old neighbor)

{10/8/12, 15 weeks}

11/01/2012

I'm sorry...

"Lord, I'm just so tired...

"I'm sorry for complaining so much, I just feel like the kids are missing out on so much that they need to be doing. Yeah, the house is messy, but so what...I pretty much don't have any friends anymore, at least none who drop by unexpectedly...and no one who lives here seems to care that they are wading through dog fur and dried food..

It's the schooling...and the character issues...and the bad habits and bad attitudes...and the FOOD!!! that is getting to me.

I need to be eating WAY differently than I can right now...I need bitter greens for my liver so my adrenals and thyroid can function properly...I need protein so I can have energy...I need so many things that for some reason my body won't tolerate. Living on popcorn, sour candy, noodles, juice, cooked cauliflower and mints is not a good long term protocol for anyone, ESPECIALLY someone growing a baby.

I feel so ungrateful even bringing these things to your throne...because I pleaded and begged for so long for this little one inside of me. You know my heart, you know that I'm completely in love with this little lemon-sized blessing.

But I"m also in love with my husband and other three children...and it hurts my heart to see them so neglected by me. I can see the health issues sneaking up as a result of the poor diet...laziness and apathy have developed...selfishness...too much stress for Daddy after work...I can't stand knowing that it's all because I can't, simply CAN'T fulfill my role adequately right now.

BUT...You know what I need,You know what this baby needs, You know what my family needs...and so I hold my breath, squeeze my eyes tight, and jump into Your arms...because You are."

{thoughts from my heart...10/4/12...14 weeks}

10/29/2012

The situation here....

...is scary!

I will be 13 weeks on Monday. Tomorrow, to be precise. {9/24/12}{this post was written earlier, I"m nearly 18 weeks now}

We finally saw our "little one", as the ultrasound tech called the baby, last week. I burst into tears the moment that precious little body came into view and pretty much didn't stop crying till the ultrasound was over. I think I freaked the tech out...but then again she didn't know our story.

So back to the "situation"...

We eat Real Food. That means food that your grand parents and great grandparents would recognize. Food that doesn't have brand or ingredient labels on it, food that is as close to it's original state as possible. That means organic (if possible) veggies and fruit, whole,minimally processed grains (not wheat or corn, they are over used here in the United States and corn is nearly all genetically modified now), grass finished beef, pastured chicken and eggs, venison, and raw milk. (I would add organic beans to that list, but some of us have severe allergies to legumes)

I make pretty much everything we consume from scratch. That includes our sandwich bread, yogurt, kefir, and all snacks. The only "prepared" foods we eat are typically rice or quinoa pasta, rice crackers, and the occasional treat (a cookie from a bakery or some ice cream, or pizza).

So...I get really sick when I'm pregnant. So sick that I'm just desperate to not vomit. So desperate that I'll resort to ANYthing...like boxed macaroni and cheese, or sour Skittles. I was really stubborn at the beginning of this particular pregnancy and vowed not to even give myself any of those options. But after throwing up nearly everything I was eating or being simply unable to take more than a bite, I decided that eating something (albeit a "non" food) was better than being so weak from the vomit and having no energy.

And I feel badly about giving in, I really do. I feel like, maybe I could have tried harder, read more, done more research, forced myself to eat things that I had a strong aversion to, etc. It's hard to know that the only things that don't result in extreme nausea or vomit are so super bad for my body, because I've done so much learning and know what is and what isn't fit to be consumed. It's a weird puzzle...one that I simply cannot solve. Maybe after this baby is born and we talk about another one down the road, I can do more pre-pregnancy planning...but that ship has already sailed for now, and it is what it is.

Back to the situation here...so the kids are spending the day eating boxed cereal, chips, candy, and whatever else they can find,while I spend the day trying to stay out of the kitchen. After such a dramatic switch in diet, for such a long time (a couple months) I can most certainly see a difference in their behavior and mood, and general well being.

Pile a non-food, nutrient deficient diet on top of no routine and discipline, and you've got a storm a-brewin'! I know that this is only temporary, sometimes survival mode is all you can do...but I am certainly NOT looking forward to undoing all of this in the weeks to come.

10/27/2012

Juiced

(Parts of Orange and Juicer played by Benji and Alec. Ava played by herself.) 

Orange: "You VILE creature!"


 Juicer: "I'm not vile, I'm just having a snack..."


Orange: "You're not making snacks out of ME!"

   later...

Orange: "Aaaahhh! That's the last of me!"


 Ava: "Don't freak out, you're going to heaven!" 


Orange: "Dah-dah, duh-duh...I'm going to heeaaaaven!!"


 Ava: "Mom! Can I recycle the pulp and put it back through the juicer?"


Boys will be boys
and
girls will be girls!

There is never a moment without laughter here...
and laughter is oh so important
if
you want to remain
sane!

10/25/2012

For later...

Dear self:

You do not cope well with morning sickness. Weeks of sitting in one spot simply serves to feed your tendencies to hyper focus. All you can think about is how awful you feel and how you simply MUST sit down again, and how you will NEVER dig yourself out of the disaster that your house has become.

At four weeks of sickness (10 weeks pregnant, 9/1/12), you are suffocating under a blanket of guilt. That the children haven't been properly cared for, fed, nurtured, taught...and that you haven't really parented them at all. The kitchen table hasn't been fit to eat on, the fridge is full of rotting food, and the bathrooms are filthy. There are DRIFTS of dog fur in every corner and the carpet feels mysteriously crunchy.

You have become a hermit in stretchy pants and sports bras. Your hair is in a permanent ponytail. You have cancelled every reason to go out of the house and have even solicited friends to take your children where they must go. The first week of school was a paltry sham.

Your trips from your comfy chair to the bathroom have become reconnaissance missions, you are shocked to see that you really and truly are the heartbeat of your home. And you are very, very, very scared by that. You are also seized with the desire to somehow, by hook or by crook, figure out a way to make the house run smoothly without you...so that when this precious babe is in arms you can stare at her and forget the refrigerator for a few weeks.

One minute you realize that you've forgotten what this sickness is all about, that it really is such a tiny drop in the bucket of time, the next minute you are weeping tears of joy because this is all such an amazing miracle and you can't wait to meet the next member of your family. And weirdly, even though you are supremely miserable, you are thinking of what it would be like to do this yet AGAIN!!! But then your mind quickly rushes to the sweetness of the thoughts of adoption that have run constantly through your whole life like a steady, predictable stream.

You are honored to be chosen by the Lord to bear witness once again to His miracle of life, His miracle of creation, and to hold in your charge for a season another precious soul. Your body is but a vessel, filled up to please and praise the Creator. You are blessed.

Love, me.


10/22/2012

If ...(on parenting)



 If you're a mommy
If you want to love the life you're living
If you don't want to be afraid of making a mess of it
If you want your "children to rise up and call you blessed" when someday it's all said and done
then you MUST know that...

you will succeed if you aren't afraid to fail
 you will fail if you aren't consistent...
and consistently digging into the Word

your needs must come last
so you can meet the needs of your husband and children first

every.single.thing. you say and do is teaching your children something
if you respond to them in anger and frustration, they will learn how do do that, too
if you yell and scream at them, they will learn to yell and scream right back
if you say one thing to them and then do another, they'll learn that being a hypocrite is ok

but

if you love them when they are unlovable, they'll befriend the outcasts when they grow up
if you speak gently and restrain yourself, they'll use kind words when a sibling takes a toy
if you don't watch the inappropriate TV show even though they aren't awake, your clean conscience will be a shining beacon to the transparency of a sanctified, holy life

IF you act exactly how you want them to act, they will follow in your footsteps

because

there's nothing a child wants more than to be just.like.mommy.






10/19/2012

It's finally happened...again

Well, it's finally happened again.

Those two pink lines...
that weird full feeling in my belly that never goes away...
the urge to throw up every few minutes...
the hating of all food...
the horribly messy house...

The moments of tears of gratitude...
the moments of intense love and thankfulness...
the vivid memories of doing this before...

The fleeting sadness that Ava will never be the baby of the family like she has been for 5 years...
and then the huge grin that covers my face when I imagine her as a little mommy's helper

The brief pang that comes with the knowledge that our family is changing forever...and then feeling so happy I can hardly contain myself...

The ache in my heart when I think of the huge gap between Ava and this one all because we live in an imperfect world...and the feeling of warmth and content that fills it when I remember how faithful my Heavenly Father is to fulfill His promises

{{9 weeks, 8.25.12}}

10/18/2012

Got Real?


10/06/2012

A Sticking Point

Could it be that the honeymoon phase of having a magical, pink, fairy princess daughter has finally ended? Is it possible to have a sinking feeling when I hear the pitter- patter of those tiny toes and hear the still-tiny voice that is attached? Has she really grown out of the so-beautiful-and-precious-even-when-I'm-naughty phase?

Or is it me...?
Have I become jaded, forgetful...?
Is it like living with a spectacular Monet painting and seeing it so often that you don't even look anymore?

Something has shifted, changed...for the worse.  I'm feeling at odds with myself...and the little girl she's becoming.This is all new for me, having all "older", technically self-sufficient children. No little one to cling to me, to pay attention to with every breath, to worry about when they're out of eyesight. I mean, really, I could leave the house for several hours and return and they would all be just fine...TECHNICALLY speaking!!

So...some part of me withdraws. I don't feel needed unless there's a squabble...which is every 30 seconds these days between children #2 and #3. Or unless they are hungry...which is every 30.3 seconds. Or unless they need a reminder to stay focused on their chores or school work...which is every 30.6 seconds,

My little daughter, my precious baby...she doesn't need me like she used to...and I feel wobbly inside...unsure of where I fit in, feeling like a spectator...

She's the child that is a walking accident...I'm sure everyone has one or knows one. Things just seem to magically break, fall, disappear whenever she's near...or she gets hurt. She's been known on more than one occasion to suddenly fall completely out of her chair at mealtime and hit the deck, hard! The most common thing to hear is "mommy? I ACCIDENTALLY dropped, broke, lost the..."

So I always tell her no. No, you can't roller skate in their cement basement...no, you can't carry that glass cup across the tile floor...no, you can't squirt the soap all by yourself...no, you can't learn to use a vegetable knife yet...no, you can't use scissors without my supervision...NO...you can't have a normal childhood and learn normal things because I just can't bear the thought of cleaning up any more broken glass, spilled food or blood.

And then I inwardly groan (and sometimes outwardly) and then feel guilty for getting upset...and try hard to look for the patience to cope with a smile...and usually don't find it

And it's a Sticking Point. Because now when I look at her, I see a tornado. And I can't see through the wind of curiosity and compulsiveness that flies around her...I can't make out the pieces and parts of the daughter that I had...the daughter that I want to have.

So mostly I just always feel awful about the way I feel...and I pray...and pray...and pray. Because I've been around long enough to learn that when I'm inadequate, when I feel like a failure, when my vision is skewed, when I am smallest, God is big...and clarity comes...eventually.



9/26/2012

Heavy on my heart

I do not follow politics, I don't watch the news, I don't understand the fine inner workings of foreign policy, economics and the stock market.

What I do understand right now is this:

We the people have fallen way past the mark of Dem*crat or Republi*an. The situation politically in our country has evolved to one of freedom versus none. There are some of us who are awake and watching this all unfold, with shock and horror. Shaking our heads, wondering what we can do. The rest of us are following the herd, so caught up in what feels good right now that we don't bother to take a look at where all the lemmings are headed.

The general public has become stupider and stupider, willing to believe ANYTHING that is on the television, ANYTHING that is on a billboard, ANYTHING their doctor tells them...as long as it will make their problems go away RIGHT.NOW....at any cost. Hard work has become a curse to be avoided, investing time in the well being of your children is now a waste of time because someone else can do it. Making conscious choices to conserve energy, waste, and to care for our environment are only done because it's a fad, not because anyone really cares. Money is now the driving force, not knowledge. If a company is wealthy and powerful enough, they will make their own truth. And everyone will believe it.

I am so tired of hearing people slam the opposite political party. Folks, this is way more serious than who is in office next year. We are on a fast track to a major economic, and cultural disaster and the only way to stop it or change it's course is to WAKE UP!!!!

OUR COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON THE BIBLE, THE WORD OF GOD!!! WE WOULD NOT BE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IF IT WEREN'T FOR THE MERCY AND GRACE OF JESUS.
Have you read your history books? Do you remember what you learned in elementary school? Why did the Pilgrims come to America? They came because they wanted to WORSHIP GOD freely. They did not come seeking a wealthy cushy life. Our country was founded on hard work and FAITH IN GOD. If it weren't for that, we would not be here. God blessed and prospered our nation because of it.

Are we still working hard? Are we still worshiping God? Nope. And guess what? He's not blessing our nation any longer. Like the Israelites who turned their backs on God despite His blessings, and were forced to wander in the desert, we are following suit.

I know this is heavy, and I rarely speak up about this kind of stuff because, frankly, I don't understand a lot of it. But I have read enough lately about parental rights under attack, forced vaccines, dishonesty in agriculture, and changing homeschool laws to know that somethin' just ain't right!

If you take anything away from this (and bless you if you read all the way to the end!) let it be this: PLEASE take responsibility for your own life. Learn it all for yourself. Don't base your opinions or actions on the news, commercials, or F*cebook gossip. Open your eyes, use the brain the Lord gave you, and look around. Disciple your families, grow your own food or at least try and buy real food without an ingredient list on it, pray with your spouse, learn to survive without power, learn to live with less, stop using your credit cards, be alert and aware at all times, walking and praying in the Spirit, watching for opportunities to serve.

Never, EVER take our freedom for granted, and remember that YOU (yes, YOU) are responsible for putting people in office that will take us in the direction we should go. WE are in charge of the government, but only if we refuse to back down, refuse to give up our rights, refuse to forget that we are a nation of tenacity, enterprise, and faith.

And now, my friends, I am off my soapbox.
Peace.

9/24/2012

I think I'm alone now...

For the first time...in 11 years of being a parent...I actually did it.

I broke down...and WANTED to be alone!

Weird...

I LOVE to be with  my kids, and so enjoy watching every little moment of their fast, young lives unfold right in front of me...and we homeschool...and don't really agree with having a dozen, frantic "extra" activities...so they literally are with me ALL the time.

I'm never alone...even in the bathroom!

And I'm not by any means complaining...

I just started feeling stretched thin, dried up, uninspired, disconnected...completely and utterly incapable in all areas of my life. So I asked...I asked the Lord if this was the right thing to do...and then I asked my husband...and I asked my parents to help out.

And yesterday morning, Marvin AND all the kids "left for work" at 8am, and came home at 8pm.

No one asking for food 5 times an hour, no sounds of squabbling upstairs, no lost toys, no math to teach, no arguments to resolve, no feelings of frustration because I can't get accomplished what needs to be done...

just peace

and stillness

I actually kept forgetting that I was truly alone and kept listening for the kids to be coming downstairs in the morning. It took several hours for it to finally sink in!

I thought I'd miss them, that I'd wander aimlessly through the house and maybe even cry a bit if I put laundry away in their rooms.

I did cry...but only because I was throwing myself at the feet of my Savior...begging and pleading for the end of my drought, crying out for wisdom and inspiration, yearning for spiritual insight into their lives, petitioning Christ for their hearts and souls...laying it all down on the line and asking...

And I didn't miss them.

And I'm not ashamed to say that.

It's normal and it was very much needed. For someone who never, ever gets a respite from the hardest job on the face of the earth...even on family vacation...it was just time. Just for one day...or maybe a couple more days down the road.

9/20/2012

Dear Jesus,

"Thank you for my brothers and sisters and my mommy and daddy. Please help my friend feel better tonight, and please comfort my uncle since his mommy went to be with you. Thank you for our house, and please help us find a new one with woods. Amen"

Simple. From the heart, with thanksgiving and honesty.

Does it really need to be complicated? Does prayer really need to be analyzed, broken down into talking points at a conference? With captions like, "Why prayers aren't answered?"
Can't we just talk...to Jesus...our Heavenly Father...Abba...our Creator God? He knows our hearts anyways, it doesn't matter how we re-arrange our words, or attempt to manipulate our thoughts to be more convicted, or more sure of ourselves in what we are asking.

After all, Jesus is the one who said, "with prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God"
He didn't say, "only after intensive research into the Scriptures, and arrangement of your prayer in the formula guaranteed to get results, will I consider listening to you"

I've heard it said that we need to stop praying "baby prayers", prayers like the ones my children pray each night before bed. We need to dig deeper into God and pray "grown up prayers" about the spiritual well-being of our neighborhoods, and the conscience of those guiding our nation.

yes. yes we do.

But sometimes, " baby prayers"  are the most honest, the most from the heart. The very thing that God put us immediately in care over, our children and our household, the very thing God created us as mothers to be, wouldn't it make sense that those are the things that prick our hearts and  move us to the simple, heartfelt cries and conversations with Jesus like, "Help me know what to do next!" or "please help my daughter learn to share".
Tiny supplications sent up to a mighty God who cares about so much more than that, and because of it, cares about details...because the details are the things that layer upon layer to make the big beautiful picture that He's painting!

Those of us who are gifted with the vision of the bigger picture are the ones who need to continue to strive and pray that way...
But there are also those of us who are down in the trenches, polishing and perfecting our execution of the tedium, the mundane stuff of life...the things that make the bigger picture come alive! The beautiful details that will make our sons and daughters and husbands and households a true work of art.

So...

Dear Jesus, thank you for always listening to me no matter what I say, and where I am. Thank you for Your promise to always be near. Please grant me wisdom to carry out my duties for today in a fair and loving manner, to glorify You. And please help me to find a solution to Ava's whining...
Amen!







9/17/2012

Tidbits of real...

Just a few things...it feels good to get it out there...so there's nothing to hide!

I can never take anything or any person at surface value. No matter what it is, or who they are, I think about it/them very deeply. Seriously. I always think there has to be more than just what I see. Food, furniture, shoes, church, the person behind me in line at the grocery, you get the picture...Unfortunately, that makes me susceptible to conspiracy theories and other such nonsense. Sometimes it's crippling, curbing my enjoyment of just the moment...but sometimes it is life saving...

I'm such a plan-ahead-er that I have to remind myself daily that THIS is my life. Right now. And I'd better make the most of it...and that as a wife, helpmeet, mother, and keeper of my home, I'm accountable to GOD for how I spend each minute of my day. THIS day, not the ones next week that I've planned for!

Sometimes, I just announce "It's a free day!" to my kids. Then I sit in a comfy chair and read a book all day while they watch movies, play computer games and feed themselves. Occasionally I feel guilty, but not usually.

Our desk in our school room is an unforgivable disaster area. I hate clutter and disorganization. Unfortunately, my dear husband could care less, and has even less time to do something about it. Sadly, I'm terrified to even touch the bills and statements and all the other freaky paper clutter that is surrounding me even as I type this. I'm not the one who pays the bills and deals with all that stuff, and in my mind, if I throw away the wrong thing, the IRS will be knockin' on the door tomorrow! I guess I need to find the Paper Clutter 101 class and take some good notes!

Right now, I'm completely alone in my house. Well, except for the dog...who is sitting behind me VERY loudly grinding down a bone. This never, ever, ever happens! The kids are at my parents house for the day, and it's my opportunity to ransack their rooms and get rid of stuff that they would never miss until they saw it heading out of the house to be donated...sneaky, eh? But...all I want to do is make some chocolate chip cookies and popcorn and sit down with a movie. *sigh* We don't even have any popcorn...

9/12/2012

I took a break

Right before Easter, during the Lenten season, I attempted to take a break from all electronics...more specifically from email and other internet related time wasters. I also imposed said break on my kids, and would have asked Marvin to participate except for the fact that he actually hates using the computer at all because he has to so often at work.

During the first week it was a little challenging. I was teaching a class to our local homeschool co-op at the time and I was trying to figure out how to limit my email access to only one day a week but still be able to adequately communicate with my students.  I ended up checking email only the day before my class, or checking once a day on my Kindle (which is small and makes it VERY inconvenient to send any reply emails).

I think it was about day three or four, when Marvin came home from work, raised his eyebrows and remarked how exceptionally clean and tidy the house looked.  The next week, he began to get a bit nervous as he saw bag after bag of stuff head out the door to be donated! At the end of that week, it hit me...

I was completely addicted to using the computer.

I remembered how vague and disconnected I had felt during the day from the kids, and how frantic I felt around 5:00 when I realized that my hours of the day had vanished and I couldn't be accountable for any of them. I had this sense of restlessness and hurry in the back of my mind to get accomplished normal daily tasks in what I felt to be not enough time.

I really and truly thought homeschooling was the culprit! How many times had I said to a friend, "Oh yes, I've given up on having a clean house, but at least we are eating healthy food and my kids will be well educated!"
And how silly I felt looking back on that, realizing that I had given my time over to a vacuum of useless internet searches and email rabbit trails.

At the end of the 40 day hiatus, I was extremely reluctant to end it! Sadly, I gave in to what is socially acceptable, and re-opened my email account. I had become so accustomed by then to redirecting my hourly thought of "must check email" to a thought of "no, no email, kids and house instead" that checking email felt foreign and strange.

Now, months later, I'm still unsure how this should look...me+the computer+my REAL life...what is too much? What is the bare minimum? Should I unsuscribe to all newsletters so I don't have as much email?

I have cut back on quite a bit, no longer going down rabbit trails, blog hopping, using Faceb*ok, or Twit*er...but I still do need to use email, and I still to quite a bit of research online. It's hard to find a balance with something that is so necessary, but at the same time not really!

I think the real issue for me is just simply getting distracted. I find myself doing something that I totally didn't intend to do and wondering how I got there! on a daily basis! Somehow I think that's no more than natural for a homeschooling momma of little ones...

9/09/2012

Hello, there!

Hi! It's me.
I've been away for quite a while. Too long.

I've forgotten how nice it is to have an outlet for all the words and conversations I have with myself in my head daily. How nice it is to think that perhaps someone else out there feels the same way...or that someone might feel better if they read what I wrote.

We've been schooling, asking questions, thinking about the future, re-thinking about the future, waiting on the Lord, working hard, de-cluttering, feeling unsettled, feeling content, trying new things, growing together, enjoying our life, seeing things with a different perspective.

Some things have been answered, settled. Others have not. It's hard to wait, but it feels familiar, secure. For waiting is what I do best...

I've actually been blogging all along...sometimes just in my head... and sometimes on here...just saving all the posts for when the time is right to share.

And now it's time.

So...Hello, again!
Hope you've all been well.
I'll talk to you soon...

2/15/2012

Just Mine

{Just a post with 
just pictures of 
just what I touch and work on during
 my day}

I wanted to see what I see all day besides the kids...
I think a couple kids snuck in there
but I tried to isolate and photograph 
just what I do

Call it an experiment in "maternal social studies!



serving breakfast
{homemade grain-free granola and raw pastured milk}


someone who is very grateful for the nutritious food I work hard to provide


Heading to the shower...
{this robe has seen me through pregnancies, sickness, cold days, sad days...and yes, I'm aware that it has yellow bath ducks and bubbles on it!}

Arthur...on the way upstairs
{long story, still makes me laugh}


And this still makes me smile!
{we worked so hard on this room, never thought we'd be finished...still love it up there}


Nasty...but cute
{this bathroom is older than your grandmother and dirtier than the bottom of an inner city dumpster...the day we rent a truck and haul away the guts of this room will be a happy one, indeed!}


Favorite jeans
{that of course were discontinued right after I ordered them and fell in love!}

 Other random stuff I must use each and every day
{in our other bathroom...that is older than your GREAT grandmother and dirtier than...well, I can't say! Not sure which one I'm more excited about tearing in to}


Waiting for me at the foot of my bed
{our "laundry room" is actually a small closet...IN our bedroom. Mixed feelings on that one!}

Checking in, and finding diligence!
{not normal...but warms my heart when it happens. Usually when I step out of the room, pandemonium breaks loose. Hence the reason I don't seem to get as many daily showers as I should!}


LOTS of tea bags...


for LOTS of kombucha
{this was my first gallon batch...isn't it pretty?}


If it isn't written in here, we won't be there!
{this is my paper-brain...couldn't live without it}


And if it isn't written in HERE, my kids won't be learning it!
{I heart my planners!}


Back in the kitchen to make lunch
{they all LOVE celery!}


Finding a misplaced water bottle


This is never empty...
{sad, but true!}
{I'd LOVE to have two dishwashers!}


Apron love


Something else to trip over
{but loyal companion!}


Dinner leftovers
{grain-free biscuits with jelly}

My light saber...duh-DUH, duhduhduhDUH-duh
{I love this broom...makes me happy to sweep!
and yes, there's a little St*r Wars love around here, too}


What's in there for tomorrow?
{can you spot the leeks, pastured chicken, farm eggs and cod liver oil?
Oh, and Ruger is looking for a carrot!}


This means bedtime is almost here...
{or maybe this was me starting it at noon!}

I would like to try this again but with a different theme...
maybe like "what I taught the kids" or "what we read" or "what I cooked"

2/09/2012

A Thousand Words...literally!

This might just look like a sweet picture to anyone else...


but for me, it is worth 1000 words.

 One thousand word spent 
 
praying
doubting myself
questioning learning abilities
asking for help
refusing help
seeking advice and finding answers
trying new things
repenting for giving up
praising
encouraging
bragging

One thousand words spent

asking why?
discussing
pleading
lecturing
reasoning
explaining
modeling
giving up (again!)
venting
getting creative
 
and finally

falling on my knees before the One who knows...
(isn't it funny that sometimes that's the last thing we do?)

You see, this picture represents the fruit of our two year struggle to get Benji reading, AND to get Benji and Ava to stop their constant picking at each other. This picture represents the faithfulness of our God...and how He does care about the details of our life!

Wanna know how we did it?
Coming soon...

1/31/2012

What do you do when...

every word you say hits a brick wall?

When obedience turns into a negotiable concept?

When you get so frustrated that you want to stomp and yell and punch the wall?

When the entire household has molasses running through their veins, 
but the schedule races by at the speed of light?

When everyone, including you, needs something dramatic and new,
all at the same time?

When you need to be doing 5 things all at once...
but can't seem to even manage one successfully?
 
I get excited!
Yep!

It's when those seasons come that I lean deeper into my Rock. 
He put me here. 
He has made me content to be a wife, a mother, a help-meet, a homemaker, a teacher...
I love watching our home get rocked this way
because...

The outcome is beautiful!

We all emerge clean and shiny, washed by the rain of trials and friction, cleansed by the act of humble submission to our Heavenly Father, 
 
author of
orderliness
and peace
 
giver of wisdom
 
lifter of the weary
 
light for those who stumble
encourager of the mommies

protector of their children

leader of the lost.

So, we wait. I pray and observe...both myself and my children. I take notes, find scripture, get ideas from others, pray some more, and let the Lord make a new plan. This happens every so often to us...mostly when I'm feeling puffed up and prideful that I CAN DO IT!

Because, after all, I can't do it! It's only Christ through me that can...

It's a hard lesson learned, one that I apparently need to learn over and over again.
This time seems to be a bit harder than others...and I'm seeing bad fruit from bad choices.

BUT

Jesus will be glorified here!

And it will be a beautiful thing...




1/12/2012

We interrupt this program...

Today was a good day...

Just a day to stay at home, listen to the rain
learn something, cook some food
clean a bit
snuggle and read
you know, normal stuff!

But...
as soon as I woke up I knew I had to visit my chiropractor.
From all the enthusiastic violin practicing I've been doing with the children
my jaw and neck were hurting
and boy were they in pain this morning!
I could barely open my mouth...

So, a phone call and a frantic hour later
we were on the road.
The appointment was at 11, which meant we had to leave at 10

If you've read previous posts of mine
you'll know that leaving the house at 10 is *yawn* early morning for us!

Thank goodness for extra homemade turkey sausage patties from yesterday in my fridge
and a quick kefir smoothie!

Anyway, after a crazy unexpected three hours in which I began to feel tremendously better,
we pulled in the driveway where I was greeted by a text message from a friend asking
"r u home?"

Want my honest reaction?

*inward groan*
*thoughts of being dishonest*

I don't like to be interrupted!
And we had JUST pulled in the driveway, for heaven's sakes! 
After a morning of a huge interruption!

BUT...
I replied
"sure!"

And in 15 minutes had an onlooker while I fed the kids and cleaned up the kitchen...sort of

THEN...
(are you ready? this is big...)
I
SAT
DOWN

and

chatted nonstop for several hours with a friend that I hadn't seen for quite a while that used to be one of my closest friends who said she was lonely and unsettled and we got interrupted several times by the kids but it didn't phase me because hey, the whole day so far has been an interruption, right?

*whew*

And you know what?
It was great!

Yes, the house suffered...
dinner was late...
part of school didn't get done...
violin didn't get practiced...
the children watched a couple movies...

But it was OK!
We had a great time and shared things that needed to be talked about between the two of us.

And, best of all, I was reminded of something.
A truth that MUST be remembered if you are going to be a successful parent.

The interruptions in your day are God breaking in and giving you an opportunity to teach the children something about life, and giving you an opportunity to practice patience, grace, gentleness or any other character lesson He is teaching YOU!

Interruptions are the alarm clock going off, reminding you not to get too caught up in
the busy, but to stop
and 
BE
in the
moment

To be interrupted is a gift.

1/09/2012

DEEPression

falling without warning
like thick grey snowflakes
permanently frozen

sucking me under
frosting my windshield
swerving me off the road
into a safe ditch

no more travel today

my mind shuts down
and simple choices become
a herculean effort

laughter and jokes turn to
ugly noise
amplified by nerves on edge

physical touch is painful
friendly advances seem threatening
eyes can't focus on reality

when the flurries come 
sometimes I can make them melt
not today
today it is a blizzard

no tools for escape
hands fall numb and heavy
no help but to sleep

and hope to wake tomorrow
to sunshine


{does any of this ring true for you? if so, there is hope! you can get help...I did. don't give up, dear sister...there is a plan for your life!}


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