Filed under: Uncategorized
Lately I’ve been completely overwhelmed…with good things! Decklan joined us on December 30th. The past month+ has flown by. I’ve really tried to focus on “living in the now.” After 5 children, I finally understand the poem which says, “Settle down, dust; cobwebs go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.” I’ve really just taken the time to sit with Decklan and enjoy it. I don’t look around and see everything else which needs doing; nor do I fret about any kind of time table. My husband has afforded me with the space we all need to just sit with the baby and not stress about the other stuff. With the thought that this is our last baby, I find that I’m broken and relieved at the same time. Broken because I can’t hold him enough during the day (there simply isn’t enough day)…I’m afraid that I’ll forget his little smell and the feel of his tiny-ness. But, I find that I’m also relieved because the end of this part means the beginning of a new phase in life. The idea of going from Building babies to simply Raising people would be a change for us. Relief would come for me with the end of the “maybe” phase. I don’t like to live in “Maybe.”
We’ve also been so blessed by K! She lives in our yard (long story) and she has become entwined in our lives and hearts for a time. Since the baby came, she has visited the house regularly to help with household chores and just play with the other kids. Getting to know her better and see her heart has been such a blessing to us. Her visits are another reason I’ve been able to just sit and enjoy the newborn phase more than ever before.
The weather is warming up unusually early and so has prompted an early spring fever. We’ve all been walking around the farm together and cutting down trees for the wood pile, burning the grass, and dreaming of bleating on the hill. My hope for sheep has a chance to see the light this summer! We also hope to add to our flock of birds. We got a few layers and meat chickens last summer and kept a few laying hens. We hope they’ll hatch out some chicks of their own this spring. (We’ll find a rooster soon…) Now the sun is shining, the clothesline is working, and today is a very special day for us. My husband is older today! It may be a holiday for everyone else, but for us it’s more than special. It’s a day to celebrate the best person in my whole world. He’s been so wonderful for putting up with me for +10 years of marriage, and I wouldn’t trade those 10 years for any other time in my life.
That’s my story for today. Enjoy yours!
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Oh my word. So much time. So much news. So much heart. So many babies….. another one coming this winter = 5! And thru it all — all the heartache, disappointment, blinding Happiness, repentance, ridiculous Joy, homeschooling, and fear — I have felt the hand of the Lord leading us and loving us. Our little family has seen loved ones suffer heart attacks, near-death experiences, some welcome new babies…and others grieve for lost ones, survive cancer, several divorces, garden success and failure, new pets, and we’ve grown in so much Love. We love to be together every day. We love to sing together, dance together, eat together, play together, worship together. To just Be. Together. My life couldn’t get more complicated……..or happier. We initially really struggled with the news of another baby. Not gonna lie or sugar-coat it. #4 is very difficult — he requires a different style of parenting than the others. And, with our age, another baby didn’t really sound like fun at first. But. Who are we to say “no” to another Blessing? Of course we’re delighted. Hubby loves the thought of another little person to love. So, this is where we live: Love, Happiness, Anticipation, Joy, Peace. It’s a nice place to live.
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It was really only a matter of time before “It” happened. The thing that every child dreads. The most extreme consequence to refusing to help at pick-up time. “It” happened last night……..
Mother: It’s pick-up time, guys! Let’s get this house lookin’ good!
Children: We don’t want to pick up our toys, Mommy. Let’s just throw them away.
Mother: But, Christmas is coming. You need to show us that you value your toys before we get you any more.
Children: Well, if we don’t have these toys anymore, we’ll have LOTS more room for new ones.
(Cue the dramatic lighting and ominous music.) Mother raises her finger to point at her children. Mother: If thou dost not treasure thine treasures nor show a proper Thankfulness for thine home, thy Mother and Father shall withhold from thee thine treasures until such a time as thou learnest proper respect and develop an attitude of helpfulness within thine home and elsewhere.
Children (in unison): Okay, Mommy. Go ahead. We don’t want them anymore.
Just like that! Okay, not quite like that. But the point is the same. The kids didn’t want to help anymore and told me to throw their toys away. So last night and today I’ve spent some major time gathering and storing (for now) SEVERAL boxes and bins of toys. The girls still have a few that they actually do play with. But the boy? Totally toyless. Truly, I’m not a monster. I didn’t enjoy removing the toys amidst wailing and gnashing of teeth. Their father and I spent much time gathering all the wonderful garage sale prizes our kids would love to play with, and finding places to hold everything. And I LOVE to make the toy lists for grandparents to go toy shopping for our babies. But friends, when my beautiful children looked at me with their stunningly gorgeous eyeballs (1 pair of giant brown eyes and 2 pairs of arresting blue ones, mind you) and proved to me how ungrateful they are for their toys, I suddenly realized I’d made a big mistake in indulging their appetites for things.
This ungrateful attitude first showed itself to this degree about a year ago. I’m a very patient woman when it comes to my children. So, after a year of pushing (and sometimes dragging) our children to develop a loving heart toward their treasures, we decided that they simply need fewer treasures to love. I’m not sure that it’s really worth a whole blog post, but that’s my story. I love my children enough that I took their toys away. Now they’ll have to play outside, or read, or play games with each other, talk to each other or, (gasp) learn how to be alone. I think we’ll ALL be okay.
Have you ever done something counter-culture for the good of your children?
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Baby, Change, Encouragement, Facebook, Friendship, God, Love, Obedience, Season
I just re-read what I wrote last time. Now I find myself in a new Season of Change. Baby #4 is coming in the spring and with him/her comes all kinds of emotional and family dynamic changes. But, it’s really made me buckle down and make another change. I’m saying goodbye to Facebook. It’s something I should have done MONTHS ago! My level of disobedience to the Lord in this matter is somewhat shocking; even to myself. I’ve known for a long time now that this is what He wants me to do, but I’ve been dragging my feet and making excuses for keeping it. It’s become the main way church faithfully shares good and bad news and encouraging articles. It’s the only way I ever see or hear anything from long-distance relatives and friends (aside from the family gossip hotline). I enjoy reading status updates about the new discount grocery store in the neighborhood.
But here’s the thing: God told me to close it down. That’s honestly enough reason for me to do it.
This is the beginning of my new season of Home. I have (almost 4) small children. I’m supposed to stay home and nurture my family. (I consider a few non-relatives to be a part of my family and I want to nurture my relationships with them as well.) It isn’t my job right now to go all over the countryside (or the internet) seeking the superficial company of others. That’s what Facebook had become for me — a way to keep up with people I love without any real or intentional interaction. My life according to Facebook for the past 2 years has been to read updates from my friends and then to feel no real obligation to go the extra mile; to write them a note or to visit. I’ve considered a Facebook comment to be enough consolation for the death of a spouse, or enough Happy on a birthday. Or for a conversation about the Awe-inspiring God I worship… For people I claim to love! Shame on me. I’ve neglected people and personal interaction for the lazy way out; for the ease of simply pushing a few buttons. The most heinous part about it is that internet interaction (all merely written correspondence) removes all inflection, tone, body language, and Deeper Meaning from communication. Except when you really know the one you’re writing to. It eliminates our ability to qualify our point with a look of sincerity or the quiet tone of understanding. If I had a dollar for every time what I’ve written has been completely misunderstood I would be very wealthy. Facebook has become a tool to make us think we know each other based on the pictures and/or articles we share. It’s wrongly become a platform for “venting” about relatives and friends instead of being open with one another and sharing when we’ve been hurt and why — with the one it should be aimed at. The internet has enabled us to read meaning into a conversation through the goggles of our own bitterness, heartbreak, pessimism, and insincerity. As a culture, we’ve lost the personal responsibility that comes with personal interaction. And it’s caused an interesting social phenomenon. When I realize I’ve been “un-friended” it’s awkward to be around that person in real life. I wonder if it was something I said or shared, or a picture I uploaded…….or the undesired and misunderstood encouragement? It’s weird for me. I realize that’s MY problem, but I don’t think it’s just me.
But the bottom line is that I don’t know my friends anymore and I don’t like it. Unfortunately I’ve also discovered that a few people I considered my friends had changed so much that we no longer have anything in common. Literally nothing. And I’ve not allowed my friends to come to know me, (I mean, to know the real me) either. So here’s what I hope to change about myself — I want to be more purposeful in my relationships. I pledge to become more sincere in my pursuit of friendships. Please understand that I’m in no way suggesting that you also close your Facebook account. I’m not saying that the internet has no good use at all. But I am saying that I’ve abused social networking in a friendship-killing way and that I hope to change that. I want honest, open, genuine and sincere relationships with those people who have had the most impact in my life. So, I will stay home and make more effort to communicate with my loved ones. I am moving beyond Facebook and stepping back into real life and real love. Today, I’m choosing to change.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Baby, Blessing, God, Season, Surrender, Trust, Waiting
Do you ever have the feeling that Life is passing you by and you just can’t keep up? Like, you’re overwhelmed with being overwhelmed and your head is barely above the water? Be encouraged! Our lives are lived in Seasons.
There’s the Season of Waiting. Waiting to be married. Waiting to be pregnant. Waiting to give birth. Waiting to finish school. Waiting to _______. We need the waiting. That seemingly eternal pause between where we are and where we want to be is sometimes the hardest test to overcome. It helps us build our Faith…if we know and Love the Lord…and if we allow Him to allow us to Wait.
There’s the Season of Little. Little Joy, little time, little rain, little breeze, little patience. This season can also be called the Season of Self. When we focus on ourselves, we don’t see the beauty around us.
We I miss all the Joy in the Time it takes my babies to mature. I miss all the opportunity to learn how to dig in the dry sandbox on a summer day when I fret about the housecleaning, or the laundry, or all the other “things” I won’t have Time for if I just stop and feel the breeze that really IS there.
Then, when we stop long enough to breathe and surrender, we find the Season of Much. Much Time. Much Love. Much Joy. Much Patience. So Much Peace. That’s where I find myself lately. This Season of Much seems to be such a long time coming. It took me a long time to find it because I struggled through the other 2 seasons for longer than I needed to. I’ve finally surrendered myself (again) to what the Lord really wants me to do. Sometimes the “what” changes. For now, I’m a stay-home mom who home schools our 5-year-old and entertains our 2 other, younger children. For now, I’m passionate about landscaping, heirloom tomatoes, keeping ducks, being fully present in my children’s lives and a supportive wife to my most excellent husband. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. I had to stop obsessing about my weight, housework, yard work, weight, schedule, my weight… you get the idea. I had to make the choice to STOP! Look around. And remember that Life is not built in a day, or a week, or a month, a year. Life comes in Seasons.
The leaves have begun to change in the woods. A new Season is coming. Autumn will soon be here, but for now, I’ll just enjoy the season I’m in.
What Season do you find yourself in today?
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Amish, Baby, Blessing, Convictions, God, Trust
God really does love me. I can prove it. When I talk to Him, He listens and then later — when I least expect it — He reminds me of what I asked for. And, the timing of everything is absolutely perfect…as only HE can do.
So it’s been a pretty rough time around here recently. Some close friends of ours discovered that their 3rd baby was developing in the fallopian tube. For those of you who don’t know what that means — it means that if the baby continues to develop where it is, the mother’s life is in danger. Okay. They were advised to abort simply because the chances of the baby living and NOT killing the mother are very small. They didn’t do it. We don’t worship a God who tells us to murder our children so that we might live. The doctors said they were crazy. But once a woman gets pregnant her life is not her own… Our wonderful friends lost their baby and the sweet mother of 2 other beautiful people almost lost her life.
At the end of April I dreamed that a very close friend of mine was pregnant! (Not a big deal…until you realize that God often tells me when my loved ones are expecting — sometimes even before THEY know it!) So anyway, in my dream P told me she was pregnant and used her hands to show me how big her belly would be at different stages. But I could tell that she didn’t really believe it. I could tell that she wasn’t joyful. Then I woke up. (P has gone through the horrible pain of multiple miscarriages.) I was so sure that she really was pregnant that I even called her husband more than once to ask…but chickened out. You see, I’ve hurt P in the past by demanding that she confirm what I’d heard from the Lord. I’ve been prideful and arrogant before about her joyful news instead of letting it be just that: Joyful. So I didn’t ask her. I prayed for her and the baby. I prayed A LOT! I told her that I was praying for her and left it open for her to tell me that she was pregnant, but she didn’t and I respected that. Then a few weeks later I got a call from her husband: “Hey, we just had our 2nd ultrasound and it doesn’t look good. We’re 8 weeks along and the heartbeat is only 85 and there’s another hemorrhage…just like last time.” I felt like I’d been punched. My heart cried out to the Lord “But, Lord, I’ve been PRAYING for them! This can’t happen again! This is MY baby, too…” That’s when I heard it; you know, that little voice that says “Trust Me.” So I trusted Him. I prayed even harder than before. P and her husband asked that our church pray, too. We all prayed for Life and Joy, but they won’t come through the birth of that little person. The baby died. And God is bigger than that. He’s not surprised. He never promised that we won’t feel pain or loss and disappointment. What He wants us to take away from those experiences is the realization of where our own heart is. Am I angry at God? No. He knows everything. It’s my job to submit to His decisions. Do I think He should do things differently according to the way I want them? No. His ways are higher than my ways. Do I still trust Him? “Though You slay me, I will trust You.”
So, I was reeling from the pain of loss and I didn’t realize that I had genuinely begun to question whether or not God really listens to me. I mean, after all, things were not turning out the way I had planned. That’s sin. I’m not God (shocker, I know) and to question His love for me simply because I was in pain is completely self-centered. Where was I when He created the heavens and the earth? I went to the chiropractor on the day it was confirmed that P’s baby died. As I was driving out of the parking lot I saw a woman driving in. She smiled at me very sweetly. Long story short, I’d never met her before, but have been praying for her little family for months! Our husbands are acquainted and their picture has been on our fridge for a long time now. I had recognized her smile from the picture on our fridge and I turned around and practically chased her down in the parking lot. So I stood in front of her and quickly introduced myself and blubbered that God was doing something amazing for me at that moment. I had been praying for the opportunity to meet her and share with her that I had been praying for them (and their new baby which is due any day now)! On just the day I needed reassurance the most, God gave it to me. I can’t really put into words just why it was so important for me to meet her on just that day. There’s so much their story that I really can’t do it any justice here. It’s the Divine Timing of everything that has me floored. And I had been such a brat to the Lord just a few hours earlier… . I’m very excited that we’re having them over for supper tonight — unless they’re having a baby. 😉
I’ve repented (again) for doubting Him. He’s always so good at gently reminding me to Trust Him when I really need it most. Do you have an amazing God story? I love hearing others tell me about how wonderful He is, too. Blessings.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Amish, Blessing, God, Ministry, Neighborhood
…about my God. He’s the best thing that has EVER happened to me — and I have a husband! Just today He has blessed me more than I could have asked for. I went to pick strawberries at the local patch today. And it rained. I was happily alone (my children were with a neighbor) and picking berries even though I got soaking wet. Then a young woman asked me if I would like some help to pick. Sure! So I got to have a wonderful conversation with a 15 year-old Amish girl who was happy to spend some time with me in the rain while we chatted about the Faithfulness of our God. I decided that I would go right to her house to tell her mother what a wonderful blessing she is raising…but her mother was not home. So instead, I decided to find the house of an old school friend of mine. I knew that this friend (V) had moved in the past year, so I wasn’t sure where to find her. I drove around the neighborhood hoping that her name would be on a mailbox. It wasn’t. So I prayed, “Lord, you’re going to have to show me which house I need to visit to find V.” I pulled into a driveway and admired the flowers on the way to the door. A little face peeked through a window and motioned me to another door. The woman at the other door was very pleasant. When I told her who I was looking for, her response was this: “Oh, she’s my husband’s sister.” Wow. Thanks, Lord. So went on my way — still amazed that God answered my prayer so completely by showing me the perfect house to find my friend. My plan was to stop long enough to say “Hi, V! I can’t stay long, but I wanted to find where you are. Could I come visit you next week?” However, the Lord had other plans. 45 minutes after I showed up, I grudgingly left after having the most incredible conversation with this Amish woman about Holiness, Godliness, signs of the times, education, Covenant, and Accountability. Wow. God timed our meeting again so perfectly. I loved V back when we were in school, but now I know that she’s “my people” more than I thought. Not only that! When I showed up at the neighbor’s house to pick up my children I had to apologize for taking advantage of her kindness for watching my children. I hadn’t given her an end time, but I really had visited with my friend longer than I should have… Anyway, I showed up to get my kids and she was making lunch for them. She told me to go home and eat with my husband and come back for the kids later! That’s only the beginning! This is just the blessings He’s given me TODAY!
Even as I sit here and write all of this out, I’m still completely amazed at how the Lord touches my heart with my neighbors. This little place that I call home is surrounded by Amish families who KNOW the Lord, and can recognize Him in my eyes. As different as we are from one another, we’re the same in the Lord. I love how every conversation that I have with my neighbors turns to the Lord. Everything that we talk about has Him in it…and it’s fitting. He’s the most important decision any of us can ever make. He gives me everything my heart desires…even though loving Him is all I can give in return. Maybe next time I’ll share how He’s opened doors for me through flowers, or babies, or cooking, or baking, or…whatever. Blessings.