Losing Your Life.

I turned on the computer about 15 minutes ago. I have my plate of half-eaten lunch  next to me and my children ( who of course ate about 30 minutes before I even thought about eating myself ) are now playing outside, running off that “we-just-ate-and-have-fresh-energy! ” store that I hope will lessen in enough time to squeeze a nap in ( for them. Not me. Haha! That would be nice! I haven’t taken a nap on a weekday in years! ).

I was just taking a bite of taco, with an 18 month old climbing up my chair, crying to sit on my lap, my 3 year old crying because she wants to race with her sister, so I put the baby down for his nap and he is now banging on the wall in his room. Give him a few minutes and he will conk out. Thanks to our black-out curtains. I am in love with our black-out curtains. They give me a sense of hope that sleeping in on the weekend might happen! Is it lying to try and trick your children  into believing the sun is not out yet?

These moments of calm or quiet don’t happen that often or without a lot of planning and scheming. In those moments it’s like I can hear the Hallelujah Chorus. Sort of. I’m not used to silence or being able to hear myself think! In fact this blog post originated because I was talking to myself in the bathroom. Yep. I have resorted to talking to myself in order to be able to think about things.

I read this amazing blog post written by another sister-in-motherhood of four, wherein she describes so eloquently what it’s like to having that many kids. It’s hilarious, you need to read it. ( here )I have thought of her often and how wonderful it is to know I am not alone.

I am not the only mother who literally has to hold it for hours before I actually make it to the bathroom. I mean, going to the bathroom isn’t really that big of a priority, until it is. Even then you have to basically get your kids permission or firmly lay it out to them that “MOMMY IS GOING TO THE POTTY! ” in no uncertain terms. And of course something ALWAYS happens in the 1.5 seconds that you’re allowed to go to the bathroom and you promise yourself that you will just wait till the end of the day to go again because it’s really just not worth it! Before you’re a mom you don’t even know that so much could be said about going to the bathroom. But when you do become a mom and you’re sitting on the potty and your child(ren) is/are screaming your name or banging on the door you will know that you have  arrived.

Going to the bathroom is kind of like eating or drinking. You will forget to do either of these at some point. You are a good mom when you have trained your body in such a way that you will just not need to do any of those necessities. Mind over matter. When you can go throughout a whole day with just a bite of something or one sip of water you are winning. You will know when you have trained yourself, when you guzzle a glass of water before bed and it hits you that you haven’t actually had any water all day, though it seems you have poured cups of water ( and wiped up spilled ones ) ad nauseum. You will actually try to drink during the day but are unsuccessful. You will pour yourself a glass of water 5-6 times before your children all need some and you give them a sip of yours and by the time they are all satisfied you will have lost the motivation to get more for yourself. Just forget about getting anything, like a snack or a fun drink or cup of coffee just for the pleasure of it. As a mom you do things as a necessity and not before. This is the best way I can show you what it’s like…



I have pulled this muscle in my leg from doing that walk/run/powerwalk thing everywhere I go in the house. Because as soon as I start any kind of chore or job or change a diaper or whatever, I will always have at least one, or two, possibly 4  other little voices simultaneously calling my name. Remember when you just yearn for your baby to be able to say Mommy? Remember that day? I do it every time my baby is born and I just can’t wait to hear them say it. They always make up for lost time. Like  now, my 18 MO just says “mommy” for everything. He loves to say it in a scream-cry. One cute variation he does is almost a British ” Ma Ma ” that he says on a loop as well. All while beating my leg to make a point. Poor thing. He has figured out that he has to do this to make himself heard above the noise and demands of his sisters.

I feel like I accomplished a good bit today though, when I think about it. I got out of bed (this is the biggest accomplishment, most days! ) I fed all the children, got all of us clothed, and out the door before 11 to go to our Library Story Time. I had that odd surge of adrenaline or something like it when I got home and I was thinking of all these things I wanted to write down on a list that I needed to do. I was trying to make lunch while I experienced this strange phenomena and managed to get out a piece of paper. I even  got out a pen and stood in front of the paper like 5 different times but was always interrupted. Now I have no clue what I even intended to write because I never got the chance . *sigh* I guess it just wasn’t that important. I remember I was going to write ” Goals for Today” as a heading and it’s just apropos that it remained blank. At this point, I should just write:

Yesterday was not such a good day. I told my husband that I needed to just sit on the floor and forget about anything that I should be doing or needed to do, like laundry or dishes or cooking. If I had that freedom to just serve my children all day, answer their every beck and call immediately and take care of their every need without any thought to anything else and just play, I might not be so frustrated! It’s when the kids, that take up so much of our time and energy and attention, insert themselves on a house that needs cleaning or garbage that needs to be taken out or a dishwasher full of dishes that frustrations arise. I truly wish that I could just play and have fun and be creative with them all day but, I cant.

Then somewhere we get the guilt-trip that we aren’t good mom’s because we aren’t doing those things. We really are juggling so much, trying so hard, and should cut ourselves a little slack. Without God’s grace and a good sense of humor there is no way to make it through the day. It’s when I keep a record of how many interruptions I have had, or how many things on the list didn’t even get written down that I lose the will to go on.

Amy Carmichael writes that God “threads the minutes of our hours.” Elizabeth Elliot says, ” Not even the tiny dewdrop lacks the care and attention of the Lover of all. Shall I then think of any detail of my earthly life, even so little a thing as a minute of one of my hours, as without meaning? ”

I realized as I scurried about doing this and that, that when I am most upset or frustrated at how the day is going ( or not going ) I am so focused on myself and my plan or my picture-perfect-make-believe kind of day that I am bound to get upset when things go off the rails like they always do. Really, what I’m worried about is that while I bend over backwards to take care of everyone around me, no one will take care of me.

I mean, it’s a legitimate concern, especially when you can’t find time to brush your teeth or bathe, but besides that, we are constantly told to “look out for number one” and, “you have to take care of yourself first.” But when you make that your priority, you are only guaranteed to be frustrated and annoyed as well as raise perfectly selfish kids who have learned from our example. And really, that’s my greatest fear. That my sins and bad-habits will rub off on them and the viscous cycle will continue. So as I try to pull all this together, the more I worry about myself and my needs or wants, the more I will be frustrated and upset. And as Mrs. Elliot so rightly says, ” Frustration is not the will of God. Of that we can be certain. There is time to do anything and everything that God wants us to do. ”

Let’s hear that again:

There is time to do anything and everything that God wants us to do.

Wow. So if God has strung my minutes together and has given me the time to do all that is required, and if he is taking care of me like he takes care of the sparrow, will never leave me or forsake me, will give me grace that is sufficient, will not allow me to be tempted more than I am able and thinks thoughts of prosperity, hope and a future for me…what is the problem?

I guess like any rubber that meets the road, it hurts. It’s not easy or pleasant. It’s a struggle. I love the famous philosopher Jim Gaffigan who says,


That’s what it feels like! Drowning!

I say all of this tongue in cheek, because I don’t have to tell you I wouldn’t trade any of my kids for the world. I wouldn’t trade the chaos for the luxury of being able to do whatever I want whenever I want it. It’s not easy but I know my children are a method God uses to strengthen me and change me and mold me into His image. If you want to be pushed a little harder in your sanctification then I highly recommend having kids.

But more than that, it’s a great privilege to be entrusted the life of any other person than my own. I marvel all the time that God would bless me with any life let alone that of 4! ( 5 if you count my husband, whom, I sometimes forget, is NOT one of the kids! ) I know there are so many who would give an arm and a leg for the trials of children that I have been writing about, and my prayers are with them. They see with clearer eyes the blessing that children are. I don’t want to get so bogged down with the hurry and scurry of my kids that I forget to enjoy them. But it does take a good dose of just plain humility to do the parenting thing at all. And Christ does say, “whoever loses his life for My sake will find it…And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Matt. 10:39,42

” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:6-11

I can’t say it any better than that.

Lies I Believe

I am sitting on one corner of my couch, “hiding from my house” as Mom’s Night Out so poignantly put it. I did not order this day well.

Yesterday was great in the sense that I cleaned the house very thoroughly after a week and a half of dealing with some horrible sickness and barely eking out the bare necessities. Now that I am feeling better and sleeping again, I have that renewed sense of how wonderful it is to be alive and able to get things done! But that lasted for about 24 hours before life as usual hit me hard.

I say that I didn’t order my day very well, and that may be. I say that because looking around me I’m not sure that I made the best use of every spare minute I had which probably should have been spent doing the dishes or making my bed. But when I take a minute to think about it, I did accomplish some really important things. Such as spontaneously deciding to make stuffed animal Easter bunnies for all the girls ( though only one was completed, ) and taking an hour to consult with my sister in-law about health issues, as well as spending a lot of time researching online what supplements I need to buy and also doing writing and reading with the kids. I even threw in a school related game and tried a new play dough recipe. Oh, the things we do for our kids.

So you see, I really was trying! But by the looks of things and the state of my heart, I’m just not sure that I made the best use of my time. It’s because the state of my soul is so easily reflected in the state of my house. This is one of the many lies I have believed.

My mom was the paragon of perfection, at least when it came to housecleaning. I never remember the house ever being dirty. She was a real stickler when it came to neatness, even to the point of never bringing a cooking pot or pan to the table- it was always in serving ware, no matter that it doubled the dishes. Granted, I don’t remember much about what our house looked like when I was the age my own children are, but my guess is that she was pretty much the same then as now.

So my mom blessed me with a wonderful example and a wonderful ethic about keeping house and “taking dominion” of my little domain, which I hold very dear. But she would be the first one to bring up the fact that she didn’t have 4 little ones running underfoot making messes as fast as they could. So it’s been hard for me to readjust my standard of living a little bit to accommodate the demands that toddlers make on your time and priorities.

These days, any amount of time I can keep my children from watching TV or begging for food is a huge accomplishment! But it doesn’t come without a cost.

As soon as I set a standard of living for my family that is impractical or impossible to keep is the minute I have set an idol and a burden upon myself that God never wanted me to do. It just hit me today, that God did not set this standard of spick and span, neat and orderly, prim and proper. I did. And while I will always strive with my house and the dirt in it, it doesn’t have to hold the power over me that it does.

I have allowed the state of my house to reflect the state of my soul, which is pretty messy itself. But as the saying goes, it’s a beautiful mess. As I look about me I may see a lot of crazy and disorder, but I also see the life that was lived today. The attempts that were made to play with and teach my kids. And while I WISH it could be done with a fairy godmother who waved a magic wand over the mess when we were done, it can’t. There’s just me, and I can’t do it all all the time.

I recently discovered that the lies I believe are very strong and very wrong. I have believed that I don’t deserve the hardship, or that I didn’t sign up for this or that. I question what I am doing an awful lot and wonder if I can make it. My tendency is to want to run away and hide, burying my head in the sand in the hopes it will go away. I pine for the have-beens and wish for the what-ifs. I disappoint myself.

But if life is about our communion with our Savior and the process of becoming more like Him, then maybe He’s using these things, this mess, to work on me. To show me how much I need Him and how near He is. I spend an awful lot of time crying out for mercy and grace. The moment I let the externals and the circumstances determine my happiness is the moment I have forgotten who God is. He is near, a very present help in trouble. He is calling the Martha of my heart to become the Mary. It’s hard to let go of lies we have believed for so long, to trust that God’s alternative is better. That His “no” can really be better than the “yes” I’m pining for.

I am working on being grateful for all things, good and seemingly bad. I know this will continue to be tested. When I come up on hardships and they rub me the wrong way, instead of reverting back to believing those lies I am trying to take every thought captive and evaluate it for what it really is. And as Elizabeth Elliot says, “The taking of captives is not a gentle business. They don’t want to come. ”

Instead of letting the problems I face discourage me, I need to see them all as opportunities to push in closer to my God who eagerly awaits my cry for help, ready to provide the help that I need.

May God give me grace in the journey.

January 29th, 2016

It was last night and I was thinking a lot about this post and wanted to sit down to write it but I was just too exhausted! I kept thinking, ” No! This is your only time to write, when the kids are in bed! ” but there were dishes and then I needed a shower and I thought it would be wiser to sleep than to write : )

And that’s the topic I’ve been dwelling on lately: Choices.

Decisions that we make as people, mom’s in particular. Because each moment of the day is a choice to do one thing or another. Sometimes it’s easy- change the baby’s diaper, cook supper, eat the supper, go to sleep! Other times it’s a real battle to decide what we should, want or need to be doing.

As a mom, we have our priorities list. Then we have our list of things that would be GREAT if we get done, then we have a small corner of ” I wish I could…”

The problem is, kids. They wait for no one! Time marches on! They can’t be left alone for two minutes! ( at least mine… ) And they aren’t problems, I didn’t mean to say that…but sometimes it feels like they are.

I try to remember what I did before I had kids and I can’t remember. I do know that I used to pine for kids and wish that I could have kids and lots of them and then God blessed us and now I sometimes pine for just 5 minutes alone without the kids! There is irony…

I really do love that God has a sense of humor. ( Of course He does, because we do! ) and that while I used to cry when I saw a pregnant lady because I wanted a baby so badly, He then decided to bless us with 4 babies in 5 years. He is so good to give us the desires of our hearts, but then sometimes we find that the desire we had was a little misguided.

I wanted kids to fill that space in my heart and life, to complete my vocation. I felt called to mother as much as I felt called to be a wife and yet that prayer went unanswered for a time. And I was pressed to ask myself, ” what if we don’t ever have kids? What will I do then? ”

It took a long time for me to give up that desire and just relinquish it to the Lord because I honestly didn’t know. But then I realized that if we never had kids, we would be ok. God would give us the work He wanted us to do. And it turned out that kids were in his plan and now the work is in abundance!

It’s just funny that when you want something SO MUCH and you get it, God will allow you to see that all your hopes and dreams do not rest on that one thing, being a house, spouse, job or kids. He is good to give us what we want sometimes, but it can be bittersweet.

Now, I am not saying my kids are a bittersweet blessing. I think they are all sweetness and I wouldn’t have it any other way, BUT, to get back to choices, I am finding that I want all the sweetness of the kids and not any of the bitter, or sin or crazy that they bring.

Last night I was telling my husband that I am working on changing my perspective. Instead of watching that milk go tumbling to the floor and thinking, ” My floor! What a mess! What a waste! Now I have to mop and that wasn’t on the list! ” I am trying to replace that thought with ” This is life. This is mothering. ”

I mean, when I’ve fed the kids, got them going on something and take my cup of coffee to my chair and get my book or Bible and think I have 5 or 10 minutes and then someone gets hurt or has to go potty, I am so quick to get upset that they messed up my plan. And it’s hit an all time high lately. I think that I don’t even have time to pray about it ( which, of course I do… ) and in a way blame God for giving me too much to handle. It’s so easy to think like this, and I do, a lot. But resting on His promises is the only way that I can change my perspective.

Yesterday I had to write a note to a girl who miscarried at 7 months. I had to stop and thank God for preserving my children while also know that He may call them home before me one day. I also had to think of how she must be feeling and how I would feel and I would feel like I was dying…The verse that came to mind was Job 13:15:

“Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. “

Now, there are dozens of times in a day that I think my kids will be the death of me, and not in a funny way. But it’s really those moments when they crash my best laid plans that I am compelled to answer the Lord’s call ” Do you trust me? “

Do I trust Him to give me the strength to make it through the day? Do I trust Him that the menial work of scrubbing, wiping and washing really IS work for the kingdom and that all of it will be rewarded one day?

So often I get upset with my kids and then realize that I need to look at myself! And this is the bitter that children bring to life. But the sweet comes when we kiss them goodnight, my head hits the pillow and I can see the hand of God at work in myself and in my kids. He gives me the strength and grace I need each day. And while I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster that has no end in sight, I am learning to trust Him, even when I feel like I’m dying.

Even when I don’t get to finish my coffee or have a peaceful quiet time, He still teaches me through life with kids what it means to trust Him, serve Him and Glorify Him. I am pressed to serve Him when the kids call my name, when I have to leave that net of fish that seems so important and follow Him.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40

It’s a choice we make whenever we choose to mother our kids instead of running away. I’m still learning what that looks like. To have an open heart to serve them and deny myself, ultimately serving God by caring for them. Remembering,

17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col. 3:17

What will you choose to do today?

January 26th, 2016

Our days are busy and full to the brim. I could do nothing but cook, or clean or do laundry and stay busy. Add to that children that need tending, training, bottom-wiping and feeding, along with schooling now that Elaine is old enough. Lee has added to the joy and trouble of it also as he is a very needy, clingy baby still. Some days I wake up invigorated and full of energy but most days I have to brace myself for the task at hand. Some moms find it easier to find joy in the everyday, and I am tempted to covet that spirit. But I am also learning that were my life not the “hard” that it is, I wouldn’t seek the Lord like I have to.

Something different that has happened recently is a sort of transformation of my husband and therefore of our lives! I am so excited to share what the Lord is doing in our family. It’s been a long time coming, but we have finally jumped on board the budget bandwagon. Albert has been listening, reading and studying Dave Ramsey’s material for several months now, and it was like watching that light with a dimmer start getting brighter and brighter until it was finally ablaze. And Albert has become on fire about managing our money and saying goodbye to debt forever.

I have always been in favor of this but had to leave it to the Lord for a while, all these 8 years we’ve been married because Albert saw money a little differently than I did. I can say that the Lord brought me to a place of trusting my husband there when it first was a serious issue with me. I am sad to say that I just swept the topic under the rug instead of actively praying about it, and yet the Lord answered the unspoken desire of my heart.

I always wanted to be “one” with my husband on finances, instead of just letting him take care of his business and I take care of the rest. I saw many a godly couple who seemed to be closer for the lack of money and the way they had to band together to make things work. And while I was so thankful that we weren’t in need or strapped for money, I knew that we weren’t really “managing” our dollars either. All that to say that Albert and I were on two different wave lengths for a while, until now.

It’s been so exciting to watch the Lord really open his eyes to something different, and to see him gladly make some hard decisions. We’ve started working towards a goal and it has changed the layout of the days and drawn us closer together, giving us a lot more to talk about also!

For one, it has restructured the way I plan menus, forced me to think harder about what I buy before I am scrambling to think of what we can eat the day we hit the store. I have to do A LOT more planning. Before we started this, I would have thought I just couldn’t fit this in to my already crazy days. But, since it’s a priority now, somehow, I’m doing it!

It is a lot like a (kind of stressful ) game, trying to maximize those dollars and stretch them to fit our needs. I had an amazing example in my mother who fed our family of four on a tight budget, going to town once a week, so it’s not completely foreign.

The wonderful repercussions of having a plan has been that I know what I am making for the week, can order my days better and don’t have to run to town all the time. The kids are learning that when the bananas run out, they are gone and we can think of something else to eat. We are learning together what it means to live within our means, and God is already blessing that endeavor.

But most importantly has been the support I get from Albert, that thrill of knowing that I am helping in this goal that is taking sacrifices from all of us, and also planning a brighter future for our family. No, money isn’t everything, and it certainly should not become the focus of our life ( how depressing! ) but as good stewards of the talents our God has given us, we know that we are glorifying Him by thinking a lot more about money, while at the same time, not worrying about tomorrow.

We know that He has taken care of our every need up till now, that He will always do that even if our circumstances drastically change one day. And for once we feel in control of our finances and not that they are getting out of hand or that we have no idea where the money has gone. It’s not ” fun” at this stage of the game, but with our goal in mind of being able to “live and give like no one else” we are gladly taking up this cross and drawing closer together in the process.

Our hope is to start a Financial Peace University Class in the next month and are excited to learn even more while we do that together. I don’t want it to sound like it’s been all fun and games because it certainly has not, but there is something so liberating about cutting out all those “extra’s” and being purposeful in our spending. I know that until now I lived with a sort of guilt over spending money because I knew I didn’t NEED all those things I was buying.

It’s a funny thing that living a more disciplined life actually leads to a liberated one. Liberated from that selfishness that just wants what we don’t have. Liberated from trying to plan a menu on whatever my appetite may be that minute, liberated from those little splurges that seemed warranted but were actually a little wasteful, liberated from guilt, knowing that I didn’t indulge on anything that was a necessity.

We are both still learning what it means to “cut back” and really be frugal, but I think it’s fun to get creative together about ways we can save more of that hard earned money.

I better go finish up dinner now and get the evening started since I have to do it all over tomorrow. And if you have any money saving ( or joy-giving ) tips please pass them on!

June 16

I write this not because it’s a great time but mostly because I have been wanting to write for a while and time and work has gotten the better of me, and because I am completely avoiding the mess around me. You know when you are faced with some immense task like climbing Mt. Everest or bungee jumping ( yes, the two are equally hard for me to comprehend! ) and you have that moment when you feel like finding the nearest rock and hiding under it? This is that moment. But don’t worry, in about five minutes I will turn the computer off and go wash the dishes, fold and put away the laundry and make my week’s menu…I know, I am a perpetual procrastinator.

Though sometimes I like to think that I am just fueling up for the race, like getting that morning cup of coffee and reading a chapter of something good. It’s helpful to unload the stuff in your head and not just the clothes in the machine. I catch myself these days with flashes of thoughts like, ” And it was going so good,” “Why couldn’t they just get along? ” “Why did this have to happen? ” and ” I cannot handle this right now. ” As you can see, very negative thoughts. Now, that’s not all that I think. I have an equal amount of ” Thank you Lord that they are playing nicely! ” ” Thank you that Tess’s rash looks better right now. ” “Thank you for this one moment when the girls are napping and all is quiet. ” But sometimes the negative outweigh the grateful thoughts. Most nights though I am able to go to bed with a great sense of accomplishment, as I consider just making it through the day quite a big accomplishment. But I don’t ever make it alone. God give more grace. 

And I don’t want to paint this horrible picture like my life is all, ” Woe is me. ” Because I still wake up most days just looking forward to what will happen, the good, bad and the ugly. I am thankful for the life I have been given, because I know I don’t deserve it and I know it could be oh so much worse. But then there come a few really bad days, when I get thinking ” I just cannot handle this right now”   and it’s not even 11 o’clock. But funny thing is, I always manage to. Its all grace.

Yes I am embarrassed by the state of my house right now, my personal appearance and my procrastinating. I always judge moms that write blogs about home life when I just know there is probably a hundred things they need to be doing! And yet, here I am. I’m just fueling up.

Tess has been battling a mystery illness/rash for two months now, and it has taken a bigger toll on my spirit than I could have imagined. Not only is it a burden to know that your child is in pain and there’s nothing you can do, but also wracking your brain to think of things that you CAN do to make it better. We are doing a special diet, eliminating wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, corn and peanuts. Most of these I can handle or have adapted to. But then we end up being out right at lunch time or we have a church supper and I have to try and think of what she can eat. And there are three square meals + snacks that I have to come up with, and there is the constant medicine that I have to be giving her.

The Lord has taught me so much just through the process and I am trying to remember that it could be so much worse. It has made me so much more sensitive to parents with terminally ill children or seriously injured ones who have this burden they must carry every single day of their life…God give them more grace. And He will.

The positive side of things is that we are trying to purchase our first home and while the stress has been immense for Albert who has done all the paperwork, it has given me hope! Something to look forward to, plan and dream about. I am trying not to get my hopes up in case something goes wrong, but Lord willing we will be in a new big, beautiful home by July! Now I just need to start packing. And I intend to, as soon as the dishes are done, the clothes put away, and maybe after another cup of coffee or two ; )

April 19

Kitchen floors. Messy kitchen floors. Dirty kitchen floors with specks and splatters of this and that from who knows where for who knows how long. This is what is bothering me the most tonight. Bothering me so much that I actually wiped tears away while I quickly swept them. I cried because I feel like a defeated woman, every day waking with the intention to some way, some time scrub those floors and make them shine. I feel like if they were clean I would be satisfied and happy, able to sleep a little better and walk with my head held a little higher. And maybe I would, for a little while. But I know that the next day ( or the next minute ) someone is going to spill a big tub of peanut butter, or a pile of cheerios ( or a jar of chopped garlic like I did the other day! ) and my spirits will sink to new levels of despair.

I know in my heart that there is no such thing as a perfectly clean house all the time, or perfectly behaved children or a perfectly ordered life, but somehow I get it stuck in my head that this is what I should strive to attain. And when I fall short ( because I only and always do ) I am hit with the realization of how imperfect I am and, I can’t help but think, inadequate. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is where God wants me to be, crying over the spilt milk that’s on the floor again. It’s hard to remember that while Christ came to be one of us, even though he didn’t have three little ones to keep in line and houses and meals to clean and cook, He certainly endured with annoyances, aggravations, messes and emotions. I guess I forget that His problems, while so much bigger than mine, were also as little as mine. It is a wonderful comfort to know that He lived a life of monotony and obscurity for most of His life, and with that I can relate.

It is quite a fitting thing on this day, the day before we celebrate His resurrection, that “I bury in His tomb”  my sorrow over the trials of this life, the sin of my soul. That when scrubbing the floor brings me to my knees, I can rejoice that I am crucified with Christ and share in His suffering and that He knows what it is to wash away the grime and the muck. That He does this to me.

Maybe I should be thankful for the reminder that my dirty kitchen floor has turned out to be: that I am in awful need of a savior.

So here is to hoping that one day soon my floors WILL get cleaned, that I will have patience when they get dirty again, and that I will run to Christ for that satisfaction and joy I think clean floors promise and just enjoy the opportunity to get on my knees.

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my pressing load.

Your voice alone, O Lord, can speak to me of grace;
Your power alone, O Son of God, can all my sin erase.
No other work but Yours, no other blood will do;
No strength but that which is divine can bear me safely through.

Thy work alone, O Christ, can ease my weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God, not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest, And set my spirit free.

I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.

I praise the God of grace; I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine, My God, my joy and light.
’Tis He Who saveth me, and freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me, I live because He lives.

December 7th

Today is a somewhat lazy Saturday. Last night we got home late and didn’t get to bed till close to 1 a.m. then of course I have to talk Albert’s ear off which leads to an even later hour, then the baby woke up crying with a stopped up nose which meant a restless, wakeful night for the both of us. I would say that calls for a lazy Saturday! Which means I am still in my robe. At 1 p.m. Maybe that is a little too much information!

But I have been dying to write again and the Lord has not opened that door for me to do so. My dream is that one day when I am old and chubbier and the kids are older I will (hopefully ) have more free time on my hands to write books and blogs and start a business sewing and creating things. Someday… Right now, I am devoting myself to learning how to mother and be that helpmeet to my husband and figure out what life as a Christian is all about.

While being a wife and mother has always been my biggest dream, I little knew how that dream would look like in reality. I guess I used to think it would be like one big babysitting job, only with a husband! Tea parties, walks and coloring books. That was the fun part of babysitting! But I didn’t have a house to keep clean, laundry, and food to prepare, and when I did those things I just put on a movie and didn’t worry about it. Now, I actually have hearts to shepherd and attitudes to address and spankings to give and love to be suffered. It’s a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.

But in the midst of it all, I am learning so much more about myself and my attitudes and my desires. So many days I just want to ship the kids to Grandma’s and have “time to myself” like I used to : ) Then when I do get a day out alone, I find myself spending all my time thinking of how the kids are doing, if the baby is crying and what I will make for supper when I get home.

I think my problem is a tendency to long to escape life. I just want the kids to be good, sit still, not spill or break stuff, not make a mess, just go to sleep, smile and be happy! But that is not life. That is a myth, or a movie or something. But it’s not real. And that is NOT what my desire should be. I need to remember what life is all about. It is training my children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It is wiping the runny noses FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME! It is praying and reading with them. It is singing and dancing and being goofy with them. It is having joy by glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

And that is what makes life real. That is what makes living real, life bearable, possible and actually pleasurable. No it’s not always fun or what I may want to do ( I am selfish after all and suspect I always will be *smile* ) but it’s what I was created to do. It’s what makes all the escapes I want to make empty and less appealing. When my daughter looks up and says thank you for the hundredth time that day, when they dance across the living room to my favorite songs, when we pray together after receiving correction, I am reminded what my relationship to God is. I am learning through it all what it means to enjoy Him forever. I guess God knew what He was doing when He gave us my girls!

So while I still am trying to learn to control my temper, sort through the tears and emotions and outfits of them all, I am finding that real life, the ugly, messy life, is what teaches me to really live. Live the good life. Our blessed life.

September 23

All three girls are napping simultaneously and it feels like I won the lottery! Actually, while it doesn’t happen every day, it happens more often than not, and when it does I offer up many thanks to God from whom all blessings flow. Speaking of the Doxology, it has become Tess’s preferred method of prayer, and when we sit down to eat she throws out her hands and says, ” Sing?!” We haven’t managed to get her to participate in the actual singing yet but she has begun to say, ” Amen ” at then end of every prayer. While we don’t manage to have family worship every night, whenever we do it is a welcome time and the girls race to snuggle up with their Daddy and read. Sometimes there is more training going on with them than reading but the time to sing is always the highlight of the night and they race to gather the hymnals.

I often think of the culture of the churched child and how uniquely strange and different from the world it is. I mean, who else would play church with all their stuffed animals lined up, and know what the printed music is a sign of singing praise to God and that Bibles are to be read and “preached” and treated delicately and that Amen should be said. I love that my kids know on a Sunday morning that it’s time for church ( or “Church Day ” as Elaine calls it ) and that our best is to be worn and our mornings rushed. I cannot even contemplate what the un-churched do on a Sunday morning and only know how strange it feels on the few occasions we miss church and that feeling of loneliness and being left behind while the rest of our Body is gathered together. How horrible it must be to be stuck at home mowing the lawn! I love that my children will never know what that feels like, and that we have the freedom to worship in peace and without fear of bombs just around the corner ( http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/world/asia/pakistan-church-bombing.html?_r=0″>http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/world/asia/pakistan-church-bombing.html?_r=0 ) and that there is anticipation in the air every Sabbath morning. What a blessing to worship with other believers, and to celebrate the salvation of our God…

I have been holding the baby a lot lately, though not as much as I was before. She is growing up so fast and will be three months old in a few days. I hold her tighter now, and kiss her harder and smell that soft head as much as I can. Because she’s the first one of the three that has me longing and wishing she wouldn’t grow up! That she would stay just as small ( or big, depending on how you look at it! ) as she is. I don’t know when that moment comes when I think, ” No, she’s not a baby anymore! It’s time for another newborn in the house! ” but it’s not far off now😉 I love walking into our bedroom when I think she is napping and see her little head raised up looking all around. Sometime she will just be talking to herself ( I think we have another Elaine on our hands… ) and I’m just so happy that she is content and that she has discovered she doesn’t have to cry all the time.

The other day we drove by our old house where the other two girls were born and a flood of emotion came over me. I thought ” Isn’t it funny that this spot, and that house and that creepy neighborhood will forever be their home and the place that they were born ( literally! ) ” It felt so long ago that we lived there and it made me remember again how time flies.

I also find myself holding the baby and thinking, ” What did the world do without you?! ” Because, every new child is such a miraculous addition to society and the world at large. Who is to say that my girls wont be the mother of our next president or discover a new species of something or be missionaries to foreign lands…It also breaks my heart to think of how many individuals will never see the light of day because of the plague of abortion.

And now the baby is crying and its all I can do to keep from running in and scooping her up and never letting her go again. Let’s sing and praise God from whom all blessings flow.


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September 8

A blog? I have a blog? Oh, yeah.

You might think that I had forgotten about this blog, or about my loosely made “promise” to “keep up” with it, but I didn’t. In fact, there have been several attempts to write a  post over the recent months which had to be saved as drafts,  because I couldn’t finish them, the last one titled “August 9th” which should tell you something about the state of my life right now! We are busy, busy, in the most domestic of ways. We stay home when we can, as much as we can, and are trying ever so faithfully to find some kind of routine, or schedule, or new-normal.

But it changes, every day.

Some days, I can’t get the girls interested in anything fun I have for them to do. Some days, they will play sweetly ( mostly ) together and I get a lot done. Some days, they won’t take a nap for anything, and those are the days I wake up tired and look forward to getting a nap myself : )

I am learning the true meaning of the word “adjust.”  Adjust your schedule. Adjust your expectations. Adjust your goals. Adjust your desires. Adjust your attitude. These are phrases that pop into my head every time I’m beginning a task and the baby starts to cry, or I’m going to put my feet up and the girls run over with a book for me to read. Sometimes the adjustment is easy, and sometimes it feels like I’m taming a wild dragon and he wants to breathe some fire!

All of it is a work of the Lord. All of it is His “speaking” to me about my Self and revealing what I need to work on and confess and offer up to Him.

I am finding with each new child comes a host of “adjustments” of every kind, and as much as I want ( and often do ) complain about “MY LIFE!” and how it’s not my own anymore…well, I am reminded again that it never was : )

These are the hard, glorious and blessed days that we are in. But I hope I don’t wax eloquent, because there have been times that I feel I just melted and the tears won’t stop. Not about my kids, or my poor floors or the laundry, but because being worked on by God can really hurt sometimes. And that’s okay because it’s supposed to and it is good, and He will heal. It’s never easy to see how selfish we really are and didn’t know, or how prone to anger and slothfull in doing good.

I have been driven to pray far more in the past months than I have in a long time, and that is good. It’s a fact of life that we know in our hearts that we need to draw closer to God but sometimes just can’t find the time or desire. And we know that we should just pray that prayer, the one that asks the Lord to do ” whatever it takes. ” But we are afraid. In fact I don’t know if I have ever truly prayed that prayer, not for myself. I have prayed it for my unsaved father many a time but to do it for myself makes me tremble. Thankfully, God sees what is best for us without our having to ask and will often send that ” whatever it takes” when we want it the least. The blessing is that when we look back on the work God did to us during those trials, we can do nothing but acknowledge that it was good and thank Him for it.

So while everybody I meet tells me that I have my hands full and reiterates that it is so hard raising three kids under three, I try not to listen to them too much. I want to stay open to what God is at work on in our lives, in our marriage and in our hearts. And I have to admit that I have it so easy compared to some. I am surrounded by loving, supportive and HELPFUL family, who will be here in a minute if I ask them. And I have an amazing husband who helps with anything and everything I need. I live in a beautiful spot in the country that is peaceful, safe and quiet. And yes, I am thankful for Netflix and the TV when I need a ” babysitter” while I make lunch : ) And there’s coffee. Always coffee.

I make no promises of keeping up better with this blog as much as I want to so you better just go and adjust your expectations : ) Suffice it to say that we are doing well, we are good, we are healthy most of the time, we are trying to stay sane as crazy as it can get, and we are loving every minute with our three adorable girls. Albert and I just celebrated five years of marriage and we went to the beach with some family members which was very fun albeit wet ( it rained a lot! ) and a little tricky with a newborn. We are in the midst of planning a trip to Brazil in December to celebrate my sister in-laws marriage which warrants three exclamation points!!! Talk about exciting and scary at the same time! I’m sure it will be one of those times I look back on and thank God for : )

So, until next time…

** A lot of what I have been thinking and feeling is due to this article here : http://cinnamonrollsandbacon.blogspot.com/2013/09/reflections-on-year-with-cancer.html?m=1 I encourage you to read it but to have a box of tissues handy!