Sunday

to consider the differences

One of my three year old twins is balding.  Her hair is thin and practically non-existent on the sides, and there is one long clump that hangs down the back, but it is slowly falling out as well.


Her twin sister has beautiful flowing hair, halfway down her back.  The perfect wheat blond color, straight and soft.

The balding twin eats a piece of chocolate, even just one m'n'm, and ends up with chocolate smeared all. over. her face.  Even on her ears. And unless we clean it off, she will leave it there and just add to the mess throughout the day.


Her sister keeps a napkin nearby at every meal and wipes, desperately, each minute mark that might possibly be some sort of food or anything else which is on her and is not supposed to be.  She hates to feel the mess on her.

Messy, bald twin will get a runny nose and just let it.. run.  It doesn't bother her to have snot running into her mouth, or all over her cheeks.  We have to catch her and wipe her nose, and she fights it.

The clean sister feels any drop or possibility of snot coming near the opening of her nostril and panics.  Tears well in her eyes and she begins to whimper, eventually finding words to say, "I have boogers."  And we help her find tissue, and she wipes, and then,finally, she can relax. 

I think of  them, knit together in the womb, and yet so utterly different.
And I can't quite breathe when I consider the awesomeness of it all.
And He knows... each of us, intimately...
better than we know ourselves. 
Each of us, so different,
each, a unique creation,
each, loved completely.

counting...

my amazing, unique twins
 one asleep, one awake... trying desperately, to stay awake

 sleeping, while standing?

 twin 2 failed, sleep finding her

 sleeping, together, so beautiful

 twins creating, learning, doing

twins playing, reading, smiling
being loved completely
cannot thank Him enough for the joy they bring

Saturday

to share a need

my friend danielle is in the process of adopting twin girls from ethiopia.
with five beautiful children already, they are opening their arms to these
little girls, and cannot wait to get them home.  they are raising money to
do that, and having a giveaway for a beautiful quilt for any 5 or 8 dollar
donations until the 9th of April.
please bless this family and help get their daughters home...

Tuesday

to find laughter

We laugh now, but once there was no laughter.
I can't blame him, he was just a little boy, and he never knew the love of a mama.
He was six when I met him, scrawny little thing, biggest smile ever.
First thing he asked me, "Are you going to be my mom?"
And I was, so I said, "yes."
He was glad, that smile lit up his face, and he said, "it's about time I got one."
And it was. about time.

Soon after we were married came his cries.
He would yell, throw things, break his toys, there was so. much. anger.
I was only nineteen, in so many ways a child myself, and I knew nothing about what to do,
only that I should love him,
and so I did.
But I don't think I loved him well enough.
At least not at first.  And it was so hard, and I tried to hang on when he screamed at the top of his lungs
in the middle of the night, punching walls, and I would think,
how? he's just a little boy.

So angry,
this little boy.  Born when his father and biological mother were just fifteen.
Abandoned by the mother, a devoted father who would do anything for him, but still a child himself,
working full time to support him.  Never knowing the love of a mama or the stability of a family.
He was so angry.
And now here we were, and I knew it wasn't his fault, and I was desperate to love him,
to rescue him but
I didn't know how.


Oh, it took time. Years.  It took heartache and bad choices, desperate cries, broken days, but finally we gave up, let go... by letting Him take care of it.

And we no longer fought the anger, we just turned to Him.  Taking His Word to the boy in need, telling him we loved him and realized his struggle, acknowledging we had no answers but Jesus did.  Giving him the Word, leaving him to be with Him.  And slowly, he calmed down.  Young boy, growing ever older, was given the tools to find Peace.  Nothing we did helped him, until we turned him over to the Shepherd of our souls, the One always waiting to draw His beloved to Him.

We were weak and weary, as was he, and only His words of hope brought life to us.
He holds the answer for all,
even for the angry young boy who just wants love.
It took us a long time,
but we laugh now.  We laugh a lot.  Most of the time, here, we are laughing.

Monday

to count the smiles

their smiles always get me.
in deep sorrow, frustrations, annoyances,
a smile on one of their faces cuts through
and makes my heart beat again.
maybe that's why He gave me so many,
He knew the depth of the sorrow i would feel,
the anxiety that would creep up on me,
and He gave me a young face to smile
everywhere i would turn.

today i am counting smiles...

353 moses smile

354 hannah smile


355 ruth smile



356 josiah smile

357 layla smile


358 ian smile
359 husband smile


Saturday

to wait

***an edited repost, as the rain falls here today, as the wind rattles old windows, as friends talk of earthquakes and preparations, I find myself thinking on that still, small voice... I looked up this old post, and it was a bit gut wrenching to read.  It speaks of a difficult season, and I wrote it when we were in the midst.  Now, we have come out on the other side, moved home to california, and I breathe strong air again.  Revisiting these words has given me such peace and reflection***


And, behold, the LORD passed by, 
and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, 
and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; 
but the LORD was not in the wind: 
and after the wind an earthquake; 
but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
 12And after the earthquake a fire; 
but the LORD was not in the fire: 
and after the fire a still small voice.

1 Kings 19:11-12
A hush had fallen over the house,
children tucked into beds, 
I sitting, praying, nursing the littlest...

sounds of nature creeping in through the window,
rain pounding, wind howling, 
husband preparing for the next day of long work,
peace settling in...

Climbing into bed beside me, 
kissing the cheek of the nursing babe,
the cheek of the mama, his words soft and perfect...

"keep on loving me, keep on trusting me."
And the unexpected voicing of those words unleashes emotions from my tired mama soul,
"I do, I do... but I don't understand this season in our lives... what do you see that I don't?"

His gentleness continues as he speaks words I need to hear,
"I don't see anything,  I just know we are where we are supposed to be at this time, 
doing what we need to be doing..."

"Yes, but...  it's so hard..." 
And it is so hard, not knowing the next steps, just trusting God is working everything out,
and thinking the rest must be just around the bend,
but getting around that bend and seeing another storm...

Momentary silence, then... 
thunder shakes the house, I shake along with it letting out a quick gasp, and I am not used to this thunder...
it comes often, but my beach-front california girl self will not become complacent to this frequent washington rumbling...

Return to silence and stillness, 
the sounds of baby swallowing his mama love milk,  
and husband's love rolls off his tongue with words that spread a soothing ointment over me...

"remember when elijah was waiting for God?  and you remember He was not in the earthquake or the fire,
He was in the still small voice..  and I know, we all remember He was in the still small voice, 
but what people tend to forget is...

before the still small voice,
there was an earthquake
and there was a fire."

words resonate and i think they would knock me down if i were standing, and yes,
there was an earthquake
and a fire,
and then came
the still
small
voice,

and here I am in the fire,
and it is so hot,
sweat pouring off of me,
but i know,
I KNOW
that the still small voice WILL COME...
and i will wait,
earth shaking,
fire burning,
i
will
wait.

Friday

to have the fog lift

you know when you are driving in the fog,
just  a light fog,
you don't really notice it,
but then you pull out of the haziness
into the sun, light shining gloriously around you,
and it suddenly dawns on you that you were just surrounded by
the fog,
impairing your vision, causing hidden dangers,
and how amazing,
how beautiful the other side of the fog
now appears?

this morning i awoke into the sunlight.
God in absolute control,
and no predictions,
no warnings
matter at all...
only Him,
only Him.
i saw clearly this morning,
and was suddenly so aware of the fog i had been in
this past week,
the overwhelming despair and anxiety that was controlling
my every move, word, thought,
how unaware i was to my fog,
until He lifted me out of it.

And He is beautiful,
and life is beautiful,
and if the storm begins,
if it looks like we are going to go down,
i will not be the one with little faith,
i will not wake Him up,
i will remember that if the boat goes down,
He is going down with us,
and there is no place i would rather be...
and until then, i am going to live each moment
for the here,
the now,
knowing "He's got the whole world in His Hands."

Tuesday

to trust Him

when you wake up in the morning and find the world
has been broken,
when your friends are evacuated from their homes,
and you watch tsunami waves lapping at your shore
just ten miles from where you nurse your babes and
read to your children,
when the pier you walked down just the week before
with your husband
is made waterless,
the ocean pulling itself back,
beyond the end,
so you could have walked around it
on the sand,
when they tell you to prepare,
it's headed your way next,


but the sun still shines,
and your seeds are sprouting;
peas,
green onions,
tomatoes,
cucumbers,
and the children are playing games,
laughing and
dancing,
and you can read His words and find all comfort,
snuggle your babes,
kiss your husband,
and remember

God's in his Heaven -
All's right with the world!

(browning)
then you can move on,
you can live,
you can breathe,
you can trust Him
and know
He is good.



Friday

to learn how to celebrate lent (from a child)

we sit in living room, seven of us, baby sleeping,
we try to find the silent moment, but it never comes,
young twins whispering "mama" or "daddy" every ten seconds,
so we carry on, talking of lent,
reading devotions, preparing hearts.

i wonder, should we fast from something for lent?
surprised by the affirmations from them,
we give suggestions
what do we fast from?

and witty eldest child remarks,
"let's fast from lent!"
while husband smiles at five glowing faces,
"how about children?"
and we all laugh, for laughter is the key this family uses
to stay close,
make no moment too serious,
we need to feel the joy.
seven year old artist son speaks up,
"we should just be nicer, and think more about each other.
like when i want to play a game with sissy,
instead of asking her to play my game,
i ask her if she wants to pick something to play.
like that.
we should fast from not doing that."





we look at his wise, young eyes,
i smile at his beauty, his understanding that is beyond what so many of us
have,
how he would think of this,
i am speechless,
know nothing but gratitude and awe in this moment

i find words, and words find mouth and mouth finds speech...
"selfishness?" i ask
"you think we should fast from selfishness?"

"yeah."

"you know we will fail sometimes josiah, don't you?"

"well of course.  we're not perfect, only Jesus, you know that mama. 
but we can try and ask God to help us right? "

"right.  i think it's a great idea.  let's fast from selfishness," and i whisper these words
because seeing understanding in my children always makes tears come, voice quiver.

and the mood is calm, for once, even twin girls can feel it and they cease talking.
God's beauty has come into the room, and settled, and we find ourselves breathing in the moment.

a fleeting moment, but there nonetheless,
and then it moves into that laughter, that expression of joy we cherish in this home
when that artist child, josiah, speaks,
"and anyway, God would be happy if i didn't eat candy for lent,
but i think He might like it more if i try and be nice!"

oh, how i learn to fast from a child,
to love from a child,
i stand amazed at all i find in the eyes, the words of these children
as i whisper prayers, because it's so hard to do
but i am desperate,
Lord, help me put myself behind me.
help me put all others in front.  help my eyes to see the wants,
the needs of those around me, that i can fill
instead of filling myself.

Wednesday

To be a fraud

 ***reflecting on my story as lent begins.  my beauty for ashes***

I am a fraud,
or at least I was a fraud.  I was girl with hole inside,and I broke my mama's heart, and I did it all in a desperate grasping for attention.  Yes, I was on numerous anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications from the age of fourteen to seventeen,
prozac
celexa
zyprexa
effexor
ativan
depakote
zoloft.
But still,
I was a fraud.  Yes, I was put in a mental hospital... two actually.  One at sixteen, one at seventeen, and nothing much happened there except I met lots of interesting kids and was put on the majority of those medications.  And yes, I was given a plethora of diagnoses
obsessive compulsive disorder
anorexia nervosa
bulimia
self-injurious behavior (aka cutter)
social anxiety disorder
and my personal favorite (this one was supposed to sum them all up) borderline personality disorder.

But I was a fraud.
It began in the locker room, as so many things do.  Freshman year, girls surrounding me, my friend telling a story of her trip to the dentist.  How he spoke to her in private about the lack of enamel on her teeth, asking if she had been making herself throw up.  I thought how strange he would think that, until she continued the story saying, "of course I was, but I would never tell him that!"

And I was taken aback, never had thoughts of real life friends with real eating disorders crossed my mind.  That was something from a movie, something people joked about, but not real.  And then it was.  She turned to me and said, "You too Amy?  You're so skinny, I am just certain you are too."  And it nagged at me.  I thought I could never do that, but for some reason her asking me if I did seemed some sort of sick compliment.  So just like that I decided to stop eating.  At least sometimes, and around certain people.  It struck me as a way to get attention.  And so I used it as one.

Until just saying no to food wasn't obvious enough so I decided to start making myself throw up.  But just sometimes.  And just when certain people were around.  About this time I got this boyfriend, and the whole not eating/ throwing up thing seemed to really concern him, and it was perfect.  That was the whole point anyway.  Until he went way overboard and called. my. mom.  So I denied all, dumped him and stopped my "poor eating habits."   At least kind of.

Not soon after I was reading a magazine article about a kid with obsessive compulsive disorder.  It was all so interesting, I decided to try it.  Yes, try it.  Touching my door knob 30 times before I left my house, checking locks over and over again.  Nothing was compelling me, except for me.  I considered the attention I would get when people saw my odd behaviors and it spurred me on.

But my mom was not over the whole eating disorder thing.  She had begun to watch me quite intently, talk to my friends, and investigate my life (and to be honest, I did not eat all that well even when I wasn't trying to be anorexic) and so she made the decision to take me to a psychiatrist with an eating disorder specialty.  I was so over the whole eating disorder thing but really wanted to be diagnosed with OCD, so I told her I wasn't anorexic or bulimic and then proceeded to tell her about all my "habits".  She diagnosed me with OCD, anorexia and bulimia and put me on prozac.

Right about this same time I watched the movie Empire Records.  Loved it.  The thing that struck me most was the girl who tried to slit her wrists with a razor.  She had really skinny wrists with bandages on them.  I thought, wow, I have really skinny wrists, I have a razor, I have bandages.  So what's a girl to do?  Of course, as soon as the movie was over I went to the bathroom, hacked at my wrist with my razor and then wrapped gauze bandages around it.

At school the next day I wore a long sweatshirt and when I was around anyone that I wanted attention from, anyone that I desired to look like a lost little kitten in need of help from, I pulled my sleeve up just enough so that they saw the top of the bandage, grabbed my arm, yanked my sleeve up and said, "what is this?"

Oh poor little me looked shyly away and said, "nothing."

And I would do this once a week, and the people I wanted to think I was some crazy, depressed, anorexic, cutter on prozac in desperate need of help did, and the other people knew nothing of it.  But of course, sooner or later the two lives met, everything became real, and the short of it is at 16 I ended up in a mental hospital... or an "adolescent psychiatric hospital" if you want to be proper.

After two weeks I went home, determined to begin my last year of high school and finish it, quietly.  Yet there it was again, the intense need to be noticed, to be cared for.  So I started the cutting again, the not eating again, and then read a book.  Girl, Interrupted. What do you know, there was a movie coming out... saw that right after.  And Winona Ryder glorified craziness, I saw me there.  So many of her  symptoms were mine, made up though they were.  She was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.  I loved it.  It could be me.  I could be her.  And so I studied it, knew just what to say...

At my next psychiatric appointment I told of all my thoughts, my symptoms, and left with a new diagnosis... borderline personality disorder.  And soon after, a second trip to the mental hospital.

I sat there, locked behind doors, missing my senior prom, wondering what I was doing.  Yes, I had lots of attention, but the ones concerned about me were out there living life and I was in here with Adrian, but call him Darius, now call him Tear, whose cuts were way prettier than mine, and Jason who hated life and once he was released tried to kill himself that night just so he could come back, with Lexi who had just left rehab and was now hiding in a mental hospital from her drug dealer boyfriend.  This place was void of peace, of love, of hope, and as I sat there day after day I realized those were the yearnings of my heart, those were the things I was so desperate for I would do anything (even stop eating, cut myself, lie, act crazy) just to find them.

After two weeks I left, determined to stop being crazy.  And some friends invited me to church.  A place I would never have set foot in before.  But now, what did I have to lose?

While God kneaded my heart, smoothing it out, preparing it to rise, I realized it.  My lifelong desire for attention was just my lifelong separation from Him who knew me, who created me, who loved me.  He longed to dote on me, to lavish me with affections, the only affections that would fill me, make me whole.  The attention others gave me would do nothing, which was why I would continuously cook up new schemes to get more attention.  A vicious cycle I lived in, and now I knew my true diagnosis was separation from the Lover of my soul.

I was never the same.  His blood washed away my fraudulent self, His grace the new foundation of my life.




Monday

to enjoy him and Him

we drive away from six and i swallow hard,
not certain i can do this
but husband wants to spoil me, be with just me,
and oldest child,
so wise beyond his years, so close to the title of man
insists,
"go.  i can do this. we will be fine."
and as car pulls onto road away from six whom have never been all alone, all together
my mind cannot leave them, and the questions are constant,
"are you sure we should?"  "do you think they will be okay?"  "maybe we should go somewhere closer?"
but husband who loves me so deep and wide
is determined to take me away, to our favorite restaraunt, 30 minutes away,
and i feel such anxiety, but i will. let. him. take. me.

i try to settle down, to enjoy being with him,
to not let worry overcome this once in a blue moon moment.
and so we arrive at the little cafe by the sea,
eat, talk deep talk not had in so long,
hold hands over table and gaze into love eyes.
and when we leave, i sigh, content,
ready to rush back to six,
but he turns car wrong direction and i gasp.
"relax, they're okay.  just a few more minutes."

he drives along ocean to pier as sun begins to set,
getting out while darkness looms,
we link arms and walk the way into the ocean,
just the two of us,
night falling quickly,
cold air whipping us mightily,
and we hold each other, looking over edge,
we talk of children and God,
i tell him of gratitude, and daughter's journal,
we breathe in ocean air and deeper love.

and when we finally make it home six children are beautiful.
clean house, pajamas, smiles and a movie,
and we cuddle them and kiss them,
and i whisper gratitude for
this.
is.
it.


341-352
night walk down pier arm in arm with husband
cool ocean breeze blows through our hair, on our face
darting lines of clouds from pier as night falls
smiles from others walking
date with husband at
favorite restaraunt, Del's
coming home to beautiful, happy six
twin girls secret language
baby moses "blowing out" candles
baby walking with bucket on his head, laughing, enjoying every moment
children smiling at their siblings
baby learning to give kisses

Thursday

to plant at nancy's...

do you know nancy?
if you read here often, most likely you do,
but if you don't
you really, really should meet her...
she's lovely,
she's witty,
she's wise,
think of good adjectives and most likely she fits them.

she is so supportive of me
and encouraging,
and she has graciously asked me to
guest post,
one of her favorite posts of mine,
at her place today,
so head on over,
read it,
and meet nancy...

Wednesday

to...

*** please have grace on me... i am saying nothing negative about any of this.  one of these churches is my own, one theology what i adhere to... i'm just saying, what does it matter?  it's all so divisive,  causes so much confusion.  and so...***


vineyard

calvary

baptist

orthodox

reformed

emerging

charismatic

traditional

premillenial

postmillenial

dispensationalist
 
cessastionist

pentecostal

evangelical

screw it all...

i just want You Jesus