Wednesday

to wait

***an edited repost, because  i have no words as we prepare for baby these last few weeks. i share these words with you, wisdom from my husband which  i return to often***


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 mamas 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.



 

Monday

to share a daybook {Nov. 28}

well, for at least today, i am jumping on the daybook bandwagon
as katherine and tonia have done lately,
borrowing prompts from these beautiful ladies,
mainly because i want to write something and yet
am immensely pregnant (full term in one week) and
i am just not able to write much,
so here i am...

living seasonally…

thanksgiving found us alone,
just the eight of us,
for the first time. 
it was quiet, relaxed and beautiful.  
we made the foods we love,
took time throughout the day, moving slowly,
there was no rush to eat at a particular time,
no worry about when,
just
each other.
though there was a bit of sorrow over the lack
of family and friends,
we enjoyed every moment.


and as soon as it was over,
the children's focus shifted to preparations for
that joyous day known as christmas,
and decorations were pulled out,
a tree was picked out,
and new days of anticipation and 
preparing of hearts are now upon us,
along with the unique situation of preparing for
our new baby as
we follow mary preparing for hers,
the Christ child.
towards thanksgiving...

these days have been so slow, 
and so peaceful,
just as i like them,
they have given me such time to reflect on 
all the beauty, all the gift and
breathe it all in...


our dearest friends, 
living in a place of such. beauty.,
God always, always providing, even in the most mysterious of ways,
my mama buying me fancy cloth diapers after years of old school prefolds and diaper covers, (can i just tell you how excited this makes me?)
moving closer and closer to seeing her little face

towards a reading life...

reading too many books at once,
as usual,
finally making my way through a long put off book,
gift from the sea by anne morrow lindburgh and
the sayings of the desert fathers,
which is so deep and challenging,
my heart is being stirred in only the first
few pages.

establishing rhythm…

i feel we are more out of rhythm right now than
establishing,
with all of the seasonal changes and 
life preparations we are undergoing,
but as i look at our days of
chores, 
reading,
baking,
playing,
learning,
and snuggling
intermingled with the seasonal delights of
cocoa,
fire burning,
christmas music playing,
children making presents for others,
and rosy smiling faces,
i realize rhythm is there,
it's just shifting and
it's beautiful.

 creating beauty…

just having completed sewing three skirts as
christmas gifts for the twins and a cousin,
i am now working diligently on finishing this blanket
before baby arrives, 
it's almost done but
we 
will 
see...

nurturing hearts…

as our family grows, 
i have been trying to keep in mind the necessity of 
loving each of my children individually,
daily living out this principle spoken of in
cheaper by the dozen, 
instead of living like i have only seven children, living like
i have seven only children.
giving them all of me, loving them
individually,
giving attention to each one and 
meeting the needs of all.


nurturing minds…

i just began reading for the second time,
the little house series
with the twins and i am so delighted
to share these wonderful books with them
as i did with their older brothers and sister long ago,
and,
of course,
those older ears keep popping in to listen as well,
laughing and reminiscing.  
this is pure joy, 
this rereading, enjoying with the new,
this circle of love, of continuation, of
doing again,
and again.
rhythm,
seasons,
cycles...

beauty.

tending the earth... 

and, this, 
a lone rose blooming in the midst of
a succulent patch
here
in late november,
a reminder of life,
absolute,
beautiful
gift.

 

to do something strange

as we draw near to thanksgiving,
this baby being born,
and christmas,
i'm not getting much computer time,
let alone time to write.
so i might not very often for the next month.
but i will share this,
because for some odd reason some people have emailed me
or messaged me
and asked to see a picture before this girl is born.
so, odd as it is to me,
here you go...


yeah, i know, weird.
okay, happy thanksgiving friends!

Thursday

to keep going

Peace is replaced by chaos in a split second and it seems to take an army to find the way back.
This is my home, and today this peace is interrupted by a shrill cry coming from sandy hair, deep blue eyed seven year-old boy.

He is my artist child and with pencil in hand he creates a beauty I cannot describe.
He is my sensitive artist and all things touch him deeply,
with the largest display of emotion
over the minutest mistake...

and he just doesn't understand why he can't make the line perfectly straight,
though no one sees the curve in it but him,
and when the eyes are too round,
and he has erased for the tenth time,
he wails cries that should be reserved for the most devastating of moments...

he cries and wants to give up because it's just not right,
to him,
but to us, we see an amazing piece of artwork,
and don't understand what needs to be different...
but his eyes see it.

We cannot let him give up,
his passion,
his talent,
his source of gladness and frustration...
but he doesn't
think
he's
good
enough
and he
can't
contain
his
emotion
and
that
frustrates
him
all
the more...
and I think of how God must feel
when I get so frustrated because I am failing
at something
and want to give up...

because I do all the time,
I just can't get it right,
and He just smiles at me,
and holds me,
and loves me,
He loves when I try,
and my mistakes,
He doesn't even see them...

so I see both sides,
and I know what it is to be the sensitive one,
and I know what it is to be the loving parent,
and I want him to see,
he just needs to keep going...

because when we,
in His image,
attempt to do
in His name,
He magnifies
our attempts
with His beauty

Wednesday

to hide


We sat at the window,
two other preteens and myself,
watching in horror as our young friend hid from the police. 
The house was completely dark and
we hoped that we were invisible to the searching light beaming from the patrol car. 
Three frightened, young girls
huddled together,
holding hands as if together
we could protect each other from the cops,
convinced we were about to witness our friend being arrested
in
her
driveway.

Only an hour earlier we were four friends
giggling, gossiping and planning. 
Planning for a girls night.
Movies to watch, treats to eat,
boys to talk about. 
Yet,
we realized, we had to get from one house
to another...

"Isn't there a curfew?"

None of us knew,
but this friend was convinced.
"I know there is, it's 9:00.
Under the age of 16 you are not allowed to be out
past 9.
If we get caught, the police will pick us up."

This realization brought an element of fear to our impending mile walk,
but we could also feel a sense of adventure among us.

Dressing in all black
with hopes of being consumed by
the dark of night,
we set out. 
Walking slowly,
we would duck behind parked cars,
trees,
or just lie on the ground if
nothing else was around,
anytime a car would drive by.
We were criminals, spies, ninjas...
our blood was rushing.

Finally we saw it,
our destination, Chelsea's house.
All we had left to do was
cross the street,
pass one house and
we would be free, victorious. 
The night air was cool,
the street was silent and
dark, lit up only by street lights and porch lights.
Once in the middle of the street
we saw it. 
A car coming towards us, very slowly,
headlights off.

Alicia whispers the words we fear,
"police car."

Panicked,
we run. 
Three of us head for the door of Chelsea's house,
unlocked,
inside.
We let out our breathe, adrenaline pumping,
glad to have made it, when we realize
Chelsea is not
with
us.
Rushing to the front window
looking out to the street,
we see the patrol car stopped in front,
the search light glowing brightly.

Where is she?

Then we see her,
flat on her stomach in the driveway,
under the car.  Terrified at
what will happen if they find her,
we begin to cry. 
Yes, cry,
we were naive little girls.
We hear a beep, a megaphone turned on,  the loud voice announce,
"Your feet are showing. 
You can come out,
your feet are showing."

And they were,
her doc marten covered feet
sticking out from under the car. 
She creeps out, makes her way shaky and
alone, to the car,
speaks for a few minutes to the officer,
and then comes inside
where we smother her with hugs and congratulations
for not being arrested.

She tells us he laughed at us
and that there was no curfew.
He also suggested we don't walk around
in black at night, hiding from cars and
running from police.

I tell my children this story, and
they giggle endlessly.  These fears of their mama
as a child, these adventures she had.

And one child
leaves
me
speechless.

"It's like God mama.
  People try and hide
from Him, but why would they?
He knows where you are and
what you're doing, but also
He just wants to love you
and keep you safe.   
Why would anyone hide from Him?"

I pull her close and whisper, "Very true.
Why would we hide?"

He just wants to love us.


 

Monday

to build a legacy

***revisiting these words again, as we draw closer to baby 7,
dealing once again with the words, the stares***

and this memory, # 734...

Arriving late, mama whose belly is large with precious new life holds the hands of a 5- and 7- year old, while the daddy carries one of a duo of 2- year olds and dear oldest 14-year old son holds the other.  We sneak into the building, hoping not to be noticed.  Behind us, the old wooden door creaks as it closes and the young child husband has in his arms coughs loudly.  Our attempt at being inconspicuous fails, and we are now the main focus of this Sunday morning church service.

Trying to not give attention to the stares and whispers, we gently shoo the children along as we maneuver through the  tiny aisles, searching for an empty pew for our large family.  Dark eyes follow us as the short man to our left mumbles a comment I pretend not to hear, "All theirs?  And another?"

Sitting down, I feel the eyes of judgment on us.  Emotions begin to boil inside, I make sure children are seated, hope they are quiet and that focus can be returned to where it should be.

Three people away from me, 5-year old has decided he is too far.  Crawling over daddy, then sister, and lastly attempting to pass over toddler who yells, "NO JOSIAH!!!"  Before mama has the chance to intercede, 5-year old grabs petite little sister and pulls her off of the pew, promptly replacing her empty place with himself.


With the attention of the church on our family, 2-year old begins to cry from the floor.  I lean over, gently swoop her up with a multitude of kisses, and hold her in my arms, stroking her soft hair.  With my free arm, I pull my handsome young culprit close to me, and whisper, "Now that was not very nice, was it?"


His face reflects the sadness he feels at his choice of behavior, and he attempts to kiss his sister and apologize, only to have her cry all the louder.  After a moment she settles down, and eventually we are forgotten, yet inside I feel a bit dejected having become the spectacle I desired to not be, and most likely causing some people to feel justified in their judgment of my family. 


The church service ends, and we cause quite a bit of ruckus packing up to leave.  Making our way towards the exit, I feel the eyes on me again, hear the whispers, and I think "Lord, don't these people know You? "  Not one smile, not one word of kindness... I know we will not return to this building.  I feel such frustration welling up inside me, and I want to tell these people who Jesus is, I want to ask them why they claim His name when they can't even welcome a new family to their church... but I stay silent, I know I am just as guilty as they of judging others, of whispering about people, of not showing love and kindness.  I am no different.

Almost to the door, an elderly woman approaches us.  Her back hunched over, her white hair glowing under the church lights, tough skin a symbol of many years of care, love, work.  She smiles at me and her smile is so large that her wrinkled eyes almost close, and joy just seeps out of her.

"Your family is so precious.  Thank you for bringing them today.  I don't get to see this much these days, but I am so blessed when I do.  Do you know what you have here?  Do you?  A legacy.  The only one that matters.  You have so much to be grateful for."


And I did, and I breathed it in deep.  I was grateful for them, I was grateful for her.  For her love, her joy, for the wisdom flowing through her and a knowledge of something greater.

I thanked her as she walked away, and I was knew why we had gone there that day.




Thursday

to make a marriage last

 ***this is the last in my small little series of marriage posts,
leading up to our anniversary (which is today!),
the first is here,
the second here,
and this repost is the last...***

"do you know what love is?"
and i smirk,
haughtily thinking what kind of a stupid question
is that,
and he looks at me with those eyes,
those eyes,
and i realize it's not a joke,
not a stupid question,
he is serious,
and maybe there is a reason for the question
so i grasp for words and
babble about good feelings and care,
and i'm only a new christian but i know that somewhere
in the Bible
it says something about
God being love,
so i tell him that.

as he looks at me,
i can tell i missed the point,
and he says,
"yes, God is love,
but what does that mean?
what does that mean for us,
in our marriage?"
we were soon to be married,
and to me that meant
romance, companionship,
someone to care about you,
but i could tell,
to him,
it was so much more,
and i wanted to understand because,
i knew,
that was a good thing.

"um...."
finding me speechless,
a very hard thing to do,
me,
the lover of words,
always one to speak up,
to voice an opinion,
even when i shouldn't,
but here,
in this moment,
i had no words.

he saw my ignorance,
my wonder,
and answered,
"when you love someone
your concern is not what they can do for you,
or how they make you feel,
it's what can you do for them,
how you make them feel."
i look up at him,
i know he feels this for me,
his consideration for me pours out of him
like beautiful melodies flow from
a symphony,
and i bite my lip,
afraid,
searching young soul,
can i love like this?


and ten (as of today... woot woot!) years,
seven (in Dec.) children later,
his words resonate in my head daily,
as he constantly shows his love for me,
seeking to fill my needs before his own,
and i limp along,
learning, slowly,
to love
as he has told me,
shown me,
as He has told me,
shown me,
and his words are so dear to me,
for they are what make a marriage last,
a family flourish,
learning to truly love.

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.