hey, it's wilder

i forgot to tell you guys....

Wilder Ocean was born November 8 at 7:12 pm.
9 pounds 3 ounces
22 3/4 inches
Born at home, in the water after a 4 hour labor.
He's beautiful, calm and amazing.
God is good.



truly, it's a good thing

It's raining. 
California needs rain, desperately, and I am so grateful but
still, the rain just makes me awfully down.
I need cool temperatures, foggy mornings and sunny days and
these things help me breathe.  I think that I'm weather picky which
is kind of an unfortunate thing to be. 

Or maybe it's just the circumstances right now that make the rain
a bit depressing.
Tomorrow is my 14th anniversary and tomorrow is this baby's
due date so I'm a bit anxious and if I'm being honest,
we kind of moved into this place that stifles me,
so far removed from the type of home we desire.  I'm so grateful to be
back in California and so grateful for this house in this time,
but some days, some days,
like the days when we are stuck indoors or the days
before special moments, it just kind of gets to me.

Pearl was born in a house we loved, a place that was home.
And I feel so many emotions about this baby, Wilder,
being born in a house that I have no connection with.  Maybe it's
not actually the house but the land.  We were created to have connection
with the land.  But whatever it is, it's getting to me today,
this day of rain, this day before anniversaries and due dates,
this day that needs a bit of magic and some beauty and
I'm having a hard time finding both.

It's raining.  And truly,
it's a good thing.


Well, there you go.

I'm tired.
Tired of rethinking my words and trying to sugarcoat my thoughts,
tired of having to say what I want to say in a pc way to not offend anyone. 
Sometimes, things are offensive. 
Sometimes, you don't like what someone has to say.
But I don't really think that means it shouldn't be said. 

I read things all the time that I don't agree with.
I read books and articles that irritate me and make me want to tell the author how wrong he is.
I do this intentionally because it's healthy to hear other viewpoints, it's healthy to disagree, to consider the ways and ideas of others, to either change your own thoughts if necessary or strengthen what you already believe. 
So for the life of me, I can't understand why people get so mad and offended over other's
words just because they disagree with what they are saying, no matter how passionately they are saying it.

I admit, moving to Idaho has made me extra feisty with my words. 
It's like every single person here has the same brain and lives in the exact same way and
that brain and that way are the complete opposite of my brain and my way and it makes me speak
when I probably shouldn't.  And then I post things on facebook that maybe I shouldn't. 

But I only think maybe I shouldn't because of the way people get upset.  Because really?  I don't think
there's anything wrong with speaking up with a different mind than the majority.  In fact, I think it's necessary.

But whatever.  I can either censor myself so as not to cause offense to someone who thinks differently or I can just be me.  And since I'm tired of censoring myself, well, there you go.


We have 7 kids but sure as hell aren't the Duggars

We have a lot of kids.  And yes, it's intentional.  We like kids.  We are perfectly happy to have a big family and it works for us.  It's totally normal for us to be asked, "Are you guys the Duggars," when someone finds out how many kids we have.  And typically we just laugh and shrug it off.  But I now find it necessary to make a broad and definite statement that, yes, we have a lot of kids, but no, we are not like the Duggars at all.

We raise our children in a very relaxed, relationship and respect- oriented way.  Our kids are allowed to question us, question authority, say no, have their own thoughts, opinions and desires.  Our kids may believe what they want, though of course, it is likely that much of our beliefs will rub off on them.  They know that they can question those beliefs, come to us and discuss differing beliefs and explore as God leads them. 

Unlike the Duggars, our kids can dance, our girls can wear pants, there is not a tie in our house.  We are against punishment, we are against forcing our kids to be a part of raising and caring for the home and big family that we chose to have and therefore are responsible for, and we encourage our girls to do what they want to in life; whether that be marry and raise a family, go to college, pursue a career, or all of the above.

Though we feel that sex is best left for a committed relationship, we do not teach our kids that purity is the only way.  We give our kids information, talk to them, answer their questions, let them know our opinions on God's intentions for sex and relationship (which I can guarantee is nothing like what the Duggars think) and let them make their own rules for their own bodies, teaching them to always be respectful of other's rules for their bodies.

While we are comfortable with a big family, we do not impose that on anyone else, our children included.  People can have the families they want. 

We teach our children that God is love and love wins and kindness, peace, respect and love are always right. 

On any given day in our home, you will see our children running around free outside, people reading YA novels, kids playing minecraft, tv shows, emotional littles yelling, a toddler outside naked, pre-teens questioning us, asking why, saying no, you'll hear cuss words from someone, see the sweetest hugs, kisses, snuggles, be privy to an Elizabeth Mitchell or The Cure dance party, watch us laugh and have the very best time.  You won't see order, or bed times, or everyone cleaning together, you won't hear rules spouted off or see big meal times, or any punishment at all.  You'll see lots of love, discussion and friendship.

I'm telling you, we have a big family, but we sure as hell aren't the Duggars.


we can add more color

I think sometimes people worry so much about spoiling their kids that they miss out on so much of their children's heart and spirit.  They miss out on opportunities to be a friend and show their kids that their wants matter. 

I think sometimes people live in a black and white world and miss the color everywhere.  They have determined that everything is either this or that and there is no room for considering circumstances. 

I was at the store yesterday and in front of me in line was a little girl and her father.  He told her that she could get a candy and so she put m&m's on the conveyor belt.  She then proceeded to put two other candies up as well.  At first her father looked down at her and said, "one honey, choose one."  She whined a bit and said she wanted them all. 

This is that moment when parents typically panic and realize they have two options, the black and white world viewers.  They can either stand their ground while their kids throw a fit and others pat them on the back for being a good, firm parent or they can give in, buy all the candy, get their kids to be quiet and happy and try and ignore the angry stares from others lamenting over their raising entitled kids. 

I was so glad that this dad saw the color in things and chose a route of light, of connection. Kneeling down to her level, he said to her, "You want all of these candies?"  Sniffling a bit, she said, "And this one," while adding another candy to the three already there.  He asked her, "Why do you want so many candies?" Her response was beautiful.  "I want to give those ones to my friends."

Her daddy smiled and said, "That's very nice of you.  We will buy them all; one for you and three for your friends.  Next time try to remember to talk to me about it when I don't understand instead of just getting upset."  She hugged her daddy, they finished their transaction, I smiled at them as they walked away.  I thought about how if he had just told her no, she would have cried more, he would have put them all back, she would have thrown a fit and been in trouble and he would have never known the kind deed his daughter wanted to do.

Once they were gone, from behind me came the black and white reaction.  "Ugh.  I can't believe he gave in."  I should have kept my mouth closed but it's oh so hard for me to do.  "He didn't give in," I said to them, "He communicated with his daughter and worked things out.  Her thoughts were completely kind and giving, she's just a little girl and doesn't quite know how to express them yet.  Her father listened to her and gave her the ability to communicate.  He showed her that he cared about her and her thoughts and her wants. He showed her that she can talk to him and he will listen. It wasn't mindless give her what she wants to shut her up or frightened better stand my ground so she doesn't become a spoiled brat that still lives at home at 30 and won't get a job.  It was mindfulness, it was connection. That was a great father."

Color is such a delightful part of this world, we need to embrace it. We need to consider circumstances, listen to each other, realize that our first thought may not be the answer.  If we allow for it, we can learn so much from each other and that includes our children. Age difference, cultural difference, faith difference, any difference at all just means that if we listen, if we don't stubbornly push others away, we can add more color to our lives.


There was no other option

I walked into the mist because there was no other option. 
Where I stood was clear but stifling and my soul couldn't wake up but
surrounding me, a cloud, and yet the only hope for my soul
was to enter this great unknown.  Why do we feel safe when we are
stifled?  Why do we fear walking into a question? 

I think the simple truth that nature is circular and never fails,
is kept turning, kept moving, kept rhythmically staying true by
the God who created it,
whispers to us that we need not fear,
and that we are in greater danger from the complacent,
stifled soul than from the unknown.

I fear standing still for forty years desiring to step into the mist and
yet so afraid of what lies beyond that I never go.  I fear letting society's
values guide my life and living in a bubble of materialism,
consumerism and striving for so-called success, when just beyond is freedom.

Comes the crossroad and it's this moment that you must choose. 
Safety, complacency and soul~sickness or
the unknown and freedom?
Came my crossroad and
I walked into the mist because there was no other option.

The mist is beautiful.

"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
"I need this wild life, this freedom." - Zane Grey


The Things

1. Sometimes I don't notice the things that I should and I spend way too much time focused on those that I shouldn't.

2. I think that if most people truly knew me, they wouldn't like me all that much.

3. I think the atmosphere that we create in our homes, in our lives, is one of the most important parts of parenting, maybe of relationship in general, and that we can do so much for others if we focus on creating an atmosphere of peace, beauty and gentleness.

4. I don't think I do a good enough job of creating that atmosphere and so I beat myself up daily for that failure.

5.  My husband tells me I focus too much on atmosphere and that I am missing the beauty and joy in our everyday life because of it.

6. My stress and turmoil over not creating the atmosphere I long for and believe my children need is what causes me to not create the atmosphere.

7. I see the cycle, I get it, but wonder how to move past it.

8. The key is to realize that the atmosphere is an outside representation of my heart, my soul.  If I want an atmosphere of beauty, peace and gentleness then I need to be walking in beauty, peace and gentleness, to breathe them, to be filled with them.  As surely as the rain brings forth green, a soul filled with peace will bring forth an atmosphere of peace. 

9. I can fill my home with lovely music and art, with books, poetry and tea, with whispers, soft looks, candlelight, but there will be nothing but turmoil and chaos if I am not breathing beauty myself. 

10. As with everything, it's the pattern of life, of God's grace.  What comes from us outside is merely a representation of who we are inside.  When we fall short, our sin is not our outward behavior; our outward behavior is a symptom of the sin, which is the area where we are resistant to God on the inside. 

11. To create the ideal atmosphere for my children, my husband, and anyone else in my life, I need to focus on my own soul~care, on allowing God to move through me, to soften my heart to Him and His ways.  So focus I will.  Who's with me?


If... I may name him Wolf

I'm not dancing and yet,
I twirl.
There is a moon glowing and it speaks my name and
I can't quite breathe when it grasps me like that,
demanding to be seen, heard, known.

Sometimes I make mistakes and they keep me spinning and
nothing makes sense until
the moon.
January's full moon was called the wolf moon and
I remembered how I spun,
overtaken with anxiety or remorse or something else and
that yellow light held me and
if I was a wolf I would have howled, so yes,
I understand your name, wolf moon.

If I ever have another son I may name him Wolf.

I lost my voice, the one that writes,
and now I can do nothing but let the words flow and
I think that may be okay,
for now.
Rat and Mole sailed down the river and
my words sail and there is peace and
chaos combined and
oh, yes,
that is life, isn't it?
The combination of those forces which oppose and yet,
when viewed under the captivating light of
full moon,
wolf moon,
they connect as gently as rain,
creating the beauty in the daily.  We can howl,
oh yes,
we can howl and welcome and be free and
we can live.

And as we live God whispers through it all,
I am that I am.  Come to Me. 
And as the moon glows and the wolves howl and
we twirl, He holds us up and together,
moon, wolf, man
just stops.
And bows at His beautiful feet. 

If I ever have another son I may name him Wolf.