He Lived and Is Loved.

We tried for a few months. All of a sudden, there was an extra line on the test. It was faint- but very there. I tested again a few days later, and it was much darker. There was life.

And then the sickness hit. Like a forceful storm, it covered everything. All-the-things were hard. I was dizzy and nauseous. Stuff around the house went undone. I cried in frustration. The weeks went by. We saw him via ultrasound at 8 weeks. He was a-moving and a-shaking, just like all our other live babies.

We decided to announce his presence. It was a bit before the 12 week mark but I’ve never cared about that *at all.* (That’s a whole other post.) We were so happy. But I was still soooo sick. I started feeling little flutters and movements which made my day.

On my birthday

I needed to know who this was, that was giving me such a hard time! I needed to know his or her name, and just know their identity. I tried two internet blood tests that just didn’t work out for me. After crying and having a total meltdown, Sim booked me in for a gender ultrasound.

It didn’t go as planned. There was no heartbeat; we went to the hospital.

It was confirmed, baby died. I was booked for an induction the following day.

Sim went and picked up our crew from the church where they were being looked after by family. I feel bad that he had to tell them on his own. There was a lot of crying and sadness. I drove myself home, stopping at Walmart on the way. I picked out a special blanket to wrap my baby in, and bought myself the same one for the kids to snuggle at home.

I went home, to a dark, cold house, with a dark, cold tummy. I ran a bath, and weeped. Absolutely weeped. I am TERRIFIED of labour. I’ve avoided induction every time, even being way overdue.

For weeks, whenever the labour fears started to creep in, I would ask Sim. “I’m strong, right?” And he would laugh and say, “Oh yeah.” Obviously, I only mean strong in God’s power and might. I can do none things on my own. That’s just a given. But God and I have gone through over 100 hours of labour together, two hemorrhages, and so many things that scare me when I think too much. I was already afraid to birth this baby, even at week four. I kept repeating, over and over: “I’m strong, right?”

Well, now my baby has died and I have to go through ALL the stuff that scares me most- and with no life in the end. No joy, no sweetness. No new baby smell. Nothing. Just emptiness. No fingers to hold, no toes to count.

We got to the hospital at 8am, the labour and delivery ward. When I went to the desk to check in, all the ladies stood up in a line to greet me and said “Hello, Sandra. We are so sorry.” They were literally the kindest people I’ve ever met. We were escorted to a room with a purple butterfly on the door. Everyone who entered knew what it stood for, and were gentle with their tones and just so sweet. They wheeled in a cart with hot chocolate, coffee, teas, baking and chips. I laughed- I could drink as much coffee as I want, I guess. We could help ourselves all day, along with the hospital meals brought at lunch and dinner.

They started the induction at 11:30- four pills inserted high into my cervix. The OB looked like one of my friends, which made me trust her right away. I requested the full of buffet of pain relief, in case I wanted it. I’ve delivered all my babies naturally, but I had no desire to take one for the team this time. I had to lay still for thirty minutes to an hour after each round. Sim and I watched TV on his laptop, and cried and laughed alternately. Four hours later, it was repeated. And again. It got more painful each time. I heard a baby cry down the hall. There’s nothing like that sound.

My tummy started to ache. I was expecting contractions and heavy cramping, and instead I was just freezing cold and screaming hot alternately. My abdomen ached, but there wasn’t really a break in between, like contractions. It was just a constant hurt. I don’t think my pain threshold was all that high, though. I really was being a sucky. I’ve been through a lot worse, with two spine surgeries, etc. But everything just hurt.

They offered me the pain relief or sleeping aids around 9:30. I didn’t think it was “that bad” though, because I didn’t think it had really started. I asked how long the genuine labour would take when it got going. “Six hours?” I asked. “Hopefully. . . .” My nurse responded. It can go in any direction, there’s not much for predicting. I turned down all the meds, expecting it to get worse and wanting to have options available.

Around ten pm, I started to shut down. I CAN’T DO THIS. I don’t want to be here. I want to go home. I want my kids. I want it to be a week ago. It wasn’t physical pain, but just constant waiting and noticing every twinge and ache and wondering if this was “it.” It all hurt, but not all-encompassing, it was just super uncomfortable and I couldn’t ignore it. I wanted it to be done so bad, but I didn’t want him gone. I was crying and we were watching “Christmas Vacation.” I could feel myself going downhill fast. The nurse brought in a cot for Sim to sleep. They kept mentioning that when it was “go time” we would have to pack it up and make some room. I remembered the tools, the blue paper everything is wrapped up in, the smells of the latex and all the equipment. Ican’tdothis. I remembered all my other labours.

Around 10:40 I went to the bathroom. I felt pressure. When I felt ready to push, I was supposed to tell the nurses so they could get the doctor and have everything ready, start my IV since I’ve hemorrhaged in the past, and put in motion the whole thing that scares me so badly.

As I sat there, I felt God say in the pain of my heart. “Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

I gave just the *tiniest* little push, and felt my baby come out in his sack. I started yelling for Sim, and I just held it there, waiting for another contraction. I knew they were worried about my body retaining the placenta, and I knew the cord could break very easy at this stage of the pregnancy. I waited, hearing the chaos coming down the hall and in my room, and felt my body push on its own the rest of the placenta. I could tell, even without seeing, that everything had come out.

I cried and yelled, “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you! Thank you!” The nurses probably though I had lost my mind. I was crying and just so thankful.

I was thankful I could do it on my own, and not have a whole bunch of people around me with yucky tools. I didn’t have to have a D&C. Seriously, so much of this stuff just freaks me out, and He totally spared me all of it. I am so thankful for His mercy, even when things are terrible.

They brought me back to bed, and the nurse cut the cord. They laid my baby on my chest- just like so many times before. He was so little. He weighed 67 grams and was 15 cm long.

He had two beautiful eyes.

Ten perfect toes, ten teeny fingers.

A look in his face that was totally Elijah.

A big belly.

Sim and I took turns holding him, touching him and thanking Jesus for his life.

The nurses took photos of him. In some, he’s holding a little, white heart that fits perfectly inside a big heart that the hospital gave me to wear around my neck. They weighed him; measured him. Every time they held him, they kept the blanket perfectly straight, adjusting it as needed. They reverently took him from me, and gave him back when they were done. They wheeled him gently in the little cart with a bassinet, carefully and slowly.

Finally, I had all the medicine I needed to not bleed out- not that it was even a thing, just a precaution that they always do to me now. We opted to leave a few hours after his birth, at 2:30 am. Then we could be home with the kids when they woke up.

We held our baby one last time, and replaced him into the bed.

They put a white blanket over his bassinet.

We left, without him.

It hurts.

It hurts, but God is good.

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.

 Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

(Some excerpts from Psalm 34)

Hospitality and Children

In the day and age of cell phones, busy schedules and so much on-the-go, old fashioned visiting and having company over has really fallen by the wayside. It wasn’t that long ago that days “out” consisted of spending afternoons at the neighbors’ or visiting on porches in the summer: now everyone is cocooned  in their own little houses and share pictures of their life on Instagram.

Visiting over leisurely dinners is a precious gift. Inviting people to your home is a way of showing them an intimate piece of yourself. Whenever we get invited out, it is a very BIG deal to us. The kids talk about it for days in anticipation, I relish the outing and the visit with ADULTS, and it just adds a little bit of nourishment to our souls. When you have a bigger family, or maybe your “circle” just doesn’t do that type of thing, you may have to start a trend yourself. Here are some easy tips for having people over, when you feel a bit overwhelmed.IMG_1409.JPG

  1. Invite two groups. I always invite people in multiples. Either two single people, or two couples, two families, etc. That way, if handsome hubby and I are both busy with a child (they outnumber us, so it WILL happen at some point in the visit) the conversation can be carried on without us. It may sound harder to have more people, but I find that things flow easier.
  2. Keep it simple. Right now is the perfect season for outdoor barbecues! The house will require limited cleaning before and after, the menu can be easy, and it’s just more relaxing all around. Spilled juice is no big deal outside.
  3. Research. Do they have allergies or intolerances? Make sure to know that before you start cooking. Sending someone to the hospital is never a great ending to an evening. Also, try to think of a couple things going on in your guests’ lives that you can ask about, and even tell your children so that they might participate in the conversation. Usually, our kids are assigned one question each (at least) to ask of the guests. With our oldest, I have been teaching him to ask follow up questions. For example: “Where do you work at?” “What do you like about it?”  It helps them become conversationalists, too.
  4. Menu. Make something easy, affordable and in bulk. I ran out of food at one big get together (there were three surprise guests, in my defense, but I’ll never live it down!) I like to serve things that will go far- soup, spaghetti, turkey with the sides, etc. Anything you can add lots of sides to goes over well with different allergies and tastes. Think salads, finger foods, breads, chopped vegetables.
  5. Prep. The more you can do ahead of time, the better. My favourite evenings are the ones where I made all the food up the day before, so that during the day I could clean up and spend time with the children, and keep my focus where it should be. This way the kids could be more involved- they’ve collected leaves from outside for the table, made name cards for the guests, pictures to gift them when they leave- but there needs to be a sense of peace and time in order to have fun in this way.
  6. Drop it. If you start to get stressed by the condition of your home, the food, anything- check your heart. Romans 12:10-13 says:”Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;  not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” In opening your home to others, you are showing God’s love. Don’t lose focus on that and try to “get it all done.” He doesn’t care about the state of our homes nearly so much as the state of our heart. He doesn’t care that dinner is burnt, but that you made it in love. He is our only Audience- do all you do for His glory.
  7. Pray. Pray over your home before they arrive; involve your children. It is so important that our homes are shelters in the storms, and places where people feel safe. Pray for your guests, pray for your children. Pray for your meatloaf, if you think it needs it.
  8. Relax. Have fun! If people made time out of their busy schedules to come to your home, they obviously value time spent with you. That is the highest honour, when time is so dear and treasured. So don’t worry if the kids start fighting at the table, or ask a super embarrassing question, or forget to shut the door when they use the bathroom. It’s part of your charm!
  9. Start small. Dinner sound like too much? Have guests over for coffee on a Sunday night. They probably won’t stay as long, some baking or a quick snack is plenty, and it’s a great way to ease into the process.
  10. Activity. If you can incorporate a game or activity into it, all the better! One of our family’s favourite times was spent at a couple’s house who helped the kids make all their own individual pizzas. It was a time to be treasured!

 

Hospitality is something that I don’t practice as much as I’d like. There is something about breaking bread with friends and people you don’t know that well that adds a specialness to your week, and your relationship. This summer, I am going to make it a goal to have three different occasions before the end of August to encourage our children on how to be good hosts, and to give some friends and acquaintances a night out. Who’s with me? I’d love to hear your best stories- good times, crazy times, and embarrassing times- when you have tried to be a good host!

Seeking Joy in a Sad, Dark Place

Last year, I shared my “word” for the year, which was Presence. I really wanted to focus more on being in the Presence of my Savior, as well as being totally in the presence of my children and friends. I always have so much on the go, I felt very scattered. I learned a lot throughout 2014, and I know much more about my shortcomings, believe me.

This year has started out rough in our province. In December alone, there were over 30 people that died in car accidents. In our area, there were so many back to back that every time I hear sirens, I literally run through attendance in my head as to where everyone is. Children died. Parents died. Friends died.

One of the ones close by was a lady my age, from my town, driving an SUV. It puts a lot in perspective when you get numerous texts from friends finding out if it was you that lost your life. In small towns, you know everyone, or at least know someone who is grieving. Although I was not deeply and profoundly impacted by any one accident, I think we were all affected a little by each.

Life is hard. Winter is long. Things don’t go how we plan. Our dreams don’t always become reality. What we want is not always what we get.

But I serve the One. The One who knows. The One who sees how all of this makes sense. How the dropping oil prices, the lay offs, the deaths, the attacks, the miscarriages, the fights, the destruction, the sick babies, all of it is according to Plan.

And we have choices. Not in what happens, but how we react.

This year, I choose joy.

Not in a Pollyanna-look-on-the-bright-side nonsense. Some stuff has no “bright side” and it’s offensive to those in pain to try and find it.

But I will choose to be joyful in a quiet, faithful way. One foot, in front of the other. I will cry, I will lose my temper, I will get it wrong, but I will choose to joyfully accept His grace and forgiveness. I will joyfully start a new day each morning, I will show my children that pain will happen and the world will fall apart, and yes it affects us, and it hurts us, and it wounds us, but we know.

We know who’s in control.

We serve Him.

He loves us.

He’s on our side.

He’s got this.

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“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9

And my prayer for all my friends and family this year:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ” (Romans 15:13)

Not that you will have happy circumstances. It’s easy to be full of joy then. But that you will be filled with joy from its Source.

What about you? What are you focusing on this year? Do you do resolutions? I’d love to hear from you!

A Letter to Myself

When putting away the Christmas clutter decorations, I wrote a letter to pack along with them and open next December. I know it will be new again, and I won’t remember writing it, because I wrote a grocery list last week and I didn’t remember anything on that by the time I get to the store.

Dear Me,

You’re looking well.

It’s all over. Another holiday season, another chapter, another year. Your tree was pretty bad. Seriously. Lights on half the tree is not better than “none of the tree.” It’s not usually a choice like that. I know that lights go on sale for 50% off on Boxing Day, but then you bought two packs of lights. If you would have just bought one box of lights three weeks before, you wouldn’t have as much stuff to put away now, and people wouldn’t look at you all sad when they see your tree.

I’m glad you took the whole month off school. It was busy enough! I’m glad you took them to do a few service projects, so that they can be a light to others (not 50% of a light, like your tree) and to teach them the world is much bigger than they are. Metaphorically and literally. They won’t forget that. Now try to be as courageous as your kids- people might not call you “so adorable!” but they may listen and you can be a light too. (Again, a WHOLE light. Not half.) It’s easy to hide behind their cuteness, but make sure you model evangelism and a “fear not” attitude. They will catch on one day, when you are always in the background. They will follow.

The gifts went well. Three each is enough. Every year you get all worried that it’s not enough, that other kids get more, blah, blah, blah. THEY LOVED IT. The gifts were thoughtful, in budget and you didn’t hurt yourself on the sewing machine. Well done.

The Christmas books, movies and activities were fun. You didn’t do all of Truth in the Tinsel, but your kids do not all like crafts, and don’t like them every day. It’s a beautiful thought to make a Christmas ornament each DAY of Advent, with part of the story to go along with it, but you have four kids. Four children X 24 Days= 96 ornaments in total. Are you really just trying to make up for the lack of lights? Either way, they had fun with what we did. Maybe next year you’ll do a couple more. Who cares? Not them.

The family Advent went WAY better than you thought. Special Sunday dinners, reading a litany and lighting candles in your wreath was something all the kids looked forward to. But the way you introduced it to your handsome hubby (Remember? “Hey! We’re going to do this.”) left a lot to be desired. If you have something you want to do as a family, present your ideas thoroughly and don’t get absolutely furious if he doesn’t love them as much as you in the first ten seconds. Good grief. Give the guy a break. Your homemade wreath was fun to make, even if it doesn’t look as nice as you wanted. I’m just proud you didn’t spend any money, and used stuff from around the house. Maybe next year you can find a special one to keep from year to year (and remember, November 30 is NOT the day to start looking!)

The baking. There’s something special about filling the house with yummy smells, and mixing cookie batter with the kids. Flour on their noses, accidentally spilling the chocolate chips in the bowl. Christmas music in the background; making up beautiful platters to bring to all your parties. What are you even talking about?! That didn’t happen. You used a hand mixer once, but other than that, there was not a square/cookie/snickerdoodle/chocolate yum yum to be found in your house. Who cares? Use the excuse that you’re trying to eat healthy or something. No one cares. The kids didn’t, and you were actually a little more peaceful than last year.

The decorating (other than your tree) was fine. Definitely mediocre at best, but you don’t care about that anyways, so why pretend like you do? It took way less time to put it all away in the end.

The date night with HH for dinner and the last bit of gifts was awesome. Do that again. Don’t forget to make his Christmas fun and special too (even if he doesn’t jump up and down like the kids do.)

All in all, I think this year went well. You took time to prepare Him room- in your heart and in your home. The little things either happened, or they didn’t, but they were little anyways. You bulldozed your way through a few things it would have been better to ponder in your heart, but that’s what it’s all about. He came for you just as much as He came for your babies. Accept His grace, His mercy and start fresh again. Marvel over the fact that a baby has saved you.

If I can give you any advice next season, while I am still fresh from this one:

  1. *If something is pushing you or pulling you along, and it’s not Jesus, cut it out.
  2. *If you are staying up late to make something magical the next day, you will just ruin it with your fatigue and lack of energy. Don’t do it.
  3. *Pick a couple things and do them well, and with love. It’s better than a lot of things rushed through and done with impatience.
  4. *Smile more.
  5. *Don’t be embarrassed when you cry through the Christmas songs. Your soul has felt it’s worth!

Love always, your biggest enemy your friend,

Me.

P.S. Buying all your gifts online so that you only went out once- DO THAT AGAIN.

Sandra

How about you? What did you learn (maybe the hard way) this year? What saved you time or heartache? What is the most important thing to remember about Christmas with little kids? I’d love to hear from you!

He Knew

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A little while ago, I had a great concern for my hair. Notably, it stopped growing completely and I would even say that it had shrunk in length. I could barely get a brush through it, and it felt like wire. My diet is fine (from what I’ve researched), I take vitamins, and I was still nursing at the time, though since, the Precious One has decided she prefers other menu options to mine.
Finally, after about five months of this, I headed to the doctor. I had my blood drawn, everything is fine. It was simply stress. I was kinda surprised: I might look like I have a busy, stressful life, but I really don’t feel like I do: I love my days, I love my work at home, I love my life. Then the doctor mentioned that it can take a couple months from the date of a stressful experience, to when it shows up in your hair.

Oh.

In November last year, I took our precious one in to get immunized. She had a reaction. We have always done what we thought was best, and immunized our children. I was late on the ball with her: for her first ones I was two months late, and her next set took place at about eight months old. The nurse who vaccinated her was very concerned because she had not grown at all in about four months. At the age when I took her in for this last set, she was still nursing many times a day, and eating food on her own. I had started her on meats, as I believe that this best for her little body’s iron stores. She loved eating. Everything. She fed herself with great enthusiasm, loved mealtimes. There was no reason for her not to have grown at all. The nurse administered the shots, and sent in a referral to a dietitian and pediatrician.
Well, we got home and the girl that I knew was gone. She screamed. And choked on her food. Smokin’ high fever. She wouldn’t eat (maybe because she kept choking on everything) but she would nurse the first day. The second day, I had to start encouraging her to nurse. I knew something was wrong: There’s something wrong with my baby.
Finally, I called the nurse. She mentioned she might have a cold, but that I should bring her to the hospital just to rule out an allergic reaction. I packed up all four kids at dinnertime, in -30 degrees.
Arriving at the ER, the beautiful, helpful nurse in triage decided to enlighten me on how babies can get fevers from their vaccinations; this is normal. She may not want to eat, but she looks pretty happy, right? Did I not get a pamphlet with this exact info on it, in writing, to peruse at my leisure? (Apparently, some mothers find it fun to outfit all four of their children under the age of five in snow pants, winter coats, boots, hats and mitts; pack snacks and activities to do in a boring hospital to prevent mutiny, and venture 40 km to spend their evening in a waiting room, only to be told they should read more pamphlets. We must stop this.)

But my baby hadn’t grown, absorbed any of the food I had given her in months, and now she had completely stopped eating, and drinking. I put my foot down.

There’s something wrong with my baby.

Eventually, my handsome hubby came and picked up the other kids, so it was just me and the Precious One. She had chest X rays, two rounds of blood work. Finally the doctor came in.

THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR BABY.

I have never seen a doctor so worried. He mentioned cystic fibrosis, failure to thrive. I was to feed her hourly, all night long, come back in the morning to weigh her. He expedited the pediatrician appointment. 

Everyone was praying for us. My pastor called, a friend stopped by with nutritious groceries, I got texts and love from many friends. Everything went well: we got into the specialist within a week. But there was so much fear here. I was scared for my little girl, and the pain of tests. I was scared for the many trips to the city, when I knew we didn’t have gas money. I was scared to listen to the opinions of everyone (“She’s fine, you’re paranoid.””It’s because you vaccinated her.””You’re not feeding her the right things.”)

And I didn’t pray once. Well, I sorta did. The only thing I could even say to my Father, the One who created me, who knows me and my family, who loves them all more than I do:

You know. 

I felt like if I actually prayed, I would lose it all. This is not to say that I went through this with grace and composure and a smile, this simply means that there was a scream in the back of my head that was very close to coming out. But I knew He knew. At the time, that was all I needed. 

Romans 8:26: In the same way, the Spirit helps in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 

Now, it’s all passed, hopefully. The wisdom of the specialists and doctors is that our baby girl is small in stature. 

Duh.

And now, eight months later, I’m losing my hair.

It’s just a reminder to me that our bodies can be a window to our hearts. If we go through periods of stress, fear, anger, resentment, bitterness, or unforgiveness you better believe that this will show. We can pretend to have it all together on the outside, but what’s inside will eventually surface. It is so important what we eat, and to exercise, to take care of the temple we’ve been given. But we also need to keep a constant check on our hearts. Are you afraid? Are you angry? Your Father already knows, the Spirit is intercessing on your behalf. Sometimes, time in His presence is all you need to receive strength, but most of all clarity. Spend time with the One who knows, and allow Him to show you. Your health may depend on it.

Intentionally Easter

Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that we can add so much to our day. When five or six subjects are done in less than two hours, it guarantees that there’s enough time for fun, extra learning, and life skills. So we got into Easter. Hands, feet and noses deep. We did this beautiful Bible Study, called “A Sense of Resurrection.” It’s a 12 day deal, from the maker of Truth in the Tinsel (a super fun Christmas activity e-book). The daily activities weren’t long, so it can still be done with kids who are in school. Every day we used a different one of our senses to experience what Jesus did, in the days before His death. We tasted, smelled, felt, seen, and heard experiences that they will remember, (and me too!) in the months ahead. If you follow me on Pinterest, I pinned the link. I was super excited because we just finished up a unit on Senses in science, so this fit right in. You can do this with kids of all ages; we will do it again next year because I know they will get more out of it as they age.

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Making windchimes that reminded us of the noise and excitement when Jesus came through the city and the people yelled, “Hosanna!”

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Washing each other’s feet.

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Our little Pentecostal. She mostly danced and sang along to the music we listened to during our activities. 

This was so much fun. Normally when I find great ideas, it’s too late. I love Pinterest and Facebook, but I don’t think about holidays until the day before. This year, I felt like I nailed it! We started three weeks ahead of Good Friday, and did the activities on our normal school days (not weekends.) You could do them all in a day or two, though. For Easter weekend, we also followed some ideas the creator of the program had blogged about on her site, called “UnEaster baskets.” I was soooo excited about this. We had the kids take their baskets outside, and collect rocks. Image

Next, we wrote some sins that we are struggling with on each of the rocks. Some examples were, “When I throw things,” and “When I don’t clean up the basement. And don’t short that, Mom, I have the biggest rock, so it will all fit.”

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We covered it all with a red towel, thanking Jesus that He covers and paid for our sins with His blood. Image

The kids went upstairs with Daddy to watch “What’s in the Bible, Volume 10” with the kids.** I got to work! I took out the rocks and put them in their own shopping bag (obviously the boys had an attachment to their own, specific rocks) and filled up the baskets with some treasures I was so excited about! Image

After the movie, we brought the kids down again. We are so thankful that Jesus takes our brokenness, our ugliness, and makes it into something beautiful. I am so thankful for the Cross. My ridiculously handsome hubby had the amazing idea of throwing the rocks as far as we could, as far as the East is from the West, just like Jesus does. Jesus is alive. I am so thankful that I can speak these truths into our children’s lives. Again, none of this was my idea! I found it online, and loved it! Check out ohAmanda.com, as she is the one who came up with these activities! **The “What’s in the Bible? With Buck Denver” is an AMAZING series from the creator of Veggie Tales, Phil Vischer. The whole series chronicles the Bible and even which books were chosen and why. My HH and I often joke about taking notes; we learn so much. If you are interested, we bought the whole series (the kids don’t know! We give them one each holiday) for a discounted rate from a homeschool site. I can get you details.

Ordering My Days

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Each day we are given 24 hours, or 1 440 minutes, or 86 400 seconds. I’m embarrassed to say that I have squandered a great deal of them. “Presence” is my theme this year. I wanted to spend more time in Jesus’ presence, and actively participate in the presence of those around me. When you have an extremely analytic mind (like me!), a great deal of your time is spent in the the peace and quiet of your own happy space. I love to just think. About everything. You know that meme about an internet browser with hundreds of tabs open? That’s me. I don’t think any good comes of it, I just think that I overthink. And then overthink about overthinking. Sigh.

Five years ago last week, I quit smoking for good! Yay! The anniversary came and went, because I have been battling another addiction. When I quit smoking, I played a game of Scrabble every night with my HH. It didn’t matter if we were out till 11:00 with youth or activities, we came home and played that game. It was super important. I HAD to play every night. Eventually, the toxins left my body, and the routine changed. Especially as we welcomed our precious second son into the world. I never have cravings anymore, and I haven’t had any dreams of smoking (Waking up in a panic thinking, “WHY??? OH NO! I started smoking again! I can’t believe I did that. Oh my goodness. I’m going to be hooked again. My HH is going to be so disappoi- wait. I’m in bed. Ugh. Whew. I’m safe.”) I can’t believe how much smoking, like all addictions, completely prey on your mind.

Now I’ve replaced it. I’m addicted to social media. I’ve tried a few things. An addiction group on Facebook. It didn’t seem to help. Mostly, because it was on Facebook. Seemed to defeat the purpose. I tried an app for IPhone called Limiter. It will only let you on the site for a certain amount of time per day, or a certain amount of times on the site. But you had to use Facebook through that app, rather than the original. Didn’t work. I tried distraction. You know: housework, laundry. That didn’t work. I didn’t spend a lot of time at once, but I would spend five minutes here, three minutes there. When I started keeping track, it made me mad. Imagine having that time to do something that gave me genuine joy- like scrapbooking, card making, reading, chatting with a friend, etc. And if you’ve been following this blog you know that I have struggled with my phone for over a YEAR. Literally. It’s been a year since I rolled my car and contemplated how much my phone takes over.

So, I had to quit all my fun groups. The ones that involve a lot of debating and thinking. I’m still kinda sad. I also had to get rid of the friends who are interesting. So if you saw this post, congrats! You didn’t make the cut! Just kidding. Actually, the only thing that’s going to help me is good, ol’ self control. I wish there was an easier way. I literally have to leave my phone in rooms I’m not in because I’m not strong enough to resist the urge to check my notifications. I have to schedule my day, so that I know what to do next. Same as with smoking. Sometimes I wonder if I get so overwhelmed by all the things I can’t get done today, I decide to start none of them. Makes perfect sense, right?

So that’s where I am. Right now, the laundry’s done. We ROCKED homeschool today, with lots of experiments and tie ins. It was great. The house is clean, reasonably. Don’t look under the couch or anything, but otherwise, it’s in ship shape. The book, “Large Family Logistics” by Amy Brenneman was so helpful in making a routine to get done everything I need to do each day, week, and month. You know, if I do it. I’m reading a book, for the first time in awhile. I think Facebook feels like reading, so then I don’t. I do miss seeing all the exciting things other people do, but I like that everything that needs to be done, is. 

I’ve been meditating on Psalm 90. Especially verses 10-12.

10 Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

I want a heart of wisdom SO bad. I must stop settling for mediocrity in my time, for that is where my life is.

I will rest when it’s time to rest.

I will play when it’s time to play.

I will work when it’s time to work.

I will speak when it’s time to speak.

I will listen when it’s time to listen.

And the time to listen is NOW.