Mommy and Me

Mommy and Me
Sharing life with you is fullfilling

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Resolution/I'm fed up!

Every year something happens in my household.  starting near the end of October (Micah's birthday/Halloween time) things begin to get a little crazy around here.  Our daily schedule begins to get off kilter, and slowly throughout the rest of the year it falls apart, only to be picked back up, dusted off and lovingly reinforced in January...
Nothing new this year... except that it started sliding off in August (Esmarie's Birthday) instead of October!  and I'm terrified that in years to come it will begin even earlier now that I've got a baby due in June... so if my year starts declining in June I'm in big trouble... this CANNOT happen!
I heard on the radio that in order to keep your New Years resolutions you need a specific plan.  Like say you want to lose weight (this is the example given on the radio) instead of saying "In 2018 I'm going to loose weight", you might say "I'm going to lose 20lbs by June 1st" and then you'll need to set mini goals, like "by April 1st I will have lost____" and "In order to attain these goals I'm going to eat salads for dinner 5 nights a week".... little attainable goals, with specifics attached to them.
This morning I looked at my home, under critical eyes, as I turned off all the lights before leaving for church.  With no thought about New Years Resolutions I analyzed each bedroom, the playroom, the living room, dinning room, kitchen, and bathrooms, and I came to the conclusion that God is blessing me FAR TOO MUCH.  I have this AMAZING dream home, and I'm FAILING miserably at keeping it looking like the blessing that it is.  I have 4 beautiful children living in this home that are 9, 7, 4, and 1 year old.  I feel like I do a pretty great job at the 1-2 year age range of teaching them the little things like 'take care of your shoes', 'throw away your diaper', and 'put your clothes in the basket'... but then something happens at the age where they start dressing themselves and the laundry basket is neglected, the diapers are gone, but the toilet training is AWFUL! (I know I'm not supposed to envy others, but seriously when you have a child who trains in less than a month and I'm still training mine 3 years in, it's pretty hard not to envy you).  And then they get older and until age 8 they are just stubborn and unmotivated, and I have to press hard to get things done, I have two in this stage right now... BUT if I do press hard I feel like at 8-9 years old (I have one there now) I have an amazing helper, and I'm looking forward to more of those!
Anyway, since Christmas our lives have been turned upside down, Patrick's work schedule is weird and he gets random days off, not the same ones every week, but different ones EVERY WEEK, there is a rhythm to it, but it is hard to follow.  So Christmas Eve I worked hard to get ready for Christmas, attended a party that evening tucked the kids in while demanding that Patrick vacuum the living room, and then went to bed after placing all the gifts under the tree.  Christmas morning I followed my normal tradition of making a giant all you can eat smorgasbord for breakfast, opened presents with the kids, attempted to control the mess of boxes and wrapping paper, took out the majority of said boxes and wrapping paper, made dinner, and then crashed after enjoying the meal.  I'd pretty much been serving my family from 5am-8pm, and I was beat.  The day after Christmas Patrick was working and I was exhausted so I pretty much took a break, and nothing got done, but I'd cleaned up a lot of things Christmas day so I wasn't too worried... what I didn't think about was the next two days.
Patrick works hard and when he has a day off the whole family takes their cues from him.. and that often means we leave sometime around lunch time and don't come home until dinner time.  Which in terms of housekeeping means that as soon as the kids have had a chance to make a mess we are gone, then we come back in time to either get them in bed or feed them dinner (if dinner then you can see the kitchen hasn't had time to be cleaned up, and is a general disaster area to work in).  So for two more days the house continued it's path of destruction.  If you are counting then you know I have only cleaned a little bit on one of the last 4 days.  Then comes Friday.  Patrick is sick, but he goes into work anyway and struggles through, while I dutifully try to recover a portion of the house that I know will last the longest, my bedroom, bathroom, closet area that have been neglected for awhile because of all the birthday parties and holidays that we've hosted this year.... so the rest of the house is STILL a MESS, and getting worse by the minute since I'm not able to keep the kids going on tasks out there and work on my bedroom at the same time.
Now we are on day 5 of minimal cleaning... and day six Patrick says he is feeling better but sounds pretty awful (sore throat from the day before is just making his voice sound cracked) and they send him home from work (for sounding bad, but not feeling bad).  And because both of his vehicles are dead and buried we use this unexpected blessing of time off to go car shopping.  We left at 10am, and got home around 6pm... I made dinner and then tried unsuccessfully to get warm after having been in and out of the car in 19 degree weather all day, and barely got anything done.  Then there is today... when I critically looked at my house and realized I'm WAY over my head right now.
I'm a planner so of course after hearing the advice on New Years resolutions on the radio I began planning.  HOW CAN  I MAKE NEXT YEAR DIFFERENT? 
First off, I'm getting a routine going.  It occurs to me that I CANNOT delegate and manage if 1. I'm doing all the work myself, and 2. I'm not standing over my children to make sure they do the work themselves.... so far it just hasn't worked with 3 out of 4 of my children... the 4th is the oldest so I'm holding onto hope that the others will catch up.
So you can expect very soon to see my new chore chart, and responsibility lists, but until then, here is what I've come up with.
1. I need a MOMMY CHORE CHART.  Yes the kids need charts, but if I have to actively manage them, I need to organize THEIR CHORES to fit MY SCHEDULE.   
2. Each Child will have jobs that they do EVERY DAY for a month, and then we will decide if they keep those jobs or get to switch to new ones. I've read the benefit of both things... and I just don't know which I like better, but I'm leaning toward proficiency and that seems to come from doing something over and over again.
3. There will be MORE on each child's list than ever before.  Not because I'm mean, but because while it is hard for me to train my children to do these things, I eventually would like to be able to just manage my household and not do it all myself.
4. We are going to have to work as a family, so in some ways that is going to mean that Daddy has to take responsibility for things too... although his main responsibility has been and always will be to provide for us financially and mine is, has been and always will be to take care of those provisions in a responsible way, the new portion Daddy will have to play is basically to help me enforce these changes on days he has off... or I won't be able to keep them up because of his constantly changing schedule.

Keep watching for how this goes!  I'm determined to make a plan and to see it through so that this project of CARING FOR OUR BLESSINGS is seen through to a satisfactory ending.
AND maybe even more can be done this way.. maybe!

*note, my children have always had chores, and I have a GREAT schedule for doing my own jobs... but it takes dedication to follow through, and until now the majority of the work has been on my own shoulders, I'm a bit unsure of how this will go, having the kids do my chores with me until they can manage them all themselves, but I'm hopeful that it will mean the work is seen more as family work than just what mommy needs 'help' with.

Friday, December 22, 2017

My journey with Homeopathy

Almost two years ago I saw a post on Facebook asking for people who had children who might benefit from homeopathic treatment to consider volunteering to become clients/patients(?) for a woman who was studying homeopathy and wanted to finish up her course but needed people to work with in order to do so.  I responded and asked if eczema was something she thought she could help us with.
Because I have built a relationship with her and have not asked for her permission to post her name or her business name I will refrain from doing so at this time, but I am going to share my journey with you.
We started seeing her soon after, she came to our house and asked me questions about Sapphira and her skin problems, but also about other things that bothered her, anything that related or not might be troublesome about her.  Then she continued to ask questions like "does she have any aversion to eggs?" and "Does she sweat while she sleeps?"  
Here is a run down of what I remember telling her:
Eczema with ZERO rash (she would just dig at her skin until she bled and then keep going at it).
Bed Wetting
Brain Fog
Comprehension delay (she's been seeing therapists since she was two for this)
Severe Far sightedness
Language processing problems (she would use words like 'soft' instead of 'feel')
Stubbornness (not typical kid stubbornness, but like if she gets it in her head that something does not belong to you she will try to rip it from your hands and CANNOT stop herself even when she hears me telling her to come to me, look at me, or stop doing what she is doing, I often had to physically touch her and pull her attention away from the item before she could even recognize that I was there).

Our Homeopath was quick to take notes, and in a few weeks we received our first remedy, it seems Sapphira was a bit of a hard case to crack and she needed to confer with her teacher before making a recommendation.

The first remedy did not do anything.

We were told to expect that we might need to try a few before finding the right one, and she was right.  We were also told that when we did find the right remedy we would see her symptoms (whichever ones that remedy touched on) flare up, as in get worse, and then her body would respond and she would have a time period where things would look better than they had before the remedy, and then after a time the symptoms would return.  We were told to expect this pattern to happen possibly many times before we saw symptoms completely disappear.

I can not remember if we had another kind of remedy before getting on the one we have now, but I do remember that at some point Silica was suggested and didn't do much of anything for us, so now we have a different one.  I'm not going to give the name of the one we are on now because I truly believe that to get good results you should see a homeopath and have them make a suggestion instead of groping in the dark to find an answer.

Once we started on a good remedy Sapphira went from her minimal but constant scratching to digging holes that I simply couldn't stop her from digging, in her skin.  The torture that I felt we were putting her through was hard, however there is nothing you can do at that point, except wait for the second part, the part where her body stops it and she clears up.... and it did come!

Sapphira slowly stopped itching as much, and then one day she woke up dry.  This has been our biggest clue as to when the flare-up will end up until now.  She went from wetting the bed 5-6 days a week, to being dry for 12 days straight.  During this time with dry nights and not having to wash sheets every day she stopped itching, I mean not completely but enough that her skin began to heal, and you could see she wasn't as uncomfortable as she had been at least during the flare-up if not before it.  Though because of other things I'd been doing to keep her itching down before the flare-up it was hard to tell whether it was better or relatively the same.

Now because our homeopath is new she is still working at the organization of running a business and because I am new at watching symptoms the process of getting remedies after the old one wears off has been difficult and the process I feel until now has been slower than it could have been.  BUT I can see it working so well that I'm not giving up.

The second dose that we gave Sapphira was even better, she went 16 nights without wetting the bed.  and I can attest that in between remedies (because they were taking so long to get) she was wetting the bed 3-5 nights a week, sometimes as much as 7 nights a week.  So the line up of giving the does and a week of eczema flare up and then dry nights has been a consistent pattern and I can say honestly I've done nothing different with her, and there is no other explanation, nor is it a coincidence because it only happened exactly a week after taking the dose sent to us by our homeopath.

Then one day after giving the dose things were different. Sapphira had 5 dry nights, not the weeks that we'd gotten used to, but only 5 nights, and it was so devastating to us, not because she was wetting the bed so much more, but because of the itching.  Because as I mentioned the bed wetting was the first sign I could really notice, but the itching followed shortly after and she would experience days and days (not quite the same length of time that she had dry nights, but still much more time than we had seen before) that she wouldn't be itching at all.  

That short lived remedy resulted in her having a flare-up that was normal, but the time period of not itching was so short that she literally dug a hole in her ankle that I couldn't get her any relief from.  I had to actually resort for the first time in years to using a low dose over the counter steroid creme to get it to heal well enough that I could leave it uncovered for any period of time.  She couldn't wear shoes comfortably, couldn't wear her dance shoes at all, and couldn't leave it alone.... but two things had changed.

Sapphira started getting rashes, for the first time EVER since she was only 2 months old when all of this started she had a rash before she started itching... I could see these rashes on her skin as the flare ups started each time.  This was incredibly exciting, because knowing what I know about the skin her body was actually purging something!  And purging meant there might be an end to this someday, because she was getting it out, and perhaps, and hopefully, she wasn't consistently getting more of whatever it is in her body and eventually we'd get all of it out.

The other thing I noticed with these rashes is that Sapphira NEVER ever complained that it hurt when she made herself bleed.  She would ask for a bandage, or tell me about it bleeding, but she never cried about it, never seemed to care that she was 'hurt'.  And as these rashes came up, and the flare-ups happened she started to FEEL it.  I mean she felt itchy before, but it was relief to itch, now she was actually feeling what she was doing, she was beginning to know she was hurting herself when she dug holes in her skin.  I know this isn't an age thing, or an issue with nerve endings because if she was hurt in any other way she FELT it... just not when she itched herself bloody.

So when Sapphira had that short lived remedy and she made such a mark on her ankle and couldn't wear shoes or socks or her dance shoes without hurting I felt this was actually a turning point and told our homeopath about it, she agreed and sent us another stronger dose of the remedy... unfortunately she didn't have said dose in stock and the pharmacy she orders from experienced a back up in shipping and it took a long time to get it again... BUT we got it, I gave her the first one, and I watched as she flared up, though this time seemed to be less dramatic in the itching or bed wetting, and more in her brain fog.  In fact I found myself literally pulling my hair out because her morning chores which normally take 30 minutes (and this is a ridiculous amount of time for what she needs to accomplish) were now taking an hour and a half... the rule of our house is that you don't eat breakfast until your chores are done (brush teeth, make bed, get dressed, feed the dog, and brush your hair in Sapphira's case), and often by the time she finished her chores it was snack time, and long past breakfast time.  I was beside myself frustrated at her inability to focus on the task in front of her.  But I didn't see a connection just yet to the time her remedy was given and how she was acting.

Our next dose came after the bed wetting began again, and again Sapphira was a space cadet and finally while texting our homeopath about her I realized the correlation between when a remedy was given and how frustratingly long it took her to move in the mornings. And then I saw the improvement.  First the itching slowed, though not by much, then the bed wetting stopped, then the brain fog lifted, and then the itching would almost completely stop.  A pattern!  I like patterns.

And the opposite was almost always true for when a new dose needed to be given... first the itching started back up, then the bed wetting, and then the brain fog (although not as bad as when she was 'flaring up').  BUT this last time the bed wetting didn't happen.  She didn't start wetting the bed.  She was itching, but no bed wetting.  The brain fog was getting stronger but no bed wetting.. PRAISE THE LORD!  I gave her a new dose one week ago, and she still has not wet the bed, this totals about 5 weeks and only one bed wetting accident... the longest that she's ever gone!  to say I'm proud of her is an understatement, she has been trying so hard at this for years... and it just seemed hopeless, but it isn't.

Her skin is still dry and scaly from the spot where she itched so badly I had to use a creme to heal it enough to move forward, and there is a small scab still working to heal, but to see her actually healing and not just having a 'tiny' break from it to heal partially has been GREAT.

I suspect we still have a long way to go, especially since I still see huge flares in her brain fog and time it takes to do chores in the morning, but I'm so happy to have been on this journey, and I can't say enough good things about it.

To answer some questions about the hockey pokey homeopath thing...I'm a skeptic.  still.  I don't understand how you can take a substance, douse it in water, shake it to oblivion and make it completely untraceable (not to mention the smaller the amount the stronger the reaction???WHAT?) and then put a dissolvable tab on your tongue and experience what my daughter and I have experienced, but I am also a believer because we did experience it.

I've read about placebo effect, I did a bunch of research before letting this lady put anything in my child... but then after the research I asked only that she not tell Sapphira what we were doing until after we saw results, if we saw them.  Because as one study showed, cows were healed with homeopathy, and cows can't experience placebo effect.. they don't know what it is.... so if Sapphira didn't know, then I could expect there wouldn't be a placebo either.... and it worked.  After I saw the first difference in my daughter we went ahead and told her... 

And call it what you will, my daughter is not only less itchy, but she also doesn't wet the bed anymore... and I'm a satisfied mama.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Children are a blessing from the Lord

After I completed the writing of "Of Virtue and Grace" I felt that the weight of a burden I'd carried for 11 years had finally been lifted.  I, a flawed and sensitive woman, who tries and often fails, had been asked to write a book that would help women to draw near to God, and build them up to know the love that he has for them... and I finished it. 
I'll admit there are probably grammatical problems and will need revision eventually as these errors are made known to me, but I finished the task that God had given me... and I was weightless for a small time.  And then it hit me, why would God stop at just one request of my humble life?  He probably wouldn't.  What I mean to say is that the more time that passed after finishing the book the more I felt lead to study and research things that were not in the book, that perhaps would be helpful to families, maybe women, but perhaps men as well. 
This led me to the feeling that I needed to start writing more, not just on occasion, but often, and about many topics, as I felt God led me to do so.
The first was about Children, and so this blog entry is the result of that study, and also my personal life experiences that go along with it.  I originally had a plan to have 4 children.  Not as many as my 'crazy' parents who had 6, and not so few that I didn't give them playmates to grow up with.  I determined the plan was to have my first baby and if it was a girl I would have another, if a boy have another, if twins then no more, because the plan wouldn't necessarily work... the second baby if the same gender as the first would be my last baby, if the opposite gender I would go on to have a third.  After having either two boys or two girls, and possibly one other child which would be the opposite gender of the two, then I would adopt another child of the gender I had less of.  Thus making my family a perfect 6 person family with two boys and two girls, a mom and a dad.
Life is funny... I married Patrick and we agreed to only have 3 children.  But then after our 2nd child was born we had a miscarriage/ectopic pregnancy, and then a healthy third child, and then a surprise pregnancy that also ended in miscarriage and my husband somehow underwent a change of heart and decided to let God determine our family size and actually 'tried' to enlarge our family, resulting in our 4th healthy term baby. 
During my fourth pregnancy (for our third living child) I started reading 'above Rubies', if you are not familiar with it, let me tell you a little about it.  The editor and author of the magazine believes that children (as the bible says) are a heritage from the Lord, and many believe that means she and her 'followers' believe that woman should intentionally bring as many babies into the world as they possibly can, trying to get pregnant and have more and more children. 
I can say that as many articles as I have read I've never seen them outright say this, and though it could be true I just have not seen the evidence.  However the stories did fascinate me, and led me to the decision that though I would honor my husband in our decision of having only 3 children I would no longer let my heart get tied up in being 'in control' of my fertility and just take things as they come, and let my husband and God figure out the details.  Thus letting the worry and stress of watching my fertility signs come and go and monitoring every detail of them, just release. I would actually still be doing this, because as I mentioned I wanted to honor my husband and let him and God decide, I just simply made the decision that it wasn't mine to worry about, I would simply give the information I gathered about my cycle to my husband and let whatever happened happen.
And then Saera (miscarried at 6 weeks) and Esmarie (birthed at home) happened.  And I believe that God changed the heart of my husband toward his children.  And then we both decided together that I no longer needed to monitor my fertility at all... and so I stopped, and that is how I became pregnant again. 
This led me to read more about quiver-full families, a name given to families who likewise choose to have many babies to honor the Lord, the name is in reference to what King David says in Psalm 127:3-5  "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court." 
These people I originally believed had a mind set that led them to just trust God in his plan for the number of children they would have, however some believe and perhaps it is true, I really don't know, that they actually try to have as many children as possible regardless of anything that might cause them not to continue having children... be that finances, health, space.... whatever the case may be.  My point here is not to speculate on that, but that discovering that some believed that, made me more and more curious about what God himself has to say about children.
The more I read about children the more it became clear to me that children are a blessing, a gift from God, but he doesn't give them only to the righteous, and not everyone appreciates the ones they have been given.  And the other prevailing thought I had was that neither God in the old testament or Jesus in the new testament suggests a number of children we should strive for, or even that we should in deed strive for them... although there are plenty of stories of barren women who longed and prayed, even claimed they would die if they were not given children, and it was considered a sin for a man to withhold children from his brother's widow. (to read the whole story about Onan and Tamar, check out Gen 38). 
While I cannot back up my specific point of view with biblical verses I think my personal study shows a few things about my heart and the heart of God toward children.
Jesus claims that you have to be 'child like' to enter the kingdom of heaven, and that the children should be allowed to come to him when the disciples tried to boot them out of his personal space in Matthew 19.  Jesus showed great love and compassion for children, and God called them blessings and knew them intimately while knitting them together in the womb of their mother... so my idea here is that God LOVES children... and since he calls them a blessing to the father (although he clearly asks that they honor and obey their mother and father and says that a child who does not heed their mother or father is a fool and a shame to their parents), I have to believe it is not of him to keep yourself from having babies....
I'll pause here to say that this is the conclusion I have drawn for myself, and has nothing to do with where God has called YOU to be... if you feel your health or other factors would make it unwise to have another baby, then by all means you pray and have some personal reflection time with your bible and God himself and figure it out for your family and yourself, I am NOT making decisions for your family.
Now that I've decided that birth control for my family is not right, I also need to look at the opposite of that... and that would be to TRY to have more babies...
God is the maker and giver of life so no matter how hard I try I will not conceive if God has not decided that I should, and so I feel that this falls into the line of worry, which God clearly tells me not to do. 
Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So if I want a child, or if I want for anything I should pray and give God thanksgiving and leave it with him and trust that he will provide... 

My analysis of all of this is simple... God gives children, God creates children, God thinks they are wonderful and a blessing, he knows them intimately before they take even their first breath, and he waits anxiously for them to in return get to know him as they grow older and learn hopefully from their parents, but perhaps from other people about him, and how to be good children, honorable, respectful and a delight.... BUT there is nothing I can do or not do to stop him from putting children in my life, or force his hand in giving me children....

Which means, why even worry about it?  I've stopped worrying about it.  I've stopped caring about it.... I've started to live in the freedom of complete trust in the God who created me.  If I have more babies I have more blessings, and if I have no more babies, then my blessings continue through the ones he has already given me.  I will not use chemicals or plastics to prevent my family from the blessings that God chooses to give us (which, begs the question would they really work if God felt I needed another child, he has ways of making that happen even if I tried to prevent them), but I will also not strive to receive more than what God has allotted as my portion.  This is incredibly freeing for me.

It does not apply to me to say 'what if God gave you no children, what then?' but because it does for some, I will say only that Sarah was promised children and had none until her old age, though she wanted them.  Hannah pleaded with God to receive a child and he answered her prayers.  Rebekah and Rachel both struggled with infertility, and several other women in history have prayed to God to give them a child and he has granted their requests... women that I know today who pray for children are being given them, whether biologically or through adoption, and sometimes both, these women are heard by God... so I'm not asking anyone to 'give up' their cry to God for children, but if giving up the stress and worry of the how and when would help you, then perhaps you can do that, and just turn loose your fears, and worries to the Lord who provides abundantly for us all.

As for my family, we choose to just stop trying to control the outcome, and just trust God, in this and so many other areas of our lives... and so far, we are blessed indeed, four sweet babies to fill my arms, one growing in my womb and two waiting in heaven for me to greet them one day on my arrival to that forever home with Jesus.  7 children, all incredible blessings from the Lord, and should more come along in the future, I'll raise them the best I can, and lean on the Lord for strength and comfort, because raising children is hard work... and worth every moment!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A piece of my new writing project.

The following is a test of your enjoyment reading system..

I'm beginning to write again, and if you've read my first book "Of Virtue and Grace" you know that I have a bit of passion for it, and for Jesus.  However this is a completely different kind of writing, this one is fictional... I'm going to give you a portion of the first chapter here, and please keep in mind this is RAW UNEDITED and not complete or publication ready in any form, but I'd like some feedback.  Read it and just leave me a comment below to tell me if it is something you would want to read the rest of... or if you have questions about a character, or suggestions for me I'd love to hear them.

Chapter 1.
Ruth and Howard Ingham, the most dedicated pair of lovers that had ever graced God’s great planet earth, had lived so long with one another that they really couldn’t be separated.  Not a day went by that the two were not intimately involved in each other’s business.  It wasn’t always pretty, and they didn’t always agree, even on the important things, but they always worked together for the good of their marriage. 
The lessons that Ruth and Howard learned early in their marriage left such a valuable impression on their hearts that it bound them together in such a way as that no one could separate them.  Ruth had never been able to have children, she claimed that “God opened and closes the womb” and just simply trusted that the Lord would provide, should he ever feel the need, and at eighty years old the desire for her own flesh and blood children had long passed her.  Howard and Ruth had always wanted children, but their faith in the goodness of the Lord held them together, even when their greatest desires for children had wrestled with their hearts and tugged at their arms, the arms that held only each other.
Years of wondering if they’d ever have children had pulled them apart, but also brought them together in new, much deeper and more meaningful ways.  Ruth clung to the promises of the Lord in Isaiah 54, speaking his word over her life, praying that the tent strings of her heart could be enlarged and that she could reach out to all the motherless, and fatherless in her community. 
Howard had worked hard throughout their marriage to provide for Ruth, and to allow her to support the women that were able to give birth to their own offspring.  She found all sorts of women and children to help and to love on every week.  Her schedule often included meal preparation and house-keeping for homes that were not even their own, but she never let that get in the way of taking care of the home he provided.  Howard and Ruth were always suited well for one another.
Today however was different.  Instead of caring for women and children from the church or neighborhood, Ruth was taking care of Howard.  Howard had suffered a heart attack, just a minor one according to the doctor’s office, but serious enough that at age 83 there were questions about whether he’d be able to stay home or whether a nursing home might be a better place for the man she loved so dearly.  Ruth wouldn’t hear of Howard being in a home, she had energy and dedication enough for both of them, so instead she hired a nursing student to come once a day to check in on them and help them accomplish the things that in their age might be difficult to continue now that Howard was restricted in diet and exercise due to his health. 
Ruth explained to the temp agency that she didn’t need someone with a lot of experience and that a first-year student would be fine, all she really needed was someone to come and help her with the heavy lifting once in a while, particularly when Howard was feeling under the weather and wasn’t getting to and from places in the house as well as he once did.
The temp agency sent Annalise, an 18-year-old college freshman.  Annalise stood rather tall, Ruth guessed she was nearly six-foot, and though her hair was always pulled back in a ponytail and her uniform always clean and pressed, Annalise had a fire in her eyes that Ruth just hadn’t placed yet.
 It was Ruth’s favorite pastime to watch people and see if they’d let go of a secret or two and let her into their world, and if they did she found a way right into their hearts and dwelled there in a special place that only she would ever fit into.
Today, and Annalise were going to be no different.  Ruth was determined to find that sweet hiding place inside of Annalise, so as the college freshman drove her car up the driveway, Ruth poured the hot water she’d prepared into a teapot and placed it on a tray, and added some of her favorite tea flavors and cookies along-side the pretty little teacups she thought Annalise might like best. 
Annalise closed her car door and began the walk up the path toward the Ingham’s beautiful two story yellow gabled home and admired the flowers that had been carefully planted and weeded by Ruth herself, while inside Ruth set the tea tray on the little table near the chair she would soon welcome Annalise to sit in, and quickly moved a lap blanket to the back of the chair where she usually kept it on chilly early fall mornings like this one.  When Annalise climbed the three stairs leading to the front porch she paused only a moment to enjoy the aroma of flowers in hanging baskets and along the windows before proceeding toward the carved wood front door, but just as her hand reached the space where her knock would have planted itself to announce her arrival, Ruth opened the door, leaving Annalise to knock on the air where the door had been.
“Annalise!”  Ruth cheerfully called.  “I’ve been waiting for you, Howard has too, but he’s taking a nap just right now, so I wondered if you’d like to have some tea with me?” 
“Mrs. Ingham you are so sweet and thoughtful!  I’d love to have some tea with you!”  Annalise had never been fond of tea as a child, but just now that didn’t seem to matter, because Ruth was standing eagerly there, framed by the white painted doorway with an eager smile written in permanent marks across her face. 
“Child, don’t call me Mrs. Ingham, I’d love if we could become friends and you would call me Ruth!”  Annalise had heard Mrs. Ingham say this same thing at least two times prior, but still couldn’t bring herself to be so informal with her first clients.  Especially Ruth, because Ruth was the most distinguished and amazing woman she’d ever had the chance to get to know, even if their knowledge of each other was wholly due to Ruth’s husband’s illness.
It seemed to Annalise that Ruth was everything that she herself was not.  Where Ruth was established in years, Annalise was young and naïve.   Ruth had space for guests in her home, and Annalise had a tiny dorm room she shared with another girl.  Ruth was tidy and organized, Annalise struggled to clean up after herself.  Where Ruth was welcoming and gracious to everyone, Annalise struggled to feel as if she belonged anywhere well enough to be welcoming to anyone.
“Come in, sweet child, let’s have some of that tea, I’ve heated the water and set out a tray already.  Just this way.”  Ruth gently guided her guest into the living room and offered her a high-backed wing chair near the window where she could have enjoyed the view out the window, or the warm fire on the hearth.  Ruth’s gaze fell on Annalise in such a way as if she were saying ‘make yourself comfortable, stay as long as you like.’
“Oh Mrs. Ruth, I probably should get straight to work, what can I help you with while we wait for Mr. Ingham to wake up?”  Annalise pushed only slightly back at the offered chair, she didn’t want to seem as if she were taking advantage of the job and kindness of Mrs. Ingham and her husband.
“Well nothing to be done while that man rests, and we know he needs the rest, so you just sit here and do the best favor you could for me… just tell me about yourself.”  Ruth smiled and began to pour the steamy water into cups on the tea tray.  “Let’s start with what kind of tea you drink.  A lot can be said about a person based on the kind of tea they drink.  Are you a caffeinated tea drinker, a fruity tea drinker, or an herbal tea drinker?” Ruth’s eyes lit up at each suggestion of the kinds of tea that Annalise might choose.  It was a fun little game she liked to play with new guests.
“Hmm, well I don’t really know, I didn’t like tea very much as a child and I have not had many since then either.”  Annalise thought it out.  “I don’t think I need to be drinking caffeine, it makes me jittery.  What do you recommend?”  Annalise smiled and sank a little deeper in the offered chair, she hadn’t realized just how soft it was before, but it welcomed her to relax in the same ways that Mrs. Ruth did, gently, slowly, and with a power that she didn’t even care to resist.
“If you didn’t like it as a child then you’ll probably need some time to get used to it before you really enjoy it, I’ll start you off with something fruity, that should be alright for you this time… what do you think of peaches?”  Ruth slowly pulled a tea bag from her arrangement, it was labeled “peaches and crème”.  Annalise smiled and nodded her agreement to the flavor selection mentally telling herself that even if she didn’t like it she would endure it for the sake of such a sweet hostess.
When Ruth handed the cup over to Annalise she began to pick through the tea bags for her own tea cup.  Annalise quickly took the first sip of her tea, hoping that Ruth would be occupied enough to miss her reaction should she not care for the flavor.  Yet she was gently surprised with the aroma and the flavor of the tea, a gentle wash of warm water flavored slightly of peaches and milk washed down her throat and warmed her stomach.  She actually really enjoyed the sensation and the flavor alike. “Mrs. Ruth!  This is wonderful!  I had no idea tea could be so delicious!”
“Everything on God’s green earth can be that way, surprisingly lovely and easy to accept… but only some things are worth it.  Tea is worth it.” Ruth chirped with a hint of passion in her voice.
A noise from the other side of the room disturbed their reflection and called their attention.  Annalise immediately set her cut down and rushed to the aide of Howard Ingham, who had apparently woken from his afternoon nap and made his way to the living room. 
“Mr. Ingham, you should have called for us, we would have helped you out of your bed.”  Annalise gently scolded.
“I had a minor heart attack, I didn’t break a hip, child.”  Howard smiled and pinched Annalise’s cheek gently as if she really were a child, and she smiled sweetly back at him slightly embarrassed. 
“I know, but this is what I’m here for!  Not to drink tea, unfortunately, but to help you.”  Annalise cleared Mr. Ingham’s magazine from his chair and pulled up his foot rest.  “would you like a lap blanket, sir?”
“No, if anyone needs one of those it’ll be my wife, she’s the one whose always cold.”  Mr. Ingham reached out a freckled hand toward his wife and partner in crime, and she readily gripped it with a smile and a look of satisfaction on her face.
“He’s right, I’m always cold.  Poor circulation they say, I say I’m just plain cold, always have been.”  Ruth’s eyes never left Howard, even though it was clear she was talking to Annalise, who had been situating her chair closer to Mr. Ingham’s side so she could check his vitals.
The house fell silent as Annalise pumped air into the blood pressure cuff she had attached to Mr. Ingham’s arm.  She listened closely and watched the seconds slip by on her wristwatch.  When she was finished she looked happily, nearly dreamily at Mr. Ingham.  “You’re blood pressure seems to be within normal today.  Have you been listening to Dr.’s advice in your diet?”
A gentle chuckle landed in Annalise’s ears.  “I have a grand appetite, so does my dear wife, and nothing beats the salads this woman makes!  However, I just don’t think I can live off from so little every day… I’m desperate, I need more sustenance, tell that Dr. I need more meat! Howard chuckled and leaned toward Annalise secretively “And CAKE!”
Annalise smiled and sat back in her chair, “well it sounds like your wife has been taking good care of you Mr. Ingham!  You should be so lucky, you probably don’t deserve her!” Winking at Howard, Annalise packed her blood pressure cuff away and stood.  “Mrs. Ingham, would you like me to take the bedsheets to the wash and replace them?” 
“Ruth, dear, call me Ruth, I insist!”  Ruth smiled back at her, “and yes honey, that would be wonderful.  I’ll just come along and see if there is anything this old lady can do to help.” 
“Alright, I suppose I can call you Ruth, it just feels so informal.”  Annalise looked around for inspiration but found none and barreled through with the rest of her thought, “you are so refined and gentile, I don’t want to be disrespectful by being too familiar.”
Ruth only laughed, a light chuckle that reminded Annalise of tinkling bells, but then the laugh grew and soon she was walking toward the bedroom, hand to her stomach laughing.  “Oh honey, I’m not gentile or refined dear, I’m just old, and you are not disrespectful if you are doing what I asked of you.”
While the women fussed with the bedsheets Howard opened his newspaper and began to read, he didn’t even realize he fell asleep until Annalise and Ruth had returned to the room giggling like school girls.  It always amazed him that his wife could make friends with strangers so quickly.  He always struggled with acquaintances, but had made a few lasting and deep connections throughout his life and was happy with them, Ruth however was not at all like that. People opened up to her almost immediately.  Maybe it was her beautifully caring heart, maybe it was her smile, maybe it was the fact that it was never an act with her, she was genuine all the way through.
“Annalise, I have something for you, but I’d like to send it in the mail, is that ok?  Could you write down your mailing address for me so I can send it?”  Ruth was asking the home-help aide the same question she would ask every new friend, and Howard smiled knowing that he hadn’t messed up her life enough to change this tradition for her.  Annalise jotted down her address on the provided paper and gathered her things.
“I’ve enjoyed this visit, I’m certain I have no idea what you are going to send me, but I’m not scared in the least.” Annalise smiled as she turned the doorknob to leave.
“Oh, I certainly hope you wouldn’t be frightened!”  Ruth was gravely serious about this tradition and wouldn’t want anyone to be frightened of her monthly invitations. “and I hope it arrives in the mail quickly for you.”
Annalise stepped out into the sunshine filled front porch and breathed in the smell of Ruth’s flowers, smiled once more at Mrs. Ingham and turned to leave.  Ruth gently guided the door closed and turned to Howard who was watching her from across the room in in his reclining chair.
“How many does that make it now, Ruth?”  He questioned her about this with every new guest she invited over.
If Ruth were young enough she would have danced a little victory dance right there, but she didn’t, instead she raised her arms in triumphant fists to heaven and closed her teary eyes “Thank you Jesus, Thank you for bringing us Annalise, and thank you for putting her in our path so that we might share your wonderful love with her!”  She lowered her fists partially, opened her eyes and looked straight at Howard “If she comes, then that will be twelve!”

For the last 2 years Ruth had been having morning tea on Saturdays once a month with women she met around town, in church, the grocery store, or any other place, each woman received a hand-written invitation every month to join the rest of them for tea in the garden behind the house. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'm BACK!!!

This time, I promise I'm not going to whine about anything... I mean it is just not fair if you have to listen to all the bad parts and never get a glimpse of all the great parts!

Here it is, the topic you are just dying to hear ANOTHER person post about!  The ECLIPSE!
Yeah I know you are thinking "we've heard ALL the stories lady, why submit us to that same thing all over again/plus you didn't even see a total eclipse, you live in the wrong area."

BUT  you have not seen how incredibly adorable my kids and my best friend's kids are, and I've got pictures for you!

So here's the story, I thought briefly about taking the lovely kiddos down to the Gardens downtown to check out the solar power of the sun and moon pooled together, and then I remembered I have FOUR of them, and watching the sun in a strange and highly crouded place just didn't sound like a lot of fun to me, so I opted to build solar viewers from home... of course this meant no one would look at the ACTUAL sun.. but what would the kids care right?
I don't know, my kids were COUNTING DOWN the days till the Moon covered the sun, and repeating EVERYTHING they heard on the radio about the upcoming event, even though I heard it at the same time they did, "MOM DID YOU HEAR......" "yes, yes I did, I'm sitting right here."

So solar eclipse day was upon us, we started it out by cutting up a pizza box, some tin foil and poking holes with our super duper home school single hole punch in said tin foil and taping it to the pizza box projectors... I'm a rock star with spur of the moment projects... maybe, sometimes.

Then we continued to proceed with our school day as normal... checking occassionally through the window to see if we were in fact missing anything with the sun.  We didn't.

After most of the school work was complete I asked Patrick to go out and move our patio table which no longer resides on our patio, but in a forest of table high grass, to an area where the children could actually eat off from the surface of it, then made lunch, sandwiches, chex mix and carrots with chocolate chip cookies for desert, and Kool-aide for drinks, and Patrick even set up the gazebo to keep us all cool in the heat of our Oklahoma day.

As we ate our meals and drank kool-aide we often checked the progress of the sun in our pizza box projectors, and the kids played in the kiddie pool, the day got cooler and cooler and less of the kids were even interested in the pool, but they were incredibly interested by what they could and were doing with their shadows.  lacing their fingers together to see the shadow of the moon over the sun, playing with the projectors, and Patrick even poked a bunch of holes in a piece of scrap paper which ended up looking like hundreds of tiny moon shaped suns dancing on the patio.

At some point I realized that while it hurt my eyes to try to photograph the impossible to photograph sun, it didn't hurt as bad to look at the sun through my camera lens as it would if I looked straight at it... so I got the brillant idea (don't remember who suggested it, Neva?  Maybe Patrick) to use a pair of sunglasses over the lens, this didn't help a lot, but it did help, so then we layered two pairs of glasses over the lens, then I could actually see it with my eye, I still couldn't get the picture though.

Then Patrick found two more pairs of sunglasses and we layered all four together, between the three of us adults trying this just to look at the sun we did get one or two images that actually showed the shape of the sun behind the moon, which was awesome, but the picture is anything but high quality, and I can't say I took it, Neva or Patrick took it when they had their turn to look.

After playing with the lens of my camera this way we eventually decided to put all four pairs of sun glasses on at once and look directly at the sun... and guess what!?!  It actually worked.  Sure it was funny looking, but it worked!  All the kids got to try it, and we captured some fun photos of the time we spent together.

Patrick, and I don't have lots of fun moment as a family right now, so it was extra special to me, the lack of stress going on was wonderful and uplifting, and the intimacy of having fun together is rare but liberating.  Neva and her children got to share in all of this with us, and it was just a really good time, all the kids got to see the eclipse, and we all enjoyed the day!

Here are some pictures we were able to capture.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.



Friday, August 4, 2017

6 months of nothing and everything

I've not been really vocal about anything lately, I'm sitting in disbelief that this is what my life looks like at 33 years old.

In Feb. of 2016 Patrick and I were expecting another baby and bought what was meant to be our forever home... you know I feel a bit like a kid in fostercare, or a puppy at the pound when I refer to my house as a forever home, but the truth is, I just want to settle in somewhere.

I'll be honest I didn't even hang all my pictures, always waiting for something, at first I was waiting to find the perfect entertainment center to put in the living room, Patrick was going to make it for me, and it was going to be awesome... but then a year after moving in, when we were in the middle of figuring out how to raise chickens and I was busting it trying to budget for a fence for the goats we would be bringing home in a month or less, BAM my world was shaken up.

Patrick walked in the house with this look on his face, I knew before he said it.  I've seen that look before, I've seen it a lot of times actually.  He'd lost his job.  This one lasted 2 years, but THANKS to the avionics world it was gone now.  The plan had been that if this happened again Patrick would find work locally and we'd stay here... but as soon as he was laid off the talk began... are we moving?  Well we sure as hell were not getting goats.

Now it's been 6 months.  We are preparing to celebrate our youngest child's 1st birthday... the unemployment ran out, and being a doula full time is like a distant dream, I don't know what happened there, but I felt God calling me to use my talents elsewhere, I'm still doulaing for those that hire me, but I'll be honest I have one client, and she may not be able to pay... (if you are reading this friend you know my heart and it is TOTALLY ok!  We'll work it out, and I'm here for you!).

Patrick had a phone interview with this really incredible looking company, I was excited, but guess what?  That didn't happen!

So what now?  I don't know. I've been walking around trusting God has been leading my steps, but the stress of the not knowing is really getting to me.  I can't handle it much longer.

Our options are vast, but honestly I don't like any of them.  Here in Oklahoma he could find work, but it wouldn't pay nearly what he was being paid.  OR we could move and he could do the work he's been doing that he hates, and we could be literally anywhere in the country.  OR He could get an entirely different job using this company that totally fixed his resume and got him the phone interview with the company that just refused him (for lack of experience) but again that would most likely mean that we have to move AGAIN... and we've told them we'd only like to either work here in Oklahoma (no job with them available currently) or near Battle Creek Michigan (near my family) and they have one other option in that area, so we will see what happens from here.

Oh and guess what?   He put in for a job in Ardmore, OK, so that means that if he were to get it he would be traveling every week to work and seeing us on the weekends.  Yup, that's the life I'm living right now, I am either faced with seeing my husband every day, all the time (which would be wonderful if he were present when he is here, but because he's been upset about his job track record we actually don't spend much time being a family unit), or I can see him only on the weekends.  But the good/bad news is, that job is only a temp job anyway, so it won't last.  YAY it won't last, MAN it won't last!

And I just want to say one more thing.  If you are just checking out the many jobs available and not really seriously looking for work, then using a job placement agency seems like a great thing, but if you really truly need work, and everyone is hiring through these companies, there are things you need to know.  1. They will only put you in for one job at a time, and if you are desperate for work, they don't care, because it is their reputation that is damaged if more than one company wants to hire you and they put you in for more than one job, because ultimately they won't be able to place you with two or more companies.  2. They don't like it if you work with more than one agency and you risk making them mad (which means they make you either a last priority or not a priority at all) if you let them know you are working with another company to find work.  3. If you are living on unemployment and it is running out and you don't have a job yet because it takes one to two weeks to find out if you got one job, you probably are not going to get hired quickly, so don't hedge your bets and wait any longer than you have to, cause it is rough, and they don't care about you, they care about money.  It may be their job to get you a job, but they don't have to do it quickly, they have to impress the companies they put you in to work for, and sorry, you are just another of the many people they are finding employment for.

I'm sorry for using this blog to rant about the life I live.  I've been praying, praying so hard for all the things that are going on here, but in the end, I know it is all in God's timing.  And HIS plan.... which ultimately looks nothing like mine, and will be good, but in the waiting, I'm hating it.

Please join me in prayer for my family, and the life we are facing right now.  I'm losing my stuffing... I've lost my compass, I've lost my direction, I can't see my hand in front of my face, but I keep walking, and I'm trusting that God has this under control and is about to bless my socks off.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dealing with the Interruptions of Life.

If you are familiar with this blog you will know that I'm the mother of four children.  If you are familiar with me, you will know that I home school two of them, and the other two make it their life goal to keep me from doing anything... home school, cleaning, sleeping, relaxing, working, writing, you name it... and I probably can't do it, at least not often, or well.
Lately it has been on my heart to write.  I want to write, I need to write, I actually feel commanded by God in heaven to write.  And call me crazy, but I don't think we have much time left in the world, so I need to get my bottom in gear and listen to that direction and be obedient to it.
Yesterday after feeling convicted to begin again, a book that I've worked on for the past nine years I sent the kids outside and sat down to write, it was the perfect opportunity, The big kids were finished with their school work, the baby was sleeping, the toddler (who can barely be called a toddler anymore) was also content to play outside.  The dog however wasn't so content.  The dog wanted out, I let him out, the children put him back in, the dog wanted out, the dog demanded to be let out, loudly and with jumping (the dog is a tall lab mix, and acts like a Jack Russel terrier), there was no ignoring him.  I let the dog out, the kids put the dog in, this cycle continued quite a few times,
Then the children climbed trees.  I am totally ok with tree climbing children, but I have two rules, 1. you have to get up by yourself, no help from anyone (this assures that they are capable of getting down without help the majority of the time).  2. You have to get down by yourself. (this lets them know that while mommy loves them deeply she doesn't want to help them get out of trees all the time, so please don't make mommy chase you around the yard getting you out of tress).
Of course Caeden (8) helped Fia (6) to get very high in a tree, and then they sent Micah (3) to get me and 'take a picture'.  I dutifully took a picture and returned to my writing, but then Micah came back to inform me that Fia couldn't get out of the tree.  So they went to another tree after I helped her down, and supposedly this one she could navigate on her own.
Back to writing, or rather reviewing what I wrote nearly a year ago to see what needed to be written now.  Then my dad called.  I answered because he's my dad, and because last Monday he nearly died, so talking to him when he calls is important, because you just never know.  He spoke to me about a bunch of things, but among them, while I stared at a computer screen I had added exactly zero words to, was that our lives are short in the grand scheme of things and we need to be sure that we are about the father's business, and furthering the kingdom of God.....
Yup, I sat there, distracted from the work of God by all the forces of the nature of my life, my children, my dog, the dishes and laundry that I had put off doing in order to 'be about the father's business' and the very conversation I was having with my dad, and I couldn't be about his business.
I was a bit annoyed, and didn't know how to explain exactly that; I needed to be about the business God had laid on my heart for that perfect afternoon.
I never did write a single word that day.
Today, I woke up and had no intention of even trying to write, but something significant happened.
A friend on Facebook posted an article about living under an unqualified president.  I'm sure the article was worth reading but lets face it, I don't have time for that sort of negativity, or really the desire to read yet another disgruntled opinion about the president whose inauguration is today.  It is what it is, the president of the last eight years wasn't all that qualified either.
But that post made me think of something else I had heard.  A man whose name I forget (blame mommy brain) and don't feel like looking up right now (blame the fact that it is 9:30 am and I'm in my pj's, have yet to eat breakfast and still have to educate my children for day), prophesied that Trump would become president of the United States.  And he did.  He also predicted who would win the triple crown, and that happened too.  Which alone is actually just kind of a cool thing... but here is the kicker, he also said that after Trump won the election the 'Trumpet would sound'.  God would return to fetch us up to heaven, those who believe.
I don't know if it is true, I don't know if it isn't, I'm not even going to speculate on that... but what I do want to share with you, the three of you who will actually read these words, is that if it is true, I want to be ready, but I'm not.
Lately I've been thinking about having another baby, yeah I'm announcing that to the world before I have even admitted it to my husband... but I have his name picked out and everything, and I just know our family isn't complete yet, because Ezekiel isn't a part of it....
I think about Patrick and I growing old together.  I think about getting old and dying, I think that is the dream... I want to be rewarded with the right to die at an old age... I'm not going to explain, you'll either understand or you won't.  Here is one you'll surely understand, I want to see my children married, I want to see my grand children.  I want to see my 3 year old come to a real understanding of Jesus, and possibly also learn to pick up his own toys.  I want to see my cuddly baby learn to walk, and talk, and say things, and  all the fun stuff that comes with her learning and growing.  I want to do and experience so much, how can I be excited for God to come back and stop all of that, so that I can go to heaven and no longer be married and raising children in the sense that I currently am..
The thoughts were swirling around in my head faster than I could pray about them, and I was very actively praying about them... and then my Micah came into my bedroom saying he was going to puke, and I went to care for him, and Caeden brought me my phone saying it was ringing, and life began to really happen..., no longer just the thought of it, but the actuality of it.
Who called?  My dad.. again.  So I quickly settled Micah in bed and called Dad back.  He said "I have a word for you"  and in my heart I knew he did, and my pulse jumped, and I thought "Yes, God, I need a word, let it be true."  Dad continued,
"Fear is just Faith in the wrong direction"
Dad continued to talk about other things, that would pertain to that message if it were about an actual worldly fear, but it wasn't, it was an other worldly lack of understanding, so what he was saying didn't apply but that first word shot straight to my heart.  I don't question the existence of my Lord and Savior, but if I ever did, that moment proved it over again, he had spoken to my heart.  I actually shed a few tears telling my dad about what I'd been thinking about, and praying about only moments before he had called.  It was very timely.
God's word is always on time!
I have nothing to fear about when God does choose to come back, because he knows the desires of my heart, he knows I want to continue on in this world, and whether that happens or not, whether I die of old age, or get swooped up into the clouds today, God is always and forever will be on time.