Dear Diary,

Today I am 32 weeks pregnant with my fifth child (official pregnancy update coming tonight). I love being a mom, and I feel at least less overwhelmed with motherhood than with the rest of life. My children help me to narrow in and really focus on the everyday, even the minute by minute. If God brings more glamorous ministry into my life, I’ll gladly accept it. But I’m not too worried about my future. It’ll come when it comes.

Who could have known how much motherhood would calm my ambition? I certainly didn’t. If I live this exact life for the next ten years, I know it will only feel like two. Everything is happening so fast, and I desire only to slow down. The older girls are already little ladies; it makes me happy and sad all at the same time. I’m not ready to let them go (even in the little ways), yet I grow more and more aware of the fleetingness of childhood.

Jesus is my life, and so my children are as I lay down my life for them. But I cannot let them take the ultimate place. If then, what will I do when they grow up and leave me? Where will I turn? My all consuming passion must remain with Christ, yet I find myself worrying and fretting over my children even as I pray for them at night. Oh Satan, I see you in those moments. I will not let you have my mind.

I love my children far above my own life. But if that is to be exemplified as truth, I should have no fear for their future. What an honor that God would give them to me; but ultimately, they’re not mine. I’m raising them for the Kingdom, not as ornaments of my home. They’re His children, and I do trust Him with them.

I ask God to raise me up quickly so that my children do not have to wait on my growth. I desire to parent with glorious contentment and my eyes fixed firmly on the end of my salvation. And I want to say, “Come quickly Lord Jesus” with no regrets about what I will miss from this earth.

But for now, this is my wonderful life. I am so grateful to God for his blessing and protection, and I boldly ask Him for more: more peace, more joy, and more faith.

January 31, 2009

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So, a Funny Thing Happened..

I have something really sweet to show and tell you about (it’s only great for me, so don’t get too excited). But that news flash is going to have to wait until tomorrow, because today I need to sit you all down and say,

“I am only joking about midwives being weird hippie pot smokers! They are actually fantastically brilliant (and remarkably forgiving) people.”

The former is true and the latter is my hope, because guess who found my blog (specifically the post entitled Midwives and Mary Jane)!


Here’s how they responded:

“Oh my gosh! Definitely not pot – one hundred percent. It is Moxa – an herb that Ana Easter – the acupuncturist down the hall uses. I had to laugh so hard when I read that (well, actually I felt alarmed too!) We’ve always wondered if people would think that!”

Anyway, it got me thinking. In my (hopefully successful) attempt at humor, I haven’t really raved about midwifery and why we’ve chosen that route for our new little singleton. I don’t think it is the right choice for everyone; after my necessary cesarean with the first set, and my epidural with the second set, I’m not nearly as “anti-medical” as I used to be. But the fact is that midwives are responsible for birthing most of the world’s healthiest babies.

I might find the smell of herbs a little “weird,” but I am also a big believer in herbal medicine. I very rarely take my kids to the doctor (and we frequent the herb and vitamin store), but I am thankful that doctors exist when we need them. I guess we haven’t really picked a side (medical vs. natural). We think both serve very important purposes (although I really wish someone would just give me a pill for these danged headaches!).

The bottom line: We’re using midwives with the little guy because they aren’t going to cut me open (a dangerous and largely unnecessary practice).

You’ve gotta respect that.

And the next time you think you smell an illegal substance, don’t blame the midwives. It’s probably the acupuncturist down the hall!

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My Date With the Little Man

For the past few weeks, Lil Prince has had a bad case of the whines. I decided that he might need some “mommy and me” alone time. So, when I arranged for Auntie to come and watch the kiddos (while I went to the midwives and did my grocery shopping), I told her she’d be down by one. “Cause the boy is comin’ with me!”

We had a lovely date at the Wal-Mart Subway (I paid of course), and then he graciously accompanied me while I shopped. From 10 am to 2 pm we covered the midwifery center, Wal-Mart, the herb store, the grocery store, and Baskin Robbins. Of course, this meant buckling and unbuckling a total of twelve times. But people, I could not get over how easy it was! I am not trying to diminish the work involved in raising a child; it’s a lot whether you have one or a whole baseball team. But one child is a complete novelty to me; I just had to take note. It also helped me to stop kicking myself over how rarely I leave the house alone with my four. Maybe my job is a little harder than I tend to think. Maybe.

The midwives are probably not aware that my son can speak, because, he did not (at least not while they were in the room). But on the way out I said, “This is where brother is going to be born! Do you like it here?” He responded, “No, it’s weird.” Well, it might be a little weird, but the smells were of legal herbs, so that’s good.

During lunch I let the man share my Coke (something neither of us should be drinking, I know). We rarely have Coke in our home, and it’s even more rare that the kids are allowed a sip (I actually think this was his first “full-strength” soft drink). It will remain rare, but if I’d known the affect I would have given him some before my appointment. It was just the shot of courage that he’d been missing! When he whined something incoherent I said, “No, you have to talk like a big boy or I’m not going to listen.” He grew ten feet tall and three years older and clearly said, “I want another sip please!”

He was a huge help in the grocery store, holding on to the pages of my list and discarding them as they were completed. He even shared his seat with a big bag of cereal. And like the little crazy that he is, he said, “Oh yeah cereal, you can sit by me!” He kept talking to the bag for another thirty seconds and then scolded, “What? Are you not gonna talk to me cereal?!” I laughed til I cried.

I should have a chance to take the other three on individual dates (midwife visit/grocery shopping trips) before the babe arrives. I only wish I had thought of it sooner! Sometimes I am so focused on being a mom of many that I forget to single them out.

What about you? What special things do you do alone with your little ones?

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As She Mumbles, “I’m Actually a Really Good Mom”

Alternately titled: Why My Child Doesn’t Have to Listen to You.

Most of us have friends who either aren’t parents or just choose to parent differently than we do. Nothing wrong with that. But how do you feel about those people instructing your children? What about your “like-minded” friends? Do you react differently when they offer your children correction? How much authority do you give people solely on the basis that they are “friends” and “adults”.

We do not yet have any school-aged children. We may or may not send our children to grade school (unless the government decides we have to send them to school – then we’ll move far up into the mountains and you’ll never hear from us again! Ha!); but if we do, it will be understood that they must obey their teachers (in the context of school). We already instruct them to obey their Sunday school teachers, as in, “Miss Dianne is your teacher today, and I want you to obey her while you are upstairs.” But we do not, ever, expect them to obey someone just because that person is an adult. I’m sure we’ll run into a few embarrassing situations because of this philosophy; but, frankly, I’d rather my kids be seen as brats than be put in danger (there is not much danger of either since they are so rarely out of our sight).

I wish there was a way to instantly teach them discernment (which is the ultimate goal); but at age three, I don’t imagine they can see much difference between, “Stop running around the church.” and “Come outside with me for a minute.” In order to discern a lie, they must first be brought up to know the truth. And Papa Bear and I are, currently, the only people responsible for their development (sorry Hillary).

Right now, our children are not allowed to say “No,” unless we have asked them a question. But the time will soon come when, “No, Mom, I don’t think that is right.” will be appropriate. And the time will eventually come when they will be at the mercy of a broader base of authority. If we’ve done our job, they’ll know to obey the police [in general], but they will hopefully also know when a specific situation calls for disobedience. We do not want to raise children who feel they are doing wrong by saying, “No.” Learning to say “No” is a very good thing.

Being a mom is my life, and it has been for the past four years. Every day, from the time Papa Bear leaves to the time he comes home, my life revolves around my kids. If I blog during the day, you can bet I am stopping every few seconds to solve an argument or help with a Lincoln log cabin. I love my life, and I make no secret of that. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is not a social worker, school teacher, or child psychologist alive who knows my kids as well as I do. I have no delusions of their being sinless, but I do know when, “neediness,” “shyness,” “exhaustion,” or “illness” are the reasons behind bad behavior.

My kids have had two “non-family member” babysitters in their lifetime. They refer to both as “Auntie” because they are in their lives as much more than the occasional sitter. I wouldn’t leave my children with anyone I didn’t trust with their souls; but the second I walk back in the door, they’re mine. If they were disobedient while I was gone, I want to hear about it. They are required to both have and obey authority. But that authority, while passed to a sitter in my absence, I will quickly and effectively pick back up as soon as I walk in the door.

What does all this mean? It means that when I am in charge, no one else is (except Papa Bear). It’s as simple as that. Sometimes I let my children jump on the couch. Others might think it’s bad parenting; but if it’s my couch and my kid, it’s my call. My view of authority is in no way an indication of a lack of trust [toward anyone in particular]. I simply feel that, “Children obey your parents,” is pretty clear-cut. And, while they are still very young, I do not want them confused by unclear, unmarked authority.

But that’s just my opinion. I’d love to hear yours.

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31 Week Pregnancy Update!

To stay on track, I should have posted this last night. But I’ve been given so many different “due dates” that it’s really just guess work at this point. I’m saying the big day is March 27th, because I’d love it if the little guy came on my 30th birthday (we like shared birthday’s around here).

Did I ever tell you about the conversation I had when I was 18?

Friend: So how old do you want to be when you get married?

Me: 19.

Friend: Nineteen? That’s next year!

Me: I know. (I was madly “in love” at the time.)

Friend: Well, why so young?

Me: Because I want to have all of my kids before I’m 30.

Friend: How many do you want?

Me: 5 or 6.

_________Yep, that’s a true story! Funny thing is, I didn’t get married until I was twenty-four, and I still might get my wish!

Here it is folks! Me and the Womb Dweller at 31 weeks!

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He takes my breath away.

If I was a more mature person I would live my life in blissful joy, truly understanding and relishing in my salvation. But in my current state of development, I still have bad days. OK, sometimes I have weeks that are just plain rotten. I’m sad or angry or petty or hurt…there is a long list of emotions in which I might willfully immerse myself in order to avoid the goodness of God. Hey, I’m just being honest. This weekend, He truly took my breath away…probably because I let Him.

We didn’t make it to Denver until almost midnight. Of course the kids were exhausted, but so excited to see their Grammie. We all sat up and talked for a few minutes, and then retreated for a very easy bedtime. In the morning we piddled and dawdled and were just plain lazy. We made it out to the Stock Show sometime around one o’clock. I had packed our heavy coats, gloves, and hats, but we ended up not even needing hoodies. It was downright hot in Denver, CO!

Apparently, the Denver National Western (on the second Saturday in the middle of the day) is The. Place. To. Be. The children’s exhibits were unbelievably crowded; but we found peace, and livestock, outside. Even with the crowds, and all of the walking, the kids were great. I was so proud of them because by the end of the day my feet (and back and uterus) were killing me!

Normally, the highlight of our weekend trips to Colorado is driving back through the Springs in time for church. But this time we decided to sleep in and share another leisurely breakfast with Mom. Saturday I had experienced a welcomed break from the headache from hell, but it was back with a vengeance by Sunday. Taking some down time in the morning really helped me to make it through the day intact.

You might remember that someone gave us a car a couple years back. It was such a tremendous and unexpected blessing, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We were in dire straights financially, and we ended up selling the car to my mother-in-law to pay off a credit card debt. Well, to make a long story short, she decided, over the holidays, that she wanted to “give the car back”! Of course we were thrilled, and extremely grateful; but then we started to think about what we should do with it. I don’t drive much without Papa Bear, and besides, this car had now been given to us twice. So, we decided to give it to my “car-less” mom as a birthday present! So fun!

We packed up the van, and the car, and headed for Colorado Springs around three o’clock. We lingered at my parents’ house to watch the big game (making Papa Bear one happy camper) and then headed home a little after eight.

It had been a great weekend free of conflict and full of the little things that make life great. To top it off, on the four hour drive home I was treated to my five favorite sounds in the whole world. As we pulled away Jared Anderson blared through the speakers. We all danced in our seats and the kids sang along. I love it when my kids sing!

The singing soon turned to silliness, and I was blessed by pure, innocent, completely abandoned laughter. That might just be my all-time favorite sound. Then, soon enough, the backseat quieted and I heard a chorus of contented yawns. Oh, the peace. I was so overwhelmed by the blessings of God that I just sat there and cried.

Once the kids were officially sleeping, I drifted in and out of sleep. As I rested peacefully I could hear the muffled, but beautiful, symphony of Papa Bear interceding for friends and family while praise music continued to softly play. My husband prays. My children are healthy (and unbelievably happy). My soul is secure. My heart is at peace. And my cup truly runneth over.