Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chalk Art

Peter did the first two pieces and Libby transformed the squiggles and outlines into animals... a whale and a pig.

This is her personal artwork.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Late Night Fights...

What happens when boys try to sleep in the same bed... and one just happens to have a cable with a hook on the end and then extends it and it snaps in his brother's face. This. This is what happens. Ian has quite the shiner and the pics don't even begin to show how bad it looks. Yes, this is how we start school this year. looking like a fighter. That's how we roll...

A Shower for Miss Sunshine...

It was my honor and privilege to host a shower a few weeks ago. What a treat! I was trying to coordinate yellow and orange (like Sunshine) and also incorporate Noah's Ark and God's promise via Rainbow. Showers are so much fun....

I'm guilty of this...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pirates, Passy, and days without Mike

"Yes, I did put this lamb in my pacifier ring..."
Michael is happy he can eat again!!!

"A Pirate's Life for Me, Yo Ho!"

Libby scrapbooking for the first time!

Although he loves to pretend to shoot
 Ian's guns are never loaded!
Sometimes you just have to
hang in there...

Days without Mike are LOOOOOOOOONG. So grateful for him to have work but sometimes by the end of the day it takes all the energy I have to just crawl into bed. And I just plain miss having my husband/AKA Best Friend around to hang out with and talk to.

The kids and I have been trying to keep things adventurous and plan fun events as well as times of relaxation and chill time. From scrapbooking with a friend (Thanks Vicki) to going to the zoo to swimming at a friend's pool to playing at home with Sizzles (the rabbit) and eating popcorn and watching a movie from the library. 

Recently when Mike was home, we took the kids to the Regal Summer Movie Express at Greenbrier when movies are just a $1.00 each! We went and saw Rio 2 as a family. And this past week we even traveled up to N. VA where Mike was working and stayed with our friends the Ivy's.... between the hair chalk, swimming at the pool, icecream treats, air and space museum and bounce house... the kids had in their words, "Best day ever!" each day :)

Thank you Bob and Suzy and all your fabulous girls. We love you Lucy, Fable, Emmie, and Penny and can't wait to meet your little brother when he arrives! We know he will be much loved!

So on to the adventure of this week with dentist appointments and haircuts, chiropractic adjustments and River Anne's 1st birthday, homeschool prep meetings, Mike preaching, outreach for church and our much anticipated arrival of Auntie Kelsey!!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Parenting in the Raw...

Kids are screaming and wild. Mike's been at work since 11 last night and still has yet to come home and it's after 11 this morning... bless his heart. I think that I get it together and then realize this idea of control is just an illusion. Laundry may get done... and then there's dishes. Dishes washed but then I need to vacuum. Sweep. Clean bathroom. Sort out what's all over the floor and couch... Go-gurt? Applesauce? Oatmeal? Science project slime? 

Creating. Destroying. Cleaning. Messing. Playing. Fighting. Laughing. Crying. 

Everything seems to happen so quickly and on such intense scales. A moment to breathe. A moment to eat. A moment to fix a tea that I never get a chance to sip.

Letting go of my expectations for the day and instead asking God to let me be apart of what He wants for my day. So, Lord, this is me surrendering. Whatever you have, whatever you want... I will trust you. Even if it means picking up legos from under my bare feet... or wiping another poopy bottom... or reading "that book" again.

Thank you Lord that you are Lord even over the mundane. Even over the monotonous. Even over the average and typical day. Thank you that you are worthy of my praise even when I feel broken and heavy laden and weary and worried. Thank you that I can cast all my anxieties on you and that you hear my cries. My prayers do not fall on deaf ears. 

Thank you for this adventurous life you've given me. Help me to live for your glory. Help me to love my husband, my children, my neighbors, my family and friends and strangers as you would. Thank you that I am yours. Save me.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

This week...

Be prepared for longest run-on sentence ever....

Oh you know those days when your child spills his bowl of cheerios all over the bed but it's okay because there happens to also be dried blood on the bed from when another child had surgery and slept in bed and got blood everywhere from his mouth because he continues to suck his hand in spite of just having 9 teeth removed.... and the toilet is overflowing... and the 3 year old is having soupy poop spill out of his pullups and get on everything including the new play rug you just purchased... and your Ipod suddenly stops turning on or off and is broken... and the air condition isn't running right in the house but you're somehow getting a $500 monthly bill for using it... and the warrant of debt has come from a bill in 2009 that was already paid... and your husband is out of town... and your son breaks down and throws a colossal fit on the floor kicking and screaming in the homeschooling supply store (sorry Mrs. Moore)... and your children whine when they're getting almond butter and jelly sandwiches AGAIN... and you're running out of your antidepressant and making a phone call to get into the doctor while a naked child yells on my bed while waving his bare booty in my face "Booty Butt... Poopy Butt" at the top of his lungs...  and I was up til midnight with that child because he crashed at 5 last night and then rebounded at 9 p.m. and the night before was up til 3:30 and then up again before 8 to deal with diarrhea on the floor...

I hope that I've got  you laughing by now. Because all these things are happening to me... and aren't they altogether just utterly ridiculous? You can only take so much before the tears turn into laughs... and I'm not laughing yet but the preposterousness of my life makes me hope that you can laugh and that sometime soon I can join in with you...

My wallet is still missing... and Samuel's hearing aid is still missing... and I'm missing my husband very bad... and I wish my sister was alive so I can gripe at her and tell her to get her butt over here and bring me a Starbucks while she's at it...

And so where do I fix my gaze? Where does my hope come from? It comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth. I will not despair. For I'm not made for this world. My Home is still coming. I'm still waiting to see Jesus face to face. 

How about you? Are you stuck in your circumstances? Stuck in the things that are going wrong in your life? Ask the Lord for help. If you try and get contentment, hope, joy, satisfaction in anything but Him you might have a temporary satisfaction but it's not lasting. God is our Only Hope. Our only Refuge. The only true thing that satisfies. 

So let's Hope in Him together...

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Surgery, Sizzles and Losing Sanity...

Michael had his much anticipated and awaited for surgery last week. He had 9 teeth extracted (we were anticipating 4). His teeth have suffered so much damage from him having been born premature, cleft palate, a feeding tube for over 5 years, and severe reflux. The acid produced from sucking on his hand and dealing with reflux and g-tube feeds have contributed to every teeth needing either serious repair or removal. His surgery was referred to as "dental rehabilitation".

He did great before surgery and great during but he was so traumatized when he came to that they pulled me into the PACU to calm him down. Of course all he wanted was to suck his hand and that stimulated blood flow from his poor mouth... We got it worked out after I convinced the nurses that he was going to suck on his hand whether we liked it or not (He's been sucking on his hand since he was in the womb)... So we instead focused on keeping his  mouth clean and alternated hand sucking with a wet washcloth. Snuggling in a recliner chair and singing his favorite song to him, All I Have is Christ*, also helped.

Mike was out of town during surgery and so my rock/balance/better half being missing kind of added to the edge. He came home Saturday night and left again early this morning....

For some reason my wallet is missing. It's been missing since Saturday. I have torn the house apart literally and figuratively looking for it. I remember pulling it out at home and then not putting it back. I thought I had left it on a bookshelf but it's missing. We're talking license, debit card, cash, kids insurance cards, zoo membership, library card, etc. We've pulled all bookshelves away from the wall to look behind. We've checked purses, under beds, in the kitchen, bathroom, kids room, etc. I was hoping it got swept up in my scrapbooking supplies which was the last thing I was doing when my wallet disappeared... no luck.

So this is fun. I have no clue where it went to. Hoping that a kid put it in an unlikely place, fridge perhaps?

My Starbucks treat reward expired yesterday and I couldn't use it because my registered Starbucks card was in my wallet. Feeling sad over my first world problems, which are ridiculous in light of the world we live in. People are starving. People are dying because they don't have clean water or basic medical care... and I'm whining over my missed Starbucks opportunity. Suck it up, Jennifer!

Samuel's most recently replaced hearing aid is also missing.... once again, for weeks... missing... this is bad. I have no idea what happened to it. The past two times this has happened we were at medical facilities when he took it out and both places said they never saw it. We tore the house apart weeks ago looking for it. So now he has no hearing aid. Our insurance won't cover it again for another 4-5 years. We're talking thousands of dollars here. :(
Me and Sizzles

But on a happy note there's Sizzles... A sweet lop-eared bunny that was a belated birthday present... for MOI, given to me  the night before Michael's surgery. She's been a fun distraction and joy for myself and my kids. Someone to snuggle and pet. She's so soft! And I think even my not-so-desirous-of-pets husband is warming up to her :) Peter lovingly refers to her as the Easter Bunny...

So missing wallets and hearing aids. And Ian significantly injured his tongue yesterday jumping off a couch and biting his tongue bad. It's bruised swollen and produced enough blood to give a transfusion. Ian started throwing up today. He feels like he has a fever but I can't tell for sure because my temporal scanner is broken. But he's definitely warm. And this after just getting Peter's diarrhea issue of 5 days under control...

Oh irony. Oh life.

The enemy of my soul wants me to despair. He wants me to shriek and give up and give in... and believe me this past week-end that's all I wanted to do... and then grace came in the form of my pastor preaching.... and reminding me that "Blessed are the meek (lowly in spirit and humble)...Blessed are those who mourn" This reminder that Jesus wanted people who are humble, desperate for Him, broken, falling apart... in other words ME. 

And as my three year old Monster sized child insists on eating Ritz crackers all over my bed...  I choose to fix my eyes on things unseen. A belief that there is something better and bigger and more than what I see in front of me- chaos, mess, disorder and not to mention cracker crumbs...

So although my mind is tempted to slowly fall apart and go insane I hang on... Hang on to Christ who is all I have... He is my Rock, my Shelter, My Strong Tower in the storms of this life. He is my Savior, the One who sustains my every breath...

I don't know why my life is what it is. I don't know why my sister Libby and my nephew Sam died. I don't know why I had five kids in such quick succession. I don't know why Samuel had cancer or Michael was born with cerebral palsy. I don't know why some people seem to have such easy lives or at least simpler problems and also why others have it significantly worse than I have it...

I don't have the answers friends. 

And that's where faith comes in. Believing in not what is seen, but what is unseen. Trusting God that His plans are ultimately so much better and good than I could ever imagine and that even when I can't find Samuel's hearing aid and even when my wallet is missing that His plan is better. That there is meaning and purpose in my suffering... even when I don't see it. Even when I don't have the reason.

So even though I need to run to the store for some super-sized pull-ups which are only located at Babies R'Us... and I need a temporal scanner... and I can't do this with a sick child... I trust the Lord. He is in control. I am not. I'm not Him. I don't have the answers. I don't have the power. I don't know and see all. But He does.

So Jesus, Help! I need a bigger vision than what is in front of me. I need your eternal perspective on my situation. Help me to laugh in the midst of the chaos and the things falling apart. Help me to turn to you in the midst of the brokenness inside me and the brokenness in this world. Give me faith to trust you even when I don't see how things will work out or how you will use things for good. Sustain me in the midst of the mundane and the maddening. Forgive me for my anger at you. Anger for things not going my way or going "easy". Thank you that you're faithful to forgive me. Thank you for the five beautiful little lambs that you've entrusted me with. Help me to turn to you with my fears and my pain. Lead me. Guide me. And come again SOON! in Your Name I pray, Amen.

Hang in there friends. He's not finished with me. He's not finished with you. He will redeem and restore. We're not there yet... but someday we will be!

*All I Have is Christ

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

VERSE 2But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

CHORUSHallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

VERSE 3Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)