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Life Changes

I had five kids in four years.  When our twins were born our oldest child had just turned four.  
I was a little crazy.  And by a little, I mean a lot. 
I took them all to the store by myself for the first time a little over a month after the twins were born.  I went armed with my double stroller. I didn't have any of those super nifty baby wearing devices that most moms use now...I had my double stroller. 
I'm pretty sure that at several points in my early mothering, there were angels holdingthat double stroller up.
Anyway, it was Michael's birthday and I needed to get some things to make his birthday dessert.  So I took all of my five wild indians to the local Walmart.  It seemed a fitting choice.  
I got Lilla and the babies into the stroller (a very wise mama had schooled me in the art of getting THREE wild indians into a stroller with only two seats...bless her!) and the two oldest walked holding onto the stroller while I pushed it. 
About a third of the way into the sto…

No Pain, No Gain

I have a tendency to focus on pain.  When I'm running it's hard to think about anything other than how much it hurts. In labor there came a point when the pain had crossed a threshold and it hurt so bad that I would have done ANYTHING to make it stop. Lately, life has hurt...and I've had trouble seeing or feeling anything else.

When we moved, I am convinced that I was on the verge of some kind of nervous breakdown. Like, for real. We were convinced for this and other reasons that it was clearly time to move on. When we got here I got the rest I needed and things got better. But I have to be honest, a lot of the plans that we had made didn't work out or a wrench was thrown in. To the point that we had started to question ourselves about whether moving was the right choice. And since then we've been forced to face a lot of our demons.

God has been so merciful in helping us deal with those "demons". He has graciously done so much work in us. It's kind of…

Helpers

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mr. Rogers. It's about finding hope in the midst of tragedy.  I always hear this quoted when major tragedies happen, but the thing is, helpers appear all the time. Not just after major disasters.  The people who will be helping after major disasters are most likely helping before them. 
"Helpers" are people who bring dinner when you're sick, stop and help you change a tire or pay for your drink at Starbucks. "Helpers" are people who open the door when you've got your hands full (or just to be nice when you don't), let you in when you can't find a gap in traffic, or flush the toilet in the stall that everyone is avoiding because the person who used it didn't. "Helpers" are people who are constantly looking for ways to make the world a better place. We can't all discover the vaccine for polio or save thousands of Jews from Hitler's clutches. But we can all do something. Helpers have a dis…

Gettin' Real

It's no secret that I was pregnant when I got married (I do want to be clear, getting pregnant was not the sin, the actions that led to it are).  I'm pretty open about it.  Not because I'm proud, I am absolutely NOT proud of it.  But it's my past.  It's my story. It's my mess. It's part of the story of how God has redeemed my life from the pit.

I am saved. My sins are gone, I've been set free.

I'm still learning to live in a constant state of free-ness...I have a tendency to fall under my own condemnation. It's a work in progress! I am a work in progress.

Here's the deal though, I want to speak to those who might find themselves in a cycle of sin similar to the one I found (actually, I didn't FIND anything, I PUT myself there...let's just be honest about it) myself in. I know that the chances of this helping anyone are slim. I'm not eloquent and typically only the people who really love me even read what I write. But I want to s…

The Buddy System

The first time I heard about the buddy system was during a TV special about the Duggars...before they had their own show, back when they only had 13 or 14 kids.  It is the one and only show of theirs I've ever watched. I have nothing against them, I'm just not into reality TV.

Their buddy system is a lot more involved than ours.  We don't expect our kids to bathe or dress one another (but then we only have five kids...if I had 13 or 14 I'm sure I'd change my tune).

Basically, we implemented this system because there are only two of us and there are five of them and we can't be everywhere all the time.  So when we go out into public, our kids know that if they have to use the restroom, or be separated from us for any reason, they take a 'buddy' (ie, another wild indian). I love it because it gives them a lot more freedom but also keeps them safe.

The number one rule of the buddy system is...use it. Duh. The number two rule of the buddy system is...you ne…

On Having a Perfect Marriage

It all started when I was an adolescent.

I started reading books about how to find the perfect husband and have the perfect marriage. Because I wanted both. I also wanted to be the perfect wife whose husband would adore me 24/7.

Since I've been married, I've read MORE books about how to have the perfect marriage. Because I didn't have one.

I read these books and implement what they say expecting that if I do I will have the perfect marriage I've always dreamed of. And then I mess up. Or he messes up. And just like that my hopes of having a perfect marriage are dashed again and I move on to the next book.

Even though in my head I've always known it would NEVER be perfect, because we're not, I go around feeling like a complete loser because we're not. I compare the dirt under the foundation of our house to everyone else's hardwood floors that they've prepped for me to see.

Books are great. Everyone should read books. Blogs are great. Everyone shoul…

Making Cannolis

My children have apparently inherited my husbands affinity for trying new foods, because my son asked me to make cannolis for his birthday.  None of us has ever had them before...so I didn't even know what to look for in a recipe. I just found one with a lot of reviews that were mostly good and went for it.

I don't cook with wine a lot because we're not big drinkers and I don't keep wine around the house.  But all the recipes I found called for dry white wine. I didn't even know what a dry white wine is. Google is my friend. I was actually pretty skeptical about the need for wine in the shell. The dough didn't smell particularly good and I even considered skipping the wine and using a more desirable ingredient. But I ended up sticking to the recipe in the end.

Get this though, the girl at the checkout counter didn't card me. I mean, she didn't even bat an eye, she just rang me up. My life flashed before my eyes. Really?! I'm old enough to not be car…

Being the Prodigal Daughter

If you read my Love at First Sight? or Letting Go of Perfection: Work in Progress post or if you know me at all, you know that our dating life was marked by sin. And our marriage has been far from perfect.

At the time, I didn't even know how much that sin affected me.  In fact, it's taken me years to realize just how much it did.

It went on for months and the fact that I was able to do something that went against everything I had been taught and personally believed for that long a time...well, the Bible talks about what happens when you do that. But the thing is, it actually went on for longer than that. It was a gradual thing, little by little I violated my conscience more and more until ultimately, I didn't even care that I violated it in the ultimate sense.

We had a wedding. We had a honeymoon. We went through the motions. But now, it's really hard to even think back on any of that because it's so marked by sin. And those old feelings of guilt and shame are over…

Letting Go of Perfection: Work in Progress

Love is nothing like what I thought it was.  It's not Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak kissing in the rain.  It's not happily ever after.  It's not fireplaces and slippers and pipes and endless ecstasy.
It's work.
It's hard, gut wrenching work.
Being human is not what I thought it was either (which is probably the reason love isn't what I thought it was).
Before struggling with my own sin and witnessing Michael's struggle, I had never witnessed anyone truly struggle with sin.  Well, I say that, but it's not entirely true.  I did see people struggle with sin but I got the impression that they were somehow "less than"...I always got the impression that anyone who struggled with sin wanted to sin.  None of the "good" people that I knew struggled with sin, or at least I didn't know about it.  I was very judgmental.
In my mind, there was a list of behaviors that were sins and if I could avoid things like dancing or drinking alcohol …

Uriah Gets an Award

Recently our son Uriah was selected by his teacher to receive the "Sense of Community" award for his class. His teacher called to notify me and so the "home" kids and I made sure to make the trek over to his school to witness him receiving it.

When we got there I noticed that most of the other parents had brought their kids balloons.  At first I felt kind of bad, but it really made me think about a change of attitude I've had in the last few years.  I'm not judging the parents who brought balloons...they have their own motives and reasons for doing what they do and I don't think any less of them.

Yes, I'm proud of Uriah.  And yes we support our kids but awards like this aren't a HUGE big deal to us and here's why....

1.  I want my kids to understand that they don't have to do anything to earn my love.  I love them no matter what they do.  If they went to prison, I'd be disappointed but I wouldn't love them any less.  If they rec…

I Don't Eat Breakfast

I don't eat breakfast.  Gasp! I don't and I don't feel guilty about it.  I used to and I would force myself, or I would start the day feeling like a failure. But I finally came to the realization that sometimes I have to just do my best and feel okay about that.  So I don't eat breakfast.  In fact, I don't typically eat anything until after noon. Maybe eventually that will change, but for now, I'm focusing on eating good foods in good amounts at the times I DO eat and feeling okay with that.

For a long time I worked out at night.  I know what "the experts" say. But at night after my kids were in bed was the time I felt most motivated.  So instead of pressuring myself to get up earlier and workout first thing, I worked out at night and it worked really well for me. Recently I've started working out first thing in the morning.  Not because the experts tell me to, but because at this point in my life, I am motivated to do that. 
The thing is, there a…

So I Have a Confession to Make...

I started blogging because I felt "led" to.  I started with the understanding that my writing is mediocre at best but it seemed that God was laying things on my heart and they had to go somewhere.  Maybe it was just that I needed to process God's work in my life and blogging presented itself as a means to that end.

But I have a serious problem with comparison.  I see how well someone else writes or how many followers they have and mine is so small in comparison that I start asking myself questions like "why are you even doing that?! I mean, really, WHO DO YOU THINK you are?"

I guess the problem is that I seek approval from people instead of God.  I actually kind of correlate the two. If others don't approve then God must not either...right?! No. Not right at all. The Bible is full of examples of people who did exactly what God wanted them to do but who were not accepted or even wanted by society. Okay, so am I comparing myself to people like Elijah? No. Abs…

Sissy Stuff!

So I've done some pretty tough workouts.  I'd already done some before I joined Crossfit.  But then I joined Crossfit.

And then I unjoined Crossfit.  I loved the workouts but I didn't enjoy parting with that much cash every month.

So after I unjoined Crossfit I kind of took a hiatus from working out. I hadn't done that in several years.  I would occasionally do something. But I would try to workout at the level I had previously worked out at and I would end up puking and feeling like I was going to pass out and not able to finish.

Because after doing those awesome workouts where I felt strong and awesome...well, honestly I mostly felt whipped and like throwing up but after I got over THAT I felt strong and awesome...stuff like walking just seemed like 'sissy stuff' (btw, I totally hear the rabbit from Disney's Robin Hood saying that!).  And since my body could no longer handle the tough stuff, I would brood the fact that I had allowed myself to regress so …

Thursday Thirteen: Books and Blogs I Read Over and Over Again

In no particular order.

1.  Piercing the Darkness and This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti.
     I had kind of always thought God stood up in Heaven not really interacting much with us here...but these        books completely opened my eyes to new possibilities.

2.  Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

3.  The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers

4.  Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund

5.  The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

6.  Three books by John Ortberg If You Want to Walk on Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, The Life You've Always Wanted and The Me I Want to Be

7.  Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

8.  www.passionatehomemaking.org
Lindsay technically isn't even blogging  anymore but here are some of my favorite posts...even though there are so many more than I could post here!
Can Natural Living Become an Idol?
What is the Purpose of the Home?
And all of her posts on hospitality!

9.  www.heavenlyhomemakers.com

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Sometimes it's difficult to really put my finger on what is actually different about our marriage.  Yes, we're happy. That's different.  Yes, we get along.  That's different. Yes, we feel connected more than ever before. That's different too.

I guess the really difficult thing for me to pin down is the cause behind those effects.  Even though I know that ultimately that Cause is God.

I can't really tell you a lot about how Michael has changed, and I don't really think that's my place.  He has his own story to tell and I'll let him do that when and if he's ready.  For now, I'll just tell mine.

Not long ago I was stuck in a shopping center and spent the time in a book store where I flipped through Shaunti Feldahn's latest book.  I usually read books on marriage taking notes on things I need to change.  But this time was different.  I came to one section where she was explaining that "happy couples" had a general sense that the …

Love At First Sight?

I remember the night I met Michael with perfect clarity. I'm not sure I could tell you what I was wearing, but I recall the moment I saw him and the warmth that took over my gut with perfect vividness. Over the next few months of getting to know him (long distance since I lived in West Texas and he lived in Alabama), the more time I spent with him, the more I liked him. I had never liked another human being as much as I liked him.  I had never felt as at home with anyone or felt as safe with anyone as I did with him.

So fast forward 15 and 1/2 years.  
I've never been a believer in love at first sight.  And I'm not saying that's what happened, but as I look over the last 15 and 1/2 years I am convinced that God was working. 
Which is kind of a light bulb, because for a long time I honestly thought that we were a mistake.  I thought that we had made such horrible mistakes that God was going to just leave us to wallow in our depravity. 
Our dating life was marked by sin.…