Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Getting ready for Christmas & family

As I sit at the computer snuggling with my bright eyed baby, I'm drawn back to my blog which has been neglected as of late. Ok, really it's hit or miss. But I thought I'd get down some of what I've been trying to process in my brain lately.

This is a fun time of year here on the acreage. All our neighbors are harvesting & putting up hay for the winter.The landscape changes drastically & we got to be a part of the changing landscape in that we've been building a barn! Jeremy bought the plans online & at least 75% of the materials he's used have been salvage type stuff he bought off Craigslist or local auctions. I'm so proud of my husband! (Yes, I said MY HUSBAND because I claim him as mine) While we've been married for 15 1/2 years, he never ceases to amaze me with his abilities! This barn is so cool that I've entertained thoughts of just turning it into a home rather than let animals inside...seriously! We've had many friends out to help & we're so appreciative of them all!!!! Our kids have all had different levels of commitment on different days but they loved to be out with their dad helping with various tasks. Jeremy exhibited great patience (most of the time) while teaching the kids to measure, straighten, use many power tools, and other carpentry skills. Granted it's been awhile since we've gotten to sit on the couch & just 'be' but hopefully our lives will be much easier this winter with a barn the pony & goats & for the kids to play in when it's super cold & they're bored in the house.

While I got to help a couple of times, my primary jobs have been to feed the barn crews, maintain the sanity of the house & take care of my babies. It's really not advisable to have an infant or a 2yo to be on a construction site. Especially with a generator, 2 compressors, & the noises of power tools. All of this time on my hands (read "NO time on my hands for anything but treading water") lends one time to think (read "she only gets to think at 1am, 3am & 5am before she falls back into an exhausted stupor").

If you're still reading, I'm gonna get deep...

What has come of my exorbitant amount of thinking time? Well, I'm really struggling with Christmas. I know. What's the biggie? I mean, it's a fun holiday, right? Well, I personally love Christmas. I have at least 10 plastic totes in my basement full of decorations for the season that I can't wait to get out after Thanksgiving is over. I want the magic of the season that I felt as a child for my children...but my heart & my mind are at war over this. You see, I want them to be inundated with the story of Christ's birth not what present they want. I want them to yearn for more in their relationship with Christ rather than yearning for the newest, greatest electronic device. I want the real reason we celebrate Christmas to be more important than all the fluff.

Then, I learn things like Christmas trees are from a pagan practice and I find myself getting more & more disgusted with the whole thing that I tend to want to toss it all. I'm trying not to throw out the baby with the bathwater but where do I draw the line? I don't want to be guilty of taking something as wonderful as the birth of our Savior & turning it into a Christmas palooza with a little God thrown in for good measure. While we don't do Santa, I really like all the fun things that go with Christmas like the Christmas specials on tv & the decorations & special foods. But how do I make sure that it's 95% God, 5% extras that have nothing to do with God but people just throw them in because they want to celebrate even though they don't believe in Him? Should I be satisfied with it & just go on? Should I feel like a scrooge for not participating in all the extra activities of the season? Don't get me wrong, my heart beats faster just walking into Hobby Lobby with all the great Christmas stuff & the songs & the smells! I LOVE it! I'm just all mixed up as how to do this the way Christ expects me to. What's your take? Help me out.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Baby love

This is my 8th pregnancy. I have 6 beautiful/handsome children to show for all the work and one coming the end of July or beginning of Aug. Some people have dubbed me a professional just because of the numbers but I don't feel that way. Every pregnancy and baby are so different that I don't feel like you could be a professional. I do think that with each pregnancy I've gotten more aware of my babies both in utero & after they're in my arms. I know that with each successive child I've become more grateful for each little kick & roll I feel. I revel in their tiny ears, the squishy heels, the way their tongues work while eating, the accomplishment of fists grabbing at and stuffing one cereal piece in their chubby cheeks. Watching & listening to my 18mo old child finally figuring out verbal communication & the adorable words they come up with as their vocabulary develops (like "tittle"-tiny & little or "pretembering"-pretending & remembering).  These are the things I'd like to bottle and keep for later when I have more time to just sit & contemplate. But let's be serious. I have lots of laundry, dishes, etc to attend to. So, for now, I'll try to take a snap shot in my mind before I hurry off to the next task. But if you see me stare off in the distance with a goofy smile on my face, just know I'm trying to store a memory for later ~ I'm not crazy.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I'm not that girl...but sometimes I wish I were

It all started with Facebook's birthday reminders. I began to think about all the well-wishers posting something on my friends' walls. It came so easily for them. A simple "Happy Birthday". Easy right? Not for me.

Well, truth be told, it began with all the thank you notes I was taught to write for every birthday or Christmas. A simple salutation isn't as simple as your parents & teachers lead you to believe. As a child learning the time honored                        skill of thank you notes lead me to much anxiety as I tried to decide the appropriate way to sign off of that note...Sincerely, Yours Truly, Love You or my personal favorite Cordially... & I decided that drawing a heart was all I could pen without assigning too much feeling or too little.

You see, I am not that girl. 
I am not the girl that speaks her feelings to just anyone.
I am not the girl who gives hugs freely. 
I am not the girl who says "I love you" to anyone just willy nilly. 
I am not the girl who expresses deep feelings out loud in the light of day.
I don't do confrontation.

I can speak unashamedly about my HANDSOME, almost PERFECT husband.
I can speak of my children with great enthusiasm & sometimes frustration.
I hold intelligent conversations about what God is doing in our lives.
I can extol the wonders of homeschooling for our family.
I love to talk chicken care.
Medical care is fascinating for me with my nursing background.
I could go on & on about birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, & related subjects.
I'm sometimes lose the opportunity to speak on something in a conversation because I'm thinking about how to say it correctly & everyone moves on. (Although I can speak with abandon about things that don't matter in the grand scheme of life because I'm so excited to just speak with someone over the age of 11!)

The rub comes when conversation turns to deeply emotional topics. When I get the courage to speak about things that affect me deeply, I shake. My whole body shakes, my voice quivers & my teeth chatter while I try to get out whatever it is that is so important. My husband knows that something is really important to me when I begin to shake while speaking & it's usually at night when I can finally get it out. This is not his best time to talk as he is a morning person but he tries really hard to give me his undivided attention when I finally get up the gumption to talk to him at 11pm or later. Right now, as I type, my hands are beginning to shake.

There are times that I wish I were the girl who could just say "I love you" to people. But then, that seems too intimate like something I should reserve for just my husband & kids. I have very strong feelings for my family & my close friends but it feels weird to say that as you leave their house. "Thanks for having me over. I have very strong feelings for you." or signing off on the phone "Well, it was good talking to you. I have very strong feelings for you, Good bye". See, it's weird.

I have been trying to be more verbal when I sign off on the phone with my sisters & my grandma. I make a point of saying I love you even though it makes my stomach hurt. I don't know why. Maybe I'm afraid they just feel obligated to say it because I said it first. Or if they say it first & I reply they assume it's just the cursory reply like at church when people say "Hi, how are you?" and you know that they expect you to reply with "fine, how are you" when you aren't really fine but they don't actually want to hear anything else so they can keep on walking to their destination. But that's another topic entirely. I really do love them.

I am loyal to the core. I remember my first fight was in the 1st grade. A little boy named Shawno Johnson was chasing my twin best pals Sadie & Jenny Wiens & they were really upset so I socked him in the chest & told him to knock it off. Now, I have moved over 27 times, lived in 4 states, gone to 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 3 high schools, 1 university, & nursing school. I remember the names of my friends from each place & sometimes my brother & sisters info, too. I fondly remember all the kids from my various church youth groups. I especially remember all the adventures with my cousins even though we only lived by them until I was 10.

I want people to know how I feel but words are so flippantly used. People say they love pizza or movies & I say it sometimes also. I feel like it would be so much easier to show them. I could make them dinner when they are sick or take care of their kids when they need a break. I could serve them any number of ways but I know that many people need to hear how I feel. I have 2 children & a husband who's love language is encouraging words so it's definitely know how important this is.

As stated above this realization all came to a head on Facebook. All those birthday wishes were fine & I resigned myself to the fact that I didn't have to feel guilty about not sending the cursory "Happy Birthday" worded differently than everyone else's so that they know it wasn't just expected because Facebook told me to do it. People don't know if you're sarcastic, teasing or serious even if you use those smiley faces.

...But then, a HUGE thing happened! My cousin's wife got cancer. I know that a lot of people aren't close to their family. Especially when they live in a different part of the country & have only met in real life a couple of times. But I have VERY strong feelings for my family & I had recently found a kindred spirit in Stacey. I introduced her to my favorite website board for mothers of many children (she has 5 & I have 7) & found that we have many of the same ideals & interests. She was my connection to my extended family during a really tough time when I didn't know how they felt or if they even wanted me in the family anymore. Then, she got cancer & I began to pray fervently daily. She was always in my thoughts but I couldn't send a note so I sent a care package for the kids. People are sending words of encouragement via Facebook & the Caringbridge site but I can't bring myself to write anything worth sending. It never seems to fully express what I am feeling. I don't want to say the wrong thing but I don't know what the right thing to say is either. I want to say something but...

I am not that girl but sometimes I want to be.

Then, yesterday God reminded me that there are many words for love in the Greek. 1. Phileo "brotherly love", 2. Storge "parents' love", 3. Eros "sexual love", & 4. Agape "Godly love". I came to the realization that I need to focus on the definition of Phileo love & try to express that out loud more often to more people (just not willy nilly). I'm going to try to say something because I would rather be the person who said something than the one that didn't say something & nobody knows the extent to which I really do love them. A great fear of mine would be that someone would think I don't care at all when I really have such great affection & love for them. That would be much worse than not getting a reply or worse, getting a cursory reply that meant nothing.

I am not that girl, but I'm going to try.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

All 8 survived!

Flu season has been rampant around our area & I have been especially diligent in keeping my kids away from stores & other germ infested areas. We've only been leaving the house for church & 4H. I go to the grocery store myself when necessary. I'm not a germ-a-phobe but my husband is & since my now 5 yo was hospitalized at 10wks for RSV, I try to keep winter germs away. But, we managed to contract the dreaded sickness anyway.

I took the 3 big kids to Winter Jam which is a 5.5hr Christian rock concert with over 30,000 people. I got a migraine during the concert that just wouldn't go away & by Monday I was beginning of influenza. Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't get the flu shot & neither did my 6 kids or my husband. The flu isn't really that bad. I'm quite sure that we would have been just fine except for the fact that I began this journey with a 3 day migraine & all day morning sickness on top of it all. The rest of the family did not get it as bad as I did, for which I am so thankful. But, I was wiped out & now that 3wks have passed I've just not begun to get my energy back. If it weren't for my husband & my mother-in-law taking care of absolutely everything for a week so that I could rest & fight this...well let's just say it would've been horrible for me to try to remember everyone's acetaminophen, Tamilflu, & be a good mama.

I still don't think that we'll get a flu shot next year. Unless one of us develops an immune deficiency or this new baby is a premie, we'll just take it if it comes. I don't like all the scare tactics that you get through the media. Your body is made to fight off diseases & I don't think adding unnecessary things is good for us. But that's my soap box & it's another post. (*Note* I do vaccinate my kids so don't get your panties in a twist)

The purpose of this post is to say thank you to my husband & my very giving mother-in-law! I really appreciate all you did for me & the kids.We are so blessed to have you!