Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Because sometimes we forget...

...just exactly how much God does hold in His hands.

He has us, and all that surrounds us, firmly in His grasp.

We're going to be OK. And Mary Grace, yes, I'm talking to you. ;o)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I have the biggest sweet tooth EVER these days. I am constantly craving chocolate and cookies and desserts of every kind. And not just a bit. Large crazy amounts of sweets.

Any guesses on what that means for what gender the baby is?

I just hope I don't pop a cupcake out in a few weeks here. ;o)

And for anyone counting... I'm due in 2 1/2 weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 18, 2010

They really are different...

Today we washed our cars for the first time in months. Lots of months. I can't even remember how many months - though I suspect they were washed at least once last summer... But today it was warm enough out and dry enough to constitute a family afternoon in the driveway with a bucket of soapy water, a hose, and a whole lot of helping hands.

I can't remember how old Girly Pie was last time we would have had a car washing day, but I do recall her being small enough to be completely uninterested in the affair.

I was a little reluctant to do it today with her there. Though it was far warmer than usual for a January day (58 degrees and sunshine felt so very nice today!) it was still windy, and once the sun got over the hill it cooled down quickly. And I assumed she'd do what any normal 20 month old would do, or at least what all my previous toddlers did: basically bathe in the bucket of bubbly, dirty water and end up wetter and dirtier than the car itself, not to mention cold and miserable by the time all was done. After all, that's what toddlers do, right?

Apparently, it's just what toddler boys (or at least my toddler boys) do. Girly Pie managed to keep herself almost completely dry and clean. One pant leg got a little wet - but only because it was long enough to drag on the ground and soak up water that way. Otherwise, she was perfectly tidy about the entire affair. She happily swished the handled scrubber around in the bucket a bit, helped hose the car off a few times, all the while keeping her hands on the tools and out of the bubbles. I was shocked. She didn't even seem interested in the water itself, but rather in the actual job of helping us wash the car.

A whole new experience around here. ;o)

So I am sure there are plenty of messy girls out there, and plenty of neat and tidy boys in the world. I by no means am trying to say that the stereotype is the norm. But around here - apparently it is just the boys who prefer to immerse themselves in dirty car water and spray themselves in the face with the hose. And apparently I can rest at ease when the messy jobs pop up around here - Miss Girly Pie seems to be quite happy to leave the messy stuff for the rest of us. ;o)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Words to live by

Yes, I have had quite a few sunny moments lately - like the overall glow of joy I carried with me all through yesterday. But I must admit that I have had quite a few little worries niggling around in my brain over the past months - really for much of this pregnancy. I've had some rough moments, but most of it really has been background noise. But as background as it's been, that worry has still been there.

And last night, I finally felt it all be washed away, and I am so thankful and so humbled!

I know that with all of my pregnancies I have had those typical fears that something, anything, might go wrong. Surely THIS TIME labor will go wrong. I can't POSSIBLY have FIVE healthy babies and FIVE safe, peaceful deliveries. Something is bound to happen. I JUST DON'T DESERVE SO MUCH GOODNESS. Every time. All five pregnancies, all five babies. Last night I was feeling those fears creep in again, and I actually asked my husband to tell me his recollection - had I done this before at the end of my other pregnancies?

He basically laughed and said, "Yep. All four of them. But not at the end. It's been the whole time. With all of them."

So I was comforted to know that it's not some deep sense of foreboding or spiritual sign that something is bound to actually go wrong. It's just my standard issue pregnancy paranoia. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I suspect most other women have the same fears at some point in their pregnancies as well - some worse than others of course, and some more well founded, but the same fears nonetheless.

But just knowing I had felt this way before wasn't the kind of comfort I needed last night, so I pulled out my Bible and the little journal I keep for Girly Pie (I keep one for each of my kids, but what I wanted to find was in hers specifically) and started searching.

What I was looking for were two scripture references that I remembered praying over and holding close to my heart at the end of my pregnancy with her, and through her entire peaceful and wonderful labor. I had forgotten over the past almost two years what those scriptures were, so I looked in her journal to find the references, and then I read them in the Bible. And here they are (emphasis mine):

Isaiah 14:24

Yahweh Almighty has sworn,
"Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
and as I have purposed, so it will stand.


Phillipians 4: 4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As I read those passages last night the memories came flooding back. I remembered wondering if I would ever have a daughter. After three sons, I was convinced this surprise fourth baby would be another beautiful son - and I was thrilled at the prospect of getting to raise four young men. But deep, deep down, I wondered if there was some reason that God knew I would not, could not or should not be the mother of a daughter. So the Isaiah passage really comoforted me. God has a plan and a purpose in EVERYthing He does. He knows each soul to come to this earth. He creates families and just as He plans them to be, for HIS divine purposes, that is how they will be - no matter what I think I want or need. God knows the right formula for our family. So the comfort was in knowing that this baby (Girly Pie I mean - back then when I was still pregnant with her) was exactly who he (or she) was supposed to be, and I would hold that baby in my arms and see the perfection there in God's creation - both of that new little life and of our family's makeup.

So last night those same words were comforting in very similar ways, but also in new and different ways as well. The fears of labor trouble or health problems with the baby just keep floating there - but it felt so good to know, to KNOW that God has it all planned and purposed. My fears do no good for anybody. God is good, I know that. How can it be so easy to forget in the day to day that He really and truly has it all under control?

The second verse, the one from Phillipians, was one that I also prayed over during my pregnancy with Girly Pie, but also through my labor with her in particular. And I felt such peace in reciting it. Do not be anxious about ANYTHING. So last night - I felt my anxieties literally melt away. I want that peace - the one that surpasses all understanding. I love when I feel it - and it makes me sad to think that my own lack of diligence and commitment to reading scripture daily is what distracts me from knowing that truth fully, day in and day out. It is so comforting and refreshing to actually pick up God's Word and see those things. And last night, He came through yet again right when I needed Him - and reminded me just how little I have to fear, and just how Big He is - and just how much He loves me and how much power He has to comfort and protect me.

So as you can imagine, after reading those I was already feeling 100% better - but then I went on to read the rest of Girly Pie's birth account (that was the entry where I had written down the verses - and who can resist re-reading your own birth account, especially weeks before getting to do it again!). And I was overcome again by God's presence and His gifts and blessings.

I never quite forgot all the beauty and awe of the night of my daughter's birth... but it certainly floats to the background in the busy-ness of day-to-day life. Labor was fast, contractions were real but not overwhelming, pushing took longer than I'd expected but still was not difficult - and then after just two hours and 42 minutes of laboring, I sat there in the dim light of my bedroom, surrounded by my husband and Mary Grace and a good friend E. and my midwives - and I looked down at the miracle of my daughter - the little girl I was too afraid to even hope for - perfect, beautiful and whole. The peace through the whole labor was just so present for me, more than I can recall with any of my other births. That night is just amazing to me as I looked back on it, written in my own words.

But the part that really got me - the part I never forget but often neglect to remember (there is a difference, you know) - was what happened after her birth. I delivered her placenta - but things didn't go as they always had. I am not going to go into deep medical detail, but in short, once her placenta was delivered, my midwife made it very clear that she was amazed that my whole, healthy daughter had come full term into the world with that as her only sustinence for nine months while in my womb. It was not only smaller and thinner than a healthy one should be, but it was divided almost in half. The chord was also thinner than it should have been and was attached to the smaller of the two lobes - so all that sustained her physically through my entire pregnancy had funneled across a small channel from the larger side to the 1/3 sized side and through an umbilical chord near half the diameter of a normal one.

That was not a normal, healthy placenta, said my midwife. A healthy, full term, good sized baby should NOT have come from that. And yet there she was, my normal, healthy daughter. A miracle from the start, proven even moreso by the evidence presented at her birth. According to the world's medical standards, she should not have been born. Girly Pie should never have even been conceived. We were not trying for a fourth. Certainly by the world's standards, we were already a "big" family. And we should be in control of our own reproductive systems, right? So without her being our plan, she shouldn't even have started. Girly Pie should have died early on in pregnancy - when her cells were dividing and trying to become twins (as my midwife guessed was what had happened to divide the placenta like that) from the sheer stress that puts on a developing fetus. But after surviving the cell division that did (most likely) take her twin sister, she should have died from the lack of nutrition that one would expect from an unhealthy placenta. From all I can see, Girly Pie should not be here.

And yet here she is. And she is perfect and whole and wonderful and such a gift and blessing to our whole family - to everyone who knows her. She is amazing and I feel so blessed to have her in our family.

And all that, all those odds, were just because God was there - His hand held her through it all. He had a plan and a purpose. And I hadn't a clue. I had no idea how precarious things could have been the whole time. Of course I had my pregnant paranoia that something could go wrong - but I was blissfully ignorant that so much should have gone wrong.

So reading that last night again was so humbling and awe inspiring. And honestly, I felt so ashamed for doubting and worrying. I felt I had been downright rude to look at the Gift Giver and basically tell Him that I didn't trust Him to again come through and pull off such a miracle.

And since reading that last night, I have felt that peace that surpasses all understanding. And I am not anxious, and I love that I get to be a part of God's big plan and purpose in any way that He wants me to be. Yes I know bad things do happen in pregnancy, in birth. In life every day bad things happen. Every time I drive down the highway to the next town there is an excellent chance someone could cross the yellow line and it could all be over for me here in the life I live now. And there is no promise that says that God will protect us from hardships.

But that is no reason to dwell on the posibilities of hardship.

So as of today, no more worrying about this little Jelly Bean. God has just as much purpose in his or her being here as He has with the other four children He has brought so safely into the world through me. I'm not having this child because I "deserve" to get another one. It's just God's plan. He wanted to bless us again, and so He did. Who am I to question the wisdom behind that decision? And why should I worry that the gift somehow will bring with it hardships? Nope. No longer. I cannot honestly look at all that God has poured into my life and walk away thinking He is just waiting to knock me off my happy little rocker. Sure, it could happen. But I can look at every single hardship I've endured in my life, and I can see that the blessings that came from them each time far outweighed the hardship itself. But even still, I do not see hardship here. I do not feel fear. I see only blessings and I feel only peace and faith. I trust His power and His wisdom. I love that he chose to bless us not only with another new life, but with a whole family - husband, wife, sons, daughter(s). What a gift that is in and of itself.

So that's where I am today. Just full to overflowing with yesterday's same joy and giddiness, but also glowing with the knowledge of God's love for me and His power to make all things right. This baby will come just fine - no complications. I'm sure of it. And he or she will be the perfect addition to our family. Because God put him or her here and so that means it's perfect.

And I feel so GOOD to be free of that weight of fear and worry! Faith over fear. I need to work at that every day. Always, always, ALWAYS follow faith rather than fear.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I've got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart...

It's one of those sunny, happy, delightful days around here.

No, the weather is not really sunny. It's dry, and I can actually see some blue through the gray - but that's not what I'm talking about.

It's just that I'm feeling all sunny and bright.

Don't you just love those days when all the blessings you KNOW you have just really feel so blindingly apparent that you just can't help but feel joy bubbling out from every part of your soul?

Well, that's today for me. I mean, I always know I'm blessed. And I am not a particularly gloomy person. In fact, I'd say I'm downright cheery most of the time.

But today is just abundantly joyful and cheerful.

So just for fun, I thought I'd list off just the first few of the many reasons I feel so joyful, blessed, cheerful and sunny today.

  • I'm going to have a BABY in about 4 weeks. How cool is that? (I've known for ages that I have been pregnant. But I'm actually going to HAVE A BABY within the next month! That realization has just occurred to me in the past week or two.)
  • I have a new found love and passion for my husband for the first time in almost ten years of marriage... and I feel so very blessed to see that he has the same new found love and passion for me as well.
  • My sweet hubby OK'd cloth diapers for our newborn - the first of the five to come straight into the world wearing cloth rather than disposable.
  • My diapers arrived today and are in the wash now. And they are so stinking tiny and cute I could just about die!
  • I have the four cutest and sweetest kids on the entire planet. And they love each other and each one of them has been so happy and sweet today (all week really).
  • School went super smoothly today.
  • Girly Pie has peed in the potty WAY MORE than in her pants today. That's enough right there to set my soul on fire! ;o)
  • No matter how much I've ever done wrong, and no matter how bitter or foul my soul can be at moments, I am the daughter of a King who loves me through it all, and thinks I'm wonderful and made me just the way He wanted me to be. And today for some reason, I'm just hyper-aware of that love and grace.
  • I have See's chocolate in the house.
  • I got to watch my four children holding and singing to and fawning over my good friend's 4 week old last night, and it was such a beautiful thing to see their excitement and love pouring out on this little guy.
  • Punky has been pining ever since holding my friend's little man... "I can't WAIT for our baby to be born! I think I could change the diapers now, don't you?" I am just so blessed to have been given a first born son to this growing family of ours who has such a love for little ones and so longs to help and care for all the little chicks in this nest.
  • I got to start the morning out with a short chat with my best bud MG, and as rare of a treat as that is these days it always is a delight.
  • My body is healthy and whole. I take for granted often enough what a blessing that is. But today, I'm just very aware of the gift that health in life really is.
  • My children are healthy and whole - this one feels even bigger than my own health. I'm so glad that they were blessed with strong bodies, healthy immune systems and everything in between.
  • Dinner is already in the crockpot. I love days when dinner is done at 8am. ;o)
  • My "To Do Before the Baby Comes" list is rapidly getting crossed off. That feels so GOOD!
  • My hubby called me from work this morning to invite me to play one of our favorite card games this evening. It's so fun to be invited to such a thing. And I love that he's thinking about our evening together even while we're both busily working through our day.

I know there are a million more things that are adding to my general feeling of happiness and bubbly joy. But those are the first few that came to mind. And I have diapers to rotate in the wash and lunch to eat and lots of other options of ways to spend my short quiet time of the day. So off I go.

I hope you are feeling the joy of all your blessings today as well!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Little Big Man

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY... Finny will be SIX YEARS OLD!!!

I can hardly believe my baby boy is turning six. He really has changed and matured so very much over this past year that I've been very aware of how much older he's getting. But still. Six?

I still remember the days when I was pregnant with Finny - a Momma to one little toddler guy. I would look at friends with "big" kids and think, "My kids will NEVER be that big. Five years olds are HUGE!" It just looked like it was a lifetime away for me, and I never thought I'd leave the safe, cozy nest of mothering young ones.

And truth be told, a good part of my parenting never has left that safe nest... I have always had a couple of young ones around to keep my there. But those first babies of mine have indeed grown. Now I'm the mom with the "big" kids. Not only is Finny turning six tomorrow, but Punky will be eight next month. Those kids were beyond my scope of reality way back when my mothering journey began. I could look at two and four year olds and grasp that I'd be there someday. But those seven and eight year olds? They were practically grown, as far as I was concerned. ;o)

But here I am, mother to four sweet souls, just about the meet the fifth little one God has chosen to bless us with. And now, today, six years old doesn't look so very big after all. Of course he seems so big compared to Girly Pie, but then I look at him at the dinner table, his head up over the table -barely. A young, young child. He can read and write and do great math calculations... and is still so blissfully ignorant of so many things that I can't help but smile through just about any conversation with the boy. He is still so full of the innocence and beauty of childhood. He's so big, but so little... and that's the thing I never could have known back when all I had were babies. The beauty that comes with seeing life through the eyes of a young child - not a toddler or even a preschooler, but truly a young child - is an amazing thing. I just never knew how blessed I could feel to look at someone and know haw far they've come, and to have some idea of how far they have yet to go. Each and every day is an eternity to my Finny - and I remember being that way myself. I don't know. I can't quite put it into words.

But Finny will be six tomorrow, and instead of really feeling like my little, little man is getting so very, very big, I sit here today on the eve of his big day and just feel joy and blessings galore to have known him for these six year, and I feel incredibly honored to be the mother God chose to walk along him in his journey through life. He is big, yes. But he is still so little. And I just love, love, LOVE seeing that played out in his life every single day.

So happy birthday Finny! I love you so very much, my Little Big Man.

(And I'll post a bunch of super cute Finny pictures later in the week!)