Monday, April 29

What April brought

Siting here at the end of the month of April finds me wondering where it went.  It came in with a huge snowfall and is going out with sun and the return of canadian geese, sandhill cranes, and ducks. 
April also brought celebrations! 
In a ten day span, we celebrated Gabrielle's adoption day, Levi's adoption day, and Gabrielle's 3rd birthday.  Three huge reasons to get our happy on.   
April also brought the realization that I'm an artist.  Not a paint a beautiful picture artist - I'm an artist of a different kind.  I learned that I need to fight to make art, not just wait until the opportunity grabs ahold of me.  So I've been making time by getting up earlier and working when the family dynamic allows, and am so content when I'm creating my art.  I don't have to hold all that creative down inside.  God gave me gifts that are different than your gifts...  and your gifts are different than mine. 
Do you make time for your art?
April also brought about a change in my mothering. 
I've been working to shower my kids (toddlers especially) with love of the unconditional variety.  They need love, hugs, sweet words, discipline, and my love; no matter what. 
I can't control them, but I can control me.  So I'll stick to that. 

The school year is winding down, and so is my resolve.  My brain checks out, as I dream of green grass, picnics, walks, and freckles.  I can do this - we can do this - just a few more weeks and it'll be on to the dreamy stuff. 

Good day to you all...  I'll be ushering in the month of May with my sister, niece, Emmalie, and a group of friends at a much-anticipated conference this week.  I hope to check in from there, but until then.... 

Sunday, April 28

travels and jeans

I sat down to start a more serious post tonight, but it just wasn't in me.  So I saved it as a draft, and just felt like typing tonight.  It's truly therapeutic for me.  Feel free to discontinue reading!  But I do know, that some of you say these are your favorite posts, so I'll continue with the brain dump. 

I'm tired from the lack of sleep last night, and my brain is not functioning properly at this hour.  But, we're watching two of our friend's kids tonight, so that makes nine kids in the house - so I can't exactly just go to sleep.  Soon, very soon... 

My brain is racing with things to do before Emmalie and I leave on a trip in a couple days.  I'm going to a conference with a group from church who I work with in ministry, and I'm soooo jazzed about it.  Plus, I get to see my sister and her family - HUGE BONUS - and they've never met Em.  Cannot. Wait. 

But I can wait to leave my family.  I loathe it.  I cry every time.   We'll be gone 5ish days... but this time to recharge comes at the perfect time.  A fresh outlook beyond one's self is always a good thing.  Sometimes we get so stuck in our own little world (though important) and forget about the world out there.  We're a part of something bigger, and it's good to be reminded of that sometimes. 

Okay, total change of pace and theme here... but I know you'd appreciate this one.  I've been needing a good pair of jeans that fit.  I've been dreaming of finding said pair for months.  Finally yesterday I had my chance to actually look for a pair. 

My sweet Morgan and I had a little time to ourselves to shop, and she helped me do just that.  It was so fun!  Now, I need to preface this with the fact that I haven't tried on jeans that fit, truly fit in years.  Being post-partum doesn't exactly make for a joyous jean trying-on session in the depressing room.  Uh, I mean dressing room.  But yesterday - yesterday, guys - I found a pair.  It was the first pair I tried on in the first size.  Could.  Not.  Believe.  It.  They were perfect.  And I didn't feel like I was melted and poured into them.  Nor did I look like a sausage.  And that's a good thing. 

The dressing room attendant came by to check on me, and I opened the door to ask her if she thought I needed a shorter length.  She said that was up to me, depending on what kind of shoes I was planning on wearing with them.  But she did say seven blessed words to me, "You'll need to go a size down." 

"What?  Really?  I thought these looked like they fit perfectly!"

"They do, but they'll stretch out a lot." 

I love you, dressing room attendant lady.  You made me like dressing rooms again.  I headed to checkout, but I was cringing as I got to the counter to pay because I'm a cheapskate and it's hard to fork over the cash.   I was happy to have found a pair that fit, and they were on sale - so that made me feel better.  But the sale price was still more than I was comfortable with.  Imagine my surprise when the jeans ended up being an additional 40% off the already marked sale price.  When I met up with Jeremy, he said five blessed words to me, "Did you get two pairs?" 

I wish I would have been that smart.  But no, I didn't.  But I was just stalking their website to see if they had another color I could snag.  They do.  Choices, choices. 

Just a little girl-talk tonight... I knew you'd understand.  This post has taken me hours to actually complete... but all nine kids are in bed (whew!) and I'm running on empty - so I'm going to say goodnight. 

So, goodnight!

**If you want to know, the jeans are from Gap in the Perfect Boot Cut fit, dark wash. 

Wednesday, April 24

each day

Each day, may we commit again to be constant.
Constant in our emotions - not swayed by the coming tide of tantrums, squabbles, and exhaustion. 
 Not knocked off our feet by the wave, because they weren't planted firmly and decidedly on the shore.   We can be firmly stayed in a sea of calm in our hearts, even though the waters rage around us.  He says we are able, because He makes us able. 
Let's choose this day to be constant.  Our feelings will fail us, but our unconditional steadiness will not.  And in no time, you'll spy a rock, that Rock that is jutting forth in the foam - providing a safe haven from the storm. 
"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock." 
Matthew 7:25

Saturday, April 20

Five Minute Friday: JUMP

"So now on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes."

Five Minute Friday

The 5 minutes starts NOW:

There once was a girl, who married a boy.

That boy was fun to be around, and had blue eyes and curly blond hair that melted me. 

Eighteen years ago we met - smitten with each other from the start. 

But what I didn't know then was that this man was willing to jump with me. 

Jump into marriage with the willingness to work through the hard stuff. 
Jump into parenting our firstborn son just after our first anniversary. 
Jump into homeschooling when the time came.
Jump into adoption and foster care after our fourth baby was born.
Jump into having another baby the old-fashioned way after adopting two babies.

And now we jump each day - living out our lives to point others to Jesus.  Jesus jumped to our rescue.  Us, who come up short time after time.  He's the One who doesn't jump to conclusions - He jumps in to save us. 

STOP.  Good, because jump was starting to not sound like a word any more. 

Thursday, April 18

When you have kids... Episode 1: the store

When you have young kids, you have to think about life from a different perspective. 

Gone are the days of running into the grocery store without breaking a sweat, getting a mocha to keep you company, and snagging the items on your grocery list without visiting the free cookie lady at the bakery.  Nowadays it looks more like this: 

You pull your mom-friendly rig into a parking space after doing some laps around the parked cars so the baby can sleep just a few more minutes. The people sitting in their cars wonder what kind of looney tune does that.  After parking, you sit there a little while longer, because you can't bear to have everybody unbuckled just yet. Your kids ask why we're still sitting in the car, and you reply, "Because Mom just needs some time." As if you were getting ready to be wheeled back for major surgery.  Then you get up the courage to move, after considering calling your husband to pick up the items on your list instead of hauling everybody in. 

But you decide you need to be brave.  This is life, and you're very capable of taking children into the grocery store.  The kids get unbuckled, and like a commander of a large army, you direct who holds whose hand and that all are to walk behind Mom - without running. 

You make it into the store without anyone jumping on the coin-op ice cream truck that sits invitingly by the automatic sliding doors.  You grab yourself a cart or two, placing the baby's carseat in the large basket of the cart, where the food is supposed to go.  But it's okay, because you've gotten two carts and one of the older kids is pushing it.  The toddler sits in the front spot with the buckle (so the little cutie doesn't escape) or in the back basket (vowing not to stand up), if you don't have a carseat taking up residence.  But if you have two toddlers, you have to take more time thinking about the situation. 

And you decide that one toddler can go in the front spot with the buckle in one cart, and one can go in the front spot in the other.  You finally get moving, looking like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade - except you're not throwing candy and waving at onlookers.  But people are looking.  They try to figure out if you're a daycare or a field trip with a strange assortment of preschoolers (since your kids "should" be in school if you homeschool.)  You either receive knowing smiles or sideways glances.  You smile at the smilers, and pray that the sideways glancers know just how important children are.

Someone inevitably asks if we can go get a free cookie.  You agree, because cookies make children hyper yes, but often not until one has left the grocery store.  You sheepishly ask for just six cookies because the baby isn't old enough yet, and watch the cookie lady's eyes count the kids wondering if they all have the same father. 

You purposefully kept your list to the essentials only, but your list still takes you to the outer reaches of the store.  You move swiftly, not pausing long enough near the toys, chips, cookies, soda, or candy aisles for the kids to notice as your parade passes through.  But one of your two year olds notices.  He points emphatically toward the Oreos.


You quietly whisper in his ear, so no one else will hear, "No cookies today, buddy.  You already had one." 

He wails, "COOKIE!!"  He kicks his feet and screams out of his free cookie crumb spattered face.  Doesn't he realize he just had one?  Nope.  You can't rationalize with a toddler near the cookie aisle. 

They've all heard now.  And then the asking begins.  As you try to calm down irrational cookie boy,  you maneuver the carts off to the side in a boring aisle like the one that displays the canned vegetables.  And you have a little chat. 

You firmly express, "We are not getting anything that is not on our list.  Cookies are not on our list, plus we make our own at home.  And no, we are not making any when we get home.  Do you guys understand?  No toy aisle, no cookies." 

As you are wrapping up the shopping trip, you walk past the health food section, and spy the organic chocolate bars with the yummy toffee in them.  You get one down from the shelf while the kids are distracted looking at the organic soda.  You carefully slide the guilty goodness in the cart.  It's not on the list, but Moms can decide to deviate.  And sometimes deviating is a good thing. 

You make it to the checkout lanes without another one of your dissatisfied customers having an outburst.  You take a deep breath and realize you did it.  The sense of accomplishment washes over you, causing you to beam with thankfulness and love for your kids. 

You make it out to the parking lot, two carts and all. 

Then a small voice peeps, "I have to go to the bathroom."

Then another.  "Me too."

Wednesday, April 17

Need some opinions please...

You usually don't have to ask a girl twice to give her opinion, so I thought I'd ask you, blog friends, to help me out with something...  Your opinions are desired, so please share with me in the comments if you'd be so kind. 

This blog has been a work in progress for quite some time.  It's not yet where I'd like it to be stylistically, but the time to work on it is minimal.  I know that my roles as a wife and mom are top priority!  I'm thankful God has given me such contentment in the life He has carved out for me. 

Blogging is a fun hobby for me, and when you're into a hobby, there's usually a few tools that come along with it.  Just like a seamstress desires a sewing machine, good scissors, and a place to keep her sewing supplies; I'm looking to get some more tools in place to make my hobby a little more enjoyable!    As I seek to mix things up a bit, I'm looking at changing from Blogger to Wordpress to host the blog (this may be more than you wanted to know...) and getting a custom domain.  A custom domain would enable folks to type in the blog address without the "blogspot" part.  You know, just a regular .com address.

Would you please share your opinions and answers to any or all of these questions? 

  1. What things do you like about the layout of your favorite blogs? What invites you to stay and read?
  2. Do you have any preference about blogs named something like The Scarlet Paisley or the person's real first and last name?  Does one or the other make you feel a certain way?
  3. Do you know of any just normal moms (like me, not an author or anything) that has a blog address that is  (Um... I don't know how I feel about this either - it's really nice to protect one's last name from getting out there.)  Big deal or not?
  4. How important is the ability to share blog posts on social media, and is it important that it's easy to do so?  (Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest)
  5. Do you have any other constructive criticism you'd like to offer?  (Like, does my "subscribe by email" thingy even work?)
Thanks so much for your helpful words! 

Tuesday, April 16

choices hurt, choices heal

We hear of school shootings, hijackings, and other sorts of evil that is acted out upon innocent victims, and we gasp and wonder why.  Why?? Why would someone do this?  Don't they know that these people have families who love them?  Why don't they care?

Today we heard of a bombing; a calculated act of evil and violence in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  And we wonder why.  Why?? In the aftermath of tragedies like this, the question often rises:  Why would a good God allow this to happen? 

I don't know the answer to that.  But I do know that God IS good.  And in His great goodness, we have been given the freedom of choice. We choose how to act, who to associate with, and what to believe.  We choose what to eat, what to read, and when to do both.  We relish the freedom to choose.  God gives us that, and we receive much mercy for our inevitable slip-ups. 

Generally, if we chose to lose our temper with one of our kids, a bolt of lightning will not fall from the heavens, splitting the skies and erase us from our life.  We might be hit with a jolt of guilt, remorse, or sadness, but usually, we won't be struck down because of our actions. 

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.  (2 Samuel 6:7)

When you think of a person or people group who has no choice, we often think of them as having no voice as well.  We think of victims of human trafficking and abortion.  Of those living in a land without freedom of religion, or the ability to vote.  Choice is a good thing - unless... it is abused. 

In the reality of this world, some choose evil and destruction.  They chose it,  and we are left to suffer from their choices.  It's around every corner.  On a smaller scale than bombings, we have drunk drivers, abusive spouses, and thieves.  We don't blame God for the things they do; we put blame on the ones making the bad choices.  And on the enemy who is out to annihilate us. 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  (John 10:10)

Living with the poor choices of others can be a tragic.  We feel helpless - without a choice.  We feel mad.  Forgiveness seems like joke. 
Choices can hurt or they can heal.  
There is one choice that stands above the rest; the most important one you could make.  There is a true life-giver and pain-taker, named Jesus Christ, and He has paid for your life with His.  He is going to make all the sad things come untrue in the end - so I am choosing to align myself with Him no matter what life on earth shall bring.  What do you choose?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..  (1Peter 1:3)


Tuesday, April 9

so good

Feeling overwhelmed today by God's goodness in the gift of this little girl.  To think we could have missed it.

When society says you have enough or too many children,  God whispers: "Keep your eyes on me."

When self seeks to trap you in the lie that it'll be too hard, God affirms:  "Keep you eyes on me."

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3


Monday, April 8

when your brain goes in a million directions

I think I broke my own all-time record today, for the most internet browser tabs open at once.   Our household is constantly bustling.  There isn't time for me to just sit for long periods perusing all I want to read and listen to online.  So I leave them there as tabs, with hope that sometime during this day or after the kids are in bed for the night, I will get to them.  Today there are several...  and just for fun, I'll let you peek into my mind.  You can learn a lot from a person's open browser tabs. 

Amazon - oh, just dreaming of buying the things in my cart
A Holy Experience - waiting to be read
Whits End - the kids listened to an episode at lunch, it's paused for later
How Not to Say the Wrong Thing - waiting to share it with Jeremy later
How to work from home without losing your mind - ah, yes...
Facebook - well, because it just is
Fast Pencil - always dreaming, always thinking
Redeemer Sermon Store - Tim Keller - ooh, listening to a good one today

So what's open in your browser today? 

Friday, April 5

Five Minute Friday: AFTER

Joining in HERE - "So now on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes."  This week's topic:  After

Five Minute Friday

This is such fun for me... Ready?  GO.

For twelve years now, I've been in a constant state of the afters.  After five trips down pregnancy and childbirth lane and two expeditions on adoption trail, here I am; in the after again.  My sweet baby is 9 months old.  9 in, 9 out. 

I always tell myself, "After I'm done with nursing, diapers, and babies and the tired that comes along with all of this, then I can do _________."  Even though I love, adore, and want to drink in my babies; which is evidenced by the sheer number of them. 

But nowadays, I don't want my babies to grow up.  And I don't focus on the afters.  Because God, has so graciously bopped me on top of the head, with these words:  "But this is what I have for you."  It's like He cracked an egg on top of my freshly straightened hair and let the raw flow of it all ooze down onto the rest of me.   And I get it.  At least most days I do. 

The after is wrapped up in wanting something different.  The now is where it's at. 


**I should have explained this picture when I posted it last night...  Gabi's new thing is the dress up like a "ballelina" and Levi soon asks if he can too.  The girls have a couple unitards (like the one he's wearing in this picture) that he likes to try on and jump around in.  He cries his ever loving eyes out to take it off, he's so funny!!!  I know that his future self will not like that I posted this, but just this once, it must be done.  What do you think of my Dancing with the Preschoolers couple?**

Tuesday, April 2

He is not lost

I woke up at 5am not able to sleep another wink.  My heart is heavy and sad.  We found out last night the name of the victims of a crash that took place over Easter weekend.  One of them was a man we knew from church, the dad of Drew's good friend.  The wife of one wonderful woman and father to three really great sons.  I need to tell our boys this morning, and my heart is heavy. 

Nearly every morning, I wake up with a song on my lips and in my heart.  Today, it was this song:

"Even if the healing doesn't come.  And life falls apart, and dreams are still undone.  You are God, you are good, forever faithful one.  Even if the healing doesn't come."

He's God, and he's good even when we don't see the big picture.  We can't possibly comprehend His ways.  Even though this doesn't make any sense to us, we are content to trust God.  Though we are searching for ways to help this family, the Helper has already been there and will remain.  I just can't imagine saying goodbye to your husband or father as he heads off to work, and then have him not come home. 

And honestly, it's probably my number one fear right now.  One of our children dying ranks right up there too.   

I think about it way more than I'd like to admit.  But I'm admitting it now.  I know all the right answers, the ones that say it's okay and that God has got this.  And that He is still good.  I wouldn't waver from that belief, because I know it's true.  I've lived it's true.  But the gravity of not seeing a loved one this side of heaven, especially a treasured husband when you have a household of growing kids, just seems completely unbearable.  And when you are a stay-at-home wife and mom (like our friend is) and you homeschool (like our friend does) and may have to now work outside the home, changing life as they know it in so many different ways has got to be crazy hard.  I know it would hurt just as deep in any circumstance, but wondering if this is the case for our friend just stings. 

It always sits wrongly with me when I hear the words, "we lost him," or "I'm so sorry you lost your husband."  He is not lost if he knows the life-giver.  He is not lost at all.  He is HOME.  Truly home.  No sadness, no pain. 

It's just the pain and sadness here on earth that makes us feel lost. 

With a heavy heart for the sadness of this family, I pray today.  Hard.  For a renewal of their minds and spirits, and that God will give them supernatural grace and peace.  And now I gear up to talk to my boys.  And boast about the hope of the life-giver and peace-maker.