A little confession.......I don't care much for detail. I am a good enough type of personality. I can think of grandiose plans and come up with great ideas, but I lack the organization of brain to complete them. Its not I don't want to complete them, but I don't know what to do first or next or last for that matter :) I don't mind doing it when someone says first do this then that.....etc... Luckily the creator who made me also made a perfect partner in Randy. He is a details guy. If you need a spreadsheet he's got it. Some examples, we are moving soon. I wander around the house thinking about what to pack only to end up back on the couch with nothing complete. Although in my scatter brain, I did throw some laundry in, then washed the sink in the bathroom as I walked by and tossed some long lost legos back into a bedroom. Or if I do pack a box, everyone knows it, because I somehow manage to fit a whole bookshelf in a small now distended box that weighs somewhere near 250lbs. Yet Randy can get a bunch of boxes and in a few hours have them packed neatly and orderly. My idea of cleaning is going room to room dusting, then back sweeping or whatever. He can be in the kitchen for a long time focused until it shines and finally puts away my pile of not knowing what to do with it papers. Lets not get in to grocery carts, me shopping alone looks like a balance science experiment with the stupid toilet paper continuously falling off the bottom of the cart making the cart come to a screeching halt while I try not to catapult over it. He stops in each aisle to arrange it all so it fits in a way that makes it look like a lego structure with each piece clicking in neatly to the last. I used to envy his ability to focus for longer then 10 seconds, until he told me he needed me to think of the big stuff because his brain doesn't and then it gives him something to work on. I have had big dreams and we have worked to make many come true. See a perfect match! So now I will go back to aimlessly wandering around the house in attempts to find something to clean or pack.
The other night as I was laying down to go to sleep, I had a very vivid memory. Not sure why it came to mind, but I was remembering a particular night when I was pregnant with Alex. I was 26 weeks along and had started having contractions. They sent me to the hospital where they gave me some medication to stop the contractions, soon they realized it wasn't working and the contractions were still coming. They eventually transferred me to a bigger hospital in Boston where they had a NICU for babies this premature just in case. So fast forward a day they have me on a new medication magnesium sulfate...awful stuff! While on it I seemed to have aspirated and got fluid in my lungs the fluid increased greatly until it was in my lungs and around my heart, so they transferred me to the respiratory ICU. So here I am 6 months pregnant a non-re breather mask inflated on my face, crazy stockings on my legs that keep inflating, a maternity nurse next to my side 24 hours a day monitoring Alex in my womb. This night that I was thinking about was a scary night, I had fallen asleep when all of the sudden all sorts of beeping noise starts going. I realized I couldn't take a breath, at least not a very deep one. Nurses and doctors came running in and all I remember is total confusion people telling me to calm down adjusting this and that and putting stuff in my IV. I remember being scared for me, for my baby and for my family. Fast forward shortly after they told Randy I probably didn't have much longer and they plan was to take Alex by c-section if it came to that and try to save her at 26 weeks. Mind you I was 19 and Randy was 21. This wasn't quite the life we had planned. Something humbling about going from being a 19 year old girlfriend to a 19 year old asking said boyfriend to help with a bed pan. Anyway I was thinking about what it must have felt like for my parents, they sat in the waiting room and came in to visit and cheer me up. I can't imagine what its like to see your child with that going on. Miraculously, and I can say that because its what the doctor said, the fluid started to go away, they didn't know why or what had happened, but a few days later I was stable, still pregnant and ready to go home. I wasn't saved at the time,I had no relationship with Jesus. I was thinking this week about that very fact. I wasn't just a few moments from dying, I was also a few moments from being eternally separated from Jesus. I wasn't a bad person as some would describe, I was in sin, the very fact of being pregnant before marriage can attest to that. However God never says in His Word that we have to be decent or good enough for salvation. He actually agrees, yep we all sin, no one is immune. He already said that the wages of sin is death. Way before I sinned this was His way. I don't pretend to know the whys of His ways because He tells us His ways are higher then our ways, so it would be futile for me to rationalize it. I do know God is proven to be just, fair, righteous and since he can't contradict his nature, his ways are true. So back to my thinking. In my sin he saved my life. He had no obligation to save me that day, no obligation to save Alex. In fact weird enough when I woke up after that awful night, the song stuck in my head Love Lifted Me. It wasn't a song I listened to and I had no idea where it came from, but it played in my mind. A few years later I miscarried a baby and I begged God to save that baby, it didn't happen and then 2 weeks later I learned I was pregnant with AJ. At the end of that pregnancy at 34 weeks I developed HELLP syndrome a severe form of preeclampsia. Again my life was at risk and the only option was to deliver AJ, and at 4lbs 6ozsAJ was born. He was in the NICU with tubes in his throat, I was in my hospital bed sobbing feeling like I had let him down. The doctors said he might be in the hospital for up to 6 weeks. His stay ended up being 5 days. He grew, he breathed on his own and he ate, and we were able to bring him home. Again in my sin God had no obligation to heal me or him, but he choose too. Shortly after that my brother explained to me what Jesus meant when he said we must be born again of the spirit. I prayed to God confessed I was a sinner in need of a savior, that I couldn't do anything to "get" salvation, I couldn't earn it or create it. I needed Jesus to enter my life and accept what He did on the cross and turn from things I was doing and follow Him.
Why its all important. Jesus promises in the Bible that those whom call on Him for salvation can never be plucked from his hand. That His act of dying on the cross is the only way sin can be forgiven and the only way we have access to the Father. I am not making it up! Look in your Bible and see! God gave me a second and then a third chance to live. I have surrendered my life to the one who saved mine both physically and spiritually. I have had my eyes opened this week to the depth of my gratitude. He didn't have to save me, but he did. I hope I never lose sight of this and live my life as someone who has nothing else to live for but His purpose and I hope my story leads someone else to know Christ. I am always happy to answer any questions about what it means to follow God and what my faith is all about!
We have finished out our school year. One year of homeschooling behind us. It was kind of a rollar coaster this year. Some days I felt like it was working and other days I wistfully watched the school bus drive by. I did enjoy watching my kids finally grasp a concept and get excited about what we were learning about. It took time to get used to being the teacher and the mom, knowing when to let them work it out or when to help. Biggest accomplishments this year was getting Hannah caught up to grade level, she was severly behind. Getting JD, Riley and Caley reading and teaching Alex and AJ about amazing missionaries! My favorite thing this year was learning myself about the life George Mueller. We asked the kids what they wanted to do for next year. They all picked homeschooling again so we will once again picking out curriculum and getting ready for next year!
We also finally found a house to buy and we are closing mid June. This house has room for us to have a room specifically for homeschooling, which is fantastic! Its also close to our rental house, so nothing has to change (doctors, dentist, library....). With 7 kids this is a huge blessing! So in the next 4 weeks we gotta pack up and get to the new house. This will be our last move for a long long time, we choose carefully a house we can grow in and in an area we can put down real roots. After almost 12 years of marriage and too many moves, we have never done that!
For the past 9 years Randy and I have made one night a week date night. Having young children for the past 9 years and for many years little extra cash we created our date night. Usually Friday nights we order in (or make something we like that the kids don't....very frugal!) The kids get to eat leftovers from the week (again frugal!). We put the kids to bed, our kids when they are younger go to bed at 7. Now the older kids stay up till 9, but they are sent to the game room and allowed to watch a movie or tv, the only night its allowed. After that we either wait for the delivery man or make dinner. Sometimes we will rent a movie and pull up some tray tables to the couch or we will catch up on DVR shows. Other times we will pull out Scrabble or play cards while listening to music. It is how Randy learned that I am quite knowledgeable about the music of the 50s and 60s. I grew up with a mom who loved that music and I grew to love it too. Or we will switch to the 80s or 90s music and relive good memories, or make fun of each other for actually liking that song (cough Abba cough). Its a good time for us to remember that parenting is this season of our life, but our commitment we made at our wedding is forever. Its also good to do something fun and just hang out together. I highly suggest it for any couple or even single parent. Take a night any night but make it a regular thing!
I was treated to a paper crown, homemade necklace and multiple homemade cards. A feast of french toast and bacon was made for me and my sweet husband took all the kids to the playground so I could have some quiet time. It was one of those days I try to stop and take in all the memories. I know how quickly life changes, I know how blessed I am to be surrounded by my gaggle of kids. I know that despite the drama some days that all 7 kids love me and my husband is a true partner in my life. Someday they will all be grown up and maybe be moms of their own. I still plan on having as many as possible gather at my house, just like my mom did. There is always the conflicting emotions on this day though in my heart. My own mother died 8 years ago. She was a great mom and though I had my own kid dramas with her, she never gave up on me. Even when I walked in the door 19 and pregnant, she wasn't thrilled (at all....) but she stood by my decisions and loved me anyway. I wish I could have appreciated her more when she was here, I tear up just typing this. So many times in my quest to be independent I pushed her away. I miss the relationship we had. I lived at home until I was married at 20. I grew up her baby, I was never a big one to leave home. I was content sitting and playing scrabble or watching tv with my parents. Even after I moved out I would call my mom multiple times a day and we spent almost every weekend at my parents house. When I was pregnant with Alex and sitting in the respiratory ICU not knowing my or Alex's future, she walked in with a headband with big blinking red lights. She found them in the gift shop and just wanted to make me smile. She drove me to the hospital when I went into the labor (crazy through windy roads and tried to pass a truck!!!) She loved Randy like a mother. She was the first one to welcome us home with AJ, waiting at our little apartment with Alex having it all decorated with balloons for us. She watched Alex while I went back to college without complaining. Now I see mothers and daughters shopping (her favorite activity, but only if its clearance) and my heart aches. I hope someday I can be half as loving as she was! Happy Mothers Day!!
I have been pondering parenting lately. What I am doing right, what I am doing wrong...what works what doesn't...that sort of thing. I despise parenting books, I prefer to look towards people I know or people in history that have qualities in life or parenting that I find valuable. What I have seen is we are generation of parent guilters. Perhaps its the access to information that nags at us. A fifteen minute trip on the internet you can quickly find your child should be involved in sports, music, activities, but just enough and not too much and you should be firm but not too firm. You should give them freedom but too much damages. You should homeschool unless you want them to be normal is socialization in which you should send them to school except don't let them be bullied. You will see how testing in schools and big classes are hurting their education, but sheltering them in a homeschool environment doesn't allow them to achieve full potential. You will find that its damaging to not touch them, but it is damaging to hover. We don't want the roots to be too deep or the wings to be too wide........
I stopped and realized a few things. One parenting has taken on so many different forms in the past. Some generations had families working the farms, some years had kids who played in the streets till the sun went down, some years had wars raging around and fathers off to war. However we have survived.........generations after generations of people that have quirks, histories and pasts. Yet somehow we seem to think that the harder we try we somehow will overcome all history and figure out how to parent near perfect children, who somehow will avoid problems and mistakes. What we find is a generation of parents who carry guilt. If I had done this or that. If I had been home more or if I had left them alone. If I had given them this or not given so much. If I had pushed them harder or pushed them less. If we didn't truly believe parents could achieve "perfect" children through "perfect" parenting we wouldn't be intrigued by shows like "Worlds Strictest Parents" or "Supernanny". I myself fall in the trap of thinking if only I had or I would or I can........Truth be told, there is no secret no special formula no perfect method. No guru has the answers. If we want the answers it comes down to the same answer for every area of our lives, the Bible. I have learned through life that my responsibility is to living for Jesus and studying and following the Bible. Through that my children will get what they need from me. It won't look like your family or a neighbors family or a friends family but I can be confident our kids will all become adults who all know how to navigate life. For some it will seem easier, but it nary is for them on the inside. We all have to find our way, regardless of our parenting.
Side note......I do not condone bad parenting :) In that I mean abusive type! I just think parents need to drop the guilt and worry and realize that if we are truly giving our best to our children, our children will turn out OK in the end :)