Be Anxious For Nothing

I was praying this morning that I could avoid being anxious about something, only to hear news about something else later today that caused more worry than that thing before. (I’ve been mentioning prayer often, but that shouldn’t give anyone the impression I’m very far along on this spiritual journey.)

Maybe the bigger thing WAS my answer, as if to say, you think that was a stressor? Try this. And remember that some people deal with even worse, every day.

The kids are at cross country practice. I’ve got the younger six with me at home. It is so pleasant outside right now, with a cool breeze and approaching clouds to take away the sun’s brightness and heat. The bugs are so loud you can make out little else. I love the sounds, and the smells, of fall. Anticipating a new season never disappoints.

Today is Aliyah’s birthday. She’s 17! I remember much about her birth, and bits from her childhood, but not as much as I would expect. We just live life with each other, day by day, and those early days get farther away. She’s a great young lady, in spite of my many sins raising her. This, of all things, should encourage me not to worry about tomorrow. For seventeen years now, and more, it has been out of my hands.

 

Next Big Break

My prayer this morning was, please help us to be gentle. Anna gets a tooth knocked last week, then this week begins with Julia and her sore arm. The kids were playing outside last night, and she came in crying and not using her arm. She has done this before, both falling and favoring her arm, but it is usually better by morning. This morning she was still in a lot of pain, so I took her to Urgent Care, knowing from Adon’s visit there that they would do an x ray. The doctor there simply manipulated her arm a bit- twisting, bending, moving, which Julia hated, of course. But then I noticed she wasn’t crying a whole lot about the x ray, and when she returned to the exam room she started reaching for books and Sarah’s water bottle! I think the doctor popped something into place. Maybe it was a waste of money to go there just for her to touch her arm, but I didn’t feel like I should ignore symptoms of a sprain or break, and I know I may not have had the confidence to move her arm like that.

So, I’m happy. Julia’s running around, back to being busy. Hopefully we can have a more normal day here soon. These injuries are exhausting.

I’m Back

A few months ago, my blog was hacked. Luke fixed it for me rather quickly (my hero), but it was a long time before I felt safe logging into my blog. I mean, wouldn’t that be throwing open the gates once again to the hackers? But I have concluded that I must not go on cow-towing to such fears. I have my three readers to consider, and some free time in my day that should be used productively.

The Bellville Street Fair starts today, that fanciful event we have in our closest village. The kids drew pictures for the art show (the day of:), Sarah entered her crochet finery, Abbie baked brownies, and Aliyah submitted some beautiful photos. I will try to post some pictures of all the entries in the next post.

The Hope of Temporary

Don’t be jealous that I now have a tiny bedroom in the northern, moldy corner of our house. Actually, I was so excited to be making the change- much of our set up in our home was meant to be temporary, and any time we move forward in our house projects, I feel like I can breathe a little more deeply. But that first night in our new room, I couldn’t get to sleep. Maybe it was the hot cocoa, maybe the thoughts of all that there still is to do to get Carol settled into her room and us into ours. It didn’t end up being as wonderful as I thought it would be.

We visited a church on Sunday for the second time, one we are seriously thinking about attending long term. Realistically, we can’t visit many churches this summer: Luke and I are seasoned enough to reject most denominations in our area as not being for us, and even visiting the church we did was exhausting. People are friendly, but we are answering the same questions over and over (where we live, do we homeschool, are we related to —- Burton, etc). I thought it would be great if we just could go up to the pulpit and introduce ourselves, get it all out at once. It seems like a lot of work if we are only going to be there temporarily.

The pastor’s sermon was timely, though. The Sadducees were trying to trap Jesus with a question about a woman marrying all seven brothers of a family, and Jesus gives us insight into the nature of Heaven and eternity. This, all this, is temporary, except the Word of God, and people. I want to spend more of my day focused on these two things.

Our church problems center on these two things, in many ways. We want to be part of a church body where the Word of God is studied, where people are discipled, and where good relationships can develop that spur us each on to love and good works. Sometimes it seems like there is no place for us, if we are to be sticklers on these details. Are we too hard-nosed? I think it comes back to what is temporary, and what is eternal. We have to major on these things that last forever. There has to be a way to cultivate this in our family.

 

When To Call It

The most often asked question this week is, “Are you done with school yet?” And the answer is easy or difficult. Easy because we can be done anytime I say we are, difficult because I have felt especially bad about this year- ‘homeschool fails’. The boys made some videos during track meets and called them ‘Football Fails’, films that were particularly funny to their age group or younger. This year, similarly, felt to me like me acting out the wrong way to do everything, from getting up in the morning (late) to going to bed at night (late). But, there is light on the horizon- I’ve been reading a couple of books that I think will prove helpful to this summer and next school year: Teaching From Rest, and The Literacy Cookbook. Both have some wonderful insights, talk to me without making me feel guilty, and make me want to do better next year. With no baby on the way, I already feel some space to do that I didn’t have this year. Whatever circumstance I am in, however, is an opportunity to follow Jesus, so I can’t really make excuses.

Aliyah is doing a college-credit program in the fall, and Luke was drawing up a record of ‘courses’ she has done for high school so far. This is actually a good thing, because we can think ahead for Sarah, Sam, and Noah and have a plan for where we want them to be when their turn comes to apply for this program. I’ll appreciate having a checklist of sorts, and the challenge to have them work more and more independently.

I went over to a friend’s house last night to pick up some eggs. She invited me to stay and rest on the porch, and I took her up on the offer. It was a lovely evening, and just the right amount of adventure and offroading for me. I hadn’t ever been to her house, but it wasn’t that far out of the nearest town and I couldn’t have gotten lost, something I do many times in that area. She also has elaborate landscaping, added-to each year, and I found it very inspiring as we are planning to do something around our porch (finally!)

We have decided to take a break from our church for the summer. Some disturbing things have happened in recent years, and we’re just not sure if this is the place to be right now in our family’s life, with many children and the philosophies we have about serving them and serving in the church. It was hard to say what we were doing out loud, when I had to find subs for nursery and such. But not too many people have said anything to me about it, and my friend last night didn’t say a word. Maybe that is a good thing- there isn’t really anything to say right now- my hope is to be quiet and listen these next few months.  The Lord will show us what to do.

 

Nice To Be Missed

It has been a rough few weeks, with illnesses, stresses, and trials.  Julia has been a unique baby in that while she is sick with a cold, she refuses to nurse. This causes me to wonder each time if she is weaning. Up until now she would recover and get back to nursing, but this latest illness put nursing away for good. I’ve handled it okay, not having too much discomfort. But I am a little sad at the thought this might be the last baby and that was the last time I got to nurse. Last night when she got up with a stuffy nose, she leaned in close as if to say she missed me. I needed that. She is certainly old enough to move on, and on the move she is, walking a little farther each day.

Micah’s birthday is coming up on Thursday, and she told me she wants to have a party. “The only party I ever had was my baby shower, so I would like to have a party this year.” It struck me that this means she never has had a party (how did I miss this?), and the shower she refers to wasn’t so much as a celebration of her, but a condolence in the wake of losing her sister. I knew my family just wanted to do something special for Micah and me, though no one could give me what I really wanted- Micaiah. So this party void need be remedied! I asked her to write down ideas in her journal, and I’ll take a look at them today. We can make April 27th great again. We can.

 

Working

I have a few minutes until dinner is set and eaten. Tonight we head to church, so dinner is a little early. The kids came in from playing a bit ago, planning the shirts and shorts they wanted to wear to church. Uh, I don’t think we are wearing shorts tonight. It is warm right now, but later it will cool off. Caleb said, “Mom, I don’t want to wear SWEATpants all evening…” Strange. It worked last week, and as they will be indoors all evening…

Track meets start this week. The older four and Luke will be gone til tonight for the middle school meet. We will try to go to a few in the coming weeks, but today it was simpler to have Luke take them.

Tacos for dinner. I packed some meat in a thermos for Luke. It should go over well. I don’t usually pack tacos in his lunches for work, because 1) there are usually no leftovers, and 2) he doesn’t want that twice in a row. The thermos trick I’ll have to remember.

Sean Hannity had a good rant today about hard work. I felt a little guilty again about the way I’ve been sleeping in and lazy about breakfast/ starting school/ modeling good work ethics for our kids. I want to get to where I am making every minute count, and doing all to the glory of God, but I am not there yet. I like to sleep.

What He Would Say

I was reading a children’s story Bible to the boys one day, and when we came to the page with a picture of Jesus sitting with some children, I asked what Jesus might have said to these little kids.

“He told them to be quiet and to behave,” Kenan was certain in his reply.

As funny as it was to hear, it was a little sad, too. Is that what Kenan thinks Jesus wants from his four year old self? Good behavior? Is that the message he is getting from home and church, that all important be-quiet-and-then-we-can-do-fun-stuff?

I thought some more about Jesus and the children. I love the pictures that have Him holding the infants and kissing them. He was all in, whatever crowd it was. Newborns or lepers, they were all welcome at His side. I do wonder what He had to say to these littlest of all, most powerless, most helpless. Would He have told them of the heroes of old, like David, like Elijah? Would He have told them secrets of the world to come, what their rooms would look like? What most important things could He impart to a group of young that He may never see again? I imagine it would include, Love God Who Made You And Loved You First. Love Your Friends. Love Your Enemies. Love And Obey Your Mom and Dad. In These You Will Be Blessed.

It starts to sound like Keeny’s answer. Be quiet. Listen for God’s voice. Behave. Honor your parents and do what they tell you. This is the path to knowing God for each and every one of us.

You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.” Proverbs 5:12-14

With Him We Rise

“Want you outside, Mama.”

And that is how I am found here on our new porch, typing away. I don’t think I have talked about Luke’s masterpiece yet. We recognized the need for Carol to have an easier way up the stairs a while ago, but just over Christmas was Luke able to do something about it. He built a long ramp that follows the length of the house, then turns to the spot in the driveway where she parks. It is really nice. He had his new Christmas grill set up here where I am sitting, until it blew off, twice (no railings yet). It seems the cover of the grill turned it into a kite and pulled it into the air like Mary Poppins. While the grill was still in place, a stray cat would take up residence under the cover and on the shelf of the grill. I don’t think I have talked about Luke’s nemesis yet. This cat shows up on a weeknight, peeking in the screen door and meowing. I quickly took a picture on my phone and sent it to my cat loving neice. This cat looked a lot like her cat, Fixie, so I named it Tuxie, as it was all black with a white triangle down its chest. We knew never to feed it, and didn’t expect it to stay around long. But after a few weeks it was wearing out its welcome. Wednesday night of last week we came home from church to find it had gotten in the basement. The boys and Luke had a bit of an adventure getting that cat out of our house, and Luke was now ready to put it to sleep. A few days later, he did the deed carefully enough that most of the kids didn’t know. Over the next week he would make comments about his recent kill and how much he missed the little guy, chuckle. I told him gloating must not be as exciting because not enough people know what he is talking about. He pointed out its final resting place to me on the way to church and I didn’t know what I was looking for. A hunter? A bird? A piece of litter?

I heard this morning about someone, actually a few someones, needing prayer and encouragement. It is good to be reminded that we are all struggling, and good for those struggling to be reminded that we are all in this together. I have some ideas for ways I can encourage these folks. Hopefully I can pull it off during this busy week. Bible Study, church, track practice, a dentist appointment, a birthday party (not ours), and a field trip. Should be wild.

Tuesdays With Kenan

Ay yi yi. Last night, Luke and I  settled back on our pillows at 8:45, 8:45, and grinned at each other. How nice to be going to bed so early! We proceeded to watch about 3/4 of an episode of Monk, then the night began to unravel. First, Julia woke up. I went to get her out of bed and, since it was dark, only dimly saw big red splotches on her sheet. Is that the set with the polka dots, I wondered to myself. But when I got her where I could change her diaper, I saw her face was covered in blood! Earlier that evening she had fallen against my leg, and her upper lip bled a bit after the mishap. But since then she had nursed, took a pacifier, and gone to sleep just fine. Now, she was bleeding heavily. Luke helped keep me calm and instructed me on what to do (so thankful for his authority and first aid knowledge!), and we got her cleaned up and nursing again, to curb the blood flow.

Only then did Kenan wake up, crying that his ear really hurt. He had just taken medicine an hour prior, so we were at a loss as to what to do. I remembered something about olive oil to put in the ear, but lacking that, I went for the coconut oil and warmed up some. It did seem to help, for a short time. Luke then volunteered to go to Walmart for some of the alternate pain meds we could try in another hour. So, on the bed that only recently held two tired parents happy with their bed-early fortune, sat me nursing a bloody Julia, and Kenan wailing beside me. I’m so glad Walmart is close.

Once Kenan was tucked away with more meds and ear drops, and Julia tucked away with fresh sheets, at 11:00, we were able to finish Monk. Our night wasn’t funny, but we had the wisdom to laugh about it.

This morning I took Kenan to the doctor, and, sure enough, he had an ear infection. He was so cute on the drive there. I hadn’t heard him say so much before, and for a while I kept the music playing, but when I realized he wouldn’t stop anytime soon, I turned it off so I could hear him. First he asked what the numbers on the dashboard were. I started with the radio and the heating/cooling controls, hoping that would satisfy him. Then at Meijer for the prescription, he wanted to know what the numbers in the parking lot were. They were letters, I said, to help people remember where they are parked. Inside Meijer he wanted to ride in the cart, but at four years of age he is way too big. So, we found a cart with a bench on the back. It was like driving a semi through the store aisles; I constantly had to re-judge the distance ahead of me not to knock into displays or people. At the pharmacy, an older lady got in line behind Kenan’s semi, and asked aloud whose child this was, as I was up at the window. I turned and responded, and she proceeded to talk to him, about as much as he’d been talking to me. But now he didn’t feel much like talking, and was on the verge of being rude. The lady then turned to the girl behind her, and started saying something about how evil the world is getting and how she asks everyone if they are born again and they look at her funny. I  thought about how it is good she is so bold, but that she may come off as ‘that crazy lady’ more often than not. Hey, David and Paul were willing to look undignified and foolish, so I shouldn’t look down on her efforts.

Days like this are par for the course, with so many children, but I don’t like the beating our schooling takes every time it happens. Oh, well. The best we can do is try to get to bed tonight, early, and make the best of tomorrow.