Arms Not Big Enough

This past week we volleyed a bad cold. The youngest two got hit the worst, as usual, and many days were spent trying my best to keep them comfortable. Both babies would want held at the same time, and considering the third baby I am always holding, it could often get overwhelming. I was thankful for Carol’s oversized recliners, that I could seat each one on a chair arm and maybe convince them they were in my arms. Times we spent like that I would get to thinking about something a guest speaker at our old church said about me, when he heard I (then) had four children under four: “She doesn’t have enough hands.” He was trying to make a point about how hard parenthood was in his talk, but I’ve always taken it as condescending, like “that poor thing”. Statements like that, along with “You have your hands full!” are ones to feed on in times of self pity: “Yeah, Lord, I couldn’t possibly be up to this task- don’t expect too much of me!”

The longer I live, though, the more I realize that this is kinda the whole point of Christianity- doing things that I could never do in my own strength. Taking up this thing called faith and actually walking in it. The Bible is full of weaklings; it seems the weaker they were, the more they were honored, if they let God live through them. So, when I think back to what that man said, or any time someone’s words tempt me to feel sorry for myself, I want to remember the truth of the situation. My arms aren’t big enough, but they don’t need to be.

We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes;
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end.
He hears our humble cry and proves again . . .
His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
Heโ€™ll carry us when we canโ€™t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.
~Steven Curtis Chapman, His Strength Is Perfect

Weekend Thoughts

My friend Angela shared this sweet video with me. I can’t help but think how much this couple would have missed if they had sold out to our modern culture’s view of life’s value. Instead, they have left a legacy of love and life to all who have ears to hear.

Thank You, Peter

For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself. Acts 2:39

This verse brings special encouragement to me today. Many times I feel like one who is “far off”, unsure of just how to get back to where I belong. Thank God for His Holy Spirit, the promise of hope and a future, Who guides me in all truth.

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

Happy Birthday, Jean!

My friend Jean celebrates a birthday tomorrow. We have been friends since we were 11, so it isn’t surprising that many things make me think of her, remind me of something we did together. Tonight I was sewing up a cloth diaper, and there isn’t a time I sit down to my machine that I don’t remember that it was she who taught me how to use one. Jean was quite proficient at making things from a pattern, and at one point we were supposed to be working together on a skirt, if I recall. I didn’t end up being much help, and still to this day have never made anything from a pattern. But I am grateful to her for patiently showing me the basics- threading a bobbin, using the pedal, etc. It allowed me to continue on my half-hearted way in sewing without being afraid of the machine, which I was before. Just like shop class helped me not fear power saws, Jean calmed my worries of ever sewing my fingers shut.

Jean lives in Canada these days with her husband and two beautiful children, and I haven’t seen her in years. However, she recently shared with me how meaningful it is to her that we were friends while teenagers, and how knowing she has friends that go that far back is a comfort. I couldn’t agree more. Enjoy your day, Jean. Thanks for all the memories.

The “Wickedness” Of Our Time

So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [slave] trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.
~William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce was mightily used by God to help bring about the end of the slave trade in the British Empire. Here was a man completely dedicated to this task; this was an individual so passionate about his cause he was willing to do anything to see it to fruition.

Today there are countless men and women giving their time and efforts to fighting our “enormous, dreadful, irremediable” sins- abortion, slavery, child trafficking among others. But I wonder if it is possible in our day and age to ever see success in our work on anything more than a small scale. Wilberforce took on the whole British Empire, and admittedly did not realize the difficulty of his task at first. Still, he was able to take it all on, and win. Are the vices of this world too big for any one of us nowadays to say, like Caleb, “Give me this mountain”? I hope not. Maybe these victories are still in the making. Maybe it will be some time before we can look back and point to those who fought injustice and actually “effected its abolition”. May it be in our lifetime.

Expect great things. Attempt great things.
~William Carey

Sewing Successes

sewing.JPGWhile I can’t boast of building a house, I have gotten some things done on my sewing machine this week.
I use cloth diapers, but only about half time. I would like to see this upped to full time at home, even overnight, but have yet to come up with enough diapers for two toddlers (without having to wash every day), or something absorbent enough at night. The more I looked at the myriad of cloth diapering choices out there, the more I wished for something simpler. Carol talked about how back when her kids were little, they just used flat pieces of cloth and folded them to make their diapers. People still do this today; it is the cheapest way to cloth diaper, and the flats dry quicker in the dryer or on the clothesline. I wanted to get something with Baby C’s birthday money that would make it so we had enough diapers for A Minor and C, and A Flat to follow, through toilet training, and was about to buy some pre-folds online to try. Carol suggested I buy material and make it into pre-folds. JoAnn’s had flannel on sale this week, so I got a yard of it and made a diaper by following this very simple tutorial. I tried it out on A Minor today, then washed it by itself, and hung it outside to see how long it would take to dry. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with it, but Carol reminds me that for optimum drying, I needn’t make the flannel completely into prefolds; I could just finish the edges of a 18 X 40 piece, and fold them when I need them. I’m pretty sure this is my next diapering system- the only things I need to decide are:

~whether to make them into pre-folds or finish them flat
~do I want to buy up some of the many different colors of flannel that JoAnn’s has, or stick with white. ๐Ÿ™‚ Pink, blue and polka dots would be darling, for starters.
The other finished project I don’t really have a name for yet- I started with a ball of cranberry colored yarn that I loved and wanted to make into something for A Flat. I crocheted it all up, but was left with a long, skinny rectangular piece, not enough to be a blanket. I thought about backing it with some flannel; that way, it could be a burp cloth, nursing cover, changing pad, lovey, lots of possibilities. I saw this corduroy on Wal-Mart’s clearance table, and had to have it to git ‘r done. There is plenty of it left; A Major is eyeing it for Josefina’s next skirt. ๐Ÿ™‚

Babying My Baby

We needed milk tonight, and Luke would stop to get it after working on the house, probably bringing it home pretty late. Baby C has done alright just drinking water when this happens, but I couldn’t be certain what his temperament would be like this evening when the milk ran out. So, I decided to stick even closer with him than usual, providing lots of entertainment to hopefully keep his mind off any missing bottles. We all played outside after dinner, then I brought the kids in to do baths. He always enjoys getting a tubby! While the other kids bathed and cleaned up, I read him his favorite book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and played a game he was making up as we went along, kind of like peekaboo. I sang him some songs; if I mentioned his name in any of the verses he would light up and giggle. One year olds are incredibly aware and bright- I never get over how much they can understand. I got to thinking about how rare what I was doing, sitting on the floor just enjoying being with him, really was. The other kids usually keep him occupied most of the day, and I just sweep him up out of the throng when he needs food or a diaper change. He is normally a terrific sleeper at night, so I don’t have that one-on-one time with him then, either. Eren’s post about spending time with a special girl in Nicaragua during a recent trip really has had me feeling challenged to do better at making the most of my days with my kids. Somehow, I should be able to meet the kids’ needs, and still have a kept home. Many times the kept home takes priority over the kids’ need of me, on the floor, being part of their play. It is the latter that is more important. C completely reveled in my attention tonight. I’ve got to make that happen more often for them all.

We’ll have another chance to be together, C and I, on Wednesday, when I take him to the pediatrician. Somehow I don’t think this bonding time will garner the same sweet thoughts, as shots will be involved. ๐Ÿ™

A Donato’s Debate

We got pizza tonight for Baby C’s birthday. The girls had earned free pizzas at Pizza Hut from our library for a reading challenge, and the rest of us would do Donato’s. I had noticed on a Donato’s commercial the other day that their large pizzas were $10.45 right now, to celebrate the chain’s 45th birthday. So, while in the PH parking lot, I ordered two large pizzas from Donato’s. The total sounded a little high, but I was busy thinking about how I would get across town from one pizzeria to the other, so I didn’t question the girl right then. When I got to D’s, though, I asked the cashier if I got the $10.45 deal or not.

“Did you mention that when you ordered?”

Me: “It was advertised on T.V.”

“You have to mention it to get the deal.”

Before I finish my tale, I want to ask you- does that seem right? To offer a discount on a product ON TELEVISION but not grant it unless the customer remembers to say something?ย  I’m not good with these kinds of things so I don’t always have the right words to say in the moment I need them. Thankfully, I got a second chance, and was able to figure out what to say.

Down the street I realized they hadn’t given me the Coke I paid for, so I turned around and went back to the restaurant. When I pulled up to the window again, I asked to talk to the manager. He, again, gave me the “did you mention it” line, and I repeated that it was an advertised special. He finally was willing to give me one of my pizzas at the discounted price. I’m sure he thought he was being gracious, but I think I should have gotten both at that price. But, I was all out of fight, so I then left and came home. The pie still tasted good, even if I had to pay more than I thought I should.

Please comment on this. Was I in the wrong to ask for the discount? Were they in the wrong for not giving the discount on all their orders of large pizzas, when they’d offered that on t.v.? I’d love to hear what you think. And, if you should get a large pizza from Donato’s in the next few days, be sure to say in your loudest, firmest voice,

“I need to mention the $10.45 pizza deal!!!”