Infant Loss

I’ve been seeing a lot about this month being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Yesterday, October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Our family too knows the grief of losing an unborn baby.  I didn’t really talk about it much, just with my closest friends and family.  It was just too hard to talk about.  The pain was just too deep.  Though I still miss that baby that would have been born last month, my wonderful Heavenly Father has brought healing and comfort.  Losing an unborn baby is hard and it is a loss and I encourage any of you who have gone through this to allow yourself to grieve this loss.  What a comfort though to know that that baby gets to grow up in Heaven with Jesus never knowing loss or pain or sadness.  Also, knowing that one day if you have accepted Jesus as Lord, you will get to see that precious child!

I can’t help during this time also to think of all the precious babies that have been lost to abortion.  I just felt led to say that if any of you reading have lost a baby to abortion that there is healing for you as well.  Our Heavenly Father does not treat anyone differently.  If you will come to Him and ask for forgiveness, He will forgive, forget and bring healing for you as well.

Some of you may also have lost a baby after it was born.  My heart goes out to you.  I can’t even fathom the pain you must have been through.  I pray that God will heal your heart and help you to live in this world until you are able to be reunited some day.

When you lose a baby before it is born, there is no grave to visit, no memorial, sometimes no good closure.  If you have been through this and are having trouble bringing closure try making a little memorial for your little person.  Maybe a letter, maybe a journal entry.  If you have an ultrasound picture maybe frame it, or maybe even make a little grave.  Whatever it might be that helps you bring closure.  Don’t feel silly.  Then pray and God will bring comfort and help you to move past the hurt.  Though we will never forget the little ones that should have been, there is healing in Jesus name.  God bless.

Luke 4:18  [Words of Jesus] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

Psalm 139:13-16  You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

ps – a good book to read – Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

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My Sarah Bear

Sarah is my 16 month old.  She is the sweetest thing you ever did see, but she is a handful!  All she does is go, go, go.  She has been running since she was about 10 months old.  She already says just about as many words as her 2 1/2 year old brother.  She cannot sit still for anything.  She thinks she’s much bigger and older than she really is and wants to do the same things everyone else does.

She has no fear.  She will climb up and on anything she can get to.  A few days ago she pushed right through the screen on the window and went right through.  Gabriel ran to tell me that she had fallen through the window and I found her outside, scared and reaching up toward the window wondering how she would get back in.  She didn’t get hurt thankfully, but these are the kind of things that this spunky little gal does!  I mean I can’t watch her every single minute of every single day you know!  I’m afraid that she thinks her name is SARAH!!!!  Man I love her to pieces though.  Her smile will pardon nearly any mischief she gets into.

Yesterday she thought it would be a good idea to paint the table with her brother’s milk and put crackers and cheese in her other brothers milk glass and then smear soggy crackers and cheese into the milk painting.

Today, well, when she drew all in the book with a pencil, ok, my fault, a pencil should not have been where she could reach it, though with as much and as well as she climbs just about nothing or nowhere is safe.  When she drew on the laminate floor in her bedroom with a crayon (where the heck did she get a crayon!!!), me fairly calmly “no, we color on paper not floors!”  Next she decided to help by stacking her brothers and sisters three cups together while they were full of juice!  Finally at dinner while I was sitting down to eat my lukewarm soup, Hannah comes in to say “mom, look what Sarah’s doing!”  I came in to find her on top of my bed with an open and now empty bottle of olive oil!  Thankfully a small one, but it was completely full.  She was covered in oil from top to bottom as well as my pillow, blankets and mattress.  AAAHHH!!  SA-RAH!!!!  Did any of you every watch the Little Foot movies when you were little?  I feel like I’m Mr. Triceratops yelling at his Cera!

My goodness I love this little girl and I wouldn’t trade her or her personality for anything in the world because I know she is just the way God made her and she has the character traits that He gave her for a reason.  She gives the best hugs and kisses and nosy’s and is just so adorable I want to eat her up, but man does she keep me busy and on my toes!

Dear Sarah – I love you to pieces just the way you are, but I wouldn’t argue if you would slow down just a minute and not spill or break or empty or dump out or tear up or draw on anything every once in a while!  Thanks. – A tired, but very happy to be your Momma

Relieve Stress: Release Control

Releasing control.  Isn’t that a tough one!  People literally die and go to hell because they do not want to release control of their lives to God.  But life is so much simpler if we do!  I myself am a bit of a control freak.  No one can do it just the way that I can therefore I want to do it myself so that it is done right, but it is impossible for me to do everything so I always feel stressed out and feel like nothing is getting done!!  It’s a never-ending circle.  I even struggled with handing over the steering wheel to my husband (who probably is a better driver to be honest).  How many women can amen me on that one!  Giving up control has been a long and ongoing process for me in which my wonderful husband has been the one to urge me and support me in letting go.  He is my hero.

Since I am a stay at home mom at this point in my life the focus of this post is going to be how I have released control of household chores to my children (now 6, 4, 2 and 1).  My children actually love to help me, but sometimes it is hard to give up a chore to them because it usually takes twice as long as it would take me and is done half as good as I would do it but it is one hundred times better than it not getting done which is what was happening because I simply didn’t have the time or energy to get it done.

One of the first places my wonderful hubby encouraged me to let go was laundry.  I could never conquer Mt. Laundry and still struggle with getting the laundry put away.  I could keep it washed and dried with no problem, but getting it all folded and put away, that was another story.  Lenard asked me why I wasn’t letting the kids help me fold laundry.  Well, duh, they won’t do it right!  With his encouragement I now sort the laundry and except for the smallest two everyone (including hubby) folds and puts away their own clothes.  The older two also help with towels and wash cloths.  Is it hard for me when I get into the linen closet and see the hand towels quarter-folded instead of tri-folded?  You bet!  My four year old daughter’s drawer is a mess, but the clothes are in a drawer and not all over my bedroom floor, a vast improvement.

I have recently relinquished putting the dishes away to my oldest and though sometimes the plastic bowls are not stacked the way I would stack them they are at least in the cabinet and not in the dishwasher (and yes sometimes I can’t stop myself from going back later and fixing it, I’m a work in progress).  My kids clean the bathroom mirrors and the sink and they load and unload the washer and dryer.  Remember parents we are training our children to be adults.  I’ve seen too many adult children who are in their forties and still haven’t grown up.  Let them be kids and play, but let them help too even if it’s inconvenient!  Taking a little extra time now can save you a lot of time later.  My 6 year old even helps me pour the drinks sometimes, something I was a little afraid of letting him try but he does just fine with (actually my 2 year old poured himself and his brother a drink a few days ago and did just fine).

Like I said before.  This is really hard for me.  I am a control freak and delegation is not something I’m good at, but with Lenard and the Lord’s help I am realizing that it is better to have quarter-folded hand towels than to stay up until one in the morning doing it myself and be a grouchy momma the next day.  The time will come when I won’t have my kiddos around and I’m pretty sure that I will look back and be glad that I spent time with them instead of looking back and being glad that my house was in perfect order.

I encourage you if you are stressed out and feel like you have more on your plate than you can accomplish to ask for help and give up control when you can.  This is of course goes for all areas of life.  At work, church and most importantly releasing control of our lives to our loving Heavenly Father who only has our best interest in mind anyway.  Why is this so hard?  I don’t know why, but I know that it is and it is a growing process and with growing comes growing pains, but at the end of it all our lives will be so much better and less stressed for it.  Good luck!

My Strong-Willed Child

I have a strong-willed child.  His name is Nathanael and he is 2 1/2 years old.  He is so sweet and smart and funny and he drives me bonkers!  For the most part he is compliant and loves to help especially when it comes to cooking, but if it is something he doesn’t want to do he will just say ‘no’ and move on.  Getting in an argument with him is pointless because he is as stubborn as a mule and will do everything in his power, even endure numerous swats on the butt, to get his way.  If someone does something to him that he doesn’t like or takes something from him he will just hit them or push them over and take it back.  Thankfully I think he does this mainly to his siblings, mostly his younger sister, and not his friends, but it can be so frustrating.  We’ve tried spanking, time-outs, reasoning, but he still just does his own thing.

Last year I read an excellent book about dealing with a strong-willed child by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias called “You Can’t Make Me” [But I can be persuaded].  This book gave an excellent look into the mind of a strong-willed person.  Instead of getting into ‘you do this because I said so’ battles she gives practical advice on how to phrase things so that your strong-willed child does not feel like you are trying to force him to do something against his will.  It has been challenging because as a parent you want your child to obey you because you said so.  Let me give you an example of how we are putting this advice into practice.  Last night at the dinner table we told Nathanael that he would have to eat his broccoli if he wanted dessert.  He said “no”.  Instead of getting into the vegetables are good for you and you need to eat them to be healthy fight, Lenard held a piece of broccoli in front of his mouth and said, “now don’t you bite my finger!”  Nathanael excitedly chomped the broccoli while Lenard made a big deal about him almost biting his finger off and he laughed and laughed and ate all his broccoli with no problem!

I think one of the biggest things that strong-willed children need, and Cynthia said this too, is unconditional love.  We try our best to shower this little guy with hugs and kisses all the time no matter how ornery he has been.  And give him praise and affirmation when he makes the right choices.  I have always tried to let my children make their own choices about things when possible and within reason, so giving Nathanael choices instead of orders was not that hard to do.  The hardest part for me is keeping my cool when Gabriel or Hannah comes up to me for the umpteenth time that day informing me that he is pummeling Sarah (who is 1) with the toy she tried to take from him.  It’s kind of tough to love him at that moment and not scream at him “why are you doing this, don’t you understand that this is not ok!”  He doesn’t talk yet except for a few words.  I know he understands what I am saying to him.  I’m hoping that once he does start talking that he can help me to see his side of things and maybe smooth things out a little.

To tell you the truth though, I am awfully fond of this little guy.  He is so special and I really like his strong will.  I know I’m crazy.  He is very independent, very determined, doesn’t give up easily when he can’t do something that he thinks he should be able to do.  These are all qualities that will serve him well later in life if he uses them properly.  I joke that he is single-handedly going to knock down the gates of hell because he won’t take no for an answer.  He won’t wait around for someone to give him a hand-out, he will just take matters into his own hands and go do something about it.  I know God has amazing plans for him and I can’t wait to see the young man he becomes.  Until then I will just do my best to train him to use his strong will for good and not for harm.  I know that we will butt heads, but I’m prepared to take him on.  I love my strong-willed little guy!

Day of Frustration

Today has been a day of frustration.  Ever had one of those days?  I know you have.  From two full glasses of juice being spilled, one of them shattering all over the kitchen floor.  To not having the ingredients that I thought I had in the middle of making something and having to run out to the grocery store to get them.  To paying $200 to get our truck back from the shop in the EXACT condition we took it to them in.  To being alone all day on a Saturday while the hubby and his uncle and dad tried to fix said truck to no avail.  To a screaming little girl who was afraid to go into the bathroom and had an accident when I was sitting at the table 5 feet away from her.  To baby slaming her face into the table and busting her lip and gums.  To neighbors music being so loud it’s driving you crazy.  To a baby that I’ve just weaned that would not nap for anything and I couldn’t just stick a boob in her mouth to get her to go to sleep.  To little boys with poop on their hands.  You get the point.  Not a grand day.

Ok.  I’ll stop now.  Just needed to vent a bit.  I’m not writing this so everyone will post things saying they are so sorry I had a bad day.  I’m posting this because I want to be transparent about my life.  It is far from perfect.  I have to admit that there was a lot of yelling at our house today and a lot of it came from me I’m sorry to say.  At one point I was screaming at Hannah telling her to stop screaming.  I know.  Effective right.

To end our frustrating day though, we had chocolate chip cookies for dinner, yes for dinner, with milk.  I’m glad to see this day come to an end.  I’m so tired.  Feeling flustered all day is draining.  There were fun parts though.  The kids helped me pack some boxes and I read the first chapter of an exciting new book to Gabriel.  Thank God for new beginnings.

Yes to Blessing Part 2

I wanted to re-visit my first post and further explain a few things.  I don’t want you to think that I am condemning anyone who doesn’t want to take the same path as we do!  Like I said this is the path that WE felt like the Lord led US down.  I believe that every persons walk with the Lord is a personal one and that they should let Him direct their lives and should not try to copy what anyone else is doing.  We did not come to this decision flippantly.  We prayed and studied the Bible before deciding this was the path God was leading us.

There are several Scripture verses that further confirmed to Lenard and I that this is what we were supposed to do.  All throughout the Bible children are a sign of blessing and wealth and are welcomed by Jesus.  We couldn’t find anywhere in the Word where it said blessed is the man with 2 children!  The very first chapter in the Bible we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).  I know many would argue that was a different time and that the world is overpopulated and we are destroying the world with our “carbon footprints”, but my Bible says Jesus (The Word – John 1:14) is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8).

Do you remember the story of Jacob and Rachel and how Laban tricked him into marrying Leah first?  Since Leah was the unloved wife do you know how God showed favor on her?  By giving her children!  God blessed her with 5 children when Rachel was not able to have any at that time!  (Genesis 29:31)  Rachel was so desperate for children that she gave her servant to Jacob so that she could give him a child.  That’s how Jacob ended up with 12 sons because Leah and Rachel were competing to try to give their husband the most children!

That is unfortunately not how children are viewed often in this day and age.  They are noisy, expensive, you have to make sacrifices and give up ‘things’ to provide for them.  What people don’t realize is the joy that they bring to your lives that make those ‘things’ undesirable anyway!  My Bible says that children are a heritage, a reward even, and a happy man’s quiver will be full of children! (Psalm 127:3-5)  I could give so many more example throughout the Bible where children are considered blessings from the Lord and to be barren a curse.

I love the story in the New Testament where several mothers brought their children to see Jesus.  The disciples told them to leave and to not waste Jesus’ time with them but Jesus rebuked them and told them to let the children come! (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16)  I like to picture Jesus laughing and playing with them.  Maybe tickling them and listening to their silly stories and to them asking Him to heal their boo-boo’s.  The fact that this story is in 3 of the 4 Gospels says to me that it was pretty important to God!

The point that I want to make with all of this is to encourage you to not be conformed to the pressures and ideas of this world, but look to God’s Word and pray about what He would have you to do with your life and family.  If you feel God urging you to trust Him with the size of your family be bold and take a leap of faith.  You will probably get a few people telling you that you are crazy, but if you are doing what God asked you to do, I guarantee that you will never regret it.

Fun with Construction Paper

Friday we had an arts and crafts day and made stuff with construction paper and scissors.  We made a construction paper chain, snowflakes and the little gingerbread men holding hands.  Tonight we hung them up as Christmas decorations.  I forgot how much fun making paper snowflakes could be!  If you want an easy fun project to do with your kids I highly recommend this one!  Every kid loves to get to play with scissors.  My three-year old did great making the snowflakes.

Sometimes you just gotta forget about the mess around you and take the time to make memories with your kids.  Glad that I did.  Now I gotta get back to the mess though!  Love on your kids and make some fun holiday memories with them this Christmas season!