Archive | May, 2011

reflections…

31 May

anticipation…  gathering of family and friends we have not seen for so long

overwhelmed… so many much loved faces, old friends and new

spontaneity…  embracing the moment with each person

inspired… little tidbits of ideas shared, new things learned

pain… missing those who longed to have been there

joy… watching the union of two, becoming one

rejoicing… in God’s sovereign plan

trusting… for what is unseen

sadness… the tearing away of those whom I love

thankfulness… for the fullness of life and the provision of God

celebration… of our own union of marriage for thirty years

anticipation… for what is ahead

love… overflowing love

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Lessons in Grace with “Great Aunt” (part 6)

23 May

life;  so precious…  so fragile…  so rich

It had started off as a typical Friday evening. As a family, we were enjoying a movie and popcorn while counting down hours until our ninth baby was officially due.  Great Aunt had settled into her own area and the house was relatively quiet.  Yet, in the stillness of the cold winter night, Mark’s breathing became labored.  I had become accustomed to his asthma and tended to him in all of the ways I had learned. Nothing worked.

The ambulance arrived and took Mark away as the children looked on.

Within minutes I gave the children instructions, made arrangements, and left.  Arriving at the emergency room, I soon learned that Mark had stopped breathing altogether in the ambulance.  Able to revive him, they were attempting to stabilize his breathing.  They gave me little hope.

I cried out to God.

Mark’s parents came. They prayed. They supported. They were a blessing to me.

Over time, … I was allowed in to see Mark.  With help, much help, he was not only breathing, but being cared for by one of my most trusted medical friends.  He had her full attention.  I was so thankful for her calm presence and her encouragement for me to stay close to Mark.  She visibly saw his breathing improve with my physical touch.

The nurses began to notice me and my tummy, although baby had hunkered down, I still was rather round.  They worried and fretted, but God gave me strength and sustained me.

The next day, Mark was moved to a regular room to be monitored.  On the third day, Sunday, he was able to come home.  Great Aunt and the children watched as we drove up.

Life; so precious, so fragile, so rich.

After 3 days of rest, contractions began again, our son was born.  He came in the quietness of the night, before the midwife arrived.  No hospitals or doctors. No medications or bright lights.  Within a couple hours, Mark had the pleasure of delivering our healthy baby boy.

God answered our prayers.

Through our ups and downs, our joys and our sorrows, Great Aunt lived.

a must have, timeless classic!

19 May

Yesterday, as I read to the children, I found my self chuckling over and over through the pages.  Some books I never tire of.  My daughter had asked if she could pick out the book this time.  I had already made my choice, but decided to let her choose instead, wanting to see what she would pick.

When she brought it to me, I was glad I did! It was Winnie the Pooh

Often when people are critiquing movies or books, they speak of the character development throughout the story. Well, I love the variety of little characters in Winnie the Pooh.  Maybe this is a reflection of my intellect or lack thereof (lol), that I find myself relating to each of them at times.

In the story,  Christopher Robin Gives Pooh a Party, and We Say Good-bye ,  Owl, supposedly very wise,  finds himself at a loss. “Owl tried to think of something very wise to say, but couldn’t…”  At times I find myself trying to think of something wise to say, unable to think of anything – I wisely choose to be silent instead!

Or how about the “Anxious Pooh Song”.  If you aren’t up on your Pooh stories – Pooh is concerned that everyone might forget to come to his party, or worse – forget who he is, or what the party is for.  His little song is a ridiculous muddled up mess! It actually reminded me a bit of those “Chaos dreams” I referred to in an earlier post.   When there is too much disorder in my home, I often I start dreaming about it!

Then, there is  Kanga, speaking as a mom often does, “Drink up your milk first, dear, and talk afterwards.” I think I must have sounded something like that at the breakfast table this morning.  “Please eat your breakfast, sweetie, you can practice your pig-latin when you’re finished.”

Eeyore, Tiger, Piglet, and Rabbit  all have their own fun little quirks… but most loved of all, is Pooh!

No doubt, Winnie the Pooh is a timeless classic worth passing down to the children and grandchildren.

cloth diapers and dusting rags

18 May

After reading a long facebook discussion on cloth diapers, I’m reminded that I am out of the young mom loop and feeling my age.  It’s funny how always having little babies gave me the allusion of still being a young mom.  My baby will be five this fall, I am not pregnant or nursing and have not changed a diaper for a long time! Yet,  some of the cloth diapers still remain in the house.

Off and on through the years, we used cloth diapers. Mark bought me the best of the best at the time.  Pre-folded, extra thick cloth diapers with a variety of  covers so I could try them all. We had wool covers for night time, other cloth covers for daytime, and just in case they didn’t work well, he also purchased the old standard plastic pants.  A box of Borateam soap, diaper pins and a five gallon  bucket with lid, and I was good to go.

There are so many new tools available! I am embarrassed to say, I had to google some of the diaper lingo. I really like the diaper sprayer idea! I wish I would have had that.

Much like a new year’s resolution, I had to mentally prepare for the cloth diaper routine. Once I was in, I loved it, but just one day back to disposable and my habit was broken.  No doubt, it was a lot of work – stinky work!  Never-the-less folding the nice clean white diapers at the end of the day, was so much more rewarding then a full bag of well used disposables

One day my father-in-law stopped by for a visit, to my embarrassment I had left a dirty diaper ready to be washed in the bathroom.  He didn’t even mention it, just picked it up, washed it out, and moved on. Later as we were visiting, I remembered the forgotten smelly diaper and jumped to take care of it. His gracious response to me was, “No worries, I took care of it. We used to use them all the time.”

The nice thing about cloth diapers is even when the babies have grown, you can keep reusing them over and over again keeping the house nicely dusted.

Lessons in Grace with “Great Aunt” (part 5)

16 May

Wise Enough to Know When to Simply Move On

Seeing the children in the yard with their new jump ropes was enough enticement for Great Aunt to step outside and enjoy the fun.   Smugly, she got a kick out of the fact that the little ones were struggling to coordinate the jump and the swing well enough to actually – jump rope.  She smiled a little and said, “Give me that rope, I’ll show you how it’s done. It’s easy!”

Well… age has a way of creeping up on all of us when were not looking.  Great Aunt felt good.  She was eating well, getting fresh air and sunshine, enjoying small walks around the yard, and surrounded by young energetic children.  She was healthier now than when she had first moved in with us.  It’s no wonder she wanted to show off to the kiddos!

We all watched in anticipation as Great Aunt took the rope in hand, while passing off her crutch.  Slowly positioning the rope just so, she began the swing over her head attempting to move into the jump. Without question, the desire was there.  The brain was telling those feet to come off the ground in an upward burst, but they didn’t budge! “Disgusted”, the look on her face said it all.  What had happened to her jump? Determined to make it work, she tried again and again.  She was willing, but her body just would not cooperate.

Even though Great Aunt’s jump roping lesson didn’t go as well as planned, she had given it her best shot.  I want to be like Great Aunt: Brave enough to try and fail,  determined enough to get back up and try again, and wise enough to know when to simply move on!

finding order in the midst of chaos

12 May

Do you ever have dreams that seem to haunt you over and over? For years after I graduated from school, I would occasionally, but regularly wake in a panic unable to remember my locker combination or schedule of classes.  Through the years, these visions have diminished only to be replaced with reoccurring “chaos dreams.”

“Chaos dreams” tend to play out something like this:  Ten in the morning – I’m still in my pajamas, not showered, can’t figure out what to wear, the bed is not made, laundry is piled sky high, and stuff is everywhere. In the next scene, company arrives – usually  lots of company, expecting to be served brunch. I am not prepared.

I am quite sure this would bring a laugh to anyone who really knows me.  I love to get up early, the laundry is done everyday – so it doesn’t pile sky high, I make my bed when I get up, and we all enjoy serving guests brunch! Even so, disorder has a way of sneaking in.  If I start having “chaos dreams,” I know it is time to get in gear and regain order!

So the question is:  How do I maintain order?

In a house with many people, it requires teamwork.  There is no way I would be able to accomplish it by myself.  Even if I could, it wouldn’t be good for me or the family. With each place we have lived, a “morning job” list has been designed to fit the needs of that home.

These are a few goals that I look for when setting up the morning jobs:

✓ Every child should be included. ( for example: I put the baby in the front pack to watch, while I cleaned. A two year old can be given a moist cloth to dust. That age also enjoys the process of cleaning the tub, especially if given the opportunity to climb in and scrub, keeping them busy while I cleaned the toilet.)

✓ The child’s morning job shouldn’t require a large amount of time.  Fifteen quality minutes, required to be done before breakfast in our home everyday, goes a long way in maintaining a clean house.

✓ Watch for problem areas in each room and try to accommodate for them on a daily, weekly, or monthly routine. For instance, something I overlooked on our current morning job chart are the light fixtures.  Presently our kitchen light and fan is covered with dust! Yuck!  Had I put it on the schedule, it may have been overlooked occasionally, but it never would have become so bad.

✓ The morning job charts are posted where the kids can easily see them and covered with plastic slip covers.  At least to begin with, the children check off the chore when it has been completed.  After it becomes a habit, they seldom refer to the chart, but it continues to be helpful to me in holding them accountable.

✓ Walk through their personal chore with them the first few times, making sure they have a clear understanding of what is expected and how to accomplish it.

✓ Even if one lives alone, breaking the housekeeping into bite size chunks that can easily be accomplished increases productivity.

✓ Follow the schedule! It works!

If you are interested in seeing my Prevention Plan, I attached some links. Feel free to download and reformat to fit your own needs.

May all your dreams be sweet and filled with order!

• Clean the Office and Living room Doc.Download

• Taking out the Trash Doc.Download

• Clean Bedroom and Bathroom Doc.Download

• Clean the Dining room Doc.Download

• Clean the Kitchen Doc.Download

a little motivation and determination

11 May

Have you ever gone through one of those periods of total discontentment of your position in life? If so, then you will be able to relate well to the book, Chester the Worldly Pig.

“Of all things,” grumbled Chester, “why on earth did I have to be a pig? A pig is no better off than a cabbage or a carrot, just something to eat. But before I end up as so much sausage and ham, I intend to try and amount to something.”  Like Chester, we often go to great lengths to become something we’re not.  The journey along the way can bring about surprising humorous adventures, leading us to places we may not have expected and revealing strengths we never knew we had. Illustrated on the front cover of his book, Bill Peet portrays what a little motivation and determination can bring about in the life of a pig.

In the end, it’s Chester’s …  – well, never mind. You will simply have to get the book and find someone special with whom to read.

PS. Thank you to Ma Sands for recommending Bill Peet’s books.  We have checked out two from the library so far and thoroughly enjoyed them both!