Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Empty Nest

A small journey, in pictures, of the robins' nest that sits up high on our front porch...  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Check It Out!

I had the great honor of contributing to my friend Megan's awesome blog, SortaCrunchy, this week.  We had been having a discussion about the trials of nursing an older baby/toddler, and she posted my response to a question she asked me.  You can find it HERE.  One of the advantages to having a large family is that I have, through the years, accumulated a certain amount of, for lack of a better word, wisdom, in dealing with these issues, the ones that young mothers fret over.  I remember what it was like to have questions, and to be frustrated, and to think that I was the *only* one dealing with all of this.  I want to reassure all mommies out there that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and offer reassurance from someone who has been there.

I am humbled and honored to be a part of Megan's wonderful blogging community.  She is an inspiration, and a wonderfully talented writer.  I posted about another project of hers here.  Please check it out - there's so much she has to offer.  :)

**End of shameless self-promotion**  ;)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Great Cloth Diaper Hunt

Okay... I know I have been trying to write regularly again, but alas... I have been diverted.  But this is a really worthwhile endeavor.  I swear... :)  For several years, now (really - I've lost count...), every May and November, I participate in The Great Cloth Diaper Hunt, sponsored by Diaper Decisions.  It's a really cool internet scavenger hunt, where I, and lots of other people, spend hours, in front of a computer screen, searching WAHM websites, in search of that elusive icon, in order to be entered into a drawing to win very cool prizes.   

Not only does the GCDH give me a new way to waste time, it also gives me the opportunity to check out lots of awesome stuff - not just cloth diapers, by the way... Lots of other natural family living products, too.  And many of the sponsors offer discounts to hunters, so you can get a good deal while you're at it.  Some of the icons are easy to find, and some are nearly impossible.  Most sites have "mini-hunts, " where you follow clues, which lead you through many of the products or services offered by the WAHMs, until you finally happen upon the little diaper.   This gives me something to do while my Beloved whiles away the hours on World of Warcraft... *sigh*  I also get to dream of all the money I could spend, building my dream stash of diapers, indulging in natural bath and body products, and searching for organic cleaning supplies...

So, if you have a little one in diapers, or know of someone who has a little one in diapers, or is you just want to get an idea of what's out there, check out the GCDH.  You get to have fun, and support a great group of WAHMs, too.  What could be better???

And yeah - I'll be back in June... *tee hee*

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Dose of Reality, and a Measure of Grace

It's been a rather emotionally exhausting last couple of weeks - not so much for myself, but on behalf of several people that I know, whose children have received one diagnosis or another that plays into the worst fears of all parents.  

One's baby was born 3 months too soon, at just over 28 weeks.  I am happy to report that she (Ailyn) is doing well, defying the odds, and amazing her caregivers.  Strong little fighter, that one...

Another little boy was diagnosed with PDD-NOS -  pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, autism.  His parents are young, and this is quite a blow to the family, who are coming to the realization that their sweet little boy might never lead a "normal" life.

And, perhaps most heartbreaking of all, the little girl whose mommy just found out yesterday that she will need a heart transplant at the tender age of 4.  This means that for her daughter to live, someone else's precious baby must die. *sob*  This is just not fair.  My heart breaks for this family... There just aren't words for something like this.

And when I hear claims being made that this world is "good" - that everything happens for a reason, that this was part of God's plan...  I keep coming back to the wise words spoken by Gavin McGrath, at the funeral of our seminary friends' newborn baby boy... "This is not your fault.  There is nothing you could have done to prevent this.  This is not the way it was meant to be."  God intended much better for us when he created the world in Love, but because sin has tainted everything, babies are born too soon, little boys are faced with challenges, and little girls are given a seemingly impossibly difficult path.

Yes, God can redeem even these tragedies.  In fact, He already has.  But that doesn't mean that He intended for them to happen.  His plan is not for us to suffer, but to transform us and to bring us into full communion, into perfect relationship with Him.  He works though the imperfections of this world - fallen, every bit of it tainted by sin, to achieve his goal.

And as I watch these families deal with the unspeakable situations forced upon them, I can't help but feel a twinge of survivor guilt - an emotion I am all-too-familiar with.  You don't bear your 5th healthy, whole, child while watching two of your friends lose their firstborn infant sons without enduring a certain measure of guilt.  Why has my family been spared?  And I know well that there is no answer, just as I have no answer for those who suffer.

There is, in the end, only Grace.  And it is enough, if we will let it be.  God takes no pleasure in our suffering.  He feels it, too, and just as we wish we could take our own children's suffering upon ourself, He does, even more so, for us.   That is the story of Salvation History, after all...   And it is in His hands that I place these families, asking for an extra measure of Grace for each of them, and that they be filled with His peace, love, and hope, for the future.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Meditations

My Mother's Day began, not as I might have hoped that it would - with a decadent breakfast in bed, followed by a lazy morning lounging in my jammies.  No...  Instead, I was awakened, earlier than usual, by Hannah, who had wandered upstairs into my bedroom, when someone had left the gate on the stairs open.  I brought her back down stairs, and, at my dear husband's urging, retreated back to bed to, hopefully, catch a few more zzzzzz's before I needed to start getting ready for church.  So I happily snuggled back under the down comforter, only to be called about 10 minutes later, by that same toddler, angrily protesting her Daddy's leaving for work - the early service... *sigh*  So much for that...

So, and began the process of getting the 5 remaining kids ready for church.  Nathan accompanies Brian to the 8:00 service - it's a thing... I jumped in the shower, got dressed, got the little ones dressed, did hair, and managed to get everyone out the door, only a few minutes late (my teenage girls helped with that this morning...).

Church was nice.  Brian gave roses to all the moms, and the kids made crafts in Sunday school - handprint wall-hangings, and cross wind chimes.  After we were done, The kids decided they wanted bagels for lunch.  I would have preferred french toast, belgian waffles, or crepes...  But I was overruled.  And the kids were actually quiet for quiet time...  I somehow managed to get the boys to finish their homework, and put most of their dirty clothes in the laundry room. Five loads of laundry, washed, dried, and folded.

Ice Cream Sunday, for the kids, for dinner...  And Brian stopped to get me roses on the way back.  Robbie gave me a pair of earrings he'd made for me in art class.

All in all, a pretty normal Sunday.  Which had me contemplating what it truly means to be a Mother.  As I looked back on this day, which has become yet another commercialized, consumerism-driven holiday, I saw that I understand Motherhood in a truly different way than the poetry on the cards portrays.  My role, today, and every day, is not to be celebrated, but to serve.  Motherhood is the ultimate gift of service, of self-sacrifice.  And, perhaps, the fact that today was, really, no different than any other Sunday, was the most honorable way I could spend Mother's Day, after all.  It is my gift to my children, the reason I am honored with the title, Mom, to be able to, for an all-too-short period of time, to be there for them.  To be able to put myself aside and give them what they need.  Serving them makes my heart sing.  It is why I was born - to be there for these little miracles.

Someday, in the not-too-distant future, I will not need to wipe little noses, or harp about missing homework assignments, or trip over dirty socks.  I will be able to enjoy that decadent morning (although probably not on a Sunday... LOL), lounging in bed.  And I will, somehow, miss all of... this.  Mother's Day is not about honoring ME.  It is about the fact that I have been blessed beyond measure to be the mother of 6 miracles, of six wonders of creation.  And today, I honor them, and thank God that He gave them to me.  Because without them, I would not have earned the name Mommy - the most important title I will ever wear. ♥