Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Choosing Joy

It's been a tough day and it's only lunchtime.

There is milk spilled in the kitchen waiting to be cleaned up, my plant is leaking coffee and needs to be cleaned up. The children are clamoring for the next course of their lunch.

The truck needs some work done and Brian is in the middle of an outage, the bane of my existence, and does not have the time or energy to work on it. To that load, add his classes, attending soccer practice so I can work and helping out with Awana.

Everyone has been sick, with fever and runny noses.

Month-end is busy for me and my bookkeeping gig.

Honestly, I could roll into a ball and just spend some time crying on the floor. In fact, I've already spent some time crying over my frustration today, but from now on, I'm going to choose joy. I want to watch the Lord work and see how He gets me through it. I know there is no laundry pile bigger than my Lord. I am here for a purpose and the Lord has a plan. I want to help that plan, not hinder it.

So....here goes. I am choosing joy today. I was inspired seeing another person choose that, too.

Anyone else?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Part 2-Our Quiver, Or What The Lord Has Done

The first days of being a stay-at-home mom were a trial by fire. I was not good at it and I didn't enjoy it. I was not bathed. I did not cook. I did no laundry and did not clean. I struggle through pregnancy and could barely manage to haul myself around. I did not go anywhere. I was miserable.

Despite the bleeding, the baby was doing well. I was getting big and uncomfortable and desperately wanted Brian to agree that we could stop. I thought 2 girls 15 months apart was a sign from God To.Stop.

During this pregnancy was the first time I ever heard anyone talk about not using birth control and letting God determine the size of a family. I thought that was lunacy. Just complete and total stupidity. What kind of stupid, half-baked man's idea was that? I was just sure those remarks had come from a man; no woman I knew would think up something that asinine. And even if she did, it was her body to be ridiculous with if she wanted. I was so pissed off about the very idea of it, that I couldn't even be rational.

Darcy was born during the evacuation from Hurricane Rita. In another hospital and by another doctor. After a few days in Wichita Falls and then 2-3 more in Bryan/College Station, we were invited to stay with a friend in Houston until we could get back home permanently. It was just he and his wife, and she was working overseas so he was all alone rambling in their big, lovely home. We accepted, arriving on a Tuesday. Tuesday night found me in the ER with contractions 5 minutes apart and no way to get in touch with my doctor. I already had a C-section scheduled for Friday (didn't look like that was going to be happening) so the on-call doctor agreed to put me on her schedule for Thursday morning.

We had nothing for a baby except the carrier. Brian had the foresight to go by and pick up the carrier we had lent on our way out of town. I know that was God, not Brian. Brian's strong suit is not in those types of details. That is my area and being so overwhelmed with everything else, it never occured to me to get it because it never occured to me that we might need it. We stayed with our friend for over 2 weeks. It was very difficult knowing that we were imposing on him, but so very grateful to recover in a home, instead of a hotel, our other option.
After 3 weeks of being gone, we were finally able to return home and deal with the mess that was our house.

Unlike Lily, Darcy was born without any problems at all. I was told by both sets of grandparents and Brian that she did something the baby nurse had never seen in 25 years of nursing: she pushed up on her arms and picked up her head and looked around. As soon as I was brought into recovery, she was brought in to nurse. Like Lily, she latched on immediately and ate well. This is a picture of me in the recovery room, holding her for the first time. Yes, I am aware I look scary and my hair is a train wreck.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Part 1-Our Quiver, Or What The Lord Has Done For Me

I find it so fascinating to compare where my life has been to the place where I am going. The Lord is doing mighty things to me and for me, and subsequently, to and for my family. This is not the first time I have touched on this topic of childbearing. I originally discussed it nearly 2 years ago, but my views have changed from even that perspective. Previous post here.

(I keep typing and deleting and typing and deleting. As much as I want to simplify and focus on one issue at a time, I just can't. It is not just one issue for me. It is multi-faceted and it seems impossible to separate them.)

After years of believing that something like this would never happen, miracle of miracles, I found someone who wanted to marry me and have children. And I was able to have children, which was contrary to medical information I had received as a teenager. Not only was I able, but together, Brian and I were so fertile, we had 2 children within 15 months of each other and before we had been married 3 years.

Lily, our oldest, was born 3 weeks early via a scheduled C-section after the doctor gave me the option of being induced and attempting a normal delivery or a section. Multiple ultrasounds indicated that she was well in the 9 pound or more range and there may have been some question as to my ability to get her out. I didn't see the need to go through hours and hours of labor just to have a section in the end. I opted to cut the middle man.

Knowing that the number of children most doctors believe I could safely deliver would now be limited to 4 because of that decision, would not have affected that decision. Realizing that choosing a section would more than likely mean I would always deliver by C-section, would not have changed that decision. I was not misinformed. Having the information would not have changed my mind at that time. It is only recently after honest reflection of my heart and secret motives, then and now, that I am able to see things more clearly.

I refuse to feel guilty or believe I made a "sinful" or "bad" choice. I will allow that I didn't make the "best" choice because I allowed fear to motivate me and there are consequences in that decision. Both good and bad consequences. I had a beautiful, healthy baby who weighed nearly 10 pounds, 3 weeks early. She is still a blessing from God, no matter how she got out or how many follow her.

While I didn't feel a conviction about my C-section, it was after dragging myself to the NICU and seeing my precious daughter for the first time (the next day) and hearing of all her problems over subsequent days, that the Lord began to change my heart toward breastfeeding. That is something only He could have done. Jesus Christ Himself could have come down from heaven and told me it was better for the baby and I would have politely told Him I didn't care. I thought nursing was gross and I didn't want any part of it...I didn't care how good it was for the baby or who thought it was a good idea. I was not going to do it. Period. But after seeing my little daughter in the NICU with this problem and that problem and feeling inadequate to help her, waiting for experts to tell us the next thing to do or expect, I made the decision to give nursing a try. The neonatalogist had come to speak to me and tell me how the baby was doing and asked me if I was going to breastfeed. She suggested that I get a pump and try it, and if I didn't like it, I could stop. How freeing to me! I didn't have to sign on for life...just try it. In my mind, I began to wonder how I could keep something from her that might help just because I thought it was gross.

The first time I pumped, I felt like a humiliated fraud. For nine months, I had vehemently denied that any child of mine would have access to this chest and here I was, attached to a real live milking machine. I was surprised the first time I actually nursed her. None of the many, many, many breastfeeding advocates I'd come across told me it was going to feel like I was attached to a bear trap. How could something with no teeth hurt me so much? Lucky for Lily, she was a champion feeder because I gave her 10 seconds to figure it out or I was done trying. it took her 2. I nursed her for 4 months which was 4 months longer than I intended the day she hatched. The Lord was good to me knowing my heart on the matter. I have heard many mothers tell of trouble breastfeeding and the hurt and agony and inadequacy when they are unable. The Lord made it easy on me. She latched on quickly and well and He gave me so much milk, I could have fed the whole nursery. What a blessing.

Darcy was conceived after I missed 2-3 birth control pills while tending to Lily who, at 6 months old, was hospitalized for RSV.

What a shock. I was a working mom, and I loved working. But, the older Lily got, the more we talked about my staying home. I wanted to be there when she was sick. (And since she was in daycare, it seemed like she was sick all the time.) I didn't trust Brian to take her to the doctor and get all my questions answered. The part I really hated was the smell of other women on my baby. Except staying home just didn't seem possible. Early in my pregnancy with Baby#2, I started bleeding and was put on bedrest until the bleeding stopped. No one knew how long that might be. That was my first day as a stay-at-home mom. The bleeding stopped the day after I quit my job. I cried for most of the next 9 months.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I want to put forth my thoughts on the quiverful thinking, but my thoughts don't and won't just stop there. They spill over into many areas and to cover it well, I think I have to tell my story, and I'm hesitant to do that.

I'd have to explain my original thoughts concerning children.

I'd have to explain how it feels to have a broken nurturer.

I might have to explain my newfound freedom in trusting God and knowing there is nothing rational about that.

There would be a lot to explain...and I'm more than hesitant. I'm scared. I'm scared to put everything out there to be judged or condemned by whomever might pass by.

But maybe it's necessary? Maybe it would help?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Topic Never Broached...

Quiver full.

I don't tend to shy away from discussions. I am definitely interested in and love hearing about people's explanations of how they come to decisions. Especially decisions that could have only been influenced by the Lord. I want to know how things worked out and the end result.

I found a very nice discussion on the quiverful movement and thought I'd link to it here. It's a blog post written by a mother with 6 children and you might be surprised what she says. Her post has over 300 comments and commenting is now closed, but commenting is open here. I would love to hear what anyone stumbling around my blog thinks about this topic.

Let me place this disclaimer: Those who were around for the homeschooling discussion, be assured this discussion will not follow the negative turn of that one.

Thoughts on Contraception and The Quiverfull Movement.

Who's gonna start?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Last year we didn't do anything. Actually, I take that back. I waddled around, waiting to birth the elephant we named Reagan. It was all I could do to haul myself out of bed in the morning and tend to the "big" girls throughout the day. Lily didn't go to preschool, Darcy wasn't old enough and we barely darkened the door of any church. We had no discipline to do so and no interest.

Now, Reagan is 9 months old and I'm lumbering around with her on my hip. Lily and Darcy just started "school" Tuesday and are going twice a week. Class starts at 8:30am so I must get up by 5:30am so everyone can be fed, dressed and washed before we commence our day. I actually like getting up that early so I can what I like to do in the morning before I get started: wander around. I like to wander around the house and get some coffee and look out the window. And then check my email. The problem with getting up early is that I'm a night person who likes to stay up late. 5:30am comes mighty early when I don't go to bed until midnight. I'm working out the kinks.

Once I drop the girls off at school, it's just me and Reagan. Tuesdays I plan to run errands. This week we ran about 5 errands, including going to the grocery store. It was nice only hauling around one kid, instead of a busy infant and 2 very busy preschoolers. Today was my "house" day. I didn't get much done around the house since I made a phone call to a friend who is leaving for a long journey soon. I'm not beating myself up, which is huge. When she returns, she will most likely have her hands full and won't have the luxury of long phone calls for a while. I can mop next week.

Tuesday and Thursday nights, we have soccer practice which Lily really seems to enjoy. There do seem to be several girls on her team who have played before and are excellent for this age. However, I'm certain that my daughter will also be excellent when she has played for 2 or 3 seasons. Practice starts at 6:30 and we decided it would be better to eat supper first, instead at nearly 8pm. We eat at 5ish and hope that dinner is more or less digested before practice. We all watch Lily practice and it thrills my heart to hear Darcy yelling, "Good job, Lily!" When we get home, Brian bathes them, they have a snack before bed and we do our devotions. The other night, we had everyone in bed, bathed, devoted, and snacked by 8:15. Not too shabby.

Wednesday nights are Awana. The "big"girls will be doing that and I think they will enjoy it. Brian is even going to be volunteering with Awana as well. I will not. That's just not my thing. I don't know what I'm going to be doing instead. They offer a prayer service or something, but passing by last night, it looks like I'm going to be the only one there under 65. Then I think I could volunteer in one of the children's programs...how bad could it be? I think I'd rather stick my finger in my eye. I don't know...maybe I could get to know another mother whose kids/husband is in Awana and she doesn't feel the call to help.

I am starting our first "official" year of homeschooling, even though it is actually pre-kindergarten and Lily just turned 4. We are working out of a kindergarten math book and so far, it seems to be going well. Lily always wants to know why she can't keep "playing" with the manipulative of the day. Today we'll have our first lesson on blending letters to make actual words. I don't know how that's going to go, but I am looking forward to it. I have also written activity "plans" for the days they are home with me that correspond to what they are working on at school.

It seems like our evenings are full to the brim, but I am loving the feeling of chaos, to be completely honest. I like that we have someplace to be and so therefore, I've got to be efficient. I am definitely making progress and can see what areas I still want to focus on. Before, we had no real direction or purpose. We were just doing this thing or that thing, but now we must be purposeful, because our time is limited. I like that I am thinking along those lines. Even though we have more to do, I feel like I am operating under more peace and grace than before. I am thrilled, thankful and anxious to show my girls the same thing.

Definitely An Illness

I missed the premiere of the new 90210.

Lily has soccer practice on Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:30pm. By the time I remembered it was on, it was 9:30pm. *insert sad face here* I am Jack's broken heart. So far, I cannot even watch it online. What kind of crummy show isn't available online to watch? We are so dark age here on Park Street that if I want to record it, I'll actually have to set the VCR and get a video tape. Are VCR tapes even sold anymore? I am not completely sick about it. Although, if Luke Perry makes an appearance, I may just die. Or at the very least, be very, very ill. Very ill.

All good shows should come on at 9pm. I have children! It doesn't get quiet here until 8:30. Someone should pay attention!