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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sometimes God Says I Told You So

I'm not a big fan of the selfie. However, there are some moments that make it appropriate. Today's moment wasn't a spectacular one, nothing of note. It was simple, unplanned and ordinary.

I took the kids to the pool this afternoon. Most days this is an activity that accomplishes getting us all out of the house and out into the wide-open field, shaded playground and of course, the cool waters of the pool. I love it because it necessitates me being devoid of all responsibilities other than keeping an eye on the kiddos to make sure no one drowns. 

That's how I could look at it. However, what it really means is that I am interacting with all of them. I am not merely counting heads, but watching dives, judging cannon ball contests, timing races, doling out snacks, playing gutter ball (a pool invented game that I must say I am pretty good at considering I have to play with a baby in one arm), and just being. Conversations are real and attention is undeterred by electronics, chores or business.

When I snapped this shot, I had just finished feeding Felicity and she was sweaty and happy. The boys were playing together in the water and it was the simplicity of the moment I wanted to remember.

Her puckered, perfect lips; the hint of her dimples on both sides; that pudgy, curious finger pointing at the camera; the way the sun is peeking through the trees all reminded me that at this time last year, I was totally second guessing God's decision to add this beauty to our family. And yet, here we are, so together that the kids can't remember what life was like before she came. 

That smile from me is real. It's a smile that admits we've made it through some tough times together but things are looking up. It's a smile that says I'm so very glad you're mine. It's a smile that concurs that God's ways really are better than mine.

And that sun in the background? That's God saying I told you so.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Hairy Situation

A local pizza place was running a super special today. We decided to take the boys out for lunch to enjoy the great food for really low prices.

We’ve been working on teaching them the proper dress for the proper occasion. This involves a lot of instruction as well as several trips back up the stairs to find clothes that match AND are appropriate.

When I’ve got my act together, I try to head them off at the pass with something like, “We’re going out to lunch. Remember no gym shorts.” This is Nelson’s major pet peeve. As far as he’s concerned gym shorts and t-shirts are for working out and playing in the backyard NOT for going anywhere in public that does not involve athletic participation.

They all came into the bathroom to get approval and comb their over grown summer buzz cuts. Amazingly, they all succeeded in dressing correctly. Since they saved the time of trekking back upstairs to change, they had a little extra time to spend on their hair.

Of course, this does not strike me as anything less than miraculous. These are the same boys who would rather go to school with hair going all over the place than sit still to fix it. However, we now have a boy entering middle school, and something has changed. He combs his own hair now…before he goes to the pool. See? Miraculous.

Today he had a very cool look going on. His hair was combed normally except for the front part, which was standing up. Though it’s difficult to describe, it really was a good look for him and I told him so.

That was all it took for the little guys to get into the action. Combs came out, gel was being used and Aiden was none too pleased that they wanted to do their hair like his. This meant they had to figure out another style that absolutely had to include the gel. This was not an easy task.

Dawson set to work as Max walked in with his hair gelled to the nines. Every single hair on his head was standing on end straight…all over his head.

“Um Max?”
“Yes Mama?”

“I see where you’re going with your hair, I’m just not too sure that Daddy is going to approve of going out in public like that.”

“Oh it’s okay,” he let me know. “I think it’s cool so it’s totally fine with me.”

And that’s how we left it. Sometimes you fight the battle, and sometimes you smile at the fact that boys will be boys and hair standing up on purpose is much more cool than bed head.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Look Who's Moving!

After the struggles we had with Max, I was concerned we might experience more of the same from Felicity. However, she has moved better and stronger than any of the other kids. In fact, she is the first of the five to move on her own in a normal manner without the aid of some kind of physical therapy. Even after seeing the other four do it, it never gets old!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Turns Out Nothing is Something After All

Tuesday night we had our prayer group over.  Earlier in the week Nelson sent out a reminder asking us to come prepared to talk about what God is doing in our lives.


I’m not going to lie, the prayer times as of late have been more me crying out to the Lord than me listening to Him. Quiet times are few and far between. When one kid wakes at 5 AM and another goes to bed at midnight, there’s not a whole lot of alone time. Praying is done as I go…or as I nurse…at 5 AM.

This, I know, is only a season. The kind of season that goes hand in hand with adjusting to having a new baby and all that it entails. I’ve been in this season before -like when I had three babies under 4 years old (two who were a mere 15 months apart).

I’ve also enjoyed seasons of wonderful, contemplative prayer. I spent over ten summers with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity. Let me tell you, those women know how to pray. The beautiful thing was that as much as their lives taught me about contemplative prayer, they also taught me that our work is our prayer. Good lesson for a mother.

So back to this current season of not-so-stellar prayer times in the midst of a group of holy people who are currently all about the contemplative prayer that is in no way, shape or form happening for me.

I was a tad nervous about how I would share. In fact, my plan was to keep it quiet at this meeting.

As luck would have it, instead of our normal, “Who wants to share?” Nelson decided to go around the room and give everyone…every single person…a chance. In other words, after everyone else had shared, he looked at me and said, “Amy?”

Thanks Babe. I owe you one.

I started with, “Well, it’s been a rough season. Truthfully, God’s not doing anything with me right now…and that’s okay.”

A hush fell over the crowded room. Not cool.

I continued so that no one would think I’ve really gone off the deep end.

Don’t get me wrong, I know God loves me; He’s just not speaking amazing words to me right now. I’m in survival mode and He’s getting me through. We’re tight like that – God and me. I know He loves me and He knows I love Him. We’ll hang together and dive into some contemplation during some other season.

What I have learned is that when you are in survival mode, it’s okay to ask for help. In the last several months, I’ve had no choice other than to let people help me. That’s not easy for me to do. However, I have been blessed tremendously by the service people have given me.

I’ve also learned that it’s okay to share with others when you’re life is not perfect. That blog post was incredibly difficult for me. I sat down to write about something else entirely and that’s what came out. It came out easily. Hitting the publish button was SCARY. What happened as a result has been astounding.

Women from all over the United States have contacted me and given me incredible encouragement. It has been so wonderful to know I am not alone. People’s comments have felt like hugs. I’ve even gotten personal text messages asking for specific prayers. What a gift! It’s so nice to know that what I’ve been through is not for nothing. I know exactly how to pray for these mamas. (By the way, if you’d like me to add you to my list – contemplative prayer isn’t happening, but man do I intercede a lot – shoot me an email. I’d love to pray for you too!) I’m so glad I shared my weakness. Interestingly enough, it has brought me strength.

The bottom line is that God is doing something in my life.

Whew! We can all rest a little easier tonight.

You see, God whispers in the quiet of our hearts, but He can also shout at us through the noise of our lives.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

All in a Day's Bath

I was bathing Felicity today when Dawson walked in. The bathroom is on the smaller side so company like this crowds us up a bit. I don’t mind most of the time because the sweetness of her big brothers absolutely gushing over her warms my heart.

I was enjoying the normal wave of love in the room when he said, “I can’t even remember what it was like before Felicity.”

And just like that, I was relieved. All that struggle, the long nights, the bursts of crying (from Felicity and me) - all that is nothing to the rest of them. To them, she fits seamlessly into the mix. Our family didn’t add an appendage; we melded into a better us.

It felt like a victory to me. It reminded me of the resilience of kids. He might as well have thrown his arms around me and said, “You didn’t kill us Mama. We’re all going to be okay. And by the way, we totally love this little being you brought into the world. She makes all of us better human beings.”

Yep. Kids are pretty spectacular that way.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Things I Wish Someone Would Say About Me

This morning the boys were sitting on my bedroom floor playing with Felicity while I got ready.

“I hope she never, ever crawls or walks,” said Max and he smiled into her eyes.

“Why?” Dawson wanted to know.

“Because if she starts to crawl, she’ll get her exercise and when she does that she’ll lose her chubbiness and then she won’t be cute anymore.”