Showing posts from 2009

Now You Are Six

The night you were born, the longest night of the year as my doula liked to make much of, one of the midwives flipped up the towel that was covering you before I even got a chance to look at your face and exclaimed, "It's a girl!" My immediate thought was, "But I don't know how to do girls. Boys I have figured out but I have no idea what I'm doing with a girl." I'm sorry to say my lovely daughter, but I still don't know what I'm doing. I'm just muddling through as well as I can. You are such a foreign entity to me and I am slow to catch on to you and your needs and your emotions. You need more affection than your brother ever did, more snuggling, more closeness, more time to just chat. I'm getting that part figured out now. You are laughter, fancy, joy and charm. You seem to inhabit an entirely different reality than the rest of us. You a girl of great lows and great sadness often over things that seem trivial to the r

The Weekend in Pictures

This is a gratuitous photo post. Mostly for the grandparents who are in Canada. Here you go. Here are pictures like I promised. Birthday dinner. Auntie Kallee made her paper dolls. Beema makes each of them a blessing quilt. The squares are decorated by family members and friends with blessings for the child. She sews it all together into a quilt. This one came to Canada with me when I went two years ago. So it has blessings from my side of the family on it too. She finally finished it. Auntie Ana crocheted her this bear in a day. Stages of the princess cake. I had my mom on speaker phone during the last stages of decorating this. Which is funny, since she made me so many when I was little. It was not going well for a while. See mom, it turned out alright. Dad, this is the gift you bought for her. (wink, wink. I remembered to give her the card. I think she likes it.) Now I have a fairy party to throw together by 3pm tomorrow for the Girl. I'm


Three years ago today I was laying in Beema's bathtub giving birth to you . Oof those cheeks. So kissable.  Now you are tall, speak in full sentences and are the life of the party. Still have those cheeks though. We all laugh more because you are here. Sometimes so much that I wish you would cut it out, but that's mostly at bed time when you whip your older brother and sister into a frenzy of excitement trying to get them to play some more when they ought to be brushing their teeth. You color, meticulously, keeping it all within the lines. You don't want to play with puzzles and blocks during school time. You instead squeeze yourself a space at the table and scribble on one of the old work books that I kept for you. Every 5 minutes or so you yell, "Teach me mommy. Teach me what to do next." My favorite of your many distinctive phrases is the way you say, "Oh, I DO wike dat mommy." It sounds so old fashioned and formal that I laugh to myse

Give some joy this Christmas-*updated*

Wow, you guys rock. 5 more bunks beds donated and 5 more for clothes and shoes as well! That means we've only got 5 beds to go, and 3 kids left to buy clothes for. THANK-YOU so much for being such a blessing! I was going to post this at the beginning of December. But then I got a few glitchy paypal emails that led me to believe that the entire cost had already been covered by a few very large donations. When I actually checked two days ago I found to my dismay that it was a mistake. (I know, I should have checked earlier, but I've never gotten inaccurate emails from them before so I was trusting the info.) So we're still short on beds and clothes for the kids at the children's home for Christmas day. The worst part is that we already told them there was enough to send and there really isn't. So I'm sending out a last minute SOS. Can anyone help? The full story is here . The short version is this. We're barely able to provide food every month for th

I just think that songwriters should think about what the words teach, that's all.

There is this cute little song that my kids learned to sing at church last week. It has little actions to it and the tune is catchy. The lyrics go like this: I wanna be like you I wanna be like you Jesus (Repeat ad nauseum) Less of me, This is my prayer. More of you... (something, something blah, blah, back to chorus.) I made them stop singing it. Because the words bother me so much. They reflect a common and dangerous misconception in the church that irritates the snot out of me. It comes from the place in the gospels where John the Baptist says, "He must increase and I must decrease." John 3:30 A critical reading of this passage makes it obvious that he's referring to the scope of his ministry vs that of Jesus. However, not as many Christians are critical readers as would be desirable. We get people praying, sincerely, believing it a good thing to ask for, that they would decrease, that Christ would increase in them. We get silly songs that have a whole c

One Thousand Gifts-Week 41

We remembered Nicholas the Bishop of Myra this weekend. A man who so loved and found joy in secretly giving to the poor that after he died those who followed his example and gave in secret claimed it was he who was the giver. How appropriate then that this year the day to remember him falls during the love week of advent. Inspired by Beck's account of keeping this feast day from years past we did it as well this year in the way that works for us.  Our adopted daughter Hannah was able to come for the night and she studied while the kids and I baked molasses cookies and made apple cider. We wrapped the gifts the children purchased to give to Jesus for his birthday this year the night before and I told them about St. Nicholas, the real story. I put a little something in their shoes the next day, only to ruin it entirely for the Girl because I couldn't pretend it was anyone other than I who had filled the shoe she left on the outside step. "But mommy." she asked as

Learning to be Content

One of the hardest things about the past month was dealing, not only with the loss of a baby, but with the truth that we aren't going to try and have another one again any time soon. That was perhaps much harder than the initial loss. Yet, as Aaron reminded me every time I went off on a tangent, forgetting our reasons, we have very good reasons. (Those lilies above came home with him one night after such a conversation.) As it stands right now, I do most of the work for The Charis Project. Aaron can't do it all and work long physically demanding hours to support us at the same time. Though he does do a lot. We have to assume that another pregnancy would be as debilitating as all of the previous ones have been, which means I am barely able to function for several months. We can't afford for me to take a leave of absence right now. At least 35 kids are depending on us right now. If I stop working they go hungry. It's that simple. How selfish would it be then to cho

One Thousand Gifts-Week 40

The rain started Friday night, on the way home from celebrating Shabbat, Beema's birthday and yet another uncle who had the dubious fortune of having his birthday land of Thanksgiving Day this year. By Saturday morning we were nearly drowning in wet. Then the hail started. But it hasn't rained in months, so we reveled in it. The kids ran out to play and came in to warm up over and over all day. They gathered up the hail where it lay in the grass. We lit candles, and made tea and hot chocolate. Oh, and set up a new, to us, computer that was a gift passed on from my BIL's girlfriend's family. (Got that?) Thank-you so much. It's great to be able to work in my own space again. Here's this week's list. bowls of hail preserved in the freezer. Piles of wet clothes near the door from playing outside in the rain. Damp kids drinking hot chocolate. Little singing a made up song, "Are you sleeping, little one? Are you sleeping..." A balsam fir scen

The First Sunday of Advent

I've been planning to keep advent for most of the year, but last night I was putting together a wreath at just before midnight. (It crept up on me. I had no idea it started so soon after Thanksgiving.) Thankfully, Leila's post on making advent wreaths inspired me so I threw this together from what I had laying around. A few small glass candle holders, and a shot glass because I only had 3, to hold the candles. I wasn't sure whether to use a large bowl or this silver try I have, and ended up resting the tray on the bowl to add some height. Then I ran outside in the rain and cut sprigs off of the 3 plants growing closest to my front door. The ribbon was languishing in a closet somewhere. I picked up some pine cones this afternoon after church where they fall near our parking spot and Voila! It's actually quite pretty. I laced together two long acacia branches to form an outside circle with a few twist ties and the ribbon. The rest is just sort of arranged in the cente

Thanksgiving in the Slum-Updated

I'm putting this one here at the top again for today as I run around and bake and finish painting and make a Thanksgiving tree with my kids just in case some people missed it. It helps me as I run around baking, making candied orange peels , gluten free chocolate cookies for my FIL and SIL, and try to finish a million projects to remember how blessed I am to have these things to do and work on, unlike most. Thank-you so much for your donations so far. When I told my MIL how much had come in she was only half joking when she said, "At this rate they're going to be able to move out of the slum." It will be a huge blessing to this sweet family when they receive what you have given.  ps. Our version of a Thanksgiving tree is really simple, and good for the last minute people like me. Stick a branch in a pot and anchor it with dirt or pebbles. Cut out paper into leaf shapes. This year we are using scrap book paper so it looks really cute and patchwork quilt like.

Busy with paint over here

I'm painting a chair today, doing some hemming for my neighbor, and going out to buy the Girl another pair of shoes because her feet just won't stop growing, and she has exactly one pair of running shoes left that fit. She wants something to wear with dresses too. So in lieu of an actual post I will send you off to read some stuff I posted last week that you may have missed. At the voice , the charis project blog, I wrote about the realities of running an orphanage. It was the year 2001, we had been married less than a year and we were at the Door of Faith Orphanage in Mexico talking to DJ and Lynette, the couple who run the whole place. A month earlier we made the choice together that someday, somehow, we wanted to take care of kids who had no one, in a long term meaningful way. Of course, the first thing we thought of was an orphanage. We were there to learn. I will never forget what DJ said that day. “The truth is,” he said, “ I spend most of my days fund raising,

One Thousand Gifts-Week 39

Glorious golden tousled curls, bouncing as she laughs. Boy laughing and making silly faces. The little bit of a lisp when he's laughing and talking because of missing front teeth. the homey smell of turkey broth simmering. peanut butter trails in the honey remind me that the Girl made lunch for everyone today. All by herself. Aaron walked in the door with lilies at the end of a long sad day last week. Notebooks, bubble bath, and a bundle of decorative kale from my Milly. The look the Boy gets on his face when he's saying something odd and funny. the freshness of the air on my morning walk. A night at Beema's house for all the kids, and a restaurant gift certificate from a friend for Aaron and me to enjoy together without them. The way her eyelashes curl. The Girl's crazy stories. Little's stunning eyes. Beautiful friends who send thoughtful gifts, and emails. Hannah will be able come for part of Thanksgiving.

I am a complete failure

We are on our way to the laundry room. The girl lingers at the door, clearly ready to make a bolt for the playground. "Come," I call. "Come with me to the laundry room." "I don't want to," she replies and runs off to the playground. Naturally this is unacceptable behavior. Blatant disregard for directions usually is. There are consequences for such things. A few minutes later we are talking about it. "I said come, you didn't come, you chose to disobey." "But mommy," she argues tearfully, "I told you I didn't want to." blink... um... Let's try this again. "When I say to do something it's your job to do it, even if you don't want to. That's what it means to obey. You do it because I said so, not because you want to. After you obey you have the choice to ask if you may do something else." That's pretty clear, right? "But I didn't want to, I told you I didn

Remember Who You Are

I finished reading The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis to the kids this week. (If you have never read it or the accompanying books in the Chronicles of Narnia series you should stop now, drop everything, go out and buy the books and read them all this month. They are very worth the time, and really great to read aloud to kids as well.) I have no idea how many times I have read this book before. Many. I noticed something this time through that I don't remember noticing before. The villain of the story is a witch. Her primary power is her ability to make people forget; who they are, where they're from, and what they are supposed to be doing. We see it first when the children encounter her on the moor. By the time they are finished talking to her all they can think about is their own comfort; warm beds, hot baths, and getting in out of the cold. So strong does this idea become in their minds that they almost completely forget that they are on a quest, miss the signs they are


The Boy kneels on the floor sobbing, surveying what used to be an entire fort for his army guys to defend, complete with cannon, now scattered Lego pieces kicked all over the carpet. Little stands in the corner, arms crossed defiantly, brow furrowed, lower lip sticking out. She is angry because there was no page for her to scribble on identical to the big kids school work today, and she doesn't want to color in one of her 20 books instead. While the big kids were working on school she quietly knocked down and kicked to pieces all of the Boy's Lego creations. I stand surveying the aftermath. He is heartbroken. He can't remember how he built it, he can't reassemble the pieces and I kneel on the floor with him as he wraps his arms around me and sobs. A while later I am holding Little, nursing her actually, as she continues to be sad, this time because of the discipline she received for choosing to hurt someone in anger. The Boy comes out of the bedroom again, still sad

I said I wouldn't write about grief this month, I changed my mind.

I wake to the regular morning sounds of chatter and clinking at my MIL's house. "The spare room is way too close to the kitchen," I think to myself, for the 567th time. Little sleeps on my shoulder and I am pinned to the bed, plotting how to escape without waking her. "...It was a pretty long labor. The baby was finally born this morning but the mother had a seizure right after and needed to be transferred. She's been there all day holding the baby..." My youngest SIL is working at a midwifery clinic, job shadowing if you will, to gain experience, to decide if this is the direction she wants to take with her life. She left before dinner last night to attend another birth. I am momentarily jealous. I long to hold a newborn these days. I finally wriggle free and stumble blindly to get dressed before putting in my contacts. The potatoes are already cut and in the pot. One turkey pulled apart and ready to serve. I spend the next three hours making mashed po


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