January 30, 2011

Time Traveling in Spanish

I miss my family. 

This is a video my sister did for a Spanish class last year.  Her and my brothers have made some other awesome videos that you can find under, "Nepotism" on the sidebar.

They just make me smile. 



January 28, 2011

First haircut


I've been afraid to cut Ray's hair for awhile now.  I loved watching how fast it was growing. She has beautiful hair. However, the bald spot she came home with was about 3 inches shorter than the rest of her hair. And, I have gone to THREE different salons that have told me they don't cut, "baby hair." :(









This morning while she was in the bath tub I totally freaked her out and started, "trimming." Sorry babe. just a teeny-weeny trim.

Actually. I cut a lot.

Holy smokes! SO much easier to comb out with it all closer to the same length.  

It's a little shorter in the back still; but I wish I would have done this sooner. 



 Now we can get back to important things like hiding toys.

Rolling.

 And giggling.

January 24, 2011

Super Prayers





 A few minutes ago, I was lying down with Grant for his nap. He popped his little head up out of bed and said, "MOM! Yet's pray!"
DearYord,
Thank-you for yetting Jack and Lincoln have a dood day at school. Thank-you for Kennedy. Thank-you for my new house and new windows. Thank-you for my new beds to syeep on. Dear Yord, thank-you for all my toys. Thank-you for a new heart. Thank-you for Reagan syeeping in her bed. Thank-you for daddy in Affs-danistan. Dear Yord, I yuv you. AMEN!

"So, um Grant, what do you mean, Thank-you for a new heart?  Did you get a new heart?'

 "I don't yeally know yet. But, MOM! I 'tink that I know where He dets our new hearts. He dets them from the BYUE CORE!!!"


"The blue core? Like in the movie, Astro Boy?"

"Uh-huh. Dats what He puts in people."

I didn't even try to explain physical, spiritual or blue cored hearts to him. I just enjoyed his perspective for a few moments.


My boys always seem to blur theology and super-heroes at this age. Jack prayed, "Dear God, pyease make me a byue superhero when I drow up." Every single time we prayed. For two years straight. He would make elaborate visitation plans for us. So that while he was doing his job as a superhero; he could still see his family. Lincoln later confessed to me that whenever Jack prayed that prayer, he would pray for it not to happen. Apparently, he was worried that if Jack was a superhero--he might get killed by a super villain. And, that's never good.

Super heroes. Super villains. Blue cores. Red cores. Rocket feet. Lazar beam eyes.

Super prayers.

Super hearts.

It's all good.

January 23, 2011

Exhibit A

I'd like to title this, "Why we were late for church today."

Reagan's sportin' a bed head fro.

You can tell who was the mastermind by the guilt on his face.



This one is blurry, but Grant's face kills me.






Bobby Brown shadows and blush...
Every single lipstick, eyeshadow, lotion, foundation, gloss, mascara...that could be, was opened. You obviously can't see it, but most of the powder and chunks of lipstick ended up on the floor underneath. When I found them, Grant was furiously trying to get all the lids back on the containers. Like I wouldn't notice...



Not even sure what to do about this. Our vacuum's motor went out a few weeks ago. This is when they moved into the living room and got into Kennedy's makeup. It's some kind of creamy blush.

First attempt at washing it off. Reagan wasn't sure if they were still in trouble or not...

Third or fourth scrubbing. Grant knew he was free and clear.





 


I know they are cute and all...but please consider that while they were out joyriding around the house with makeup: Three Bobby Brown longwear gel eyeliners were sent to the graveyard, four tubes of lipstick were ruined, two mascaras, multiple shadows were turned to powder, the carpet was ruined, and two sections of wood trim were stained.  I wish I could sue them for damages. Little punks.

Okay. I'm sure the carpet and trim could probably be cleaned. So, in that case I'd like to sue them for pain and suffering.

This is why I can't have nice things, shouldn't wear makeup, and should just skip showering all together. 



Come to think of it, bad things always happen when I'm in the bathroom.

January 22, 2011

Phone calls...




I hate waiting for phone calls.

This is part of, "the military life" that blows.
It's (obviously) totally not his fault. 
Sometimes he gets called out on missions. Sometimes it's his favorite thing, meetings. Sometimes he's too busy to even shower. Sometimes the phone lines aren't going through. Sometimes it's just hard to work out the timing...because Afghanistan is like opposite world.

It still sucks. 

Even though the (teeny-weeny) logic side of my brain says everything is fine.

I always worry.
I worry that something bad happened to keep him from calling.

I suppose it must be a little what parents go through when their kids don't call after curfew.

Only...he's an adult. And, I should know better.

So, I keep coming back to these verses that have gotten me through the past few months. They have literally revolutionized my life. In every nook and cranny.

While sitting in the preschool room at homeschool co-op, I met a lady who has become a sweet friend. She's a military brat, traveled the world and then some, married to an army dude, and has been through three deployments. She called to check on us the day after Jason deployed. She didn't know he had just left. God orchestrated that part, and that's just how she is.  Always in the right place at the right time. During our conversation, she lathered ointment on my wounds. She didn't tell me trite little cliches like, "Just give it time." Or "He'll be back before you know it." She gave me *gasp* verses. From the bible.
Jeremiah 17:9
"The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

In a society whose constant mantra is, "Follow your heart." This seems totally unnatural. However, if our hearts really are deceitful and sick; it doesn't make sense to follow them. As a Christ follower, I'm called to rely on His word...and to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. That's not always the same things as my heart.

Examples of this?

  • The week before I married the person who I now so wholly miss; I was sure that my heart was telling me to run.  It wasn't just nerves. It was the guilt of an unplanned pregnancy. The embarrassment. The heartache over letting others down. Resentment at my soon to be husband and myself.  The anger that my mistake would be public. It all added up to being repulsed...about everything in our relationship. So, on one hand my heart was telling me, "You don't know him. This is scary. This is a sign! This feels bad. RUN!!!"  And, on the other hand...deep down inside me, I knew that I needed to marry him. I knew that it was right. I knew that I loved him; even though it had changed from a silly school-girl feeling...to something much, much more serious. Like the kind of love that walks next to someone through difficult times. It might not be sexy (at the the time). But, it's real. I remembered that the first time I met him, I had thought in my 18-year-old brain, "I'm going to marry him." What my heart, nerves, and body felt, and what my spirit knew...were two completely different things. If I had, "followed my heart." I believe I would have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I feel like God has blessed me over and over and over again for trusting Him with that decision. I married my best friend. He is loyal, loving, and challenging to me. He is perfect for me. I love him.

  • Soon after I talked on the phone to this friend...God started breaking my heart in another area of my life. With Ray. Some days, my heart tells me, "She will never love you. You will never love her enough . Some broken things can never be repaired." My heart screams in fear. My heart shuts down. My heart lies. God's word boldly proclaims that we have all been adopted. That without love we are CLANGING SYMBOLS.  That true religion is more than attending church. It's more than loving your kin. It's more than volunteering at a soup kitchen. That it's taking care of the orphans and widows. Now, this may present itself differently to every child of God. I know that all aren't called to adopt. But I was. And...I would be foolish to assume that raising this child will be accomplished in my own desperately sick strength. I have been given SO much peace through this verse in the area of raising our daughter. It's given me the clarity of mind to go back to the foundation. To remember that God called me to this before I lost all my teeth. Before I found my husband. Before we had any children. And, now realizing that it wasn't because I was special. It wasn't because I had a greater capability to love than anyone else. But...that He was just preparing me to be used by Him.

  • The last way this verse has calmed my fears is...with my husband. Even though his job is really very, "safe." Even though God has been preparing our hearts for this stage in our lives...for years. Even though he is good at what he does, excels in these types of situations...even thoughMy heart STILL tells me some days, "He will be broken when he comes home." Or, "He's not coming back." I think it'd be pretty safe to say I'm not the only military wife who has had those thoughts. It just comes with the territory. I think as time goes on, you get better at not wasting energy on mindless worry. At least, that's the way it seems when I psycho-analyze these (insane) women who have been at this for years and years. They still manage to get dressed in the morning. They even have smiles on their faces. I know they have been through the fire. And...somehow they just get more and more filled with grace. They seem to have a peace that is totally OUT of this world.  For me; those thoughts DO pop into my head. And, when my heart is scared. When it's saying hopeless things, and is filling up with hurtful feelings. THAT'S when I tell myself. "Self. Your heart is DECEITFUL... more than anything else. IT'S sick. You can take those thoughts and SHOVE 'em!"

Then I can move onto renewing my mind. (wha...?) To taking every thought captive. 

2 Corinthians 10:5
"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."



To be continued...

January 21, 2011

Report


(On School)


Grant and I made these pumpkin oatmeal cookies yesterday. They were yummy. My plan was to bribe the kids into talking to me when they got home from school. I started with the youngest, since I figured her capability to wait was the least developed. I asked all of them if they could rate school with a thumbs up, thumbs down, or an iffy wave of the hand; what would it be? Here's what I got:

  • Kennedy: Well, at first I felt pretty sad when you left. But I was sitting there yookin' around and thinking about stuff, and then suddenly I was yike, "Hey! I'm not sad anymore." And den I didn't feel yike crying. I got yike TWO snacks. And, I think I made at yeast, yike THREE friends. One girl with a purple headband, she was nice to me. She told me to dust ignore all the boys at recess. I don't know what that means. At yunch, I dust ate mostly my chocolate milk. AND I got strawberry milk. When dey told us to take a nap *leaning in to whisper* I didn't even fall asleep. And, then! It was time to go. Thumbs up.
  •  

  • Jack: *sigh* Well...I don't even know why. But, I have the feeling that at least three girls have crushes on me. They were all like, "Hey Jack, sit by me. No! Jack! Sit by me."  at lunch. And, then they kept asking me what kind of things I liked and wanted to play with me. It was crazy. We did some math...and I don't know if you would call it reading. But we played a game where we had to call out words. And, whoever called out the word first, got a Skittle. I ate these things called chicken dumplings. It's basically like, chicken with gravy on it. I didn't like the cornbread OR the cranberry sauce. But I got chocolate milk, and I liked that. My teacher is pretty nice. Thumbs up.


  • Lincoln: I didn't like the carrots or the cornbread at lunch. My teacher is nice. I really liked the computer lab, *giggling* and I got to play games while the other kids took their test. My name wasn't in the computer yet. Everyone was nice to me, and I got a "Nut" pass. (That means he doesn't have to wear his uniform.) We played really fun games at recess. "Over and under," and then another game where you have to move a hula hoop over your body, without letting go of each-other's hands. Iffy hand wave.


Me? I had one of the most...I wouldn't say relaxed days, because I was thinking so much about how the kid's day might be going. But, it was orderly.  Oh my word; the house...stayed clean. I never think that the older kids are a big part of the mess, because they are old enough to clean up after themselves. I don't follow them around telling them to put things away like I do the little ones. But they are. Definitely.

Like I said in yesterday's post; the babies were down for their naps before noon. It was SO nice! I had a good two hours with a quiet home. It was wonderful. And weird...

After the kids got back from school, and we had eaten our cookies, we worked on homework. Jack was really bummed that, "After I've been at school ALL day I have to come home and do more?!" Ha. I thought, Yes. I always tell you when you complain about doing your homeschooling work--'If you were going to public school, you would go ALL day, and still have homework some nights.' I think Lincoln was the most aware of that ahead of time...that's why he gave the, "iffy hand wave." Lincoln's homework took about a 45 minutes. Jack's could have taken 30...but he procrastinated and doodled. He really only had to write out and study 10 spelling words. Kennedy had some reading, and a couple pages to fill in.

So, we busted out the homework. I was in a hurry to feed them before basketball practice,  so we ended up eating dinner at 4:30! Then the boys asked if they could skip basketball practice, because they were so tired. We stayed home and watched, "The Princess Bride." We were ALL exhausted. After the movie, we prayed, sang songs, and I tucked the kids into bed. Jason was going to try and call by 8:30 to hear how all their days went, but ended up not being able to. By the time his call came in, Kennedy was snoring, and Lincoln was asleep. I woke Lincoln up to talk, but Kennedy wouldn't budge. So, Jack and Lincoln told their dad about their first day of school.

Okay. Here's my wimpy mom last little tidbit:

Last night when I was clearing the table, I cleared up a pile of our homeschool books. It made me sad. Even though I know it's not closing a chapter in our lives...that's how it felt to put all our school stuff away.

Sorry. This is completely mushy and sentimental:
Then, while I was moving laundry later that night...I had this horrible thought, that this empty feeling; this anxiety that these children are slowly moving out of my life...what if this is what it always feels like when they are all grown and moved out? Hopefully there is a tradeoff. And, you enter into some kind of new relationship. I LOVE my relationship with my parent's now. But...that feeling made my heart stop for a beat or two. The realization that someday I'll be done. Someday I will have left my impression; good or bad on my children.


I'm sure that all mothers know this feeling. Jason thinks I'm a little crazy when I have these um...episodes. But, you know that feeling that somehow you just moved into a new stage in life? Somehow, while you weren't looking--your kids grew up a little bit more. Sometimes that's exciting. Sometimes it's incredibly painful.

Last night was one of those incredibly painful moments. I realized that Lincoln is going to be 10 this year. (Okay. NOT for almost a whole year! But that's how weird I am. ) Kennedy is not my baby anymore. Jack is not my blue-eyed toddler that says all his 'L's as 'Y's. Lincoln just keeps growing and growing. His heart seems so big that I worry I put too much on his little shoulders. That he is too responsible. Too mature. Too reserved. Too compliant. I want him to enjoy the silliness and freedom of childhood.

Kennedy was coughing this morning and I said, "Oh, honey, you can stay home with mommy if you're feeling sick." I was really hoping she'd stay. She said, "No, mom. I want to go."  What the heck!?

When I finally got the phone from the kids and got to talk to Jason, or course I was a hot mess.  It was nice to cry on his...metaphoric shoulder.

Isn't that the way things go? We just don't come by perspective naturally. It is always accompanied by a bit of pain. I'm so thankful for this insight.  Last night I was more thankful for my children than I have been for months. I missed them. That was a good and painful feeling. I was proud of them. I realized how much they have grown and changed during the past two years. I was so humbled by God for allowing them into my life; despite my human nature.  For blessing me with, "surprise" pregnancies, planned pregnancies, and babies that grew in another momma's belly. For weaving each of their unique and endearing personalities. I was deeply inspired and determined to fight for relationships with all of them. Ones that will carry us through into their adult years. 

Ha.

I know this probably seems totally melodramatic to all you veteran moms out there.

That's where I'm at. Day one. We are all tired. But it sure is nice to have a little order instilled in our lives. Even if it comes with a price. I don't think I had the willpower to do it on my own.

January 20, 2011

School

Last night we sat out clothes, gave lots of baths, filled out paperwork, prayed, and all had nervous butterflies in our bellies as we fell asleep.

This morning I got up at six, made breakfast, woke up the three oldest, talked over breakfast, gathered up the little ones...and we headed out the door.

 Bright eyed and bushy tailed...

Then we walked into school.
It shouldn't be so ridiculously hard for me.
But it is.

On one hand...I feel like I just won the lottery. "You mean, you will watch them, teach them...and keep them from killing themselves for me?"

On the other hand...I like my kids. I (really) want an hour or two a day to hear myself think. But seven and a half hours seems extreme. (This is coming from someone who never went to public school. It's my perspective.)

Lincoln met his teacher (I love her!), and although he seemed shy and reserved...he was definitely okay. His buddy from church is in his class. I think God totally set that up.

Kennedy was excited until we walked into the room full of kids and then her face said, "Crap. What have I gotten myself into?" She was shy, but she didn't cry. Her teacher goes to church with us.

Jack. Well...Jack is Jack. He met his pretty blonde teacher, and I'm almost certain he fell in love on the spot. His mouth gaped open, and all he could do when she spoke to him, was nod his head and giggle. He walked away and didn't even look back. I would have felt bad...but it was too funny.

As I walked back down the hall to peek in on Kennedy, I felt like grabbing her and making a mad run for it. But that's silly. No one's making me do this... And, she was happily setting up her paper, crayons and pencils anyway.

I'm still not so sure about Kindergarten. I'm not sure that Kennedy will stay. To me it seems like the only reason for all day Kindergarten is day care.  It's such a long day for little ones. She was really determined to go to school with the boys. But, my heart is hurting. Five seems too young to be away from your mom all day. It just does.

So we will take Kindergarten day by day.

All that said; despite the worry, and guilt. I feel like we are approaching sanity as a family. People seek counseling for trauma and pain. Anti-depressants for hurt minds and hearts. Since they weren't offering maid service and childcare...my logic is that it is okay for me to use the school system to restore some sanity into our lives.


EVEN though my reasons have absolutely nothing to do with my children's education. I wasn't worried about them as far as their education went. I love they way they think. I love how inquisitive, logical, intelligent and unique they all are. Jack is pretty behind on reading. And, I'm extremely thankful to have help in that area. I've always struggled with teaching him things that he finds uninteresting. I haven't done well at making it fun. And, haven't been willing to force him. But even with his reading difficulty; I'm not sending him to be fixed. I'm thankful for structure in their lives. ALL of their teachers seem above and beyond the cut. They were kind and sincere. There was no condemnation or judgment. I'm sure the kids will come away with some new information, and new tools. Probably a few cuss words, too.



The main reason I'm trying this out...is we aren't functioning well as a family. It's totally me taking advantage of the system for reasons I've always thought were horrible in other people. (Yes! I'm calling myself out!) I've always hated it when people say to me, "You know I'd really like to homeschool. But, I couldn't stand being around my kids for that long."  I know God designed us all differently. And, public, private, and homeschooled kids all turn out equally well adjusted and screwed up!  It just bothered me to think that being around your own kids could be so traumatic. So...I'd like to order a plate of crow, please.  As much as I've prayed through this, and willed myself to be better at time management, to be patient with taking the five of them everywhere I go...and to be with them twenty-four hours a day. The house is a wreck. I'm grumpy and mean. I get distracted in the details of running the house, lost in all the directions our homeschool day takes us, and feel like I have two babies that need a lot more face time with me.


You wanna know what's funny? Last night as I was falling asleep;  jumping from one extreme to the other. So thankful that I will have a lighter load. So guilty and panicked that my children are going to lose their innocence and be lost in a system that is set up for groups; not individuals. ALL I could think about for hours was...next school year. How I'm going to change my approach. How I think I'm DONE, done, DONE with trying to find the perfect curriculum. How I am going to piece together my own. How it will be first set up around how I learn and teach best...and I will tweak it to meet the children's needs after that. We are going to approach it in a much simpler way. We are going to go deeper in fewer topics. And, we are going to have yearly goals...so that when I don't check every little box--I don't feel like a complete failure for not following someone else's plan. I'm going to have a better understanding of the capabilities, strengths and interests of my kids. I'm excited. I've learned SO much about how I can and cannot function during the last few months. But that's then. This is now.

Two more things:
1.  I think a good example of what it feels like to be a homeschool mom is to compare your job to a vocal performer.  If someone criticizes a piece you sing; they are criticizing you. It IS you. You aren't playing an instrument. You are the instrument. Well, as a homeschool mom. When things aren't going well, if your kids aren't little geniuses, if your house isn't clean, if you're not fluent in Latin...there's no one to blame. No one but yourself. So, that can be a hard place to be.

Something God's been showing me though, is HE'S not condemning me. And, as long as I obey as we walk along...I can't ruin everything! If this doesn't work out. Fine. We'll try something different. If He calls me to stick to something...I'll stick.

2. I was talking to my younger brother on the phone last week and he said, "Sarah, even Jesus sought solitude. He went away to pray. He went away to be alone. It's okay to desire that..." I miss having time to seek out God. Time to listen to music without stopping a fight. Time to write, work out, or read.  And...that's okay?

???



So this is all random. And...might not make sense. But that's where we're at.

"The homeschool family who goes to public school."

Today I've done some things that I haven't done for months and months:

Sat and read board books to Grant and Reagan.
Played, "baby" music for Grant and Reagan.
Danced to Veggie Tales songs with Grant.
Did a workout video.
Read the bible in silence.
Got up before eight
Finished my morning chores, 
fed the babies lunch and had them down for their naps before noon.


Right now...I'm thankful for some space to breath.
And, I can't wait for them to get home!

No, that's not the time. 
That's the timer I set to count down the hours until I pick my kids up. 
Does that make me a nerd?
I don't care.

January 19, 2011

What it feels like...

"You formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother's womb.

My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."
 Psalms 139: 13, 15-16

 (Just a little sperm humor for you...)


I grew up part of the crazy right-winged conservative movement.  
I remember the day my dad brought home Rush Limbaugh's first book, "The Way Things Aught To Be." It was a big deal.

Both my parents have been arrested. Multiple times. For, "prayer sit-ins" at local abortion clinics. It's not something they brag about. 

 It's something I will never be ashamed of.
It inspires me that they were motivated by something enough to risk being uncomfortable. That they were convicted...and they obeyed. Certainly not without consequences; even to this day.


I've had to define their beliefs for nosy church ladies who thought they were too extreme.

As a nine-year-old, I've been screamed at by pro-choice women seething with anger. I realize that emotions ran high on both sides of the aisle. That ugly things have been said and done by pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike. It's just something I will never forget. Whenever the media talks about the condemning, hateful way anti-abortion individuals supposedly behave. I am always brought back to that day. Walking to the steps of the Boise capitol building with my parents. With my grandma. With my baby brothers and sisters. With our signs. Quietly praying. Kids playing. With our crazy ideals. We were on one side of the road. They were on the other. The divide was wide. It was a turning point in history. Abortion was out in the open; come better or worse. Passion and intent motivated everyone.


However, I get that pro-choice proponents aren't (all) bitter, condescending, superior, angry people. I get that many are motivated by love. I get that there is a history of injustice in the lives of women and our reproductive health. (Syphilis anyone?)

I get that (all) pro-life proponents aren't hateful, legalistic, simplistic, un-caring crazies. I get that it can be scary to even say you are pro-life. That it can put a target on your back, that you'd just assume not be there. That it's not easy. To be pro-life is not to say, "Yes, I would like children to be raped and to be forced to carry their infants to term, for incestuous relationships to bring to fruition--lives of socially unacceptable bastards, and for all women, everywhere to stay home and breed. NO matter what."


I've had to define what I believe along the way.


There are some things that you have to make yourself take inventory of. The Holocaust. Your belief or disbelief in God. Whether you are a democrat, a republican...or something else completely. IS Carrot Top funny? How you are going to raise your children. Are you a cat person? What kind of person do you want to marry. Will you ever buy a Snuggie? What kind of person will you be.

Every year, I take an intense look at abortion.
Exactly what it is; gory details and all. Who it harms. Why we are so trapped as a society, in relying on it.

Yesterday, I was in the car listening to a radio program. Apparently January is, "Sanctity of Life" month. I don't remember her name...but a woman was describing how she felt (years ago) every January. She'd had six abortions. She described the hopelessness that would set in whenever anyone (e.g. pastors) discussed abortion. The sin. The pain the infant experienced. She was stuck. Where did that leave her? How could she experience freedom? She mentioned the incredibly important, indispensable reality of grace. That with every abortion; there is more than one victim. If we are going to talk about the death of the child. If we want to change society. If we want women to make better choices. We have to reach men and women in hard places. We have to point to the cross. We have to give hope.

Because if there is no hope for these girls and women...there is no hope for any of us.


I do tend to get caught up in what's going on with the unborn baby. For far too long society closed its eyes to the silent victim. I think that the science, the images, and the reality of what actually happens to that child has changed the abortion argument, irrevocably. You no longer hear the, "blob of tissue" dismissal that was once common.

It's moved on to more complex thoughts. Philosophies like Natural Selection surface. Which life is more valuable to society? Statements like, "Yes, though I realize there is a child inside me, and that this abortion will cause it pain...I feel as though this is the best option." Or "This is the fastest, and most simplistic was to deal with this..."

Back to the radio interview: It made my heart hurt.

We can't take erase the consequences from the life that's taken. The pain they experience. The loss of a child.

But the one left behind is the one who needs love now. Understanding.

Truth is important on both ends of the spectrum:

  • Abortion harms children. It harms women.

  • Abortion is NOT an unforgivable sin. (Romans 8:38-39!) Abortion cannot, "ruin" God's plan. He will take whatever you give Him...and bless it. 


 Just before we moved to Fort Polk, I had the opportunity to work at a crisis pregnancy center.  The women who ran the center saw that their ministry was the women. Whether these women (more often, girls) decided to keep the baby or not. The baby was already safe in the arms of Jesus. These women needed love and acceptance. And, many, many times...they needed hope. Hope that life could be better. Hope that there were men who would treat them with respect. Who would honor and cherish them. Hope that they could one day have families that were complete and stable. Hope beyond their present circumstance.

My heart changed. It wasn't that  I had never thought of the women. It was just that when you think of the violence of abortion--it seems to make sense to cry out for the child first.  I think often, there is not a clear understanding of the ramifications of terminating pregnancies. It's not a magic fix. 

 It's just not.

So, even though the innocent DO need an advocate. Even know they need protection. Their mothers need love. Their mothers need a lifeline. Their mothers need hope.

What brought them to this point?
Often a lifetime of pain.

I don't know what it feels like to have an abortion.


I do know what hopelessness feels like. I do know what it feels like to drown in the world around you. In plain sight. I do know what it feels like to need love with every space in your soul. I do know what it feels like to see forgiveness offered, and think, "This is too big. I've gone too far."


My guess is, you do, too...

As you go through January; I would challenge you to not turn a blind eye.
Not to the infants gathering flies in our nation's dumpsters.
And, not to the women who walked away empty-handed.


"I faint with longing for your salvation; but I have put my hope in your word."

Psalms 119:81

January 18, 2011

The difference between slavery and abortion Pt. 2

*May 17th, 2009

 (These are one of a set of nine wax plaques to show the dissection of the female figure and fetus development. Vienna, Austria. Early 1800's. On display at in the Science portion of the South Kensington Museum in London.)



What confuses me is the difference between the two. I hate slavery. I hate that so many lives were destroyed by it in America from the early 1600's and well past the 1860's. I HATE seeing what slavery is doing to African people TODAY (i.e. LRA and other terrorist organizations). Young boys are stolen in the night and taught to be ruthless killers before they have lost all their baby teeth. Young girls are kidnapped and raped to be used until they are so broken and hopeless that they pray for death.

This is our America's past. And, is our world's current horror.

What boggles my (admittedly pathetic) brain is how we can be such a self-consumed society, that we fail to see the sin in destroying our own offspring. When the sperm enters the egg; it instructs cellular division AT ONCE. DNA is complete. We don't tell the baby to form, we don't monitor the development at that stage. It's too intricate. Life is set in motion. Usually, because we have chosen to participate in an activity that sets it in motion. Even among many Christian women…the blessing of a life inside them is seen as more of a burden and inconvenience; than a jewel of great price.

We rally for a, "greener" nation. We buy, "Earth Friendly" bags and proudly display them in the grocery store. We recycle. We walk to work. We worry about whether our children will live in a climate so cold they will freeze; or so hot they will be scorched. We contribute funds to help the Salmon (at least here in Oregon). We scowl disapprovingly at the person smoking in a proximately that will taint our own children's airways. We grow sad at the thought of forests and wetlands disappearing as the sacrificial virgin for new homes and shopping centers.

We regulate and control ourselves in so many ways regarding our Mother Earth. We are willing to sacrifice and work hard to help her. We are disgusted by people who litter. We talk incessantly about providing a better world for our children…and that it won’t happen unless we work at it today. Yet, it seems like our sexual activities should be consequence free. It is admirable to use restraint and walk to the store—rather than to be lazy and drive. But, NO ONE should tell any of us when or how we can enjoy our bodies.

Even if that enjoyment means that 1, 2, or maybe even 8 months later, a child will need to be burned to death by salt, torn out of the womb by a vacuum so powerful that the baby’s body parts look like they have been put through a blender, or pulled out by a foot, partially delivered…only to be grasped by the back of the neck by the concerned doctor’s hands, and then have his or her brains sucked out of a small hole made by scissors at the base of the neck.

We become awkward when the discussion of abortions comes up. We would never condemn a woman to carry a child she DIDN'T want, to term. We would never assert our values and beliefs onto someone else. We are so afraid to draw lines in the sand, that good, well-meaning people elect our newest president. Perhaps because they don't think the pro-life agenda should be a federal mandate. Maybe because they think his good outweighs the bad. Maybe because of Iraq (and Afghanistan). Maybe because they think our earth is headed for trouble--and he will help. Maybe they are pro-choice.


About one million of our own children are aborted every year.

I just wonder if, a few hundred years from now...when science has allowed us to see even more of the pain the unborn experience. The brain waves that are stopped, the cries that are muffled. If we will look back at our, "Modern America," today and think, "We were such fools! Why didn't we ACT sooner?"

And the grief that accompanies the, "Sin," that slavery brought to our nation...will be felt for our unborn children. Sacrificed for convenience, for equality, and because we were too afraid to offend.

The difference between abortion and slavery Pt.1

 *May 17th, 2009





I have just been thinking a little bit about President Obama's recent speech at Notre Dame. It is a beautiful speech. One that urges a united front.

After a Christian pastor contacted him requesting respectful treatment and depiction of pro-life America, the President said:

" After I read the doctor's letter, I wrote back to him and thanked him. I didn't change my position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my website. And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. Because when we do that - when we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think like we do or believe what we do - that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.

That's when we begin to say, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women."

(You can check it out yourself at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/17/obama-notre-dame-speech-f_n_204387.html )

For some reason this brought me to his 2008 speech on race. In it his speaks about the signing of America's Constitution.

"The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations. "

(Also full text here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/18/obama-race-speech-read-th_n_92077.html )

So what I understand is that a.) Slavery is a sin that has stained our nation’s history and constitution. And b.) Abortion is a right that should be protected. That we should look with understanding and open our minds and hearts to the arguments and times that necessitate it. Additionally we should make sure we have clear science and ethics in regards to it.

January 17, 2011

Grant

(Helping with the fence...)

Three-year-olds.
They are the most frustrating, lovely, observant, stupid, tender tyrants on the planet.

We keep changing sleeping arrangements around here. I'm in the biggest room in the house. Makes perfect sense that one person should have more square footage than three. Right? The two older boys are in one room. The three youngest share the third bedroom. And, then we have a, "school room."   The problem is; having three separate beds in the littles' room is too crowded. There's no breathing room. They can't play with their toys. It feels claustrophobic.

So, two nights ago I took down Grant's bed, and decided he could sleep with Kennedy until we got our hands on a bunkbed.

Sounds like a great idea in theory. I mean...my grandparents probably had to share a bed with their siblings, right? My little brothers and sisters sure did. I did! (Although I happened to be smooshed in age between an older brother and a younger brother...I got my own room in quite a few houses. Haha. Sucks to be you, younger-Sarah-siblings!)

Eh.
Copious amounts of fighting insued. "She's touching me!" "No! HE'S touching me!" "KEN-NEDDY! You gotsta scoooot o-ber!" "Grant, you are too hot! Get on your side of the bed...now!"

*smack* *SMACK!* *Wahh* *Waah*
You get the picture.

Tonight I decided Grant should just sleep with me.

This boy can cause thunder storms in our house in seconds. He is loud. Devious. Has the attention span of a flea. Did I say he was loud? He can be consuming to everyone around him. In other words: he's pretty much like all three-year-olds I've known.

However... I had forgotten how tender, precious, sweet, imaginative, silly, entertaining and awesome he can be.

Tonight we laid in bed and turned our tickled buttons on and off (that would be your nose), talked about how many different kinds of Spidermans there are (three, in case you didn't know), discussed his favorite movies,  I was then quizzed on them, and asked to repeat them verbatim forwards and backwards.  His imagination is brilliant. His little body curled and spooned next to mine brought me absolute peace. I could have died a happy woman tonight...listening to my son jabber sleepily into slumber. He reminded me why this job is so amazing. He calmed every fiber of my being. He gave me hope...

I forget that my babies grow in phases. They ebb and flow. Their love language's develop and change. Grant's closeness now makes me really excited for Ray's next stage. Not to hurry up and be over with where she's at right now...but just excited that everything's not set in stone. Grant wasn't all that much of a cuddler as an infant.  I know that the pendulum tends to swing away...and then come back. Even if she ends up being less than crazy about touch. I'm gonna keep trying. I'm going to keep making, "physical touch deposits" in her little bank. I don't know yet all that is in store for our relationship.

And for once...that doesn't fill me with fear.



That makes me happy.

January 15, 2011

White Flag pt. 4

So, life is overwhelming.

Being home with the kids. All day. Every day.

You know it's not just you. Life is messy. You know there are people who deal with more. Some live it with grace. Some survive by their teeth and their nails. They are on third and fourth deployments.  They are parenting multiple children with RAD. They are losing their jobs. They are unloved by their spouses. They have swallowed so many seeds of bitterness, that a whole oak tree of anger and resentment has grown and taken over their soul. They are dealing with infidelity. They are tired to the inside of the inside of the inside of their bones. They have lost children. They see themselves through twisted, broken, dirty mirrors. Death. Divorce. Illness. Depression. Addictions. Self-loathing. Grief. There's always more life can throw at you.  

Pain is pain is pain is pain.


You think maybe you should send the three older kids to the local school. That would mean losing the title of, "Homeschool Mom" for awhile. It feels like failure. But, you've gotten to the point where the only thing keeping you from sending them would be pride. You know you need help. And, it's not the kind of help that can be accomplished in a day. Or a week. It's resetting your compass. It's reevaluating life. And then...it's accepting that you aren't a failure...you are just changing course to take better care of the people you love.

That's when you finally tell Him. When you kick the (proverbial) dog and scream,


"I CAN'T DO IT!"

That's when you put out a white flag.

And then...something happens that always happens when you finally give up.


God laughs. And says, "Duh."
(Or something more eloquent along those lines.)


Boulder goes away. Rolled right off your chest. The microsecond you said, "I can't..."
______________________________________________

"You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. and
 "This was freedom.  Losing all hope was freedom. " (Chuck Palahniuk)

Hopefully people know you're not amazing because you rock at mediocrity. Anymore than you should freakin' put others on a pedestal. It's not loving. It's not true fellowship. You need to stop placing people you respect out of your reach; so you don't have to get close enough to see their need. You can't survive being a martyr, anymore than they can. You can't handle that arrogant, consuming pride. That pride of doing, achieving, hiding. You need real. You ARE screwed up.

But the God you serve isn't.
And...He really does give you exactly. what. you. need.


As sinful as you are. As prideful. Mean. Impatient. Jealous. Apathetic. Rude. Angry. Hurtful. As disgusting as your heart is...it's His. And, even though you're having a hard time beating into your head that God really does love you. He does.

And He expects more of you.

But, not in the way you think. Not in a cleaner home. Whiter smile. Tighter buns. Smarter kids. Bigger ministries. Not in more self-control, organic foods, or trips to the recycling center.

But in surrender. He expects abandonment. He desires it from you.

He desires you. 

Probably so much that it'll make you blush.

The world fades. Problems shrink. Logic is confounded.
When we see glimpses of the love the Father has lavished on us.

And, He'll help you get there. Wherever He wants you to go. Whoever He wants you to talk to. Whatever He wants you to let go of. Whatever sin He wants you to kick to the curb. Lies. Pain. Life.

He'll help.




Romans 5:5-6
 "...and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts...for while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."



January 14, 2011

White Flag pt. 3


(This is when Sarah moves to second person, and she's not quite sure why...)

So. You starts to feel like life might be normal. You dust off your pants. You talk to your husband about the next year. You stay up late night after night...packing with him. You both feel like you have stones in your stomachs. The dread of the initial separation wears. you. ragged. You put up a fence with the help of neighbors. You stay up all night with your children lying all around you. You try not to shut down during your last hours together. But...if you don't shut down, every feeling you've avoided during the past few months leading up to the deployment. Every one will hit you at once. Like an anvil. Every ounce of fear and sadness will just be squished out of you anyway. So...you let go and get squished by that twelve-thousand-pound deployment anvil. You finally say goodbye. On the way home, you listen to your sons cry in a way you've never heard them cry before. You lie flat as a pancake for 24 hours; because that's what anvils do. For the next couple weeks get used to sleeping alone. You still look around for him every night...wanting to fill him in on everything your children did that day. But, hey-O! Life starts lookin' up...

you think you can do this.

You make lesson plans for your kids. You wipe noses. Change peed sheets. Lecture. Hug. Catch toads. Go to church. Skip church because of sickos. Are late to church because of one freakin' left shoe! Wrestle with rowdy kids. Rock tired ones. Brush teeth. Stare into the fridge. Hang out with friends that make you positive there ARE angels here on earth. Answer questions that hurt your brain. Talk on the phone with family.  Get cranky every night...even though you say you won't. Relish the silence after they're asleep. Stay up too late.  Wait for his calls. Wash dirty clothes...but never seem to make the time to fold and put away clean ones. The kids ask to watch the videos of dad. Over and over and over again. It melts your heart that your daughter knows who her daddy is. But when she signs, "dad" and points to the computer every day. That makes you sad. You and her are slowly are building a bond...but you're building it. And, sometimes you don't have the right tools. Sometimes she doesn't. It's awkward. It's slow. However, even if the feeling doesn't remind you of puppy dogs and ice cream; you are convinced more and more that this is love.  That it's right. That your life is good. You, "...set your eyes on the prize." Which would be providing this child a loving, stable, joyful home. A connection to someone who loves her without conditions. You stop looking back so constantly. The beauty is actually in all the ugly, frustrated, sad, lonely...feelings. The beauty is in doing things so hard. Even though you forget to see them as much; there are plenty of awesome, loving, tender, peaceful, and joyful moments. You notice that the older boys need their dad. They need their hero. You notice that your daughters need their dad, too. They need to light up his eyes. You notice that your three year old is absolutely crazy...and you're not sure what to do about that. ha.

You feel like you are spread so thin that smiles are stiff and slow. The house is always a mess. Always. Your ability to rage and lose your temper has grown in leaps and bounds. Love starts to feel like a commodity that DOES have a limited supply.

The moments that you let go. Laugh. Or, when you ask for forgiveness. Their small, sticky hands around your neck, or their little-man -awkward hugs around your waist... those moments let you know you're still good.
___________________________________________________


(In case you are wondering what it looks like to go through adoption, or deployments and stuff. These illustrations made sense.)



(Except this one...I just thought it was funny.)

White Flag pt. 4