Thursday, December 23, 2010

here we go again...

I have peed on six pregnancy test sticks this week.  One was negative.  Two days later, a very, very faint second pink line appeared.  That was Thursday, December 16th, seven days before the "missed period".  Friday, still faint second line.  Saturday, the line was darker and by Sunday, I had an obvious second pink line.  For fun, I took one more test, the last in the package, just to play "peek-a-boo" with the new baby. 

A new baby.  Words fail me.  How do I describe the complex war of emotions pushing against each other inside my heart and thoughts?  I am happy.  We did this on purpose.  We tried for a baby.  I am grateful.  God has given us life again.  I am scared.  What if....  

And so we begin anew.  I am four weeks pregnant.  New due date.  New story.  New baby.  

It's the tenth grandbaby.  Again.  It's my fifth baby.  Again.  Where do I start count?  Technically, this is my seventh baby, if you count the disappearing twin (Rose's pregnancy) and our lost October baby.  But no one counts those babies.  For all appearances, this is our fifth child.  

I hold my breath and pray.  And trust God for His eternal plan to come to fruition within me.  

The joy is different.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Mexico Home Beginning to Fit

Moving continues to be life altering.  Yes, that sounds quite dramatic and trite, but it is true.  Relocating involves yanking up roots.  Healthy roots grow deep down into the soil of life and I had let mine really grow in Virginia.  

At first my root replanting did not seem to take in New Mexico.  I fell in love with the mountains surrounding Alamogordo, but everything else felt foreign.  But God is faithful!  I realized recently that my house now feels like MY house.  Like breaking in a pair of new shoes, my house is feeling more and more like it fits me.  

When we left VA, we left a swamp.  Everything was wet and mushy in Virginia.  From the swamp to the dessert we came.  There is no mush in New Mexico.  Our basin is a dust bowl.  When I walk across the dry earth, my foot prints kick up dust that swirls up my body and into my throat and nostrils.  After playing outside, the kids return covered in dust.  Their hair, skin, and clothes are a different color, wearing the blanket of dirt.  

I still ache for my friends.  Building friendships takes time and I have only begun the process.  There are many women here who are embracing me and my family; that comforts me greatly.  I look forward to our relationship growing as we learn more about each other and share our hearts.  

I like Alamogordo; I believe it will be a place of many beautiful memories.  I miss Virginia; I was comfortable and happy there.  I long for Heaven; where there will be no more pain or tears.  Heaven is my home.  I don't think there will be an adjustment period in Heaven.  It will feel like home from the very first millisecond of eternal life.  

"This world is not my home, I'm just passing through..."  -Albert Brumley

Thursday, December 02, 2010

a forced-silent mother still going strong

Its been a quiet ten days.  My voice faded away Monday night in the midst of sinus ick.  The Internet says the best thing for laryngitis is to "rest the vocal chords".  First of all, I'm a mother and am requested to communicate at all times of the day and often at night.  Secondly, I'm me and I like to talk.  Thirdly, it was the Thanksgiving holiday and we had family from out of town at our house.  I talked.  A lot.  (Ofcourse, you understand, when I say "talk" I mean scratched out words using this gravely excuse for a voice.)  All my talking aggravated the sore vocal chords and they rebelled. 

Lela said at prayer this morning, "Can we ask God to give Mommy her old voice back.  I don't like this one."  I am worried that I've forgotten how to talk correctly.  Even now when I try, my voice comes out wrong.  It's very strange.  

Now, I present to you, the TOP FIVE things I've learned about my life minus my unmistakable and loud voice:

5) It is next to impossible to talk on the phone when your voice is gone.  Eventually, I had to quit answering the phone and allow Jason to be my phone guy.  He did great.  "Yes, she's here, but, no, she can't talk on the phone right now."

4) I can mother with a soft voice.  It can be done.  Clapping gets children's heads to turn up and look at me as quickly, if not more, than hollering for them.  My handicapped voice required me to be in very close proximity of the kiddo's ear when giving instruction.  They listened.  

3) Did you know whispering is actually harder on your voice then talking?  Although Internet sources all agree, I just don't believe it.  For me, trying to talk, well, there were times when absolutely nothing would come out!

2) Jason admits, he has enjoyed less yelling.  Ouch.  But I'm taking the constructive criticism to heart and, even though my voice is starting to make an appearance, I'm gonna try to not bring back the yelling.  

1) I miss singing to my kids!  While the bedtime routine has been drastically reduced, I would rather it take ten minutes to sings songs and say real prayers instead of settling for kisses and whispered and strained "I love you".

So that's it.  I've enjoyed having a voice tonight.  Online.  A typed, clipped voice.  Squeak-squeak.   

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mom Heart Conference

I love being a mom.  I choose to stay at home and raise up my babies because I believe I am called to a motherhood ministry.  

Recently, I stumbled upon another motherhood ministry by a woman named Sally Clarkson.  She has written several books about motherhood ministry, keeps a beautiful blog, and leads women's conferences around the USA.  

I am entering a contest to win free tickets to one of her conferences.  I encourage all my readers [the precious, beautiful women and two amazing men who faithfully read my scattered writings] to check out Sally's website.  Her motherhood vision is incredibly similar to mine.  I am learning much from her book [s] and websites.  

Here's to winning the drawing! **clink-clink**  Can I make a toast with coffee?  Is that OK?  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the rain beats against the house

"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."  [Matthew 7:23]

Broken.  I am broken.  It's not a bad thing to be broken.  

It's dark.  

Mostly, I crawl right now.  Sometimes I find I can stand and walk.  But, I stumble.  A lot.  And I fall back down over and over.  

It's dark.  Are my eyes even open?  

I want to shut the door on grief.  Like crossing milk off the grocery list after I've thrown it into the shopping cart.  Done.  Over.  Got the milk.  Check.  Grieved over miscarriage.  Check.  

The darn door won't stay shut.  I hurt when the door is open, and I hurt when it is shut.  The pain sits against my chest and pools inside my gut.  

It's dark.  Did someone turn the lights off?  Where, oh where, is the Light?  

It's OK to be broken and weak.  I don't have to be OK.  I am trying so hard to be fixed and not broken.  God reminded me ever so gently today that His power is made perfect in my weakness.  [2 Corinthians 12:9]  

"even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." Psalm 139:12  

Lord, come shine on me.  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

He Lifted My Head Today

I either believe that God is good or I do not.  If God is good and He loves me, then He is trustworthy.  The Bible says that "all things work together for the good of those who love him [God] and are called according to his purpose."  Well, that's me.  I love God and I'm called for His purpose.  

Today I will praise the Lord.  Job says in 1:21 "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord."  I've been angry with the Lord for taking away Vivian, my tiny rice baby.  I questioned Him for even allowing me to become pregnant if He planned to just take the baby back.  

I realized during church today that Vivian has a purpose.  If I can align a purpose to my tiny lost baby, then I may find a measure of comfort.  I also realized the Creator has the right to create a life destined to live only a few weeks.  As time progresses, and my heart continues to heal, I see that God has a plan for Vivian's short life.  One, this experience allows me to really understand other women who have gone through a miscarriage.  I'm in the club now.  I get it.  

Vivian's creation was completely of the Lord.  Is He not in charge of His creations?  He knew when she was created that she would only ever live in the sweetness of her mother's womb.  

I wanted this baby.  I wanted her to grow in my womb and I wanted to hold her close to my heart.   BUT!  I want God's will MORE!  Today I am able to surrender.  I haven't been able to really lay it down.  And, maybe I will pick it up again tomorrow.  I don't know.  I'm hoping this is a measure of healing that with be steadfast.  

The Bible says God is the lifter of our heads.  Today, He lifted my head.  He gently took my chin and tipped my head up so I could see His face.  He loves me.  He is not out to get me.  He is not planning evil things for my life.  

"The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord," says the mother with the broken heart.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

still not OK

**Disclaimer**  I am using this blog to process the loss of my baby.  Read at your own risk.  ***

I've come unplugged.  Someone unplugged me from the source and my battery is loosing power.

I feel like I'm sitting in a tub of water.  Only the water is missing.  And I'm alone, cold and wet but I can't move to do anything about it.

The icing on the cake is gone.  I'm already rich with four kids.  Two boys and two girls. Shouldn't that be enough?  It comforts me, but I wanted the icing.  I feel guilty for wanting more.  Like a greedy child rubbing her hands together in anticipation of more toys.  Only the toy broke and was swept away.  I feel guilty for mourning the loss of a fifth child.  I'm already rich with children.  Shouldn't I be happy?  

And then my grandfather passed away early Friday morning.  My Papaw.  My mother's father.  I saw Papaw this past July.  He's been sick with heart issues for fifteen years. I'm grieved.  Especially for my mother missing her father and my Nanny missing her love.  But also I celebrate Papaw's arrival in Heaven, his eternal home.  He's walked with the Lord for decades and this is his reward.  

Two deaths in two weeks.  I just realized I'm walking "through the valley of the shadow of death".  I question prayer.  Why pray?  Won't God do what he's gonna do anyway?  Do we really sway the God of the Universe?  

Death is a passing.  An ending of this life and a beginning of another.  For innocent children and people who give their lives to Jesus Christ, death brings a glorious new life.  I believe this is true.  But for those of us left here on earth, our hearts are heavy.  Heaven seems so very far away. 

"He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."  Ecclesiastes 3:11  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

sharpening attempts

Only four days left of our three-week Wyoming visit.  I don't even know how to sum up the visit.  I had to make a list of all the good things that happened while we were here so I would remember them despite the hardships of the trip.  

I scan through the pictures on the digital memory card and they divide themselves into categories.  The kids' pictures slotted into "pre" and "post" puke day.  Yick.  

And I study the pictures of me.  In the first few I am ignorant and blissfully happy.  More pictures flip past the camera's small monitor and I see the other Jessica.  Her smile seems frozen.  Forced.  She knows about the rice-size baby's death.    

Even while my heart aches from the inevitable coming good-byes, I am looking forward to going home.  I am hoping my home will bring me a sense of comfort.  Yet it makes me sad to leave my parents and siblings.  We live so very far away.    

I feel so...  I don't know...  in a slump.  S....L....U...M...P...  Leaning, leaning over until I'm flat on the floor and the world's view is skewed.  It looks back at me half-hazardously.  

When my life becomes fuzzy, the Word of God clearly sharpens the image.  And I am desperate for His truth.  

"I am confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."  

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

"You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing."

"When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who knows my way."

Psalm 27:13, Psalm 73:26, Psalm 16:2,  Psalm 142:3 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the other one

Grieving the loss of Vivian, I am reminded of another baby missing from our family.  I hadn't forgotten the first baby.  But her loss was so different from this one.  

When Rose was born, the midwives discovered a "mass" hidden within the placenta.  A mass of baby.  Which explained the very early movements we could feel through my skin at only 16 weeks pregnant with Rose [and, unbeknown to us, a twin].  By the time we had an ultrasound at 27 weeks, there was only one baby.  So we were none the wiser until Rose was born and the other baby's remains were discovered in the placenta.  

 Rose had a "disappearing twin" [which is, actually, quite common as I learned through my postpartum research].  We discovered the loss of Rose's twin the day after Rose was born.  Holding a newborn, fresh and beautiful in my arms, brought such extreme comfort that the loss of her twin...  well, it hurt, but it was different.  Learning about a baby the same day I learned of the loss combined with the arrival of a healthy baby made the loss easier to bear.  We named Rose's twin, Rachel.  

With the passing of Vivian, God gently reminded me of our Rachel.  I asked a dear friend to make me a memorial image for little Vivian.  As she worked on it for us, I realized I needed to recognize my other missing baby, too.  It brings me comfort knowing there are two; they are together.  Sweet girls in Heaven.  Around the throne.  Doing what they were created to do, worshiping the King of Kings.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

miscarry this

I don't like the word "miscarry". Or the phrase "I miscarried". It implies I did something. I did nothing. Miscarry sounds like a miss-step. Like I took a wrong turn somewhere. Or I dropped something.

"I had a miscarriage" is even worse. I have had nothing. That's the problem. The something has disappeared into nothing.

But I'm not moping around. I accept there is no baby coming to me this summer. I also acknowledge there are worse things then miscarrying [blasted word] at six/seven weeks pregnant. There are worse things.

For me, though, in my small world, the loss is great.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

and then she was gone

As swiftly as she entered our world, she has quickly exited it.

Though my home overflows with blessings, one will forever be missing. Baby Number Five will never be in my arms this side of Heaven as the Lord has seen fit to bring her to Him before I ever see her precious face.

Grief overwhelms me. I have never walked this path. I have watched others walk it, but have never known it.

How can I ache for someone I only knew for a few weeks? I see this tiny, beautiful baby in my head and she's perfect. We call her Vivian Joy. Vivian means "alive"; and that she was [and is, but in Heaven]. Joy, well, she really did bring us so much joy. I was so happy to have her inside of me.

Blood runs out of me; this horrid reminder that death occured inside my body. No life will push forth to applause and laughter. Just nothingness. She slipped away from us when I was unaware.

What do I do now? Ache. Cry. And I reach, REACH, out to the mighty hand of my God. He's arm is not too short for me. His grace is sufficient for me. He is the God of all comfort. Draw me close, O Lord. Close....

"Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow." Psalm 144:4

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Whoosh; There It Is!

As most of you know via my Facebook announcement, Baby Number Five is already embedding his/her beautiful self in the sweetness of my womb.  Ah.  It's good to be full of life once again!  

When I wrote my September 17th post, I did have suspicions that I might be pregnant.  Let's just say the stage was set for a pregnancy, if you know what I mean.  Wink-wink.  It took another ten days before some urine on a stick would confirm my heart's desire.

While I celebrate my blessings in both my house full of children and the one burrowed deep within, I feel a stirring of unworthiness.  Why me, Lord?  It seems contritely unfair that I should sheepishly wish for a pregnancy and whoosh, there it is.  Unfair because women long for babies for decades and no "whoosh, there it is" appears.  Why?  Why is my womb fertile and others not?  I just don't understand.

Yet, I humbly embrace this precious load God, in his infinite and uncomprehending wisdom, has laid upon my shoulders.  My calling to mother, now, five children.  **Gasp.**  I surrender to his will and bow my head in submission.  

I am not amazing.  I am not supermom.  I am just Jessica, broken, unworthy, full of mistakes and given to the occasional fit.  Yet, does the cup ask the potter why He formed it so?  I take up my banner and walk with the Lord.  There I find peace.

Oh, did I mention there's a baby in my tummy?  Yipee!

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's A Heart Thing; Baby Number Five?

I am ready for another baby.  

OK, everyone calm down and take a deep breath.  I'm not sharing this personal matter of the heart with you so you can judge and question and wonder about my sanity.  I am sharing it with you because it is truly a miracle that I want another baby.  

Reading through my pregnancy posts, I am reminded of the struggles of pregnancy and the hard lessons I learned through perseverance.  After four pregnancies and four babies, I am well aware of the difficulties another pregnancy will bring to our family.

Oh, but I still want a baby.  My feeling for another baby is as strong as if it were my first time around the merry-go-round.  I see babies and I envy the mommies carrying them.  I walk past baby clothes and I sigh in desire for a baby to fill out the pale pinks, blues and yellows.  Women with their swollen pregnant bellies look beautiful and precious to me.  See, I've got it bad!!    

The desire for another baby stole upon me unexpectedly.  This summer the urge begin to tickle my heart.  I broached the subject with my impregnator, the handsome hubby, and he was quite shocked.  "We" decided it would be a good idea to wait until after our cross county move.

Here we are in the new home, the dust is settling around us and my urge has turned into a full force hurricane.  I want another baby!  The strong desire surprises me.   God has truly changed my heart.  I look at my children and feel like there should be more.  I know this does not mesh with our society's views on children, but that's OK.  It meshes with God's view, and that is whose opinion counts. 

So that's that.  I am just warning you all.  Baby Number Five is in my heart...  Only God knows when he/she will be growing in my womb.  Giggle-giggle.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Being Pushed by The List

Have I told you that Samuel knows how to push my buttons?  In the past thirty minutes, I walked in on him cutting his shirt with my sewing scissors [praise God he just cut the shirt and not his skin!!]; he yanked the bottom sewing drawer all the out so that the contents split everywhere; and he turned the dishwasher on.  Pushing my buttons.  

I am overwhelmed.  Which, according to my journals [and this transparent blog of mine] appears to be a running theme in my life.  I believe most, if not all, mothers have a "To Do List" comparable to mine.  There are the usual chores of laundry, dishes, floors, toilets, diaper changing, spanking the naughties out, bathing the children, cooking meals, and sorting toys.  On top of all this is unpacking boxes.  Unpacking boxes is more than just taking items out of boxes.  It involves sorting, organizing and finding places for everything.  Continuing the lengthy list comes home school; a self-inflicted and totally convicted job of teaching my own children their reading, writing, and arithmetic.  

My list is long.  It is full and time consuming.  My mother-in-law once told me, "Jessica, you can't let the list run you."  Does your list run YOU?  It runs me.  That darn list is quite bossy and pushy.  It even wakes me up at night.  

Today, I tell The List to "hush up!"  [I would say "shut up", but we don't say that at our house.]  I'm tired of The List stressing me out.  If I don't get to it, who cares?  It'll get done.  Or, as Jason says, "it'll still be there in the morning".  [Which, frankly, I don't see how that's encouraging.  But oh well!]  I am not going to be run by my To Do List.  I'm just gonna enjoy the day and thank the Lord for it.  He is the maker of Today!!  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  

I'm off to chase Samuel!

"I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.  I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble.  When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who knows my way."  Psalm 142:1-3

Friday, August 20, 2010

aching heart of a searching sparrow

Tomorrow will be our one month anniversary of driving into Alamogordo, NM.  

Moving is a transition of the heart.  The mountains belong to me, but I have not made any forever friendships with kindred spirits. I am lonely.  [Side note: God did move my sweet friend, Kim, out to NM over two years ago.  I am blessed to have here only an hour away.  That does help my lonely heart.]  

In VA, I was rich in friendship.  Rich.  Friends abounded in my life.  They were everywhere, and I basked in the comfort and love that emanated from my sweet friends.  I miss the basking.  

I love my house.  I love the mountains that surround this God-made basin.  I love my clothes line.  I am enjoying decorating my new house.  The house feels like mine more and more everyday.  I am enjoying my children and the peace of the country.  My husband and I are walking hand in hand in this journey and that feels oh, so good.

Yet my heart is sad.  Loneliness resonants through it like the loud banging of a tribal drum.  It aches inside my chest.  I still feel out of place in this small town.  I feel out of place in the local church we've been visiting.  I miss the smiling face of Grace Church in VA.  I miss being a part of a church that loves me and my family.

I know it takes time.  One month down..  how many more to go before I feel "home"?  I guess I get closer every day, right?  Oh, I so hope so.  

"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young- a place near your altar." Psalm 84:3

"Better is one day in His house, then thousands elsewhere."  

Thursday, August 05, 2010

This Is Our House; Day Three

It’s beginning to look like our house. Our faithful, versatile muslin curtains are hanging up at the double glass doors. This is the third house their company has accompanied us. I like them. Obviously.

Our new three bedroom, 1600 square foot home is perfect for us. With a view of the majestic, rugged Sacramento Mountains out my backdoor and five acres for the children to run around, there is no denying the country atmosphere enveloping us. It draws us in. The air is crisp and quiet. A train whistles past our house several times a day. Miles away, but the ground is so flat from here to the base of the mountains, that we can see the train.

Settling into our house takes work. Opening up our lives in the new town takes work. [And Alamogordo is definitely a town versus a city. A wonderful, small town boasting of modern businesses like Applebees and Holiday Inn plus historic wonders like “the oldest zoo in the southwest” and utility companies that required me to actual “come in” to set up our account. Small town] Today, Day Three of living on Southend Road, we barely miss cable and internet. Two convenience yet to be hooked up. The kids are too busy playing to care. Although LelaMae did sit down at the TV and, “click-click”, tried to turn it on. She sighed in disappointment before scampering off on another adventure.

As I unpacked the boxes in my new kitchen, I heared God gently whisper, “See; I told ya so. I told you it would be great.” My heart swelled up when I opened a box and found a Ziploc baggie full of refrigerator magnets, memory scriptures and pictures from the fridge on Invader Drive. I vividly remember packing and taping that box with tears in my eyes at the un-knowledge of the future. Here I am in the future. And I like it.  The future [which is now the present] is perfect for me.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

lifestyle change my life

I haven't written much about food.  But I sure do think about it.  A lot.  I think about whether it's good for me or not.  I think about how much I am eating.  I think about how much I am not eating.  I think about how good it tastes.  Mostly, I think about how much I hate the addiction.  

Food is my drug of choice.  Cigarettes don't do it for me; can't stand the smell.  I prefer to ruin my pancreas with sugar versus my liver with alcohol.  I've never even been offered marijuana or cocaine.   But food?  Ah, yes, it really does do things, chemically, to our bodies.  To my body.  It makes me feel good when I feel sad.  It gives me something to do when I am bored.  And, darn it, it tastes so delicious!

Two years ago, I blogged about my history with my weightloss struggles.  I won't bother repeating myself; feel free to click HERE and read that post.  I had just joined WW-again.  I don't remember how long I attended before I quit.   But, a year later, I re-joined WW again.  That was last October, in 2009.  From October to March, I lost thirty pounds.  I have stalled at that thirty for the past three/four months.  Better than gaining, but still it is not loosing.  

Do diets work?  Statistically, 95% of dieters gain their weight back.  I posted this question on my Facebook account and everyone answered "it's a lifestyle change" blah, blah, blah.  Yes, that's true.  I guess, my question really was, what if I have some block for changing my lifestyle?  Or, better yet HOW do I change my lifestyle?  I know WHAT to change, but HOW do I get it from my head to my heart?  

Do I love myself?  I love my kids so I feed my kids healthy food.  I make sure they don't spend all day sitting around, watching TV.  I hide all the junk food and ration it out sparingly to the kids, usually allowing junk only a couple of times a week.  For them.  But, when they are sleeping, I eat the rest of the ice cream and snitch the candy bar hiden in my purse.  What's wrong with me?  

What am I missing?  What are 95% of us missing???  Two-thirds of Americans are overweight.  So, that means that 2/3rd of you reading my blog are overweight.  While that makes me not feel lonely, I don't find that encouraging.  How can we fix this mess?  Lifestyle change?  Or is it a heart change that we need?  Both?  

I press on.  This I know:  giving up won't get me anywhere but fatter.  I re-joined WW in NM.  I found a women's gym in Alamogordo; I am signing up after we move to our new house.  I am seeking God for freedom.  Well, access to freedom He has already given me.  And, I am researching health, diets, etc. online.  

I want to love myself enough to take care of me.  I want to be in the 5% who succeed at the all elusive "lifestyle change".  

Friday, July 23, 2010

aching for the familiar

Home.  It's a funny word.  One I've been throwing around in my head recently.  

We are in our temporary home right now.  Called TLF, Temporary, Living Facilities.  It is like a hotel suite.  There is a kitchen with a bar for the kids to sit at.  A separate bedroom for mommy/daddy privacy.  A fold out couch and two TVs.  And two sinks.  One toilet.  Our space is limited, but it's working out.  

I miss- I don't even know what I miss.  I don't miss Virginia, as in the state of Virginia.  New Mexico's laid back approach suites my style much more.  I love the mountains of NM.  They have already captured my heart.  I suspect the mountains of changing moods and  I like it.

I miss the people I left behind in VA.  Sue.  Rachel.  Jackie.  Lindsey.  There are too many wonderful women to list off here.  My heart aches for your company.

It's more than missing friends.  I miss the sweet comfort of familiarity.  Familiarity takes time.  Routines take time.  Friendships take time.  There is not much I can do to create familiarity.  I yearn for it all.  Day Two in housing offers a tiny bit of familiarity.  The same stove.  The same meal routine.  I showered in the same shower two days in a row.  Jason went to work today.  That felt soothingly familiar.  

It's the weekend.  It feels like I've been living three weeks worth of weekends.  Today, Jason worked and Monday he will work again.  So, it really IS the weekend.  New routines begin.  I hunted down a Weight Watchers meeting that meets on Saturday.  My heart is all a'flutter at the "normalcy" WW offers to me.  

"When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who knows my way."  Psalm 142:3  When I forget who I am; when I can't find myself, there is great peace that God still knows who is Jessica.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Texas and then "HOME", kind of sort of...

Our five days in the Texas country side have whizzed past us already. We still have two more days in Texas, but we'll be in the big city of Fort Worth. I love Fort Worth. So alive!!

The country was wonderful. Being with in-laws was, miraculously refreshing. In-laws do not have to be difficult!! God can make a way so that in-laws are friends, not just extended family.

Tami, my mother-in-law, loved having us there. Jason's youngest brother, Joshua, is only a few years older than Isaiah, my six year old. Isaiah and his uncle Josh played hard. Every night we drained mud out of the tub after baths. Yick. Good, hard, dirty play. The girls are no exception. They were covered in dirt, too. And Samuel? Where did he go? Oh yeah, that little pile of dirt IS my Sam!

As time approaches for us to head to our new home in New Mexico, my heart grows excited. We have a house that we are in the process of buying. Praying God's grace to coat the whole process. It's a lot of work!! Especially while we are on the road, borrowing Internet from various towers and searching creatively for printers and faxes.

This roadtrip, compared to last year, is much more difficult. I believe it is because we are not just "on the road". We are moving. The roadtrip is just part of the move. It doesn't feel as much like a vacation this time. Still good. Still a blessing to see our loved ones. But my stress level is mucho higher.

Praying for grace. Praying for small moments of refreshing. Seeking the Lord. Trusting Him. He is good, this I know.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Illinois Days

Things are good in Illinois. Day Two of our three day stay at my brother Israel's house is passing quickly. Yesterday, we talked, ate sushi, made a recording of us singing and Israel playing on guitar and watched the cousins bond. Ah, yes, the bonding cousins. The bonding cousins has blessed my heart richly.

The most obvious bond is between Emily and Rose. They are both four years old, just a few months age difference. They both like princesses and tea parties. Emily and Rose are a little sassy and it fits them both. They are acting like long time buddies. I love it.

This afternoon we head over to my grandparents' house. We'll visit with them for awhile before sharing dinner at kid-friendly McDonald's. We are also going to join them for evening service at the DeKalb church of Christ. Hoping the children do well. Even though we are skipping nap-time for the girls. Yesterday, it took me an hour to get them both asleep, and then they were both awake less then an hour later! Not sure if it's worth it. So, today, they are just watching a quiet time movie.

I miss my honey. Jason made it to Alamogordo last night. He called to tell me that I would like our new town. He said the sun was setting behind the mountains and that it was beautiful. And that I would definitely like it there. Today he is sweating it out, unloading our 26 foot Uhual into the large storage unit. Tomorrow, Jason plans to look at a property we've been eye-balling online since March. Then, in the afternoon, he and his dad will head back towards TX. Tuesday, they'll arrive in Ft. Worth. Wednesday, Lord willing, Jason will catch a bus to Wichita, KS and meet up with us.

It's a lot, I know. But, so far, the plan has worked. By the grace of God. Praying all continues to glorify God and peace continues to prevail.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Day One on the Road to NM

The dog puked.  Isaiah asked us to turn around when we realized we'd forgotten the DVDs [only we found them in the van later..]  Rose wanted to go back to Aunt Rachel's house.  Lela Mae peed her pants and then sobbed.  Samuel screamed.  A lot. 

Ten hours on the road.  Only about eight of them were driving.  The other two were full of potty breaks and meal breaks.  But, we made it.  We are at our half-way point between VA and IL.  Tomorrow should be tad shorter.  

I drove out of VA for, probably, the last time today.  Hollered a "good-bye old house" as we drove past Invader on the way out of town.  Got choked up.  

Roadtrips are fun.  It is a bonding experience.  I got to see Samuel laugh over and over again [which made up for all the crying].  Isaiah loves the new Leapster I splurged on.  Rose laughed out loud at my jokes today.  And I soothed my sweet Lela Mae by rubbing the only thing I could reach from the front seat- her calf.  

It was a good day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

moving on

It has begun.

 The house is still being emptied.  Jason works continually at it.  I have run away to Rachel's house with the wonderful excuse of watching the kids.  The old house now depresses me.  So empty and dirty.  It's not my house anymore.  

The roadtrip has started.  Even though we are not on the road.  Rachel's house is our first stop.  All six of us are in her bedroom with the gracious Rachel sleeping on her couch.  The first night went well.  For the kids.  I felt restless.  I wiggled and squirmed, wondering what today would bring.  

Today hasn't brought anything too awful.  Actually, it has been quite mellow.  Wal-mart trip to get goodies for the roadtrip.  Tying up loose ends here.  Tomorrow morning is our final housing inspection.  Then Wednesday we have our final outprocessing appointment, leaving Jason officially no longer assigned to Langley AFB.  So exciting.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jesus In My Kitchen

We are coming down the wire over here, and things are still up in the air.  Every day I think, maybe today we'll find out when we are leaving...  Yet, evening comes and we still don't have anything solid.  

What amazes me is my peace and calm.  I really am OK with whatever works out.  I have this intense desire to do God's will, above all else.  And to not worry.  Check out where God led me in His Word this week: 

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"  I hear Christ saying this with a hint of sarcasm, but still in grace and love for us.  Because, really, why DO we worry?  Nothing comes of it.  Nothing, but more worry and fear.  

Reading through Luke 12:22-34 tells of how God cares for the sparrows and the lilies.  He tells me to not even worry about what we will eat or drink.  Which translates to my weary heart that I do not need to worry about the quickly approaching move or roadtrip.  What a relief!!

I have found the most incredible praise and worship CD.  The Holy Spirit in it soothes my soul.  Check out Misty Edwards .    Thanks to a sweet friend who donated her old ipod to the Jessica Foundation, I actually have an ipod to download Misty's music onto.  And I have.  And Jesus is now in my kitchen.  Is He in your kitchen?

As I prepare to leave Invader Drive, my heart yearns to leave my friends in the hands of Jesus.  There are a few who still do not know Him.  Several that I have been praying for to come to know the Lord, to surrender their lives to Jesus.  I have asked God to open doors for one final conversation.  One more chance to really lay out God's plan.  One more time to be His vessel, a light in the darkness.  Use me, Lord!  

Thanks for reading.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

unforced rhythms of grace

"Are you tired?  Worn out? ...  Come to me.  Get away with me and you will recover your life.  I will show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  Matthew 11:28 [The Message Translation]

I can't tell you how soothing this verse is to me today.  But, I'm gonna try.  


"Are you tired?  Worn out?...  Come to me."
I am tired.  Worn out? Yep, me again.  

Christ, the King of Kings, beckons me to come to him.  "Come to me, Jessica," he whispers to my heart.  His presence brings such sweet peace.  Indescribable peace.  Literally.  I cannot describe it here on this computer screen.  But, I do pray it for YOU.  That whoever is reading these letters, would FEEL and KNOW the peace of the Savior.  

"Get away with me and you will recover your life."
I love how Jesus says "Get away with me".  It reminds me of my husband and I going on our Lovers Getaways.  I love going away with just Jason.  It resonates within me to getaway with my Best Friend, the Giver of Life, Jesus Christ.

Recover my life.  What is my life?   As my previous post described, my life gets lost sometimes.  Amidst the mumbo jumbo of babies, kids, housework, worries and fears, I do loose sight of my life.  But, it's OK because when I get away with Christ, I will recover my life.  Again, there's that indescribable peace.

"I will show you how to take a real rest."
I need rest.  Even in bed at night, when the lights are off and my husband's breathing is deep beside me, I struggle to rest.  God knows this.  He sees Jessica under the covers; He hears her cries and tears.  He longs to show me how to rest.  

"Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it."
I pray God walks with me today.  I want to work with Him as I tend to my children and my household.  As I march along, crossing things off the ever growing To Do List, I want to remember He is in this room.  Maybe I could really just stand back and watch how He does it.  I'm sure He has some ideas I haven't thought of, don't ya think?  

"Learn the unforced rhythms of grace."
My goal is that this phrase would one day describe my home.  Unforced rhythms of grace.  I pray that grace would be abundant in my home and grace would BE the rhythm here.

 "I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you."
I take too much on me.  I think I have to take care of people God has not called me to care for.  I also worry too much.  God has this upcoming move to New Mexico all under control.  He has not called me to worry.  The move should not be heavy upon my shoulders.  So, I lay the move at His feet and trust Him with it.  He has just called me to move with Him.  To walk with Him.  To move in grace.  

"Keep company with me and you will learn to live freely and lightly."
My daughters wore beautiful Easter dresses to church on Sunday.  Sure, Easter is long past, but their pretty dresses are still hanging in the closet.  They love their dresses.  The first thing they did after I dressed them was twirl around and around, laughing and giggling.  Freely and lightly.  Keeping company with Christ is like dancing.  Twirling around and dancing with someone who loves me and knows me more intimately than anyone else.  

"Are you tired?  Worn out? ...  Come to me.  Get away with me and you will recover your life.  I will show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  Matthew 11:28 

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Mommy's Crazy Spinning Thoughts

Do you ever just feel so lost and sinking that you worry you won't come back up for air?

Usually I am much too hurried to pause for a long, hot bath, but the other day demanded it.  Or, I should say, my hairy legs demanded it.  You know what I mean.  

Sitting in that steaming hot water, I got lost in my thoughts.  All of the day swarmed around me and I sunk into reminiscing.  

As a mother, it feels like there is never enough of me to go around.  Often I feel guilty for not doing this or for not doing that.  I am a stay-at-home-Mom and I home-school my kids.  How could they not get enough of me?  Really.

Ever just want to start over?  I feel that way looking at my body.  I just want to start over.  My kids have these beautiful healthy bodies and, I'm ashamed to say, I feel almost jealous of them.  They are so healthy and strong and lean.  Rose enjoyed playing drums on my belly and mushing it around.  I suggested she play her own belly.

"But, Momma," she said, "my belly is not as squishy as yours!"  It was quite the compliment, I guess.  Thanks, Rose.  

I feel so incredibly in limbo these days.  With the summer's end up in the air- will we move?  Will we not move?  Will we move to Holloman?  Will we not move to Holloman?  Yadda-yadda!!  It makes me want to spin around in crazy circles until I'm too dizzy to stand up straight.  Round and round I go...

The bath brought all these crazy thoughts out.  Scary, aren't they?  I think I need some therapy.  Or prayer.  Or another hot bath.  Something.  Maybe I'll just clean my house.  That'll do it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Moms Club Breakfast Burritos

Per your request, here is my recipe for Moms Club Breakfast Burritos.  Try it out and let me know if it tastes right...  Hopefully, I didn't miss a step.  

1 pckge reduced fat turkey sausage
8 eggs
1 potato
1 c 2% sharp cheddar

your favorite salsa
jalapeƱos, chopped, fresh or jarred 
12 flour tortillas
Aluminum foil, separated into pieces, large enough to wrap the tortilla

  1. Cook the sausage completely.  While sausage is cooking, microwave the potato until soft or "baked".  Carefully cut baked potato until small, bite-size pieces. Add to fully cooked sausage.  Add chili powder, garlic, and salt onto the potato before stirring it into the sausage.  Set aside.
  2. Scramble eggs and cook.  Combine eggs with sausage/potato mix.  
  3. Now, you fill the burritos.  Start with a tortilla on top of a piece of foil.  Add a few spoonfuls of eggs/sausage/potato.  Leave about an inch of the bottom of the tortilla empty so you can wrap it up later.  Next, add about 2T cheese; 1T Salsa and 2-4 slices of jalapeƱos.  Fold bottom of tortilla up, wrap up the sides, and hold the whole thing together by wrapping it up with the foil.  Put in a baking dish.  Continue filling and wrapping burritos until all 12 completed.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Allow wrapped burritos to bake for 30-45 minutes.  This melts the cheese and mixes all the yummy flavors.  

Hope you can follow my directions and that your burritos taste wonderful!  Love you guys!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Just Don't FEEL It

"Yeah, whatever, Jessica," she told me at dinner, "I still envy your life."  

I stared at my single friend across the table from me.  She looked sheepishly at me before restating her comment.  "I hear all your complaints and stuff...  But, I'd still trade places with you in a heartbeat.  You have the life I've always wanted."  

I do make it a point to try to not complain.  But, I still fall prey to my own mouth sometimes and go off about the trials and struggles of motherhood [and wifehood, sometimes].  My sweet friend's comment jangled my thoughts.  She is right.  My life is enviable; I am a rich woman!  But I do forget it sometimes.  OK, often.  I forget it often.  

This past week, my brain has felt too full.  Too full of thoughts, dreams, hopes, stories, history, beliefs, unbeliefs...  Just too much in there.  I walk around, doing what I am supposed to be doing, but feeling like I'm going through the motions.  

Psalm 16:5 says "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure."  

I know this in my head, but do not feel it in my heart.  Joyce Meyers says walking in the Spirit means not living by feelings.  I cannot decide if she is right.  Yet, I press on, ignoring my feelings.  Trying to scrounge up some self-discipline and self-control.  

Here is the Truth: Mothering four kids is definitely challenging, but it is what God has assigned for me.  Which means, I can do it!  There are days I feel like I'm falling apart and can't continue for one minute.  But, the truth is, God has assigned me this portion.  This very LARGE portion.  And "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  [Phillippians 4:13].  

So, today I press on.  Even though I don't feel like it.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Garage Sale Diary

5:00 am   
Alarm goes off.  

5:15 am
Out the door with glittery signs.  Posted up and down the neighborhood.  I am very proud of my signs.  I am.  They are something to be proud of.  For sure.

5:45 am
Rachel arrives to help set up.  She is an awesome sister, I must say.  At the house, the kids are already awake and poor, bleary-eyed Jason is up, too.  He is running on less than four hours of sleep after working until 2am.  Kids are wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.

6:00 am
Hauling my junk out to the meridian, past our parking places.  We set up tables previously borrowed from gracious neighbor.  It takes a good 15 minutes just to haul everything outside.  

6:30 am
Setting up.  Trying to organize the ridiculous amount of clothes I have out.  How did the pile get so BIG?!  Seriously, I think the clothes reproduced while I was sleeping...

7:00 am
Ready to open!  Whew-hew!  I sit outside in my cushy camping chair and excitedly await the first customer.

7:15 am
Inside going pee when first customer arrives.  She spends a whole two dollars.  While checking out, her girlfriend calls.  "Yeah, Conventry..  Yeah, I know- it's big!  I'm coming, Girl!"  

Yes, the huge housing community, Coventry, is having their neighborhood yard sale.  How could she even talk about that here??  Just kidding.  Wishing I lived in Coventry right now.

8:00 am
I don't know if I should talk to everyone or just sit and pretend like I don't see them.  "Would you like a bag?"  or "Those are 25 cents," would be helpful, right?  Or would that drive everyone away?

8:50 am
Already dropping prices.  Little couple pouring through the baby clothes.  I told them about my $5 a bag deal and they were not interested.  So far no one has been.  I decide to slash my prices.  Now the clothes are only two bucks a bag!  The couple fill a bag.

9:00 am
The wind keeps blowing my signs over.  Darn wind.
Rachel leaves with the girls.  They are going with Auntie today.

9:15 am
Fourth person to walk away without buying anything!  Am I doing something wrong?  Plus, three out of four of my "Yard Sale" signs have fallen about the neighborhood.  Jason takes the boys with him to fix my advertisements.  

9:30 am 
My sweet neighbor, Lacey, arrives with gorgeous prom dresses to sale.  She sets up camp with me and we chat.  

9:45 am
Another person stops, looks around quickly, and leaves even quicker.  Sigh.  What the heck are they looking for??

10:02 am
Wind now blowing over piles of clothes.  I never realized Virginia was so windy.  Fifth couple to walk away without buying anything.  Sniff-sniff...  

10:10 am
The chips we are selling to boost our sales are looking mighty tasty!

10:33 am
Nice lady just bought the $50 dress I paid only $20 for at Dressbarn.  She paid only $10!  Great deal since I never wore the gorgeous thing!  She says her daughter will love it and I am happy for it.  Hope it all works out.

11:04 am
Sold the bike and couch.  Young airman couple excited about some furniture in their house.  I remember those days!

12:30 pm
Tired and hungry.  Jason takes $20 of hard earned cash and runs out to Sonic for lunch.  So far we have made $100.  Five hours and one hundred bucks.  Not counting all the house last week I spent organizing, pricing, etc.

12:45 pm
Sonic time!!  Yum!

1:00 pm 
Still have A LOT out here!  All the baby stuff is still here.  No one is interested in the fish tanks. 

1:15 pm
Isaiah just brought a kite outside from the house.  Says he wants to fly a kite.  I am hot and sweaty and a tad cranky.  No kite flying today!

1:45 pm
We have had one customer in the past hour.  Things have drastically slowed down.  I'm thinking we're gonna wrap it up early.

2:00 pm
That's it! We're done!  We pack it all up in boxes and Jason drives up on the meridian so we can load his truck.  Jason loves to drive on meridians.  

2:30 pm
Truck loaded.  Tables folded.  Jason is off to the Airman's Attic and Jessica is collapsed on a chair, fan on her face.  The kids are running wild.  Total earnings of about $150.  Is it really all worth it??

So that was my garage sale excitement.  Hope you found it entertaining!  What are YOUR garage sale stories?  Comment and share your favorite memory with me.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Ode to Mom; Top Ten Memories


In honor of my mother on Mother's Day, I submit the top TEN memories of my mother.

10) My mom used to braid Rachel's and my hair on Saturday nights so that it would be crimpy for church on Sunday.  I remember sitting and watching a Saturday night movie, Mom patiently braiding and braiding.  I sure did LOVE my hair in the morning!  I felt beautiful!

9) I remember Mom buying me my first bra.  She brought it home and said, "I have a surprise for you!  Now that you are a young woman...  you'll need this."  She whipped it out and I squealed in excitement at having my very own bra.  I felt grown up indeed.

8) When Jason and I first fell in love, we sometimes would, um, kiss on the couch at my parents' house.  Mom always made an obvious effort to make noise as she walked down the hall so we could hear her and knock it off.  Hee hee.  That was good, Mom.

7)  Funny memory: I was home from college and Mom was trying to open something in the kitchen.  Her knife slipped and she stabbed herself in the palm.  Calmly, she said, "Uh, we have a situation..."  She didn't want me to pass out so she didn't make a big deal of her wound.  I don't know why that is funny... but it is! 

6) In the sixth grade we moved from IL to TX.  New school.  Not many friends.  I often cried about school and the rejection I felt from my peers.  Mom loved on me and said, "Think of Jesus.  He knows how you feel, Jessica.  He was rejected, too."  Even my Savior understood how I felt.  

5) Growing up we had one vehicle.  If Mom wanted the car, she drove Dad to and from work.  One day when we picked Dad up, Mom watched him walk across the parking lot.  She said, "Isn't he handsome?!"  I knew she loved my daddy.  She showed me how to love my man.  

4) My first job was working at a grocery store in Rio Vista, Texas.  I often came home after 10pm and found Mom in bed, reading the Bible or a Christian romance novel.  Many nights, I sat down at the end of her bed and we talked about our days.  I still feel special when I think about that season.   

3) When Jason and I were courting, Mom gave me "the talk".  She watched my cheeks flush and I insisted I was waiting until I was married to have sex.  [Which we did, FYI!!] I said, "I haven't even kissed him yet, MOM!"  And Mom sweetly replied, "Yes, but, Jessica, when a woman gives her heart, her body soon follows."  This is so true!  It proved to be much more difficult than I expected to wait until the wedding night.  

2) I was blessed to have my mother attend Rose's birth.  During the birth, my mother and Jason's mother sung hymns.  A few were hymns I had requested, but many were songs God laid on their hearts.  They sounded like angels.  It fed my weary soul.  

1)My mom attended Lela's birth.  She was the photographer.  And my cheerleader.  Mom sat at the side of the birthing tub and cried.  "You're doing great, Jessica," she said.  I still remember her voice.

Mom, I love you.  I love your emails and your phone calls.  Wish we lived closer so we could visit each other more than once a year.  You have been and continue to be a blessing to me.  As a mother myself, I understand the struggles and victories of mothering.  You did good, Mom.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

PS:  Other things I love about my mom:  sometimes she laughs so hard she can't breath.  :)  She loves to sing and sings beautifully- she taught me how to sing.  :)  Mom is a great encourager to this young momma; she always tells me what a good job I am doing.  I need that so much!  :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Motherhood Follies: Locked Away

"Everyone upstairs!"  I called to the brood.  Lela darted quickly off the back porch.  Rose took her time and Isaiah rushed past me with a huge grin on his face.  

I surveyed the damage caused by four little children unleashed on the back porch.  It was a rainy day and I needed a break.  So I had let them loose on the screened in back porch.  The same back porch where Daddy stores his stuff.  

My endlessly creative kids turned a small storage closet into an elevator.  Isaiah carefully removed Jason's yard tools so that the small closet could be put to good use.  Before I shewed them upstairs, I thought their elevator game was very fun and creative.  Now, staring at the sharp yard tools across the porch floor, I sighed.  Time to clean up.  

Approaching the closet, I noticed a clothes hanger slipped through the door handles.  My Isaiah had locked the doors shut.  About that same time, I saw the doors move.  I jerked the clothes hanger out of the little holes and ripped the doors open.  Gasp!  My one-year-old Samuel stood waiting patiently in the "elevator".  He looked up at me, slightly amused at his own captivity.  I hugged him ferociously.  He wiggled against me, anxious to ran after the other kids. 

As I headed upstairs,  I decided to be a little mean and mess with Isaiah.  Samuel was behind me, so I knew Isaiah did not know that I knew.  I called up the stairs "I can't find Samuel anywhere!  Has anyone seen Samuel?  I don't know where he is!!"  My voice sounded hysterical.  

Isaiah met me in the hallway.  He looked very guilty.  "Mom," he said.  "Mom, I know where Sam  is.  Come here, I'll show you."  

"I know where he is, Isaiah!  I found him in the closet," I confessed.  Isaiah stared at me.  I often shock him with my infinite knowledge.  

After his much deserved discipline, Isaiah and I loved on each other.  He apologized and I told him he needed to ask forgiveness for locking up my baby.  He did.  But then Isaiah turned to me with his eyes full of mischievousness.  With a touch of glee, he said "Mom...  How long was he in there?"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Better than Twilight Love

I finally broke down and watched the cultural phenomenon Twilight.  As a Christian, I wasn't sure where my beliefs fell when it came to vampires and werewolves.  Eventually though, curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  

Honestly, I totally enjoyed the movie.  I can see why teenage girls flock to the theaters to swoon over Edward Cullen and his little human girlfriend.  The movie was intriguing and drawing in a mysterious way.  

The Twilight movies have a magic about them.  There is something that draws me in and holds me for days and weeks after viewing the film.  Even now, when I returned Twilight to the library, I stared at Edward and Bella on the DVD cover.  Why was I drawn to this little love story?

"I love you like that," God whispered to me.  My heartbeat quickened.  

"Lord?"  I whispered back.  "YOU?  Love ME?"

Suddenly, my point of view shifted.  Instead of Edward the Vampire, I saw the Almighty God, the Creator of the world.  Instead of co-dependent Bella, I saw broken and hurting me.  I saw The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.  The most powerful supernatural Being, the God of Israel, offers his love to lowly humanity.  This is great love!

The depth of passion and longing displayed in the Twilight Saga pales in comparison to the passion and longing God has for his people.  God sent his Son to die for us!  Christ loves us so much He gave His life for us.  For me!  For YOU!  This is love.  What passionate love!  God has always lived and will continue to live forever.  God protects us.  God is our refuge and our deliverer.  God knows my thoughts.  God watches over me at night.  God is way better than a blood-thirsty and confused vampire!  

I am humbled by God's great love for little old me.   I am love struck when I look at the great Being who cares so deeply for ME.  God is a Being worth trusting.  He is faithful and true.  He will not let me down.  He will never leave me.  

I am so in love!

Friday, April 09, 2010

My Secret Mommy Hideaway

There's a secret place in my house where I go when I need a break from the chaos of life with four small children.  It's a small room, the size of a closet.  I can turn the little fan on and drown out some of the sounds of life.  Sometimes I sit and read.  Sometimes I leave the light off and just sit in the floor.  Sometimes I look in the mirror and hold a mock interview between a reporter and myself as we discuss adventures I've conquered.  Sometimes I pray.  Sometimes I sit in the floor and cry.

And sometimes I pee.  

Yes, my secret place is the bathroom.  Well, now you know.  

You see, downstairs the only private areas are the laundry room and the bathroom.  The laundry room door doesn't lock.  The bathroom door does.  Locked doors are important for secret, private places.  

I don't know what I would do without my secret place.  Er, my bathroom.  Back when I only had one or two kids I let them come to the bathroom with me.  Back then, it seemed easier that way.  Now that there are four children banging on the door, I figure they certainly can entertain themselves while I am, um, busy.  

I really love my bathroom.  I think when we move to our new house this summer in New Mexico I am going to paint my bathroom a nice color and make it really cozy in there.  Sigh.  Sounds so nice.

Excuse me a minute.  I need to go potty.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Screaming Imperfections Are Hurting My Ears

Today, my little seven-month old Cocker Spaniel darted out the back yard gate.  As I chased her around the playground, I grew angrier and angrier.  I was mad that she was running away and not coming to me.  Which made me mad that I have not been training her on a lead so that she would learn to not run away.  Which then made me mad that I had not been making training my dog a priority.  Because, you know, it's not like I'm taking care of four kids or anything. 

I started working out at the YMCA this week after a long sedentary stretch of no work outs.  At my first trainer-led work out, I was far from perfect.  Three days later, my thighs are still sore.  I'm reminded just how incredibly out of shape I am.  I am frustrated with myself for not having kept up with my work outs in the past year.    

Yesterday, five minutes after I tucked the girls into bed, I heard little pattering feet.  I limped up the stairs [quite a feat with my painfully sore legs] and found three-year-old Lela on the toilet,  pooping.  I stood in the hall waiting for her to finish so I could do the joyous job of wiping her butt.  Four-year-old Rose sneaked out of her room, right behind me. When she saw me in the hallway, she darted back to her room.  Then Rose started whining about needing to go pee, even though she had just peed ten minutes previously!  Oh, my blood was really boiling at that point.  Suddenly, I wanted to toss Rose out the window.  How could I, the perfect mommy, think such horrible thoughts about her precious child??  

Striving for perfection is stressful and overwhelming.  It is hard for me to admit that I cannot do it all.  I easily slip into the mentality of trying to everything.  And not just do everything, but, of course, do it perfectly.  I took all this to the Lord and He slapped this verse in front of my imperfect face.  

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9

Oh.   Right.  I'm not supposed to be perfect.  Because if I were perfect, I would not need a Savior.  If I were perfect, I would not need the help of  my God.  God's power is made PERFECT in MY imperfections.  What a relief!  Disobedient dogs, sore muscles and mommy meltdowns are all wonderful opportunities for God to show His POWER through my weakness.  

His grace really is sufficient, more than enough, for this tired, very imperfect, mommy of four small children.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Busy Moms Bible Review

Did I tell you I won a FREE Zondervan Busy Moms Bible? Oh yes, I did. Would you say I qualify as a busy mom? I think having four kids definitely gives me "busy mom" status.

The cool thing about this Bible is I have been praying for a new Bible. My tried and true Bible I have had since 1997. It has begun to really show some wear and tear. The past few years we have been looking for a new Bible for me but I've been continual put off by how expensive nice Bibles can be.

Enter the Zondervan Busy Moms Bible giveaway!! A dear friend [thank you, Kim!] emailed me about Zondervan giving away free Mom Bibles to the first 5000 people who entered their giveaway. Blessedly, I was somewhere in the 5,000. My beautiful Bible was sent to me within a week of popping onto the Zondervan website.

Now, I have a chance to win a year's worth of a personal assistant's service, compliments of Zondervan just by writing a review on my beautiful new Bible. YEA! Here's hoping I win!

My Review

My favorite thing about the Busy Moms Bible is how attractive it is. The dark pink and light pink leather binding is truly beautiful. Even though it contains both the Old Testament and the New Testament, it is still smaller than my older Bible. I like how compact it is.

I also love the back glossary of scriptures. I can turn to "peace" or "surrender" and find a list of scriptures encouraging me in those areas. I have already been very blessed by the use of those glossaries.

The Busy Mom Bible has Busy Mom Devotionals scattered throughout the Bible. Each devotional is divided into three sections. Section One is for the days when you only have a minute. Section two is if you have five more minutes which adds more scriptures to section one. Section three gives you more Scriptures/thoughts if you have -gasp!- fifteen whole minutes for a devotional.

I like the concept of their devotionals. Sometimes we really do only have one minute in our day. Although, I think most of us, if we were really and truly honest, could manage at least fifteen. [For example, if I exchanged my TV time or my Internet time for a devotional. That would give me some REAL time with God.]

The one thing I don't like about the Busy Moms Bible is the devotionals that are scattered throughout the Bible are made of hard paper. So when I flip through the Bible, searching for a verse, the Bible inadvertently flips and lands on each devotional. As a busy mom with just a smidgen of time, I would find the Bible easier to use if each devotional page was the same kind of paper as the rest of the pages. The devotional pages are all different colors and I think that alone makes each devotional stand out.

That's my review. It's a good Bible. I recommend it. I love mine and consider myself blessed to have a new, beautiful Bible!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

there's a change a'brewing!!

As predicted, the winds of change are blowing around us.

Jason received news that he has been reassigned to a permanent change of station. That means we're moving! Our new home is Holloman AFB in New Mexico.

Moving elicits such a complex storm of emotions inside of me. Let me see if I can list them here.

Anxiety. This is a biggie. What does the future hold? Where will we live? How will we get to New Mexico from Virginia?

Happiness. Yea! Something new! A house in the country this time, please. No more neighbors pounding up the stairs right outside my wall. I am looking forward to mountains outside my window. I'm happy to be moving only 11 hours from Jason's folk and just 17 hours away from mine.

Deep sadness. Yes, right there beside the happiness is an ache in my heart. So many good-byes! We are rich with friends here in Virginia. Beautiful, precious friendships. Must I say good-bye? Can't they all come with us? Oh, my heart hurts.

Fear. Will I get everything done? Will I forget something? How will I get everything done with four kids undertow?

My swirling emotions make me turn and run. I bump abruptly into the Father because he is right beside me. He whispers, "Be still, and know that I am God." [Psalm 46:10]

I lay my head in his lap and he sweetly reminds me, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." [Matthew 6:34]

Deep breath of relief. I am not in control. God is. I do not have to figure everything out because HE already has it all under control. I am just going to ride this out with Him at the helm. It's so much better that way.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

today it is icky

"God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

As Jason stepped into the shower Saturday night, I heard it. The unmistakable sound of a child vomiting. It was Rose. She thew up every 15 minutes for four hours and then succumbed to diarrhea the rest of the night.

Jason and I prayed over the house. We prayed over the kids. We quoted Psalm 103:3 "He heals ALL our diseases" over and over again. Jason and I have plans for a Getaway this weekend... Only God knows if that will really happen. But, we "claimed" it and prayed it in, asking God, trusting Him to heal Rose and keep the rest of us from getting sick.

Isaiah started vomiting at 2pm Monday afternoon. He, too, threw up every 15 minutes for several hours. Jason and I were actually surprised that he was sick. We really believed God was going to "heal our diseases" and keep us all from getting sick. He didn't. Isaiah was sick.

Samuel started throwing up Tuesday night. He is still throwing up, eight hours later. I hate it. I hate seeing my babies sick.

Lela has yet to throw up, but she is complaining of a stomach ache. Me too. My stomach hurts, too.

Why does God's Word say he "heals all our diseases", but we all get sick? I just don't get it. I'm frustrated to have my babies sick. I'm frustrated that my love and I might not get to go away on this much-anticipated Getaway. And I'm frustrated, honestly, with God.

Here's my answer. Here is where I'm come to rest: I believe in God. I believe His Word. Do I understand it? Nope. But I trust Him. When Isaiah started throwing up, I had to just lay it all down. No amount of "declaring" was changing the fact that my kids were sick. So, I surrendered to His Will. I trust Him that "all things work together for good for those who are in Christ Jesus and called according to His purpose" [Romans 8:28]. His will be done in my family. If we all get sick and life is awful for a week... so be it. I trust my God. What else can I do?

Side Note: What's weird is, I know in the grand scheme of things, vomiting children is more of a nuisance than a tragedy. But, today, watching my one-year-old throw up, exhausted and weary... today spraying everything down with Lysol only to watch it all be in vain as everyone gets sick anyway... TODAY it feels tragic. But, my logical side says it's not. Give me a week. I'll feel more like myself.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

When Is Baby Number Five Coming?

People always ask Jason and me if we are going to have another baby. Many people ask us how many kids we'll top out at. Good questions, I suppose.

Here's some thoughts. I know we have four kids, but I don't really think of our family as "big". We booked a "camping" [and I use the term loosely] trip at a KOA campground and our family was too big for the "up to 4 people" one-room cabins. We had to book the "up to six" two-room cabins. I think it's funny that we're too big for the more traditional cabins. I just don't see our family as "big".

I do find myself itching for Baby Number Five. Yikes, I know! But, when I see a baby... ah, I don't know what it is, but I want another one. I was just watching this adorable youtube video of twin four month old boys laughing at each other. Oh, my heart filled with that ridiculous desire for another baby.

And then I have a hard day. A day where the laundry monster runs me over and the dishes climb out of the sink. A day when I hide in the bathroom and cry while the kids chase each other in circles around the house. A day when Jason and I spend our "mommy/daddy time" yelling at the kids to "be quiet". On THOSE days, the thought of another baby is far, far away. Most of the time, those days stir in me the possibility of admitting that, perhaps, four is enough.

For now, my days are quite full. My sixteen month old is small for his age and he still nurses; so, in some ways, I still have a baby. [It has been nice to not be pregnant or nursing a newborn while caring for a one year old; this is a first for me.] Plus, we definitely do not want to get preggers right now because we already have two babies' birthdays in the Fall [Rose and Samuel] and we'd rather shoot for a Winter/Spring baby.

The plan right now is to possibly try for Baby Number Five in April/May 2011. That is a year from this coming April. Then, we're figuring we'll have a baby in January/February 2012. My big kids will be 7, 6, 5 and three. Can you imagine??

What's that? Did you hear that? I think God's laughing at me.... hee-hee. I'm gonna rest on God knowing the future. Whatever it is; it's gonna be GOOD.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kids [and Mommies] Say the Silliest Things

"Aw, Man!" This is one-year-old Samuel's newest word[s]. Oh yes, quite adorable. He uses it correctly. Like when Iron Man Figure isn't working quite right, I hear Samuel's tiny voice "Aw-an!" He does lose the /m/ a little, but not bad. It is obviously "Aw, Man!"

"Don't hide under the table during Children's Church," I told Isaiah last Sunday.

The Children's Church teacher chuckled and said, "Oh, the things we say to our children." She's right. When I repeat back to my mind what I've said to my kiddos... it does make me stop and think. Then there are times I stop and really think about what they are saying... and that makes me laugh out loud!

"Did you put this" I hold up my mascara to black-lipped Lela Mae, "on your lips?"

"Sam's in the toilet!" Rose calls from upstairs.

"Did you take your pants off?" Sam's standing half-naked in his crib. Again. When I ask him this, he begins to look around for the missing pants.

"The girl's name on the show is Sonny. Momma, isn't that a nice name?" Isaiah asks me.

"Who smeared A&D ointment all over the TV?!!" I must confess... I yelled that one.

"When are you and daddy gonna leave?" Rose asks, hopefully. She's ready for Aunt Rachel to come play.

And, how can I forget. "I'm starving!" Not fifteen minutes after he eats a full meal, Isaiah, apparently, is "starving".

That's it folks! Thanks for staying tuned!

Wait, a tiny update on my premature no-more-pull-ups-celebration from last week. Uh-hem. My dear Isaiah is going to try again for no pull-ups when he's six years old [this July]. He is trying so hard and still is unable to wake himself up. His body is just not ready. Which, I've read, is completely normal. We're both tired of wet sheets. Pull-ups are on the grocery/toiletries list.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Welcome Me Back

Won't you please join me in welcoming ME back to cyber space.

Yes, yes, we are back online. And, oh, it feels so glorious.

As you may have noticed, I have given my blog a bit of a face lift. I am a bit rusty on all the html codes, but it's coming back to me.

Things are well at the Keys Household. My children are growing and living life to the fullest. Most days/moments are amazing. Some moments/days are trying. All days are intense.

Would you believe I only have ONE in diapers? My big guys are wearing undies to bed. It totally rocks to only have one little bottom in disposables. Since I have had the season of FOUR bottoms [counting pull up wearing at night] in disposables, this truly seems amazing. And, a side note, the upstairs trash can smells a mite better.

Even with my computer and Internet access, I do not know how much time I will have to contribute to my blog writings. I am setting a goal of once a week. We will see how life goes.

I miss you all, my dear friends and family. Looking forward to staying in touch once again via my blog.

"The builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold onto our courage and the hope of which we boast." Hebrews 3:3b,6

revolutionary love

I have experienced revolutionary love. Love with no strings attached. Jesus Christ loves me and made a way for me to have a relationship with the One True God. God desires a relationship with you, too. If you have yet to experience this revolutionary love, please email me at jandjkeys@hotmail.com so I can share this amazing experience with you. Blessings, -Jess