Promotions as a Christian

Crafting is so elegant.

Crafting is so elegant.

In no area of life, if you devote yourself and excel, is remaining stationary and stagnant the goal.

Exercising and eating thoughtfully? Your goal is energy and health.
Which means a continual race in these dying bodies of ours. That means more sweating, walking away from a second helping again, and washing and chopping veggies again. And again.

Working hard and diligently at your job? You look towards possible promotions, raises, more authority and more responsibility.
Which means more problems, more challenges, more work. More opportunities to succeed or fail.

A skillful gardener considering adding footage to your dirt canvas?
Hello, glory?
Hello, weeds. Hello, sweat. Hello, aching back and broken fingernails.

In our house, we have approached our Christian walk with a commitment to believing the way the Bible speaks about children, which is that they are a blessing. Now, there are many issues, life circumstances, and mitigating factors that come into play about children coming along, and I’m not speaking to those exceptions. But having open arms to children, especially when they are coming regularly with no foreseeable cessation in the near future, seems like a lonely place to me right now.
‘You are overwhelmed with 5 young kids?’ says the world, or even other Christians. ‘Tell me, are you on 1 form of birth control or 2? Are you stupid? How indecent to keep procreating.’ To stay silent and private is easier for me.

But right now I’m losing the bigness amid the smallness.

I didn't sweep the day before.

I didn’t sweep the day before.

And it’s all from petty, unimpressive things. This morning I looked at the work before me, and despaired and fussed (in my head). “Oh God, babies keep coming, am I going to be struggling to clean the bathroom while a toddler dumps out the trash can forever? If I don’t learn to organize into a routine, am I going to spend 3 decades struggling to get my work done? I keep trying routines and then I end up exhausted and discouraged. I’m not a routine person, God. Why do I have go be in a position where I need to be?”

I know I should be grateful that these babies have come.  So many women want this blessing and God says no, that’s not what I want for you right now.

And any baby could be my last.

But my sinful heart sends sidelong glances at women with fewer kids, or women who seem to be done. (Whose stories I don’t know.) And I struggle with envy, wanting their quiet reading time. Wanting only older kids who will eat dinner with gratitude and enjoyment instead of complaints and long faces. Wanting wanting, greedy little heart, something different than God has put into my hands right now.

But I know that I am a forgiven person, as hard as that is for me to believe. Which means I am required to act forgiven. Which means self-sacrifice. Jesus suffered, died, was buried, rose from the dead, and reigns. And He says “Come along behind, daughter, and follow Me.”

Which means I may not cling to my fussing.

I do not get to keep and feed a little pet bad mood.

I may not feel sorry for myself, as I navigate my comfortable, sweet, beautiful life.

God has given me 5 little souls to shepherd, I may not withdraw from these brothers and sisters in Christ to some kind of self-fulfillment that the world whispers would be more important.

Because Jesus died and rose again, I may not be the old man. The withered, rotting, dead man. I may not look back to the grave and desire it. I must put on Jesus.

“…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Be renewed, Christians, in the spirit of your mind. Put on the new self. The likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness is what is happening.

In the humbleness of mothering littles, that righteousness and holiness is not lofty and dramatic. It is speaking kindly to a whining child, even though you have baby weight to lose and need a shower.
It is patiently stopping the dishes you’ve been needing to wash all morning to explain a math problem again.
It is rejoicing in being there for a baby in the night.
It is sweeping again, without thinking it a waste of your valuable time to pick paper scraps out of a spilled milk puddle and, wait, how do I sweep this mess up, anyway? Who dropped jelly toast on the floor and 3 chairs this morning?

Maybe a little cleaning is in order?

Maybe a little cleaning is in order?

And, in our house, it’s patiently letting the Lord give us children. Accepting these demanding, big little souls who need me to die to myself every day.

And that is lofty and glorious in it’s smallness. And that is true whether I feel it or not.

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Jazzin.

We’re in the grip of a fall cold, but we’re managing to keep the party rolling.

We have lots of blocks for building spaceships and weapons.

Rose: "Dis is my twusty sword."

Rose: “Dis is my twusty sword.”

We have ample costuming.

If an elephant never forgets, it's time for math.

If an elephant never forgets, it’s time for math.

We have drums.

Nice and slappy.

Nice and slappy.

And we have decent scenery for walking to the park.

God is extravagant and unashamed of quaint, overdone pictures.

God is extravagant and unashamed of quaint, overdone pictures.

And we have Old Hat New Hat and Calvin and Hobbes to read a lot. It makes us feel better.

Is everybody happy?

I kids love to go to the water park.

My kids love to go to the water park.

The sad thing is that this picture only turned out this good because I bribed them with m&m’s.

No. Really.

On the plus side, I love swim shirts. I can spot them in the pool and no sunburns!

There are my strengths, and then there’s my gardening.

I had been putting off picking some cilantro. Waiting for the right dinner. Also, everyone on the internet does it differently. Gosh, internet. Not helpful.

Finally gave it a go.

IMG_5563

I think I panicked.

My wee garden isn’t impressive, or particularly attractive, but it’s mine and it can come with us when we move again. Because we don’t believe you can become good at a hobby without practicing.

movable garden

a troop of traveling tomatoes

Obvious lawyer material.

Me: “Rose, did you tear our book?”
Rose: “No.”
Me: “Rooose, did you tear our book?”
Rose: “No.”
Me: “Who tore the book?”
Rose: “Me.”

"Son, was your head with you all day today?" -Bill Cosby

“Son, was your head with you all day today?” -Bill Cosby

Ever hopeful.

Jubilee: “Mom, will there be food there?”
Me: “No.”
Jubilee: “I mean, will we get to eat anything there?”
Me: “No.”
Thomas: “She said maybe.”

You know it all, except when you don't.

You know it all, except when you don’t.

We laugh a lot.

Cuddles of love.

Cuddles of love.

Paul is big and starting to roll and scooch around. He’s 3 1/2 months old. And I don’t have a lot of smiling pictures of him because bringing the camera out makes him stare.

You want me to...eat it?  I could eat it for you!

You want me to…eat it? I could eat it for you!

Also, holding the camera above my head with one hand while talking to him is complicated for me.

I'm ready for my close-up.

I’m ready for my close-up.

But sometimes we get it.

Oh, Mom.

Oh, Mom.

We move along.

Happy birthday to Grandmomma!

We’re not exactly settling into normal life with 4 since we’re about to move. Packing adds a little extra spice to the day.

Also, some extra mess. But a spicy mess!

I suppose.

The boys of Northern Idaho don't wear shoes to church, apparently.  Shoes are for sissies.

The boys of Northern Idaho don’t wear shoes to church. Shoes are for sissies.*

We’re moving to a place close by that is slightly bigger than our current place, has 3 bedrooms, and has a little private backyard. Also, a nicer view out the windows! I will be able to see the sunsets again. And there’s a little patio area to have a table and chairs, so we should be able to eat outside this summer again.

Paul is a contented soul, except when he isn’t. He loves to be held and loves to eat the moment he’s hungry. If he starts fussing and can’t be attended to immediately (like in the car, or, congratulations on being the fourth, I’m busy for a few more minutes) he will quickly reach a high volume of yelling and is very diligent till he is rescued.

He loves his Jubilee.

He loves his Jubilee.

I got the infant insert for my Ergo and he loved that when I tried it yesterday, but it made my back hurt. I’m hoping this is just due to having had a baby 2 weeks ago and my spine needs to uncurve.

He loves to snuggle. Loves it. Really loves it.

Which is, of course, good. And adorable.

Cuddle bug.

Cuddle bug.

Everything else in life continues as normal.

Then they played outside.

Then they played outside.

And I have to go get someone’s hands out of the toilet.

*Look at our pretty new loveseat! We got a leather couch and loveseat and they are definitely the prettiest furniture we’ve ever had. Also, we only let them go barefoot if the snow isn’t too deep. Because we care.

Jubilee and her sentimentality

(Going through some old family stories, and I’ll be posting a few as requested.)

This is Jubilee back when she was newly 4.

I appropriate your water.  With my eyes.

I appropriate your water. With my eyes.

Me: “Are you drawing some nice pictures for the grandmas for tomorrow for Mother’s Day?”
Jubilee: “Yes.”
A few minutes later she comes in with a picture.
Jubilee: “Here, I drew this for Mother’s Day. It’s a bloody whale.”

I confess I believe I kept that picture for myself.

Funny time, funny kids

With just a few days till my due date we’re in that funny holding part at the end. Funny-peculiar and funny-ha-ha.

The kids seemed unusually energetic this past week and I was not. They win that round, hands down.

One of them took safety seriously.

They are super excited about the baby coming soon. Jubilee has become obsessed with other people’s babies and loves to hold and play with them. Thomas will also sit and play with babies in their buckets at our moms and tots group.

School is going very well, or was until a couple of days ago when I started running on fumes. Thomas started some preschool books that he LOVES, and they turned out to be at just the perfect level for him.

some wee loaves got baked along with the regular ones

Rose still isn’t much of a talker, though the other day she echoed me talking to the big kids wrestling “Guys, guys, guys…” She’s crazy cute and understands tons, so she’s easy to communicate with because I can actually explain what’s going on.

Well, when I *can* explain what’s going on.

“He’s behind me, isn’t he?”

We’ve got a busy crew here, that’s for sure.

Lungs of power.