Friday, July 01, 2016

His eye is on the sparrow

In May we discovered a bird's nest, neatly built inside an ornamental trellis that stands on our covered porch.  It was SO perfectly built and so small.  I LOVE birds so this was very exciting to me!  I found it incredibly ironic that the pillow was next to this trellis - maybe birds can read??

As the days passed, there was one blue, speckled egg inside the nest. The next day, two eggs.  The third, three.  I thought there would be no more, but on the 5th day, there was the 4th (and final egg).  And finally, I saw mama bird with the nest.  I did a bit of research and discovered that she was a chipping sparrow.  Pretty little thing with distinct markings.

As the days passed, the eggs hatched.  I loved to sit out on the porch and watch the mama bring back food to her babies.  At first they couldn't even see, could barely move.  But within just a few days they would respond to my finger gently bumping the nest by opening wide for their next meal (thinking mama bird had just landed).  I did notice one of the little ones seemed to be struggling...and it was only a matter of time before I only saw 3 little mouths poking up for food.  Survival of the fittest, I guess. Soon after that, the three were wide-eyed and watching me every time I walked past.  I saw both mama and daddy bird feeding them - sometimes both at once.  It was incredible. 

It all seemed to move very fast, but suddenly, almost as soon as the nest itself appeared, we were empty nesters.  The babies had flown away.  I was shocked.  It didn't seem like enough time.  Could they really be strong enough and ready enough to be out on their own?  I had never even seen them attempt to fly.  But indeed, the nest was messier (can kids EVER leave something neat and tidy??) and completely empty.  They had launched.

I was sad that I had missed the launch, but I was happy that I had provided a place for them to raise their family.  That same night, an Iowa thunderstorm blew through.  It was nasty out - driving rains, wind, thunder, lightning, all of it.  Out of curiosity, I stepped out onto this covered porch during the storm.  I naturally assumed the little family would be back at the nest, hunkered down to wait out the storm.  I was wrong.  They were not there.  And they never came back.  It confused me - on the very first night out of their "old home", faced with brutal elements, wouldn't they want to return to what they knew?  Wouldn't they want that safety and security?  WOULDN'T YOU?  I know I would.  

It made me think about how much we overthink things, and how very little we trust.  God had provided a new home for these sparrows.  They trusted.  They left the old behind, and went to live their new life boldly.  It didn't matter that on the very first night they were faced with difficult trials.  They trusted that God would provide for them, and they stayed secure in the shelter I am sure He did provide.  So often in my life I want to go back to what's familiar.  I don't want to branch out (pun intended) and try new things.  It's scary.  But not so with these little birds.  Once they learned the necessary skills, they went for their new life 100%.  No looking back.   I want to live like that.  I want to know, DEEP INSIDE OF ME, what God desires for me to do and just do it.  I don't want to live in fear of the next trial/thunderstorm.  I want to go boldly where He desires me to go.  God has placed some incredible trials in my life.  There are burdens I am carrying and life situations and grief that I never imagined I would encounter in my life.  And a LOT of the time, if I am being honest, I do not trust Him with it.  I think He has messed up and that He has DEFINITELY chosen the wrong girl for these things.  I feel like I am broken...a lot.  But I do believe he sent this little mama bird and her brood to my porch to remind me His eye is on them, and even more so on me.  I am trying to cling to that, despite the thunderstorms in my life.  

Matthew 10:29-31Living Bible (TLB)

29 Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Right now I wish I were invisible. I am so frustrated with my youngests - when they play, they get out tonnnns of stuff and then they PROMISE they will clean it up. Promising usually means mom has to ride them for 45 minutes while they whine and complain that "someone ELSE needs to put that away"!!!  Tonight they decided to take my clothes off hangers and model them. And, you guessed it, when they were done there were clothes all over the floor and only minimal amounts had been hung back up. 

I saw red. 

Thankfully my dear husband came home just then. I gave him the lowdown and he went in to handle it. It won't be perfect but that's more than fine. I just need to not deal with it tonight. I slipped out on to the screen porch to write this and I am really hoping, at least for a while, to be completely invisible...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pool days

This is the first summer our family has purchased a pool pass.  Things like this are actually very beneficial for a family our size.  The "family pool pass" price is the same whether you have 1 child or are the Duggers.  Since we're somewhere in the middle, we benefit from it as well.  So yeah, we bought one.

Small(ish) problem though.  I don't like going to the pool.  AT.ALL.  I mean, nope.  I think part of it is that when I go to put my swim suit on I basically have to wrestle myself into it as if I am wrangling a crocodile.  By the time I get it on, yell at Avery to come help me pull it up in the back, and then finishing tucking all the extra body parts in (you know, the ones you grow after having kids?  those ones) I am basically tired.  Exhausted.  Like all my patience was used up on NOT saying every swear word possible in front of my small tribe. 

And then.  Sunscreen.  Ohmyword the sunscreen.  I just...can't.  It takes forever and someone is getting it in their eyes and someone else doesn't want Avery to put it on them (MOM ONLY!!!  HOLLA!!!!) and since I have sensory issues with stuff on my hands I have to wash my hands between every person because I cannot ABIDE grabbing a clean bottle of sunscreen with messy hands.  (Yes, I am also the kind of person who washes my hands after putting lotion on my legs.)

And THEN!  No one seems to be able to find a dang thing when we're getting out the door.  And apparently mom, who has NEVER ONCE been able to fit into your flip flops, should know where everything is. 

The pool itself generally goes okay.  We meet someone there who helps me keep track of Caden which takes a big load off my mind.  I can't do the pool alone with all 5.  But yeah - they want to leave at different times and the twins' muscles sometimes freeze up because of the cold water so then they need to be carried and are crying and in pain.  We often look like a HUGE mess of people. 

I really do NOT want to get into how frustrated I feel when they all come in and can't seem to remember how to hang a wet swim suit over a drying rack or which one the washing machine is (um, the one that WASHES the clothes??)...if I got into that you might actually make me type a few swear words. 

But yeah, we have a pool pass.  YAY!  Or, not yay.  Depending on how you look at it. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Celebrating 18 years of marriage today!

I love my husband.  Truly and honestly.  He is the one person in the entire world that I am 100% myself with.  I trust him, I love him, and I love spending time with him.  Today we celebrate 18 years of marriage.  They haven't all been wonderful years, but they are all worth celebrating.  In this society of throw-away everything, I am thankful that we have worked hard, stayed the course, and are continuing to find reasons to celebrate our marriage. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

I have a blog...

I had nearly forgotten that I had a blog!  It's been nearly 11 months since I've written here.  And that is truly a shame.  One thing that God has asked me to do in the past few months has been to write.  He wants me to write.  I have a lot to write about, and I have the perfect place to do it.

Friday, October 24, 2014


In 3 minutes, it'll be Caden's birthday.  The day of his birth.  The day, 12 years ago, that he entered the world and made me a mom.  A day I will never forget.  A day I will always be thankful for.

My first everything.  My first pregnancy.  First cravings.  First baby bump.  First nursery, first crib, first onesies.  First burp cloths.  First REAL fear - can I handle this? 

And then, 4:01am he came bursting onto the scene.  Literally.  He was in a pretty big rush.  And I didn't mind too much, as the whole "first labor and delivery" thing wasn't really turning out to be fun.  But then came the first moments of worrying...why wasn't he crying?  Why did he need oxygen, and so much?  What was wrong?  Our doctor kept assuring us he was fine.  And after a few minutes, he did start to make some noise.  Relief.

Wow, so much hair.  SO MUCH HAIR.  He looked like Elvis.  Like a literal, made up doll.  His thumbs were so broad.  We joked he must have been playing Nintendo in there all 9 months - it flattened them out.  But he was mine.  And James'.  We made him.  We loved him the moment we knew he was going to be arriving, but we loved him with skin on now.  He was ours.

And then this mom thing started to be tricky.  He couldn't keep any of my breastmilk down.  He threw up so much, all the time, every feeding.  He was so very very tiny and wasn't growing like he should.  We were at the doctor constantly for weight checks.  I was sure I must be doing something wrong.  At one weight check our doctor listened to his precious little heart and told us there was a problem.  We made appointments for many things...and found out that he had special needs.

First label.  Many labels.  First pain, real pain.  Unimaginable pain.  The pain of seeing everyone else get what they want, and we get this kid with labels.  The grief stands in the way of seeing him for just the precious little boy that he is.  First massive panic - CAN I HANDLE THIS?????

First I take it hour by hour.  Then I can handle day by day and suddenly many months have passed.  I CAN handle this.  Do I want to?  No, but one glance at this sweet little boy with a smile that lights up the ENTIRE COUNTY and I know I can.  I will do it for him.  I will do it for me.  He is mine.

Years pass, as they always do, and yet he is still my first in many ways.  No, he didn't reach all the milestones first in our family, but he is our first.  He is the oldest.  He is our parent-beginning.  And I really couldn't have learned from anyone better.  He loves everyone.  He cares about everyone.  He likes order and routine.  He doesn't judge you.  He doesn't care if you have food on your face or if you're mean to dogs or if you're a hardened criminal.  He loves.  Unconditionally.  He makes me a better person.  I would not change him for the world.  I would keep him exactly as he is, for he is perfect.  I know they say "no one's perfect" but I can tell you, Caden is the closest I have ever met.

Caden, happy 12th birthday.  May I continually learn to let you be exactly who you are.  May I learn to love like you.  May I learn to leave judgements up to God like you do.  Thank you for choosing me for your mom.  You have made me a better person than I was before.  I am learning to be even better still.  Together, we will move mountains.  Thank you for still holding my hand, kissing me on the lips and never being anything but insanely happy to see me.  YOU are my greatest first.  I love you, Cay.  You may have been knit together in my womb, but you are most certainly knitting this family into a beautiful work of art.  We are blessed by you.    

Thursday, July 24, 2014


We live just outside the city limits.  There's a very main road that runs out of the city which is our thoroughfare to get to our home.  This past week, there's been road work on that main road.  It's been closed off in a section and there's a detour around to several other roads.  It's a small city, but in terms of relative size, the detour is a pretty good hike. 

It has frustrated me multiple times.  As a creature of habit, my van simply turns toward that road every time and then I see the signs, alerting me to the detour.  And I give an internal "crud".  But there's no way through it.  There's no plowing down the signs and just getting to where I want to get in exactly my chosen way.  It takes me longer, it makes me later, and it makes me grumpy.

Many of you know I have been on a journey to lose weight.  More than that, I am on a journey to find and embrace a healthier way of life.  But since April, I have been on a self-imposed detour.  I have not followed the direct route to get to where I want to get.  It's frustrating, but mostly because I seem to have no sticking-power to stay the direct course.

During my detour, I am working hard on a healthier mindset.  And this is vitally important.  This is the kind of stuff that makes the detour a blip on the radar screen of the journey.  I have some bad thought processes to break up with.  And I am making that the focus.  So my detour is important.  You might even say it's absolutely essential.  

My detour is a pretty good hike.  And I'm not sure how long the detour signs will be up.  But...and this is what's different than many other times I have endeavored to embrace a healthy lifestyle...I know I will eventually get to where I want to get.  That's why I'm comfortable calling it a detour, and not allowing it to be a derail.  I still end up at home every time I have to take the detoured roads in the city.  And I will still end up a healthier version of me after I take the detoured path to my wellness.