Can’t We Just Get Along for the Holidays?

Here we are at the end of another year and I can’t believe how time has flown!  We finally have the Mother-in-law apartment mostly finished and my parents are living in it!  It has taken us over a year to do most of the work ourselves and pay for it as we go.  The kids are moving on and bio child number two is getting married in a few months.  The oldest of the chosen girls is almost done with her first quarter in college and chosen girl number 3 is home schooling her final year in elementary school.  Two children are seniors in high school and we’ve just had all six kids plus significant others home for Thanksgiving.

Childhood Thanksgiving memories for me include lots of family, good food and a loud football game on t.v. (my grandpa was very hard of hearing!)  There was the occasional disagreement but mostly for the kids it was just fun to get together and play with cousins and see aunts, uncles and grandparents.  As the years have passed, I have enjoyed most Thanksgiving’s with family.  Since the grandparents have passed away our home has become the place for the yearly family gathering.  Over the years the cousins playing changed from myself and cousins to my children and their cousins and now even those children have grown and several are now adulting.

Considering how much I’ve missed the two children who have grown and moved it seems like having them all home would have made this Thanksgiving the best weekend of the year.  This is the first time all six children have been under the same roof since June and the first time since last January that the spouse was also here.  However, it seems that this family reunion is where the trouble has started or at least picked up the pace.  During this last year, bio child number one and his wife have announced their decision to make a 180 degree turn around and walk the opposite way of their conservative Christian upbringing.  They have decided to change everything from their religion to their diet and sexual orientation.

This news was completely unexpected and has caused no small amount of introspection, at least on my part, as well as a few tears and some heart felt talks and prayers.  First of all I am trying to understand where these two are coming from when making these major life decisions.  Second of all, I am trying to learn how to convey to them my unconditional love while at the same time staying true to my own values which cause me to completely disagree with someone I love more than life itself.

I am no stranger to having differences with people and being able to love and respect them in spite of differences.  Portraying this to someone so emotionally entangled with me as my precious first born, though, has proved to be way harder than I would have ever expected.  Maybe it’s because he knows very well what my positions are in politics, religion and every day living and feels judged.  Maybe it’s because I have tried to share some of my pain in the process and ended up sharing too much.

Whatever the case, Thanksgiving ended up being very painful for him and me both and when it was all over, his caustic post on social media made it obvious to the world that he was very angry.  For the first time in his life, I don’t know what to do to help him.  He is no longer a small child that just needs a kiss and a band aid to fix his hurts.  This is something he will have to figure out with his wife and painful though it is, I will have to just wait.

I hope we will come to a point soon that we can agree to disagree and he can believe that he is still loved and valued.  I am hoping that holidays will get easier again.  I know there have been those who’ve gone before me that also traversed this ground.  I am wishing now that I had asked them how they made it through.  I believe my God will get me through and that in spite of my son’s denial that that same God will also attend him.  I guess I will leave this unfinished for now because we are still in the middle of this pain.  I have experienced the peace that “surpasses all understanding” guarding my heart and mind through Christ Jesus and I am grateful! (Phil. 4:7)

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Uncommon Friendship

crowHave you ever wondered about the intelligence of those big black birds that sometimes make a nuisance of themselves?  We got to be up close and personal with one many years ago.

In 1979 my family moved across the state to live in a farm house in the middle of a cherry orchard.  What fun it was to romp around the countryside with my dog!  On one of our family hikes, we discovered a baby crow that had not yet feathered out.  My dad gathered him up and we took him home with us which began, what turned out to be, a great adventure!

We named our baby crow Simbo and made a cage for him that we located in my sisters and my bedroom.  Fortunate for us, birds sleep when it is dark since we had to feed him every couple of hours during daylight hours.  We chose to feed him canned dogfood and we dug that out of the can with a popsicle stick then poked it into his mouth.  He could gobble down quite a lot of that and oh what a raucous noise he could make when he was hungry!

Simbo quickly became a lovable pet, and because of his food needs, we took him with us when we traveled.  We had a very small car and he would happily ride along on the back of the rear seat.  When it was time to feed him we would stop the car at a rest area, take him out, set him on the roof of the car and commense to feeding him.  We got many an interested stair and not a few visitors during these feeding times.

As Simbo grew and feathered out we wondered just how to teach him to fly.  It didn’t seem to be anything he was interested in doing but we his human friends, felt that being a bird, he should know how to fly for his own protection.  Many times we took him outside and held him up and dropped him.  He just fluttered to the ground and refused even to spread his wings.  We put him on the top of the clothesline pole but he absolutely refused to fly.

During this time we moved to another town not far away and of course took Simbo with us.  The trees at this new home were oak trees instead of the cherry trees we had been enjoying.  These oaks were big and beautiful and we put Simbo up in one of them to encourage his flight.  Soon some king birds came along and dived toward him to chase him away.  This was just what he needed for inspiration!  That was the day that Simbo learned to fly!  From then on he flew everywhere he went.

According to what I have read online, crows are a very intelligent bird.  They have even tested them to see if they are as smart as a 7 year old child.  We found out our Simbo had a sense of humor.  Our new home was under construction and my dad was digging a ditch for water pipes.  Simbo would fly to the edge of the ditch, right near where my dad was digging, and sit there watching him use the pick and then shovel dirt out of the hole.  Then, Simbo would pick up a piece of dirt and deliberately drop it back into the hole.  He loved to play this game!

Now that Simbo was grown up he lived mostly outside.  In the morning though, he would sit on the edge of our house right above my parents bedroom window and talk and talk.  We found that crows have their own language and they speak with many different sounds.  He seemed to be there specifically to awaken them so that they would open the door and let him in to eat breakfast.  Of course his loud noises did just that and my dad would come to the door and let him in.

When we would go for a walk we would get just a little ways from home and here would come Simbo flying after us.  He would land on our shoulder or sometimes on the top of our head.  We didn’t much like him landing on our heads, that was a little painful as he grasped for footing and pulled our hair.  If we visited the neighbors he would fly along and sit in a tree in their yard and wait or on their fence.  He was a great companion.

The first time we actually went to the neighboring town and left him at home he didn’t understand what we were doing leaving without him.  He flew to the windshield of the car while we got in and looked in to see that we were all in the car.  Then, as we drove down the road he flew after us for all of two miles before he apparently decided to go back home and wait for us.  There he was sitting in a tree waiting to greet us when we arrived back home.

My dad was working as a carpenter during the time that we had Simbo.  Every morning dad would come out of the house with a cap and many mornings his carpenters pencil tucked behind his ear and into his cap.  He would walk down the long driveway to his car since the ditches were not yet filled in.  Simbo would fly to his shoulder and talk quietly and lovingly in his ear while rubbing his beak in my dad’s hair.  Soon, however, he would snatch the carpenters pencil out from behind dad’s ear and fly back up the driveway with it.  He would fly to the top of a tree and try to lodge the pencil in the crook of a branch but it would never stay there and would always come falling down to the ground.  Dad would have to walk all the way back to the house and collect his pencil before heading to work.  Though annoying, this little trick always made us laugh.

Simbo was a great pet and though his life ended far too soon, we enjoyed the time we spent getting to know him.  Now, though I’m told that a group of crows is called a murder, I am always drawn to them as they come to try collecting from our fields after harvest.  I’m thankful for a different perspective than I may have otherwise had if I’d not had the chance to be friends with one of their kind.

Chasing Perfection

I heard today, an interview of a lady on a Native American radio program. The lady interviewed was Sue Hawkes, the author of a book called “Chasing Perfection61HyLjqMRKL: Shatter the Illusion, Minimize Self-Doubt & Maximize Success“. This lady was a speaker that inspired many people to success when she found herself in the middle of a divorce, two businesses failing and her parents and brother dying in a short period of time. Her life was falling apart and she found that what she had been “preaching” was just a facade. This message really hit home to me. I have always had the tendency to “chase perfection”.

I have tried, especially while my children were growing up, to keep life to a dull roar, to follow a simplistic life so that I could spend time with them. It has been surprisingly hard to keep even myself from accepting multiple responsibilities that took our lives to a complete opposite of simplicity, let alone reigning in my husband and children from doing the same. There are constantly “good” things to be involved in from church activities, youth clubs, sports, homeschool co-ops and skating lessons to music lessons, birthday parties, summer camps, community volunteering and extended family needs. Even if we don’t leave home our family is driven to have projects that take up our every waking moment, cars to work on, building projects, gardening and animal upkeep, landscaping projects, food canning and crafting projects and then, of course, the household chores that always need done.

In all of these things I have constantly felt driven to give 100%, to do the job perfectly and do the job first then play later. As Sue mentioned, it seems in her work with varying ages of people, that the millennials that she works with are the generation most prone to a better balance in their lives. They tend to want to work where they can have an end to their work day and go home and read a book or hike or do something to uplift themselves. The one downfall with this generation, however, is that they are very attached to technological leashes. This may keep them a bit less balanced though they are not alone in this.

I think I am not alone either, constantly trying to keep up a look of having it all together. Being able to be super mom, super house keeper, super business woman, super Christian, super woman has been very important to me. I was reminded today in listening to this interview, that I need to be real, be honest with myself and my family and take time to recharge. I need time to rebuild myself and time to spend with my God. This advice is not unlike the advice in Psalm 46:10 where God says, “Be still and know that I am God”. Hmmm, it seems maybe I have been trying to take His job!

I think I need to focus more on relationships than dirty dishes, on the beauty in the world than the dirt on the floor. I need to take time to stop and look at people when they talk to me. I am quite capable of continuing right ahead with my work or even reading the paper while my children, my husband or my parents stand right there and try to tell me something. These menial tasks will not go away, even if I accomplish them all today there will be more tomorrow. I have never heard an elderly person say to me, I wish I had spent more time washing dishes. I have heard them say that they wished they had spent more time with their families though.

Most of the time the very last thing on my list is time alone to think, when that is one of the most important things I need for my brain to process life. I need to put my health, mental, physical and spiritual, higher on my priority list. I can more easily be the mother, wife, daughter and friend that I should be if I am healthy in mind, body and spirit.

If I could let my children know one thing about the perfection chasing that they feel driven to, thanks to the role model I have been, it would be that old adage, slow down and take time to stop and smell the roses. Don’t feel guilty if there is a little mess in your house because you are outside enjoying the sunshine or hiking with the dog. Don’t feel guilty if you take time to refresh your mind with God while the dishes wait in the sink. Find some balance in your lives between work and play, study and socializing. Yes, we have a need for some order and cleanliness in our lives and we can likely swing the pendulum too far the other way to imbalance as well. Somewhere between my grandmothers, “cleanliness is next to godliness” and the worldly, “if it feels good do it” hopefully we will find a middle ground where we realize our humanity and the reality of our need of a recharge as well as a need to feel accomplished in life.

I pray we will be guided by God in this pursuit.

10 Things I’ve Learned From Living In An RV

Tiny houses, remodeled buses and other small space living have become popular these days.  We lived in an RV before it was a millenial thing to do.  With husband, three children ages 4-11, two dogs and bravery we didn’t know we’d need we embarked on the journey.  We had purchased property, sold our home and moved most of our belongings into a storage unit when we took the final plunge and moved into a twenty three foot pull behind trailer.  It didn’t take long at all to realize that we had not planned well for this and it took us only five days to decide to trade in the RV for a newer bigger model.  We ended up living in the RV for a year and a half before we were able to get moved into our new home so it was well worth the money it cost to make the trade!  Here are a few things I learned about living in an RV from that experience.

  1.  Planning ahead is essential if you want to be comfortable.  We did do some planning ahead.  We found an RV park that would let us camp there for a few months which turned out to be a great decision.  I have know several other families who lived in RV’s while building houses and several of them were parked in the mud and dust and not only did they have a hard time staying clean, they ended up ruining the RV in the process.  When we had a pole building built on our new property we moved our RV into it and that gave us a place to be that was clean and where we could have bicycles and tools etc. in out of the weather.
  2.  You don’t need as much stuff to survive as you think you do.  As we were storing things away in a storage unit I put things in the RV that I thought I would need.  It turned out that with all the things I thought I needed to live there wasn’t room left for the people in the RV.  I had to pare down most of the things I had put in the RV and take them to the storage unit as well.  Think camping and you will be more likely to have the right amount of stuff.  We tend to have a lot more things in our homes than we really need.  In fact, as I unpacked the storage unit a couple of years later, I realized that I didn’t want or need many of the things that I had thought so essential when I packed them away.
  3.   It’s not easy to home school in such a small space but it can be done.  I was home schooling two of my three children while we lived in the RV.  We had to take a lot more field trips to keep our sanity in tact and we had to have a very organized space to keep our supplies so that they didn’t take up all of the space we had but we did manage and don’t seem any worse for the experience.
  4.   If you’re going to live in an RV, take a good look at the kitchen first.  When we got the new RV we didn’t really think a lot about the kitchen.  The selling factors to us for that particular RV were the triple bunks and the slide out.  Both things we hadn’t had in the older RV.  There is quite a difference in the kitchens that are available in different RVs, however.  Since that time we have looked at a lot of different units and some are definitely just weekend warriors while others have quite a lot of counter space available for actually preparing meals.  As we lived in our RV we began to really wish we had thought of that before we bought it.
  5.   Related to the kitchen… Special diets are hard to keep up when you don’t have a good kitchen and don’t have much freezer space.  I have been a vegetarian most of my life and I try to feed my family wholesome home cooked foods, made from scratch, on a regular basis.  This became a lot harder while making due with the small kitchen.  I admit to eating a lot more frozen pizzas and pastas while we lived in the tight quarters of the RV.  It was a bit difficult to get back to “normal” when we moved out of it as well after forming some not so healthy habits.
  6.   If you must live in an RV, make sure everyone has their own bed.  This need was made evident to us right away after moving into the older RV.  Our older one had bunks for two children but the third one had to sleep on the table turned into a bed at night.  It is not fun to put the table up and down every day to make it into a bed.  It’s easy, when living in these tight spaces, to make the table into a kind of office space and in our case school too.  What to do with the things that have taken up residence there while someone needs it as a bed at night is a dilemma that quickly gets old.  We were much more comfortable once we had the triple bunk where each child had their own space where bedding and toys could stay day and night.
  7.   Slide outs are a life saver.  Living in a small space always takes extra patience whether you live with one or more people in it.  In our case there were five of us and we became firm believers in slide outs to add additional room for passing each other rather than just having a one butt hallway to get from one end of the RV to the other.  It also makes the entire area look more inviting and homey to be able to spread out a little.
  8.   It’s no fun to go to town to dump so get a septic system as soon as possible.  After three months of living in an RV park we moved our operation to our property and tried out one month parking in the mud.  When the shop was finished we moved into it and that was so much better!  One of the main annoyances of that time was dumping the RV every few days.  It gets tiring to pack your things up so that you can move your home and then reorganize each time it comes back to it’s resting place.  We did find out that it’s possible to dump gray water down the toilet though.  As soon as we had a toilet and septic plumbed in we did do that regularly since we didn’t yet have running water hooked up from the well.  This made life a tiny bit easier and made a few less trips to town necessary for dumping.
  9.   Water is ESSENTIAL!  For nearly a year we hauled our water in five gallon buckets from a kind friends home and syphoned it into our trailer in between town dump and refill runs.  It was easier to have it in the water tanks of the RV so that we could use it in the accustomed ways such as washing dishes and showering, etc.  It was soooo nice when we finally had running water coming to a sink right in our home!
  10. You can live in small spaces with minor inconveniences and still be happy!  When you are following your dreams and seeing them being fulfilled as you go, the small inconveniences of life become stepping stones to your success.  They can be annoying and can cause fights between the best of friends if you let them but it doesn’t have to end that way.  Many times, when we were tired and feeling a bit discouraged, my husband and I would look back on our project and say things like, “Just think! last year this time we didn’t even have a toilet!  Keep track of your progress, of  where you’ve been and where you’re going, it helps make it possible to enjoy the little successes along the way and keep going toward the goals you’ve set.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Phil. 3:12 NKJV

A Six Year Old Pioneer

This morning as I was going about reclaiming my house after the kids left for school and putting things back in order when I stopped to read the newspaper that my husband had left on the kitchen counter.  Much to my happy surprise I saw that one of my young friends had written an article that was published in yesterday’s local newspaper.  She is currently living in a yurt and has written some of the things that she has learned from this experience.

This article excited me and maybe inspired me a little as well.  I went around the house hurrying to finish my current chores as ideas were reeling through my head.  I must confess that I haven’t actually finished all of my work but I feel compelled to get some of these ideas out of my head before they get lost in the daily activities of life.  I have decided to write a few posts about some of the non-conventional ways that I have lived.  The good the bad and the life lessons that have come from those experiences have served to help shape who I am today.

I was born to independent thinking parents who tended to move a LOT!  They had moved twenty times in the first ten years of their marriage!  This might have something to do with the fact that I have chosen to stay in the same area for the past nearly thirty years.  My parents also did not have a lot of money so they had to figure out how to make due and use the things that were available to them at the time.  When I was about five years of age my parents packed up our belongings and they, my little sister and I headed out for an adventure.  I don’t think my dad had a job lined up at the time and I know that my parents didn’t know where we were going to live long term but we headed to a town in north eastern Washington state and house sat for some relatives for a short time while they figured out what to do next.

My childish memories of that part of the “adventure” are minimal at best.  How they decided that they would purchase property out of town and what they would build on it I don’t know, but they did and my memories start to be much more vivid from then on.  From, who knows where, long logs showed up on our newly acquired property.  We had a fun family get together with a picnic and lots of relatives!  They all gathered around with special tools that they used to start pealing the bark off of those long straight logs.  I got to help some with this process but I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t much help.

Somewhere near this home sight there was a house that was in need of being torn down.  I remember that my parents made arrangements to work on that project and were able to salvage some of the lumber from that house to be used in building our new home.  After the logs had all been prepared and the lumber collected there came a day for a house raising.  This was so exciting!  The relatives all showed up again and after I’m sure a lot of work, but to me a lot of excitement, a little two story cabin began to take shape.

The plan was to make a pole building and for the siding they used the boards salvaged from the old house and planned to do a board and bat siding.  The cabin had a living room and kitchen on the main floor and two bedrooms on the second floor.  There was a sturdy ladder made to access the second floor and some book cases were set up in my parents bedroom, with a port-a-potty behind them, as the bathroom.  The kitchen was set up with a camp stove and a sink in a rough cabinet quickly made to hold it.  I don’t think there was any refrigeration at first.  We had lanterns to light up the evenings.

We quickly moved into this cabin though it was not yet finished.  It was summer time so there were no immediate worries, it was a great way to camp!  One of the first memories I have of the cabin was of a humming bird that flew in through the holes in the exterior walls.  The bats had not yet been installed between the boards and so there was about an inch of open space between each board.  My mom caught the humming bird in a jar, it was so small and beautiful, and took it back outside to release it back to the wild.

There was a spring a few miles down the road and we stopped their regularly with five gallon pickle buckets to get water.  I remember clearly that they were pickle buckets because as you can imagine they had a very familiar smell for some time.  Eventually the smell left them though and our water didn’t taste like pickles any more.  I was really very unaffected by this process.  I didn’t even imagine that it was taxing on my parents who were doing all of the bucket filling work.  This was all great fun to a six year old!

IMG_3245Photo: My little sister and I standing on the ladder that leads upstairs with the tub hanging on the wall beside us and the mattress fabric stapled to the wall behind.

That summer the bats were put up and a wood stove installed.  Our neighbors were kind enough to allow us to run a pipe the six hundred feet from their well to our house until we were able to get a well of our own drilled.  This put a stop to the need for getting water from the spring down the road.  The water pipe ran across the top of the ground and was black, so, due to the sun, we had hot water during the day and cold water at night.  We had a #3 galvanized tub to take baths in.  We would each take our turn on the kitchen floor in the tub, bathing.  It was just the right size for my sister and I to bathe in but not so for my parents.

Later that summer with well installed and the wiring done so that we now had power my mom was able to have a laundry right there at home!  It was a wringer washer outside the kitchen door but it was ours and we didn’t have to go to the laundry mat!  I’m sure she had clothes lines up to hang the clean wet clothes from but that part I don’t remember.

There were some nice people who had a shed full of quilted mattress fabric that had been used to make mattresses with.  They gave us a bunch of that and as winter drew near my mom went around the house stapling this fabric to the walls trying to keep the house warmer.  The wood stove worked hard but it was not able to keep the house warm.  My sister’s and my bedroom was upstairs on the opposite side of the house as the stove and I remember going to bed with our coats and stocking hats on.  We could lay there and watch the snow flakes waft in through the cracks in the roof.  As a six year old, the cares of the world and keeping a family warm and alive in this little cabin were far from my mind.  I felt that we were snug and cozy in our beds even though the snow flakes drifted in.

The winter baths were from water heated on the wood stove.  Sometimes we would bring snow in to melt in the pot on the stove.  On those long winter nights while we huddled near the fire waiting for bath water to warm my dad would read stories to my sister and I while we played with legos or colored.  There was no such thing as a cell phone or video game and we didn’t have a television.  We did have a radio and a record player and to this day the music on those records stirs happy memories in me when I hear it.

In the next spring and summer there were gardens and trees to be planted, a chicken house was built and chickens acquired to live in it and provide eggs.  I watched as my mom canned and preserved food and my dad built a root cellar and then it was time for me to start school.  We lived there in the little cabin for a couple of years before we were off on the next adventure.  Though a lot of time has passed and I have lived that adventurous life over again to some extent on several occasions as an adult, I will always treasure those memories of a six year old pioneer with no knowledge of the worry of life just the fun and adventure of living life to the fullest!

If you have the chance, get out and enjoy life!  God bless!

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Musings from the farm…

The other day, as I walked out to the barn to do animal chores, I noticed this beautiful little calendula flower sticking up out of the mud.  It had gotten covered up two months ago in the process of ditch digging for a building project that is not yet completed.  This little flower really surprised me since it is now the end of January and we have had snow and temperatures as low as 4 degrees Fahrenheit!  Most of it’s “friends” haveBloomFlower gone to seed and died off to give way to spring seedlings.

Seeing this flower got me to thinking about how often life can feel like we’ve just been covered over with dirt.  Whether it’s unexpected sickness in our family, pressures at work and home, political negativity all around us or just a cloudy day that follows 30 other cloudy days.  We often feel covered over and weighed down.

It’s a well known fact that life isn’t always easy.  In fact, we don’t even expect it to be easy which is why we have so many tools and businesses to help us get through the hard places in life.  We have umbrellas, tire chains, tow trucks, hospitals, countless self help books and websites etc. all designed to help us react to or deal with difficulties/dirt.

Scripture even admonishes us of the troubles of life and what to do about them in John 16:33 where Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Also in Psalms 50:15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

As I look at this brave little flower every day, it’s bright color in the midst of winter browns and the dirt brings me joy.  I hope that we too will bloom where we’re planted and bring a little beauty and joy into the weighed down lives of those we come in contact with every day.

No One Said Growing Up Would Be Easy

I guess… no one ever told me that growing up, or growing older, would be easy.  They also never said, and if they did I didn’t get it, just how hard it would actually be.

As a child I always dreamed of getting to be 10!!  Wow, that would be great!  Then I wanted to turn 16 of course because what kid doesn’t want to get old enough to drive.  Next, I couldn’t wait to be 18 and be out of high school.  I’d be in charge of myself!  That had to be the greatest!  Naturally, all of those ages came and went and though their were new and greater adventures with every age, it seemed that the anticipation was more exciting than the actual event.

At 18 I got married because it just seemed like the thing to do.  In fact for some reason, I felt rather desperate to get married, if I remember correctly.  Marriage was not exactly what either my husband or I had anticipated I’m sure.  Many growing pains, a lot of hard work and some Divine assistance has brought us closer to our thirty year anniversary than our twenty at this point.  We have enjoyed many happy times and Praise God, it hasn’t only been growing pains!

After marriage it finally occurred to me that I was wishing my life away by always wanting something in the future that I didn’t have yet and forgetting to appreciate what I had at the moment.  I determined to live intentionally and to learn to appreciate the moment.  That’s easier said than done but by God’s grace I still aim for that.

We wanted to have children and when the time was right, in our eyes, we began adding members to our family.  First a laid back but inquisitive little boy.  He was the love of our lives!  We cuddled him, played with him, rocked him to sleep, taught him to love and kiss and tickle and eventually to read and write, fix his bike and drive a car.

Second, a beautiful little girl that was also loved and cuddled and swooned over.  She was a little spitfire from the very beginning and we had to inform her on more than one occasion that three year old children don’t have a need for their own working washing machine, dryer, cook stove, bathroom, etc.  She was ready to be independent and conquer the world.  We were able to help her grow and mature and learn so many things that she would need for life.  Fast forward to current times and she is now 20 and there are many people vying for her to work for them because she has turned out to be such a responsible driven hard worker with a healthy dose of that much needed commodity, common sense.

Third another little boy, which we thought would be our final little joyful bundle.  He was such a cuddly baby and wanted to be held and touched all of the time.  He became my shadow for the first years of his life.  He loved to play table games and think deeply.  He was always ready with a funny saying and good at plugging lines from a movie or story into real life in such a way that everyone laughed.  He also grew and learned the essentials of life in our home schooled environment.

With each new addition to the family there were growing pains.  That was to be expected but not always pleasant.  There were so many lessons to learn and those lessons often hurt.  Something we may have missed, however, was that we were not only growing in family size and character but we were also growing older.  Before we knew it, the day came when that sweet little boy who first entered our lives was grown and flew the coop.  I knew that it would happen some day and theoretically that it would be painful but there were no words that could have actually prepared me for the heart wrenching pain that comes at times from missing his being a part of everything that we do.

That beautiful little girl also grew into a lovely woman and spread her wings and flew.  Along the way three additional teens have joined our family and that has made life busy around here again along with number three child that is still here for the time being.  Even though life continues to be blessed and busy, I had no idea how much missing those children, who have been so much a part of me for so long and so much my focus, would impact me.  There is never a day when I forget them and am no longer their “mother”.  They are always on my heart and in my mind and prayers.

Here again, theory tells me that in time I will adjust to seeing my children only a few times per year though my feelings argue that I will never really like that fact.  Only time will show me how everything truly works out and what pain and happiness will be involved.  Today is the day!  Now is the time!  Enjoy the little things, the times you have each day with your loved ones.  You never know what the future will bring.  Even now Son #1 is on his way here for a visit and the beautiful little lady is here already.  Today is my day!  I will enjoy these children today while they are all here!  Thank you Lord!