a mother's intuition and a bouncing baby boy

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five out of five - those are pretty good odds. Never have I been wrong! I have known somehow, somewhere inside what each and every child I grew under my heart was going to be before any test or medical professional confirmed my feelings.

When I was expecting my first child they would not tell me whether the baby was a girl or a boy, but so confident was I that we decorated every inch of the nursery with the expectation of pigtails. As my due date approached, I had one moment of panic as I stood in her room and realized that I did not know for sure. What if our baby was a boy? Nevertheless, 10 days late, Noelle finally blessed our lives and started our family with a much anticipated daughter. 

The second time around, they refused to inform us once again, but my feelings were just as strong - and I was right, it was a boy. And my heart was happy.

For number 3, I wanted another little girl. I did not care for myself; I longed for Noelle. I grew up with three brothers and lovely as they are, I wanted desperately a sister for my daughter. And a sister she got. Although, once again they would not tell me, I knew, and I hoped even more! 

Number 4, a boy of course. Bergen was most sure of this, and he wanted to name his brother T-Rex! What four year old boy wouldn't? This time, though, they told, but we kept it between the two of us, and Bergen. I didn't think it too dangerous. I figured if he did tell, he was only four after all and he was already telling people when they asked that he wanted a brother, so it would most likely not be taken as reliable information. When I told him that it was a boy, a brother for him, he very nonchalantly said, "I know", as did I before confirmation.

And there our family ended . . . for a while anyhow. Until the day we could no longer ignore the feeling that started out small and grew to a pounding in our hearts that another girl was to join our family. Could it be? How could I ever be so blessed as to have 2 sons and 3 daughters! 3 little girls. I truly felt that the Lord was compensating generously for the whole in my soul left there by the lack of sisterhood in my life with 3 girls of my own! And a girl it was.

Now we were complete! Yes, for almost 5 years, until that all too familiar knocking began again. And according to intuition, we were about to even the playing field with another boy - I was sure! The pattern we had started would continue on and at 6 we would finally be complete, for now and forever. But by number 6, it actually took much of the fun out of things. As cool as it is to know within myself, and helpful in the planning and decorating department, by number 6 the thought of being surprised was appealing! I have never had a pregnancy when I felt as though I had no feelings as to what I was having. The idea is so very foreign to me. 

And with each baby my confidence grew. 

So sure was I that when ultrasound time came around, I went in knowing what they would say, "It's a boy." Yes, of course it's a boy. Like every other time before, the thought went through my mind, You don't really have to tell me, because somehow, someway, I already know. But they would not tell us. We would have to wait for the report to make it to my doctor. Then she would confirm my suspicions.

One week later . . . her words rang in my head . . . "Are you sure?" I said. No, you must be mistaken because I am always right.

But boy oh boy, one of us is wrong.  According to the ultrasound, it's me.

What a lovely way of saying how much you love me

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I had big plans. If it were ever to happen again I would keep it to myself for as long as possible this time, because you see I would not get sick. This time would be different.

Happen it did. And it began with high hopes. But as the nausea grew, excitement faded. Slowly life began to shut down, life as I know it anyhow. The hope that had filled my heart, hope of health and strength is overcome with despair. I cannot do this again. I am not strong enough.

I lie in bed. I re-read this and cry for myself. This is my fate. This is the course my body will always take when new life grows inside. This is the road I am left to travel, and it feels too hard. It is too much to bear. Why did I hold out hope?

Because hope is the only option. It is all you have when faced with hardship. If we begin without hope we end without vision. I believe in the mercy of a God who loves me, I believe He could remove this burden from me, but when He doesn't I am left to wonder and wander. Hope slowly, but surely evaporates, although not entirely as I had first suspected.

In my desperation to fill minutes that tick ever so slowly on, I find this and I cry again, but not for myself this time, for the loss of another and the health of new life growing in me. 

Hope for a different kind of pregnancy than my body seems capable of providing is gone, hope of being able to carry this secret surprise until it would no longer be hidden behind carefully chosen clothing and well positioned arms, the hope of health, the strength to maintain a sense of normalcy for my family, and an ability to remain engaged with my husband and children is gone. But the hope itself has not disappeared, only has it changed identity without my even realizing. 

The worry of how I will ever find the time and energy to care for another human being is replaced with the shadow of a fear of how will I ever be the same if I don't get that opportunity. It is then that I discover that I am not without hope, that hope simply has a new home, in womb under heart. It is the hope for the unborn, it is a hope of health and wholeness for this tiny person. No longer does my suffering matter, no matter what must be waded through, I will do it with renewed hope in new life.

Yet the chance remains that my fate could follow the pathway to loss.

Whatever happens, whatever the outcome, I must remember that His purpose, not mine will be accomplished. If that means a baby in my arms at the end of this journey or one more soul up heaven, is not mine for the deciding. He is holding me as I hold this promise of a child.

Yet the truth of my state lingers still as I remain out of commission. And when the guilt and the worry become all too much and I wake in the morning crying - I don't even know what they've eaten for the past week, or if they even remember that they have a mother, much like the lost boys, do they know I am here even though I am not there - it is then that my very own seven year old "lost boy" walks in with hot pancakes and says, "Breakfast in bed! . . . Do you know that we all love you mom, and that we are all trying to take care of you?" How could I not? It is I who should be caring for you, but instead it is them taking care of me.

I wish I could report that I was graceful in trials and patient in affliction. I cannot. However, I can say that hope remains, that, and the love of my family, the tender strength of my husband and the willing support of friends will see us through.

Hopefully . . .

Ode to Sunshine {Inspired by Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat}

Friday, May 31, 2013

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house 
All that cold, cold, wet day.

We sat there together.
We sat there, us all.
Only dad worked outside 
As the rain, it did fall.

For five days it poured.
For five days it rained.
Until our poor mother
Thought she might go insane.

She schooled us and schooled us
'Til we each had enough.
What we need, our dear mother
Is more interesting stuff.

Books are amazing, 
Books are such fun.
But what children like best
Is to play in the sun.

We read books of adventure,
Learn of lands far away,
But the way we learn best
Is to put books into play.

We dig down to China,
Find treasure in sand.
We travel to Hogwarts -
 What a magical land.

From up in the tree tops
We spy pirates at sea.
Grab your swords mates, get ready -
Black Beard it may be!

These games can be played 
While inside the house.
But, dear mother, we've noticed
Your hair falling out.

We are noisy and loud
As you full well know.
 Our imaginations, dear mother 
They need room to grow.

One day, no problem,
Quite possibly two.
But five days of rain?
That will just never do. 

Just when we thought 
Our dear mother would crack,
We woke up this morning
And what had come back?

Birds where chirping and singing
Way up in the trees,
For the sun had returned.
We all felt so pleased.

We are leaving the house!
Our dear mother exclaimed.
We are driving away 
Before someone gets maimed.

Pack your bags, get your shoes
Grab a snack so your fed.
We will not be returning 
'Til the sun goes to bed.

Then sweet little children,
When your good and sleepy,
We'll come back to our house.
I no longer feel weepy!

Upstairs we will climb,
And your prayers will be said.
I will kiss you all sweetly
And tuck you in bed.

Then, my dear children,
My thanks I'll express,
For this day of sunshine -
Dear Lord, I feel blessed.

I thank thee for rain.
It waters our crops.
The problem is simply
When it just will not stop.

The sunshine you see, 
It does so much more
 Than to simply feed plants.
It makes spirits soar!

Now children grow strong 
From the foods they consume. 
But the sunshine they get, 
It drives away gloom.

If you want happy children, 
And a mother that's sane,
Add lots of sunshine,
Instead of just rain. 

falling into grace

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"This is not the way my life was supposed to be. This was not part of the plan." Hearts ache for what has been done, those things we cannot change. Those things we did not plan.

Small shoulders sag under the weight. How did this happen? How could this be? I was so careful in my plans.

A wet piece of paper holding up a bowling ball, this is how ones life can feel at times. What happens when the paper tears and the ball is dropped? Where do we fall? When the pain is too much, what then? At first glance it appears that we have fallen right from grace.

But such is not the case. In fact it is the self-constructed pedestal of pride from which we have fallen - and it hurts . . .

The son, not quite a man, but no longer just a boy, fishes with his father. They bait the hook, attach the lure. The trap is set. Then father teaches son all about lures. To entice is their purpose. To entice is also his, that one who truly fell from grace and wants to drag us down with him, bound with flaxen cords. "There are different kinds", he says, "For different fish like different things. But his tackle box is full, and he knows which lure to use." Beware the deceiver.

A fish is dropped between the planks of the dock, left there to die by someone else who could not be bothered - that life, so seemingly insignificant. It is only a flounder, after-all. Trapped between wood and styrofoam, unable to save itself. But the son sees purpose. His line is put down the crack in hopes that the fish will bite and then be pulled to safety. It will not take the bait. Doesn't it know we are trying to help? No. For this is the plan of the father of all lies. The lure is not safe, we have learned this. We have been burned in the past. We would rather risk the unknown than to take that lure. Sometimes something that looks like hurt is actually help. And sometimes we do not even see it anymore. Hopelessness can be so blinding.

There are many lessons for us to learn. The lessons of forgivness and tolerance and love, pure love - these are not easy lessons to learn. 

We pray for what we know, for those things we can easily understand, but God's ways are not always familiar. He takes us through depths we never asked to go. He knows what we can do, and how the seemily insurmountable task it is to be done. When fog clouds our vision, only He can see through. He shows us the way because He is the way. Some parts of us may have to die in order to make place for something so much better to live and grow.

It is at times such as these when someone so much stronger than ourselves must pull on that board - that cross and those nails - lifting it free from its hold over us. And a hand reaches down. It wraps around us, warm and strong and secure. That flounder is literally scooped up - up out of the pit - and placed back into living waters.

The Son sees purpose.

Even in this.

Even for me.

This is Christ's mission. This is what He came to earth to do, this is why He bids us to come unto Him. He is the fisher of men. He came to rescue all us flounders stuck in deep mire, unable to free ourselves. No matter the cause. Maybe we jumped in. Maybe we took the bait and bit that lure, only to be cast aside by the one who would leave us for dead. Maybe we were placed in the cracks through the actions of others. And now we cannot see the way for the way seems impossible. How will we ever get out? Can there really be one mighty enough to save?

No one can come unto the Father except by the Son.

Because there is no "supposed to be". We have only what we are given. That is all we have to work with. And all our "supposed to be's" no longer matter. It is not what was supposed to be, it is simply what is. And when tough times come bringing pain and sorrow with them, and we want to shudder and shrink from the weight of it all, we would do well to remember that we will not be left to flounder. Even when we are a fish out of water and breathing burns like fire, their is hope of rescue.

The fisher of men does not use lures. He will not bind, but sets us free. Back to sea we swim to carry on in our mission and purpose. We are lifted out of sin, out of temptations snare, even out of heartache that threatens destruction of all hope. And we fall into grace. One more soul is saved.

fair weather friend

Friday, April 26, 2013

It has been months. But tonight I actually got out for a run, and I was reminded that I LOVE to run - especially when the sun is shining . . .

. . . And, I get to run in an incredibly beautiful part of the world.

I should have known not to run right after eating a big dinner, but the sun was out and Darren encouraged me to go, so I went. I couldn't run as fast or as far as I could a few months ago. In fact I was as slow as molasses and my knees gave out way before I did. Instead of the dull ache that I could push through last year, this time it was a definite pain that forced me to stop running on the way home and walk. Nevertheless, I will persist (carefully and with much strength training) for the love of the thing. I need to remember that as hard as it is to get out there sometimes, I ALWAYS feel better once I do. I love what running teaches me about myself. I may never run marathons, my knees may never allow it. I am a fair weather runner, the sunshine is definitely a big part of the enjoyment for me. I am not a superstar, I am doing only the best I can do . . . and I am perfectly okay with it all! I compare myself, not to other runners, but to where I was before I started and what I thought I was capable of.

"That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success.
They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is." 

- Kara Goucher

orchid appreciation

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lately my days have been filled with endless opportunities for me to increase in patience and long-suffering. Children have had their share of quarrels - and then some. And instead of expanding in virtue I feel as though I have been letting it get the better of me. The other day when Darren told me that he had yet another church meeting, I groaned. He has been working away long and hard at his many obligations, and where normally I support him, especially in regards to church responsibilities, I must confess, at that moment I thought only of myself. 

Later that night, after children were finally tucked in bed and the house was in some sort of order, I fell into bed. 

That is when he walked in with orchids. 

I do not need to be noticed. I do not need to be praised. I will carry on because that is what has to be done. And I remember: It was I who chose this life with 5 kids and all kinds of crazy. And when I step back and priorities are put back in proper place, burdens are made light, not because they have been taken from my shoulders, but because I see, once again, the value of my mission. Days that feel empty of any sort of production, yet filled with guilt and exhaustion, are not so at all. My efforts, whether great or meager, are vital to this small world of which children think they are the center - and they are! These are the things of eternity. 

Even though efforts seem to go unnoticed, all these unseen tasks that fill my days, they are not. He is grateful. 

Now, everyday, when I catch a glimpse of my orchid, I remember his appreciation and I feel buoyed up. So although I do not need these simple, lovely gestures, they make a world of difference.

Thank you Darren. Love, your adoring wife.

blog shmog

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five years ago I began a blog.

I have loved this journey. And I have learned some things along the way.

I have learned that I don't need to blog everyday, but I can if I want to.

I have learned that blogs are like the frosting on a cupcake. There is much unseen and a whole lot of unwanted left over after the toddler licks the icing off the top.

I have learned to be true to myself and to never blog to impress.

I have learned that I am stronger than I thought I was.

I have learned that life is oh so beautiful.

I have learned to write, truly write, on matters of the heart. I have learned what those things are, those things that matter most.

I have learned that each blog is as unique as the people who write them, and that one should not try to duplicate another's style.

I have learned that my life is very ordinary, but worth documenting.

I have learned that I blog best late at night or early in the morning, when children are sleeping!

I have learned that comparison is poison to the soul.

I have learned to use a camera. And my children have learned to ignore it when needs be and to smile when I ask.

I have learned that I cannot force a post. Sometimes I sit and type and words spill over like a waterfall. Other times I go for days with thoughts floating through my mind, all kinds of random flying in and out and all around, knowing what I want to say but not how to put it all together - I put my bucket into the well and it comes up dry. Eventually I get there though, I always do - but I cannot force it.

I have learned that no matter what I put out there, once I push publish I no longer have control. It is for any and all, and how they interpret it is something only they can tell.

I have been giddy with excitement, I have been overcome with gratitude, I have sat here with tears streaming down my face.

This blog is my journal. It is my scrapbook of the ordinary events that make up my life.

It is like an open window I get to look through with different eyes. And God's grace is blinding, the abundance over-whelming.

With every picture I take and every post I write, I am writing my autobiography. I hope I can blog forever and ever.

~ Beacon Hill Park April 13, 2013 ~