The Aftermath


“I love you so much!”
“Sleep so good.”
“Night-night baby boy.”

Kiss. Hug. Snuggle.

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Prayers have been said and three little munchkins are tucked into bed.
Baby Sailer is nuzzling in my arm, smacking her lips to remind me that it is time for her bedtime snack. I dodge piles of toys as I walk down the hall. As I look around me it seems as though a cyclone has blown through my house, scattering everything in its path. I let out a sigh as I think to myself, “I feel like I have been busy all day but I have nothing to show for it. Has this whole day been a waste?”

Tempted to close myself in my room and ignore it for the night I know that tomorrow it will only get worse so I give in and do a quick pick-up. Taking an armful of laundry to the washer I hold up Asher’s big boy jammies. He has stayed dry for three nights in a row! I thought that day would never come. Next is an outfit that Sailer has quickly outgrown. It is such a relief to know that she is getting enough to eat.

I lean down to pick up some trash on the floor, “receipts” from the boys and I playing store. Isaac is learning to count and Asher just learned about money. As an added bonus I got some help putting away the clothes that they “Bought”. I pick up scraps of paper with Asher’s name all over them and some pictures of robots- at least that’s what he said they were.

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I pick up enough toys and shoes to clear a pathway through the living room and pull out the vacuum cleaner. As I begin to vacuum up dried cheerios I remember my sweet Isaac this morning, “Sing with me, Mommy!” I love the way that they study my mouth, hanging on to every word as I sing them songs about scripture. As I vacuum up remnants of sticks and leaves I can see the boys attacking a tree with their foam swords,”Isaac, we are going to beat Captain Hook because he is bad! I’ll be Oso Special and you can be Agent Dotty.” “No Oso! I’m not Agent Dotty, I am Fireman Sam!” I see Annie toddling around, snuggling a giant toy dinosaur like a baby doll. I love the way that Isaac and Annie sit together under the slide and just giggle together.

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I can see the twinkle in Asher’s eyes as he peddled his bike up the driveway by himself for the first time. I said, “Asher, I am so proud of you! You did it!” As that look of victory crossed his face he looked me in the eyes and asked, “Mommy, am I cute?” “Yes Asher, you are very cute.” and with a sweet half smile he says, “I love you , Mommy.” and rides off again.

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I put the vacuum away and straighten the pillows on the couch and I can see Annie climbing up with her Minnie Mouse for a snuggle. She leans over and gives her sister a kiss on the head, “I yu you, Sissy.” and Sailer smiles.

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I stop and look around. Not perfect but it will do for tonight. I pick up the baby and as she is eating I watch her bright blue eyes begin to get heavy. Her soft, warm skin and steady breathing melt away any hint of stress from the day. With a little grin she nods off to sleep. Taking in the silence of the night I realize just how wonderful this day has truly been.

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God, thank you for entrusting me with your precious treasures and for giving me the great honor of being called “Mommy”.

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Small Forever

It was such a beautiful day today. When the kids got up from their naps, I let them go outside to play while I finished cleaning up from lunch and doing some laundry. I stepped out on the porch to check on them and Asher came running, “Mommy! Are you coming out to play with us?” “Not right now Asher,” I said. “I have some things I have to take care of in here.” I caught a glimpse of disappointment in his eyes, but he quickly turned around and ran off to play. As I finished up the last few things in the house I scooped up the baby and went out to sit and watch them play. What a sight! My little, dirty-kneed boys building a pretend campfire with their trucks all parked around it, “To keep them warm.” Searching endlessly to find the perfect “Little Ninja House.” I watched as the breeze blew though Annie’s hair. It’s hard to believe that her hair is long enough for that now. Sailer was laying on a blanket, chewing on her toys, oblivious to all the noise around her.

After a little while, it was time to get ready for church. I cleaned faces, changed diapers and headed to the door. I hadn’t realized how important it was for me to have sat quietly and watch them play until Asher took my hand, with the sweetest little grin, and said, “Thank you for coming outside with us. You look so beautiful! I love you, Mommy.” We went on to church.

Anyone who goes to church with kids on a Wednesday night, or any night for that matter, knows just how hectic it can be. First there was a fellowship dinner during which Isaac decided to use the table as his personal jungle gym, Annie filled her cup of water with Mac & Cheese, and Asher, who saw his friends nearby, was biting at the bit to go play downstairs. After clearing our trash from the table, we weaved our way through people eating their dinner, stopping to talk to some friends on the way out. I did a quick head count to make sure we weren’t missing anyone, and we finally made it downstairs and took all of the kids to their classes. At that point there was a very short amount of time before we went to pick them all up again, helped them up the stairs and out the door, navigated the parking lot and buckled them all into their seats. Needless to say, by the time we got home everyone was worn out.

After coaxing them all to the door, listening to crying because they have to take their shoes off, and wrangling them into jammies, Asher, Isaac and Annie all decided that they needed a snuggle in my lap. Asher was very upset because when Isaac tried to squeeze in he was pushed to the side. I said, “Asher, you are getting so big. It won’t be long and you won’t fit anymore. You guys need to go hop in your beds and Daddy and I will be right there.” They all stood up and Asher fell apart. He slumped back into my lap bawling. I said, “Asher what is wrong?” My big boy that is constantly talking about when he is a grown-up said to me, “I don’t ever want to turn five, I want to stay small forever so that I can always fit in your lap and have snuggles!” It was all I could do to finish tucking them into bed without crying. How precious these moments are. I am so grateful to God to have been given the great responsibility and privilege of spending each and every day teaching and being taught, loving and being loved by these incredible little people that call me Mommy.

PreciousChildren

My Hero!

Like many little boys their age, Asher and Isaac love to play Superheros. They fly around the house all day in there fuzzy hooded capes, chasing villains. Being a hero is built into the heart of a little boy. Standing up for those in trouble, rescuing their damsel, bringing justice to the villains that are terrorizing their world. I love to watch and listen to their imaginations at work.
A while back Asher and I were having a conversation about superheros and villains. Asher said, “Mommy, I am Batman and Batman has to catch Joker, he is a very, very bad villain!” Just to see what he would say I asked, “What does Joker do that makes him such a bad villain?” I was expecting something about blowing up buildings, hurting people, any of those really bad things that villains do, but his response caught me by surprise. “He tells lies and doesn’t obey his Mommy!” How silly! I most definitely wouldn’t have put those at the top of the villain list. I didn’t think too much about it after that… until today. Overhearing them in their own little world I was reminded again of that conversation. It is easy to look at people who commit the, “Really bad sins” and say that they are an enemy of God. We even compare ourselves to them, “I would never do a thing like that!” Doesn’t it just seem to make sense that they are the villains. Sometimes we even see ourselves as Robin, God’s little sidekick, helping Him catch the villains and bringing them to justice. How often do we look at ourselves and see all the “little” things that make us the villain?

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.  As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

Roman’s 3:9-10

I deserve no less than death and an eternity apart from Him, but praise God! I am no longer a villain, I am a child of the greatest hero of them all!

What’s In A Name?

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Ben and I have always believed that naming our children is a huge responsibility and that their name will reflect their character. For our first three we chose names that are in scripture. Asher was one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Isaac was the promised son of Abraham and Sarah. As Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on a donkey the people waved palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna!” While we were expecting the arrival of our newest baby girl a lot of people had thoughts on what name we might choose. Some thought we would choose a name beginning with an F or a T in order to have the children’s initials spell out “FAITH”. Most people assumed that it would be another directly biblical name. As Ben and I searched and prayed about what her name would be we considered those options. I personally don’t like intentionally patterning siblings names. It puts unnecessary limitations on future children’s names. We came across the name Sailor and we loved it but meaning is very important to us and it didn’t seem right. A sailor is a person a boat but spelled differently a sailer is a vessel. A sailboat. A sailboat is driven by the wind. In Greek the word for wind is “Pneuma” which is also the word used to refer to the Holy Spirit. What more could we want for our little girl than to be a vessel driven by the Holy Spirit? Then began the search for her middle name. we searched and searched but couldn’t find a name that seemed to fit until we were online one night looking and saw the name Christabelle.
Sailer Christabelle means “Beautiful Christian Vessel” We get some very different responses from people when they hear her name. Some think it is very cute and love it right away. With others it is hard to tell if they are unsure or are just trying to be polite. As for me, as I look down at this tiny person all snuggled in my arms, this child that God has entrusted to Ben and I, I pray that He will use her. I pray that she grows up to be that beautiful christian vessel driven by the Holy Spirit.

A Stinky Sanctification

My 3 year old, Asher has been potty trained for a while now. He does fantastic during the day, but at night he still wears a pull-up. Every morning he and Isaac wake up with droopy drawers. Up until recently they knew the drill. Every morning I clean their bottoms and give them a fresh pull-up and a new pair of underpants. A clean bum is a happy bum, right? Well, a couple of weeks ago Asher decided that having a clean heiny is not worth the discomfort of the changing process.Now when they wake up, Isaac lays down without a fuss, gets cleaned up and moves on to face the day. Asher on the other hand, denies that he has pooped, begs for me to leave him alone and only surrenders when the changing is almost complete. Because I love him I still change him. I did it yesterday, I did it today, and I will do it tomorrow.
One morning after going through this whole process once again, I realized something. When God reveals to me the poo in my life, how often do I deny that it is there? Or I say, “God please don’t change me! The way that I am really isn’t all that bad. ” Change is uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. As God wipes away the mess he reveals my flesh, often blistered and broken. He brings me to a place of surrender and heals my wounds. I know that He will continue to change me day by day.
Thank you God for loving me!

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

The Birth of a Blog: The Bread Story

If you have ever been to the grocery store with a child to buy bread you know the lengths you go through to protect it from being squished.
You pick it up after the rest of your groceries (or at least do your best to keep it at the top of the mound.), try to keep it out of reach of the little one, gently place it on the conveyor belt, watch carefully as the cashier bags it, and it is the last thing that you put into the car.

Shortly after Hosannah was born I finally worked up the courage to brave the grocery store with all three kids. With Hosannah in the Moby wrap, I hunted down a double buggy with both straps functional. I buckled Asher, not quite 3 and Isaac at just over a year old, into their seats and set out. All was well until 3 minutes into our shopping trip when Asher decided to pinch his brother. Isaac, who did not quite grasp the concept of retaliation quite yet, let out a loud scream. After multiple attempts to quietly ease the situation I didn’t have much choice but to move Isaac into the front of the buggy, and out of reach of his antagonizing brother. As our quest continued I spent more time  chasing shoes and pacifiers and defending half-opened boxes of cereal than I did actually shopping. Alas, the time came to get the bread. I placed it in the far end of the Shopping cart. As I made my way to the checkout I looked down just in time to see Isaac pulling at the loaf of bread. Thanks to the massive heap of groceries, there was no safe place for my tender loaf. As I began to unload groceries onto the conveyor belt I continually rescued the bread from the hands of my curious toddler. The cashier (Who obviously had no experience with children) seemed completely unaware of my flustered state and impatiently handed me bag after bag to place into my cart. With the groceries finally paid for, as I headed for the door Hosannah started squalling. Deciding it would be impossible to calm the baby, push the buggy and guard the bread all at the same time, I gave in. I handed the bread to Isaac and watched him laugh as he squished to his heart’s content.

I realized at that point, my children will be small for such a little while. There will come a day that I will eat my perfectly shaped sandwich with only the memory and wish for just one more loaf of squished bread.

With this in mind, I am writing this blog as way to remind myself to cherish these times…
All of them.