An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Twas The Week Before Christmas

'Twas the week before Christmas
and all through the house
there was no sign of a Christmas tree
or blinking lights
or pretty wrapped presents
and the homeschooling mother even had the nerve to insist that
we are still doing math
and reading
and chores
and brushing our teeth.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Homemade Christmas

Matchbox Cars Track

Christmas is fast approaching. Over the years we have battled to not turn our kids into selfish monsters during this festive month, but rather to somehow attempt to portray that the season is really about being givers. To take the focus off of ourselves, because really, looking around this old farmhouse, we are not in want of anymore material possessions, we try to focus our gift buying mostly outside of the family. For years the kids have all chosen gift box presents for Operation Christmas child, and this year we plan to spend a good amount of our Christmas savings to buy a gift from Compassion International. 

So, in light of the "thinking of others" mentality we are trying to impress upon our kiddos, and "it is more blessed to give than to receive" theory, we have (to the horror of some certain young folk around here) reinstated the ever popular homemade gift theme. Everybody got super creative when we did a homemade Christmas a couple of years ago.  There was a hand carved replica of the Narnian Dawn Treader ship, homemade board games and puzzles, chicken roosts, gift certificates for construction work, and hot chocolate and movie coupons.

There is a lot of whispering and hiding going on after chores and school these days. It will be exciting to see what everybody is creating. My own finished creations have included a jean quilt that Grace has desperately been wanting and some custom soap with Rob's favorite cologne scent. And now I'm off to forge a track through the snow to the wood shop to find some scrap lumber to attempt making a matchbox car track for Micah following the directions found here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snowin' in Wisconsin

We are in the midst of a sizable Wisconsin snowstorm. The weather man is predicting 6-8 inches of snow within a twenty-four hour period. He didn't realize that we had two Christmas programs scheduled for today, or the consequences in our household of having to cancel them.

He probably didn't realize, either, when he was making his guesses, that for the past two years we have had snowstorms on the very day that these same programs had been scheduled. Or that the blowing winds and fast falling flakes would result in an avalanche of emotions for this grieving mother because, as if the holidays aren't hard enough, the last days of Trent's life seem to be relived all over again the closer we get to yet another anniversary date.

The same snowstorm, same programs, but all overshadowed by the missing of a child. I just couldn't endure going today. So I cried in the bathroom instead. And blamed the weather. The predictions told to us at the beginning of this journey are proving to be right: grief gets harder rather than easier. The second year is worse than the first. And I can only imagine that we have the rest of our lives to fight this unending battle.

My sister calls it Chinese water torture. Drip. Drip. Drip. Just like the faucet in our bathroom. Drip. Drip. Drip. It's all the little things that will drive you crazy. The old shirt that has been left in the hamper for twenty-two months. The bunk bed that the boys insisted on setting up again. Eating cheese puffs and reading a book before bed. The thought of taking pictures for Christmas cards. Or cutting a tree from the woods out back. Or buying only four pomegranates for the stockings on Christmas morning. Drip. Drip. Drip.

So I got out the Bible. And went to Ezra with the kids. The old people cried, and the young people rejoiced after building the temple foundation. I guess I'm lumped in with the old people because it seems crying is all I'm doing these days. After I cried some more, I sent everybody outside.

Sliding and snow forts brought smiles. Hot chocolate and cookies helped, too. And then Rob came home and announced that the roads were horrible. And we discussed heaven, and just how long eternity is going to be, and how good God is.

And I realized, in the end, that God had something better planned for this day. Something that couldn't be found in make-shift sanctuaries full of little boys dressed in bathrobes and tween-girls pretending their name was Mary. Nor could it be found in beautiful Christmas songs that have been rehearsed for months with good friends. It took many tears, and many snowflakes, to ultimately find Him.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Good Job

I literally looked up today, out of the smothering of grief, and said out loud, "Lord, you're doing a good job." Defeat has ruled for so many days. I've forgotten that the victory has been won. God knows what He's doing.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Five Years Later

Five years later, and finally I hear the words I've longed for, "I just felt like giving you a hug." Followed by the sweetest hug I've gotten in a long time from an eight year old boy. They have been five patient years as I have been waiting for this magical time in adoption that I didn't realize wasn't already here.

I remember that after Grace came home there was something special about that anniversary date. I wasn't concerned at all about Micah prior to that hug. He is not needy or overtly affectionate, but rather a very content, happy kiddo that doesn't require much physical attention. That's why the arms encircling me, and the need for a mother's embrace, overwhelmed me. There were tears of joy stinging my eyes this time instead of tears of grief.

One of the things I look forward to in heaven is the hope that all of my children will be there. We had such a short time of enjoying five kids in our home. I imagine an eternity of having all my kids together again. Nothing exotic, just simple things: horseback rides, camping by the river, sitting at the supper table ... for eternity. No death, no tears, no goodbyes.

I have found that my focus is more and more on heaven these days. Trying to imagine it has exhausted me, so instead I find myself planning for it. Painting the girl's room and the upstairs hallway found me telling God what kind of a mansion I'd like in heaven. I laughed when I realized He would probably give me an old, run down farmhouse to fix up because I would enjoy that the most. Poor Rob~ good thing there's no marriage in heaven. I think he's had about all the old farmhouses he can handle.

A big old farmhouse, with a wrap around porch, spiral staircase, and acres and acres of privacy to raise goats, kids and horses would make me content for an eternity. All this, and no sin, no curse, no enemy to destroy. Walking there with my Savior for ever and ever and ever.

News of another teen age death struck our community yesterday. I woke up nearly sick for that mother today. How long, Oh Lord? How long until you come to reign?

The tears of grief flow as I force  myself to feel the immense pain of losing a child. Words won't form for cohesive prayer, so I allow the Holy Spirit to pray them for me. I realized that I am resorting to stuffing again, thinking that not feeling the feelings as I force them to stay in their pit may help. It hasn't before, but who knows? Maybe it will work this time.

So I make myself write a blog post. Make myself vulnerable. Talk about Jesus again. Scare the enemy a little more. Like Martin Luther said, "Why give Satan a vacation?"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Craft Fair Projects

 The weeks after Thanksgiving seems to trigger a craftiness in our household. Maybe it's the cold and snow that force us to become house bound, yet there is still a lot of energy to figure out what to do with. After a successful day selling our goat's milk soap at the Women's Expo earlier this Fall, Alexis and I were excited to try a local craft fair. She was anxious to get ahead on raising funds for her upcoming missions trip, so she spent a day baking cookies and putting together cookies in a jar.
Using our favorite cookie recipe, she layered the ingredients into quart jars and adorned them with ribbons and material.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1- 3 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
Chocolate chips
Bake at 375* for 8- 10 minutes

Wreaths, dolls and other odds and ends of sewing projects.
Of course we also brought lots of goat's milk soap and laundry detergent, too. The common consensus of the day from the "regulars" was that it was a slow craft fair. We did alright~ Alexis earned nearly enough to pay for her passport, I got to sell and give away several books, and we sold enough soap to ensure keeping the goats on the farm for a few more months.
We made some yummy scents: Lemon Swirl, Sugar and Spice, Sweet Pea, Cucumber Melon, Moonlight Pomegranate, Lilac, and the ever popular Almond.