Thursday, October 27, 2016

Workers! Then and Now

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” 
―Samuel Goldwyn 

Where do you put the toddler when doing yard work? Dad thinks in a bucket!
Brothers who work all day together..get along.
Skilled work force.

M is not sure of A's ability to wield the wheelbarrow.

Working on a roof last week.

J's moves from a house away

Being called on to work takes many forms.

Planting trees and bushes in our yard. 

Flooring crew

N scraping up a tile, long and messy job

Our Kitchen chores start at age 7 or 8, sometimes some reaching help happens,
but we have step ladders to make independent workers.

Washing walls! Lots of hands, kids do a rotation in each house we have been in or warm water with
Vinegar, drop of dish soap  and wash clothes to wash.

Mopping is a great job for littles.

Helping cook, working on doing more of this. 

Leaves! Fun work.

Short crew.

Starting when it's an honor and big deal makes older kids great at jobs.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Vulnerability and Educational Moments...In the Grocery Store!

I had an aquatience last week remind me I had a lot of children, and said she was hesitant to celebrate our family because it seemed like too much.  This was a chance run in on friday. For those of you who know me, know how much I struggle with that assessment. Girls with eating disorders often say: "I feel like too much" kids who have behavioral problems know people say they are "too much" and big families are often seen as really neat from a distance but too much. First, everyone has their own too much threshold. It is ok that my passion is not yours! Spending all day making Kombucha like one of my fiends is too much for me, or singing in a show, but I am able to celebrate this difference without judging this difference.  Welcoming children into our home with a 100% chance of heartbreak (sadness over them leaving or sadness someone I love is loosing a birth parent) is not for everyone! My response to negativity is very often to retreat, get off social media, try to make myself and our mission somehow quiet, or smaller. 

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of othersPhilippians 2:3-4

Retreating and feeling hurt does nothing to promote foster care, or explain why it is worth it to be "too much" in this way. Feeling sorry for myself is selfish, it really is. It reminded me how often I wish I had a rewind button to call on humor when I am offended. A friend has adopted two beautiful girls from China, she told us of being stopped in the grocery store and being asked if they were REAL siblings. Her response was "Well they fight in the back seat of the car, does that count?" 

I loved her spunk and humor, especially because the girls were watching her respond. Watching her deflect and claim them at the same time. Often an adoption or foster care question is not ill intentioned! And with age and experience my ability to lean into Grace has evolved tremendously. When I was asked at the wading pool years ago why "that one" pointing at one of my sons, looked middle eastern, my response was "Oh my handsome son right here?" He was listening, big beautiful brown eyes wide with confusion. I lost all other ability to respond and have been coming up with zingers I've never used, ever since! That said, anger does not serve me as a mother, or serve my children to witness as a response. 

I had a chance to talk this latest encounter over with the three oldest boys, man they are pretty neat guys! One of them reminded me our family had weekly prayer and meeting, we were connected and running more smoothly than ever. Another mentioned that our "too much" creates more time for us together and is a way we can serve in our home not being able to take a service trip or do things we might be able to as a smaller family. The last son asked why on earth I cared what anyone else thought? And it's not the son you would expect! 

In conclusion, keep talking, keep modeling love and humility. When I turn to quiet contemplation, this weekend time by the fire at the cabin, time in prayer and time talking to my husband and children, I find my self calm and gracious. If I respond without taking time for these things I am a hot head and not my best self. Humility can be painful! If hard things come up use humor, use Grace and forgiveness. What is your "too much" and how have you found ways to share your passion? I hope we can guide and nurture our children so they never, ever despair that they are too much, but rather fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Peace Without The Perfect Moment

“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” 

~ John F. Kennedy

I woke at 4 am because the baby is in a growth spurt and wanted to eat. I find as a mother the middle of the night is when my worry is sharpened into blades that cut through other thoughts. I thought about tests to be re-done, playground fears that I couldn't help with and team dynamics. I went child by child landing especially on our foster daughter. 

After baby boy was back in his crib I stayed awake to watch the sun rise. I thought about peace, feeling grateful for the sun bringing a wash of relief over me. A reminder that simply, the night ends and sun shines

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

~ Colossians 3:15 

Fresh air and sharing a swing. Thankful for siblings.

We said good bye yesterday to our foster daughter and know it was what was best. We loved her for almost a year. Letting God take the reins as we pray for health, healing and a bright future. 

Today I imagined living on a farm, I used to have that as a goal growing up. Many cosmopolitan adventures left me daydreaming about wide open spaces. That daydream is about peace. The idea of SPACE being air, being refreshing for the soul and being a tangible way to desire less worry.

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” ~ Pericles

Sunrise nursing baby Lu in the tent, a moment of peace in the
midst of a busy campground. All of us  in the 10 person tent.

As this day that started very early winds to a close I am heartened by the encounters I have had, time to pray with other women, time for tea, time for work and chores. Peace I am seeking requires some work. Sometimes in a big family rooms need to be shifted, the barriers and structures can be physical walls or mental blocks. As we move forward into days of less sunshine I am committed to seeking peace. I am committed to finding wide open space in my day, moments that allow me to have quiet in my heart to hear what my children tell me, to listen to the way I am being lead and to be rejuvenated right where I am.