Chats and Snuggles with Karyn

Last night Karyn gave me a hug and her eyelashes tickled my cheek. I began to sing butterfly kisses but couldn’t remember the lyrics and she asked what song it was so I played it for her. Her, Katlyn, and I were all bawling by the end of it and they both talked about how they never wanted to leave. LOL! It opened up a conversation about the future.

Karyn said she struggles with the idea of marrying because she’s concerned her husband will feel crowded with a big family. First of all, I totally chuckled on the inside, but then I told her that she can talk to the man before they marry and if he doesn’t want to be around a big family, she doesn’t have to marry him. She was relieved to hear that. Then after I explained that she doesn’t have to marry anyone she doesn’t want to be with, that some things she can compromise on, but there are some things she never has to compromise.

I asked her if she wanted a big family and she said yes, that she wanted many children, but she would want to take valerian root (it’s what I take) because she’d probably be pretty stressed out. LOL!! She said she hopes she is a mom like me in that I spend time with my kids and listen to them, that she loves on them and plays with them.

She said she also struggled with the thought of getting married and with having a lot of kids because she’d miss me and wants to spend time with me. I told her she doesn’t have to get married and have any children, but doing so doesn’t mean she can’t come see me. She will have her license and her own vehicle and be able to come see me whenever she’d like, and I can visit her too. I told her that she could come at any time and if it’s late, the kids can go to bed while we visit and she can either stay also or she can leave the kids until morning while she goes home to spend time with her husband. She liked that, too.

We then talked about what kind of man she’d want to be with and she talked about missionary work, hoping her husband would be in love with Jesus most of all. She then said she’d want him to be like Daddy, so I asked what kinds of character qualities like Daddy she’d like him to have if she could choose and what she said absolutely blessed my heart. She said she wants a man who is fun and plays with their kids; who would never leave them and would be loyal; that he would be honest, respect her privacy (that’s the word we’ve used to reference intimacy from since they were little), and that he would admit when he’s wrong, apologize, and be humble; that he would work with her and compromise, and of course that he’d have a beard. hahaha

Words can’t describe how much this little chat with her blessed my heart. Karyn isn’t really chatty about feelings or goals or desires, so I have never really known what she was thinking about certain things, but this conversation showed me the depth of the sweetness I knew was there. She’s growing up to be such a smart and lovely young lady.

Oh and I just recalled another thing she mentioned regarding being a witness to someone else being reprimanded by their parent and asked what she should do. I suggested as long as she was welcome to stay present to see it, that she could observe and learn from another person’s mistakes so she doesn’t have to experience the consequences of wrong choices. She said, “Yea! Then I can learn from watching it rather than doing it.” I told her how wise that is, but to be sure it’s always led by the Holy Spirit and not just what one person believes is right or wrong. She liked that…

I’m so blessed by my children. They are amazing human beings and I’m elated to be a part of their journey. What a gift I’ve been given to know them and to see their beauty blossom. I’m so so honored and privileged to be their Mama. I couldn’t be more thankful than I am in this moment. Thank you, Lord!!

Being Considerate

In an effort to get out of my head a bit, I brought my husband to work today to get some things done since we have a full day tomorrow. Well, after getting our system situated to go grocery shopping, my six kids and I began to work our way through the busy store. It wasn’t long before I noticed that others were in a hurry and my six kids (well stationed around the cart so we can move through the aisles and I can see all of them, while also respecting that the aisles are shared space), and I were quite the inconvenience to those trying to enjoy their own shopping trips.

One lady actually glared at me that she had to walk around my two daughters in order to get to the other side of us. One elderly couple stood there grumbling, and after I gently and respectfully apologized and said ‘oops! we’re right in your way!’ the woman said, ‘yep!’ without cracking a smile. That was about 5 or so minutes into our mission at that particular store…

Add to that kids asking for things, me reminding them to walk with me, looking at my list, processing what I needed next, my oldest in lala land that I had to keep bringing back to the cart so I didn’t lose her, training my youngest ones to stay where I’ve told them to stay, and trying not to walk past any of the items I needed to get and needless to say, I was beginning to feel, well, angry. I was angry that these folks were upset that they had to pause for a moment or go about 3 feet out of their way on account of my family trying to live our lives in the same space. I can’t even imagine what they’d have thought of me if I had let my kids run wild if they were so disgusted with us in the manner we were moving along.

I can’t say I remained respectful, unfortunately. I had grace for about 4 people before I made a slight scene as I spoke to my children about how surprised I was at the people’s reactions to us simply trying to buy food for our home. Thankfully, my kids pointed out the kind man who winked at them, the man with a little boy who smiled and gladly let Kimberlyn say hi and talk to him; the woman who smiled and nudged her own teenage daughter and pointed at us… I don’t think anyone realizes how much these small moments mean to us.

I had to leave before I burst into tears. With only half my list completed, I hurriedly checked out and got the kids in the van before calling my husband and having a little cry on the phone. Mind you, this was our third stop. I’d already brought the kids to the bread store, the liquidation center, and they’d been in the van for about an hour so I could bring their Daddy to work to take the van. They were behaving quite well considering my expectations… so I was angry. What kind of expectations does society place on parents and children? I simply don’t understand.

Well, I’m not sorry for being in the way. I live here too. My being considerate of the time and efforts of others doesn’t mean my time and efforts aren’t important, it simply means I care for others as well as my own.

Thank you to all of you who take a moment to smile. Your kindness means a lot… my kids clearly noticed, and I’m so so grateful they do. They help me see the kindness when I’m struggling to do so.

Advent 2016

We decided to do an advent calendar this year and the kids are so excited! This is what we’ll be doing and I wanted to write it down here so I could find it easier and so I could refer back to it in the years ahead:

Each morning leading up to Christmas, we all eat the piece of chocolate.

At breakfast, the person who’s turn it is to pray over the meal, will read the scripture cards we printed off and then pray over the meal.

At 3pm, sit down for a snack and write down a blessing from God and put them in a jar that we’ll open and read on Christmas day and then we’ll do a special family activity. This is when we’ll be extra intentional about building our relationships with each other and to bless others.

Thursday, December 1: Sing songs about Jesus and make cookies for Papa and Esther.
Friday, December 2: Make paper handprint wreaths for both doors and tree for the living room mantle.
Saturday, December 3: Make a card for a family member (or more) and a soldier.
Sunday, December 4: Make snowmen, and penguins out of feet.
Monday, December 5: Color pictures about Christ.
Tuesday, December 6: Make a card for another family member (or more) and soldier.
Wednesday, December 7: Sing songs about Jesus and bundle up and take a walk.
Thursday, December 8: Go look at Christmas lights.
Friday, December 9: Make a card for another family member (or more) and soldier.
Saturday, December 10: Make handprint snowflakes and decorate the house.
Sunday, December 11: Make a list for and create coupon books as gifts.
Monday, December 12: Make a card for another family member (or more) and soldier.
Tuesday, December 13: Sing songs about Jesus and make a list for our “Why We Love You” flowers.
Wednesday, December 14: Make “Grand-babe-bees”.
Thursday, December 15: Make a card for another family member (or more) and soldier.
Friday, December 16: Make our “Why We Love You” flowers.
Saturday, December 17: Finish flowers with vase and add bees.
Sunday, December 18: Make up some skits.
Monday, December 19: Sing songs about Jesus and make a card for another family member (or more) and soldier.
Tuesday, December 20: Send out all cards and watch a family movie.
Wednesday, December 21: Record ourselves acting out the skits we made up.
Thursday, December 22: Help Mama clean the whole house.
Friday, December 23: Sing songs about Jesus and make cookies.
Saturday, December 24: Watch a family movie.
Sunday, December 25: Exchange gifts, spend the day with the family, and read from the grateful jar.

Olive Shoots

There are two varieties of olive tree, the cultivated variety Olea europaea sativa and the wild variety Olea europaea oleaster. The olive is unusual among trees in its duration of life, taking from six years in good conditions to twenty years in dry, difficult areas before it will start producing fruit.

The olive tree reproduces by sending up shoots from its roots. If not trimmed they surround the trunk, like the psalmist’s blessing of many children; “your children will be like olive shoots around your table. (Psalm 128:3)

The Olive tree is well known for it’s incredible ability to send up new shoots, even when the tree has been reduced to a mere stump. This gives the Olive tree a kind of immortality not enjoyed by other species.

The Israeli olive tree trunk, for example, is completely lifeless, its fruitfulness long gone. But next to the base of this dead trunk are fresh, new shoots, all bursting forth with life. Though the cells of the trunk are lifeless, the roots are still producing life in the form of these green-leafed shoots.

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It’s because of this, that we’ve called our school at home, the “Olive Shoots Academy.” It represents the concept that the discipleship of our children will determine the discipleship of the following generation, and what will continue on well after the ‘trunk’ has died. My prayer and desire is to touch the hearts and lives of my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and on. I pray that my life is a blessing to the state of our family well after I’m gone.

Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.

Psalm 128

 

Entering Into My Present

While I don’t blog regularly, I’m considering picking it up again. Last year, I created another blog for privacy, to work through all my emotions regarding the sexual assault I experienced as a child, but I imported it all here on my main blog today. Now that I feel like I’ve worked through those things for the most part, I’m praying into whether to begin blogging about other things and sharing what I’m up to in the here and now – walking away from my past and entering into my present.

Living with my mother in-law, and watching her these last few months has inspired me in such a huge way in homemaking and homeschooling, and to better honor the Lord with my time, finances, and gifts. She is an amazing example of the Proverbs 3:10-31 and Titus 2:3-5 women, and does it in such a way that is practical and meaningful. I’m so thankful for this time I’ve had to glean from her and I’m so so thankful to have her as my mom. I would just love to put all these resources, tips, and strategies in one easy to navigate place, and my blog is a great place to do that. It would be even better if someone else also benefited from it!

If you could pray for me as I consider blogging these things, while also praying over our home search, I’d so appreciate it. We think we found the one, but we’re still praying into it so as to not be impulsive like we’ve been in the past.  The next steps of our ventures in pursuing the things of God, have us excited! God is so faithful and has brought us through so much growth and change as we’ve allowed Him to burn out the dross from our lives. We want Him to keep doing what He’s been doing and keep going deeper.

Thank you for reading and for praying! Bless you!

Craeghar Timothy ♥

Fourth UP/UC, Second Son (Sixth Child) born on 12/25/2015!

We were so thrilled to learn that we were expecting our sixth child on April 4th 2015! I had no clue I was pregnant but took the test just for fun. We shared the news with our friends and family after surprising the kids with the news. It was a lot of fun to see the expressions on my kids’ faces and to hear everyone we told be excited with us. Here is the video of us telling the kids:

I determined by what information I had that I was due around December 5th. The pregnancy was full of emotional healing and growth from other  events in my life as we enjoyed doing my own care ourselves. The pregnancy went very fast for the most part and I enjoyed watching my belly grow.

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Once I reached 38wks pregnant, I began to get a bit antsy but was determined to continue trusting in the Lord and allowing my body and my baby to do what was needed to prepare us for the day our newest blessing would be in our arms.

The following weeks leading up to the birth were a mix of high spirits and meltdowns. I did my best to stay positive and had an amazing support system surrounding me who were compassionate and understanding, yet helped me focus on the benefits of being patient and laying my life down for my child(ren). I can’t say I didn’t have bouts of fear, but I can say that knowledge and wisdom, and most of all God’s peace, overcame each of those bouts.

At 42 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I woke up to a very strong and sharp pain and an intense contraction followed. In hindsight, I realize that the baby flipped from posterior to anterior. From there, active labor began.

The night before that however, I had a mini freak out. I told my husband that maybe we should head to the ER and get an ultrasound just to be safe that baby can in fact be born. He had not engaged in my pelvis, I wasn’t dilating nor effacing, and he kept floating in my uterus. He was still moving, so we knew all was well, and the Lord constantly spoke to me through those last few weeks, reminding me that He is near and that all was well. It was a walk of trust and faith that pushed me to my ultimate limit. My husband reminded me of all these things about the Lord and he encouraged me to rest and prayed over me and the baby, for our protection and for the Lord to lead our steps in wisdom and prompting.

As I slept through the night, I dreamt of a rural community that was united and loving and each person came to me and encouraged me and helped me to push the baby. I woke up with contractions that were more intense than they had been but still not engaging the babe. I practiced bearing down and moving my hips around with each contraction and I heard the Lord tell me that the people in the dream were all the people who were praying for us. I asked the Lord what I should do and I felt led to rest. I prayed hard that He would continue to lead me…

When I awoke the next morning to that strong pain, at 7:45am, it was sudden and I startled my husband awake. Contractions were 3-5mins apart and really strong. We began to prepare that this was it. From 8-9am, I sat on the ball and rotated my hips and felt lots of pressure with each contraction. I got very hopeful that baby was finally able to engage and was coming down. At 9am I got into the tub and the contractions got even stronger but I got a bit of relief from floating… but then it got to be too much.

When I got out of the tub, I was a bit discouraged because I checked to see if any dilation had occurred. Baby was still high, no dilation or effacement had occurred but thankfully there was a bit of bloody show to indicate that the baby was coming within the day or two. I got back in bed around 9:30 or 10 and continued working through the contractions that were now 1-3mins apart and lasting over a minute long. My husband was amazing, we watched the show American Pickers on his phone in between contractions (or I rested) and when each contraction came, he tracked each one and told me how much longer I had to go… I listened to his voice as he said, “20 more seconds babe, you’re doing great. These are doing great work. 10 more seconds… and 5 and then it’s going to start coming down. You’re doing great. Great job babe. 2 more seconds…”

11:15 came and I felt the need to pee so I went to the bathroom. I couldn’t go at first and was overwhelmed at the intensity of the contraction that came next. My husband could tell the time was coming because I began bearing down with the contraction and he encouraged me to come to bed, but I couldn’t… I was staying in the bathroom. haha I checked my dilation and while my cervix was low, I was completely closed and not effaced. I became concerned about the fact that my body was pushing. I told my husband that I can’t push because I could tear through. He reassured me to listen to my body and relax, that God was in this and I can do this. I listened and focused on doing what felt right and didn’t rush or fight it. I couldn’t stop the sensation to bear down. I pushed hard but tried to go slowly and I felt my cervix opening as the baby’s head pushed through it. I told him the head is coming…

I never fully dilated nor did I fully efface. The baby came out in the anterior position and flew out with just one swift push, so fast I nearly dropped him on the floor. At the same moment, because I was standing and the cord was short, the cord snapped and blood went ev.er.y.where. LOL On the walls, all over the toilet and floor, all over the baby and I. We were in shock as all the kids swarmed the doorway. I looked and saw he was a boy… we were all so elated and crying. He was HERE!

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11:30am, December 25th, 2015, approximately 7lbs, dark brown hair, and the most content and peaceful baby I’ve ever seen. He didn’t have any vernix on his body so I wiped him down and I sat back on the toilet. Within minutes I felt my placenta coming and it accidentally plopped in the toilet. haha We marveled at the newest member of our family as the kids cried and laughed and expressed how cute and little he was and that they had a new brother. About a half hour later, I got into bed and I nursed him. After he was settled in and cozy, we tied the cord that was now cold, white, and limp, and trimmed it down. From the moment I woke up to the moment he was born was a little over 3½ hours.

We are so in love… and as I’ve said to him, many times now, it really was worth it… all that waiting and difficulty surprisingly was all worth it… to be holding him and knowing him… I can now say I have sons along with our daughters. When I had my second daughter and could say daughters instead of just daughter… sisters… it was such a sweet moment! And now I can say boys, sons, and BROTHERS! ❤ We are so blessed…. 6 children! Unbelievable. I would never have known that this would be our life, 12 years ago when we made our vows to share our lives together in the will of the Lord…. but it’s full and blessed and enriching. I’ll take all the difficult and challenging for this beauty I get to live with these beautiful little people to share it with. ❤

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