Sunday, December 30, 2007

Great is Thy faithfulness.....

I am sure most everyone who is a Christian is familiar with the words to that hymn and the verses they are taken from. God's mercies are new every morning. I have found that to be true on a deeper level than ever before. Will there ever be a morning again that I don't wake up and cry? I believe so. What is comforting to me is not that fact that I will be able to cope better, but that God is so much with me NOW when I can't cope very well. He is here now, this morning.. yesterday morning... every morning. Every minute He sees my heart. He truly cares about my heartache. He gives us times of laughter. He gives us the comfort of friends and family. He doesn't take us around the waters, but through the waters, the flood, and the fire.

We hit a milestone... we made it past the funeral and graveside service. There are no words that go far enough to describe the excruciating realization of "finality" when I kissed his casket and put a flower on it... then turned to walk away. I thought the funeral would be the worst... but that was beyond what I had imagined. I know it wasn't really Aaron in that casket.. just a shell his soul lived in for a very short time. I fully understand that. Aaron is rejoicing with Jesus. The point is... God didn't give us a time warp to get past that point. He was there with us. Helped us through it. Sustained us when our own strength failed.

I feel like I am living in a fog now. But I know over time the fog will thin out. Not lift, exactly, but will thin out until a new "normal" is reached. Meanwhile, I am trying to take care of my body, as I have some physical healing to do after what was a taxing birth, emotionally and physically. I have my other 6 children to keep a reality check on everything. It is impossible to be depressed all the time when witnessing their antics. What would I do without them?

Thankfully, I have no bitterness, and pray for that to continue. Babies, children, young toddlers... they are like medicine to my soul. My sister in law brought her 3 month old to the funeral. They had called my dh ahead of time to see if they should. Well, why not? She's my neice, a miracle in herself after being born 8 weeks prematurely. I am happy for them. I don't feel pain when I hold her, or see her. I am just... grateful. No, bitterness is not a problem.

But guilt is. Should I have done something? NOT done something more? Every check up gave me and baby a clean bill of health. There were no warning signals. Nothing. But... did I miss something? What it boils down to, did I cause my own baby's death? That is torturous to me, and my dh and I agreed not to go down that road. It doesn't lead anywhere we want to go. In reality, there was nothing I could have done. We don't know all the facts. There was no problem indicated at anytime.

So, every morning His mercies are new to me. He sustains me when I dissolve into tears. He gave me a dh whose shoulder is always ready to be cried on even at 3 a.m. It is utterly impossible to ignore God's hand in every step of this journey so far. So many things have to come together, or was timed perfectly (what the world calls a "coincidence"), or provisions given. We are blessed and humbled by the outpour of love and prayers from our friends, family, and community, both in real life and online.

Thank you ladies for your support and prayers! It was a pleasure to meet Leah and Heather, and I thank them for making the trip down here for the funeral. Leah printed about a million pages of messages from the ladies from CMOMB. My dh read thru them and cried. I haven't yet... but will be working up the courage to do so soon. Thank you so much!

Oh, one more thing before I end this novel for today. I know some have been asking about sending a monetary gift. Please don't! The Lord has already provided for all the expenses, plus some. The plus some will be going towards a good locket to put a lock of hair in from Aaron. Also, we plan on sending one of our pictures of Aaron to an artist and have a portrait done. For the more immediate furture we will be making a memory box. If ever the children want to be reminded of their baby brother, or see his picture or mementoes, we'll have a special box for his pics, prints, the story of his birth, funeral momentoes, etc. We can just sit down and remember and praise God for being faithful to us in all things.

He doeth all things well.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Will not the Lord of all the earth do right?

Abraham said that in the book of Genesis. We are clinging to that now, and trusting in Him, because truth be known, we don't have the strength to face this. I don't know how to handle this. I don't know how to be "this" kind of mother. I know how to juggle a newborn, homeschooling, and the normal chaos of life. But this? It is staggering.

You have no idea what your prayers mean to us at this time. The wound is raw right now, but I am praying after the funeral tomorrow, then the long healing process can begin.

Ladies, I see you here and it means SO MUCH to me. Melissa, thank you for you wonderful support, and in a few days I would like to get in touch with you.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you, and let me just say, that the Lord IS faithful. He has humbled us with the outpouring of love by the members in our church, community, our friends and family... it has been just so amazing. I will be posting the birth story soon, but just so everyone knows the basics, Aaron Gabriel was born at home, already in the presence of the Lord, Dec. 25th, 5:20pm. He was perfectly formed. Just beautiful. The cord was fine, placenta... etc. We still have no answer as to what happened so suddenly, and know we probably never will. Once I get my thoughts in order, I will share our story, but for now, we request your prayers.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holy Brethren

I love hymns. So many of them are chock full of good doctrine, uplifting words, strong melodies without any off beats, and praise to our Lord. There are thousands of them, many that have fallen out of use, much to our shame. Here is one that probably almost everyone is familiar with, no matter what their denomination:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Tho' the darkness hide Thee,
Tho' the eyes of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, Holy, Holy! merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

This wonderful hymn was written by Reginald Heber in western England. He was vicar there in his family's church from 1807 to 1823. Heber was said to be an "uncommon man", born into a family of wealth and culture, but he gave his life to the service of God in England and far away in India, in response to his long standing interest in missions.

This powerful, majestic hymn takes it's meaning from Isaiah 6, and Revelation 4. Holy. What is holy? Well, it just so happens that I read some about that this morning with my morning devotions. Now ain't that a "coincidence" ?

The following is taken from the Days of Praise, Dec. 22, 2007, by Dr. Henry H. Morris.

"I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren" (1 Thessalonians 5:27).

There is probably no word more misused - even abused - than the word "holy." In our day and age, it usually conjures up and image of sanctimoniousness, or even hyposcrisy, and thus often becomes a term of snide ridicule.

Nevertheless, it is a Biblical term of highest significance, most often used in connection with God Himself, the Holy Spirit. Since it is also used in connection with things ("the holy place," as in Hebrews 9:12), it does not in itself necessarily have a moral connotation. Its basic meaning is evidently "set apart" and can refer either to people or objects that have been dedicated to God and His service.

Christians are all "holy brethren" in this sense, regardless of their individual behavior. They are all also called "saints" (same word as "holy" in the greek - e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:2, even though many of the "saints" at Corinth were far from Christlike in their actions).

By all means, however, we who are called "holy brethren" ought to try, by God's grace, to bring honor to such a name, rather than ridicule. "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to Him that appointed Him" (Hebrews 3:1,2).

The term "saints", or "holy brethren", applies both to men and women, of course, adn to believers of Old Testament times as well as New Testament. Peter, for example, mentions the "holy women" who honored and served the Lord "in the old time" (1 Peter 3:5) and also the "holy men of God" through whom God gave the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Peter 1:21). The eternal admonition of God to all believers of every age is "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Word and the Spirit

The following was what I read with my morning devotions, taken from the Days of Praise publications:

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Corinthians 2:12).

How is it that some people can read a Biblical passage and find it either tedious, confusing, or even foolish, whereas others will receive great understanding and blessing from the very same passage? The answer is that the first group are animated only by the spirit of the world, "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:2), whereas the others are indwelt by the Spirit of God, having received the Holy Spirit when they trusted Christ for forgiveness and salvation.

It was, after all, the Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures to begin with. "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21). "All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16), that is, "God-breathed," where the "breath of God" is none other than the "Spirit of God." Concerning his own divinely inspired writings, Paul said: "We speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth" (1 Corninthians 2:13).

Likewise it is the same Spirit indwelling each believer who illumines, and confirms, and applies His own Scripture to the individual Christian who reads of hears them. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians2:14). On the other hand, Jesus promised His disciples that "when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).

This He does through the Scriptures He inspired, with blessings abundant as we study them prayerfully and with believing and obedient hearts.

Typos are mine, the rest belongs to Dr. Henry H. Morris, Days of Praise.

It is a simple truth, that the Word of God is "alive". You may read through the Bible, but does that mean you stop? Of course not. I find guidance and learn more every time I read through the Bible. Or rather, the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to new things. It is called "growing". Heeding what you read is called "obeying". I know some may say that "personal devotions" is an old fashioned idea, and that God surely understands if we don't have time for it, etc. But honestly, I can't agree with that. New babies, crisis, busy times, vacation... they should all find us with time with our Lord on a daily basis.. basking in His word, learning, being taught by the Holy Spirit, being refreshed. Personally, if I don't get that time in early, before I start the work of the day, it just seems like many other things go wrong. I don't like giving satan a toe-hold first thing in the morning. Of course, if you aren't a child of God, than much of the Bible won't be interesting to you, and you won't have a hunger or thirst for it. That is easily remedied. We are in a season that we celebrate the birth of our Savior. But it doesn't stop there. He lived 33 years, and died but then rose again! That is the glory, the victory! If He hadn't raised Himself from the dead 3 days later, then there would be no celebration. If you haven't, ponder these things, but not too long. None of us are guarenteed a tomorrow. Proverbs says, that our lives are like a vapor, that vanisheth away. Decide today, right now, to repent of your sins, turn to the Savior, and accept His gift, the greatest gift... to you. Eternal life with Him in heaven, and a more abundant life here on earth.

Great Expectations.. in nursing nightgowns.

Well, these didn't come out exactly as planned. If I had to do them over again, I would make some more adjustments to the patterns I used. However, they are serviceable, and neat, and I am satisfied. Using 45 inch wide isntead of 60 inch made a big difference. If I had to do it over, I would fodl the front in half, then cut it out twice on the grainline, instead of once on the fold, then attach the two halves together to get the full front, with a seam down the front, if that makes any sense. That way, there will be much more fulness for the pleats over the nursing openings. At any rate, I combined an Elizabeth Lee Pattern #104 and See $ Sew B4903. I liked the yoke on the See & Sew better. Oh, something else... if you want "pooofier" sleeves, use the Elizabeth Lee sleeves, not the See and Sew like I did. Anyway, here are my No-Nonsense, No-Frills nursing gowns. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wow... I can't believe a week has passed!

It has been busy here as usual. Schoolwork, chores, laundry, all the everyday stuff keeps us hopping from one thing to the other. We have been doing some special baking too, which included gingerbread men, cut out cookies, and candy cane cookies.

We had fun decorating the Gingerbread men, and eating them too!

Here are some candy cane cookies I made yesterday.. they are fun, taste pepperminty, but are somewhat tedious in construction.

And last but not least, the TREE!!! We had fun decorating it. Dh said that it looks like Charlie Brown helped him pick it out. He and one of the twins, Elizabeth, went and cut it down last Saturday. I think it is beautiful. :)

We did have something of a modern day convenience strike this week. On Monday, our interenet and phone went down in the afternoon. They got that fixed Tuesday, and no sooner did that get squared away, then the dryer started acting up so we couldn't use it. I am thankful my dh is moderately mechanically minded. He took apart the dryer last night, and found that it was a simple fix.. the bearings needed oiling. We are grateful that it was something we could take care of immediately, without cost. The dryer is only a couple years old, so we were frustrated to be having any difficulties with it. At any rate, it has been humming along peacefully all day.

I spent the evening until VERY late wrapping presents. I'm still not done! Our children's are done, and a few other family members. I still have to do the church family's , plus we are waiting on a couple shipments to come in. Obviously, I can't do those until I have them. If this baby comes on schedule, it could very well be that dh will end up taking over the wrapping department. Fine with me! LOL.

I am hoping to finish up two flannel nursing nightgowns before the baby arrives, but other than that, all is in readiness. We are just waiting now, keeping busy, and trusting in the Lord's timing.

Ya'll have a blessed day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NOT Scrooge anymore! Woohoo!

Okay, I finally did a LITTLE decorating. Not a whole lot, but enough to give the illusion that I at least tried. The only other thing I really want to do is get a tree up. Usually Dh and my oldest Ds go out and cut one down to bring home. Anyway, here are some pics of what I have done:

This is the center peice I made. The table cloth is one my grandmother made when she was a young wife, I think about 40 years ago or more. It is totally hand embroidered. Here is a close up of one of the designs:

Here is a patchwork tablecloth I made several years ago. It is on our little work table in the middle of our kitchen.

Last, but certainly not least. Would any Christmas decor be complete without the mistletoe? It is my favorite place to meet up with my dh. :) It is hung in the big doorway between our kitchen in living room. I very purposely put it in a high traffic area. Hehehehehe.

So there we have it... a very moderate decorating spree, but I am happy with it. Like I said, the only other thing I would really want to do is a tree. The children have been asking "when? when?" and I keep deferring them to Daddy. We all look forward to an evening spent together decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music, and eating popcorn.

Getting organized

I spent this morning getting baby's stuff organized. The baby will have a small "nursery" area in our room for a while. Here is the Before picture:

Here is the "after" picture (please excuse the top of Jerusha's head! LOL):

I had a reality check after it was done. It suddenly hit me how close to having this baby we are! I admit I got a lump in my throat as I was laying out baby's first outfit... a nice warm set of pj's, and blankets, and the like. It won't be long!

Warm for the winter

Here are Esther and Elizabeth in their new flannel nightgowns. I had been working on them for a while, but got sidetracked with Thanksgiving, and some Christmas shopping, applesauce making, etc. I finally decided that I was going to finish them this week, Lord willing! Excuse the girls' messy hair, they had just gotten out of the tub and then I made them do some modeling. :) The next day I cut out a couple of flannel nursing nightgowns for myself, and boy did my back hurt after that! I promptly decided... NO MORE CUTTING OUT until after this baby is born. I am thinking my nursing nightgowns won't be done before the baby is born, but that is okay. I can make do until I complete them. After that, I have a couple quilts I want to finish.. yeah right, like I'll have time with a new baby in the house! LOL.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hello, My name is Scrooge

I am so ashamed to admit that I have done NOTHING towards decorating for Christmas yet! This is usally a time of year I LOVE to decorate like crazy. Lots of greenery, and bows and the like. I go for the Americana type look. Normally by the first week of December we are decorated, and doing fun crafts and baking and just plain enjoying the season. I even have a cute little light up village I set up on top of the piano with fake snow every year.

Not this year.

What have I done? Well, not a whole lot. No decorating. No tree.. yet. I have gotten about 95% of the shopping done, but hardly any of it is wrapped. Crafts? Nope. Special baking? Not really. We did make some cut out cookies Saturday. I did the cutting out as the children were all busy helping stack wood and stuff. I about killed my back doing it. They are in the freezer now, and we'll decorate them next weekend for our fellowship dinner at church.

Okay, I have had Christmas music playing in the house since the day after Thanksgiving, doesn't that count?

Why haven't I done much? Well, I just haven't had the energy to do it! We certainly will not be decorating full tilt like we normally do, but there are a few easy things I can do. I have a couple of nice holiday tableclothes, centerpieces, and some hangy thingies I can put up easily enough. The wrapping... well, dh can do it if I don't get to it.

Also my focus has been on getting ready for the baby. We have everything we need, but it isn't as organized as I would like. Still, if the baby came tonight, no problem. We have everything we need for the little sweetie and for Mama. It is just a waiting game now.

So, I feel like Scrooge, but not energetic enough to do anything about it. LOL.

Ya'll have a blessed evening!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Playing Catch-up

It has been busy here, and I have been very very slow moving, unmotivated, tired, etc. All the good stuff you can expect with less than two weeks to go until the baby is due. I am not sleeping well at night at all, which of course makes the days even worse. With Christmas and the baby's due date upon us here, I feel a little overwhelmed. I haven't even done my usual decorating yet! I feel like such a Scrooge!

Tuesday I had an ultrasound done to make sure the placenta wasn't over my c/s scare. It is about as far away from it as it can get, thankfully. Baby is going to be big, probably between 9 and 10 lbs, I am guessing, but that is normal for us. Baby looks good, I am good, no complaints really. It is just a waiting game at this point.

Dh is almost done with fixing the baby's dresser so we can get all the baby stuff organized instead of just thrown in a basket in our room. We still need to set up the portacrib. I have to say, despite that, even if the baby decided to make an appearance tonight, I wouldn't mind. We do have everything we need, even if it is organized to suit Martha Stewart. I am looking forward to meeting this little blessing of ours. The children are getting more excited every day, it seems. They like to talk to my tummy when they go by, or when they are kissing me goodnight, or whenever it suits them. It is very cute!

My goals tonight are to work on some sewing, then after the children are in bed to work on wrapping some Christmas presents that are hiding in our room. I won't get them all done tonight, but I can make a good dent in it. Thankfully, if I don't get them done before baby arrives, Dh CAN take over, though it isn't his favorite job. ;)

The sewing I have to do is to finish four flannel nightgowns.. two for each of the twins. They aren't for Christmas... just because they need them. I will post some pics when ( and if) I ever get them done. For me to NOT want to sew is sooooo strange. Like my mom said... you'd think I was at the end of a pregnancy or something!

Ya'll have a blessed evening!

Having Technical difficulties...

Bear with us here. I tried adding a Haloscan "Recent Comment" thingie and I haven't been able to get it to work. After following steps in a support email, I somehow managed to erase all the comments that were made! My appologies to everyone! I have sent another email off to support team and hopefully we will be able to get this all figured out soon.

Monday, December 3, 2007

For those born from 1929 to 1979

Another good email from my Dad had the enclosed in it:

Those Born 1920-1979 READ TO THE BOTTOM FOR QUOTE OF THE MONTH BY JAY LENO. IF YOU DON'T READ ANYTHING ELSE---VERY WELL STATED TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!! First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants &children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts, or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread , and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because, WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes. No video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms....... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them! Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! If YOU are one of them... CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives

for our own good . While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?! The quote of the month is by Jay Leno:

'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Let it snow, Let it snow,Let it snow!

We are experiencing our first real snow of the season. We have had flurries off and on all day, though the accumulation hsn't been more than a dusting. Still, there is a very light coat of snow over things that make it look very wintery, and very pleasant, I might add, though my Snow Bird dad might disagree. I imagine he is glad he is down south now! This pic was taken early this morning, though it looks like night. We were taking it through the window so it did some weirdo stuff to the lighting and reflection, but you still get the idea... SNOW!!!!

Of course, it is impossible to feel anything but cozy when it is snowing without, and warm withing from the woodstove. Dh and children have been stacking but not all of it is going to fit inside, so Dh is fixing up some pallettes next to the house for the extra wood. We'll get it stacked and covered with tarps, and use it up as we need to. Here is a pic of the woodstove we have been blessed with, and someof the wood we have been stacking.

Next projects on the list for the family is to prepare for Christmas, and of course the baby! Both will hopefully keep me busy enough to keep from getting too restless these last two or three weeks.