Water Works: Home Edition

We each have those messy moments as parents that literally take your breath away. Lately I’ve been reminiscing over the “highlights” of those in my mothering journey thus far. Funny that most of those involve copious amount of water. Perhaps you need a laugh today and could laugh with me.

S is now 5 years old, and her water messes have toned down quite a bit the last year or so-but about 1 year ago her worst one happened. (Perhaps my reaction to the WORST WATER MESS EVER made her think twice before splashing away, I don’t know.) We have continued on our “fixing up the house” journey, and the project then involved having the downstairs bathroom walls torn out and all the plumbing exposed. The recently finished upstairs bathroom is directly above it, and they share a “plumbing run”- a wall that is just chock full of pipes, including the sewer vent.  After a horrible wind and rain storm one day we had had a roof leak around the sewer vent pipe, and water had trickled all the way down to the ground floor. After replacing the sewer vent boot and drying out the plumbing run, we thought we were ok against future leaks. The wall stayed open to allow for us to work on the plumbing during our remodeling adventures. This story has to have this background info for you to understand what happened this one calm, lovely day. I was busy working on homemaker-ly things, when I heard what sounded like water dripping very slowly. Because of past water escapades, I have a very keen sense of hearing when it comes to water. So I tilted my head and tried to locate the sound. Several minutes later I walked by the downstairs bathroom again and heard the dripping, still slow… but a little faster. I went into the bathroom and was horrified to realize that there was a slow WATERFALL silently flowing down the last bit of remaining drywall, puddling on the floor, leaking under the wall and into the living room. The drip came from the ceiling, which was quite soaked and looked like it could begin losing a chunk of drywall at any moment. I made a very unladylike screech noise, and about high jumped up the stairs. Sitting on the sink was my adorable 4 year old, sopping wet and looking up from her imaginary world of fun waterworks with wide and frightened eyes. I could hardly speak-and probably a good thing, as my words at that moment were not very constructive or loving. Apparently the one thing on the bathroom floor that we had failed to complete, was caulking around the base of the toilet. The flood of water that was poured onto the floor was slowly finding it’s way under the toilet, across the downstairs ceiling, down the wall, and to it’s final puddling place on the living room/bathroom floor. I couldn’t have been more thankful at that moment that the downstairs bathroom wasn’t finished yet!

I’d go on with more water messes, but I think that’s enough reminiscing for one day. 😉

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Remembering Our Blessings

I was very blessed to have a grandpa who was present. Not just around, but really and truly present. 8 years ago he went to be with Jesus. I found this tribute in my old Facebook posts and felt it good to share it here as well. May we all live life well and leave such a beautiful legacy behind.

 

Lewis William Carl Sr.

Born November 15, 1934
Died November 9, 2007

7 children
25 Grandchildren
7 Great Grandchildren

As of 2015 his legacy has grown to 29 Great Grandchildren,  with 4 more on the way!



Grandpa married Grandma when she was 16-he was 19.
Grandpa served in the US Army for two years.
After the Army, he worked up to three jobs at a time, sometimes getting only a few hours of sleep a night. He did this to provide for his 7 growing children.

As a Grandpa he excelled. He took us fishing. He gave us “airplane” rides around the house, using the coffee table as a runway, and making airplane noises as we flew around corners. He took us with him when he went dowsing for water. We had many good talks on those trips, and many good memories of Grandpa telling people about how Jesus is the Living Water, and He put the water in the ground. Grandpa told us stories. Many stories. Stories of how God brought him through the most amazing circumstances in miraculous ways. Tuberculosis. Snake bite. Difficulties in the Army. Hardships at home and work. Stories of his growing up years on the farm. Grandpa will probably be remembered best though, by his jokes. Oh he could dish them out for hours. We grew up hearing about how to catch a unique rabbit, and also a tame one. Being told we were a “cool kid” because we weren’t wearing shoes when it was cold, or our hands were cold. Laughing at him as he grinned and said “Well, if I behaved, you wouldn’t recognize me.” in response to Grandma’s outcry at too many jokes for one day.
Oh the memories that flood in- running down the sidewalk as fast as we could as he left so he could clock our speed on his speedometer. He would yell it out the window as he turned the corner, and oh how we would beam with pride that we had kept up with a van… 15 miles an hour must be really fast! Grandpa would come over during his grocery shopping trips just to drop off candy and see how we were doing. We would sit on the porch swing munching on cookies or candy as he would tell his stories yet again.
Even as he lay dying, his ornery spirit showed itself alive and well. We would hold his hand, and if our hands were cold, we heard the familiar, “ooh, you’re a cool kid!” sometimes coupled with a big smile if he could handle it. We would laugh and say, “It’s a good thing you’re still being ornery! We might not be able to recognize you if you were behaving.” Oh how he would grin when we said that. Grandpa’s fighting spirit came out strong during his last days. Always a bit of a rebel, Grandpa would always have a piece of cake (preferably a big one) with ice cream on the side in spite of diabetes. Even when his eyesight was too poor to be driving, he hid it as well as possible-he loved his freedom! Sadly, that freedom ended when he passed out at the wheel, probably because of diabetes or low blood pressure. He was admitted to the hospital, where they discovered he also had a slight case of dementia. Grandma revealed that for quite a while he would forget how to get to certain places he knew very well, and sometimes get confused and forget basic things. This became evident to us soon, as he would forget where things were in his own house, and would sometime draw a blank at first when we walked in the room- he had to think hard to remember who we were. After the hospital he was taken to a elderly-rehab type place (the name escapes me) unfortunately the doctor’s notes somehow did not all reach them, so they didn’t know Grandpa was diabetic! He didn’t get insulin for 3 days, and his blood sugar went wild. After this he was taken home for a few days, but he deteriorated quickly. His heart was really weak, and his balance severely impaired. He tried walking around the house with out a walker, and fell a few times. The last fall had knocked him on the head, giving him a big welt and bruise. Since he wasn’t able to get up on his own, and Grandma sure couldn’t help him, he was taken to a nursing home, where he was taken care of quite well. He was stubborn and had a fighting spirit. He would not lay in that bed and let his wife stay at home by herself. They had to put an alarm on his bed so that when he would try to get up the nurse would come running. He hated that place. They took good care of him, but he wanted to live, wanted to be with his wife, and the dementia didn’t help things either. We would explain everything to him, only for him to fall asleep in the middle of our explanation, and wake up five minutes later crying out that he was leaving and you’d better help him out of here. He was holding water badly, and his lungs were beginning to fill up. His condition was to the point on Tuesday of this week he was taken to the ICU at Community in Springfield. Tests revealed his kidneys were failing, his liver was being damaged, and his heart was shutting down. They put him on two medications to help his heart keep going steadily, and to help his body get rid of the fluid. The heart medicine worked, but his kidneys were too far gone. They failed on Wednesday afternoon. We spent as much time as we could with him, because he would sleep at random times, but occasionally he would wake up and be lucid, talking with us for a few minutes or a half an hour- we never knew what to expect. Thursday morning they took him off of medications and put him on morphine for the pain-there was nothing more to do-his body was shutting down.
On Thursday night, all his children were there with him, as well as a bunch of his grandkids. Grandpa woke up perky and smiling, joking with us and smiling for pictures. He stayed awake for a few hours total-with small cat naps thrown in. It was a precious time-and a gift from God. All this excitement wore him out, and about 10PM I needed to go home. Grandpa was sleeping, and I thought I could say goodnight and give him a kiss, then slip out without waking him-I didn’t want him to see me leave. Well, I whispered goodnight and kissed him, but as I started to turn to go, he woke up, eyes wide. I leaned back down and said “Goodbye Grandpa, I love you” and gave him another kiss on the cheek-but to my surprise he returned my kiss, and said “I love you too, Jessica”. That is the last thing Grandpa said to me directly. I came back the next morning, Friday morning. Grandpa was sleeping soundly to morphine, but his heart had slowed to 70 BPM. When we talked to him his snores would change, and his heart rate would climb for a minute. So we talked to him. about mid afternoon-3 or so, his heart rate was about 60, but I needed to run back to Cedarville at 4. So I left for a bit-my cousin would call me if there was a sudden change. At 5PM she called me, saying his HR had dipped to down in the 20’s and was now at about 40. She said to hurry, she wasn’t sure if he would last much longer. Josh prayed with me on his way out to the programming competition, and I drove back as quickly as possible. Thank God there was a truck in front of me going the speed limit the whole way- it was a nice restraint. The whole way there I was crying out to God that Grandpa would hang on for me to get there. When I arrived, his HR was still at 40, and the family was singing hymns around his bed. Not all of Grandpa’s sons were there yet-two were still on their way. We kept singing, it helped to calm our hearts, and I think Grandpa liked hearing it too-his heart rate would stay up while we sang, and then when we stopped it would go down 5 points. The two missing children arrived, and we kept singing. At about 7 his HR dropped and fluctuated from 40 down to the 20’s. Then it stayed in the 20’s for a few minutes. It was hard to watch the numbers change, not knowing what would happen next, or how long it would take. At ten til 8 we started singing Blessed Assurance, and watched the numbers drop to the teens, then 8, 6-and then -?- the monitor couldn’t find a heart beat. Grandpa died just as we finished the last verse to Blessed Assurance.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
(Refrain)

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love

Vulnerable.

Lately I’ve found it hard to post much of anything personal other than family pictures on Facebook. Life is moving at a breakneck speed, it seems, and my emotions are all across the board. I would overwhelm a lot of people if I just splatted my heart across Facebook, and honestly I’d probably walk away more hurt by people’s reactions than if I had just kept quiet. Thus, this blog. 🙂 I’m thankful for the Lord’s sweet peace in my heart sustaining me, my husband’s friendship and leadership, and for the many many blessings poured out daily. I know I really have it “easy” in many regards, but that honestly just makes the emotions I feel sometimes seem like they are over the top and “unchristian” to share with others. *gasp* They may judge me!   I know this feeling of being overwhelmed and emotional will pass with time as I’m patiently attempting to be careful to express and process the different emotions properly. (Well, at least I’m trying!! It will at least lessen them, of that I’m confident.) I’m thankful it’s nowhere near the feelings of depression I have had in the past. I used to bury all my undesirable emotions under a thin layer of “Everything Is Fine”, until it would just explode to the surface and surprise those I love the most with their intensity and ugliness. With much love and grace from my husband that habit has been greatly reduced, and I’m usually quite outspoken with him about the way I feel now. A practice we have that helps with the habit of “stashing trash” is what we call Dirt Slinging sessions. This is when one of us will say “Ok, I know you’re feeling upset or bothered about something. I don’t care if what you feel about me is correct or not, just start spilling it out. I’ve got my armor on, I’m ready. Starting throwing it at me.” And when it’s all said and done, the yucky stuff is all out, repented of, forgiven, and we can move on with life as a solid unified team. Sometimes those sessions are very difficult to get through. The person being “slung at” has to be super careful to not take anything said to heart-we know the enemy would just love to use the dirt he’s been giving us to hide to wound each other and build up offense. Not allowing bitterness or a record of wrongs to build up is a huge deal in marriage or ANY relationship, and we can tell when we’ve been starting to gather a pile and haven’t dealt properly with it. While we are doing fine in our marriage right now, it’s been very difficult to find time to wind down and “breathe” together lately. That makes being open and raw with each other much harder. It’s WORK some days. Hard work that’s totally worth it, but that doesn’t make it a ton easier! 😉

I think what has brought a lot of this stuff to the surface of my mind is that Hubby and I have been learning this week about the power of being vulnerable from a small group study. It’s really…. hitting me. Convicting me of being quick to give advice instead of hugs-convicting me of acting raw and open when I’m really just sharing a tad bit of my heart and hiding the rest. Convicting me of saying “I’m fine” when I’m really a big knot of struggle. I’m SO grateful for a few choice people in my life that I can be truly open with. No matter how crazy or depressed or upset I am, they approach me with love and grace, “hear me out”-then give me a gentle kick in the rear, a big hug, or advice- depending on the situation. This is so vital on so many levels! I want to be able to be that for other people as well, and not be quick to think I have the solution or answer to their struggle. But to be willing to enter into their heart struggle and feel it with them. To love them as Jesus would-to enter into it with them but simultaneously care too much to leave them there. To bring them Jesus love and peace, and guide them to His ways of LIFE and JOY!

It’s a challenge to be vulnerable. It’s also a challenge to be someone others feel safe to be vulnerable to. 

Life Goes By-one day at a time.

Lately, the useful part of my days have been filled with homeschooling, trying to keep up with housework (and usually failing, in all honesty), and eating and sleeping constantly to keep baby bean happy.

Blogging went out the window.

In fact, I kinda sorta forgot I had this blog.

Whoops. Sorry guys.

My heart is in a funny place right now. Part of me is super excited about the future, waiting to see how God is going to work things together, and hopeful that His promises will come to be in amazing technicolor beauty. The other part of me is a little….well, bland. Weary. Uninterested in growth. Apathetic. Pathetic, in all honesty. Just give me a comfy chair by a cozy fire and some mind numbing activities, and it would seem “happy”. But it’s not happy. The truth is, that ravenous apathetic part of me isn’t going to be satisfied with just ruining part of my life. It doesn’t play fair. I can’t let it take over-and by that I mean I have to give it all over to my Father. Constantly. Daily. Hourly, lately.  I’ve got to press on, to press in-and REST in His love and care. It sounds impossible. But I know that I know that I know, that all things are possible in HIM. So God, take me and change my heart. I want to be soft in your hands, to be made into your image, your instrument. I know you will change my heart. Thanks Abba.

Big Announcement!

So…. we just found out we are pregnant with baby #4!!!! I honestly was shocked when we first found out. So shocked in fact, that I took two tests just to make sure. And then it still didn’t feel quite real until we told all our family! Baby is due in October, right after Baby #3’s 2nd birthday. ‘Tis a good time of year to have a baby. 😀 To be quite transparent, I didn’t feel quite ready to be pregnant-but at the same time knew God’s timing in this would be amazing. And it is, of course. 🙂 I have a complete peace now, and am thankful the decision wasn’t left up to me. My concerns were that I still have a little baby weight from last baby, (who is 17 months old…) and our house isn’t finished yet. Two things I was sort of hoping to have checked off the list first. So I have two emotions- one, I’m thrilled beyond belief. So. Very. Excited!! We’re having another baby!!!! On the other side of the spectrum, I’m sad I can’t paint any more walls and I never did get back down to my wedding dress size. 😛 Haha, such harsh downsides. 😉 So excited to hold this new little one and to bathe them in prayer during this time of forming and growing.

We now get to delve into a few of my favorite pastimes….

  • Cooking yummy and healthy food to nourish a growing baby.
  • Searching for the *perfect* baby names!
  • Wearing cute maternity clothes. Seriously, they are the best!
  • Dreaming about this birth. Giving birth is such a special experience, and I’m actually really looking forward to it!
  • Praying for our child. Each baby we have prayed for a specific trait or gift for them.
  • Feeling a baby bounce around inside of me! Eek!
  • Eating tons of iron rich foods to help counteract anemia. (This one may not be such a favorite…. 😉

So far God has blessed us to be able to have wonderful home births and to be surprised by the baby’s gender each time… and we are praying this time is no different. These are truly special blessings. Due to our health provider moving out of the country for missions work, we are seeking a new one for this birth. God has provided for each birth, we are seeking Him on how to move forward, and are looking forward to seeing how He provides for this baby’s coming.

Vacation, and getting back into routine.

I know I’m not alone in this. Picture this scenario with me: you go on a nice vacation, enjoying time to relax and recharge with your family-only to come home to raging piles of laundry, cranky kids from the long car ride, maybe a time change thrown in there, and a refrigerator that yields only condiments and butter. Yep. Classic. We also had company from out of state come only a few days after we came home. I unpacked our suitcases the day they arrived. 😛 Laundry is usually my biggest hurdle to getting back into routine. Today my goal is to do 5 loads of laundry. At least. And do some REAL meal planning-not just a desperate “Get me through the next 3 days without having to run out for milk” kind of planning. What is your worst archenemy to settling back in after vacation, and how do you attack it?

A bad school day.

Those who know me well know I am usually very patient and long suffering. But some things really push my buttons. And it’s usually my kids on a bad day, which doesn’t make for good parenting from me. Let me just tell you about today. 😉

My two older girls were begging to do their school work. Mom’s dream, right?! I was happy, and got out their work books and pulled out pages that are very much in their capabilities-should be a piece of cake for them. I explained the directions, made sure the first one was done correctly, and then left the room to order some pictures and library books. Figured I would have some quiet time to accomplish these needed tasks. WRONG.

They started arguing.

I ignored them. Classic mom move.

They kept arguing, and someone screams.

I go investigate. No school work accomplished. H was heartbroken that S had moved a piece of furniture 2 feet from it’s designated location. I set things straight and set them back down to their school work.

S comes running in and rams into my elbow as I’m making online purchases. Not cool. Of course she says she hasn’t finished her page yet. No, she says she doesn’t need help. Ok, then go do it!

A few minutes later S begins running around in circles singing loudly to bother her sister. H starts yelling at her to stop, and of course that eggs S on even worse. S gets a time out.

15 minutes later H has one word written down. She usually flies through these pages, finishing at least one page every 5 minutes. I have a feeling school today is not going to go well. I love the days when I can tell them what to do, and come back in a few minutes and they are finished and smiling. That is usually how it goes! They are really great daughters and students-I probably sound very spoiled right about now. 😛 Just some days are completely the opposite. Today is apparently one of those days.

I didn’t deal with everything well. I spoke in anger to S, and told her we were done with school work for the moment. I have no idea what the root is behind all the squabbling. No one needs a nap or is sick as far as I know. Maybe after I finish dealing with the online business we can try again when I can give one on one attention…

Thanks for listening, I feel a little more sorted out already.