Monday, September 26, 2011

He whispers "I have entrusted you with much"

This house I call home, it is where people flock for help. For a glass of water, for a welcoming smile, for a story of redemption, for a place to belong. “Come and listen,” we say. “Come and listen to what He’s done for us. For you.” These 8 will leave, but more will come. They always come. I don’t know why us and I don’t know why here. Our house is a wreck and dinner is late. We make a ruckus in the grocery store and we don’t get invited out much because surely we will bring a screaming baby or worse, crazy people. We are late to church and sometimes we get there and one doesn’t have shoes and one forgot to comb her hair. We are the messy ones. And we pray and we pray that we could spill out the grace of God. Kissing Katie from Africa

Enjoy them

Play with them

Laugh at them

Be with them

Study them

Never give up on them

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

His Gifts

We light their candles on their birthday cake and their eyes twinkle in the
dancing candle light. We sing a jolly rendition of "Happy Birthday"
and they clap and sing with us.These little girls who became a part
of our lives when they were only 3 weeks old. Do we ever stop and wonder
why God chose us to be a part of our children's life? What part do we play
in this story, His story? Do I know what I'm supposed to be doing on this
stage of His concerning His daughters? 
His, as in not mine.
He chose their life, He gave them breath and then
He chose our family to help raise them up. I sit and wonder at it all.
I'm honored to be the mother of these two little girls as I am the other six.
We have lots of celebrations of birthdays around here.
With ten people in the house there is almost one a month.
The making of cake, the blowing out of candles, the wish..
yes. there is always the wish.  

The smoke drifts from their candles and I drift to the day we got "the call."
"We have twins girls who are going to be released from the hospital in a few
days. Could y'all take twins?"
My heart guarded as I knew so many things could go wrong with
this situation. We said yes.. we could take twins.

Still not letting myself even think beyond praying for these two I go about my week as usual.
But the call comes.
"Congratulations, you have twins!" says the voice on the other end,
not even giving me time to breathe.
My heart still not trusting, still not believing.
I end up not believing until I hold their little frames to mine.
only 4lbs and I hold them as if they might just break into a million pieces.
I hold them like I never got to hold baby William. Feeling their warm bodies
and smelling their sweet baby skin. Trying to focus as the tears fall.
I cannot contain myself. His gift so wondrous, so great. His gift
to me so over the top.
 I take them in and let God do his work on my heart. Healing a part of it
that has been broken. 

Two years later and I'm still thanking Him.
I will always thank Him, never forgetting that He chose us. Never forgetting the gift that
our children are from a Father who loves and bestows great and wonderful
gifts to us.

Happy Birthday Ellie Cate and Josie Claire

Monday, September 12, 2011

Remember to visit more

It's been way too long since our last visit. She's 100 years old and she sits there in that big ol' chair all day not able to get up and move around or do much of anything anymore. We walk in and her Grandma White smile shines as bright as the sun that beams in behind her. All of us huddle around her chair and she just takes them in. One by one she looks into their dark brown eyes and remembers or tries to remember their name. There is just too many of them. Her great grand children stand in front of her, black and white and she just takes them in.  She knows her though and her eyes stop on Chandler-Mae Grayce White because this little girl was named after her.  She remembers.

She smiles at Channie and says, "Do you like being named after grandma?" Channie-Mae says, "Yes, M'am" I'm not sure Channie knows yet what being named after someone really means. Carrying someones name with you for the rest of your life. Keeping a part of that person tucked somewhere deep within you until your last breath, keeping that person alive.

 They were both just happy to sit a spell and stare at each other. One so very old and one so very young. Her eyes are still young though even after 100 years. She gently takes her and pulls her close and Channie, not quite knowing what to do, just gives into Grandma's hug. I look away because I feel the hot tears starting to seep. Old age seems so hard.
 I look around the nursing home at the faces there. They once were young, I can only imagine  that they never saw themselves sitting in chairs all day watching the hours tick. Sitting and eyes gone bad so you can't read or sew or even watch T.V. anymore. Just sitting. We stay a little while and then it's time to leave. She chuckles as I gather everyone up "how do you feed all these kids?" the same question she always asks me.
"I don't know Grandma, it's not hard. Just make double what you would."
 She laughs " I guess so." I want to ask her how she sits here all day. What she thinks about. What she wishes she could do over. If she could run, where would she run to? Questions I don't ask.

 I reach over and grab her hand to say bye and I promise to be better about visiting. We slip out the door and wade through the faces of the very old who look at us as we pass.

Remember to visit more.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The living

If you lived with us you would notice that food is always something big at our house. We're either buying food, or planning meals, or making meals,  or setting the table for our food, or cleaning up after food. It's funny how food brings our family together.We love good food. We love the smell of it and the taste of it at night when the table's been set and we're waiting for daddy's lights to be seen on the driveway.

Our cook-books and recipes can be found everywhere. List of groceries we will need always on the bar.

 Our little black beauty that we got at the world's largest yard sale has more than paid for herself.
  She sits all day and cooks just about everything you can imagine.

This is our newest addition to our family. We call him Lucky. He was named Lucky for several reasons.

  1. We don't normally do cats
  2. Our cats are farm animals that normally find their food in the pasture, meaning we don't buy cat food. No sissy cats around here. You hunt for your food. Our cats are tough.
  3. Lucky found his way into our hearts and into our house.
  4. Lucky gets a medium priced store bought cat-food that I feel fairly good about buying for him. I don't want this poor thing to have to go hunt for his food. He might starve to death.
  5. Taylor is not a cat lover and well Lucky found his way into her heart by ending up in her dirty clothes pile and she let him <3 It's love I tell ya.

Speaking of love these two are on again and off again. This weekend they were full blast packed out full of love. I have to tell you a secret though. It's H-A-R-D having twins. It's been an experience that has had us crying from lack of sleep to rolling laughing as they tell each other "no cry, baby". They have tested me to my inner core and they continue to keep me on my scarred up knees, banging on the doors of heaven asking for wisdom..I know I post their "good side" most times but that's because of their little reputations that I'm trying to protect.. Not because I'm trying to make you think I have it all together because, believe me with twins, from what I've heard, you never really have it all together again. Hmmmmmm. So I will spare you the going into their room after you've laid them down for the 5th time only to find both of their diapers off laying in the floor and their sheets soaking wet....? Why did you do that I ask them? I really want an answer. They both say diaper as they point to the floor. I will spare you the stealing of each others food and they both blame the other. You never know who really did it. I will spare you the obsession they have with shoes. They want shoes on all the time and when you lay them down for a nap or night-time and you pull their little feet out of their shoes they cry like you just ripped out their soul. I will spare you the early, I mean early, wake up call. I will also spare you the crying that the two these sisters can do and when done in unison will drive you slap crazy.
See, I spared you the messy details. Aren't you glad? I would rather you know the side of them that loves like crazy. The side that gives BIG puckered up lip kisses. The side of Josie that sucks her thumb and rubs her outie belly button and how darn cute she looks when she does it. How when I put on footy pajamas she cries because the zipper is hiding her belly button and I have to un-zip her so she can rub it...  

 I want you to know how very much they love this guy down there, their older brother. They adore him and he adores them. He is protective and loving, kind with these girls. They call him Tuck-Tuck and I simple call him a wonderful son. He is the most generous person I think I have ever been around. He loves to do for others. He has a lawn care business and worked all summer for a christian mechanic. He also helped some of our friends {tornado victims} rebuild. He has a few computer businesses on the side as well. He is saving his money so he can expand his business next summer and putting a few dollars back for his future family.
He is earning his eagle scout badge. He is busy but work is good. He has few friends outside of our family not because he's not a likable guy but because he's busy. He's available to his family and helps us in so many ways.

Having older children, I see the blessings of teaching them patience and understanding when it comes to their younger brothers and sisters. There's not a "typical" day around here.. you have to be flexible and willing to give of yourself and well that's not normal. We gets lots of, "what about your older kids? why should they have to help burden themselves with helping just because you have a large family? They should have their own life...They should be normal teenagers and get to hang out with their friends and express themselves blah blah blah"........Come on, it makes me so mad. The same people who say all that stuff are also the same people who say the world has gone to hell in a hand basket....and I want to say, "well responsibility builds character" and  that our society at large has taken all responsibility out of our children's lives and has inserted 'let me do everything for you' and when young men can't hold down jobs or young ladies have to be taught how to change a diaper or cook by our school systems, something is wrong. We try and give our children a better life than what we had... but is it really better? You are who you are and I am who I am because of the hard-times. Why do we take all hard-times out and then wonder why there are so many weak kneed young adults? Just thinking out loud. Teach them to work and work hard and work along side you and then when you play, play hard.
For the rest of Tucker's life he will have to work. He will be providing for a family. He has to learn now that work is not an option.

Taylor graduated this year and her days are filled with family and work. She does all the cooking and helps with teaching little ones to read. She works for her daddy two days a week and she has a job at our church as a wedding coordinator. She is starting online classes at Penn Foster to be a certified wedding planner.
Oh, and she wants to get married and have lots of babies..and homeschool..So not normal :)

She  is my right hand and so much more. She is 18 and for years people made remarks like "just wait until they get older" well I'm right in the middle of older with her and can I just say I love it? Truly, the Lord has blessed me with remarkable older teenagers but these two are our guinea pigs if you will. They have always had to work hard. Up early with chores and work on the farm or helping with babies. They have been raised old school if you will. No free rides I've said more than one time (probably more than a thousand), "if you don't help you don't eat".....they always help. Bad attitudes are not part of our everyday life. We have them, we all have them, but we work them out..We talk a lot and read scripture and sings songs of God's grace and love.
We make the ones that don't get along work together and sleep together and share a plate until they show me that they can get along. What's the use if your kids can get along with other kids at church and hate the very people in their home? Teach them and beg God for love between brothers and sisters. Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in harmony. Expect it and don't ever expect any less. Don't listen to the lie that brothers and sisters get on each others nerves and that's normal. They will fight and fuss. They will disagree, but teach them to love first and work out their differences under God's rules not the worlds "normal".

I hope you don't mind my soap box but, be encouraged and grow in grace as we live out our daily walk together.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Hurricane Lee blew in the rain

They just woke up and the rain had set in, millions of drops, slowly falling endlessly out my window.
I told them to go get their swim suits on and grab a bar of soap that they would take their bath outside today.
Roars of laughter went up and the excitement mounted as they went in all directions looking for their swimsuits. They ran into the wet stuff as if they had never played in rain before but we all know they have. There is something about rain though that makes each time like new and must be run through and felt all over again.  Faces feeling the cool drops of the hurricane rain as I called it, their wet footprints running and jumping on this land. Their laughter echoing off the trees that stand along our borders

The girls not so sure of their first outside shower, so they took it slow. Josie sucking her thumb and getting rather sleepy in the swing as she looked out over the rain soaked farm. Ellie kept looking up as if wondering where all the wet stuff came from. The drum-drum-drum of the rain hitting the ground mixed with the laughter of children that live here, these are the things that memories are built of, experiencing the rain.

I remember as a little girl every time it rained my dad would send me and my brothers out side with a bar of ivory soap and we would wash in the rain, just like my kids are now. I still remember the smell of the soap when the water hit it. I pray they remember their rain baths and send their own kids out .

After their rain showers they came in and dried off , snuggled in covers two by two and read their new books. Younger ones listening while older ones read but each one clean and warm and smelling the familiar smell of something good cooking.

While they were reading Taylor and I made cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate. I looked around and smiled at the memories we had made in only a couple of hours. I'm so thankful for the wind that moves our trees and brings in the millions of rain-drops that call me to send my children out and to play in the rain. I'm thankful for the food that brings us together smiling and laughing around our table.

I'm thankful that my children don't mind still getting wet. I have played in rain with Taylor and Tucker but they have passed over and will not play in the wet stuff anymore, a small reminder that these little ones will one day say no also to the rain-drops, so I have to enjoy the moment now and build memories that will forever be etched in their minds.


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