0 comments | published by Linda | December 30, 2011

After lying beside him as he slowly drifted off to sleep, I would quietly turn the monitor on and sneak out. I cleaned the dishes, and did other odd chores quickly that were much more difficult to do with one arm when he was awake. 

If I moved around the house, I clipped the monitor to my clothes. I was always listening. There was peace because I was listening, and knew how he was doing. If he stirred, I knew. If he cried, he knew I would be there for him.

He struggled to fall asleep at night. Yet, he found peace in my presence. My closeness made it possible for him to rest. Knowing that parents are to be an example of God’s love, I chose to stay. I spent endless time holding him close as he fell asleep. I knew I could have made it a bit easier on myself by closing the door. I could have let him learn to fall asleep alone, crying it out until he understood that no one was coming.

My home now also has both little ones and teenagers. Sometimes my older kids like to rest in their rooms, and close the door in order to have quiet. I have found it to be necessary to keep a mental monitor clipped to my clothes. This way, if they stir, I will know. If I don't hear them stir, it’s safe to assume they are, and I will be there for them.

Babies call on us in the middle of the night. Teens are no different. These are my children to love no matter their age, no matter what time. I must keep my eyes open, and my ears tuned in. Their times of need don’t happen at convenient times for me, as midnight talks happen. My baby wants to feel my love. My teens are no different.

Although teens look as though they are complete, they aren't. Their needs are deep, their questions many. They stir as they wrestle with the world around them. I have found it to be necessary to talk to them like an adult, but continue to love them like a baby. 

If their door is closed, the monitor turned off, we won’t hear. I suppose we could let them cry it out until they understand that no one is coming, but imagine if our Lord did the same to us? 

Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: I'm Listening
0 comments | published by Linda | December 24, 2011
Good things come in small packages. At least this is what I was told. I didn't buy it. I would always hope, in the glory of childish Christmas greed and selfishness, that the largest box behind the tree was for me. Lovely, I know. 

Christmas brings hope, expectations, and anticipation. For the smaller ones in our lives, such big emotions are a bit much to handle.

Christmas carols and decorations paint the picture of sweet little families nestled around the tree on this long awaited morning. We expect this. 

As Christmas arrives, and the celebrating begins, we will notice who is sitting around our tree. These aren't figurines from some decoration, with plastic smiles. These are our children. Yet, not just our children, but our children in an emotionally heightened event, which has the makings for a frenzy.

Kids can have an emotional meltdown at a small birthday party. Yet, this isn't just a small birthday party, it's a birthday party for our King. It's huge. 

We have the privilege and responsibility of guarding these hearts. Filling them with candy canes and laughter, showering them with gifts, as we help them to keep emotional balance with full of thankfulness. Knowing their emotions are on overdrive will help us to be proactive as we navigate our way through the crazy.

What's under the tree, are gifts we are giving to our Lord, by giving them to our loved ones. Beautiful. As we look at the little people around our tree, we see that these are our gifts from Him, entrusted to us. Amazing.

Good things do come in small packages. 
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Small Packages
0 comments | published by Linda | October 20, 2011
She didn't know, but as she was talking, I was journaling what was said. I wanted to remember, even though I knew I would never forget.  As I spent much time at Grandma's side in her last few weeks, I was once again reminded that heaven is for real. As she was peaking into paradise, I tried to catch a glimpse of it through her eyes. 

She looked around the room as though she was following something with her eyes. I watched. After some time had passed, I asked her what she could see. "Angels." She told me she was watching the angels. It appeared another caught her eye as her attention slowly returned up above her. She said, "I can't see their faces, but I can see their wings." 

In front of me sat an old end table with a lamp with its shade still wrapped in plastic. In front of her she saw a crowd of people. Looking for her mom she said, "Heaven isn't as far away as you think. It's right here. It's around us." I rested my head on the rail at the side of her bed. She stared. I watched. She could see what I could not. Yet I was with her, by her side. I studied her expressions as heaven became revealed to her. I sang. She was about to go home, her life about to begin. 

She broke the silence as time went by with quickly looking off to the right as though she heard someone calling her. She said, "Yes?" I asked her what she heard, and she quickly asked me if I could hear them calling her name.  She said she was told it was almost time. He was holding onto her, which made it possible for her to let go. She continued to watch what must have been a glorious scene. I only saw dingy white walls, she was peaking into paradise. Her shaky hand slowly but purposefully reached to the sky trying to grasp the wing of an angel. Almost. Each time. Almost.

Pointing to her ear, she told me she could hear music. It was faint, but it was there. "What a lovely sound, as angels gather 'round, saying, 'This is where you belong'...welcome home."

I was reminded of how I felt when I held my newborn babies as they took their first breath. Now, holding her hand, knowing she would soon take her last, I realized the similarities. In these moments, a new life was about to begin. Beautiful.

I glanced at her hand in mine, and thought of the lifetime she has had in the past 98 years. She told me she loved me, and squeezed my hand.

She watched. I sang. We waited. 

Angel wings passed in front of me. She was going home, where she belonged. I was there. This was where I belonged. Her life was about to begin.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Peaking into Paradise
1 comment | published by Linda | September 20, 2011
It's more exciting than the contents of the box. The race isn't to figure out what came to them today, but to grab that crazy bubble wrap that sits on top. As I'm quickly left with an opened box, the bubble wrap flies. Within moments the jumping begins and the absurdly loud pops fill the room.

When I think the popping has finally finished, another blast goes off. Walking into the room, I find the remains of deflated plastic carcasses spread across the floor.

In the next room I heard a new outburst of laughter. Curious to find what brought this second surge of happy, I investigate. There I find my two youngest boys, one wrapped in bubble wrap, the other whacking on the bubbles to see if it hurts. Their test proved that with the wrap, the laughter continued.

We are to choose joy, consistently. Joy comes when we realize our relationship with Him is all we need. Whether times are difficult or easy, we can be surrounded by joy. Joy acts like a protection for us against the bangs and bumps along the way. 

Much like the bubble wrap, we should wrap it around ourselves. Life will hurt less, and there will be far more reasons to laugh. Remember, the race isn't to find out what might come to us today, or why, but to grab the crazy bubble wrap that sits on top.

Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Bubble Wrap
0 comments | published by Linda | September 11, 2011
From my journal on 9-11-01...

Proverbs 15:3
"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good."

A vacuum cleaner commercial lets me breathe. Looking out the window and seeing my neighbor fold laundry in her garage, brings me peace. It seems any break from the invasion of news headlines is eagerly anticipated and much needed.

The scenes that have been imprinted on my mind have hit a playback button and continue to wrench my heart with each viewing. The pictures of buildings, crumbling to the floor like a lego castle built by a three year old. My mind races through all the possibilities of situations that may have occurred inside before the streets of New York slowly disappeared in the smoke and debris. The mothers, fathers, children, husbands and wives, it's more than my heart can bear.

I watch as America weeps so intensely over the innocent people who were trapped inside these infernos, with no escape. Many inside knew there was no hope for a rescue from such a horrific site. These pictures in my mind have somehow found a parallel with other traumatic images, that ironically are the result of a choice made by America. 

So many thousands of babies, trapped with no hope of escaping death even before their first breath. Tiny babies formed by our Creator being terrorized within the womb. Why is it that I see no tears in the eyes of people over these precious ones? Just like the victims of these terrorist acts, these little ones are trapped, and victims of selfish immaturity.

Our God is sovereign. He is the only one who knows why. Standing so small before our Lord, we can't even assume to know His reasons. Yet, we must embrace His justice. These situations certainly make us stand still, look around us, and hopefully make us fall on our knees before our King. We desperately need His guidance, His forgiveness, His protection, and yes, His justice.

I praise God that I don't have to lean on commercials to find my stability, and my peace of mind. I have the privilege of crawling under His wing, humbling myself before Him, and resting in His sovereignty. 

Children. Blessings. As they surround me, they are constant reminders of His love, His beauty, His grace. I will spend my days raising these little ones to be warriors for our King. It has become abundantly clear there is a war ahead we must equip them to win. 
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Innocence Trapped
0 comments | published by Linda | July 30, 2011
So it's been about nineteen years now. In this time, his accomplishments have been many. Having made a decision years back to be sure to praise him for what he's done, he's heard it all many times.

Early on I found that praising him, and telling him how proud I am of what he's done would lift him more than only words of love. He finds his confidence in his accomplishments. From the random unrecognizable paintings he hung on my refrigerator, to his most recent accomplishments, I have been his biggest fan.

God made it this way. As years have passed, he has grown, in every way. Yet, for some reason, at the end of my praise he quickly responds with, "Says my mom," as though...it doesn't hold much value?

Nah, I don't believe it. I know I see things clearly, and am on my game...says my mom.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Says my Mom
0 comments | published by Linda | July 24, 2011
She was cast in a role. It was a privilege to have such an important part in the play. With the script in her hand, she had her work cut out.

As the director guided her along, she was encouraged to feel what the character would feel, to express the emotions, for real. There was no other way for her to portray her character without studying, examining, imitating, and mirroring what she found. She needed to know this person she was portraying, completely.

Opening night, she danced across the stage. With the bright lights on her face, I realized it wasn't my daughter. With expressions I hadn't seen, and responses that were opposite of who she is, my daughter was left backstage. The crazy part is how through the play, I lost sight of who I was watching. She had turned into a clear reflection of who she was to become.

We've been told to become imitators of our Creator. I suppose we could pretend, and act how we think He might be, or we could truly study up on who He is. We could become a disciple. 

This doesn't happen without time. In order to mirror what we find in His character, we have to know.

When we dance on the stage, what does He see? Are we believable? Do we even have any idea of who it is we are to imitate?

We've been given the privilege to have an important part in His play. Holding the script that is filled with responses that are opposite of who we are, the lights come on. Break a leg.

Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Cast in a Role
2 comments | published by Linda | July 17, 2011
"She looked at me funny after I said that. I'm not sure, but I think she's mad at me. I was only kidding and just hyper. I had said the same thing before and she didn't care. Should I call her!? She won't even answer my texts! I don't think she likes me anymore cuz she started to talk to another friend more after that happened.  Now they both won't talk to me anymore..." ... Stop.

"I had an ice cream tonight for dessert. I'm worried cuz I had a soda at lunch. I am never going to be skinny. Do you think I can have a snack tonight? Would that be too much?"...Stop.

Teenage girls get tangled. They write their own stories. They speak words for others that were never said. Round and round they spin out of control as their emotions escalate and they give into their insecurity.

There is much to say to unwind the issues they have become wrapped in, but what might help them the most is to teach them the power of stop.

Like a car rolling quickly down a hill, when it hits a stop sign, the momentum stops. It's over. No more.

As she begins to roll on a road of worries, I hold up the sign. She stops. All done. No more. 

As a girl, she will always have wheels. My gift to her is to show her the brakes. It's over. All done. No more.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: The Power of Stop
1 comment | published by Linda | July 13, 2011
Monday quickly turns to Tuesday. Each day closes with a drop of the curtain, and the lights go out. Did we dance?

Tomorrow the curtain will open once again to an empty stage, just waiting. How will we spend this day? What will our children remember?

We don't know when the final curtain will drop, and our days will come to an end.

Are we laughing? Do we even remember how? My laughter is the sound I want them to remember. For them to know that I embraced the mystery of motherhood with a smile on my face and a belly laugh ready to break out in the craziness I call life.

Taking life too seriously would make the days turn into a drama, completely missing the music.

This is the time. Grab their hands and dance.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: This is the Time
0 comments | published by Linda | June 26, 2011
I don't think they even see a front door on my house. If they do, in their minds, it's never closed. To these six boys who live on our street, they believe they belong here. I watch as they arrive home from school, toss their bag up at their front doors, and run straight here. When added to the number of kids I have, my house is filled.

They sit up at the bar and talk to me as if I had enough ears, not to mention the brain power, to comprehend all that comes at me. If I should walk into the living room and sit, I have clocked that it takes about 32 seconds until they are all sitting around me there. When they get out on the driveway to skate board, they come in to see if I will sit out there to watch them.

Sometimes I step out, put my little one in the stroller, and head down the street. Within a few minutes, children appear from every corner of the street, and I soon have a mass of children surrounding me making quite the scene for onlookers.

They call me "The Child Whisperer." Some think I've lost it. Their parents cry with gratitude. Others tell me to close the door. Yet these faces are men in the making, and I have the privilege of building into them. People think I will run out...that I give so much that I must continuously be drained.

I have found, like with the fish and the loaves, the more I give, the more there is. Actually, the hidden secret is that the one who gives is the one who receives the richest blessings. But don't let anyone know that I've figured this out.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: The Child Whisperer
0 comments | published by Linda | June 10, 2011
I suppose parents could choose to take everything off of their coffee table, and any other surface in the house. It's an option. Little hands do get rather grabby, and what a bother to have to follow them around all day. Many choose this. The only items around that three foot level are toys, or things that no one really cares about. This makes it easy, right? Everything is baby proof. Home is a place where a little one can be set free without a worry.

So what happens during a visit to a friends house? A restaurant? Is asking friends to quickly remove items that could be damaged appropriate? Pretty tricky to keep this up wherever a family might travel. It could sadly limit the places where a little one gets to go.

How much better to train the baby, than to train friends and rearrange your home. If those items are left at their level, you are given a great training opportunity. To practice with your little one to not touch, and to respond quickly to your word provides open doors almost everywhere. If the baby learns that some things are off limits, and how to immediately obey, this blessed child is being trained for the future.

Leave it on the table. Instead of baby proofing your home, give proof to your baby of your love.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Baby Proof
0 comments | published by Linda | May 27, 2011

I have six. They don’t know it. To them, with me, they are the only one. Not sure how it happened, but I have six that are one.

Nobody told me what was ahead on my motherhood journey. They couldn’t. How could they know? This is a climb that has to be experienced in order to truly understand. What will it be like tomorrow? What's up ahead? What will happen along the way? Even though I couldn't see, my trust has always been in Him.

I have chosen to spend the past nineteen years completely devoted to them. Daily sacrifices that I have made for them were an honor. I wouldn't change a thing. Along the way I have found some random truths. Sometimes they don’t like car seats. And for some reason a stinky mood is more contagious than the common cold. I have also found that nursing a baby in the middle of the night, when everyone else is asleep, brings a sort of quiet celebration. 

It’s a climb. It’s the kind of climb that has required getting dirty. I have found that most has been needed of me when I have felt I had the least to offer. This is when the magic begins. I have seen the beauty, and listened to the laughter that only a child can share. I have felt a warm baby wrapped in a towel after a bath, and seen a toddler run to me to be held in my arms.

Farther along now, I have had the privilege to sneak a peek. I've had a glimpse at the wonder. As if the blessings along the way weren't enough, God has more ahead. You wouldn't believe it if I told you.

My oldest son just came in to check on me, with a coffee in hand. He knew I had a rough day. He asked if I was okay, picked up my youngest from my lap, cuddled her in his arms, and left me in peaceful quiet. I have six. I am one. I'm outnumbered, and it's good.

Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Outnumbered
3 comments | published by Linda | April 13, 2011

Heading home, I had to merge onto the freeway. The cars were racing by me as the kids were calling from the backseat. His voice was in my ear. With my cel phone tucked in my pocket, the chord strung through my jacket, my earphones made it seem as though he was sitting right beside me. He was listening. I knew he was there. I couldn't see him, but even in the crazy we were together. That's all that mattered.

I remember a time when I would sit in the corner of my quiet room, with my Bible in my lap, and journal right beside me. Uninterrupted, I could find my Lord there.

Now, with a house full of six children, quiet rarely exists. There is much to do, and so many assuming I have enough ears to hear them all, and the aptitude to answer skillfully. Busy and noise follow me. Tasks and routines seem to lead the way.

If there is no quiet, is it imposible to spend time with our Lord? Could it be our quest to find Him in the midst of the clutter and crazy that fill our days? After all, what makes a day victorious and successful only comes when we are in constant communication with Him. Our closeness with Him is paramount. 

We are heading home, and sometimes need to travel on the freeway. Find him, even there.

Posted in Living Room, Play Room, Attic    |   Tags: In the Midst of the Clutter