This is an Update!

Ahh. I have so many things to tell you lovely readers and friends. So many pictures to show you! So this afternoon, when I really should be baking something healthyish…and working on CLM Commercial Roofing banking…I am going to sit down on the couch, with my ice water, tissues, and hundred kids surrounding me…and I’m going to update! 🙂

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Over the years of our married life, we have tried numerous cool ways of gardening. Some years we had one or two plants that went crazy! But mostly, we never achieved our dreams of abundance. This year, Craig built a fantastic, raised bed, and surprised me with a little herb bed as well! He put in a custom mix of compost, purlite, and one other ingredient, the name of which is eluding me. Then we planted!

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He was very unimpressed that he had to stay in his stroller while others were digging in the dirt! We have chiggers on our property, and I would rather keep the kids off the grass, than deal with the terrible itch of having them lined with bites. 

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By the time we built our garden, we were about a month late. This means that the plants at the nursery were…sub-par. 🙂 But we decided to buy them and let God work a miracle of life! 

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Finally, I gave up on holding the squirming, yelling baby, and popped him into the dirt. 🙂 

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And then…there was the weekend that John and Crystal came to visit us! It was a lovely, long weekend. And even though I was still dealing with nausea, I was determined not to pass the time languishing in the house. 🙂 And so on Saturday, we went to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens! It was a blast. 

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My life. <3

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On the boardwalk, there is this cool device where you talk in one end, and down the path, someone can listen at the next station! The kids thought it was awesome. 🙂 

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Seeing double… 🙂 🙂 (I’m secretly thinking of how fun it would be to have another set of twins…)

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Every time Craig and I went to the Botanical Gardens on dates, I would think of how much the kids would love it! And they did.

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There are times when I am utterly charmed. 🙂 Love these kids…

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This was pretty close to heaven for them…to have some of their favorite people come visit…

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My favorite person. 🙂 

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Getting tired!

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After that, we dined at a Japanese Ramen Noodle Restaurant!

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All in all, it was a most delightful weekend. 

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And then life goes on. I’m not sure how to adequately describe the last three months. Because really, it’s been about that long since I have updated. 

Maybe the best way to put it into mere, human words would be…that this has been an incredibly difficult, and incredibly amazing slot in our lives…all at once. 

Because while extraordinarily hard things happened, we also found God in ways we never have before. And before you start thinking that wow…we are amazing…it wasn’t so much because of us. It was a combination of incredible people God placed into our lives–right when He knew it was time. And these people have spoken life, truth, and showed us how powerful God is. And we are not the same…

So I find myself…filled with…sort of awe. And gratefulness. So much gratefulness. And a lot of excitement. A lot. 🙂 

I know. I’m being terribly ambiguous. Or vague…may be a better word. But these are things I can’t talk about. Unless you come to my house. Then I’ll make tea. We will sit down. And we will share with each other the great things God has done…

In the meantime, the kids kept growing, learning…and being kids. 🙂 

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We had an enormous amount of rain this year! Many people found themselves with more water then they knew what to do with. We are blessed to live on a hill. 

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This little guy loves to climb! Which means he gets into things. In the space of one day…he made several piles of food for himself. 🙂 

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Must have been hungry! Honestly, he eats more than I knew a baby could eat! He’ll polish off a whole avocado, and want something else. A banana is nothing to him. 🙂 Or maybe I just forgot how much a one-year-old can put away!

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Daisy begs to help me in the kitchen. Begs. 🙂 

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Daisy also loves working with legos. She will carefully follow instructions and create amazing things. 🙂 

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Honestly, I sit and just watch Enzo play with the big blocks. It’s so fun. 🙂 

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Here Craig built a cage for our tomatoes. 

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Love.

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My herb bed!

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In May, Craig went to an IGo reunion in Indiana. He was gone for four, full days. I thought it was forever. 🙂 

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My friend, Leslie gave my a large amount of nice, polka dot cotton fabric. So I added it to some dresses I found on Primary.com. The twins were happy! Now…to somehow create a maternity dress that doesn’t look like a polka dot elephant in the end…

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Craig continues to build the roofing business. We are excited and grateful to God!

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Bomani is growing up! He loves to help me with things, and especially loves to hang out with dad. He also loves writing notes and hiding them in my room. This one in particular nearly melted me into a puddle of tears…

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And I will wrap up with a picture of Craig and I on our anniversary date. It was beyond my wildest dreams…the most beautiful, blessed evening… I cannot thank Father God enough for all He has given us. <3

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Peace.

<3

Blessed.

Eight years ago today…

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Every year…I realize more deeply, how incredibly God has blessed me. I am not going to brag on Craig here. 🙂 (It would take pages and pages…and possibly crash the blog. 🙂 ) I am going to thank God. Bless God. And just look at Him with my heart full…of gratefulness and love. 

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Eight years and a hundred kids later… 🙂 🙂 🙂 

And tonight he has a surprise date planned! He found a babysitter and everything. Eeek!

Peace. 🙂

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…
Let me walk upon the water
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander…
And my faith will become stronger
In the Presence of my Saviour…

I’m grateful for prayer these days. Thank you. I’m looking forward to days ahead when I can start writing and posting pictures again. 🙂 

<3 Rachel

School

Hi!

So, this fall, we are starting the big three kids into a homeschool program. 

I’m researching the options…and though maybe some of you have reviews and research you’d like to share! 

We will be going with homeschool online or CDs. With having a baby, I am quite sure this is the best option! 

We are looking at Abeka…Jubilee Academy, etc…trying to find the best value for the $. 🙂

Thank you!

Rachel

P.S. They are at about K5 level. Getting close to ready for 1st grade, depending on the school. 

Survival

That really sums up the past weeks. Like, I could stop right here. That’s all. 

Survival.

Amen.

At the risk of sounding like a chronic complaining mom of a hundred…let me describe the past few weeks in a few sentences.

Our pastor died. 

We attended his funeral, among the other thousand people. And this time, I’m not stretching the numbers.

We have been actively praying and working on where God wants us to worship/fellowship. What is next?

I have not been feeling well. Many days, nausea is a battle to fight. Ward off. There are days I lie down and become overwhelmed.

The twins and I contracted a head cold that settled in our sinus’. That along with seasonal allergies has kept me from sleeping really well for weeks…maybe months.

The next week, Enzo came down with a fever. (We are now speaking of last week.) I thought he had simply caved in to the cold we girls had, but after a day of hard fever, he broke out in a rash on his chest and little backside. In the days since then, it kept spreading, and it’s itchy. Then the other three, one by one, started with the fever. I didn’t take their temp, but it was not just a light fever. Bomani has rashes on his feet and hand now. 

Hand, foot & mouth disease. I have since heard that it’s around this area, as well as wider spread. 

Last night I’m guessing there were a good dozen times the kids were making noise or calling for dad. Maybe two dozen. I finally took Daisy to the living room to sleep with her there. I couldn’t sleep lying down anyway because of my sinus’. 

I’m exhausted. 

🙂

There. 🙂 It is. 

This is the life I have chosen. But in all honesty, I (gratefully) didn’t know the half of this side of motherhood!

And then, in the smack-dab middle of the survival, God came. 

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Last weekend I attended a women’s seminar in Grandbury. I had been planning on this for a while. But the closer it came, the more we got whacked. Sickness. More sickness. I was so tired, and Friday, the day of the first evening session, I was overcome with exhaustion and nausea. 

I almost didn’t go. 

But I knew, in my heart, the devil was fighting this. And I really, really didn’t want to let him win. But honestly, I was becoming very weak. 

Friday evening, even though I was low on food because eating was a real struggle that day, I went. 

And God met me. 

Over the weekend of seminar, He worked through the most extraordinary women I have ever met. Women who have been to hell and back. Women who have had “normal” lives. Women who, above all else, have been set free and are so overflowing with the love of the Father, that it poured out and filled my soul. 

My thirsty soul.

In my survival, I had avoided God. I had no energy. And maybe I was afraid of the multitude of tears that could be let loose.

Yeah. I cried a lot at the seminar. 

God did more than bring me back from my land of survival. He went way back. 

He healed things I have, honestly, been working on for ten years. 

For some reason, this was the time. The place. 

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Nailed it to the cross. 

And later, our “sisters” took red paint and covered the papers.

I am changed.

At the end of the seminar, which was as full of worship as teaching and ministering…

God finished my weekend by speaking truth through someone who doesn’t know me…

And He gave me my life’s work. My long-time dream. He has now called me to it. 

More tears. 

Oh yes. He also freed me to use the gift of discernment that I’ve been more or less hiding out of fear and uncertainty. 

No wonder.

No wonder the devil did everything possible to keep us ladies from coming together and giving…receiving…changing. 

Yesterday was Sunday. We went nowhere. We took care of kids with fever, relaxed, and rested. 

I walked out among the wildflowers. 

I asked God what His heart is for His children. (I am starting out to practice and learn listening to the voice of Father God.) 

He said it’s love. More love than I can ever begin to imagine. 

Ladies, God isn’t asking you to “have your quiet time”, to “be in close relationship with Him”…to “become a stronger Christian”.

God didn’t need to create us. 

He wanted to create us. 

Because He deeply, deeply longed for relationship with us. 

That’s it.

He longs for relationship with you. 

Love.

 

Mother’s Day Twenty Sixteen

Mother’s Day was a big deal at our house. We girls would carefully wrap gifts for mom, and make or buy cards. We would pose for pictures. On Mother’s Day, we thanked Mom. We celebrated and blessed her. 

Mother’s Day was just that…a fun day to celebrate.

Until we lost Mom. 

Honestly, I don’t know why. I can handle her birthday. I can make it through the anniversary of her death. But Mother’s Day, every year, just put me under. 

It became an awful time of the year. May…creeping up on us. I avoided the aisles of pink cards. I hated all the hubbub. I cringed at the sermons thanking all of our Mothers. Last year. I wanted to boycott the whole deal. Anything. Anything to keep that terrible grief from seeping into my soul. 

And then one of my friends knocked me upside the head. She wasn’t even talking to me. She posted on facebook, something that had been bothering her for years. I don’t remember the exact text. But what I remember was this.

Mother’s Day is set in place to honor and bless Mothers. But we have turned it into something to tiptoe around. Think of all the women who have lost children and babies. Think of all of us who have lost our Mothers. Be careful. It has become a time of grieving. In all this kindness, we are losing what Mother’s Day is for. To bless Mothers. She did not sidestep grief. She just in all honesty said–get a life. Then she spoke of her own mother. Her mother was adopted. Lost her mother. And lost half a dozen or more babies. But every year, at Mother’s Day time, she reaches out and blesses others…never even thinking of herself. 

I was brought to my knees. Because I know her mother. And it’s true. All of it. I yelled around for a bit, then I let it go. I made a decision. No more screaming at Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day, for me, is going to be a day to celebrate others. To bless the Mothers in my life, both the older Mothers who fill that spot for me, as well as my peers…who work and laugh and cry every day, up to their necks in motherhood. 

Really. It was just time. Time to get my eyes off myself and my pain. 

I decided that next year, I’m going to make a pile of lovely soaps, and give them to as many Mothers around me as I can. Well, being me, I have already given out most of my lovely soaps. 🙂 But that isn’t the point. 

The truth is…for me, this year, Mother’s Day is okay. I am completely at peace with it. I am so relieved, actually, to get my eyes off myself and my own heart. Look around. Bless others. It’s such a relief. 🙂 Wow. Seriously. It takes me years to catch on sometimes. Sigh.

Yesterday HEB had quite the hubbub. Gorgeous cakes. They were dipping strawberries in chocolate. Cuz hey, mothers and chocolate…yes! And the flowers…ahhh…the flowers! I wanted to just walk among them…soak them in…

So thanks, Charlotte. You’re a true friend. Hit me upside the head some more. It’s also called “iron sharpening iron” somewhere else.

Pick some flowers up there, Mom. When I come, I’m going to celebrate Mother’s Day with you again. 

For now, though…we’re okay. 

Happy Mother’s Day!! 

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Pastor Jerry

Always gentle. With a smile for you. What he loved to do more than anything else was to serve others. Serve Jesus.

We have been so blessed. 

Jerry treated us like his own kids. He came and mowed our field whenever it needed a good mowing. Our kids had a local Grandpa. He and Craig met Thursday mornings for prayer. 

We accept this. We look at heaven… We let the tears fall.

It was an honor to know Jerry.

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Prayer…again…

Just not sure sometimes how to do the next day. My stomach ulcer flared up a week or two ago, and hasn’t healed up since. I’ve noticed that when I am in anxiety, about a week later, my stomach crashes. And it takes some time to heal then. So it’s been hurting. And often what I want to eat is acidic…like strawberries and chocolate and apples and raw peppers. The nausea is better, but still ever on the fringes, sometimes crashing in. And then I went and came down with a sinus/ear cold. Some days I don’t do well at all. Other days I do well for several hours, then crash. Thank you for prayers…

Rachel

Real. He Cares.

Today, my heart is drawn to my chat with my friend, Leslie, yesterday after church. 

Leslie is a grandmother. She has a 16 year old (or is he 17?!) son, Ethan, with cerebral palsy. He is delightful. We love him so much! And her life is full. Full of things she had no idea she would be doing at this age. 

She is also raising her grandson. Her grandson comes from a very hard place. He has extreme behavioral difficulties, boundless energy, and a sweet heart. But her emotional energy is completely maxed out, trying to raise this little guy.

I am pregnant. My first trimesters are always difficult. They stretch endlessly before me, making me long to crawl into bed and never come out. Some nights I go to bed, no longer able to fight the veil of ickyness that is constantly in the perimeter of my life during these months.

Our Pastor is in his last days…possibly hours. We went to visit him on Friday. He locked eyes with Craig. That is our last interaction with him, this side of glory. Jerry has 11 children and 60 grandchildren. They are all here now. Surrounding him. Waiting. Loving. And watching as their hearts break before their eyes.

I want to tell you something today…something that is pouring out of my own heart right now.

You may have broken your little toe, and it doesn’t heal. You may have a strained relationship and have no idea how to mend it. You may have a lot of little kids running around your ankles all day long…and night. You may have just lost someone you love, with no warning. Gone. You may live in a country that is lonely, hard, and painful. You may be struggling with your church, and be in confusion. Your finances might not be reaching…again. God might feel very silent to you. Your friends may feel very silent to you. The man who is supposed to be marrying you may not have yet gotten the memo. Your child may just have left for college.

Or a thousand more things I never imagined. You might be walking through something really hard, right now.

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What God is pouring into my heart today is this…

Your difficult particular pain is legitimate. What you are facing, walking, falling on your face, sobbing in front of…

Is legitimate. It’s real.

I don’t care what it is.

It’s real.

Father God is looking at you. At it. He is reaching down to you–in that exact part of your life. With more care and love than I have ever been able to understand. 

Cuz really, there is no small or large pain. Our hearts stretch and squeeze and grow and fall apart…there is no size to pain.

 This idea that “I should shape up cuz look at them! Look at what they are going through! My pain is nothing…” That’s a lie. 

A lie.

I don’t find it in the Scriptures. 

All I find is God’s enormous heart for you and me. 

I find how he sees a bird fall to the ground. 

I find how he has the number of your hair.

I find how he keeps your tears in a bottle. 

May His love and incredible care fill your soul today.

<3

A Beautiful Morning

I am frying ground beef. This.Is.A.Miracle. 🙂 I also made granola and baked oatmeal, cooked potatoes to roast later. Yeah! 

Some days are good. Some are beyond awful. I really thought that since we had coop yesterday, it would be a good day. But I felt so tired and nauseated there, and when we came home, I crashed. Kids were on their own. I nearly had Bomani change Enzo’s poopy diaper. I was bad. In the evening, I came the closest that I ever have this pregnancy, to throwing up. I am not sure yet what makes one day good and one day so bad. Maybe it’s just…life. I hope to improve. Not let it overwhelm me. Craig prayed for me and the nausea really abated after that. Not sure what is what here…

Playing music this morning. 

And lifting my hands to my Father as I pile up rough stones once again…knowing He can make them holy. 

<3