• April 11, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    440051774_d1782321ebIn another life…on another day…in another house…long, long ago…i dealt with the issue of “favorites.”

    I had been asked by a mama of a growing family, who my favorite child was.   And i was ready with an answer.

    You see i had read a great quote from a distant  mama…of a distant large family… of a distant generation… about favorites…and i was waiting to use it.

    “Well i said,” as i leaned in closer,  laying my hand gently on her waiting wrist….”It’s the child who is sick, or away from home, that is my favorite.”

    I could hear the slight gasp in her throat as those words made their entrance into her soul.  She clutched her free hand to her heart as those words sunk in.  Her eyes grew misty at that great answer.  Her lips cracked a gentle smile.  She nodded her approval.

    We shared a mama moment.

    Fast forward 15 years…to today….to this life…in this house…i was asked by a visiting mama who my favorite child is.  And i was ready with an answer.

    “Well,”   i said,”…as i leaned in closer, laying my hand gently on her waiting wrist…”It’s the child who is the closest to me, when i need something.”

    Then i turned to Josiah who was sitting nearby in a chair…”Josiah,”  i sang, “Have i told you lately that you are my favorite?  Now how about you hippety-skippety on out there and fetch your ma the mail?”

    My friends eyes met mine as i turned back to her…she tipped her head to the side…shrugged her shoulders and responded…”Works for me.”

    We shared a mama moment.

     

     

     

  • April 11, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    downamesBeing a mom of a large family…it is expected…understood…and socially acceptable…that i would call my kids by the wrong name.  It comes with the territory.

    This is a common phenomenon among us mamas.  We laugh about it.  We cry about it.  We joke about it.

    In past years i have been known to call my children by their brothers or sisters name…a family pet name…or even a neighboring child’s name.  Big deal.  It happens.

    But the day i called a kid by a name that did not fit into one of the above categories, was the day i realized i had to make some changes…and come up with a better strategy.

    That was the day i called my son, Seth…Doug…………………………………………………..Doug…

    I remember it like it was yesterday.  Seth came in and plopped down on the couch next to me in the playroom…and i said, “Hey Doug, what’s up?”

    “Really, mom,”  Seth stammered…”Did you just call me Doug?  I’m used to Heath or Josh…even our dog Bleach…or my friend Gab….but Doug?   We don’t even know a Doug.”

    He had me there.   We did not know a Doug.

    I’ve made every attempt since then to keep my kids names straight.

    One of my favorite strategies, that worked well when i had a smaller family was to just say all their names slurred together…every time you needed any one of them.  Like so………..”SethHeathHannahJosh”…..
    Simple, sweet and to the point….start with the oldest and add on….”SethHeathHannahJosh”
    This worked well when i had 4 kids or under….after the 5th arrived it got too complicated…
    Yet this is my top pick for any mama struggling with name remembrance for a “smaller” family.

    My next tactic worked fairly well for a time.  I simply would point to a kid…and ask them their name…”You, you there…yes you…what’s your name?”
    “Ben”
    “Okay Ben, come here please.  I’d like you to take the trash out.”
    That worked fine and dandy till the kids smartened up and began giving me their brothers or sister name…thus causing undue stress to me..since i had told Josiah to switch the laundry but it was actually Noah i was talking to.  Fights galore.

    3rd plan…i snuck in the back door.
    I’d point at a sibling and say to a kid, “Could you get him for me.?”
    “You mean Seth?”
    “Yesssssss, Seth.”…and i’d let that name sink into my brain.
    Worked pretty well…but kids began thinking it odd that i was asking them to get a brother that was standing right next to me.

    Final plan of action…..i call them all Son…or Daughter…according to their gender…thus eliminating the name altogether.   I can rationalize this very easily since they all call me “Mom”…they don’t even have to remember my name…they have never accidentally called me Besty, Charlene, or Matilda…they have had it easy all these years…while i have been struggling to get it right….and now i am on to them….

    So after 31 years of mothering i have found the answer to the name game!

    Son…
    Daughter…

    How simple is that………now you can have as many kids as you’d like with no worry or fears!
    You will get it right every time!

    1 BIG point for us mamas!

  • April 11, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    Nurse-on-Phone-300x199Living life in a large family is my forte…i do it…and do it well…

    Living life in a large family with my concussioned head means mom sits home and stares straight ahead while life zooms by her on every side.

    Honestly, i’d rather be zooming along side my basketball playing kiddos…racing from game to game this weekend in a far off city…but my reality says “No”….so here i sit.

    In an honest attempt to not grow grouchy about my present state of circumstance…(my recent fall being only one in a looong list of  “present circumstance”)… i turn to my computer….and let my fingers type…as i reflect on my adventures as the mama of this tribe.

    I”ve learned a few things.
    I’ve traveled some miles in these mama shoes.
    31 years of miles to be exact.
    31 years of stories and memories and tales.

    For instance…did you know that when you call to make an appointment for your strepped-throat kid at their doctors office…and they ask you for the kids birth date….they do not accept the answer…
    “I believe its May, somewhere around the 20th, 1999 ish?”

    Apparently, that’s not a good-enough answer.  No sir-ree.
    They expect you to “narrow it down for them.”

    So, you begin scrambling for their insurance card…in the bottom of your purse… because that will surely have the correct birth date on it…while at the same time you begin mouthing silently…to any kid close to you…””””WHEN IS NOAH’S BIRTHDAY?””””””

    When the “mouthed-to kid” responds “Noah who?”…You shoot a dirty look…and dig deeper into the recesses of that purse.

    Finally, you pull out an insurance card… and with a victorious “Ta-da!”….you tell the receptionist excitedly…”I got this!”…..and quote proudly the exact birth date….of another sibling.

    “Nope, try again,” you hear.          I think i sense sarcasm.

    “Well in all fairness,”  you say, “That kid probably has a sore throat too…so save that birth date…and we will just book them both appointments.”

    Silence.  Dead silence.

    Now you have to resort to the good-ol’-big-family-stand-by…..”Listen,” you say, “I have nine kids…and i’m lucky to remember their names, let alone their birth dates….now, you and i both know that you have this kids birthday on record…up on your computer screen, right this very minute…could you please give me a little help here?  Is it May?”

    “Yes.”

    “The 20th?”

    “No.”

    “Okay, then it had to have been the 18th.”

    “Yes.”

    “Nice!…alright its not 1999 is it?”

    “No.”

    “Am i hot or cold?”

    “Hot.”

    “1998!!”

    “No.”

    “’97?”

    “Correct.”

    You smile triumphantly….as you have successfully cracked the birthday code…an accomplishment for any mama of a large family……and you proceed to schedule the appointment…..

    While waiting for the receptionist to find the “next available opening”…..you turn to whatever kid that is walking past you and whisper smugly,.. “Noah’s birthday is May 18, 1997.”

    To which he replies, “Noah who?”

  • April 10, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    broken-potIt’s been 3 weeks since i fell and smacked my head on the pavement, ensuring a severe concussion, sprained neck, and damage to 2 of the discs in my neck.  Three.   Weeks.                And i ain’t much better.        Dang freakin’ rabbit kids!

    If this were the only “pain-in-the-neck” thing in my life right now, i might feel a little better about it.  But it aint.  So i don’t.   Dang rabbit kids!

    Now here i sit.  With scattered thoughts from a hurting brain…and a dizzy head that reminds me to hold still and know that HE is GOD.

    And i wonder how i can minister from this broken place.  This place of confinement.  This place of pain.  This place that i would prefer not to be in.  This place that sets limits on my time…boundaries on my skills…and restrictions on my energy.  This fettered place.

    In my mind’s eye i drift back to a story in the BIBLE…to another place of confinement…a place of limit…a place of constraint….a prison cell…where 2 Christ followers were thrown.   Two friends, that had been beaten bloody and tossed into the darkest of prisons…having their feet fastened into the stocks.

    Left in a bloody mess of themselves…i imagine Paul had a concussion…and whiplash….and herniated discs….ALONG with multiple other injuries that he obtained as war wounds for the cause of CHRIST.

    As i see their imprisonment….locked up…and bound.  I meditate on their pain, and their restrictions, and their confinement….I realize their “ministry” has come to a halt in that damp, dingy jail……………….

    Or has it?

    At midnight these 2 good brothers, deciding they weren’t dead yet, and declaring that JESUS is still who HE is… despite their circumstances…chose to do the only 2 things they could do in the midst of their imposed limits.

    They could pray…and they could praise……..and at midnight…the darkest hour…that is exactly what they did.

    And according to the SCRIPTURE (Acts 16:25)…the other prisoners…were listening to them…the other prisoners were listening.

    As the other prisoners sat in their chains, in their misery, in their messes, and in their confinement…they heard through the darkness…rising up through the dank walls…prayers to JESUS…from praising hearts.

    Brokenness ministered to brokenness that night…pain ministered to pain…confinement ministered to confinement…through the name of JESUS CHRIST……ushered into each individual cell…via the praises of GOD.

    The BIBLE goes on to tell us the rest of the story…something amazing that happened that night…as the disciples were praying and praising…and the other prisoners were listening…there was a great shaking…and earthquake…causing the prison doors to fling open…and EVERYONE’S CHAINS FELL OFF!

    Not just Paul and Silas’s chains……EVERYONE’S chains!……..proving to me…                            that broken people minister to broken people the best….                                                   and chained people understand others chains the most….                                                    and pained people feel the most compassion for human sorrows….

    And a prison cell of pain or limit….can’t restrict, tie down, confine, or eliminate the power of GOD…unleashed through HIS servants…as they pray and praise!