Mother-to-Mother: Breastfeeding a Newborn

This is a candid letter I wrote to a brand-new mother 1500 miles away I never met.  My husband thought it was so practical and full of first-hand experience that I ought to share it on my blog.  Unless you are a man who is reading this to help his wife with her breastfeeding, I politely ask you for modesty’s sake not to read this article and leave it instead for the ladies.  Thank you.

2017.03.04-007

A real photo of this real mom two days after giving birth to my fifth baby.

Dear New Mother,

We rejoice with you over the birth of your new baby!  God has delivered you both from the months of pregnancy into a new life together.  You have your days and nights full and do not have time to read a lot, so I will try to keep this concise.  I am one of four breastfed children to my mother, and I myself have five children ages nine years years to 17 months all breastfed (I am still happily breastfeeding the baby). I birthed all of my children naturally and was trained as a doula in 2011.

Here are my most valuable lessons for first-time motherhood that I wish I would have known having baby #1:

Each baby has begun breastfeeding differently, but regardless of that, the first two weeks are always the hardest and after that the fruit is immeasurably sweet.  In the ups and downs, remember that the hard times will pass and it is all worth it!  I promise it is!  I wouldn’t give up breastfeeding for anything, and I’ve had a couple of very, very hard breastfeeding beginnings.  Each new baby is a new beginning.  If you want to ask anything, please feel free.  Mother to mother, nothing is too strange to ask about and I am as happy to answer as you are to ask.

Be skin-to-skin with your newborn as often as possible.  I have learned a lot over the course of having five babies, and if I could go back and spend the first three months skin-to-skin with each of them as I have the last two, I would in a heartbeat.  Take your three months of postpartum womanhood and bond with your baby.  Sleep in a robe for easy access and dress him in just a receiving blanket and have his skin on yours as often as possible.  He was skin-to-skin with you for nine months, it’s a shock not to be so suddenly.  I don’t go hardly anywhere during this time, and I make sure everybody knows I don’t take unannounced visitors for the first three months (they might disturb a mid-day nap skin-to-skin with my sweet naked baby).  This time is all about you bonding with your new son.  Father should go shirtless and bond with his son or daughter as well.  This is just part of the intimacy of family and the sanctity of your home.  You’re not here to impress anyone but yourself on your son or daughter’s heart.

I do not recommend lanolin as it is often contaminated with chemicals from the process of removing the lanolin from the sheep’s wool, and many lanolin products contain petroleum additives.  I heartily recommend Motherlove brand nursing balm or Earth Mama Angel Baby nursing balm.  You may even find a locally handcrafted balm made of all edible ingredients.  Apply after every nursing or shower even if you don’t feel like you need it.

For nipple pain, the shower beating down can be rough.  I keep large Band-Aids on-hand and place them gently over my nipples so that the sticky part is NOT on my nipples and shower that way.  I hope that helps.  Remember, it will pass!  Just expect it and take each day as one day closer to peaceful breastfeeding.

DSCN3461

Two of my babies have had pacifiers and three have not.  I do NOT advocate pacifiers at all.  If you do find yourself using one later on, absolutely do not give it to a baby under two months old as it negatively affects his eating.

Beginning day two or three, you will likely experience breast engorgement.  I had extremely engorged breasts for each baby and have had mastitis twice.  I now know how to deal with it well and not get mastitis.  Breastfeed often (set your alarm so you don’t miss nursing every two hours at the latest around the clock), do not pump extra milk, and absolutely keep at least one head of organic green cabbage in the fridge.  If your breasts get engorged, swollen and hard, take the outer leaves of the cabbage, rinse them, and apply directly to your breasts any place that is swollen.  Put a loose bra on over them to hold them in place.  Leave them on for 20-30 minutes until the leaves are limp and warm.  There is a compound in the cabbage that helps your body to not produce quite so much milk.  This is so effective at bringing down engorgement it can dry up your milk supply if you over-use it, so don’t apply it more than three times per day.  Discontinue as soon as the engorgement begins to subside.  I find it only takes a couple of days to normalize the “supply and demand.”

Mastitis –  During the first six weeks of breastfeeding, if you ever get a fever while breastfeeding or any pains along your breasts especially with a hot, red streak, call your doctor or midwife as you likely have mastitis and need treatment.

On milk supply—eat plenty of healthy animal fats like butter, whole milk, and steak with the fat on.  Breast milk is high in fat calories but not all fats you consume can be converted into breastmilk.  Vegetable oils do not make healthy breastmilk and leave baby feeling unsatisfied.  Be cautious of caffeine like coffee and chocolate, some babies are extremely sensitive, all babies are sensitive.  Limit or exclude white sugar if you want a happy, peaceful baby.

Babies are sensitive to tension and can’t relax.  “Be anxious for nothing, but all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  Philippians 4:6

You are the perfect mother for your baby, God has made it so!  God bless you!

Sincerely,

Melissa

Breaking The Proverbial Ice

Dear Readers,

Some of you will be surprised after my long hiatus from blogging to receive this in your e-mail inbox, others will be stopping by for the first time.  Either way, I’m glad you are here!

Now that my youngest addition to the family is just over a year old, life hasn’t really slowed down at all, but it is different, and blogging does give me an outlet I enjoy.  I like to write and have a passion for sharing encouragement and resources that have been a blessing and help to our own lives.  Real life is great.  Won’t you come back and join us again?

I’m a woman, so I have a lot to talk about.  Here are just a few highlights of what our family has been up to so far this year I can hardly wait to tell you about…

  • We started a cottage industry.
  • We have already begun harvesting lettuces, kale, salad turnips, radishes, and pac choy from our no-till garden.  This is just our second season doing no-till, and we are planning to triple our garden area.
  • In gardening I have a lot of firsts and experiments, primarily succession planting and trying out a number of brassicae varieties.  I didn’t grow up “putting food by”, but this year it’s a goal to store up as much of our bounty as possible by cool-storage, freezing, drying, and canning.
  • Practicing rotational grazing with our ducks, chickens, goats and foraging swine.
  • Homeschooling.  I am happy to have found my rhythm teaching math daily to our nine- and seven-year-olds!
  • De-cluttering and simplifying.
  • Growing in love and respect, and seeking God to mature me into a Godly woman.
  • Out of a desperate desire to hear my Shepherd’s voice from the many voices that abound, I began a 90-day Bible read through less than two weeks ago.

May your day be blessed!

From the sweet and humble homestead,

Melissa

 

 

Purpose In The Little Trials

I am sick today.  It is day four with a very sore throat.  My sickness is not the worst today, but it’s also not the best.

Since early Tuesday morning I’ve had a gamut of symptoms from a red, hot, burning sore throat that would make me double over every time I swallow, to fever, body aches, and ear pain.

Day two, when it all seemed the worst, I wanted to whine for my troubles, but what does whining produce?  Probably about the same thing as anger, “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Thank you, James 1:20

Isn’t that why we whine?  Because we are angry about having to go through something, because we feel we deserve to be exempt from this trial or temptation; we feel we have “better” things to do.

I wanted to whine then, and I wanted to whine today.

But, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119), and so I took every thought captive and made it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), remembering James’ words in the very second verse of his book, to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds”.

Count it all joy, he says.

So I counted it joy, and I smiled, speaking these words aloud.

I remembered the rest of this verse, for why do we count it all joy?  Because we know “that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness [or perseverance]” (James 1:3).  I will be more steadfast and perseverant, also patient, because I endured a trial.  And the Lord knows I need sanctification!

  • I need to be patient and steadfast when four blessed mouths cry “momma!”
  • I need to be patient and steadfast when I feel like I can’t do one more thing, but many things must be done—diapers changed, infant nursed, babies rocked, children shepherded, meals cooked, dishes washed, husband respected, family loved.
  • I need to be patient and steadfast when I have no help, because I do have help. “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, Maker of heaven and earth.” Amen!  *For the record, the good Lord sent my mother over on the hardest day, my husband is incredibly selfless, one friend gave me herbal advice, and another brought us dinner yesterday–God bless you all!

I do have things to do. And I am doing them. I am glad God is not in the business of “quitting too soon”.  I am right here where God has placed me, and I am doing just what He wants me to do (except for the whining).

He wants me to be sick right now.

He wants me to reflect Christ through everything I do.

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4) I want to be mature. How I long to shed my immaturities and be more Christ-like.

God wants me to be graceful in all circumstances. But I need circumstances which require grace in order to be filled with grace, don’t I?

When my six-year-old daughter came down with the sore throat, fever, and body aches, she looked to me. Would I give her the disparity of the world in my reactions and response? Or would I reflect the light of Christ? She knew she could trust my recommendations and sympathy because she saw me go through the same thing only hours before, and even at that moment.

I want to teach my children to be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6), to dwell in the shelter of the Most High (Psalm 91:1), and to take the peace He gives to us (John 14:27).

The only way to teach these things to my children (or anyone) is to live them out myself, that they may see grace flow out of my own being, contrary to the desires and sensations of my flesh, because I am tapped in to the Giver of Grace. May we draw our little ones closer to God by drawing closer ourselves.

Count it all joy….

Postpartum Letters From a Mother of Four

I am a mother of four children between two months and six years old.  Life in our home is very full.  May I share with you a glimpse of that fullness?  Perhaps you may be encouraged, inspired or reminded to treasure the fullness God has for you as well.  These are the thoughts of a mother freshly delivered into motherhood for the fourth time, still postpartum.

DSCN0396

Two months ago, God delivered a baby girl into my arms.  She is my third daughter.  It has been on my heart every day to write a little bit of something during this amazingly intimate, yet fleeting, time of my life as I transition from mothering this child in my womb to mothering her with my very hands.

I will be sharing with you short, personal notes, often written and laid on my nightstand before sleep.  I suppose, in a way, I wish I could be writing these to my “younger self”.  Since I cannot, I am writing them to you and to my own daughters.  May your postpartum days be treasured.

December 16, 2014 ~ seven days postpartum

IMG_0008

Take the time.

Breastfeed longer than necessary.  Breastfeed again after changing the baby’s diaper.  Linger when you hold her to your chest to burp her; feel her soft skin and hair rub along your cheek and lips.  Hold her awhile.  Treasure this time with her of intimate bonding created for you and this child of your womb.  It is miraculous: childbirth.

Gaze at her indefinitely.  Your heart and mind are studying this new, beautiful creation as you touch her, kiss her, and look upon the details of her form.  We mothers soak this up.  And if you aren’t yet, you ought to.

Take the time.

God bless you ~

You Have Too Many Children to Give Them What They Need – a repost from Generation Cedar

When I get the time, I enjoy stopping in at Generation Cedar to read Kelly Crawford’s latest posts. Her most recent, “You Have Too Many Children to Give Them What They Need“, is (as usual) very forthright and on topic with so much I see and hear in society today. I wish I could be so articulate to say the same things! So, here are some excerpts to give you a taste and I hope you will click over and read her full article.

This is a great preview into some upcoming posts on how I have had more to give, not less, as each child has come into our home and lives. You would think a parent would be spread more thin, having more children, but the opposite is true when we give children what they need

Be sure to come back again to see what I have grown to have more of to give with each child added to our family. Until then, here’s some wisdom from Mrs. Crawford…

 

Somewhere along the line, we created an imaginary set of rules about what kids need for healthy development and if you’ll listen closely, you’ll hear it: “To love my children is to buy them things.” Suffice it to say, if love equals providing material comforts, American children are the most well-loved children in the world. Ironically, they also suffer the most from narcissism, ingratitude, and a grandiose sense of entitlement.

 

I’ve been asked, outright, how I could possibly give each child “what they need” since I have far more children than the average family. But the question I ask is, “What do you mean by ‘what they need?’ ”

 

But usually the people who ask me such questions have two parents working outside the home and their children are in school. With homework and school functions considered, that means parents and children are spending an average of (studies indicate) 36 minutes during a weekday together, and 7 out of 10 admit that time is mostly spent watching t.v.

 

The god of consumerism hates children because “too many children” curb our spending.

 

Read more here to find out what Kelly, mom of 10 children, has to say about what children really need.

Here’s what children need, whether you have 1 or 20.

And I Linger…

SONY DSC

 

I used to dwell on many things that to Eternity hardly matter,

But now I sing a different tune, and instead now I linger.

 

The days are long and there’s work to be done

But God’s graces abound, and I linger.

 

Like the day I could hardly stay awake

Reading to the kids when it came

A breeze blowing through smelling sweet and cool

Across my face, through my hair, and I lingered.

 

Or tonight when the baby fell asleep late

And I carried her into her bed

But on the way, my feet did stay

I held her close, and I lingered

 

Many a time life is just so busy

That my husband’s kisses end too quickly

But then out of the blue,

He’ll whisper “I love you”

And for a moment more, we linger.

 

As a busy mom with so much to do,

Sometimes all I see are the toys on the floor

But then I walk by

the windows up high

And the view captures me, and I linger.

 

In the mornings, I spend alone time with God and drink a glass of cocoa

And as I fellowship with Him, the taker of my sins,

Life is full of sweetness, and I linger

 

(Poem by me, please share with credit)

 

Sharing At:
 TuesdaysButton Five Minute Friday Modest-Mom-blog-button-copy

photo credit: hehaden via photopin cc

 

The Newbie Homesteader: June Harvest & A Go At Organic Pest Control

So, I realize it is now July 1st, but I harvested and took the photos on Friday; I’m just late getting this out.  By now, I have a huge bunch of carrots, several heads of cabbage, enough Swiss chard to feed us and our chickens, lots of weeds, etc.  But it’s glorious work.  It must be.  It has to be done!

We have already eaten everything in the picture below, and it was delicious!  We boiled the beets, fried up the beet greens and zucchini in butter, ate the carrots and beans raw, and were pleased to thank the Lord for blessing us with this food as we sat around the family table to enjoy the beginnings of our harvests.

  Our June harvest…

zharvest 2

Beets, zucchini, green beans, and carrots

Some home-grown, sun-kissed faces…

zharvest 1

zharvest 5

 

Cabbage

cabbage 2

We harvested two heads of cabbage on Friday, and there are more ready in the garden to be harvested today.  Cabbage soup and kim chi are on our menu this week.

 

Carrots

carrots 2

 

Swiss Chard

 

 

Bush Beans and Pickling Cucumbers

We got this wonderful trellis idea from the book “The Backyard Homestead”.  My husband built a wood frame (with A-frame supports, so it’s slanted) and attached chicken wire.  We have 16-18 pickling cucumber plants along this 20′ row.

cucumbers 1

Pickles

The kids ate this one before it could make it into a pickle jar

cucumbers 2

Tomatoes

Friday, my children harvested the very first ripe cherry tomato!  (This is not it)

tomatoes 4

Zucchini Squash

These plants looked so sad, sorry, and stunted when we finally got them into the ground.  Praise God my husband is an excellent gardener.

squash 1

 

Organic Pest Control: Squash Bugs

Here my daughter is carefully removing them from the inside of a flowering pumpkin plant.  She’s being careful with the plant but squishing the bugs.

See the little pumpkin starting to form behind the flower?

 

squash bugs

 

Organic Pest Control: Cabbage Worms & Aphids

I’ve already lost an entire cabbage plant to cabbage aphids and cabbage worms.

These clusters (below) of cabbage aphids are not a welcome sight.

cabbage aphids

 

Cabbage Worms

 

cabbage worms and eggs

Can you see the little green worm (vertical under my thumb) coming out of a hole it just chewed?

Now can you spot the two tiny green eggs in the bottom right corner of the picture?

 

What to do?

I made a spray out of cayenne powder, garlic powder, water, and liquid hand soap based on some recommendations I found online.  But since we couldn’t spray until evening, the children and I gave each cabbage plant a thorough rub-down  (squishing all of the bugs and worms with our bare hands).  My kids are hard workers–I was very impressed.

We first sprayed our cabbage plants with the homemade spicy solution Friday night and then sprayed them lightly a couple of times since then for safe measure (I really didn’t want to lose any more cabbage plants to pests!).  We haven’t seen a single pest or fresh bite in the leaves since using our homemade spray.  I absolutely recommend giving it a try!

 

 

Sharing At:
 TuesdaysButton barnhopimage a-wise-woman-builds-her-home RH-LinkUp-150

A Mother’s 11:00pm Journal Entry

medium_12230182096

I overreacted.

I disciplined too harshly.

I just got finished reading how a mother needs to balance motherly sacrifice with not letting her children run her life, when I got interrupted by my oldest child getting out of bed for the I’m-not-sure-how-many-ith-time. “She’s running me,” I thought. “I need to nip this in the bud!” “This has to stop!” “Sleep has been an issue for five years running.”

Instead of nipping disobedience in the bud, I grasped entitlement and disciplined out of selfish-ambition. I wanted my child to be in bed. She was awake before I was this morning and I didn’t want her to be awake up to my final moments of waking consciousness. I needed time to myself… or so I thought.

This whole me-time, balancing our wants and desires and uniqueness with the calling to be mothers and wives sacrificially just gets me all tied up in knots. What is right? Am I being too selfish when I could be reveling in motherhood more? Am I running myself ragged shepherding children, keeping house, and serving my husband without regularly taking time away from it all?

Well, I don’t know. But I am very observant, and I often look back over my own life as the ultimate experiment for how I should proceed further. I am just one life out of many (billions). And here is what I have observed…

I need to be careful to be Spirit-led.

When I read or hear that mama needs to take care of the temporal body and mind that God gave her and be watchful so as to not let babies a, b, and c run her with their demands, I need to do one of two things: throw it away, or think about it under the headship of Christ.

Why might I throw it away? Well, perhaps when the day has been one hurdle after another making up the race of my waking hours and 8:30pm rolls around with two out of three children protesting sleep (albeit happily, quietly, and calmly), it may not be the wisest time to consider whether or not my children are “running” me, per se. A completely weary and vulnerable state of mind is in no position to take on a new approach to anything, especially child training and “me-time.” Clearly, I’m already on the border of coveting the sacred time alone. I need to not wonder, ponder, or consider anything new. I need to abide in peace and let the Holy Spirit lead me.  He who asks for wisdom will be given wisdom.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

When I do think about it, I need to do so under the headship of Christ and take into account the wisdom He has already given me thus far.

“take every thought captive to obey Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5b

Rest doesn’t just change with the seasons—it changes with the time of day.

You know what? I am in a season of service: 24/7 TLC. It’s around-the-clock, all-on-my-shoulders (while husband is at work and working on projects at home), teaching, training, and caring for others all with the necessity of tenderness and love.

Filling my cup is very personal right now. I have to have an intimate relationship with Christ to be filled in a season as full as this. This relationship is in the follow-through of my obedience to Him, my submission to my own husband, and my heart continually seeking Him throughout each day. My heart must remain softened unto Him.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

I must be His sheep and I must know His voice when He calls, lest I be led away and lost in the briars.

When my children were sick a week ago and I couldn’t get a moment without worry or work, God gave me a moment. I sat softly in a chair. I reclined slowly. I breathed, and I could hear it. I gazed out of the new window and set my eyes upon the mountains God created. I breathed again, and I felt it.

My whole body relaxed and my mind was at ease. God gave me a moment of peace. In the five minutes I reveled in this gift of peace, God completely filled my cup.

“Give us this day, our daily bread.” I guess I should say he filled my bread basket. I had a need, and He fulfilled it. We do need to be filled up. We do need peace and rest. But what people say is peaceful and restful are not the same as God’s set-aside plan for filling up your individual cup of need.

Know Him that you may know His voice.

He brings the peace through the baby giggling as you pull her back across the bed for your fourteenth attempt at securing her fresh diaper. Otherwise, what would you see? “Can’t you just hold still!?”

He brings the peace when your child rises from bed at an hour-and-a-half past bedtime asking for food, drink, and a potty break. Otherwise, what would you think? “You should have asked me when it was awake time. Why didn’t you just eat more three hours ago?” Feed her, give her a glass of water, take her to the restroom, and lay back down with her this once with a smile. A real smile. Tenderness from God the Father, because He gave it to you to pass on.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-5

He brings the peace when your child breaks down at every pin-drop because he got way over-hungry by lunch-time and appears to be inconsolable. Otherwise, what would you do? “This is unacceptable. Screaming and throwing tantrums are not okay no matter how icky you feel.” Hug him. He’s “hangry” (as my friend calls it when you’re so hungry you’re angry). I’m one who gets completely irrational when I’m over-hungry, it evokes some fight or flight response in me (or something), so I can sympathize. Feed him, and discuss attitude and prevention when the storm has passed. He won’t forget fifteen minutes later when his belly is finally full, and chances are he will apologize without your prompting.

Thank God for the giggles.

Thank God for the extra hour-and-a-half with your sweet child, especially time alone with her.

Thank God for giving this child to a parent whose heart is tender enough to know when someone is in sincere need of a hug and a gentle answer instead of firmness. After all, I know he’s not a regular transgressor of kindness. But I do know that an empty belly is a vulnerability for him.

Remember that I know my child.

Seriously. How many times has it crossed my mind that, “No, if I don’t get him to shape up this attitude even when he doesn’t feel well, he’s going to think he can just holler and scream every time he feels entitled to something, even comfort!” And I forget that I know my child.

“She’ll never stop needing me to lay with her at bedtime. Though I cherish these moments together, I just can’t do it all of the time! What about later when the baby arrives and he/she needs me?? How long will this go on? I need to be able to say ‘no’ once in a while! If I don’t hunker down and get strict with discipline, she’ll run me into the ground at every bedtime, forever!” And I forget every single milestone we have made. I forget every leap and bound God has been faithfully bringing her across over the years, months, weeks, and even days.

Mom, nobody knows your child better than you do, save God Himself. Doubt can be a dangerous thing. Do you have a husband? Ask him. Chances are, he’ll say you’re a pretty great mom to your kids, even with the mistakes. We all make them, after all.

I can-not understand how my children consistently come up to me out of the blue and declare me to be the best mother who ever lived (or maybe it’s the best mom in the world… whichever).

Her children rise up and call her blessed     Proverbs 31:28

His mercies truly are new every morning…

 

photo credit: Michael Matti via photopin cc

Sharing At:
a-wise-woman-builds-her-home Thriving-Thursdays1 Womanhood With Purpose  Modest-Mom-blog-button-copy

Enjoy Your Little Tag-Alongs

I saw a young mother with eyes full of laughter
And two little shadows come following after.
Wherever she moved, they were always right there,
Holding on to her skirts, hanging onto her chair–
Behind her, before her–adhesive pair.
“Don’t you ever get weary as day after day
Your two little tag-alongs get in your way?”
She smiled as she shook her pretty young head,
And I’ll always remember the words that she said:
“It’s good to have shadows that run when you run,
That laugh when you laugh, and hum when you hum;
For you only have shadows when your life’s filled with sun!”

~Anonymous, “Letters From Our Readers” Keepers at Home Summer 2014 issue.

 

Sharing At:

a-wise-woman-builds-her-home

Nursing Little Ones Through Illness – The Best Days of My Life

I can finally put away the last throw-up bowl.

•  One week ago today, I was rocking my very sick baby sleeping peacefully though hot with fever.
•  Six days ago, I quickly walked my 3-year-old son out the sunroom door to the grass where he let out the sickness that just hit him.
•  Five days ago, I watched my lover-of-life-to-the-point-of-no-sleep five-year-old peacefully sleep on the couch as the sun rose and set (in that order).
•  Four days ago, I lost touch with God’s peace and fretted over my son’s apparent lack of nutrition after sleeping through two-and-a-half days straight without a crumb staying down.
•  Three days ago, we thanked God for our baby’s first birthday, I was blessed by my loving husband who stayed home to serve me as I continued to nurse small children through illness and grow another little one in the womb. I rejoiced at the healing hand of God upon each of my three children. I rejoiced at my son’s return of an appetite and milestone of a piece of toast staying down.
•  Two days ago, I continued to rejoice at the improved appetite of my son. And I did laundry–lots and lots and lots of laundry.
•  One day ago, the bickering of the oldest two was music to my ears after the silence of sickness. God bless them.
•  Today, my husband was able to sleep in for the first time in a long time. The children helped me make pancakes, and we served them with fresh raspberries heaped up high, real maple syrup pouring bountifully, and freshly chilled goat’s milk from the pasture. A friend brought us chicken soup. Family visited. And if you stepped into our home today, you wouldn’t even know what the week brought through our lives.

It was a merry day.

IMG_0296

“Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.”  Daniel 3:26-28 ESV

No, we weren’t persecuted for our faith like the men in Daniel, but I love the example of them coming through the fire (and causing others to praise God as a result, nonetheless!).  I think that if you were with us today, there wouldn’t even be so much as a smell of smoke on us; at least, I hope there wouldn’t be.  There were definitely times when it felt like a very difficult trial, even a furnace hot on my heels.

 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” James 1:2

IMG_0302

And you may think it’s easy to say, now that it’s all gone away, that all is well over here.  But it’s God who is good, by whose grace we all stood, and the one who gives us what’s His.  We are blessed and happy, and what a wonderful life it is!

To comfort the little girl as I hold back her hair, tears slowly streaming down her face.  As she expresses to me that often life is too hard and “will you pray God takes this sickness away?”

To change out the bowls so my son doesn’t smell what had happened and was done 5 seconds ago.  And to do it again like it never happened, teaching him to move on and keep smiling.

To hold a baby, hot with fever, for 48 hours without rest.  Except for when my arms let her down to fetch a diaper and cool towel.

It’s a blessing to be a mother of children and nurture them through every need.  Though I won’t meet but a fraction of them, God is all sufficient and able.  I am still thankful to be here to give the tender touch, compassionate eyes, and encouraging words when appropriate.  I have felt the comfort of a mother’s love through fever, cough, and pain, and I remember it clearly every time and again I can rub my own babies’ feet.

“Thank you, mommy”

“I love you; you are the best mommy in the world”

“You never make any mistakes”

Just knowing my love has met them there and God’s love filled in all my gaps, they know I’m not perfect and know I make mistakes, but the beauty is what they see.

IMG_0299

The beauty is what I see.

Through the mess of laundry comes beautiful service.

Through the long nights come the beauty of a lamp that doesn’t go out.

Through the voices in need I hear my beautiful calling… “mommy”

Through the fear I see the beauty of sacrificial love and the fact that I’d give anything for my child.

The stomach flu isn’t disgusting, gross, or detestable, it’s a beautiful opportunity to serve.  To be the most beautiful woman you can be for what turns out to be such a short time.

I am thankful for this week, and though I’m sorry my babies were sick, I am thankful God chose me.

These are the best days of my life.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”   Matthew 25:31-40 ESV

Sharing At:
a-wise-woman-builds-her-home  Modest-Mom-blog-button-copy