Nine Years and 364 Days Ago

Thank you God for the gift of my son Joseph.  I realize that he is yours and I am his keeper for you.  Help me guide him, support him, and love him as you do for me.

I was scared and lonely when I was pregnant with Joseph.  We lived in Livermore, California–far away from family and friends.  I lost my first baby before Joseph.  I’m not sure why God made the choice to take that baby but I do know that because of our loss we have become different parents. 

I told Eric on our first date that I wanted 6 kids.  He did not run so I figured he was on board with my “number”.  Eric knew how much I wanted to be a Mom and he knew how devastating it was to have such a traumatic loss.  He hid his heartbreak in order to keep me going.  I will always be grateful for that.  Eric is a loving father to our kids on Earth and our kids in Heaven.

We were both so excited to be pregnant and scared to death at the same time.  The night before Joseph was born–nine years ago and 364 days ago my doula came to the house and calmed our fears.  She gave me an awesome massage.  I felt light and wonderful–like I could do anything.  Then I did the most amazing thing–I popped out a baby!  The birthing was pretty easy and all caught on video.  I wanted to save every moment in case this was my only chance to have a baby.  That fear of loss never really goes away–it just hides.

Joseph is an awesome kid.  I can’t believe he is almost 10.  He comes to give me a kiss every night–he stays up much later than I–and I love his smiling eyes.  God gave me a most incredible gift and I thank him each day.  God made me a Mom and he picked out Joseph just for me.  Now that is an awesome God.  I tell Joseph that he is here because God made him for this family.  I haven’t told him the rest of the story–that he has more siblings waiting for him in heaven who cheer for him at his soccer games and watch over him.  For now I am keeping those comforting thoughts to myself.

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A New View

We are getting new windows in our new house–the house is new to us but the windows are very old and need to be replaced.  We knew that we needed new windows since the home inspection so this purchase is necessary and somewhat planned on our part.  The cost however was not planned.  We knew it would be expensive but we did not have a full understanding until I started getting quotes.  After careful thought came we came up with a five year plan–year 1:  main floor windows, year 2:  upstairs windows and maybe a new front door, year 3:  siding, year 4:  roof, year 5:  hopefully hardwood floors in my kitchen and dining room! 

I have looked at these windows as a burden.  Something that had to be fixed.  Another thing that had to be scheduled.  Money to be spent.  For two days the house is turned upside down as these wonderful men work magic in areas that I had no hope for.

At this moment I am looking at these windows differently.  I see new, clean, and operational windows.  Some of the windows are a different design–the same size of window but they seem bigger somehow.  I am seeing the beauty of making this house our home.  Making this house OURS.  I’m looking into reaplacing the vertical blinds in the kitchen and replacing them with flowing sheers.  Or maybe I will knit a curtain for the kitchen.  I am planning ahead in a joyful way.  I love making curtains and drapery–a simple change can make such a big difference.  Not only in windows but in life.  I guess it all depends on how we choose to view things.

Windows are metaphorically an interesting idea; how we look out at others, how others look in at us, they let the let us see the light and the darkness of life, how God shuts a door but opens a window.  In movies windows are very big moments–the train scene, the reflection in the rear view mirror (I know a mirror is a mirror and not a window but . . . ), the gazing out the window on a rainy day . . . In Ann Arbor I disliked my windows very much–they had a 9 pane design which made me feel as though I was trapped in a house–with small children–which I was–sort of–but the window didn’t help.  I did have window sills and I don’t have that in this house–the yin and the yang of my life with windows.  Window of opportunity.  A window with a fresh baked pie cooling.  A sliver of sunshine peeking through to warm the bones of an old cat.  A window big enough to have 4 kids waving good bye to Daddy every morning.  The window above my sink where I can enjoy my back garden. 

God thank you for giving me the vision concerning the long term plans of this house.  My home is dedicated to you–I hope you like what we picked out! 

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The Basement Museum

We have been in our house now for 15 weeks and we still have too many boxes to go through.  I am painfully going through each one and organizing “stuff” and then I decide if I want to keep it, recycle or trash it.  It seems like it should be pretty straightforward but it isn’t.  It is like my own personal museum of precious artifacts.  I have the Single pre-Eric era, the Early Years of migrating to Dallas, TX, Palatine, IL and Livermore CA and the Starting a family Period and now finally the Raising of the Family.  Within each time frame I have too many things that are laced with too many wonderful memories of that time.  How can I get rid of scrapbook supplies–especially now that that girls may be interested.  Or my rollerblades, books never read, journals never finished, quilts 1/2 done and the list goes on and on.  How many winter coats do I need, hats, mittens, it is just all a little too much.

That is just my stuff!  I have mega blocks, transformers, almost every lego ever made, craft and art supplies for kids, building blocks, a million books, a rocking horse, Little People, and so much dress up I don’t know what to do with. 

My goal is to have our basement finished by Christmas.  I want to go through each box and make thoughtful decisions and spread the word on what I have so that I can hopefully give things a good home. 

I’m not sure how I got to this place.  I know that it is too much and I feel good about letting go and getting rid of the excess.  When I look at it all it is much easier to tell my kids no they don’t need another (insert latest thing) and for me it means that I really don’t need anything either. 

We have been weeding out since last November and I look forward to when the biggest chunk of this project is finally behind us and we can move forward in making more purposeful purchases.  It has been an awakening for all of us.  When the kids look at a pile of stuffed animals it become obvious that they don’t “need” all of them.  When I get all of my quilts organized I think about all the hours I spent on those projects and I remember picking out the fabric, researching the history of the pattern and the excitement of beginning the project. 

Thank you God for giving me the determination to complete these projects and the grace to learn from my mistakes.  Please help me make wise decisions when I make purchases.

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