Thursday, December 30, 2010
I stayed in bed a little bit after the kids got up this morning, assuming they were happy with cartoons. They were quiet for a bit, but then I started hearing Eldon screaming about this and that, and knew I could not stay in my warm bed forever. Another scream, and I take a deep breath, pray for patience, and roll out of bed. I opened my bedroom door and almost tripped over a small box on the floor. It rattled as I kicked it. I sighed at the messiness of my house and continued with Peter towards the sound of kid conversation.
I walked out down the hall and found the children seated at the table instead of watching cartoons. Lorraine was in the kitchen, wearing her new apron and smiling, "Mommy, I am serving everyone breakfast!" Seth was on the kitchen counter looking for the bread and cheerfully taking orders from Lorraine. The others were happily drinking Lorraine's most excellent chocolate milk and telling me what a great job she was doing with breakfast.
The cocoa pebbles crunched under my feet as I approached the table to join them, but I really didn't mind this time. "Mommy, did you look in the box?" Lorraine asked. I had not, so I put Peter down and returned to the hallway where the box was waiting.
Inside the box were two small plates. On the plates, arranged just so, sat two granola bars, a pile of M&Ms, and a peppermint.
Breakfast in bed for mommy and daddy.
Oh Lord, when these kids drive me crazy today, help me remember this moment!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Marcus yells every time he sees a nativity scene. It is a striking phrase, one he pieced together himself.
"Baby Jesus" is something we hear all the time, but "baby God," actually more accurate, is really quite startling. It is bizarre, really, to put the words "baby" and "God" together. One brings up ideas of weakness and vulnerability and neediness, the other strength and power and authority.
Yet God, our God, has put these two things together. He is the God whose apparent weakness is strength, whose vulnerability and death is power and blessing.
A great mystery is here.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This is a ball that hit the head of the girl with the wild hairdo.
This is the nose struck by the ball that bounced off the head of the girl with the wild hairdo.
This is the blood that dripped on the floor that came out of the nose that was struck by the ball that bounced off the head of the girl with the wild hairdo.
This is the boy that puked in the gym when he saw the blood that dripped on the floor that came out of the nose that was struck by the ball that bounced off the head of the girl with the wild hairdo.
And this kind of thing, THIS is why teachers need breaks!
Here's to all those teachers out there who survived until this Christmas break!
Thank you all for putting up with days like this!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The other night Seth prayed, "God, please make Peter stay a baby forever!"
Oh honey, I like him as a baby too, but God didn't make him to stay a baby forever! God has plans for him as He grows up, just like he has plans for you. We love and enjoy him as a baby now, and God will help us love and enjoy him when he's big too!
(I lecture him and myself!)
"What would you say if I prayed to God that you would stay four forever, would you like it if He said yes?"
"No mommy! I want to get big and go to school!"
So he understood the lesson, and better than the giver of the lecture, who would be perfectly happy if God allowed her to stay 30-something forever.
But God has plans for me as I grow up too, so I'm told.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
so were we because of you, O Lord;
we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind.
We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
Your dead shall live;
their bodies shall rise.
You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.
Apart from you we can do nothing- we know this because we have tried, and we have either failed completely, or watched our "accomplishments" topple over in the wind. All our works are filthy rags, yet in your mercy you forgive us and graft us to the vine that bears lasting fruit, your Son. When we are discouraged by the trials of this world, comfort us and uphold us, and preserve us until that day that we see these words fufilled before our eyes. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Watching my tough-guy Marcus attempt to Turbo Jam along with me!
Friday, November 26, 2010
I use the verb "tend " all the time to refer to the baby of the house. I hear crying or fussing, and I rush off to "tend," to meet whatever need it is that needs meeting. I tell the other children I must "tend," because as I go pick up the baby I do not know if he needs changing or feeding or cuddling or what. Hang on a minute big kids, mommy needs to "tend!"
I remember when Eldon was little and needed tending to, and Aggie was sick and needed so much tending to, and the others tended to each other as much as possible. I remember the day I was cooking dinner and talking to baby Eldon and dosing up the epilepsy meds, when Marcus pulled on my leg and demanded with big sad eyes, "Mommy! Tend to me!"
I like the verb "tend," and have begun to use it in my prayers. I miss my family, more than usual during the holiday season, and I hate not knowing what is going on with everyone. I have friends back home that are going through some hard times and I wish I was there to help them through. There are some in our church family who suffer, and I don't know what to pray or how to help them. So I use that wonderful verb that covers it all- I pray that Jesus tends to them. He knows whatever needs there are that need meeting, and He is also able to meet them.
Jesus, please tend to those I love in Michigan. Tend to my mother and father and sister and family; tend to my dear in-laws and my extended family. Tend to those who are rejoicing for I know not what, for those who bear sadness and trials that I do not see. Tend to those who miss loved ones like I do, tend to those who suffer both near and far. Jesus Our Good Shepherd, tend to us. Amen.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
In a strange turn of events, the older Cook children have been pronounced healthy and seem to have received an alien form of super-energy. They will be hosting a wrestling/bike riding/yelling/and havoc-making event in the Cook basement throughout the morning.
Witnesses say the mother of these children has a vacant stare and crazy hair this morning. She appears to be treating her condition with coffee and vitamins. She was last seen hiding in her home office after a round of compulsive lysol-spraying throughout her house. If you see her wandering aimlessly in the fields, please contact the authorities.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Siblings think all you do is sleep;
They hurry the days of walking and playing
I admire your tiny hand, sleepily resting on my arm
and wish the clock's hands were as calm as yours
The time will come for crawling and walking and wrestling
for temper tantrums and standing in the corner
for reading books and picking battles
for teaching, protecting, and letting go.
It will come, is coming quickly
For this moment, your favorite place in the world is in my arms,
There is no conflict between us, no hard lessons to learn
You need only know the most basic thing: that you are loved
And for now, loves comes from me easily, naturally, effortlessly
You receive it and return it in your simple ways
with each coo and smile,
small contented sigh,
wrapped softly in blankets and arms
I hold you close, while I can
Savoring these dwindling rocking-chair days.
Self- soothing can wait.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
"Oh honey," I sigh, remembering her upcoming MRI, "It's beautiful, but you are going to have to wait until Wednesday to give it to your teacher. You don't get to go to school tomorrow; you have to go to the hospital so they can take pictures of your brain instead."
"But mommy!" she whines. "I want to go to school!" I watch as a hard scowl smashes the joy from her face. She stomps down the hall, a picture of woe, certain her life is entirely ruined. I suppress a smile, watching her moan and complain about this small misery. It is day 445 of seizure- freedom for that girl. She has no idea what a small thing one little MRI really is.
Yet I see myself in her, so I withhold my lecture for once. Telling her, "you think this is bad? Let me tell you how much worse it could be!" would be as unhelpful to her as it is to me when I am feeling overwhelmed and burdened. Of course, I act like her sometimes; surrounded by a million mercies, yet pitching fits over minor inconveniences. Fighting children, interrupted schedules, stomach flu, broken dishes--any one of these things has the potential to elicit sighing and complaining from me. Aggie is blessedly shielded from how much worse it could really be, and so, an MRI counts as a trial in her world. That does not make her suffering pointless, or something that can be lectured away. "God says to rejoice always, little girl, so buck up and get yourself happy right now!"
The concept "It could be worse!" is often used as an attempt to comfort those in trial by well-meaning people. When this idea comes from a Christian, the implicit message sounds an awful lot like: Jesus died for you! How dare you be sad?! Is this what the Bible says about suffering? Your laundry machine is broken. Rejoice always! You miss a birthday party to spend the day throwing up into a bucket. Rejoice! That baby you prayed for has died. Again I say rejoice! Really?
Christ has died for us, and has received the enormous suffering we deserve for our sins. Our greatest debt has been paid, and on top of that, our Heavenly Father surrounds us with His grace and blessing as His children. Surely this is reason for great joy! However, that does not mean suffering is no more. While we remain in this fallen world, we will suffer. We have not been told to wear plastic smiles and pretend it is not so.
Rejoicing and suffering are often mentioned together in Scripture. Peter wrote to the suffering church, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (1 Peter 1:6). Trials, from minor inconveniences to breath-taking grief, have been part of the life of the Christian since the beginning. The imperative "rejoice!" is not intended to be a heavy word of Law slapped on the back of a suffering Christian. It is not a call to rack our brains for a hundred reasons to be thankful even as we tremble under the shadow of death.
God's children suffer, sometimes greatly, sometimes without knowing why. And yet they are made able to rejoice even while suffering. The important question is: Rejoice in what? Surely not in the fact that they suffer! No, rather read the beautiful words Peter uses to direct the eyes of His fellow saints to their source of joy:
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
In this we greatly rejoice, though now for a little while we suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
As God's children, we have been given so much more to comfort us than "It could be worse!" We have a risen Savior, a certain hope, and a God who keeps our inheritance for us, who will carry us through our trials to that day when we are with him in eternity. We may sigh today, we may even mourn, yet even as we do these things, we are tenderly invited to look to that day when the promises God has given us in Christ will be fulfilled. Soon, we will be gathered with all His saints, and He will destroy for us every reason for scowling and tears.
Yes Eldon, life IS hard!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The one at the top was from touch a truck- it was a ball this year! The boys LOVED it! (Peter slept through it all!)
Here we are at the Indy zoo- the boys favorite thing was petting the sharks! The girls were pretty jealous of this trip (we went monday during school) so we may take them to zoo boo this weekend!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
"It's my spanking bat!"
"Oh really? Who do you intend to spank with that bat?"
He puffs out his chest and declares, "The naughty guys!"
Did I mention it is a pink bat with princesses on it?
Thanks to God, for helping us make it through through three entire years with this kid!
We love you wild Marcus! Happy third birthday!
Monday, October 4, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Aggie cheerfully brought GREEN cupcakes to her class on friday, then we had mom's group, then family fun night- all activities she probably thought were parties thrown for her sake!
Friday night the four oldest kids and daddy camped out in the yard! It got a little chilly, but the kids LOVED it! It was such a nice night they even took the fly off the tent and got to sleep under the stars!
On Saturday Aunt Mary Anne and Aunt Whitney joined us for a backwards dinner party!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it,
Gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth's treasures many?
I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free
Lasting to eternity!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
One would think that by the sixth time it would be easier to manage the tornado of bodily fluids that newborns inevitably bring, but it is still an adventure! Other than the explosions and fountains (one of which soaked the mini blind this morning- how does this stuff happen?!) Peter David seems to be a very good baby so far. He only cries when he's hungry, and almost any every way you hold him seems to be a "sleeper hold." So sweet!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Flew punches and kicks from the new baby brother.
The maternity pillow took up half the bed;
Her husband hardly had room for his head.
Sleep would not come, so she got up and wandered;
Creation and life and potatoes she pondered.
She caressed her belly, she sighed, and she smiled;
She felt a contraction, but just one, and mild.
Her belly was bursting, her hips had grown wide;
Her shoes by her husband now had to be tied.
The onesies were clean and snug in their drawers;
She was finished with all of her motherly chores.
She was no good at waiting, that much could be seen
So she paced around, looking for something to clean.
Restless and awkward, swollen and sore,
She tried to recall why she's said, "What's one more?"
Her ribs felt a jab from baby's sharp limb;
Through worries and memories her mind did now swim.
Contractions, deep pot holes, a much too long car ride,
Blood-spurting cords, bruised husband by her side,
Back labor, huge needles, the hospital bed,
She thought how "Is this much pain normal?" she'd said.
Though over the years she'd thanked God she's a girl,
She whined now, and prayed for a good epidural.
As she prayed she remembered the blessed relief:
The old-man like stranger with wrinkles, no teeth
Warm, soft, pink skin, and sweet baby smell,
Strong healthy lungs and the very first yell,
Calm sleepy sighs, quiet breathing in sync,
The best-tasting orange juice ever to drink,
The look of proud daddy gently receiving
God's newest blessing, and once more believing
That He who creates and provides and sustains,
His gifts far outweigh the fear and the pains.
Eyes dancing, grinning, skin jumpy and prickly,
she whispered once more, "Come baby, come quickly!"
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
He has had lots of mommy time this week, with the other boys in Michigan, and the girls in school part of the time.
One day he had a fever and was extremely grumpy for the few hours he was awake. (I suspect teething.) I was amazed: he actually snuggled me that day. He let me rock him. He and I and his blanket; his hot little body, facing mine, bent over the brother-in-the-womb so that he could lay on my chest while we rocked. I inhaled his little-boy smell: not milk and baby lotion, but pancakes and old blankie. I touched his soft skin. For once, he welcomed the quiet and gentle mommy caress, and did not try to turn my touch into a tickle-fight. His hand hung out of his mouth while he sucked on his fingers, making a puddle on my shirt. The other hand opened, and he reached for me, resting it on my arm, as if to say, "Thank you mommy, for just sitting with me for a minute."
It was as if he knew his baby days will be gone soon; as if he knew what's coming, and like me, he wanted to soak in just a few more minutes of life THIS way, before everything changes again. So for a few minutes, we rocked quietly, and he pretended to be my little baby, one more time.
Monday, August 16, 2010
To Aggie, on your first day of kindergarten:
Today, my Aggie flower is dancing off to school, ready to bloom in another garden. You and Lorraine have been chattering excitedly about school for weeks now. When we went school shopping last week, the only thing you insisted that you have was a green backpack, because green makes you think of Peter Pan. You wore your beloved green backpack throughout our shopping trip, and tenderly buckled it in the seat next to you for the ride home! Now it bounces along on your back as you skip off to your first day of school. My brave girl is facing her next milestone with wide open arms, a light heart, and that huge Aggie smile I love so much.
As you leave your preschool years behind without a second thought, I am reminded how quickly life is changing. It was not so long ago that you were my pink little baby, riding on my hip and loudly expressing your opinions. It was not so long ago that you were the wild toddler, running to me with skinned knees and bruises. It was not so long ago that you were sick, wandering around with dark, sunken eyes, resting in my arms when seizures had sapped all strength from your body, teetering on the brink of death and eternity.
I know she's yours, Lord.... please take her into your hands as she skips off to school today. Protect this beautiful flower from the elements; let nothing take her joy away. I know you love her more than I do Lord, and You have promised to be with her always. Protect her from sin and evil. Bless her with caring teachers who are wise in Your Word, with friends who love You, with all that she needs to walk in this world. Thank you for the promises that you have given her, and me, that You will be with us through this valley and someday take us home to be with you in eternity. It is a comfort as I learn to release dear Aggie. She is not going far; only into Your loving hands. Amen.