Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lessons from the weeds

By Mary

Apparently weeding is something that ought to be done year-round in South Carolina. We have a green fence all along the bottom from the weeds that sprouted and grew through the "winter" months while I watched with my tummy growing bigger and thought "I should do something about that. Tomorrow." Finally, post pregnancy, I did do something about it. It was easier than I thought it might be because the ground there was so soft, and I got one of those nice little prong tools to get up the roots. But the stain I think is probably there to stay for the long haul.

After I pulled those weeds, I began noticing all the other smaller weeds scattered around and set to work on them, a little every day. And I never really could seem to get ahead of them, even with my daily routine. Then there was a thick patch close to the house of some kind of weed I spent awhile trying to identify. It was so abundant in that particular area and seemed like it was starting to spread. I found out its called dollar weed and tends to grow in overwatered places (which explained its heavy presence right under the eaves where all the rain drips down, because apparently in the Carolinas hurricanes are fairly standard but gutters are not?) It also grows best where the grass is fairly thin, not thriving. These things also grow on one little stem above ground that tend to just break at the stalk, not the root when you pull on them. I hate them.

The weeds became my own little set of parables, how quickly lies can take root in our thoughts, attitudes become habits. How you can't just try to pull them out while leaving the good grass sparse. You need to cultivate the true, the lovely, the noble, or all other efforts are ultimately fruitless. You can't continue to overwater. You can't just try in your own strength, you must soften the soil, use the right tools. 

And in the end, we're all stained from our sin. But God washes white.

To my baby girl

By Mary

You're four months old already, pushing five. I truly don't know how time flies by so quickly.
You're the dearest thing. You watch everything quietly, intently. Sometimes I'll look over and catch you ducking your head with a huge smile on it after catching a glimpse of one of us, seeing the dog walk by, or watching your siblings play. I'm sure it's just because that sweet little curly head still gets heavy sometimes on your wee shoulders, but it honestly looks like you're so happy you could burst and that's the only way to contain it.

You are so tolerant of your big sister and brother clamoring for hugs and kisses and smiles from you, sorely neglecting to give you any kind of personal space, and generally abusing you with the utmost love-you even seem to like it all most of the time.

You're so content and cheerful, you talk with the sweetest coos, laugh the cutest belly laugh, but sometimes you'll just cry with the saddest of sad faces, tears welling up in your eyes (which remain a mysterious and indescribable color for the time being)

Everyone asks how life is with three of you dear little monsters and I always say that it's no harder than two except for the logistics occasionally...when taking you all out of the house somewhere or in those moments where you're all three hungry and making it well known while somebody (or two) needs changed and somebody else spilled something the dog wants to lick but shouldn't and the phone is ringing too. Because other than that, you're just easy as pie.

Sometimes I try to warn myself not to get too comfortable with such a happy little camper-who knows when you'll hit a crazy phase and I'll bemoan these precious months with you (just like I'll one day I'll bemoan the crazy phase too) But no matter what somehow I know you'll always be mi Carina, my little darling. I love you.


by Alanna

Having two kids just fifteen months apart seems to bring comments from people.  Some positive, some negative, and always questions.  Are you going to wait for the next one?  Are you going to have more at all?  Have you ever heard of natural family planning?  You know there's things you can do right?   I have always believed that I'd just have as many kids as God gives me.  But lately I feel pretty alone in this view, and it makes me wonder if I'm crazy.  Maybe I didn't realize that I'd be able to get pregnant again so fast, even while breastfeeding.  It's one thing to say you trust God and that kids are amazing, and another thing to put that into practice when your body feels so weary caring for a two month old and you are taking a pregnancy test, just to be sure.

Just when I had been wondering if anyone leaves this up to God, I overheard an encouraging comment from an older lady at our prayer group.  She stepped into a conversation about fertility awareness and gently pointed out that it is God who opens the womb. And He is trustworthy.  Yes, He is.  And I really believe it.  Crazy or not, I believe that God creates life.  I know, God gave us wisdom.  I know He gave us the ability to have knowledge about our bodies and what is going on, when we are fertile and when we're not.  But no matter what we may think it is not us who creates life.  We don't decide when to have a baby, and birth control methods can fail.  God is the author of life.  It's what His word says.  He is not only the Creator and the Sustainer and the Giver of strength when I'm weary.  He is also the God who gives good gifts.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!  He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

I've heard the arguments, that this verse was written back when children were an asset, contributing more to the household, etc.  But I believe that it reveals God's heart.  God's heart for children, reflected again when Jesus welcomed them into His arms.  And I believe it too.  That children are a blessing.  That we are blessed to have a household full of them.  That God will give grace for what He gives.  That I don't have to try to be in control.  That I don't have to fear.  Whenever my next baby comes, and however many come after that, I want to welcome them with open arms.  To be a testimony to the world that God is good and He gives good things.  That He opens the womb and that He is trustworthy.  That children are a blessing!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016


by Alanna

There's been so many different things on my mind to write about, so I'm hoping to blog a little more often these coming weeks. But we'll see. I've decided to blog about hope tonight, because I haven't been feeling much of it lately.  Just a little story that I don't want to forget.

We went to visit my mother-in-law a few weeks ago. She and Isa picked flowers in the backyard for me, while my husband worked on her lawnmower, blessing her as usual. In her house she has various plants and flowers, but this time she pointed out one to me in particular. She doesn't speak fluent English but she told me that she had this plant for two years, and it never had any blossoms. She had given up on it.  But just when she was going to throw it in the trash, it blossomed all in a day- six if I remember right- six beautiful white blossoms hanging from a single stalk, with purple and yellow in their centers. They were beautiful. Not just the flowers, but the reminder to me to not give up hoping and praying.

Sometimes I am hit with the impossibility of a situation. Humans say this can't be done. And for a day I stop praying because it's impossible. And then I'm hit with this awesome and humbling awareness- our God is not bound by the possible. He is the God of miracles and the God who does impossible things. So the next time I am tempted to give up something because it has taken so long, because nothing is changing and no flowers are appearing, I will remember those flowers in my other mom's house. I will remember hope. And open my hands again, pleading to the God of miracles.