Tuesday, July 17, 2012


When I go out in public with my three littles I inevitably hear the phrase, "you've got your hands full!" Occasionally it will be something else like "you're brave!" or "better you than me!" And while all of those statements might have some truth to them, this is what they sound like, "your children are a burden and you're an idiot."

"You've got your hands full!"

I seriously hear this every time I go out. But rather than take offense I usually reply with things like, "there's always room for more!" or "full of love!" or "that's a good thing!" and a new one, "my heart's fuller!"

Interestingly, I only seem to hear this from baby boomers to teens, and almost always females. Other large families (usually immigrants) and elderly ladies are the ones with the refreshingly welcomed words of encouragement. I don't blame anyone for saying this. Hey, I've probably said these things myself before having kids, especially three. I know it is one of those phrases that just seems like a good thing to say.

But now that you know how it sounds to the reciever, let me offer some alternatives. How about, "wow good job mom!" Or... really anything along those lines.

Because we do have our hands full as parents of several, that much is obvious. Cheering us on for our efforts of bravery go a long way and also teach our attentively listening and always observant children that they are not just a "handful" but have a great Mommy who is trying her best.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


A couple months ago we were in public (gasp!) and ran into another family with many youngins. Long story short, she took one look at P's smile and said, "oh, you know you're a third born don't you." Then pointed to her third born and said he gave her a 'run for her money'. A phrase I keep finding associated with third borns. P is six months old. He is already crawling. Already standing. Already cruising. What am I in for with this little guy? I'm thinking now is a good time to finally read up on birth order traits.

Friday, June 8, 2012


"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;"
2 Corinthians 4:7-9

As the construction surrounding our house continues it reminds me of this verse. As a wise friend of mine once said, "everything boils down to choice." That's what I think of when I come across this verse. Living the real life depiction of the first few minutes of the move UP has caused me to choose how I respond to it. When we found out the county had bought the land just after returning from Africa almost four years ago, we were suddenly faced with the possibility of losing our dream. We bought this house imagining we would always live here and one day pass the house on to our children. All renovations and design projects were put on hold as we awaited an offer. Four long years later we are obviously still here. And so is the new construction. Right up against our property.

It's been interesting having inmates casually walk beside and at times through our yard when working in the jail garden prior to construction taking place. And often finding discarded bags of belongings that had been torn open once an inmate was released and waiting to be picked up a block away or even right by our front yard. Yes, even now, when I'm walking with the littles around town, the prisoners and their guards make way for us, smile, and often say a little hello when they are out doing the yard work. 

Once the new construction began we also had some new neighbors. Bail bondsmen moved into the available commercial buildings near by. And by near by I mean next door and across the street. We've had two people just this week come to our house looking for bail bonds, and I actually considered making a deal with them.

There are also the construction workers who have filled the streets with their cars and trash and dirt that falls from their boots. It makes it difficult to pull out of our driveway when there are cars lined on the curb. I've pulled out blindly more than once. Thankfully to my advantage it is a sleepy town otherwise. But we do live on the main road leading into the courthouse from the bigger towns nearby.

All of this to say, we are constantly given an opportunity to respond. When the news reporters first came to our house looking for a good story, I'm sure they left disappointed when they found us to be non-confrontational towards the construction plans even facing the possibility of losing our home. And yet, we're still here. Strange.

People ask us all the time how we can stand the noise. How we can put up with the workers parking and trash and dirt that lines the once swept streets of our tiny town. 

We simply choose to see the positive. 

I often tell people it's just like living the real life version of the movie Up and that we just haven't taken off on our adventure yet. Also we have a fenced in back yard now that we didn't have to pay for or put up ourselves. Deer and rabbits have no way into our garden even with a fence that they could penetrate, because of the three or so story concrete wall behind it. We don't have as much sunlight for as long in our "courtyard" but the garden is still growing nicely. The noise gives us something to appreciate on nights and weekends when it is quiet enough to hear our wind chime. It hasn't been easy to respond this way, but we've seen the choice and learned to take the high road. Once I was so frustrated about having to turn around in our yard and still pull out into the road with my children not knowing what is coming that I entertained the idea of marching over to the office two doors down and giving them an earful.

That's when I remembered this: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;" And I remember being in Africa and seeing the kind of makeshift homes some of the most beautiful people lived in at the biggest garbage dump I've ever seen. Or even the condition of some of the homes we delivered food to in our own town. We are blessed. And yet it could be gone in an instant just like our friends down the road who lost their home and all their possessions by fire (all creatures were safe and unharmed). Everything is temporal. And yet, we have a hope that is very much eternal. And there is where our real home awaits us. 

Nov 2010

May 2012