Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It is in the Choosing. . .

First, let me apologize, this is like four posts in one. It is pictures and thoughts ~ a jumbled mess, actually! All my little men are napping!! Yay! And, I am celebrating the peace with a hot cup of coffee!

I was convicted today that I haven't given an update on my in-loves in a while. So, for those of you who aren't following Jason and Erik's posts on the Caringbridge site, here is a little update. . .

Erik's dad is doing awesome. He walked over 200 feet today! Hurray! They are planning to discharge him on Monday!!!!! He will, of course, have outpatient rehab for a good long while, but, hey, he is doing amazingly well! He's a little go getter if I've ever seen one! Erik's mom is staying awake a great deal of the day, and when she sleeps it is not coma sleep ~ it is simply restful sleep. So, yay, for that! She is not able to talk. . . yet. She can, however, move her feet, but nothing else really. Well, except for her head. She can nod yes and no. And, she can wink which has been fun for Erik and Jason! And, she is smiling a sweet little half smile. Caleb, Jen's oldest, is there this week with Jason, and both grandparents are thoroughly enjoying his cheerful presence! The only bummer thing is that Erik's mom has an infection in her blood ~ MRSA. They are treating her with 6 weeks of Vancomycin. Please continue to keep them in your prayers. And, I will try to remember to give updates now and then as things progress.


As for us, life is anything but normal. In fact, my life feels completely foreign to me right now! Erik is in and out of town all the time, and I am trying to make home run like usual and trying to make it as peaceful a place as I can for Erik's sake. But, if you have ever raised 4 boys 6 years old and under, you know that peaceful is not the first word that comes to mind. . .


But, still, home is good. It may not always be peaceful, but it is full ~ full of joy, laughter, and constant entertainment. I am trying my very best to choose joy. And, if there is one thing that I have learned this week alone, one thing that I learn almost daily, it is that joy is a choice. Just like some days I choose to have a pity party, and that is okay every now and then, some days I must put my feelings aside and choose joy.


When I had been married just over a week and the honeymoon was over, I started to get a little homesick. Two states and about 8 hours separated me from my parents. I remember missing my old home and moping around my new home for a few days. I was trying to process the fact that this house, which had always been Erik's house, was now my home. My home was no longer with my parents. Erik allowed me to wallow in my pity for a few days, but I vividly remember a conversation we had one night sitting on our bed. I had tears running down my face, and he took my hands, looked me in the eyes, and in a firm but tender voice, he said. . .


"You just need to suck it up."


Seriously, that is what he said. Thankfully, God gave me a sense of humor, and I remember laughing when he said it. I looked him in the eyes, and all the while trying to be mindful of the fact that he was not raised with a sister, I said, as if to teach him the ways of a woman's heart, "It is not a good idea to tell a girl, especially a fragile, crying girl, to 'suck it up.' It might work on the basketball court, but not here. Just so you know."


But, honestly, it was the next thing he said that changed everything. He said, "You have a choice to make. You can choose to be sad or you can choose to enjoy what you have here. But, know that what you decide will determine how we remember this time in our life."


It hit me like a ton of bricks.

And, you know what I accepted his challenge, and we had what we both refer to as one of the best years of our lives.


Now, our family is going through another challenging time. So, if you are someone out there who prays for us, pray that we will all have the strength to choose joy because some days it is so hard. I usually go the pity party route for several days, then I snap out of it and choose joy. Then, I take the joy route for several days. . . and on and on.


And, now here are some pictures and memories from this past week. Sometimes I don't so much choose joy as I have it thrust upon me. . .



Mother's Day was ironically not my finest day as a mother. Erik wasn't home, and I was tired. of. it. And, to make matters worse, two of my precious little ones decided to throw temper tantrums at church. One chose the parking lot and one chose the main hallway in front of the sanctuary for their place to throw down. I was horrified. embarrassed. angry. You name it, and as I drove home with a screaming two year old in tow, I muttered to myself, "Happy Mother's Day." It was that kind of day. After lunch, I put the little boys down for their afternoon naps, and I gave JCT a free pass on his nap ~ in hopes that he and Joshua would play together and let me sip some coffee and read. That is all I wanted to do. That is it. That is all I wanted for the (hopefully) two hours of little boy nap time. I wanted coffee and a book to go with the perfectly peaceful rainy day.

But, no such luck. Joshua and JCT quickly came to me with one request after another. First, they asked if I would make them "strong man costumes" because they wanted to "play circus." Since I had the extra hose and poly-fil, I looked at my watch and reluctantly agreed. Making their costumes took a little longer than I had hoped, but they were more than pleased!



Next, they needed someone to help them build a circus tent (guess who) and then they needed a lion tamer (guess who, again) and a clown (guess who, yet again) and a volunteer from the audience (yeah, you got it!) :-). Bye, bye hot coffee ~ by this time, my mug was sitting on the counter somewhere between room temperature and cold.


I don't care how much I was feeling sorry for myself at this point, they were still cracking me up!

Okay, new subject. . . I can't take credit for this idea. I think it was Joshua's, and it was nothing short of brilliant in my opinion. It kept the boys entertained for at least 20 minutes, and that is a long time for little boys!!! They made cookies out of play-doh. Perhaps, you girl mamas do this sort of thing all the time, but it was new to me ~ and very fun! They rolled out the dough, cut their own cookies, placed them on cookie sheets, and cooked them in a make-believe oven!


This was the "oven". . .




I actually considered letting them use the real oven, but I was afraid that I might forget them and then preheat the oven for dinner later. . . thus, the pretend oven! And, when they were done, I let them use my cake stand to display their cookies.




My babies! Oh, how they are growing up!!! Here they are enjoying a book together! I can't wait to watch their sweet friendship grow!


And, in case you were not aware, the Lord's Army is serious business. . .

YES SIR! Not to be taken lightly! Here they are shooting the artillery. Notice Elijah's little hand in the background! He's learning!

And, I'll end on a clean note! :-) Erik Daniel's first bath with the big boys!!! Rub a dub dub ~ 4 men in a tub!!


I can't believe how time flies! It makes me appreciate today so much more! Life is hard right now for me, not just because Erik is gone off and on, but just running a home with four boys can be challenging in and of itself. The challenge to be selfless and think of them first. The challenge to get even the basics done any given day. The challenge to remember that there is a whole world outside of my seemingly all-consuming home. The challenge to focus on Erik and love him well when so many little hands are pulling on me, wanting me. The challenge to not lose my temper. The challenge to stop working and read the boys a book. The challenge to be a person that I want my boys to imitate. The list goes on and on. And, most days I feel like I am failing in each and every area. And, Satan tells me that I am. I hear it over and over in my head. I asked God the other day, "Lord, why I am fed all these lies? Why does that voice in my head keep telling me that I am failing?" His answer was quick and to the point, and I heard it as clearly as if He had been standing directly in front of me. . .

"Because you listen."

The voices keep talking because I keep listening. I am beginning to realize the control that I have in that area as well ~ the choice to listen or the choice to not listen.

This morning I was entertaining the boys by showing them a few home videos. And, as I watched the videos and heard their laughter, God whispered to my weary discouraged heart, "This is what I see. See what I see. You are raising joyful carefree spirited little boys. Sure there are moments you aren't proud of, but all in all, you are doing well. They know they are loved and they are secure in that. You see the back of the tapestry. I see the front. Choose to rest in that and trust Me."

It is all that I can do. Thank You, Lord. Goodness, I love You!

11 comments:

Christi said...

Erin, such a touching post. Your words always hit home with me.

Continuing to pray for you & your family!

Sun said...

Oh how I needed this today!

My girls and I are making a prayer wall and I am going to post your blog title on it so I remember to pray for you and your sweet family! You are SO precious and touch SO many. Sunshine

Kelly said...

Great words... all of it. Thank you so much for sharing.

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

Oh my, I nearly cried as I read that last part. I feel just like that so often. I listen to the wrong voice and feel like I'm failing.

Fantastic and very encouraging post!

Kristen said...

Thank you for this!

Anna Lee said...

This was written from a full heart (and hands). You serve family and God daily and by choice.

You are young and wise to learn to choose joy in the experiences of life. Most people never learn that lesson.

I'm choosing joy for my life today!

in a world surrounded by men said...

Erin, oh how I identify with everything in this post. I did have four boys in just over six years. I am in the thick of the mess, the noise, the chaos, the traveling husband.

And not feeling like I can do any one thing well.

But I agree, none of it would be worth all the effort I put in if I don't choose joy (moment by moment) - and give myself grace when I do lose it.

I have to tell you that I am thoroughly impressed with your willingness to play circus. I would have justified that "no" all day long. I'll take that lesson to heart.

Hang in there.

Jill said...

Erin this post hits home a little too much. This month with all the hustle and bustle of events, things to do and activities I sometimes get overwhelmed.
Thank you for reminding me it's in the choosing. Today I choose Joy!!!

Monkey Momma said...

I love this post...especially the last two paragraphs. I'm a FT work out of the home Momma, of one, soon to be two and I SOOO needed to hear your heart. I listen to those lies too and it needs to stop. Thank you for reminding me that I need to look on the front of the tapestry.

MM

Bev said...

Loved every bit of this, and am still getting updates on your parents site, but mostly just love your realness here - we continue to pray, for ALL of you, those there and those at home holding down the fort.

ADH said...

you have got the cutest set of boys. seriously! thanks for sharing your life and pictures!

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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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