Archive for the ‘Everyday Life’ Category

You are my [fill-in-the-blank]

May 23rd, 2019

Once upon a time, I started singing “You are my sunshine” to my children while brushing their teeth.

Then someone pointed out the ridiculousness of telling each of my children that they were my “only” sunshine.

I started singing “My precious sunshine”.

But then someone else pointed out that they were not in fact sunshine.

I tried to explain how it was figurative language, but somehow all this child *cough*Tirzah Mae*cough* got was that I was singing falsehoods. She decided if I was going to sing falsehoods, I might as well sing falsehoods she liked. She requested that I sing that she was my baby.

You are my baby, my precious baby,
You make me happy when skies are gray
And when I think, dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my Tirzah Mae away

Other times, she insists that she’s not a baby but a mama. So I sing:

You’re Moses’s mama, precious Moses’s mama,
You make me happy when skies are gray
And when I think, dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take Moses’s mama away

Louis was eager to get in on the game – but unlike his sister, his selections are only consistent in their variedness.

So I might sing
“You are my dump-truck-carrying-a-large-load-of-dirt boy, my precious dump-truck-carrying-a-large-load-of-dirt boy…”

or maybe
“You are my green-tool-carrying, ant-killing boy, my precious green-tool-carrying, ant-killing boy…”

Frequently, his little hand pulls the toothbrush out of his mouth mid-brush to append an additional descriptor to his song.

“You are my dump-truck and orange water bottle boy who wears big boy underpants, my precious dump-truck-and-orange-water-bottle boy who wears big boy underpants…”

And so on and so forth.

Where are the pro-lifers now?

May 20th, 2019

Kansas’s foster care system has issues. Everyone agrees on that. Some think rapid staff turnover in agencies is the issue. Others think it’s a lack of foster homes. Some think it’s too much regulation. Others think it’s too little regulation. Some complain of a “cash for kids” incentive system that funnels kids into foster care even when there’s nothing serious going on at home. Others complain that the system leaves too many kids in bad homes.

Whatever the issue, foster care is in the news with relative frequency here – and since I’m interested in foster care, I have a bad habit of reading the Facebook comments on those news stories.

Mostly, the comments are filled with the theories I’ve listed above. DCF stinks. The contractors who do the day-to-day work stink. The agencies stink. The police stink. Foster parents stink. Families of origin stink. Everybody’s pointing fingers at everybody in the comment sections.

And then there’s always someone who asks: “Where are the pro-lifers now?”

Well, I can’t answer for all the prolifers, but I know where some of them are.

Quite a few of the prolifers I know are doing foster care. Others are adopting. Still others teach parenting classes for parents who didn’t plan to get pregnant and have no idea what to do next. Others fill “diaper pantries” for families in need. Some gather freezer meals for exhausted foster families or give them beds so they can care for more children.

Others work in the school system and quietly provide what is needed for the kids in their classes who don’t have adequate support at home. Some provide doula care for pregnant women (some of whom can pay and some who can not), helping families start off on the right foot with their newborns.

Many more pray fervently and give generously when they become aware of needs.

When it comes to foster care, what I haven’t seen many of the prolifers I know do is comment on news articles asking why someone else isn’t solving the problem. Instead, they’re quietly doing what they can to help make the lives of those around them better.

These prolifers inspire me.

They inspire me to leave the comment sections behind and do my little part in this big task of loving people.

All I Want for Mother’s Day

May 9th, 2019

Mother’s Day approaches, which means everyone and their mother is opining about what you should give your mother.

I was scrolling past headlines when I saw “What your mother really wants for Mother’s Day” – and I suddenly knew exactly what I want.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
~3 John 4 (ESV)

This is what I want, but it’s not something my husband can get for me. It’s not something my children can make happen on their own.

This requires an act of God.

So instead of writing an article for the nearest mom’s blog (or sending a link to one of those articles to my husband), I’ll be lifting up my request to God, as I do each day.

Lord, let my children – my Tirzah Mae and my Louis, my Beth-Ellen and my sweet P, our precious C and darling J – let them walk in the truth. Grant that their affections would be stirred toward you, that they would desire relationship with you. Grant that they would see the desperate wickedness of their hearts and their utter helplessness to change themselves. Grant that they might fall upon the mercy of Christ and walk in the way of the One who is Truth.

And if you want to give me a Mother’s Day gift, join me in praying for these six God has given me (for short or for long), that they would walk in the truth.

Welcome to Grandma’s table

May 8th, 2019

Do you remember the clear vinyl your grandmother rolled out over the nice tablecloth during family gatherings?

I never thought much of it as a kid, of course; but when I was looking back to it from my teen years I was filled with all the disdain teens are known for.

“I’ll never cover my tablecloths,” I thought. “Let people spill on them. It’s only a tablecloth. It’ll wash. And if it doesn’t? It’s only a tablecloth.”

I’ve followed through, setting my table with my grandma’s tablecloths and some I’ve acquired along the way. My tablecloths have seen spaghetti spills, chili spills, grape juice spills (oh. so. many. grape juice spills during seders). I’ve happily reassured the spillers (and their parents) that it’s no problem at all – it’s only a tablecloth.

This spring, I saw a tablecloth at ALDI that was quite pretty and I impulse-bought it. I spread it across the table and I was in love.

You see, I love our table. I like how easy it is to get around the oval. It’s just the right size for six when it’s leafless – and the leaf allows me to seat ten (albeit a little tight). But our table desperately needs refinished.

Problem is, ain’t nobody got time for that.

The tablecloth kept all the magic of our table – without the reminder of yet another thing I don’t have time to do.

And then we ate lunch on it.

Folks, I have a four-year-old, a two-year-old, a one-year-old, and a ten-month-old. You know where this is going, right?

The tablecloth had to go in the washer right after lunch.

But I was in love with the tablecloth concept, so I pulled out another. I put placemats on top of the tablecloth for supper.

The tablecloth still had to go in the washer right after supper.

I swallowed hard, got on Amazon, and ordered myself a Grandma table protector.

My table with its grandma cover

A Dark Day

April 19th, 2019

Yesterday afternoon, my doctor gave me the news I’d been dreading.

I am miscarrying.

Our baby is dead.

I expected that. I started spotting on Tuesday and the bleeding and cramping has intensified over the last couple of days. The ultrasound and first blood test were inconclusive. We needed a second blood test for a trend. But my doctor and I both suspected what we would find.

Our baby is dead.

I grieve the loss of our fourth child. I grieve my children’s loss of a sibling. I grieve for baby hands I will never hold, for baby smiles I will never see.

But I do not grieve as those who have no hope.

I need not question whether or not God is for me.

His Son died.

That is answer enough. He is for me.

His Son rose.

That is answer enough. I have hope.

Please pray for us as we grieve.

My Garden Grows Despite

April 9th, 2019

Gardening takes a special sort of person. A person who is willing to work consistently. To water, to weed, to plant, to leave alone.

An apple tree

Our apple trees made it through their second winter. Time will tell if my pruning was good for them or not.

I am not that sort of person.

My forsythia

I transplanted this forsythia from elsewhere in our yard a couple years ago. Last year’s dramatic pruning is showing its fruit this year in increased flowering and shoot production. Project forsythia rehab continues!

I am a project person, a dig around in the dirt for hours and then leave it alone for months kind of person.

Daffodills

These daffodils are now past their prime – but I’ve gained plenty of enjoyment out of the buckets of bulbs my aunt brought me the past couple of years.

And so, while I’ve put in a garden every year since I first became a homeowner, I’ve never been particularly successful at it.

Daylilies

The daylilies I got from a neighbor and which I have been transferring from place to place seem to be settling well into their (hopefully) permanent home.

This year, I’m not certain whether I’ll get a garden in. What with a new foster baby and a new baby on the way and finishing our basement (did I say we’re getting our basement finished? I don’t believe I have. But we are.) What with all the excitement ’round here, I haven’t started any seeds – and plants are awfully expensive given my poor track record at getting any produce.

A peony shoot

I planted six peonies last fall, a pair of three different varieties. I’m thrilled to see that they made it through the winter – five of the six have put out shoots (and I’m hopeful that the sixth will soon since its pair only poked through soil today.)

But I’m delighting in the bits of life that are springing up here and there in my garden nonetheless.

Sage plant
I'm-not-sure-what-kind-of-mint
Peppermint
Spearmint

My herb garden delights, with three different varieties of mint and a nice bush of sage growing strong. We picked the first of the spearmint and have been enjoying spearmint-infused water in our bottles the past couple of days – and I’m planning to pick and dry my first batch of sage at the end of this week or beginning of the next. I’m also pleased to see that at least some of the milkweed seeds that I saved and planted last fall have germinated.

Back Where I Belong

April 3rd, 2019

It’s been nearly 15 months, but I’m finally back where I belong…

Barefoot, Pregnant, in the Kitchen.

Barefoot ✔
Pregnant ✔
In the Kitchen ✔

;-)

Newest model expected in December 2019.

Marie Kondo has nothing on state surveyors

March 21st, 2019

I’m a possibility person. I love to turn trash into treasure.

Give me a pile of tin cans and I’m using them as building blocks for my kids (I totally love my Pampered Chef Smooth-Edge Can Opener – not an affiliate link). Or we’re bowling in the hallway.

The lids? They’re perfect for making a memory game. Or I’ve seen cute windchimes made with them.

A vinegar jug could be a watering can or a sprinkler or a drip waterer or a self-watering planter. Or I could cut off the bottom and cut holes and weave yarn about it to make a basket.

Those horseradish jars are the most adorable things ever, and someday when I make my own candles, they’d be perfect containers.

That broken toy can totally be fixed or transformed into something else.

The puzzle with pieces missing? Well, there are lots of crafts one can do with puzzle pieces!

Everything sparks joy when I’m thinking about the possibilities for transforming it into something useful.

Which means that KonMari is not exactly the best way for me to declutter.

On the other hand, state licensing surveyors for foster care?

They’re a super-effective way of helping me get rid of several trash bags full of stuff.

Instead of “does this spark joy?”, the question I ask myself when surveyors are on their way out is “is it worth trying to figure out how to store this in a way that doesn’t make me look like a hoarder?” (which, you know, I probably am.)

Annual survey is when those pieces of paper that still have a color-able surface get shredded. When the cereal boxes that still haven’t been used for kids’ painting but don’t fit in the container I store them in get shredded as well. When the loose toys that don’t belong in sets get discarded. When the lids without containers and the containers without lids get tossed. When the just about empty bottle of lotion (that no one uses anyway) gets thrown out.

Marie Kondo has nothing on our annual licensing surveyors.

(We passed, by the way: “No areas of noncompliance noted.”)

They Want to Do What They’ve Read

March 20th, 2019

I believe I’ve mentioned how much it thrills my heart that my children want to do the things they’ve read about in books – especially in the Little House books.

And it does, honestly.

Even if I have to remind myself how thrilling it is when they’ve just strewn the floor with straw from the bale outside because “that’s what Mother did before they stretched the carpets in Farmer Boy.”

Back to normal

March 13th, 2019

We welcomed a new baby to the family last Thursday.

Since then, we’ve had throw-ups (on three different days) and diarrhea (minimum of three outfits per day for the affected kiddos) almost continuously.

Laundry has piled up. Dishes piled up until I decided to pull out the paper (no new dishes until the old ones are clean!) Floors have been disinfected umpteen zillion times.

Books have been read. Dump truck shows and DNA shows watched. Endless snuggles given.

At any given moment, there might be a child dancing, a child bawling, and a child napping (thank goodness all these kids can sleep through anything!)

Folks, we’re back to normal. It feels wonderful.

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