Thursday, January 31, 2013


(Image found HERE )

It snowed here today. Not the thick, wet snow made for sledding and building snowmen, but rather the dry, flurry, frenzy kind. It swirled through the air, dazzling my sight (though never once touching the ground), and I was reminded once more why I am happy here in this place. I live amid rolling hills and changing seasons. And it's funny, having grown up in a place that knows only one season (hot and less hot), I never knew that the season actually had the ability of matching the innards of the soul. But it's most certainly true.

In winter, the world moves inward. The bitter cold keeps doors closed and shades drawn. In winter, the soul moves inward, too. More sitting, more thinking, more pondering what is to come. But then spring arrives, and with it comes growth. New beginnings. Sprinkles of sunshine. And the soul begins to shine, too. The shades are pulled back just a bit, letting the sunlight fill the house and soul with warmth. And before you know it, summer is upon you. The shades are thrown wide open, the world moves outward once more, and all of earth seems fully alive. And the soul, in summer, seems to come alive, too. But time marches ever onward, and we come to autumn. The brilliant colors try and distract us from what is happening, and it works for a time, but in truth, autumn is just dancing both season and soul inward once more.

Right now, amidst the snow, I have a winter soul. Much sitting, thinking, and pondering. But I know that spring is quickly coming, and with it new growth in my life. I think on how it is that I want to grow in this new year, and it keeps coming back to me, this one particular thought.


Just as the earth must surrender and give way to the ever changing seasons, so must I surrender fully to the One who made the seasons. Before I can fully become who I was created to be (and that I desire more than anything), I must first be willing to let go of who I already am. I must surrender in order to spring forth anew. Christ says that whoever tries to save his life (the one he already has), will most certainly lose it (in the end), and whoever is willing to lose his life (to fully surrender it to God), will find it. (Matthew 16:25)

But the trouble is, I don't want to lose anything. The life that I am living, for the good or the bad of it, is the life that I know. So I try and hold on to it with all that I have. Desperately striving to remain in some semblance of control. And then I sit in wonder as it falls apart around me. Every. Single. Time. And I wonder about this laying down of my life. I wonder about complete surrender. Could that really be the answer? In the letting go of me, could I really begin to find me? In the letting go of me, could I really find God? It's scary to think on, but it's what I want.

Change is coming. The snow might continue to circle the sky for awhile longer now, but in a few short weeks it will give way to sunshine and new growth. The same with my soul. Eventually, the sitting and the pondering will have to come to an end, and I will be left with a choice. To grow or not to grow? To change or not to change? To lose my life in order to find it, am I willing to do even that? It's a new year, and I must confess that I am hoping for a new me. But I know the answer lies in only one thing.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Baby Update

(Raising Arrows is one of my very favorite large family, homeschooling blogs. Check it out!)

Hello. I am having a baby. Not soon, but rather soon(ish). In case you are wondering, soon(ish) refers to any time in the pregnancy after the half way mark. Sometimes Boss likes to tell people that my due date is really a bit later than what I would like for it to be. I send him ugly glares when that happens. He just smiles. Clearly he has never grown another human being INSIDE OF HIS BODY!

Today I went for my monthly checkup. Up until this month, I had done superb with my weight gain. Even over the holidays, my weight increased only slightly (two bouts with the stomach virus will do that to you). I had been patting myself on the back for a job well done. Until today. Today, I realized that I had completely doubled my entire pregnancy weight gain in one month. IN ONE MONTH! The nice doctor asked me what had happened. I informed her that I had been really hungry and eating everything in sight. She made me promise her it would not happen again. She wants me to cut back on the carbs and focus on eating healthy proteins such as eggs and bacon. Say what?! And this lady wasn't even one of the residents that I am used to seeing. She was the real deal. So what do you do if your doctor orders you to eat bacon? You obey! I had some for lunch, thank you very much. And the scale climbed up another pound.

Everything else with baby boy looks good. We will have a repeat ultrasound next month. Baby moved too much last time for them to get the necessary pictures. We will also be checking to make sure that the placenta has moved to a new location. In its current location, a C-Section would be required for delivery. I have informed the placenta that Boss does not do C-Sections (he barely does delivery at all), so it can feel free to move right on out of the way any time now! I am not sure if placenta's are particularly known for their good listening skills or not, so we shall see.

I want to let it be known here, how very much in love with this little boy I already am! I think of being the mama to four tiny ones and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I pulled tiny boy clothes out of storage today, and my heart hummed as I carefully sorted and set things aside for my new son to wear. MY NEW SON! I may be a bit older now than the first time that I did this pregnancy thing (my body feels it), it might be my fifth pregnancy and fourth child, I might need to chew 100 TUMS a day (and use the restroom double that), but it is still the most incredible thing in the world, this growing of a life. This being a mother and a wife. What a privilege and an honor. Every day I go to bed exhausted, but every day I wake up ready to do it all over again (as long as that wake up happens after seven am).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Word on Home

(My Beloved Children, For Whom The Constant Striving is For)

My mind is full. Full of thoughts on life, who I want to be, how I want to be. Perhaps it is because I am growing a little person inside of me that causes my mind to think such long thoughts, to reevaluate my purposes and my days. A new life stirring an old life . Perhaps it is because God is doing a work in me, changing me. Perhaps it is a bit of both. Either way, the thinking is good.

I don't know all I am to be, but this I do know...

I am to be my husbands help meet.

I am to be my children's mother.

I am to be the keeper of our home.

Sometimes, because my head is full of big dreams, dreams that seem bigger than being a wife, mother, and homemaker, I lose sight of what is truly important. If I fail at being a wife, then I fail at everything. If I fail at the task of motherhood, then I fail at everything. If I fail at keeping our home, then I fail at everything. Not that I won't have moments or days of failure, for sure I will, but if my heart is not constantly striving in these three areas, then I am not fulfilling the responsibilities that God has set before me (Titus 2:5) and nothing else will matter.

I look around our home and I see good things. Things that warm my heart and make me happy.

I see....

* candles waiting to be lit each morning
* throw pillows and blankets waiting for a snuggle on the couch
* a table perfectly fit for our (soon to be) family of six
* a chalkboard where we write scripture, lessons, and love messages
* cupboards filled with food
* soft paint colors
* the old tree swing out the kitchen window
* a small kitty curled tightly into a ball on the back of the sofa
* a room filled with clothes, perfectly sized for the people that I love
* beds with warm blankets
* heaters in every room
* pictures on walls recording memories past

All things that are beautiful and good. 

But I also see areas that need work.

* too many screens (what would life be like without the pull of the screen? oh, the possibilities!)
* Bibles too often unopened
* meals that need more foresight and planning
* children who need training in character, self discipline, and household tasks
* a husband who needs more respect, more thanks, and more appreciation
* a mama who needs to work on laziness (for that truly is what it is), and who needs to get her head    out of the clouds (or away from the screen) and focus on the precious tasks at hand (the tasks that God himself has called me too)

I still believe that dreaming is a beautiful thing. My dreams just need to shift, to begin in my home before spilling outward. That is where I first must be seen, serving those that I love and am commanded to care for, before I can reach out to serve the world beyond. It seems so much smaller, so much simpler than the dreams that I was dreaming, but it seems right. And it is the place to which God has brought me. He has brought me back home.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Never Too Late

(Image found HERE)

I could get used to this 'go nowhere, do nothing' thing our family has going on here at our humble abode on Fieldcrest Lane. In the past 48 hours, I have only gotten dressed one time. (And by dressed, I mean actual clothing such as jeans and a shirt. By 'not dressed', I am referring to pajamas. Please note here that we do not walk around our house unclothed. Unless the children are not home. Then all bets are off. And I am completely kidding about that last part.)

I did not do one productive thing today. Not one thing. Except for snuggle children on the couch. And make peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. And bathe all of the children for church tomorrow morning. So, I suppose I did a few things of value, but the rest of the day was a big, fat day of rest. And it was wonderful.

Boss and I watched a show on TV today called Growing Bolder. Perhaps it was a documentary? Or a one hour special? We didn't catch the beginning, so I am not sure if this was a regular program or not, but it was inspiring. Growing Bolder showed individuals who were continuing to accomplish amazing things in their lives despite the fact that they were aging.  It showed people in their sixties, seventies, and even eighties, who were learning new skills, developing new talents, and making the most of the days they had been given.

One man, when interviewed, said his motto in life had become you are what you do. (Insert nervous laugh. Shall I remind you here that I did absolutely nothing today?) He said sitting around and thinking is fine, because to begin one must think on who they want to be, but if you never do, then the thinking is in vain. All the thinking in the world will not make you the person you desire to be.

Pretty great thoughts to consider. And the amazing thing is, as the aging people in this program proved, it is never too late to be who you want to be. It is never too late to do what you were meant to do. If we still have breath in our lungs, there is still time and our stories are not yet over. I love that.

So today, I did nothing. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will do more. It's baby steps, really, this evolving into the person that God would have us to be, specifically designed with the unique traits and skill sets that He has given to each of us. Days of rest are okay. And hopefully, for my sake, weekends of rest are acceptable, too. But we must keep our eyes on the prize that is a life well lived, making sure that the writing of our story is always for God's glory.

And I don't know about you, but I kind of hope that my story becomes a bit more of a page turner, though I do suppose that would require my getting off the couch and getting dressed......

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bliss and Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty

Today was one of those lovely days that you hope your children remember when they are grown. Not the specifics perhaps, but the overwhelming sense of serenity and happiness that can fill up little and big souls when days are spent like we spent ours today. Nothing spectacular happened (it's almost five pm and we are all still in jammies!), but there was beauty all around. Snow continued to fall for most of the morning, leaving a nice little covering on the ground. School lessons were successful, laundry started, kitchen cleaned. Lunch was soup. Baths were given and now three small heads smell of lavender. Boss is making breakfast for supper. We had no where to be and nothing to focus on but each other and the life we are building inside of our home. Bliss.

Why don't we make days like today a priority? It is fully within my control to slow our lives down, if even just a bit. Why do we let the world pull at us so? Is this what I want my children to remember? The errands, the driving, the different activity every single day? Do I want them to remember more time spent out of our home rather than in it? Or do I want days like today to permeate their brains when they are grown and walking back down memory lane. Just some thoughts to ponder.

In other news, we let the children get a kitten.

In their originality, they have named her Miss Kitty. Except for Jack. He likes to call her Jack. A mighty fine name, if I do say so myself.

Did you know that I have a love/hate relationship with animals? I love the idea of them, but usually end up hating the reality of having them in our home. When I was younger (read high school), I was going to marry a pig farmer and birth five pig farming sons (whom I would dress in matching overalls). In my vision, I saw Christmas cards involving hay bails. I didn't actually know any pig farmers, but was absolutely certain God would place one in my path. It was my destiny. But then, one fateful day, I learned that pig farmers had to rise very early to feed their pigs each morning (who'd have thought pigs wouldn't want to eat brunch at a more reasonable hour?), and it got me to thinking that perhaps my pig farming husband might want me to rise early and feed the pigs with him. See? Darn reality. I never dreamed of pig farming again. And thank goodness for that, because if I had still desired to marry a pig farmer I would have never fancied Boss, my better half. Boss is more of a trendy, sweater wearing, sports loving, suburban kind of guy. And we have, for the most part, lived a very average, suburban life. (Minus the six years where I convinced him that house parenting at a children's home would be a really fun adventure! That wasn't so average!)

Where was I going with this story?

Oh yes, my love of the idea of owning animals (like pigs), but my serious dislike for the reality of owning animals (like having to rise early to feed them). And while the pigs were just a figment of my imagination, we have had enough cats and dogs in our life together for me to know this to be true of myself.

A wise woman once told me that you will never be successful at raising small children, owning animals, and tending to a garden all at the very same time. You might be successful at doing two of those things at once, but if you try and add the third one in, something is bound to suffer. And hopefully the thing to suffer is not the children! Since there are no mighty garden plans in our future, Boss and I decided to let Miss Kitty be our families number two. The kids have been asking for an animal to be let back in to our home for going on two years now, and for some reason, this week, we gave in. I still have no earthly idea how they managed to convince us, but I do know that my children (especially my girls) are over the moon. They have not put Miss Kitty down since we brought her home last night. And I must admit, so far she seems pretty wonderful. There is just something comforting about a little kitty curled up on a blanket, purring loud enough to lull the entire house. Miss Kitty definitely contributed to the loveliness and serenity of our day.

So welcome, Miss Kitty. The children are so very glad that you are here. Boss and I are still on the fence, but I think your chance of working your way into our hearts is pretty good. Just don't expect early morning feedings, mkay? If you are more of a brunch girl, things should work out just fine.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Be The Change

Emma, My Inquisitive Child

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Over a family pancake breakfast this morning, Boss was explaining to the children about Martin Luther King day. Jack was oblivious, focusing fully on his pancakes smothered in butter and syrup. Kate could not get past the fact that there was a holiday named Mark and Luke and King day. She was thrilled that her new brother would have a holiday named after him! Ha! But Emma, my ever inquisitive one, was full of questions.

Why are people sometimes treated differently? Didn't God make everyone? Why would somebody hate and mistreat somebody else, simply because of the color of their skin?

She wondered all of these things aloud, and it was a good opportunity for Boss and I to talk to her about the sin that can overcome our hearts when we do not treat other people the way that we would like to be treated. We talked to her about loving others unconditionally, regardless of whether or not they are just like us. We talked with her about loving people because they are God's handiwork, every single one of them, even if we sometimes might not love how they act or behave. And I took the opportunity to show her how God is so good at using his people, sometimes against all odds, to make a difference in this world, just as he did with the life of Martin Luther King Jr. I encouraged her to always look for ways that God might want to use her to make a difference, big or small, throughout her life. I told her that love is the very best way to overcome hate in this world. And  I told her that service to others is one of  the very best ways that we can demonstrate our love.

Our family has been talking at length about 'Be Seen (for Christ) in 2013'. We have been talking about what we want that to look like for our family, both as individuals and as a family unit, and one way that we want to be seen in our community this year is through acts of service to others. The Bible makes it clear that Christ came to serve, and a heart of service is something we want to instill in our children, as well. We simply want to teach our children to be the hands and feet of Christ.

We have been discussing with our children that service can wear many different hats. When many think of giving to others, they think only of giving financially. Though for our family, giving to others financially is not an option during this season, so we have had to be creative! Even if there are no dollars to spare, we can always give of ourselves, our time, or any other resources we might have. I want my children to always remember this! God can use our lives in a variety of ways! For the little people in our family, service might simply mean getting a glass of water for a brother or sister who cannot reach the cups, or helping mama by retrieving a diaper and wipes when they are needed (I stress often to my children that charity must first begin in the home!). For our older children, service might be doing something nice for a friend if they see a need, or working along side daddy and mama as they work to serve others. For Boss and I service to others might include helping to feed the inner city church once a month, babysitting for a friend who just had a new baby and would desperately love a date night with her husband, loaning a neighbor our tractor during the warm summer months because his is broken, or offering to pray for someone who is struggling (and then actually following through in praying for them!).

Martin Luther King Jr. was right. Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve! From toddlers to the elderly, we all have gifts from God to offer back to the world. If we want to see continued change in our world, we have to decide to be that change. We must teach our children to be that change. It must begin in our homes, and then spread outward. Mr. King says that all we need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. That is all we need to serve others and be the change we wish to see in this world. Our family has taken that to heart, and we are ready to Be Seen in 2013.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Free To Be Me

Jack, Emma, and Kate

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world. - George Washington Carver

Although I had heard that it was possible the more children we decided to have, I had yet to experience it for myself. But now, with my growing belly fully round and three more children trailing after me, I have begun to experience what I will lovingly refer to as the stare. And while most of the stares that have come our way during the past few months have been accompanied by smiles, it still takes me back that people now notice as my family passes by. I see them first notice my belly big with life, and then slowly begin to count my other children. And can I share with you here that the fact that we are beginning to get the stare actually brings a smile to my face and fills my heart with joy? It most certainly does. Because it means that my dream of having a big family is finally coming true. A dream that I was never sure would become a reality. And while I don't personally consider four children to be a large family, it is still one or two more children than the average American family, so it seems that people notice. And they count. And they stare. And mostly they smile.

I feel that I have come to a crossroads in my writing. So often I want to come here to share my thoughts, something deeper than what my children have been up to or how we celebrated a birthday or holiday (though those are all well and good!), but I hold back. And I fear that I hold back because I am worried about being labeled as uncommon. Uncommon in my thoughts, in my beliefs, in the way that Boss and I are choosing to raise our family. It is far more comfortable to be common. To blend in with the rest of the world. Even at thirty years old. But perhaps my growing family, and the stare are going to teach me something. Perhaps God will use this time in my life to teach me, to prepare me to walk the uncommon road, even if I do stand out. Even if I do begin to command the attention of the world. (And by world, I mean the small little world at my fingertips. People I come into contact with on a daily or weekly basis.)

Because the truth is, I am me.

* I am a Christian. And while I will not pretend to understand everything there is to know about faith, I do know that the Bible says that faith is being sure of what we hope for, and I am positively sure of what I hope for (Hebrews 11:1). And though I will admit here that I struggle with the second half of that verse, because I am not certain about what I cannot see, my hope in Christ is so much bigger than than my uncertainty about what I cannot see. I am done hiding my faith simply because I have yet to work it all out in my brain. I am done hiding my faith simply because it might make those around me (even people that I love) feel uncomfortable. And I am done hiding my faith, even if daily walking in it makes me uncommon.

* I am old fashioned in my beliefs about marriage and family. I thrive in my role as being a stay at home mother and caretaker for my children, and I do not in any way feel less than the woman who puts on her heels and heads to the office for the day (though I do appreciate a good pair of heels!).
 I see my children as being blessings from God, and I take my job of growing them up to be Godly people quite seriously. It saddens me to see so many mothers of our generation who simply tolerate their children. They love them, yes, but they do not love being with them. Often people say to me that I am so lucky to have birthed well behaved children! Ha! And while my children usually are well behaved (though my Jack is currently in the middle of quite the biting phase!), it has not been without a lot of work and time spent together. Countless hours of training and correction. And so if my love of spending my time with my children, rather than pursuing outside interests for myself, makes me uncommon, then I think I am becoming okay with that, as well.

* I love home education. And while I do not think less of others who do not keep their children at home (I have known many excellent families who have chosen many different paths of education!), home education is the right choice for our family. So often I pretend that I am indifferent to it all, so as not to make others feel uncomfortable with our choice,  to not appear to be uncommon, but I think I am done with that, too.

I am ready to embrace being me. I am ready to embrace doing the common things of life (faith, marriage, homemaking, home educating) in an uncommon way, even if others begin to take notice. Even if others feel uncomfortable with my choices or disagree.

Our church has a theme for this new year that has really challenged and inspired me: Be Seen in 2013. So for me, that means no more blending in! No more hiding what I think or feel! For me, it means being authentic. Being true to the person God created me to be. It might have taken me thirty years to find the courage, but I think I am finally ready to embrace being me. So bring on the stares.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Half Way To Holding You

My Sweet, Second Son,

Somewhere over the Christmas holiday, you and I celebrated twenty weeks together. Twenty weeks of dreaming about you, hoping for you, feeling you move inside of me. Twenty awesome weeks of being your mama. Twenty weeks of wondering WHO you would be. Is it okay for me to tell you that I was sure, absolutely sure with all of my mama heart, that you were going to be a little girl? I was positive we would have a third sister in our family and was preparing your big brother accordingly. But then your daddy and I went to see you on the big screen and there you were! All BOY! There was no mistaking it. And my heart was so thrilled! First two daughters, and now two sons. A pair of each! I am pretty sure that life does not get any better. And just to be clear... I was not disappointed! I already love EXACTLY who God has made you to be. You are the perfect fit to our family. A missing piece to our puzzle.

I knew instantly, the exact moment that I saw you were another little boy, what your name would be. Years ago, when I was pregnant with one of your sisters or your brother (the details get fuzzy as time passes) I bought four Christmas stockings with initial letters on them. E for Emma, K for Kate, J for Jack , and a lone L. I did not have a name picked out to go along with the L stocking, nor was I positive that I would ever be the mama to four children, but I bought it on a whim, certain one day it would be hung on the mantle with the others.  And then last February I miscarried a tiny baby. My heart was so sad for many days. My world seemed cloaked in darkness. I wanted to find the light again. And that is when I knew... the L stocking would be for a son we would one day have. A son we would one day name Luke, which means light. When I thought you would be a little girl, I tried desperately to fall in love with a girl name that began with L (so that I could put the L stocking to use after all of these years), but I fell in love with nothing. The L stocking would only do for a son named Luke. And I am overjoyed that son is now you. My Luke. My light.

Your daddy and I both agree that your full name will be Luke Wesley Perrin, Wesley Perrin after my great grandfather. Four names for both you and your brother, because four names are, well, cool. And I have no doubt that you will be one cool little dude. Your big brother can't wait to meet you. Every single day he asks if this is the day that you will come out and play with him! And your sisters like to put their hands on my belly to feel your strong kicks (son, more than any of my other babies, you are a mover and a shaker!). Your daddy dreams of the day he can take his two sons on 'man' trips, and me? I can't wait to hold you, to smell your milky baby smell, to stroke your wrinkly baby skin. To hold you up against my chest and to see our whole family change, as we embrace the gift that is you. We are over half way there to holding you, our little Luke. You already light up our lives.

Love, Mama

Monday, January 14, 2013


(Images by Allye Faye Huston)

It's a new year. A brand new year, fresh with no mistakes in it. A time for new beginnings, new commitments, new goals, new dreams. New days spread before us, waiting for us to fill their pages with our stories. More time for God to craft us into who He desires for us to be, if only we would allow it. And that daughter of mine? My biggest, little girl? She decided that she wanted to allow it, this molding of God in her life. On January 12, 2013, Emma publicly committed her life to Christ and was baptised for the remission of her sins by her daddy.
When Emma first started coming to Boss and I about this decision she wanted to make, I was tempted to feel that she was too young to make such a choice. Shouldn't she be older? Wiser? Shouldn't she know a little bit more, have a little bit more life under her belt? But then Boss gently reminded me that if we began deciding for her when she was ready, then it would no longer be her choice. It would become ours. So I began to pray, to try and have faith like my daughter. And I began to see the beauty in my daughter beginning her walk with God at such a tender age. I imagined my daughter one day at seventy eight years old, telling her own grandchildren and all who would listen, that she had been walking with the Lord for seventy years! And I began to get excited about her testimony.
So Boss began to study intently with Emma, and we began to make preparations. And when Emma was ready, she decided that she wanted to be baptised at home in our hot tub, surrounded by family and friends who love her. Boss spoke of how fitting her choice was. Home was where he and I both learned about the Lord, home was where Emma was committing her life to the Lord, and HOME is where we will one day all be together again because of her confession of faith. I fell a bit more in love with Boss that day, I must confess. It was a beautiful moment and one I pray guides Emma for the rest of her life. And because she has me for her mama, afterwards we celebrated! Because if a new life isn't reason to celebrate, then I don't know what is.
Emma, I am so proud of you. I know God has great BIG beautiful plans for your life, and I can't wait to watch Him write your story. This, my girl, is only the beginning. 

Emma and her new Bible


Words of Life

So thankful for this knowledge!

Celebration Sweets

My favorite picture from the day. My girl is SOO in love with her Daddy.