The Ending of an Era and the Anticipation of things yet to come!

Well, today marks the end of an era for our family. 
We have passed our family Scamper trailer on to a new young family.  

 I know it will be missed. I was feeling a bit sad as we unpacked it and watched it pull out of our drive way for the last time.

It has served us well! Many Father/Son & Father/Daughter campouts have been had in that old trailer. 

The first Father Daughter camp out with no trailer.

We have only camped out as a whole family a handful of times, but, those times are very special memories for us. 

The kids have had numerous memories and attachments to it.  
That trailer represents so much I think.

 I know it does for my Sweet Laborer. He has had such a hard time choosing to let it go. 
It has sat in our driveway for over 3 years now, unused. 
He so wants to create more wonderful memories with his children and I think that letting this "thing" go creates a fear in him. Fear that he wont have a chance to take the younger ones out like he did the olders and now that they all are getting older...... those times with them are drawing to a close as well.

Our first outing as a family was Easter 2003 followed by searching for baskets at Grandma and Pa's house.

Our first camp-out with Friends!


First Father/Son 2003

Caleb's First Father/Son 2005

One of the last Father/Daughter Camp-outs

On this same weekend, we must let our oldest daughter go as well. She is off to dorm life at College for the first time and will be moving 150 miles away on Saturday. 

I am writing her a letter that I hope she will get a chance to read when she finds a minute alone, after the dust settles, in her new dorm home. I just finish saying that I haven't cried yet..... well, these thoughts just did it! I am gone. I do pretty well in the moment and can float above my circumstances. I knew if I sat for a moment and let myself reflect, the tears would come, so I have avoided it. There are many things to do that keep me to busy to feel sometimes. I need to feel though, I need to sit and reflect. As I write her this letter, I am burdened by some guilt. So many good intentions, so many great plans to bless her have come up empty and wanting. I recall her 16th birthday I stayed up all night the night before putting together an album that I hoped I could finish and surprise her with, full of friends faces and special notes from each of them and of course one profound note from me......but, that album still sits....beautifully decorated, yes, but not finished and with no photos or words. 

Just pretty paper. 

I hope I have not just wall papered her world.... I want wonderful words of life to fill her up. Wisdom, sweet nothings and kindness to be her memories. God's unconditional love flowing from her father and I washing over her heart constantly. 

Her 18th birthday and High School Graduation came and went .............. no card from me. 

There wasn't time....

Don't you hate those words?! 

I do. 

I think of Erma Bombeck when I hear those words and of her famous essay. 

Time WHEN I WAS YOUNG, Daddy was going to throw me up in the air and catch me and I would giggle until I couldn't giggle anymore, but he had to change the furnace filter and there wasn't enough time.
WHEN I WAS YOUNG, Mama was going to read me a story and I was going to turn the pages and pretend I could read, but she had to wax the floor and there wasn't time.
WHEN I WAS YOUNG, Daddy was going to come to school and watch me in a play. I was the fourth Wise Man, {in case one of the three got sick}, but he had an appointment to have his car tuned up and it took longer than he thought and there was no time.
WHEN I WAS YOUNG, Grandma and Granddad were going to come for Christmas to see the expression on my face when I got my first bike, but grandma didn't like the cold weather and besides, they didn't have time.
WHEN I WAS YOUNG, Mama was going to listen to me read my essay on " What I Want To Be When I Grow Up", but she was in the middle of the Monday Night Movie and Gregory Peck was always one of her favorites and there wasn't time.
WHEN I WAS OLDER, Dad and I were going fishing one weekend, just the two of us and we were going to pitch a tent and fry fish with the heads on them like they do in the flashlight ads, but at the last minute he had to fertilize the grass and there wasn't time.
WHEN I GREW UP and left home to be married, I was going to sit down with Mom and Dad and tell them I loved them and I would miss them. But Hank, {he's my best man and a real clown}, was honking the horn in front of the house, so there wasn't anytime.

I was better at following thru on these ideas when she was younger. But then again, I must remember that she is the first, the oldest. I wrote her so many notes and letters before she was 7. Even the tooth fairy had a precious encouragement for her in a love note. Now if the tooth fairy even comes it is weeks after the momentous occasion for these little ones. 

How does one do this? If it wasn't for God's grace I would parish from the guilt alone. Thank you God for Grace.

God's word is eternal.

 I can't top it!

Lord, may my children look to you and your word for encouragement and guidance. 
Please Lord...... I pray that our lives together have pointed them fully to YOU alone. Your Word, your Grace, your Love. That whatever love they have felt from me has only been a vapor of Your fullness.  I pray that as they grow and go that you will guide them and call to their memory all the wonderful times we did have together and that though I haven't been able to capture it in written form for each child like I would like, they carry within themselves your Holy Spirit reassuring them and guiding them. 

Isaiah 30:21 
And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, "This is the way, walk in it." When you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

I am so excited about all God has in store for us. We still have many children left at home and many have not been to any Father/Son or Daughter camps, but that doesn't mean they never will. We know God has our future as we know he holds our daughters future. I will take it one day at a time and be thankful! 

Our Anniversary!

Today is my Anniversary! 
Home made card from our 12 year old Daughter. I am very impressed.
this is the inside.

My husband and I find ourselves in different towns but still, with the same heart. 
After 22 years of marriage it is again, on a Monday like the first time, we remember that we choose to Love through ALL.... thru audits and law suits, joyful new life and child birth, illness and sorrow, peaceful down time and crazy surprise full house parties, false accusations and worry, quiet moments, threats and job loss, and the waiting...... Patiently waiting on the Lord.

He is working hard! 

A new skill to refine. He is a Construction worker this season.....

Trucking.... Construction...... I wonder what will be next?

 He is so faithful. My sweet man. 

He is steady,     like the constant ticking of a clock.  

My mom told me he would be. "We all have our faults. But he is faithful, Maggie! You can count on that. He is a faithful man" she said. 

And so he has proven to be, again and again.

 Not holding back. He does the hard things to provide for his family. 
Stays home and works so we can take a family field trip across country. (We had no idea it would turn into such a trip.)
 He stays in Santa Barbara to work daily so we can pay our mortgage and a few other bills.

 Things have not always worked out the way we would have wanted or planned, but we are in the Lords hands and so, willing to do whatever He asks. 

We have so much fun together! I am so glad we like each other so much! 

We are so grateful he is close, 

not in some god-forsaken truck stop wondering what special family event he is missing out on, 


Nana & Papa feel like far-off names at this moment, but this is our hope and a sweet gift from our daughter.
What a blessing it is to have work. 

Physical labor. 
He sweats and steps on another nail. 

Lifts another beam into place and remembers that he is building a family. That God is using him to build a strong family for His glory.

Pouring ourselves into the lives of our children, guiding them to live their lives for the only one who deserves their attention and affection, our God almighty. 

I love schooling these children. Every moment I spend with them ties my heart closer and closer to each one. 

We graduated our second daughter this June....

 A beautiful event.... but even when it was all over..........I am not done! 

Are we ever done? 

I know my mom is not done with me yet and I am 41, 22 years married with 10 children!

I know why. 

Our Lord is not done with us!

As long as I have breath in my lungs, I will be called to speak His Love and Truth into their lives. 

I am not needed to be their disciplinarian anymore, but a Sister in Christ. A co-laborer for our Lord. I want to encourage and edify them as I would any other friend, with respect and patience.

I Love You Honey! I wouldn't want to be with anyone else on this journey called life. I just can't stop thanking God for you!!! Every year with you gets better and better. We don't use finances or things or circumstances to measure our progress and joy in marriage, it is measured by the peace and oneness that only our God can give us. 

Praise Him! 

And Thank you. 

Birth Story #3: My first Home Birth & Boy (16 years ago)

My oldest boy is 16.
March 19, 1996, I gave birth to this amazing bouncing baby boy! He was a strapping 10lbs 12oz. and 23 inches long!!! Yes 23! I gave birth to a 3 month old. hee hee!

After giving birth to my first 2 children in 2 different hospitals. (both girls) I was courageous and bold enough to step out and have a home birth. After all, the doctor missed the second one because it happened so fast.

 We had a few apprehensions however, we were particularly concerned because our first child had had a hard time breathing; something they called TTN. (part of her story that I will share at another time) That may happen a gain?!? and "what would we do?" We shared these concerns with our midwives and their explanations of how they would respond satisfied both my husband and me.

The discovery of my pregnancy with Chris Jr. was such a joyous moment for me. My grandmother had just recently passed away and we all, my husband and daughters, grandpa, parents, brothers & sister, were all experiencing such grief from her loss.
Throughout her rapid battle with cancer my heart ached to be pregnant. I was sure that the wonder of feeling a new life growing inside me would help me heal from the desperation of seeing her sweet life fade physically before my eyes. I prayed "Lord, if it is your will, please let me have a baby. And let it be born close to the anniversary of her death. I know what a hard time that will be for all of us and how awesome it would be to be holding a new life as we share our memories of her." As I prayed this during her last days I wasn't really processing the reality of 9 months of pregnancy and that the timing for my prayer to really be answered meant 3 months of waiting with an empty womb. The time went by and I had forgotten about how specific I had been in my prayer. But God hadn't.

Like Hannah weeping for a son, Eli answered in the name of the Lord, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him."

My grandmother passed away on March 29, 1995 and my son was born March 19, 1996; 10 days before the anniversary of her death.

Our God answers prayer!

Birth Story #3- Our first Home Birth & Boy
        (taken from the pages of his baby book written while he was a toddler)

I went to the Dr.'s office for a pregnancy test after I knew I was pregnant just to get it on record. I was unsure about having a home birth and I wanted to get through the first months of the pregnancy under a "doctor's" care before I transferred to the midwives. My husband was very apprehensive so I knew I was going to have to be patient and help warm him up to the idea.

By about 5-1/2 Months along I was ready to make the switch. My Dr. was very supportive since he has experience how quickly my labors move and I began meeting with the midwives every 3 weeks. This was such a treat! I felt so well taken care of. They spent an hour with me at every visit, chatting and asking how everything was going. Listening to the heart beat, feeling the position of the baby. Everything was done at such a relaxed pace and peaceful atmosphere. They really tenderly care for expecting moms.
My main concern was how do they deal with huge over due babies? Can they, do they, induce? I was so used to some kind of intervention when it came to bringing on labor, I wondered if there was anything natural I could do. They shared with me about a few herbs and homeopathic remedies that often help women deliver close to their due dates. Evening Primrose Oil, a natural hormone balancer and prostaglandin, the Homeopathic was called Caulophyllum. I began treatment with these natural substances around my 36th week of pregnancy. They said that a high percentage of women who use these do not go past their due dates. I was ready! We could tell around 36-38 weeks that the baby was already over 9lbs. My first 2 babies were 9-1/2 lbs each. I was a little worried about how my body would handle a 10lb+ baby. The Midwives and the Doctor were quite confident that I had plenty of room in my pelvis for a very big baby and tried to reassure me.

Every Tuesday night while I was pregnant I went to Choir rehearsal. It was alumni group made up mostly of Singers from Santa Barbara High School, directed by Ms. Zimmerman. I loved every minute of it and I could tell that the baby did too! I loved feeling the way he would move as we sang the different kinds of music.

We had a concert scheduled for March 16th which was my ultrasound due date and I decided that if I wasn't in labor, I would be there and sing in it. Well, the day arrived and I wasn't in labor. Although I wanted to be. I arrived at the church a few minutes late and everyone was already in position at the front. They all clapped for me; it was quite embarrassing but I got over it, got into my place and started to sing.

Looking at my boy now I can see what an effect my singing had on him. He had rhythm and vocal abilities even as a young boy.  Now that he is a Teen he has developed into a wonderful musician; teaching himself to play the guitar and learning drum techniques from his grandpa.

Two days later, on the 18th my due date, my husband was sick and so he stayed home from work. I was getting worried about the size of the baby again so I called my midwife and asked if there was anything more aggressive we could do to bring labor on. She encouraged me that we would discuss that more seriously in a couple of days but for now I was to try to enjoy the last few moments I had with my husband and 2 girls. She said, "Just relax and enjoy the fact that the baby isn't here yet and that you only have 2 children for a very short time." She was right. I would have a baby in my arms soon enough and things would never be the same as they were that day. That was such sweet advice. I have held on to that attitude in many areas of my life and remembered to do the same while I have awaited each new blessing.

Chris and I went out that afternoon to k-mart and I bought myself a new night gown to labor in. We also went to TCBY  and got some frozen yogurt and visited a friend. Last, we stopped by our favorite Chinese restaurant and got some take-out. Kung Pao Chicken. yumm! I went to bed content.

At 2am I had my first contraction. I tried to sleep thru them every 7-15minutes, we made it to morning with a little rest. I called my mom, a friend and my midwives. They all come over as the morning progressed. I remember someone brought donuts which I had no interest in and I went for a short walk down the street. It was so quiet and relaxing. Such a mellow experience. Everyone was there for me and I was able to set the tone and atmosphere.

My little sister came and was able to play with my daughters and keep them content. At one point my 18month old came in and rubbed my foot. It was so sweet.

Finally, around 1:45pm I needed to stay on my bed and just breathe. My husband and I had created a great rhythm thru the contractions. We would hold hands and as a contraction hit I would grasp, breathe deeply and pull. He could tell how close we were to transition based on how hard he had to work keeping the tension and how long pulled.

At about 2pm I needed to push. It moved so quickly. First push, and his head was through. The water never broke and the midwife had to break it to show his cord wrapped around his neck twice! She was able to untwist it and I pushed the rest of him out. It was great! My girlfriend took awesome pictures. I had never seen a birth before so it was so neat to get a visual of my own experience.

Christopher was not breathing as well as he should.

Once he was out and began to cry I was given some special tea, (pennyroyal and shepherd's purse) to encourage cramping and the delivery of the placenta. Once the placenta was delivered I began to bleed.... too much. One of my midwives said "Maggie, tell your body to stop bleeding" in a very calm but firm voice. My mom, dad, brother, and sister were there and praying. I allowed my midwife to give me a shot of "pit" in the hip and everything settled down and I stopped bleeding. All was well, for me at least.

One of the midwives kept watch over me after I was out of danger, while the others were concentrating all their energy on the baby. He was still being given wafts of oxygen on the bed next to me. It took about 20 minutes for him to be able to assimilate to room air.

What an amazing difference this experience was compared to the hospital one. Such calmness and peace. No panic.....

Seriousness and determination....Yes

 But fear and "emergency" craziness..... No.

Soon he was back in my arms to nurse and hug and kiss.

 All Pinked up and ready to be kissed!!

10lbs 12oz!!

16 1/2" head
16 1/2" chest
23" in. long

He slept 10 hours that first night!! I had the best night of sleep on my stomach! Ahhh rest!

Here you go Honey!! 

You have your 3 children before you turned 30 years old! 2 girls and a boy.

Little did we know that this was only the beginning......

Push the Re-Set button!!!

Our Lord has provided!! He always does, but it is only sometimes that we get to see him move in such bold and obvious ways.

He did it!! He brought in the full amount we needed to get our mortgage current with a bit to spare. We needed just shy of $10,000 by the end of this month and God has done it!!! We are on our way right now to go to MoneyGram and send it off.

This will give us a re-set so to speak, bringing our balance current as if we had never missed a payment and we are now entering the month of April with a fresh start. WE are like normal people again who have a 15 day grace period to get our next regular payment in.

Now for the job that I am just as confident the Lord is preparing for my wonderful husband. (keep praying :-)

We are still in the process of modification but have eliminated the threat of foreclosure for the near future. phew!

Thank you all for your prayers and generous support! We are so humbled and blessed to have such amazing and gracious friends. God is so good ALL the time!

I will update again later. I am off to get current!!!

Bottom Line: He needs a job.

Thank you all for your overwhelming prayer and support. Our loving, amazing God who rules the universe is looking after us! I am still so exited to see what his plans will reveal this month. I want to direct your prayers specifically though.

My husband needs either one well paying job, or a couple consistent part time jobs in order to make our mortgage payments and pay the bills. I want to share his blog with you here. He posted an update today that shares his heart and his take on this journey.

He recently got a part time "on-call" job working as a School Bus Attendant for the Lompoc Unified School district. He is next on the list for Bus Driver behind-the-wheel Training but based on schedule so far, that could take a very long time. This Attendant job is a start in the right direction though. I am sure he will be sending more resumes this week.

Please pray as he sends them and follows up with others that are out there already that God would open the doors he wants us to go thru, and close tightly those that will take us down a wrong path.

Thank you again for all your prayers and support. I will continue to update you as we move forward.

Giving him a Road Map

Friday night we had a special event. It was a combination birthday party for my 2 oldest boys.
On Monday I will have a 16 year old Man living in my house! I have called him a man for several years now; since he was about 12.
His father and I have always expected him to grow into a man and so we have tried to train him from the beginning to understand what that expectation looks like. First our goal has been to bring him to early maturity and encourage a deep personal relationship with Christ. It is an interesting and rocky journey on the path to adulthood. The world tempts and tantalizes our youth into believing that ALL is for them that they are the center. How can Christ compete with that?

Thanks be to God that it is HE that does the Calling, the wooing and the convicting of sin. Only God, through the Holy Spirit can do what I so often fail to do in my flesh.

These are His children; given for such a short time to train, love and give right back to Him.

We have a great responsibility as parents to build strong relationships with our children.

As moms it is not easy to raise a boy into a man. I am grateful to be sharing that responsibility with my husband. I understand however, that there are many sisters in Christ out there that don't have that balance. I believe God heaps a special grace on those of you in that situation; and I know of so many wonderful men that have been raised by mothers who have either found themselves single thru messy situations or thru losing a wonderful husband. The common thread in these situations has been an unwavering faith and trust in these boys' Heavenly Father.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 32:8 

My boys learning from a friend how to patch a big hole
  For a brief month I tasted what it would be like to have to raise my children without the daily input of my husband. I learned a lot about my sons thru that experience. I learned that they thrive on praise and affirmation. That they rise to the call of being needed as men. That when they are loved and respected and encouraged to step out and try new projects they grow thru the challenge and rise to the challenge.

Come, O children, listen to me;
     I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Psalm 34:11 

This age is full of so much passion and explosive energy. Pointed in the right direction it can be such an asset, but unbridled, this energy can create so much chaos and disharmony in a home.

We were headed down that misguided path traveling at lightning speed for several months. I had given up in so many ways. I abdicated and deferred the training of this man to my husband; putting high expectations on him to "fix this boy!". "You're a man, right? You must know how to do this and what he needs!?!"

Wrongly, I had thrown my hands up in frustration and shut my mouth (that part not such a bad idea actually) and walked away. I would pray, but it was in exasperation. I love how that is were the Lord can meet us anyway, in our weakness and when we are at our end, it is just the beginning for him. While my Trucker was on the road I was sharing with my mom the problems I was having with my own attitude about this......what do I call it? relationship change? training issue? parenting? She is so much wiser than me and has successfully raised 2 godly men.  I was seeking her advice about what to do.

 The Lord used that conversation to help me come up with what I call:

"The Road Map for Success" 

It was just a peice of paper that I wrote on where I was able to articulate more clearly the expectations I have for my son and show him how to live up to them. I also was able to establish what the consequences would be if he failed to obey or maintain a proper attitude thru this process.

He responded so well, it really clicked. There were several things he wasn't happy about but he respects my authority (thank the Lord for that) and was willing to accept these new rules and guidelines. It finally began to make sense. It was a learning curve for both of us. I am so glad I wrote it down! I needed the reminder of all that I had said.

What a blessing these last 3 months have been. Our communication has settled back into the (mostly sweet & enjoyable) close openness we have shared since he was little and I am seeing him apply himself to getting his grades up. He is taking my advice in a few areas and his relationships with his sisters is improving. He is also showing much more diligence in his chores. He has a checklist everyday. It is becoming easier to manage. New habits are never easy.

I think I am going to like 16. 

He got his permit 2 days ago! This was our first milestone on his "Road to Success". I am so excited for him! He knew what was going to be required of him to be able to be have the privilege of getting that permit and he worked hard to achieve it. He is maturing and we are united.
He knows I love him and I am his biggest cheer leader. I want him to drive. I want him to succeed. I am on his team and I know he knows it. I am glad that even though we may not always sing happy songs to one another and he may not want to be reminded of the consequences of not getting his school work done on time or finishing his chores faithfully; he knows what to expect and I don't have to have a battle.

Now that my Trucker is home I am happy to say that things are still moving along smoothly. I shared with my husband all we came up with while he was gone and he has supported it 100%. As a matter of fact he is benefiting from the structure and clear accountability that has been established and our relationship is better for it too. Win/Win! God is so good, ALL the time!