child rearing

Child of the Month: August

I'm not sure why, but this little Gus Muffin has been the only one to jump in front of the camera the past few weeks. Which is fitting. 
I've bonded with him on new levels lately. 
It's so weird to say that, and it doesn't mean he's favored or wasn't favored...but it certainly helps me understand our relationship with the intimacy can come and go in deeper and weaker stages...all while being loved unconditionally.  

Sometimes when I feel so connected with one child and so disconnected with the other, it catches me off guard and I struggle with insecurity...maybe that I'm playing favorites or that one child picks up on it, etc. No. That's not the case.

If we look at Christ and we look at our own relationship with him, it all makes sense.
So again, I learn through my children, and I learn more about Christ.

Gus is a thinker. He's a lover. He's so smart!  He knows all of his colors, many shapes.  He knows the alphabet and can count to fifteen.  He reminds me so much of Carter at this age as he will build elaborate castles with blocks and will sit for long periods of time concentrating on a task.
He also can be very particular, but we are seeing how a large family and birth order manage that quite naturally on it's own. (Thank goodness!)

If he's feeling lovey, he will embrace you with the greatest of hugs and stay there for fifteen minutes, taking it all in.
He's got a tiny dimple, more distinct from Elias (and mirrored, of course) and it always shows when he's being cheeky.
I get these little glimpses of that day.  When he lays with his fingers in his mouth and his cheek against my chest, of that first moment holding him.  He was such a tiny little bird, and I remember looking at him totally confused. Who is this little guy?  So small, but so strong and healthy?
It was you, Gussy.
You have charmed your way into our hearts with your laughter and your chatter and your dancing sparkles in those big brown eyes.  We sure love you!

ps. if you are on Instagram, you probably know that Jason and I tore out the carpets and replaced our bedroom with plywood planks... if not, stay tuned, I'll try and post something informative on it later this week!


A stirring of sorts. 
Actually, part stirring, part pulling. 
 Pulling meaning I'm holding on to the last bit of myself, he's plowing ahead, reaching back, "Come child, follow me". 
And I still resist.

Truth. I struggle every single time he asks me to write.  Because what he asks is not a simple review of a stroller or hair product (although I've done my fair share of reading reviews on both, so they are important!). He asks me to bare my soul. In it's current condition.
And share it.
And use it.
And that's humbling. And not in a sweetly humble kind of a way. In a difficult, terrifying kind of way.

We've gone through a few big moments in this household in the past two weeks.
Moments that can be a simple memory or pave a different path.
And that path is what I'm resisting.

It's about them. It is through them, that he calls.
Gifts are rising out of these children that suddenly I feel ill-equipped to nurture.
Something higher, different. How?

I met with a sweet friend, an on-call mentor. She's a few years ahead and in my eyes, an incredible example of a mother.  I invited her over after Carter shared some pretty powerful things with us (that left me frightened and amazed at the same time).  Words spilled from her mouth like fresh water from a spring.
I tried to grab every drop.  So helpful, so full.  So wise.

What I came away with was more pulling and tugging.
"Come child".
Isn't it enough?  I thought that by praying with and for, disciplining, and mindfully raising these kids to the best of my ability that it was enough...but I'm learning it's not.

They are masterpieces.
Each one is.
It's our job to unravel their purpose, their spiritual gifts, their struggles and equip them to fulfill it.
It's our job to be led by the Spirit as we do it. It's not our doing, it's HIS. Because they're not ours, they're HIS.

I've had this conviction before. Yes.
But it comes stronger and deeper. Almost like pain. Fire.
As Jason just described it tonight, he feels as if his spirit is groaning (read Romans 8:22-24,26). 

We're to know the Word as a family.
We are to fight the darkness.  The darkness that separates us from the light.
And through the experience of a child, MY child, I have learned that darkness is easily accessible from a very young age.
And to know he's been fighting it on his own.  Without the proper tools.
Stirring, pulling, tugging.
But for them, I will. For Christ, I will.
We started opening up more to the children about spiritual warfare.  They're aware of Satan, they're aware of good vs. evil... but the reality of what they are facing on a daily basis.  What we have learned to tune out through the's very real to them.  It's in their face, in their ears, in their heart.
All you have to do is ask. And listen through spiritual ears.
They're in battle.
Be ready to listen. And be ready to teach.

Jason and I will be working together to try and put together an "Armor of God" worksheet. Something to go through with the kids daily.
To bring awareness and to teach them the ability to fight before they allow anything to come into their hearts that shouldn't.
Once we come up with something, I am happy to share.
In the meantime, if you know of anything out there similar to this, please do share in the comments!
I'm not sure what different means for us.
But we're both preparing for it.
We both seek it, want it, desire it.

I don't know what different means for them.
I kind of like being a part of the world sometimes.
Shamefully, I admit it.  
(He knows my heart anyway, so I may as well be honest about it publicly) 
There's something about being accepted in both places, you know?  Not to say what he has for us won't allow us to be involved with "the world", but certainly it means set apart (hence our verse for this year).  And set apart means not in.

So it will be a year of change.
And a lot of humility.
Regarding humility... I was asked to speak at a wonderful women's conference, HOPE SPOKEN. (Which opened ticket sales last night and I heard they're already sold out!!) 
My first response was a bit of a chuckle...Yeah right, what do I have to offer?!  I've never spoken to a group of women before... but some of the people I have come to love and admire will be there, and that's just plain scary, speaking with and in front of them!
But, he's stirring.  And pulling.
And so I said yes. And you better believe I will be relying on him for every single word I say, because goodness, without him I'll be one nervous, shaky mess!

Please visit their site for the list of wonderful speakers, some I am so excited to spend time with as I have come to know and love them over on Instagram!
Also... our traditional Easter picts!  Yay!  We set out two nights before Easter as we did last year (which was such a relief). Sure enough the twins were a disaster. It was a complete miracle that we got a photo.  Everett was like a labrador, wanting to run in every which direction... Carter was trying to manage everyone and Scarlett just wanted to lift up her dress and squint her eyes!
But we did it. :-)

A big thanks again to Ladida for the clothing on Scarlett, August and Elias.  Also a thank you to Ann for the suspenders and hankie. A thank you to Kat who sent us some of her amazing bow ties for the big boys!