You can’t lift your arms above your head. If you do, you will miscarry your baby.

When I was pregnant for the FIRST time in my life at 29 years of age, I was living in a foreign country.  FAR AWAY from my family to help walk me down this MIRACULOUS first path of pregnancy.

And the internet was not that widely used.  And I really had no clue what was going on.

On top of that, I had already been jumping off extremely high platforms into lakes and off of mountains—apparently pregnant (but, as most 1st time pregnant women, sometimes we are utterly clueless as to what is taking place in our bodies).

Apparently, my baby still survived all of the crazy extreme I was living through.

YET—yet with my family so far away, all I had left were those that surrounded me in a different culture—telling me things like, “You CAN’T lift your arms above your head because you WILL lose your baby!”

And I thought—Is this true?  Is this not?  HOW do I know?

The thing is—I also snorkeled pregnant with that very baby belly and was stung by a jelly fish AND swam with manta rays AND … and my baby came out healthy and 2 weeks late.

YET…YET I had been told simply lifting my arms above my head would cause the loss of my baby.

THEN…Then I had a second JOY!  A pregnancy stick that said “YOU ARE PREGNANT!”

Woot.  And then without even doing ANYTHING crazy INCLUDING lifting my hands above my head, I began to bleed and cramp and spot and had to weekly go to the doctor and watch and make sure this little baby would live.

Believe me.  I was barely walking.  I was barely moving.  No snorkeling, mountain jumping.  No stinging jelly fish or electric shocks from unexposed wires…

And I still lost our baby.

How is that possible IF I did not lift my arms above my head?

RIGHT?!

That, my friends, is because miscarriage is SILENT and UNKNOWN (for the most part) and SO many of us don’t understand it.  Doctors are trying.  And there is still a LONG way to go.

And because no one really knows, we share our fears.  PERHAPS one woman in Poland lifted her arms above her head and lost her baby.  And then the story was shared.  And then the fear of what is the protection of the precious life inside of you got passed to the next mom who wanted to make sure that she would NOT do that so that she could keep her baby as safe as possible…

And then the next woman was told.

And the next.

And the next.

Until it was well known that you simply DON’T lift your arms above your head or else you will lose your baby.

This is what happens all around the world.  Every culture.  Every country.  Every person has advice to share that seems like wisdom but, really, is wives’ tale.

Here is an article that came out today that shows what a long path we still have to travel to understand such sadness and loss:  What people don’t understand about miscarriages.  

So, my friends, for you that are currently going through this darkness of miscarriage, please know that you did the best you could.  You tried hard.  You loved hard.  You fought with all of your being.  And sometimes we still don’t win.  But it was not—is not your fault!

My daughter was in the car with me the other day (the one that was not only stung in belly by a jelly fish but also jumped in belly off the mountain with me AND was electrocuted in belly with me while I helped build a wooden deck to a home…This same daughter is 9 years old now—yes, that means I am now 39 years old ;))…She was asking me ALL sorts of questions I didn’t want to answer yet at this crazy age.  But since she was addressing them, I was responding.

One question was “Why when we prayed SO hard for our baby, did God let our baby die?”

You can’t dismiss children when they have questions, and so I began.

“Adelyne, a lot of sadness takes place in this world because we are not robots.  And sometimes good things happen.  And sometimes bad things happen.  BUT do you want to know what GOOD things happened because God gave us our baby in our belly to begin with—even though we lost our baby too soon?”

“What, Mommy?”

“That baby we lost—that baby gave mommy a new light of hope.  A hope that maybe one day we would ACTUALLY have another baby.  A baby I had no clue I would ever have.  I thought you were our only one!  And because God gave us Sam (we named our baby even though we lost baby in 1st trimester), we now have Max and Jo!  We have two more gifts because of Sam.  TWO!”

My friends—there is no answer for the loss.  Because it was not a loss we ever asked for nor wanted.  But when the storms occur, how do you see the impending light?

Our lights through the storm are Max and Jo.  The two that popped out 2 and 3 years after our loss of Sam.

Pregnancy is difficult enough—and then with everyone sharing the should and should nots of it—couple that with the endless reading materials—and then pair that with a mommy and daddy trying their best to incubate a baby until that miraculous due date—

When BAM!  All of that is stripped away at the stop of a beating heart.

You really do suffer guilt.  Shame.  Loss.  A sense of NO understanding.  And so much more.

And that is why wives’ tales live.

Because even in today’s extremely advanced medical world, IT (miscarriage) is still being discovered.

In the meantime, we now live the rest of our lives with the wonder—What if?

What if I hadn’t lifted my hands above my head like I was told?

And even though we KNOW in our hearts we did all we could—

It will never be enough.

Because the loss of this silent but thankfully gaining ground tragedy continues to be so unknown.

And even when that day comes when we ACTUALLY scientifically know more, it still will not have made a difference for those we lost too soon.

Will it in the future?

No one knows.

“Cast all your anxiety upon him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 

Do You Have a Gifted Child?


Yesterday this article asking the question “Is your child Gifted?” crossed  my computer screen, intriguing me to read it.

But, of course, even before I read it—or you will read it—we all know that our children are Gifted.  Literally.  Gifted.

Our children, no matter the make up of their core being or not—our children AMAZE us.

When we have an infant and they literally do nothing but sleep—even their peaceful breathing is Gifted.

Literally.  Gifted.

I remember when my first niece was born.  We (being my mom, my sister-in-law, my sister, and I) would all sit and watch her sleep.

I think it is the only thing we did the entire afternoon once.

It was the best afternoon EVER!

Because there was a beautiful baby.   Alive.  Breathing.

Gifted!

As they grow or develop, they all develop differently and children begin to get measured by the outside world—outside of the sleeping comforts of safe walls inside.

And this is what the outside world has to say when measuring if your child is Gifted or not:

Signs of Giftedness

Characteristic Checklist for Gifted Children

I hope that you (after finishing my post, of course) enjoy the reads — I found them fascinating.  And my daughter fits the molds very much to the T of the articles you will read EXCEPT dominating her peers.  I am not sure where she would fall on that spectrum.  Does she dominate?  Does she participate?

We encourage her to be a team player, part of a whole, but, when something is being done that is wrong, to be a leader and not a follower.

As a typical kid, however, she tends to be both ;)

As I have two more kids following behind, it will be interesting to see which traits they do or don’t exhibit.

My second was without oxygen…Lots. But everything he does continues to amaze me.

My last was trying to tie shoes at 12 months.

Each kid is so unique and special and brings such different personality to the world, I look forward to the lives each of my 3 will lead—whether the world labels them Gifted or not.

After all, every night I still sneak into their rooms to cover them and simply watch them breathe.

Because that breath.  That breath is the true gift.

And it’s enough for me!

xo b

Minion Mom Wednesday: Fear and all other of Life’s distractions…

Again, brought to us by my favorite author, Monica, the Minion Mom, a beautifully written devotional that encourages us to keep our eyes on Jesus!  Be blessed, my friends!

xo b

***

monica

I believe there are certain parts of parenting that are designed for our sanctification. Ok, all of parenting is sanctifying, but specific activities turn up the refining fire just a notch…or ten….potty training, homework, middle school, driving lessons, dating etc. In our house, one such moment was teaching our middle son to ride his bike.

Our sweet redhead is more fearful of new things than his brothers and even though he was determined to ride his new two wheeler without training wheels, he could not let go of his fear of falling. He was constantly looking anywhere but in front of him for things that might possibly cause him to fall. Side to side, his head would swivel, even, occasionally, looking behind him, and worst of all, he would look down at the street, always on the look out for anything that might land him on the pavement.

Up and down the street I would run, constantly, reassuring him that he would be ok, he just needed to keep his head on the road ahead of him: “Where you look is where you go! Keep your head forward!!” Over and over again he would look away and down he would go. That bike was in the garage more than it was out during those 6 months, but eventually, it clicked…if he stopped being so paranoid about falling and kept his head where it belonged, he could ride.

I wanted to chastise him, clicking my tongue at his fear, but, my baby’s behavior was no different than mine. I want to do great things, to fulfill the purpose God has for me, but my fear and all of life’s other distractions keep my head on a constant swivel. So over and over again, I am pulled in every other direction besides the one I should be headed because I won’t keep my focus where it should be: Jesus.

Peter found that out real quick, when the storm became his focus instead of the savior and he started sinking. It might take us a little longer to realize we’re sinking when we’re not standing on the sea of Galilee, but the signs are there:  Are you anxious, nervous, frustrated, confused, maybe just not feeling life these days? Where is your focus? When was the last time you sat with your Father, talking it through or just listening to His voice through the Word. It sounds cliché and maybe it is, but taking the time to readjust your mindset and focus on Him, is key to keeping us upright and headed in the right direction. The day is not over, love, take a moment and set your mind on Him.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith… Hebrews 12:2

Minion Mom Wednesday: Unprecedented Access to the Far Reaches of Space!

 

monicaandfamily

25 years ago, NASA launched the Hubble Telescope in an effort to better understand the cosmos in its current and past states. The images sent back to earth are breathtaking and have given scientists and the world unprecedented access to the far reaches of space and a new understanding of the heavens. No other generation in human history has ever witnessed what we’ve been privileged to see: star nurseries, new planets, never before seen galaxies (really, really far away), and the incredible “pillars of creation.”

All of this is new to us, of course, but all of these “discoveries” were in existence long before humans ever dreamed of the concepts of space travel or HD imaging. Isn’t it incredible to think that all that extreme beauty and complex creation existed for all that time solely for the purpose of God’s glory? Before an audience of One, the heavens twisted and turned, spun and exploded in a symphony of light and vibrant color, simply to declare the majesty of the Creator.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

I can’t help but wonder what else God has for us that we haven’t yet discovered. Our God is an awesome and wonderful God in the truest sense of those words. The breadth and depth of His creation will never be fully explored or comprehended but isn’t it amazing that he lets us in on just a little of it? Little by little he gives us the wisdom and knowledge to see just an inkling of what he has done and who he is.

What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:4

What about things a little closer to this planet? What might God have for your life that is yet undiscovered? Looking back we often see how God orchestrated things in our life for our good and his glory, but how often do we think about what might lie ahead. What spectacular things might be in store for you that, at this point, you can only dream about or imagine? I love that the infinitely creative and inventive God who manifested the intricacies of the universe, designed me and has equally spectacular things for my life just waiting to be discovered. Little by little he gives us the passion and the desire to be who he created us to be, and the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim, just like the heavens the unimaginable glory of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:21-22

We are the 2…

But we did not go crazy!

Just had a date…without kids.  I ate mushroom soup.  He had zurek.  I had super gooey hot chocolate with whipped cream.  And we split a cheese pizza.

date_wow!

And now he is still working at 1:30am.  So I am posting this photo to prove that at least we had an evening together :)

In other news…

He and Ada had a tremendous time in Arizona, Nevada, California, and Colorado.

We appreciated everyone that Rich got to meet and share with in regards to our work!  (Find us on Facebook for the time being~Bread of Life~while we work on getting our website up and edited)

Ada got to share about being a multi-culture kid—super excited about that.  I think she ended up speaking to nearly 170 mostly kids but some adults too.  She said she had so much fun.  Funny fact:  She did the majority of her presentations in Polish.  I asked her why.  She said she was less nervous to do it that way ;)  And I guess the biggest hit of all was “Kupa Zupa” (What little kids would call Poop Soup) served once a week at school.  Haha!  If I was a kid, I would find that great fun to learn about, too!

The littles and I barely survived—snow.  Freezing cold.  Many wooden fire nights.  Coal.  More coal.  Have I mentioned coal?  And then 8 days of sickness.  And then 1 glorious last week before Rich and Ada returned where the sun started to peek through and the babies weren’t puking.

So, truly, before they re-arrived back in Poland, I was able to straighten the house, make food, and somehow regain a bit of sanity.

But we’re all still super tired.  Poor Ada has been going to sleep at 4am, 2am, and tonight midnight.  Well, I guess midnight is progress, eh?

And Rich has now officially gone to bed while I am busy typing this—makes sense since he has a 7am meeting.

Perhaps I should follow?

In the meantime, Rich and Ada have only been home for 4 full days but it already feels like a blessed eternity.

SOOOO happy to have my husband and my first beautiful miracle back in my home.

And not just because I want him to stoke and clean the coal—and light and clean the fire.

I promise ;)

xo for now (I’ll post Minion Mom’s devotion tomorrow—OOPS.  I think that I better get back online to keep up)

b

P.S.  Sunday we got to take a few photos at church—So, this is just a day plus a few hours after Adelyne arrived back home.  You should note that she chose to wear her dress from the wedding she was in last year in Botswana—and so, of course, Josephine had to wear her beautiful dress form Ivory Coast.  Maxwell, to be honest, I am happy that he just let me put him in clothes and that he didn’t choose to go naked to church or in his baseball pajamas.  It’s a rare day when Maxwell is actually dressed.

Overall—What fun!

atleastmaxsmiled

Keeping up with the Littles

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Sometimes exhaustion takes over and all you want to do is leave them in their beds.  Trapped.

And you would be resting.

Happily.

But then you begin to think.

Oh no!  What if they are stripping down to their diapers?

What if they are taking their diapers off?

What if they have poopy diapers?

What if they are smearing it all over the walls???

Because you know EVERYTHING like that has already happened.

I remember the first time my son stripped his diaper, I walked into the room and caught him ever so happily standing and peeing all over his crib. He was smiling so brightly!

Later, after we moved back to Poland, my son refused to move into a “big boy bed”.  At first, I really tried to convince him he was a big boy and to sleep in a bed, but sense took over and I thought—holy cow!  Why take him out of his trapped environment?

And he loves his crib.

But I am also a big believer that sometimes we ask kids to grow too quickly.  Therefore, I am VERY content my son loves his crib.

Although he loves his crib, and he remains trapped, doesn’t mean that I have freedom.

The other day I walked in and he had fresh rice milk handprints all over his wall.  He found a way to smear his rice milk all over the wall—but there is literally about 50 handprints that can be seen on his brown wall.  And they are so cute.  And I am not sure I want to cover them up.

And, believe me, I have already had enough poopy episodes to last me a lifetime.

Keeping up with my littles is hard work.  And tiring work.  And sometimes I feel so unfit to be their mommy work.

But then my little man comes and throws himself in my lap and tells me he loves me.

It’s a brief moment because he is not the most cuddly child…but it’s a moment.

And I take it.  And sometimes I get to extend him my hand.  And he gives me a finger.  And I take it.

And my littlest trails after me pulling my sweatpants off all of the time with her constant tugging at my leg.  And I pull them back up over and over again, picking her up at the same time.  And she cries, “Momma!”

And I love it.

I have gotten to stay home with my babies the last 3 weeks—and as utterly exhausted as I have been stoking coal, lighting wood fires, cleaning baby puke and poop…

I have loved every moment.

My son today, after I put my daughter down for a nap, said to me, “Sit down and play with Maxwell, Momma!”

And I sat on the floor and played sensory water marbles spoons-thingy with him.  For about an hour. And we moved marbles back and forth and scooped water.  And did pretty much nothing except sit with spoons, water, marbles, and one another.

And it was blissfully beautiful because it was with my boy.

I have not kept up with my showers or hair combing.  I haven’t kept up with wardrobe changes or even really eating much except soggy cereal leftovers from their remaining breakfasts, but I have loved them much these last 3 weeks that I have gotten to stay at home and be mommy.

I don’t do the best job at keeping up with my littles—but I do the best job I can at loving them way more than a little.  I love them a lot.

And perhaps during all of this crazy diaper pooping puking playing crying trying time in my life, I will actually understand that keeping up with my littles simply calls for loving them enough.

And, if that is the case, hopefully I am doing a swimming job of it all.

   

Minion Mom Monday: Hope and Glory!

monicaandfamily

With GREAT excitement I bring to you a weekly devotional by Assemble the Minions (aka Monica—supermom to THREE boys!).  Every Monday she will encourage your soul with her words of encouragement.  She is pretty much my favorite author.  Ever.  And a pretty superbly awesome woman in person, too!  So, look forward to Mondays as our Minions’ Mom shares a devotional to begin our week!

God bless because you know the saying—Only the first 5 days after the weekend are the tough ones!

***

As a kid I was always nervous about asking my parents for anything, which was really silly because my parents are fantastic, salt of the earth type people. I had no reason to fear them but I was terrified they would say no to whatever my request happened to be, so I just didn’t ask. Finally, after I had a massive childhood breakdown about not getting something I never asked for, my mom gently told me that it was her job to determine a yes or no and by not asking, all I was doing was determining a no before the request had ever been made. My not asking only served to make be angry at my parents for a decision they never had a chance to consider.

There is a story in Scripture about a woman with some serious lady problems. In Mark 5, the author tells us that she had been bleeding for 12 years and all the attempts to heal her had actually made things worse. But one day, Jesus shows up. She knows he can heal her, but she is terrified to ask. Instead, she decides that if she can just touch him, she would be healed. So, she dons her ninja gear (ok, maybe not) and squeezes herself through the crowd and touches the hem of his robe. Jesus feels the power leave him (isn’t that so fascinating?!) and he turns around to ask who touched him, knowing full well it was her. She comes to him completely terrified and trembling and confesses. “Daughter,” he responds, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Can you hear the mercy and compassion oozing from that one word, “daughter?” I love how He responds to her as a Father, matching her fear with His peace. What if she had never approached him? What if she’d let her fear keep her from the peace and healing that was hers for the asking? Not only would she have continued in her suffering but she never would have known Jesus, not just as God’s Son, but as God incarnate, capable of calming our deepest fears at the deepest level.

There are somethings in our life that can only be healed/fixed/attended to by the Father, but sometimes we are terrified to ask. My guess is that we don’t ask because we are terrified He is going to say no. Its better not to ask then to have Him reject our request, because, what, then, would that say about Him? About us? So we continue on, alone in our suffering.

The thing is, He might say no. But a no doesn’t mean “get lost.” It means that as we draw near to Him to ask and He draws near to respond, we are closer than we were before the request was made. Jesus knows what we need just like He knew who touched Him, but the relationship is built in the conversation.

P.S. A no may be a no to something good, so he can give us the best later.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16