when He walks into the room

LOVING this album. my new favourite.

this is exactly what happens when He walks into the room. :)


the law of 'losing it'

this year has been rough year, for many reasons. some that were totally foreseeable & others, a complete surprise. i'm not sure which i prefer. some things are better when you just don't see them coming.

one of the more predictable challenges this year has presented us with, has been the everyday challenge that 4 little-lings all at bustling stages. our life at the moment is bursting at the seams with potential. the potential for joy & fulfilment as well as the potential for distress & complete chaos.

with such demand for discipline & direction, i must say with the other added obstacles this year has provided, i have not always responded as the most consistent or patient disciplinarian at times. it often happens with the "bulk effect". it's what rachel jankovic calls the combined crazy that only a room full of children together could achieve. like when the twins or little livi where added to the fam, it
wasn't 1+2 or 3+1, the effect was exponential, like 1 to the power of 2 because of all the added dynamics.  like child one can't sit next to child two becasue child one will cause a ruckus. and don't put socks on child three because they'll flush them down the toilet but must leave the bathroom door open with light on or child one will be too scared go on the potty & wet their pants. those kinda dynamics. complicated. i know. and it used to paralyze me until i met rachel jankovic. wise woman she is.

" the 'bulk effect' is what happens when there are a lot of children, and it will happen from time to time. individually, there is nothing to worry about. as a group it feels as though we are careening toward destruction. if you have a bunch of little kids (or even a few), you will need to not only be aware of this fact of life but build up your immunity to it. you will need to see it happening & get the grace for it in advance. you will need to develop some skills for coping with it that do not involve blaming your children." {rachel jankovic, the little years}

anyways, the bulk effect isn't what i had set out to talk about in this post. but i have long used the "bulk effect" without realizing, as my excuse to blow up, boil over... explode! afterall, just how much crying & diapers & spilt milk can one individual handle in any given moment?! it's only fair to allow myself to let some steam off, right? after all i am only human. wrong. i am a mother. which i am learning is one high calling. don't get me wrong. i think we've all been there, done that as far as exploding under the immense pressure of mothering. but when i start feeling entitled to those moments, i'm starting down a slippery slope.

 "the [bulk effect] is not a sin. it is merely the combined effect of a lot of people. and just becasue you can pin down one sin in the batch does not mean that child is responsible for the situation. your children are not a situation. they are individuals. disciplining an individual for a collective situation is a great way to alienate your children...." {rachel jankovic, the little years}

the thing is, once you've allowed yourself to explode at a situation that might merit a reaction of a 10 then you begin to allow or justify the same response at situations that might only merit an 8 or 6 until before you know it, you're reacting at a 10 for a situation that may only really justify a 2 or 3. it's a slippery slope & before you know it you lose it. you lose control of you.

and with multi-fauceted, multi-dimensional clashes of character & drama swirling around one tired mummy, you can bet it's a recipe for disaster. you can get lost in all the conflict & clashing & begin to believe there's no hope. you'll never be the calm, cool, collected mom you've always aspired to be.  it's cyclical. the kids swirling, the anger boiling, & then the inevitable blow up leading to mountains of shame, leaving you feeling powerless to change your hollering ways, leading to blaming the kids which leads to ... you get the picture.
the problem isn't just the sound of my screaming for all to hear but the feeling it creates inside. absolute helplessness. loss of control. anger & contempt... for myself.

"you take that shred of guilt and then harness onto it the stress of the whole situation. you make your child into a scapegoat. a way for you to release all of your tension and stress onto someone who you feel deserved it. he did, after all, disobey. your massive over reaction was just, because disobeying is wrong. so this neat little trick is happening in your head - the consequences for his sin go way up, and the consequences for yours go way down. it simply a classic shifting of the blame. the situation is crazy but you are the person responsible to get the grace to deal with it... [it's like saying] i will vent on you instead of dealing with myself." {rachel jankovic, the little years}

this year has been a challenge. a challenge to own my own stuff. my own emotions & reactions. my own atmosphere. because when it comes right down to it, i'm in charge of me not the rest of the universe. and for me, it is often just an issue of self-control & pushing myself to find the grace to deal with whatever i am facing. it's not that the kids are menacing or i'm a terrible monster. it's just exercising that self-control muscle a little more often than i'm used to.

the bible says "a soft answer turns away wrath". i used to think that meant responding to someone who is angry softly would soften them, which may be true but i think it also means by having the self control to answer softly while angry, diminishes your own wrath.

and so, i am constantly reminding myself to take courage, take heart & take control of me. 


be aggressive.

it was steve's birthday recently and as such we celebrated by going to see one of his favourite artists/friends, craig cardiff at the legendary black sheep inn.

we love the black sheep with lucy the miserable pug meandering in & around people's feet at her own whimsy (i think i may one day write a children's book about her called 'poo-tail the pug who no one would hug' but that's a story for another time).

and we love craig. and not just because he snuck us last-minute-folk into the sold out show. i love his writing candour & his witty sense of humour. his unique take on life & often moving perspectives all wrap up in melody & beat.

one of the trademarks of his shows is that he likes to get the audience's participation. he gives us our part of the chorus to sing along with him & cues us in at the right time. he usually gives us a few parts in a few songs along the way but the first song is usually lacking in audience enthusiasm, marked by the self-conscious whisperings of the small crowd following along. but craig is a seasoned artist who knows well how to ride a crowd out. and at this particular point on saturday, he stopped mid-chorus & said..."do you think we could be a little more aggressive with that... like i mean, long line to the bathroom aggressive... like hey, i-was-here-first-it's-my-turn kind of aggressive?" and the audience giggled & then belted out all choruses from that point on with a new charged kind of enthusiasm.

but it spoke to me. about worship. about praise. and my own dwindled enthusiasm at times. we've all heard of prayer warriors before but what about praise warriors? those who take ground in worship? what of those like david, in the bible, who ran to the battle line even in his own private worship with the Lord? who aggressively poured himself out before the Almighty King. i know i can make all kinds of excuses in my public worship to explain away my reserved-ness. but even if those excuses were acceptable for my lack of "i-was-here-first-its-my-turn" in public, there is not much of an excuse for it privately. i know there are times for quiet, somber worship. but for me, the aggressive kind of worship is something i've not really experienced. i know it's not for the faint of heart. or the self-conscious. only the crazy in love. the truly free. the consumed ones.

king solomon, david's son, had it right i think. he once gathered 20,000 bulls as his sacrifice on the alter. it's a sacrifice that is so embarrassing, it makes you kinda blush. and the Lord consumed them all, all 20,000. kinda leaves me breathless. imagine, watching those 20,000 bulls, fields & fields of livestock, being completely consumed by hot, raging, favoured fire from heaven, an expression of the intensity of His love towards us. king solomon's sacrifice was prepared externally, consumed externally. Jesus changed all that & made it internal. and then i imagine what would happen if i offered me like that? wholly, completely, aggressively to Him & what would that internal experience be like? to be consumed? to stare straight into the eyes that burn with such intense love for me & walk out with skin radiating presence. breathless.

over, the mountains, over the sea...
here you come running... my lover to me.
song of solomon


sewing savvy

these were great until liv figured out how fun
they were to flip in the car
we went for a little road trip for the last two weeks of summer this year to visit some very good friends of ours in both Grand Rapids & Geneva (Chicago). they had to have been very good friends, or we would have never even entertained the crazy idea. but all things said & done, it went very well. pinterest-ed an idea i had originally intended for dav's first year of kindergarten, a little napping bed for nap time but expanded it for the others to enjoy on our trip as well. however, there was one big obstacle to this project & that was my sewing savvy. my sewing projects usually end up as disasters. like when i made pj pants with one leg a full foot shorter than the other. or the dress that fell apart while i was wearing it. any sewing success i've  had is totally & completely attributed to my mother who swoops in at the last second to save the day. and she was not available for this project. i let the kids each picked out their own fabric (kai: rock&roll, eva: pink butterflies, livi: peachy owls & dav: superman) & then there was no backing out.
much better than expected. and other than the driving part, so much fun! it was a 46 hour round car trip {with only one of our kids conked out for a 10 minute nap of that entire 46 hours}. i knew i was going to have to be super-de-duper organized if there was any chance of not losing our sanity & i pinterest-ed tons of car trip ideas like road bingo, fishing box snacks, activity bins & lots of new viewing material. i had also
steve had recently taught himself to gut fish using just a youtube video (something he's always wanted to learn) & i thought, if he can do it so can i! and better yet, no innocent fish were hurt in the process. so i sewed my little heart out & voila! we roll them out now for movie nights, saturday mornings, extra beds for the kids when the fam visits, etc. and they roll up into a nice little roll with a handle too. each for transporting & storing. i got the pattern from this lovely link here.

hiding from gma & gpa

perfect for movie nights

they shared until all the nap mats were finished

thank you pinterest!
cheers to learning new things!