Life.

Not a lot of time for writing, but at least we have photos.  Life has been full.  Full of late nights building rooms, paying bills, dreaming and worrying, my birthday, music on the patio, a (super) mini vacation, witnessing public prayer, swimming and holding babies.

I take pictures because they remind me of the good.

 

Around us and to us.

I’ve been pondering the differences of our hardships in Zanesville and those of our life in Columbus.  Both are and were difficult, full of a lot of times where we threw our hands up in despair over the situations we found ourselves in.

In Columbus, in our inner city house, we felt protected.  We knew we had angels guarding our property and that for the most part, no harm would come to us.  However, outside of that line all was fair game.  There were murders, fires, drug deals, all within 100 feet of our house.  Every time something like that happened, fear showed up.  The “what if’s” raced through our mind and it took time for us to reevaluate and remember we were there because God asked us to be and that he would be faithful.

Here in Zanesville, we have our spacious place and we no longer worry about gunshots because the ones we hear belong to hunters.  We don’t sit on our porch and see drug deals, or vacant and abandoned houses go up in flames across the street.  We no longer hear neighbors screaming at each other at 3 am while their babies cry.

However, we seem to be dealing with a whole load of personal scrutiny and attack since landing and starting our ventures here.  We can now see that it goes with the territory of having public events and spaces, but I tell you, we were not prepared for it.

Every time it has happened, it has hurt our hearts.  It’s so hard to read these things (generally on social media) about us, and to not just want to scream untruth and try to make ourselves look better.  But one thing we’ve learned is that if someone is willing to spout angry things about another person, they’re generally not going to listen to good reason.  We pray about it, try and forgive them, and after some time things feel better.

God has shown up, in so many of these times, to completely reverse the situation.  We’ve seen him change the heart and mind of the person who felt they were wronged, so much so that it’s nothing short of miraculous (Brad has a really good story that I hope I can get him to share).

I don’t know if either of these situations is more difficult than the other, they’re just different.  I am pleased to no longer wake up in the middle of the night shaking because of gunshots outside our window, but it’s no easy thing to hear unkind words about your husband and to stand strong knowing that our worth is in God alone.

Through it all, God is good and has led us on some spectacular adventures.  The desires of our heart have been heard and answered, and His work is always good.

Winnie’s story.

I woke and stood up to go to the bathroom when I felt some water leaking.  Joy filled me. Finally, at 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant labor was imminent!

It was 6 am so I crept downstairs in the silence to read and pray.

Amongst the excitement the day brought, I also worried over the fact that my water had broken before I had any contractions.  The same thing happened with Theo and I didn’t want to end up in the hospital with Pitocin and an epidural.

With a homebirth we were unlikely to have to abide by the same ridiculous standards that hospitals do, but I still had a lot of “what if’s” running through my head.  “What if my contractions don’t start?”  “What if I go too long before giving birth and get an infection?”  “What if we end up at the hospital anyways?”

I woke Brad and we spent some time together downstairs.

The boys soon joined us with excitement.  We ate breakfast together and enjoyed their presence, knowing our family would be changing before long.  I had mild contractions throughout the morning and before lunch we sent the boys off to Papaw’s house.  I  tidied our rooms and we went for a walk down the hill to get things moving.

Slowly but surely my contractions started to pick up.  It felt slow and frustrating, but we spent a good portion of the afternoon resting in between pains.

After checking in, Patty decided it was time to come and arrived in the early evening.

Almost immediately my contractions stopped.  Throughout the night they picked up and then slowed down again.   Finally, in the wee morning hours I felt they were strong enough to get into the birth pool.  The water was warm and wonderful and Brad read to me from a Henri Nouwen book.  It was beautiful and relaxing and exactly what I wanted…except that I had only one or two contractions while I was in there.  Out I went back to the bed.

Dawn broke on Wednesday morning and my anxiety was at a high.  How could I still not have a baby in my hands after 24 hours of labor?  Friends and family were concerned by our lack of baby.  “Go to the hospital”, some warned.  (Not helpful advice, by the way).

The progression of the morning is fuzzy to me.  I was so tired and so sad that this birth wasn’t going like I thought it would (does it ever?).

After a while Patty checked me and tried to maneuver the baby so she would be in a better position to stimulate contractions.  She had me push even though I felt no urge to do so nor had I thrown up in transition yet.  It was tiring but at least I was doing something.   She covered me in oils and had me swallow some herbs to increase contractions.   Her presence was calming and peaceful and not once did she worry or make me feel like this wasn’t going to work out okay in the end.  I am so thankful for her help.

Soon it all changed.  Unbearable pain set in and I vomited.  As much as I hate both pain and vomiting, praise Jesus I knew the end was in sight!

I was a mess by now and too tired to try and control my pain reaction so I yelled and screamed and the whole bit.  I was hot so the windows were open with a beautiful spring breeze rolling in.  I hoped the neighbors weren’t outside to hear me.

On hands and knees 31 hours after my water broke, I finally birthed our first baby girl.  Weary with exhaustion and filled with elation over our meeting, I collapsed on our bed.

Winifred Marie weighed in at a tiny 6 pounds and 2 ounces, our smallest and most overdue baby.   She was born after a year of change, bringing light into the pain and difficulty that life has brought our way.  Praise Jesus for another beautiful gift.


Ira’s birth

Solomon’s birth

Light and Shadows

Our dining room is my favorite spot in our house.  A place of convergence at all times of day to both create and eat.  During the evening hours of spring and fall the room fills with glorious light.  The sun creates pockets of highlights and shadows that easily take your breathe away.

Today contractors are removing one of my beloved windows to make a room for my grandmother to live in.  My sacred space of light is about to darken.

This whole process of deciding and planning to move my grandmother in has been one of many ups and downs.

She can no longer live at home safely but she can no longer stand to live in her assisted living room.  There are days she’s ready to bust herself out of there and I can’t really blame her.  Who wants to be old?  Not even a 90 year old woman.

But how am I going to care for an elderly woman along with my four small children?  Only by the grace of God I’m certain.

How is she going to fare living alongside our loud and chaotic household?  I’m not sure.  This quote from G.K. Chesterton has really been helping my perspective on the whole thing:

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered”

This is bound to shape up as quite the adventure, and I’m looking forward to experience not only for Brad and I, but also for our children.  This is a life changing experience we get to embark on.  What is it like to care for someone in their last stage of life?  I imagine it is humbling and sad as well as joyous and insightful.

We are taking an inconvenient risk and our house and our lives are permanently changing.  I pray that there are more moments of light than darkness, and that the joy of the Lord is present in this place.