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I Need New Glasses

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I must have had on a different pair of glasses when my eyes saw this view of our property.  I can still see this view in my mind, but my eyes have a different filter now.  I remember the day that we first pulled in to our property with our trucks and trailers.  The grass was long, and we drove all the way to the back to set up camp.   Our minds were full of ideas, dreams, and an unwavering sense of adventure.  We knew what we wanted to do and we knew no bounds in making it happen.  That seems like a lifetime ago.

Today, my eyes see all the work that has to be done.  They see the money that we need to have to finish the work.  They see the pain and disappointment.  They see the decisions that still have to be made.   They see the three kids that get ignored day after day so that we can do what ‘needs’ to be done.  They see the stress and fatigue that threaten to overtake us every morning when we get out of bed.  I am so tired.  I feel lost.  I feel like this dream that we had has somehow separated us from each other, from God.  We worked so hard to get what we thought we wanted and now we do not even know if we want it anymore.

Many times I do not write because I do not want to publish my weakness, my sadness, my doubt.  I am realizing, though, that this is also my reality, and may be the reality of many people trying to do what we are doing.  This is hard.  The hardest thing I have ever done.  It is hard almost every day.  I pray that my husband and I will make it through this with our minds and hearts intact.  I pray that our kids will forget the stress, anxiety, and harshness of their beginnings.  I pray that God’s light will shine down through the darkness and make me feel whole again.  I feel broken by this life.   I pray that I will have the energy to find God when I can barely find my socks in the morning.   I pray that through these difficult times, our family will come together and find strength in our faith.

God led us here.  He paved the way for us to be here, doing this.  He promised me that if we built our house from the ground up, with him at the center, then he would be our foundation and our house would never fall.   I REMEMBER the early days when I knew this with all my heart.  I just cannot feel it right now.  I was reading another blog this evening before I wrote this.  She wrote about her own suffering and hardship.  She reminded me of Paul’s message about grace and hardship.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It is all that I can do to remain standing right now, in this moment and I pray that I will hold on to the very, very small thread that reminds me that, “when I am weak, then I am strong”.  I do not feel strong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Date and Rediscovering Ourselves

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We had an extremely rare opportunity yesterday to spend an entire day without the three kids.  It was like discovering a new, exciting world that we forgot even existed.  The weather was amazing so we made the hour drive to a local State Park and hiked out into the woods.  We set up a spot for a campfire and sat for almost two hours just talking, snacking, drinking tea, and warming ourselves by the fire while we watched the sunset.  We hiked back out at dusk and headed into town for a nice dinner.  I was struck by the strangest feeling while sitting there in the woods.  It felt so foreign, yet so familiar, to be sitting there, enjoying the silence and scenery with my husband.  The silence struck me most of all, because our days are never silent now, interrupted constantly by the whims and whines of three children. I remembered what it felt like to just have the two of us.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE our kids, but there are things I miss for certain.  It was so amazing to experience some of the things I miss and remember why I am so blessed to have found my best friend and be spending my life with him.  It gave us time to reflect on our life, our dreams, and what we are hoping for in coming here and starting our homestead.  It allowed us to talk about what things are important for us to pass on to our children.  We reminisced on our own childhoods and the outdoor experiences that we had that helped to shape who we are today.  It was a wonderful time and I feel so blessed to have had it.

Making New Memories

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My last post probably seemed a little bit on the negative side of things.  In typical Megan fashion, I have to follow-up with a brighter message, because, thank goodness, that is how my heart works!  I had a wonderful thought tonight while laying in the pop-up hunting blind tent in the boys’ room.  We were up there telling stories by fake candlelight and I just felt super happy and warm in my tummy.  We had roasted hot dogs and marshmallows on the woodstove, gone out for a night hike, and were now getting settled in for a camping adventure in their bedroom.   A few days prior, I had been having severe doubts about our life, our isolation, and whether it was good for us, the kids, etc.  As I sat in between the kiddos, telling camping stories, I realized that we were making memories.  SO much of who I have become was shaped by the memories that my parents made with us.  We camped, we hiked, we had adventure upon adventure, we were read to, and sung to, and loved beyond belief.  It does not really matter where we grew up or what our experiences were, because we were loved, we were surrounded by people that wanted what was best for us, and we had parents that believed in making memories.  I am certain that it was not as fun and exciting for my parents as it seemed for us.  I have so much more respect for my parents now, as we attempt to make these memories for our own kiddos.  It is hard work, and not always very gratifying.  I questioned my sanity at 10:45pm when the kids were still squirreling around in their tent whispering to each other.  But I know that no matter what happens, no matter where we are, or what we are doing, we will be making memories with our kids, and they will be memories that help shape the people that they will become.

 

 

Blinded by Your Presence

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I had this huge epiphany last night when I should have been sleeping. Our newest child has been putting us through the ringer at night. She is 8 months old and has been waking up every hour or two since the day that she arrived in our arms. Due to the space restrictions while building our home, her portable crib was set up in our room, right next to our bed. We felt that this was necessary due to her frequent waking, so that she did not wake the boys. As a result, we have been severely sleep deprived for months, and everything else has been much more difficult a a result of our general fatigue. Two nights ago, we made the decision to set the portable crib up downstairs and put her down there so that we could attempt to train her to soothe herself back to sleep at night without needing our assistance. The first night she nursed at 10:30pm and did not wake up again until 7:30am. I, on the other hand, woke three or four times to check on her and make sure that she was still breathing! The second night, she woke up at 3:30am and then slept until 9:00am when the rest of us came down for breakfast. It was at this 3:30am moment when I realized that my tiny little daughter has much to teach all of us about presence. In our presence, she could not sleep.

As I was walking back upstairs to bed, I was struck by this hilarious irony. How many times in this process have we been blinded or frozen by presence? Because we are immersed in this madness of building a house, we cannot see the joy in what is all around us. Because we are in the presence of our children 24 hours a day, we have difficulty enjoying them and appreciating them the way we might if we had some absence from them. And just as true as presence, is absence. Because we have felt God’s absence in our lives, we have doubted, also, his presence.

My little Sophie taught me so much in these two nights. She has taught me that just because we want something does not mean that we need it. Just because we feel something, it does not always mean that it is in our best interest. Just because something seems good or helpful, or loving, does not mean that it is what we need. Also on the flip side, just because something is absent, does not mean that it is not present. I am always present for my little girl, but being absent has proven to be better for both of us. Perhaps this is the way with God. Not to say that his absence is better, but to say that if we feel his absence, he is still always present. I pray, as I go to sleep tonight, that my children will always feel my presence even when I am absent. That my children will always feel God. That my husband and I will never doubt God’s presence in our lives even in what feels like absence. That we will be able to look back on this time and see beauty, and growth, and success, even in times that feel ugly, and full of struggle, and pain. I thank God for using this tiny moment to teach me something that feels huge. Presence and absence bringing us to the same truth.

A Single Moment

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I used to lay in bed at night after a particularly good or bad day and review the events of the day in my head- like a slideshow.  I would see pictures of things that happened as if I were watching a movie.  I would review the individual moments that made up the whole of my day and if they were bad moments, I would sometimes try to think in my head how they could have been good moments, or how the outcome could have changed.  I was thinking about that yesterday, as I was trying to survive another day at home with the three kids.  The baby screamed whenever she was awake, the two year old skipped his nap and screamed for two hours, and I was exhausted.  I had these MOMENTS during the day, that made it all seem okay.  The moment where the baby smiled at her brothers as they were cooing over her her and giving her kisses.  The moment where the boys were actually playing together instead of fighting.  The moment where my four-year-old came up and gave me an unsolicited hug for no reason.  It is the moment that perhaps defines us, or at least how we view the moment.  I have resolved to try and review these good moments each and every day and let the bad moments slip through my mind like sand through my fingers…..

There are days when the good moments are few, but it is the good moments that will make memories.  I cannot be a perfect mother.  I cannot be a perfect wife.  I cannot be a perfect ME, but God sees me and loves me where I am, not where I need to be.  If only I could be this forgiving of myself!  It is the moments that I will remember when I think about building our home.  It is the moments I will remember when I think back on the kids.  I do not want to let the bad moments define me or my memories.  What we are doing is TOUGH.  What we are doing is also AMAZING.

When I think back on the moments that have brought us to this place, this house, I see us driving away from our home in West Virginia with two trucks, two trailers, two kids, and a dog.  I see us so idealistic, pulling into our field and setting up a tent to live in with only vague ideas of how the house is going to get built.  I see the baby learning to crawl in a 10  x 20 tent.  I see our older son taking a bath in a storage bin and loving it.  I see my husband working hard every day to build this house.  I see my son running through the field shrieking because a cricket (or was it a frog?) attached itself to his Spiderman boot.  I see the MUD everywhere from the torrential rains that had to come the summer we camped in a tent.  I see my son learning from his father how to hold a hammer, how to light a fire, how to be a SURVIVOR.  I see our younger son sitting on the floor ‘carving’ with his papa.  I see the baby smiling at her brothers and completely, blissfully unaware of the unfinished drywall, the madness and mayhem of an unfinished home.  I see my husband and I up on a lift at 10:00 at night trying to put the stove pipe up by headlamp while the boys are sleeping inside- he keeps trying to move around on the lift and there is no room because I am so pregnant.  I see my older son riding his bike with no training wheels, racing down the driveway ahead of me while I walk with our younger son.  I see the boys running to the garden to pick the ripe tomatoes and bring them back to me, squished by their fat little fingers, but offered up as a wonderful delicacy.  I hear the boys giggling and playing in their bunks in the travel trailer and I want to be mad because they should be sleeping, but it reminds me of my brother and I in our bunk many years ago….  I remember playing cards with my husband by oil lamp and talking about what God wants for us.

There are so MANY things that I remember, and many of them are hard.  It is my hope that as a family, we can all look back on these years and remember the moments that brought smiles, laughter, and love and that these moments will hold more POWER than the moments that brought sadness, anger, or tears.  I never really thought about it before- how much power a moment can have, and how much power I can have if I choose to redefine the moment and make it something positive to help me get through my day.  It is interesting to look at the definition of the word MOMENT.  Websters defines it as 1. a brief period in time 2. importance 3.  a tendency to produce motion..  What a cool idea that a MOMENT can be an important period in time that has a tendency to produce motion!!   May the moments we play over an over in our minds at the end of the day be something that we choose to hold onto to help propel us forward instead of keeping us stagnant or held hostage to our fears and anxieties about what the moment COULD have been.

A Season for Love

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Last night, we were finally laying down to sleep after a two hour adventure to put together a Fire Station for the boys to have on Christmas Day.  It was after midnight and we should have gone right to sleep, but we lay awake talking about the boys, about being parents, about things that we wished for our kids.  I made the comment that if I could have any present in the whole world for Christmas, I would ask God to make me the parent that my kids need me to be.  I get angry sometimes; I yell sometimes; I get impatient; I do not always nurture their spirits but I get frustrated and say things that I shouldn’t.  As we lay in bed, talking about Christmas, I finally verbalized what I have been thinking about for a long time.  Just make me the parent that they need.  Just do that for me, God, and I do not want anything else in the whole world.

This afternoon our oldest son was jumping up and down, begging for me to go on a walk outside with him.  I didn’t want to.  We were all still in our pajamas at 4pm in the afternoon on Christmas Day.  I reluctantly put on our younger sons shoes and coat and we trudged outside for ‘an adventure’.  We walked the length of the field, down to the edge of the trees.  I walked beside my younger son, holding his hand in mine as our oldest ran ahead of us, constantly narrating out loud his interpretation of the world around us.  I was overcome with love for these boys, for this moment, for the chance to walk with them and reflect on our life, our property, our path.

So many times in the past four years, I have had people speak to me about the ‘seasons’ in life, and specifically how this was my season to be a parent.  They were referring to the fact that this is my most important job right now, and one that I need to be completely and totally devoted to.  This is my season, and like it or not, this is where God means for me to be.  I never quite grasped this idea, because I wasn’t sure that this was a season that I WANTED to be in.  Not to say that I did not want to be a parent, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a parent to the exclusion of everything else in my life.  As I walked in the field, crunching through the snow, holding my sons hand, I suddenly GOT IT.  This evening, as the new baby lay sleeping downstairs in the bouncy, I took an extra 20 minutes to sing to my youngest son in the rocking chair and hold him until he fell asleep.  Then I read some extra books to the oldest, and tucked him into bed, and finally, I sat on the couch with my husband on one side of me and the sleeping baby girl on the other side, and thought about seasons.  It doesn’t matter if this is what I thought it would be.  It doesn’t matter if it is what I want to be doing every minute of every day.  What matters is that right now, for this brief moment in their lives, I am their everything, and they NEED me.  They need me to be present.  They need me to be loving.  They need me to be patient and kind and nurturing.  I have finally, after four years and three kids, figured out that there is no room in my life for selfishness.  It serves no purpose.  My kids did not ask to be here, it was a choice that we made and now it is my season to give all my love and life to them.  I cannot promise tht I will not yet get impatient with them, or angry, or say things that I shouldn’t, but I finally get my purpose, my season.  RIght here, right now, my days are meant to be spent sitting on the floor playing games, or singing songs before bed, or brushing teeth, getting clothes on wiggly bodies, and holding hands while we walk in the snow. Instead of thinking about all of the other things that I could or should be doing, I just need to be present for them and given them all of my love.  Thank you, God, for giving me the only thing that I wanted for Christmas.  Thank you for finally opening my eyes to see what a precious and important job that I have been entrusted with.    Thank you for the chance to love them- may I continue to grow and become the parent that they need, and the parent/person that YOU want me to be, instead of the person that I think I want to be.

To The Mom of a Child With a Behavioral Disorder

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This post is as much for me as it is for you, because I need to hear and believe the things I am going to say.

You are a good mom.
You didn’t make this happen.
It isn’t because you didn’t love him enough.
It is okay to fiercely love your child and not always like them.
It is okay to want to bang your head on the wall when you hear other people rave about their easy children.
It is okay to cry.
It is okay to get angry.
You are not a failure.
You are not alone.
You are a loving, patient, kind person.
You ARE the best person for the job.
You ARE their advocate.
Sometimes they hate you.
Sometimes you hate them.
Sometimes you yell at God.
Sometimes you yell at your child.
Often, they yell at you.

And it is still okay.
And you still are a wonderful mom.

Sometimes you cry when you think too long about it. You want your child to be perfect, to be unharmed by life’s tragedies. You want to be enough for them, to be able to comfort them, soothe them, hold them. But sometimes you can’t- because they can’t let you, or won’t let you. And it is okay to feel all of these things. It means that you are human. It means that you are trying to do the best you can every day, every hour.

Sometimes you have good days. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes it feels like a success to have one good hour out of the day. You find yourself stretching to give them a gold star, and you don’t feel like you deserve any at all. But you do….

Sometimes you feel like it is an impossible task to avert all of the mini and major meltdowns in a day. Sometimes you feel like you have it down. Sometimes you just want to get away, to run, to have peace, and quiet. Sometimes you feel like supermom, and sometimes you wonder why you ever became a mom at all.

Sometimes you sit and watch them sleep because it is the only time they seem peaceful.

Sometimes you don’t want to go out because you are afraid of what might happen. Sometimes you want to go out because you can’t imagine another hour stuck in the house with this raging little person.

Sometimes you give in because you are just so exhausted. Sometimes a cartoon is the only replacement for entertainment that you can offer.

But always you love them. And always you want the best for them. And always you would do anything to protect them. And always you would fight for their well being.

You are enough.
You are what they need.
You are their mom because God knows what he is doing and they need you as much as you need them.
It is not easy .
It may never be easy.
But it is what was meant to be.
Somehow, someday, you will be able to look back and see the gifts that this little life has brought into your life.
You will see the joys, the triumphs, the successes and you will be glad.
You will be glad that God gave you this amazing, powerful, wonderful being to look after for a little while.

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