Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wishful Thinking

Today was a pretty typical Sunday morning- cranky kids, cranky mamma and lots of hurrying around trying to get ready to go to church. It was also a rather gray, rainy morning so that added to my general feeling of blah. We got to church just fine and as I was saying good morning to a few people my mom wandered up and stole Zoe from me (hey, Grandma’s rights, you know?) I asked how she was doing today and she told me she hadn’t slept well last night because of back pain so she was a little out of it today. I told her how I was feeling down because of the weather and my crazy hormones. Then she suggested we come over for dinner tonight. Free food? We’ll be there!

After church we went home and the kids had their naps (I got one, too!) Then we loaded back up and headed out to Grandma and Grandpa B’s house. I’m not sure what it is about grandparents, but no matter how often my kids see them, they are still incredibly excited to see them again. We got to my parents’ house and of course, Malachi was the one to make the night interesting by slipping and falling in the mud as soon as we stepped out of the van. Boys will be boys, I guess. Mom grabbed a motley assortment of clothes for Malachi from the stash that she keeps around the house in preparation for such occurrences (she does have a lot of grandkids so she knows how to be prepared!)

Most of my siblings arrived a little later on and the adult to child ratio was quickly turning in the kids’ favor. We sat down to eat dinner which was the usual Sunday feast of the Ben-Ezras: pancakes! Mom brought the electric griddle out and cooked the pancakes right at the table like she has for as long as I can remember. Conversation ranged from politics (Seth did most of the talking here) to the sermon Dad preached this morning to latest movies we’ve all watched. Jonathan and Gabrielle managed to keep us all laughing like crazy throughout the meal. Evangeline got more syrup in her hair than on her pancakes and Lily spilled her milk all over Dad’s lap, but we’re all more or less used to those sorts of things.

Elizabeth and I helped Mom wash dishes and then we Gardners started gathering kids and getting ready to head back home. We gave hugs all around. Mom gave Joshua an extra hug and I heard her tell him that she knows it’s not easy living with an emotional woman, but he’s doing a good job. We got back home and put our tired kids to bed. The day had started out pretty rough, but somehow amidst the chaos of Sunday pancakes I forgot to feel sad and down. It’s times like this that I’m so grateful to live near my family. Where would I be without them?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Gardner School Program- Part 3

Lily and Malachi recited Psalm 1 together. I'm just so impressed with my kids!

The Gardner School Program- Part 2

Lily sang "I've Got The Joy" and Malachi sang the chorus of "Bears." Talk about cute!

The Gardner School Program

We had the first ever Annual Gardner School End Of The Year Program today. The kids got to showcase their cuteness as well as some things they learned during this school year. It may take me awhile to get all the videos up here, but here are a few to start with. Lily and Malachi each did a dance and they are extremely cute (if I do say so myself.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lord's Day Quote

Are you afraid His power shall fail
When comes your evil day?
And can an all creating arm
Grow weary or decay?

Supreme in wisdom as in power
The Rock of Ages stands,
Though Him you cannot see, nor trace
The working of His hands.

He gives the conquest to the weak,
Supports the fainting heart;
And courage in the evil hour
His heavenly aids impart.

---Isaac Watts

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lily!

Today my firstborn turns six years old. It's amazing that it's been six years since that horrible labor and delivery. It's even more incredible that that tiny baby has turned into a beautiful, loving, nurturing, smart and creative little girl.

I am so proud of Lily. She naturally cares for her younger siblings and she's always helping me in various ways. She will come to me, of her own accord, and ask, "Mommy, how can I help you?" I'll give her a task and when she's done she'll come back and say, "How else can I help you?" And she's so good with little Zoe. She'll hold her baby sister and burp her and bounce her to calm her down. Sometimes I have to fight her for my turn to hold Zoe! I don't know what I'd do without her.

And then there's her brains- she's a smart cookie! Not only is she learning to read and write creatively, but she can also do basic addition, subtraction and multiplication- in her head! She certainly didn't get those math skills from me! She continues to impress me with how quickly she learns new things.

She's a good reminder to me of God's grace. Joshua and I are very imperfect parents. We get angry and impatient and lazy and yet we have a lovely, obedient girl as our daughter. If that's not grace, then I don't know what is.

Happy birthday, sweet Lily. May the beauty of God's face continue to shine through you.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Boy, Oh, Boy!

This little dude is 100% BOY! I told him to not jump in the mud puddles today (I was getting tired of the extra laundry, baths, etc.) so he obeyed. Instead, he thought it'd be a good idea to scoop up handfuls of mud and put it in a bucket. *sigh* I guess he can't help it- he's a boy and boys must get muddy.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My New Favorite

I think Alli Rogers is my new favorite artist. She has such poetry in her lyrics. Unfortunately, I could only find two of her songs on YouTube, but here they are:

Who Is This God?

Eden (I like the acoustic version of this song better.)

Pretty, isn't it?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Malachi Moments

I’m extremely proud of all my kids, but lately there have been some very special “Malachi Moments” and I wanted to share them.

We were in the hospital the day after Zoe was born and the three older kids were meeting their baby sister for the first time. It was Malachi’s turn to hold Zoe and he could barely contain his excitement. Here was the baby he’d prayed for all throughout my pregnancy. After several women we knew had miscarriages, he had started seriously praying for Baby Boo. Whenever it had been his turn to pray, he’d say, “Dear God, please help the baby to not die. Amen.” Malachi had loved to give the baby goodnight hugs by hugging my big belly. And now he was holding this little baby. Joshua reminded him that it was his job as Zoe’s big brother to take care of her and protect her. And my little man looked so lovingly at his sister in his arms and immediately began telling her about the sword he had. He took his job very seriously and wanted Zoe to know that he had the right tools for the job. And right there was a beautiful blend of tenderness and manliness.

On Sunday we took the kids’ bikes out to the parking lot and had fun together. When it was time to go back inside we all dragged the bikes through the muddy backyard and back to our porch. It was not an easy job, but Malachi insisted on taking his bike back all by himself. I kept offering to help, but he just said, “No, thank you” and kept at it. It took him quite a while to get his bike to where it belonged and it had started to rain in the meantime, but he persisted and finally succeeded.

Tonight Evangeline was having a hard time eating her dinner. She was being a typical 2-year-old and refusing to chew and swallow her food and in addition she was screaming and crying. I took her onto my lap to get her to calm down enough to attempt to eat, but I wasn’t having much success. Then Malachi quietly reached out and held onto her hand and all of a sudden, Evangeline stopped screaming, chewed the food in her mouth and calmly swallowed it. And she held onto her big brother’s hand the whole time.

So you see why I’m so proud of my little Malachi? He’s turning into a loving, tender, strong and determined little person. And if he makes me this proud now at four years of age, then I can’t wait to see what he’ll be like when he becomes a man.

Keep growing as you are, my little Malachi. And may God use you for His glory in big and amazing ways.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Musings, Ramblings and Thoughts About My 25th Birthday

So today I turn a quarter of a century old. I was trying to determine if I feel really old now or still really young and I've decided that I feel young. I still think of myself as a sixteen-year-old petty teenager at times and I'm not sure when I'll start feeling like a "grown-up." Yes, I've got responsibilities out the kazoo, but I still can't seem to get a grip on being an adult. Maybe I'll figure it out by the time I'm 30 or maybe by 60.

Sometimes it feels strange to have skipped the college phase of life when most of my peers chose that path. I don't regret not going to college- I just wish I had a friend who didn't go either. It'd sure be nice to have someone my own age to talk to about potty training methods, homeschooling, and what to do with an emotional 5-almost 6-year-old. It'd sure be nice to not be the youngest mother in my social circle.

Oh, well! God saw fit to put me here and now and so here and now is where I will bloom. God has done some amazingly beautiful and harsh things to me in these past 25 years- more than I thought could fit into 25 years! It's exciting and a little bit frightening to think about what He'll do in the next 25 years. But whatever crazy stuff He's got in store for me, I know it'll be better than I can fathom right now. Golly, it takes a lot of faith to trust God with my future! But He's proven Himself trustworthy in the past so I guess I'm just going to have to close my eyes, grab His hand and jump right in to this new quarter of a century. Here goes!

Happy Birthday to me!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring, Spring!

The calendar tells me it's Spring, but the sprinkling of snow this morning says differently. But to help keep my hope alive, I thought I'd post this little ditty that I wrote and posted a few years back. Spring is coming!

The frost is over and so is the freeze,
Spring is coming- I can feel it in the breeze.
I see the green grasses bursting from the brown soil.
The birds build their nests and the ant starts its toil.
Snow has melted and left bluebells in its stead,
Ivy replaces icicles as around trees it starts to thread.
Life is coming from in the winter cocoon it was hiding.
The butterfly is flying in the sweet air now abiding.
Creation sings out songs pure, sweet- praising
To our Lord as these dead He is now raising.
The bees hum out laud and the birds sing out thanks,
The rivers clap their hands, leaping over their banks.
We join in with all our weak might,
Praising the God we know by faith but not yet by sight.
The bright flowers are beautiful the blue sky so clear
It’s times like this we feel that God is near,
But what about the pain we feel and the people that we miss?
Wait now and remember that Heaven is even nicer than this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All Smiles

Now that's one happy Zoe! Check out that double chin!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

For My Joshua

I don’t have words to tell you how I’m feeling
I don’t think any language can
At times like these silence is appealing
Somehow I know you understand

And if I ever lose my hearing
And if I ever lose my sight
If all my five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

So this is how it feels to be breathless
When someone walks out of the room
Stay by me, we can be timeless
Less than forever is too soon

And if we ever lose our hearing
And if we ever lose our sight
If all our five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

I’ve sorted through all the words I know to use
And looked for beauty to define
I haven’t found what I want to say to you
But I’ll try for the rest of my life
Lets try for the rest of our lives

And if we ever lose our hearing
And if we ever lose our sight
If all our five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

-- "If I Ever" by Alli Rogers

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lord's Day Quote

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Happy Thought

Yesterday I gave the kids ice cream with chocolate sauce for a special snack. Their excitement was palpable. They laughed as I spooned out the ice cream. And as I poured on the chocolate sauce they eagerly called to each other to sit down at the table so they enjoy this wonderful treat. Their giggles and enjoyement continued as long as the ice cream lasted. It made me so happy.

And then I thought: Is this how God feels when He gives me a gift? Does He feel this much joy in seeing me be happy? Of course, the answer is no- He feels more. He has even more joy in being my Father than I have in being a mother.

Wow. What a thought!

Is This What Angels Sound Like?

This brought tears to my eyes. It's so beautiful.

Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring

Monday, March 09, 2009

March 9th

I'm the fourth child in my family. I've always been solidly assured that my mom loved me very much, but sometimes I would wonder if maybe I wasn't quite as special to her when I was a baby as my siblings were. I wasn't the firstborn, after all, so the shiny wonder of having a new child must have worn off by the time I came around. But now that I have four children I see that I was so completely wrong.

I can't express how much I'm enjoying my little Zoe. She is unique and amazing. She is beautiful and has the sweetest little personality. I love cuddling her and kissing her soft, silky hair. And when I look at her I finally know what my mom felt when she looked at me.

This discovery means the world to me. Because now I not only know what my mom felt, I can feel it. I can't ask my mom now what it was like to be mom to four (and later five) kids and how she felt when I was born, but God, in His infinite mercy, has shown me and let me experience it. And it's made me love and appreciate Mom even more.

Happy Birthday, Mom. You taught me Love and now I teach it to my children. I love you.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

By His Own Hand He Leadeth Me

He leadeth me, O bless├Ęd thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.


Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.


And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Ooh, Ahh....

My poor blog has been so neglected of late. But just to show it that I still care, I've given it a makeover! It's my blog so pretty now?

I've got some blog posts clonking around in my head that I hope to type out one of these days. We'll see if that actually happens!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"It's My Party And I'll Dilate If I Want To..."

Okay, so maybe those lyrics won't catch on and become the next hit song, but nonetheless that's my theme song for the day. As you can see by my pregnancy ticker above, the countdown is over and today is my Due Date- the day the medical folks said this baby should pop out (but what do they know, anyway?) So we decided to make this day special and grand.

For our Due Date Party Day the kids and I will play games and do fun projects together, Joshua will bring home pizza for dinner and then we will enjoy Oreo ice cream sundaes before exchanging gifts (we're very hobbit-like in how we use any excuse to exchange gifts.)

I'm weary beyond words of this pregnancy, but by God's grace I've made it this far and by His strength I'll endure. So it's time to celebrate!

Happy Due Date Day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Open Letter To My Dad On His Birthday 1/28/09

Dear Dad,
You've probably noticed this over the years, but I really, really like birthdays. What a great time to shower extra love and honor on the people I love! And so today is your turn. Now, where to start?

It may sound silly, but one of my favorite things about you is your proximity to me. I like living near you! I like being able to ask you to do all those favors that I'm always hounding you with: "Would you mind picking up --- from the store?", "While you're out could you drop off ---?" "Could I borrow ---?" And the greatest thing is you don't seem to mind. It's entirely possible that I drive you bonkers, but you don't make me feel like I'm a nuisance to you. It's almost like you like being useful and helpful to me. And that makes me feel very, very loved.

One thing that Mom's death taught me is to not take people for granted. But something even bigger that I learned was to not take love for granted. When Mom died, she took her love with her and that left a gaping hole in me, but even as I felt that hole and the coldness that came with it, I felt your love even more. The importance of your love and its breadth has since continued to amaze me and catch me off guard. Your love isn't like my mother's love, but it's exactly what it should be- a father's love.

I've said before how you have been a picture of God to me by the way you love me. You are selfless, you are honest, you help me when I need help and you carry me when I just can't do it. I was wondering today if your love for me has grown over the years or if I've just recently become aware of it. You'd think I'd have noticed something this big before, but maybe I really was that self-centered when I was younger and I didn't see it. Well, I see it now and I'm awestruck at the goodness of God that He would give me not only His love, but yours as well. I've done everything in the world to deserve to not be loved and yet here I am surrounded by it. Your love isn't perfect like my other Dad's love, but it's exactly what I need and I'm so very grateful for it.

Thank you, Dad. I love you, too.

Happy Birthday!


Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm Not Myself These Days

Some of you who know me well know that I don't really like guns. A gun's sole function is to destroy. A gun cannot create or fix something. And while I think there's nothing wrong with owning and properly using a gun (we own a few ourselves) I'd rather have nothing to do with them.

On Saturday my father-in-law called and said he just bought the new handgun he'd been eyeing for a while. He wanted to tell Joshua about it since my dear husband gets excited about that sort of thing, too. He said he was looking forward to the spring when they could get together and do some target practice.

So what was my response when I thought of Joshua going out to needlessly shoot, mangle and destroy things?

"Ooh, maybe they'll let me have a turn!"

It's the pregnancy hormones, people. They could turn the truest hippie into a gun-toting, explosion-loving, maniacal-laughing fiend. And the only antidote is chocolate. Mmm... I could go for some chocolate now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Warning: Learning Ahead

Warning: If you start teaching human anatomy to a four-year-old and five-year-old be prepared to hear things like: "I have to go empty my bladder now!" or "Evangeline emptied her intestines!" Or they may just start punching themselves in the head to show you how hard their skull or "bone helmet" is.

But on the plus side you'll discover how useful some parts of our body really are. For example, my kids love the fact that we wouldn't be able to stand right if we didn't have phalanges on our feet. It's a toss up whether pretending to not have toes and falling down is more fun than just saying "phalanges." Oh, and I never knew that such an uncute word such as "vertebrae" can suddenly become adorable when a four-year-old says it.

And while Lily is much more accurate than her brother when locating her femur bones, Malachi's impression of blood grabbing and soaking up oxygen from the lungs is quite a sight to be seen. At this point, I don't know if our decision to homeschool our kids is for their benefit or simply for the entertainment value. Either way, you can't get this kind of schooling anywhere other than the Gardner School of Life.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I Really Don't like Male Ob/Gyns

"A male gynecologist is like an auto mechanic who has never owned a car."

---Carrie P. Snow

Monday, January 05, 2009

Really Too Cool For Words

I'm so glad our Creator has an appreciation for strange and beautiful things. Plus, "bioluminescent" is just fun to say.

Be sure to read the caption about how the Japanese used these amazing creatures.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Countdown

As you may have noticed, today is January 3rd. This means that I have but one more month to wait until my due date. I'm at that stage of pregnancy where everything is related to The Baby. An event only has relevance if it somehow pertains to the birth of The Baby. Time has one purpose- to bring the birthday of The Baby. If you've ever been pregnant or lived with a pregnant woman, then you understand what I'm trying to say here.

I'm so excited to meet Baby Boo face to face and to be rid of that derned relaxin hormone that is making my body feel all googily. (Yes, that is a technical term.) I'm usually tired and cranky and I hurt most days. But hey, it's all worth it for that beautiful "pregnancy glow!" Did I mention I'm also a bit sarcastic these days, too?

Seriously, I'm so thankful that we have another precious life growing and getting ready to join our family. I love my three kids so incredibly much and I know that mommy love just grows with each new recipient. This new little person will be the perfect addition to our family.

I ran across this open letter in a fellow expectant parents' blog and I thought it was too funny not to share. I can so relate!

An Open Letter from My Best Pal