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I wait for bedtime for so many reasons.
To rest, sit down, to breathe but most importantly to meet with Jesus and reflect, refresh and restore my soul.
Sweatpants and honesty required.
Come sit with me momma.



August 19, 2014

Last: Ethan Turns Three

Tomorrow I will wake up and the last tiny babe that grew inside my belly will be three years old.
Three.

He was growing in my belly long before I knew of him, before I ever expected him and before I ever knew love could be so wide and so, so deep.
The last one. The last baby.


At the time I didn't know he would be the last human of three to grow and twist and kick inside me. 
I didn't know it was the last time I would press newborn skin upon my chest or breathe in deeply his new sweet smell. The last time I would nurse a fuzzy headed baby and we would fall asleep chest to chest. The last time I'd be filled with fear and wonder and newfound love leaving the hospital with a new human. The last time I'd be up all night feeding, wear spit up on my shirt or baby wear him everywhere I could. The last first tooth, first words, first steps. The last potty training, the last terrible twos, the last one's first day of school.
I grieve those lasts.
I grieve them because in those moments I never thought about the fact that they could be my lasts.
I didn't breathe in deeply and experience those moments as I should. I just wanted through them.
I am grateful for the sweet aromas of those memories of my last tiny babe. 
I am grateful for the future of what is to come. That I can experience those lasts more deeply now that I am aware they exist. 




Ethan Joseph your dimpled smile lights up any room with joy.
It always has, always will.
You may be my last but every moment with you is new. 
Happy third birthday to my spunky, spirited blonde baby.
My surprise, my insight into my own stubborn heart, my tiny dancer.

In love with you more each day. Happy birthday!!


Honestly with love,
Rachel

August 13, 2014

Sometimes

Barefoot in the silent kitchen, the warm summer breeze danced in as the night sky darkened. My house was quiet and I was packing lunches for three sweet boys. Careful to put in just the right balance between healthy foods and things they would eat. I get this feeling packing lunch for them is my way of loving them while I cannot be with them. I love them in how I cut their sandwich just so, how I pack only a certain brand of cheese crackers and how I write smily faces on their ziplock bags.

In the coupon cutting, the starting of the crockpot in the early morning, the folding of clothes and baking of muffins I am loving them. In the filling out of field trip forms and ordering of school books. In the worrying how they will adjust to school and if they will make friends. In the 2am rocking and changing of wet sheets. The kissing of boo-boos. In the things no one can see but must be done. 

Sometimes I feel invisible in it all. 
Standing there, barefoot in the kitchen alone.
Invisible.
Sometimes only God can see the heartfelt love that I put into my family.
Sometimes, that is enough.

He sees me.
Knowing He is standing right next to me, cheering me on, giving me medals of motherhood while I do the mundane. Knowing He is stirring up all sorts of deeper and deeper love magic in these unseen things. Knowing those unseen things, the ones done in unclothed devotion and love, are often the ones that matter most. The quiet places where He whispers, "I see you loving them. I see you."

Whether your husband, kids, friends, or the Internet see what you do and praise you for it or not does not matter. Those things done out of a heart of love, servitude and grace in the quiet places are those things that fill us the most. Seen or unseen. Heard or unheard. Alone or surrounded.
He sees, He hears, He is standing right beside you this very moment. He is for you. Your silent cheering section. Let that be enough.

Honestly with love,
Rachel



Matthew 6:3-4
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

August 3, 2014

I Vacuum in Heels

Hi there wives.
Hi there husbands.
I rarely wear heels, even to work. I actually vacuum in sweats or flip flops. 
Normally I only vacuum to prevent ants from devouring the smooshed Cheerios in the carpet.
Here is what I am really wondering...

How do you divy up household stuff at your place?

Bill paying, baby rocking, dishes, cooking, lawn mowing, disciplining kids, grocery shopping all that stuff that you need to do to make your sweet lil world go round.

Do you feel the divvying up you do now is fair? 
Do you talk or fight about it? Do you keep tabs on who does the most?

If I am honest, I do keep tabs. I shouldn't. I'm sure you do too- be honest!! ;)
When we first got married, it was a regular topic of heated debate.
I felt overwhelmed and consumed by doing it all.
Over the years he got better at helping out, I loosened up.

Then, then we had twins.
We were thrown into parenting boot camp upside down with no idea what we were in for with two preemie babies with reflux who liked to cry.
Our parents and family were, and still are, our lifelines.
However the every day in day out monotony of eat, burp, play, poop, sleep, cry overtakes you and the household stuff falls to the wayside. We had to be a team to survive.

Then one day, I went somewhere (gasp) and Paul had those cute baby twins to himself all the live long day.
And there you have it ladies, respect.
Respect for all the juggling we do.
Respect for the giving of yourself, insessint touching, never ending dishes, laundry and dirty floors that you clean anyway while holding babies. The food that needs made three or four times a day.
Respect.

He got it. 
Trust your hubby enough to let him take care of your littles for a day or two please friend. He will do fine. He will survive. Your kiddos will survive. Let him see what you do every day. In return, you put yourself in his shoes. Get into each other's real worlds and love each other there.

The good news at my house today is, my husband carries a heavy load of household/kid duties despite working a lot of hours. Statistics say husbands who do so are happier, their wives are happier and their children grow up with a better work ethic and respect for others. He does not babysit, he fathers. He is very present in their lives and they adore him. He loves us like Christ loves the church. He gives himself up for us. (see Ephesians 5 below)

When he is tired and has been at work until 1100 pm on a Tuesday and I am rocking a child when he gets home- he makes lunches for school or rocks the baby.
When I had a hard day at work and have a headache, he takes over kid duty when he gets home.
When I was pregnant for two years straight, he rubbed my back every single night.  
He leads us by example. He is a true example of Christ's love to us. I adore him deeply for it as do my boys. In turn, I want to serve him in the same way. He serves me, I serve him. It's cyclical. It's loving. We teach our kids sharing, we should practice it too. It's a definition of a mutual, life giving relationship.

Working a lot less hours outside the home than my husband, I take on bigger load inside the home and with the trio if toddlers. Whatever your current situation is, talk about it with your spouse. Don't just grumble under your breath and hope he sees you are stressed. Air your struggles and divide and conquer the parenting and household duties. When life changes and one of you needs more help in an area, say so.

The laundry, dishes, cooking, and grocery shopping will always be there. Love each other today. Serve each other. Say, "thank you" for as many little things as you can. The appreciation will reap rewards you won't believe. Stop assuming dad's are the same today as in 1950. Luckily they aren't. Dads are and can be capable, loving, helpful and irreplaceable leaders in our homes. Dad's that aren't, in my opinion, need to step up and read what God says about that, like today. Look at Ephesians 5 below with your spouse and talk with God about how He wants it to work it out in your home. Where can you grow? Where can he? Mutual servant hood, mutual love, mutual. So kick off your heels (or flip flops) and have a heart to heart tonight with your spouse about who is gonna vacuum up the smooshed in Cheerios this time. ;)

Honestly with love,

Rachel





Please take a moment to read this:

Ephesians 5

21 Be willing to serve each other out of respect for Christ.

22 Wives, be willing to serve your husbands the same as the Lord. 23 A husband is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church. Christ is the Savior of the church, which is his body. 24 The church serves under Christ, so it is the same with you wives. You should be willing to serve your husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.26 He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. 27 Christ died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be holy and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other thing wrong in it.

28 And husbands should love their wives like that. They should love their wives as they love their own bodies. The man who loves his wife loves himself, 29 because no one ever hates his own body, but feeds and takes care of it. And that is what Christ does for the church 30 because we are parts of his body. 31 The Scriptures say, “That is why a man will leave his father and mother and join his wife, and the two people will become one.”[a]32 That secret truth is very important—I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 But each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself. And a wife must respect her husband.






July 29, 2014

Rescued: the silent cry

My two year old could have drowned a few days ago.

It feels unreal. Dreamlike. I do not know how to take the enormity of it all in.
I don't even want to write about this honestly, it hurts my heart so.

What if we were not as quick? What if this? What if that? What if?

I was inside scrubbing the shower while my husband was in our two foot deep pool with the three boys. The thing barely fits our family, it is almost a baby pool. Ethan was in one of those cheerio like inner tubes just floating the day away. His happy, silly self probably thinking about motorcycles. Such a relaxing afternoon it was. 
Paul turned his back for exactly one second when the top part of Ethan's body was leaned over, his face in the water and his legs kicking. He could not get up. His face and upper body were held in the water by the inner tube. He made no noise, at all.  
Paul quickly swooped Ethan up. He was only in the water for a couple seconds. Just enough to traumatize him, his father and brothers. When I came outside Ethan's face was a blank stare. He only wanted held. It was like he knew something deeply wrong had just occurred. 
He rested his face on my shoulder while I held him all wrapped up in his orange towel, sopping wet. Heavy hearted. Silent. The rest of the afternoon he barely spoke. My two year old.
I just comforted him. I prayed with him.

"Mom, I was dead in the water" he said.
"No baby, no you just got stuck and daddy saved you!"

I want to take that moment back. 
I want to erase it from his little memory bank forever.
The fear. The shock. This life changing moment.

I cannot. 
I hate that. Hate.
I imagine this is how God feels when we experience something traumatic to us. 
He rescues us. His heart aches. He wants nothing more than to take it away. He cries for us. He wants to hold us in His arms, stroke our hair and whisper, "it will all be okay honey, I am here. It will all be okay." Yet somehow this shapes, molds, transforms our hearts closer to His heart, another painful shaping moment in our lives.

Today I am still bothered but deeply grateful it was truly only seconds in the water, that my husband was so quick on his feet, and that it was not a truly close call. My son still regularly mentions being stuck in the water and I try to affirm him but remind him he was rescued.

Do you need rescued today? Do you feel like you are silently flailing in the water and no one can see? No one can hear? Crying out for help? God sees you honey. God hears your voice. He is swooping in for the rescue. Look up and let him. Let him.

Reminds me of this song:
I need you Jesus to come to my rescue
Where else can I go?
Theres no other name by which I am saved
Capture me with grace, I will follow you, I will follow you.

Psalm 34:17-20 says, "Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.  If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.  Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.  He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken."

Today dear friend who needs rescued, cry out to him. He hears your voice even when you feel it is silent. When you are day in and day out feeling empty or lost or sad or overwhelmed. Cry out to him. Let him rescue you. Keep running to him, keep running into his arms and He will rescue you. He will. 

Honestly with love,
Rachel

PS: drowning often makes no noise. Never take your eyes off your children in the water for a moment. A moment.