Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

Lessons in the Clouds

Earlier this year, my four-year-old drew a picture.  As she told me the story of what it was, I was surprised at how much it related to my current circumstances – and the wisdom the Spirit impressed upon me through her.

On a simple piece of brown construction paper, she had drawn colorful clouds above her and a black, hairy bear next to her.

God in the clouds

God in the clouds

“This is me.  God is trying to get my attention in the clouds,” she told me, “but I’m too scared of the bear!”

She spoke as if her fear paralyzed her from seeing the beauty of the clouds or from looking to the God who painted them for her.  I realized I had often been doing the same.

While my early mornings were brightened by great beauty in the quiet stillness before my three, active little girls awakened, I still found myself steered by my fears, fears that sometimes seemed completely irrational and other times were so real to me that I couldn’t seem to think clearly.

What if something was wrong with the baby I carried?

How would I deal with the needs of four children under the age of five?

How would we survive those first days and weeks after the baby was born with no support network in place in the new city we lived in?

Would our financial situation support us?

What if something went wrong with our planned home birth?

So many questions and doubts plagued my mind when this was the scene right outside my window.

Sunrise

Brilliant colors changed continually as the angle of the sun gradually changed.  Blazing oranges and bright pinks softened as the sun ascended over the horizon.  The shadowy mountains came alive as the light shone on them and reflected off the snow-capped peaks.

Mountain Sunrise

Some mornings I didn’t even look, I was so immersed in my own plans or fears.

But when I did take the time to watch the beauty of the sunrise, I was struck by how temporary that beauty was, how each moment was different, colorful, amazing, and then — over.

These days of mothering four children under five (Yes, the fourth one arrived safely not long ago, and God has completely provided for us through others, despite my fears.) are hard.  I’m tired.  The house is in varying degrees of disarray depending on the moment.  The laundry, dishes, cooking, diapering, feeding, and dressing can seem overwhelming at times, and yet, I still need to take time to enjoy these precious days.  They are temporary.  Each moment is different, colorful, amazing, and then — over.  

The moment when my three-year-old’s soft voice tells me, “I want to be with you, Mom.  You’re my best, best friend.”

The moments of holding my newborn close as we gaze into each others’ eyes.

The moments my one-year-old takes my face in her hands, smiles broadly, and laughs boisterously as I play our game of turning my head to one side and then back to face her.

The moments of seeing my four-year-old feel success and pride in her accomplishments as she writes her alphabet, solves a problem, or composes a new song that she insists on singing at the top of her lungs.

Different, colorful, amazing, and oh, so easy to miss.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1)

Today, may we take our eyes off whatever we may be fearing and fix our eyes on Jesus.  He’s trying to get our attention and show us the most beautiful revelations of His love!  We just need to be present where He’s placed us and take in the moments He’s given.

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The Best Kind of Surprise

There have been two main reasons I haven’t been consistent in blogging since Melody was born last spring.  One reason is I’ve been prayerfully seeking how to best spend the limited discretionary time I have, and I wasn’t convinced that blogging was the priority.  The other reason is the fatigue I’ve been feeling the last year.  First, I was busy seeing to my newborn’s needs.   The fatigue didn’t leave me when Melody started sleeping through the night, though, and those necessary early bedtimes continued.  I thought it was because I was using so many calories nursing, and it likely was.  (That, and keeping up with my 2-year-old and sweet infant.)

It was nearly Christmas last year when I became suspicious enough of the strange way I’d been feeling that I took a pregnancy test.  We soon learned that my frequent night-time trips to the bathroom, ongoing exhaustion, and strong need for mid-morning protein were impacted by the new baby growing inside me.

Hello, World! See you soon!  (Our third child at 20 weeks)

Hello, World! See you soon! (Our third child at 20 weeks)

A baby that will be, Lord-willing, joining us at home in mid-July!

(I was nearly 12 weeks along when we found out.  Let me tell you, the first trimester goes very quickly when you don’t find out until after 11 weeks have passed!)

I admit, I was a little freaked out at first.  Clara will be 3 in June.  Melody turned 1 in March.  There will be just under 16 months between Melody and this baby.  That’s a lot of little people to care for!  I was intimidated by the timing.  I was excited, but also scared.  We had hoped for more children, but didn’t think we’d be blessed again so soon.

I knew I just needed to trust God.  This baby was a gift from Him, and I knew that.  My faith was (and is) strong.  Sometimes, it just takes my mind a while to catch up.

The prayer dialog in my head goes something like this:

“Less than sixteen months apart, God?  Really?  Doesn’t Mom say she had twins ‘the hard way’ with my sister and me being just fifteen months apart?  How is this going to work?  I’m often worn out from caring for our two little ones now.  How am I going to do that–while nursing a newborn and being sleep-deprived?”

Okay, so it wasn’t much of a dialog, but after my venting of my worries, I remembered again and again God’s faithfulness to me.  He’s never called me to a task and left me all alone.  He always has my best interest in mind – even if I don’t see it until later.  He’s loved me so obviously and abundantly that I don’t doubt that His will is best.

With just eight weeks to go until we meet Baby (We don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy.  Similar to our other pregnancies, we wanted to be surprised.), I don’t know how this is going to work.  I don’t know who we’ll be able to find to watch our girls while we’re at the hospital.  I don’t know how the birth and recovery will go.  I don’t know how I’ll survive when my dear husband has to return to work, leaving me with three little ones in my charge.  I don’t know if this baby will have colic, like Clara, or be a profoundly happy baby like Melody.  I don’t even know how I’ll be able to even get everyone in and out of the car seats…

But God knows.  He has it all planned out, and I know He’ll take care of me.


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Doubling Our Pleasure

We are now a family of four!  Praise be to God!

We brought little Melody home five weeks ago, and we are so blessed to have her in our family!   We had chosen not to “peek” at our baby’s gender (read why here), so it was a great surprise when my husband announced, “It’s a girl!” in the delivery room.  (I had been sure I was carrying a boy this time…  Yet another reason not to trust my intuition on such things.)  🙂

I stand increasingly amazed at God’s goodness and how it exceeds my wildest dreams.  I had been afraid that I would be let down by this birth story since my experience with my firstborn was so incredible.  (When you can deliver a 9 lb. 3 oz. baby with no pain medication and two hours later talk about doing it again, it must have been a good experience!)  God blessed us with a very different – but no less amazing – labor and delivery this time.  I labored at home for about 5 hours before we casually went to the hospital.  We were only in the labor and delivery room at the hospital for an hour before our baby was born!

To tell you how sweetly God cares for me (and you, too!!), consider this:  The most uncomfortable part of giving birth to my oldest was the required IV.  Ugh!  I cringe just thinking about it!  This time, I gave birth before the nurse had a chance to even get the needle out of the package! YES!  

Our God knows our needs, and He cares so much for us!  Having two children under two sounds like a challenge, but He’s provided a happy baby (without colic this time) who makes things not only manageable, but fun!  Clara is a good big sister and well-behaved — for the most part.  She’s still in training.  🙂  Each day with the two of them is a joy!  (Though sometimes I’m experiencing it through half-open eyes.)

Sure, I’m still getting the hang of having two little ones.  I don’t sleep through the night.  I don’t get to eat my food when it’s hot.  I get frustrated with my toddler’s messes and spills.  I’ve had trouble getting back into a groove of cleaning and cooking and other responsibilities.  Small sacrifices.

My dad told me, “It’s different with two.”  He made it sounds like a warning, but he’s right…

We have twice the blessings.  More coos.  More smiles.  More hours of snuggling.  The joy of having a girl on each knee.  The fun of seeing Clara want to comfort or entertain her sister.  The chance to nurse another precious babe.  The chance to welcome another precious life into our family.

Thank You, Lord!

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