• It’s not that it has taken over a week to recover from my children being on Christmas break, so much as it has taken a week to get back into our normal routine.  It was wonderful to stay up as late as we wanted, sleep as late as we wanted, and only shower when absolutely necessary.


    But, a routine feels nice once the bandaid is ripped off and we settle back under our yoke.


    I have started questioning the pace in which we live, however.  I have started questioning if I want my primary role with my children to be forever hurrying them to the next thing.  “Did you remember ____, Hurry!, Why aren’t your shoes on your feet?, Hurry!, Get IN the car, Hurry!, Who took the wipes out of the diaper bag?, Hurry!, Do you understand what HURRY means?…”



    These are the words of life and love I speak to my children all day long…and I hate it.  It’s what I don’t like about the routine.


    And I’ve started to question if there is another way?  And I think God may have answered…I’ll fill you in when I know for sure.




  • For the past six months or so, I have been a difficult person to live with.  I have been a seething pot of discontentment, an erupting volcano of discontentment, and a frantic squirrelly mess of discontentment.  And I wanted my husband to know just exactly how discontent I was…you know the Proverb about a dripping faucet?  That was me.

    It started around my fifth month of pregnancy, when I began to fret over where I was going to put a fourth baby in the 3 bedroom house that we have been renting for the past 2 years.  Would I put 3 children in one room, or both babies in the nursery?  Would we buy another baby bed or would Jay Paul move into a regular bed?  How in the world was anybody going to come and visit us, when we are at more than max capacity?  All of those justifiable reasons to buy a larger home, coupled with my hidden one–a desperate desire to own a place that belonged to us, to decorate it, to be able to make changes, to make it ours.


    So I frantically searched for a larger home, and Jeremiah began realizing my hidden agenda when I was willing to buy a home smaller than the one we are renting now 😉  “I thought this was all about needing space?”  Well, maybe not ALL about needing space.  Then, a month before Mae was born, we moved Jay Paul into the same room with the girls and it worked WONDERFULLY.  My friend Melissa encouraged me to give it a try, saying that she had loved moving all three of her littles into one room, and so we did.  And she was right!  And my family had a brief period of relief from my crazies.


    However, after Mae was born two things happened that hurled me back into discontentment in a major way: 1) We found a snake in our bedroom–3 ft from the cradle where my baby sleeps. 2) I began to crave the convenience of living in town after adding a fourth life and second nap schedule to our family.


    While the snake was the primary catalyst, I am not going to go into it too much here.  It deserves a blog all its own.  But I will reassure everyone that there is life after finding a snake in your house (I was worried for a time that that may be impossible), that some of the reason it came inside was our fault (while studying for the boards this summer, Jeremiah allowed the field around our house to grow up to our front door–literally), and that we found the snake’s entry point and sealed it.


    Then, right after the snake, the girls started back to school and Mae developed newborn pneumonia, and I think I was pretty close to nervous breakdown.  In my mind, during all of that life upheaval, I was convinced that if we just bought a house in town–a home that was close to all of the children’s activities and snake free–that I would be content.  That stress would be gone.  That I would no longer feel like my life was swirling around above my head instead of sitting firmly on the ground where it belonged.


    Finally, God got my attention.  We had narrowed our house search down to 2 homes, and if it weren’t for Jeremiah holding the reigns, we would have been moved into one of those two homes months ago.  BUT Jeremiah kept refusing to make a huge life decision (like buying a home), while I was…crazy.  While you can imagine that that reasoning did not rest well with me at the time, it did give me space to calm down and hear what God wanted for us instead of what I wanted for us.  I had just dropped Pace and Mary Aplin off at school when it happened.  I began to notice bits and pieces of a sermon that was playing on the radio.  The overall message was this:

    We (as a generation) are often placing our own comfort and convenience above the things God is calling us to do. And there are sobering consequences–primarily missing the joys brought about by His best for our life.


    The example the preacher on the radio used was the choice to forgo having children until much later in life because we believe there is more joy to be had in revolving our life around what we want instead of what someone else needs.  In one word, convenience.  {I am DEFINITELY not saying that God calls everyone to have children early in their marriage!}.  This message resounded with learned truth for me.  I did not make a holy and self-less choice to become a mother at the age of 23–after being married for only two years, (I was actually taking birth control and completely surprised) but I have reaped the magnificent rewards of that divine intervention for the past eight years.  First with Pace, then Mary Aplin, Jay Paul, and now Mae.  The gaping hole of wonderful life I would have missed if I had had my own convenient way instead of God’s way for my life!


    In that single moment listening to the radio, the word “convenience” morphed from my mantra to a dirty word.  My long list of reasons for moving from farm-life to city-life were primarily an outcry for comfort and convenience.  As I drove the remainder of the 10-minute drive to our home, these are the words God drew from my heart:

    On Monday, I noticed that the last of the cutting was complete and everywhere my eye could reach had the shorn freshness of a new haircut.  On Tuesday, a white crane–its long graceful neck held in the smooth curve of flight–raced my car down the driveway as I took the children to school, skimming just above the black pond, eye to eye with me as I drove over the dam.  On Wednesday, two horses plucked up the courage to go around the wire fence and so enjoyed their afternoon snack just outside our back door.  Today-Thursday-the harvest moon was so joyous over the crisp breath of fall that is whispering over the land, that she forgot to go to bed and greeted the whole family on the porch for breakfast–where sleepy-eyed babies nibbled buttered toast in their daddy’s lap and watched the moon go back to sleep.

    I know that God has “a most excellent way” that is different and just suited for each of His children.  I also know that He allows us a choice and that we may choose a different path for our life than the one He has planned.  For me, there are days when I want to chose the path of convenience.  When I want a short, paved driveway that is close to school and all the activities of my children’s lives.  When I want to not have to plan my day so meticulously because I can always pop in and out of my house around the corner to grab whatever I forgot.  When I tell myself that I might have time to do more important things if I weren’t DRIVING so much…But if I chose convenience, would I look back over my life and realize I’d traded that convenience for the everyday glory He reveals to me when I surround myself with His wonders?  Because it is in the small, everyday surprises where He shows himself the most, and while I know He can find me anywhere, I believe His “most excellent way” for me and our children is found living on land.


    Ashley made this for our Christmas party, not me!

    I sat in my parked car in our garage and pecked all that out on my phone, because I knew He had given it to me, and I didn’t want to forget a single word.  I wish I had recorded the phone conversation when I tearfully called to share those words with Jeremiah.  A husband who’d left the house that morning with a dripping faucet wife nagging him about how long he was waiting before he bought us a home in town!  To a wife who is crying on the phone two hours later with all of that.  “What does this mean, Abby?”  he asked, flummoxed.  I didn’t know!  I am pretty dense, and if you can believe it, I had gratefully received that word from God and was still telling my husband that we should move in town for right now, that this message was for LATER.  I am serious.  The only excuse I can offer for that lack of perspective is that I am extraordinarily afraid of snakes.


    It took a beach trip with my sisters the next day–you know those people who are brutally honest with you?–before I let the message penetrate to my core.  On the drive down, they asked about where Jeremiah and I were with our house decision and I told them we were still confused…that we had narrowed it down to two houses in town, but that we still ultimately wanted to build in the country.  Then, I read them what I had typed on my phone…And I got slam dunked in that moment in the car.  Had I really received a direct answer to my prayer for clarity for our decision and still was claiming confusion?  “You have your answer, Abby!  Why won’t you accept it?”


    Now, I have accepted it.  We have made some small changes where we are living (mainly organizational issues), that make our day-to-day life more manageable in a house that has stayed the same size, while our family has doubled in size.  We have met with an architect and I have prepared my “house notebook” so that the house that has been living in our heads for the past 10 years can maybe have some wood and stone slapped onto it.


    The primary change, however, has been my heart and squeezing close the hole in my faucet to stop all that dripping.    A few months ago I would have told you it was impossible for me to be content where we are living now.  I looked longingly at every house I passed on my way in and out of town and thought how much more convenient my life would be if we just lived THERE.  However, when I finally caught a glimpse of God’s best for our life, everything else came into a new perspective.  The drive, the house size, even the snake were not huge issues.  I don’t want to settle for any less than His best, and His best this minute is exactly where we are.


    Ashley also took a lot of time to hook these lights up to the carriage, to make our night-time wagon ride happen on a day when she didn’t really have any time to give. I appreciate you Ashley!!!!!

  • My sister Taylor is home for an extended holiday stay, with Caloway.  Which MEANS, these cousins are getting some time to get-to-know each other.


    Have you ever tried to get a good picture of two babies at once?  I don’t know how people with twins do it?!


    John David (Taylor’s husband) is in an intense residency in Los Angeles, and Taylor needed a some help and rest.  A little peace and relaxation.  We told her this was the IDEAL place to come.  It is always quiet here…


    And there is no better place to find a peaceful night’s sleep…


    Ok, so maybe those things aren’t true, but we are glad she believed us!  And we are excited to get some time with them both.


    I’m not sure what MyMae is telling Caloway, but she is serious about it! Caloway does not seem too affected

    And we are hoping that the loud, early morning wake-up calls  leave us more time for enjoying this:DSC_0686

    Between Taylor’s arrival and Thanksgiving, Fuller Oakland was born!! Which means that all four babies have now been born to all four sisters in just under 6 months.


    All expecting here!

    Unfortunately, little Fuller has Group B strep just like baby Mae did.  They will have some great stories to swap one day.  He also has a bit of jaundice, so our first meeting had to happen in the NICU and it looked a little something like this:


    Nice shades buddy!

    I got to seem him without his glasses and with that blue light turned off for a few minutes.  What  a precious wonder he is!!!!!!!  There is nothing like the heart swelling emotion that a new family member brings. I can’t wait to love this guy for the rest of his life.


    And in that state of excitement I swept him up off his bed and set off all the alarms in the NICU.


    Fuller Oakland Blair. Born (the day before Thanksgiving) November 27th. 7lb 8oz

    After my shenanigans Taylor was relegated to an awkward squatting picture.


    Sorry T 😉  Please pray Fuller gets well soon and can go home with Caroline, Riley, and Warren.  And if any of you feel your life lacks excitement, please come and visit us down here in our quiet, peaceful, uneventful and orderly world.