When lately having taken a "friendship test" and asked the question "If you were a crayon, which color would you be?" I answered Cherry Red, or a Periwinkle Blue. I just LOVE color - and if I had to pick one I'm sure I'd consider yellow too. You have to have yellow! What would a sunny day be without yellow?
But the truth is... I have always had a thing for green.
I chose a silvery shade of green for a prominent color in our outdoor wedding, and when I was fourteen or so my best friend called me "Analene Green Jeans" (I actually had some - green jeans)!
And when I was two or three, I was so in love with Green that it was common fact throughout the family and my Auntie wrote a book for me called "Analene LOVES Green!" It was a story mostly true about my green birthday cake, the green clothes, and my saving all the green M&M's out of a bag.
Family lore tells that around that time, my grandma bought me a lovely red dress (HER favorite color) which she could not convince me to try on. When Asked why I didn't like it, I purportedly answered "Because I don't LIKE red. I ONLY like green." And that was that from then on.
I have figured that green must be God's favorite color too since the world is covered in greens of every hue, and while my likings have branched out into the camps of many lovely colors, I've remained loyal to that noble color because of tradition.
These days though, I have been shocked to find myself gravitating towards green again - not because of loyalty, but because... I like it! Now I know you can't put just any shade of green with any object. For instance, I am not a big fan of Aqua green paint on houses, or John Deer green on a Dodge Sprinter Van, and certainly no limey-green for your living room wall (believe me, I've tried it). However a mixing bowl of each shade in your kitchen? Now that's a cheerful thought!
The talented Cousin Ella made these beautiful green and white dish rags to share with me, and this shade of green is the one that has me most right now. It turns out I had already bought some fabric for cloth napkins which will BEG me to add a couple other Pistachio green things in my Idaho Kitchen (where the walls are already painted Baltic green;-)). I think this shade makes me think of the ferns that were in full array up there last Spring when we first layed eyes on Marvel Hill.
Anyway. A long-winded post to share a little trivia about myself and to say that Analene does indeed still have a thing... for green.
The most handsome little nephew I've met this year! All love to my precious brother and sis: Charlie and Hannah (WELL DONE Hannah!!!).
The story is Hannah's to tell, I just had to gloat a little. My sister Molly was there this evening taking pictures with her new camera, so when she gets them onto her blog, I'll send you that way to see some really good ones!
Here is the other skirt I made for Olivia. My friend Lauri taught me how to make circle skirts for the girls, but this is the first one I've tried on my own. Besides her four handsome boys, Lauri has four daughters so there's quite a lot of experience to be gleaned from her! And how she found time to share her skills with me I don't know - but I sure am glad she did:-)
I love this pattern because of how simple it is, and how little fabric it takes for someone Olivia's size. Because it's a circle, it is the BEST twirling skirt!! I could have done a tutorial, but decided to actually accomplish the project itself. I could STILL do a tutorial, but the chances of that are slim to none. Let's get real! This is the time in my life where we sometimes stay in pajamas all day; where breakfast starts at eight and ends at ten; where assembling a new set of Lego's is considered school, and peanut butter and crackers is considered dinner. That's just the reality.
Anyway I finished it. She wears it. I satiated my need to create. I'm happy!
Beansntatermama asked me a question on a recent post, which she probably hopes I have "the answer" for, and which I and a good portion of the parental population long to find "the answer" to. She asks:
"How did you decide to have more babies? I have three and we got so much negative feedback when we mentioned that we might want another it really bothers me. It's like an ongoing battle all the time to have or not have anymore..."
Dear Beansntatermama - dear friend whom I love and have not met, I empathize with you. Truly. The reason I want to answer your question in a post, is that a good portion of my friends are wrestling with this question, and of course there is the never-ending speculation on my personal views which I thought might inspire or at least entertain my blog snoopers to read.
I have been reading your blog a bit trying to get to know you. I enjoy your desire and commitment to ministering to your family by working from home. Home is where the very most work is after all! And raising and training children is the most valuable job you will ever do, even if no one ever commends you for it. Well done!
As to how did I (or my husband and I) decide to have more babies"?t It is a journey we are still on, and I don't really expect to have an answer to that question even by the end of my life. I now have a family which exceeds the stereotype of "average American household" based on the number of children I have - especially since they all belong to the same two parents. However I will probably baffle those who expect that I am aiming for a large size family, a particular number, or am part of the quiverfull movement. I DO love a large family (I come from one and loved belonging to one); when asked how many we are going to have, our standard answer is "one at a time... unless it's twins"; and I want to make it clear that while I love the commitment and dedication displayed by people who identify with a movement, a word, or a title... I don't. (place my identity there, that is.) I identify with Jesus and knowing Him better so I can love Him more fully. It's quite a bit harder to explain the whys to someone when you can't just point them to a resource which will answer all their questions for you (and in their defense, many of my friends answer just fine for themselves). But when people want to know why in the world you would contribute to the "overpopulation" of the planet - or better yet, have a ton of children which will inhibit your ability to minister Christ effectively to others (said tongue in cheek), when all you say is "I don't have all the answers but God's Word does..." and "No I don't have enough strength to do it, but the Holy Spirit is working in my life to give me what I need for each day..." or "Sure I don't have the loving attitude I should have at all times, but Jesus loves me, He loves my children, and He is patiently teaching me to become more like Him so that my children see Him in me..." Those are the answers that turn people to Jesus, and that is my hearts desire.
I used to pray "Lord, you know what I can handle. If you're going to give me more than that, than make me a taller glass so I can hold what you pour in." One day I realized that I would never be a tall enough glass to hold (or handle) all God wanted to pour into my life, so my prayer has become "Lord, I am a short glass being filled beyond my means and abilities. I WILL overflow, so please Lord, let what spills over the edges of my life splash on to those who will see that it is YOU who are my strength. I could never be worthy or able to "do it" apart from You."
Unfortunately many think that to have a large family you must be irresponsible, or super-human. I know I am not super, and I hope I am not irresponsible, but I can tell you this: it is only by God's grace and for His glory that I persevere in the privilege of being mother to these precious children He has given me. It is not easy, but neither is it a burden. These children are a demonstration to me of God's love for me, and my decision to embrace them and this task of mothering them is a demonstration of my love for Him.
1Co 7:23 "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men."
The reality is that our culture (and the Christian culture has bought into this too) is not receptive to families bearing many children. I'm sure you've heard many of the most popular reasons, and if you take a peek at some of my large familied friends (you may already be familiar with), they can enlighten you on just how many variations of unkind and amazingly insensitive things people come up with! I have heard a fair share, and you are right - why people feel obligated to air their opinions on this matter so freely, and in a manner which clearly insinuates that you are obligated to agree with them, while laughable, can be pretty painful. I have learned not to be swayed by peoples perception or opinion of me. My life and conduct speak for itself, and hopefully point to Jesus Christ who saved me from sin and death, and who has given me hope of eternity with Him - forever spent in a place lovelier than my favorite spots here, and doing things that I love doing and have always longed to do, and enjoying people I love dearly (my five children so far, and three I haven't met) and people I've always wanted to meet... See what hope there is in my Jesus?! Did you know that we were created for God's pleasure [Philippians 2:13]? Did you know that the earth and all it's wonderful treasure was created for OUR pleasure [Genesis 1:27-31]? The Lord takes pleasure in our fellowship with Him, and our desire to enjoy the life He's given us! He takes pleasure in our obedience to to Him even when it's difficult or unpopular. He is glorified when we choose to take the hard road because we believe it's the right path to take. And He doesn't promise it will be easy, but He's given us the promise of accomplishing HIS work in our lives for HIS glory. I think the real questions to ask are "What am I living for?" and "How can I know and love my Savior better?" and "In light of those things, does it matter what other people think - really?"
Like any mother of many (or any mother at all) I wrestle with what other people think. I wrestle with my changing body. I wrestle with lack of sleep. I wrestle with meeting the needs of my husband. I wrestle with lack of understanding how to help my children in given circumstances. But... here's the thing I try to remember: "I wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12 I believe that! Your battle is not between you and your husband, between you and your family or friends, between you and the pop culture. It's not about how many children you have. In fact, having children doesn't make you more spiritual or Godly. It can produce some precious qualities in you that you come by only through the refiners fire, but that is because of what God is doing IN you. Not BECAUSE of you. And THAT is what the enemy does not want. He does not want you to know the depth and wonders of God's glory which he (Satan) forfeited because of self-worship. So... he will do all he can to baffle and confuse, and irritate, and smash, and destroy your hope in Jesus and the freedom and peace that comes from living one day at a time for Him and in the shelter of His love.
I would be happy to answer more specific questions, and I hope this post was an insightful glimpse into my heart. The conclusion of my answer, is that you can ask the Lord to give you a passion for knowing Him, and He will. He is faithful like that! You can also ask him to give you peace through the leading of your husband, and a freedom from the bondage of what man deems acceptable. He will gently show you where to walk, and how to walk there for HIS glory! That is good news:-)
"Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh within us. Unto Him be glory in the saints, by Christ Jesus throughout all the ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
It is barely Spring, and feels balmy compared to the last five months or so, so of course playing in the water is a great idea - right? They were carefully pouring water from a bucket on Gramsie's porch into her ice chest. They were being pretty careful because they hadn't asked anyone over the age of six if this game was going to be acceptable. Unfortunately I found them out and was obligated (by rule of being a stick-in-the-mud mother) to lecture them on ASKING first. So of course they did the next natural thing. They asked. THEN I was obligated to curtail or condone the fun. I did the later (by rule of the guilty stick-in-the-mud mother complex), asked them (obligation once again to the rule of stick-in-the-mud mother) to try not to get wet, and you might imagine what transpired next.
You see, when pushing the envelope on being sneaky, one is often much more careful and covert about hiding the evidence of said sneaky acts. Once permission is obtained for questionable game, there is no need to hide anything. There is no "evidence" to worry about, so all carefulness is lost to bliss. Yep. Sopping wet from head to toe. Did they have a good time though? I heard a lot of laughing, and no complaint of being cold, so I guess so. It just goes to show how little a stick-in-the-mud mother knows, and probably how much she misses by not skipping the lecture and jumping right into the fun! Hopefully there's still time for me to learn, and maybe it wasn't so bad that I found them ;-)
I had a baby dream last night. I had a baby boy with black curly hair (three or four of my children were born with black hair actually, and they all belong to AJ). He was beautiful and weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces which is pretty hefty for being three months premature! Anyone who has been pregnant knows how those dreams go - they can be pretty wacky! However I love love LOVED this, because it gave me the brand-new-baby craving.
I thought it to be especially convenient since I am indeed pregnant, thirteen weeks so, and my dream gave me the first real longing to meet this little one!
I am always excited to discover that a new little love Bug is on the way, but these later pregnancies go by much faster and are less heralded than the first. I sometimes forget that my growing belly (and growing everything else) is evidence of a tiny PERSON. Not just a pregnancy. I am so thankful for new life, and the privilege to carry it within me. Wow! Now I am guessing that curls are a little far fetched, but that's okay. There IS a baby in there, and boy or girl, we can't wait to meet!
The best part of visiting California has been seeing the Great Grandparents! A week ago I took the children to visit my Grama and Grampa H. and we had a blast! Unfortunately I forgot the camera that time, so we'll have to go again armed!;-) This week we called on my Grama and Grampa F. How wonderful was our time there as well! I will post more Great Grand-pictures later, but for now...
These pictures are of Granny and Great Grampa L.
They live in Watsonville and called last Friday to say they'd be arriving in the afternoon (a good five or six hour drive!!!) What a treat! These two dearly loved grandparents are past their late eighties, yet just watch the stamina they still have - and I mean to tell you, five children wear ME out!!! I could not believe my eyes when I looked out the window and saw the image I captured in the video (bottom). And Great Grampa was pushing children in swings like their was no tomorrow! (Everyone hated it, of course;-)) AJ was out of town, yet Granny and Great Grampa came all this way to be with us. Read to the children, chase, swing, talk with, and listen to. LOTS of listening to! There was a din that surely left a ringing in their ears. i bet it was a sleepy ride back to Watsonville with all that quiet!
Thank you Granny and Great Grampa! You blessed us more than words can tell. We love you!
Three years ago today... Olivia Honor - born in a hurry! She didn't give me any breaks in between contractions, but at least labor didn't last long:-) Grama and Auntie Hannah were at her birth, and I was delighted to meet this new little daughter. Since that day she has been nothing but a pleasure! A sparkle is our Olivia, a bit mischievous and sneaky, but always the charmer with her "You're the best momma in the WHOLE world Momma!" or her "You're FUNNY Daddy!"
We make birthdays a special occasion starting with breakfast and gifts in the morning. Daddy got Olivia a back pack, and the brothers and sisters contributed to filling it with treasures.
DID complete O's skirt, and found a few purple accessories to go with it:-)
Daddy and I took her out to lunch, and this evening we had the strawberry cake she asked for, except that Olivia ate the strawberries and cool whip, but never got down to the cake! Such is the life of a birthday girl. When you've had enough, I guess you know it was a good one! Thank you to all the precious family who called to wish O a happy birthday - you made our day that much more special.
My! How the Lord has been placing people on my mind and heart one by one, and at the oddest times and hours. I am so thankful to Him for all the precious people in my life - some close friends, and others whom I know not as well. Each of you has touched my life in ways you'll never know the reach or magnitude of. As my wise and Dear Neighbor said to me (and I think she stole it from her friend Pamela):
"Your sphere of influence is greater than your circle of acquaintance."
It's so simple I don't know why it sounded so profound when I heard it! I have been chewing on it ever since, and will let you draw what you will from it. I only know it to be true, and where MY influence is called into question, it rather concerns me.
Of all the undesirable attributes I wish to purge from me, selfishness is what I would choose if I was limited to only one. I think that one probably rids me of most (if not all) the others anyway. I definitely need more of Jesus! And that brings me back to you. As I sit at the sewing machine, or stand at the ironing board, or am in bed after everyone is asleep, yet with my own eyeballs wide open and my little mind running on and on and on... The Lord shows me His most wonderful and glorious character through the rays of His love that shine out from your lives. YOURS Courtney, Jenny, Kathy, Kelli, Deborah, Grace, Sarah, Jana, Jess, Kim, Morgan, Mom, Char and Hannah, Em, Melissa, Shauna, Diane, Moll, Grace, Rashel, Heather, Lauri, Katrina, Kelly, Shannon, Beth, Janice, Ashley, Andi, Janelle, Deb, Angela, Rachel, Heidi, Faith, Suzanne, Edna, and on and on goes the list of people who's influence is greater than their sphere of acquaintance.
And it touches me, all because of Jesus in you. I am honored to sit and basque in the warm ray of light and His love because you love and follow Him! Thank you.
I discovered this patch of Forget-Me-Nots in Mom's yard. They usually sprout up in front by the pathways and driveway and front porch and door - an easy place to enjoy their sweet faces and as their name says "forget me not!" they seem to call out.
Not so this year. I found them in a less conspicuous place humbly residing by the back walkway, down on the bottom story level where the garage is... and the pile of firewood, and the lawn mower. At first I thought their picture would be a perfect heading for a post reminding my far-away friends not to forget me;-)
Alas this post developed instead and I find myself thinking of YOU instead of me. That is good. That is some of the selfishness being purged I think, and perhaps I too am learning to humbly reside on the lower level by the back door - there IS a lot of action there you know! So much serving happens at the back door; Dad drives off to work and back again, Mom brings home the groceries, Dad hauls in firewood, and both of them mow, and weed, and stack rock, sticks, and yard trash. That is the spot where Granny and Great Grampa park their motor home when they visit - not up by the front door, and guess what view they get to look at out their window? That humble patch of tiny blue Forget-Me-Nots.
They no longer proclaim their presence at the front of the house, but they make every chore delightful at the back:-)
Tonight I am thinking to remind myself "Forget HIM not, Analene. Forget Him not."
Remember HIM, my friends. And I'm thinking of you too.
Well... it's either blog or sew. I hate to be torn, but Olivia's birthday is on Tuesday, and I don't relish the thought of an obligatory all-nighter hours before all that action. I don't know about you gals, but I prefer to stick at a project for a few hours rather than fifteen minutes here and thirty minutes there. It's just enough to get everything out, make a mess, and pull out some hair (and usually some seams too)!
So sorry, but tonight I sew.
Do you have any great ideas for little gifts to fill a purple back pack with? Olie will be turning three! ;-)
I asked her what she'd like for dinner on her birthday and she replied "cake!" (I could have answered that - my brain cells must be dying off faster than I thought!) So I said, "Okay. For dessert. But what do you want BEFORE cake?" To that (and without skipping a beat) she replied "CANDY!"
Carolina joined me on a trip to my favorite quilting store this week: Honey Run Quilters. They are located downtown in an old Victorian house, and they do a fabulous job of stocking every nook and cranny with the beautiful designer fabrics you can't quite touch and feel and smell online. I like that "touch" part:-) Anyway, they have a way of making you drool so badly over their desserts, that when you drop sixty dollars on fabric, you feel you bought only enough for a taste tester!
My inspiration is a birthday gift for Olivia. A "twirly" skirt for dancing in. A wing-it operation that (I hope in the end) will resemble my friend Jenny's Strip Skirt by Pink Fig Patterns - SO CUTE!!
Here's some of the material I splurged on, and to put in a good word for JoAnns, I picked up a good bunch of these colorful fabrics from there to fill in the cracks.
You know how it is... you have to have a little plain Jane to set off the foofy patterns!
Also, I know you are just longing to hear something more personal right? I mean, you don't visit my blog JUST to see the most darling little persons or hear about their most silly antics and amazing feats. Right?
Rrrrriiiiiiiiightttttt....... That's what I thought. I'm going to pretend you didn't say that so I can talk about myself without feeling bad about it.
So ANYWAY... today I had the privilege of gathering with some ladies who have taken the roll of the Titus 2 "older women" and for several years have been sharing their wisdom and experience with some younger momma's (like me). My dear friend Deborah hosts this once a month fellowship, and opens her home to every age and stage of woman, all our children (which are at times fairly numerous), and welcomes fussy babies and know-it-all gals (not volunteering any names here, but you may know her well;-)) with grace, hospitality, and the biggest cookies I have rarely seen!
My times there are always refreshing, often convicting, and inspire me to rise the the honorable privilege of being a wife, mother, and friend. Today was no exception. My children have been looking forward to this get-together for over a year and played hard (eating some of those BIG cookies I mentioned). The gals talked about raising boys, and my precious friend Shannon shared some of her herbal knowledge and gave us some tips and recipe's for making natural facial scrub, hair care, and tooth paste! I had the opportunity to see some lovely mothers that I admire and rarely get to visit with, to meet some new babies, and to find out who is in the family way again:-)
I have been feeling emotional lately, and wanting to hide under a rock. I am so glad I ventured out today, and I'm also pretty glad I didn't burst into tears for no reason. I prefer not to do that in public. I hate to ruin that spotless image of strength and stability - HA!
It was a lovely, lovely day. I am very blessed. I can ask the Lord for more, and I may, but I am sure that I have already seen more than three lifetimes of blessing! I am content.
When I thought of being a mom, I never dreamed of THIS! ~Five heart melting smiles ~never getting tired of midnight feedings ~having all the answers ~not minding dirty faces ~enjoying watching the boys eat! ~falling in love with pigtails ~appreciating overalls ~appreciating a washing machine! ~wanting to do everything better ~falling in love a million times