Wednesday, 11 December 2013

MYOB {being agreeable when you disagree...}

This post is going to be a little ranty. It's about an issue that has been on my heart and mind for a few weeks now.

It all stemmed from hearing about the public confession of someone who had fallen into sin.

It rattled through the internet express, and hit the headlines on a lot of blogs.

It was sad. Sad, more than anything else, because someone, to whom many people looked up to, had been involved in sin and confessed to doing wrong.

The repercussions were inevitable.

That is where my problem lies.  I don't want to analyse the sins of another, with no knowledge of the facts or circumstances.  It's not my place to judge. Knowing what I know, my only plea is "Lord, keep me from sin, and keep me near your heart".

No, my problem lies with the reaction of others. I see, so often, and hear it from people far too regularly, people airing their opinions on things that are really none of their business. I am not suggesting that we can sweep everything under a carpet, or hide from bad things that happen.  There is certainly much to be taken and learnt from the experiences and circumstances of others.  We can learn not to make the same mistakes, if nothing else.

My problem is with people who latch onto one thing they see that they don't like, and start to pick apart the entire lives of others who don't hold to the same point of view.  I have seen downright bitter and ungodly responses to the particular man I initially referred to.  People making assumptions, casting aspersions and judging the heart and motives of those involved. It's not our place to do such a thing. We do not know their hearts. Worse than that is then pulling apart their entire lives, based on one sin, or one area of their lives that the others didn't approve of.

"Quiverfull movement"

"Patriarchal movement"

These topics are being raised and torn apart.

I am not saying that I advocate or adhere to these "movements".  I am not even going to comment on what they are or what they involve. I simply have an issue with people, especially Christians, who see others with a different point of view and cannot just let them have it.  Both these subjects are not primary issues, and yet people can become rather vitriolic about others who hold to them.

Undoubtedly, some people can become obsessed with a subject, in their Christian life, and make far too much of it. People in both the camps mentioned above have a tendency to make something which IS a secondary issue, into a primary one. However, many people may hold to the principles involved in these movements, to a certain degree, not to the nth degree, and yet they get criticised by those standing by.  People who seem to think it's their business to share their point of view on what the other holds to.

It happens with home-schooling, too. Maybe you could say there is a "home educating movement"?? (Maybe people do, and I am so IN it, I have never heard it?!!??)

People like to give their view on how we have chosen to educate our family.  Our family size.  How we live our life.  Our plans for our family.  How we run our home.

It seems, that Christians today have developed an intensely critical spirit, and can't just let people make their own choices on secondary issues, without telling them they are wrong, instead of accepting them as simply "different".

Where's love, long-suffering and compassion gone?

Where has intelligent discussion, tolerance and mutual respect gone?

Instead, I find a critical spirit, harsh words and bitterness directed at those who are different.

As with all I say, I try to bring it all back to the scriptures. I don't want my blog to be about MY viewpoints, but in what the Bible tells us.

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things"
I Corinthians 13:4-7

How can we not go to this chapter, and remember what REAL love is?

We need to be truth seekers, if we love.

We need to be patient, if we love.

We need to think the best of others, if we love.

We are not to be glad when others stumble, if we love.

We are to be tolerant of the views of others, if we love.

We are not to think our own point of view is more important than that of others, if we love.

If we DON'T love, then we are not the Lord's at all. Ergo, we need to display all these attributes, iN ORDER to love.

What about the fruit of the spirit?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 
 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
Galatians 5:22-24

There is never a topic that is so important that we can cast aside gentleness in how we deal with others in communicating our point of view.  We are to be gentle, when we disagree with others - when others are as strong about what they believe as we are about what we believe. We need to put to death - to cast aside - any tendencies towards a sinful attitude and behaviour, when we share a viewpoint with others. 

"Let your speech be alway with grace"
Colossians 4:6

It's what I tell my children, and have to remind myself. It's not always WHAT you say, it can also be how you say it!  Oh boy - does that really say "alway"?  I know MY speech is not always gracious. I'm talking about right here at home, never mind with anyone else. There's something I need to work on, right there. 

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Ephesians 4:29

If our speech being full of grace is HOW we say something, then this is more about WHAT we say. We need to put our point of view across in a way that encourages and builds up others. It may make them think, but it won't immediately put their up if we put it across in the right way. I think, if we always try and back it up with scriptures, that's a good start. (That is a subject, weighing on my heart, formulating in another post...) However, if it doesn't tie in with the "gracious" part, it can still come across wrongly. We need the whole package. The right words and in the right way.

I need to remember, too, that there is a time and a place for everything.  Sometimes we need to hold back on saying something. Sometimes things NEED to be said, because no-one else is saying it.  We need to wisely seek the Lord about what and how we speak. 

Oh, and another thing to remember.  Words that are in type do not have the same expression as the spoken word. Emotions, and sentiment, are not always fully understood when you read something. I try my very best to express myself with love and grace.  When I am reading, I equally try and have that same love and grace, in order to take things in the best possible light. Not to be negative or critical of the words of another - to be open to interpreting them in a way that is positive. 

Let's be more tolerant of those that may have different viewpoints on things that are secondary. Let's be more gracious in our responses to what they say or do. Let's be careful in our replies to those who we disagree with. Let's remember that we are united in Christ, and love is ALWAYS the most important thing. 

As my  Dad used to say, when we asked him what he was doing when it was none of our concern...


Mind your OWN business.

Keep being responsible for your own attitudes, actions and words, and be less critical of others.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Locked in {a little toilet humour}

There are moments in a mother's life where you need to choose. You need to choose between panic and calm.

I chose calm, yesterday. As Heidi St John would say I "stayed in my bubble".

It all started whilst I was feeding my bambino. These things often happen when you are otherwise occupied.

Elijah was at the toilet, and that alone can be a time consuming event. But, Simoen kept going in, because he had left the door open.

SO, he shut the door.

And, he locked the door.

Except, he then took so long at the loo, that he couldn't remember how to UNlock the door. It's not something we normally encourage children to do - lock doors.

So, as I was occupied with Tabitha, I told the older children to explain to Elijah how to unlock the door.  I could hear, from the lounge, and interesting episode which involved thinking up lots of ways to explain the same thing to a small child. My children became human Thesauruses (Thesaurusi??), thinking of all the ways to explain it.

To no avail.

He could NOT do it!

I was able to then leave Tabitha, and I went to try my own hand at explaining it to him.


Still nothing.

Beth had even drawn him a picture, and slid it under the door, to SHOW him what to do!!!

I told him to climb on the top of the cistern, and try and open the small window, to let a sibling climb through.


He couldn't climb up. (He's a cautious child, at the best of times!)

Thankfully, he remained calm.  those who know Elijah, will know that's a minor miracle!  He gets in a flap about a LOT less than being locked in a loo.  But, he was SOOOO good.

Next thing, however, we were getting no replies AT ALL from Elijah.  He had fallen ASLEEP!!!!

I had called Robert, to get some words of wisdom from him about what to do. He laughed. Great. Laughing does nada. (It WAS funny, I suppose...) He would be home in 30 minutes, and then he would help if we hadn't got him out.

Obviously, since he had fallen asleep, we needed Robert's assistance, because he was still asleep when he got home.

Robert tried pulling really hard on the door.  Nope.

He tried shouting to Elijah. Nope.

So, out came my husband's tools.  He loves his spacious garage, and being able to do things around the house. So, thankfully he had the right tools for the job.

A hammer.

And a chisel.

I think....???

It was flat, and wide, and had a handle?.... (yup, I have no idea about these things - it's my husband's domain!)

A few very loud, and hard, bangs, with the chisel and the hammer, along the door frame, and the door was opened. The door frame and the lock were busted, but the door was open.


Still fast asleep.



The seat was down, from his effort to climb up to the window, and I guess he figured that being curled up on top of it was the best place to fall asleep, whilst he waited for rescue by his wonderful Dad??

We had to waken him, despite all the loud banging (yes, we breed deep sleepers.  We train them when they are young, but that's another topic)

'Twas quite a sight. Elijah, erm, naked from the waist down, curled up on a toilet, bottom in the air.

Poor boy.

But rather cute.

he was slightly confused when we woke him, and a bit upset, but he survived.

Better still, despite my sleep deprived state, at the moment, I coped rather calmly.  Phew.

All in a day, actually, an hour, in the Cordle household.

Fun times. Interesting memories.

And, yes, I took a picture.  All for wedding fodder, obviously.

And, all decent...

You have to laugh, right?

Oh, and the funny part. We had been repeatedly trying to tell him about the little knob on the door lock, that he needed to hold onto, to slide the bolt back. It helps if he hasn't screwed that little bit OFF.  then he may have been able to grab hold of it and slide the lock back, like we told him.


Thankfully, my husband is very skilled.  He has replaced the busted door frame, and replaced the busted lock. With a cheap, easily broken in. one. He reckons one hard pull will just break the lock, "the next time".

Lectures have been given, to small people, about not locking the door again.

Bets are, it WILL happen again, though.

Time will tell!

Did I say, lately?  I love my children.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Belated Baby Announcement! {... the busy life of a new mother}

I MUST apologise.

I should have made this announcement much sooner, but life has been busy, and opportunities, to have the 2 hands that I need to type, have been few! (I have already started this and not finished it, more than once...)

I am absolutely thrilled to announce the safe delivery of our 8th blessing.

Tabitha Hope Cordle

born 3/11/13 

weighing 7lb 12oz

at 3.28am

at HOME! 

We decided, after much prayer and careful consideration, to have our first home birth.  It stemmed from the question of what to do with the other children whilst I went to hospital, and Robert came up with the "home birth" answer! I had always dismissed the idea previously. Partly to do with my noisy labouring, and partly because our hospital births had been absolutely fine. On hindsight, they were nowhere near as good as we thought they were, but they were fine, nonetheless.

It transpired to be the BEST thing ever!  Firstly, we just left the children sleeping in bed, as my prayer was answered to have the baby whilst they would not notice!  We didn't have to get them all up, and bring them somewhere else, or call someone in at an unfriendly time of the night. 

Also, we had a tummy bug hit, just a couple of days before I went into labour.  We thought Daniel had maybe just been greedy, on Thursday night, but when Elijah was sick on the Saturday evening, as I was beginining to have some "proper" contractions, my heart sank.  I couldn't imagine having a baby in the throes of a tummy bug, but I soon realised that if God planned it that way, then there was no preventing it! We wouldn't have wanted to inflict illness on anyone else, so instead we just had the baby at home - no other people involved. (other than the midwives, who went straight to my bedroom, and had no contact with the ill child!) God knew, all along, that it would be the best plan to have a baby at home! 

So, do you want the story, before the pictures?? 

You got a picture already, so lets crack on with the story. 

Well, where to start?

To start off with, I had had a false start on the Friday morning, between 4.30am and 7am I had contractions every 5 minutes – then it all stopped. I had been having lots of show, and on Saturday morning, I had loads more. Throughout Saturday I had the odd contraction, but they were decent, noticeable ones. Just not regular at all.

By late afternoon, I was having a few more.  Then, disaster struck. As I already told you, my 3yo was sick. So, amidst floods of tears, I got my 3yo sorted, wondering how I could cope with having a baby if we had a tummy bug in the house.  I just figured, in the end, if the baby was coming, the baby was coming.

It transpired the baby WAS coming.  The contractions became more regular as the evening went on, but still only 7 minutes apart.  I sat on my bed, cross-legged, watching some TV online, to keep me distracted. I decided that maybe I needed to change position, to see if things would move along quicker. I switched to standing, and immediately my contractions came closer together – the time reduced from 7 minutes to 4 ½ between contractions! At this point, it was getting close to 1 am. I am rather glad that I ended up chatting to my friend, Leah, on Facebook instant messenger, as it means I have a time log of what then happened!  She suggested, as they suddenly got closer, that I should maybe ring my midwife. I had planned and hoped to have my own MW attend my delivery. She had been an absolute gem throughout the pregnancy. She had supported our whole decision to home birth and enabled me to be able to have the perfect delivery. So, I rang her. Except, her phone rang out! I had another little tearful moment. Robert was still out studying... my MW was not answering her phone... my contractions were getting closer together. I rang Robert, and suggested he came home. He “just had to print off his notes, and finish preparing”, as he was still due to preach the next morning (those who don’t know, my husband is a Pastor....). Leah got me to pull myself together (I had told her I was tearful, and struggling to stem the flow of tears... lol ) and suggested I phone the hospital MWs. I was still slightly reluctant.  I still had this thought that I was going  to call people out, and labour was not REALLY happening!! I have to laugh at myself! I think I was so relaxed in my own home, that I was coping well, really.  I started to have more discomfort with the contractions, and phoned the hospital. I had visions of delivering on my own at home, and didn't relish that!
I phoned the hospital, and the lovely ward supervisor chatted me through my contractions, whilst trying to get the on call MW.  She couldn’t get her, and I was trying not to panic!! She eventually got through to her, and Louise, the on-call MW, rang me. She asked if I would want gas and air (ohhhhh yes!) and said she would need to go into the hospital to collect it, before coming to me. She didn’t live too far from the hospital, but I knew she would have been in bed, and would need to get dressed, get to the hospital, THEN get back out to me!! It was going to be at least 30 minutes before she would be there!!!

I rang Robert again at 1.15am... he had lost track of time (MEN! Lol ) and I told him I needed him home NOW!!! So, he said he would come straight away, and did. I ended my chat with Leah just before 1.30am, when Robert arrived home. Straight away, I felt more at peace, just knowing Robert was here as well. I got my music out, which I had prepared, and got myself into a “zone” whilst waiting for the MW. Robert busied himself, getting things ready for delivery, and getting the kettle boiled to make the MW cups of tea!! The MW finally got there at about 2am. Instantly, we clicked. She was LOVELY, and very friendly. Most of all, she wanted everything to be exactly as I had planned and hoped, and all by her suggestion, not mine! She suggested delayed cord clamping, and even *shock horror* a physiological 3rd stage!! For those who do not know what that is, it is when you deliver the placenta without drugs. I had NEVER done that before!! She was feeling “rebellious” so we decided to play it by ear, and if things seemed ok, to go for it!! She told me she was very “hands off”, and just wanted me to labour how I felt to be comfortable. She only did very basic obs – my heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, and listened in to baby. Everything was perfect, and we just chatted as my contractions intensified. Over the next hour they got stronger and stronger, and got to only 2 ½ minutes apart. Coming up to 3 am, she wondered whether she should call the second MW in. I had been thinking we should, but STILL didn’t quite want to believe this was IT.... despite the intense discomfort, and me starting to think about gas and air. I was just standing by the bed, rocking my hips, and breathing. (I had tried sitting on the ball, but that actually slowed down my contractions, so stood up again) As I had had no internals, we didn’t even quite know how things were going.  However, I was starting to feel a change in contractions – feeling it more in my low back and in my bottom. So, we discussed doing an internal, just to give Louise an idea of how things were going.  I was happy for that to happen, so we got on with it quickly, not having long between contractions, and lying down making them worse!! I was SEVEN cm! She tried not to disturb things too much, to try not to make things more intense, and decided, YES, we did need Karen, the second MW. Then, I stood back up again. BAM! Things kicked up a gear.  BIG time.  I was onto the gas and air when she did the exam, and I really needed it afterwards. The contractions intensified to the point that it was like one big, long contraction.  I could feel the head moving down, and the pressure increasing. I could tell the baby was coming, and yet I was only just told I was 7 cm!! How quickly things can progress!!! I can remember Louise getting the birth kit open, and telling me I was doing well, whilst my pain was so intense I could hardly bear it. But, I knew the baby was coming, and it would soon be over.  I very quickly felt the urge to push, and she told me to just go with what my body wanted to do, and not worry about what she had told me only minutes before!  I couldn’t help pushing, and before long my waters went, and I heard her say they were clear (it had been something on my mind, as I was told if they had meconium they would want me to go into hospital...).  Things progressed further, and the head began to crown.  It was my most “clear” birth, of being aware of what was happening. Through it all, I was gripping onto Robert’s poor hand, for dear life, holding the gas and air in my mouth with my teeth!! I was even aware enough to stop pushing, without being told, as the head crowned. Then, the head was out, and moments later the body came.  The funny part was, even MORE waters came when she was delivered! And it went EVERYWHERE! Because I wasn’t the one who put the sheet down, the sheet didn’t quite go as much on the FLOOR as I planned, and the waters got on all sorts of things – even as far as the notes lying nearby, and on my MW’s trousers!!  Oops. Next thing I knew, Louise was handing the baby through my legs, and I was lifting up my baby onto the bed!! I had DONE it! I couldn’t quite believe it! The cord had been around her leg and up over her shoulder, even though it was a short cord! I was unsurprised, as the little pickle had been such an acrobat in utero!
It was so lovely to just be able to hop up onto my own bed (I say “just”, but it was tricky – short cord, high bed!!), and then stay there!  Everything else that happened, happened in the comfort of my own bedroom, where I was peaceful and relaxed. No bright hospital lights, and staff leaving me on my own for hours!  I didn’t tear, so no stitches were required, and I delivered the placenta without drugs! I *DID* have a bit more blood loss after that, but my obs never dipped, so we didn’t worry.  We did have the injection, to speed up the uterine contractions, and prevent any more blood loss.  It soon settled, and the MWs were never worried. I think I was more paranoid because the medics had all implied I would have some dreadful haemorrhage if I delivered at home! I didn’t!

 Without doubt, it was my best delivery.  I was so much more relaxed, not having to go off to hospital, and meet people I didn’t feel comfortable with, in a clinical setting.  Nothing was medicalised, and I was allowed to do things in a way which was natural and comfortable.  In hospital, they would have wanted lots of monitoring, and IV access etc. None of that at home, and no pressure to do things in a way I didn’t feel happy with. The labour progressed smoothly, and very quickly at the end. The second MW didn’t get there until after I delivered the placenta, incidentally! I felt very much in control, and aware of what was going on. No lengthy pushing stage, either, which I had with my first 4 deliveries.
My main concern, which previously put me off a home birth, was that I am noisy in labour. Well, with it all happening in the middle of the night, the children slept through it all! Plus, I only had that for the last 20 minutes, or less.
=p-]], there we have it. I may have missed out some details, but as far as I remember, that was how my labour went! Relaxed, straight forward and beautiful!

One of the most amazing parts?... that my daughter had HAIR!! Lots of it, and dark!

Would I have another home birth?? Definitely! Would I be upset if I couldn’t?  No. Ultimately, we chose this route because it was easier than trying to get someone else to look after the children, and as it happened, it would have been even harder in the middle of the night! If I needed to go back to hospital birthing again, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Would I choose home birth over hospital. For sure.

 I am so thankful.  Thankful to the Lord for bringing about such a wonderful birth experience. Prayer was answered at so many different levels. Right from when I had that bleed at 13 weeks - when we were unsure as to whether the pregnancy would even continue - to the very moment of birth, and the prevention of excess bleeding. God's hand was upon me, and upon Tabitha, through it all. My heart is full to the brim - and overflowing - with thankfulness to the Lord for His goodness. 

If you know your Bible, you will know that Tabitha was a Bible character who dies and was brought back to life. I know that our baby never died - but, we went through a few days of wondering if the life of our baby had gone. God, in His grace and goodness, preserved her life.  The name Tabitha then held some meaning for us, and so her name was chosen.  The Lord very clearly gave me the word "hope", the day of our scan, after the bleed. I almost knew, right then, that we would have a girl.  I was unsurprised when we were told as much at the scan! So, there we have Tabitha Hope. 

I hope to get back to blogging, now that life is SLOOOOWLY returning to "normal". I had dreaded seeing when my last blog post was, and was relieved that it was "only" a month since my last one! I thought it would be far longer ago than that! 

Right, here are some more pictures, to finish off with.

Only a few minutes old!


Our first trip out... a walk to the post office. Most people didn't see her at first! I love my Moby carrier. 

All snuggled up, in Mummy's coat.

12 days old.

So blessed.   God is good. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Supportive parenting {encouraging our children}

I have wanted to share a couple of things with you, since earlier in the week, but life has been a bit busy, so here I am finally getting it to you.  It started out as one thought, but as I have pondered it more, I think that there are TWO important truths that I want to share, each warranting its own post.

As I have mentioned before, when I read God's Word, I ask the Lord to show me how it relates to my life and circumstances.  In that sense, God may apply His Word differently at different times and seasons, and to different people. Sometimes He shows us something in a new light, that we have never seen before.  I think this is one reason why being in God's Word, as often as we can, is so important.  Even reading a few verses every day can be a source of encouragement and blessing.

I was continuing my reading through I Chronicles, and had come to the end of that book. It is the passage where David is fully handing over the reins, of building the temple, to Solomon.  He is seeking to encourage him in the work that needs to be done.  It was a big work - a great work - a God-glorifying work. David had done as much preparation as he could, but if you remember, he was not allowed to actually build it, due to his life of war and battle. Instead, his son, Solomon, had been given the awesome task of building a house for God.

"And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. 
Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it." 
1Chronicles 28:9&10 

I was particularly struck, when thinking through what David says to Solomon, about how much of a supportive parent he was being. David had desired to do something great, but God had said "no".  Instead, God had chosen his son to do it. He wasn't bitter, or angry, or resentful.  No.  He was quite the opposite.  He did everything in his power to help, support and assist his son in the building of the temple. He pulled together the resources and the workmen to get the job done.  He gathered the materials for the job. More importantly, he encouraged him spiritually.

Oh, how important this is!! How it struck my heart! There was NOTHING more important that he could do, than encourage his son, on a spiritual level, as he faced this mammoth task.  He wanted to make sure that Solomon was relying on God, and not in his own strength.

It got me thinking about my own parenting.  It got me thinking about how much easier I seem to find it to see the things my children are getting wrong, and forget to encourage them and build them up, in areas they are struggling to be strong.

 I need to remember, first and foremost, to keep pointing them to the Lord.  Above and beyond anything else, that I remind them to search their hearts and see if they are trusting in God,  for their salvation.  If they have not got a heart that belongs to God, they will struggle with a lot of life.  There can be no greater thing we can do as mothers, than point our children to Christ, and tell them of their need of salvation. Not in a "banging on" kind of way, but in the way where our lives first reflect Christ, and our words then point them to Him, in a loving and passionate way.  In a way where they can see the love and compassion that is behind the imploring, and not anger and judgement.

Then, I need to be an encourager.  When our children have got something they need to do, encouraging them is a far greater motivation to get it done, than being negative and angry.  Often, I think children struggle with tasks because they think they can't do it. It's my job, as a parent, to help them to see that they CAN do it! I remind them fairly regularly, that I don't ask them to do something, that I know they could not accomplish. That would be plain MEAN! However, it sometimes takes gentle, and inventive, persuasion to show them that they can do what I have asked them to do.  It may not be easy.  It may not be simple.  But, they can do it if they try. I may need to demonstrate a technique to them first.  I may need to help them start the job, to get it going.  I may need to simply remind them that they are able to achieve it, if they keep their mind and heart in the right place. (Don't we all need THAT reminder?.....)

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"
Hebrews 10:24

I also got thinking ahead to the future. When our children grow up, they may end up having a life that is not the same as ours. The Lord may lead them on a path that is different to the one we were led along, but it's not wrong, just because it's different. It's STILL our job to encourage them, every step of the way.  So long as they are not walking in sin, then they still need our encouragement. There is nothing so soul destroying as a parent who cannot take a step back from their own choices, and see that the choices of another are equally valid, and when they then don't support their children in the choices they have made. I have seen it happening.  I have seen parents being so dogmatic, or legalistic, about their convictions, that they cannot see ANY other point of view.  Their children get left hanging, with negative remarks being thrown in, and hearts saddened. The thing is, we are ALL in danger of becoming a parent like that, if we forget that convictions are personal, and we need to let others make their own choices about things in life, that are not primary and fundamental. (The same thing can happen in friendships, but I think the family side of things is even more important).

Our children WILL grow up.  Solomon grew up.  God chose him to be king, after David, and to do a job which David would dearly have loved to have done himself. But, he was not bitter. He wanted to be an encourager, as Solomon faced the task ahead of him.

Oh, how I need to be more careful to be an encouraging parent. Not to be focussed upon my anger or irritation, when a child is struggling with a big job.  Rather, that I should try and be understanding and encouraging, when they face a task that seems to be overwhelming. It could be something as simple as laying the table the right way, or getting their maths completed. (Uh-huh.....conviction) Gentle, loving, patient and encouraging.  That's what I need to be.

When the time comes that they grow up, and start making their own choices, my encouragement needs to carry on.

In ALL of this, so long as they are doing something that is good and right, and without sin, then encouraging is what WE need to be.

May the Lord help you today, in whatever way your life unfolds, to be an encourager, ESPECIALLY to your children. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

The "I can't find it" syndrome {whole-hearted searching}

I am a bit of a mean mother.

I have a pet peeve, which I come down on like a ton of bricks, because it winds me up so much.

When I send a child to look for something, it drives me demented when I KNOW I have sent them to the right place to look for it, and they come back and say "I can't find it....."

"Have you looked PROPERLY?", I ask?

And, if I have to go and find it for them, punishment ensues.  Simply because I KNOW they have not bothered to look properly, and have been lazy.

Can you empathise??

It's a bit like a man looking for something, but that's another topic.... *whistles*

I was reading in Jeremiah this morning.  I am loving the little gems of verses that crop up in the prophets, and one came up this morning.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

It made me think of sending a child to look for something.  If they say they have looked, and I know they haven't done a good job, sometimes I will tell them that they have done it "half-heartedly".  Often, it's a school book they are looking for, which may be why they are not putting in as much effort! When we say "half-heartedly", we are saying they have not put their all into doing whatever task is in hand.

It got me thinking about my own life - spiritually speaking.

There are times when I can be faltering - struggling - failing.

I feel that the Lord is far from me, and circumstances are getting right on top of me, instead.

Just like a child, I can get in a stress, and declare "But, I can't find the Lord in all of this".

The thing is, I *THINK* that I am searching for the Lord, but it's not a whole-hearted search.

If I am still clinging to my circumstances, then my whole heart is not searching for God.  The Bible tells us to cast ALL our care on Him. When we search for God in the circumstances, and see His loving hand in all we experience, THEN we are searching with our whole heart.

If I am trying to make excuses for my own behaviour, then my whole heart is not searching for God.  When, instead, we see our sinful responses for what they are - our selfishness, our stubborn wills, our anger, our in-submission to God's commands, or our discontent - and turn from them, in repentance, THEN we are searching with our whole heart.

If I am allowing circumstances to dictate how I respond to trials, and I focus on how I FEEL, instead of how God expects me to behave, then my whole heart is not searching for God.  If we remember that all things work together for good, and have a calm and peaceful mind and heart that depends on God and not our emotions, THEN we are searching with our whole heart.

You see what it says?  We WILL find Him, if we search with our whole heart.  Amidst the circumstances we are in, we will see God, we will find God , we will depend upon God.  But, we need to search with our WHOLE heart.  Put in ALL our effort and not to stubbornly depend upon ourselves. Cast self aside, and rely fully on God.

The next time I bemoan my children not looking for something properly, I will have a quick check of my own heart, and make sure I have no neglect in my search for God's ways in my life.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Nesting {finally getting organised!}

I think that this pregnancy has to be my most disorganised, in terms of being prepared for the birth. Usually, I get everything ready by about 36 weeks, "just in case".  In reality, it is HIGHLY unlikely I will need any of what I have prepared any time before nearer 41 weeks, but it's good to be prepared, right?

So, this week has been the week.

Monday, I went out and got newborn baby nappies. Don't you just LOVE those little, bitty things??  I *AM* hoping to go back to using cloth nappies this time. I used them with Elijah, but because we had just moved, and the utility room was not sorted, I didn't use them for Simeon. Now that I have a beautifully sorted utility room (yes, post WILL follow on that subject....), I have no reason NOT to go back to cloth.  Well, other than the fact that I only have cloth nappies for an older baby.  So, I am currently researching the best way to go for a little baby, and will buy some in due course. As I have very little this new baby will need, I may get to spend any money gifts on lovely "fluff" (the term used by cloth nappy users, for cloth nappies... for those who don't know...)  There are some really lovely nappy covers available these days, so once we know what the gender is, we can get some specific to the baby!

I think that I am veering towards using this type...

The Tots Bots bamboozle.  One of the bonuses is that it is made in Scotland.  Aye, aye....  This particular nappy is called "thistle".  That just makes me want to buy it, all on its own!

On my shopping trip, I also got all the other random bits and pieces one needs.  Like, those GINORMOUS sanitary towels. Gotta love 'em, right??? Various other bits and pieces, like those energy tablets, and waterproof mats "just in case" my waters break in bed.....

I have my bag packed, with all I need for myself and baby.  Well, nearly all - I am sure there are a few things that I can't do until a bit closer to the time. I need to find a baby coat, to add to the bag.  I think I put some of my newborn, white things, in the "boys 0-3 months" box, since that's the last gender who used such things. Unfortunately, that box is harder to get to than the "newborn" one was, so I shall have to wait until my manly man can help, rather than my very willing, but not quite able, boys.

I do always make sure that I have a gender specific item for a boy and for a girl, to make a white outfit look "right", once the baby is born.  So, I have a little blue cardigan and a stripy hat, for a boy, and a purple cardigan and hat, for a girl.

I got the linen on the swinging crib, so the baby's bed is all ready! I do tend to have the baby sleep on me, particularly the first night or so, for the sake of me getting some sleep, as well as to allow the baby to feel close to me!

Then, I have the newborn clothes all laundered.  All those little, white sleepsuits, and vests. They just look SO diddy! You forget, so quickly, just how small a newborn is.  The youngest child's clothes stay in a drawer under my bed, so Simeon's need to be moved elsewhere, so I can get the new baby ones in.  Again, once we know the gender, the correct clothes can come out of the garage to be laundered, and inject some colour into the drawer!

I took the opportunity to tidy my room, particularly because I needed to empty some drawers to move Simeon's clothes into, at least temporarily. So, old clothes into the recycling, and old toiletries into the bin. Summer shoes put away in a box (yup, I had to face that since it was October, summer *IS* past...)  It was quite therapeutic to get it done, but there is still more I can do another day.

Here's a piccie, since we are talking about my bedroom, of my "pregnancy" bedside table...

Because, Gaviscon, emergency chocolate, a Sudoku book, and something to read, are all important. Not to mention my Ina May Gaskin book, to refresh my memory on information about the best way to labour?....

Oh, and I got another bump picture taken!   This is me at 36+4, so almost 37 weeks.  I am sure I am not as huge as last time, at this stage.  Here, let's compare...


Hmmmm, a bit hard to tell, as it's from a different angle. But, take my word for it, I don't feel as big!!! Maybe it's just that Heidi is so slim, that it makes me look enormous??....

I have also been busily tidying and organising in various other parts of the house.  Yes, including that utility room, which as I said.... (yep, you got it....a post will come... )

There we have it.  Me, nesting.  Me, getting organised.  Me, getting bigger.  Me, getting closer to B-day!!! YAY!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My crochet creation {...a rainbow baby blanket}

I just wanted to share with you about my creation.

I learnt how to crochet in the last couple of years, but had not done anything very amazing.  I had made a couple of hats, and come little flowers and hearts.  Nothing major.

So, when I saw some coloured yarn on a market stall, in every colour of the rainbow, it shouted "MAKE ME INTO SOMETHING WONDERFUL".  I picked out each colour of the rainbow, for a bargain price, and took it home with me.

I decided it needed to be a baby blanket, in rainbow Granny Squares.  Granny squares are SO easy to make.  In fact, crochet, on the whole, is a pretty simple needle craft to pick up and learn.

One of my favourite sites is Attic24.  She is the one who inspired me to make something with rainbow colours, as her creations are so vibrant and colourful.

To start with, I decided I wanted to make something that was square.  Something that is a square, can be folded into a triangle, which I think is nice for going around a baby. Some squares I decided to do red out to pink, the others from pink out to red.  So rainbow, and reverse rainbow!!

This is a red out to pink...

And, these are both, when I joined them together.

I did 9 squares in the centre of the blanket, and they are quite big - that top picture is one sitting on my lap, to give you an idea. I could measure it, but that would require me getting up and finding a tape measure....

I decided that it wasn't as big as I wanted it to be, but thought that if I went out another square of that size, it would have needed another SIXTEEN of those squares.  that would have been enormous, plus, I would have run out of yarn! PLUS, by the time I had finished, the intended baby would be a toddler...

So, I decided just to make little squares, only 3 colours in each one. I merrily began making them, until I realised that 3 doesn't go into 7 (doh....) and they would not look QUITE right along the edge.  But, 3 does go into 21, so at least they would fit along each side, with one on each corner.  I did them in the more "boyish" colours I was using, as it was going to be for a boy.

Here is the edging attached...

This is the back of the work.  You can tell, because of the green that you can see, attaching together the middle squares. 

Then, I did 2 rows of edging, before doing a scalloped detail right on the border, the pattern which I got from Attic24.

The next job was tedious.

I really need to learn/remember to tie in the ends as I stitch, rather than leaving it as a big job at the end.

Here is the mammoth task that I needed to do...

And this was only one corner!!!!

See all those loose threads??


But, it was so worth it, because once that was done, then it was finished.


I should really have taken one that gave a better idea of the size, but it will certainly be plenty big enough for a baby!

I hope little Joash, my lovely friends' baby, will have many a snugggle underneath it.

Problem is, I now fancy making one for our new baby, and the children all fancy a big one for their beds!!!  Now, THERE'S a project!!

It was really simple to make, and I am no crochet genius.  If you feel inspired, I would really recommend Attic24, as she has loads of great tutorials, with clear pictures and instructions. 

I must update you on my utility room, next.  I am SOOOOO excited about that!!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

A "bed" end to the day {not forgetting....}

I had a big lesson with regards to the "do it now" principle, last night.

We had a Patch the Pirate song we sang, growing up, and I still sing to the children now.

"Do it now, don't delay, don't put it off 'til another day,
Go ahead begin it, right this very minute - you'd better do it now!"

Except, yesterday, I didn't "do it now".

I stripped our master bed, to change the bedlinen. However, I was so keen on getting it all into the wash, that I didn't make the bed ready to sleep in again.  I thought "Oh, I will remember to do it later, I won't forget".


Cue pregnant woman.

I got to my bed last night, after staying up a little later than normal, working on finishing a crochet project.  I was SO ready for bed. I was tired, and I needed to just lie down.

Yup.  Of course.  I hadn't made the bed.

Nothing quite like walking into a room, and seeing a "blank" bed.


Actually, I gave a very high pitched squeaky, kind of scream.

My bed is not even a quick, easy one to make.  It's big, and I can only find flat sheets that will fit on my rather deep mattress.  So, I spend half the time walking waddling around the bed, making sure that the sheet is evenly spread over the bed, before doing my "hospital corners".  Then there are the 4 erm, 6 pillow cases (2 extras for pregnancy purposes), and the massive duvet cover, which is invariably a battle to fit the duvet in.

All at 11.30pm

Great fun.

I have to say, I was even MORE glad to sink into my bed, after that palaver.

Mental note to self.

"Do not forget to make bed STRAIGHT away, after stripping it."

Well worth remembering, methinks.

As I was mulling this over, and making my bed, my nmind sprang to one of my favourite passages in the Psalms.  (I specially love to sing it in Metrical Psalm form, to the tune Strachathro... but that it another topic)

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:"
Psalm 103:2

It's funny, but you would think that the Psalmist would not need prompting to REMEMBER God's benefits. You would think WE would not need prompting to remember such a thing.

But, if you are anything like me, you can forget to say thank-you, and acknowledge the many benefits we have, as children of God. 

The Palm carries on and names a few...

"Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; 
who healeth all thy diseases; 
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; 
who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."

SO many things that we benefit from, under God's care and keeping.

SO many things that we SHOULD remember to be thankful for, and we all too often forget.

We receive things, on a daily basis, that we can almost complacently accept, and never quite remember to utter those words "thank-you" to our gracious, heavenly Father.  It seems to be all too easy to just accept these daily mercies and forget to acknowledge the giver of "every good and perfect gift".

We spend a lot of time (or we SHOULD...) labouring to remind our children to say "thank-you" when they are given something, but we take our gifts for granted, and like the 9 lepers, never go back and say "thank-you" for all that we have.

As each gift comes my way, throughout the day, my heart need to be, like the hymn-writer says 

"Come, thou fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace".

Our hearts need to be tuned into thankful mode.  Acknowledging, and being thankful for, all the MANY blessings we receive every day.

Our minds need to be dwelling upon those blessings, and not be bogged down with the negatives.   There is so much to thankful for, if we just keep our hearts lifted to the fount of blessing.  Being burdened by struggles and trials, I believe, is one the biggest distractions from remembering God's benefits to us.  If we are dwelling on how miserable/ill/discouraged/frustrated (you get the picture...) that we feel, then we are not remembering the blessings. 

I am thankful, today, for my bed.  Thankful that God provided the money to buy such a lovely, comfortable, bed - to have the money to buy more than one set of bedlinen,  so that I didn't have to go all the way downstairs last night, to get the set I had taken off, washed and dried (in the the washer and dryer that God provided, through generous family...), that morning.  Thankful that I am blessed with sleep every night, even though I am heavily pregnant.  Thankful for the snoring, duvet-pinching husband, who sleeps there beside me every night.  Thankful that, when I am feeling nauseous and tired every afternoon this week, heralding the near end of my pregnancy, that I know I can jump into bed, and waken refreshed every morning - with God's mercies new with it.

I am thankful, more than all else, for my Saviour - that He loves me, forgave my sins, and forgives my forgetfulness.  

Who is so gracious to me, in spite of my forgetfulness. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

35 weeks, and counting {how am I coping?}

Well, today, it is 5 weeks until my due date.

I can't quite believe I am 35 weeks already.

OK, so the pregnancy is 35 weeks, or the baby is 35 weeks.

Me, I'm 35 years.

I decided something today.

It's not fair for a pregnant woman to have to peel potatoes.  Or any other veg for that matter. Ok, so specifically, at the sink.  In that case, washing up has to be eliminated, too.

The weird kind of contortions you have to put your body into, in order to get those jobs done, is simply ridiculous. However, needs must, so a sore back it is, then.

I am already having loads of Braxton Hicks.  I take it all as a good sign, that my body is gearing up for labour in the next few weeks.  Up to 6 or 7 weeks, really.  I am NEVER early, always late.  My babies apparently take longer to "brew" than other people's babies.  I mean, early would be lovely.  Not TOO early, of course.  But, I go by the old saying....

"Blessed is he who expecteth little, for he shall not be disappointed"

Late it is, then.

I started on my Raspberry Leaf tablets today.  As much as there is not a whole lot of research to solidly connect the taking of such to any physical benefits, I think there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that they do something to help with labour.

My last 2 babies, I have taken it regularly and in the right dosage.  Is it coincidental that my 2nd stage for each of those babies has been MASSIVELY shorter.  Or, that the after-pains seem not to be so bad?  I have no idea, but one thing I *DO* know, I am not going to quite taking them, just to see if there is a difference!

The registrar I had the delight, privilege, burden  to meet recently, had not even HEARD of raspberry leaf.  When I was surprised, he did declare "I don't know EVERYTHING", to which I raised my eyebrows and smiled, seeing as I had just heard him sit and lecture me on a subject I had much researched and he didn't like me having knowledge about.

The other thing that 35 weeks heralds?  Tiredness.  And, apparently, the return of some evening nausea, at points.  Yes, we are definitely nearing the end.

What are my tips for surviving the end of pregnancy?

1.  Rest
I make sure that I get to bed a good time, and get a good night's sleep.  Certainly, as good a night's sleep that the discomfort of a bump, and painful joints, can bring. I have to say, since we got a new bed about 2 years ago, pain at night, in pregnancy, is not as bad.  But, it is still there.  Of course, a full night's sleep is also dependant on one's bladder not wakening one, either. I am blessed, in that way - most night's I manage nearly all the way through the night. Mind you, I maintain that disturbed sleep is a bit of a foretaste of the joys of night-time feeds.  Without the gorgeous little baby to soothe, sing to and coo over.

I also make sure that I don't do too much, physically, in the day-time, either.  I simply cannot cope with a hectic life, too much standing up, or generally taking on too many extra responsibilities.  I try and put my feet up for a little while in the afternoon, whilst the children have "room time". The one thing i can't seem to do is have a kip.  If I do that, I feel really grotty, and a bit nauseous, when I waken up. I would rather feel tired, than sick.

2.  Don't do more than you can cope with
I can remember, when I was pregnant with earlier babies, carrying on my hectic lifestyle all the way through pregnancy.  All it would achieve was me being a hormonal wreck, by the end of the pregnancy. Now, I not only do not take on more responsibilities than the norm, but I cut back on unreasonable expectations of MYSELF! I adapt school, so that it is in a format that I can cope with, and doesn't put me under extra strain.  I buy foods that make meal preparation easier, and try and fit in some kind of REALLY easy dinner (ie, take away) about once a week, in the last few weeks. Mentally, just knowing there is ONE night where the pressure is off, is great.

One thing I just refuse to do, in the last few weeks, is make a fancy birthday cake for a child.  I learnt my lesson about that.  When I was 39 weeks pregnant with Abigail, I decided to try and make a fancy cake for Daniel.  Put it this way.... it ended up on the floor, so did I (a screaming, hysterical, mess.... terrifying the children with my melt-down), and my lovely sister-in-law, Anna, stepping in to rescue the day.

Joshua's 12th birthday is 4 days before my due date.  I have told him, he can either have a shop bought cake, or he can make and decorate his own.  Oh, and clear up the mess, too.  Weirdly, it seems he wants to do the second option.  Being somewhat of a creative child, I think the thought of playing with coloured fondant icing quite appeals to him.  Each to their own, but I ain't doin' it.  I put myself under enough pressure, without the end of pregnancy hormones raging.

3.  Train your children to help - BEFORE you are at the end of pregnancy
Now, this one has improved over time.  When your older ones are, well, YOUNGER, they can't do quite as much.  Now?  Every little job they all help with, is a little job off my shoulders. They are such a great help, and it means the household just runs more smoothly and easily, with me needing to do less. I can remember having to leave Robert to vacuum, when he got the time, with earlier pregnancies.  Now, I just get an older child to do it. Things need picking up off the floor?  I holler for a child. No worrying about lugging laundry baskets around the house - the boys do it for me.  It all adds up to making life FAR easier at this later stage.

More children = more help.  (And none of them having to become child labourers to be helpful - each little bit adds up to a lot!)

4. Better eating and exercise habits
Due to the changes I made in what I eat, I definitely feel I have more energy than I used to.  I don't have the effects from the gluten that I used to have - that ALONE makes me feel massively better.  I am still tired, but all the other digestive problems are gone.  Also, I used to have major problems with SPD. I think, because I exercise better between pregnancies, I no longer have any problems with it AT ALL!!!! I could be almost crippled, in some pregnancies, but I had ONE evening of pain, this time, and that was all. Quite amazing!

4.  Casting myself upon the Lord, and resting in HIM
This one is the key.  ABSOLUTELY.  I used to be anxious about so many different little things, by the end of the pregnancy.  Worried about labour.  Worried about the other children.  Anxious about feeling tired and unwell.  How would I cope with everything, whilst I was so tired?  Worried about how the baby would be after they were born - easy going, or hard work?

The only answer to that, is to put Philippians 4:6-7 into practice.

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Being careful = being anxious.  Literally, full of care.

Do you see what it says?  FOR NOTHING.

There is nothing that I can go through in the next weeks, that should make me anxious.

I have my part to play, though.  I have to pray - to cast myself upon the Lord, and ask Him to help me.  To sustain me.  To make me wise about the choices I make.

And, do you see the answer?  A peace, beyond my understanding.  A peace, that is beyond any other peace. It keeps my heart, and MY MIND, thorough Christ Jesus.  Don't skip over the "mind" part, because it's our thoughts that can send us into the most anxious tailspin.  We need to have our mind resting on the Lord, and trusting in Him.  THAT is the place I need to be right now.  Trusting the Lord, moment by moment.

When I do that, all I feel is excitement about the days that lie ahead.  Yes, I will have tired days.  Yes, I will have emotional, hormonal days.  But, God has a perfect time for this little one to arrive, in His perfect way. My job is to rest in Him, and wait patiently. Not to worry, not to fear. Not to get so bound up with the little problems of a moment, that I forget the bigger picture - of God, in control of ALL things.

I will leave you with one of my favourite tracks from my Scripture Lullabies albums, based on those verses.  I listen to these in labour - more of that in another post....

And, I will try and get a pregnancy update picture, as soon as possible. For those of you who like these things....

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Chatting on the farmhouse porch {long time no chat, Patrice}

Everyday Ruralty
Well, it's been a while, Patrice, but here I am, joining in on the chat, a bit late. I feel I have neglected our chats, and as you must be having nice "fall" weather, I fancied myself sitting, chilling out, on your farmhouse porch.  Feet up, cool breeze, and relaxing. I can dream, right?
  1. How well do you handle change?
Hmmmm, I *THINK* the answer is "fairly well".  If the question was "do you LIKE change", then I would say "no".  On the whole, I am quite happy for life to plod along the way it always has, without any major changes.  

IF there is change, I am quite happy to adapt and make it work.  Most of the changes that have happened around here involve new members of the family.  THAT kind of change I handle pretty well, and rather enjoy! It brings challenges, every time, but they are SO worth it! 

2.  What did you have for breakfast this morning?

This morning, I had a "green" smoothie.  (Although, it was pointed out, it looks more "brown" than "green".  Tastes good, though!) A bit of pineapple juice, a hand full of frozen mango pieces, some blueberries, some raspberries and a banana. Oh, a good handful of baby spinach, too, to make it "green".  Blitzed up in my blender, big 500ml glass, and a straw, thank you very much.

Trouble is, I had no protein, so I was a quivering wreck by dinner time. 

I usually have mushrooms and tomato fried in a little healthy oil (coconut or olive), a lean rasher of bacon cut up in it, and an egg fried in the centre after it has all gone caramel-y and lovely. THAT keeps me going until lunch. 

3.  What's your favourite kind of nut? (Almond, pecan, peanut, walnut,cashews, macadamia, brazil, etc)

Tricky.  I LOVE nuts.  Most kind of nuts.   I am not very keen on pistachios, though. I ADORE cashews, and would happily add them to many things I eat - salad, curry, baked potato, just on their own!!  As a HUGE treat, I would get ones with a honey-roast coating. Naughty, but nice!

Or should that be, NUTTY, but nice?....

4.  Do you have a pumpkin in your house or yard?

Erm, no.

This is England.  We don't really "do" the all singing, all dancing, seasonal outdoor decor thingy.  OR the seasonal INDOOR decoration thingy, either.

Unless I am just totally ignorant to some huge change in the ways of the British??

5.  Would you like it if I changed the format of these Chats? What do you think would be good? Would you enjoy fill in the blanks, one big topic to discuss, or something else?

I am happy with whatever you suggest.  Maybe a change would be nice, but I enjoy the random questions you throw out.  It's insightful!

Big topics could be interesting.

"Something else" would require me thinking, so I am afraid you will have to forgo that privilege, as my pregnant brain is not into "thinking" today.  


Monday, 23 September 2013

Remembering a birthday {God's ways are perfect}

Last week was a busy one, with some "milestones".  First of all, Abi began school!  I can hardly believe she is old enough to begin  - time has passed so quickly.

She is absolutely loving it, and complains when all her work is done (which, of course, does not take long when done one-to-one at home!).  Somehow, she thinks she is being deprived when she has finished and no-one else has!! I think iI need to find her some other things to keep her busy, that she thinks of as "school"!

I have the added "fun" of trying to juggle FIVE children now of school age.  It went well last week, and we will add a bit more to our schedule this week, and build it all up gradually.  I I think an important part of schooling adjusting to your circumstances, and so whilst Abi needs a bit more 1-1 and Susie still needs some extra, I need to be flexible with everyone else.  As well as all that, I need to remember I am PREGNANT - just over 34 weeks, no less - and need to cut MYSELF some slack.  So, when I had a day on Friday, when ALL the older 4 seemed to struggle with understanding their word problems in Maths, I decided there as not point ME stressing, NOR them, and just took as long as we needed to get it done. At the same time, I made a double batch of chilli, and a massive cottage pie for visitors coming this week. I managed to end the first week back at school, without copious amounts of stress and agro!

Then, it was Abi's birthday on Thursday.

5 years since I had an emergency c-section.

I hear of so many people who find a c-section a traumatic experience. I find it a great blessing that I can say that I did not find mine to be such.  It was weird.  It was unexpected. Not traumatic.  Perfect, in fact.

My labour had seemed to be going ok. In fact, at one point I thought I was going to have her very quickly, at home. After my waters broke, the pressure relieved and we calmly went to hospital.  On the way there my contractions actually slowed down, and I was worried we would arrive and labour would have stopped!! Instead, we arrived and I was coping really well.  I was so calm, that they took their time just getting me into a room, introducing me to my student midwife, then doing my obs. I pottered off to give them their "sample", and then had them check my temperature, BP and pulse.  On went the monitor, to then check the baby. I had probably been there about 15 or 20 minutes by that point. Then, the student MW commented that the baby's heart rate was fast.  I pointed out that it was my HR she was hearing - the baby's was too slow.  She waited for another contraction, it was the same again.  I told her to go and get her supervisor. (Not that I was a knowledgeable mother, who had already had 4 babies, or anything...!!!) The REALLY lovely senior MW came in, and immediately was concerned.  She quickly did an internal.  I was 7cm (yay!), but there was a limb presenting first, and there were non-recovering decelerations of the baby's heart beat.   I knew RIGHT away that I was having a c-section, and I was filled with complete peace.  I even said "this is going to be a c-section, isn't it?" People came flooding into the room, and they started, in a  very panicked way, to get me out of the room. They got the bed stuck in the doorway, they were rushing so fast!! Robert had gone to the loo, somewhere in all of this, and as he came back, they were wheeling me away!! I had ONE moment of slight concern, when I suddenly thought "will the baby be ok??" With it being such a rush, it was a general anaesthetic.  I went into theatre and had LOADS of people doing things all at once.  It was kind of amusing, in a weird way! Again, they got the bed stuck, because they pumped one bed up to the theatre table, with one slightly underneath the other!!  Then there was one person putting IV access in, one putting on blow-up thingies on my legs, to prevent clots, and one lovely lady saying "we're just going to shave you, darlin'" - they weren't talking about my legs, either...*aherm*  The nastiest was the lovely liquid they gave me to drink, to dissolve anything in my stomach (ie, the banana I ate to keep my energy up in early labour at home!!), so I did not aspirate under GA. The next thing, they were putting oxygen on, telling me to breathe deeply.  They told me not to let my eyes close, and I knew I would be under shortly. (I was slightly confused about why they were not telling me to count backwards from 10 - I found out later - years later - that they only tell children to do that!!! *chuckles* )

Next thing I knew, I was waking up in quite a bright room, with someone handing me a baby, saying "Here's your baby, Caroline".  She was born at 8.40am, and this was after 11am!! I don't know what they did after the surgery, maybe let loads of students practice their stitching on me??

It was not pleasant to recover from.  The morphine made me feel icky, and recovery is WAY harder than after a "normal" delivery.  However, it transpired that the cord was wrapped around her wrist, a couple of times around her neck, and her arm was coming out first. It was the right thing for her to born that way, and I have always felt a peace about it. It was certainly better than the alternative. I don't know what life would have been like without our Abi-doo.

I had prayer, all through the pregnancy, that I wouldn't have to push when I gave birth. My pushing stage always took ages, and was tiring. I didn't quite expect my prayer to be answered that way!! Now, my prayers are a bit more specific!

Praise God, I have since had 2 successful VBACs, and pray that I have another very soon. VBAC, that is.....

I rejoice as I look back to the day she entered the world.

I rejoice that God gave me peace, in the midst of the storm.

I rejoice that Abi and I were kept safe and well.

I rejoice that God's ways are prefect.

I rejoice that I have been blessed with more babies since then, and that they were able to be delivered without repeating a c-section.

I rejoice that was such a content and happy baby, which aided my recovery no end!

I rejoice that Abi is a happy, fun, smiley and loving little girl, who brings us much joy on a daily basis.

I rejoice that I know that GOD holds the future, and no matter what lies ahead with this baby and delivery, God is in control.  I can plan, and be prepared for the best that I can be in labour, humanly speaking - at the end of the day, God has a plan, and it may not be what my plan would be, but it's BEST!

It's a good, daily reminder.  We plan, in so many areas.  We try and do our best, humanly speaking, to do what we should be doing. Sometimes, however, God changes our "plans", and throws a curve ball into our life. We need to remember that God's ways are perfect, and that our ways are not always HIS ways, but they are the BEST ways.