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There’s a part of me that sometimes believes that, apart from the Lord, I’m all alone in this world. That no matter the circumstances, it’s always going to be just Jesus and I – facing life’s battles together. And while it is a good thing to know that Jesus is with me always (especially in the mundane chores of my day-to-day), trusting Him also has to mean letting relationships with others shape me in my walk with Him.

God has been working with me on kindness. He is showing me that responding in kindness means that relationships get strengthened and walls of bitterness come down. This morning, I chose not to respond in kindness about something little. I didn’t even appear unkind (at least I don’t think I did) but my motive was unkind. It was a sneaky sort of unkindness that the Holy Spirit hinted not to let out of my mouth, but I ignored Him and let the words spill forth and knock down the first domino in a series of doubts about who I am, who God is, and who His people are. These doubts have shaped today into a day of reaction, instead of a day of life-giving hope, because when we choose not to trust God, our actions are merely reactions to what is happening to us instead of life-giving examples of Him living through us.

Today has been one of those days where I believed the lie that pushing someone else down would lift me up. I also believed that there’s not a person in the world I can really call a friend. I was even resolved to believe that I would need to finish this day out reacting to everything instead of acting in love, so that I could get a new chance tomorrow. I really didn’t know how to change the path I had set out for myself today. And then the doorbell rang, and God showed me through a friend that it’s always the time to decide to trust Him. That kindness is simply a by-product of trusting that He is a good father who loves me and is with me always.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

To Do – 5/17/2016

get up before the girls

ask God what He has for me today

kiss Isaac good morning

make coffee

chat with Isaac on the couch while drinking said coffee

kiss the girls good morning

kiss the girls and Isaac goodbye

kiss Everett good morning

make a smoothie – let Everett run the immersion blender

help Everett learn to make cinnamon-raisin swirl bread

teach Everett that it’s not called cinnamon-raisin squirrel bread

teach Everett what a swirl is

console Everett about the bread name not including the word “squirrel”

laugh a little under my breath about that

let Everett form a sourdough loaf and sprinkle seeds on it

send off the produce order email so we’ll have something to eat next week

send another email with things I forgot in the first

help Everett scramble some eggs for breakfast

pick up my dad’s pug puppy Louis so I can work on potty training him

have a good attitude about the potty training

supervise Everett throwing Coach’s ball for him

google what thyme and sage look like so I can see if either are in my garden for a friend who needs some

hate that I don’t already know what they look like by now

make another smoothie – let Everett run the immersion blender

make a new batch of goat kefir

refill baby chicks’ food and water

check big chickens’ eggs

make lunch for Isaac

help Everett look for his camo hat

console Everett about his missing camo hat

take Everett to school/drop off Isaac’s lunch

click on the link to my blog in an email from Isaac

spend way to much time reading old blog entries

figure out how to log into WordPress

create a new password for WordPress

marvel at the fact that I haven’t logged into WordPress for over 4 years

write a blog post

hope my afternoon is as productive as my morning 😉

 

 

 

 

Questions

Lately, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions. What exactly is my breaking point of stress? Why am I calm and serene with a situation, only moments later to find myself with too much to handle? Why does all H-E-Double Hockeysticks break loose when I leave my children alone in a room for two minutes?

Case in point this morning. My four year old  (soon to be 5 next week) and I were busily washing dishes, my 3 year old was  “sweeping”, and my 20-month old was trying to get in on the action somehow. I left for maybe 2 minutes to put something away in the bathroom when suddenly, banshee-like screams came from the kitchen in an octave I was sure only girls could reach. I returned to the kitchen to find the soon-to-be-five-year-old protecting the sink with all her might, the 20-month old screaming with all his might, and the 3 year old telling me, in her three-year-old way, what all had come to pass while I had taken the 13 steps to the bathroom and back.

Imagine, if you will, water EV-ER-Y-where. Soaked through clothing, dripping down cabinet doors, pooled on the floor in front of the sink. First question in my head: Why are you doing this to me? As if, in the 2 minutes or less that I was gone my three youngest children huddled up and devised a plan to stress me out.

I have this dream of what kind of mom I want to be: actively engaging my kids during chore time, so they learn to be true helpers in our home; remaining calm and patient during stressful times so they learn to do the same; treating them with kindness, always, so they learn that relationships are far more important than any agenda or deadline I have before me. I dream of this, than I find myself sitting on the kitchen floor in tears telling them that I responded the wrong way. Telling them what my goal is: to be more consistent showing them the love that Jesus, our King, asks us to show each other in His Word, and to be thankful for all He has entrusted to me.

Thank you, Jesus, for these little ones. Help me to, someday, automatically give thanks for your blessings instead of letting the Enemy convince me that anger is the remedy to a stressful moment.

by E. E. Cummings

 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear;

and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)

i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;

which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


Has it really been seven years since we became one? People say there should be an itch. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t describe it like that, but I’m not sure exactly just how to describe it. I do know that I take you for granted. Your easy-goingness, your forgiving nature, the fact that you give the benefit of the doubt to people that I would so easily judge for bad… I forget that all that you are is everything that I ever needed in life. With my critical attitude, I treat you like you are not enough, but the truth is, you’re much more than I could ever deserve. I react with jealousy because I’m afraid this won’t last – because I’ve never known good things to last. I have a long way to go, and I know it, and I thank you for your patience. Thank you for being so much of the good in me.

I love you. Happy anniversary.

1 Month Old

He’s been with us for a mere month and already I can’t remember life without him – nor can I imagine life without him, for that matter. He had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and weighs 11 lb. 14 oz., which means he’s gained 3 lbs since his birth (despite battling a cold recently). It’s amazing how infant weight gain can be such a source of pride for a mother. There’s nothing like bragging how big your baby is compared to other babies. 🙂 The doctor put him on his tummy to test his neck strength and was surprised at how well and long he pushed his head up. He’s got three older sisters to protect, so strength will be a definite asset. Even though he’s the baby, I imagine him taking care of all of his sisters one day.

His cold started out pretty innocent, as far as symptoms go, but today a wretched sounding cough started. I cringe each time I hear it, and my one remedy so far is to pick him up and kiss the fat on his neck and cheeks – as if I could actually love the sickness right out of him. I don’t know why it wouldn’t work, actually, since holding him seems to make everything better, no matter what’s bothering him. He’s a delightful baby and loves being near me. Sometimes, when I’m at my most exhausted, I put him next to me in bed, his head on the pillow next to mine. He faces me, our noses practically touching, and we fall to sleep breathing each other’s breath.

The girls are loving him more every day. Jolie and Tess practically smother him, and I’m constantly reminding them not to touch his face. Jolie recently discovered and pondered his male anatomy and asked, “Why is his pee so…” she paused to find the right word, “…ruined?” After I recovered from that one I got to explain a few things. Oh the joys of parenting. As far as my fantasy of Everett protecting his sisters goes – ruined pee-pee or not – Jolie has total confidence in him. I was going upstairs to get Tess from Isaac the other day and Jolie said she’d go with me so I wouldn’t be scared. “I’m not scared,” I told her, “Jesus is with me.” “Well, I’m scared.” she said. Then she remembered her sleeping brother downstairs. “Oh, nevermind. I’m not scared. Everett’s down there.”

Birth Story

Everett is four weeks old today. Every day since his birth I’ve waited for the perfect moment to sit and put my thoughts down about his entering the world. Every day I thought, “Today might be the day”. And it never was. Today isn’t even the day, because as I sit here, I can think of dozens of things that I should be doing and am not. Nevertheless, the house is quiet. The two younger ones are sleeping, the older ones are playing in their playroom. I am undisturbed for an undetermined amount of time, unbelievably. Maybe I can ponder some more “un-” words to waste yet more time…

I might have even mentioned this in my last birth story – the story of Tess – but living remotely and traveling to wait to have a baby is a huge adventure. The getting ready, the living elsewhere for who knows how long, the questions from strangers about the baby. Isaac and I talked one day in Ketchikan about the fact that we are so secretive about the baby to family, friends, and acquaintances: not only do we not find out the gender, but we also don’t share the names we’ve chosen. Unless, of course, you’re a perfect stranger, then there’s no hesitation. We just both love to surprise others so much. And what does it matter if you surprise a perfect stranger? You’ll probably never talk with them again anyway. That’s part of the adventure, I guess. But aside from that it is also a little scary, and nerve-wracking, and inconvenient. While normally one waits in their own home preparing for the birth: cleaning, freezing meals, and any other nesting-activity, we have been, for the last three births, uprooted to wait elsewhere, where we were practically forced to do nothing but hang out. And as impatient as I felt at times to get my labor to start, our girls loved the experience. I’m sure it would have grown old after a while. After all, we were only there for ten days. But the days before the birth are filled with happy moments that, just like the moments before the births of Jolie and Tess, will forever hold a special place in my heart. Moments that have produced a love for Ketchikan that I cannot explain, I’m sure.

So, we had been in Ketchikan for 6 days. It was Saturday. I was really hoping for a 2010 baby (pfd, taxes) and was filled with extra anxiety before the new year that dramatically decreased once the clock struck midnight. I knew at once that it wasn’t meant to be, so I slept peacefully knowing the baby would come when it would come, and there would be no willing it out, no matter how many miles I walked. I was also in the process of reading a book called the Bait of Satan and knew that the Lord wanted me to read more before the birth so I spent some time each night reading before I went to sleep.  On Saturday we saw some Thorne Bay friends, the Jensens, who had driven a Suburban back from Minnesota for us to buy. Diedre asked if I felt anything happening, and I didn’t, so she suggested washing the floor. As much as I like to clean :), I didn’t do that, but Grandma and Grandpa, Isaac, the girls and I all went out to a beach park where we walked around and admired the landscape. The girls played and played on some playground equipment there and some of us took some pictures while climbing around on some huge rocks.  It was some time after the climbing that I felt the baby drop: an intense pressure that was very low. When we got back to downtown, I suggested a walk, so Isaac and I walked a brisk pace for about 30 minutes, returned to the hotel for some dinner (of which I ate very little). I was apprehensive to mention the baby dropping because it wasn’t necessarily indicative of impending labor and I didn’t want to get everyone excited for nothing. I fell asleep for a good hour or so and then was up again suggesting another walk. Isaac and I walked even farther this time, all the way to the vacation rental we had stayed in last time while we waited for Tess to be born. The rest of the evening was pretty standard. The pressure had become not so deafening, so I actually went to bed feeling pretty sure that nothing was going to happen that night. But I was wrong.

Thirty minutes later (10:15) I woke up to a gush of water and hurried to the shower, managing to not get any fluid on the bed or floor. I stood under the shower faucet for a good 20 minutes waiting for contractions to start but felt nothing. Isaac called the hospital at about 10:45 and they told him to bring me in and shortly after he hung up I felt my first contraction. He called his parents to come be with the girls and we got ourselves ready for the hospital. I remember feeling hugely relieved that the process had started and that it wouldn’t be much longer until we could return home. Not to mention that we would have a new baby in our arms. Isaac’s mom had a very sober look on her face as she kissed us goodbye. I remember telling her that I would be just fine. We were a little nervous about my history of hemorrhaging, but we had a lot of people praying for us and I felt God’s presence so strongly that it made me peaceful.

We checked into the hospital at around 11:30 and the nurse said I was at a 5 or 6. Isaac filled up the tub for me and I labored in there for an hour or so (how nice it must be to actually give birth in one of those!) before I felt an urge to push. When checked again, I was between a 9 and 10, so the midwife said that I could start pushing whenever I wanted. The urge lessened, however, and I wondered if my body was, as in the past, giving up at the last minute. They started the pitocin drip and about 20 minutes later (around 1:00 a.m.) I felt the urge coming back. Two big contractions back to back got him out and at 1:06 a.m., Baby Everett Wallace Martin entered the world surprising his mama and his papa. I was so enamored that I cried. I guess I had forgotten how much I had always wanted a son.

Friends and Family,

I had so many good intentions this year. Many of them were seen through. Others were not. I had really wanted to get back into the whole online journaling thing – but somehow got too caught up with being a wife, mom of three, church secretary, Friends of the Library treasurer, library volunteer, and pregnant woman.  I can’t imagine why I couldn’t manage to update everyone every once in a while, at least. 🙂 Everyone chooses their priorities, and I guess blogging isn’t a big one for me these days, but I wanted to write at least once this year to recap our adventures…

Our first big event of 2010 was putting an offer down on a house directly across the street from our school district housing unit. The whole ordeal took place between March and June and took up a lot of our time and energy during those months, but we’re very happy to be in our own house now, with a yard and more space, a garage and a view.  We feel very blessed to be there (although our girls miss their old tiny house with no yard, view, or garage – go figure).

In March we visited Isaac’s family in Southern California over spring break.  We all took a cruise to Ensenada and, although we loved being together, experienced some tough times as some of us got sick.  One of us was even removed from the ship and put into an Ensenada hospital, only to be sent home via bus and train back to L.A. It was great to see everyone though, as we are reminded each time we spend the time and money to visit family that it is well worth the effort. Just to see our girls getting to know our families is better than anything else we could ever give them.

We got a dog this year: a Chesapeake Bay Retriever born the day after Tess turned one.  He was eight weeks old when the breeder flew him up to Ketchikan. Isaac flew over on the float plane and met him at the airport there, spent the night in the Super 8 with him, and then flew home the next morning. The girls and I met them at the float plane dock, but really, he’s been Isaac’s dog ever since. They say Chessies pick one person to be their master, and Coach (short for Royal Coachman) has definitely chosen Isaac.

In April we found out we are expecting  baby #4. The girls were very excited about the news, as were we, although a little shocked at the same time.  By the time we found out we were in the process of buying a home AND getting a dog.  What’s one more huge life change thrown in there?

In May Isaac traveled with his drama class to the Last Frontier Theater Conference in Valdez, where they were able to hear Isaac’s play L.O.L. read by professional actors and actresses. He also had the chance to see old friends, and even stayed at our old church during his time there.

The summer was busy. I learned about gardening, canning, and sewing. Isaac learned about building fences and gates and dog training. The girls learned how to keep cool in the Thorne Bay sun (by “swimming” in the cold water of the hot tub) and how to pick things from the garden after they have ripened and not before. Coach learned not to bite, how to heel, sit, and come. We were able to gather our share of wild berries, salmon, and deer (thanks mostly to Isaac, although the girls did help quite a bit with the berries, and I helped package and can fish and venison). We had our share of visitors, too. Our friend Vern traveled from Southern California to spend a week with us at the beginning of July. We spent a couple of days up at Whale Pass dipnetting salmon and watching black bears. We had visitors from Valdez, our friends Brian and Jessica with their 2 sons Erik and Jackson in early August. Isaac’s mom visited in late August and taught me a lot of what I know now of sewing. The weather was beautiful for pretty much the entire summer so our guests got to see a sunny Thorne Bay (which isn’t always the case).

My mom visited in mid-September and got to celebrate an early birthday for Jolie, who turned 3.  She is a beautiful, caring, intelligent 3-year old who keeps us on our toes. Not unlike her sister Tess, who has started talking so much that we are amazed each day by her ability to negotiate with us.  Sophia turned 5 this year and learned how to read over the summer. She is a major help to me with the younger ones, as she spends part of each day reading to one or both of them. She is in Kindergarten this year but really wants to be in 1st grade instead (her class is only half-day and she would rather go for a full day.)

Isaac coached volleyball again in the fall, but this year as the actual coach and not the assistant. He traveled to Ketchikan for a tournament and then to Hoonah.  My childhood friend Samantha and her baby Ali came and stayed with me and the girls on his second trip so that I wouldn’t go insane.  And I really think I would have – thanks again, Sam.

Halloween was fun – the girls went to the school carnival dressed as an Indian Princess (Sophia), a kitty (Jolie), and a ladybug (Tess). It was great getting to use that ladybug outfit a third time.  Twenty dollars well spent.

We spent Thanksgiving at home with our friends Steve and Amy and their daughter Autumn. Amy is also pregnant and is due shortly after me. The two of us struggled to work together in the kitchen AND keep an eye on the 4 children (the guys went hunting), so she finally volunteered to keep the kids occupied while I got the pies put together and in the oven. We had a nice dinner together and were very thankful when everything was finally on the table.

And then there was Christmas. Between volleyball season coming to an end, the community Christmas dinner, decorating, baking, getting the house ready for a new baby – it all seems kind of a blur to me now. The girls loved the lights and the songs and playing with their nativity scene. They loved reminding us what Christmas is really about: Jesus.

The day after Christmas we got on the ferry for Ketchikan to come over and wait for the baby to be born, which is where we’ve been ever since. Isaac’s parents arrived the day after we did and have been entertaining the girls while Isaac and I run errands and go for walks. We are very lucky to have had all of our parents come to help us while we’ve waited for our babies. Many of our best memories together as a family have been in this very town as we wait as patiently as possible for our newest ones to enter into the world. Please pray for us in the following days that God will have His hand on us as we become a family of 6.

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a happy New Year!

Love,

The Martin Family