{Israel recap} Day 8: An answered prayer

Church of the Beatitudes
Church of the Beatitudes

(Repost)

I do remember praying before I went to bed the night before that God would somehow give me the strength and joy necessary to take of the girls the next day. Everything had been going so well, and then with the news of the shootings I felt all my physical and emotional stamina just caving in.

I woke up not feeling great, but determined to do my best regardless of my feelings. The girls all woke up early, except Hope, and they were pretty much ready by the time I heard my phone ring.

It was a long, weird number and I strongly suspected that Paul was on the other end.

I answered, smiling before I even heard his voice. But the smile after I heard his voice probably made the other smile look like one of Gracie’s scowls.

What he said hit me out of nowhere. After hearing the news about Connecticut, he said he needed to talk to us. He? needed? to talk to us? But you’re in Israel – the coolest place ever!

Why was I surprised? Of course I know how much he loves us. Of course I know how close he is to the girls. He would have had all the same thoughts and feelings that I had.

It was so good to talk to him. It was amazing to watch the girls excitement as they held the phone and talked to their beloved Daddy. It was so familiar to hear his excitement and love as he talked to them.

God could have answered my prayer in many ways. But He chose to give me strength and joy through my very favorite person, Paul. And once again, I was terribly excited for him that he was in Israel; and completely okay with taking care of the girlies alone.

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At dinner Gracie asked, “Where’s Daddy?”

“In Israel!” I replied.

“No,” she disagreed, “he’s at school.”

This was the first time that any of the girls had expressed concern over his whereabouts.

When thinking of how to best handle this time of them being away from him, I had thought about watching videos online of Israel or having some sort of countdown where we would eat candy out of a jar for every day he was gone and watch the amount dwindle. In the end, I did none of these things. The girls were handling it famously. They knew where he was and it felt best to just carry on and try to occupy ourselves with fun things.

It was interesting to me that Gracie had been the first to ask about him, sensing that it was weird that he was gone. Everything was fine, but I wondered what this second week would hold.

Thanks for reading my first series: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband is on an amazing study trip to Israel). Here are links to the other related posts. 

Series coming soon

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Official introduction

Day 1: to turn out that last light

Day 2: lonely in a crowd

Day 3: Is something wrong with me?

Day 4: Sometimes you just need…

Day 5: It hit me

Day 6: The problem with “me” time

Day 7: I need you

{Israel recap} Day 4: Sometimes you just need…

Viewing the Jezreel Valley from the Nazareth ridge
Viewing the Jezreel Valley from the Nazareth ridge
Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth
Paul's view from the hotel in Nazareth (oh yes, I am jealous)
Paul’s view from the hotel in Nazareth (oh yes, I am jealous)

IMG_1254

(Reposting the Israel series due to technical difficulties) = )

Today really was fabulous. The morning was great; lunch has been fine (as that was a concern seeing it is the biggest time the girls see Paul). Naps happened early and then we were off to do an errand, which led to a surprise visit to the park, which led to dinner with a friend and her little girl. Hooray for unplanned happy occasions!

Even coming home and bath time went great. By the way, the girls really climbed at the park. I was so proud; being a lover of climbing myself. It was so fun to see them try things that they had never done before.

Anyways, what I’m about to tell you is going to seem like it has nothing to do with what I’ve said previously, but just hold on:

We only have one santa hat in the house. Doesn’t sound like a problem? Oh, it has been. Especially between Hope and Sophia. Let’s just say that Hope decided she wanted to wear it first today and that gave us a great little opportunity to teach Sophia about being happy and content even when someone else has something you want.

Right before bed, Sophia grabbed the hat and put it on, planning to wear it to bed.

“No, no santa hats in bed.” I took the hat and put it out in the hallway.

At some point in the middle of the night, Sophia came into my room, crawled in the bed and asked for a drink. I’m not as tough in the middle of the night as I am during the day.

“Okay.” We got the drink and then visited the bathroom. (Did you know that’s one of the hard and fast rules of parenting? It’s okay to give a kid a drink in the middle of the night, but always take them to the bathroom as well. You’ll never regret it. = )

After walking back down the hallway and entering her room, I realized that she wasn’t with me. “Where…what…” my groggy mind thought.

All of the sudden, she came around the corner… wearing the santa hat!

I don’t care. Wait is there a way that it could be dangerous for a three-year old to wear a santa hat in bed? Because if there is, then I’m going to have to say no and that would be really sad. 

Before I had time to decide, she pulled off the hat, wadded it up, stuck it under her arm and dove in bed.

Smiling to myself (and not a little unrelieved that I didn’t have to deal with it), I tucked her in and left the room.

You know, sometimes when your dad is on the other side of the world… you just need a santa hat under your arm in bed.

Thanks for reading my first series: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband is on an amazing study trip to Israel). Here are links to the other related posts. 

Series coming soon

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Official introduction

Day 1: to turn out that last light

Day 2: lonely in a crowd

Day 3: Is something wrong with me?

{Israel recap} Day 3: Is something wrong with me?

Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Place of the spring where God tested the men of Gideon, Judges 7:4-7
Place of the spring where God tested the men of Gideon, Judges 7:4-7

(Hope you’re enjoying these reposts from our time at home while Paul was in Israel last December. My computer should be up and running by the time they’re done!)

Not much to say for today, we went for a walk in the morning (my very favorite thing to do). Mckayla even walked with us most of the way instead of being carried. ***cue Halleljuah chorus***

Lunch was good. Naps were good. Playtime was good. Dinner was good. Bedtime was good. And though I still don’t enjoy going to bed by myself, it’s going fine, and by God’s grace, I’m getting rest.

So I’m starting to wonder, is something wrong with me? Should this be harder? Should I miss Paul more?

Except for the last hour or so before going to bed, everything feels normal. I guess we’ve just gotten used to the seminary schedule.

I still haven’t heard from Paul, but I know he’s fine through the social media grapevine.

As it stands tonight, I just hope he’s having so much fun and not worrying about us at all. And I’m looking forward to more fun time with my girlies tomorrow.

Thanks for reading my first series: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband is on an amazing study trip to Israel). Here are links to the other related posts. 

Series coming soon

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Official introduction

Day 1: to turn out that last light

Day 2: lonely in a crowd

{Israel recap} Day 2: lonely in a crowd

IMG_1209
Moat built by crusaders at Caesarea Maritima
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Gate built by Solomon at Megiddo
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First century rolling stone tomb

(hello and thanks for reading my Israel recap. Last December my husband traveled on an amazing study trip to Israel. I stayed home to take care of our four little girls and blogged to keep track of how it went. Since my computer is being a little wacky right now I decided to rerun this series. Thanks to all who prayed and helped and supported during this time. Hope you enjoy reading!)

We go to a big church. I love our church. Today, it was incumbent on me to get myself and my four small daughters to church alone.

The prospect of getting four little girls up and out the door early might sound daunting, but I wasn’t really worried about it. Deep down, I know what it takes to get places ready and on time; I just get lazy and leave things ’til the last minute and then pull out the old, “but I’ve got four little kids!” excuse.

Anyways, times like this I realize I’m going to have to be on my game and what do you know? Things normally turn out fine.

***Interpretation of everything I just said for a male: Everything went fine getting the girls and I to church.***

I dropped them all off at their respective nurseries and classes and headed upstairs to our adult Bible fellowship. Our room is at the end of a long hallway opposite of the stairs. Walking past people, it seemed that everyone had someone to talk to. Of course, people said hi and everything, but it was the first time I really felt alone.

I sat and learned and talked to people and everything like normal, but it was all so un-normal because Paul wasn’t there. I guess you don’t know what a privilege someone’s presence is until it’s gone.

Thanks for reading my first series: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband is on an amazing study trip to Israel). Here are links to the other related posts. 

Series coming soon

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Official introduction

Day 1: to turn out that last light

{Israel recap} Official introduction: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband goes on an amazing study trip to Israel)

Hello dear friends, family, and readers! I hope that you all are doing well on this lovely day.

Unfortunately, my computer screen is not behaving; fortunately, I’ve been wanting to rerun the Israel series (since it occurred before I had told most of you that I was doing this).

Starting today, I’m going to rerun all of the posts. And hopefully by then I’ll have my computer working again. If you want to see a few other related posts to the Israel trip, you may check them out here and here.

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Hello and welcome to my first series: staying home alone with four little girls (while my husband goes on an amazing study trip to Israel.) For fun, I’ve included pictures from Paul’s trip. Israel is a truly beautiful land.

Caesarea Maritima
Caesarea Maritima

This series begins on the day that he left, after working until six o’clock the previous night, spending the evening with the girls, deciding to start packing at 11:22 pm, running to Walmart at midnight, and finally going to bed… oh, about two.

I possess a strange set of emotions; most of the time they kick in way after the fact. I’m saying this because I really had no idea how I was going to react to him leaving. Would I cry? Be scared? Try to remember every detail of his face in case it was the last time I saw him? Not feel anything at all? Act tough? Act wimpy? What would the girls do?  

Two weeks before he left, I went through several days of wondering if I was going to survive. Like literally, survive. He’s gonna die; or I’m not going to make it; or something… I’m pretty sure life as I know it is over. 

Thankfully, with the next week came some hormonal straightening out and I began feeling nothing. This is cool. We’re going to be fine. It’ll be so fun to have the car (for the first time in months). 

I began to wonder if something was wrong with me for not feeling more sober or anxious about it.

Planning my grocery list and menu for the week he would be gone gave me the first feeling of true nervousness in my stomach. All right; so I am normal. And yeah, this is going to be okay, but it’s also going to be hard and sad and lonely. 

When Paul got home from work the night before he left, the sadness hit hard. That’s it. There’s nothing between him and this trip now. 

The theatre at Caesarea Maritima
The theatre at Caesarea Maritima

I loved the girls reactions to him when saying good-bye on the morning he left.

Hope began truly crying, “You’re going to be gone for such a long time!”

Sophia smiled at him excitedly, “Are you coming home for lunch?”

And what did I feel? Excitement for him. I’m sure some mental compartment noted that him going down the stairs that last time meant I would be on my own for two weeks, but all I could think about was how much he was anticipating this incredible opportunity.

So there you have it. The next post will start with our first day on our own (while Paul got stuck in airports for hours, had flights canceled, gates changed, and ate a lot of Five Guys.)

Happy Mother’s Week!

My husband once shocked a congregation by announcing from the pulpit on Mother’s Day, “I think Mother’s Day is silly!”

After everyone recovered from their indignation (not really) he continued to say something like, “After all mother’s do all year long we say, “Okay, you can have one day.”

So here at small steps, big picture, we’re going to celebrate Mother’s Day all week long! I’m so excited!!

I have several posts lined up that will encourage and compel women and mother’s from all walks of life; so check back during the week and celebrate with us.

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To start it off, today I have the lyrics to a song I’m working on inspired by my sweet little Mckayla. Her little breaths and contented sighs while nursing melted my heart. Is there anything as sweet as a newborn?

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For Little Breaths

For little breaths and contented sighs,

For kicking legs and smiling eyes,

For this new life we thank you, Lord;

For all the months we had to wait,

And for the fire of curses pain,

For mercy great, 

We thank you, Lord.

~

For words to teach them wrong from right,

For hearts to show a love for Christ,

For lives to be their salt and light; 

For wills to yield and sin to shun,

For hearts to be by your Spirit drawn,

For new life given

We ask you, Lord.

~

For hands to hold and walks to take,

For times to cry or celebrate,

For gifts of grace we praise you, Lord; 

For seasons new and memories past,

For wings they spread and bonds that last,

To be so blessed

We praise you, Lord.

Teaching piano lessons to your own child: Bloopers!

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photo credit

Well, I do believe that I will end this series for now. Maybe in a year or so, I’ll revisit the topic with some more thoughts.

Haven’t read the other posts yet? Here are the links:

The Name Game

The teachers have it better

4 practice tips for during the week

Looking like a teacher on lesson day

To close, I’d thought I’d share a few funny comments from… ahem… my student.

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It’s come to my attention that Hope is not unlike other students at all; she frequently blames her mom for the fact that she hasn’t practiced.

Unfortunately for her (and me!), I am her mom.

This week it was, “Yeah, we didn’t practice that too much, because I kept asking my mom if we could do it and she kept saying, “Not right now,” but then we never did do it.

Wha?

Okay, partly true, but definitely blame-shifting!

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“I didn’t do my theory because my mom never remembered to help me with it.”

Have I mentioned I have four kids five and under?

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“So, I didn’t practice very much this week, but it wasn’t my fault. We were really busy.”

We.

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Oh, but I take it all in stride. Mrs. _____ knows the truth. One, that Hope is a perfectly typical little girl who loves to practice, but also doesn’t always quite do it the way she should, regardless of me; two, that I’m a just a mom with all the imperfections, busyness, and priority struggles of every other mom.

All this means that our weeks of practice follow a very normal pattern for beginning piano students, and I think that’s probably a good thing.

Thank you so much for reading! If any of this has been helpful or interesting, I’d love to hear your feedback. I know there are other moms out there doing the same thing, so I’d love to hear what has worked for you. Hope you’re having a lovely week!

Christie