Lumps of Life

— by Eliza

Sometimes there are bumps in the road and lumps in your life.

Raising children brings around plenty of mysterious bumps, bangs, and bruises. Some of those require ice others a bandaid while many go unnoticed and untreated because life just keeps going.

Many times the care of the bump is conditional of the audience and surroundings. Do we want to stop playing, do we want to wait at the doctor's office, do we want to give up our time doing something else to check the bumps and lumps? 

Not usually.

But sometimes we need to stop. We need to cry a little to clear out the eyes and release the adrenaline. We need a kiss to end the sting. We need a bandaid for out of sight out of mind.

And every once and awhile we need the doctor for a cream, stitches, or more thorough investigation.

Thanks to the great physician for providing care for the bumps and lumps of life. He knows there will be plenty whether they are physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. But in Him there is rest and peace.

Yackety, Yack and Don't Talk Back

— by Eliza M. Askins

All loaded for an overnight trip. I even managed to pack lightly for the children and I myself. Everything was in one duffle bag with a little extra space. Everyone was buckled. Everyone had their chewy (crocheted square from grandma that is much easier to travel with instead of full blankets). Everyone excited to sleepover at an aunt and uncle’s house. 

We even left the house show-ready just in case someone called for a Sunday walk through. 

About ten miles out of town the sound and smell of vomit crept to the front of the van. 

The poor boy was green and tired. The others upon whiff requested bags also. Pull over, send back wipes and napkins, roll down window and turn A/C on full blast. Take a moment to regroup and turn back toward home. 

Disappointed that we won't see family, we scramble for dinner and try to keep kiddos separate so it doesn't spread. 

You see, I just told a toddler the night before, "don't yack on me, I don't handle puke up well." 

And yet, here I sit typing with the smell still lingering after hosing clothing, vacuuming a van, detailing a car seat, hounding children to keep their barf buckets with them, and ordering cheese pizza because I couldn't bear to serve everyone else the Mac N Cheese the sick one coveted. He picked it early in the week at the store with such excitement that he has to be allowed to enjoy it when he is well. 

Thanks be to God that this happened close to home. We were not miles away; we were not staying with someone we just met; we were not in a house with lots of someone else's children to infect; and we caught it before passing it to our own relatives. And so far, only one has fallen to the yack. 

So please yackety, yack and don't come back before the morning light.

A Cast of Characters: Septimus Heap, Jenna and Niko, Benny the Jet, Luke, Leah and Vader

— by Eliza M. Askins

We've packed toys, books, colors, papers, worksheets, and more to entertain the children as we travel.

WHY? 

Their imaginations and life experiences are entertainment enough. As we roll down the road, we listen to audio books. When we stop, the children play on the playground calling each other by the names of characters in the books and pretending the play structures are the settings of the stories.

Mathias's feet needed new kicks as his toes were squished. We decided it was time for laces instead of Velcro. He ended up with Converse high-tops. Who is he now? Benny the Jet from The Sandlot. He will out pickle the beast as in these shoes he can run faster and jump higher.

When they do have a chance to watch a movie, they all request StarWars. Later you hear them call to Leah, Luke, and more running from Vader as they play inside and out. Legos, blocks, cars, playgrounds are areas for StarWars to come to life. Who needs store bought toys, they have God's given creativity?

They are Children

— by Eliza M. Askins

Please remember, they are just children. They did not choose to move across the ocean. They did not choose to sell or give away their toys, books, and stuffed animals. They did not ask to spend hours in a vehicle. They did not ask to sleep in a different house or hotel every other night. Yet, this is now their life.

They do ask, "Where are we going next? Can we go to a park or playground? Will you play a game with me? Will you read to me? When will be home? Can I have this or that or do I still have this or that at home?"

And in all this, I must remember they are just children.

They need hugs, kisses, and snuggles. They need routine. They need rest. They need to run, play, and laugh. And when these things are missing, they will in time act out and possibly misbehave.

They are children given to me by God, and I am called to love them unconditionally as He first and still loves me. May the Lord grant me patience and strength to allow my children just to be children.