Showing posts from 2015

15 Things On What it's Like To Be The Oldest In a Big Family

It's seems to be that many people are pretty clueless when it comes to what my life is like. There are all sorts of comments and assumptions made that clearly indicate how much people have no idea what it's like to be the oldest of a big family.
In their defense, it is rather an oddity, having this many younger siblings. With my ninth little sibling due in April, there are very few families that I even know of bigger than my own. And only one of those families do I even know well enough to know all their names. We're few and far between.
The lives of the firstborns (or even the second and third borns) in these families are shrouded in mystery. Not because we're trying to hide anything, but because we have very unique and rare positions.

So, here it is, from my point of view.

1. People ask you what it's like to be the oldest. The answer to that one is tricky - quite likely, we don't remember what it's like NOT being the oldest, because our first sibling …

When God Closed a Door...

It started as a small idea, late last year.
An aunt told me about her experience using a doula with one of her births, and how it had been such a wonderful thing. I was intrigued by the concept, as I've long been interested in midwifery, but was not fully comfortable with all that was entailed in that.
Naturally, becoming a doula was an idea that entered my mind - one that greatly appealed.

I researched, and I researched, and I researched some more. The idea became a plan.

I read articles, and listened to podcasts. I dug for knowledge, more useful things to put my plan into action. I pinned to my doula board on Pinterest, trying to be as best prepared as I possibly could be.

When I graduated earlier this year and the "What next?" Question came, I was ready for it. All the details weren't kinked out, and while I didn't know quite when I could put this wonderful plan into action, I had my idealistic time frame. "This Fall, or maybe the beginning of the yea…

Here We Are, Five Years Later

Five years ago today, we finished packing up all our belongings, said goodbye to the last few friends, gave tearful hugs to the remaining family members, and loaded up in the van for our drive back to Texas.

Five years before, we had done nearly the opposite - packed up all our belongings and moved to Washington.

It wasn't an easy thing, that first big move.
I didn't want to go. Yes, there was the excitement and adventure of moving, and the newness that appealed to me at eight years old. But there was also the ache.
Up until that point, I had lived in Texas my entire life. I didn't know any different, and I didn't want to leave the people I loved and the place I knew. I remember crying a lot, but being super excited at the same time.

The first few years after we moved were not easy ones. We lived in a travel trailer for the first two years, moving around based on where Daddy's work was. We didn't have a consistent church for the first year or so, instead a…

To My Dear Daddy, on Father's Day

Dear Daddy, Happy Father's Day. 
It's very different to say that this year, than in past years, because over the course of the last few months, I have seen you in a completely different light than I ever saw you before. 
I have seen you rise up to be a mighty man of God, realizing the task and responsibility that He has given you in guiding your family. 
I've seen you walk in complete humility before those around you, because that was what He has called you to. 
I've seen your tenderness and your pain as we walked through some of the hardest moments. You've been there, loving, and caring, and simply holding us. 
I've seen you rise up and lead your family. 
You've modeled to me what true humility looks like, begging forgiveness of those that you've hurt. And you've extended that same forgiveness to me, that you asked of me.
You've been gentle when you needed to be gentle, and you've been bold, with gentleness, when the need has arisen. 
I us…

On This Day - to grieve, or rejoice?

This day, Friday, May 29th, 2015, holds a lot of significance for our family. 
Two months ago today, we lost the littlest member of our family
Four years ago today, my aunt died in a tragic car accident. 
And seventeen years ago today, my oldest brother, the one who made me a big sister, was born. 

This week is unarguably one of the busiest weeks in the year for us. With four birthdays in the space of six days, this week is known as "birthday week" to us. In some ways, it's like Christmas broken up and spaced out over those six days. The rush and busyness, the last minute treat-making, the hurriedly wrapping gifts, and the celebrating. 
But in all the busyness, there is grief and reflections. 
Losing a sibling was/is undoubtedly one of the hardest things I've walked through. I never even met her, and yet the ache is so deep. I don't understand the why.  "Why?" Was brought up a few weeks ago, when we released balloons together as a family, to honor li…

I know you don't know what to say, and that's alright

You know that I hurt, that I'm grieving. But it's awkward for you. I get that.
Maybe you haven't been there, or maybe you were to young to understand or remember.  You find yourself in an awkward position - you want to be a comfort, but you don't know what to do or say. I know. We've all had our turn being there, not knowing what to do or say, how to respond.

Maybe you stay away, because you don't know if you would be welcome, or even if you were, what you would say. Maybe you reach out, because you have been there, and you know. Maybe you're forced into being there and you offer the best words of comfort that you know how, but it's still awkward, uncomfortable.
But here's the thing - there are no perfect words. Sometimes there are no words at all.  When death crosses your path, nothing else anyone can say or do will heal your broken heart. And that's okay.
Yes, there are some things that comfort, and some things that sting. But saying the righ…

Grieving This Sibling That I Never Met

I wrote this post last night, and the grief was deep. Today, right now, it is easier, for the moment. But I know that it won't always be so.

Three weeks ago today, I lost my youngest sibling. Miscarried, at just nine weeks.
It was a grief far greater than I could've imagined. I ached so much. 
Not for this baby's sake, because I knew that he or she was (is) in heaven with God, which is by far the greatest place to be, but I ache for me, for my other siblings, for our parents.
There were (are) so many hurts. It hurts that I never had the chance to meet this sibling, the opportunity to cuddle and rock it as a newborn, the gift of watching it grow up. 
So many things I never had the chance to experience with this baby.
I thought I was doing better, that I was moving on. It still hurt, yes, but not the raw grief like at the beginning.
But raw grief comes again.

I have yet to be able to talk to anyone other than my family about this loss, without falling completely apart. 
I d…

When I Realized that I Loved Writing

When I was little, my mom made me write letters. Lots of letters. All. The. Time. 
Or so it felt. 
I wrote letters to my grandmothers, and my aunts. I wrote letters to my friends, and my great grandparents. I even wrote letters to one of my great uncles for awhile. 
And I hated it with a passion. 
I hated coming up with things to say. I hated having to copy everything out in my best handwriting. 
I hated every part of writing.  Except the receiving letters back part. That was fun.
Then came the time when I had to go through a writing book for school. Like a learn-how-to-write writing book.
It was torture. 
It was difficult. And boring. I cried over that book a lot. My poor mother thought that she had ruined me, and that I would forever hate anything to do with writing. 
I thought I would forever hate writing, too. 
When I was 13, I wanted to get a Facebook account.  No surprise there
My mother made me earn it. 
Two letters per week. Ugh
It had been a couple years since the awful writing…

The Newest Shop on the Block: Survivor Paracord

Nearly two years ago, I opened an Etsy shop, selling my crocheted items. A few months back, my brother Caleb decided to open his own Etsy shop as well. He's making super neat paracord belts and bracelets, that make a great addition to any survival pack. The paracord (short for parachutecord, and also called 550 cord) he uses is super strong, and a single strand can hold up to 550 pounds.  Are you interested in building your stock of survival supplies?  You can visit his shop, Survivor Paracord, here, but be sure to check back for more items in the future as well, as he already has all sorts of ideas for further expansion.

Family Relationships: They Start Young

"Thank you Mommy, you're my friend!"
The little girl's request had been granted, and she was elated. She reached for a hug before going to play, but her mothers' words stopped her as she pulled back from the quick embrace.

"No, I'm not your friend, just your mommy." was her almost sharp reply.
The words sent a pang to my heart. Why was it that this mother felt she and her young daughter could not be friends? My mama and I have long been friends - since I was able to converse.  Of course, that that relationship has changed ever the years. It's blossomed and bloomed into a close-knit friendship, very different than when I was three, or even thirteen.  We are dear and close friends.
Some may scoff that such a thing is even possible, while others are relieved that their child keeps his or her distance. Who wants to spend time with someone that wild and unruly anyway? Still others, long for that, but don't know how to find it. The best way is to…