“I feel like I don’t know you anymore!”

The words repeat in my head as I ponder actions and words in disbelief. What once was so familiar and comfortable now feels crooked and awkward. Like a favorite shirt that shrunk in the wash; the fabric remains the same, but the fit is all wrong.

People talk about life-changing events: missions trips, books, movies, even food. However, the truly life altering moments are those that evoke change whether you want it or not: marriage, death, children. In most cases you can’t will yourself to be different. After a time what once made such a significant impact becomes a distant memory. Then there are those experiences that shift you, crack you, and flip you inside-out.

They say that your taste buds change every seven years. In the Old Testament every seventh year was a year of remission, an opportunity to cancel all debts and begin again. Debtors were forgiven, slaves were set free, all became new.

Seven years ago this month I found out I was pregnant for the first time. Over half-way through our second year of marriage, we had just returned to Washington from living in California. My grandparents had taken us in, we were both working part-time and we were embarking on our first ministry leadership position. Most people would say we had bad timing, I say we had God’s timing.

Up till that point I would have described myself as a self-assured, organized, task-oriented person with an excellent memory and ability to focus. Today, seven years later, I am not so self-assured, my house is in a constant state of disarray, I’ve learned to focus less on the tasks and more on the people and I cannot remember anything.

I feel like I don’t know me anymore.

The last seven years have changed me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Nothing about myself feels familiar. The disconnect that frequently occurs between the words in my head and the ones that come out of my mouth remind me of a stroke survivor. I’ve lost my language.

Calendars used to be more for show than to serve as a reminder; two days ago I forgot about doctors’ appointments for my two youngest boys until an hour and a half after they should have been there. I’ve never been so thankful for a phone that chimes to remind me to pay bills and go to appointments.

Josh keeps encouraging me; it’s sleep deprivation, it’s stress, you’ll return to normal. But I am not so certain.

Doesn’t seven years of sleep deprivation eventually take its toll on you in a permanent way? Poor diet, lack of exercise and multiple pregnancies certainly has. Is it really just a matter of getting more sleep, or has something deep inside of me fundamentally changed?

And if those negative changes are temporary, what does that mean about the positive ones? Having children has shown me my selfishness, my tendency to ignore the human for the goal, my sense of entitlement and my pride. Although God’s still working on these areas in me, I do feel like great strides have moved me from where I once was. I don’t want more sleep and older children to bring me back to the starting point.

This is my year of remission. For seven years I have been in birthing mode. We have now stepped into a new phase of life, one that involves four little people who have their own personalities, wants, dreams, opinions and experiences. It will be interesting to see what kind of changes God does in me over the next seven years of our life.

What events in your life would you describe as genuinely life-changing?

How are you different now compared to then?

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The Life & Times of a Sleep-Deprived Mom

I want to write a post, but my brain is so scattered.

All week I’ve misplaced what day it is. I swear today is the second Friday we’ve had, because yesterday was definitely Friday. Nothing has happened in the right order and not much went according to plan.

Early Monday morning I woke up and got violently sick. My first thought was, “Please God, I can’t be pregnant!” Luckily, it was just a stomach bug. The funniest part was later that morning; Josh said something that showed he was having the same thoughts. I guess we’re both pretty certain that our birthing years are over. Maybe it’s time to make that call to the doctor.

I’d like to go through the rest of this week for you, but I honestly don’t remember what happened Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s a blank for me.

Yesterday the kids and I went to visit Josh at work. This is always quiet the experience. Whenever we walk on the campus of Life Pacific College I feel like someone sprays my children with a magic potion that causes them to forget every lesson I’ve tried to drill in to them about how we behave in public.

And the running…down the ramp, up the stairs, across the field, through the landscaping. Trying to look cool and college-y relevant is futile when I’m yelling at Eli to get out of the tree, and “Hurry up, Cora,” and Ezra is crawling on the ground pretending to be a cat and Silas is tied to my body. I’ve given up on attempting to appear anything other than harried when I’m there.

Walking through the doors of the Cafe, the three oldest greet their father from 30 feet away with yells and pounding feet. Regardless of what else is going on, they run up to the counter and proceed to tell him everything that has happened in the last 5 hours. All at once. At an ear-piercing decibel. In 10 seconds.

Trying to dish up food for all of us is fun…for the 50 or so college students who are watching me. Constant reminders to sit down are alternated with questions on entrée, side and drink choices. Eli is in the stage where all of the non-caffeinated sodas or juices (or sometimes both) need to be mixed to make up his own special concoction. Ezra, as usual, refuses to eat anything expect pudding and maybe a sucker.

Why do I put myself through this, you may ask.

1) We love to see Josh. We miss him while he’s gone during the day and I wish we could eat lunch with him everyday.

B) There are times when I just need to think, and one of the best ways to think is to strap all of the kids in the car (where they can’t move) and drive. Josh’s job is far enough away that I get some good thinking time in, but not so far that the kids get antsy.

Fourthly, we spend a lot of time in our apartment. Stumbling on top of each other, cleaning up, making a mess, cleaning up again, watching TV and listening to the kids scream at the daycare downstairs. We’re bored, we’re cramped, we want to interact with other people. On the campus there’s a ton of students who want to play, there’s room to stretch our legs and home feels like a destination again instead of a confinement.

I’m not sure why I told you all that, but I’m going to leave it. This is the random workings of a sleep-deprived momma’s brain.

A couple more things:

Did you know we’re smiling now?

Did you hear that Eli won his first school award? Apparently he’s the Shoe Tying Sheriff. I find this interesting, as he insisted that we get him slip on shoes for school because he didn’t want to have to tie his shoes. Such a silly boy!

Thanks for putting up with my random today. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday, after I hopefully get some rest!

Have a great weekend!!

{I promise I’m not always so crazy! I’d love for you to sign up for (free) email updates or subscribe in a reader to my blog. Then you can get to know me when I’ve had more than 4 hours sleep.}

I Need a Nap

Silas @ 1 week

Two weeks ago today Silas was born.

I haven’t slept much since then.

I’m not complaining…I wasn’t sleeping much in the weeks leading up to his birth either. It’s infinitely better to be able to cuddle, kiss and hold the source of my insomnia.

Life seems like it’s on hold right now. My days consist of nursing, changing diapers, taking care of the other three kids, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals and trying to fit in sleep when I can.

To add to the craziness, my little brother is getting married soon. In a little less than 2 weeks Josh will be heading north on I-5 with Eli & Ezra while I take to the skies with Cora & Silas. We will then spend the next two weeks visiting with friends and family in the great NW and doing wedding-type stuff.

All of this is good. All of this is exciting. All of this is distracting.

Nothin' says 30 like Cajun food!

I haven’t had the brain-cells to write, even though so much has occurred I want to share. Josh turned 30 last Friday and we had a big ol’ Cajun seafood boil to celebrate.

Eli turns 6 this Friday and it’s 4th of July weekend – always an eventful time.

But I just can’t do it.

So, I just wanted to send out a message that I’m still alive. I’m doing well. We’re adjusting to life as a family of 6. And I miss my blog.

I miss interacting with everyone. I miss mulling over what God’s showing me through my day-to-day experiences as a SAHM. I miss the creativity.

I’ll be back soon. I just need a nap first.

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