Becoming a Sojourner

This is from our March e-mail update.  I thought I would post it here for those of you who are not on our e-mail list. 

To Sojourn: to reside temporarily, a brief period of residence.

I read this verse this morning in  Deuteronomy 10:18 (ESV), “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.”  I was shocked, stunned. “Wait, what? I knew about the fatherless and the widow, but the sojourner?” When I looked up the definition, I was overwhelmed with the realization that sojourning is exactly what we are setting out to do this year.  My children will sleep in multiple different locations in the coming year.  First, we’ll go to Missionary Training International in Colorado, then language school in France, then language school in Burundi, then lastly to Kibuye, our future home.  As Darrell and I have talked over packing for our trip, we always come back to our master chart of shoes and clothes sizes that the kids will grow into.  At that point, I start to feel anxiety creeping in.  “What if those shoes don’t last that long? What if she needs more shorts than that? Or what if it’s colder than we expect, and we need more pants for them?”  Unquestionably, it is an overwhelming process.  So, when I read that God provides food and clothes for the sojourner, my heart leapt. “Oh Lord! You see this! You see our need for clothes for our kids and food. You see it all, and we can trust you with it.”  We are resting in this knowledge every day that we get closer to leaving for France and Burundi  We know God will provide all that we need and we can cast aside anxiety because He cares for us. (Phil. 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7)

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A compliment gone wrong

Last week was overflowing for us. Darrell returned to work at Wilford Hall for the first time in two weeks. After two weeks of moonlighting in a civilian clinic we had adjusted to a pretty sweet schedule. So the week started off with him working late every night.  On top of that I picked up my precious 8 year old niece and 6 year old nephew on Sunday to watch them for the week for my sister. So, 8 kids, husband working late…it was rough.

On Thursday I am sitting at a museum with my sister’s kids and my kids (only 6 kids total b/c two of mine were at school) and I am basically about to fall asleep mid stride. Every inch of my body is exhausted and I am not sure how I will even make it to the end of the day. Darrell had already called that morning to say he would be working late again and I burst into tear right in the middle of the museum.  I decide to sit on a bench for a break while the kids run circles around me.  My hair is a complete wreck, I am not totally sure when I even showered last, and I have a baby strapped to my back and screaming. I am sitting there is utter despair. Then she walks up.  She is wearing a dress and high heals. She has makeup on. Her hair is done. My word she looks amazing.  She has four kids, two year old twins in a stroller and two older kids walking near her.  She gracefully, elegantly walks up to me and says, “Wow, you look so calm.  You have 6 kids and you have it all together.”  I pull myself out of the fog, stand up and explode. Seriously, this is horrible. I say, “What?! Me?! Look at me! LOOK AT ME!!! Every inch of my body is aching and I was half asleep before you woke me up. And look at YOU! You are wearing a DRESS! You look beautiful. I look like a homeless woman with wild children! I DO NOT HAVE IT TOGETHER!”  As you can imagine, she was shocked. I am pretty sure she did not say a single word but simply turned and started to walk away. And to her back I said, “But thank you for the compliment…..” Then I sat back down and sighed, seriously, this is my life and I am such a jerk sometimes.

My favorite road trip toys for babies 1 yr and under

I am itching to just blog about something shallow and unrelated to the large task looming before us, packing for Burundi and France. So, road trip toys it is!

Our 6th child has turned out to be less laid back than some of her sisters. She doesn’t really appreciate sitting backward in the van for 4 hours with nothing to look at or do, so we have had to become very creative this year. Our newest and most favorite item is:

wedding bubbles

Yes, Wedding Bubbles! These have been MAGIC! Unfortunately, it does require an older child to actually blow the bubbles into the babies face!  But it stops crying immediately.  I may invent some sort of bubble machine that you can place right over the baby’s’ carseat handle, that would be awesomeness!

Number Two.

baby wipes

Baby Wipes.  When I am desperately searching at a red light to try and get my baby to stop crying I know that I can just reach for a pack of baby wipes and hand them back. They need to be open so the baby can take them out if they are older, a younger baby will just love the sound of the package crinkling in their hands.  Is this wasteful? yes. Does it keep your baby quiet? Yes. Is it worth it after 2 hours of crying? ABSOLUTLEY! (I usually pick up all the wipes she takes out and shove them back into the package or put them in a baggie so I can use them later.)  This is a good one for when an older kid is not present in the car to entertain them.

Number Three:

water bottle

An empty water bottle.  Again, babies love the sound that these bottles make, and they love to suck on the top (Make sure the lid is not on so you don’t have to worry about a choking hazard)  Can you believe how much trash I hand back to my baby?!!!  Something she also loves right now is a bottle that has 3 marbles in it and the lid is super glued on. It is loud, but keeps her happy!

Number Four:

iphone case

Ok, I know what you are thinking. “This is bad, this is really, REALLY BAD!”  But it works people! My husband finally convinced me to get a life proof case on my iPhone this year so when worse comes to worse I hand that puppy back to the baby. (the phone in the case….note, I have actually broken a case when I handed just an empty case back because it apparently needs a phone inside of it to actually be life proof!) Babies know that you like this phone so much there must be something magical and amazing about it. She typically just chews on it (hence your phone MUST have a waterproof case on it) and then she will chunk it off to the side when she is done.  Then it’s on to another non-toy item….

Number Five:

Cliff z bar

Cliff Zbar, or other breakfast bar. Do I feed this to a baby facing backward at the perfect angle for choking? NO! For some reason, that I really don’t get, she loves to just chew on this bar in the wrapper….sometimes I even just hand her the empty wrapper. I’m telling’ ya people, just hand the baby trash, she will love it! This has worked so many times I can’t even count. I actually pack an extra z bar so that when I am handing them out to the other kids she gets one to just hold and play with.  Fruit snack packages work well also.  Now that our baby is 1 she is less interested in the wrapper and wants the actual food inside, but for a sold 3 months she loved just the wrapper.

That’s all for now. I hope that is helpful to someone who is struggling with a crying baby in the car or van!  I need to order some more wedding bubbles now!