15 May, 2017

Charles Stephen Weaver

    We're happy to announce the arrival of Charles Stephen!! 8lbs. 7oz. and cute as can be. He was 21 1/2in long with a button nose and a yell loud enough to be heard across the house. He has 11 people catering to his every wish and desire and even while he sleeps there are various humans around the house trying to sneak a kiss on his little noggin.

   Since it seems my blogging is very sporadic and doesn't show signs of improving any time soon, I thought I'd better post the birth story immediately. Feel free to ignore if not interested but I'm always itching to hear details, beautiful or not so beautiful, so here you are.

  We had decided to have a hospital birth this time around, which is new for this family. Christopher, of course, was born in Kenya in a hospital, but all our other births were either at a birth center or at home. They were amazing births and I will never regret the experience but this time, Big Daddy Weav said it will be a hospital birth. I happily agreed, since the thought of teen boys hovering around the bedroom in horror as birth pangs rose and fell and my vocal chords with it just was not appealing at all.

  Saturday, May 8, we had an appointment for a non stress test for baby, since I was late according to my ultrasound date, altho we weren't sure exactly when my due date was. we decided to take all my things along in, just in case because I had this funny feeling........ I had started with contractions Thursday evening and off and on since then so I figured it would be any moment that the real thing would kick in. I had never experienced false labor before and I was discovering it to be a bit frustrating. To make a very long story short, after having a long discussion with the nurse doing the test, and talking between the two of us, we decided to induce. I already had an induction scheduled for the following Friday, but with all the contractions we knew the real thing probably wasn't far off and we decided to go for it. Never did I imagine I would choose induction but I knew Marlin was leaning that way and the only thing holding me back was fear.

  After getting situated in our room with a beautiful view overlooking the city, they hooked me up to monitors and started the pitocin drip. We would be having a midwife deliver but met with the ob/gyn to talk about the risks of induction with a previous c-section. Marlin has also told me that he thought I should go ahead and plan on an epidural when things got tough which took the pressure off me to make that decision. Me? An epidural? Yes please, I'll take one. However, the need for an epidural was a long way off. It would be 22 hrs before little man would make his appearance.

   We spent a relaxing afternoon and evening reading and talking, in between chatting with various midwives and nurses who were fascinated with this couple having their 10th (living) child. Through the course of conversation it came up that we had been in Africa and turns out different of the staff  or their spouse had also done humanitarian work there.

   Throughout the night my womb was fairly calm until about 3:00 in the morning when all of a sudden contractions hit and I started having to focus and breath through. They had offered me pain killer but I wanted to hold off until I was desperate. Call me a glutton for punishment but I wanted to experience at least some of the hard work. Between 3:30 and 4 things started heating up big time and when I felt my water break I knew we were in business. I buzzed the nurse and said I'm ready for that epidural. By the time she got back from paging the anesthesiologist I was starting to shake and the contractions were back to back. I started stressing a little that here was my chance for a pain free birth and I had blown it by waiting to long. The nurse admitted she wasn't sure the anesthesiologist was going to make it in time but to my great relief he showed up shortly after and oh blessed relief. The epidural wasn't at all scary, altho I'm not easily scared by needles as long as I don't look. Almost immediately my whole body relaxed and I felt extremely sleepy. The midwife did a quick check thinking I was probably ready to push only to discover I was 4 centimeters. What????? Never have I had such intense contractions at 4 centimeters so I'm suspicious it was the Pit, altho who knows, I may have been ready to deliver much sooner if I wouldn't have had the epidural since they had to kick the pitocin way back.

   What to do? A nap of course! I hadn't slept much Friday night and almost none Saturday so sleep we did. By 9:30 a.m. I was fully dilated and then the midwife suggested something that no midwife has before. She suggested waiting for 15-30 minutes to give time for my body to work him down without me pushing so hard or long. I said sure and when they came in at 10 I was ready to go. I could feel him entering the birth canal but because of the epidural there was pressure but not that overwhelming pain. He was born after 15 minutes of pushing and "thank you Jesus!" he was out. Marlin said it was his favorite birth ever and no question about it, he's a fan of the epidural. :)

   So my opinion? I don't regret the epidural at all. As intense as the contractions were at 4 I can't imagine what they would've been like at 10. I loved the calm way he was born and I would do it all over again. The only downside is that you don't have the overwhelming euphoria when the baby is finally born after much agony and sweating. Excitement? Yes, but it's different. Do I regret my natural births? No, no, no. I would encourage any woman to experience natural birth at least once. It is a raw, powerful experience that can teach a woman a lot about herself. If the Lord blesses us with more children and an epidural is possible, it will certainly be considered as an option. One thing I struggled with was wondering if my running from the pain of childbirth was a bad thing. I tend to over think things and sometimes to over spiritualize, and that's why it's so important to trust our husband's leadership. If Marlin would've encouraged me to go natural, I would've done that, trusting his heart. After 8 natural births, and one c-section, he said I have nothing to prove to anyone and to go for the epidural. I knew that was his preference and I rested in that.

   Our whole hospital experience was amazing and it fit with where we are in life right now. Our children were in good hands now that we have older ones and Emily came and stayed at the hospital with me after the first day, giving Marlin time to be with the other children and giving Emily and I a special time together at the hospital loving on baby.

  It's also a very special time in life to have a baby. Emily's old enough to keep the house running smoothly and she has done a fantastic job. The boys help and Big Daddy spoils me way more than I deserve. The ladies from church have been faithfully bringing meals and I really do believe I am blessed among women.

03 April, 2017

A Little Sleep, Please

   I just finished a bowl of Raisin Bran instead of sleeping. It's almost 5:30 a.m. and I've been awake since around 2:30. I would say sleeping is overrated but that is a lie. This is not fun. Especially when you're 36 weeks pregnant and baby is in a position that none of our babies has ever been in. At our ultrasound several weeks ago they calmly told me he is breech and a small part of the placenta is covering the cervix. But have no worries, it will probably all fall into place, no pun intended. Instead of it all falling into place, I do believe little man has decided to lay sidewise. It's miserable and causes me to make strange, sudden noises when he turns his hard little noggin and I wonder if it has ever happened where the baby is born out the side of the womb instead of the normal spot.

  I want to be spiritual and proclaim loudly to the skeptics that it's no big deal, God and I have this figured out, but I'm too tired. I don't have it figured out and maybe that's because I'm 41 instead of 21.  Even as I type this I wonder how I will function this Monday on several hours of sleep and then because that looks overwhelming, I stumble to the bathroom and cry. After crying and telling myself to get over myself, others have it much worse, I help myself to crunchy Raisin Bran and spill my woes online. Not sure which is worse, the crying or spilling, but it's all life and I'm not super woman after all. Which I've suspected for quite a while.

  So there you have it. I will be a bit bleary eyed the beginning of this week but I have a strong man who will see to it that I put my feet up and have some peace and quiet. I have teens who have learned well from their father and who make sure I get hot baths and treats while I wonder why anyone even likes me and maybe I'm not fit to be a mother after all. Two of the children bring me a treat from a little dessert cafe that they sneaked to, so they could buy something "just for mom" and I think that maybe we'll survive after all. Hopefully my family will still want to be around me after it's all said and done.

   We have a Chinese neighbor whose husband is a doctor studying some new procedure for a year before heading back to China. She is a tv news anchor woman in China and speaks broken English but who does amazingly well for only having been here for 5 months. They have one son and are astounded at the 19 children living in this two family home. She told me Americans don't care about money as much as "spirit" unlike the chinese who care most about wealth. I told her that's not something I had picked up in the Americans and is an interesting perspective. She explained the one child policy of China and how if we would come to China to teach English we could make lots of money. I asked her if we could bring all our children and she assured me that yes, absolutely. I figure we've been in Africa and Boston, why not China. Jonathan, our 9 year old twin, has been sharing Jesus with her when they meet on the street, and I wonder if children aren't the real evangelists. He doesn't know about "building relationships" first but goes right for the heart. She tells him they have many gods and he explains about the Bible and the one God. Well, explaining might be stretching it since his theological views aren't real profound yet and with his fast and breathless speech, I can only guess how much she actually understands. But really, it doesn't matter, because hasn't Jesus said that of such is the kingdom of heaven? Jonathan and the other twin also shared the good news with another neighbor who told them that yes, yes, she knows all about Jesus and the Bible but as she was puffing on a cigarette, they were doubtful she knew as much as she claimed.

  So even while I stumble around the house in a fatigue induced state, the proclamation of the gospel goes on. And because its now 6:00 and the sun is beginning to rise, perhaps my body will allow me to fall asleep for a bit but if not, there's always nap time.



23 March, 2017

Big Mama and various other situations

   The house is warm, smelling faintly of paint fumes and freshly baked cookies. It will soon smell like freshly baked hamburger rolls, since Zachary is making supper and his menu of choice is grilled burgers on homemade rolls. He loves to cook and I suspect that of all our sons he will take after his daddy when it comes to the kitchen. The house smells of paint fumes because Eric was painting their beds in the basement. Why would you sleep on white bunk beds when you can make them black?

   Christopher is still snoozing away at his nap, Emily and 3 little boys walked to the library, and Eric and Josh headed for the tennis courts to work off some energy. You know, one thing that I have found interesting about living in the city is that we walk more than we ever did in the country. You walk to the grocery store, you walk to the post office, you walk to the subway, you walk to the park and you can even walk to church if you wish. Of course we drive places too, cause when I go to Aldi, I buy lots of food and I'm not carrying home that many boxes. It never ceases to amaze me how much food this group of males can put away. Astonishing!

  So we've been here around 6 weeks and it feels much longer. I mean that in a good way. It feels like home and we love Boston already. And no, our children aren't doing drugs on the corner and neither are they swigging from dark brown bottles. I'm not saying those dangers aren't real but quite frankly the country is just as dangerous. I remember just a bit to clearly certain young amish boys trying to inform weaver children about the attractions of girls but it just so happened that Big Mama Weav was around the corner and as she casually walked over to her sons, the amish boys had the grace to look ashamed even while the weaver sons looked amazed. This happened in a little country bulk food store, in a beautiful rural setting. Thankfully the amish heathens hadn't gotten farther than asking my sons if they think such and such a girl is pretty etc (with that certain expression that I recognized from my days of also being a heathen...red light, red light!) but needless to say, we made sure they never were alone with our sons. You want to take them on a pony cart ride? Over my dead body unless I'm bouncing along right there with you and since they didn't look to excited about that, they went their merry way while the Weaver family had discussions about life and what's appropriate and what's not. And the sad thing was that these kids were only like 9 yrs old. No, city heathens don't scare me any more than country ones and in either case, it's best to have your pulse on who your children are befriending. And since our children are just as much the sons of Adam as any others, its all the more important to know our children, wouldn't you say?

   Speaking of Big Mama's, I'm hitting that mark right on. I'm big and waddling and so, so ready to be holding this little man. Yes, it's another boy!!! Yes, yes, we're excited and not disappointed. How can we be? How many people can say they have 9 sons??? And such handsome ones at that! Not even apologizing for bragging, esp after all the hard work of getting them here. Maybe some day we'll have another daughter but if not, I'll just handpick my daughter in law's. Ha! Yeah right.......

   The crew is slowly returning, which means the quiet and peace will be evaporating like water in a desert. Marlin is in Uganda for two weeks, working on a refugee project so I'm the sole parent in charge. So thankful for these hefty teens of mine and so thankful for return tickets. And reunions. :) The cookies are almost finished and the grill is getting hot, so time to go be a mama.

05 February, 2017

How Much He Loves Us

      We weren't saved very long when in a prayer meeting, Marlin confessed in tears and brokenness our impurity in courtship and cried out for forgiveness. I followed suit because i knew our impurity had been sin and so i also asked Jesus for forgiveness but deep down inside, i wondered how much fun dating could be if it was pure. It wasn't a wondering based in rebellion but more like questioning. It was about two years later when the Holy Spirit shattered my heart and showed me how Marlin and i had robbed ourselves of something beautiful and pure. I don't remember the details but i do remember weeping and grieving while at the same time worshipping that we were completely forgiven. It was a time of pain and of healing. I also realized that no matter how forgiven and loved we were, we could never go back and try again. Our courtship was finished, our wedding night over.

   There are so many, many things i wish i could do over. I have walked through a deeper brokenness over my past recently and a terrible grief as i realized how much i hurt not only myself but my Savior as a teen and young woman. The battles after salvation for my mind were incredibly intense as we fought the pits of hell to regain what i had freely handed over to satan for so many years. I still fight for the purity of my mind, and sometimes there are victories and other times the battle is overwhelming and i get tired. I want a list of things to check off and poof, i can move on to other things. Still, even as satan comes with fresh attack and accusations, i have discovered that as i cry out in complete desperation to Jesus, i find myself even more overwhelmed with His love and compassion.
    God has been so completely gracious to us and has brought healing into our marriage in every area in ways that leave me speechless. I simply don't deserve what He has given us and my life is the greatest gift i know to give to Him. I am still on a journey and am determined, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to run this race well as more than a conqueror. My awe and amazement at the love that my Abba Father has for me has never grown old and it's for Him i run.

  I wish for every one of you to meet the love of God Himself, and to weep at His feet over the brokenness of who we are as humans. You will never be the same.


28 January, 2017

Planners and Vitamins

    So we are a fairly large family, at least by the world's standards and even by much of the church.  9 children, two parents, one baby on the way. We're also preparing to move across the country into a brand new way of living, (city versus country) and a new ministry. A new church/fellowship setting and a two family home, altho that family has separate living quarters. Just want to make that clear. :) Still, it will be an adjustment, to put it mildly. So how does a woman stay sane in the middle of homeschooling, packing, saying good bye's and being a good, fat 6 months pregnant?

  I'm going to sound cliche here but it's the only real answer. God. He has been stepping in and it's just astounding my heart. However, He has also given me some practical answers and i'm going to share them in hopes it might be an encouragement to other mothers out there who feel like they have one foot on the slippery slope of complete failure and discouragement and the other on a banana peel.

  Just the other month i was feeling completely snowed under. I felt like my homeschooling was scattered, i wasn't keeping up with checking on the middle sized boys school, and my energy level was at the point where i felt exhausted just eating breakfast. And this in spite of whole food prenatals, caffeine and extra iron. My irritability was, well, i would walk away from whatever child was threatening to push me over the edge, and pray frantically. I looked ahead at moving and shuddered at how i was going to cope. I was also fighting one cold after another and simply couldn't seem to get on top of it, esp since i backed off of using essential oils while pregnant.

   Meanwhile i kept thinking about the vitamins i had taken while pregnant with the twins and remembered how amazing that pregnancy was. I considered buying them again and trying them but the prenatals i was using had such an incredible ingredient list that i hesitated. Besides, that meant spending money and i am trying to be frugal and if that means feeling evil instead of trying another vitamin, well then, so be it.  So we were in Ohio, visiting family and friends the beginning of January when i stumbled across those vitamins that kept coming to mind, and since i was feeling footloose and fancy free (kids were not along, just two couples, Starbucks caffeine and baby in womb) i bought them. Within a day or two i started noticing a huge difference but maybe, just maybe it was my adrenaline kicking in while chillin' with people. It was when we got home that i saw how big of a difference it really made. I've been sleeping much better, my energy level has soared, and that awful, terrible, bad irritability has disappeared. Sure, i'm still not a gentle, super sweet, laid-back kind of person (takes more than a vitamin for that to happen) but at least that slippery slope, banana peel feeling has gone. So for those who are interested, here's the link. https://www.amazon.com/Natures-Plus-Ultra-Juice-Tablets/dp/B00028N1KG?th=1 I do want to put a warning out there for newly pregnant ladies that it's not a prenatal so you may want to supplement with extra folic acid that first trimester. However, it was my midwife with the twins that recommended them to me so i feel comfortable taking them while pregnant. I also take extra calcium/magnesium.

   But that still didn't fix my scattered feeling when it came to homeschooling, esp with starting to pack up our house. I'm not a major list maker but when we have upcoming plans i like to scribble on paper what needs to be done. So one day i'm at Walmart and i see these huge monthly planners. I've never had one and they were pretty so i picked one up and pondered long and hard if i should buy. Would it be one of those things that i would buy and then hardly use? It wasn't overly expensive and it was overly large sized, but might it be an answer? There's nothing like realizing on Monday that you've forgotten to give your middle schoolers their spelling tests for like 3 weeks in a row to make you feel like a loser. Maybe a planner would do the trick. Still, that whole frugal thing kept me from splurging and i walked away without the planner. Besides, it WAS rather large and my belly is all the large i can handle right now. (doesn't help when someone kindly asks me if i'm SURE that my due date is right. and that was after i had looked in the mirror and thought i don't look to bad. Why, oh why are most pregnant ladies around me so cute and tiny? Makes me hungry for some cinnamon, raisin toast.....)

  So i just continued stumbling along my cheery, vitamin induced way when what do you think showed up. We were with friends when one of the dear ladies wondered if anyone wants a planner. I held my breath and hoped no one else was interested. After waiting a few minutes to make sure there were no other interested parties....maybe it was seconds but whatever......i said "i would love one!" Let me tell you, it's perfect! Perfect size, perfect color, perfect spacing, perfect everything. I still can't believe it and I've been happily scribbling in it ever since. Not only that, i'm now remembering spelling tests, reading sessions with the littles in the afternoons, and all kinds of other things. It has a space beside every week for a to do list, and instead of feeling scattered and slightly panicked, i write down what needs to be done and cross it off as/if it happens. Even if it only gets used til we move, it's been a sanity saver. And best of all, i know that it was a gift from a loving Heavenly Father who blessed his scatter brained daughter with something that has  brought some organization to her life.

   He is simply amazing and i love Him. Not because of planners and vitamins but because while i was crying out for Him to show me in a BIG way that He's in control of our lives (nothing like hurt to make you run to Him) He chose to show me in small ways that had a huge impact. Sometimes when we're walking through a tough time we need fasting and prayer, and sometimes we simply need vitamins and planners given from the tender hand of a big, big God.

15 January, 2017

Fruitcake anyone?

    It's Sunday morning and instead of being at church, i'm at home with a little man who has been fighting the flu all week. Not only has he been fighting the flu but he's been a real challenge in other ways. Normally quite obedient and pleasant, he has turned into a little terror who hates his bed, wants to sleep in the big, cozy bed with his parents, and throws a complete fit when he doesn't get what he wants. You would think after raising 8 other children that i would have this training thing figured out but i still get that helpless feeling when little angel turns into big terror and decides to let his own will be known and any good feelings i had about my child training slowly drains away. It's enough to make me want a nap. Which i deserve because last night after hearing him whine and complain quietly to himself at an unearthly hour, i dragged my pillow out to the couch. Decided i would let Big Daddy and groucho mundo figure it out so i slept on the couch and dreamt of the end of the world and massive flooding. And laundry. Lots of laundry and big appliances that quickly dried our clothing so we could keep running to......somewhere. Even in the apocalypse i can't get away from dirty underwear and socks. Woke up to see Marlin standing in complete amazement in front of me wondering why in the world i'm on the couch. In 20 years of marriage that has never happened. Nothing personal dear, just seemed like a good idea in the wee hours of the morning.

   So here i am, with the smell of baking ham in the oven and a faint plan to maybe make dessert for lunch since Sunday lunch deserves something sweet with coffee. However, that means i need to actually get busy and i'm not sure i feel like getting busy other than with a cup of tea and a good book. Busy is overrated. Altho dessert not so much, so there's my quandary.

   I was a bit sad to miss church this morning because i haven't been there for a couple of Sundays and Marlin is preaching. I like when he preaches. He's a man that lives what he preaches and has a way of speaking truth without condemnation. But then i'm biased and not ashamed of it. We don't have many Sundays left at Oak Hill and i will miss it. The singing is absolutely incredible and one reason i like it is because it's old fashioned hymns sung with great enthusiasm. I suspect i'm getting old fashioned in my mature years. I'm cool with that, bro.

   I'll also miss the amazing fellowship dinners with the rows of heart warming and waist growing food, esp desserts. Lifts me to a spiritual like plateau in no time. Lucky for them, i'm not one of those cooks who show up with an array of mouth watering food so my food won't be missed. Marlin's might be tho, since he has inspired quite a few males in the church to take their place as men and fire up that grill. Its been beautiful.

   It goes without saying that we'll miss the people too. They have been a very safe place to rest and refresh, and we will be forever grateful. God has used them in our lives and there will be tears when we say good by. Already dreading the farewell get together.

   But life goes on and we're ready and excited to take the next step. I have my moments of complete panic and doubt, when i wonder what on earth ails us that we can't act like sane humans altho it's a bit late for that with being pregnant and all. Mostly those moments come when the feedback about our move is negative and other people let us know they're wondering the same thing. It's good tho, because it drives me to my knees and a choice to trust that God is in control. That's all i really care about. Knowing He is God and is leading. I'm willing to be a complete fruitcake as long as it's Him and not my own good intentions. So even in that it's a choice to trust not only God but also my husband. When we look back over our various moves and experiences, it's amazing to see how each situation prepared us for the next. Some were very painful, and some just hard, but each one has been crucial in our walk and growth with Christ. So once again we take a deep breath and jump off the deep end but we're jumping off together......my man, myself, and a whole row of little and not so little fruitcakes, and most important of all, surrounded by the hand of Papa God.

29 December, 2016

Oh Ho, to Boston we go

   We came back from Kenya tired and wondering if perhaps our future would be like normal people.




   Loving and being loved.
  A full(er) bank account perhaps.

  I dreamt of a rambling farmhouse, preferably white with black shutters and a red door. A large wrap around porch and huge trees. A screen door that would slam and a kitchen big enough to host large crowds of friends and people in need of love and coffee.

  A big dog and a few farm cats.

  Ramshackle barn or two and maybe a pond out back.

  A place to raise this astonishing amount of boys that God has given us.

  But above all, as i stared longingly at white farmhouses and old trees, i asked my Heavenly Father to give me a heart of contentment and surrender at whatever cost. Hopefully it involved country sunsets but i wrestled to give it up and shared in a women's small group setting that God was asking me to surrender my dreams.

  "God, do you hear me?"

  He heard and we're moving.

  Not to country sunsets but to the sun sinking behind office buildings and rows of houses.

  No big farm dog. Or cats for that matter.

  We're moving to Boston. We were planning on settling in Virginia for long term and talked casually of building someday. After the third or fourth request from mission boards we began to get this unsettling feeling that perhaps God was reminding us that we're to be strangers and pilgrims in this life. Not that you can't build a house and still be a pilgrim and stranger but He has made it clear to us that it's not for us, at least not now.

  But the city??? We prayed long and hard about that one. I'm a country girl at heart. It's not easy to think of being surrounded by houses and people and i remember the claustrophobia of Kisumu Kenya. So we prayed, asked lots of questions, and had hours of conversations with the older children. They have been an integral part of our decision making. We asked God to give us a heart that is unified in what His will is and we feel He has made it clear. To Boston we go.

  Marlin will be director of a refugee/immigrant center that Followers of the Way Boston is setting up. He will, Lord willing, be teaching English as a second language along with various other programs all with the goal of reaching people for Christ. The mission field in the states is growing rapidly and every believer is needed in many different ways.

  In spite of no white farmhouse and ramshackle barn, no pond, and sidewalks instead of country roads, my heart is at peace. I did tell Jesus that instead of a gold mansion in heaven i would be cool with a farmhouse but i know that whatever He has will be beyond my imagination.

  We're not moving because we think we're somehow more spiritual than anyone else or that you can't be fulfilling God's call in your home area. Some have called us brave and adventurous (we've also gotten the raised eyebrows and the icy "oh.") but i would like to think that every believer lives a life of being willing to go anywhere and do anything for the gospel. I can't imagine moving anywhere without feeling clear that it is God calling us and neither can i imagine staying if He nudges us on. We don't question that He called us to Virginia for a season of rest and renewal and we believe He is moving us into another part of our journey.

This is the kind of picture that happens when you remember at bedtime that your family picture is needed for a church calendar. Aren't they a handsome bunch?