Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent Pain

Slowing down and thinking about the Advent season, leading directly into the celebration of a most wondrous birth....that of our Christ child. I am grateful for this season. It doesn't hurt the way it used to, Christmas is painful, but not the same sort of pain I am comfortable with. This year it is pain like labor, that of being stretched to the outer most comfort zone of myself, and not the pain of past hurts and grief, though that does show it self at times, usually when least expected.
I am grateful for the pain I am feeling this year, the pain of giving into the long quiet before a birth of new ideas, new lifestyles, new hope, new convictions, new habits in a New Year. Labor is painful, in my experience it has pushed me to go to my soul, deep in my spirit, to the inmost of my being, to the Spirit of God with a silent crying out to God...I have liked quiet in my labor. This labor of my spirit hasn't been much different, I have wanted to sink inside, to stay in my cozy clothes, read about the quiet things in life, meditate on the word and deal with the pain without words or audible groaning, but groaning there has been. I have groaned that I am not comfortable with who I am anymore, that I need more, that I wanna stretch and walk, I need to sing and draw. I am aching for good art, sweet music, peace that passes understanding and space to figure out all that God wants me to be. I am embracing children more tightly, while letting the loose at a speed that leaves me dizzy with confusion and question. My heart aches out for the child that Iwas, while my spirit reaches out to the woman I am finally becoming, I am both comfortable and most uncomfortable.....full of anticipation, laboring over my life. It isn't a burden or a heavy yolk, I know that this is from my Father, in this I find sincere comfort during the most uncomfortable pains, I know that God is producing in me a woman by His design, that will be born, that is being born out of this story, His story in me. I am drawn to the idea that Christ, the babe was born after a labor, on the back of a donkey, in a stinky hang on a cross for the sins of the world. I am only being asked to become a new creation, to be available to the work in my spirit that a Godly woman would be born out into this world, making the Father proud. I will labor with gratitude.

These are my original thoughts posted with all sorts of funnies, hurts, happiesat please honor that they are owned by myself (Suzanne Pike) and don't share them without attributing where they are found and who they came from in the material you share.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It Just Doesn't Matter So Much

Sometimes I have no doubt that others question the sanity of many decisions made for our family. That is perfectly fine with me. I am coming to the final thought more everyday, that the only opinions that matter when I lay my head down to sleep are my Lord's opinion and my husband's opinion. It isn't so much that I don't value the thoughts of others or consider the ideas of the masses, but that being said, I only hang my hat on the peace I find when I know that we have done what we are called to do.
This past week with the support of our surgeon 5 of our 6 sweet darlings had tonsillectomies. Many folks,nay sayers even, chose to be a bit discouraging. We heard everything from "I only did it with one and it was horrible," to "are you sure about this?" We were sure of what we did and am grateful that over the years we have become very practiced at ignoring the masses and listening instead to wisdom of some who know more than us, praying and leaning on the support of equally passionate people who love us. I likened doing the surgeries separately to pulling labor out for 10 weeks and frankly I didn't find much wisdom in that.
We even encountered one nurse who made her opinion known, I was gently reminded that she didn't have to come home with us, to just move on.
Facing opinions head on has become part of who we are as a family. Every time we all pile out of our 12 passenger church bus we have eager eyes, full of question, some who are brave enough to speak and others only speculate.
People offer up opinion long before they know us, depending on what side of the box some sit, we hear varying pre-conceptions.
Many homeschool mommas and papas see us as too liberal, our dresses are too short, our son's hair is too long, our music too loud and our thoughts on discipline too liberal....our reading choices and concert attendance, well they just pray about that.
Lots of former church friends wonder what the heck we are thinking after all we used to be crazy head covering, wheat grinding, marriage firmly failing, crazies....what can I say? I say "Blessed be the Grace and Hope of Jesus!"
My more liberal friends believe me to be a bit loo loo, as I pack up my children to head out to our local Church Of Christ a few times a week, where we worship out of the box clapping and raising hands, wondering why we send our babies to Belize, Atlanta, and Downtown Memphis and call our home the biggest mission field of all.
You of course can see the dilemma here.....all circles that we love and adore hold different opinions and for that matter different check list for life. We can't keep everyone happy and the fact that we look different and live differently by choice with a large homeschooling, slightly conservative, rock band listening to, shorts wearing, Church of Christ attending, passenger van driving, neurologically challenged, sometimes learning disabled, one income, pro-family, tolerant, loud, sometimes argumentative family....that I was once a head covering, wheat grinding, short lived vegan non-cooking, raw eating, critical spirit, check list having wife and mother makes keeping everyone happy even more difficult. My story today is I don't so much care. I wanna leave everyone we are near with some sort of peace about themselves, looking to the one who I desperately want to shine in me, the Lord...but what others think of how we are doing school, marriage, music, clothes, church, tonsillectomies, autism, TV, or ministry is only up to them. We will dance and sing, pray and play, laugh and sometimes yell loudly, pray for forgiveness as needed every minute and be quick to love others. As for me and my house we will look to the Lord for approval.

These are my original thoughts posted with all sorts of funnies, hurts, happiesat please honor that they are owned by myself (Suzanne Pike) and don't share them without attributing where they are found and who they came from in the material you share.

Friday, July 2, 2010

well let us just catch up on here.....shall we?

I realize that it is July, but feel the need to take you for a walk back to see a Saturday morning in May, May 15th to be persact. That was the Saturday I woke up in a puddle of tears, disolving my very carefully flavored coffee in to a hot mess. For me this was time for a melt down of an important sort. My kids had obviously started growing up......yes that is the melt down moment. Maci and Marti turned 12 on that friday, Sarah finished up middle school and made it clear she wasn't looking back she is intending to be a freshman, DJ my last child to be doing pre-school is now in first grade and let us not fail to forget that Zachary my eldest snot earned his drivers license and rode off in his bought and paid for car (almost). I had tears to cry and I felt that I deserved them(did I fail to mention that all of these realizations hit me the last day of achievement test for the kids)
FASSSSSSSTTTTTTT Forward to June. June, June, glorious June....June is the month we prepare our precious little darlings for Camp Highland the best week of the entire year for many of us for all varied reasons. The diffrence for me this year is that I would have only one of my 6 kids left with me for almost an entire week.....just us and him. Oh, the things we could do, how would we fill all the time? I didn't know and still don't. What do families with just one child, God bless them, do with their time, please I need to be more productive and make better plans for our future.
This brings me to JULY, where I have now found myself squarely in the place of a momma with a son traveling on ministry trips that are getting further and further away, Paragould,Arkansa/Atlanta,Georgia2x's/Independence,Belize....WAIT stop the presses THAT is in Central America, he has never even ridden in a plane before and now we let him drive a truck and ride a plane all in the same season. This is just to stinking ridiculous for one parent to handle, so why aren't two of us handling this. Oh, my sweet Donnie you say? He is napping, sleeping well, and trusting that this whole parenting gig we have been doing for almost 17 years, just may take shape after all....the audacity of it all, him trusting and not worrying. I am not sure how all this is gonna turn out, but I need more kleenex and I will share the rest of the story when I can get it together enough to think clearly through a cotton commercial.

These are my original thoughts posted with all sorts of funnies, hurts, happiesat please honor that they are owned by myself (Suzanne Pike) and don't share them without attributing where they are found and who they came from in the material you share.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

That Mom with All Those Kids, Making Big Moments Possible through the Value of the tightly Wrapped Little Moments

At 11pm Friday night, I found myself serving up pancakes to 8 amazing teenagers, 3 pre-teens, and one darling 3rd grader, while my husband and youngest son slept soundly. It was a good night. I found myself squarely in the spot of being "that mom", while hot rolling Sarah's hair, ironing Zach's shirt, shooing younger siblings and making last minute phone calls for corsages and meeting times. I was 'that mom' standing in front of my neighbors flowers taking pictures and having my throat tighten when all the dates arrived for more pictures. I love being that mom. Much of my Friday was exhausting, we went to the zoo, we stopped by the florist, picked up last minute groceries, made multiple phone calls all while reminding myself not to smile to broadly or let the kids see me cry. This is one of the many moments I imagined over the early years of raising so many little kids. Dance night with our children, First dates, Algebra 1, Baptism, College Plans, Middle School, Camp, are all events that I dreamed of and didn't and don't want to mess up. What I am learning every step of the way though is that these big moments in the big boxes are all made possible by so many little moments with small ribbons, tears, prayers, fasting, hope, hurt, healing, sleepy moments. Talks about what Jesus did on the cross, the length of a dress, the color of their hair, ear rings for the boys or not, babysitting jobs, television choices, music choices, van seat and dinner seat choices, big chore day and put your close away right now afternoons, all make up the moments and the really important times where I have found myself hugging my kids, being the momma of teenagers, pre-teens and a kindergartner all at the same time, tired and crying, sometimes fussing and occasionally cussing....but so grateful to be 'that mom with all the kids'. Tomorrow is Monday and it is boring, Algebra1, Pre-Calc, 3rd and 5th grade math followed by easy addition and phonics. I will wrap it up with ballet and Love on the Table, but Mondays full of all the small moments wrapped in tiny boxes with so many choices will take me to my next big event....Mission trips to Belize, twins in Middle School, Sarah in High School, DJ hanging with big kids, Maggie and her achievement test, graduation, college, weddings and babies. I will handle the small moments with more care and honor the choices with love. On this day my story is bittersweet of holding on and letting go, knowing all the while that the richness of my life is proof that we don't have the answers to know the outcome will be peace that passes all understanding. The proof is in the small moments in the little boxes wrapped with care.

These are my original thoughts posted with all sorts of funnies, hurts, happies
at please honor that they are owned by myself (Suzanne Pike) and don't share them without attributing where they are found and who they came from in the material you share.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How Love Gets To The Table with this Small Family

I wanted a big family, but I only had six kids. Crazy? Big family to most? Of course.....I have always jumped in with both feet. It is important to me to have a home with tons of kids who feel totally safe. I only had six kids of my on and a few years ago I wondered to myself how I would deal with some of the time I had previously given to pregnancy, newborns and preschool age children. God knew. I have been given the amazing gift of filling my home with boys (I have only 2 boys and they are 10 year apart and 4 girls all only a couple years apart), 6 little boys a few days a week. What a sweet gift. The gift comes not just from the noise and the dirt and the plastic cups and the dirt and the noise and the dishes( you get the picture), the gift comes largely from watching my babies, my sweet little children who I have adored for so long, wondering what kind of people they would be, share their lives. This evening I watched all sorts of slides in my slide show of live over here in Berclair. I watched my 14 year old cleverly open the kitchen door window and name us Pike King and smack gum while taking orders for meatball subs and lemonade, all with a grin and giggling boys taking plates full of food. I watch my 11 year old offer to take my precious little neighbor boy home for a bath and some quiet until mom arrived home from work. I watched my nine year old play hard with 2 kindergarten age boys (only one being her actual brother) and giggle with glee with they both called for "sister, more jumping on the trampoline!" I watched with hope as my baby boy coughed and sputtered his way (recovering from sickness and allergies) to his best friend Adam after a a harsh spill was taken on his turn with the big bike. My evening ended watching my almost grown up son, who stands taller than me snuggle up on the couch for a movie with a room full of brothers and sisters, some by birth and some by spirit and delightfully pat the back of a little one who just needed a bit of extra attention. I was given the distinct opportunity to see exactly what I have hoped for, a bright and shining future, full of adults that I can call family changing lives one person at a time. I adore putting Love on the Table for my family, the neighborhood and anyone who will walk to the kitchen with a plate, but at the root of it, I am just one mean momma. Consistently inconsistent, frequently loud, often grumpy, and usually impatient with messes and noise, there is no way we could do this life the Lord has called us to without our children God has so graciously given me to learn from.
They carry love to the table, wash the dishes we serve it on and sweep the floors we spill on. These children remind me not to yell at another kid, that math isn't as important as a smile and it doesn't all have to be done. All six of these kids show me how to grow our family differently, hugely, and with ease in one way I hadn't imagined, one neighbor at a time into the kingdom. My little family have made this paradise with love on the table, Pike Paradise with Love on the Table that we are grateful to share more often than not.

These are my original thoughts posted with all sorts of funnies, hurts, happies at please honor that they are owned by myself (Suzanne Pike) and don't share them without attributing where they are found and who they came from in the material you share.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Share a Meal with Someone Who Has Given Up a Lifetime to Share Meals With You.

My sweet Grandpa has had multiple strokes here recently and the doctor has decided that he MUST stick to his diabetic diet (in addition to 100 other things on a list) to keep himself healthy. I was just there a month ago, measuring, reading labels, watching FOX news and napping sitting up on the couch while hanging out with two of the most AMAZING people at a place I fondly call "412" (not an area code a street number). BUT, a year or so ago Grandpa and Grandma and my family went out and we we were living large, we ate a feast, an unbelievable Greek feast at their favorite restaurant. I was so blessed to get the kids cleaned up and dressed from a day of playing with cousins, I pulled my hair back and said a prayer of thanks. I was thankful then and now for the chance to take two people out to dinner at their favorite place who had taken me out to eat and served so many meals in my lifetime. These two people took me to a Pizza Hut when I was 17 years old and I told them that I didn't have time or room for them in my life, that I couldn't deal with relationship. Grandma and Grandpa sat me down at their kitchen table with leftover Gumbo Burgers when I was 15 to tell me that if I wasn't going to behave with a certain boy I wouldn't be leaving the house again for the summer. Throughout my elementary years I spent summers eating zuchs from the garden covered with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella, zuchs with ranch, zuchs with salt and butter and tonnnnnns of fresh tomatoes, mostly on a back slab patio that as a family we have watch evolve to a covered room with drywall and everything. All summer while eating these meals I sucked up the sunlight, the Son of God, and the sweet smell of chlorine. I have shared many, many meals with my sweet Grandparents and last summer I had the blessing of buying a meal for two people who had foot the bill for so many of meals that involved so many long talks and for that night I sat back and listened to the table while my six kids had their on talks with them. It was an incredible blessing . Last month I served food to my grandpa and sorted out more questions over meals with my grandma. The conversations were different and I was pleasantly surprised that I had become a grown up right before there eyes at the kitchen table now with coffee instead of soda and I could handle another talk at the table over a meal AND I have become profoundly aware of how grateful I am for the meal I gave them last year before our lives all changed.
Have you thought about the meals you eat with the people you love the most?
Can you take an opportunity to give a sweet, un-warranted meal to someone who has given you meals for a lifetime
It is an important moment to take.
These are my original thoughts posted with all sorts of funnies, hurts, happies
at please honor that they are owned by myself (Suzanne Pike) and don't share them without attributing where they are found and who they came from in the material you share.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Truly the Gift of Peace that Passes Understanding Found In the Quiet and Musing of Momma

Here in Pike Paradise it is not as loud as most would suppose, with 6 kids, a dog, a couple cats, some kind of lizard/dragon, a grouchy momma and a tired daddy. We have loud moments....when the washer is off balance, the math isn't finished, the dishes are stacked, the tvs are on, daddy is coming in from work and momma can't find her purse, but mostly not so loud. I am a momma that requires a level of peace and quiet, this is not totally obscure in a large family, it is just not always found in the most easily thought of places. I find quiet in the kitchen chopping onions, no one wants to come in the kitchen, I might give them a job at supper time. I find quiet at the dinner table full of all 8 of us, usually everyone is getting along for a minute and I can go to a place in my thoughts where gratitude lives. I can find quiet while I fold laundry, the sweet smell of fabric softener and the warmth of fresh towels is a place that I feel peaceful. I find quiet on Sunday mornings when I sit in the far right row with the kids taking communion remembering what the Lord did for me. I find quiet even when it is crazy and laughing or crying and fussing, because in the depth of my soul I know that there is a peace in this house that I must NEVER take for granted. I can not take for granted the peace when I am ranting (yes I rant like some take vitamins, once or twice a day just in case so no one gets out of line). I can not take for granted the peace we have in this home when I am watching the evening news and see there are so many who are not safe or loved and that there story has not turned out so nice as mine. I can not take for granted peace when I look at the picture of my friends sweet soldier son with his arm wrapped around me in a sweet embrace for a short visit home. I will not take for granted peace when I am chopping onions or heating left overs, because we get to eat. I must remember that peace is a gift, it isn't found or earned, or deserved, or obtainable outside of myself or because of anyone else. Peace will be felt and gratitude will be given over flowing today in our home with so much going on.
These are my original thoughts posted with all sorts of funnies, hurts, happies
at please honor that they are owned by myself (Suzanne Pike) and don't share them without attributing where they are found and who they came from in the material you share.