Acceptance

Yesterday I took two of my kids to the oral surgeon to get their wisdom teeth removed. The trip down was okay, the trip back, very quiet.  As I drove through the last of a rainstorm which had moved through that morning, adjusting for all the construction barriers and trying to hold back useless questions, like: “Are you feeling all right?” I pondered the question of suffering—once again.

I remember the surprising answer my priest offered me after a miscarriage. Instead of telling me what to do to alleviate my suffering or how to get around the pain, his first recommendation was to “accept what you cannot change.” Not exactly what I wanted to hear.  In time, I learned the wisdom of his words.

We suffer for a lot of reasons, sometimes at the hands of others, sometimes through our own fault and sometimes, like wisdom teeth, for no apparent reason at all.  Simply recognizing the pain we are in is the first step to dealing with it effectively.

In my kids’ case, they knew that oral surgery would hurt, but they also knew that impacted wisdom teeth would cause worse suffering later if they didn’t deal with it now. I knew that taking my kids to an oral surgeon would involve pain, but it was a price I was willing to pay to save them more grief later. There are a lot of times when we are forced to realize that suffering is inevitable and asking why or being angry is useless, actually hindering the healing process. The human body is packed full of opportunities to suffer. But that fact need not leave us hopeless. When we accept that suffering exists, that it in itself it is not evil, then we can learn the value of acceptance.

A friend, a mother of two teens and diagnosed with cancer, told me after she had been informed that she had only weeks to live, that “It is what it is.”  In most people, I would have thought this reaction one of despair or mere resignation, but after walking the road of faith through all the stages of death with Carla, I realized how complete she had become. She accepted the presence of death. She did everything she could to say her grateful goodbyes and to leave in the most loving manner possible, and she died at peace.

When my kids suffered from swollen, aching jaws, I handed them their medication, gave them the directions, and reminded them to be careful. (I also handed them containers of ice cream and strawberry yogurt.)  My teens have a choice—deal with what is honestly, realizing that pain will be a part of their healing, or make things worse by trying to avoid it.

This morning as I said my prayers, I remembered the cross of Christ, and though I knew I would have to face this day’s allotment of suffering, I also knew through the love that Christ bears us, that suffering need not be wasted.  It is also an opportunity to love and be loved—if we accept it.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

Simple Summer

I’m sitting outside on the back porch, while Merry, the cat—a poor injured stray we saved—is sitting at my feet doing what cats do…resting and checking out the world whenever the mood hits. The pine trees sway in a gentle breeze while white, fluffy clouds sail serenely overhead.  We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so everything is green and gorgeous. A red rose in a nearby pot practically glows against the backdrop of pine trees. Various summer flowers bloom in their summertime brilliance. Flies and bees and a little jumping spider have also made an appearance. The chicks, still in the brooder house waiting for their outdoor pen are running about, trying their wings as they learn that the ground cannot hold them bound.

The awesome beauty of this summer day, the chirping multitude: sparrows, red-wing blackbirds, robins, cardinals, and cooing doves, the laughter of young children at play, the haunting melody played by one of the girls at the piano, rustling waves of breezes cascading over the fields of corn and beans all work together, creating a pallet of beauty that any artist would envy.

When I considered what to write on my blog today, no words would come.  Yet as I sit here surrounded by simple summer, I find I do not need words—just eyes and ears and a heart willing to believe that this is real.

When the winter winds blow, the sky laden with grey clouds and the birds silenced in their nests, I will remember this day. The yellow buttercups, the red rose, the buzzing bees will live in my heart and imagination. Even in my dreams, I will remember this day, and no matter the clouds or the cold and the barren waste of winter, summer will yet live.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

Untutored Wisdom

 

Children see the world differently. Well, from me anyway.  With my vast years of experience, I tend to observe critically and reach conclusions based on my carefully cultured wisdom. Children tend to just see, and since they don’t have as many filters, they tend to report what they see with some accuracy. Their untutored wisdom often leaves me humbled, baffled, intrigued, at times laughing out loud, and certainly, never quite the same.

The other day, as my sons were going out on a mission of mercy to help their grandparents with some heavy lifting jobs, I passed the keys to one son and wished him well.  My six year old offered this insight instead: “If the blue car doesn’t work, try the grey one, and if that doesn’t work, ask for help, and if that doesn’t work—walk.” Who knew someone so little could consider the options so honestly?

One springtime, my little son looked outside and saw new buds greening up the trees. He came running up to me, saying:  “Look, Mom, God’s dressing up the trees for Easter.” Yes, of course, He was—I’d just never grasped that so clearly before.

And one year, as a play-dead possum lay in the yard after my husband had tried rather unsuccessfully to shoo it away, one daughter carefully observed:  “Well, you can’t chase a dead Possum.”  Too true. Apparently, Mr. Opossum was in on that bit of insight.

Through the years of raising my kids, I often had the experience of stopping everything just to think about what I just heard coming out of their little/big mouths, minds, and hearts. And it is not just the little ones who have rearranged my thinking—teenagers are quite proficient at tossing my preconceived notions to the wind. Yet my soul has been enriched beyond measure by their words, by their wisdom, by their honest insight.

Sometimes the greatest treasure we can bestow on the world is to actually hear—even when we think we’re listening.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

Eight Kids and Grateful

The other day I was speaking to a woman on the phone who, for practical reasons, needed to know a little more about me and my family. When she discovered that I had eight children, and worse yet, that my husband died when they were all under 18, I thought she would have a stroke. She left little doubt in my mind that I must be crazy.

I’m not sure what exactly she thought I should do—renumber my kids or simply never mention them, but her tone suggested I had made an indelicate mistake in even admitting I had eight children—under any circumstances.

In some kind of perverse reaction, rather than crumbling into a heap of repentant grief, I further distanced myself from decent society by proclaiming that I also homeschool my kids, and I really enjoy being around them.

Her response: “Whatever!”

I was clearly beyond all hope.

Did I fall upon my knees in prayer for the poor woman’s soul?  No. Good idea—it just never occurred to me.  She would undoubtedly be baffled by my pity, so I’ll call it compassion, but honestly, it would be pity. I pity anyone who sincerely believes that children are little more than burdens, or that no one could seriously want and welcome eight kids—especially under trying circumstances.

When my husband was diagnosed with Leukemia, my youngest was only seven months old. Besides the terrible grief I felt for my suffering husband was the realization that we would never know the joy of welcoming another baby into the world.  As it is, the eight children I’ve been blessed with have shared their strength, their candor, their honesty, their love, their hard work, their sense of honor and their noble spirits with me and many others.

The other day, as I stared at two large feed sacks I knew I could not lift, my eldest son stepped over without a word and swooped them into his arms and put them where they belonged.  God knew what He was doing when He gave me son #1. And #2, who has a sense of humor that lightens the mood even in the hardest moments. And #3, who is a world-class student, manages the chicken establishment on our place, and mops floors on the side. #4 is the family cook and storyteller, #5 is our artist par-excellence, #6 helps me organize, #7 helps keep the critters happy, #8 keeps us laughing.

There will always be people who think I’m crazy for having eight kids.

Whatever!

I couldn’t be more grateful.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

A World Worth Saving

Recently, I read that there have been several cases where surrogate mothers discovered that they were carrying babies with downs syndrome, and they were told to abort their babies by the biological parents, but they refused and decided to keep the babies.

I have also read, that Richard Dawkins believes that it is immoral to allow a “Downs Syndrome baby” to come to term. Notice, for him, the syndrome comes first, not the humanity of the baby.  For him, abortion is the only moral option.  I have to wonder at this current attitude in face of the barbaric cruelty of ISIS. After all, they believe that killing infidels is the only moral option. Sometimes, those infidels are little children.

The other day, as I was walking with my son in the late evening, mourning over the recent gruesome tragedies inflicted by ISIS, my son asked me how come it was gruesome for ISIS to behead men women and children, but there was little moral outrage when babies in the womb were dismembered and beheaded. Abortion is every bit as violent as ISIS, but it is funded by US tax dollars. Millions of babies have been brutally murdered through abortion in the last thirty years. It is so horrifically common it seems to slip by people’s conscious thought.  Every day in the US, we basically behead innocent babies.

This leads me back to the eugenics movement to rid the world of people with Downs Syndrome. I find it interesting that Christians and Downs Syndrome children are especially targeted for extermination. Why is that? The people I have known with Downs Syndrome, and the parents who care for them, tend to be very happy people. In fact, one mother  I know who recently lost her adult daughter with downs syndrome to cancer told me that her daughter was the best gift she ever had. Her daughter taught her to love in a way she had never experienced before.

Clearly, people with Downs Syndrome are still people. Just as Christians are still people, even though they may not believe what ISIS believes. Yet in both cases, there are those who would convince the world that we all would be better off without them. Their kind. Their influence. What is the danger exactly? Are they hurting anyone?  Are they aggressively trying to take over the world?

No, they just ask something of us that perhaps we do not want to give. People with Downs Syndrome ask for an unconditional love, which they more often than not, fully return. Christians ask for a sacrificial love, which, when lived as Christ lived, is also fully returned.

So I have to ask myself – what are we saving the world from? Love?  Perhaps we need to wonder less if we are saving the world, but rather, are we making a world worth saving.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

Home Management

Girl Glasses Mop Cleaning Clean Order Hygi

Warning—If someday you happen to be walking along and you cross in front of one your otherwise innocent-looking appliances and just happen to notice a bit of something, (could be dirt, could be a crayon, could be one of last year’s pasta dinner experiments) sticking out from underneath and you hear a little voice saying: “Maybe I should just check….”  Stop!  This could lead you places you do not want to go. Trust me.

I just spent the morning facing things that I really didn’t want to know existed. There are more dirt & goo under appliances than are dreamt of in Man’s philosophy, Horatio!

The worst part is that even if you do happen to come out of the whole experience victorious, and you stand up again, (dirtier but still a semblance of your former self) sure, but there you are—facing a house full of other appliances looking at you…and now you know what they are hiding.

Listen—while there is still time—Home Management isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.  Ignore that dust ball, kick the crayon further back, go outside, play ball with your kids, refresh your spirit with something wholesome. Dirt exists, it is a part of life…and frankly…appliances LIKE to collect things  Let them have their little fun.

May the best housekeeper learn her or his limits.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

Music

There are a lot of sounds in the world, but it tends to be the simple ones that move my heart the most. I love to hear the sound of a single bird announcing the day and the way a chorus of chirping voices grows to an orchestra of gladness. I love to hear the laughter of children as they play and the tune a person resonates when his or her spirit is happy.

Our kids started piano lessons young, and one has chosen to move from the piano to the violin.  Music lessons are an investment in money, time, energy and patience, but as I listen to them play each day, I realize I have received much more than I ever gave. They play classical music, themes from movies, hymns ancient and new, patriotic marches, and music I never heard before but which moves my soul nonetheless.

Like any real art, music is a source of grace. It is a reflection of God’s astounding beauty and it cannot be contained. Once you make music, you enrich the very air around you and you have the ability to change the world. Even when I am most irritated, angry, disappointed, frightened or despairing when I hear the kids playing music, my soul is lifted and my spirit is recharged.

So, as I thank God for all His glory, I am grateful for all the sounds that make our world a better place and our children’s amazing ability to play musical instruments.

Through their passion, the world is born anew.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

Homeschooling

I teach a wide age range and enjoy the challenge.  The fun part is seeing how far each child can reach mentally and spiritually while maintaining connections to their siblings. Some people wonder why I go to all the painstaking work of homeschooling when I could more easily put my kids into a public or private school. Though the answer is involved, I can simply state that homeschooling binds us together as a family like nothing else could.  We learn together, we deal with problems together, we have fun together, we help each other, and we grow together.

My older kids enjoy giving the younger kids humorous previews of what is coming next... while the younger ones have a uniquely adapted educational experience.  We have become self-starters and independent learners.  Everyone owns their own curriculum.  We go over books and material options together before I buy what we need, and as some zoom ahead in certain areas others choose to do more in-depth studies on a favorite subject. I realized long ago that it is best to have the kids involved early on in some of the educational planning because then they take responsibility for their education. Though they may not love a particular subject (spelling) they know they also have subjects (history) that they really do love. When motivation is embedded in the very learning process itself – so much the better.

We can’t run away from problems.  My kids and I have to face discipline issues right away or disruptions will plague us all day.  It is funny how the older kids hold the younger kids accountable for their attitudes and say things like: “That pout won’t help you learn, and if you don’t get over it, you might get stuck like that.”  Then they go on and tell a long ridiculous story about the second cousin of someone who actually did grimace all day and ….you get the idea.

So as the school year gears up for another semester, I won’t have as much time for writing and gardening and long rambling walks with the kids but such is life.  I have the duty and joy to raise each of my kids to rise to their potential.  I want them to be great citizens of this world and the world to come. May God will give me the strength and wisdom to do so.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

Joy and the Art of Contentment

Too often I find that I am waiting for this or that to happen, and then I’ll give myself permission to be happy and know true contentment. Time passes and I get things on my to-do list finished just in time to fill up another list. It is like the laundry, I have finally accepted the fact that the laundry is never really done—it’s just a cycle that goes around and around and around.

But life is more than laundry or jobs or things that must be dealt with. If that is all God wanted from us then He would have done better to make us robots. But he didn’t. He risked our immortal souls by giving us free wills, which allows us to know Him intimately or reject Him utterly. God is willing to live with us and die for us. That truth makes my particular to-do list rather insignificant by comparison.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to achieve results: keep the house clean, teach the kids, organize and plan with the best of moms, but I know that the temptation to work without reference to the God who made me is very great. I end up thinking that disasters like a spoiled dinner, a ruined shirt, or a torn book make the world less good. Or when I set goals that are not achieved as quickly as I would like, the sun doesn’t seem to shine so brightly.

Yet God exists even when real disasters strike, and I can always love Him. In that acceptance, I feel a joy of contentment because my worth is not based on a thing or a result but on the desire of my God who made me on purpose for some definite good.

So, I once again sally forth to take a walk, listen to the birds, feel the gentle breeze, and thank Him, knowing He is mine as I am His. Life—with all its arduous details and never-ending to-do lists—is good.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00