Monday, August 3, 2009

Shaken Together and Running Over

"Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over shall men give into your bosom. For the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38).

There are seasons of giving and there are seasons of receiving. Out of pure necessity we are smack dab in the middle of a season of receiving.

With our first set of twins I was surprised at myself - it was difficult to ask for help! I didn't want to be on anyone's charity list, I wanted to feel self-sufficient, independent, like I could manage my little world on my own! But the truth was, I couldn't! Not for quite a while! And the same situation (although amplified) exists now.

Silly sovereignty. Doesn't God intend for us is to need each other? And when we do, the circle of giving can continue. "Give and it shall be given unto you."

So this post is for all of you who have knocked on our door, called to offer support or help, come to the rescue, entertained our girls, brought meals, or served our family in your own way with generosity and love. You have given to us in good measure - so much that your gifts are indeed "pressed down, shaken together, and running over."

At some point we will reciprocate (maybe not to you directly) but to someone else - when life gives them a little bit more than they can handle.

The boys are 2 months old today. Gordon (left) Spencer (right) - without oxygen post-bath. Getting cuter by the day.

I took pictures of the girls holding Spencer and Gordon this morning and thought of that verse in Luke again. Not only have you "given into our bosom" through service. But God has given us more than we had hoped for as parents. Our cup, our hearts, our lives are running over, full of miracles and wonders. We have a family! And sweet is this tender blessing.

Let me tell you first about Bethalene and our eye-sore garden bed. This is the garden bed (no longer quite an eye-sore). It rests on the northeast corner of our lot where all of creation drives by. During the last two months anything that flowered or leafed nearly disappeared underneath a proliferating layer of knee-high weeds (no exaggeration - knee high!)

Bethalene is our neighbor. An Idaho farm girl and widowed grandma. Intelligent, compassionate, down to earth. She walks every morning around 8AM past our home, headphones on.

A few weeks ago I stood up after feeding the boys and looked out the window to see the top of her wide-brimmed hat as she tugged and pulled at those gosh-awful weeds. I marched right out there to ask what she was doing. She laughed! "I went to Idaho for a week and came home to find the weeds had nearly taken over your garden! I figured you weren't going to get out here anytime soon. So I'll do as much as I can today and be back on Wednesday after the sprinklers soften the ground."

I could have kissed her feet! She saw a need and went to work. An angel! How she knew it was driving me crazy to look out there every day, hands tied, weeds a-growing - I don't know! But since then I've caught her weeding maybe eight times! And my in-laws too! They've spent more than 5 hours on that piece of weed-infested ground. Bless them all!

Then there is Soozi. One afternoon a heavy box arrived on our doorstep, mailed from McLean, VA. The girls opened it to find a huge stack of brand new books, each one autographed by the illustrator, Henry Cole. (Check out his site.) He had even written the girls special notes inside like "For Eliza. Always Courageous! Love Henry Cole." or "For Ali and Sami. Enjoy discovering. Enjoy exploring. Enjoy reading! Love Henry Cole."
How did Soozi manage all these darling personalized autographs? Apparently, Henry is a friend of hers. Fun friend to have!

I love childrens books and my girls have had their noses in Cole's books for days now. Soozi - thanks for the jam from your berry farm, the gifts for Spencer and Gordon, the finger puppets, and of course - Henry's books. Your package (as well as the frozen meals!) was perfect. We adore you and miss you something awful!

A week ago Saturday the Young Womens president from our ward (an LDS ward is like a parish or local congregation) brought some of the 16-18 year old girls over to entertain our girls so Doug could run errands for us and I could take a shower. Most exciting for Eliza and Ali was the project of painting nails! Ali woke up that morning talking about it. "They going to paint my nails??" she asked me as I lifted her out of bed.

So here are Eliza's sparkly toenails. Oo-la-la. The girls have been showing-off their feet and hands the entire week.

Not only did they paint nails, they decorated t-shirts, (this is Ali with Shea), did their hair, blew bubbles, danced, put on dress-ups...

This is Olivia painting Sami's toenails.

Sara with Sami (notice Sami's blue toenails!)

Marion with Eliza. Marion is the YW President. She is darling and my girls think she is SO much fun!
And they popped confetti (I love Marion's face)!

Shea and Sara helped me get the boys ready for a feeding then they walked with the girls up to the little duck pond in our neighborhood. They fed the ducks, met Sara's dog, and "ran away from the big dinosaur" who skulked out of his cave on their way home.

My girls had a delightful morning! And I got a shower! They also folded some laundry for us and left the girls with an armful of goodies. What a service! Thank you Marion (and girls) for making time to serve our family in such a meaningful way.

OK. I have to mention one more. Betsy. Betsy knocked on our door one morning and said, "I figured you needed some help more than I needed my morning walk." So in she came. She's been coming now for almost a month - on Mondays - to do our laundry. She takes it home and brings it back perfectly folded, dresses pressed. I NEVER would have asked someone to do my laundry. But she just did it and I have been so thankful! It would take me all week to get things washed and the girls might be running out of the house in their nothins without Betsy. She has also taken the girls on walks, helped me burp babies, and baked us the most delicious warm wheat bread I have ever tasted!

We are surrounded by good good people. I am so thankful for the young mothers in our neighborhood who have taken our girls, for our families, the friends who have arranged for play dates and brought meals. There are so many of you I should mention. You know who you are. And I want to say thank you.

"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads...sympathetic fibers along which our actions run as causes." - Herman Melville


  1. the boys look great! they look so healthy and strong. here's to you!

  2. i'm so glad you are well cared for in your new ward!

  3. The boys look great!! I love that the Young Women came to help. That looked like fun for everyone. We sure miss you guys. Janece just turned 13!!! Can you believe it?

  4. Marci! Janece - 13!!?? Goodness. I can still picture her sitting on the first few rows in the Primary room. How does it happen so fast? Will you send me another invite to your blog?


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