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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas ~ 2012

Ponder the incarnation in a house full of 10-11 month olds and you end up with a lot of questions about practically mothering a baby in the first century BC (or AD, dependent on what you think about that portion of history).  I think of my babies and then consider Jesus.  It may seem unholy to speak of the Savior, teething, drooling, pulling up, and saying first words, but that is precisely what makes Him so perfectly lovely. He wrapped out injured flesh around Him, breathed our air and walked our sod ~ to borrow from Chris Rice.  I also read this quote on another blog this morning:
That man should be made in God’s image is a wonder,
but that God should be made in man’s image is a greater wonder.
That the Ancient of Days would be born.
That He who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle?
Thomas Watson

And what a story of parenting~ considering Mary and Joseph knew with each decision as a mom and dad, they were interacting with a child who in a perfectly, developmentally appropriate way knew everything.  Instead of a child who sinfully just wants to be his or her own boss, they nurtured the Word made flesh Who is the Boss ~ Omniscient and Wholly Wise.  I certainly don't have clear ideas on how this all worked out but my first thought is, what pressure!  I wonder if Mary felt the weight of getting it all right all the time.  Or maybe, she of all mothers, understood grace in a far deeper way.  I do know that when the angel of the Lord appears to her, she is called, favored one ~ one who was met with favor (Luke 1:28,30). Later, she expresses awareness of her lowliness or humility when she begins the Magnificat (vs. 48).  Then she turns to the One who has been so gracious to her.  She so concisely and gloriously proclaims what God has done in her then in past and future generations.  Sounds like she knew grace to me ~ and she found herself to be the object, not the Subject. 

That is where I pray my heart rests as the mystery of the manger is revealed.  While my role in the drama of history is different, I resonate with my own humiliation compared to God's great love for me in Jesus.  Because of Christ incarnate, I am too have found favor with God Almighty. That is something wonderful to celebrate.  I think particularly of Ephesians 1, and the inheritance those who are united, according to His will, receives.  God has pursued me with grace and honored me with blessings.  I can sing with Mary, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." 

This Christmas in this full house, we celebrate so many milestones.  This year is quite different than last. 

Isaac surprised us this past week by greeting us, standing in his crib peering over the rail, after nap time.  He is in that I am up but I can't get down! phase.  He is so strong and just wants to go places.  He can army crawl his way anywhere.  His first tooth broke through just three days ago.  He loves to laugh, play, and be turned upside down.  He is such a boy:)  

Elijah is "in love with Mommy's Secret Recipe Macaroni and Cheese".  He thinks 1st Grade math is for babies and is determined to see how many ways he can write the number 4.  We took him and Andrew to see The Hobbit and it was so funny to hear Elijah cackle and see his facial expressions during the movie.  He feels things very deeply and there is something endearing about that quality in him.  If there was one word I could use to describe Elijah, it is passion. 

Andrew is growing up.  I think I have seen the biggest change in him over the last year.  A while back during our visit to MN, we attended an Andrew Peterson concert.  When it was over, Andrew met me in the foyer with tears in his eyes.  "I asked God to forgive me during that song, mommy.  And I think He did."  He breathed a sigh of relief as he melted in my arms.  Andrew has heard the gospel many times.  He has struggled with questions more mature than his 8 year old brain can contemplate.  There has been no lack of sincere struggle in him, but in this time and space, God broke through.  Micah and I both have seen evidences of faith in him and are humbled at the work God is doing.  And we plan to hold Him to it in Andrew (Phil. 1:6). 

Isabella continues to be the smiliest, most content baby.  She wears her middle name, Joy, well.  She is quite capable of feeding herself finger foods and holding her own bottle.  She has been meticulously practicing getting up on all fours and crawling on her knees.  She may not have speed, but precision is her forte.  Her bright two bottom teeth make her look like such a big girl. 

Eliana is also most content, until she gets a bite of something sweet.  The other evening, I was eating a chocolate ice cream bar and she was really struggling with sore gums.  She also has one little tooth breaking through.  I thought it might be nice to feel cold on her little gums.  It was obvious she had never tasted anything so delicious in her whole life.  She grabbed the bar out of my hand and shoved the whole thing in her mouth!  She is a very sturdy sitter and will crawl when she wants to:)  She and Isabella both have the heart of their big brothers.

As far as Micah and I are concerned, we are tired in all the good ways.  I am thankful to share this life with him.  In the past month, God has shown His love for him in a way we can appreciate.  Our church recently called him to serve as a lay elder.  When Micah left vocational ministry in 2006, I prayed that God would continue to use his gifts to serve His church.  This call is an answer to that prayer.  He continues to serve his customers and employees in south Louisville.  The kiddos and I recently attended a Christmas party for all the mall walkers that visit with him in the mornings.  This same group of people gave the babies a shower earlier in the year and it was good to reconnect with them and hear about their many prayers for us. 

Micah's gift to me this year was a trip to Nashville to see Amy Grant.  We had a 6 hour, round trip drive and evening full of good music.  It was a wonderful gift. 

So that just about wraps it up for us this year. 

From our home to yours!
May you find love, joy, and peace in the person and work of Jesus Christ, our most precious gift, this Christmas.  Rob our sin and make us holy, perfect Son of God (Rice). 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Decor

Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite things to do.  Thankfully this year, we had the help of my parents, brother, and sister ~gifts~.  My dad is a whiz at putting up lights and such outside.  My mom makes beautiful bows, and my brother and sister were much needed extra hands.

Even the big boys got into decorating this year.  They were in charge of the nutcrackers, which have now ended up all over the house.  They did go shopping with me to Michael's and Elijah made sure he expressed his concern over the amount of glitter all over the floors!

My absolute favorite place to glance this year this year is the fireplace.  There, the stockings of the five little souls ~gifts~ that inhabit this house hang peacefully.  I never imagined that God would add to our family in the ways He has over the past 9 years.

There is also a stocking up on the bookshelf (there because it doesn't match the others--- yes, I like aesthetics:)) next to mine.  It represents the kind and loving soul ~another gift~ that shares life with me.  The fragility of the gift of life has been felt in our family in our journey together ~a different kind of gift~ that humbles and makes my heart thankful.  It also anchors them to the Giver and Creator of each one.  Not far from these stockings is my painting reminding me of the frozen ones, set free to go on before us ~gifts waiting~.  It is a good thing God isn't like Santa--- presents as precious as these would be absent.  I know these aren't deserved or earned but extravagant evidences of grace and mercy.     

There is something much greater than presents, rather Someone.  In the foyer, the Nativity rests as a reminder of God with us. 

Yesterday's reading from Scotty Smith's book, Everyday Prayers was so fitting, "Jesus, I praise you for being Immanuel-- God with me and God for me.  Your presence and your presents are all that I need, much more than I realize, and way beyond all I could have ever hoped for or imagined."  There is a way for me to know the Giver of every good gift even when I fail to appropriate rightly His value above them all.  His presence is my hope and where fullness of joy resides. 


I wrote this blog this yesterday morning, before the news of the tragedy in Connecticut.  Our family joins the many others praying for the families of those who lost their lives today.  We grieve with them and pray, Jesus, come quickly. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brokenness Attending & Anticipated

The days leading up to surgery were some of the most trying we have experienced in this house.  After multiple trips to the doctor, breathing treatments for two babies every four hours, and much needed fluids, meds, and humidifier fill-ups, everyone was ok enough for me to leave... and be put to sleep, completely unaware of the world... then wonder around in a medication-induced stupor for a few days.  I can't say it was easy.  Actually, it was quite heart-wrenching and difficult.  It was a good reminder to me again that God takes care of my children.  Showing Himself faithful, trustworthy, and loving is merciful to a controlling soul.  I am thankful that on normal days, He most always uses my hands.  I am thankful for the hands of others who fed and cared for the boys, the babies, Micah, and me when I was incapacitated. 

I am looking forward to living without some of the physical problems that have followed me for more than a decade.  Of course, hope is not found in the temporal alleviation of symptoms but in the Eternal Healer, Redeemer.  I do look forward to enjoying a small portion of healing for years to come by way of this procedure.  There is a part of my heart that is wounded by the brokenness that accompanies physical and emotional suffering.  It may never fully heal here.  Brokenness, like scars, will mark part of the story God is writing in my life.  However, and most gloriously, it speaks of beauty promised.  Brokenness does not ultimately define who I am because of Whose I am.     

And now, a story of how this relates to reality.

I was determined to get a good Christmas card picture.  Last year, we didn't send out card because I was resting and unable to coordinate such a thing.  We took many, many pictures.  After one evening of trying to get a family picture plus another afternoon of kiddos only pics (yes, I tried casual, funny, serious, you name it...) the babies and boys had had it with me.  Responding to the incessant, exhausted crying, Micah and I fed them and laid them all down as quickly as possible. 

I had felt their diapers earlier in the evening and they felt like if I take these off now, I will not get good use of them so we left them on.  This morning, I awoke to three, soaked babies and three soaked beds.  It was horrendous.  Needless to say, I now decree that all diapers are to be changed at bedtime, no matter how lightly damp they seem. 

Now you may see why in our family, we have instituted this:

From now on as you read, you may see a {clink} on the page.  It is because of days like these ~ when I take hundreds of pictures of the children (particularly the boys), make them change clothes, fix hair, smile like you mean it (not how you really feel), and then allow the babies to spend I don't know how long lying in their own waste ~ the Future Therapy Jar is equally if not surpassingly more important than their college fund.  I didn't have one of these growing up so I now inflict part of my therapy on you, as I send my thoughts out into the world via internet.  Thanks for the therapy, y'all:)

We all deal with varying degrees of brokenness and I figure it may honor God all the more to just plan on it as we ask for His help.  I started to calculate for past failures, but it was a little depressing.  The number of times I want my children to make me look like a good mother plus the number of forgotten Tooth Fairy visits alone are enough for me to have to take out a small loan.  God help me.  In all honesty, whatever the broken thing and however they have opportunity to reconcile it, I pray they are always led to the feet of Jesus.  He is our only hope and in Him, all my failures big and small are hidden ~thankful~.

FYI ~ Our Christmas card will be a little different this year:)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sick Babies!

This time of year, colds can easily turn into bronchiolitis, bronchiolitis can cause wheezing, and mommies and daddies of preemie babies thank God for the ability to have meds to treat such things.  Isaac and Eliana have been very sick this past week, and got worse last night.  Thankfully, their doctor has a weekend clinic and saw them right away this morning.  In addition to the issues listed above, Eliana has the addition of an ear infection.  On a positive note, they both tested negative for RSV which is a major concern in preemies this time of year.  After beginning medications today, there is already some improvement.  Isabella has fared well with no issues other than a stuffy nose.  Andrew and Elijah have had colds but they have been extremely short lived.  Please pray by Monday morning when they are seen by the pediatrician for a recheck, this mama can feel better about all that will transpire on Tuesday.

For the reminder of the weekend, we will be visiting with the two wheezers every four hours around the clock. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Rejoicing in Tomorrow

I am many days calmed by those encouragements in the Bible that look beyond this time and space to the future. There are a few that come to mind, but this chapter in the bible, particularly this verse, have been on my mind today:

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a
new earth in which righteousness dwells.
~2 Peter 3:13~
Sometimes there is nothing more to say when addressing the brokenness of our humanity than to say, "This is how it is now but there is an eternal hope".  I think (or would hope) most of the country felt a temporal verses eternal tension in some way last night irregardless of the victory or defeat of his chosen candidate. And the more I live this life, the more those times eagerly present themselves. Everything falls into the needing redemption category. Even joy only causes longing for more joy. Pain is a sure signpost. When I cause someone else to suffer, the need is undeniable. Nothing here is perfect. Nothing is complete.

Next week, I will confront just one of those broken situations. Since age 19, I have had four surgeries to treat endometriosis. It has wreaked havoc on my body. I prayed that after the babies were born, my symptoms would be better, however they have presented much worse. I have exhausted all options for treatments and after the last visit to my doctor, I was on a "call when you are ready to schedule surgery" basis. On November 13, I will have a subtotal hysterectomy. There are still unknowns post-surgery. I would ask you to pray and consider each of these things.

As I balance the sufferings, I also am perceptibly aware of the way God has allowed my broken body to carry our children. Despite the endo, this womb has been used to full capacity ~ in ways that are humbling and astounding. The finality of this procedure does make a gal sentimental, thankful, and sad as I remember years of pain and the contrasting moments of joy. As many hyster-sisters before me, I will grieve the loss of part of me that God built so I would experience the wonder and beauty (and cursedness) of womanhood.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
~2 Corinthians 4:16~
One day, I am going to breathe deeply in a body that is no longer dying, hurting, or wearing out. And on that day, I will know redemption. There is a lovely song by a group called Gungor that rejoices in this and you can hear it here.

Until then, life here is what it is... Yet it is not all. Tolkien says it well through Sam who asks, "Is everything sad going to come untrue?" In this nonfictional land and for those who are found in Christ, praise God, one day it will!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Follow Up Post ~ from March 2012

Since it has been cooler outside, I have been working on a few projects inside the house. I finally got "Welcome to This Story, Little Ones" printed and many names added. It makes the nursery feel complete, along with the addition of a third crib since the girls so longer share.

I love seeing these names and having a visual representation of all those God moved to pray on behalf of our family.  I pray in the timeliness of God's plan for their lives, Isaac, Eliana, and Isabella are encouraged by it as well. 

Season of Joy

My, how time flies.   I get so busy in the day to day, November 1 mentally brought me to a halt and began to herald the beginning of the closing of the year and the holiday extravaganza to come. 

In the course of the last month, babies are continuing to grow and develop new skills and aspects of their personalities.  Everyone is talking.  Isabella continues to expand her vocabulary to include "Bye-Bye".  In fact, all the babies can say "Bye-Bye", "BuhBuh" (which I think may mean brother), "MaMa", and "DaDa".  Eliana has a unique contribution to the jabbering chorus.  I can't believe this is part of her first words... but she says "poop"...  Thank you big brothers!!!  I can't wait to write that one in the baby book.  Andrew and Elijah continue to learn, grow, and teach me simultaneously.  We are moving through our school curriculum at a slow but steady pace.  I thought I would share a few pictures from around our home, as the days grow shorter, yet more full. 

 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
 a time to be born, and a time to die;
 a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
 a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
 a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
 a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
 a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
 a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
 a time for war, and a time for peace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot
find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8;11 ESV

Life moves from season to season, one time to another, always changing.  God teaches me (many times forcefully) through times and seasons to appreciate the variances in tasting the bitterness of tears and hearing sweetness of laughter.  This Thanksgiving season and in this time and space, I am grateful for merciful, discernible joys. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Parent Dedication at LaGrange Baptist Church

This morning, we dedicated ourselves in the presence of our church family to teaching our little ones God's Word, living out the gospel in our home, praying for our children and their salvation, and partnering with our church community for help and accountability as parents with the help of our Loving, Gracious Father.  Our church family committed to love, encouragement, and support for us as parents as well.  It was a sweet time for us all.  These are the babies' bio's:

Isaac Curtis Childs was born on February 3, 2012.  A brother to Andrew, Elijah, Eliana, and Isabella, he has brought great joy to his parents, Micah and Tiffany.  With his strawberry-blond hair and infectious smile, Isaac personifies his name which means laughter in Hebrew.  That is exactly what his family did when they found out he would be born with his two sisters, first frozen in 2008 then granted continued life and growth in 2011.  The Childs family welcomes Isaac with thankfulness to the Creator and Sustainer of all things.  May he never know a day he doesn’t know the love of Jesus.   

Eliana Sue Childs was born on February 3, 2012.  A sister to Andrew, Elijah, Isaac, and Isabella, she has brought great joy to her parents, Micah and Tiffany.  Eliana has beaten all earthly odds and continues to be a visible reminder that “God moves in a mysterious way, Whose wonders to perform” ~William Cowper.  Her name means “God has answered” and in her precious life, He already has in so many ways.  It has been fascinating watching Eliana grow into her precocious personality.  The Childs family is grateful to the Father of lights for the good and perfect gift of Eliana.  May she never know a day she doesn’t know the love of Jesus.   

Isabella Joy Childs was born on February 3, 2012.  A sister to Andrew, Elijah, Isaac, and Eliana, she has brought great joy to her parents, Micah and Tiffany.  Her life has been a reminder that God’s promises are sure and in them we find beautiful joy, as her name implies.  Her big, blue eyes and welcoming smile inspire the smiles of others around her.  The Childs family is humbled at the blessing of Isabella, given by God, who created her fearfully and wonderfully, in His own image.  May she never know a day she doesn’t know the love of Jesus.   

We pray for these children.
Be merciful to them.
Draw them to Yourself.
Help them to love and trust Jesus.
We pray that You will grow them in faiath,
so that they might become like trees
planted firmly by streams of water,
bearing fruit in season,
with leaves that will not wither.
Forthe glory of Christ,

Friday, October 05, 2012

New Photos and an Update

After I posted last, Isabella decided to say, "Ma Ma".  Such is the irony of life!  Melts my heart... however she says it most when she is sad or mad...  I think Isaac says it too in the midst of a breakdown.  It kind of comes out, "Mmmmmmaaaaaaahhhhhhh!"  How ever they say it, I'll take it:)  I think Eliana is practicing the "B" sound.  I can't wait to hear them all babbling at once.  I am sure it will sound like a flock of jabbering babies. 


A good friend of ours took some family pictures recently and I want to share them with you! 

To see more of his work or for booking information, visit:
or call Brad at (502) 301-0723.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Travels and Such

All I can say is, everyone here went through a bought of illness, Micah had an out of town trip, and then we all traveled as a family to Minneapolis, MN. That should explain the lack of writing I have done over the past few weeks!

Now to break it all down, we did all get something seasonal related. Isaac got the worst of it. He ended up with breathing treatments and steroids. Again, we are thankful for medications that help when all else fails.

During our passing illness, Micah had to be out of town on a business trip. I have to say, it was one of the most trying weeks of my life having all babies sick at the same time. My one mommy-to-three babies limitations were tried and tested over and over again. There were moments when I had no idea how to get from point A to point B, but just like the symptoms, those moments passed. Sometimes God provided a helping hand by way of good friends and other times He simply carried us all. God was gracious in helping me adjust my expectations and enjoy days spent in two rooms of the house, humidifier blaring. I made it through the babies first infection, thankful they were big enough to handle it overall. It is amazing to me that God has kept them well for over seven months.

Micah returned and almost immediately, we left for Minnesota; estimated travel time (without triplets) 13 hours away. It was my first trip north of Chicago. The babies spent their first night in a hotel.

The next day we drove primarily through Wisconsin, explaining our accents and threatening to find someone... ANYone, make friends, and see if they are up for company for about a week!  During this season of life, every stop lasts at least an hour and a half as we feed everyone and change the babies.  That adds three hours if we stop twice on a trip.  You do the math~  The boys were troopers.

When we finally made it, I was reminded why in the world we would do such a thing. We all had a blast with friends. Our children love their time together and I daresay the adults do too.  Good friends who know who we are, see our faults and love us anyway are rare treasures.  During our visit, we were fed well, went on a shopping trip (the gals), a conference (the guys), visited an aquarium, attended an Andrew Peterson concert, got lost driving in downtown (Tiffany and kiddos), and did a host of other things.      

These are some of my favorite pics from the trip:
The looming wind turbines in Indiana.

The boys' favorite store in the Mall of America.

Our reunion with our friends, the Wolters.  Jaime was one of the first to know we were having three babies.  She lovingly kept the boys for us that particular day.  This was the first time she and Doug met Isaac, Eliana, and Isabella after praying for them so fervently.

Andrew and Elijah love roller coasters!

Moms and kiddos

Friends~ fearfully, and wonderfully made and showing their unique personalities.

All smiles!

Dear friends.

The city of Minneapolis as we drove away, showing its fall colors.
While we were away, Miss Isabella began saying "Da Da"!  All those months of trying to teach Ma Ma have again resulted in another child's first words NOT being Ma Ma.  I guess I can't blame her... he really is a good guy.  I have new family pictures I will be posting soon.  The babies are 8 months old today and I can't wait to share just how much they have grown! 

In other news...  I remember several things about working in nursing homes during high school and college. People age- and as a result of seeing just how much we age, I decided to never ever get a tattoo. When you have seen what the lack of skin elasticity, thinning, and decreased cell renovation does to butterflies and "I love Mom" penned on various parts of the body, it is easy to come to that conclusion. I don't appear on the surface to be much of a tattooed gal. I wear clothes from The Loft and homeschool for crying out loud!  However, a friend of mine and I have been talking about it for years. And when it came up again recently, I got a little excited about it. The good thing about waiting until you are 30+ is that no one can accuse me of impulsiveness!  Honestly, I thought maybe I was too old for such a cool thing.  It dawned me that it might serve a profound purpose; reminding me visibly of Whose I am. While I love the identities God has given me, the most important is that indeed, I am ~in Christ~ a daughter of the King.  I know I need to be reminded of this daily and for me, this is an artistic way. I understand it isn't for everyone.  Now that it is done, I would definitely make the same choice again.  We'll see what my ankle looks like in 20 years or so but I am hoping it holds up:)
So there you have it~ a hodge-podge of Child Family news. Praying each of you are experiencing God's love and peace as we settle in to fall.