Wee Hoursof Motherhood

Was I a brave mom?

This song on the CD is music only. I’m not really sure if I can get the song recorded and put on this blog site. The disc fromt he makers is not online anywhere, so the legistics of getting it up on this site is not easy. I own the copyright, so we’ll see if I get creative.

The song was written in the wee hours of the night on my Clavinova with head phones in my ears. It was also one of the few pieces with actual music on paper. We lived in an upstairs apartment complex and when we moved out the neighbors said they would miss us. We never saw the neighbors. I guess we were both pretty quiet.

The song that should have been on the list is one that i wrote during pregnancy. It was written in the “hope” stage and the weapy emotional thoughtfulness that comes with not knowing what lies in the future.


Today, as I thought about you

I began to cry

I am not sure why

But I began to cry

Maybe it’s because you are mine

Maybe it’s because you are special

Maybe it’s because God knows your time

Maybe it’s because I love you

Or maybe it’s because

You are you…

But today

As I though about you

I began to cry…

-written in February of 1993, by Yvonne Annette

The melody and the words were written in such a raw emotional state, that I have not shared it much. But there it is.

My first daughter came at the midnight hour. We did not find out whether she was a girl until she was born. Because of my health condition called ITP, the doctor’s decided to do a caesarean birth shortly after my water broke. It was somewhat of a rush job. Though we had to wait for the anesthesiologist to come from thirty minutes west. And then the pain meds did not work for me. I felt the sharp cuts so horribly. They were somewhat dull, but still ever nerve was on fire. I am so thankful that my husband was there to hold my hand. As soon as the doctor said, “It’s a girl!” And I said, “I have my little Yolanda Marie.” They put me to sleep for the rest of the stitching up. So I did not really get to meet her until two hours later. I can still recall the feeling of the surgeon’s knife.

But she is truly a blessing. And recovery went smoothly. She was such a good baby. I had trouble functioning at night, so daddy would bring her in to me for nursing. I was so glad when she slept through the night at 12 weeks old.

My second daughter also came in the sixth year of my ITP disorder. By the time I was less than a month from due date, the doctor’s decided to test her platelets. We went to the cities to a very impersonal OB-Gyn. He did the procedure in quite a blur and found her to be perfectly fine on the blood work. Never the less our fears were still heightened and we did not know if my count would remain up for the delivery. After three days of attempting to get labor to begin, the doctors decided once again to do a c-section. This time it was because our little baby’s heart rate had begun to show stress.

My second daughter was born in better pain management for the surgery. The doctor stated, “You can begin with a Y.” Instead of saying ‘it’s a girl.’ She would not have a Y at the beginning of her name. And it took us a few hours to decide what her first name would be. We had the names reversed until my husband looked at the newspaper to see how many Meghan’s there were. So Lennea Megan she is! And she also was such a good baby. A little bit of jaundice from being two weeks early, I remember having to waker her up every two hours to feed her.

So my daughter’s came into the world on their own special days. They are in their own special ways the joy in my life. Even after they have grown and gotten married, I still tear up at the amazing young women they have become. God has surely overflowed my cup with these two lovely ladies!

I love being their mom.

I loved motherhood.

And I am so glad their dad and I were given two beautiful daughters.

Disclaimer alert. The girls did not like this picture. Maybe it was the clothes they had on or the cool fall weather. It is still one of my favorites though. Maybe it’s because no matter what the season or the time in life, daughters are sisters that share secrets that even mom does not know. But for me, it’s the fact that no matter the secrets or the challenges that life throws at them, they are still my little girls and the joy of them just being themesleves sparks raw emotion will always bring a tear of happiness to my eyes.

The verse that I put in the folder for the sixth song is from I Timothy chapter 2. Verse fifteen states that the mother is saved during childbearing years by her continued faith, love, holiness and self-control. I believe this is a “working out of salvation” not a saving grace. It is more of the “fruits” of the Savior’s work in a person’s life. The idea that childbearing is part of the covenantal salvation puts an emphasis on the the womb of woman that would be very devastating when a woman cannot bear children. Later on when miscarriage marked me with emotional scars, this verse became a haunting voice. I had to learn to trust in Christ all over again and find faithful women who had not had children to lift up my spirits.

My mother says that the mothering nature was in me even as a little girl. Maybe that’s why I cannot live without a pet. I have to have someone to care for. Life is so empty if a “body” does not rely on me for daily sustenance. Still yet, mothering is special.

Much past the “momma” years, being a mother is something I do not take lightly. And I am so blessed to have both my mom and my mother-in-law as dear examples to me all of these years. There is really too much to say on this topic so I must close with these thoughts.

This being the week of Easter in the Christian calendar, I find it so very endearing that among Jesus’ last words upon the cross are these parting words to his mother. John 19:26-27, “He said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple John, ‘Behold your mother.” And at Jesus’ word, from that hour on, the disciple took Jesus’s mother to his own home and took care of her.

When Mother Cannot Sleep At Night

For my daughters from my garden of prayers, here’s a poem from the midnight hours by yours truly -love to all -mom.

When mothers can’t sleep at night

They pray until their hearts are broken

They sow seeds of tears

They write letters to hide away in drawers

When mother cannot sleep at night

She reads her Lord’s words

She whispers her cries for souls

She spreads blankets of love and mercy

She lifts her praise to the Almighty

When mother can’t sleep at night

She swaddles her little babies

She soothes her feverish toddler

She comforts her dreaming daughter

She consoles her fitful son

She sends heavenward prayers of hope

When mother cannot sleep at night

She weeps for dreams now lost

She aches for arms once filled

She writes lists of to-do’s and wish lists and gift lists and plans holiday meals

When mothers can’t sleep at night

They tend prayer gardens

Hold candle light vigils

Read old leather bond Bibles

And they hold fast their faithful watch


Dissolving stereotypes

Sometimes it is just as easy to walk four miles as it is to walk three and a half. The sweat begins to roll at two miles so just keep on plodding forward. The creek bottom to the south of us was full into the fields last night after another two and a half inches of rain. Listening to the water run on the descent down the hill was comforting. Listening to the water run out the sump pump hole at my sister’s the night before was so so bliss.

Rain can do wonders for the lilies in the garden. Rural water just does not have the same effect. It is almost like they know it’s just too hot to put on petals that will get beat up in the sun and wind. Then the cloudy days arrive and boom- the blossoms are abundant and gorgeous. Just when it seemed they needed a real drink, the showers gave them the extra boost to load up on flowers for the beholder.

Rain can also damage tender plants. Look at the flooded field and the stunted growth of the corn nearby. Too much water causes root rot, tomato blight, lettuce rust, and fig leaf mold. Just when taco salad sounded wonderful, two more inches of rain turned my salad plans to muddy green mush. Oh, well, maybe next time!

Where is the justice for the “just a”=s? Growing up in a small town, we had a lot of theses people that kept the community fed, clean, oiled, gassed up, and protected. There was a woman who was just a waitress that trained me in all the in’s and out’s to the cafe where I worked. My job at the cafe was a pretty good pass time until the gal that was just a mom came to work. Having had eight or nine children, her ability to multi-task was pretty evident. She soon took over the best hours and I become the care maid. Being just the maid at the local establishment had it’s perks too. Like visiting with my classmates grandparents over the coffee hour.

The man that was just a janitor retired one day. The man that took his place was just a bus driver until he took over the janitorial position at the school. This man’s wife soon though maybe she could be more than just-a-mom and tried life at the cafe the summer that I spent with my sister at the north end of the state. The owner soon had to let her go, when she noticed inventory disappearing for the lady’s family. Her summer job ended with the return of school, myself (for weekend cleanup), and position in the school lunch room. Maybe the school wouldn’t mind if she was a bit more than just-a-cook.

The lady that was such a good multi-talker eventually owned the cafe. Her husband was just the local oil man. While the farmers coop had a gas station and did much of oil and tire changes, this man had the oldest brick building gas stop. It was the first one. Not until I nearly graduated from high school did I get the difference between the two places. One was all republican and Methodist. The other was democrat farmers and catholic. But i wouldn’t say it was just a catholic indrustry on his corner. He actually had the benefit of being right next to the bank and across the street from the bar. You can guess that he didn’t spend his time loitering in the bank.

The fellow that was just-a-hired hand came into the cafe on a regular basis to see his lady-friend that was just -a-waitress. The farmer that put up the new dairy took half the man’s job away as the dairy man that first hired him sold all the cows to the new dairy. They sat at opposite ends of the restaurant for their coffee. One sat at the bar/counter, while the other sat at a table. A few minutes later the coffee crowd arrived in and all sat at a separate table. Each man had his usual.

There was a group of ladies that came in for coffee and pie once a week. They say near the wall. One of them was just a mom, wife, and checker at the local grocer’s store. The others had worked as teacher’s or other occupations until retirement. One of the gal’s lived in “just a trailer house.” She was a cousin to the guy that sold the cows. She was a sister-in-law to my best friend of the group. Her house was on the lot one block east of the house that I grew up in. While i delivered paper to my friend in the large two and half story house, and also to her cousin, I never thought of her as living in just a trailer house.

Being just a home- school mom … Really?

Just a pinky toe.

While walking recently, my old grandma feet have decided to play tic tac with my toes. Wo taping the curly ones is a new chore. While on my four mile this morning, thoughts of the pinko toe ran through my head. This poor little appendage takes the brunt of the blows way too often. How many others have found door wars, footstools, table legs, or lego towers with this little toe. Yet the little piggy takes the hits over and over. It has not left the job of hanging on to the corner of the foot. It has not considered the justice of this crashes and while it swells and aches for a day or tow, it does not quit. The job of the pinky toe continues on.

The janitor might clean toilets, floors, windows, and chairs day after day. But if you have ever broken a bone or had some other calamity that kept you from keeping house, it doesn’t take long to wish you could hire a maid. Some people hire all the dirty work done by some one wo is just a house keeper. I prefer to do it myself. Actually…

Now that the tasks that used to be easy for me become harder, I wish I was just a pinky toe. This little piggy cried wee-wee-wee all the way home from my four mile walk. There is not justice in taking the blow for the entire body. Yet that curled little digit does it day after day. Dissolving into a fit of giggles when someone touches it could be a completely different cry of “Whee! Whee! Whee!”

Maybe I can’t dissolve a stereotype in a cup of tea, but the whole point of being just a grandpa is rather ludicrous. There are now robot maids, robot lawn mowers, robot secretaries, and even robot radio/weather channel/ clock/ and encyclopedias. There is no intention on my part to throw out the echo dot machine in my home, but if I could erase the conception that there is no purpose to life outside of my role as mother, wife, gardener, housekeeper, maid, cook, butler, baker, candle stick maker, and all of the other jobs that I do. Well, I am trying hard to BE instead of being what I do.

Sometimes Joy makes me cry. Sometimes pain. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. Sometimes what we do makes us cry and sometimes what we can not do makes us cry. Tears on the face dissolve like mist after rain. Yes, like mist dissolves into the rain, just after the storm the sun shines again. Stereotypes that others hold can cause pain like a flooding rain. “Will the sun ever shine again?”

Not just a journal keeper, writing is not a chore to accomplish before the dishes are done. Every little toe has a reason for being where it sticks out at- not just like a sore thumb either.

The Hope of Spring

Guest author Affton Dudgeon

The hope of spring seems to be filling our air and whirling with the anticipation of birth. New life budding from trees well rested under snow’s blanket of winter. No doubt, even in the beauty and rest, there are scars in these great arms of winter’s whippings. Yet that all seems to rise along with the warmth of sun as we are reminded…that wasn’t the end. What once was dazzling with ice and white glitter, moved to the inbetween of grey, will soon burst forth color. Softness of leaves will fill out what is now bare and empty, but not before the grand entrance is announced in lovely blossom’s air..and more..so much more. The birds of the air, both great and small, all seeking a place to lay their young. Nests, from twig and grass woven, cemented to these trusted branches and trunks. Cell filled eggs and hearts beating small and unseen. Buds and womb both swell with promise. Earth begins to soften, as if willing before its Maker, to be tilled open and filled with seed.  What is it about spring that seems to sing hope over us? Creation does not write its own melody but was made to sing back the echo of our Father’s glory. It’s in this song we hear him sing a sweet lullaby over our hearts. The lullaby of hope and redemption, of life and making all things new,  of birth and being birthed.

A mother’s heart is never really something that just happens. Mothering and birthing are connected. We are just as much formed and birthed into motherhood as we push forth into it our tiny babe. My own mother’s heart has been born and is being raised by many mothers in my life. My dear mother that carried me in her womb for nine months and brought me up, giving herself in sleepless nights, feedings, always wanting more for me. And other sweet spiritual mothers, poured out of themselves so that I may drink and live. As Ann Voskamp would say, “They make room for me in them.” Many, if not all, are mothers in some form or another. Some of you are young, watching, and learning to catch and emmulate how to be a mother as you care for any and all smaller than you. You may be single, but you walk alongside other mother’s holding up her arms and opening yours to hers. Some of you may be married and longing for children, trusting the Lord with His plans. Others of you may have felt the first excitement of the hope of birthing only to find you would wait a lifetime to embrace your baby.  Maybe you have experienced adoption, and you know what it is to labor in paperwork and cross miles after growing your child in your heart.  There are those that have swollen with child, labored long, and held their little image bearer still warm from womb. And some of you have faithfully birthed, loved, and began raising your child to have them step from earth to Glory, out of the order of life itself. And then there are those of you whose mother’s heart is in the three dimentional because you’ve brought up your arrows, and now you are also grandmother. Its here a mother’s heart has been formed and beats. Cells brought together, one by one, like any other organ…yet this one is unique. It takes shape and form, but the cause of the beating is unknown. At just the right moment and when each cell is in place, one suddenly begins to beat. Then another follows…then another and another until all beat as one, and the flow of blood and life itself is heard.

What is in the Mother’s heart that we hear? We hear rhythm’s whisper for longing…a longing for a postive test, the sound of the heartbeat through the ultrasound, a healthy pregancy, and safe delivery. Longing for that first cry that signals air is moving in and out of newly formed lungs. Longing to stare into newborn eyes of wonder.  Longing to feed, to nurture, and  grow. Longing to always be patient and calm, filled with all humility, for peaceful to be the air of home. Longing for endless energy and steady emotion in sleepless nights. To not be so rushed with what is to be done and pause for what is right now. Longing to know best how to school. Longing to celebrate and capture every fleeting memory that seems to go by even if you gaze until eyes dry and don’t blink. Longing for bedtime stories, family movie nights, real conversation, and hearts spilled. To soothe every skinned knee with a tender smile. Longing to teach them responsibility and prepare them for the world. Longing for manners and poise. Longing to always have the gentle tone and kind smile. To snuggle in slowly and breathe them in deep. A longing to be remembered that we loved them well, and that we cultivated a home for ours within ourselves. That we didn’t mess it up. A longing to give them Jesus and to help hide Gods word in their hearts. And yet it doesn’t take our Mother’s heart long to find this world is broken. We are broken. Singleness is prolonged so marriage and childbearing seem out of reach. Pregnancy tests read negative and void. Heartbeats turn still and silent. We experience complications like gestational diabeties, preterm labor, and spend endless weeks on bedrest. Delivery feels like days of agony and pleading rather than beauty and strength, and our birth plan unwravels. Rather than the cry of health, our baby is rushed to the nicu…or worse. Instead of faith, we feel fear. We lose our patience and tone is jagged and cutting to the least of these. We seek control, and calm becomes fret. We grow weary and ache for sleep. We hurry through our list and push souls aside just to move into another rush of day. We are crushed by the burden of school choices. We move past bedtime stories just to bedtime for time alone. We arne’t always sure how to even prepare them for the world when we are overwhelmed by it ourselves. We fail to soak in every second like we vowed and are bowed in guilt for blinking, and before we know it they have gone…and we wonder…”Will they stand and call me blessed?” We know deep down we fail, and we weep until tears run dry and throat runs hoarse.  This is where we find, if we listen very closely to our mother’s heart…just what it is…deeper still…the true longing. We are longing for Grace. And not the passive kind of Grace that overlooks all our broken as if from a distance. That really isn’t grace at all but indifference. We long for a Redeemer. A Rescuer. The active and alive presence of God Himself. The kind that sees exactly who we are even better than we see ourselves.  A relational God who calls us to Him and makes us to be like him. The kind that tells us where to find our home, to build our nest, and lay our young.

Psalm 84:3 says, “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-a place near your alter, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.”

This is the good news we need to be washed with as snow washes earths decay. Before hope’s blossoms bloomed, Jesus hung on winter’s tree. The one who bears the marks of sin’s whippings. Whose blood alone has soaked this soil and gives the growth to seed and water, buried in earth and raised to life. We need to know that one who has born us first. Who was King and yet entered into womans womb, cell to infant, boy to man, and knows this journey well. Who is aquainted with grief and able to sympathise with us who are dust, yet is able to claim victory rather than defeat. Who was first born among many, and who makes us born into newness of life. Who longs to take us under His wing and carry us on His hip, remembering us as a nursing mother. For we are never too grown up to need Him. We need to know that our being a mother was never meant to be the end itself, but only to point us in our weakness to the one who has come to fulfill every longing in Himself. The one whose breath breathes soul into flesh. Who did not abandon Eve in the curse but was her help in delivery and being delivered. The one who marries us in our single state. Who can grant even aged womb laughter born, yet even if not, promises his heartbeating into ours as we rest ourselves on his chest. He, who crushes giants and commands winds and wave. Who is our Great Teacher and schools each family where he wills. Who never sleeps or slumbers. Who proclaims to us his story of stories.  The one who has fearfully and wonderfully made us as well as our children. The one who has overcome the world, after all, he created it all. Does it not bow and exist at his voice? Are not all things by him and for him and through him? I AM who engraves our names on his hands and writes us on his heart. I AM whose word is sword of two edges, to heal and to cut, and will not return void. The one who IS love which is always patient and kind. Who never grows weary but renews strength like eagles. Who has made every day for his glory and our rejoicing. We need to know he accepts our tainted works with hearts postured towards his because he holds the basin, to wash our dirty hands and feet, and teaches us how to be more like him.  Even our righteous works alone are filth, and our tears need to be washed. But weilded in the hand of Jesus and bottled for his glory, they are called good. For we cannot add or take away from his love or what he has done. We need to know where to lay our children…where to find our home…were to lay ourselves. Its the altar of winter’s tree-the cross. The holy dwelling where we can lay our burdens and control, our idols and our longings.  Planting and growth for our good and our children cannot be done in our own strength, and our Mothers heart knows. It weeps and mourns behind closed doors because of how well it knows. Just ask me how I know. We need more…we need more than our mother’s heart. We need our heavenly Father’s heart. and for those who are trusting in Jesus alone receive just that.  Jeremiah 32 promises,

“And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everylasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”

We hear the song of Spring in this sweet word. We hear it straight from the lips and heart of Grace. We are His planting. This holy ground is for our growing as much as it is our children. The earth breaks forth because his back was tilled so we could flourish into His Eden. Because Jesus felt the turning away of His Father, we can breathe deep the breath of his face set a flint to do good to us. A mother’s heart, poured out and dying to self, is only one filled with the heart of God poured forth in his Son. One that can say we can count all loss compared to knowing Jesus. To know Him and be known. To be made like him. This is where we find our longings turned to joy rather than crushing burden. Our desire to be the good mom resting in our Great God.

Treading this narrow path with the flesh of our flesh is both dangerous and amazing. There are summits of unimaginable view our limited eyes could never fully take in, and valleys not deep enough to truly feel and hold the grief we will endure. There are wolves and witches waiting in shadows. There are jagged rock, slippery slopes, and bone chilling storms.  There are also green pastures, a river flowing from streams of everlasting, and Spirit’s fanning flame that winter’s air thrusts us into.  Matt Redman sings it best,”Never once do we ever walk alone alone.” Isaiah 42 assures us, “He carries the lambs in His arms and gently leads those with young.” He who calls out, “let the little children come to me,” is a good, good shepherd.   So as we journey together, Dear Mothers, may we hear together the words of C.S. Lewis in the hope of spring,

“Courage Dear Heart…
Wrong will be made right,
when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar,
sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth,
winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane we shall have spring again.”

(The above writing in full was written and read by Affton at my daughter’s baby shower on April 29th. The photos taken by myself were take the week before and the week after said shower.)