Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A beautiful story.

My nights have gotten a little bit better and our days definitely have.

I am not napping, I'm just not sleeping.  I finally fell to sleep at 3:30am this morning and was up at 8.

Our days, however, are going wonderfully.

ZhenAi loves to be outside. Yesterday Tirzah took her on a walk and she didn't want to come back in!

This afternoon, I heard a loud whack and then a scream. I ran around the corner to see Izrael standing wide eyed "ZhenAi spanked me!!! Again!!!" I tried not to look at ZhenAi so she didn't think I was coming to talk to her.  In fact, I looked away from her.  Ray has been telling me since China that ZhenAi keeps "spanking" her.  We've never seen it but I've been trying to keep a close eye.  Well...I heard this time!

So as I walked her direction, looking the other way, she RUNS! Like...RUNS across the house.  I'm thinking that was a sign of her knowledge of what she had done.  So I call her to me. Nope, no way.  I finally get near her and motion to her what a whack is (in the air) with Izrael standing nearby.  I then say "no no". Now we say 'sorry Ray'. She started SCREAMING no. I of her lungs screaming.  Yes. This was going to be a battle.

So I had to carry her to her room...she would not budge and was stomping her feet, folding her arms, letting me know she was not going to come to her room as she screamed in the loudest shrill I hope I ever hear. So...I carried her.  Thankful for a friend who has been praying God will give us 'strong backs'!! Boy do I need it! Thankfully...I have one!

There she starts swinging at me. She never came close enough to hit me but kept motioning as if she would. Every time I would push her fist down into her lap and she'd pop it right back up.  Now I'm not smiling. My voice is quiet but stern.  "ZhenAi no.  This is not ok. You do not hit and now you need to say SORRY RAY". I'm motioning everything I'm doing. All I get is head back, mouth open, top of the lungs scream.

This went on for a very long time. Well...maybe it was my dripping sweat as I tried to keep her flailing limbs from hitting me that made the clock slow down. I'm not sure. But this standoff felt like forever.  As we are nearing the end...she leans in (I have no idea if it's on purpose or not) and burps RIGHT in my face.
Come on. Go there with me.   I am sure I bit my lips together, closed my eyes for a very long second and then entered this with new resolve.  When she burps, we have taught her to say "excuse me" and she does upon prompting. This time she laughed and said no.  Five minutes later when she saw I was not going anywhere...she said "Excuse Me" and "sorry Ray" though Ray was no where to be found ... this was wonderful.

Then I lead her to the bathroom where I washed her face and dried her tears and told her we are all done.  She nodded and came out into the kitchen, followed me like a puppy dog and was beaming the whole time.


Yes. These moments.  They are hard. Messy. Yucky, even. Just plain hard.

But you know what's coming next...yes.  This:  I can do hard things.  I don't like it. Not one bit.  It's not fun. Entertaining. Feels like I'm getting no where. All of that. All of it.

But it's a part of the story.  It always amazes me how people walk in on the story years down the road and see our children obeying. Respectful. Kind. And make some comment about how lucky we are.

If you know me you know that really sits well :)  Lucky?

Come here for all the messy moments that led to respect and obedience and kindness.

Whether it's Taizi and "he's not really that hard!" after we endured months of screaming just to get him to eat! To crawl! To walk! Yes, it's fine to walk in now and see how manageable he is but it took 3 years of a lot of (loud) hard work.  As it did with all of our children.

This is her story. Our story. And someday these messy moments will all be a distant memory.

Tonight, 2 of our other children had a conversation about how one had bumped into the others' lego creation and ruined it all. It was an accident but the other child was really upset.  Really upset. Like why should child #2 still get to play with child #1? I mean "I know it was an accident but they ruined my set I don't want to play with them anymore!" and child #2 was crying b/c he felt genuinely bad about it.

So as I'm helping them wade through it...I asked them "do you think I felt like coming out of that battle with ZhenAi today and hugging her, laughing with her as she watched me cook dinner? Do you think I wanted to give her a bubble bath tonight and wash her hair and comb it when it was I who was sweating buckets and needed the bubble bath?" I was met with wide eyes. "No...mommy".  No. I didn't. But what was the RIGHT thing to do?

Yes.  We know. We all know.

The right thing is to swallow your 'me feelings' and do the right thing. the next right thing.

Don't worry about tomorrow. Do the right thing today.  Actually..just do the next right thing right now.

After ZhenAi's bath...I look at the kitchen table to see this moment.

This moment. Unprompted. I wasn't involved one bit.

In fact when I called them to look at me, you can see the surprise on both of their faces!

Izrael (the one ZhenAi hit earlier!) is combing ZhenAi's hair and ZhenAi is looking in the mirror as she does it.

And this is the beginning of a beautiful story.  Please...some day if you visit....don't miss the work it took to get to that amazing place. See beyond.  Just like our marriage. Our new house.  Our business. We aren't lucky. Never have been!  We have very hard.  And we...just like you...have learned along the way...that we can do hard things!  And the result is this beautiful story.


  1. Janice, I admire your hard work with all of your children. I look at you and am amazed by your patience and control. You are such an example to me. I sure love your family!!

  2. You are about the stringest, most patient person I know! Hugs! I think you and the journey of parenthood defines "I can do hard things" in every imaginable way!

  3. Beautiful! All the mess, all the victories, all the hard lessons and YOU!! I love your consistency, it inspires me when I sometimes feel like giving up. It really does work. I can see your family is living proof. Xo

  4. Janice, I love how you and your husband meet your children with love, grace and forgiveness just as God sent His Son so that we can experience these precious gifts! I just always appreciate reading about how you guys parent. You are blessed to have each other and I wish all children could experience such parenting! Praying for strength of heart--and backs lol!
    Love, Lori

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  6. (Ashlee H) Loved this post! You are SO right.
    Sometimes people tell me how "lucky" I am to have had "good" pregnancies, and "easy" labours. lol. Oh how they have no clue :).. its all about how you look at things, and how you work through the extremely hard, and who your strength comes from.
    Same with my kids (they're only toddlers yet); my oldest is a very kind, mannerly, early talker who speaks very well. They say I'm lucky.. yes it could be part of his nature, but its also about how your raise them. They don't see all the stories, the teaching, the time invested, sacrifices made, and learning/growing I've done, to raise him thus far.
    Although I'm only at the beginning of my parenting journey, I get what you're saying. I love the way you put that. <3 Thanks for sharing.