Love and Loss and Bethlehem.

A baby gone too soon.
A beloved family member diagnosed with cancer.
A dear woman battles emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her husband.
Children beg for food in third world countries.
Ten year old girls lose their innocence and their humanity as they are sold as sex slaves.  

It hurts like hell.
It stings
It all falls so painfully short of what we feel this life should be
It aches like betrayal on a massive scale
A world wide scale
And we, humanity, are the victims left in the wake.
A big joke played on all of us
By a bunch of pranksters residing in the Heavenlies.  

And we numb the pain with drugs
With wine
With anger
And sleep
Or hurtful silences
Or busyness
Or denial
We numb our cells to the best of our abilitiy
To avoid feeling
To avoid the reality
To avoid the ache
But when the numbing wears off
It still hurts
And we rage against our Creator
Our cells scream
We groan from the never lands
We weep for the lost tomorrows
And forgotten yesterdays
And the vacant presents
And there are still no answers
The Creator is silent.

The baby remains absent
And grandma starts chemotherapy
And the “C” word enters our children’s vocabulary once again
Along with the “D” word in regards to their unknown sibling

And our eyes spill in response to their tears
And children still starve
And that woman still aches for a loving spouse
And girls are raped again and again
And that is the reality of what we call life.
And that is why our hearts ache for something purer
And bigger
And more beautiful
We ache for more
We need more
We yearn for a hereafter
Where all the pain is gone
And every tear is wiped from our eyes
Our hearts scream for some sort of redemption
Something that makes it bearable again
All of creation grapples with the injustice we’ve been served
And we shake our fists in righteous indignation towards the pain we have endured in our fallen nature.
Our souls search through the fragility of our humanity for something deeper.

The “Whys?!” we scream
Why is a Godly woman ravaged by an insidious disease?
Why a baby, an innocent child who has harmed not one, taken so early?
Why!?!?
We scream to the Heavens
To anyone who will turn a listening ear towards our anguish

And we hardly dare to place our hope in that distant Eastern star.
A star pointing to a road less traveled
To a little town
Called Bethlehem.
We scarcely dare to believe that Bethlehem offers something new
Something different
Something in an old barn,
A rustic trough
A baying donkey
A cow silently watching
A tiny baby boy
Wrapped in humility
Yet drenched in majesty
From perfection
To hell
All to give us, his beloved creation, a glorious hope in something more.

And we scream for our Christmas miracle
We kneel before our Savior
And we beg for it to be different
Beg for him to metamorphose it all into something beautiful
Something we vaguely hope will be used for his glory and his honor.

Something not of our world
But something magnificently captured in the hereafter of it all.

He gives and takes away
Blessed be his name.

Moments define our lives
Moments of sadness, joy and pain.
Within these moments we are eternally changed
For worse
Or for better…

Until we meet again baby Ronne.  
You were lost too soon….
All my love
Mama.  

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for your support over this past year with my blog. Thank you for loving my family.  Thank you for rooting us on as we blend, move, attempt to grow, and now suffer loss once again.
Thank you for understanding that I need a break.  I will always come back to my writing, but I just need to BE for a few weeks.  I need to be with my family, my husband, my God and my thoughts.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  May that baby boy in a manager bless each one of you during this beautiful season of redemption.  Merry, Merry Christmas.

Always follow the star in the East, it will never, ever disappoint.  HE is all we need.

 

Just keep livin…

The Ronne Kids Get New Systems!

We have a few new systems in place at the Ronne house that I thought I’d share a bit about.  I’ve discovered that to run a large family there needs to be structure, so much more structure than a “normal” size family of 2 or 3 children would require because without the boundaries in place, the monkeys would run wild, the house would be a disaster, mom would be a stressed out zombie, and we would never have any food in the house, and I’m just not going to be a slave to that kind of craziness.  

I’ve posted about our bin system, here’s a link Numero Uno System at our house THE BIN – (my siblings can start groaning now…), a system that I stole from my own childhood which is an easy way to keep the kids accountable for their own stuff left out around the house.  This has been effective, until recently when the older children have been extremely unmotivated by a promise of a visit to the family store and instead they have been gripping about “how come we can’t get real money for our allowance?”  Ryan and I discussed this complaint and agreed, they could start receiving real money instead of store bucks but if they got real money there were going to tithe, save, and have 40% left over to spend.  They agreed. Perfect, problem solved.

 I also decided that it was exhausting coming up with new chore lists for each child every Saturday morning determined by how many items they had accumulated in the bin over the week so instead I typed up a master chore list, gave each of the four oldest children a copy, and had them list in the order of 1-4 their “favorite chores”  They each did this task one night during our family meeting time, and we were able to give most of them what they wanted thereby creating one master Saturday list where each one does the same chores every week in addition to their nightly dinner chores of washing dishes, sweeping, or taking the trash out.  Perfect.  That was done.  

system2
Next, we had some consequences in place for bad behavior such as hitting was early bedtime, being mean equaled writing an apology letter to that person, disrespect was grounding from something important and these were no longer having a single bit of effect on our kids anymore.  They just didn’t care.  So instead….

They each have one hour of computer time of Saturdays and Sundays.  Ryan came up with the smiley face chart where if they do something unkind to someone else they automatically lose 5 minutes of their computer time for the weekend.  This has been effective because our children seem to live and die for these two hours of zombie time over the weekend.  

system1
Finally, the littlest ones, Josh and Jada.  Each has struggled mightily in certain areas.  Jada tends to have a serious attitude problem about her chores which drives me CRAZY.  Josh tends to bawl his eyes out every single night when we tell him it’s bedtime and it GRATES my nerves.  Neither one is fantastic about staying in their own bed and instead they enjoy visiting with one another throughout the night, causing mayhem and sleepy older kids the next day.  Here’s the solution we made just for them.  

system3
Jada needs to wash the table (her chore) with a smile on her face, eat her meals, and stay in her bed.  

Josh needs to wash the chairs, not bawl his eyes out a bedtime, and stay in bed.  

For each of these tasks accomplished they earn one sticker.  15 stickers in a week equals a trip to the family store.  They have done a 180 turn around in their little lives.  It has worked like a charm, or maybe it’s their older siblings informing them about Santa’s naughty or nice list but whatever is behind their motivation, we’ll take it.  

Just keep livin!!

Turkey and Our Redneck Holiday

We’ve had an exciting few weeks here in Tennessee, busy as usual. 

A few weeks ago the girls and I took a mini vacation to Louiseville, KY where we met up with my sister and a family friend, Paula.  We had a great time shopping and dining at nice restaurants, which normally would have been a huge thrill for me, the foodie that I am, but being a few weeks pregnant made the joy diminish quite significantly.  The only thing I wanted to eat was turkey clubs.  I have no idea what that was all about but those sandwiches hit the spot. 

louisville2On our way!

 

louisville1Look Mya!!

louisville3Mabel and Aunt Greta

The day before Thanksgiving we (well I) had this brilliant idea about how quaint it would be to cut a Christmas tree down off of our own property, and we could save about 50 bucks.  Out we trekked on a beautiful, crisp morning to hack down the prized possession down by the pond.  We found the perfect tree, cut it down, hauled it up the hill and placed it in our house.  I took one look at it and hated it.  It was awful, it looked like the epitome of a redneck holiday.  I told my husband it was not something I could live with for 6 weeks and begged him to let me pick out another one, which he graciously agreed to because he loves me.

IMG 8326 800x533

 

IMG 8329 800x533

 

IMG 8330 800x533The horribly, ugly, tree.  

Thanksgiving was also interesting this year.  I actually felt pretty decent on the big day and was able to whip up two pies, corn, potatoes and gravy, and rolls while Ryan dug the guts out of the turkey, basted it, and stuck it in the oven.  It was delicious.  The highlight of the holiday was having Ryan’s mom and step dad visit that evening and stay for a few days.  They enjoyed a reheated feast and spent overdue time with the grand kids (and the big kids) until Sat. 

 

IMG 8333 800x533our feast

 

IMG 8338 800x533

Saturday night Ryan and I ventured out for date night despite my incredibly queasy stomach.  We drove about an hour away to a tree farm, enjoyed hot chocolate which had an amazing ability to calm my queasiness, and found the perfect, expensive, beautiful tree.  The next day we turned on Christmas music, indulged in more of my new favorite food, hot chocolate, and decorated mostly the bottom of the tree.    

IMG 8345 800x533

 

IMG 8347 800x533

 

IMG 8367 800x533

 

IMG 8383 800x533

 

IMG 8385 800x533

 

IMG 8388 800x533Almost the finished product!

Just keep livin!!

 

 

Let Us Be Thankful

In the spirit of being completely haywire in my posts lately, a Halloween post on Monday, a month after the actual holiday, I thought I’d continue with what I’ve got going by posting a Thanksgiving post today, a week after the actual event occurred.  I had this list swirling about in my mind for a bit, specific things that I am thankful for right now, in this moment, where I am in life. 
1.    My husband.  I am thankful that I have a healthy spouse, especially throughout the pregnancy.  This is something most people take for granted until walking through pregnancy with an extremely ill spouse.  I do not take this very simple, yet extremely profound gift for granted, or for that matter the gift of a spouse to walk beside me on this journey. He has been my rock through these last few weeks, and I know that’s not necessarily the norm.   I warned him prior to the pregnancy that  I would not be a pleasant person for the first few months.  I do not glow during this blessed event, I do not smile very often during this time, in fact, I offer very little grace or elegance during these first few months, and he took it all in, agreed to the plan nonetheless, and has been nothing short of wonderful even going so far as to let me sleep in during the week while he gets up at 6:30, gets 5 children ready for school, changes a 9 year olds dirty diaper, and then drives them all 30 minutes to school.  I am thankful for this man who is laying down his life for me right now.
2.    Moments of Ick.  This has ironically been the easiest pregnancy of the five that I’ve had (funny after the spiel I just laid out concerning my lack of grace through it all, huh? )  I don’t know if it’s due to having a healthy husband this time around or having older, more self – sufficient children, or less stress, but I have had not only moments where I feel pretty good but entire days where I feel pretty decent.  Nothing sounds great to eat, I do have a constant ick in my mouth, and I’m always tired, but I’ve ironically learned to treasure those moments of extreme ick because they do give me a sense of peace that I am pregnant and hormonal. 
3.    Pandora.  This brings such a calm to my soul whether I’m listening to Christmas Carols while baking or Civil Wars Radio while resting, or intense, pump it out work out music while I’m walking, I’m thankful for the gift of music.
4.    The Sun.  I am thankful that I see the sun so often in Tennessee, a very different reality from the one I left in Michigan. 
5.    Friends, far and near.  I’m thankful for the new relationships I’m establishing here in Tennessee, and I’m thankful for my dear friends back in Michigan.  There is a sort of weeding process that occurs with a move and some of my former relationships have fallen by the wayside but some of them, interestingly enough, the move has only intensified our desire for companionship and conversations with one another.  For those of you, I am thankful.  You have kept me somewhat sane and grounded through the process. I’m thankful that our relationship has not only deepened but has actually prospered with the miles between us. 
6.    Chrissy, Luke’s dear friend and aid at school.   Chrissy, you have NO idea how much peace of mind you have brought to my life.  Your job in Luke’s classroom may seem insignificant to some but for me, knowing that Luke not only has his physical needs cared for on a daily basis but that you love him and care for him as if he were your own has made this whole transition to Tennessee 5 million times easier.  Thank you Chrissy, you have been such a blessing to me over the past few months. 
7.    Facebook – Although this modern invention often irritates me to no end, the constant drama posted and the obsessive compulsive nature of needing to know what’s going on with everyone at all times, I am especially thankful now that I’ve moved away from friends and family that I am able to connect with people on a consistent basis and that they are able to stay involved in our life to the extent that I allow it.
8.    My children, what a hodgepodge of personalities, gifts, struggles, and joys in these seven human beings.  I am thankful for them, what they bring to my life, but more so, I am thankful for how they are molding me, painfully often, to become more Christ like.  Through them I learn, literally, “more of you, less of me” more of them, more of HIM, less of me.  That’s the lesson the Master always seeks to impart, and he uses these 7 souls to constantly inscribe it upon my heart.
9.    My writing.  Writing enables me to think and expand my thoughts and determine how and why I feel about a certain issues.  Writing keeps me connected to humanity, it allows me a venue of exploration and dreaming, and it’s incredibly affordable therapy. 
10.    A Dream.  I’m thankful for the ability to dream.  I’m thankful for the dream Ryan and I have for our life and for our family.  “Without a dream the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).   I’m thankful that God gives us dreams and then speaks to our hearts, softly and unpretentiously, guiding and directing us, providing  wisdom throughout it all, this life, our children, their pains, their joys, our livelihoods, he is faithful in revealing the next step at just the right time; He is faithful in nurturing the dream.  

Just keep livin!!