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Fun Bible Fact: The Number 4 and Authority

Lately, I’ve been learning to see patterns in the Scriptures. Like how the number four consistently relates to authority.

On the fourth day of creation the sun was given authority to rule the day, the moon to rule the night. (Gen 1:16)

The fourth son of Israel, Judah, was given authority to rule the people. (Gen 49:10)

The fourth plague on Egypt was the first one to not affect the Israelites, showing the Creator’s authority over His people. (Ex 8:22)

The fourth church of Revelation, Thatiyra, is the only one promised authority if they conquer and keep Messiah’s works until the end. (Rev 2:26-27)

The fourth commandment, the Sabbath, allows those who honor it to show God’s authority over all creation and to declare that He alone is the one who rescued us from slavery. (Ex 20:11, Deut 5:15)

“Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, YHWH, sanctify you.” (Exodus 31:13)

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Eden’s Birth

In honor of my baby girl’s second birthday, which just passed, I am finally posting her lovely birth story.

Change in Plans

We were supposed to be going to Nashville to visit with our friends David and Vicky that Friday after our morning appointment with our midwife, Debi. But there was tons of snow and ice in their area that would have made getting to their house impossible.  Several people had expressed concern about us going over so close to the baby’s birth, but I was certain she would not be coming two weeks early.  That simply was not the way it had gone any of the four previous times.  Despite my assurance, they were all very relieved that the weather didn’t permit us to go.

Let the Messages Begin!

Our appointment with Debi was at 10 am.  I messaged all my sisters with the update:

Debi checked me just a bit ago and her immediate response was, “Ooooh!” She said I was VERY soft and 3.5 cm. She felt lots of hair. 🙂  She said she wouldn’t be surprised if we had the baby this week. BUT I’ve heard that before with all the other babies, so I’m not betting on it. Her point was that in the spectrum of “green” (cervix not ready) to “ripe” (cervix very ready), I’m at the ripe level. As soon as I get contractions that are regular, this baby will be here. She suggested more dancing this Shabbat and said, “Let’s have a baby!” 🙂

By 12:17, shortly after getting home after the appointment, I texted Debi with a screenshot of my contractions, which were about 2 minutes apart and lasting between 30 seconds and one minute. I said, “I don’t know if this is because of the digging today, but I wanted you keep you posted.  They are not stronger than usual.  Just coming frequently.  No more mucus yet.  I’m lying down to see if they’ll taper off.”

I updated the girls. “We may have an impromptu erev here tonight if this keeps up. I’ll keep you posted here.”

SEND SOMEONE FOR A HOSE,” Casey replied.  A new hose to fill the birthing tub that would be blown up in our master bedroom was the one main thing I hadn’t gotten yet, thinking there was still plenty of time. But my mom was already on it.  She grabbed one on her break that afternoon and was poised and ready to leave work at the next notice from me.

Lying down with Simeon did not stop the contractions. They were still rolling in every 2 minutes and lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Though I had been lying down the whole hour, I hadn’t been able to sleep.

Debi canceled her 2 o’clock appointment and told me to get up and see what happened.

“Could this really be it even though I haven’t lost any mucus?”

“Oh yes it could be…Even without the mucus.”

We decided we’d check back in an hour.  But just a few minutes later, I checked myself and got nasty chunky bloody stuff on my finger.  I texted her a picture, because midwives are down with that kind of stuff.

“Mean anything?”

You’d think after doing this four other times, I’d be more sure of the process.  But it’s never the same.

“The cervix is opening,” was her reply.

I sat down at Erich’s desk and cried.  “I’m not ready.”

“Yes, you are,” he assured me.  He reminded me of our Abba’s perfect timing and prayed for us.  He was excited.  “Let’s do this!”

My sisters who were all in the midst of Shabbat prep, began wrapping things up in order to position themselves to be here when I gave the word.

An hour later, at 2:49pm, my body was still cranking out contractions every two minutes, and I began to feel it a little more in my back. Debi decided to head this way. Mom did too. Even though I was still not convinced this was really it, I really wanted all my sisters here. (Turns out that wanting my mom and all my sisters to be with me is a sure sign labor is underway.)

“Mom is almost home,” I told them. “Debi is on her way. I don’t know if this is it, but contractions haven’t spaced out at all, so anyone who wants to come and who won’t be upset if this is a false alarm is welcome to come.”

The Birth Party

That was all the invitation they needed.  The birth party was underway within that hour.

Kristina was in the kitchen cooking up a feast for the entire crew.

Mari was there, offering the perfect words of truth to encourage me at the perfect time.

Casey was making sure I stayed hydrated and took time to sort through the pile of girl clothes she had given me a while before, but which I still hadn’t gotten around to pulling out and organizing.  She also caught the early moments of birth on video for us.

Farrah, pregnant with her first baby, was crying almost continually and asking great questions at every turn.

Laurie was cheering me on and praying.

Alex, a new friend who is a nursing student with aspirations to become a midwife, was there too.

And, of course, Myrna. Somehow, my body has waited until her arrival to kick into high gear these last two births.

The house was buzzing with sweet activity.  I roamed around, having those stop-what-you’re-doing-and-wag-your-bottom contractions in the kitchen and in the living room.  Once the tub began to be prepared, I transitioned up to the room.

My dear friends hauled up pots of boiling water for the tub. (Yes, we actually did need boiling water for this birth. I always thought the boiling water thing was a joke, but it was no joke when our hot water tank decided it couldn’t get the birth tub filled up in time.)

As I waited for the tub, I had the shivers, my tell-tale sign of transition.  Debi checked me.  Bag of waters was bulging.  I was 6-7 cm, maybe even 8.  I had full permission to enter the never-disappointing hot water of the tub.

I encountered the familiar, but ever-exciting, sensations of the baby rapidly descending.  Knowing where I was in the process, and how quickly things would move from there, I sent word to the girls downstairs that whoever wanted to see the baby’s birth should come up quickly,  because this baby was coming soon.

Pushing

The room filled with all my loved ones.  In just a few minutes, with a calm matter-of-factness, I informed Debi I would be pushing soon. Sure enough, that’s just how it went.  After just a few minutes of pushing, I announced, “Okay, there’s the head. All done.”

Debi checked. “It was just the water.”

“Not the head?” I said incredulously. Then I whined a bit as I entered my next contraction.

Despite my disappointment, it was only about three minutes more before she was born.

And she was perfect.

We sat in the water together recovering from the whirlwind of activity we had just gone through.  Then family introductions were made.  Madeline, on the verge of tears, came to see her new sister.  Kieryn, always full of empathy, felt badly that we were in a tub full of blood.  Anson and Simeon greeted their new baby sister with eagerness.

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Happy Endings and New Beginnings

Though Eden Naomi was two weeks early according to my due date, she came right on time:

Friday evening, February 20, 2015, 6:55pm.
8 lbs 8 oz.

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I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried. My entire family was present. Erich and I were overwhelmed by the support.

Shortly after the birth I sent out Facebook thank-you’s. I ended with Debi:

You are an incredible midwife. I have loved every appointment and labor I’ve had with you. Maybe we’ll do this all again in a couple of years.

And here we are two years later, preparing to start appointments again for our next precious gift!

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Kieryn: Six years old

So we actually succeeded in doing an interview really close to her birthday! And by “we” I actually mean “Madeline.”  She has been helping me stay on-top of the birthday interviews this year. Madeline conducted the interview two days after Kieryn’s sixth birthday.  It just took me all the rest of this time to get pictures put in here…

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So, how do you feel as a six-year-old girl?

I like it. I like getting older and older.

Good, because you’ll be doing a lot of that! 🙂

Well, I’m in first grade.

That’s a good start. Umm. How do you like school?

Good. It’s not hard though.

Well, you must be a very smart girl then.

Thank you.

You’re welcome. Do you want to mention a subject you like best?

I like science. And I like Starfall. I like writing.

(Yes. She is such a wonderful, hard-working girl who loves to learn and read. Just recently, I finished a hand-written book and she loves to read it!)

What else do you like?

Hmmm. I like playing with my siblings.

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What else?

I don’t know, but I like playing with baby dolls with Madeline.

I like doing that with you too, but…. what do you like about having four siblings?

What?

(I repeat the question.)

Jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes.

Good, well.. if you could choose three things that you would like to be able to do that you’re not allowed to do now, what would they be?

Ride bikes to the end of the road.

That’s one thing.

I… I want… I want to meet new friends in our neighborhood.

What’s another thing? One more thing.

Mmmmm. (She thinks for a minute and clicks her tongue in her mouth.) Why do you record everything I do?

So, what would you like to be when you get older?

I want to be a farmer. I want to make a place called Sugar Queen. (Ever since she’s been little, she has been the person in the family to finish her treats and offers to finish everyone else’s too. Now she wants to begin an ice cream shop called the “Sugar Queen” when she grows up.)

Okay, so explain what a “D.S.” is.

What kind of D.S.?

The kind that you think about.

Oh. I thought so. It’s a dream story kind of thing. When you grow up and have kids and get married. If you do get married and you do have kids.

So, what does that mean?

What do you mean?

Tell me how you grow up all of a sudden.

What do you mean?

What I’m saying is: Tell me what you do when you do a D.S.

You just lie down or sit down. You can close your eyes or open your eyes. And just pretend like you’re grown up. It’s easy, all right.

Well, why don’t you tell me what happened just recently in your D.S.

Oh you mean… when Zeke..

Well, explain what everything is, too.

Huh? What do you mean.

Well, who’s Zeke??

Oh. When I grow up, Zeke is one of my kids. He is.. ummm… mmmmm.. (she slaps her knee) Oh… Oh, Zeke is one. What do I say?

What were you saying before? About Zeke?

Well, Zeke crawled out to the road. And almost got hit. It freaked me to death.

In your D.S.?

Yep.

What else?

Hmmm… I don’t know.

Why don’t you tell everyone about Happy Helpers.

We do this thing where we go across the neighborhood and help people.

How do we help?

We do chores and….

And what?

I don’t know?

Okay, so I have a silly question for you.

What is it?

If you could choose any animal that all of your family members could be, what would we be?

Lambs I guess. Or pigs that roll in the mud!!

You’re funny. And, I have another question for you: What is Daddy working on with you? Like, are you talking about sadness or fear?

I guess sometimes fear.

I have a couple more things for you and then we can be done, okay?

Okay.

Umm.. What is your favorite kind of treat?

I don’t know!

Well, then, what’s your favorite Bible story?

I don’t know. I like Esther.

Okay. What do you like to play with Eden?

I don’t know.

Well, okay. I guess we’ll wrap up now then. Say bye!

Bye!!

(So Kieryn is quite funny, but she’s also such a blessing! You should see her around the house and while she’s interacting with siblings or friends! Also, I’ll have you know that one time before, I wrote: “Love you sweet girl” inside her notebook and then, just today, I found the same thing written in her handwriting inside my own book! 🙂 I truly love her so much!)

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Kieryn: 5 years old

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Oh, babygirl, Kieryn… Tell me about yourself.

What do you mean about myself?

(Okay, maybe that question  is still a bit too open-ended for a five year old.)

Well, tell me how you like doing school  now that you are a kindergartner.

Well, I like doing school, because I get to read books, and make books, and color.  I get to do science.  I get to count. (She proceeds to count to 20.) And that’s why I like school!  And I like doing Starfall.

(I must say, she is my best student so far.  Where Madeline had a bit of trouble accepting direction, Kieryn has none.  Where Anson struggled with motivation or discouragement, Kieryn has not.  She is eager to learn, and doesn’t crumble when I tell her that her 5 is backwards. It’s been a very exciting time as a teacher, especially considering that I was a bit concerned about what life would look like to incorporate a third child into our school day. She’s made it easy and fun!)

Tell me what your favorite book is.

Mox the Fox, because there are cakes in it.

(Yep, she’s still our Sugar Queen.  The others reach a point of being unable to finish a big treat, but not Kieryn.  She offers to finish what the others cannot.)

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What is your favorite book to read for bedtime? Like one that Mommy or Madeline reads to you.

I like the one, “How Can it Be Worse?”

Tell me what that story is about.

So, there’s a mom and a dad. They had a lot of kids.  They were making noise, and noise, and noise.  They didn’t want that.  So, they went to a person who told them, “Bring in the donkey. Bring in the cow. Bring in the goats.” And then they brought them in.  And then, I think, Miriam said, “It’s even worser!” So, they let all the animals out, and then it was quiet.

So their kids didn’t make noise anymore?

I think. (Madeline corrects.  “No, the parents just thought it wasn’t as loud.  The animals made extra noise, so when the animals went away it sounded quieter, and they realized it could be worse.)

What kinds of things do you like to do when it’s not school time?

Go outside and ride bikes with Simeon. (This is one of her primary activities when I am doing school with the two oldest.) Play with Anson’s cars with him. Or play babydolls with Madeline.

What else do you like to do with Madeline?

Feed her fish with her. And go outside with her.  And, um… Play babydolls.

What about drawing?

Yeah! Draw with her. Color with her.

(Madeline gives her drawing lessons, and will sometimes draw pictures for Kieryn to color. They have a very sweet, close relationship.  I’m not sure she knows it, but Madeline is her best friend.  Madeline washes her hair when they shower together and will help pick out her clothes and get her hair brushed and done up.  Sometimes they come out of the room after a long getting-ready-session and they both have fancy dresses and abundant accessories. They make sisterhood look beautiful.)

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What are you favorite dolls or stuffed animals?

Lamby is my favorite stuffed animal. I think Emma is the best doll.  I think so.

What is your favorite color?

Probably red. I really like red.

So, it’s not pink or purple anymore?

I don’t think so.

(Well, they say you learn something new everyday.  This is my something for today.)

What are your favorite things to eat?

Caesar salad with croutons, potato soup, juice, broccoli with Ranch, waffles.

What is your favorite thing God made?

Oh dear. Is this an animal thingy?

It could be.

Flowers, animals, humans, and trees and plants.

What is your favorite day of the week?

The Shabbat day and the days that we go on dates!

What is your favorite thing about Daddy?

That he lets us go to the park, and he lets us eat ice cream, and he lets us go to services. And he lets us see Johnny and Katie and lots of things.

(An interesting assortment of highlights!)

What is your favorite thing about Mommy?

Oh! You help us do school, and you help Daddy make money for us.  You cook breakfast and dinner and lunch for us. You have babies and that stuff.

(“You have babies and that stuff”… Yes, I guess I do.)

What is your favorite thing about Madeline?

That she draws with me.

What is your favorite thing about Anson?

Playing cars with him. And then what’s my favorite thing about Simeon?

Yep, that was my next question.

That we go and ride bikes together.

And what about Eden?

Oh, I like to hold her.  She’s cute.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

(She echos) What do I want to be when I grow up? …Um… Riding a horse and having a dog.  (“That’s not something you can be,” Madeline says. So, Kieryn adjusts.) A farmer.  Or making a shop and then people buy stuff and I get money. Now what, Mommy? Is that all?

What else would you like to say?

I like colorful leaves and flowers.

And with that, she’s done. She has grown so much over this last year.  We don’t see the abrupt mood swings that were so prevalent last year.  On the occasion when she gets sullen and draws inward, feeling inadequate or unimportant, she hears and responds to the truth we tell her. More and more, we find her settling into her role as a big, important part of this family. We are eager to watch our Elohim continue to grow her into a girl who will one day bring joy into darkness.

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Anson: 8 years old

In customary fashion, we are conducting our birthday interview slightly late.  Almost six months late, to be more precise. Nonetheless, here’s our eight year old boy.

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What is your favorite animal at eight years old?

Every animal.

Every animal? Name them all.  In alphabetical order.

I can’t name them…

What about your favorite animal? If you had to choose one, what would you choose?

I would leave the room.

Too many animals?

Yes, I like all animals.  Even mice. People look at the down side of them…

If you could be one kind of food what would you be?

I’d probably be… burnt gasoline, because nobody would eat me.

(The other kids have been sitting on the bed behind Anson until now.  But this was evidently too much for them to handle quietly.  Erich tries to reign them in.)

No comment from the peanut gallery, please.

Oh, good point! I’d be rotten peanuts! Then nobody would eat me.

(At this point, we pause the interview to reassess the interview direction. We resume, but it still takes a while for us to get to some really good stuff.)

What are some of your favorite things to do at eight years old?

Ride my bike, play soccer, play more soccer after that, play basketball, a little more basketball, come inside to watch tv, do a little not-so-fun school, jump on the trampoline…

Let me ask you a little bit about school.

Uh oh.

No. No bad attitudes about school. What is your favorite subject?

Oh dear… Maaa…. Grrrr…. Probably geography.  Well, actually, my first is science, but not the human stuff as much.  The animal stuff.

Do you have a least favorite subject in school?

Probably phonics or grammar.

You don’t like to label sentences much do you?

Not very much.

(But as his teacher, I must report that he does very well with them. On the days when he works with a good attitude, he zips through it pretty skillfully.)

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I want you to tell me just one thing you love about each of your siblings.  Starting with Eden.

She is so cute and she can crawl really quickly.  And I hope she can eat food soon.

Why?

Because then she’ll be able to eat my green beans for me and stuff.

You’re going to feed her your vegetables?

I like Caesar salad, and sometimes I eat asparagus.  But I can feed her black olives and stuff.

What about Simeon?

He’s funny and sometimes tricky.

What about Kieryn?

She’s funny. And now it’s Madeline.

Okay. What is one of your favorite things about Madeline?

Um… I like to play with her and she’s funny too.

We have a very funny family, don’t we?

You’re funny too.  And I love mom. And she helps us and cooks for us.  Well, usually.  Yesterday we made breakfast – the kids did.

(They did, indeed.  Every now and then, Erich and I wake to the sounds of clanking dishes.  We smell breakfast smells.  Then, the bigger ones send a smaller one into our room to make sure we stay put until they summon us. When we come downstairs, we find an empty, dark room. Suddenly, the lights come on and kids hop out of every corner shouting, “Surprise!”  We have cool kids.)

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What is your favorite book of the Bible?

Revelation.  Or Genesis.  Maybe the Psalms.  I also like to hear about the kings.

Tell me about the tapes you like to listen to before bed.

(A college-age friend of our family passed on her set of Bible story tapes from her childhood. Our kids listen to them almost every night.  It’s actually the primary motivator to get our kids ready and in bed by 8:30.  If they don’t get into bed in time, they don’t get a tape.)

The one about Elisha and the army of Assyria.  Their army was surrounding the city Elisha was in. Angels smit the army with blindness and Elisha took the Assyrian army into the midst of Samaria.

Is that your favorite story?

Probably.

What do you want to be when you grown up?

Probably a police officer.  Maybe I want to have a job at home.  Something I can do at home that doesn’t take very long, but that I can get paid really well.

(He gets this kind of ambition from his dad.)

Tell me about what chores you do.

I clear the table, wipe the table, brush my teeth, and feed the cats.

What is your favorite meal?

Probably chicken fingers with Zax sauce. That’s reallly good.

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What are your favorite colors?

Green and blue.

Tell me about some of the hard things have happened this year.

I remember school. It’s just hard. Well, some school. (Madeline whispers something.) Oh yeah.  It’s been hard about Wild Kratts.

You have a pretty incredible testimony about taking authority over the enemy.

(He has a wonderful testimony of victory over the enemy, but he’s not ready to share it.  Though we have explained that we all sin and that our God’s greatness shines forth in how He redeems us from our sin, he gets very sad remembering some of the harsh, untrue words he said.  We were able to record his telling of the story for historical record, but for now, I just wanted to say here that our God is faithful and good.  Anson is on his way to becoming a warrior for the kingdom.)

(Around this time, we get off track again.  Erich says something about Anson’s favorite movie being How to Train Your Marsupial. Anson puts his eyelids inside out. And the children erupt into a wrestle-fest… We do another reassessment of the interview.  This time, we decide to send the other kids out and to wrap up with just Anson.)

What are you really good at?

I’m good at soccer, and I’m good at thinking.

What else?

I’m good at… What am I good at?

Do you want me to help you think of other things?

Mmm…Yes.

You’re good at building things out of Legos and learning facts about animals or states. Actually, you are great at learning all sorts of facts.  You learn memory work faster than everyone else. (He can rattle through bones of the skull, parts of the eye, and dozens of scriptures with ease.) You are great at Hebrew, especially making the “chet” sound. (Although when he gets exuberant with it, it’s a little scary…) You pick things up quickly and are a fast learner when you put your mind to it. (That seems to satisfy everyone, so we move on.)

What do you like to sleep with at night?

I like to sleep with Snoopy, Puppy, Bane, and all my animals.

Once again, things get off track. Erich and Anson end up getting involved in some kind of Buffalo game where Anson uses his head to try to shove Erich off the bed.  This time, we’re not going to reign it in.  We’re done for the night, and that’s probably a good thing.

You are a boy with immense potential, Anson.  We are excited to watch our faithful Abba continue to grow and mature you!

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