Tag Archive | siblings

Intentional Sisterhood

Intentional.sisterhood

 

I did it again. I could have tried harder at controlling myself, but instead I just got angry and blew the whole situation up. Again. It always happens right after I pray that God would help me to extend love and kindness towards them. Immediately my desire to do just that – extend love and kindness – is put to the test when faced with confrontations. He won’t settle down, though I have told him five times now to stop running around and making noise. She won’t go pick up the mess in her room without being reminded fifty gazillion times all while being coached on what to do. These grumblings take over my mind. I snap. There goes love and kindness… there goes patience.

Not only do I still have to work towards showing love and kindness, but I also have a mess of my own anger that spilled over I now have to clean up. Why won’t they listen? Mom left me in charge. Shouldn’t they remember that and respect it? More grumblings. Complaints. In essence, excuses for my actions.

Siblings are human beings. They mess up. They aren’t always going to listen perfectly. And when they don’t, I wish I could always remember that in that moment, instead of lashing out. I need to take a deep breath, pull them aside, and talk with them. “Hey, if I ask you to do something I really need you to try to do your best to do it. If you need help, just let me know and I can grab a buddy to help you.” Or, “You’re starting to really act up and I need you to settle down, please.”

What kind of example am I setting as a sister to my younger siblings when I get angry? Not a very good one. I want to be a positive example to them, but they don’t see positivity in my anger. That’s going backwards.

Grace. It goes a long way with anybody. Siblings are no different. I notice that if I make an effort to pull someone to the side and talk to them one-on-one I will get a much more willing response. Now if only I could remember to do that all the time in those “heat of the moment” situations.

 

You see, I have this deep desire to be a great sister. And I am terrible at it. Really. Just ask my siblings. (On second thought, don’t. Who knows what kind of response you’ll get in my family. Haha!) I have to be intentional about praying every day for the strength to do something right as a sister. The only reason I get anything “right” is by the grace of God. There is no other explanation. I love being a sister. I love that God has given me this wonderful opportunity to invest into their lives and cultivate a deep relationship with each of them because of Him leading me to stay at home. But the truth is I don’t take full advantage of this opportunity. I wish I could say I do. Here is what I can say, though: that with every passing day I desire more and more to bring this matter of being the sister I need to be for my siblings and loving them the way I know I should love them to the Lord. I cannot do it. I cannot be the wonderful sister I know I should be. I fail daily at taking hold of every opportunity to help when help is needed. I fail daily at showing grace and mercy in sticky situations and instead get angry. Only through the grace of God will I become the sister I should and be intentional about loving each one of my siblings.

 

This might seem over the top to some. They’re just my siblings, right? I only have to deal with their peskiness until I move out, right? I mean, what’s the big deal?

Wrong.

I believe there is a reason for everything. God put me in this family for a reason. He even made me the oldest child in a large family… for a reason. Also, I want to learn to love everyone around me by showing grace. Those outside of the home, as well as my family. ESPECIALLY my family. I want to love them. I want them to KNOW I love them. That is so important to me. So I pray, not only that I would be conscious of this desire in me to show kindness and love each and every day, but also that I would bring this to Jesus every minute of every day. It will do me no good if I don’t lay this at His feet. It is only through HIS love that I can love.

I read something recently that said if you want something to last forever you need to treat it differently. You need to treat it with tenderness and care. That was inspiring to read. That is how I want to view my relationships with my siblings. Something I want to last forever. But they are fragile things that, if not treated the right way, will shatter. That’s why being intentional about kindness and tenderness is important. They are some of the trickiest relationships to maintain sometimes because so many siblings butt heads. But, like I mentioned previously, there is a reason for everything. Including who my siblings are. I love each one of my brothers and sisters dearly, and hope I can continually strengthen that love as the years go by.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John 13:34-35

~

I shared this blog post on AMamasStory.com’s Monday’s link-up!

Advertisements

A Birth Story – Daughter’s Perspective

A Birth Story

A miraculous thing happened on June 3, 2014. A precious new life entered this world! His name is Ezekiel Francis Drennen. My eighth sibling and fifth little brother!

 

My day started with a 6am alarm clock. I had to make sure I was up right when it went off because I needed to complete a cupcake order and get ready for my mama’s 9am non stress test at the hospital – a routine appointment during the latter part of her pregnancy – all in the time span of 2 hours… yikes! Cutting it close on time! But I went to bed the previous night with a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to do the order at any other time because my grandparents were due at our house the following day at lunchtime and my mom was going to “pop” at any time.

So I got up that morning, started a pot of coffee and got to work on my Sesame Street themed cupcakes for a neighbor. I did this in about 1 ½ hours. I was cutting it close on time. I raced from the horribly disastrous kitchen (from all of my baking supplies everywhere) to my bedroom to get ready to leave and pack up my hospital bag just in case it was needed! I woke up my brother, Isaac, and asked him if he would be kind and clean up my horrible mess because I had no time to do it myself. I felt so bad, though, that I left him half a bag of jelly beans and half a container of cookies as a reward. Yeah, my aunt, who was watching my siblings that day, probably didn’t like me for all the sugar I left with him!

8am rolled around and my parents and I left for the appointment a bit early so we could stop for some breakfast at McDonald’s, which I was more thankful for than usual because I hadn’t had any breakfast before then. I am a breakfast-first-thing-in-the-morning kind of girl. Off to the hospital we went, and got there a little early, too. My parents and I prayed for God’s will that day as we were anxious for the baby to come, but wanted God’s timing for things. I’m sure everyone thought about the likelihood (or even the lack thereof) of my mom having the baby that day, but to be honest, we tried not to talk of it too much.

 

We sat down in the waiting room until we were called back into the room where my mom would be hooked up to the monitor to watch the baby’s heartbeat for about twenty minutes, then we’d be able to go home. All three of us sat in there and talked with the nurse for a bit whom we had come to know and love…then my mom had a few long, sharp contractions. Looking back, I cannot remember if she made it all twenty minutes of her non-stress test before the nurse decided to tell the doctor on call and ask if she wanted to check my mom’s cervix. So we went straight into the room and waited.

*A little side note: my mom wanted to do a vaginal delivery, however, she had had two previous cesareans; BUT they weren’t back to back. I was breech and a cesarean delivery, then my mom had six successful vaginal deliveries, and Sammy, the eighth baby, was also breech and therefore a cesarean delivery. The hospital she was going to deliver at had one doctor who believed my mom could and even should have a vaginal delivery. But it was only one doctor who supported my mom’s desire. He wasn’t on call that day, but he did say he was going to be at the hospital.

While we waited for the doctor to come in we talked with the nurse (same one as earlier, her name is Shannon) about my mom’s desire for a VBAC and that there was a doctor who wanted her to do that. So the nurse said she would try to get a hold of him and let him know about my mom, should she go into labor that day. Well, sure enough, when my mom was checked her cervix was paper thin and at 4cm. The doctor on call that day wanted to go straight to Labor and Delivery and do a C-section, however, remember how I said we had stopped for breakfast before the appointment? She had eaten a little after 8am, so they had to wait 8 hours before doing a C-section on my mom – at 4pm. So Shannon wheeled my mom, as my daddy and I followed, over to Labor and Delivery where my mom would get hooked up again to a monitor to watch contractions and baby’s heartbeat, as well as get some blood drawn and get an IV – and where we were to wait for 7 hours.

So we waited…

And prayed…

I had told my mom about two months before that I wanted to be there for the birth. She was excited about that and we talked about what to expect and such. I also did some reading on how to encourage and different ways to comfort a woman in labor. The closer it got to the time of the delivery, the more excited I got! So while in the waiting process I did a lot of praying for different things: comfort for my mom, healthy baby, and that she’d be able to have a VBAC.

We waited some more…

And prayed some more…

My dad called/texted his, as he calls it, “prayer circle” of friends, including the pastor of our amazing church, asking if he could come to the hospital and pray with us.

I sent a text to a few of my friends who wanted to be updated on my mom’s progress. May I just take a moment to say I have been blessed with some very caring people in my life! I asked them all for prayer as well.

 

My dad and I went to the hospital’s restaurant for lunch.

Then we waited and prayed some more…

 

A bit after 2pm my mom’s contractions really picked up, coming to about three minutes apart and lasting about that long, too. It hadn’t been a full eight hours yet, but the doctor didn’t want to wait that long. At 3pm they started getting things ready to roll her into the operating room to do a cesarean. We hadn’t heard from the one doctor who would do a vaginal delivery for my mom.

Now, most women wouldn’t have handled not getting what they wanted in a pregnancy, especially when it came to the time for labor and – most importantly – the delivery. But my mom isn’t “most women.” She had been praying since the beginning of the pregnancy that the Lord’s will would be done. She made her desire known for a vaginal birth, but she was more concerned about 1) the baby’s health and what’s best for him, and 2) God’s plan for this.

She saw this situation of not hearing from the one doctor who would give her what she wanted as God’s way of saying, “This isn’t My plan for you.”

 

God’s plan is always better, even when it doesn’t look like you are going to get what you want. God is more concerned about what is best for you. I was trying very hard not to be disappointed with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to be there in the room when my mom gave birth to my brother. But, I was really trying to see it the way my mom was, that this was God’s will. Nothing happens without God’s “go ahead”. This was happening for a purpose.

As it turned out, during one of her contractions, my mom experienced an extreme burning pain that lasted a good minute or two. When she explained to the nurse what she was feeling, the nurse told her it was scar tissue from a previous incision. My mom said that it was very painful and scary and didn’t want to feel that again. Another confirmation that God’s will is best… a cesarean was the way this pregnancy was heading.

 

While everything was being prepared, the pastor of our church arrived and prayed with us 15 minutes before my mom was rolled away for the cesarean.

 

Thy will be done, O Lord!

 

While I could not be in the room while my brother came into the world, I was sitting in the waiting room right outside of it with my pastor.

I sat there.

And then, I hear a cry.

Ezekiel Francis Drennen had taken his first breath.

My baby brother had made his entrance into this world at 3:51pm!

 

My daddy sent me a picture text just minutes later (I try not to be too much of a “tech” lover, but right then I was very grateful for cell phones and text messaging). He was beautiful! And big!

I showed the picture to my pastor and then laughingly said, “He looks really big, I wonder if he will compete with his older brother for my mom’s biggest baby.” At the time, the title of “Biggest Drennen Baby” was held by my brother, Noah (fifth child), at 10 pounds 11 ½ ounces.

About five minutes later my daddy, nurse, and my new baby brother came through the doors and were heading to the nursery. My daddy said they were going to weigh him – my curiosity as to how big he was was growing.

 

Well, folks, he weighed in at 11 pounds 7.5 ounces! Can you say, “Big baby!”

 

My daddy came out to get me after the weighing and we went to get our belongings and go get situated in our new room while my mama went into recovery.

He was a very healthy baby, except for slightly low blood sugar which didn’t last too long, thank the Lord!

 

My aunt drove my seven other siblings to the hospital at about 6pm where we all waited for the baby to be rolled in to meet us!

It wasn’t until 8pm that night that Ezekiel was finally able to come into the room – the nurses wanted to feed him and watch that blood sugar for a little while. They also bathed him and it just so happened that when all of that was done they were going through change of nurses, so we had to wait a bit longer while the night staff was updated.

 

Then, at about 8:15pm, we all got to meet our precious little Ezekiel, or Zeke, as we would call him!

Oh, how beautiful he was! And to be honest, he didn’t look like he weighed over 11 pounds. But that’s just my opinion!

 

Both mama and Zeke were doing beautifully, and were able to go home Thursday at lunchtime.

And here we are, home and all blissfully enjoying the newest little addition to the Drennen clan.

 

The Lord is truly so good! I am so happy and blessed by my big, loud, crazy family.

 

 

~

I was featured on Mama Moment Mondays!

How I Made My Own Summer Reading Program

When I was younger I loved the summer reading program at my local library! It helped that I have always really enjoyed reading, but I also really enjoyed getting prizes, too!

However, when my family moved to the city we currently live in I didn’t really like the library’s summer reading program. It just wasn’t as fun to me. SO! even though I’ve kind of passed the age limit for most reading programs, I decided to make one for my siblings! I just took the basic ideas of the programs I had done in the past that I really liked and put my own twist to it.

summerreading!

Now, this is my first year doing my own summer reading program for my siblings, so it’s kind of my “trial and error” year. But we have been doing it for about two weeks now and so far so good, but I have been (and will be) trying to keep track of things I will probably tweek or do differently in years to come.

I broke down the age groups to 1st-6th grade and then 7th+ I have siblings in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 11th grades. So I have two in the 1st-6th group and three in the 7th+ group (minus the 11th grader). I’m thinking I might change this up a little bit, because the most avid reader out of all of them is the 5th grader. Hmm, what to do!

Each child got an ice cream cone shape with their name on it as well as one ice cream scoop to start out with.

Summerreading2

I also gave everyone their own reading log to keep track of the date, number of pages read, and from what book they read.

summerreading7

Each time they read ten pages, they get a sticker to put on their ice cream scoop. After they have earned ten stickers, they get a new ice cream scoop to add to their cone as well as a prize – a candy bar (for after lunch!)

Summerreading3

I told them that if they can read the grand prize amount, at the end of the summer they get their grand prize… an ice cream sundae!

For the younger kids, 500 pages/5 ice cream scoops. For the older kids 1,000 pages/10 ice cream scoops.

 

I went to a school supplies store to get some things to set up our “summer reading station” in our living room…

summerreading

summerreading4

In the above photo I folded a piece of construction paper over to make sort of a pocket to hold stickers and the extra ice cream scoops in.

The last thing I did was make a handmade sign. I wanted to get the kiddos involved with the putting-it-together process, so I asked them to draw on it! This was the product…

summerreading5

I’ve got some pretty artistic siblings, if I do say so myself!

~

So much fun! I really enjoyed putting this together for my siblings. One thing I am doing to kind of help them along is read aloud to them. This summer I am reading through the Chronicles of Narnia series with them (hence the top blog photo!)! They really seem to be enjoying it! The hardest part is just finding time when they are all ready to sit down! We are a big, busy family, so sometimes getting everyone to sit down at the same time is a bit difficult. But I have enjoyed the times we have had thus far!

5 Ways To Help Strengthen Sibling Relationships

Blog Post Picture2

 

There are many things to do with siblings to help develop healthy relationships. And for young women who eventually want to get married and have children of their own, knowing how to take the time to invest in siblings – or if you are an only child invest in children around you at church – can be extremely beneficial for two reasons. One, your siblings are people who will be in your life – well, for life! Two, your relationship with your siblings speaks volumes about how you will treat others in various relationships throughout your life. It’s great, built-in practice! So, while looking for ways to strengthen my own relationships with my seven (soon to be eight!) siblings, I came up with a list of things that could help me improve in this area.

 

  1. Learn their interests and help your parents in supporting them. You and a sibling may be (probably will be?) complete opposites, but what they’re passionate about is important to them. If you support them in their passions and pursuits they will be appreciative of that and want to share them with you more and more, which is a great relationship building-block. I personally can relate to having a couple of siblings with which I don’t have a lot in common, and my mom is always reminding me of taking notice of what is important to them.
  2. Learn their love language. This one is so important! I have read that if a parent doesn’t necessarily do anything wrong, but loves their child in the “wrong way” that can actually seem un-loving to that child. The best example of this I can think of is personal touch, which is one of the languages. If that is not the child’s love language and you hug them or touch them often, they don’t think of it as affectionate. Crazy, right? These are things that not a lot of people think of, but taking the time to understand what speaks to them can make a huge impact. Learn about love languages by reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
  3. Pray for them. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, prayer is the best tool for anything. Yes, including your siblings. Pray for your relationship with them, for their relationship with God (which is even more important), and that He will show you an opportunity to show love to your sibling. Anther good thing to pray for would be that you take hold of the opportunities that He does present to you. There have been times where I see something I could have done but did not. Pray that God will help you to be faithful as you pursue a closer relationship with your siblings.
  4. Spend time with them. Offer to do something with them that you know they will enjoy. For me, my brothers love all things sports. So I can go out in our yard, toss a football or baseball around with them and build my relationship with them in a simple, relatively easy way. I enjoy doing this with them too, so it’s a win-win! My sisters will almost always go for a movie night and we have a tradition of a chic-flick with no-bake cookies (a family favorite) that we have done for as long as I can remember. Doing something fun doesn’t mean a lot of thinking and planning, just a little effort. Go out for some ice cream or take a trip to the park.
  5. If they ask for it, help them with something. This can fall under the “God has shown me something I can do” category. This happens all the time. Especially if you are an oldest sibling, or even just much older than that particular sibling. Taking hold of these opportunities is entirely up to you. And yes, they usually come at times when you are engrossed in that chapter, or working on a difficult project, or even when you are tired. This is one thing I try all the time to be better at…. and am still trying.

 

Anything worth while takes a lot of hard work, and this is no exception. Developing and even maintaining a strong relationship with your siblings is a daily choice you have to make. And often, you have to brush off all the little annoyances they may cause. But having siblings that love and cherish you is one of the best things in this world.

 

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” –Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)

 

“A brother is born to help in time of need.” –Proverbs 17:17b (NLT)