Christmas Tree Day

It’s Christmas tree day!

Now mind you, we were all getting ready to go out and cut down the tree, when I spied a couple of my men with guns. Yeah, guns. What in the world do we need guns for? I don’t remember needing those to cut down a tree.

“Operation red squirrel took priority,” stated Andrew matter-of-factly. Okay…can we just go cut down our tree??

This year is unique. For one, we just had a baby four days ago. For two, we have a shed leaving our property.

What does that have to do with a Christmas tree? Well, since mama is still in recovery mode, we didn’t want to travel far for a tree. We usually go to a sweet little tree farm about a half hour away to pick our tree. That’s not far, except when you’ve just given birth! An hour drive for a tree didn’t sound like something I could manage this year. Of course the family could have gone without me, but where’s the fun in that?!

Here’s where the shed enters in. There’s an old grain shed on our property that just sits empty. It’s actually a really neat old building. I love the old wood, wondering about the different people who used it and the different ways it was used. I love the old hay smell. You can just feel the history when you walk in. But since it sits empty and we have long term plans for that spot, we decided to sell it. And this fall it’s moving off our property. To move it, the farmer who is taking it has to cut down a number of trees on the west side of our property. Hence, the Christmas tree right on our own property.

So, just a little walk, in the bright sunshine this afternoon and we have our tree! It was such a gorgeous day, the sun even still felt warm on our faces. The kids found hiking sticks, because you know, it was such a long walk. Andrew got to use the chainsaw, which always makes him happy! And I got outside, which I haven’t done in quite a few days. All in all, a great “field trip”.

You know how the tree always looks smaller when it’s outside??

Yeah, it’s a little full! Might take a bit of trimming…

God is good, isn’t He? He provided a tree free and easily that we wouldn’t have otherwise considered. It’s not perfectly groomed, and we may not fit through the doorway next to it, but it’ll be a family memory we’ll never forget, guns and all!

Happy Christmas tree day!

The Newest Arrival

We are so thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of the Schwab tribe!

Dorothy “Dottie” Grace Schwab. Born on 11-24-20
5:32am
9lbs 2 ozs

Sometimes you wait and wait and wait for something to the point of exhaustion. I got to that point. I waited and prayed so long that this baby would just come!

Photo credit: romeberryphotography.com

Then last night I realized I was begging God for what I wanted. I never once during the 11 nights of contractions, submitted to His will and ways. So, before bed last night, when contractions had once again stalled out, I repented. I asked God to forgive me and help me submit to His will, whatever that was.

Then I slept hard. No contractions, just full, deep sleep. I woke up at 2 am with a contraction, and finally, they kept coming. There had been so much back and forth, thinking this was it, that my midwife was sleeping on my couch, determined not to go home and leave me empty handed again!

Andrew got the tub ready, Nickie did her thing, and I got in the tub. Then everything seemed to stop again. For a minute I started feeling discouraged again. But I quickly started praying it away. I asked God once again to help me submit and surrender to whatever He had for me. So I just rested in the warm water, enjoying praise music and Andrew’s hands on me, offering support. There was such an overpowering sense of peace in the room and a confidence that all would be well.

It wasn’t long and my body kicked into gear. It was the strangest experience because nothing was painful or overwhelming. Not until I had to push and even that happened so quickly I was shocked!

Photo credit: romeberryphotography.com

Suddenly, all that waiting, all that anticipation, all that wondering was a faded memory. It felt so far in the past as I scooped up my baby girl and snuggled her and said, “Thank you, Jesus!”.

Photo credit: romeberryphotography.com

Now, as I lay here with her sleeping on me, relishing in that new baby smell, I am in awe of what God can bring us through. I honestly can’t even tell you how many people texted me over the past week telling me they were praying for me and baby. Some were people I haven’t talked to in a while, yet God moved them to pray and reach out. I love how intimate and personal our God is. He knows just what we need to get through a trial and He never leaves us. He lavishly pours his grace on us!

And so, we come to our sweet little girl and how we chose her name. Names are important to me. Their meanings carry weight.

Dorothy Grace means God’s Gift of Grace. And don’t we all need to be reminded that it is a gift from God, that no man can boast. And He wants to pour His grace on us, lavishly, abundantly, never ceasing. God’s grace is what gets us through this life, the hardships, the trials, the wondering and waiting. And God’s grace is the only thing that gets us into heaven!

Dorothy is also my grandma’s name and I can’t think of a more amazing, tough, sweet woman to name my daughter after.

My prayer for our sweet girl is this: that she would know deeply and intimately God’s gift of grace and that she would spend her life pouring that grace on those around her just as Christ pours it on her. May we all aspire to this goal!

Now that you’ve been introduced, excuse me while I go and enjoy some baby snuggles!

A Blessing!

This past Saturday, Andrew and I were surprised and blessed!

We’ve been attending a house church and the families have become our family. We love to do life with them and worship and learn with them. They surprised us and another family expecting as well with a sweet baby shower!

Sweet blanket from a 12 year old, along with beautiful new clothes for our precious little girl.

It meant a lot to us. By the time you get to baby number 11, not many people rejoice with you. To be honest, even Christians look at us like we are completely off our rocker. Yet, when you look at God’s Word, you only ever see children spoken about as a blessing and a heritage.

Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

This doesn’t mean everyone has to have eleven children, but it does mean that every Christian should rejoice over children. We should be excited and thank God for these little ones. We should trust that God knows best when He gives us a reward.

This swaddle says it so well. You are dearly loved, little one!

I often hear, “I could never do that”. I hear, “well, we’re not like the Schwabs”. We aren’t anything special or different. We’re just ordinary people, trusting God with our lives. I remember a couple years ago a pastor asking the question, are you trusting God with every part of your lives? We have a hard time giving him every part, don’t we?

I’ll be honest, I struggle too. It’s hard to truly trust and know that God knows best. When we do, though, the rewards and blessings are so amazing and good. Because He is good! And He wants to give us good things!

Now, the dresser drawers are full of sweet little outfits, there are blankets and loveys for baby to snuggle with, the car seat and bassinet are waiting. As far as the Schwabs are concerned, there is complete and utter excitement as we wait for this sweet addition to our family! We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is a blessing for our family!