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The alarm goes off. Time for prayer. Bible study. Alone with God. The youngest gets up, telling of a bad dream. Hold him. Love him. Comfort him. Pray with him. Ten minutes later, he’s asleep on Dad’s chair. Back to study. Noise from the bedroom. One of the girls. Talking. Dreaming. Soon, she’s quiet. Back to studies. A boy appears, sleepy. Coughing. Time for love. Time for medicine. Time to go back to bed. Time for studies. Again. Alone with God…maybe. Time to pray for strength for the day. Time to pray for wisdom.

Check e-mail. Finish blog post started days ago. The sun is coming up. The day has officially begun. I’m already officially tired. Dress. Start the laundry. Feed the cats. Let out a cat. Let in another cat. Wake the children. Breakfast prepared. Served. Blessing offered. Talk about God’s goodness. Discuss the bounteous blessing before us. Table cleared. Children dress. Children clean their room. Oldest ones up. Breakfast served. Blessing offered. Cleaned up. Again. Different ages, different needs, different schedules. Some prepare for a day of study and pray. Some prepare for a day of work and study. I adapt. I pray.

Table completely cleared. Handwash four loads of dishes. The older ones gather dishes from their room (from late night study periods and guy time). I hand wash three loads of dishes. Soon it will be time for another meal. And another two loads. Snack time sees yet another load. Not even to supper yet…more snacks, another meal, many more loads on the horizon. End of the day tally? Twenty-seven loads of dishes…all hand washed…mostly by me. Much time for prayer. A blessing.

Bible study for the young ones: the book of Proverbs. Learning about wisdom. Badly needed. “Mommy, I want to be first to tell you what I learned!” (Oh, that they are always so excited about God’s Word!) Bible study for the older ones from Paul’s letters: “What does it say? What does that mean? Remember it.” Applying Truth to daily living. Different ages. Different needs. One Great God.

Put on a load of wash. The dryer doesn’t start. Jiggle it. Won’t work. Call the 2nd oldest son. He gets it to work (it always works for him…hhmmm; guess I should call him Fonzie). Take out a load of wash. Put on a load of wash. Take out a load of wash. Put up many loads of wash. Start a load of wash. The dryer won’t start. Pray for grace.

The youngest is learning to write his ABC’s. The oldest is working on taxes and on finding a Seminary. One is heading off to work. Another is tackling pre-algebra. The study of the geography of the States is mixed in with the study of the Byzantines…and with ““C” is for Cookie” by that great teacher, Cookie Monster. “Thank you, Lord, for their love of learning. Please make it more evident in that one….”

The phone rings. The cats knock something over. The phone rings again. The dog barks to go outside. The phone rings. The dog barks (almost immediately) to come back inside. The phone rings...again. The mail is delivered. The phone rings…one too many times. The phone gets turned off. Praising God for the silence.

“Mama, come look at this!” Never, ever, are those good words. Air conditioner is leaking. Again. Water all over the floor. {{Sigh}} Send up a prayer for endurance. Thanking God for His blessing of trials.

Help child find answer to questions from a school book. Assign reading for tomorrow. Check spelling. Moderate an impromptu spelling bee. Explain to younger ones why 2 + 2 and 2 x 2 both equal 4…and why it doesn’t work for 3’s. Help a child with a word in his book. Hand out A’s, well-done’s and stars. Wrap up school. Rooms to clean. Trash to take out. A child to discipline. Spanking, hugs and prayers. More trash out. “Mama, can we go outside now?” Two minutes of quiet. Thank you, Father.

The back door opens. The door shuts. The door opens…and shuts…again and again and again. Someone calls out,Shut the door!”. Someone else asks, “Why did you lock the door while I was outside?“. I pray, “Lord, preserve my sanity…at least a little of it.”

One son goes outside to tackle the leaves, and everything else, on the porch (a.k.a. outdoor storage and play area). Throws away the broken things; organizes all else. Sweep. Spray. He emerges much later, tired. Sweating. Beaming from a job well done. Another tackles the den with the new (thank you, Lord!) vacuüm cleaner (a true blessing indeed after many weeks without one) and various bags and boxes. Throw this away; donate that. Store something else. Much time passes and he is ready for a break but the room looks great. Giving thanks for sons who are willing to work and to do it well.

A scream wafts into the house. The youngest has fallen on the gravel drive. Blood drizzles down his arm. Lots of loving. Cleaning. Bandaging. Ten minutes later he’s almost as good as new (with a new “big man scar” in the making). Five minutes later. Another yell. Another fall. A 9-year old with a twisted ankle (his third this month). Out comes the ice pack. More loving. More hugs. Soon he and the youngest are building forts in their bedroom (away from the gravel just waiting to take them down again). Time for smiles. They are precious. “Thank You, for the blessing of children, Father. Thank You.”

What’s for supper…supper…supper? I love to cook. Tonight I’m tired. What’s easy? Hhhmmm. Western Supper? Maybe. Pizza Pasta? Sounds good…still, I’m really, really tired. Aaahhh, sandwiches and chips. Always a winner. To quote Bill Cosby: “That’s nutrition!” Mental note to Me: purchase some canned fruit for…for next time. The five year old:“Mama, I don’t want a sandwich.” Smile: “I’m sorry but tonight that’s what you are eating.” Firm. Be firm. Second note to me: pray for more strength…and a more loving attitude. Praying.

The 14-year old and I steal time to talk. He’s a guy, I’m his Mom…yet, we’re so very much alike. A blessed respite in a tiring day. Evening pickup. Older boys ready for guy time. Little ones ready for Mama time. Time to tickle them. Many giggles. Many hugs. A talk about God ensues. “What was in the cup? What did Jesus pray to escape?” (Hold my breath. Get it. Get it. Get it!) My 8-year old daughter raises her hand. Her answer, “The wrath of God.” No matter what else happens, all is good. Come what may, all is well. My Lord has blessed me, indeed.