November 18, 2017

Thankful Thursday: Grace

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;  His love endures forever.  Psalm 107:1


People will quite often ask, “how do you do it, with all of them?”  Well, this is one long story that further expounds if I might answer “by the grace of God.”

A trip to Hobby Lobby, then to Mardel, with the youngest six.  Some would say I’m nuts for attempting that, and I would say I am, too that I believe these boys should be able to behave well enough for me to be able to go anywhere, any day, any time.

So much for that theory.

I’m a real life mom.  With real life kids.

I am not an expert teacher or disciplinarian.  But I do have high expectations for behavior, especially when it comes to the way our children conduct themselves in stores.  And for the same reason I always have at least one or two in diapers, I am always training little ones what behavior is and is not acceptable in stores.

You know…things like screaming.  Uh…no.  And on down the list of things like running around, asking for every single item they see, or punching their brother.  Obviously, no, no, and NO.

Our older boys are almost always pretty good about not doing any of those things.

But the little ones?  Like the two year old?

Wow, that boy!

The plan was to go to Hobby Lobby (or Hovvy Lovvy as Drew calls it), then Mardel, then Sprouts.  They’re so conveniently located like that.  I sort of knew that wasn’t going to work in the first store.  When we got to Mardel, I thought Landen could just play happily at the train table and Levi, too, while I was close by perusing books and Bible movies for the younger crew.

I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Landen quickly became overwhelmed by all the choices of toys he suddenly had to play with, and took it upon himself to begin exploring each aisle.  Lincoln fussed and Levi was doing the pee dance.

I think I stood there in the middle of an aisle for a good two minutes contemplating whether or not I had really lost my mind, trying to shop with the unruly bunch.

Who were these kids, anyway?  Did I do this?

I muscled Landen back into the stroller, to which he objected, LOUDLY.  For all the store to hear.  For ten minutes.

Lincoln was crying, too, at this point.  Dax and Drew want this and they want that and Levi is STILL doing the pee dance.

“Do you need to go to the potty, Levi?” to which he replies, “no.”

Good, I think to myself, thankful that I don’t have to take him in the midst of all the other chaos.

I can’t even remember what I came into the store for anymore, and begin to just push the stroller, hoping to shush the babies long enough to just gather up a few things and be out the door before anyone else (besides me) wonders if I’ve lost my mind.

The stroller pushing does nothing to appease Lincoln who just needs a nap, but thankfully, Landen is happy now, swinging a rubber snake at Levi, who keeps stopping in front of the stroller.

I grab some books, a Bible movie and a toddler CD set and make my way to the book section for me.

That’s when I heard a toddler from across the room shriek, and I mean, WOW, does that child’s mother need to teach him better or WHAT!?! kind of shriek.  I looked at the woman who was looking right at me and thought, “oh yeah, she is thinking the same thing I am thinking….who would let their kid act like THAT in a store!?!”

I looked for said child.

There were no other children in the book section besides two well-mannered young ladies quietly seated on the floor reading.

It had been my own son.  My very own two year old.

Yeah.  That kid’s mother needs to train him better.  How’s it feel, Brandy?


The lady smiled.

And so did the check out lady when I arrived smiling seemingly obliviously, to purchase my apparently much needed Bible training tools for the aforementioned children.

And so did a shopper as she made her way into the store.  She stopped to ask if she could help me.  Wow.  “No,” I said politely, “This is my fault.  I’ve kept them out past nap time.”  Her face glowing, she asked the usual list of questions I’m so accustomed to hearing.  When I told her yes, all six of them are ours, and we have two more, she was amazed, and said how blessed I am, and how she would love to have more of her own, and so far had only one.

As I finished checking out and making our way out the door, another mom with mostly girls comes into the store, stops me, and I get “You’re an amazing mom.”

No, she had no idea how these kids had just behaved.  She had no clue how undeserved her verbal award was.

But it didn’t matter.

I spend the next twelve minutes depositing children back into van, making sure seatbelts are buckled and cool air is blowing on everyone and we make it back home.  No, we didn’t go to Sprouts.

Everyone safely back indoors, I announce it’s quiet time.  (I think I need it way more than anyone else.)  Landen has a quick snack and I put him in his crib for a nap.

He climbs out.

I put him back in bed, then sit on the couch with the baby and a book.

He climbs out again.

Back into bed, he settles down.

I settle in too, to nurse the baby under the ceiling fan and read a chapter, and hear the words echo from the front bathroom, “can you wipe meeeee??”

I guess I am not supposed to read.  Or study.  Or anything.  Just tend to needs.  All day.  One after the other.

What a bad attitude.

I tend to the child asking for help, recognizing some symbolism in the situation, and try one more time to read, but the baby, who is now down for a nap continues to fuss.

Some days I just need God’s grace.

Grace for the cranky toddler that I took into Mardel.

Grace for the amount of time it takes to unload and load a van full of little boys.

Grace for the boy who needs me to wipe him (still).

Grace for my inadequacy, my impatience, my … bad attitude.

I’m thankful for His grace today.  I’m thankful that He demonstrates it so many ways, and especially in the words of others, who occasionally do look on with love, with joy, and with grace, even in my struggle.

What are you thankful for this week?

‘); // ]]>


  1. Thanks for sharing and being so transparent! I only have three (4, 3, and 2 at the end of the month) and want more. I go shopping one night a week when my husband can be home to put the kids to bed. I’m not brave enough to take them out unless he is with me. We always feel discouraged because of poor behavior. However, I don’t let them get away with that behavior and we don’t allow it at home either but it still happens! We pray and talk about God and memorize Bible verses (4 year old) and discipline and discuss how they should act but sometimes they act like little sinful beings (as do me and their dad sometimes) and we just keep praying that the lessons sink in before they are 10 (at least I hope at 10 they won’t throw tantrums! ;D). I think you’re an awesome mom and that is why I enjoy your blog! 😀

  2. I have 6 boys and can so see us together doing this. I get it all the time. I am thankful that I have an awesome husband who said this week we need you at home and the boys need you. He said one day the boys will be grown and you will miss this I am thankful for the 2 year curled at my feet as I am typing . Thanks for the perspective so let me grab the 2 year old that asking for a cup. have a great day

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles. It really reminds me that I’m not on this motherhood journey alone.

    We’d love for you to link up to our Finished Friday Blog Party. It’s for projects and posts, too.

  4. If it makes you feel any better, I had the same kind of day! I had to leave the pool party tonight because my 2 year old (3 in Sept) had a fit. He wouldn’t go potty in the bathroom, than wouldn’t put on his suit. I had to force it on him and carry him screaming through the pool…I know everyone was just smiling at me saying there goes that crazy mom with all the kids! I had to leave my other kids with a friend and take the precious home. Of course he just screamed and screamed. I tried all my tricks and nothing could calm him. SO, in the crib he went…of course he came out and even went to the potty on his crib! I kept rocking him and trying to read him a book…but, nothing worked. Hopefully tomorrow he will remember that when I say be good or I’m gonna take you home…he will know I am not kidding!!! Through Christ we can do anything! Philippians 4:13

  5. Wow. All I can say is A-MEN! I so needed to read this today. I have 4, the oldest being 4 and the youngest making his debut any day now. This makes for exhausting days – especially today. Yes, so thankful for His grace which covers my bad attitudes. And gives me help for the next minute, hour, day. Bless you as you love your crew!

  6. I loved your story – I had a similar experience with my three under 5 at the doctor’s office today, and I left defeated by my frustration and bad attitude of being “that mom.” So I’m thankful to read your story today and thankful that God placed other moms in my path to share the burdens of the journey, even if only in relating our similar experiences. Thanks for blessing me with your blog!

  7. I really got a good laugh out of this. I have 2 children who are 22 months apart, a girl and boy. This is how it us to go when we were in a store. Now that they are 9 and 7 it is way better, but my boy (7) can sometimes still act up and we have to visit the bathroom for some time out and talking to. The biggest kick I got was from the Mommy come wipe meeeee. I always got a big kick out of this when my children would holller this out in the most inapropriate time. Just remember this to shall pass.

  8. Thank you for letting me feel like I am not alone! I have three that are under 3 and a ten year old. The ten year old is visiting her grandparents this week, so I had to attempt a trip to the health food store without her help. Walking from the van to the store having the 2.5 year old and the newborn in a carrier in one hand and the 1.5 year old by the other hand was the first part of the adventure. Walking out with the groceries (they don’t allow shopping carts out of the store) was almost too much. All the while I kept thinking “what was I thinking”, and then feeling guilty about it. Thanks for the reminder that I need His grace every day, every moment to make it through this journey.

  9. Thanks for sharing, Brandy. I love hearing about your days. I have so much respect for you. Going to the store with just my 4 kids can be challenging. I usually wait until Rich can come with me so that if someone acts up one of us can take that person to the van while the other one finishes shopping. When that’s not possible I just have to face the annoying stares and comments and questions. Thank God for His grace! Love and miss you guys!

  10. Imagine that happening in church where you are the only family that keeps your children in service with you. yeah, i am that crazy lady!! it keeps me humble. 🙂 i think God has a great sense of humor giving us children. 🙂


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