Feeling How to Stand

Oh yeah. A blog. How to use this thing?

In my large, pregnant waddling, in the apartment living and water guzzling, in the running from piano to tennis, from occupational therapy back home for home school, I stepped way far away from even checking my email and from every inclination toward twitter.

My identity is is being whittled, like my body – two long infant feet poking through one at a time. I can grab his little knee and move it up and down. I’m changing.

I had come to a place that I wanted to leave these apartments, so much that I considered packing boxes and having them sitting outside when Seth got home from work. I wanted to scream, “Take me away! Anywhere! I don’t care!” One part of me was choking on community and on my own piled up space. I think they call it “burn out.”

Another part of me had been quietly praying for crazy things like another year to home school after agreeing out loud with Seth’s decision to send our guy to public school. I was also praying that I would be a more supportive wife, which led to my praying that I would somehow find contentment.

That’s a freaky thing to pray. I asked for contentment in an apartment with 4 children, who’ve obviously descended from a clan of vikings. We decided to stay here another year and to return to the Rock House after that with less debt and stiller hearts, and get this …

Seth decided it was best to let me study with our oldest for another year. I jumped right on it, and by the end of July, right before our little one is due, we’ll have completed 8 weeks of a 36 week school year. AND I HAVE LOVED almost EVERY SECOND OF IT! I’m not even sure half the time that he knows we’re doing school, and he’s clicked over to a new level of understanding that thrills me to be able to watch.

I’m still on my way to counting my 1000 gifts in the secret of a notebook. Gratitude literally gives me physical strength in a time I’ve never been more tired. I am now almost 37 weeks pregnant, which means that very soon, I’ll be the mother of 4 sons.

Gracious me.

I hope to share more soon. I have stories. I have winners to announce to giveaways from long ago. I hope to stop ignoring this online world, but at the same time, I wish I could articulate the beauty, freedom, release of letting it go. I’m afraid that as soon as I articulate it, I’ll have grabbed it by the horns again.

There’s a mystery to balance, and it seems that only as my plate piles higher and as the weight of glory presses in (the dependence), only as I list out the gratitudes one by one, that I’m able to feel how to stand.

About me


What I Knew In My Dying Day: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post by Tara Owens
August 19, 2015
Condemnation on the Molehill
June 08, 2015
Tools for the Highly Sensitive Mother: An Introduction
April 27, 2015
The Uncouth: The Hormonal
May 12, 2014
What Mothers Me
April 01, 2014
Learning How to Eat (and a giveaway of Mom in the Mirror)
May 20, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Motherhood and Anti-Depression
February 08, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: On the Trail
January 25, 2013


Shelli @ Hopefully Devoted
Reply July 15, 2011

So good to hear from you! Praying for you and your littlest man for a joyous entrance into the world.

Reply July 15, 2011

Bless you, Amber, for having the courage to step away from the noise to focus on what really matters. In a world where we are increasingly driven by our "numbers" and technology, it's so refreshing to stop and breathe in the beauty of family. Blessings to you as you prepare for the birth of your newest son!

    Reply July 15, 2011

    Funny thing is that it's taking more courage to step back into the technology than it did to step away from it. My delight has just slipped elsewhere.

    Thank you for the encouragement.

Reply July 15, 2011

This seems to be a fitting gift because right now your life seems to be opening up to them ...


Trees know the meaning of happenstance.
So does the sea and all that lives in her.
As a girl swimming in a pond buzzing
with horseflies, I felt a cool current
slide over me, then pass on. This
was the lesson, though I did not know it then.
The harbor is not our permanent home.
Think of love and its stages: rapture,
the wound, then the final parting.
Knowing from the start how it will end.
We breathe into our cupped hands, hoping
to keep it alive as long as we can.
Among shouts of laughter the carousel
slows its tune, then falls still, and a child
returns from that world to this.

- mari l’esperance

    Reply July 15, 2011

    Laure, my heart. You gave me poetry today, and I love it. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Imagine having the name mari l'esperance. Sheesh.

Lydia J Will
Reply July 15, 2011

I just welcomed my fifth baby at the beginning of July, so I definitely can relate with what you have written here - from the decision to homeschool or public school to the clan of vikings that you live with :-). Hang in there, Mama! Gratitude gives us joy and strength to get through those last few tough weeks of pregnancy. Your little one will be here so soon! God bless.

    Reply July 15, 2011

    Congrats Lydia! #5! That's such a great number of babies. You make me feel like I can do it.

Reply July 15, 2011

Holy cow, I can't wait to know your littlest boy. You look good, mama.

    Reply July 15, 2011

    I can't wait to know yours, too. Only one more week till I see you!

Southern Gal
Reply July 15, 2011

What a beautiful baby bump! To think you'll soon have four little boys around your feet and in your heart...what a blessing! I'll be praying for your homeschooling journey. It's an amazing, yet difficult at times, path. I love your "almost" in the sentence. So true.

Reply July 15, 2011

"obviously descended from vikings...." i laughed at that. and i pray for you and the other pregnant people in my life as they carry little people whose feet stick out sometimes.

    Reply July 15, 2011

    Oh Kendal, there's just something I love about you. Come and see me somehow.

Reply July 15, 2011

It's nice to see your words again. And that belly... well, that just thrills me to no end. Excited to see your little one. Praying for you and your Vikings.

    Reply July 15, 2011

    Sister, I might have to bring our whole crew down to our homeland come the new year.

stacey neal
Reply July 15, 2011

love you and love that belly. so excited to see this new little viking ;)

    Reply July 15, 2011

    I love you, too, Stacey. What do you bet I get another mini-Seth?

Jessica (thesavingmom)
Reply July 15, 2011

Your strength amazes me. What a beautifully worded post on the truth behind it all. beautiful bump too! I can so relate to "Vikings" and small space. I too am in the current attempt to balance it all, but I don't see how you are doing it so gracefully. Blessings on you. ~Jessica

    Reply July 15, 2011

    Well, Jessica, to be honest, I threw a book across the room the other day because no one would listen to me. It ain't all grace here.

    But overall, it really does feel like the more God gives me to do, the more capable I am of doing more. It's when I start adding on all the stuff I've not been asked to do. Even a hair more knocks me right over the edge.

Reply July 15, 2011

It is lovely to hear your voice again Amber. Praying for you and the little one - and for grace in the moments.

Reply July 15, 2011

this feels my heart to no end. love to you and your tribe, my friend. can't wait to hear more of your words.

    Reply July 15, 2011

    ps - i was gonna change my typo to "fills" but then i realized, nope...that's what i wanted to say anyhow.

Reply July 15, 2011

Oh my word, how I've missed your writing! And, I love that you have stepped away for a time and by doing so have stepped INTO something deeper. May you continue to know the gifts in abundance even on those days when you throw books (I can relate, my friend).

Reply July 15, 2011

Oh love it, love it. The clan of vikings. (says I of four barbarians and two princesses). All I can say is, we'll be here when you get back- if you do- and if you don't, we'll love you still. Or at least, I will. :) Go live the life you are called to, friend. Try not to throw too many books. (But I hear the big Calvin and Hobbes comics are good for squishing big old bugs that certain scientific minds let in the house....or apartment...) You are beautiful in the bloom. Trust God for where you'll grow next.

Reply July 15, 2011

There was a giggled snort in there about the clan of vikings, but it didn't come through...

Reply July 15, 2011

I know this. I like how you say the words I was feeling but couldn't think of.
My third boy will be six weeks old soon. They say that crying peaks at six weeks and then declines...let us pray. :)
Technology is like having a slurpee machine in your living room. Tastes soooooo good but...sometimes you wish it would go away, and sometimes you drink too much. I hear you. (I like the coke flavored ones: caffeine and sugar combine!)

Robin ~ Pensieve
Reply July 16, 2011

"I wish I could articulate the beauty, freedom, release of letting it go."

Your silence speaks it beautifully.

Reply July 16, 2011

I love your belly. I am shy and private, but that belly? I would so lay my hands on that miracle. It would be okay if you got offended. It would be worth it :)

And now I'm laughing at the fact that this supposedly shy person just yelled like a banshee at my son . My throat hurts even. Grace? Grace. He's 22 and probably found it amusing as well.
I can be crazed like that. Rarely. When my kids were younger? Too much.

Kristen@Chasing Blue Skies
Reply July 16, 2011

Like Robin said, your silence *does* speak it beautifully!

But still? I was sooo excited to see your name pop up in my reader. Your words make me exhale and smile.

And I love the basketball belly shot! xoxo

Reply July 17, 2011

I have been reading you so long, but for so long sans comment. All these many. many, many many, (8) months blogging in this community it's beginning to teach me a little tact, a little nuance, a smidge of sensitivity. I read you for the heart squeezed between every letter. I read so I can hear the rhythmic lilt of poetry. When I don't read you the poetry flees from my words. I've stolen a category from you by the way – and put it on both of my blogs – "poema" because although poetry is so hard for me to write it turns out not half bad – and no rhyming! no peanuts! And that's because of you. So I'll continue to read – and when you're absent I'll just read the old stuff – because between you and Ann Voskamp – well – your words changed how I string mine together. I require your words to keep the poetry in my prose. Happy baby Amber! There is more than enough heart in you to tame scores of Vikings - and enough strength to captain their ships and lead their armies. God bless you and Seth and all of your babies.

Reply July 17, 2011

Glad you're posting again, your kinda writing talent needs to be shared. : )

Reply July 18, 2011

Good to see you wording again. Want to rest my hand on that lovely baby belly of yours! Praying for you and the clan.

Reply July 19, 2011

So nice to hear your voice again.

Reply July 19, 2011

Part of me wants to say "it's so good to see you here again", but a bigger, more protective-big-sister-ish part of me wants to say "Shhhh! Run and embrace the quiet--you've chosen the better part!" So how about I just say both of them, and tell you that I'm glad you're here, and that the thought of you with four precious boys just makes me smile. :) Hi to Seth--

Reply July 21, 2011

I've been wondering about you and wondering when you are due. Even prayed a little prayer for you & your family. I've missed your words, but am happy to hear about what has been keeping you away.

Amber Benton
Reply July 23, 2011

The running away and the small space and your sentiment I feel often. Thanks for saying it out loud! I am a fellow mom of boys - we are expecting our 6th son in December. We have lived in a house instead of an apartment since son number 2, so I will pray for you in your small space. I think 3/4 of an acre is very small for so many boys and I want to run home to the farm with acres and acres. But the Lord has us here and you there and contentment in waiting on Him is what He's asked. I pray that for yor right now (and me, too) and I pray for your upcoming birth. Yes - the viking thing... where does it all come from? The three youngest often just look like one pile of arms and legs! I now have one son who is a teenager and another well on his way. They are a blessing to our home as they grow into young men shouldering a portion of the household. Look forward to it.

Reply July 23, 2011

I could just write a blog post in repsonse to this.
I'm so excited for y'all... 4 Vikings or barbarians anywhere are enough to put Side everything for. I didn't stRt blogging until well after my fourth came along- so I'll just encourage you to lay it aside if you have to, or use it for therPy if you have to. I've recently realized it's hard for me to both record/report AND live life entirely. To embrace the moment with them all mamma-ing me at the same time often squeeZe out room for typing. But I have my private journal too and it's got thousands of moments and gifts captured.
Darling- you can do this because HE has give. You the gentle gift of blessed drop of love surrounding you. *blessings*

Reply July 23, 2011

Ha! Just saw I misspelled my own name- time for me to sign off!;)

Hazel Moon
Reply July 24, 2011

Patience is what it takes to raise children if it be boys or girls. Growing up along with your children is quite an experience. Were it to do over again, I believe I would be a better mother, but there is no turning back. God is good and He will give you strength to minister to your gang of youngens. I wonder how large was the pioneer cabins with all their children? Anyway, God will give you grace! Blessings to you!

Reply July 25, 2011

good to have you back :)

Reply July 26, 2011

Baby girl. JUST BE. ;) Breathe and soak in this season.

I so feel ya. My 4th is now 5 months old. I'm on the other side of that bump (still looking a lot more pregnant than I would like - hahaha).

They aren't little forever. Enjoy it and let the blog wait. ;)

No. 17
Reply August 3, 2011

Praying for you, in this season.
That the Lord will give you peace and comfort.
And children that are just slightly less-vikingish.

Katie @ Imperfect People
Reply August 6, 2011

What a sweet little baby bump! You are so cute! What a beautiful writter too!

Reply August 12, 2011

Hi there. I just wanted to say that I miss you voice in the blogosphere here lately. And maybe you have already welcomed that little guy into the world and maybe you are sensing God's leading in other directions for now, but just know that you are missed. :)

Hope you guys are doing fantastically.

Love from here,

Reply August 14, 2011

Hi Amber,
Just wanted you to know that your writing always stirs and grows me. I often read your posts and read parts of them aloud to my husband just because you weave words into such a beautiful tapestry that I am simply in awe.
I am praying today for you. I don't know if your newest son has been born, but I wanted you to know that you are being prayed for.
Thank you for sharing your words when you can and feel led to. And thank you also for being silent when you know that you are needed to be fully Present with your family. I admire that. So many would push, but I don't believe that is ever God's best.
There should always be freedom in writing, because He is freedom.
Blessings and love to you on this beautiful Sunday.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *