Happy Independence Day!

I trust your celebrations are loud, fun-filled with a dose of relaxing. Maybe the lake? A bbq? We’re all loading in the van as I write this to join in the local 4th of July Parade festivities.

I read this recently and thought it was an interesting fact to share:

“John Adams attended the Second Continental Congress, which began meeting in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776. The next day, the delegates voted in favor of America’s independence.

On July 3, Adams wrote to his beloved wife, Abigail: ‘The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.” He added: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.’

He was off by two days.

On July 4, the delegates in Philadelphia adopted Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. History would celebrate their decision as the birthday of the new nation, even though they only formalized what they actually decided two days earlier.

John Adams did not understand the future significance of this day in 1776. But he knew how to face an uncertain future with certain faith: ‘I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.'”

Let’s join him.

Excerpt from Denisonforum.org. You can find the post here.

with love, Damaris

How to Survive the First Trimester

I’m enjoying the second trimester especially since I don’t even have episodes of heartburn. Must be this baby is going to be bald : ). But I had been thinking of several things that I still wanted to add concerning the first trimester and specifically how to survive it.

My ‘morning’ sickness never went away during the day, and it worsened in the evenings. It started just before 6 weeks and got worse from 8 weeks to 11 weeks. It slowly calmed down during the daytme but was still bad at night until 14 weeks. Mine wasn’t just nausea but stomach pain. Although I was more sick than I had been with any other pregnancy, it certainly was not hyperemesis gravidarum. Everybody is so different and each pregnancy can be so different, but I can share my experience with you and maybe it can be of some use. What helped me to cope with nausea?

  • quart jars full of water with lemon (very heavy on the lemon juice)

  • vitamin D drops (long Michigan winters leave one pretty depleted)

  • coconut water (I added juice or steeped my herbal tea in it)

  • eating small amounts of food at a time

  • closing my eyes

  • caffeine in the afternoon

  • pressing a pillow tightly against my stomach

What did the first trimester look like?

  • lots of joy

  • everything smells bad

  • a pooch

  • can’t sleep because I’m so hungry

  • tired

  • excitement

  • telling friendly customers at Costco

  • so tired

Cravings during the first trimester?

  • corn flakes

  • bagels

  • oatmeal

  • Korean

Aversions during the first trimester?

  • fried food

  • tea tree oil

  • all candles

I hope this is helpful for you if either you or someone you know is entering this difficult stage. Even if they’re on the other side of feeling terrible, maybe this can give you something to talk about : )

with love, Damaris

Make a List of All the Things

When we first got married, Nathan would often say to me “Crisis averted.” Like almost everyday. I preface this post with that so you can see I have a long history of weighty undertakings that lead to catastrophic desperations – at least in my mind : )

This is one of those times. I can’t bear the lead weight of the tasks looming over my head. They clog my brain and cloud my thinking. Tell me this happens to you! The emotional drain is priceless energy I desperately need but is being stolen. What can I do?? Nathan quickly intervenes in my paralysis and tells me to make a list. I complain that making this said endless list will take For-Ever! But I make a list of everything on which I am behind. I write all the things down to get a handle on the unnamed, undesignated, unspecified tasks. Each item is instantly clear and concise.

Now that they are on paper, I usually show it to Nathan and ask for his input. He points out the ridiculousness of my plans, calms my worries, and immediately my anxieties fade away. Some tasks are unnecessary (like ironing the tablecloth – what?!), some can be delegated (make a return to Walmart, pick up the boots from the shoe cobbler), and most can be accomplished in minutes. I could do two in the morning and two in the afternoon. I could do two more tomorrow. At worst, some of the unfinished tasks were overdue responsibilities that bring frustration, and crossing them off the list today would bring instant euphoria.

The heavy requirements that overwhelm and trap me, begin to shrink, and my brain is unbelievably grateful. You see, getting a handle on chaos can be a real struggle, but adding one more thing to the simple task list, declutters my disorganized mind immediately!

When we’ve had a newborn, I do this with regularity until days are more consistent and life formalizes. I thrive on systems and structure, but I usually lack the drive to keep them up. The simple practice of making a list of all the things, keeps my barometer balanced.

Remember that no one can weigh you down like yourself. Start that list!

with love. Damaris

Family Currents: Novelties

November winds have blown the leaves off all the trees, and, if Michigan had a rainy season, I’d say we’re smack-dab in the middle of it. Yesterday barely got above 30 degrees! Needless to say, we were chill even in the house! Baking a couple custard pies did help warm up our tummies and the kitchen. Baby Samuel has been living in this one-piece ever since they days got colder. I love the hood for a little extra warmth at night or when head outside, but the 316 snaps on the bottom are no joke- ha! Carter’s has a huge sale right now, and I have my eye on this one for him too!

Recently we came across this great find at an estate sale! This 12-inch cast iron skillet was rusty, but that was easily solved. I still remember my Yayas (both my grandmothers in Spain) using their large cast iron skillets when I was little! I do love how good the food tastes and how low maintenance they are!

There’s no denying winter’s sending it’s warning chill, and we were grateful to find a few more thrifted sweaters. The girls’ corduroy skirts and cat tights will be perfect with them!

The kids came in from turning over the compost pile, and William (our treasure finder) was holding a large seed that had sprouted a tree. On closer inspection, it was an avocado pit that had begun to grow in our compost pile! For the last month, Alexander has been nurturing it in the basement and took this picture of it for you to see how it’s thriving. Completely accidentally, but we may be enjoying guacamole someday, friends!

Shortly after we shared our news of Larry the llama joining our farm, we saw this promotion from World Market. We couldn’t believe it! The kids have really enjoyed looking through it, and these are my favorites from their Llama-Rama Collection. They have over 50 llama items ranging from pajamas to tea towels, lamps and wrapping paper – yay!

Isn’t the little golden llama trinket dish darling? Even if you don’t have a real llama, you can still feel like you went on an exotic trip to Peru!

with love, Damaris




I have cherished nursing most of my babies beyond their first year. But it has not come without a few tears, and lactation experts, and ointments…and did I say tears? I’ve had my fair share of clogged ducts, bouts of mastitis, thrush…This time last year, I was struggling with a 10 week long thrush that wasn’t resolving! It was strangely aggravated which led me to consider nursing exclusively from only one side. Through the tears and laughter, I count my blessings – he is still happy to nurse.

The great big news around here is that Samuel is walking! This is why I cannot get any decent pictures of him anymore – he’s too quick to zip around the corners. His walking began a couple of days after he turned 13 months in September. We were still sitting at the dinner table, but he was done and had crawled into the piano room. We could hear him banging the notes – ha! Then it was quiet long enough to make me wonder what he was up to. When I crept to the door and peeked in, he was pacing three or four steps at a time back and forth, back and forth, right next to the coffee table for stability. I have never seen any of my babies practice before!

It is always such a joy to get to know the differences in the personalities of our children! Samuel loves to watch the sheep, and makes a faint “Baaaaaa” when he spies them out the window or from the yard. He’s constantly occupied and busy and loves all things with wheels. The crib is in the girls’ room, and he loves to sit and watch the girls in their beds talking. But as soon as his feet touch the floor, he’s off to the boys’ room. He swings the door wide open looking for all the fun. He is quite the little sergeant – all day long he points to the doors or windows commanding his siblings to take him outside. Most recently, he’s found a an interest in music and “does a little jig” anytime he hears a tune.

Every night, little Samuel comes alive when Nathan and I are just settling into bed with a tea to get some computer work done. Since we can’t resist his begging, we bring him into bed with us well-knowing that his intent is to play with our nightstand clocks and sip our tea as soon as it has cooled enough. We dote on him for the next half-hour, then he’s happy to lay in his crib with his muslin blanket ’til the next morning.

So there we have it, a walking tiny baby, whom we are over the moon excited to have among us!

For this child I prayed,

and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him.

I Samuel 1:27

with love. Damaris

A Table In The Desert

It seems like a terrible confession to make, but the first year of having a newborn is not magical, blissful, delightful for me. It is sweet, yes, but that year is just plain hard. It is the most up-hill, exhausting climb I’ve endured in parenting. It is hard on many different levels – mentally, I struggle with feeling chronically disconnected, each day trying to fill the shadow of how I know I’m supposed to be. Going through the motions of what ‘normal’ Damaris would do and say. I try to be present, but the days remain hazy and somehow unnatural. Physically, I don’t feel…me. I can’t get comfortable in my clothes, my hair is falling out (yikes!), my skin is dull, and I have no stamina – no matter the amount of caffeine. Spiritually, I wander through a desert. Literally.

Looking back, I know the first year is blessed and full of joyful moments. I certainly don’t despise it! During the last few pregnancies, however, God has been graciously teaching me how to prepare my soul for the struggles of this desert place.

I never made the connection of my struggles with a desert, until our Pastor preached a message on Christ in the wilderness and ministered to by the angels (Matthew 4:1-11). The Holy Spirit used those words to make clear that my soul was hungry – that I thirsted and had no fill.

It is very difficult, in the pace of incredibly busy days, to find time to rest one’s soul. Especially during the newborn months (or, it seems, the whole first year), my doubts and fears springing from my unbelief can readily overwhelm me. I’m in the middle of a wilderness and I want to cry in frustration: “Can God really be trusted?” “Can He really take care of me?” “I am feeling so empty in this desert and see no reprieve!” When I am in the desert, even the memory of once being satisfied, filled, and overflowing has dried up. I am the Israelite who spat: “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?” Psalm 78:19.

So, what has been my lesson from the wilderness? When Jesus was alone, God sent the angels to minister to Him! Yes, He sees (El-Roi)! Yes, He delights in me, and will nourish my soul! When I cannot find enough minutes to read the Scriptures between nursing, diapers, and the other children – He will provide (Jehova-Jireh)! For the Israelites in the desert wondering if God could spread a table for them, the resounding answer was God giving them the “grain of heaven” and raining “meat on them like dust.” Psalm 78:23-27

Our seventh baby’s first year has just passed, and God, as always, was all-sufficient (El-Shaddai). He is changing my unbelief for rest and teaches me that He delights in my longing to be nourished. So I pray for you, if you are in the desert, that you will seek God earnestly. He will make streams overflow in your wilderness.

“They remembered that God was their rock,

the Most High God was their redeemer.”

Psalm 78:35.

with love, Damaris

Sweet Samuel is One!

I was in bed and almost sleeping last night, when I remembered I hadn’t checked on Samuel. That same instant he started whimpering, so I got up and brought him back into bed with us so I could nurse him. He fell asleep curled up in the hollow of my arm, and I remembered.

I remembered it was over a year and a half ago, Pearl Harbor Day, in the morning. We were so overjoyed with the news, Nathan had to break it to the kids at the breakfast table. Over homemade pancakes and raw milk, we giggled and grinned and asked all the fun questions of “when” and “what ifs.”

The baby would be Samuel, because God Heard.

Sweetest Boy,

For you we prayed, and for you we are grateful!

It has been the Happiest First Year!

cherished forever, Damaris