If you haven’t noticed this is a new blog/website. We also have a new expansion to our store…spreading our legs into the adjacent storefront. Also, new opportunities have presented themselves, like my being asked to sing for a women’s luncheon, Michaela being asked to present her poetry again, Josiah getting a great summer, and Joe possibly coaching high school football.
On this sunny day in Central Oregon, I can’t help feeling refreshed and new. It wasn’t very long ago, only this past weekend, when I felt down and hopeless. Our family has been attacked in so many personal ways, it is hard to have hope. Also the feeling of homelessness taunts us. As my daughter said, “If home is where the heart is, then I have no home.”
The attacks and struggles have not stopped but I am reminded that every day is a new day, a new sunrise, a new hope.
No, my faith is not in a new website, or addition, or a singing opportunity, but in the Lord. I know that He will guide us and lead us through. I know that we are doing the right thing or else we wouldn’t be a threat.
Now if only I could remember that as I am being attacked.
In the past, Jokars Wild has had a WordPress page and a website. Now they have been combined into one. If you already had a subscription, please change it to this one. Look for more Jokars Wild updates coming soon.
JoKars Wild is now nearing three months of ownership of Book & Bean, and over these last few months my authorship on this blog has gotten less and less. But my desire to keep you all up to date has not decreased. So I thought I would take a few moments to fill you in with what is going on with JoKars Wild.
Other than the brief moments at home…what do our lives look like? Well, for me, when I do have a free moment at the store, I am either reading to the kids, reading the many books I have to read for the store, or practicing music since I have scheduled a concert on April 2nd…yikes! I have also written a couple of reviews for a local free paper and have become Book & Bean’s resident graphic designer…lol.
For Joe, when he is not connecting with others in the community or arranging book signings, he is doing school work. Yep, that’s right! Joe, miraculously, is currently working on his master’s degree and will hopefully be done this fall! It has been a major challenge for him to find time to get it done, but he sticks with it and is still maintaining a very good GPA. I really don’t know how he does it.
Josiah, 16, is now full-time homeschooling. He has become an indispensable part of the bookstore. He is in charge of inventory and the used book section. He is also learning all of the bookkeeping and will soon be taking over that job. When he has free time, he is researching flora to use in his terrariums or how to sterilize dirt…doesn’t everyone want to know this? He is hoping to expand his reptile collection since two of his animals have died in the last few months. Josiah is also reading his first Stephen King novel, The Dome. This has led to many a good discussion. In February, Josiah became a licensed driver and has been very helpful in bringing his sister, Michaela, to and from school.
Michaela is attending 3 performance art classes at the local high school. She has a supporting role in the spring play as well as lead role in a homeschool play. She continues to write songs and her novel(s). She has been growing in responsibility in our cafe and has even ran it for a whole day! She leads our Storytime and is trying to build up a regular program for it. Michaela also recently received her learner’s permit…so watch out!
The younger children have been real troopers in being at the store all day, every day. They keep learning and growing despite our neglect. The two boys, Elijah and Azariah, have found that they really can read! Kira and the boys have discovered a love for chess. Kira also has a leading role in a homeschool play. Elijah and Azariah will soon have their first experience at snowboarding along with their big brother. Petra and Hanna have found it delightful to “live” in a bookstore and try to get someone to read to them every chance they can get. Our, not so little, Nehemiah has recently ventured into walking. He isn’t quite sure about it yet, but I am sure he will be running in no time. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.
Actually, it has been a blessing to be here in the community we love so much. From the get go of Book & Bean, we have been here for 60+ hours a week. When we do drag ourselves home, it is usually to go almost straight to bed.
It is somewhat embarrassing to admit, but in mid to late January, we finally were home for a day, and I discovered some food that had been sitting on the counter in a closed container since Christmas Eve. It was horrendous.
Being home consists of maybe getting a bite to eat, doing laundry, taking care of the dogs, and sleeping. And as odd as it may seem we long to back in Prineville when we are home. Many a night, the kids have asked if we could just sleep at the store. I wish.
I am trying not to be discouraged, but I must admit, sometimes this seems too mighty for God. How does He find a place for a family of ten to live in that has no money, bad credit, and has filed bankruptcy? Then I think of all the things He has already done for us. He gave us a trailer to live in, a store to own and run, and a community to love. And that is just a few of the many, many blessings He has given us.
So we press on. We pour back our hearts, our time, our money back into the community we love. And we hope…we cling to the hope…that one day we won’t only be working there but living there, too. And we cling to the hope that all our hard work is not for nothing…that we really are making a difference for the Kingdom…and in the end He will say, “Well done good and faithful servants.”
It has been about 3 weeks, I think, since my last post. And its been about 2 months since my family bought Book & Bean. In these two months I have been stretched in ways I never thought possible.
In the beginning of November, I read a couple Bible verses that really stuck out to me. I wrote it down and taped it to my window in the kitchen. It read, “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.”…and “A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” (Proverbs 24:27, 33-34)
As I grumbled about washing dishes and doing laundry, I would read this verse and work harder and harder. I contemplated getting a job outside the home, and even talked to someone about hiring me as a Pilates instructor. But then JoKars Wild bought a bookstore/coffee shop.
Although I have worked outside the home from time to time over the years, it has always been only part-time. Now with the bookstore, I work from 7-6 Monday through Friday and 8-4 on Saturdays. For just the hours we are open, we spend 63 hours a week at the store. This doesn’t include the Late Nights, special meetings, and all the extra hours put in to make things go smoothly. (Joe has even spent two all-nighters in the store working.)
While the work is far from over, I have learned so much in the last two months. First, I need to stop being the martyr and let go. It doesn’t all have to be done by me, it doesn’t have to all be perfect. I have struggled with this for years…and still do. Second, we need to support one another…the working mom and the stay-at-home mom. It is not easy to have to depend on others to take care of your kids.
While the kids are with us at the store all day, I can’t go and take care of their every need. No actually, I am greatly dependent on Kira and Grandpa in helping with Nehemiah. And sometimes some “customers”, who have become friends, have lent a helping hand as well.
Which leads me to another realization, in order for us to get through these tough times, we need to come together as a community to help one another. Buying local, selling local, encouraging one another, laughing, jamming, reading, and hanging out.
Over the past two months, I have been privileged to assist in stopping a house from burning down, a friend from committing suicide, raise money for an orphanage in Tanzania, hug a friend in need, give guidance to a struggling homeschooler, and support local musicians, artists, and authors.
I hope over the next few months God would bless me to help employ the unemployed, give more financially to our current and future authors, artists, and musicians, to aid in restoring broken marriages, and bring people to Christ.
I hope our store becomes a place where people can come and share with one another, where youth can come and feel safe and loved, where people will be inspired by one another, and where everyone feels the love of Christ.
I have been working hard on mastering creating a heart on every latte I make. Most of the time the receiver never sees it as I usually put a lid on their cup. But this heart reminds me that everyone that comes into our store is loved by God. When I remember, I say a silent prayer.
Life is hard right now, not only for me, but everyone. It is so much easier knowing that we are not alone in our struggles.
What do you do when crossing the street? You look both ways. Everyone (unless they are stupid) looks both ways. Why? Well, to make sure there are no cars coming. It is just common sense.
Does it mean you lack faith in God if you look both ways? The Bible does say to trust in the Lord God. So why look both ways if you are trusting in God to take care of you? Why brush your teeth? Why eat well? Why exercise?
Why? Because God created man so He could have a relationship with him. From the very beginning God walked with man. Yeah, we screwed it up, but all along it has been God’s plan to be in relationship with us. Christ died so that we could have a relationship with God.
When my husband and I began talking prior to conceiving Nehemiah about whether or not we wanted to have any more children. We were using a method called Natural Family Planning. Basically it is a method where the woman knows her body’s symptoms of ovulation. (I highly recommend every woman know what is happening when she is ovulating.) Being that I always know when I am ovulating, it was easy for me to avoid pregnancy.
As we began 2009, we knew that we needed to make some decisions as to our long-term plans regarding children. I was 35, and would be 36 by the time a child came. Also, our youngest would be 3 by then…the largest age gap for us. So we decided that if God wanted us to have another child we would try for one month only. No, I shouldn’t say try. We wouldn’t prevent.
So needless to say, Nehemiah was conceived…yep, I am that fertile. So the plan was that after the one month or after the birth, we would seek sterilization.
So a couple of months after Nehemiah’s birth, Joe had a vasectomy. This was not an easy decision and one we didn’t make alone.
We made this decision in partnership with God. I believe completely…fully…that I am not to have any more biological children. I am at peace about that. But even though I am a peace, and I know God can and does heal, my husband and I still chose to have a vasectomy. Does this mean I lack faith? NO! I know that I am a very fertile. I know my husband is fertile. Man has come up with the tools to make a couple sterile safely. So my husband and I used those tools to ensure that we not have any more children. I know God can still work around that. But like I said…I believe completely that I will not have any more biological children.
I know God can also stop a moving car. I know God can heal me if I was just slammed to the pavement since didn’t look both ways. But even though I know those things, I still use the crosswalk. I still look both ways. And even with my precautions, if God were to allow me to be hit by a car, I know God would still be in control.
This post was originally written in Nov ’09 on another blog of mine, but I wanted to include it here for my series that I am working on…
From 2008 to late 2010 my family was in a season of waiting. My husband lost his job in May 2008. Since then we began to wait on many things to happen in our lives. We waited on the foreclosure of our house. We waited on an income opportunity. And we waited on the arrival of our 8th child…Nehemiah Oliver Becker who was born on November 23rd of 2009.
I had been having strong but painless contractions since the previous night, and now knew that this was the real deal. There was no turning back. Our little joy would be making his or her appearance in the very near future. I was excited. I was determined to do whatever it took to bring about a wonderful labor and delivery. I had invited my mom and my two oldest daughters to be there for my birth along with my husband, Joe, and my midwife. I had envisioned helping out this labor by walking, staying upright, and squatting during the contractions. I wanted to be as proactive as possible. I guess in a way I felt I needed to take charge, stay in control of the situation.
So I decided to take a shower and see if things might progress more rapidly. After all, the water might stimulate things and the standing could only help the downward progression of this little life. I had Joe turn on my music and play one of my favorite songs of the moment…”While I’m Waiting”. As I listened and sang the song with my husband, I was overwhelmed by the words and started bawling. Joe stuck his head into the shower to see what wrong. I said how this song reflected the season in which we were in. And here I was again waiting for our newest addition.
I soon got out of the shower. My midwife checked the baby’s heart rate and it was 180. She was concerned but figured she would check again in 10 minutes. When she checked it next, it was down to normal…around 140.
I think I wanted to prove what a “supermom” I thought was. So whenever I had a contraction I would go down into a squat. I refused to sit down and relax, so different from my approach in my other labors. I walked and sang. I leaned on my husband (boy, is he strong!). I squatted. I used the restroom. I did everything, but sit and relax. My midwife checked me and I was at 8 cm, but there was still some cervix left.
I had read how other women had labored on the potty and it helped tremendously in opening the cervix. I labored there for a little while and eventually got an urge to push. Not a huge urge but an urge. I started bearing down, but did not feel any progress. Actually it felt like I was pushing up against a wall. My midwife was next to me on the floor and decided to check me between contractions. She said that I was pretty much fully dilated but there was still a lip to the cervix. Another contraction came as she was checking me. It became so incredibly uncomfortable. I started screaming over the pain of her checking me. I screamed at her. She said this is not a good position for the baby. I agreed and got up.
As I got up, I felt very weak. I knew another contraction was coming. I also knew I was in transition. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I felt like I was going to pass out. My husband was trying to help me along, but I pushed him out of the way and made a beeline for my bed. I got there just in time as a contraction was starting. I had flopped down on my right side and started breathing to make it through. My midwife decided to give me oxygen.
My midwife couldn’t find the baby’s heart rate while I was laying on my right side, so I had to roll over. I made my way to my other side and my midwife checked on the baby. The baby was doing much better than it had in the bathroom. And I was starting to not feel so light headed. The contractions now were coming on so strong and very often. My back was hurting tremendously. The only relief was for someone to press on my lower back while I had a contraction. I continued this way for a while.
Between contractions I tried very hard to slow down my breathing and relax as much as possible. As I laid there, I would become so rested that I would forget for a moment what was going on. I would enter a dream like state. It was very peaceful. These moments, however brief, gave me the strength to get through the next contraction.
Now the baby, all throughout this time, had been moving around tremendously. So much that it was causing me great pain and discomfort. I have never had a baby move so much during labor. This movement wasn’t out of the ordinary though. All throughout my pregnancy, I had major discomfort due to the abrupt and strong movements of this child. But now as I labored, it made me think that maybe he was in distress.
My midwife again checked me and said that I could go ahead and push. She said to do what my body wanted to do. Honestly, I have no idea what my body wanted to do. But I really wanted to get it over with. Since getting on my hands and knees worked so well with my last birth, I decided to give that a try. I got up and started pushing. Again the wall! And because the baby was moving so much, it was so painful! My midwife reached in as I was contracting/pushing. I have never hated someone so much as I did at that moment. Any sort of downward progress I, might have had, was now up in my neck. Everything in me tightened. I was in so much pain. My midwife said that there was still a lip and I could not push. It was not good for baby or me. I cried out that I promised not to push.
I now had nothing. I couldn’t do anything, but get through one contraction and then another. I had been in this transitional stage for quite a while. I was weak, worried, and didn’t know how I could continue on. My body had begun shaking starting with my legs. I was so cold. My husband, my dear husband, had tried to breathe with me, but I couldn’t open my eyes to see him. I was too exhausted. I had been off of the oxygen for a little while since it was almost empty. I was trying so hard to just make it through each contraction. Joe prayed for me. I prayed and prayed. As I breathed, I just said “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” or “while I’m waiting”. After a contraction ended, I prayed that I would get through the next one. I saw no end in sight.
My midwife talked to Joe about calling the squad. She was concerned about the fluctuating heart rate and the fact that the cervix didn’t seem to be going anywhere. She said we needed to pray and talk about it. Joe talked to me between contractions. I told him that I wanted him to call the squad because I just didn’t see any end in sight. I thought that maybe the baby needed to be taken by C-section. Joe had my mom come talk to me to make sure that is what I wanted. I said it was. Joe left to call 911 and prepare for their arrival. My midwife also left the room. She had wanted to give us time to talk it over and was consoling my girls. My mom was still there. I didn’t know it though. I started having another contraction and I had thought everyone had left the room. I felt a hand on my back. I asked if it was my midwife. I heard a female voice but didn’t know what was said. After the contraction was over, I looked back to see who it was. It was my mom. I was so glad someone was there with me.
Another contraction started. I started my breathing. Just as it was waning, another started…and then another…all with no break. I prayed for a break, for my rest. My mom screamed out to my midwife that she better come in because the contractions weren’t stopping. Finally it stopped and I took a few relaxing breaths. My midwife had come in and sat at the corner of the bed. Then “POP”! My water broke…everywhere. I, not realizing that they could all see this, said, “My water broke!” My mom yelled out to Joe, “You better come in here, her water just broke!” Joe, who had been moving things out of the way for the squad, came in quickly. I immediately needed to push. I was still on my left side. As I pushed, I finally felt that head moving downward and quickly. I knew in that moment that this baby had to be born RIGHT NOW! My midwife encouraged me to keep pushing. I was kind of rolled onto my back while pushing. Joe and my mom were lifting my right leg up to make a way for the baby. I had such a severe cramp in my right leg and right hip. It was excruciating. I was screaming! I was completely flat on my back and not even able to lift my head. But I pushed like I have never pushed in my life. It was so hard to push that baby out, but I did in just a few seconds. I was so weak. Someone yelled, “It’s a boy!” The boy was placed on my stomach. I didn’t have the strength to lift my head to see him. Everyone kept saying how cute and how big he was. I was given some oxygen.
After a few minutes, I was able to have my head propped up so that I could at least see the top of his head. Joe told us the name for the baby…Nehemiah Oliver Becker. I was so overjoyed. Exactly the name I wanted! Someone was crying at the foot of the bed. Someone was crying out in the living room. I was too weak to do much of anything. Joe called the squad and told them they weren’t needed. They were so very kind and said congratulations. They had never made it to the house. It all happened so quickly! Everyone had been so scared. I didn’t realize that. The girls came in and saw him and were crying. My mom took a picture of Nehemiah and showed it to me so I could see what he looked like. Within a short while, I was able to sit up more and was told I looked a lot better. I asked what I had looked like before, but they said I didn’t want to know. I still don’t know.
This was my most difficult labor ever. This confirmed in me that this truly was and is my last child. I have cried many tears over the labor. Even now this is hard for me to write. I found out later that when my water had broken, there was meconium in it. So my instinct was right…He had to be born right away. I also found out: My midwife had gone out into the living room to pray for me as well. My son had posted on Facebook to have people pray for me. My husband was updating my dad, who had all the other kids, on what was going on.
Shortly after Nehemiah was born, he was weighed. He weighed a whopping 10 pounds even. I thought this was going to be my largest baby. I was right. Nehemiah Oliver Becker was born on November 23rd, 2009 at 8:31 PM.
God was with me each and every moment of my labor.
There is one thing I think God taught me in this labor. That sometimes He doesn’t want us to be taking action, but to wait. But waiting doesn’t mean doing nothing. Waiting may entail some of the hardest work you have ever had to do. But even in this time of travailing, He gave me rest, be it ever so briefly. Waiting is something I am still trying to come to grips with.
I stood on the stage behind the keyboard. It was time to play the closing song. Our pastor invited those who wanted prayer to come forward. I knew that this was one time I really needed to hit my knees and get prayer. I stepped down off the stage and poured my heart out to God.
It was March 2006. My husband and I were in the process of leaving our church of 4 years to join a young church in another town. We had 6 kids, and the youngest was to turn 1 at the end of the month. I was still nursing her. Our oldest was 11 1/2. My period was two weeks late, and I knew what that meant. I was pregnant. I didn’t need a test.
As I knelt “at the altar”, I cried out to God to take this baby from me. I had so many other things I wanted to do with my life rather than be pregnant or nursing. I wanted to do more with worship. I wanted to get my body back. I wanted to stop changing diapers. I wanted to go out with friends, have some me time. I also didn’t want to experience the fatigue and discomfort of being pregnant. I didn’t want to be a burden to my family once again. I was afraid of what my friends and family would say. I hated the judgmental glares or comments like “You know what causes this right?”
I begged God to end this pregnancy or change my heart.
Neither of those things happened right then. But a couple of weeks later, I was at a conference. I felt lead to pray for a couple of women. While we prayed, my heart changed…one of them was pregnant…with twins…I realized as I prayed for her that I was being extremely selfish. I realized that God knew my desires. He knows my heart. God loves and cares for me. What started as me praying for one of them, lead to them praying and being instrumental in healing my broken heart.
An amazing thing happened in that pregnancy. All the symptoms I normally had during pregnancy, I didn’t experience. I had no nauseousness, no fatigue, no sinus problems, no pain from my varicose vein. Also, God worked it out that I was able to birth my first child at home. Truly a miracle. I had a very blessed special birth experience with Hanna.
As soon as Hanna was born, I was filled with such joy and delight. God humbled me in that moment. I am ashamed that at first I actually didn’t want her.
To this day, Hanna is joy…pure joy.
God knew what our family needed. We needed Hanna. When my eldest (who really wanted a boy) saw Hanna for the first time, he was overwhelmed with love for her and exclaimed, “She is so beautiful.” To this day, she has him wrapped around her finger. He would do anything for Hanna.
Through Hanna, I learned that God desires to richly bless us. He doesn’t have it “out for us”. We may not understand, but if we have faith and trust in His plans, we will be richly blessed.
It has been a busy couple of weeks…busier and more exhausting than I have ever been in my life. On December 16th, we took over the Book & Bean in Prineville, OR. Although we are only open from 8 to 6, coming in the week prior to Christmas has made some long days. Usually we arrived at the store at 7 and most days didn’t leave till 8. Joe and I were scrambling to get more inventory in, to get supplies for the cafe, and to take care of special orders that had been dropped in the change of ownership.
Our kids have been troopers. We have a back room for them to hang out in. At first there was absolutely nothing for them to do. But slowly we have worked on their space to provide a place for them to feel comfortable. It still isn’t done, but getting better every day.
The oldest two kids have been learning the ropes. Josiah knows all the cash register stuff and Michaela is getting more and more confident as a barista. I don’t know what we would do without them.
Joe’s dad has also been helpful in entertaining the kids in the back. Many a times he has entertained Nehemiah who desperately wanted his mama.
For me, I have struggled most with feeling like I am neglecting the kids and the extreme fatigue. It does help to work in a coffee shop though. Whenever I feel tired, I can make myself a latte. I have tried to have little niches of time to read books to the kids every day. (This also helps when a customer comes in wanting a book for a child.) It also helps the kids since they aren’t allowed to look at the books by themselves. Our reading time allows them to see and hear the books they have been drooling over.
Well, I had a few minutes and just wanted to fill you all in on what has been going on with JoKars Wild. Hopefully in the days ahead, I will have time to complete my blogs on childbearing and trusting God…Till then, may you know Christ love for you…
While there is far more to this story…like how we once left a church because of their failure to pursue the vision they had of a church with a coffee house atmosphere, or all the businesses we started that never took off, or all the bookseller conventions Joe attended over the years…I think that would have to be for a book…
Again, I am amazed and humbled by how great God is. God does not forget. God knows our hearts. God has a plan.
This post is of a very personal topic. For my male readers, you might want to skip this one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Over the years I have used almost every form of birth control.
As a new bride, I never took the time to learn about fertility or birth control. I simply followed what my family, friends, or doctor told me to do. I didn’t take it to God, but God brought the knowledge to me.
Here are a few things I learned….
My first experience with birth control was using hormones. I quickly found that my body does not like hormones. They wreak havoc on me. I think this was God’s way of protecting me. Because of the effect they had on me, I never was on any for very long. But years later, God showed me the more damaging effect hormones have…they sometimes abort babies. Yes, it’s true. Do the research yourself.
I had an IUD for 2 years and thought it was the best thing ever…until one day when someone told me the truth. A friend lovingly informed me how IUD’s also abort babies. What the doctor tells you is that it disturbs the uterine lining, making it so that an egg doesn’t implant. What they fail to mention, and we fail to recognize is that it makes it so that a “embryo” won’t implant so then the body aborts the baby. If you believe in life at conception, then that is murder.
Shortly after my friend told me this, I had my regular period. I was changing my pad and noticed a mass the size of a large marble. I picked it up to see what it was. It was firm and round, yet squishy like a grape. I put my fingernail into it breaking its exterior. It had cartilage in it. To this day, I do not know what it was, but I suspect it was the beginnings of a new baby. I am still grieved by my lack of knowledge and stupidity. How many other little babies did I kill? I know I am forgiven, but my hope is that by my telling you this, you won’t make the same mistakes I have.
I had my IUD removed immediately.
After that we stuck to the rhythm method and barrier methods. Now some Christians say that this is a sin and reference the verse about Onan ”spilling his semen on the ground”. One thing my husband told me as he went through his pastoral studies was scripture wasn’t intended to be read as isolated sentences or phrases. Scripture was to be taken as a whole. In my opinion of reading the Word, God killed Onan because he didn’t fulfill his obligations as a husband…he shamed his wife. Read it for yourself.
It wasn’t till my 7th pregnancy that I learned something rather profound.
I learned that God loves me and knows me better than I know myself.
Hang with me, I am going somewhere with all this personal talk of babies and birth control. More to come next Thursday…