This is the blog for Gavin and Carrie Jones and family. We live in Papua New Guinea and are working to see lives transformed by the living Word of God through Bible translation. Gavin is a helicopter pilot. Carrie, who has her degree in Public Health, is the lab supervisor and one of five lab techs at our busy rural clinic. Our son, Isaac, was born in 2004 and our quintuplets, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, and Grace, were born in 2012.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. The you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:3-6

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Musings on my terrific kids (a long, wordy post with LOTS of photos!)

Holding her certificates and teacher's sweet commendation letter
There was a lovely little breakfast and ceremony
Marcie and Seth have both been chosen, at separate times, as their class's "Terrific Kid" of the grading period. Seth's was for creativity and optimism, Marcie's for kindness and caring. We think all our kids are terrific, though, and in unique ways . . .
Seth with his certificate
When we spoke at Waxhaw Bible Church a couple of months ago, Isaac was asked what the HARDEST part and the BEST part of having quintuplet siblings was. His answer was astonishingly astute and accurate, something I'd never thought before but with which I completely agree. 
He said, "The hardest part IS the best part. It's that they are five unique individuals with different personalities and needs, not just one big group of kids. It's really neat to get to know them as individuals, but it's also really hard to meet those individual needs. It's tempting to always treat them as one big group when they're together, and that's not fair to them." 
I love this sweet-tempered, goofy big brother, my first-born terrific kid!
He still lets me hug him and actually returns the hugs - how rare is that for a 15-year-old?

Dressed for 80's day
An aside: Isaac loves to be with them one or two at a time and is quite intentional about it. He's like the master of ceremonies with the Xbox. :) Minecraft and Lego Star Wars are the two favorite games, and it's such fun to see them having a blast together with their big brother. He also loves rough-housing with and chasing them, and they're always trying to egg him on!
Isaac holding his driver's permit!

Back to Isaac's insightful comment, with some of my musings:

They didn't choose to be quints. They don't want to be labeled as part of a group ONLY - although at this point they seem quite sanguine about their identities as quintuplets and love to tell people about it when it comes up. However, they don't tend to volunteer the information until someone asks or otherwise mentions it. Oh, and they always include Isaac! They are indeed each so different from all the others, and each one deserves to have his or her needs and desires and personalities given the proper weight and respect (as much as any of us "deserves" anything - its all grace!). ALL their feelings matter, not just the one who's crying at the moment. It's a constant balancing act, a constant challenge to be alert to who needs the attention and tender loving care in that instant of time! I can't give each of the five plus Isaac the abundance of attention and care they deserve simultaneously.   I have to prioritize so I can be fully there for the one who is the most needy at that time. And needs present themselves differently. One child will wail (Will), another will go off and quietly cry without us even realizing he's sad about something (David), another will gradually dissolve into tears (Seth), while two more will run to their rooms and WEEP loudly (the girls). The things that hurt each one's feelings differ too, so parenting has to be tailored at least somewhat. I realize this is true in any family, but I think the sheer number and volume of same-aged kids makes it seem sometimes like a continuous fight to stay on top of a mountain of sliding shale. What's sweet is they look out for each other and will often come tell me if someone is sad or struggling, or stand up for each other if someone is being unfair! They all love each other INTENSELY (intensity is not something in short supply around here). 

This is a sad picture, but it illustrates the challenges we face in meeting our kids' emotional needs!! Rest assured Will recovered from his grief at being thwarted in going first. Gracie is our happiest kid at this point, always skipping and hopping and grinning through life. Will feels everything deeply, so he is either perfectly happy or perfectly miserable!

Despite the challenges and difficulties, and regardless of the fact that this is never easy, it's SO rewarding and God is SO incredibly faithful to strengthen and encourage us, including through many of you!!! (We love you!) When we look back to all stages and ages we've made it through, we honestly wonder how we survived the moment-by-moment continuous mental and emotional labor. Gavin, in looking ahead, sometimes struggles with discouragement that there's still so much that can and will be stretching and exhausting. I often think, "I need to ask people to keep praying for us, because this is still HARD." 

However, I just thought tonight how supernatural and gracious the God-given joy and stamina really is. We love and enjoy our kids so very much. They are six of my most favorite people, in all their uniqueness and sweetness and struggles. They are a GIFT. A gift that keep giving and giving and giving . . . and taking, and taking, and taking! ;) They are worth it all! 

But please keep praying for us. :)

Sweet brothers reading together

Swimming remains a favorite activity

An impromptu tea party on a cold day!

Doing crafts at JAARS Day
More crafts, this of a very heavy-duty kind!

Marcie and David sitting in the airplane

Will and Seth's turn

Gracie and Seth climbing on a rock wall near us


Silly swinging Seth - still our "class clown," always trying to get us all to laugh.

Note Will's top two front teeth are missing!

Seth's two front bottom teeth are also missing!
He's so strong . . . ;)

Grandma giving Seth a hug during her last visit.
Grandma treated us all to Freddy's hamburgers and milkshakes!

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

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