Friday, August 28, 2009

Who Would I Be?

We have a friend who is an excellent baker! I find myself wishing I would take the time to bake as she does.
I like to bake, it seems I just don't get much time for it. It seems that I always get interrupted; something small happens (skinned up knee for instance) so that I am called away and the cookies are three minutes overdone.
Or something bigger happens; cows are out or he needs a part for something. There are even days when I plan to bake something and everything goes haywire here with the children and I just can't get to it.

So I found myself thinking, "I could be a better baker if I didn't have all these distractions..."

And then I realized where that train of thought could take me.
"I could keep a cleaner house if all these people didn't live here."
"I would have more money if we were a smaller family."
"I could keep a better lawn if we didn't live on this farm."
"I wouldn't feel so rushed all the time if the kids would just get ready to go when it's time to go."
"I could be thinner if I had more time to exercise."
"I would be a happier mommy if I had some help."
"I would be more patient if I had more patience myself."
etc., etc., etc.......

BUT---then who would I be? Those things are really quite a big part of who I am. I think it's time for a little confessional.

~~I am a woman who struggles to keep her house clean. I like to clean house and I like a clean house, but with 9 (10!) people living in a house built for 5, there isn't a whole lot of room for us. And let's face it, kids make messes. And so do husbands. Is a dissheveled house the worst thing in the world? I'd say it's close, but not the worst.

~~We have a big lawn. It doesn't get mowed as often as it should. We have two push mowers and two bigger boys. They do the best they can. (For years I mowed it myself with a push mower--only one, as I am not quite talented enough to run two at once.) We have two dogs that drag stuff all over the yard, there are holes where critters have dug, there are over-grown edges of sandboxes and much trimming that needs to be done. We don't have a trimmer. Is a less-than-perfect yard so terrible? When I get to heaven, God will not ask me about our landscaping habits. I am responsible for the lives of the 8 (so far) children he has placed in my care. I look forward to hearing him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

~~We are always late. Church, appointments, engagements, meetings---always 5-10 minutes late. I HATE it.
Many (all??) times, it is because of chores. Something didn't go quite right during milking, cows got out, a calf was sick, etc., etc.
Sometimes, it's because I did one more thing: hung that load of clothes out on the line, folded that basket of laundry "real quick", or loaded the dishwasher when I should have just let it go and done it when we got back home.
Other times, it's because the baby NEEDED to be fed, or a dirty diaper made itself known as the individual was getting buckled into their carseat.
All of these things can make me late. But in the grand scheme of things, is anyone going to get that upset if I'm a few minutes late for a meeting? Or if our troop marches up the aisle during the opening hymn (our family always sits in front. There is no slinkin' unnoticed into the back pew...)? I can get all upset with the kids about how we're always late, or I could say (sadly, though, I usually don't) "good try kids--but we're going to be a bit late. Hopefully it'll go better next time."

~~I carry some extra weight. I try to tell myself it's because I don't have time to exercise, but really it's because I put too much food into my mouth.
I could really obsess over this, but isn't there more to life? I know so many thin people who say that they need to lose weight. !!!!????? Good grief, it their not thin enough, I don't have a chance!!
Again, in the end, it's really not that important if I have an extra 15-20 pounds. It's just not. Besides, as one of my children once told me, "I think it's good for mommies to be squishy. That way it doesn't hurt if you run into them."
Works for me.

~~Well, this one is probably pretty true. I do need some help. (Dennis--are you reading???) But I could rejoice in my suffering, instead of getting upset with the kids because I don't get enough help from their dad. I need to change my attitude about that. And be upset with him instead. *wink*

~~Patience is not a virtue of which I have an abundant supply. But how will God teach me patience? By making me wait. So while I'm waiting, I'm learning. Learning to trust Him more and rely on myself less. Learning to slow down, take a breath, gather myself,and then respond to the fussing and whining that DRIVES ME BATTY! Remembering that there will be times when the house is a mess--and there will be times when the house looks pretty good!

Knowing that now, amidst all the spills and the smears and the holes in the knees and the spitting up and the germs and the bickering and the messes and the diapers and the laundry and the endless dishes---one day my home will be too quiet and too clean (wait, is that really possible???) and I will wish for some people to come and fill it with the sounds of LIFE. One day I will wish for all these things that can bother me so much now.
Hmmmm.... I need to do some work on my own attitude.
I know I need to be a better and more faithful servant.
And I know who I am and how God made me. I can't be like everyone else, because I'm ME. I can't compare myself with all the other mommies who are skinnier, more patient, better dressed, more happily married with nicer lawns and on time for their engagements. She doesn't exist anyway, does she?
I can only do a better job of being ME.
Starting today.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How I Do It

Alternately titled: "The Post in Which I Share a Lot About Our Pro-Life Convictions and Because I Am So Passionate, Do Not Always Have the Best Grammatical Progression From One Paragraph to the Next"

I get asked this question every time someone sees our family: "How do you do it?"

The short answer: "A lot of grace."

Family is a sort of hot-topic with me. That and homeschooling.
But you already knew that.

Oftentimes, I get this statement: "Well, we just couldn't afford more kids."

As if I can???!!!!

People ask how we afford all of their activities.
They don't have "activities."
Our kids don't do sports. I'm ok with that.
They don't do camps. I'm ok with that.
They do 4-H. This is cheap.
They live on a farm, play ball in the yard, swim at the lake, sled on our hills, make our own treats, cook our own food, and don't feel deprived.
Go ahead and ask 'em.

Am I saying that all large families are financially strapped? Not hardly.
We know many large families who are quite well off.
Our situation here has nothing to do with how many children we have.
God has provided over and over and over again.
I was telling my brother-in-law last night that I don't think there is anything in our pantry, freezer, or refrigerator right now that Dennis and I have purchased.
That is amazing to me!
It is all GOD, using other people to bless us with those things.

If I had to choose whether we would drive a nicer vehicle or have Elijah--I'd pick Elijah in a heartbeat.

If I had to choose whether our older kids would get to play sports or that we would have Ruby--I'd pick Ruby.

If I had to choose whether we would buy new clothes or wear hand-me-downs and have this coming baby--you guessed it, I'd pick the baby.

These children have eternal souls. They are forever.
Vans, furniture, clothes, camps, sports, eating out--these are all passing things.
I will not choose something over life.
I choose life over EVERYTHING.

Is it not an absolute miracle how babies are created?
Can any one of us say that we had anything to do with it?
Seriously--is it any action on your part that literally makes that baby?
Or would you agree that it is only because God is God and He alone fashions and forms those babies in the womb, causing all the cells to split and multiply, the skin to form, the placement of the eyes and nose and arms and legs and fingers and toes. That inside a mother is the perfect environment for that baby, temperature controlled, everything the baby needs is there. Without much participation from the mom, really.

Isn't it amazing that no one even knows what causes labor to start? All of our medical advancements and this remains a mystery.
It's not a mystery to me--God knew before time began when that baby would be born.

We had a sweet thing happen to our family after church yesterday. Dennis and I were asked to sing at a church in a nearby town.
Afterward, a dear lady asked us if she could take us out for lunch.
She asked where we would like to go, and I said (knowing that taking a family of 9 to a restaurant is costly) "McDonalds."
She insisted, "No, no, no, Silly. Somewhere where we sit down and eat all together. How about Pizza Ranch?"
I said that would be wonderful.
She told us over lunch that she figured we probably don't get invited out to eat much. I told her she was exactly right.

It was SUCH a treat for our family! We don't eat out--Ruby's nver even eaten in a restaurant. We had a delightful time of conversation with this dear Christian lady.
She is a widow and Sundays get long for her.
She was just beaming over our kids, laughing at the things they would say and just enjoying being with all the kids.
We thanked her profusely and she kept saying it was her pleasure.

Dennis and I didn't start out "sold" on the idea of a large family.
God did a work on both of our hearts, years ago.
We tried to "plan" each one. God had bigger and better plans.
He impressed on us that He alone is the Author of life.
Who am I to say that He should not use my womb? He created me. I am His.

It is my honor and privilege to be used of Him to raise up Godly children and to train them in the way that they should go.

3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

These are not my words. The very GOD of the Universe spoke them and they are true.

It is bothersome to me that in our culture today, we don't desire children. People surgically remove their ability to have a baby.
People say, "well, we have modern medicine now..."
It is a medical procedure where we take a functioning part of the body and disable it.
It boggles my mind.

I didn't know until a friend of mine told me that the birth control pill causes abortions. I only thought it prevented conception. But it also makes the lining of the uterus slippery so that, should fertilization "accidentally" occur, the fertilized egg cannot be implanted and is therefore aborted.
So many people do not know this. It's written right in the pamphlet that comes with the pills. Doctors sure don't tell you this. Go ahead and ask them about it, though, because they do know about it.

Here's what it comes down to for me:
Either God is God, or He isn't.
I know He is.

And because God is the Creator of life--well, He can use me.
Over and over again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

This and That

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted something. This is going to be a catch-up post. A bit of This and That.

If you know me, you probably know that my Grandma passed away a week ago. I haven't really felt like blogging about it. I haven't felt particularly witty, or funny, or much of anything. When my Grandpa died, it was very sudden. (He collapsed on a bench on the sidewalk in our small town.) It took me quite awhile to stop crying suddenly after he died.
With my Grandma, it has been different. I think I cried more before she died than after. I spoke with my mom about that. I came to this conclusion: When you literally are holding someone's hand all the way to the Gates of Heaven, I think it's easier to let go.
I watched her make steady progress toward her ultimate goal--Heaven. I got the chance to ask her about her personal decision to accept Christ as her Lord. I watched as she gave up climbing stairs, gave up food, gave up using the bathroom, stopped talking, stopped responding, and eventually stop breathing.
There is no way to describe all that I experienced at her house these past weeks. It was wonderful and terrible and meaningful and life-changing...all at the same time.
I may share more on this as time goes by.

Let's see, what else...well, if you know me you probably ALSO know that we are having another baby in our family! We are all very excited.
I'm due in February, as God sends our children in one of three months.
In order, the children's birthdays go
and now February.
Isn't that a hoot??!!

Many people at my grandma's funeral said, "I'm so sorry...and Congratulations!!"

Generally speaking, I'm feeling pretty well. I'm about 13 weeks, so mostly past the icky part anyway. With Ruby, I pretty much was on the couch for a few more weeks, so I am very thankful to be up and about with very little morning (all-day) sickness.

Today, I had a meeting for our homeschool group board. We left home at about 9:45 am and got back home at about 6:30 pm.
Long day for me with all of the children.

Our kids all played during the meeting and then my kids and I ate our picnic lunch (in the van). After that, we went to the chiropractor and then Andrew had a birthday party to attend.
We dropped him off, went to the library and the recycling center, and then rest of the kids and I went to play at a park--which I never do. Of course, it had to rain. But they didn't care! They played and played on the equipment, got a little wet, but who cares?!

The reason we were killing all that time in town was that we were waiting to attend a benefit for a friend of ours who has cancer. The same kind as my Grandma had, pancreatic.
Cancer touches everyone it seems.

So, now I'm home.
And I really should be getting them all to bed instead of blogging.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back to (Home) School

I found this article on

Back to (Home) School

A Growing Trend

by Mark Early
As children head back to class this fall, more and more of them are staying right at home.

Recent years have seen a dramatic growth in the number of homeschooled kids. More than 1.5 million Americans now choose to educate their children at home. And that number may be growing by anywhere from 5 to 12 percent a year. As of spring 2007, 2.9 percent of all school-aged children in the U.S. were homeschooled.

What’s behind this growth? Although the Supreme Court ruled in 1925 that parents have the right to homeschool their children, the homeschooling movement didn’t really gain traction until the ‘80s and ‘90s. That’s when many decided they wanted their children to be grounded in a Christ-centered education, something not available in the public schools.

But today, homeschooling is growing dramatically among people who don’t claim Jesus as their main motivation for educating children at home. In fact, according to a 2001 Time magazine article, some three-quarters of homeschooling families said that the driving motivating factor was really simply quality of education.

Beyond that, the reasons for homeschooling are as varied as the types of parents who choose to do so. Take, for example, Leo Damrosch, a Harvard English professor, who homeschooled his two sons because his two favorite authors—men he considered geniuses—were homeschooled as well. Or Robert Phillipps from Glendale, California, who was sick of the violence his son witnessed at his elementary school. Or Susanne Allen from Atlanta, who homeschools because she believes it will teach her children to care for each other and, therefore, the rest of society.

You know, Susanne may be on to something. One study by the Fraser Institute in Vancouver indicated that homeschoolers tend to be more mature, happy, and better socialized than their peers.

They also boast better academic performance. Standardized test scores for homeschoolers are well above that of private and public school students. And in a survey of those homeschooled between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, 74 percent have taken college-level courses, compared with only 46 percent for the general U.S. population. Homeschoolers have also made a name for themselves in national spelling and geography contests.

Many states have discovered that homeschooling is saving taxpayer dollars. Nevada homeschoolers save the state education budget between $24 and $34 million in expenses per year. And one estimate places North Carolina’s savings at a whopping $546 million per year.

Of course, homeschooling is just one option, and many parents choose to send their children to public or private schools. But with the growing cultural decline in our country and the growing concern over the quality of education, there’s no question that more and more Christian parents will be either homeschooling their children or sending them to private Christian schools.

Wherever we choose to send our children to school, our goal is to raise our children to love God and to love others. We want them to become productive citizens, not only of this earthly society, but of the Kingdom as well.

Visit our website at, where you’ll find more information on homeschooling and links to organizations that help Christian parents teach their kids at home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ever Thought About Homeschooling?

Has the thought of home educating your children crossed your mind? Have you ever wondered if it might work for your family? Attending a MACHE sponsored Considering Homeschooling workshop might be just the thing to help you decide if it is the right thing for you.

These workshops are designed especially for parents who are exploring the possibility of home educating or have recently begun the journey. Parents with children of all ages will find this workshop informative and practical. From the infant to the high school senior, parents are the most significant teacher their child will ever have.

What are some of the questions this workshop will answer?

Check the
Homeschooling Workshop Calendar to find out when and where the next Considering Homeschooling workshop is scheduled.

MACHE is adding a second traveling workshop option for home educating families. There is a growing need for information regarding homeschooling your high school student in Minnesota and we have created this workshop to address some of the most common questions. This 3 1/2 hour workshop will provide information about:

Homeschooling through the high school years can be a tremendous blessing and an opportunity for you and your children. This workshop will address parents' questions regarding these important years of growth and potential. You can do it!

Check the
Homeschooling Workshop Calendar to find out when and where the next Finishing the Journey - Homeschooling your High Schooler workshop is scheduled.

For more information contact MACHE at:
P. O. Box 32308
Fridley, MN 55432
Metro area: 763-717-9070
Greater MN (toll-free): 866-717-9070

Copyright 2005, MACHE

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Evidence That I Am Indeed The Worst Mother Ever

The other day, Elijah woke up, came running out to the kitchen and said, "Hi Mommma, I want my oatmeal!"

I, however, did not feel like cooking up a batch of oatmeal that morning and so offered him a pop-tart instead.
He said he really really wanted oatmeal.
I said I really really wanted him to have a pop-tart.

I'm terrible I know.
Report me.
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