Thursday, January 1, 2015

It's been three years'ish since I posted anything here.  Not sure what happened to all my pretty pictures.  I feel as if I'm walking into a deserted house.  I used to love to go walking through the woods where my parents live in TN and come across parts of old, deserted houses that no one had lived in for years and years and years.  I loved walking around in them looking for clues about the people who had lived there.  Once I found a pair of old dentures.  I was in high school...I took them home, put them in a jar, and they sat on the windowsill of my dorm room window (I went to boarding school in KY) till I graduated.  Not sure what happened with them after that.  I guess I finally got a clue...I thought it was funny to have a set of used dentures on my windowsill, but everyone else was grossed out.

On another walk through the woods, my Mom took me to the land where my Dad grew up.  Part of the house he grew up in was still standing.  I saw the water pump that was on the back porch, and imagined my grandmother living there.  My Dad told a story about my grandmother from back in Depression days.  There were a lot of men and women who would come to the back door looking for food and she would give them what she could, and it was most likely from her own share of the small amount of food they had.  She made sure my Dad, and his dad, always had enough because they needed their strength to work the farm.  We gave our oldest daughter this grandmother's name as her middle name...Katherine.

On this deserted blog, there are missing stories from the last three years.  Our oldest son graduated from our homeschool.  Many people said, "You must be so proud!  Your first homeschool graduate!"  How to explain that to get him to that point took superhuman strength and all I felt like doing was taking a nap?  ;-)

Three years ago, Lydia was at the beginnings of her teen years.  We are now deep in the middle of them and feeling the challenge of decisions to be made...which way to go.

Jack was 11 three years ago, and is now 14.  Taller than his dad and older brother and so sweet, but in the same position as Lydia...decisions, decisions, decisions.  It's hard to help them to understand now that the decisions they make today affect their tomorrow.  Some are easier than others to reach, but so far, ours are hard heads.  They remind me of their parents...

And now our youngest three are 8, 7 and 5.  I love every minute with them...I love the ages that they are.  We have plans to grow pumpkins this summer at our church's community garden.  I might be more excited than they.

We are a busy, busy family.  Darin and I work hard to keep life to a minimum, but with six kids, it's hard!  We are working on making the busyness more of  home-thing...we won't get to have them forever, and this is the only time they will have to build a relationship with each other...we're looking forward to this coming year and imagining the stories and new pictures that can potentially be posted here is exciting.

Onward and Upward!

Monday, March 5, 2012

We are Here to Serve

As we started down the large family road, Darin and I were questioned by many about our belief that we could trust God with this.  We struggled with that very question before we realized that if we could trust God with our finances, safety, salvation...areas where we all regularly say we trust Him...then we could surely trust Him to deliver the number of children He saw fit to give. 

As time has gone on, and our first three have gotten older and more helpful and responsible, we are now confronted with well-meaning people who question just how involved they should be in helping with the younger three and housework.  I have to tell you, our older three kids work hard.  On a daily basis, Darin and I see the struggle in them that is a standard human struggle.  Selfishness.  They are surrounded by a culture that encourages self-service and indulgence over serving.  We cringe when friends we love give our kids a pity party over their place in our family rather than championing their daily lessons in perserverance, service and self-sacrifice.  Oh, that they would learn these traits now and not be forced to do it when they are 40 and have families of their own!

Kelly, at Generation Cedar, has reposted a blog entry that she wrote about a year and a half ago about this very thing.  I remember reading it and it enouraged me then as much as it did today.  Check it out.  She has such a thoughtful response to this issue.

I’ve spoken at length about the counter-culture responsibility we have to raise servants of Christ in a world that screams the opposite. Families are the training ground for servant-hood. It is very easy in this day to raise children who carry a victim mentality, but it is crippling to allow it. Again, balance must be present, but we teach our children that it is a command (and privilege) to serve each other (and Mom and Dad must demonstrate that serving); anything else is disobedience to the Word of God.
You want truly happy children? Get this one thing through to them: We are here to serve, not to be served.   

Read more HERE.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ain't it the Truth?

"I had the most beautiful set of theories you ever knew when I started out as a schoolma’am, but every one of them has failed me at some pinch or another."
— Anne Shirley
Anne of Avonlea

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Creative Life

It's been a strange few months for me.  I am usually busy doing, thinking and getting things done, but I've found myself just wanting to sit still and be quiet.  It's been a good thing.  In all my sitting still I've come across a few books that have fed my needy soul.  Every time I go to Karen Andreola's blog, Moments with Mother Culture, I come away with a new book I want to read or am inspired to start a new craft.  Not that I have time to start a new craft, but I have found time for the new books.  Grace is still nursing and I've begun reading while she eats.  I wasn't always able to do that with her. 
Back in December, Karen recommended the book Christmas at Fairacre.  As I was checking it out on Amazon, I realized that it is part of a series.  Being the all-or-nothing woman that I am, I just had to start with the first book in the series, Village School.  I'm so glad I did.  It has been encouraging for me to read about the ups-and-downs of life in a small English village and its even smaller school. 

The second book in the series is Village Diary.  Life in the village as recorded by the school's headmistress.  Reading what she wrote about one of the busy housewives in the village made me think of my job here at home...

Mrs. Willet is small and pale and yet she is 'always on the go,' as she herself will tell you.  The fact that she can do so many things, and takes enormous pride in doing them well, is, I think, the secret of this apparently inexhaustible energy.  There are so many different activities to engage her, that when she tires of one, there is another to which she can turn and get refreshment.  From turning her heavy old mangle in the wash-house, she will come in and sit down to stitch a new skirt.  She will prepare a stew, and while it simmers on the hob, filling the little house with its fragrance, she will practice her part in Mr. Annett's new anthem, ready for the next church festival.  And - this perhaps is the most important thing - she sees a satisfying result from her labours.  The clothes blow on the line, the skirt is folded and put away in the drawer ready for next Sunday; Mr. Willet will come in 'sharp-set' and praise her bubbling stew; and, with any luck, Mr. Annett will congratulate her on her grasp of that difficult passage just before the basses come in.

It is a creative life.  There is something worth while to show for energy expended which engenders the desire to accomplish more.  Small wonder that the Mrs. Willets of this world are happy, and deserve to be so.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Making?

Grace, our 22 month old, always asks, "What making, Mama?"  What a great question.  I've started using her question to hold me accountable to be "making" something at all times.  It's easy to become distracted by so many things and forget that I've made a conscious choice to be a full-time mother to my children.  Those days when I'm busy being distracted or unmotivated are the days when the kids are cranky and disobedient.  They can see what my level of committment is and respond accordingly. 

The days are short.  Time is flying by and my kids will be out of the house longer than they were in it and one day my actions will be tested by fire - will they withstand the heat, or burn with the chaff?  Thomas a Kempis wrote,
"Learn to obey, O dust! Learn to humble thyself, O earth and clay, and to bow thyself beneath the feet of all. Learn to crush thy passions, and to yield thyself in all subjection."

Can I?  Dare I give all my desires for leisure time away so that I can "lay down my life" for my children?  Can I humble myself and accept the head-shaking and finger-pointing when I tell someone I don't have a hobby because I've given it up for the greater good of raising my children?

But most importantly, can I put aside the pride I might feel about laying down my own desires for my children's needs and be a true instrument of God?  The November 7th entry from my God Calling book slapped me right between the eyes...

"Dwelling with Me, desiring only My Will and to do My work, My Spirit cannot fail to pass through the channel of your life into the lives of others.
Many think it is humility to say they do little, and are of little value to My world.  To think that is pride.
What if the pipe were to say, "I do so little, I wish I could be more use."  The reply would be "It is not you, but the water that passes through you, that saves and blesses.  All you have to do is to see there is nothing to block the way so that the water cannot flow through."
The only block there can be in your channel is self.  Keep that out, and know that My Spirit is flowing through.  Therefore all must be the better for coming in contact with both of you, because you are channels.  See this, and you will think it natural to know they are being helped, not by you, but by My Spirit flowing through you as a channel."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Lapbook

I've been dealing with mastitis this week.  Being sick can be a very productive time for me and this time is not any different.  While I did spend a lot of time sleeping while the kids played outside in the tents they dragged down from the attic, I also did a little internet surfing.  Once they come back in from playing, the babes are usually grouchy and tired, so sleeping is over for me.  ;-)  Last week, I printed out an insect lapbook to begin with Henry, Sophia and Grace.  Well.  Not very good timing on my part considering it's getting cold outside and the insects are hiding!  So we are going to put that one aside until spring.  I'm brilliant. I printed out, cut and organized needed supplies for a Pumpkin Lapbook that we will begin tomorrow.  I feel mostly better and am tired of laying around and not being with my kids.  I so love being with them. 

Here's a link to the lapbook if you're interested.  Interesting lapbooks written and compiled by Melissa Telling.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Useful House

Yesterday Darin filled the house with dust as he sanded down some spots he is repairing on our walls.  Really, it's overwhelming when we start to look around at the various spots on the walls that need repair.  There are a couple of places where a lacrosse ball has left it's mark, then there's the time when Darin repaired Henry's bike tire in the house.  Henry was so excited he rode it up and down the hallway when it was fixed - then ran into the wall with the handlebars.  Ouch!  Rollerblading, hockey, chasing the dog, basketball...our entryway and hallway just calls for these activities.

The last few weeks, I've been overwhelmed as I've been trying to juggle all our stuff around.  We are gearing up for a renovation of our entire downstairs.  New floors, kitchen cabinets, paint, and floorplan.  Our growing family no longer fits in the plan that we have.  With all the books, school things, toys, and clothes, I am almost at my wits end at making a place for everything.  If only we didn't need beds - think of all the bookshelves we could put where the beds are.  Every inch of our house is being used.  This irritated me at first because I was frustrated.  I felt as if I were standing in the middle of a room with my arms full of stuff and no where to take it.  Then I thought about all the houses with the kids and parents that are gone all day, the rooms that are unused and yet filled with furniture that never gets sat on.  There is not one room or chair or bed that doesn't get full use in our house every day and in the end, I can't help but think what a blessing that is.