Showing posts from July, 2010

Clothing a Large Family

Here, on Saturdays, I am addressing the practical side of raising a large family.  We will share how we manage our home with 8 and soon to be 9 children.  These are things I wish I would have known when I was struggling to adjust to large quantity everything, or, at about child # 5. This week, I am sharing how we clothe our family on a small budget. I often get asked, “How on earth do you  provide for your 8 children?”   The answer is simple, we rarely buy anything new.   Most of our clothing and housewares come from thrift shopping or yard sales.  We happily give and receive presents that were bought second hand, and most importantly, we have a system.
I have learned that it is less expensive to buy clothing when you find it, not when you need it.  If I see a nice piece of clothing for under .99 cents, I will likely buy it.  This month, I bought Bethany two dresses in a size 8.  She is wearing a 5 now.  They were beautiful dresses.  One I paid $1.99, the other was .99.

I don't j…

Living Like Grandma

When I was growing up, visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s house were treasured times.  They were great people.  Humble, Unselfish, Caring, Genuine.   I have come to realize that the things I remember about my Grandma are qualities that have been lightly tossed aside in our culture today.  Not lost yet, as we are still here to remember, the way Grandma lived is very near to the ideal of attaining simplicity in life today. Taking a stroll down memory lane has been well worth it for me this week, as I talked with my husband of the way it was then. 

Over the thirty years of my life that they were living, I do not recall anything in their home changing.  There was no lust for newer, better furnishings, or different d├ęcor.  They had what they needed and lived with it contentedly.  They lived simply.

 I remember grandma taking care of her flowers every morning, clad in her broad brimmed hat, delighting in the gentle beauty of each flower. Her mother, too, had beautiful flowers that she cared for.  These were i…

Just Another Beautiful Day

Thump, thump, thump.  The wee one growing within awoke me to the near daylight of a harvest moon.  My complaining stomach kept me awake.  Apparently, the two had mutually agreed that I needed to eat something. At 2:30 in the morning.  I waddled my way down the stairs, easily finding the snacks I had stored away for just such an occasion. The bright moonlight was astoundingly beautiful, casting shadows across the landscape just outside the window.  I marveled as I crept around the house, window to window gazing at the night. Back upstairs, romanced by the moon, I tiptoed near the bedside for a glimpse of  Gabe hogging my pillow.  But he, too, was awake, and could see me plainly in the moonlight.  He grinned and giggled somewhat sleepily.   I laughed as this sweet little body wriggled up close to nestle with me like two spoons.  I lay awake for what seemed like a long long time, just thanking the Lord for Gabe, for my husband sleeping through all the ruckus, for John who was at work, and on down t…

He Speaks to Me

This is my father’s World And to my listening ears All nature sings and round me rings The beauty of the spheres This is my Father’s world I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees Of skies and seas His hand the wonders wrought
This is my Father’s world The birds their carols raise The morning light The lily white, Declare their maker’s praise This is my father’s world He shines in all that’s fair In the rustling grass I hear him pass He speaks to me everywhere

If my ears are listening, and my eyes are open, and I have quieted my heart, I will see that He is speaking to me everywhere.
In the tender plant leaning earnestly toward the Light. Psalm 63:8
In the wilting flower baskets, who need twice as much water in intense heat. Psalm 146:6 

In the song of a bird that reminds me to give thanks for the joy of music.  Psalm 100:1,2
Even the simple everyday acts become holy moments of worship: Bandaging a nasty owie, I am reminded that I come by the blood, not by my righteousness.  Is. 53:5
Smiling over the baby…

ABC's of Character

Joseph and I were basking in the morning sunshine on the front porch.   I was happily contemplating my day, thinking of phonics with Ben and Bethany.  Joseph said something about godly character, which mingled with phonics, gave thought to playing a game of ABC’s of Godly character a young man should be developing .  We had a lot of fun with it, and will likely continue the idea on, making a verse study out of each character trait. A is for Affectionate
B is for Brave
C is for courageous
D is for Dutiful
E is for Encouraging
F is for Friendly
G is for Generous
H is for Honest, although Heroic was a close second
I is for Industrious
J is for Justice
K is for Kind
L is for  Leader
M is for Masculine
N is for Nice
O is for Obedient
P is for Patient
Q is for Querist, we had to look in the dictionary for                      this one.  It means asking or inquiring.
R is for Respectful
S is for Self controlled
T is for Trustworthy
U is for Unselfish, we were stumped here,

Loving Your Laundry

Raising a large family has made our life so much more abundantly full of joy, laughter, and what my husband has wisely and truly named ”character building opportunities.”    I am a much more patient and organized person than I was with four children.  The challenges of a large family have forced me to grow in areas where I am weak.  I believe that this is one way in which the verse, “children are a blessing”  comes to life.   Part of the blessing of children is that the more you have, the more overwhelming life gets, causing us to abide in Jesus all the more.   At some point, a mama of many wakes up in the morning and the first thing that comes to mind is, “O God HELP ME!”
 To get so beyond ourselves that we are ever conscience of the reality that there is
 no way on earth
 we can do the job in our own strength,
 we simply must have Divine assistance,
That is a good thing.

Raising a large family takes more than spiritual fortitude,  one has to have practical solutions to the problems fac…

Look What the Lord Has Done

If you think the car looks bad, you should have seen he elk. Our son, who was driving, did not have a single scratch on him. Bless the Lord. The psalmist says that the Lord daily loads us with benefits. (Ps.68:19) The fact that John was unhurt is surely one HUGE benefit!  Sure, the car is totaled, but the Lord protected our son, when he obviously should have been hurt severely. 

 Several years ago my husband was reading the book of Joshua, and was struck by the idea of remembering   what the Lord has done by setting up stones of remeberance to testify to the children, and their children  of God's handwriting on our life.
"And take up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder..that this may be a sign to you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, what do these stones signify? Then you will answer them, that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over the Jordan...That all the people of the earth might…

Jesus, I am Resting

I  have been contemplating what it means to rest in Jesus, and this sweet old hymn came to mind over and over. 
                                        Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art;
                                             I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.
                                  Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, and Thy beauty fills my soul,
                                      For by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.

                                      What does this look like in the day of a mom of many,
with likely no length of time to sit at the feet of Jesus in undisturbed solitude?   By taking every thought captive, making the most of every moment, I can concentrate on my Lord and Savior in the midst of household tasks, children or distress. The Lord promises He will gently lead those with young, if we but look for Him and walk with Him each step of the way. 
Hanging clothes on the line, I can thank the Lord…

Pruning Flower Baskets and Souls

My husband bought me the most beautiful hanging flower baskets for Mother’s day.   They grace our porch with astonishing beauty, lovely fragrance, and abundant flowers, but they need tended every day.   About once a week I give them a haircut, as grandma Gladys used to say when she trimmed her flowers.  This haircut, or pruning, needed to be done for several days before I actually got to it.  By that time, I had to spend about an hour on each basket.
 Very carefully, I lifted the vining trailers to prune dead plant underneath.   I used scissors to cut back  each and every wilted flower.  This , grandma taught me, would help the plant to continue to flower nicely all summer.  There were so many spent blossoms that the process took much longer than I had anticipated.  If only I had tended the plants earlier, each pruning would not take so long and be so tedious.

When I went to bed that night, I had a niggling feeling of something not being right.  A slight discontentedness that was agitat…

Summer Simplicity pt 2

Nothing says summer to me quite like leisurely sitting on the porch  sipping a cool glass of homemade lemonade.  In summer, our porch is our outdoor house.  One side is the living room, chairs, side table, baby swing, flower baskets, and dogs basking in the heat.  The other spacious side is our dining room, with bbq, table and benches.   When the summer sun warms us too much, we retreat into the shockingly cool house. Our log home keeps a very cool temperature, I often don my sweater.
 These hot afternoons, when children tend to get tired from heat, boredom is a tempting inclination, but, the ever intent homeschooling  mama recognizes an apt opportunity to educate.  This I do daily, by requiring 30 minutes of reading or, a nap.  Summer reading is an uplifting and soothing activity.  I willingly admit that I bribe, no, reward sounds better, yes, reward the children for completing each chapter book they read.  I have also been known to begin to read a book aloud, and then put it down, una…