Monday, November 29, 2010

"She Mothered Five"

My dear mom sent me this old poem written by Edgar A. Guest.

She mothered five!
Night after night she watched a little bed,
Night after night she cooled a fevered head,
Day after day she guarded little feet,
Taught little minds the dangers of the street,
Taught little lips to utter simple prayers,
Whispered of strength that some day would be theirs,
And trained them all to use it as they should.
She gave her babies to heaven's good.

 She mothered five!
She gave her beauty--from her cheeks let fade
Their rose-blush beauty--to her mother trade.
She saw the wrinkles furrowing her brow,
Yet smiling said:  "my child grows stronger now."
When pleasures called she turned away and said:
"I dare not leave my babies to be fed
By strangers' hands; besides they are too small;
  I must be near to hear them when they call."

 She mothered five!
Night after night they sat about her knee
And heard her tell of what someday would be.
From her they learned that in the world outside
Are cruelty and vice and selfishness and pride;
From her they learned the wrongs they ought to shun,
What things to love, what work must still be done.
She led them through the labyrinth of youth
And brought five men and women up to truth.

She mothered five!
Her name may be unknown save to a few;
Of her the outside world but little knew;
But somewhere nine are treading virtues ways,
Serving the world , who, tempted, stand upright,
Who cling to honor, keep her memory bright;
Somewhere this mother toils and is alive
No more as one, but in the breasts of five.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Candle for Faith

Today was the fourth Sunday from Christmas, the first day of Advent.
Each Sunday of Advent, we light a candle that will correspond
with its facet of the incarnation and those who played an intricate role
in the coming of our Savior.

Night falls on freshly fallen snow
 as our family dined together over scrumptious yummies
such as caramel pumpkin bread pudding and mulled cider.

These are days that glow in the memory,
when treasured traditions come to life again.

  The anticipation of the new season sends tingles through us,
so much so that I just had to share our lovely evening with you. 

    The first Sunday of Advent is the Prophecy Candle - FAITH
Here are some selected sermon notes from seasons past:
I (Pastor Brian) have chosen to outline this message on
the Prophecy of the Advent by using an acrostic,
to help you remember.
The acrostic will be in the form of F A I T H. 
Those who anticipated the coming of the Messiah had to have FAITH
that what God said through His prophets was going to happen.

There were prophesies concerning the Lord Jesus since the garden of Eden.  
F – oretold in Eden – Genesis 3:15
A – a virgin will conceive and give birth – Isaiah 7:14
I – Immanuel: “God is with us.” – Isaiah 7:14
There were also prophecies concerning those who would make the way or announce the coming of the Christ.  – Isaiah 40:3
T- The Messiah is coming – make way – Isaiah 40:3
There are many other prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah... The Christ-child.... Jesus.... Our Savior and Lord.  Hosea 11:1(flight to Egypt), Jeremiah 31:15 (Herod killing babies)
H – History Fulfilled – FAITH BOLSTERED
Matthew 1:19-25 (Isaiah 7:14)
Matthew 2:13-15 (Hos 11:1)
Matthew 2:16-18 (Jer. 31:15)

This child was the CHRIST.  The MESSIAH.  He was IMMANUEL,
which means, "God With Us."

Setting a splendid table is as much of a Christmas time pleasure
as sharing our gladness with friends and family.
We greet the season with the pleasures of tea taken together,
song, prayer, The Advent Book, and our story. 

O Come, O Come Immanuel
And ransom Captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here
Until the Son of God appears
Rejoice, rejoice!
Immanuel shall come to thee O Israel.

As we embrace the simplicity of Advent 
over the hectic lifestyle of the popular Christmas traditions,
I hope you sense the peace.

I pray you find the time to put aside the urgent
and just meditate
on the coming of the savior to the world.
Soak in it a while,
and may a wonderful sense of tranquility fill your soul......

like a winter sun setting over the Mountain floods the room.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Forts

When I was growing up,
my mom allowed me to make a ritual out of devastating the couch in the living room
to create a fort each Saturday morning. 
I looked forward to Saturdays,
plotting and planning how I may improve on last week's fort.
 Once I had all the cushions off the couch, I could use them to make walls, toss blankets over them,
and have a cave, a house, a tree fort, or whatever habitation my active imagination could dream up. 
Fond memories. 
The kind I would like my own children to have.  
So although I love a beautiful and clean home,
 I indulge the allowance for a fort, providing it does get picked up by the end of the day.

When I was pregnant with baby # 4, I had very bad morning sickness. 
One particularly difficult morning,
I offered the children the opportunity to make a fort in the front room of our little farm house. 
They showed all the creativity I ever did, times 3, taking up the entire room.
  At around 11 am they were still in their jammies, as was I, with a HUGE mess and having a ball,
when someone knocked on the front door. 
As I was too ill to get up, John, then 7, answered the door. 
The shocked visitor, wide eyed looking around asked, "Why aren't you kids in school?" 
To which John proudly exclaimed, "Oh, we are home schooled!"
 I was mortified, but as John explained that I was sick,
the caller said he would come back. 
It was a while before I let that happen, at that time of day,
in the front room again! 

Now that we have a big house, the children are free to engage in fort building
 at any time they are not doing school. 
The little ones need help, of course,
and their big sisters are almost always obliging.
The boys are very capable of making their own disaster, inspiring the younger ones.
I believe this is some of the most fun play there is, especially in bad weather.

It does look pretty fun, and if I thought I could get up afterward,
I might just crawl in there myself.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day

 The school teacher decided that this was the perfect day
to call school closed because of snow. 
Snowed- in doesn't exactly apply, since we are home schooling,
 but a celebratory snow day could be accommodated. 
Every one was excited, dressed for outdoor play before breakfast was done cooking,
except for Gabe- who took 20 minutes to get dressed 
and then played outside for 4 minutes 
before he cried of frozen fingers,
because he would not leave his gloves on.
He was then happy to stay inside with mama the rest of the day.


Finally, all were ready to come in and have some tea, 
sit by the fire enjoying the warmth,

 Some even begged......

Once the noise came in, the woods were quiet and peaceful, but not empty.

We spied some neighbors passing by in lovely brown fur coats, 
seemingly enjoying the snowy day as much as the children.

There will likely be many more snowy days ahead this winter,
but the first big snow is the most exciting, the most celebrated. 
It seemed a good time to make the most of the moment. 

Currently it is 6 degrees out, and snowing still, 
with the promise of getting colder tomorrow.  
We will be glad to stay in and school next to the fire 
with tea in hand
and turkey on our mind.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Time For Rest

Ours was a quiet weekend to renew the soul. 
Most of the children were gone, just the two littlest home with my love and I. 
Snow gently falling. 
Time for long naps, puttering,
a walk down the drive in the chilly air.
  The promise of cold weather this week 
made me all the more inclined to snuggle in and spend a while in delightful hibernation. 
I must have needed it.

Then on Sunday, the pastor,(my hubby ya know)
ruggedly handsome in his cowboy boots and wranglers 
after taking a spill on the ice in his dress clothes,
preached his heart out on Psalm 103,
the gratitude and thanksgiving that should define us, 
and introduced the congregation to a new to us song, 
  A beautiful melody with words of life
we need so much to recall to mind over and over, 
until it becomes the song and beat of our heart.

Again a quiet afternoon, and all safely gathered in,
laughing, enjoying, teasing, with the usual tickling and chasing
that is incessant when you have several young children around. 
Hearty food was gladly gobbled up by children with apparent tapeworms.
The lodge pleasantly warm despite the dropping temperatures,
extra blankets thrown on the beds,
and the promise of hot cocoa in the morn.
Let it snow, let the below zero weather come,
I am refreshed and refueled by the simplicity of a boring day,
and at least in spirit,
  ready to embrace another week.
  Even though we have tried to slow our pace,
it is so easy to let things pick back up until we are feverishly hungry for calm, 
slow, restful hours that we so need.
“We should do this more often,” my husband said midday Saturday. 
I nod.
We all should.
Everyone needs a perfectly boring day now and then, 
and if it is terrible weather,
that just makes it all the more romantic in my book.

Friday, November 19, 2010

From Uganda to Idaho

Paul and Pam Hunter have been spiritual parents to us for over 20 years. 
 These beautiful people have discovered a new love in their gray years, Uganda. 
 Having founded Next Generaton Ministries, 
they now spend most of the year in Uganda becoming spiritual parents 
to a multitude of spiritually starving young people. 
 Uganda is ripe with a heavy harvest.  
Now they are touring the states, telling believers about the opportunity to join them in 
Uganda short term, and experience a culture very opposite our own. 
 Our daughter Rose is going with them next spring. 

One of the most beautiful aspects of an enduring friendship
 is the ability to be on the same page and pick right back up after not seeing each other for a year or more.  This is easy to do with the Hunter's, they are some of the most Genuine, deliberate people you ever met.

We invited the church family over to Providence Lodge for dessert and an evening with the Hunters. 
 Paul shared a video about life in Uganda, and spoke and answered questions for a few hours.  
A memeorable, inspiring evening.  I wish you could all have been here.

A visit to Providence Lodge would not be complete without being bombarded by children 
and shooting a gun.  
John turned out to be an excellent coach for Pam's first shots.  She is a natural.

How does one become a spiritual parent? 
 By making deliberate, real relationships with those you meet. 
 By genuinely informing your new acquaintance that they are a precious eternal soul whom God desires to redeem, transform, and use for His glory.  
This real, long term relationship approach often generates a heartfelt response from an average
Ugandan, and a life is transformed. 
 To see more, please visit their website, Next Generation Ministries
join their newsletter, watch their video, and consider going to Uganda yourself. 
 You may never be the same.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Naming Our Wee Babes

Many have been asking when am I due. 
Baby # 9, 
is due December 10, 
three weeks away....3 days and a few hours.  :-)

The baby will be named for the things God has been teaching me this year,
namely, becoming more peaceful with a gentle and quiet spirit. 
I know that the Lord has moved my heart much this year, 
and my prayer is that this work is becoming evident in my everyday life.

We have always named our children after what God is doing in our lives
while I am carrying the next wee one. 

John, our oldest, was a miracle baby...born dead and resuscitated. 
His name means "God's gracious gift." 

While carrying Anna, God intervened in our lives in many abnormal ways, 
healing Brian's hurt arm,
 providing for us when it was an elk and potatoes life. 
We also made some really stupid choices at that time on our lives, 
and God loved us anyway. 
Her name is Grace.

Rose was named after her great grandmother and grandmother,
both godly women whose lives shaped our own in significant ways.
Although I never knew the one,
her reputation and testimony inspired me to strive to become a godly woman.
  The other grandmother,
mother of my dear sweet husband,
  I have thanked God for her training of him ten thousand times. 
She was very thorough, teaching him all about household things
as well as Kingdom things,
and both have been a source of continual blessing.

When Joe was born we were studying the life of Joseph, son of Jacob. 
Joseph had remarkable character for a youth,
persevering in righteousness in the midst of great trial.
This we wanted of our son.

During my pregnancy with Jim, 
we were challenged by our study of the book of James, 
where our faith is shown by our works
and as a result Brian was called into the ministry.

Benjamin, means son of my right hand,
and came after losing a baby boy to a late miscarriage. 
Ben's middle name is Creed,
because we were defining our beliefs when he was yet being formed within.

Bethany, is the name of a house of refuge in the Bible. 
  During the pregnancy,
we were becoming aware of the importance of having a sweet atmosphere in our home,
the value of the home being a haven, and a place of peacefulness.

Gabriel was born just a few days after Christmas,
and is also named after a man in our church whose generosity
gave us the land where Providence Lodge is built. 
He went home to be with the Lord before Gabe was born.

We presently are looking at names for peace, 
since that has been the great movement in our lives this year.
  We will wait until we see the little one before deciding. 
Time is near, I am old and wearying. 
It is a challenge to wait peacefully. 
It is a stretch to be gentle and not anxious when there is stress at hand,
or discomfort present.

This week, my husband will be preaching a Thanksgiving sermon
based on Psalm 103, which states in verse 2,
"Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits."  
By naming our children by what God has been doing in us,
each child is a constant reminder
of what God has done in the past,
just by their namesake.
I do not recall how we happened upon this way of naming, 
it must have been a God-thing.  
I just know that I am very aware and thankful 
for the journey God has brought us through, 
and for our children, who are a continual blessing. 
I cannot imagine life without each one,
or the benefits God bestowed upon us as he blessed us with them.

"Behold, children are an heritage from the lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them."  Psalm 127:3,5a

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meat and Bread for Today

Monday is our daddy's day off, 
and today he had a long list of things around the house to accomplish.
Whilst the children and I were getting school work done, and the little ones played, 
John and daddy worked on home maintenance, 
and then got started cutting up the two deer we had hanging. 

 The children are just too cute, whether work or play or sleep, 
I never tire of watching them, their antics, and facial expressions!

Knowing the kitchen would be occupied all evening with the meat cutting project, 
I put some vegetable soup on. early to simmer throughout the day...

... and started some roll dough.  This is a new- to- me recipe, from my friend Enola Gay.  
We made a double batch, and nearly finished all the rolls off at dinner.  
I'd say it's a keeper. 
 Very moist, with great flavor.

Oat Dinner rolls

2 1/2 c. water
1  c. oats
2/3 c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp yeast
5-6 c. flour
Boil 2 c. water, stir in oats. Add sugar, butter, salt and rest of water.  Cool.  Stir in yeast.  Sponge.  Add flour, 1 cup at a time.  Place in greased bowl, let rise till double.  Punch down, shape into rolls, let rise till double.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Thank you Enola!  Next time we will triple, at least.

After dinner it was back to work on the mule deer.

 Brian's favorite knife made by a local Native American. 

The prospect of using a real knife, although not the one above, 
got the better of Ben (6) and he did a fine job, being the meticulous little squirt he is. 
He did a really great job. 
 Just goes to show that you should never underestimate a willing worker, no matter his age.

My husband blessed me with the job of supervising this time, 
since I am great with child and it is back breaking work to cut meat.  
Such a thoughtful guy!

I am grateful to have the privilege of living here where we can enjoy the best of organic meat,
Venison- our staple food. 
 We all give John our appreciation and awe for his devotion in finding the biggest animal he possibly can!

And, I am ever so thankful to the Lord for his faithful provision to our family, 
from our incredible home that we don't deserve 
to meat on our table,
 He is a faithful God whose blessings never cease to amaze me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some Things I Have Learned In My 13 Preganancies

Welcome to our practical Saturday post for large family living.
 This is when and where we share some practical things
that have helped us along the way of raising our large family. 
These are things I wish I would have known when we were struggling to adjust to a larger family,
or at about child #5. 
Today, I am going to share some interesting things that I have learned in my 13 pregnancies.

Supplements and vitamins are very important,
even when you are young, and don’t feel like you need them.  I wrote about this in a previous post Pampering-Expectant-Mama.  
So I will skip writing about this aspect today.

Baby positioning is of critical consequence to having a good birth.
Once a mama gets to 32 weeks, she should be serious about the position of the baby.
 For the first five babies I had no idea how critical this was.
 If baby is not aligned correctly, labor can be long and more painful,
such as in a posterior birth, where baby presents face up. 
Carrying a baby in a posterior position is also very uncomfortable at the end of a pregnancy,
causing pelvic pain and backache. 
When a mama spends time reclining and/or slouching,
 the baby often doesn’t want to turn and face the side or back, then gets settled in the pelvis face up,
where she will cause the mama a whole lot of back pain during birth,
and possibly a broken tailbone for mama as well.
 I did this and will now do anything to avoid it happening again. 
 If a baby doesn’t get their head in the right place before labor begins, you may have trouble. 
Therefore, it is well worth your while to get this figured out and get help if you need it. 
The older I get, the more I need to see a chiropractor at the end of a pregnancy to keep my pelvis aligned, instead of tipped or twisted. 
Often, a baby  cannot fit through a twisted pelvis,
so then a c section would likely follow an unsuccessful labor. 
Walking, crawling, walking stairs, and doing pelvic rocks are all really helpful
for getting the baby in the right position.
  For more information, I thought that these web sites were very helpful,
 Spinning Babies, Balancing Your Uterus, Fetal Positioning 
I wish I would have known these things several babies ago!

The other thing that I have learned over the years is that miscarriage is common,
and it is not the end of the world.
 We have 4 babies in heaven with Jesus. 
One was a second trimester loss, a perfect baby boy, and the most incredible thing I have ever seen,
 as well as one of the most tragic things I have ever experienced. 
 I have noticed that when the time for the baby’s due date comes around,
and I am not having a baby, it is an emotional time.
 For the first few years after we lost our baby boy,
the anniversary of the miscarriage would catch me by surprise,
even so, I noticed an uncommon effusiveness that week, whether I realized what it was about or not.

This leads me to the next thing I have learned on this long journey of motherhood and life giving. 
God is in charge, not me.
 He is the author of life. 
He says when it begins, and ends.
 To fight with that, I know from experience, is selfish. 
We had 5 years of no baby between baby 3 and 4. 
That was a big learning curve for me.
 We also had 2 miscarriages in that time, and I threw fit after fit because things weren’t going my way,
I wanted a baby! 
Giving up control issues is a hard thing for a woman,
and in this area, even harder, but it is a necessary thing. 
Once I surrendered here,
 my walk with God flourished.

As I get closer to birthing our 9th child,  I am challenged to not fear. 
I just need to do everything in my realm I can to render a successful home birth,
 but sometimes things just don’t go smoothly,
and a transport to the hospital is in the best interest of everyone. 
I need to not fear how big the baby will be, the pain, and how I will cope.
 The Lord will give me grace for the moment when I need it, I do not need to borrow trouble. 
Staying calm and relaxed prior to birthing and during labor will only help,
while being tense and stressed can only make things worse. 
Psalm 105 talks about remembering what the Lord has done in the past. 
The Lord has brought me through an emergency C-section,
a posterior birth,
 two induced labors,
four miscarriages,
and blessed us with four wonderful births.
 I can trust Him.  He will be with me.
 His compassion and mercy fail not. 
I know he will see me through.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let's Receive Each One

"Mama, I can't wait to have a big baby bump and swollen ankles like you,"
She said to me one evening recently. 
My daughter is growing up. 
Thoughts of Mr. Right, family values, and cute maternity shirts are often on her mind. 
"Can I have that one for my hope chest?" she asks as she folds the laundry. 
Undeniably, she makes better cookies than me, better pizza, lasagna, and a multitude of other things.
Wise beyond her years, I wonder what her future holds, and I pray.  
I pray for each of my children, but this one seems ready to fly the nest before the others. 
Stretching her wings already, daily she anticipates the flight that seems just around the bend.
Seeing the beauty the Lord has molded into her life,
 the heart for Him that has developed,
 her compassion and mercy, servants heart, and desire to encourage others,
I wonder, where did she come from?

Bossy, knows her mind and what everyone else should be doing,
this little one has manipulative abilities that seem supernatural. 
Her sensitive heart is easily shattered at the thought that she has done something wrong. 
She begs forgiveness like there is no tomorrow, 
clutching me in grief over her sinful ways.
  How can you not fall in love over and over with such a loving one? 
Never mind cute,
her loud personality mingled with a genuine concern for others
makes her what my dad refers to as "quite a little imp."

And this one, cheesy  smile,
hyper-active beyond belief, silly, prone to giggle fits,
smart as a whip, and strong in conviction for a 9 year old,
all wrapped up in one scrappy little, animal loving body. 

Who can make such interesting and individual persons? 
  Who alone fashioned each one with gifts and talents that are unique to them? 
It wasn't their mama and daddy. 
Psalm 100:3  says, " It is He who has made us and not we ourselves..." 
Only our infinitely wise Creator is capable of crafting each person in such amazing individuality,
possibility, and function. 
If we had 20 children, they would each be their own... unlike the others.
  For God makes us each for a specific purpose,
for a specific person,
ministry, and time. 
We are no accidents indeed,
children are certainly not mistakes,
no matter what their parents think.
  God is sovereign.  
And so, each child is a gift, from God, to the parents. 
Like the parable of the talents, we are responsible to make of them what we can, 
seeing the individual value and potential in each one. 
What a gift they are, 
and how blessed we are when we fill our homes to the brim with God's beautiful blessings.
Who this next wee one is fills us with anticipation,
and makes the long days waiting endurable, mostly.
Who will she be? 
Who will she take after, what will she look like, what personality will she have? 
As I look at the children we already have under our wing,
I wonder how this one will add and effect our home. 
What lessons will I learn through her life? 
What will the Lord teach my heart while parenting hers? 

Part of the blessing of children is, I am sure,
that each one causes me to stretch and grow in a  different way,
thus, I am becoming sanctified through my children. 
For all these reasons and more,
we welcome each one that the Lord chooses to give us,
and count them all as blessings from above. 
Not headaches from above, 
not burdens from above, 
but rewards,
and treasures. 

Let us receive each one as such.

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...