Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life With Boys

 Life with boys is always interesting, 
mostly messy and involving dirt,
and often times what my husband calls a "character building opportunity." 
Whether I am doing dishes and find a T-Rex in the suds, 
or getting in bed only to discover an army
of tiny plastic soldiers poking me everywhere, 
or getting a drink and nearly swallowing a lego man in my water,
life with boys (mostly) makes me smile.

Most of the wounds in our home have been on the boys. 
Today we are dressing a 3rd degree burn on Ben's hand from touching the wood stove
and doctoring a "cold sore" on Gabe's ugly mess. 
I think first aid training should be a prerequisite for having a boy.
  Long ago we realized the need to have a good medical kit on hand
to glue them up and send them back into battle.
  We purchased a burn kit, thank heavens, which we have used several times,
I highly recommend it.. especially if you have boys.
The sore on Gabe's finger is healing nicely with goldenseal powder and open air,
rather than covered. 

Raising 5 boys has been the single biggest factor to becoming a woman of prayer.
Not only do I pray their protection from themselves,
but that God would use them to build His kingdom.
  Our purpose, to raise a godly generation, keeps me praying, praying, praying for their souls,
their character, and their mother.
  As our entire society slides into Gomorrah, the need for godly,
intelligent men of honor and integrity is vast. 
Who else will lead the next generation if we are not faithful with our little men now,
today, this hour? 
Most young men in our culture are not growing up. 
Idle, playing video games more hours than they work or read or do anything productive,
they are soft, unwilling to suffer, afraid to lead, and given to indulge their passions. 

Ultimately, our purpose and prayer is that we raise up these boys spotless in purity,
rich in grace, full of good character and well rounded, 
thoughtful, tenacious, and most importantly, to be apt to deny themselves. 
My daughter recently asked several men what they thought the most important quality 
a young man should attain,
every one said: self discipline. 
Young men should learn to give up their own wishes for the sakes of others,
to do without, to sacrifice for a good cause.
It will be a hard task to raise such men, but then, nothing worth doing was ever easy.
These boys are arrows, a heritage from the Lord, given to carry the gospel on to the next generation.
Therefore my prayer is this:

"Lord give me wisdom to raise each one with the knowledge of a loving Savior. 
Guide me, O Lord, that my boys may know your saving grace and the power of the Resurrection.  Protect each one and keep them from harm. 
Give me the wisdom to make the right choices that will glorify You and develop solid values for the rest of their lives. 
And Father, let my life be an example of unconditional love that only you can give."
-An invitation to Prayer for Mothers, by Jack Countryman

If you don't hear from me for a few days you will know where I am. 
I have 5 boys to raise, so there is much work to be done. 
Thankfully, the Lord is merciful and gracious,
and will strengthen us for the task.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day Journal 7

Today, and every Friday,
my daughters remind us to wear RED, to remember our soldiers.
They actually spent hours the other day making cute outfits with red to wear on Fridays.

Yesterday Anna was making cookies to take to some friends she is visiting this weekend. 
The children ate so many of the first batch of chocolate chip that she had to make another batch.  Then, when her big brother walked by, several more disappeared.

 Olivia is growing, finally. 
She still weighs less than 12 lbs at 3 1/2 months, making her quite petite.
She is definitely a people person...she loves to "talk" with her goos and aahhs.
Every baby surprises me anew at how remarkably expressive they are at such a young age,
or how a baby will look you intently in the eye for long lengths of time.
I never cease to be amazed at how magnificently we are made,
especially when watching a baby grow and learn and develop.
She rolled over for the first time today.

John put up the trampoline for the children. 
They have already been out bouncing on it for hours. 
Gabe chimes in, not wanting to be left out of anything the bigger children are doing...
"ME!  DUMP (jump) TOO!!"  
All this sunshine, intermittent with showers of rain and snow, or hail,
have me thinking of our garden,
planting, putting up the greenhouse frame, pouring over the Gurney's catalog
and planning on all the yummy things I'ld like to grow this year. 
God is so good and loving to have created all the wonderfully delicious foods
for our enjoyment and nourishment. 
He does love each of us so much more than we can possibly imagine.
I heard a man say that he used to think that our goal in raising children should be that they grow up loving and serving God, but now he has come to believe that our goal ought to be to instruct them to know how very much God loves them.
I think that may be. 
I would add, that His love is not as we love, or as we know of love, but it is supreme. 
He loves us..  Vastly.  Incomprehensively.  Unconditionally.
We can spend so much of our lives DOING,
that we miss the *being* with our Great Heavenly Father.  
When, if we spent more time being with Him, we wouldn't struggle so much with the doing, 
striving to get it all right.

"And I pray that you...may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God."  Eph. 3:18

Blessings to you this weekend. 
May it be filled with the awe of God's love for you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little Moments

Today was such a randomly nice day.
  The sun was out most of the day melting the snow, making the little creek rushing and swollen.
  I found every excuse to go outside for this or that, but still managed to spend most the day indoors.  There was bread to bake and muffins to be assembled for the "locusts,"
Joe sick on the couch, and puzzling to do over taxes.
A bit of longing did sweep through from time to time
as I watched the children gallivanting through the woods before breakfast 
and after school work was done. 
Soon, I hope, the driveway will be safe for my daily walks. 
Currently, it looks as though the mud could swallow one up.

We got off on a bit of a rabbit trail during school this morning studying American currency, 
which wasn't anywhere in the plan, but slipped in while counting change with Ben. 
By lunch time all of us were involved, staring at a dollar bill,
 learning all about the symbolism
and what president was on what coin and so forth. 
It was fun. 
I do not often feel I have the time (or patience) for extra dabbling,
so this was a rare change of pace.

The family is preparing to scatter this way and that for the weekend. 
Sometimes it seems as though I am watching our family as from above, like a fly on the ceiling.  Somewhere during this,
it occurred to me that these little moments of normal daily life are the most valuable,
most important ones in our lives. 

Here, where our relationships are formed in simple moment by moment living, 
may seem insignificant, but nothing could be further from the truth.  
This is where you are real, 
where your influence wields the strongest in the building up of character. 
No, there is certainly nothing insignificant in the small details 
of daily routine and training of life that we live within our own doors. 
Similar to notes on a page of music, 
when each note, one by one, is added upon the others,
a lovely melody springs forth, and so, every individual note is of great importance.

Therefore, the lighting of a candle first thing in the morning,
or putting a pretty bow in daughter's hair, 
speaking in a kind tone, 
tucking in little encouragements to each other throughout the day,
dancing with the baby to the Josties,
these become the grace notes that add particular beauty and charm to our days,
and carry on to characterize our lives.
This morning I read Psalm 100 that reminded me of this very thing.
  "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, serve Him with gladness, come before him with singing"...
  it gives the impression of a life of deep happiness surging up from within,
a strong fountain, flowing out in an abundant, beautiful life.
This life begins with little moments of gratitude that build upon each other, 
gathering beauty and grandeur as they build, 
until a great symphony has resulted.
 "Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise,
be thankful to Him and bless His name for the Lord is good, 
His truth endures to all generations."
Although all our individual moments are not romantically perfect,
we have the very next moment to improve upon the last.  
Through God's grace, we can purpose to make each moment count.

 "God cares about the little moments of your life because life mostly consists of "little moments"; 
the character of your marriage (life) will be defined by how you respond
and make use of the little moments." -Paul Tripp

Friday, March 18, 2011

Words of Life

The glorious sun is shining, shining so brightly today.
  All the children are out of doors soaking up it’s warmth 
and getting completely, delightfully muddy in the process.

My mom is still with us, having done more than her share of dishes 
and getting up with small ones in the night. 
We really should have built her a room of her own here, 
for even though she only lives an hours drive away,
the roads in between us are most often the worst in the county in the winter.

I’ve tried to locate myself today in a sunny window here or there, the sun feels so good! 
When it first peeked out of the clouds this morning, there was actually cheering amongst us.

While doing school this morning I have been thinking about words.
  Then I visited eyes of wonder, always a place of inspiration, 
where I came upon this quote:

Words~~one of the most significant forces in the universe~~can be used for good or evil. Your words can change the course of a day...the course of a life".
~ Sharon Jaynes~

This reminded me of several verses in Proverbs
and something I have read and re read in my favorite book, “Homemaking“.. 
Here, JR Miller says: 
“Few things are  more important in a home than its conversation,
and yet there are few things to which less thought is given.  
The power of communication, which lies in the tongue, is simply incalculable. 
It can impart knowledge; utter words that will shine like lamps in darkened hearts; 
speak kindly sentences that will comfort sorrow or cheer despondency,
breathe out thoughts that will arouse and quicken heedless souls;
even whisper the secret of life-giving energy to spirits that are dead. 
The good we could do in our homes with our tongues
if we use them to utmost limit of their capacity is simply impossible to compute. 
Why should so much power for blessing be wasted?  
Especially why should we ever pervert these gifts
and use our tongues to do evil, to give pain, to scatter seeds of bitterness?” pg 184

“She opens her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”  Prov. 31:26
“Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tear it down with their own hands.”  Prov. 14:1
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”  Prov. 16:21
“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.”  Psalm 34:13

Words.  The power to give life or destroy.

As mothers, as friends, as wives, as believers, our words show who we really are deep down,
for "out of the heart the mouth speaks." 
Our kind and loving words are like directing sunshine into a heart,
warming it and bringing forth life.
  Sadly, kind words are not always welcome.
There are hearts so hardened that they are resistant to life giving words of love and goodness. 
If you have ever found yourself there, you know it is beyond discouraging. 
Our hope lies in the knowledge that God is in control and even when things seem to be unraveling,
He has a purpose and a plan.
  Therefore, we cling to Him, and let His goodness heal our hurts. 
His Word to us is the ultimate Word of Life.
Sing them over again (and again) to me, 
wonderful words of life. 
Let me more of Thy beauty see,
wonderful words of life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Friendship God's Way

We have been having some internet disturbances off and on,
and it seems like when I have time to write, the connection doesn't work,
but it does work when I do not have time to write, 
so, herein is my apology for a lack of recent posts. 
I have been thinking a great deal though,
and have looked forward to this chance to journal what is on my heart.

  I've been thinking on friendship for weeks now. 
As my husband and I have talked about friendship, we have studied, learned, been convicted,
and are endevoring to become the kind of people who are good at friendship. 
There are several kinds of friendship,
so first off we need to identify what type of relationship we are in.

There are mentoring relationships, like the apostle Paul had with the Romans.
  From a loving heart, two people engage in a deep and rewarding friendship
where one person is training or discipling the other. 
There is teaching and council given, respect and boundaries needed. 
The mentee trusts and relies as they receive from the mentor.

The second kind of friendship we identified is a mutual peer relationship.
  In this relationship, both individuals are giving and receiving encouragement. 
There is deep love and affection.
This relationship is mutually rewarding and refreshing. 
This is a person whom you really connect with and whom there is a kindred understanding.

 The third kind of friendship is an acquaintance friendship,
where two people have common interests and enjoy each others company,
but do not necessarily share the same deep convictions or motivating factors in life.  This person probably does not understand you on a deep level; what you do, why you do it, and when and where you do it.
There may be more types, but this is what we came up with.

Next we listed 5 traits of true christian friends. 
Christian Friends love sacrificially.  John 15:13. 
This means that one may extend friendship to someone
without ever receiving anything back from them,
and that is ok and Biblical. 
Sometimes people need that kind of loving friendship.
  It may be the thing that God uses to deepen their walk with Him and move them on to maturity.

Christian friends trust completely.  Proverbs 18:24 
We must be trustworthy friends.
  We must not gossip behind one another's backs. 
We must stick up for one another.  We must be there when they need us.

Christian friends keep healthy boundaries.  They are not jealous of the other's friends, time,
or level of commitment.  They do not smother. 1 Cor. 13:4
They bear with one another and easily forgive.

Christian friends give mutual edification.  Prov. 27:6  
The idea is to support, exhort, warn, rebuke, hold accountable, 
build each other up and do not do anything that would tear the other down.  
Wow this is the kind of friend I want to be!

Other thoughts my husband and I had as we thought and prayed about friendship are
that we should be aware of our friends likes and dislikes.
  Such as giving a girl friend milk chocolate when she is allergic,
or sending her pink roses when she loves red. 
It requires thoughtfulness.  I think thoughtfulness is born of humility. 
A self centered person might just give without thinking what the other would really like to have.
But a thoughtful friend would remember birthdays and anniversaries.

A good friend should take an interest in the other's children,
be sensitive to needs,
work hard at the friendship, even when distance separates you. 
Expressing what you like about your relationship with another person
and serving in unexpected ways also make for better friendships.

Now, I'm not saying I got this all down. 
I am merely explaining what has been going on in my head and is working itself out in my heart.  
I do want to become a better friend. 
It does take effort, but good friendships are very rewarding.

 I am immensely grateful to wise people who took an interest in me 
and have been good friends to me in a discipling way,
in a sacrificial way,
in a loving way...the way Jesus would love.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thoughts on Monday

Spring is coming, and we long for it. 
We wait impatiently.

The winds have been whistling through the tall pines, 
breaking branches as they sway,
leaving their spicy sappy scent on the air,
bringing rain that pelts against the crusty snow that is piled deep still around the lodge.
I mentally calculate how much the snow banks have receded overnight. 
The results are not nearly what I had hoped.
At this moment, on this Monday morning,
I must choose whether to live in gratitude or resentment.
I sway like the trees in the wind.

A whispering voice pushes me, calls to me, in this gray day:
"In everything give thanks.."
Today, I must will myself to choose wisely, to choose life,
 a choice that will build my home rather than tear it down.
  I don't feel it, but I do it anyway.
The Psalmist must have wrote this on a Monday: 
"But, I will hope, continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.
  I will go in the strength of the Lord God, I will make mention of thy righteousness,
even of thine only." 
Psalm 71:14,16,17

It is nearly noon, the remnants of breakfast are still on the table,
I have not even thought about starting school,
and my 2 cups of coffee have had no effect on my fatigue.
Not my ideal morning.
Yet, I will to have a good, beneficial, beautiful day.
I needed some extra time with my Savior this morning.
I needed to soak in His presence,
so that later, when the circumstances of life give me a squeeze,
sweet water comes out,
not the tired, irritable woman I would be without God's grace poured out on me.
So here is my list for today,
the list that will inspire me and give me joy:
I am thankful for the coming of spring, however gradually,
a 2 year old who I find adorable dressed for outdoor play,

God's Word going forth over all the earth at this very moment.
That God is in control, and all that is has been sanctioned by Him.
For coffee with cream and sugar in a favored mug,
and tea relaxing and soothing in a china teacup,
for beautiful daughters, growing in the Lord,
and sons learning and becoming men after God's heart,
for running water,
the warmth and comfort of the flickering flame in the fireplace.

"Be worried about nothing but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Phil. 4:6,7

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

God Satisfies

My sweet husband brought me a cup of coffee in bed this morning, and turning on the ipod,
allowed me some quite contemplation while listening to Max McClean read Psalm 107.
The chapter title is, "God satisfies the longing soul." 
The key verses: 8,9,
"Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness,
and for his wonderful works to children of men.  
For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness."  

Coffee and the Psalms is the right way to begin a day, in my book.
Our household is recuperated from difficult times,
trials and a few horrific days of combined food poisoning and baby weaning.
Gaberiel is feeling better today, after having gotten into something(???) 
and paying drastic consequences with food poisoning. 
But, he has himself all dressed up and is playing happily. 
This mama is very thankful that is over and life can resume on a more peaceful level. 
If you ever find yourself battling against the dehydration of a baby or toddler,
it would be good to know a few things, 
things that could keep you from visiting the hospital,
things that will ease the severity of the illness. 
Things I learned from my dear friend, Enola Gay, 
such as making homemade Pedialite restorative, 
or rice milk to feed a distressed tummy,
and spoon feeding such mixtures every 5 minutes to prevent dehydration. 
Good stuff.  I hope you will visit her at

My dear mother left this morning.  I think she should be sainted. 
This godly grandmother has blessed her children and grandchildren 
by visiting in a time of need and using her years of wisdom to pitch in with laundry,
the baby, reading to the little ones, and humbly serving in a way
that takes some of the stress off the household. 
She arrived with boxes of popcicles, a large print Bible, and hands ready to serve. 
I write notes in my journal of how I plan to follow in her footsteps when I am a grandmother.

We are doing much better with Olivia, and I thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and helpful wisdom.  Many have asked why I am weaning her so early.  
As I said in the last post, for medical reasons. 
Before I discovered I was carrying her, I was about to embark upon medical treatment,
but did not, because I learned of my pregnancy
and one cannot be pregnant or nursing while receiving the treatment. 
I believe the difficult pregnancy and c-section were due to the persisting problems,
and I am still in need of treatment. 
We believe it to be wise to get this taken care of before it gets more serious. 
Olivia is  reluctant with a bottle still, but we are slowly gaining ground towards complete weaning. 
My wise husband recommended putting syrup on the bottle nipple, which in the end, did the trick.  Olivia did not like the taste of the bottle nipple, if that is masked, she goes right to feeding. 
This is a nice thing to know, in case you are ever in need,
but, what I gleaned from it, is that sometimes the most unlikely people give the best advice,
and, that God is faithful to give our husband's wisdom to lead their family. 
Trust God.  Listen to husband.

While Jim was cooking lunch,
the rest were finishing up school work or off to play, 
John, Anna, Rose and I began to read Mark Driscoll's book, "Doctrine."  
Chapter one resembles my time in the Word this morning. 
He eloquently says,
"Deep longings pervade the human heart.  
We long for selfless, trustworthy, unending love
from someone we can trust to be faithful and helpful.  
We long for unity within the great diversity of humanity, 
some means by which we can live in peace and oneness that benefits each of us. 
We long for communication--from face to face conversations 
to the proliferation of modern technology created for the purpose for letting us know others 
and be known by them-and have seemingly insatiable passion to speak and be spoken to. 
We long for community,
significant and earnest relationships with others, 
so that we are part of a people devoted to something larger and greater than our individual lives.
We long for humility,
where people pour themselves out unreservedly for the benefit and well-being of others. 
We long for peace, harmony, and safe altruism for others and ourselves 
so that abuse, cruelty, misery, and the painful tears they cause could stop. 
We long for a selfless common good, 
a world in which everyone does what is best for all
and is not so viciously and exclusively devoted to self-interest and tribal concerns. 
...Our longings are in fact, by design
-longings for the Trinitarian God of the Bible and a world that is a reflection of the Trinity."

Isn't God good to guide us right to that, today,
when it goes so beautifully with the Psalm reading today? 
Isn't he good to bring such sumptuous food to this mama's thirsty soul 
at just the right timing so it all clicks?
  It resonates with me, today.  
Yes, He is good!
Whether you are in the midst of a crying baby, sick children,
trials or persecutions,
loneliness, or times of peace,
He satisfies.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day Journal 6

We are enjoying the sunshine today, so cheerful and invigorating
one cannot help but be glad.
When the sun peeps out, we make a beeline to start some laundry. 
Sunshine means solar power, which translates into doing laundry for free.
The children dash out side to play in the snow berms.  
It has been mostly rainy these last few days, so they have been inside a bit more than usual.
  When several children come in from the wet, crusty snow banks, they are soaked to the skin,
and all their snow clothes must be peeled off and dried. 
Out comes the folding drying rack from Lehman's. 
I just love this rack.  It is accordion style, so it folds up nicely when not in use.
Set up next tot he wood stove, their clothes dry out quickly, which is a good thing,
because after some cocoa and snacks, they want to go back out and enlarge their snow fort.

Meanwhile, Rose is baking in the kitchen in preparation for a bake sale
to raise funds for her upcoming trip to Uganda. 
Being a small rural community, there is no bakery for many miles.
We have found this predicament to be an ideal location for a bake sale.
Set up on the sidewalk between the Mercantile and the post office, 
with a bit of word of mouth advertising, 
and she has customers lined up awaiting her arrival.

  I have some new books I am looking forward to reading. 
I have just begun both. 
Anne Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" is the kind of book that is life altering. 
I have only just finished chapter 2, and yet I am already convinced I will need to buy a case of them 
and give them out to all my friends.

A birthday gift from a  friend, "The Psalms of David" with illuminations by James Freemantle, 
is a gorgeous spine, with the feel of a one of a kind antiquity.
This book is captivating at once to anyone who adores the Psalms.
I am quite sure this copy will become a treasured favorite. 
Since I daily find myself reading the Psalms, 
I am just giddy about beginning my day fingering through these beautiful pages.

Today, John is out and about looking for varmits to kill, 
Anna is being her usual helpful self around the house and with the children,
and  my mom and I have set upon a seemingly impossible project.
  We are, of necessity, weaning Olivia, and she has not taken to the idea kindly. 
Thankfully, my dear mom has come to lend a hand for a few days.
Any advice will to be received with eagerness.

 From our home to yours,
enjoy your family,
hug your children, 
give thanks for God's goodness and the beauty that surrounds you,
and be blessed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Proverbs 31 Mom

 Today is my lovely Mama's birthday, and I want to take a moment to hack her blog account and tell you about this exemplary woman. :-)
She is a wonderful and skillful Mother, she seizes opportunities to instruct and encourage all of her children, pointing the towards our Savior.
She is my very best friend, we are sometimes so alike in our mannerisms and thinking that it is hysterical.
 She is a faithful, trustworthy, virtuous wife.
    "Who can find a virtuous wife?
      For her worth is far above rubies.
        The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
      So he will have no lack of gain.
       She does him good and not evil
      All the days of her life."
"13 She seeks wool and flax,
      And willingly works with her hands.
       14 She is like the merchant ships,
      She brings her food from afar.
       15 She also rises while it is yet night,
      And provides food for her household,
      And a portion for her maidservants.
       16 She considers a field and buys it;
      From her profits she plants a vineyard.
       17 She girds herself with strength,
      And strengthens her arms.
       18 She perceives that her merchandise
is good,
      And her lamp does not go out by night.
       19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
      And her hand holds the spindle.
       20 She extends her hand to the poor,
      Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
       21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
      For all her household
is clothed with scarlet.
       22 She makes tapestry for herself;
      Her clothing
is fine linen and purple.
       23 Her husband is known in the gates,
      When he sits among the elders of the land.
       24 She makes linen garments and sells
      And supplies sashes for the merchants.
       25 Strength and honor
are her clothing;
      She shall rejoice in time to come.
       26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
      And on her tongue
is the law of kindness.
       27 She watches over the ways of her household,
      And does not eat the bread of idleness."

Even this morning as the rest of sat around the table eating breakfast, she was up and about, making bread, tidying up. She is NEVER idle. Especially not with nine children. :-)

  "Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  Many women have done well, but you excel them all.  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
She is the most feminine and beautiful woman I know. She always looks lovely. She's smart, efficient, whimsical, godly, and isn't she just plain adorable?

 So here's a tribute to my Proverbs 31 Mama, my role model, and my best friend!

Happy Birthday Mom! God blessed our family  tremendously when He gave us you!
Love you all! 

- Anna

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

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