Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our 4 Daughters

Our  4 daughters are a vast range of age,
 and are all doing a wide  variety of activities. 

 Here they are:

Daughter #1 is our sweet Anna,
She is our second born child,
 now 21, and married to a wonderful godly man. 
 They live in New Mexico, which is very sad for me,
but I am learning to let go and be content...
it hasn't been easy...even though I am so so happy for her!!

  Anna is in that blessed and radiant state of full bloom,
carrying our grandbaby (their first!) whom we hope to meet very soon....
 I am sooo excited to meet this prayed-for little one!!!

Our third born, the lovely Rose, is just home from three weeks in Africa! 
 I sure missed her, and am so very glad to have her home again...
but my intuition tells me it won't be for long...
Rose is growing up...and Africa is very much a part of her.  
She is a beautiful young lady inside and out.

Then there is miss Bethany,
(9 years old, child #7)
 who just finished her first ballet class, loved every minute of it,
 and now dances her way around the house...
especially when we are listening to The Piano Guys...
....which is pretty often.

And, our ninth, little Olivia
busting us up daily
with some really great original quotes like only a four year old can.

"Are you crying, Olivia?"
"No," she answers...wiping tears away..."My eyes are just sweating!"

She recently climbed up on daddy's lap and said, "I want to have Jesus." 
 We were happy to hear it!

Our daughters have added so much joy and beauty to our family life. 
 We are very blessed by each one, 
and so very grateful to the Lord for giving us these precious gifts!!!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, 
the fruit of the womb is His reward."
 Psalm 127:3

Monday, May 4, 2015

Inspiration From The Front Porch

 Come sit awhile... 
 the weather is so nice and the front porch beckons.

I am fascinated with porches. 
 I do believe that any home would be more homey with a front porch.
Maybe that is my southern roots coming out.
To me, it really doesn't matter what style a porch is, I love them all.

Over the weekend we cleaned up and put together this year's summer porch.  
It was an exciting event and all the children were eager to help sweep, mop,
 put wintery things away and bring out the season's furnishings.

As we were sitting out this first morning on the porch,
 (having moved our school work outdoors)
I was amused to find that Bethany had made lemonade.
  I guess she just naturally thought:
 porch = lemonade.

 Our large front porch certainly is a significant part of our home, 
and we spend a great many hours there spring, summer and fall.  
When we have church fellowship out here, the house overflows,
(63 for dinner last Sunday!)
 and the porch is a welcome extra room.

I have said before... how much I adore time on the porch,
 and it is true I will invent work that I can do on the porch
 to justify spending a few more hours there.

In the mornings of summer and early fall,
 the sun comes up over the tree tops to the front side of the house,
 casting its warming rays all over the porch. 
 Sipping coffee, listening to the birds morning songs... is a lovely way to wake up.

In summer's hot afternoons,
 the sun is high overhead and the porch is a cool refreshing place to sit,
 where one can watch chickens, dogs, cats, goats and children frolicking in the yard.
Taking laundry off the line, I will fold there, 
write my shopping lists and menus there,
 talk on the phone to my daughter and mama,
 read to the littles, 
 do our school work,
 read my Bible,
  visit with the older children.

In the evenings, it is the perfect spot to catch up with my dear husband,
watch thunderstorms, 
have dinner,
 interact with the children playing,
 and, ahhhh...unwind at the end of the day.

I love making our porch (and home) a collection of beautiful things,
 a gathering place for family and friends, 
a comfortable place where people want to come and be together,
 a welcoming place for the new acquaintances that are made
 and for the strangers who come into our lives,
 a caring place where the needy can find help and the hurting find comfort. 

A porch is a great place for hospitality,
 a welcome smile to come home to, 
a convenient place to retreat to, 
a favorite spot you come back to over and over again.

Blessings from our porch to yours,

Friday, May 1, 2015

Home Schooling: More Than the Three R's

How do you do it? 
 My you sure have your hands full!
 I could never do that! 
 These are all things I have heard countless times from friends and strangers
 when they find out we have 9 children that we have home schooled.
Here is my answer.
  Here is how do I do it. 
Here is my counsel to anyone thinking of homeschooling
 or discouraged in their home schooling adventures.

Home Schooling is something I am passionate about.  
Raising children is something I am passionate about.  
Because I am passionate about these things, I love to talk about them.
 We have been home schooling for 20 years now, and we have made mistakes. 
 We have also learned a whole lot and made progress, although,
 there are those days when I can't see it. 
 Thankfully, those days end and new ones arise and with them hope
 that this day will be different, 
perhaps even victorious. 

Over the years, I have come to a few conclusions about successful homeschooling...
and these conclusions arrived from trial and error,
 and are listed here so that perhaps others may not need to have such trials and errors
 to find these answers....

1.  Home schooling must be consistent.  Establishing a basic routine each season gives freedom and structure to the mama and the children, helping to ensure that each topic of study will get done in its time each day.  It is near impossible to become proficient at something without consistent practice. I say in "each season" because as your family grows up, multiplies, jobs change, etc., new needs arise and a new schedule will need to be adapted.  When we had a new baby, for example, our routines needed to revolve around when the baby needed to be fed, then later, when the toddler napped, and even later, when the teen went to work.  As home educators, we need to persevere to be consistent through these changes and at the same time be flexible to the new needs of the family.

2.  Homeschooling must be about discipleship more than completing workbooks.  As Christians, our number one priority in home educating has got to be to teach our children about God, His word, and His it out in front of them and intentionally teaching them as we go about our day.  Just homeschooling is not an end in itself- that alone will not produce a generation who loves God and is devoted to Him.  It is a lot harder than that.  It must be intentional and deliberate, and you must be the example.  To raise children who test well and get good jobs is great, but that alone must not be enough!!  Home Schooling gives us as parents a great opportunity to teach character, to incorporate all of our daily lives into discipling the souls given to us.  We need to teach our children to be diligent, to have integrity, to persevere, to think of others first, and most importantly, to love God.

This brings me to the third point....

3.  Homeschooling should drive you to your knees.  I literally wake up each morning begging God for help.  I know I cannot be a good enough example; kind, patient, cheerful, loving, wise and industrious without His strength to uphold me, and I know I am an utter failure apart from abiding in Christ.  Thus, our children become the sanctifying object that God uses to mold us and humble us, making us teachable and dependent upon Him...which then, in turn, enables us to be good examples to our children of what a Christ centered life looks like.
 Is homeschooling overwhelming to you?  GOOD!!  It is when we are overwhelmed that we become desperate for Jesus.  And that is right where we should be everyday.

In my twenty years,
 it is the times that I have been consistent,
 focused on making disciples of our children,
 and earnestly leaning on the Everlasting Arms 
that we have been the most successful in our home educating. 

 If I get all three things down, the rest falls into place.


Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

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