“If we go through life trying to make sure we’re never stretched beyond our comfort zone, we’ll never learn true obedience to the King of the universe. We become our own little kings of our own little universes.”
First, THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR US!!!
I’m not sure the answers to your prayers could possibly be more clear.
God is getting to the heart of the matter, using this life we’re living to mercifully, relentlessly root out the most selfish places in the family. I wrote long ago that we have nothing to lose but what needs to go. It’s true! What He gives in its place is grace.
And grace in family form has a unique, complex, irregular, organic, harmonious loveliness that gives us a glimpse into the nature of God. We need it and want it, and even our wanting is of grace.
On a surface level? Wow, more answers to prayer.
Some of you shared your best strategies with me, and I appreciate this so much, even if I haven’t replied to all your emails yet! You just never know when one little idea might completely revolutionize an area of life that previously struggled along, so please know that I love to hear how others make life work on a large family scale.
A sample of some changes we’re making, in no particular order…
~We’ve reinstituted the Fifteen Minute Connection. As soon as possible after Joe arrives home from work, he and I sit down together and talk for at least fifteen minutes.
~I’m collecting music for us to play during our morning routine–energetic, excellent quality, sing-able solid truth.
~God helped us to give a new vision to our children for where He’s taking us. He helped them to respond with soft hearts to this vision.
~We have new chore charts put together and waiting to be laminated. New wine in new wineskins.
~After purchasing five more laundry hampers, we’ll see whether having the five oldest children do their own laundry will help to tame the voracious Laundry Beast that lives at our house.
~The pattern of our week has been slightly altered.
Monday night is Work Night, for household projects some of us can work on together, like making repairs, cleaning and organizing a storage area or installing a twelve foot high, eight seater swingset.
Tuesday night is still Date Night. [Joe stated that this meets his need for quiet shoulder-to-shoulder time, a la Love and Respect, which by the way we generally, uh, love and respect.]
Wednesday night alternates between the older children’s ultimate Frisbee with their friends and one-on-one time with me.
Thursday night is still Reading Night for Joe and the children, Mom’s Night Off for me to use for planning, writing, and/or connecting with friends.
Friday Night is still Family Night.
~Those of you who reminded me that flying solo isn’t going to work because God didn’t design the family to work that way will be pleased to hear that I am learning how to ask for help.
“Hey guys, this is the part where I don’t want to ask for help, but I do anyway. Anyone available to change a diaper?”
~Those of you who reminded me that others can help with everything but nursing baby Ben were right and I needed to hear it.
~God’s sending help we didn’t ask for, and He’s doing it through some of you!
I can’t find the right words to do justice to the blessing our church fellowship is to us on Sundays and beyond. The loving hearts and helping hands are beautiful to behold.
One friend is doing all our ironing free of charge again.
An adoptive family in our church fellowship with several older daughters committed to bringing us a meal each week.
Our good friends offered to have our children over for a long day to allow me to get a large chunk of painting finished.
A neighbor friend occasionally brings a meal over out of the blue.
Other neighbors share extra produce with us from their large garden.
Another friend blesses us with a large amount of artisan bread every so often.
Several of you regularly share hand-me-downs with us.
Some of you give regularly to Katie and Tommy’s care fund. This has been a wonderful help for things like the more than $1000 worth of Thick-It we use in a year.
God can multiply little into much and leave us with twelve baskets of leftovers.
That’s impossible, isn’t it?
But we are witness to this truth every day.
Some of you are called to some extraordinary duty and do not feel strong enough. Follow that call, for surely the Lord is in that place. He will help you.
~Another good quote by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
About four gallons of thick, rich, flavorful, meaty beef stew…
…pureed two cups at a time…
…and frozen for Tommy.
Two very, very much alive little treasures, no longer hidden.
In spite of her very poor hand-eye coordination, Katie’s gaining competency in feeding herself a wider variety of food as a direct result of me being busier.
All the news we received at Shriner’s was good news. It will take years of hard effort, but there’s no orthopedic reason Tommy can’t someday learn to walk.
Katie is eager to walk now, but she has to slow down and learn to balance a bit better before that can happen.
Sweet girl with her biggest brother~
Grandpa saying, “God bless you,” to his newest grandson.
This is my favorite photo of Tommy so far.
Did I already tell you how much Stephen loves Katie and Tommy? He is always kissing them and telling them, “I love you!”
Fridge phonics is a hit with Katie.
Isn’t she looking like such a big girl?
Snuggling with the mama and the baby brother…
You might be three years old, but you are still my baby doll, sweet Verity.
“What’s the password?”
“I know it, it’s frankfurter.”
“That’s German for ‘I want a hot dog.'”
*giggles of hilarity*
Twins. Best friends.
Baby Benjamin has slept through the night for almost a week now, like the very obliging sort of baby he is.
He’s calm, social, expressive and cheerful.
Not that you can tell that from this photo.
Little as he is now, I have this feeling he’s going to outgrow tiny Verity long before he’s three years old.
Benjamin Justus, you are the cherry on top of our family. What a very unique start in life you will have.
Now Tommy has experienced a favorite activity of our other little ones.
Katie has six IV treatments down and two more to go on her way to strong and healthy bones!
Tommy knows the names of over half his new family members now. Joshua is one of them.
A lot of the photos I take nowadays are taken from my big rocking chair. I can ordinarily be found either flying about the place at one hundred miles an hour or sitting down with a nursing babe and another small person. Sitting is more conducive to photography than flying.
We have four booster seats and four car seats in our big van.
That’s eight little people who are developmentally age seven and under.
Each one a uniquely valuable life who adds humor, sweetness, challenge, fun…
…and love to our family. They make our life very full…
…and we couldn’t spare even one of them.
“Verity, I love you more!”
“I love you more!”
Are we not a privileged family??
Yes, we are.
P. S. I invite you to check out this post by Sasha Carpenter.