Archive | March 2013

A Romance in the Making

ImageRecently I began reading a New York Times best selling love story. Coincidentally, the same week my thirteen year old daughter borrowed Pride and Prejudice from our local library. As often happens I “stole” her book so I had both of them going at the same time. Along with at least three other books of various genres.

The modern book, although well written, interesting and a true “true love” story was a little too steamy for my conscience sake so Jane and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have been keeping me company before I fall asleep at night. I am so enjoying their chaste and interesting behavior and conversation.

My daughter has read the abridged version several times and watched the movie but hasn’t until now read the true Jane Austin authenticity. I am glad to have her read it and I would recommend it to any young women as it provides a lovely example of self discipline and morals.

But there is a romance far more interesting to me and sweeter as well. It is one that has been developing in my life for more than fifteen years. I don’t know what it is about this guy but after all this time I’m still crazy about him. And it’s more than just those blue eyes……

I think it started in the months before our marriage when we hiked all over the Pacific Northwest, talking, laughing, singing. We’d sit in his beat up old Datson talking late into the night, then sometimes he’d say, “OK, you better go inside now because I’m really tempted to kiss you.” And I would, I’d laugh and leave the conversation half finished, knowing we could pick it up again the next night or the next, or any delicious night we felt like it. I’d jump out of the car and call good night and I’d think,”This must be the very best guy in the whole wide world!”

 I have worn a diamond for fifteen years, placed on my finger by a darling blue eyed boy.  Now he’s got some gray in the curls by his ears. Sometimes we are just parents, loving our kids together, working as a team. But every now and then, for no reason that I can see, with no planning or forethought, when he looks at me, I am smitten because his eyes are those of a lover.

I love the man he has grown into much more than I ever could have loved the boy he used to be. And I still think that he must be the very best guy in the whole wide world.

Sometimes my heart is over flowing with love for him and I just need to tell him all about it. How happy he makes me, how I think he is the best dad I know of, how his blue eyes still make my tummy go flip flop. He likes it.

Sometimes our hearts are overwhelmed with thankfulness and praise to the Keeper of the Stars because he has given us so much more than we ever imagined.

Thousands of years ago wise King Solomon wrote,”There are four things that are too wonderful for me,yea, four things which I know not. The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea and the way of a man with a maid.” Proverbs 30:18,19

I know what you mean, Solomon, the way of a man with a maid is too wonderful to me as well! The one who has created romance and marriage is greatly to be praised.

I can hardly believe it, but, sometimes I am quite certain that I am the heroine of a romance in the makings……………..Image

A Note to Single Moms

Dear Single Mom, When I woke up this morning I was thinking about you. I have to say I haven’t really thought about you before because I never really knew your face, I hadn’t heard your voice and I had never seen your tears. But now I have. And I hurt for you. I prayed for you this morning.

I lay in my bed beside Blue eyes and I told him about you and the burden you carry. Together we brought your name before the Lord. Together we wondered how life can get so tough. We thought how once there was a wedding and you were the bride and your heart was full of hope and dreams. This was never supposed to happen. But it did.

I thought about your babies and I cried because God never meant it to be this way. I thought how I wish I could take the pain and confusion away from them. From you. But I can’t.

I felt the anger and hopelessness because you can’t make a grown up do what they refuse to do. Even when it’s the right thing. You can scream, beg, shake them and still they are free to make the wrong choice. Even God won’t make anyone choose the right.

Yet still………..can hope be sad and desperate? Can hope be resolute and aching? Then there is hope. I felt that too.

There is a Father who is always good, always faithful, always right, never changing. He is the one who has promised to be the father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow. Or the husbandless.

It matters not what has been yesterday because His mercies are new every morning. His word is full of promises for THIS good day. And this day may be hard but this day can be good. His compassions they fail not.

Dear Mom, make it your life’s mission to introduce your kids to this Father. You will find him in his word. At first he may seem hidden there but keep looking and you will find him. All of his beautiful promises are there for you and for your children. Your kids will be safe there. Some days it won’t seem like it but we sow in hope and in his good time God will give the increase.

It won’t cost you a cent because we can all drink of the water of life freely. Read the Bible to your kids, pray with them every day and bring them to church regularly. Sow in hope, Mom, God’s word will bear fruit in their lives. It will. Because he who has promised is faithful. Even if you are too tired, weary, and discouraged to do anything else positive in their lives, if you do this they’ll be OK.

God has a special place in his heart for Mothers. Isaiah 40 says,”Behold, the Lord God will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs in his arm and carry them in his bosom, and he shall gently lead those that are with young.” These promises are for you, single Mom.

Sometimes we might think that we can’t come to God unless we are “good”. But we can always come to God just the way we are. Our hurt, anger, fear, confusion and doubt are never too big for God. Remember that he has come “to bind up the brokenhearted, set the captives free and bring light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

I can’t know exactly how you feel but I do know that you are a woman just like me. We love our kids, we hope and fear. We love what is good and hate evil. We sometimes in desperation call out to God, “God, are you there? Do you see me? Do you know where I am?” And we find in his word that he is there, that he is a God who sees, who loves, who redeems, who is exceedingly long suffering. We see that is a repairer of the breech and the one who lays new foundations.

Single Mom, know that I prayed for you today. I prayed for those of you who’s tears I know and those who’s face I have never seen. I prayed for you and your children. The ones who are confused and hurting. And God heard. He loves you today and through Him I love you too. My he bless your path today. May you feel him with you today.

Baby Lucy in Cloth Diapers Score One for g Diapers

ImageBaby number seven and we have switched over to cloth diapering! Something that even a year ago I never imagined I’d do. First of all I must say that cost was not my deciding factor so if you are looking for the cheapest way to go this blog may not be the most helpful.

Secondly, I believe in a young earth. I believe that the Bible actually is literal in Genesis and means just what it says, that God created the earth in six days. I also believe the scripture that says that “the earth will wax old as does a garment”. I am not trying to “save” the earth. I do not think the earth will be here for a thousand more or even hundreds of more years because it seems that the Biblical prophesies are being fulfilled that tell us the end of time is near.

I wait for the day when Jesus Christ will descend from Heaven with a shout and gather together his elect from the earth and take us to live forever with God. Then it says that the earth will burn and the elements will melt. Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for us, a new heaven and a new earth wherein righteousness dwells.

I don’t know about you but when I read the end of the book of Revelations, heaven sounds so beautiful…….so beautiful! And I can’t wait to go and live where I can see God.

On the other hand we all know that disposable diapers are not biodegradable. We’ve always recycled our cans, glass, cardboard etc. and reuse and reduce. One of my boys has been interested lately in land fills and wondering what becomes of our trash. I’ve been convicted because it’s not something I’ve thought much about. To me I put the stuff in the garbage and the truck comes and takes it away and it’s gone….but is it?

I was thinking one day about diapers from seven babies. What if there was no land fill so we just had a diaper pile out in the back corner. OK  you see where I’m going with this. Ewwwww……….for a few hundred years. I don’t think anyone would use them if that were the case.

My parents raised fifteen children in rural New Hampshire. They were “green” as a lifestyle before it was cool. We raised much of our own food. “Organic” without even thinking about it. My mom used cloth diapers. I remember all those diapers fluttering in the breeze on the cloths line. My mom even milked a cow and made butter. Yum. Reduce, reuse and recycle were the way to go. Not to be cool and progressive mind you but just because it was inexpensive and felt right.

I guess I feel convicted about it. It’s part of the labor of love we call parenting. Less convenient, yes, but how did my mom do it? Well, for one thing her life revolved around her family and home. She was not so busy with things away from home like a lot of us modern moms. Her social life was mainly with neighbor women who were within walking distance. Most of them also happened to be a part of our church family. Oh, those quiet, homey country days! (Were they actually so idealistic, Mom?;) I’m ready to just move on out, milk a cow, hang out the clothes on those long lines…..*sigh)

Where was I now? Oh, yes, cloth diapers! Image

We decided to go with g diapers because they seem to offer the most convenience. The best place to get what you’ll need is on the g diaper website. Our local Fred Meyer stores carry some of their products as well.

They offer a biodegradable, flush-able, disposable liner. (They say flush-able but you have to take the inside of the liner out and throw the outside away, as it is not safe for most septic systems. This seems like more trouble than it’s worth to me.) But the disposable liners work just as well as the LUVS that I’ve been used to. I have not had any problems with leaking, even over night. You can compost the wet liners, not poop, of course. I would love to use these all the time but they are more expensive than I am comfortable spending. You can buy a case of them online, $52 for 128 liners. You would plan on changing them as often as you would any disposable diaper. Fred Meyer’s sells them in a package of 32 for $16.99. I will definitely have these on hand for night time and when I am out in town or anyway from home for a good portion of the day.

On normal days I have been using cloth liners. I just purchased the Gerber brand organic cloth tri-fold diapers. ($6.99 for four) They work well too but need to be changed more often. The g diaper website sells cloth liners that sound more efficient than what I’m using. They sell a six pack for $32, no folding and they have a fleece outer layer that draws moisture away from baby’s skin.

G diapers also sell a disposable thin liner to put over the cloth insert. This is so when baby poops you can just flush it. No swishing in the toilet or anything. Now that is really cool! They come in a box of 100 for $8.99. Lucy usually poops right away in the morning so I would just need to use one a day with her first diaper.

The g diapers themselves come in a pack of two, the snap on plastic pouch is included, at Freddy’s for $29.99, or six from g diaper for $79.99. At least with breast fed baby poop, I need to change the plastic pouch every time Lucy poops making one pouch per diaper not quite enough. You can order extra plastic pouches, six for $22.99.

G diaper website also offers starter kits etc. for a discounted price. That would make a lovely baby shower gift! All this adds up and that is why I’ve slowly been adding in the things I need. But when you think that you can reuse them for a long time, even with other babies that may come your way, it makes it a little easier to spend the money. Last night Blue eyes and I were figuring out how much money we would roughly spend on disposable diapers per year and that adds up too! I think we came up with $300, if we used 5 LUVS a day. So two years would be about $600!

The g diaper website says that you would need 6-8 diapers to fully diaper a baby. Remember if cost is important to you there are other more affordable options. Econobums is one brand that a few friends have been happy with.

The g diapers are machine washable and besides the plastic pouches, are fine in the dryer.       You shouldn’t soak them in water or use bleach. Just put them in the washer with detergent and white vinegar. That will keep the cloth outer looking bright and the whites clean. (I just wash Lucy’s with the rest of our household laundry. Blue eyes thought that was kind of gross but…..I always tell him it’s only baby pee or poop. The things motherhood does to you!) Also a tip from my niece, on a sunny day set your cloth inserts and plastic pouches out in the direct sunlight to bleach them.

When making the switch I would recommend that you keep some disposables on hand for back up until you are sure you have what you need. I do anyways, but you will also need to plan on at least doing a small load of laundry each day. Packing the diaper bag will take a little more forethought as well.

It’s been about a month now and it has been a lot better than I imagined. The hardest part has been trying to stay organized. Sometimes I have a hard time rounding up all the pieces when I need them but more orderly folks shouldn’t have that trouble. Image

One more thing, Lucy, and a lot of my babies have had very sensitive skin. She pretty much always had a rash on her bum, even though I change her often. I am happy to report that things are looking a lot better in that respect. One day I ended up putting her back into disposable diapers for the day and she broke out like crazy! Poor Honey! She obviously had a reaction to something in the diaper.

What is your favorite diaper rash remedy?

An Old Mom Learns a New Trick and Feels Earth Friendly

Our  Beautiful Children 047One of the interesting things about having many children is that you get to mother through a lot of different parenting trends. Some of which I think are funny….hooter hiders (or nursing aprons)? I mean, I keep my hooters decently hidden but I’ve never felt the need to disguise the fact that I have a babe at breast. But then again I’ve been nursing babies for the past thirteen years so it seems quite natural by now.

Anyways…..I have always enjoyed reading a variety of parenting books,  and I glean at least a little from nearly every one! I also like to learn from other families and women that I am around. I hope that I will always be humble enough to continue learning and developing “our” parenting style. Still, sometimes I get caught in the “but I’ve always done it this way” rut.

My dear Grandmother, who just went home to be with the Lord at 86 years old, has told me many times that she remembers the last time she was breast fed by her mother. There is a story to go along with the memory, which is, I’m sure, why she so clearly remembers it. She figures she must have been at least three. She always let me know that she thought it was just fine when my babies were still  breast feeding well into toddler-hood. I’ve really appreciated the encouragement.

To me the modern American idea that babies should nurse until they are one and then wean just doesn’t make sense. There are so many scriptures that refer to breast feeding as a means of comfort rather than simply nourishment. Historical research shows that Hebrew mothers nursed their babies until they were 3-5 years old. Blue eyes and I both feel that allowing our babies to breast feed until they naturally wean gives them a secure emotional foundation to build upon.

Our  Beautiful Children 059Likewise with co~sleeping. I lived with my oldest sister and her husband before I married my precious love and I always thought it seemed so sweet and cozy that their babies and toddlers were welcomed into their bed. Even their older kids were welcome to bring a blanket and pillow and sack out on the floor in their bedroom if they awoke during the night.

Our baby Lucy has slept with us her whole little life and our 3 and 5 year old daughters usually quietly crawl into our bed before morning. I love to wake up to find them snuggled up together in the middle of Mom and Daddy, which prompted us to purchase a king size bed several years ago. On rare occasion one of the older kids will be troubled about something, usually a sad book, such as a missionary story, that has made them really think about some of the hurting people in this world, and want to sleep on our floor. I’m glad they have a place to come for comfort. We are privileged to have them come to us for prayer and a listening ear.

Our  Beautiful Children 045My youngest sister introduced me to baby wearing when she became a mother six years ago. I love her parenting style and have been inspired by her many times. There is a certain time frame before my babies like being down on the floor to explore and move around when I am able to keep them close to my heart, first in a sling and then when they are a little more mature in a baby wrap. My older girls would love to hold and rock and sing to my babies all day, while I cook and clean etc. etc., and they do get their turns! But usually I tell them, “Girls, this is MY baby. She was in my womb for nine months and she likes to be close to my heart (and I like her there as well). When you grow up and get married then you can have your own babies and be the one to hold them most of the time.” Baby wearing has given me a wonderful way to fulfill that desire while still accomplishing many of my household duties.

I have found it to be refreshing to spend time with my dear niece who is a first time Mama. My little grand~nephew is, according to five year old Olivia,”The cutest boy that goes to our church AND the cutest boy in the whole world!” Yup, he is pretty cute! My niece has used cloth diapers on him ever since he was born and at first I thought,”Wow! That is very ambitious of her. I like LUVs.”

As I’ve watched her over the last year though and seen how snazzy the modern cloth diapers are, I have done something that I never imagined I would do, I’ve switched completely over to cloth diapering. I feel so earth friendly,*sigh* and it is working out great thus far. I’m so impressed with it that I am planning to do a detailed blog covering the products I’ve been using as well as some advice on making the switch. I think I’ll have time to put the post together on Saturday morning so if you are interested, please, keep an eye out for it!

The Beautiful Mama Blog Award and I Love how Babies are Made

Fellow homeschool Mom blogger over at http://www.mommymeditations.wordpress.com has been so kind as to give me a nomination for the Beautiful Mama Blog Award.  I really appreciate that. Motherhood is beautiful and I love when women are able to give each other that affirmation. Every mama is beautiful……..I’m taking Blue-eyes word on that. A new baby in the womb or in arms makes every woman beautiful.Image

So….three things I love about being a mother. I’ve been thinking about that this morning and it’s hard to narrow it down to three things. But if I must then here goes.

1. I love how babies are made, no seriously, I love that a young maiden marries a young man, full of potential,  hopes and aspirations for his family. For HIS family, the one thing that will tell the world who he really can be. With nervous hands and a humble heart he sets out to love a woman and build a legacy for the Lord. One that will bear his name and make him a patriarch.

I love that the Spirit of God reaches down to the earth at conception. I love to be pregnant, it makes me feel earthy and womanly and beautiful. I love to feel my baby growing in my womb, knowing I am providing the perfect house, cozy, warm and close to the beat of my heart.

I love birth, especially when it takes place in my bedroom, wrapped in the strong love and prayers of my husband. I love to feel the warmth of my newly born baby against my breast. I love the earthy smell. I love to hear the cry that tells me that God has bestowed upon this child the breath of life. I love to watch Blue-eyes tenderly cradling our baby in his arms. I love how babies are made.

2. I love how God has used motherhood to turn my selfish heart into the heart of a servant. We give up our free time, our figures,  our beauty sleep, many of our petty ways and we call it being a mama and it is love, Christ like love, agape  love, in it’s purest earthly form. When we become practiced in this love, without even trying, we become better wives, sisters, friends and daughters.

If we will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and learn from him, motherhood will make us stronger than we ever imagined, more gentle than we ever thought possible. It will make us wise and humble, funnier and more serious. It will make the scripture true that says, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” In order to truly live first we must die to ourselves.  I love the goodness I am given by becoming a servant.

3.  I love that motherhood has given me an eternal perspective and in so doing has helped me learn to live in the moment. It has made moments hang achingly beautiful, suspended in a prism of time. When I hold a tiny sleeping baby to my heart and stroke a downy head and I think, I am a mom. This little one has been placed in my care and I must teach him to love beauty and goodness and to hate evil.

I must hold this little hand and endeavor to show this child the heart of God. Then I cry in my spirit, “God, please, show me the way! Please, take the hands of my Blue-eyed husband and me and lead us in the way that we should go. For the sake of these precious children, please,  bless us and keep us!”  And I hear His voice steady and sure,” I will feed my flock like a shepherd, I will gather the lambs with my arm and carry them in my bosom, and I will gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11

I love that God called me and died for me when I was yet in my sins. I love that he has put my feet on the path of peace. I love that He has given me Blue-eyes to travel through life with and I love, love, love that He has thought it good to allow me to be a mom.

And who could I nominate but my Mom? She is the one who taught me to love God and babies, literature and writing. She has raised fifteen children together with my Father. Check out her blog at http://www.theraggedygarden.blogspot.com

Let us be Strong, Ladies

ImageI am finally reading Dr. Dobson’s book Bringing up Girls. It is proving to be just as wonderful as Bringing up Boys. I have been sharing long portions of it with my husband, my girls and even reading aloud when we are all together at the dinner table.

There are two chapters devoted especially to fathers and they are so good! Definitely need to keep the Kleenex nearby while reading what a group of twenty or so young women had to say about their relationships with their fathers. Some heartbreaking, in the longing for the approval that they’ve not been given and others so preciously sharing how their fathers made them feel lovely and cherished.

Our oldest daughter had some friends over for a sleepover last night to celebrate her 13th birthday.  Blue-eyes came home from work and presented her with a bouquet of flowers. She was so pleased. He also prayed for her before we ate cake. In the presence of her friends, affirming her and thanking God for her…..it’s good. She is learning what to expect from a worthy man.

The chapters that have made the biggest impression on me so far though were 5 and 6, Teaching Girls to be Ladies and Embarrassing the Angels. I have been thinking about what it means to be a lady and how, sadly, it is becoming a lost art in our society.

I thought of it the other night at Safeway when I went to get some gluten free bread out of the freezer. It happens to share an aisle with the alcoholic drinks and right there taking up aisle space was a rack of distasteful magazines. I mean, that should be considered completely inappropriate for a family grocery shop. I go down that aisle often with my children. Boys by nature are visual. God made them this way and it makes me sad that this is eye level for them. It also made me indignant because I am a lady.

I am a lady, raising five little ladies and two young men. When I go to a shop to buy ingredients to prepare meals for my family why should I have this lasciviousness thrown in my face? Why should I have to keep my eyes and those of my kids averted while we wait in line to pay for our purchases? It is a disgrace and a shame.

We do not have a TV at our house and we do not watch movies for entertainment for many reasons. We do not want to become calloused to this shameful uncovering of nakedness that is all around us. And it is all around us. The word of God calls us to live as a peculiar people set  apart from the world. It also refers to God’s people as “pilgrims and strangers, who are in search of a city who’s builder and maker is God”.

I feel badly for the women on the cover of that magazine, and many others. Have you ever stopped to think that she is someones daughter? I bet she’s got a lot of hurt in her heart and confusion in her soul. It makes me sad that all of us have allowed this to happen. We are too willing to look the other way. To not want to be a prude. Well, I am not a prude but I am a lady and I am sick of the disrespect for women that is all around me.  And not only for women but for men who are trying to live in chastity, and for little girls and young women who are wondering if they are lovely and for little boys who should not have to see grown women in only their undergarments as soon as they have eyes to see with.

I am not going to compromise my children. Why should I? No, I can’t keep them from seeing this ugliness but there is something I can do.

I can refuse to ignore it and look the other way. I can start asking, “Have you no shame?” It is a foolish mother who would let her little daughter play with the trampy looking Barbies and things they have out nowadays. You want them to aspire to that and think that is what beauty is? Then don’t at all be surprised when she is having sex with her boyfriend when she is 15.  What we put into our minds and hearts and souls is what will come out. It is nothing to take lightly at all. We will give account to God for these things and we will watch them bear fruit in our children’s lives. Watching the newest movies and popular shows just isn’t worth the sacrifice.

At Safeway the other night I asked to talk to the manager. I told her that I go down that aisle all the time and that magazine is nothing to put in the presence of a lady. She told me she doesn’t want it there either but that she can’t make the decision to remove it. I need to make a complaint to the corporate office. I hope they listen. If I am a lady and I allow people to treat me otherwise then what kind of a lady am I?

I want my daughters to see a lady as a God fearing woman who is full of compassion and is gentle and good. But one who is also strong and does not tolerate abuse or sit by and let sin happen around her. I want them to know that a lady can stand up and ask, “Have you no shame?”

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and his law doeth he meditate both day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of living water, that bringeth forth his fruit in due season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” Psalm 1