"How can there be too many children? It's like saying there are too many flowers." Mother Theresa

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The difference a year makes

One year ago yesterday Grace and Manny came home! Today I am reflecting on this past year together. It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it.
One year ago....
They had no running water
They had no change of clothes
They had no bed save a palate on the the floor
They had no parents
They went without food often
They had no tv
They had no computer
They spoke no English
They had no one to tuck them in at night
Manny did not know Christ Jesus
Grace lived in fear

They are now living with all their basic needs met. They are loved. They are thriving. Manny knows the Lord. Little by little Grace is grasping the meaning of her name and learning to live.
I am thankful for the difference this year has made, in their lives and mine.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My favorite Christmas song...


Not only do I love this song, it is so fun to look at the guys in video that I was crushing on back in the day;)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tips on raising a large family

Someone emailed me and asked me to give some tips on raising a large family. So here goes!
So the pictures have nothing to do with raising a large family! I just love the pictures and thought I'd show you one of the most important things about raising a large family: Having Fun!
Most people like to ask me about the laundry. Our system is this: The kids bring the laundry down to me each morning (it is on a chore list). I wash the laundry and put it in baskets, one basket for each bedroom. The kids are then called to get their basket and they put away their own laundry. If you want the laundry put away properly then make sure each item of clothing has a clear and precise place to put it.
The second most popular question I get asked is about food! First, never skimp on nutrition. You are your child's teacher about health and wellness. Make the most of that. When going to the grocery make a list. I find that I save money if I use recipes and don't just make a list from my mind. I double all recipes. Plan your snacks and put those too on the list. We also are part of a CSA. For those who don't know what that is, it stands for community supported agriculture. We pay a set amount and then go weekly or biweekly depending on the season and pick up our goods. The farm is organic and close to our home. It is a very good value and I have found it to be beneficial to wait to pick up our veggies and then plan next weeks menu. What we don't buy: We NEVER buy candy, gummies or other such junk. I will on special occasions pick up a 2liter of soda, but I only do this on special occasions. People often too ask me about picky eaters...I have one picky eater. I do not cater to him. He eats what I serve. He must have one bite of everything, but then he is free to eat what he likes.
Clothing.....thrift stores, hand me downs, and clearance racks. Nuff said on that!
Christmas presents- two each and a stocking. The first year we did this I thought the kids would be disappointed. They didn't even notice. Children truly do most value their time with you. Which lead me to another FAQ....
How do you spend enough time with everyone? First of all, if you are homeschooling than you spend all day with your kids! We have tried different methods with this. We have had planned dates with the kids. We have tried special days of the week (where they pick dinner and get a fuss made over them). Though we have tried various things, it truly seems that the children's need for attention makes itself known without any planning. For example, sometimes you can tell by a child's behavior that they need some qt. After some time passes certain kids will like to do certain things with you that other kids do not and you will find that you are meeting their needs that way. I have one child who always goes shopping with me. I have one who enjoys going to library and so on an so forth.
Chores. We have tried various methods for this as well, but our current method is working the best. We have 7 children full-time so when Lauren is here then we alter the list the a bit. One child is responsible for cleaning the family room. This is all day, not a one time clean. They are manager of the area and keep everyone in check on picking up their shoes etc...No surprise, my son who is nicknamed The General is the family room cleaner. :) My teen daughter cleans the dishes at supper and cleans the kitchen daily. Manny cleans the bathrooms everyday. Beniam walks the dogs. Noah takes out the trash. Adam cleans the guest room and the computer room. Mercy is in chart of the entry way and the kitchen table. If you know Mercy she tries to be in charge of much more than that! :)
Activities. Many families I've talked to allow their children only one sport or activity. I think this is extremely wise, but we let our children play two sports each. Our kids mostly all play baseball and soccer. Activities can quickly become overwhelming. If I had known this a few years ago, we would be allowing one each as well.
Bible reading: This has changed a few times over the years. Right now though, I read the word with the homeschoolers and my husband reads the word to the 4 boys he drives to middle school each day. While they are waiting in line they read and pray together. Did I tell you how much I love my husband? ;) We have had regular reading times with dinner, at bedtime and in the morning. Our current system seems to work the most.
I am finding homeschooling to be so rewarding. It actually makes life a lot less hectic and quite a bit easier. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. I wish and hope and PRAY that I'll eventually have all the kids here with me.
I hope I've addressed most of what my friend wanted to know. Feel free to chime in and give your tips! It takes a village afterall!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Happy X-mas! ;)

Blessed are the entitled?


Ever witness a kid digress into complete meltdown mode after his parents refused to buy him that new video game?

“But I want it! It’s mine! Give it to me!”

Entitlement can get ugly, especially around Christmastime.

And the only thing more embarrassing than watching a little kid throw a fit is watching a grownup throw one.

“If you don’t play religious music at your store, we’ll boycott it!”

“We demand that manger scenes be placed in front of all government buildings!”

“How dare you say ‘happy holidays’ to me? I want to speak with the manager!”

“I want it! It’s mine! Give it to me!”

I’m not sure when or why it happened, but in some circles, entitlement has been declared December's Christian virtue. Suddenly it’s not enough that Americans spend millions of dollars each year marking the birth of Jesus. Now we’ve got to have a “Merry Christmas” banner in front of every parade and an inflatable manger scene outside of every courthouse... or else we’ll make a big stink about it in the name of Jesus. Having opened the gift of the incarnation—of God with us—we’ve peered inside and shrieked, “This is not enough! Where are the accessories? We want more!”

This is a strange way to honor Jesus, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…but made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.” (Philippians 2:8)

Jesus didn’t arrive with a parade. He arrived in a barn.

Jesus wasn’t embraced by the government. He was crucified by it.

Jesus didn’t demand that his face be etched into coins or his cross be carried like a banner into war. He asked that those who follow him be willing to humble themselves to the point of death, to serve rather than be served, to give rather than receive.

What a tragedy that history’s greatest act of humility is being marked by petty acts of entitlement and pride.

Don't tell anyone, but sometimes I wonder if the best thing that could happen to this country is for Christ to be taken out of Christmas—for Advent to be made distinct from all the consumerism of the holidays and for the name of Christ to be invoked in the context of shocking forgiveness, radical hospitality, and logic-defying love. The Incarnation survived the Roman Empire, not because it was common but because it was strange, not because it was forced on people but because it captivated people.

Let’s celebrate the holidays, of course, but let’s live the incarnation. Let’s advocate for the poor, the forgotten, the lonely, and the lost. Let’s wage war against hunger and oppression and modern-day slavery. Let’s be the kind of people who get worked up on behalf of others rather than ourselves.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Anniversary dates

All our adoption anniversaries are close together. Mercy is November, Grace and Manny December, and Simon and Beniam January. Mercy just had her two year anniversary. Wow, how time flies. She is such a light. She has the most infectious giggle and the biggest eyes. Everyone loves her. I am so thankful to God for moving me to adopt her, our little girl. I can't imagine our lives without her and I can't imagine what her life would have become without us.
Shhhhh....she and I want a little baby girl in the house.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The story of US

We are watching the History channels America the Story of Us. I was told it is derived from Susan Wise Bauer's curriculum used by many home school families. It is really a great series. We finished one history book and half of another and I decided to change our pace with this series. The kids love it, though much of it is over their heads. I do a lot of narrating.
As we watched this morning, (from bed :) I began to wonder. So much is wrong with our history. Not just the US, but humankind. I used to read the Old Testament and wonder..."Are they just stupid? How can they not follow a God who works miracles right in front of them?" I watch our US history and see what we did to the Natives, the Chinese (during the building of the railroad), the Africans and again I wonder..."Were they just crazy? I mean, how could they not see what they were doing was not of God?" Look at our world today....the AIDs pandemic, human trafficking, orphans...what will they say of us? I know what they'll say. "What were they thinking? Why were they building bigger homes and driving bigger cars, and building bigger church buildings and spending millions on themselves, while Gods children are dying, are starving, are being sold."
I pray our generation gets busy reversing history.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another kind of orphan

Every wonder what happens to adult with disabilities after their parents die? They are often left alone and helpless. Join me as I pray about our family becoming a family home provider for one of these precious folks.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"For it is in giving that we receive." St Francis of Assisi

My small group organized a Christmas party for women in the housing project in our town. The kids helped me fix 30 of the 50 gift bags we would distribute. We passed out a few hundred dollars in gift cards (our church gave us a generous donation) Our grand prize was a new Certa mattress and box springs. The lady who won it did NOT have a bed. She began crying instantly, which set of a chain reaction and the whole room was weeping. God presence was made known to everyone there.

We are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of my being a stay at home mom. I can say without any hesitation that it has been the best year of my life. I love being home and wish that life could always be as it is now, but things happen. Being that I'm an RN going back to work is only a phone call away and the pay is good. It's hard not to just run back to work when hard times come our way but I believe God wants us to wait out the storm. My flesh says go back to work but the spirit is strongly saying wait. Meanwhile the kids are expecting Christmas....God has always shown himself providential in our lives, yet sometimes I still fear.