Thursday, May 31, 2007

SHEW - sorry if this is depressing tonight.

It's been a week and that has made me think it's time to get my thoughts out, send an email to family and friends etc.

I also had two goodbyes today - which tend to make me introspective. I could have written one post a day for a few days...but I knew it was time to answer questions and share my heart.

Now if you came here to find the summer reading challenge and you are wondering WHAT you stumbled on to - simply click on the link below the graphic in the sidebar.


I've been asked this a LOT. Often people who know I've had many miscarriages will write and ask what they should do when a friend is having a troubled pregnancy. I guess what you live you begin to get good at? Speaking from the perspective of one who has had six miscarriages....

I'm convinced that we as Christians need to learn to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. So often, we think we need to FIX IT or have a magnificent doctrinally correct word....but grieving women simply need to know you care.

Recognize the importance and significance of her loss.

Simply say you are sorry.

Hugs. Prayers. But you really can't fix it....this may not be the time when she needs a multitude of words....let the Holy Spirit gently guide her and you. You can't imagine the hurt that we cause others when we say things that are simply "silly"....I always look at the motives...but I've thought how really - if your friend is going through this saying less, may mean more.

I have one friend who called and said, "What do you want me to say?" I told her that I wanted her to say she was sorry I was losing our baby. She did. She cried. I cried. I knew she was praying. I knew she had faith in the strength of my God and my relationship with Him - she didn't feel the need to "strengthen me" - she just wept with me.....

Really, instead of worrying about what to say...just a friend.

Family Memorial Service

Some have asked me to share....I hesitated because while I can choose to be transparent - my family's privacy is important and I don't want to violate that. I don't want them to feel that their life is lived in a fish bowl - well come to think of it they ARE Pastor's Kids - but you know - no more of a fish bowl than necessary. But I've thought I can share the "bones" of our service.

Wow - that one comment of Deja's changed things for us. We'd never had any type of service. We did this time. I had given Mike arrows and a quiver years ago. I had given him a new arrow to announce this pregnancy. He wanted to have a service with the arrow. I wanted to buy more small arrows to have a visible reminder....but I'm praying about a new memorial that I'll keep for the children we've lost.

THIS time we went out to the State park. We talked, Mike gave us each time to share our heart - and we did and it was precious. We laughed, we cried, we circled up. Mike read some verses from John 14 and Rev. We prayed.

Then we had one of the boys shoot the arrow into the lake.

It means a lot to me that we did this. It means a lot to have a place where we honored our little one. It helped. I don't feel like I can share any more details.

Pregnancy Journey

No, it's not a typo. It will go in the pregnancy journal, but I want to discuss the journey. It's been a week since our precious babies went into the presence of God. This post has been a long time coming. I've known I would need to say more at some point...but I've waited.

I thought after reading Bre's Letter that maybe I wouldn't post. What a heart that girl has. I can remember thinking when she was 12, "I want HER walk with God" humbling to hear that she wants to imitate me. {sigh}

Several have commented on my transparency on the blog. We've talked before about why I allow myself to be vulnerable. If I'm any sort of mentor, I want you to see the warts and all. I'm NOT perfect or worthy of being placed on a pedestal. I'm a sinner saved by a big boat load of grace! Just as you are. I wasn't totally transparent on the blog because we weren't sure for weeks how things would turn out. We didn't want to worry our children until we had concrete information. As it turned out we did not get that definite information until I miscarried. I've debated if it even mattered to write anything else...because's not any one's know? But then several have touched me deeply by saying that walking through this with me has helped them know how to minister better to women who have lost babies. Several have written and said that sharing my experiences with you in the past has helped you walk through a miscarriage and you were a strong support for me during this time.....and so I will most likely write one last really long pregnancy journal entry, or a few more.

Yes, I'd prayed for 3 years that I not be asked to walk this path again. God chose not to intervene (though He could have) this time. I could not tell you WHY God gave us a little one (though I should say ones) for such a short period of time. But these are things we know. We believe life begins at conception. Life doesn't begin when a woman gives birth and it doesn't end when she miscarries. We believe that God chooses children as gifts for families. We believe God placed these babies in our family. We could say "but WHY FOR JUST 11 WEEKS?"...but then again...if life begins at conception, and we believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, then these children (all that we've lost) continue to live. They live before the throne. They are still a part of our family. We know that God is good. We know that God is certain. We know that God is sovereign. We've settled these issues and our circumstances will not change these bedrock facts. (If you've not listened to Bring The Rain at the top of the blog - do so - it will bless you).

I had a really bad afternoon when the doc told me that she just wasn't sure WHAT was going on with our pregnancy. I have an amazing, Catholic, pro-life doctor. She was great during this time. Always wanting to wait until we saw what would happen. Never telling me, "this looks so bad, let's just end it". I had a spiritual 2 year old temper tantrum that day when she said, "I don't understand what I'm seeing". I ranted. "God - I BEGGED you not to let this happen ever again!" "I cannot walk through this again. I'm too emotionally fragile." "Please heal this baby". "WHY do you let me become pregnant (which is a miracle) only to refuse another miracle????" I went so far as to tell God that I was done. This was it. I would never have another baby regardless of how this turned out. Yeah - I even quoted Ps 127 to Mike and pointed out that it said "children of your youth" and I wasn't sure he qualified any longer. ::snort:: ::hiccup:: I quoted Corinthians and said that there was a way out of recurring miscarriages (one quick trip to the doc for one of us).... Sad and embarrassing to admit - but I threw a temper tantrum. You know what? God is big. He's bigger than my emotions. He loves me to be real and raw with Him - He knows anyway. He only asks that I remember He IS God - I'm not - and that I surrender. By the time Mike and I talked and prayed... I was ready to be mature. I remembered that we'd placed this pregnancy in God's hands from the moment we were aware of it. We determined not to remove it now when things were the most uncertain (that's the BEST time to let Him rule don't you think?). I began to systematically focus on God's nature, on the lessons in His Word, and to hold to them.

This time of loss is different. Always before I've spent hours begging God to heal when told a pregnancy was not viable. This time I honestly prayed, "I want this baby...but most of all I want your life to be manifested through me - even in this time - and most of all I want your will." And wow - that made a huge difference.

I was flooded with a spirit of worship. I shared some of that before....Blessed Be your Name, How Can I Keep From Singing, Bring the Rain, We've Come This Far By Faith....and worship did my heart GOOD. {G}

God usually gives me a verse for each pregnancy. Hebrews 4 was that verse this pregnancy. And when things went wrong - by that first night I was back in Hebrews, Philippians 4: 6- 7, I Peter, and James 1.

During the wait God brought passage after passage to my memory - my journal is full. I wrote about many of those things on the blog. I will share links now because most did not know that I was writing in the context of our period of waiting....holding on, faith, contentment, miracles....

Here are a few more verses that ministered greatly to me during this time: Ps 139 - God forms babies, God numbers days, but hear verse 5 "You have enclosed me, behind and before, and laid your hand on me." Doesn't that sound like a hug? I'm visual - try to picture those words. I walked through this past month very aware of the hug of heaven. God is good.

As the weeks went on Ps 18:27-30 became a pillar for me. "For you save an afflicted people, but haughty eyes you abase. For you Light my lamp; the Lord God illumines my darkness....By YOU I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. for God, His way is blameless. The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him." - Wow. Just for ME...I'm sure God wrote these words especially for me. ::snort:: I certainly felt afflicted, but I was surrendered, He lit the path, He illumined my darkness, He gave me strength to face the trial (troop) and to leap over the wall (of pain, uncertainty, trial). His way is BLAMELESS. Again - His gifts are good and this pregnancy was a gift. His word has been tried and He is a shield - I would take refuge in Him.

I spent a lot of time in 2 Samuel studying David and the loss of his son with Bathsheba. In the end he said that his son wouldn't come back to him - but he would go to his son. That comforted me. A lot.

From my journal "Rm 8:35 - 39 (before is great too). God doesn't make me immune from trouble. I will hold on to Him - to the fact that He is loving, to my relationship with Him - and I'll conquer through Him who loves me. Tribulation, distress, death, life, present, past, future - nothing will separate me from HIS love. I hold on - He holds on? Who knows? But I'm not separated from Him by my circumstances. I desperately want others to see Christ's love manifested in my life. I want them to see a surrendered child and not a demanding child".

I began to rejoice for each extra day of pregnancy instead of wishing I knew how it would all turn out. This was a deliberate decision to choose joy. And you know what? I saw something amazing. James and Peter talk about the testing and proving of our faith. I saw that my faith, my walk and relationship with Him, had matured since the last time I faced a big trial. As I surrendered - He met me. I did discover joy in the trial. I did discover peace - in the midst of the storm. I'm really not the spiritual 2 year old any longer.

Yes, I'm sad. I'm sure it will be many more weeks before I go through a day without tears. I shared how Deja ministered to us by saying, "this is a death in the family" and that allowed me to tell folks, "No, I can't do co-op", "No, I can't do PWOC Project night" and to grieve. IKNOW others had shared similar thoughts over the years but *I* was ready to hear it this time. Another friend Trish (yeah the simple scrapper one - met her at EAFB) wrote: "And I agree, you ARE experiencing the grieving over a death in the family ~ there are stages, and you'll get through those stages on God's timetable. I know you listen to Him ~ and I know He's your rock. Sometimes we feel like we're on shifting sand, but it's just a layer of sand covering our rock ~ He's still there, and you've still built your house upon Him." Oh I LOVE that imagery...the sand is blowing but the rock remains. Thank you, Jesus. For you, for friends, for your joy.

I mentioned at the start of this pregnancy that I would keep a pregnancy journal. I felt it was important for number 10 to know that he was loved and wanted. And I felt it was important to document the path if the pregnancy were to end...this life mattered to someone. It mattered to US. We (a family of 11) were ready and eager to embrace this life.

From my journal the day I miscarried: "Do I regret this pregnancy? No. This little life was made part of our family. We embraced him/her and his life continues to be a part of our family. I regret the loss and the emotional pain of that loss...but not the joy and excitement and hope that expecting this life brought into our family. I do not regret having loved this baby. I do not regret the lessons I've learned in the past weeks. This is hard. BUT I don't regret the gift of life that God blessed us with for 10 weeks and 6 days."

God's ways are blameless. His timing is perfect. This did not happen at Josiah's graduation. The girls were home and we were able to cocoon as a family. Our marriage is strong. Our family is strong. I worried about my children - but wow - God is building some STRENGTH into these young uns. He is STILL perfectly good and we still rejoice in Him.

A Tale of Two Baths

(no photos - yet) ::snort::

I went online and found several recipes for an oatmeal bath. I tried it. Whew - first bath I've had in months. Very with some of the itchies....but when I went to drain the tub.........

Well, I remember that baking soda and vinegar clear drains.

Arielle's going to now take a baking soda bath....and I'll stand by with the vinegar...that should take care of the drains. LOL

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


In between itching, and painting children, and spraying children.....I talked on the phone. Yes, all day. I really don't like talking on the phone...but such is life.

I got details for an alternative produce co-op that I can offer to our members. We'll not have co-op for 5 weeks as I'm gone. I need that info for the newsletter that I didn't get written today.

I began making calls for alternatives to shop natural - and to see what members want to do. We do have local options - but they DO cost more.....and there are some things we don't have local options for. Grains, dried fruits, and raw nuts that are natural, but not organic. It is looking like we'll go to a quarterly order so that we can still get those items...and I'm working to see if the local health food store will give a case discount etc to members who want to order through him....but he does only organic. (Which is why we can't get reasonably priced grains, nuts, and dried fruit from him). LOL This involved 3 calls to date.....
I've been calling hotels, campgrounds etc.
I paid bills.

THEN it appears that an email went out to the chaplain corp letting them know about our loss. To those friends of ours who are chaplains - um - I'm working on an email to send out to friends and family. I simply haven't been able to get the wording right. The system beat me to it. It's on my list to send out the email tomorrow even if I don't find the right words. {G} Cool thing - we got an email Day Spring card from the overseas base where Mike was deployed....and THESE came from the Chief of Chaplains office....
I'm trying to eat right again. Oops....salad at 3 and forgot dinner....gotta fix that or I'll never lose the rest of my weight - or get stronger.
And here it is 9:30 and I realize it is WEDNESDAY and not TUESDAY and I didn't get our produce order in. Oops...guess that moves to the urgent list tomorrow.


A big thank you to Beth (Southern Belle) who suggested I try Vacation Rentals By Owners for lodging in Alaska. The funny thing is that we HAD rented a private cabin for our 20th wedding anniversary so we KNEW you could do this but never thought of it for vacations.

I quickly checked and there were lots of options in AK. I found a GREAT house -2200 sf/4 bdr/2 bath and the lady wouldn't let us stay because we had to many kids! WHAT? SHE Said it slept 8-10. Whatever. Many places are already taken but I did find a 3 bdr apartment and the lady is fine with our kids. She has three apartments side by side and said she is use to working with large families. I called Microtel - not a fancy hotel...and for us to stay it would be $190 per room per the apartment with kitchen, more beds, one spot instead of two rooms....will be cheaper!

Better yet - I checked for TX and am mapping out more vacation spots for the future...but I STILL hate reserving tickets, rooms's just far to expensive for our family. LOL


Well...when THIS is the highlight it's been one of those days. ::snort::

BUT here's the rest of the story. I was getting after Stacia for writing on the couch. I called the older children in and told them that they have GOT to keep the pens and stuff up so that THIS doesn't happen.

Zander looked up and said, "um...I did it". I was thrilled he stepped up and didn't let me continue to think it was that's a good thing. He's still trying to clean the marks and that's the bad thing. I'm not sure what will take it off...if anything....


Here's a further update. I went to the Dollar Store to find some CHEAP fingernail polish for the kids to use. I was quite sure I'd stick with spray Benadryl for ME. No polish. I zipped across the parking lot to Walmart (gee - for hating to go in there I've sure been there a lot this week!).

Yesterday I bought their last two bottles of Chiggerex - and the boys had used it all by mid-a.m. I bought the last two spray bottles of Benadryl....then I found the oldest clerk I could - and she was old. YES - she'd lived here all her life. YES - she knew HOW to cope with chiggers. FINGERNAIL POLISH.....

I bought a bunch since the boys had used 1/2 my good stuff in one day. I bought all sorts of colors so they can have fun color coordinating. Funny thing is that I'm now covered with pink, purple, and blue clear would have been good too. ::snort::
I decided attitude was everything here so I put it all in a nice basket with a bow and called the children together. I told them to CHOOSE JOY and here's the basket with help. They didn't seem to appreciative of the lecture...but they're trying. Poor Mike, Jamin, and Josiah had to WORK. At least I can lift my shirt and scratch my blue dots when they itch. ::snort::

Blog Comments

Oh - the trial of figuring out what to do with comments. I used to write posts like these and respond to comments this way. But now there are more comments and it's easier to comment where the comment is left.

BUT do any of you go back and read my responses????? Should I just ignore comments????

I am signed up to get your comments in my email box now - AND IT IS FINALLY WORKING. This means that if you comment on an old post I know about it - and I don't have to scan back to see if someone may have posted and I missed it. But if you comment on an old post do YOU go back to see if I responded????? I have no idea.

One comment I did want to respond to and be sure Susan saw : "I was always told to eat lots of hard boiled eggs and gelatin when you have blood loss issues. Tuna & salmon fillets are great too." What an awesome confirmation, Susan. Thanks. I've been CRAVING eggs and SALMON and TUNA the past few days. How cool of God to program our bodies to crave what we need.

Anyway - what do you think about comments? Do YOU ALL GO BACK AND CHECK? Those who have blogs - do you answer questions in the comment section. It seems if someone asks a question, they'd go back and remember to see the answer????

Of course on my blog if I don't answer a question they can always use the chat box to catch my attention too......

How do you all handle this????

Book Review: The Ministry of Motherhood - Questions

Gift of Inspiration Discussion Questions:

There are some great questions here. I am eager to comment on a couple of these, but in keeping with my desire not to squelch conversation I am going to refrain from commenting until others have begun to post on the entry - letting me know that readers are ready to discuss.

I do want to say that for questions 1 and 2 I would suggest you make this a matter of prayer and's that important. I would suggest that you not get "stuck" here in the book - but that you realize that it may take a period of weeks to clearly discern the answers here. In other words pray, meditate, continue on and let this "marinate" or "simmer". Another idea - I bought journals for each of our children. I asked all to write a note or letter to each other on their birthdays - and I put notes in these too along the lines of the questions below....

1.For each child in your household, write out a list of characteristics (personality traits, skills, interests, etc) that you believe God can use for his purposes.

2. Referring to the lists you just made, write a letter to each child expressing what you see in him or her and affirming that God has a special place for that child in his kingdom purposes. Whether you share the letter with your child now or save it for a future time depends on your circumstances. Don't forget to commit this list to the Lord in prayer and specifically ask him for help in inspiring that child to use his or her gifts to help bring about God's kingdom.

3. Read Matthew 6:33. Consider the way you spend your time and your money. What does this say to your children about what is most important to you, and is this the message you want to send? In light of this verse, should a mother's children be her first priority?

4. Read Matthew 6:25-30 and Psalm 10:1. Then think of a time and place where you really felt the power and magnificence of God as displayed in the work of his creation. In the coming few weeks, be on the alert for opportunities to look, observe, ponder - and point out God's wonders to your children. Set a goal of saying, "Come, look!" at least once a day.

5. Read Matthew 9:36. Can you think of some fears or prejudices in your life or your particular culture that might keep you or your children from seeing people as Jesus did? (What kinds of people do you tend to shy away from or find it hard to care about?) What might help you overcome these attitudes?

I have far to much time to think about this. ::snort:: From here on out - Sally's quotes in normal font and color. My comments in alternate color. Easy.

Cool Baby Ticker


Michelle sent this to me. It arrived when we were waiting for a heartbeat and I didn't have the heart to change my ticker...simply wanted to not look at my ticker really...BUT this is COOL. When I found out we had twins I spent time inputting was fun....and well...o.k. I'll admit it because I know I'm not the only one...curiousity got the better of me and I put 10 babies in to see what it would look like. ::snort::

I'm sharing so those of you who may be pregnant can maybe use it - if you like. I liked that it shows development and really packs a pro-life wallop - I would think. It hit me anyway.

Maybe some day in the future this little guy will show up on my blog again. Thanks, Michelle, for sharing with me. I've had fun with the ticker.


I spent time online trying to find chore charts.

I went to the POST OFFICE, TWICE..... We exchanged the girls' main birthday gifts and upgraded to a better one at Mike's request. I can't say more about that until they open their gifts this weekend. I also mailed two PBS books.

I bought fingernail polish and Chiggarex...and need to go do that again today.

I made a new produce co-op order form. Mike and I discussed how to handle being gone with both co-ops.

I thought more about how to handle Shop Natural's new $50 per month fee.

We began making campground reservations for our upcoming trip....and hotel reservations in Eagle River....Darshia - if you know of nice, cheap type motels in Anchorage or ER - email me or comment. The ones I was finding in Anch were $189 - 250 a night and we need two rooms - too much. We're thinking of those two in Eagle River. Let's make plans to see each other while we're there. I'm sure the boys will want to go fishing. I'm thinking I need to work Curves in somewhere. LOL OR we could bag Curves and do Coldstone. LOL We really have no plans. OH - and there are any businesses that advertise for cheap rental cars? Otherwise, I'll keep checking online. LOL

I observed and learned much about my children's personalities from the various reactions to the chiggar affliction. Maybe we'll study the Egyptian plagues today - have a bit more empathy for the Egyptians today. ::snort::
Not sure what else I did - but I was tired at the end of the day.

We're Miserable - Thank you Chiggers

I had thought that Mike, myself, and the younger boys were immune from chiggars as we'd not gotten them yesterday. We'd all taken showers immediately. BUT Mike and I woke up with bumps and itching this a.m.

The older boys and Arielle couldn't sleep well last night. I'm itching something fierce this a.m.

I wonder if I'll EVER get them to go geocaching again?????
This is NOT the worst...they are worse around the waistband and lower, around bra lines, ....and I ain't taking or posting photos.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


 A line in our book discussion caught my attention. It said that as we mature we begin to initiate. She was talking about ministry and loving....but I instantly realized THAT was a part of the problem around here. For YEARS I've had youth that initiated work without having to be told exactly what to do. They were well trained. They were mature. I knew I needed to work on the youngers with training and have been...but the maturity will take time to come. However, the upper grammar/dialectic students should be maturing to the point that they will self-initiate a chore that needs done. I needed to sit down and spell out this goal. I did.

I trained our older children by using the "Side Tracked Home Executive" method. It worked. My home ran wonderfully for over 15 years with this method. We quit using the cards when it was second nature to do the chore right. It also became a pain to have to rewrite cards every few years when we changed homes.

The cards DID work! Instead of saying "clean the kitchen" I had 10 cards with specific tasks on each one. There were other cards at lunch etc. I had cards for EACH room. Each chore was broken into tiny worked well. Specific little steps for each job...we were well trained and working together well. Even the smallest child coud find ONE card to do to contribute.

Two years ago I realized that I'd not taken the time to be sure the younger ones were learning things as well as the older ones. This was discovered when the girls left home. ::snort:: I took specific steps to fix this. I now ask the youngest child possible to help (instead of the oldest) and so am training the youngest at all times. I pair a younger with an older for chores. That worked.

Now the two oldest at home are working long hours and taking many classes. Time to readjust. During the school year Arielle, Nolan, and myself handle meals, clean up, and laundry during the day so the high schoolers are free to work. I knew we'd need a summer schedule...but now with Jamin working....we need a total revamp.

Mike and I have talked. I really dread the card thing again. BUT I know that having each job clearly spelled out was key. He loved the way the card thing worked. He understands why I dread taking the time to make all the cards. I have a plan.

I want to have a main chore list. I then want to have a list for each room. On THAT list I want to put specific jobs. I want to laminate the charts. The little ones can't read...maybe clip art would be good....or maybe I'll simply type it all out because my system is built on the olders mentoring and training the other words Arielle could read the next job to Zander, I could read the next job to whoever.... This sounds like a lot of work but....

Before I had an index box for each person. I had zillions of index cards for each job and person.....I can do this list would be easier.

I have searched online for something like this and am drawing a blank. I don't want a chart that we X off when a job is done. I want a chart with each job listed for each room. Has anyone seen something like this?

Summer Reading Challenge!

I've really enjoyed participating in the Spring Reading Thing (see side bar). I began to wonder if we would have a summer challenge; some of my spring books need to move to a new list. ::snort:: I checked with Katrina and she only does a spring and fall challenge.
I continued to consider hosting a summer challenge. YOU will set YOUR goals (personal or family). I find that challenges/goals are really effective for me. I loved the exercise and nutrition challenges that we did on CWLR (thanks Lisa). I was surprised to find this spring reading thing worked the same way for me in the realm of reading (no I never planned to read ALL the books on my list, but I've read more than I would have if I'd not listed them!). I decided to host a summer challenge - but I needed help with a graphic. THANK YOU TO ANDREW (Yvonne's talented son) who zipped out the above graphic for me.
I've really liked the way the Spring Reading Thing worked and so this challenge will probably be similar. If you have ideas, things you like, or didn't like about previous challenges you've participated in, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.
I am considering setting up a ring for those who participate, please let me know if you would participate in the ring? You can be a participant in the challenge without signing up for the ring.
If you think you'd like to participate, begin composing your list now. I'll post rules and such in the next few days or so....


Last night I was ill. I was so ill that we thought I'd be having surgery today. I had a high fever, a headache...and other symptoms. This a.m. I seem normal again. I think it was simply too much walking in the heat yesterday.

This a.m. the children woke up covered in bites.....they wondered if they had chicken pox.....but I think we discovered chiggers. We've been told there are none here but we spent a good 40 minutes pawing through ground cover and I think we found chiggers.

Today we are paying for the fun we had yesterday. ::snort::

Book Review: Ministry of Motherhood, Chapter Eight

Inspiring a New Kind of Love (emphasis mine/ my comments italicized)

Whew - this chapter was convicting.....conviction is ALWAYS good...condemnation is not from God....learn to discern the difference for your spiritual health....don't blow off conviction by lableing it condemnation...don't wallow in condemnation and become morbidly self-centered. Conviction leads our gaze to God, His grace, dependence on Him, and the strength He offers for me to change. Condemnation leads my gaze to failings, strength and frankly leads me to be independent of God.

"When we consider how to pass on the gift of inspiration to our children, we often think of taking them to church or getting them involved in a children's program or youth group, and those activities can be very positive. But even more important {snip} is doing for them what Jesus did for his disciples: helping them develop a heart of ministry by showing them what it means to reach out in love and compassion to others. " p 88.
"It's easy to condemn the Pharisees' attitude, but don't we sometimes do the same thing? Aren't there certain people we find acceptable for ministry and others who seem too threatening to reach? {snip} Do we sometimes avoid reaching out to people simply because they make us uncomfortable?" p 89
I have some comments here but I think I'll save them for the discussion question entry. I do think that Christians in general and homeschooling Christians specifically need to be aware that we are called to MINISTER to groups that may not look like US. Which means we need to sometimes be WHERE those folks but not of the world...

"Jesus, as far as I can tell, never related to people according to how well they fit into a particular group. Instead, he saw them through the lens of their needs, and he loved them." p 90
"He felt compassion for them (Matt 9:36 - 38). That's so important. Passing on the gift of inspiration to our children is partly a matter of vision, which helps them understand that God wants to use them in this world to spread his kingdom. But vision alone is not enough. The vision defines the purposes of God, but compassion defines the heart of the vision. When we understand that God's love reaches into the dark and depraved corners of people's lives to bring healing and eternal life, then we will see people not for what they are but for who they are - people Christ loves and who need his redemption." p 91.
Again, I have some thoughts here but I am thinking that I'll hold them and see what discussion develops before sharing. This forum is tough for me. When I lead a study I purposefully draw out what others think. I share my thoughts after others have shared theirs. One, that helps them learn to share the things of the Lord. Two, often a leader's thoughts have the unintentional result of shutting down conversation - and I don't want to do that. Three, often we all learn so much by hearing how others state what we are thinking - clarity develops as we bounce what the Holy Spirit has shared with us off what He has said to others...... I've thought about this. Some are starting to comment on the discussion threads and quotes that I've published. I'd love to see more discussion...and I wonder if sharing my thoughts closes down what others may we'll see how to make this work. This first discussion is a learning process. LOL

"Trying to love people the way Jesus did can be intimidating. It can push us well beyond our comfort boundaries. " p 92
I tend to have a hard time finding the boundaries between allowing all in to my close circle where time is sucked away....and cocooning....saving ALL my time for ministry to my family. More thoughts on that later. ::smirk::

"So often in the context of our family routines the Lord has given us opportunities to reach out to others." P 92.
I loved this quote. We learned about 7 years ago that the way for us to find relationships for our children was to go ahead and become involved in things we found meaningful and watch God bring those relationships to our family. Of course, we move a lot, and so this was an issue. The kids are not around folks they've seen since they were 5 years old. We had been doing all the typical things to find friends (church groups, homeschool groups, park days) and not finding friends. We gave up and began to do those things that were meaningful to us and God brought relationships into our lives.....some "friends" were 20 years older than our kids but hey....those are precious friendships. LOL In other words we learned that in the context of our family routine God brought ministry opportunities AND relationships for us all. That was several assignments ago.

"Even as Jesus died for us (Rm 5:8) when we needed it, following him means befriending others who, like us, are in need of his grace. Then, once a relationship is formed or a friendship is started, we seek opportunities to share the truth of God's love and forgiveness as gently and attractively as we are able." p 93 Note that building relationships or "life style evangelism" doesn't mean "no evangelism". ::snort::

"When we follow in the footsteps of Jesus to reach out in love to those in need, we will ignite in our children the sense that they are worthy to consider themselves part of the solution in meeting people's needs. Patterns of ministry will naturally be caught as they learn from us and from Jesus a new and initiating love. In the process they will be inspired to give themselves in ministry to become skilled and loving works for his harvest fields. " p 94
This works. I've lived it as a child and as a parent. I grew up in a missionary/pastor family. We were always told that it was a "family calling" not "Dad's calling". We didn't resent ministry because we knew we were part of the ministry. God had called our FAMILY to minister in Africa, in the Philippines etc...and we all made sacrifices for the sake of the call.

Years later I married a man in Bible College. We discussed this. We've raised our children with the same philosophy. God called our family to Hardin, to the Air Force - not just Mike. We sacrifice time. We move a lot. We don't always like where we are...but we KNOW that God called us a family and that we are all part of the ministry that God has called Mike too. The children have naturally learned what ministry looks like and have blossomed into their own ministries...which look different than ours in key ways...but which have at their heart to love God wholeheartedly and to love others as well. It challenges me once again to be sure that I'm including my children in my ministry schedule. That I LIVE my spiritual life before them. When I take a meal to someone in need- they can help prepare it or make a card. When I teach a study - they can be part of the meditating time and help me clarify my thoghts. When I have a project night - they can attend. As our older girls matured they attended Precept Bible studies, helped prepare for retreats and attended retreats, Bre did bulletin boards for women's ministries....they watched children so that I could be out of the home teaching....and yes, at times we went overboard...but all in all...they were part of the ministry, they learned naturally to minister and wow do they minister now. ::snort::

This was a great chapter....convicting, affirming....

OK - trying to set quotes off with different color - next time I'll leave the quotes the normal color and put my thoughts in a different color - less of my thoughts.

Book Review: *Baby Catcher* by Peggy Vincent

 I've always been interested in midwifery. I thought it would be a fun career to pursue for myself, until I realized that it would not be conducive to the family life that we are called to. {G}

In this book Peggy shares her experiences as an OB nurse in hospitals, the director of an alternative birthing center in Berkely, a licensed independent midwife (private practice, mostly home births but with hospital privledges - ah the 80's), and finally as a midwife forced to work for a big HMO. This book is a fascinating look into the recent history of midwifery.

The book is basically one birth story after another. Some are beautiful, some are strange.....I bogged down in about the middle of the book and thought "Ok - enough birth stories already" but then I began to detect that there would shortly be a story line...and there was. I'm glad I stuck with it.

Peggy has lists and suppliers etc listed in the appendix. This is another on my Spring Reading Thing list.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Lazy Memorial Day

The young ones (and a few older ones) have made good use of the new Play Station converter and controllers that allow four players at one time. We only do Play Station once a week - often less - so this is big for them.
Josiah and I ran to Sam's club. We needed milk and batteries.....and ended up buying birthday gifts for the girls too.

We went geocaching. We only found two. Wow - it was HOT out there today. We were the FIRST find on one of them. Yippee! That's a first for us. It was hilarious....we approached from the wrong side of the river. We thought we'd simply walk across but the other side of the river is FULL of gorgeous we couldn't get DOWN to the river.....The young ones, Mike, Jamin, and I continued to walk around the ritzy neighborhoods. We sent Jamin and Josiah back to bring the van over. We walked and walked....and finally found it in a spot we'd been to before when we had been looking for a freecyle pick up. It was right next to a STUPENDOUS mansion. After all that walking we found it by ACCIDENT. Jamin was hiking down a narrow path. He noticed a wasp nest and reached over and flicked it.....and it was glued to the top of the cache. ::snort::
Do you spot it?
THIS must be our most unsual cache yet. YOU try not to let on what you are doing while the sales reps swarm around you. ::snort::
Mike had wanted me to go with him to a memorial day event. He was doing the invocation. We were going out afterwards. However, it became apparent that I overdid today with the hiking and such. I laid down and took a nap.....and now I'm drinking water and planning to lay down some more.

Josiah and Jamin tried to go see Pirates but it was sold out until 8:00 p.m.

Our Fabulous Week - or WHY we are all tired! ::snort::

This week we:

Welcomed home our oldest two
Josiah graduated
Josiah worked overtime
Mike preached two services
Mike worked a full work week
Had a girls' day out with Debbie
Celebrated 6 birthdays
Made 2 ice cream cakes
Jamin started a new job
Jamin continued school and finished Culinary Arts
Jared mowed lawns
We lost our precious baby
Josiah bought his first car
Baked yummy chocolate cookies
Bought a kiddie pool
Girls worked on MC course work
Girls worked on memory work (they put us to shame)
Had water fights
Visited parks
Got 3 hair cuts
Several walks and Bike rides (all but me)
Saw Spiderman (older set)
Made a 1:30 a.m. trip to the ER
Found a 24 hour pharmacy
Had Nolan's ARD apt
Had Nolan's last speech for this year
Conducted Shop Natural Co-op
Watched various movies
Read and recuperated
Updated blog
Read for MM discussion
Baked and cooked
Dealt with schzio washer
Dealt with Sear's repairmen
Some got updated military ID's
Arielle got her FIRST military ID
Shopped and shopped some more (birthdays)
Mailed out curriculum
Received lots of books PBS and Curriculum
Worked on Human Video
Preformed Human Video
Conducted a Family Memorial Service
Visited Ducks
Went Bowling
Played Games

In other words - we experienced quite a full range of family life this week. We are truly blessed. I think I've got things caught up here. I have had several requests for more info on our Family Service....I'm thinking about that. I know that we are transparent on here...but I need to figure out how much to say without infringing on the privacy of our grief.

Thank you so much for all your prayers, concerns, gifts, precious words and support as we race through the path we call "life". ::snort::

Hair Cut For Zander

Our busy day began with a much needed haircut for Zander. He HATES people touching him. I've always buzzed him. He has been informing me that the doesn't want me to buzz him because the razor will eat his head. We've tried to go to a salon but there you have it...he freaks out when "strangers" touch him..... and it takes a while to get a cut done because he has those (can we all say it together?) Sensory Integration Issues. ::snort::

I told him yesterday I HAD to cut his hair. We began. It took us about 35 minutes, and I'll have to find minutes through the rest of this week to finish it up - but we succeeded. I think it's "ok" and certainly better. Can't really see - but here's a photo.

Birthdays Galore

FIVE BIRTHDAYS! These were all the boy's birthdays which had been missed during Mike's deployment. The celebration was well worth the wait and it was an added bonus to have the girls home too!!! I think Mike and I will forego our birthday celebrations from this time period.

I inadvertently began a new tradition on Mike's 45th birthday. The balloon bouqet tradition. Each birthday celebrant gets a helium bouqet with a balloon for each year of their life. SO....we had lots of balloons on Sunday.
The boys chose to eat at a local pizza spot - Double Dave's....Yummm.
Then we zipped home and began the gift giving extravaganza. We do spend twice as much on our budget for birthdays as we do for Christmas...and having five of them to do - well it really did look bigger than our Christmas' and was a bit overwhelming. Not sure quite how to handle the photos - the girls were here and the only others who would want to see ALL the photos are grandmothers. ::snort:: Here's a few. Each boy sat in the recliner, surrounded by his ballons and presents. He HAD to wear ye ole pig hat and was seranaded by one of our various versions of Happy Birthday (which always sounds nicer when Bre is home ::snort::).

Zander loved his rocket man....
Zander received two remote controllers and then a converter that will allow 4 to play at once on play station. We were SHOCKED when he opened the converter...he look puzzled for about 3 seconds and then said "Oh - so more controllers can work!" ::snort::
Nolan with a flying frisby from Bre
Jared was SHOCKED by a 2 gig ipod. He kept saying "whoa". He'd asked for a walkman he could run with and use while mowing yards. He also got the sport band and we welcomed him to the 21st century.
Jamin got a movie and lots of heavier hand held weights. Mike and Krista made a scavenger hunt for him to find the weights.
Josiah's main gift from us went together with his Christmas gift and was his ipod Nano. BUT the kids all went together and got him this FM thingy for the ipod for his NEW CAR...and he likes it.
Then we moved to the kitchen for Mike's terrific ice cream cake. This is the first time we'd tried it with homemade icecream and it worked well. We had one layer but lots of goodies on top and Mike had gotten some mint chocolate pieces in the midst of the ice cream layer too. Yumm!
Sticking Candles on with hardshell
What's So intimidating about THIS man? He's a softie, I tell you!
While eating cake we all realized that Krista's birthday is NEXT Sunday and Bre's is the Saturday after THAT....we should have done them too. Ah well.....

FREE - Steven Curtis Chapman

Bre and Krista have been teaching the younger ones a human video to this song. They preformed it for us Sunday afternoon. It was AWESOME. I wish the girls were here one more Sunday - it would have been great to do in a couple of the chapel services.

Nolan as Christ - others nailed chains etc to him - true freedom only through Him


As the afternoon drew to a close we all knew it was nearing time to say goodbye to the girls. They were packed. We'd had a full day.

The olders and Mike played a rousing game with cards, spoons, and much hitting.

The youngers and I explored new toys and such. This was a CRAZY buy on my part- but that is what happens when you shop with very little energy! ::snort:: These are LOUD. I don't buy toys that make noise because we have plenty of real noise makers around here and don't need to add artificial noisemakers. Ah well...he loves them.
The buzzer went off. The girls had 15 minutes before needing to be at the airport - we live 7 minutes from the airport. The hunt for shoes began. Krista ended up leaving with a pair of my sandals instead of her flip flops. We made it in plenty of time. We always laugh at this tiny airport. They want everyone through security so EARLY and it takes all of 3 minutes to get through...but we cooperated....
We had a wonderful week with the girls home. Now it's time for them to continue on the path that God has placed them on.....and we simply rejoice when our paths allow us to be together in real life....until then....there's always blogs, my space, and phones!

After the Airport....

Mike asked, "Why do you have a loaf of bread in the van?" I explained that we'd been trying to find ducks to feed all week. He is so great. He knew that I'd want to do something besides going home right then to my "emptier nest". We went in search of ducks. The ones down on the river walk were NOT interested in our bread. We went out to another park on the north side of town and found lots of friendly geese and ducks.

Ah - Stacia still likes the sling. I find she is heavy after a bit but there were HUGE/GIGANTIC ANT MOUNTAINS all around and lots of aggressive we did the sling thing.
This duck got agitated when the boys were trying to feed it and tried to fly away. The tree hampered his flight pattern and he ended up flying around and around the kids.  Perhaps it was caught between wanting to fly away and wanting more bread. 

As the evening drew on Stacia discovered the sling worked well for extra warmth....and I discovered the tail made a great leash to keep her nearby. ::snort::
Back at home the olders watched one of Jamin's gifts - Eragon. The youngers, Mike and I watched two of Nolan's Gifts - Veggie Tales. The girls winged their way back to Washington State.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Photos by Bre

Bre took these at lunch yesterday....
Bre reports that the common feeling among MC students is that Mike is intimidating.....what? I have no trouble with him at all. ::snort::

A Letter from Bre

From Bre's My Space...Bre has written letters on each of the younger ones birth days for their "baby book" - which I never compile. ::snort::

To an unborn child...a tribute to my miscarried brothers & sisters

May 24, 2007
Dear Little One:

In a way it is ironic that I call you "little one" as if I am wiser than you. Already I am sure you have more wisdom than I will ever acquire in this life as you are in the presence of God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Prov 9:10) "By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations, by understanding He set the heaven's in place; by His knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop their dew." (Prov 3:19-20) However, to me you will always be the baby I never got to hold, the soul I never got to know, the life that seemingly never blossomed.

I take comfort in the fact that you will never know the pain of stubbing your toe, breaking your arm, or spraining your ankle. You will never fear frost bite or catching a fever. You will never know sorrow, betrayal, or a broken heart. However, it seems to me that you will miss out on so much of life. You never even drew in a breath of air.

It seems senseless. Why are other people who will not care for their children, who will abuse and scar their children, given children? While my parents (who have proven themselves good stewards of the children they have received) and my family (who already love you) lose a child. Why? Why does God give life only to take it away before you even had a chance to see the morning? But who am I to make this judgment call…I who does not see things as the Sustainer of the Universe sees? God's timing is perfect. He knew the perfect amount of days for you. "The days of the blameless are known to the Lord," (Prov 37:18a) God knew these days and I believe these are the days you were meant to have. I do believe that life begins at conception, that you have a soul that now resides in heaven. I also believe that every life has a purpose and that God's purpose for that life will prevail. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Prov 19:21) You may have never received a name to be known by, but your legacy lives on in the testimony of those who were touched by you life and death. It lives on in the hearts of those of us who were brought to a new place of trusting God because of your existence. You are a gift that we never got to hold in our arms, but that we will always hold in our hearts. I love you.


To those of you who have not yet received word: my family is mourning the loss of the child that was to be born this December. Watching my parents is baffling. They have such faith, such trust in God, such submission despite the way their hearts are breaking and Mom's body is feeling. Surely this is the result of the maturity that comes from walking with the Lord for many years. They continue to choose joy and thank the Lord for the blessings He has sent. Please pray for them and for all of our siblings as we walk through this.

Life is precious and none of us know how many days we are really given.

What am I doing with these days I have?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

When He is Out, He is Out...

One Tired Little Trooper...

Flippy boy

Who Knew?
Krista and Zander on the trampoline....
Who knew Zander could do this?????