Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Pros to Having a Large Family


Remember when I started talking about family size? And I promised a second-part, with Advantages To Having A Large Family. Then I dropped the ball, got distracted, preoccupied with art, school, field trips, and many other excuses... and I forgot.

Well, here it is, in all it's glory (yeah, whatever.) My own reasons for why large families are such a dang good idea, for those who want them:

The Advantages For A Large Family

Child-tax credit! Just kidding. ;-)

We’ve heard the argument that “responsible people” will not have children that become a burden to society. (By the way, it even makes me feel sick to type out such a thing, as no child should ever be considered a burden.) Then there are those who call couples who have children "breeders." Oh, yes, they are out there. And the restaurants that won't even serve children (New York, look it up.)

However, surely having large families, with many caring relatives is actually better for society. We can take care of our own. In the future, given the prevalence of small families, there will be many, many older people who will be forced to rely on government care and nursing homes, as they become unable to live alone. Large families help and look out for each other.

(Mimi and Papaw with my four kids, and their four cousins)

Another advantage is that the children of large families are given more responsibility, usually through necessity. I like to tell the kids that “we work together as a family.” I simply don’t have enough time and arms to do everything that needs to be done. You’d better believe this encourages a strong work ethic and a mature attitude at a young age. I have a 10-year old now that can cook us lunch, and do the dishes afterward. Sometimes I trade the dishes-chore for her putting little brother down for a nap. She has developed confidence in what she can do. That said, my standards are not super-high. We have a relaxed house, and I don’t expect the kids to keep it spic and span. It’s just not reasonable, in my opinion. I once heard a friend say that doing chores and helping younger siblings all the time means being deprived and 'robbed of childhood.' Psha. That’s ridiculous. Doing chores and helping others equals more mature, responsible, and helpful adolescents. I believe that it usually carries into adulthood.

From an educational viewpoint, a large family means accommodating and getting along with others, “cooperative learning” among a group of siblings. They also learn patience. And—Big One—they learn that the world does not revolve around them. Better to learn this early.

Another benefit: they are each others' company and entertainment, as well as emotional support. Ask a mom of a single child how hard it is to keep her kid entertained. I have several single-child friends (nothing wrong with that) and most of them will tell you that it can often be just as challenging, in large part because they are their only-child’s only playmate (can’t have company over all the time!) Children learn to interact with peers through interacting with their sisters and brothers. Granted, it's not always peachy fun, but neither is life in the “outside world.” It teaches a sense of reality.

Here’s another tidbit: Statistics show that big families tend to, well, run in families: Women who grow up with many siblings are more likely to have lots of kids themselves. What does that tell you? It’s great to be part of a large family! It’s enjoyable for everyone. If the kids saw miserable parents, they wouldn't likely grow up and recreate the situation. Being a part of a large family is fun, entertaining, and educational.

So when you see a mother with a trail of children following her (or running crazy around her, as the case may be,) don't scowl or even make a funny comment - you won’t be original, I promise you. Better to genuinely smile and realize how lucky she is to get all that love, all those cuddles, sweet "I lub you"s. That is a blessed woman. She may look frazzled and tired, but at the end of a long day, she can peek in at those sleeping children and sigh happily.... not just because they're asleep, but because she loves them so deeply, and can't imagine any greater blessing.

I realize this post is only the tip of the iceberg but, well, I'm tired. Because I have four kids. And they wear me out. ;-) Must rest.

Okay, and here's another possible answer for that stupid question,

“You do know what’s causing that, don’t you?”

"Sure, I just found something I was good at, and decided to stick with it."

Random Quotes on Children:

(I can’t remember where some came from. If you recognize any--I think most were on a “quotes site” somewhere-- please let me know who to attribute them to.)

“Is this what it really comes down to, dollars and cents? It isn't possible to count everything in economic terms. Doing so, or even attempting to reduce everything to the naked economic calculations, shows a kind of soullessness that is the unique product of our spiritually impoverished time.”

"Other people have things, we have children.”

"Kids are as expensive as you make them."

“He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.” - Benjamin Franklin

“Money, in our time, is a value. Having children, our link to immortality and eternity, is not.”

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all." Pearl S. Buck (and I urge you to read about how she changed adoption!)

Maybe we should open our eyes and look at children for what they really are:

blessings, joys, entertainment, laughter, balls of energy, motivation to live better, miracles

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Express Yourself

Staying in the lines is only one option.

More art journaling posted here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

working through submission

Sometimes something in my life will click into place so well, that I don't know how I ever functioned without that piece of the puzzle. Art journaling is that piece. I have this need to create, hence four children and numerous crafty endeavors. And, because I love to read but tend to have a poor memory, I take lots of notes. I think on paper, sorting and sifting through what I've read and what I believe. It's my own form of meditation, to keep me on course. Anyone else get sidetracked by stray thoughts when praying? But, for me, merely writing (eek, writers, don't cringe!) is just not enough to keep me going. I need to be making something in the process, or my true feelings and thoughts cannot be expressed....In this case, it's about submission.
Submission to the way of Christ is a struggle that I face in my daily life, yet it is also the path of freedom, healing, and intimate relationship. But from children and their parents or teachers, to employees and their boss to the citizens and their government, people struggle with submission to authority.
My problem? I'm fleshy. Like Paul says, "For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me."
Ack. It's not just the "big submission things" that I have to deal with (homeschooling was hard -- LOVE it now, but it was sure a scary decision for me!) but the daily handing over. I am an over-reactor. So the act of submission for me has to be constant. I'm working on that. And sometimes it simply hurts to be pulled the right way. Yet I know I would yank my child back by the collar if he stepped into the road. I love him. And thank God He does the same for me.

Often my hardest lessons are when I'm the only one attending class. It's about that One-on-one time.
Ta for now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Art Journaling

I've never been a journaler. Several friends of mine can fill diary after journal after notebook of their thoughts. And that's fantastic. There were times I wished to put the same emotion and thought into words. Recently I realized that it simply isn't possible for me. God created us all differently, and I need paint, pens, pictures to express myself. Enter, Birth of the Art Journal.(this was from a study on "the spiritual man," and grace-based salvation... not judging others...
being accountable to God alone...)

Now I can

Now I can put the art into how I feel, what I'm studying, and the backburner thoughts that stay on simmer in my brain. Art breaks language barriers. Art conveys emotion, and affects it, the way nothing else does for me. Of course, books and music are close runners-up.

Each of my kids got their own journal, too, to use however they want. So, for our daily journal time now (not writing in the morning, but part of afternoon art time,) they can doodle, paste, color, whatever they want to do that day.

The Artist took to collage like a fish to water. She puts things together in such an interesting way. The Nature Man sketched in pen. Dash stamped. LittleLad scribbled with crayons. Good. I love that God made us all so different, with unique talents and passions.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Enjoy a good book-- start 'em young.

I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I've been where no-one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.
~ Unknown ~

When I get a little money, I buy books;
and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
~ Desiderius Erasmus 1466-1536 ~
When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day.
~ Jean Fritz ~
The man who doesn't read good books
has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
~ Mark Twain ~ Beware of the man of one book.
~ Anonymous ~

How to Sew a Winter Hat Out of an Old Sweater |

C'mon, click the link. You know you want to. I wrote it! :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The sky is the limit

"According to recognized aero-technical tests, due to the shape and weight of his body in relation to total wing area, the bumblebee cannot fly. But the bumblebee doesn't know this. So he flies anyway."

What might our children accomplish if no one tells them they can't...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love One Another

3rd John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

From Papaw today:

I have a little sticker on my computer with my scribbled words: "4:27 PM Wed. Jan. 13, 2010." I wrote them a little while after Jeannine and I wept and cried together by Mom’s bedside and lamented and cried out to God in agony of heart, seeing Mom take her last breath on this earth and she died with a peaceful look on her face. Today February 13, 2010 is the one-month anniversary of her death and entrance into eternal life. Mom tried several times in the several days preceding her death to comfort Jeannine and me with her sweet words. And she did! We need to remember those words, especially during the last week of her life and her thoughtful words during the last year when she knew she was going to die and wanted to write the deep expressions of her heart for her family’s sake. And we are so glad she did that. We have a great treasure in your Mom and in her words. She had an enormous impact on my life as well as yours and on her grandchildren and the many people to whom she ministered.

There are only 10 Commandments that form the base on which all ethics are built and one of them is this: "Honor thy father and thy mother." To honor your mother is to treat her with respect and love and devotion. It is to value her exceedingly high in your own mind. It is to be kind to her and to defer to her and to listen to her with the intent of complying with her desires insofar as you are able under God to do so. We are particularly privileged to have such a woman as your mother and my wife. She is truly God’s gift to us all. And the best embodiment of the scripture that says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." Proverbs 18:22 NIV I am so thankful that all 4 of you and all the grandchildren honor Mimi in your hearts the way you do.

We have another ancient text that describes your mother, "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." Proverbs 31:25-28

Mom slept for at least 21 hours a day or more the last week of her life on this earth and would just awaken long enough to say something and then go back to sleep. Jeannine and I wrote down everything we heard her say in her weakened condition. Most everything was surprisingly clear. From time-to-time I will remind you of those few precious statements. Today I’ll mention just one + two things she wrote in her journal while she still had the strength to write them on paper.

A day or two before she died one morning she woke up briefly with a smile on her face and said, "I love you all! Goodbye." And she went back to sleep. And in her journal she wrote just a few weeks earlier describing her attitude towards death and dying, "This is something that I had to face head on. We will all be faced with death as God did not create us to live on this earth forever. After the fall death entered the world, so all will die–

"Some of us know we are dying sooner rather than later–Others die with no warning. I have had a lot of time to think about death and dying– I know that Jesus will come for me and take me to heaven where I will be reunited with family members who have gone before. I will no longer have the old sin nature, so my fellowship with our Lord will be perfect.

"Thinking of leaving those I love is painful, but I have to trust the Lord to be their comfort and to take care of them. It is wonderful that the Lord gave us memories so we can think back as well as promises that help us think ahead. If we know the Lord Jesus, we will be together in Heaven. . . .

"I know my loved ones will mourn, but I hope it will not be as the world mourns – but as people with confidence that their Mimi is in Heaven with the Lord.

"May the God of all comfort be our comfort - Let’s be grateful for all the good years together." (Minnie’s Journal, pp. 170-171)

And just a few pages earlier here is what she wrote:

"I hope my family will remember that I loved each one of them with all of my heart. I prayed for each of them and ask the Lord to give each of them a desire to know Jesus and to walk close to Him." (page 167)

Many years ago not long after we first moved to California in 1958, Mom told me that she was reading Psalm 37 and came across verse 4 which reads, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." She told me then, and she has told me many times since that "the desire of her heart" is to see her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren walking with the Lord. She loved 3rd John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." That’s what she desired more than anything else for her whole family–including her brothers and her nieces and her extended family.

Mom continued writing, "As a mother, I wanted to take good care of my family. Cooking for them, sewing special outfits and celebrating holidays was a big part of my life.

"Another important event to me was our evening meal together. This was a time for family sharing and relaxing. All the children enjoyed the coming together around the table - After dinner we read God’s Word together with prayers that God would give each child a hunger for God’s Word.

"May my family remember that my strength was from the Lord." (page 167)

Here are a few pictures to remember Mom today. She would want you to be joyful and think of sweet memories. Love,


I will forward this to the grandchildren also.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Kids' Valentine's Day Party

I'd say the kid's Valentine's Party was an organized yet chaotic success!

Some of the boxes and containers that kids brought were so creative!!

And I was pleasantly surprised that SO many moms volunteered to bring treats and drinks.
We have an amazingly helpful and encouraging group of ladies!

Seemed like all of the kids had a great time...
Felt button covers for every occasion.
I cut multi-colored hearts out of felt, with a small slit in the middle of each one, to fit easily over buttons. Works with zippers, show laces, barrettes...
"Sucker mouths"
I cut lips and mustaches out of felt and poked holes for the sucker-sticks to go through.

My Artist and Nature Man loved it. Dash and Little Lad decided to stay at my parents' house for a "special time."
Gosh, I love these kids.
Look at those lashes, beautiful freckles, the chapped lips, and thick brows. Artist-child, you are beautiful!

And my darling Nature Boy, with his big eyes that turn green-gray or green-blue depending on what he wears. Love that "beauty mark," the dark lashes, and a grin that only his parents realize is mischievous.
I love "doing things": parties, activities, ballet, co-op, you name it. But my time has gotten too short and I'm officially saying "no" to anything else that comes up. Hold me to that. We're busy enough, and I simply want to be home more to just look, listen, read and BE with these kids.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daddy Daughter Dance and Super Bowl Sunday, in pictures

The annual Daddy Daughter Dance was last Friday. Fred took an extra "daughter"with him this time.

Then for Super Bowl Sunday Party

We left the menfolk to watch the game at my parents' house, and brought all 8 kids back here with us. Yes, because we are awesome wives.

Of course, we had our own little party here, too, and even managed to get all 8 kids down before the men arrived for "couple time."
Then Monday. Back to School.
I love that this is school for us:
Find a quiet place to work and just enjoy the peaceful time.
If only it always worked like that.
During afternoon art time, Dash completed a pirate ship, based on this idea by Deep Space Sparkle. He isn't a fan of painting, so the ocean was done in crayon. I have been working on my own art in the evenings, when all little people are snuggled in for the night.
I've really had enough of the snow.
Bring on the sunshine and heat,
flowers and birds,
I'm ready for SPRING.