Tag Archives: Large Families

Fireflies, Verbena and White Flower Blessings

It’s official.  After 10 days of missed deadlines by our mortgage company, we finally closed on our house.

Andrew and his friend have been slaving away getting it ready for flooring and painting not to mention ripping out the oven, range and kitchen island.

We bought an outdated house with dear hubby promising to make it mostly beautiful by the time we move in.

It’s looking a little scary right now.

Gaping hole where the oven used to be.

Carpet gone – plywood in its place.

Holes in the sheetrock.

I’m starting to think outdated would have been okay.

Breathe.

I’ve been trying to stay away so the men can get the work done without my six little helpers in the way.  But I wind up there around dinner time every night – I mean, they have to eat, right?

Yesterday I was there and was delighted to see verbena growing.  Our current house that we have been renting for the last seven years grows blankets of verbena every year, and I just love it.  Our current house will forever be our verbena home, but it will be a nice reminder to have it at our new house too.

Blessing.

And today a wonderful surprise.  Between yesterday and today about 40 beautiful white flowers have bloomed.  It is amazing what God can accomplish in 24 hours!

I love those white flowers.  Some years ago I lived in the town we’re moving back to, and I fell in love with the white flowers I saw growing in the fields.  I never knew what they were, and they never bloomed in the neighborhood I lived in.  But our new house has them in droves.

Blessing.

And then as I was serving dinner, Andres ran up with a bug exclaiming “fireflies, fireflies!”  I hadn’t seen fireflies in years.  For some reason even though we live out in the country, the area of our current home doesn’t have fireflies.  But our new house does.  They danced and entertained us through dinner tonight.

Blessing.

To have a home to call our own after seven long years of renting.

Blessing.

To have so many little ones to fill the rooms with.

Blessing.

To have pastures and gardens and a creek to explore.

Blessing.

Job 1:21 – “He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.’”

I feel like I have lived through the latter part of this verse.  Pretty big disappointments in the last few years.  But this house is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.  The Lord has given.  And yet, even this house and what it represents to me would mean very little without my marriage and my children.  And those things He gave a long time ago and sustained even through the disappointments.  Today I rejoice.

Stay tuned for more adventures and more rejoicing from the heart of the Texas Hill Country.

 

 

How Bad is it?

Perspective is a funny thing.  Very rarely am I universally wrong; it’s just I’m obsessing on details or not paying attention to the big picture.  So I start feeling helpless and start feeling hopeless.  On the down side of things, it could be that my children are behaving badly – why is it sometimes that just absolutely rocks my world?  My kids, my beautiful, energetic, sensitive, selfish, demanding kids can absolutely throw me into a tizzy just by having one argument or one complaint too many.  And then I start asking the big questions:  What am I doing?  How could things possibly have gotten so bad without me noticing?  Does the fact that I give my everything to my family even matter in the big picture?  Will they still be fighting when they’re 20?  40?

Am I really giving my everything?  Could I be giving more?

I blog – that’s not for my family.  (Well, in a round-about way it is – writing is cheaper than therapy – and I don’t have to hire a babysitter).

And what about all that time I spend on Pinterest?  That’s all about me, not them.

So, like, is that okay that I don’t really give my everything to my family?

I just give them my most everything.

Am I doing enough?  Am I enough?

Almost every stinkin morning when I wake up I think to myself, “I’m going to spend some quality time with the Middles today – I’ll read to them or craft with them, or heck, maybe we’ll even bake some cookies.”

And then lunch comes, and with all the quantity time I spend with them, there’s just not enough time – or enough me – for quality time.

Then all I want to do is be alone for a while.

How bad is that?  Understandable but terrible?  I say I want to homeschool, I say I want to be home with my kids, but once the Littles are down for their naps, I want to be alone?

I wonder if they know.

How bad would that be?

In my Mary Poppins fantasy, I am a delightful mother all morning long with the kiddos.  After lunch I tuck everyone in for their quiet time and I sneak off for mine.  Exactly one hour later I emerge from my bedroom all smiles and delightful once again, and we enjoy every moment of the next four hours together.

In reality, I spend a lot of that first hour telling Noah to get back in bed and reminding my Middles it’s quiet time.  At the end of the quiet time hour, I’m still engrossed in whatever internet project I’m working on, trying to unstress from the stressful quiet time hour.

Do you ever think to yourself, “It shouldn’t be this hard”?

I do.

And I used to scoff at the idea that the average child asks something like 400 questions a day.  Keep in mind, I still have six kiddos at home.  And the 3-year-old just started this morning with the unending questions, you know, the ones where one question leads to another question which leads to another question.  The ones where you think your child is purposefully trying to drive you out of your mind (seriously, he is!)

I don’t scoff any more.

Tomorrow is Thursday.

I hope it’s a good day.

Um, So Why Do You Have So Many Kids?

I’ve noticed lately a lot of attack lately on the Patriarchy and Quiverfull Movement.

I understand the concern.

I won’t add to the attack.

Quiverfull –  I love the idea of allowing God to plan the size of our family, of everybody’s families.  It’s just it doesn’t seem to always work out very well.  If we let nature take its course, I’d have a baby every 13 months.  I had one set like that – it was hard, so very hard.

Patriarchy seems biblical in nature.  Before I had seen what Patriarchy looks like, it sounded pretty good.  The tenants of Patriarchy are as follows:   (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_patriarchy)

  • God reveals Himself as masculine, not feminine.
  • God ordained distinct gender roles for man and woman as part of the created order.
  • A husband and father is the head of his household, a family leader, provider, and protector.
  • Male leadership in the home carries over into the church: only men are permitted to hold the ruling office in the church. A God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres.
  • Since the woman was created as a helper to her husband, as the bearer of children, and as a “keeper at home,” the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household and that which is connected with the home.
  • God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” still applies to married couples.
  • Christian parents must provide their children with a thoroughly Christian education, one that teaches the Bible and a biblical view of God and the world.
  • Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection.[5]

Daddy follows God.  Mama follows Daddy.  Kids follow Mama and Daddy.  The problem is that to truly follow God, you have to be totally selfless.  Daddies aren’t there yet, neither are mamas, certainly not the kiddos.  When you take into account the whole of the Bible, Husbands love your wives, consider others as more important than yourself, the fruit of the spirit, do unto others as you would have them do onto you, the Vision Forum, Bill Gothard and most other homeschool leaders’ brand of patriarchy falls very short.  Their brand of patriarchy throws the idea of marriage being a partnership right out the window.  It’s obvious to see where the wives suffer.  But don’t you know, the husbands suffer too.  The Patriarchy that is being spouted today leaves the husband without a partner.  Wives are prevented from being the helpmeet God intended them to be.  Instead of being the co-pilot, she’s sent to the back to be the stewardess.  Good pilots need co-pilots, and good husbands need their wives.  They know they need help to do the job they have been assigned to do.

I think people confuse a lot of the Patriarchy Movement with the Quiverfull Movement.  The amazing Duggar family – that TV family with 20-something kids has been under attack lately too.

Truth is the Duggars fit into both camps, as do most Quiverfull families, but it is the Patriarchy stuff that people find the most disturbing.  Having lived with Patriarchy, I can tell you Patriarchy is bad for marriages, bad for kids.

When I was first introduced to the Patriarchy Movement via homeschool conferences, I was actually encouraged.  I gave it the benefit of the doubt.  It looked so beautiful.  It didn’t take very long before some of the brass started oxidizing though, the whisperings of spiritual abuse dealing with fathers having their daughters’ hearts; the booth at the homeschool fair run by one of these high profile patriarchal families – all the daughters looking annoyed, glued to their cell phones; reports of the same family having children who called an older sibling “Mommy” genuinely not understanding just who her mommy was because big sister had too much responsibility; watching another leader stress and speak irritably to those trying to help him set up a presentation; the lack of oversight and protection exhibited by these patriarchal fathers when put to the test, testimonies of pied piper homeschool leaders whose children rebelled once they hit the teenage years.

And so the concerns grew and grew.

In retrospect, patriarchy seems to work for many families until the kiddos get to marrying age.  That’s when the girls, who have been told all of their lives to give their hearts to daddy until daddy hands them off to the man of their dreams, wind up 18, 19, 25, 30 with no hopes for romance in sight.  The truth is emotionally and spiritually stable young men very rarely want a replica of their mother for a wife, and that is what these girls become.  Young men are looking for a young lady to share their lives with, not a young lady’s father to share their lives with.  Yet this is often what the patriarchal fathers demand in the form of chaperone, accountability partner, mentor, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, it is my greatest hope and expectation that when my children marry, our family will increase as we welcome a new member in; but greater still is the realization that it is not just our family that is growing, their family is just beginning.  It’s not either or, it’s both.

I actually was friends with a family whose 12-year-old daughter was working on a scrapbook that showed all her accomplishments that would prove her to be a good wife.  Her mother actually called this scrapbook her resume.  It had pictures of bread baking, quilting and other projects that my friend imagined someday would be presented to her daughter’s fiancee’s family as a resume.

Do I think young ladies should learn homemaking skills in order to prepare them for life?  Absolutely.  I’m all for teaching all the old crafts, embroidery, crocheting, knitting, sewing, bread making, baking so that my daughters are never at a loss for things that make homemaking pleasant, skills that allow her to make things instead of buy them, etc.  But a resume?

So Patriarchy, yes, problems, big problems.

But guys, what is the problem with having so many kids?  (Assuming daddy is paying the bills and the children are being cared for as is the case in the Duggar house.)  We have a bunch of kids, I’ve always wanted a bunch of kids, and my life is amazing!!!!  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  We do without a lot of material things so that my husband’s income can pay the bills and I can stay home, but we eat 3 good meals a day, live in a decent home, and spend a fortune on homeschool curriculum every year.  It’s enough.  Children ARE a blessing from the Lord.  In my experience enjoying each child has been better than the income from a second job, better than a fancy car, better than a family vacation, better than having money to blow, etc., etc.

For anybody who hasn’t had that experience with their kids, I promise, I won’t try to convince you to have more; but understand it’s true, we do have so many children because WE LOVE CHILDREN and each one has blessed us beyond belief.