Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cousin Camp (part two)

Any occasion is not complete without "Chubby Bunny".

Cousin Camp

My wonderful sister in law hosted a cousin camp for 12 of the family's cousins. My two little ones made it 14 on this day of cousin camp when we met at the park.
The kids spent a few days together making summer fun memories. Here they are having a jumping jack contest and an egg toss. Notice my little Macy with her big look-alike cousin, Kassandra! And there is Aunt Joanna taking care of one of her campers, cousin Karley.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The kids' picks

While working on the computer today I noticed my little preschooler on the floor flipping through a book, making up a story. I looked over to see what she had pulled off the shelf, and it was one of our Come Look With Me books. It makes me so glad when I see the kids selecting their own favorites off of our schoolroom shelves. It's always so interesting to see what appeals to each different personality. That's why I like to try to keep a variety of books available for them to peruse.

I thought I might take an opportunity to give you a glimpse of what my kids' favorites are at this moment. If I've approved it because it's come highly recommended to me, and then my kids fall in love, then it's definitely worth mentioning.

Macy's (preschool) pick:

Come Look With Me books are a series of fine art books. They aren't the type of books we sit and read from cover to cover, although you could since they are well written. Mostly I've let the kids look and read as much as they desire. The littlest ones often bring them to me to look at like a picture book, and we sit together enjoying the artwork together, commenting as we go. These are great for very small children through the elementary and middle school years. If you are new to fine art yourself, you will appreciate the commentary that helps to explain how to talk about art with your children. Love these!

Andrew's (3-4th grade) pick:

Magic Tree House series. Andrew is devouring these right now. They are mysteries, which also touch on history. There are definitely more serious, classic choices for this age range, but for a reluctant reader, these are a great way to get the reading desire jump-started without compromising your library with other series that bring in bad attitudes and too much "junk food" for the mind. There is some magic, but definite lines are drawn between good and evil.

Sydney's (jr high) pick:

Alone yet not Alone by Tracy Michele Leininger. This is Syd's all time favorite book. It is part of Vision Forum's Beautiful Girlhood series, which is based on the lives of women in history who demonstrated godly character during times of incredible challenge.

Austin's (8-9th grade) pick:

He has loved the last three classics that he's finished and said he recommends them all. They are Moby Dick, The Three Musketeers, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

God gets the credit (Part 2)

I'm really not sure where I fall on the whole "Quiver Full" debate. I haven't fully studied it nor have I even read a book on it. The sum of my knowledge on the subject comes from reading articles, blogs, and having some friends who have looked more deeply into it. So, I am by no means able to speak on the matter.

But I do know that God has put in my heart the deep desire to have children. After having my first baby, I knew for sure that I wanted to have a sibling or two if I could. But when my first two children turned out to be a boy and a girl, all the reactions from people were that we now had the perfect family and that there was no need to bother having any more. Even though I knew that the choice was up to me, I couldn't help but feel that yes, we had accomplished the goal and now I could just enjoy my perfect family.

Two years after my second child was born I started to have baby fever. I couldn't understand why I felt the need to have another one, and tried to figure out what to do with this desire. The best solution I could come up with was to get a puppy! That would help. In fact, we went ahead and got two for good measure. It only took a few months to realize how silly that idea had been and so on went the analyzing and agonizing over what to do about this dilemma. We finally decided that we might as well just "have another one". I enjoyed this third baby, little Andrew, immensely. After having him in our lives, I wondered why I ever debated about whether to have that "one more".

Well, I supposed we were done with this baby business now that we had our three. I didn't know many people who had more children than that anyway, and it seemed normal and the usual practice for the typical family. So, I stayed busy with my three sweethearts and every time that little feeling would creep up, I would dismiss it. Thus, the five year gap between babies number 3 and 4. Obviously I still couldn't make that persistent desire to appreciate another sweet little person in my life go away.

Baby number six will be here soon, and I am just as in love with her already as I am with my others. I have come to understand much better why I want to have babies, and why I love large families. I now have a more Biblical understanding of children. I now see that our culture tends to see children as more of a burden and an expense instead of as a gift, blessing, and an addition to that testimony that God is working in us. It's another one of those things that is an evidence to the world around us that we rely on our Heavenly Father to provide us with the grace, skills, and provisions necessary to do the job of parenting these blessings.

See what kind of list "the fruit of your body" is included in:

1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. 4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. 5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. 7 “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. 8 “The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Deut 28

When I realized that children were part of this blessed life that God has planned for us, I began to see them as He intends me to. I already had that God-given instinct and appreciation for family because of what God had already done in my life to shape me towards godly motherhood. But in my more recent years, I have now learned that children add value instead of cost. God has confirmed to me and assured me through many scriptures in His word that that love for bringing children into the world is indeed good!

When people now say "Wow!" to my waiting for baby number six, I can give God the credit for my thinking that yes, it is a good thing to have six children, and yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
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