By Faith

So much more to say about what this song did for/in me during the service on Sunday, but for now simply listen.

"By Faith"
Keith & Kristyn Getty

By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation's grand design
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness
Who walk by faith and not by sight

By faith our fathers roamed the earth
With the power of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God's own hand
A place where peace and justice reign

We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin and death
And rise triumphant from the grave

By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth

We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith this mountain shall be moved
And the power of the gospel shall prevail
For we know in Christ all things are possible
For all who call upon His name

We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We'll walk by faith and not by sight


One (Extra)Ordinary Family

While most people have heard of the Duggar family, or seen their show on TLC (currently called "19 Kids and Counting"), many have not heard of the Bates.  I was "introduced" to the Bates family during an episode of the Duggar's t.v. show a few years ago. Both families believe as we do that children are a blessing and God is in control of the *when*, and the *how many*.  Recently, Primetime Nightline on ABC did a special featuring the Bates.  In my opinion, it is worth your time to watch.


Get off that wheel.

Dr. Kevin Leman has written a new book entitled, "It's Your Kid, Not a Gerbil".  Here's a snippet from the website:
"Do you sometimes feel like a gerbil running on a wheel inside a cage as you scurry from place to place, chauffeuring your children from one endless activity to another? What if, for one moment, you could just step off of the wheel . . . and relax? How would you feel then? And what if that single moment could stretch into an hour, or even a whole day? In his new book, It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil, Kevin Leman will provide practical solutions and helpful insight to get off the activity wheel so that you can put your time and energies where they really count: in establishing strong character and a love for home and family that will serve your kids well for a lifetime."
 Check out the website, and enter the contest to win an iPod touch, a copy of this book, or a prize pack of Dr. Leman's books.

Calm Down!

I often have people comment on how calm I am.  It makes me laugh (usually inside) because I am not a calm person by nature.  My tendency is to react rather than respond, to over-react, to yell.  Being a mother - especially one with many children - has caused me to calm down some, but I still have a long way to go!  With each new baby, I "unwind" a bit more.  I believe this is out of necessity.  If I were as uptight now as I was when Alex was born 13 years ago I'd be in a padded room by now.

Last week was a breaking point for me.  I got hot under the collar.  I yelled - a LOT.  I over-react to everything.  All-in-all, a rough week.  After a particularly difficult Friday (I COMPLETELY lost my cool with almost every child) I knew I needed help.  Divine help, to be specific, was what was needed.  And I "checked out" for a bit.  I thought, I prayed... I calmed down.

Peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7) was mine for the asking!  And I am relieved and excited that I was able to make it through not one, but TWO days without raising my voice to my children.  I've been tempted, and my patience sorely tried, but I persevered.  God is with me.  He will calm me when needed.  He will help me teach my children a better way.

I want to clarify here that I believe my tendency to yell and get bent out of shape is  a genetic one (but one that I can overcome with God's ever-present help).  It certainly was not environmental... my parents rarely (if ever?) yelled.  In fact, when I was a teenager, it completely drove me batty that my dad could be so stinkin' calm all the time.  One of my greatest "accomplishments" as a teen was pushing him until he actually showed some real strong emotion and raised his voice (we were doing a project together and it wasn't going all that well).

I continue to pray for an unearthly calm to surround me.  Even in the midst of the chaos that is inevitable in a tiny house with many bodies.


Mid-Night Mania

With our crew, it's inevitable that at some point after they've been sent to bed, at least ONE will be upstairs again.  There are the usual excuses: I forgot to go potty; I need a drink; my lips are dry, I need lip stuff.  But last night was not quite so 'usual'.

The first kid to come upstairs was Alex.  To his credit, it was about 2 hours past the time they'd gone to bed (usually we're in the 10-30 min range).  I'm not sure what his original 'reason' was, but before he headed back to bed he said, "I was thinking about the numbers from 1-9.  And I wondered how many combinations you could make.  So I figured it out.  It's 361,880**."  He went on to explain the process he used.  Then he headed off to bed as if this was all perfectly normal behavior.  LOL  (He clearly got his skill with numbers from his dad...)  I wonder when he sleeps?

Phoenix often makes a trip upstairs in the middle of the night as well... but that's usually because I'm still up when he wakes to eat, or he needs a diaper change.  Last night was the latter.  While we were up, I decided I'd just nurse him while sitting on the couch so I wouldn't fall asleep with him in my bed.  We both seem to sleep better when he spends most of the night in his own bed...  As I got up to head back down to bed, I heard Jericho crying.  By the time I got to the top of the stairs, she was nearly all the way up (we moved her from the crib to a cot a few days ago, so getting out of bed is something new for her).  I told her I had to put PJ back in bed and she should go back to bed too (this happened around 3am!).  Instead, she continued up the stairs.  I asked if she needed something.  Clear as a bell, she said, "Potty".  Wha!?  She's not potty trained AT ALL, but I thought I'd better go with it!  LOL  So, I got PJ settled, and headed back upstairs to get the diaper off the *other* baby and put her on the potty.  Her diaper was still dry at that point!  She sat on the potty chair, but because someone else used it at bathtime and it hadn't been emptied yet I really don't know if she actually went or not.  When she was "done", I put her diaper back on and she happily went back to bed.


I hope tonight is a bit less eventful. ;)

**He corrected himself this morning: it's actually 362,880.  So clearly he thought about it more after he went back to bed, and caught his error.


That's what you get...

I had a "mom moment" just a bit ago.  The little kids were told HOURS ago to get the toy room cleaned up.  It's quite possible it's gotten worse, not better.  I was already frustrated about the lack of progress, but then they started fighting.  I chose to finish my lunch and was then going to deal with it.  Before I got in there, Levi started screaming/crying and I could hear him coming through the kitchen.  As I got up out of my seat I yelled (in my best mom voice), "You better be blee.... oh." 

It was one of those times when he actually wasn't really over-reacting!  As near as I've been able to figure out, he was holding Victory's leg/foot as they were fighting, and when he let go he got kicked in the face.  I spent quite a while cleaning floors, carpet, a couch, and a few random toys while the boy sat on a chair with a rag on his face.

All is well now...  it was just one of those times when, as a mom, you say something (because of an assumption you've made) and it comes back to bite you!  LOL


Cause and Effect

While correcting Alex's school work today I came across this wonderful explaination of (hu)man behavior:
"One is not a sinner because he sins.  One sins because he is by nature sinful."
 We are ALL sinners!  God's saving grace, in the gift of His son, gives us hope and redemption.  It does not mean we are no longer sinners.  It does mean that we have forgiveness of sin.  Isn't that good news?


Something to consider

Here are three great posts I read recently:
Surrendering Control - Pt 1
Surrendering Control - Pt 2
What the Bible Says

Just thought I'd pass these on.  Read them - with an open heart and mind!


At a loss

there are days... today has been one of them... when i completely lose the desire to do ANYTHING.  i don't want to clean, i don't want to discipline, i don't want to interact.  i just want to hide, to run away, to escape.  these are tough days for me.  it's almost like a battle of the heart and mind.  mostly, i believe, it's a spiritual battle.  satan doesn't want me to care.  if i care, then i'm working on raising little warriors for CHRIST.  if i care, i'm nurturing not only 7 little lives, but my own, AGAINST him!  if i care, he loses power.  if i care...  well, the truth is, i do care.  if i didn't, then days like these wouldn't be so hard, would they!  this morning was particularly difficult, and then i read a post that quoted the following verse:

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."
Colossians 3:23-24

i am not doing this job for my children, or my husband, or my friends, or my parents, or even for me.  i am doing this job for the LORD.  it's what he has called me to.  it's what he's created me for.  i will be strengthened BY HIM for each and every day, each and every task.

so, i'm off, to attempt to salvage my day, knowing that every day HE is here WITH me.  HE gives me the strength I need. as for satan... he can take a flying leap! he is NOT welcome here, and he WILL NOT win!


I missed it!

Phoenix is 8 months old!!  At 18lb, he is heavier than Victory, Levi, Shiloh and Jericho each were at one year. :)  He is a happy, smiley guy!  He doesn't always sleep the greatest at night, but is a champion napper - about 2 to 3 hours in the morning, and another 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hrs in the afternoon.  Nighttime has improved recently.  He's only up about 3 times per night instead of every hr - hr and a half like he was previously.  Nothing is safe around here anymore since he started crawling... and pulling himself up on anything and everything.  What a joy he has been! :)


How do you feel about drywall?

What's important to you?  Do you value things?  Or do you value life?

Back in 2008, I wrote a post entitled "Quiverfull".  It was an attempt to explain our views on children.  Those views are the ones we still hold today.  Go ahead and read that post if you missed it, or just need a refresher. ;)  At the end of that post I encouraged readers to ask questions... the offer to answer questions still stands.
This post was written by someone who was able to say, much more clearly, what I've tried to express.  (I've included a quote, but reading the entire post will more clearly explain the title of this post...)
"Comment after comment reveals our abhorrence of multiplying children, despite what the Bible teaches to the contrary.  We love one or two; After that, they decrease in value. And not just for our own families.  We abhor it in other families. I know.  I’ve seen their faces too many times.  I’ve heard people take the Lord’s name in vain upon hearing how many children I had. I’ve seen them look at my other children with sympathy–my children who ask almost daily, “When are we going to have another baby?” I’ve heard them question how we’ll feed them, as if they’ve never read Matthew 6.  These are Christians!  They all want to know if I know how to stop *it*….that “horrid multiplying of those things we don’t want more of”."
Take the time to read the recommended post, and also my old post.  Ask questions. Be blessed!


A New Year

Today marks the last day of our first week of schooling for this year.  There have been some snags (as there always are), but I am SO thankful for the fact that I have the option to school my children at home.

Today I read a great post that gave me some things to think about, but also put into words the "why" of what we've chosen for our family.  You can read the whole post here.  Below I've included two quotes that really stood out for me.

"The reason we are teaching at home (aside from the fact that we believe God has asked us to) is so we can nurture their personalities and bents, focus on the areas God has gifted them, disciple them in life, and continue to cultivate the garden of their souls…which is quite a bit of work (especially because mine needs a lot of cultivating itself!)."
"The biggest goals I have for my children are that they know God, love Him, and love others. I want to teach them about the world around us so that they can reach out to the world…and love well. I suppose if I didn’t accomplish anything else, I’d be most satisfied if my children knew and loved God, gave Him their hearts, and loved people well. "

I love the picture of "cultivating the garden of their souls".  And, yes, my own soul needs plenty of cultivating. I pray that this would be a year of learning and growth for ALL of us,  that we would know God more deeply, and love him more fully.  I'm excited to see what he has in store for us!

For those that don't know:  This year we have Alex (8th grade), Chase (6th grade), Victory Joy (1st grade), and Levi (Kindergarten).  The other three are just "learning life". :)


It's Deja Vu... All Over Again

This little guy...
(Levi - 7mo)
...turns 6 today.
Oh, how he's changed!!
(Levi - 5yrs 11mo)
Well, mostly he just got taller! ;)
And, I get to see his little self everyday when I look at this...
(Levi's "mini-me"  ~ Phoenix, about 7 months)