Saturday, April 20, 2013

You Have HOW Many Children???

During the 1800's American families had an average of seven children. Today, the average has fallen just below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per family.  Have you ever wondered what happened?  In past generations many mothers and fathers understood the value of a God centered family life.  Children were taught to honor and respect their parents and love their brothers and sisters.  The fathers role was to provide for and lead their family while a mothers role was to embrace the high calling of motherhood and delighted spending their days at home caring for their children.  The family that put their trust in the Lord knew that He would provide for them no matter how many children He gave them.  Families worked together, played together, stayed together.  Families valued life.  Over the years humanistic philosophy began to redefine family values.  Instead of seeing children as a blessing families were told that children were an inconvenience and that they should be "responsibly" prevented.  Women were told that instead of embracing children and family life they should embrace their careers and freedom.  People began to exchange the truth of God for a lie.  This lie would change Gods plan for family life and reek havoc for generations to come.

In 1953 Katherine McCormick donated $2 million dollars to create the birth control pill.  In 1960 Dr. Gregory Pincus was one of the inventors of that pill. 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill.  This pill was created as a result of the efforts of a leading feminist, Margret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, the world's largest abortion provider.  Her goal was to free women from the "bondage" of childbearing. 1.5 million babies are surgically aborted each year.  Tragically, as a result of the abortifacient effects of the pill and other "contraceptives," an additional 8-12 million babies are chemically aborted each year in the U.S. alone.  This is a quote from Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, "The most merciful thing that the family does to one of its infant members is to kill it."

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. 

When Mike and I were first married we were not followers of Christ and we already had a 5 week old daughter together.  About 3 years later we had another beautiful daughter and 3 years after her our first son arrived.  Mike was content with having 1 more for a total of 4 children.  Which to the world and most people is a large family.  Thankfully, just months later  God opened our eyes to His truth and we started seeing several areas in our lives that we had been deceived.  One of them was in the area of children.  How is it that if we are going to submit our lives to Christ that we can be "in control" in this area?  We cannot.  God's word makes it abundantly clear that it is HE that opens and closes the womb.  Surprisingly, even the church we were in at that time was fine with birth control and surgically altering your body as to prevent children from being born.  God led us to several Godly, likeminded families that had also been convicted of the same thing. 

Many people have been deceived that having many children will not give the husband and wife enough time together.  We have found the opposite to be true.  Mike and I have weekly dates and spend much time together.

Malachi 2:15
Has not the Lord made them one?  In flesh and in spirit they are His.  And why one?  Because He was seeking Godly offspring. 

Psalm 128:3
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.

Pregnancies have been, for the most part, uneventful for me.  But I definitely go through the first trimester with morning sickness and fatigue.  All 4 of our son's have weighed 10 or more lbs.  With the last 2 born at home weighing just under 11 lbs!  With God's help, I am not going to let these earthly discomforts prevent me from allowing God to be in control of this area of our lives.

Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.    
The children that God gives us are for His glory and purpose.  Not every couple that submit family size to the Lord will have 12 children.  Some will have 2 or maybe 4.  It is whatever God sees best for each family.  Years ago we were told by a well meaning couple that they felt that God was speaking to them that their family was complete and that the husband had plans to go and surgically alter his body to prevent any further pregnancies.  I remember Mike and I looking at each other thinking ~ Well, if it is truly from the Lord that couple could still be intimate as husband and wife and they would not conceive.  God does not say one thing in His word and then speak something differently to us. We have also been told by Christians, that if they are on birth control and God seeks for them to conceive that they will.  Of course God can do that!  But why not submit that authority to Him in the first place?  The fact is that if we trust God to be the opener and closer of the womb, as scripture states, then we can fully trust Him and not have to go and take matters into our own hands. 
God made our bodies in an amazing and miraculous way.  His intention was to allow Him to have authority over His own creation. 
The world tells us that pregnancy past 35 years old is "high risk".  This is an out right lie.  If God wanted women to stop having babies at 35 years old He would have had us go through menopause around that age.  God knows best.  Do we believe that?  Eventually, our fertility slows down and naturally babies won't come as close together as they used to.  I will be 38 years old next week and we are joyfully 2 months pregnant with baby #9!!  It is no coincidence that women who bear many children have numerous health benefits.  Just one of those being a huge reduction in all reproductive cancers.  That includes breast, ovarian, cervical, and uterine.  God knew exactly what He was doing (as always!) when He created our bodies for this purpose.  He always blesses those that are in obedience to Him.  On the flip side, men who have vasectomies have much greater incidence of prostate cancer and other health issues as well.  A direct result in the curse that cutting off childbearing is.  I have often heard people say that they regret not having more children but never have I ever heard anyone say that they had too many!!

Children are precious gifts and when we turn that away we are ultimately telling God, "No, thank you."  God already has a plan for each family.  The question we must ask ourselves is this ~ Will we submit to that plan or decide that our plan is better than His?
Genesis 1:28
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it...."

Children are so expensive, you say?  Yes, they are if you are planning on giving them all this world offers.  God provides for EVERYTHING He gives.  All true needs are provided for.  Our children do not need to be in a bunch of extra curricular activities to be well rounded or happy. There are many sacrifices we have made but the Lord is faithful and we have always had enough. We believe the greatest gift we can give our children is another sibling.  A new baby brings joy, responsibility, selflessness, and love into the home. 

Philippians 4 :19
 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

It is so wonderful that we can rest in the Lord and have peace that He knows what is the very best for us. 

Psalm 127:3-4
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

There are some couples that have very valid medical concerns that would make having children or more children risky to the mother's and/or baby's health.  Only God knows the heart of a couple and that is where our faith comes in.  Will we choose to trust Him completely or lean on our own understanding?

Proverbs 3:5-6  
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Monday, March 18, 2013

February Fun

Our oldest son, Sam, turned 10 in February.  This boy is ALL boy!

     Sam received a BB gun from us.  He was overjoyed to say the least. 

He also received an egg incubator so that he can hatch his own eggs from our hens.

Brothers and best friends ~ Sam and Joe.
Oh, and was it fun making this cake!  Joe helped me construct the trap made of toothpicks!  Sam is very much into hunting and trapping. 
We have a tradition of taking the birthday child out for a nice supper with just Mom and Dad.  Sam chose our favorite Sushi restaurant.  Since Sam is a fisherman we thought it only right to have a boatload of Sushi!!
Sam is a guy's guy.  Yet, he has a very tender heart and him and I have a very special, close bond.   Ten things to describe our Sam ~ builder, fisherman, trapper, hunter, outdoors man, gardener, farmer, follower of Christ, hungry all of the time, strong.  Being the oldest son in our family holds much responsibility.  We are so very blessed to be this boy's parents chosen by God! 
We love you Sam!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January Birthdays

We have 3 children who were born within 6 days in January!!  Gus turned 4 this year.  Four words to describe Gus ~ LOVING, LOUD, COMICAL, CUTE.
He was very excited about his BIG day. 
He received a fishing pole from us.  He asks all of the time when Daddy and his brothers will take him fishing ~ HE CAN'T WAIT!

We made Gus an Ewe Ahhhhh cake.  That is what Gus calls monkeys.
He LOVES monkeys! 

Joe was next 3 days later.  He turned 8 years old.  Eight words to describe Joe ~ KIND, SMART, SQUISHY (sorry Joe, had to!), THOUGHTFUL, OBEDIENT, HELPFUL, JOYFUL, SENSITIVE.

Joe had pirates on his cake.

We took the family out to Pizza Ranch to celebrate Joe and Gus's birthdays.

Joe received a memory trunk to store keepsakes in, new overalls, a hunting jacket, a power drill, and piano lessons.
Our oldest daughter, Hannah on her 16th birthday!  Sixteen words to describe Hannah ~ SMART, BEAUTIFUL, BAKER, CLASSIC, QUIET, READER, MUSICAL, VIRTUOUS, KIND, COOK, HELPFUL, SAVED, WISE, LADY, PURE, MODEST.
Having a family supper for Hannah's birthday.  Orange Chicken ~ one of Hannah's favorites!
16 years ago this girl made me a Mama!
Hannah's traditional birthday cake ~ Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake
Hannah received a beautiful brown ruffle pillow from Em, and some items for her hope chest from all of her other siblings. 
Hannah's Living Locket from us.
Then on Friday night we took Hannah and Emma to our favorite sushi restaurant.  Hannah had no idea 2 of her dear friends from church were waiting there for us!!
Emma, Hannah, Chelsea, and Samantha
Our "boat load" of sushi!!!  Yum!!  So thankful that we have raised our children
to always try new foods and teaching them that being picky is not allowed.  In return they have found they like so many unusual foods and we as parents benefit because we get to eat out on their birthdays at really good, ethnic restaurants!! 
What a beautiful time we had!  Chelsea and Samantha spent the night and we enjoyed a movie night and staying up way tooooo late!!  Love them so much!  They are beautiful young women who love the Lord so much.
In the morning we made a big breakfast of honey whole wheat pancakes and fresh
 sausage and fruit.  Then off to Madison the 4 girls went for a fun day of shopping and hanging out!
Every January we get the blessing of celebrating the lives of 3 of our 8 children.  It is a whirlwind of fun, activity, and feasting! 
Our vision is that our children would grow up to be lovers of God's Word and walk in His ways.
         May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace.     Psalm 144:12

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Night to Remember

So, even though I may be a bit behind not doing a Thanksgiving or Christmas post yet (but I do have really GOOD excuses!) I am going to start this new year with some pictures of how we rang in the New Year. Our 15 year old daughter, Hannah, has been so interested in the whole history of the Titanic. As most homeschooling families know many times an interest of study quickly takes over the educational process for everyone including Mom, Dad, siblings and even innocent bystanders!! So last fall we decided to plan a Titanic dinner party. Hannah got a hold of a book called The Last Dinner on the Titanic. It included the menu and recipes of all the wonderful food. So knowing that we were planning this event we kept our eyes open every time we visited a thrift store for period clothing for our big night! 

Our family minus Gus and Henry.  They were already fast asleep. 
The men. 
Hannah's violin teacher and her sister joined us.  I wore my wedding dress!    
The ladies. 
The menu ~ an eight course meal!
The place setting.
One of the 2 tables.
Sipping our sparkling grape juice.
The boys are checking out the menus.
Joseph and Sam really enjoyed all the food!
Right before midnight the ladies played for us Hymn to the Sea.  And as the clock struck they went right into Auld Lang Syne.  It was BEAUTIFUL!! 
Hannah read so many books on the true history of the Titanic.  Some carefully selected from our library but we also purchased the Titanic 100th Anniversary Commemorative Set from Vision Forum.  That included many books and some documentaries and the historically accurate film from the 1950's A Night to Remember.  We have chosen to not watch the James Cameron version of the Titanic because it has many things in it that would go against our beliefs and it is not historically correct.  Mike and I saw it in the theatre when it came out in 1997 but we were unsaved and not discerning at that point in our lives. 
So many lessons to be learned on true Biblical manliness when studying the Titanic.
Nothing Can Separate Us is a wonderful book on the life of Nan Harper.  She was a young child aboard the Titanic with her Godly father. It is a great book for the whole family but also for young children.
Oh yes, and The Heart of the Ocean!  Hannah did purchase this replica to wear for the dinner party she planned.
And because we love food, I felt it would be wrong of me not to show you what we made on New Year's Day morning ~  Eggs Benedict.
It truly was a night to remember!!!




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Emma's 13th Birthday Celebration

 This was no ordinary birthday.  Our 2nd oldest was turning 13!!  We are blessed to have another young lady in our home.  Unfortunately the label "teenager" comes with a bad rap.  We have decided to use the term young lady (or in our son's case young man) when they reach 13 in our home.  It is a standard to live up to and it comes with a certain amount of responsibility.  So on with our celebration ~

Emma asked for sausage, egg, and cheese bagel sandwiches with fruit and milk for breakfast.
And Cowboy Calzones for supper!
The cake ~ 2 layers of chocolate cake with ice cream in the middle. 
And pigs.
Emma LOVES pigs.
The potbelly variety to be exact.
She has one, her beloved Hazel Nut!
She said, "That is the cutest cake I have ever seen!" 
And the gifts ~

          Sam and Joe got Emma a pocket knife that she has wanted for soooooo long and

Gus and Henry got her a small purple camouflage Swiss Army knife for her purse.
Hey, she's a very active farm girl who needs a knife.

Even farm girls need to look pretty!  Emma got some Honey Bee Garden pressed powder
with a compact and a quilted zippered bag from Mom and Dad.
Hazel Nut (the pig, remember?) got Emma a purple flower to hang above her bed. 
(Emma's bed ~ not Hazel's)
And from all the sisters ~ a memory foam bed topper!
At 13 Dad presents a purity ring to our daughters. He asks them if they will accept it on the condition that they allow him to protect them and their heart until one day God brings them a husband to take over that role.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Emma and Dad's hands on his Bible.
Another really special thing that we do with our children when they turn 13 is we take them
to a hotel for an overnight stay.  Mom takes the daughters and Dad will take the sons. 
So Emma and Mom went into Madison for our Mother/Daughter Overnight.
Sisters and best friends.
My 2 young ladies before I left with Emma.
Madison, here we come!
Our hotel.
In our room.
Hanging in the cozy hotel lobby.
First we went to Whole Foods and did some shopping and had a late lunch.  Then we went to the
Dane County Humane Society just outside of Madison.  Emma LOVES animals and wanted to stop
by the shelter.  We left empty handed.  Ha!  It was the most beautiful shelter we had ever seen. 
They even had a barn with farm animals.  It was unreal.  Wish I had gotten some pictures there!
Next we went to Barnes and Noble and looked at books and Hobbit things and had a frappuccino at the on site Starbucks!
Then we did some shopping at a near by department store.  Oh, the many hats of Emma!
These hats were actually called "church hats" in the store! 
Make sure you don't sit behind Emma
at church!  
Emma chose Olive Garden for our special evening meal.  It was so special.
Calamari, chicken and dumpling soup with bread sticks, and
Emma's favorite ~ MEATBALLS!! 
Tiramisu with a birthday candle.  Can it get any better than that??
So after our meal we headed back to our hotel and stayed up until after 2am laughing,
praying, talking, and just being girls.  We had an amazing time.  I love this girl.
So the next morning we went to the hotel breakfast and we were sang to by our server.  He
imitated several singers and was soooo good.  Again, didn't have my camera for that.  Bummer.
We did some thrifting and found beautiful tops and skirts for both of us!  Hannah too!
And then a stop at Cool Beans Coffee Shop for a Chai Tea Latte.  Me and this girl Emma,
we are cut from the same piece of cloth, I tell ya.
And of course, before we head home we stop at Potbelly for lunch.  And yes, we told
our sandwich maker all about Hazel Nut!  (Emma's potbelly pig, remember?)
Tuna melt and Oreo shake, please.  Thank you!
Yes, I know, they look like they were made just for Emma ~
I am so very blessed to be Emma's Mama.  I thank God that He chose me to teach and train
her to be a Godly, virtuous young woman.  Wow, what a calling!  Lord, help me to point her to you
in everything I say and do.
I love you Emma ~ more than you will ever know!