Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Some Christmas Pictures

Here are a few pictures from our 'Progressive Christmas'--the best kind!  :)  They're taken here at our house, Kevin's Mom's, my sister-in-law's, and my parent's.  

Saturday, December 27, 2008

From Mom's House

I'm  anxious to get some Christmas pictures posted, but that probably won't happen til we get back home to KS. I miss my high-speed connection! And my Mac! Kevin will probably be surprised to hear that, although it's more about familiarity than the 'superiority of the Mac'. :)

We have enjoyed the time here with our families. We spent six days in Dallas, and now are here at my parents'. Today we're going to go see my brother and sister-in-law's new house, and I'm looking forward to getting together for coffee with a dear girlfriend from high school.

The kids are loving the fun with all the cousins, and the visit has been relaxing for the most part...Kevin is still in bed, and I am so excited for him! At our house, sleeping in til 8:30 is quite rare!

Gotta go....coffee's gettin' cold!

Friday, December 26, 2008

What's Peaceful and Quiet About It?

I've had the thought that people might be laughing at the title of our blog, considering that we have six (now seven!) young children. I really wasn't trying to be ironic when I came up with the name.

The 'quiet' certainly doesn't mean literally quiet. Quiet does occur sometimes, usually between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., often with breaks in between. What I was really referring to relates to the passage in the sidebar from 1 Timothy. I love that verse, and the thought it contains is truly counter-cultural.

The world says it's all about 'me'. Be the prettiest, most successful. Chase after fame and fortune. (Certainly, we are instructed to do whatever we do to the best of our ability, as unto the Lord. Be the best ballerina, teacher, receptionist, grocery-checker that you can be. But I'm thinking of motives, here.) Even if we don't attain to Hollywood, we all have egos. Or, if you don't care for Freud: a sinful, selfish nature. We want to be well-known and well-thought of in our circles, whether it's the town hall or the PTO. We want our names to be known. Even if we try not to want it, we still struggle with wanting it. The 'quiet' in 1 Timothy seems to be the antithesis of that mindset. I love that. We should be all about making a name, not for ourselves, but for Christ. Which usually involves unglamorous, unexciting service.

That is my goal. To faithfully change diapers and run errands and teach my little ones the alphabet and focus on helping my husband in order to make the name of Jesus known and magnified.

Ah, and the 'peaceful' part. That's easy. Even in the reality of life, which looks nothing like a sweet picture on a blog or Christmas card, there is peace if you have been reconciled to God through His Son, Jesus.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Monday, December 15, 2008

Can I Get an Armored Guard?

I may have to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks, but I am determined to get down on...okay, not paper--the computer--what's been rolling around in my brain today. Kevin and I decided yesterday that I should not try to do school this week and instead focus on all the things that were threatening to overwhelm me.

I quietly sang the Hallelujah chorus to myself in the shower this morning.

Packing, Christmas baking, preparing crafts for our co-op party, last-minute shopping...you know how it goes this time of year. The day was productive and fun, and we enjoyed a wonderful time tonight with old friends who we haven't seen in too long. What a blessing to have friendships that go deep because of the common bond we have in Christ.

I've been thinking about the power of words a lot lately. I like to talk...a bit too much...and over the years I have said so many things I wish I could take back. Insensitive, rude, gossipy, critical, and off-color words have come out of my mouth, and I cringe when I think about some of the things I've said. The kids and I have been working on memorizing the book of James together, and I love all the pictures he paints about the power of the tongue.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:3-8
Strong words, no? Here are some more: James 1:26, Matthew 12:34, Ephesians 4:29. And these only scratch the surface of all that God has to say about speech. For me, especially, this time of year is a challenge. I tend to be a little too comfortable with my extended family and get lax about what I say and what I listen to. Here's what I am going to meditate on:

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

We'll be heading out of town later this week, so things will be quiet here on the blog for a while. I wish you all a wonderful, Christ-centered Christmas with your loved ones!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Transforming Grace

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges is a book near and dear to my heart. Kevin's Dad put a copy in my hands ten years ago, and God used it mightily to reveal the true meaning of grace to me. Up until that point, my relationship with God was a swinging pendulum of pride and fear. Pride: if I felt I was 'doing good stuff' and therefore God was happy with me; Fear: I had sinned and so God was angry and hated the sight of me.

I recently re-read the book for the first time. The way I read books lately is so scattered and spread over such a long period of time that I often feel I need to start over again as soon as I turn that last page! That was the case with this wonderful book.

I want to share a few passages from the book that struck me as I was reading. I hope they are as challenging and encouraging to you as they are to me.

Some people believe that, under grace, God's law no longer has the meaning of requirement but is an expression of His desire. They would readily say God desires that we be holy, but God does not require that we be holy. They maintain that we have been freed, not only from the curse and condemnation resulting from breaking the law, but also from the requirements of the law as a rule of life. They believe that to insist on obedience as a requirement for a Christian is to teach legalism instead of grace. In ther words, to assign the concept of requirement to the will of God is legalism, but to assign the concept of desire to it is grace.

I believe such a view is a misunderstanding of grace. God's grace does not change the fundamental character of God's moral law. Rather, the grace of God provides for the forgiveness and acceptance of those who have broken the law. The good news of the gospel is that God has removed the guilt we incur by breaking His law and has bestowed on us the righteousness of Christ, who perfectly kept His law. Legalism does not consist in yielding obedience to the law. Rather, it is to seek justification and good standing with God throught the merit of works done in obedience to the law--instead of by faith in Christ.

We need to always keep in mind that God is not only our Savior and heavenly Father through Christ, but He is also still God, the supreme Ruler and moral Governor of His creation. The sons and daughters of a king are still under obligation to obey the laws their father has decreed for his realm, even though they are his children. The are no more exempt from the laws than any other citizen.

Even when the children of the king freely and willingly obey the laws, because they love their father and understand and agree with the laws he has pronounced, they are still subject to the laws of the realm. So we as God's children are subject to the laws of His realm. Out of a response to His grace, we should obey in a loving and grateful way. Chapter 7, The Proof of Love, pgs 90-91, emphasis mine
Anyone ever tried this? A bibliophile's dream.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Elise the Snowman

I think it's a girl-thing to name your snowman. Snow-woman.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And We Lock Them Down There When They're Naughty

Sunday night at church, I was talking to a few ladies about Joseph's black eye. I explained that all the kids were in the basement playing, and Joe came up saying something about tangling with the stick horse. Then, I proceeded to tell them that Noah got hurt a few minutes later, cutting his knee and scaring poor Rowan half to death with the sight of blood.

One of the ladies asked, 'So, how did he cut his knee?'

Innocent question, but I could immediately feel the blood rushing to my face as I realized what I was about to have to admit. Mind you, I have known these women for a matter of weeks.

Well, um...He actually, uh, cut it on, uh, these little animal bones....Oh dear. Explain. Quick!

Not that anything actually died in our basement, but the kids found these little bones and a little skull on a walk this summer...and I let them bring them home....but I didn't know they had made their way down to the basement...

I was giggling with embarrassment by this point. It was so awkward, but so funny. It didn't help that Lily was chiming in and telling the listeners that we have tarantulas in our basement. Need I tell you which child has a tendency towards the dramatic?

Ah, well. There go the dinner invitations.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Pic

Completely by accident, we ended up getting an acceptable Christmas picture while my family was here visiting over the Thanksgiving weekend. Amazingly painless. And Kevin only had to photoshop one child. Can you guess who?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Vickie Farris Book

I've had Vickie Farris' A Mom Just Like You sitting on my night stand for months, now, and finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago. It was an easy read, and although I was expecting a little more depth, it was a very encouraging and practical guide to mothering and homeschooling a large family. Here's a little snippet:
The life of a home school mom is about much more than textbooks and dirty dishes. As we ordinary home school moms give of ourselves to create Christ-centered homes, we show the self-sacrificial love of Jesus to a hurting world. As our children grow, they can go forth into the world as 'arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior.'....Indeed, the vision is amazingly large. But I believe it can be realized as we rely on the extraordinary power of God to work through our ordinary lives...Let's remember this truth and keep our perspective during the hard days. No test score, kitchen floor, or casserole will prove our ultimate worth or success, nor does the power of God lie in these things---although He may use them. Just as Christ both used and transcended earthly elements like loaves, fishes, water, and wine, so will He both use and transcend the simply little acts of faithful service that mark our daily lives. God can do extraordinary things through moms just like you. I am confident that as you yield to Him, even in your frustration, fatigue, and weakness, He will use you to impact the world in mighty ways. God can grow strong trees of righteousness--a mighty spiritual heritage--from our small seeds of service. Until then, let's simply be faithful to plant, water, and weed, expectantly waiting for God to give the increase.

"And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." Galatians 6:9
This might not be a 'buy-er', so I'd be happy to loan it to anyone interested!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Pencils and Fingers

Joseph was drawing with a newly sharpened pencil, and I happened to glance up and see the point precariously close to his nostril.

Joseph, we don't put pencils in our nose, right?

Right, Mom. Only fingers.

Baby steps, people.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Was I crazy to buy this at the Salvation Army for three bucks?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Another Recipe--But Not to Eat

I started making play-dough at home years ago, and I truly think it is so much better than store-bought. It lasts forever if you keep it stored in plastic baggies, and it's not as stiff as the name brand. Cheap, easy, and fun--what more could you want in a toy? I made it again last week (quadrupling the recipe) to give to my kids and niece and nephews over the Thanksgiving weekend. They spent quite a bit of time creating with it. You can tell a lot about a child's personality by how long the colors stay un-mixed. :)


1 c. flour

1/2 c. salt

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 T oil

1 c. boiling water

food coloring

Heat all but food coloring over medium-low heat, stirring 'til mixture forms a ball. Knead in food coloring.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Yummy Winter Recipe

I found this recipe on a fellow blogger's site, and am making it for the second time this morning. It is really a hit with the kids. It tastes similar to a chewy oatmeal cookie. Anytime you can legally have something this good for breakfast, I'm in.

Baked Oatmeal

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oil
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

2 apples, diced

3 cups oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 cup milk

Mix and pour into greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top, and bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Psalm 127

This morning I woke up at an unfortunately early hour, but I decided to get a jump start on my list of things to do instead of laying in bed and feeling frustrated at not being able to go back to sleep. It really is amazing how much stuff you can do when you don't have interruptions!

I spent some time this morning reworking our daily school schedule. The past few weeks (months?) I have slowly drifted farther and farther away from the discipline of a schedule. The fact is that we don't get as much done when I don't keep us on some semblance of a daily routine. I need the 'plan' to guide me and to give me the comfort of knowing that we really could fit everything in if all went perfectly! Lately I've felt like I've struggled every day to just keep up instead of proactively leading and guiding the kids through the day. I hate that feeling.

After I re-copied the new schedule, I sat down by the glow of the Christmas tree and enjoyed the satisfaction of 'getting control' of our school days. I grabbed my Bible, but before I even opened it, a verse popped into my mind.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.

That's right, Lord! Even if our school days were fairy-tale-perfect, YOU are the one who is in charge of how the children grow and mature!

I am so thankful that the Lord brought this precious reminder to me this morning. I must be faithful to walk daily in obedience to my Father, but I can rest peacefully knowing that He is the one who is sovereign and who is working (Romans 8:28) and 'building' the lives and hearts of my children. I tend to get so bogged down with a nagging feeling that I am going to 'ruin' my kids by not doing everything that's best--or worse, by doing things that are wrong for them. Whatever imperfect education they receive and no matter how many times they see their mother sin (countless!), these children are not really mine and Kevin's at all. They belong to their Heavenly Father, who loves them infinitely more than I ever could.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stand guard in vain.
Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies at the gate.

Psalm 127:1, 3-5

I know this topic is a recurring theme here on my blog, but fear and worry about this area are things I struggle with pretty regularly. Is it just me?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

I love this lady's blog, as she has wonderful ideas and a hilarious sense of humor. I followed her tutorial and made a new garland for our mantle. Mine isn't quite as full as hers, but I like how it turned out.

Polar Express?