Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Pictures

We made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to the pumpkin patch last Friday, then went to the local cider mill for our annual cider doughnut and cup of cider. This year we had it chilled instead of hot, because it was such a warm day. 

I think the fall color peaked about two weeks ago, but there are still some colors to enjoy, and a growing pile of leaves to play in in our backyard.

We marveled at the variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of the pumpkins and gourds. Aren't you thankful the Lord made such beauty for us to enjoy?  He could have placed us in a grey utilitarian world, without the capacity to appreciate or create beauty.  But that's not who He is. 

Eli's fine baby hair was really blowing in the wind, which looked hilarious. 

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.

Stanley Horowitz

Monday, October 08, 2012

Leading Gently

No, we actually don't do our schoolwork on slates.  
Rowan was practicing her times tables at the one-room schoolhouse at Deanna Rose.  

Last week I asked one of my older kids to take over leading a portion of our memory work practice while I was unavailable for about 30 minutes.  After I came upstairs later, I was met by several children with animated accounts of who wasn't cooperating, who had a bad attitude, and who was irritating assorted people and in what ways.  This didn't really surprise me, as I know it's hard to submit to authority, period.  But especially when that authority is your not-that-much-older brother or sister.

I did my best to sort out what happened and talked to the offenders about their behavior, and then I pulled the child that was the designated leader of the memory work aside.  "You need to make it easy for them to follow you.  Don't lord it over them and be too bossy.  Be gentle, and kind, and they'll respond to you so much better. You might still have some problems, but you're automatically making them not want to obey you by your attitude."  A few minutes after giving this little talk, it suddenly occurred to me that I need to be reminded of that message, too.  (I'm a little slow sometimes!)  Do my children want to please me with their obedience?  Do I make it pleasant and easy?  Do they feel a sense of sadness when they disobey, or is my anger stirring up their own?

    Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
        sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 16:24 ESV

I'm always struck by stories (usually written in the 19th century) that portray children feeling deep sadness when they've disappointed their parents.  Now, I know these are fictional accounts, but I think there's a truth there: when you love and respect someone deeply, it hurts you when you hurt them. Ultimately as Christian parents, we are pointing our children to Christ.  We want our children to cling to Christ, to know that they are loved and accepted by God if they are truly saved.  We want them to want to obey the Lord, and to feel godly sorrow when they fail, leading them to repentance.  As a Mom, my job is to model these concepts, this love to my children.  I am to be a loving leader, a gentle guide.  This is my prayer, and has been for so many years: to be a gentle Mother, pointing my kids to the Lord.  Certainly my kids see the reality of a sinner saved by grace daily!  And I rest in that.  But I also want to grow in this way.

Lord, help us to lead our children gently, lovingly.  Help us to not be so busy or hurried that we lose sight of the most important job we have:  Loving you and loving others, starting with the little people right in our own homes.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

My First 5k!!

I am not an athlete.  I never have been, and never have been in particularly good shape, either.  Last spring, my friend Gretchen started a running group, and I decided to join in an effort to get those pregnancy pounds off.  So, running was hard.  It was painful, and I didn't really like it.  In the beginning, I could only run three or four minutes without having to stop and walk a little.  But gradually a funny thing happened.  Not only could I run farther without stopping, but I actually began to like to run!  It's a great stress reliever, I find, and it's so satisfying to begin to have gradual increased endurance. So, running a 5k is not like running a marathon, or a half-marathon, or a 10k.  But it was a beginning, and a big deal for me!  Don't worry; I'll not embarrass myself by putting a '3.1' sticker on my van.  (Do they even make those?!) :)  Last Saturday I ran in my first race.  Though it was certainly not fast or pretty, it was fun, and I did it!   

 Ruth, Gretchen, and I.  Gretchen (in green) has a little baby bump under her number.  She's amazing!

Here's the story behind the race.  Pray for this dear family, as they will always ache for their son.