July 31, 2008
July 30, 2008
It seems like it was just yesterday you were born.
Now you are 17, a budding beautiful rose.
Your middle name suits you just fine.
Roses are fragrant.
You have such a sweet, positive personality.
You know how to kick back and enjoy life.
You have taught me so much in this area.
I never realized how much I would learn from my own children.
Your positive outlook on life has made me recognize what's important,
And your "Mom, it's not that bad." has helped me realize
things are not always as terrible as they first appear.
Roses have breathtaking beauty.
You are a beautiful young lady.
As your dad told you in your birthday card,
Beautiful on the inside and the outside.
Your smile is contagious,
Your joy is refreshing,
Your compassion is humbling,
Your enthusiasm for your family is a blessing,
Your attitude towards us as your parents is honoring,
Your example to your siblings is life giving,
Your humor is entertaining,
Your quick thinking is brilliant,
Your heart is big.
Roses endure the winters.
When you are going through a winter,
You put your trust in God.
You know He is your strength and your strong tower.
Winters don’t set you back, they make you more stable.
And in the spring you are stronger and more beautiful than before.
Roses have thorns.
Thorns are a protective characteristic to keep away predators that might harm them.
You too are protected.
First by your amazing Heavenly Father and second by your earthly father.
You have chosen to stay under both their coverings.
You have chosen to be protected..
You have followed God and His Word.
This has protected you.
You have chosen to honor your Dad and listen to his advice.
This has protected you.
You are a very wise young lady, you can see the bigger picture
Not just the temporal satisfaction of today
This has protected you.
Roses reflect the glory of God.
As you sing praises to your King,
You too reflect His glory.
Many times your worship has lifted my soul
And has caused me to meditate on God and His Word.
Your songs have brought us before God’s throne
And helped us to enter into His courts with praise.
He inhabits your praise.
This year I pray that you will continue to bloom as a rose in God’s garden.
That you will allow Him to direct your paths.
That you will not lean on your own understanding,
But trust in the Lord with all your heart.
That you will say what your Heavenly Father tells you to say,
And do what He tells you to do.
That you will grow in love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness,
goodness, faithfulness, kindness, and self-control.
We love you Jennifer and thank God for sending you as to our family.
Happy 17th Birthday!
July 28, 2008
July 25, 2008
July 24, 2008
July 23, 2008
Mark's favorite answer to this question is, "Well no actually, we are just getting started!" To this response their jaw usually drops to the floor and they don't know how to respond.
Well obviously we are not done, as we are expecting baby #11 around Dec. 29th.
Honestly, I'm not sure I would have the guts to ask this rather personal question unless to someone I know quite well, but some of those we come in contact with seem to think it is an absolutely valid and perfectly normal question one would ask another.
So in light of thinking about this subject, I decided to become a little vulnerable here, and answer some of the questions people have asked (or wanted to) about our family size.
When we got married Mark and I both knew we definitely wanted to have children, but never really talked about how many. So we just took one child at a time, and 'planned' when we would like to add another. All went just well until our 4th, Kerri. She was a particularly hard birth and having 4 little ones, 5 and under was somewhat overwhelming at times. We seriously considered at this time to do something permanent to prevent not having any more children. But by the grace of God and the wisdom of my husband, we decided to wait for a year and see how we felt then. Well a year came around and we realized that even though life was very busy, we were both sure that at some point we would like more children. Thus 3 1/2 yrs. later we welcomed Caleb into our family.
After Caleb was born I really began questioning our cultures view of childbearing and God prompted me to search scripture and see what He had to say about this subject. I found scriptures like Psalm 127 which says children are a heritage and a reward from God. My question was, "If children are a reward and a blessing from God, why do we try to prevent them?" There were also Bible stories which told how God opened and closed woman's wombs as He chose. I quickly realized that what God said in His word and what the world said was quite the opposite.The message of the world was 2.2 children was the average, and any more was a bother and infringement on your life and one would be crazy, even irresponsible to even consider not using any means of birth control.
So as Mark and I talked about this, we wondered if we really could trust God to plan our family size and if so, what would it look like? In the midst of all this heart searching God confirmed to us many ways through books other people had written, testimonies of people we knew and articles we came across. It was a relief and a confirmation for me to know that others had went the same road and I was encouraged to know that there were others out there who had surrendered their wombs to God. Some people had large families, some people were still having children and some people had for no medical reason (but by God's design) were no longer conceiving.
Well, I wish I could say that after I read God's word and heard other testimonies I was convinced but I struggled for awhile. I could not stop thinking about myself and how this would affect my life. I was sure I would be pregnant or nursing a baby forever. I would never fit into my pre-first child clothes ever again! I would always be training a toddler, I would always be potty training, I would never again sleep through the night, I would never have time to myself, I...I....I....I....I! Then God began to change my heart. It seemed like a forever process, but by the time we had our 7th child, I was ready to surrender my womb to God and say, "God, however many children you want to give us, we will take them. If you choose not to give us any more, we accept that as your plan. And I guess I could say the rest is history, but every day is just the beginning.
So do I ever struggle with some of the thoughts I had previous to this heart change? You bet I do! But then I look around at my amazing "blessings" and I think, which one would I not want to have. I grieve to think that we might have decided on our own that one of these children were not necessary to our family. I am glad now that I do not have to make that choice. Leaving it in God's hands has been very challenging to my meism many times, but also very freeing in knowing that He knows how many children we need in our family, how far apart, and if they should be a boy or girl.
Every day is a gift, every child is a gift, every breath is a gift.
We know God gives, we know He takes away.
We know He these are His children that He has given to us to train up to bring honor and glory to His name.
We know it it not in our hands.
We know God is God.
Many people say to me, "Oh but you are strong, you must have a lot of patience." I say to them, it is only by God's strength. In my weaknesses He is strong. Every day He is working to further develop the fruits of the spirit in my life. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, kindness, self-control. Some days I do alright, some days I fail miserably.
Do I ever feel overwhelmed.
You bet I do, but I have learned that in those moments to look to God to be my strength.
I know I cannot do this on my own, and if I try to, I will fail miserably.
There are many challenges in life. And if it weren't for challenges and trials I would never grow.
Having 10 children has definitely been a growing time for me and I would never trade it for anything. Looking back I can see how God has changed me through raising the gifts He has given.
So I share this not to be judgemental, or to point fingers.
But just to challenge you to search the scripture and ask God to give you His heart for children.
I think too many times as Christians we get influenced so much by the world that we don't even consider that God may have a different way to look at things.
So today, maybe God has been tugging at your heart about this or something else.
Search His Word, see what He has to say, and trust and follow Him.
July 20, 2008
July 19, 2008
The summer projects are getting done.
He didn't have to make so many different colors and tastes, but He did!
A Beautiful Pink Sky
(Photo by Megan)
(Photo by Jennifer)
July 18, 2008
To celebrate Mark and I took just Joshua and Jennifer to Grand Forks.
We had a great time of relaxing and eating, shopping and did I mention relaxing and eating:)
Thank you Megan and Kerri for holding down the fort! You did an amazing job!
Joshua plans to continue his education on the farm.
Jennifer is continuing her journey of learning to be a godly wife and mother right here at home.
She will also be helping me teach the younger ones this coming school year.
LIFE IS LEARNING. LEARNING IS LIFE.
July 14, 2008
July 11, 2008
So if the person responsible for vetoing handles on ice cream pails is reading this....
PLEASE rethink your decision and put the handles back on :)
July 9, 2008
The other day was one of those days.
Whose strategy was going to pay off in the end.
The other chose to have some room to spare.
A quick glance over and Josh realized there was no time to slow down.
Oh, it was so close.
Heave ho, hurry!
Soon Mark declared, "I'm done!
The final measurement was made.
I think this guy won!
They would say their daddy won for sure!
Even though the race was a very close one, Mark figures he won with flying colors.
Because he got his holes dug :)
July 7, 2008
You are our little princess. We love you very, very much and look forward to another year of seeing you grow and mature. Happy Birthday Brooke!