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Large Family Life

 

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I have this thing about writing with pencils. I used to write everything with black ink, but the more children I had, the more necessary it was to make adjustments, rearrange, reschedule, and sometime scratch things right off my calendar and to-do list. When I couldn’t stand the mess of changes continually happening in my life, I began to write with pencils; at least with a pencil, I could erase and write in the new plan.

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I pre-ordered this book, No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind and it arrived a few days ago. I haven’t pre-ordered many books, but I’m a big fan of the authors’ earlier book, The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind and highly recommend it. I even wrote a series of posts on it, one for each of six chapters, which I invite you to read.

Sunshine baptism

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Romans 6:4

Last night Sunshine and Eby were baptized. I love baptisms; they make me cry as much as weddings. To see people publicly commit their lives to Jesus is incredible; to see my own children be baptized, well that just pretty much brings me to my knees. This was the first baptism in our new church building, and the place was packed; thirty-seven people were baptized.

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If you never want to be bored, have a large family. Something is always changing.

Over the last few months many of our kids have made big changes. Noah got married (it still surprises me to see a ring on his finger), Hannah became a third year resident, Samuel decided to go to graduate school, and Isaiah surprised us all by deciding to go to college.

He also surprised us with metal in his nose. Thankfully, he sent me a text saying, “Mom, I got a piercing. Just wanted to tell you before I post a picture on Instagram.” Warnings are always appreciated – he’s a good son.

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When I published my post Monday, I felt some anxiety – I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. You poured your kindness on me through your comments and my heart was encouraged. I honestly have the best readers – thank you.

One of the keys to successfully parenting children from “hard places” seems to be flexibility. If we cling to what we’ve known and refuse to consider new ways of doing things, we’ll miss out on insight, healing, and joy.

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A week ago today, I stood at the bottom of the driveway and watched my children get on the yellow bus. I didn’t write about it right away because I needed time to sit with the decision. I have lots to share, but the end of this story is that I’m taking a sabbatical from homeschooling.

I'm thankful for these amazing kids!

I’m thankful for these amazing kids!

It’s been ages and ages since I’ve written a Sunday Gratitude post – not for lack of many things to be thankful for, but taking time off from blogging, first intentionally and then not-so-intentionally. I just looked back and the last time I posted a Sunday Gratitude list was July 13th – that’s just crazy.

I’m ready to get back in the groove with this simple, life-giving exercise.

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Beza’s birthday celebration today – 15!

the start of her freshman year of high school tomorrow

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My sister asked recently, “So, I read on your blog that Dimples is doing great. How is it really going?” I’ll be honest, when things are very bad, I only share a fraction on my blog. With just a bit of hyperbole, I tell my close friends and family, “Whatever I write – assume it’s ten times worse.”

In this case, I can only say, things are going just as well as I’ve written. I wake up every day amazed at our girl. Yes, her bedroom is messy, her chores are sloppy, and life isn’t perfect, but she continues to walk through each day with grace.

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We arrived home at midnight, and in our caffeine-fueled state, Russ and I stayed up until 1:00 am unloading the van. This morning came a little too early for me, but I was eager to sit down and write some deep reflections on the things I learned while we were away. Before I began, I did my Bible study and began wading through emails and messages.

Nothing prepared me for the seemingly routine voicemail from the school district announcing that the start of the school year is likely to be delayed one to two weeks due to unfinished construction projects at various schools.

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It’s Monday morning and I’m in the gray place of transition – from Whidbey Island to home, vacation to reality, and summer to school. My mind is full of lists: chore charts, lesson plans, schedules, goals for each child, dinner menus, house plans, and any number of other things.

Are you with me? Are you transitioning out of summer and back into school? I feel some panic rising, and I’m doing my best to hold on to peace. We have three more days here and it would be easy to completely waste them. I need to stay in the moment and enjoy the relaxed pace we’re living.