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Friday, September 30, 2011

Too Much Quiet!

Daniel took Alex and Elizabeth to a cub scout camp-out tonight.  The entire family was invited, but we felt like it was too cold for our littlest ones.  Half an hour after they left, I was so bored!  I had all my laundry done and dishes cleared away.  Now what?  I don't like this feeling of being separated!  I had forgotten, though, how peaceful, and quiet, and easy two children can be.  Here I thought that my everyday was the same as everyone else's everyday, regardless of family size, but maybe I was wrong.  It has been a joy, though, to get to spend some one-on-one time with Aaron...the first since Emma was born.  He is such a sweetie and his personality is becoming more and more evident all the time.  He's a ham!  I guess there is good in every situation.  So although I am missing Daniel and my kiddos, I am thankful for the time that they are getting to have there (even though I just talked to Dan and he said they are all freezing!) as well as the time that we are enjoying here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Emma: Two Months

Emma was two months old on the 21st.  We can't believe how much she has grown or how much our love for her has grown!  She is such a little sweetie!

God Provides

Our lives are filled with ways that we have seen God provide for us...abundantly!  One of the most recent is our "new" piano.  We've had a goal to get Alex started on music lessons this year, but had no idea where we would get a piano (especially one that would actually play in tune) or where we would put one if we got one.  But because God is great, we found a nice piano in the newspaper for free and our living room somehow managed to squeeze one more thing into it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's in a Name?

We finally received Emma's verification of birth (not the birth certificate-we have to order those and they are $24!) and upon reading the fine print on the bottom, discovered that we are actually permitted by law to change our child's name at any time within one year of her birth.  Thankfully, we don't need to do that.  But it made me once again think about the process we go through to name each of our children.  I know some people wait until a child is born to decide on a name, but I'm not that patient.  We try to have names decided on by the time we get to our twenty week ultrasound.  Of course, the process of actually choosing that name is decidedly emotional and even difficult.  I like to say that we name our boys to be presidents and our girls to be princesses.  We also want to make sure that our children won't look at us one day and ask exactly what we were thinking when we named them something ridiculous.  Then, as we think of names, we research their meaning because I think it's important that the meaning of a name fits what you desire that child to be.  So, here is the rundown of what our children's names mean and what we hope that will translate to in their lives. 

Alexander Paul-  Alexander means Defender of the People and Paul means small;humble.  So Alex is our Humble Little Defender.  That is definitely a goal that we have for his life and being the oldest child, we are providing him with plenty of practice!

Elizabeth Anne- Elizabeth means dedicated to God and Anne means full of grace.  We did have to dedicate Elizabeth to God even before her birth.  When I was 18 weeks pregnant, my doctor was unable to find her heartbeat and we didn't know if she was alive.  We were so scared!  We also pray that she will be graceful in her life.

Aaron James- Aaron means strong.  The meaning of James that we use is "to replace".  Our hope is that Aaron will be strong in doing what is right and that he will help to replace evil with good in the world.

Emma Joy-  Emma means complete and Joy is self explanatory.  Emma is our fourth child and so is the one that kind of put us into the large family category by many people.  We are asked so often why we have more than the average 1.7 children and how we are still semi-sane.  Emma's name is why.  Not only her, but each child is a COMPLETE JOY!  Emma, as an individual, definitely lives up to her name.  She is so laid back and easy going.  So peaceful and she brings so much joy to our home and family.

Family Culture

I recently read the book The Little Boy Down the Road: Short Stories and Essay on the Beauty of Family Life by Douglas W. Phillips.  The third chapter is entitled The Art of Homeschool Opera: The Blessing of Family Eccentricities.  This was something that I had never thought about before but can't get out of my mind now.  So many times we see other families (real, TV, catalog, etc) and assume that every perfect family looks and acts and talks the same.  We are WRONG.  In reality, our family can be perfect for us and be completely different from any other.  Basically, there are things that are passed down through families that tie generations together.  We've all seen families where several generations seem so much alike.  Maybe they all stand the same way or laugh the same way or use strange terminology...you name it.  Anyone who knows me knows that I like to be a perfectionist and so when it came to my family, allowing those strange things to go on another generation wasn't all that high on my priority list.  Since I read this book, however, I have come to understand the importance of the family culture and I've been noticing some of them in our own family.  I desperately want my children to think generationally.  And I want them to be tied to the generations that came before them.  It doesn't matter if some of our habits are totally out there because they are common to us!  I encourage you to embrace your family's eccentricities and maybe even work to make them last!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

I read on article on the Jeub Family's website today (http://www.jeubfamily.com/) and I thought it profound enough to pass along here.  The jist is that sometimes we get the feeling that what we are going through is something that no one else has ever experienced.  It is sometimes difficult for us to continue to trust God in all areas of our lives (including fertility) because we feel so little support.  We have even been guilty of saying things like, "Oh, I wish I lived in a time when large families were the norm," or other things to that effect.  But the fact is that people have always been the same.  There have always been poor families struggling along and accepting God's blessings and the accompanying responsibility.  There have always been others who stared and wondered if those families were indeed crazy, never realizing the incredible fulfillment of their lives.  Below is a quote on the topic from Martin Luther.

“Although it is very easy to marry a wife, it is difficult to support her along with the children and the household. Accordingly, no one notices this faith of Jacob. Indeed, many hate fertility in a wife for the sole reason that the offspring must be supported and brought up. For this is what they commonly say: ‘Why should I marry a wife when I am a pauper and a beggar? I would rather bear the burden alone and not load myself with misery and want.’ But this blame is unjustly fastened on marriage and fruitfulness. Indeed, you are indicting your unbelief by distrusting God’s goodness, and you are bringing greater misery upon yourself by disparaging God’s blessing. For if you had trust in God’s grace and promises, you would undoubtedly be supported. But because you do not hope in the Lord, you will never prosper.”
Martin Luther
Luther’s Works, Vol. 5, p.332

Monday, September 12, 2011

Poems for Grandma

Below are three poems written by Daniel's grandma, Mary, for her mother (Dorothy Garber)...

When a mother bares her children
Her flesh and soul divides,
And the pain that long prevailed
Deep within her heart she hides.

And yes, this precious little one
Has a mother who knows best.
Knows and feels that bonding to her
As he's feeding at her breast.

Oh...those busy days of tying shoes
And wiping little noses,
Only God could tell her then
She was cultivating roses.

And those anguished tense filled hours
As she waits and walks the floor
For her teenaged son or daughter
To come walking thru the door.

As they travel down that road called "life"
Her prayer will always be,
That God will grant faith, hope, and love
And life eternally.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you, Mom!

For memories that go beyond the years
Thank you for the home made bread
that always brought the cheers.
Thank for the sewing you've done for my family
Thanks for being just the mom a mother ought to be.

God sees your happy face.  He sees your lovely smile.
God cares wehn you are sick.  He cares that you get well.
Some where along the way your faith will see you thru.
And only then will God ascend ro bring your troubles through.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There never was a burden
There never was a care
That Mother couldn't conquer
That Mother couldn't bare.

Along the path of tender years
She bore her family chores.
She birthed and raised eleven
happy healthy girls and boys.

And from the way of poverty
She struggled and survived.
Knowing all that it was well
For the Lord was by her side.

Where'er my feet may lead me
What ever be my song
May it echo down through eternity
These words:  I love you, Mom.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Sad Farewell...

Grandma (Dorothy) Garber, whose picture I had posted before in my five generation post, passed away on Thursday at 8:52 PM.  She fought her battle with cancer with a peace that I haven't often seen.  Grandma knew that this world wasn't truly her home and she allowed very little to get her down.  Most often, she was found in front of her sewing machine with a smile on her face...she even gifted us with blankets for Emma only a month ago.  When I entered Dan's family 7 years ago, Grandma was the one who made me feel most welcome.   She was the mother of 11 children.  The bible talks of a Godly mother whose children will "rise up and call her blessed."  That was certainly true of Grandma.  All 10 of her remaining living children deeply respected and cared for their mother and her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren did as well.  Most people take the idea of us believing God to provide for a large family with a laugh...not grandma.  When each pregnancy was announced in that family, Grandma praised God along with us.  And we know she would have continued to rejoice with us even as our family grew.  I am so thankful to have gotten to be a part of Grandma's family and to have gotten to know her as a sister in the Lord.