Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another thought for the day...

Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the life-long attempt to acquire it.

Albert Einstein

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Richest Family

The Rich Family In Church
By Eddie Oga

l never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12, and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.

By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.

When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1.

We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.

Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.

The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change.

We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.

That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.

We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn't own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.

But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich.

When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.

As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.

Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night.

We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor.

That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed—I didn't even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!

I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn't talk on the way.

Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?" We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.

Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.

When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some rich people in this church."

Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that "little over $100."

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary said so? From that day on I've never been poor again. I've always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!

Here is the link to the original story - it touched my heart and reminded me to count my blessings!


I surprised myself last night when I was sitting watching television with Beloved with knitting needles in my hands. It has been months since I touched them, most evenings I have just been too mind-numbingly exhausted to even consider it. But it makes sense, at the end of each pregnancy I have turned into a mad keen knitting machine! There is something soothing about the stitches slowly coming together to create something new. There is something about carrying a child that brings out the desire to create, a small thumb print on my soul left by the Creator when He made me in His image. The same way Erin sits down and painstakingly makes list after undecipherable list in mimicry of my own list making habits, I create small, flawed items in mimicry of the Creator. And His creative power is rarely more apparent to me than now.

This is the first time I have been so big and heavy in the heat, my other babies all being winter or early spring babies. It does not bring out the best in me. I walked down to the post office this morning to get stamps after leaping about with the children during their once-a-month music session. Uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks impeded my progress. It was a relief to sit Christopher on the cool counter and visit with the post master as the children snacked from his ever-ready lolly jar (I love life in a small town!). I trundled along to the craft shop to choose the last Christmas gift on my list, fair waddling in the heat. The children were threatened with dire consequences if their chocolate covered fingers touched ANYTHING. They didn't touch, but I was on edge the whole time we were in there. I had a short visit with Jane - the kind-hearted lady who runs the shop. She once confided in me that she didn't much like children as a rule and never felt the desire to have any herself - but my children are different and they are just lovely to have around. I don't know if she has changed her mind now that Christopher threw up his chocolate frog all over her floor.

Of course, by the time we were heading home the children had fallen in to their three stooges act. They have never seen the show, but I think it is written somewhere in the DNA of young children that they must behave in such a way when it is hot, they are tired and their mother is about ready to tie them to a tree.

Phrases I never thought I would have to say:

"Will you PLEASE get your fingers OUT of his eyes!"

"Do not lay on your brother, you may be littler than him but he still doesn't like it"

"Well if you yell like that, yes he will find it funny and do it again won't he. Try not yelling and asking him NICELY to get his finger out of your ear"

"Yes, I'd like a drink too, but where do you think I will get one from? Do you think I am the drink fairy? Home is just over there, I will get you a drink then."

"Your legs are tired? Shall I cut them off then?"

So tired, hot, sore and exhausted, I sit. I have a list of things to do as long as both my arms (including washing the pram - Billy didn't quite 'make it' all the way home). I feel heavy.

And yet...

As I run my fingers over my yarn, and my swelling belly, I remember again the act of creation being completed in me. The miraculous creation of new life. The double creation of this child, and the re-creation of me, His child.

What a privilege, what a joy.


#46 the 'ripe' feeling of late pregnancy, like a summer fruit about to burst with potential
#47 sticky fingers holding out a fragment of chocolate "just for you"
#48 rest, when true tiredness sets in. Precious moments in an armchair
#49 a small boy "quacking" to himself as he "reads" a book about ducks
#50 Blond pigtails bouncing as she runs ahead, words tumbling from her mouth with careless abandon.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The beauty of 15 minutes

15 minutes is a beautiful thing. Not following? Well let me explain. The day gets very full very fast! It can take unexpected turns (the THIRD change of pants for the toilet learner was a bit of a surprise this morning!) and it is so easy to get side tracked. Jobs get so huge I have no idea where to start. So I set the trusty timer for 15 minutes (just like FlyLady!) and tackle either the job I least want to do, or the Next Thing on the list. Because there is an end in sight, I stay focused and on task and usually amaze myself with what I get finished. If it doesn't get completely finished, that's OK, because I have made more progress than if I had never started. I simply move on to the next thing and leave the rest for a day that is a little less challenging.

15 minutes also comes in handy with school work. It is often tempting to skip this time when things get hectic, but then I think "surely I can spare 30 minutes!". So we stop and spend 15 minutes together working on something (usually her Maths first) and finish off when the timer goes. We don't stress if we haven't finished the page, we will get back to it next time, and we don't push on until she gets bored or until we reach some arbitrary goal. We always close the book looking forward to getting back to it. We then move on to doing something else for 15 minutes (at the moment we are making alphabet mini-books which I printed free from the 'net). Again we put it away LOOKING FORWARD to next time because of the beauty of 15 minutes. Our focus is doing our best and because we spend a short time, it is easy to stay focused rather than slipping into the glazed over eyes so common in the average classroom (I talk more about this in an old post Homeschooling and the Pre-schooler)

I have a friend who finds even 15 minutes of committing to something a bit overwhelming, so she has cut it down to 7.5 minutes! The principle works the same.

When I am overwhelmed I set that timer and stick with it, doing my best work for 15 minutes. It is amazing what gets done! I need to go and set my timer for 15 minutes now and tackle the washing!

If you want more helpful tips for managing a growing families, click on the link below:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have managed to snaffle the lap top a fair bit lately! It's fantastic!

Is in count down mode about the new baby coming. She is also being a fantastic help, the most difficult thing is finding jobs for her. Today she cleaned the bath, vanity and shower base - it only needed a quick swipe over when she was done because she'd been so thorough. She also takes her own little basket out when I am hanging out washing and collects all the small items to hang out. I put a small hanger or two on the side of the trampoline and she fills them up.

is a bit under the weather. He caught a cold and it has settled as a bit of a cough. His behaviour has gone down hill in a big way too. Somebody explain to me WHY he feels the need to strip off and cavort around the bedroom when he should be napping!?!?!?! He is also a bit whingy. He was grumping today and I asked him a question, he replied with "hang on Mum, I is just GRIZZLING now!" I had to hide a giggle as I suggested that he just stop grizzling!! He has also come out with some other pearlers. He asked me what I was doing (a question I get a million times a day!) and I replied "What do YOU think I am doing?" He replied with wide eyes "I have NOOOOOOO idea!" (I was sitting in a chair having a drink!).

has also got Billy's cold (hard to avoid seeing as the boys are usually within two inches of each other!) and this, of course, has affected the sleep patterns. Suffice to say he was not popular last night! He has really advanced with his own version of sign language. If he wants something, he points to it then points to himself. He will sometimes point to me, point to the desired object then point to himself as if to say "YOU get THAT for ME!"

The New Baby:
is in training for the next olympics I am sure. He or she kept Beloved awake pummelling his back last night. I had the osteopath fix my back last week and I have gone from almost crying with the pain every morning to being able to put in a decent day's work! It is fantastic!

The Home:
is getting there. I have a bit of a mount washmore going at the moment because I want to wash all the baby stuff and I got behind when my back was very sore (the rain didn't help either) but with the warm weather I should be able to get back on top of it soon. I am making serious plans about getting a cleaner in, I just find it hard to part with the money! But I know it will be worth it.

The Garden:
continues to surprise us with red poppies blooming in unexpected places. The kids think that seeing as we have poppy flowers (they call Beloved's father Poppy) we should have Nanny flowers somewhere!

last week I could bairly move let alone exercise, and every day since getting my back fixed has rained except yesterday and today. It has been lovely to get back to some gentle walking.


Monday Mythbusters: individual attention

Children in large families do not get the individual attention they need.

This is one of the major objections people seem to have against larger families or families with children with smaller age gaps. I was once chided on an online forum for falling pregnant before Billy's first birthday, because the other person felt that a child's first year of life should be all about them and to fall pregnant deliberately was to short change them. To tell the truth, this is also an area where most mothers I know (even mothers of single children!) doubt themselves. The question we always seem to ask ourselves is "Do I have enough of me to go around?"

If we are going to talk about individual attention, I feel it is important to point out that an only child is not guaranteed enough individual attention either. When I worked as a child carer, I cared for a little boy who had been in full time child care since 6 weeks of age. By full time child care I mean from 7am to 6pm, five days a week. He also spent weekends with his grandparents, to give his Mum a break. The reason for his Mum's heavy work load? She was doing a doctorate in Child Psychology! I am not sure exactly how much "enough" individual attention is, but I do know that he did not get it. While it is true that there are children in large families who do not receive enough individual attention, I object to the idea that this is a inevitable part of being in a large family.

My own children rarely spend a whole day one on one with an adult - but our days are full of touch points. These are points in the day where, for a few moments, they have the undivided attention of either Beloved or myself. There are "Scheduled" touch points such as their story times, bed times, various school or chore times etc. and "unscheduled" touch points. Like when I am sitting resting and one of them folds them self into my lap for a chat or when all of the others are magically absorbed in their own tasks or games or asleep and I fall into conversation or cuddles completely unexpectedly. These moments are rarely more than 20 minutes long - often less than ten minutes - sometimes less than a minute, but scattered throughout the day they add up. I truly believe that this adds up to enough.

Of course, if I did have less children they would each get more attention. If I hadn't had Christopher so soon after I had Billy, it is altogether possible that Billy would not have learned to set the breakfast table unaided as young as he has - simply because I would have had time to do it for him! As it was, he took the initiative to start teaching himself and he sets it almost every morning simply because he wants to. The first words out of his mouth as he walks out into the kitchen in the morning are "Can I get breakfast Mummy?". Perhaps Erin wouldn't have learned to clean up after herself as much as she has because it would have been easier for me to do it for her. But is it a bad thing that they have learned to work independently? I don't think so! They see themselves as contributing in a very real sense to the family, they have refined their skills and constantly use them and build on them, they have a sense of real accomplishment because they actually do achieve something real! I probably would have taken over those tasks because they are "too little" if I hadn't been otherwise occupied.

How much is enough? Enough for what? I want my children to have enough individual attention to know they are loved and that they are listened to. I see the home and myself as their Launch Pad. From here they can fly out to the stars, call back if there is a problem ("Huston, we have a problem!") and come back home to rest and get repairs. Their flight, however, is their own. I do not believe that enmeshing myself in their lives and being an inextricable part of every part of their day does my child any favours. I do believe that I need to put their needs as priority in my day and be available when they need me, not hover over their every move.

Another point that needs to be made is while my children do not have me on tap, they are rarely alone. On Saturday as Beloved and I sat reading in our arm chairs and Billy was asleep, Erin and Christopher played together on the lounge room mat. Erin wasn't a parental substitute, she was being a big sister! It is rare that any of the children are alone unless they want to be and their relationships with their siblings provide something that cannot be provided any other way. While they may miss out on some of the attention that they would have otherwise have gotten from me, this is balanced out by the many positives of their sibling relationships.

While a large family isn't necessarily a wonderful, functioning, supportive family, large families have produced some of the most successful people in the world - they have also produced some of the happiest and most content people I know. I fully believe they got all they needed in terms of attention, in order to achieve what they needed to. To presume that children from a large family are suffering emotional and/or physical neglect purely because of the numbers is simply ignorant.

As I have spent time thinking about this series of myth busters, I have come to the conclusion that no matter what you do there will be someone who disagrees. So:

Instead of worrying about what people say of you,
why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.
Dale Carnegie

Instead of stressing about people judging me as a bad mother, unable to give time and attention to "all those children", I think I will just focus on loving my kids!

(oh, and yes, I know this Monday Mythbuster got posted on Tuesday. A little issue with the scheduling function on my Blogger! I entered the wrong date - oops!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thought for today....

Try to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.
Sydney Smith

Friday, November 21, 2008


If your marriage is taking a backseat, read THIS STORY (click on link) to remind you of its proper place!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You know you have a few young babies when.... get half way to church before realising that while the children are all dressed perfectly, your own top is on inside out. cut all the meat on your own plate in tiny pieces before you eat it, even when you're out for a date night with Beloved! is automatic to check that the baby/toddler has not unbuttoned your top when you get up for the last hymn. realise that you have spent more time pregnant than not in the last five years.

....breastfeeding access is a major factor in buying new clothes, you don't own a bra without an easy access flap at the front and you can latch on and feed a baby while on the phone and completing simple household chores. consider printing t-shirts with snappy come-backs to the ever present comments (e.g. better me than you? I agree!!, Yes, we do have a TV, what would you rather do?, Yes, we do know how it happens - we happen to be particularly good at it too!) once swapped your normal clothes for maternity clothes the week after you had a positive test, your normal clothes are now all maternity clothes.

....your automatic reaction to funny smells, odd noises and silence is to check what your kids are doing. have to resist the urge to tell other adults to "ask again, this time using your MANNERS" and "try using your big girl/boy words" find yourself chiding strange children on the street for their behaviour

All these are true stories too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Combating Busy-ness

Busy-ness is a trap for anyone, but Mums seem especially vulnerable! This link poked my heart over the issue and I thought I'd share.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It has been one of *those* days. My lower back is very sore and the day has included many, many "Training Opportunities" (read: feral behaviour from my children!!). But there have been blessings too, I count my blessings now that Jon gets home at a decent hour and sunshine to help get rid of stains (yes, there were quite a few stains today! As I said, it was one of those days) may seem like small things to some, but they are salve to my soul!

is talking NON-STOP at the moment. Perhaps needing more attention, perhaps just being a chatterbox!! We went to Launceston yesterday and again got stopped at least half a dozen times by complete strangers wanting to tell us how pretty she was in her dress. I think it is fairly rare to see a little girl dressed up now days. I guess I dress the kids up for church and 'going to town' because we enjoy wearing pretty clothes and it's a good excuse. The fact that she is a very pretty little girl has made me very conscious of talking to her often about her beauty being a blessing, but true beauty coming from within.

has had a hair cut. I call his style "Mum got to me with the clippers again" and it will be a real trend setter at playgroup I'm sure! Having very short hair brings out his eyes beautifully. His behaviour has been going down hill big time lately with a lot of grumpyness and some downright disobedience. I am going to keep him close by to me (and I mean practically strapped to my hip) to help me to be consistent with him. Consistency is always the hardest thing in parenting. Dealing with bad behaviour when I'm tired, sore, busy or I just want to hide under my bed for a while takes a fair amount of self discipline, and I have to admit I have been tempted to find a bed to hide under a few times today.

has had his first haircut! He looks adorable in a similar style to his brother. I call his style "Mum got to me with the clippers while trying to hold me still on her lap"! I had the older two dance, sing and make silly noises to stop him trying to turn around and look at the clippers I was trying to use. He fell asleep in my arms today for the first time in ages (his brother had prevented his afternoon nap and we spent the whole day out yesterday) and I put him down on the floor where he simply rolled over and went back to sleep. It was adorable! I love it when they sleep!! ;)

The New Baby:
flipped to head down for a few days then flipped back again. Bub is now spine-to-spine with me so all hands and feet are out front, being used with great vigor. I bought some muslin to make some summer sheets for the bassinet and I am looking forward to doing some sewing for this baby. I am also going to start washing baby clothes soon and getting things like newborn nappies. It is all very exciting! 53 days to go until my due date now - Yay!!

The home:
is still not where I want it to be. The kitchen is a whole heap better to use and I am no longer tripping over boxes every day, but there is still a lot to do. I didn't get anything done today as most of the day has been spent putting out fires, but I am hoping this will change tomorrow. The washing has also piled up a bit, but with the sunny weather that shouldn't be too hard to get back on top of.

The Garden:
has white Peonies in the front garden! These are beautiful flowers and can be tricky to get to flower so I am very happy. There is also a rose blooming, a small pale pink rose, but I am not sure if I will keep that or rip it out, either way it needs to move because it has torn the flyscreen on the window to shreds. I have a glazier friend who refers to roses as "The Glazier's Curse" as so many people plant thorny roses next to windows!

In the interest of being totally honest, I don't feel like doing anything active at the moment at all. I know sitting still will make my back worse, but the sheer effort of moving, especially carrying things like baskets of washing and Christopher, take so long and are so exhausting I just feel like collapsing afterward. I SHOULD set my alarm for early morning and go for a good walk before Jon and the kids wake up. Maybe in a couple of days when I have caught up on some sleep....


Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Mythbuster: Help!

Myth: All help is helpful.

I have a household policy of accepting all offers of help unless they will severely negatively effect the family. I find it sifts the genuine from the non-genuine pretty quickly and in this age where so few help, I believe every attempt in this area should be encouraged! I am ALWAYS thankful for the thought. The act, however, isn't always as helpful as the 'helper' intended! Let me explain.

I was once sick with the flu. Of course, so were the children and so was Jon - they were all much worse than me (i.e. they were bedridden, I could drag myself around). We were ALL miserable. Just as I was about to put tea in the crock pot, there was a knock at the door. Bliss! Someone knew we weren't well and was offering to bring around tea that evening!! Of course I accepted. I put the sausages back in the freezer (I hadn't defrosted them yet) and turned my attention to the train wreck that was the lounge room and laundry. Fast forward to mid-afternoon. My helper let me know there had been a slight crisis (they broke my crock pot that they had borrowed and were going to replace it) but tea was still coming. I was a bit sad about the crock pot, but it was going to be replaced so I wasn't worried. I said not to worry about tea but they insisted, so I stuck with what I was doing. Time ticked by, and ticked by, and ticked by. My overtired, sick and hungry children were approaching bedtime and there was still no sign of tea. I got out the sausages and started defrosting and there was a knock at the door, just letting me know that tea WAS on it's way still.

Tea finally arrived about an hour after the children's bed time, about two hours after I had PLANNED to put them to bed that night. I was thankful for the soup in the end, but I sobbed a few tears of exhaustion and frustration as I cooked the sausages after the children and Jon were in bed. I had already defrosted them and they needed to be cooked, but I was so ill and tired I could barely stand. The thought was appreciated, but the actual help made life harder for me, not easier. I had filled that time in the morning that I would have used to prepare tea with other things, relying on the offer of help. I HAD planned to make tea in the morning because I knew we'd need an early tea and an early night and I knew I'd be too tired to cook. The thought was genuine, but to be truly helpful they needed to tell me mid-afternoon that tea would be that late, then I would have been able to cook at a reasonable hour and save the soup 'till the next day. It also didn't help that the next time I saw my helper I was treated to a long story of how difficult it was to help me, complete with the band aid on her finger to show how she'd cut herself performing her good deed. To tell the truth, a tiny part of me felt like breaking that finger! But seeing as she meant well, I just thanked her and let it be.

There is also the incident of the relative and the washing. When Christopher was a few days old she turned up and offered to help for the afternoon. I thanked her and asked her to bring in the washing for me. She did so, complaining the WHOLE time about how much washing there was and how much Erin talked (excited 3 year olds get a little chatty, who knew??). When she had it inside I invited her to sit and have a cuppa and a rest after her hard work, but she insisted that she wanted to fold it all for me. So I let her go ahead. Again, the whole time I was told how this amount of washing was the amount she'd do in a week or more (really??? Who'd have thought a single woman would make less washing than a family of five with two in cloth nappies!!). Finally she pronounced that she'd finished and, after sipping a cuppa for a while, she left and went home.

I went to put the washing away and found that she'd folded less than a third of the washing and left the folded portion sitting on the top to make it look like she'd done it all (crushing what was underneath). Now, I don't know about anyone else, but in the first weeks after a baby is born I can't let the laundry pile up even a little bit or it just takes over the house - this was especially so after Christopher as he would projectile vomit at least 15 times a day at this stage (quite happily mind you, but in copious quantity!). Of course, I didn't find that the washing wasn't folded until I was about to start the evening routine of baths and tea and didn't have time to fold it. I folded it in the end when I would have otherwise been collapsing into bed. And yes, there were a few hormonal tears of frustration.

But I think the worst was the dinner guest and the washing. We had invited a family to join us for dinner. After dinner our guest noted the pile of clean, dry washing waiting to be folded with shocked horror. She insisted on helping me fold it right there and then and while we folded, she lectured me on how to keep house and stay on top of the washing (she had two children born three years apart, now in their teens, and parents who lived close by and were very involved in her life with babysitting etc. I didn't find much in her diatribe in terms of practical tips!). At the end of the evening the washing was all nicely folded, saving me from having to do it after she left, but I felt like a complete failure. It wasn't her help I found fault with, it was her judgement. I didn't have the heart to point out that I had left the washing 'till later so Erin and I could find some special flowers to decorate the table for them - I still believe I made the better choice, I just wish I'd hid the washing to avoid her judgement!

As I said, I accept all offers of help and I truly appreciate the spirit even if the act isn't always helpful!! But if you REALLY want to help - do it without complaining or judging (2 Cor 9:7 - God loves a cheerful giver!!), say what you can do then do what you say you will!!

It may make you feel good to promise the world, but if you can't deliver don't offer it. "A person who doesn't give a promised gift is like clouds and wind that don't bring rain." Proverbs 25:14. If you have ever lived through drought, you will know just how heartbreaking this can be!!

Myth: Busted

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It is a rainy Sabbath afternoon. Christopher is asleep (exhausted after a long day of church followed by a luncheon with a Christopher-imposed early start at 5am!) the older two are reading as is Daddy and I have a moment with the Lap Top! I had a little light bulb moment in church this morning that I wanted to share. It wasn't a completely new concept, but it put into words something I have been thinking about for a while. Bear with me, I can get long winded whilst pondering.

Over the years I have met many women who WORK at keeping their salvation. The attitude of many of these women, to be frank, stinks. I've met "submissive" head covering women who daily undermine or even outright defy their husband's leadership in front of their children. I've met women who hold a 'quiver full conviction' (that is, they believe in allowing God to control the spacing and number of their children by not using birth control) who refuse their husband's sexual advances because they don't want to fall pregnant. I've met homeschooling mothers who talk long about Deuteronomy 6:7, then banish their children outside or to another room for days on end so they can research their latest homeschooling project on the 'net. I've met women who work hard at being 'quiet' by not speaking to much or too loud, but their manner of being is CONTINUALLY stormy and anxious and their whole presence when they enter a room, drowns out all else without them uttering a word.

And yes, I have been one of these women myself. I've spent hours designing schedules and setting goals for Bible study and scripture memorisation with the children without once getting on my knees to give this time to God. I went through a stage of praying for (read complaining to God and prayer partners about) my husband's 'lack of leadership' in comparison to other men who preach to their families daily, completely missing the fact that he was patiently, quietly leading our family with more strength, dignity and purpose than any other man I have met of our generation. There have been more moments than I would care to admit over the years where my actions have been 'right' and my attitude has stunk worse than a post-baked-bean-nappy.

The problem: starting backwards. The light bulb moment I had this morning was when the pastor put Romans 12:3 up on the overhead screen. He was using the New Living Translation which says:

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is."

How often I have had the first part of this verse quoted to me! The King James states it as: "Be not conformed to this world..." I have heard that used to argue against going to the movies, wearing pants, eating junk food, owning a TV, wearing make-up and jewelry etc. The part that jumped out and hit me was the second half of that sentence: "...but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Hang on, who is going to do the transforming in this sentence? GOD. So God is going to make me stop doing bad stuff? No, he is going to start by CHANGING THE WAY I THINK. He is going to give me an attitude adjustment. The DOING stuff comes as a natural consequence. In the King James it says he will "renew my mind". WOW! Big Job there Lord. I know you created all in 7 days, but changing my mind? Renewing it? Changing it to the point where I really know, I really UNDERSTAND, how good and pleasing and perfect YOUR will is? Where I start to loose the urge to go my own way because I really REALLY get that your way is better? You have your work cut out for you Lord.

So what do I need to do Lord? How about I make a list off all the stuff I am doing that is 'wrong' and then I set small attainable goals to gradually transform myself........ No, that would be ME transforming me. This promise I am reading, that says you'll do it. Good thing really, I ruined the steak that I was cooking last night, if I can't handle transforming raw meat to cooked, what hope have I got with my attitude? So, what do I do? Ahhhh, I see, back a verse. Romans 12:1, I offer myself as a 'living sacrifice'. So when I sing that hymn "I surrender all" I guess I really have to mean it now huh? Each and every day, I need to surrender myself to Him, to His will. Not by changing my outside, but by offering Him my everything. I need to stop doing 'stuff' because I think in my head that it is what God wants, but start doing what is right because I really, REALLY, get that it is His Will and His Will is good and pleasing and perfect.

I need to come to God with my 'real' attitude (as opposed to the attitude that I pretend to myself and others that I have) and ask Him to change it. Rather than throwing out the 'un-Godly' DVD with gritted teeth in order to make myself more holy, I need to get on my knees and ask for a renewed mind, a renewed heart, that sees things from HIS perspective. Instead of doing what my husband asks with a surly, muttering attitude, and counting THAT as submission (hey, I DID it didn't I??!!), I need to ask for an attitude adjustment so I can submit to hubby 'as unto the Lord'. There is nothing wrong, and many things right, with the actions taken by the women I mentioned, but it needs to start from within (read Romans 12 through, it is all about attitude, sincerity and a goodness that overflows from within).

When we 'subdue the flesh' and 'conform not to the world' it needs to start from the inside, start with a change in our selves. When James said that faith without works is dead, he didn't mean that we should work harder to show we have faith - he meant that once the works stop, faith is dead already. As we submit to God, He starts to change us, to TRANSFORM us, from that moment. Our 'works' need to overflow from the transformation taking place within.

So, as for me, I will surrender. I will sing "Little by little, everyday, little by little in every way JESUS is changing me" and stop trying to do everything in my own power. I will recognise that while God does not give me more that I can bear, He FREQUENTLY gives me more than I can bear in my own strength, and I will borrow His.

Anyway, the older two are jumping around in their room now and Christopher is discussing the trickiness of making a coffee while holding a baby with Daddy so I had better rescue one of them.


Friday, November 14, 2008


I am absolutely shattered but you should see my kitchen!! Nesting + hot days + being the size of a hippo with a gland problem DOES take it out of one!

is amazingly helpful. It is awesome when I all of a sudden realise that the jobs I have given her to occupy and involve her actually ARE helpful! She is also working very hard at her school work. I do not agree with pushing kids into academics earlier than they are ready, but she is champing at the bit. Our schooling is mostly based around games, reading 'real' books and having her read her readers (she gets to stay up an extra few minutes after the boys are in bed to read to us which also give her some 'special' time, when she reads a book flawlessly to Daddy she gets a sticker or a stamp in the front) and her Math text book (I set the timer for 15 minutes after the boys are in bed for their nap and we work on a page for that time - this keeps things fresh and motivated and fits in with my timetable rather than having school consume our day and become a drag.) Every day she is champing at the bit to get into it. The fact that 'school work' is combined with special time means she sees it as a privilege, not an obligation. She has been spending hours of her own 'free time' writing in her scrapbook. The stories go on to pages and pages long using mostly invented spelling (she sometimes asks me to spell a word for her). She also spends a lot of time reading on her own or arranging the magnetic letters on the fridge into words.

was bitten by something on the calf earlier today and his whole calf swelled up. I asked him what bit him he told me it was a duck - he was bitten by a duck back in August and it made a lasting impression! When I pointed out that there were no ducks in our back yard he told me it must have been the sheep over the back fence. I think it was more likely an ant! The swelling went down after an ice pack. Billy is frustrated that he can't read and do some of the other things that Erin does and he often asks to read like her. He isn't really ready for reading yet though so I try and find other 'special' things for him to do with me. He is a brilliant 'helper' and spends a lot of time with me in the kitchen.

has slept the last two nights through thankfully. There is another tooth on the way I'm sure. I think one of the major reasons his sleeping has been disrupted is because I haven't been as 'with it' in terms of keeping together routines etc. I have found with all of the kids if I let their day sleeps get mucked up they soon start waking in the night. Christopher is the most stubborn with waking up and getting back to sleep. In the daylight hours, however, he makes up for all of it! He is the master of giving sloppy kisses and his conversation is becoming more and more like 'real' words. One of his favourite things is being pulled or pushed around by one of the older kids in the back yard. I have some fantastic photos of him on the trampoline too, I will post them one day!

The New Baby:
I am fairly sure, is head down now. I am certainly getting plenty of kicks under the ribs! This bub is the most active ever I'm sure. I am finding the heat wearing and finding clothes that fit around my ever-expanding figure without causing me to overheat is a bit of a battle. The other three were all winter/early spring babies so all my maternity gear is for cold weather. I can't believe there is only about eight or nine weeks until we get to meet bubby properly!

The home:
is slowly getting sorted out. Emphasis on SLOWLY! I reworked the kitchen today. It was deeply satisfying, but I did find it difficult to balance it with other responsibilities. It is difficult to stop once I get going and things like hanging out the washing slip by the wayside. It is going to take a bit of discipline to get that in balance!

The Garden:
continues with surprises. I found some strawberry plants growing among the grass! They have flowers on them and the blackbirds are watching them just as eagerly as I am, I'm sure!

Well, I'm still walking to the post office most days although I have had to change that to later in the evenings as it is just TOO hot in the middle of the day now. I have been eating too much junk and not moving enough though.


Saturday, November 08, 2008


Nesting has kicked in! Usually about a week or two after I confirm a pregnancy, sometimes before that, I am hit by a compulsion to tidy, organise, streamline etc. This time, it hit last week. Better late than never hey?!

has been helping with the nesting with helping me unpack boxes, mopping the floor, dusting, picking things up for me when I can't bend over to reach them and other various tasks (I don't force her to do this, really! She wants too) She has become very proud of her reading progress, volunteering to read to Nanny today (we had a quick day visit from Nanny and Poppy). Her ability to sleep through anything has won her great envy from me as she happily snoozed through 3 hours of Christopher's teething troubles last night while the rest of the house woke up to deal with it!

is in big boy jox! I finally made the plunge last week after putting it off. All those people who told me that girls were MUCH easier than boys to toilet train had obviously not met my children. My experiences with Erin really made me think that changing nappies until they were 4 or 5 HAD to be easier! But Billy has taken to it like a duck to water. He still needs reminding, of course, and accidents do happen, but he uses the toilet for it's intended purpose when sent, has been known to take himself on occasion and often wakes up dry from his afternoon nap. I started him off now hoping that the habits would be well established by the time the new baby arrives and it looks like this may well be the case.

is teething. He has by far the most trouble with this of any of the children. I put him to bed last night without any nurofen and he awoke distressed at 3am. His distress continued on and off until 6am. He gets himself so overwrought that he can't get back to sleep. If he is taken into our bed, he sits on Daddy's head, climbs pillow mountains, parades around the bed, tosses and turns, complains, pats people (sometimes a little too hard, often in sensitive or inappropriate areas!) and generally makes sure everyone knows he is awake and unhappy. If he goes into his own bed, he hollers at the top of his lungs until Jon or I go in to settle him, only to start yelling again as soon as we start drifting off to sleep. Last night he had everyone (except Erin of course!) awake to share his discomfort. He got painkillers at bed time tonight and I am praying madly for an unbroken night - we all need it!

The New Baby:
is now, I am fairly sure, head down laying spine to spine with me. I can tell this because of the feet and hands that keep sticking out the front of my belly! It is so exciting! I can't wait to hold this little one in my arms, in spite of the long 'to do' list that I want to turn into a 'ta da' list before his or her arrival. People so often talk about the work that babies make but I find it hard to imagine a home without one now. As I was sitting down this evening watching my belly undulate with the foetal gymnastics, I remembered holding a newborn. Yes, I remembered the tiredness and the feeling of being spread a little too thin at times, but I also remembered the smell, the little noises, the warm weight against my chest, the complete relaxation radiating from a sleeping baby, the feeling that if I achieve nothing else in life, I have brought this child into the world and what greater legacy could I have? I remembered my other children gathering around the newest arrival with wide eyed awe and their enthrallment with each squeak and movement. I remembered watching the sleeping bundle tucked in the bassinet and seeing within that one, tiny form a million possibilities and unlimited potential. I remembered the pure, unadulterated love and acceptance that I have for each child spilling out of me for the first time as I meet them face to face. Amidst all that, the logistics of laundry, meals, ironing, cleaning etc. seem a whole lot more surmountable and the 'to do' list slides into perspective.

The home:
is getting rearranged. I wouldn't call it "organised" yet, but we are a step or two closer with more and more boxes getting unpacked or moved into a more convenient spot. There are TILES up for the shower now. Not all of them yet, but well over half. My kitchen benches have been organised, even if the cupboards are still an absolute shambles. There are NO boxes on the west side of my kitchen bench and those stacked against the north side are more organised and consolidated. There is a large "to sort" pile by my lounge room chair and I can't actually get to my front door at the moment, but I am getting there, little by little!

The Garden:
is still not being worked on due to a lack of tool access and a need to get stuff done in other arenas, but it continues to grow and bloom without me! The front garden is filled with Iris which takes me back to my wedding day (I had an arm load of Iris as my bouquet), my peony is days from flowering as is a rose out the front and other tiny, self seeded flowers are popping up all over. A walk in the yard is a voyage of discovery. The finches I have been watching in the back yard have been identified as European Goldfinches. I have up to five or six of these pretty little birds hopping about in my backyard at a time.

I have gotten a little slack with 'proper' outdoor exercise and I am feeling it. I think I burned a few calories moving boxes etc this week though because I unpacked the scales and I wasn't QUITE as scared as I expected to be. My goal post pregnancy is to get down to at least 80kg before bub number 5. I need to get some maternity bathers in preparation for summer but the $$ is what is stopping me. Paying over $50 for an outfit that I will wear one season only and then only when I am pregnant during that season makes me cringe!