Monday, March 29, 2010

Prayers Heavenward (and a giveaway)

Benjamin woke with a fever. With a touch to his head, I knew my list of plans for the day would be shortened.  Instead of tackling the cleaning I had been neglecting in my weeks of morning sickness, I put down the broom and picked up my boy.  He asked for grapes for breakfast so I settled him on the floor with his bowl and went to sneak my hands into the soapy dishwater.  But before I could scrub a fork or a glass, little feet toddled in and little arms reached up for me.  Having grown quite independent since turning one, I can't say I minded the extra snuggles so we retired to the couch and a pile of books. 

Burning head rested on my chest and warm fingers caressed mine as we opened the first page of  This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano.  The other children joined us before a word had been uttered.  Owen snuggled on my left and the older two squeezed in around the edges.  We let the simple words of this prayer-poem quiet our hearts.  Gentle illustations (by Mark Elliot) brought smiles as we absorbed the words and Mama held onto a few lines and whispered them over her feverish boy. 

When I feel all mixed up,
unsure of what to do,
please show me what the right path is
and help me follow you.

The words flowed as the prayers of request turned into prayers of thanksgiving and we turned our eyes away from our own needs and focused on all that He had given on this spring day. 

But most of all I'm grateful
for your love that never ends.

We neared the end of the book and my sick boy nuzzled close.  I kissed his wispy hair.

Please love me God, forevermore.
That's all I want.

And Benjamin, still settled back against me, piped up his baby voice, "Amen."


To order a copy of you own, click here.  Or enter to win a copy for your little ones.  There are three ways to earn an entry:
  • Earn 1 entry by leaving a comment describing your favorite place to read.
  • Earn 1 entry by blogging about this contest. Don't forget to leave a separate comment with the link to your post.
  • Earn 1 entry by sharing this contest with your Facebook or Twitter friends. Again, be sure to leave a separate comment telling me you did so.
Giveaway ends Saturday, April 10 at 9 pm ET. Open to U.S. readers only.


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh, my aching foot!

The morning sickness is melting away.  In fact, it is almost gone.  My energy is slowly growing (as I realized today when I was able to clean the bathroom and dust my neglected upstairs in the same morning).  Having entered the second trimester, there is promise that my to-do list can grow beyond survival mode--  except that I suffered another setback when I broke my toe this morning.  Now I am running the house from the couch with my foot propped up and packed with ice while my children play on the floor and snuggle at my side. 

Until my bones are healed and my full strength returns, take a minute to read   this article   my mom posted on her blog this morning, written especially to encourage young moms. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

His favor is like a rain cloud in spring. 
Proverbs 16:15b

Friday, March 19, 2010

In His Hands

Amanda says, "I'd love some more detail about homeschooling. Have you ever regretted homeschooling? (I'm so scared I will mess up my kids!)


Words on homeschooling could fill a book.  Judging from the educational section at the library, more qualified writers than I have already filled books with ideas and wisdom on the topic.  But I think the underlying thought in this question is, "How can I be sure I am equipped for the task?" 

Just as in anything in life, if we feel God is calling us to do something, He will provide the strength and the patience and the knowledge to complete the task. 

Do I ever have days when I want to give in and let someone else take over?  Sure. 

Do I ever get frustrated that my child is more interested in coloring a picture than doing his math lesson?  You bet! 

Do I ever feel like I need more time to do this or that...and if only I didn't have to teach school today, I would be able to do it all?  Yes.

Do I ever think I'm too unprepared to teach my kids what they need to know for kindergarten, let alone sixth grade...or tenth!?  Absolutely!

But I'm not the one in control.  When I began this homeschooling journey, I gave it over to God and He has it (and me) in His hands.  When I am tempted to feel inadequate or question if I am teaching enough of the "right" things , I am reminded of these words,

And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

When we do our part, He takes care of the rest.
I have enjoyed answering your questions and I still have a few more to tackle.  If you have anything to ask about homeschooling or any other topic, please chime in!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, the beautiful Maid Madelyn convinced her Knight in Shining Armor (also known as Daddy) to let her get a fish for a pet.   Alas, even with diligent care, Maid Madelyn could not convince her fish to live more than a few weeks and so amid tears, she bid her fish farewell and devoted herself to her plants on the windowsill.  Through the remainder of summer and into the winter, she continued to water them and talk to them and open the shade to give them light. 

And then a hint of spring air tickled her nostrils and the fair maiden longed to add to her plant family.  She and  two of her princely brothers each chose a plant to call their own. The lovely lady choose an orange and white daffodil.  The eldest prince choose a white hyacinth and the younger gentleman choose a blue hyacinth.  They watered and watched for a week as the flowers seemed to grow before their eyes.  By week's end,  Maid Madelyn and the princes spent a rainy Saturday evening spread out on the kitchen floor transplanting their flowers to larger pots with the help of the Knight in Shining Armor.  Delicate giggles and roaring laughs were shared when seeing the large bulbs entwined with tangled, snaking roots.  But even the most dainty did not shirk the duty of adding large fistfuls of fresh dirt to the pots!

When Sunday morning dawned (after a slight upset by the fire-breathing prince), the flowers moved to their new home outside in the backyard.  Tender hearts were assured that these sturdy flowers can withstand the chilly nights of early spring.  We do so hope these flowers thrive and live year after year happily ever after.

The End

Why don't you give it a try?  It is an easy and cheap learning experience.  (Each of our royalty purchased their flower for a dollar.)  We are easily calling this "school," thoughtit was not our intent when we started.  The children have done most of the work and tending by themselves since I have a bit of an un-green thumb!  I'll stick to growing babies

Monday, March 8, 2010


Hyperactive Lu says, "What are your family goals for the year?"


Looks like our focus this year will be...well, shall we let the pictures do the talking? 

Number 5 arriving mid-September!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Up With the Sun

says, "Just wondering, what time do your children wake up? I'd love for Tim and I to have some time in the evenings, but with Eliya and Jonathan (to potty) still waking up throughout the night and Emahry and Jonathan getting up around 5 a.m., Tim and I seem to conk out as soon as the kids are asleep. Any tips on getting toddlers to sleep in later?"


A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon my windowsill
Cocked his shining eye and said,
"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy head!"

A couple of years ago, I had Gavin memorize this poem, though he could probably never relate.  Never has a little bird had to sit upon his window, urging him to begin the day.  His internal clock has somehow always known to wake him with the sun.  We've experimented over the years with putting him to bed later in the night, trying to trick him into sleeping later in the morning, but alas, this only serves to make him sleepy and grumpy the next day as he still rises with the morning light.  We've attempted dark curtains, but even the bits of light peeking in around the sides are enough to lift his eyelids.  His internal clock is set to wake early and it refuses to be reset.  Owen and Benjamin seem to be wired the same way so our mornings are filled with the chatter and tumblings of exuberant boys!  Though I am a morning person and can wake up and get going quickly, my husband is not and so we have developed a few coping techniques to get a few extra minutes of rest (if not sleep) in the morning. 

  • Give up naps early.  This is a hard one because what Mama doesn't need this blessed quiet time in the middle of the day.  But I learned early that I would rather power through the afternoon than have a energetic toddler up late at night because they aren't sleepy!  All of my kids gave up their nap between the ages of 2 and 3, some sooner than others.  At first, the hour before dinner was rough because the newly un-napped child was cranky and loosing energy, but once he filled his belly, he was usally good until bed at 7 or 8 o'clock.  On days when I gave a short nap or accidently let a child  fall asleep before dinner, the nights were long and frustrating.  (Giving up a nap doesn't have to mean giving up quiet time altogether.  We still have a modified period of rest in the middle of the day.)

  • Prolong the time between putting to bed and falling asleep.  The kids are in bed by 7:30-8:00 in the winter and by 8:00-8:30 in the summer.  Little bodies crave rest but little minds are not always ready to sleep right away.  We remedy that by letting the three oldest who share a room rotate choosing a CD to listen to at bedtime.  It can be music or a narrated story.  As long as they are lying down and quiet, we allow them to listen as long as they like.  Sometimes they drift off right away, but as they get older, they often stay awake to listen longer.   

  • Find a mandatory "do-no-get-up-until" cue.  This is a biggie at our house.  Regardless of what time the children wake up, they are not allowed to get out of bed (except to use the bathroom) unless they hear Daddy up getting ready for work  (at 6:45).  The little ones learn to follow the cue from the older ones.  Sometimes we hear early morning chatter from their bedroom, but as long as they are still in bed, we allow it.  Slowly, this rule has trained them to sleep a bit later-- not late, but later

  • Remember this is a season!  There are periods of weeks and months when we function on less than sleep than we wish.  When a new baby is born, evening bedtimes and morning wake times are unpredictable.  When children are sick, night wakings are frequent and bedtimes are thrown out the window!  We try to remain flexible and know this season will pass like the rest. 

How do you ensure everyone in your house is getting enough rest?

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