Breaking Statistics

Are you a social statistic?

Meaning…

Are you a product of your childhood?

Have you simply became who you are because of the environment of those around you?

OR

Have you became who you are despite the environment you may have been in?

For me, and for my husband, there is a defining difference.

Despite our childhood, we have chosen a better path.

I reflect back to a high school social study class I was taking.
By the statistics shared, I didn’t have a chance as far as becoming a decent person in society.
I remember being offended that my destiny was already defined for me.
By the mistakes and harms of people in my past, I was already condemned.

My family is choosing to break statistics.

Statistics that my husband and I are not only breaking, but shattering…

Childhood abuse:

Physical, Sexual, Verbal, & Emotional…
between my husband and myself, these are the core ones we were faced with as a child;
2 that I dealt with, 2 that my husband dealt with.

The harm produced in our own lives helped us to develop an empathy for such tragic things.
We know the fears, insecurities, anger, & hopelessness these abuses can create.
We also know the answer lies within knowing who Jesus Christ is!
His unconditional love can and will heal all things…in His timing.

So what can we do?
Reach out and love others, just as Christ loves us.

To love… on our moms.
Despite the poor choices they made for themselves when they were younger that unfortunately impacted us, they deserve compassion and understanding.  One needs to look into their childhood to better understand why they made the choices they did (that whole statistic thing ya know).  For us, we have to recognize that Christ was not in their lives, that they didn’t feel loved; that at the time, they did the best they could in the situation they found themselves in.
They already know the mistakes they’ve made; what they don’t know is the strength they had to get through it.
What they need to know is that we very much know how much they loved us despite the circumstance.

To love… on our kids.
This has been a gift for us.  6 amazing kids.
Parenting is a journey,
and I don’t care how many parenting books there are out there,
you get to write your own as you go.
What do you want the pages to say?
In the beginning, we all start out fairly clueless,
and honestly?  We grow alongside our children.

If I were to give one piece of parental advice, it would be…
COMMUNICATION.
Let your kids know why your no is no,
let them know why you reacted as harshly as you may have,
let them tell you how they are feeling,
let them have emotions, teaching them all the while that there is a proper way to handle them.
Let them know they are not perfect, that we are not perfect,
but that there is One who is perfect who loves us unconditionally.

To love… all children.
We have a heart for kids.  What can I say?  They are unique, beautiful beings.
Kids of all ages need to be heard, need to feel wanted, need to be loved.
God cares, they matter, and we intend to give them that message.

To love… the elderly.
There’s a lot to learn from the elderly,
it is only wise to hear what they have to say.
There’s a dignity that adds to the value of life
when we treasure those who have gone before us in this journey called life.

To love… the special needs, the disabled, the ill.
Not to lump everyone into one category,
because they are all unique as specific individuals.
My intent is to draw attention to them for what they offer.
Often you will find beauty, grace, courage in those loved ones who face challenges in things we take for granted.

To love… the lost.
Of course, as a Christ follower, this has a specific meaning,
in which Christ himself says to love your neighbor.
To share hope, to spread joy, to live by faith…
simple ways to live His love out loud.

Marriage & Divorce Rates

I won’t even go into the detailed statistics I read that would apply to me,
but I will share the obvious… both my husband and I were raised in broken homes.
Not just divorce, but multiple divorces in each of our childhoods.
The odds of us getting married and then staying married, I think has surprised a few people.
Me?  I am just grateful.  Grateful that the man I love is still with me.
Thankful that grace covers a multitude of flaws, in both of us.
But mostly, I appreciate that our relationship shares an example of how families can work through tough stuff and that through Christ, all things are possible.

Addictions

Children of addicted parents are the highest risk group of children to become alcohol and drug abusers due to both genetic and family environment factors.
Well, my dad was a drug addict.  My 1st step-dad was an alcoholic.
My husband?  His family has heavy drinkers abundantly in his family genetics; both maternal and paternal.

And honestly?  We’ve each had to face our own types of addictions early on, with hiccups along the way, but at some point a decision is made.  Do we repeat the insanity, or choose a way out?  Did you know God provides a way out of our temptations?  It is not meant to be an easy choice, but rather a faithful one.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,
but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Christian kids; Adult faith

Our journey is far from over in the parenting field.  We still have a vast range of ages (although we have past the baby stage 25 yrs into this parenting thing).  One critical thing close to a Christian parents heart is their child’s faith.    We get the honor of nurturing our children in God’s grace, guiding by the Holy Spirit as we go; however, when it all comes down to it, their relationship with Christ is a very personal one.

We can teach them truth, and doctrine, and moral values, and about His amazing love,
but when it comes right down to it?  It is their choice.
A relationship with Christ is personal.
As they become young adults (ie teens),
it does not matter if they go to the same church as us (ie appearances),
or even if they go to church at all (building attendance does not define the heart),
but that they know what they believe and why.

Then the question of truth comes…  will you be a statistic? 
Will you choose to walk away from your faith before the age of 23?

We have one son (25) thus far who has survived and thrived this passage.  (praise Jesus)
We have one son (20) in the thick of it, still choosing to be grounded on a solid foundation. (thank God)
We have one son (17) who is entering this journey with a level head and strong conviction… (hallelujah)

but truly, only time will tell…

What statistics are you breaking?

 

Advertisements

November catch up~

Well, hello there.
How’s it been going?
Me?  Well, a bit busy with all our activities. 
Admittedly, I miss my time to drop in ideas, share my thoughts, and give our random family updates.

So this is just a simple recap of the past several weeks:

DSC_0736

such as Hay Rides.

DSC_0784

Enjoying our leaf study.

DSC_0794

Appreciating our stunning fall weather!

DSC_0839

Our November craft board as we studied leaves, weather, and turkeys;
along with our study of Pilgrims.  It was a fun month!

DSC_0830

Being blessed by a fellow Robinson Curriculum homeschool mama as this was all gifted to me.  Thank you so very much, Cynthia Albright!  I think she provided a little bit of something for each of my children.  And may I just share that I have enjoyed her Memory Gems (for copywork) and Primary Language Lessons for my kids for several years now.  Essentially since beginning RC a few years back.  The products only cost a few bucks and are beyond worth the value (*no affiliate link, just my opinion).  *smile*

IMG_0951[1]

This would be why I haven’t had much time on my bloggy space.
Look at my house full of little blessings!

IMG_0778[1]

Katie-girl turned 12.  We had a mother/daughter overnight get-away!
We had gourmet desserts, went hot tubing, and did make overs.   Fun stuff!

IMG_0904[1]

Our 22nd Anniversary

IMG_0966[1]

Wayyyy too many days here since my washer died almost 3 months ago!  Atleast I have good helpers!

IMG_0967[1]

My first Christmas date of the year!
Black Friday with Katie, and then breakfast by 6 a.m.

IMG_0975[1]

Andrew turns 9.

IMG_1008[1] IMG_1012[1] IMG_1001[1] IMG_1018[1]

and a little bit of family fun to wrap up our fall season!

What did your November look like?

The Simple Life of 8

Our oldest son, Joe 24, moved out (again) this past week end.

DSC_0692

Relaxing back at our place after the big move.

Joe (on right) has a month to get his new home ready
before Amber (on left) officially joins him as his bride.

So excited for this new phase in motherhood.

I knew I would eventually have another daughter! *smile*

She is such a blessing to become a part of our family.

So who’s still here?

Fred and Sheri (mom & dad)
Nick 20- works full time plus as an apprentice for fire sprinkler repairs and installation
Preston 19- works full time as a mechanic, and attends college in the fall.
TJ 16- starting his junior year of homeschool
Katie 11
Andrew 8
Bryson 5

Who gets Joe’s old room?

Andrew and Bryson.
Would you believe they actually haven’t technically had a room for over 2 yrs now?
One bed in the big boys room; Bryson sleeping in Katie’s room;
toys in the downstairs office AND our walk in closet;
clothes in mom and dad’s room.
Yes, the littles just kind of have free reign here.

So as painless as moving Joe out was,
with Dad and brothers giving a huge helping hand,
I have been busy “rearranging” things.

Oh yes, I am a bit fanatic when plans start spinning in my head.
Not just setting up the younger boys room,
but having to adjust the big guys room,
then emptying my closet and our office gave us more room,
which led to me switching our school room around.

I moved around….
5 bookcases,
4 beds,
3 desks,
2 dressers,
and a whole lot of books!
Yes, this involve stairs half the time.

I sent 4 large bags to Goodwill.

I am getting us ready for school to start Monday.

and we will be counting down the days til Joe & Amber’s Wedding!!

Life is good, praise God.

Chores as a Blessing?

So here’s the deal…

Cleaning is NOT about me (or you).

Martyr Mom Syndrome is not a pretty thing.  Ask me, I know.  *wink*  We go, go, go. and do, do, do.  We want things perfect, our way, and we have this silent.in.our.head.understanding that others around us should just “know” what should be done, how it should be done (which is usually “my” way), and should see and appreciate all that we do in the process.  Guess what?  it’s not about me!  When I focus on all I am doing for others, I miss the opportunity to see what others are doing for me.

So my husband never does laundry.  I use to say NEVER, but he actually did some when I had surgery this past February.  The first time in 20+ years.  I am still amazed, lol.
He doesn’t make the bed, pick up his laundry but once in a rare season, or wipe up his toothpaste mess.  This could drive me crazy!!  (and sometimes does)

So do I want to play the martyr and nag about all that I do for him?
OR
Do I appreciate what really matters to me instead?

Like:

…that he ALWAYS scrubs our big tub
and prepares a lovely bath for me when I request it. 
Often once a week; I call it my sanity time.

…that he ALWAYS scrubs up any barf or poop when needed.
animals or humans.

…that he ALWAYS plays with the kids when he gets home from work
so that I can get some things done that have to wait for my own free moment.

Cleaning is about who we can bless in the process,
while recognizing the blessing that is right in front of us.

Let’s face it.  Life gets messy and chaotic.  The more people in our lives, the more there is to juggle and do.  But would we want it any other way?  It’s all about perspective.

Dirty dishes = loved ones who joined us for a meal.  that meal led to fellowship.  and the ultimate blessing is that we HAD food to eat.  Thank you Jesus.

Laundry = loved ones in our home.  that for this beautiful season in our lives, get to be here.  and the ultimate blessings is that we are clothed.  Thank you Jesus.

Floors to Mop = loved ones who laugh and play in our home.  that run about the home enjoying each others presence.  and the ultimate blessings is that we don’t have dirt floors.  Thank you Jesus.

You see, when we are honored to do a service, we are ultimately thanking Jesus.

It’s about doing what needs to be done.

Do to others what you would have them do to you.  Matthew 7:12

Why do I do laundry?
because I know it is a blessing for my husband to simply get home from a hard days work, pull out some clean clothes, and take his shower.

Why do I clean toilets?
because I want a sanitized restroom area for all the tushes using it.

Why do I make the bed?
To have a tidy bed that invites relaxation.
is it me?  a mangled bed makes my brain go cross-eyed.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.  Col 3:23

What can you do for your family today with a servant’s heart?

Fair & Equal

2013 Apr 026

These are two very important words to some people.

FAIR”  and “EQUAL

Honestly, I had no idea. 

I simply was reading a lovely blog post where the author wrote 100 ideas to encourage a healthy marriage.  Obviously, when we write on our own blogs, we share ideas based off our own views (right?).  Well, out of 100 sometimes fun, sometimes challenging, sometimes creative ideas… many (most) folks ranted on 2 suggestions.  All the focus of the whole post (that was meant to bless) was churned into some heated debate over 2 seemingly simple (to me) concepts.

# to let the husband make the big decisions.  (as I am fist-pumping “yes!!”, lol)
# to be willing to make some of the small decision.  (again, my cup ‘o tea, as I like the fine details)

The rage, anger, pride that was stirred by the readers.  oh my.

Not only to demand fairness, but that everything should be equal.
Women boldly claimed that their husbands wouldn’t want it any.other.way
or if they did, they certainly wouldn’t be married to them.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not that naive.
I understand everyone has their own values and ideals.
I just never realized what a hot topic it was.

It never dawned on me that some see marriage as a bargain, a contract of sorts.
As in, this is the deal, and it better be this way~

But it’s not.

Isn’t marriage about love, commitment,
giving of oneself for the other without expectation?

It isn’t about meeting halfway, but to be willing to give 100%.

Because honestly life is not fair.  ever.

It was not fair that Christ had to die for my sins.
It was not fair that I was abused as a child.
It was not fair that I took hard high school classes with decent grades, but couldn’t afford college.
It is not “fair” that my husband works hard all day to provide for the many.of.us.
It’s not fair that one of my children has special needs, not just all of them or none.
It’s not fair that one of my closest friends lost her young son 4 yrs ago this month.
It’s not fair that my 21 yr old brother-in-law died is a random car accident 8 yrs ago this month.
It is not fair that our tax dollars pay for ridiculous things that I would never approve of.  ever.

Then there is that word “equal”.

Really? 

That vehement reaction that marriage MUST be equal.
Well, that’s all good and well for them.
I am not even sure what equal could possibly mean.
Equal paychecks?  equal chores?  equal pressure?  responsibility?  equal kindness?
I don’t want to be equal.

I want to be the keeper of my home.
to create a loving atmosphere, to keep it tidy, to bless my family with the work that I will never be compensated for.

I want my husband to be our provider.
to make the tough decisions, whether I agree or not, because I trust his heart and integrity.

I’ll pass on the fair and equal motto
and we’ll continue to focus on love and honor.

What are your expectations in your marriage?

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21

The Quiverful Question~ Are We Crazy?

I am sheltered.  I admit it. 

I have heard the term “quiverfull”, mostly relating to my own perusing of scripture.

I am very well aware that large families are not for everyone.

I am glad we trusted our instincts on wanting more children than most of our family and peers preferred.

and admittedly, at times I twinge with wishing we would of have had more children, I certainly trust ‘that nudge’ that Lord gave us every 3 years.  6 biological children is what we were meant to have.  It for us, it is a beautiful gift.

Although others think we are a bit crazy; good, bad, or otherwise…

I had no idea how much anger and hatred the “big family” concept attracted.   After all, I do not think it is crazy when a beloved cousin chose to have only 1 child.  or that a good friend was adamant to have the perfect 1 boy, 1 girl, and a dog family.

*note:  I do realize there are exceptional cases of drama and abuse;
as that risk could be found in any family setting…
regardless of race, schooling, income, or spiritual beliefs. 
I am not here to dismiss or undermine others pain, confusion, or anger,
but rather to explain our views that seem to correlate similarly to the “quiverfull movement”.

What is Quiverfull, and does it really relate to us?

I find it fascinating that we don’t follow a particular ideology on this, but have naturally come to some similar conclusions.  Such as:

Family Planning~

We have not used birth control in our marriage.  Are we crazy?  We decided it was not healthy for my body.  I know when I ovulate, we know when to be careful, and honestly a surprise would not be a bad thing.  Interesting enough, our one and only “surprise” was after I was having trouble hemorrhaging and the doctors had wanted to perform a hysterectomy on me.  I declined the offer, and they put me on birth control for 6 months to regulate the bleeding in the hopes that I would change my mind.  Well, 6 months came and “surprise”!  #5 came about 1 year earlier than we would have “planned”.  and we are oh.so.blessed to have Andrew!   We then again planned #6; and I have not had a hysterectomy, nor have any female problems at this time.

Patriarchy~

To trust the man to lead his household.  Now, I get this.  I understand why especially women will cringe at this concept.  Trust me, after having a drug addict dad, an alcoholic step-dad, and being raised around men who were jerks, I was taught to never trust a man.    But God has different plans.  Will real men please stand up!  You know who you are.  The one who works hard for his family.  The one who is exhausted after a hard days work, and will still play with his kids.  The one who lovingly declines his wife’s opportunity to work part time to help with the finances because… he sees how much she gives of her self here, in the home, and that is enough.  The one who does the “man” work like change oil, clean gutters, unplug toilets AND will still give a helping hand to do dishes, clean toilets, and grocery shop!  The one, who, when given the chance to step up and be a man (aka is trusted) chooses to do so!  Oh wait!  That’s MY man!  and he is not perfect, just willing.  Am I crazy?

Courtship instead of Dating~

We raise our boys to treat women respectfully.  Part of that respect is to gain the parents permission to “see” their daughter.  We are not in control of the relationship, but have expressed basic moral expectations.  We recommend ‘not being alone’ for extended periods of time.  We are open about s*x, and that the greatest love you can share is letting her know she is worth the wait (yes, for marriage).   Are we crazy?

Sheltering Children~

Children are to be protected and sheltered.
I do believe that is a basic fundamental right of a child.

We are to nurture the young child,
give them guidance through the middle years,
and be available to mentor the young adult (and beyond).

This does not mean you do not prepare them for the world (both beautiful and ugly) as that is simply naive thinking, but to equip them to be prepared at the age appropriate time.  Is this crazy?

Biblical Manhood vs Womanhood~

Let’s face it!  Men and Women ARE different.  We are wired differently, we are gifted differently, and we compliment each other.  That is the beautifully created design of it all by our loving Lord.  Why people are offended by this I honestly have no clue (cept maybe pride).  Mostly the rage is for us women to be *gasp* submissive.  To care, to trust, to honor, to love is not a bad thing.  In my reality, the more I trusted my husband the more loving he became.  In our earlier years (when marriage wasn’t such a beautiful thing) I literally showered him with kindness.  I was not perfect, but I loved on him as best I could.  God told me to trust Him to trust him… and I am ever.so.grateful I did!  So is that crazy?

Debt-free/independent of government programs~

Why is this a bad thing?  I honestly am trying not to laugh at this one.  This is something that is listed as a “quiverfull” concept.  really?  Shouldn’t it be an American concept?  One about being a responsible part of society?  This is NOT to say we don’t have are hardships.  We certainly have.  Family and friends have blessed in the worst of times, and we ourselves have felt led to bless others.  Why does government HAVE to be needed?

The flipside of this is that people assume that it is impossible to have all.these.children and not need government assistance, as, afterall, we must live in financial hardship and deprivation otherwise.  Well, finances are tight, but we are by no means “deprived”.  I willingly gave up having a car when I first became a stay-at-home mama.  I willingly am cautious about how I spend the hard-earned paycheck that my husband provides.  I don’t need fancy things.  Things don’t fulfill my purpose, and certainly doesn’t fill my heart.  Hand me down furniture and medium sized TV’s are perfectly fine with us.  It is far.more.valuable to me to be able to raise and educate my own children.  In reality, the love of my children is priceless!  Is that crazy? 

Home church/Family Integrated Church~

aka children are not age-segregated, but a part of the church as a whole.
Although we do not go to this style of church, I certainly can see its beauty.
As it is, some of our kids “go” to class, and some stay with us in the sanctuary.
We actually have several families at our church who choose to have their children in the service with them.  My kids have a choice, and some will choose to quietly sit alongside me (at 4 yrs of age).   Is he crazy?

Modesty~

*gasp*  Now that is just wrong in our day and age, eh?  Isn’t this just really about respecting yourself?  To value your beauty and your body?  Every girl has boobs and butt cheeks, it is a natural part of who we are… but it doesn’t mean it need to be flaunted.  Going the bathroom is natural too, but I don’t want to see it!  …just sayin’that we might be crazy!

I founded this above outline of what “Quiverfull” is based off an anti-quivering site.

Big families are not for everybody.
Homeschooling is not for everybody.
Not everyone is going to choose Christ as their Savior.

But that does not mean it is wrong… or that we are crazy.
It is simply what God has called us to do, and yes, we truly believe it is a blessing.

1 Tim. 1:5
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

21 Years of Marital Grace

We are not perfect.

We have had our fair share of ups and downs.

We married young, and needed much forgiveness from each other while we matured.

We stuck through good times and bad.

We’ve journeyed through sickness and health, and a few pregnancies along the way.  ;^)

We’ve been rich in Christ and poor has never broken us.
Admittedly, we are comfortable enough within this weak economy,
8 yrs after our own personal economic crash.  God is good.

My husband loves me,
I cherish him,
and we both have heart to obey Christ’s will in our lives.

For those whom don’t know us well, feel free to read my secret treasure post, to better understand our date this night.  Please understand that when I wrote that post I was a full time caregiver to my dear m.i.l. on top of all else that I was doing, thus my burned out attitude.  But I still saw my treasure through the mist.

So when my husband calls me up at the beginning of this week to ask me out to dinner, I thought he was joking.  Especially when he told me where we were going!   Not only to the big city, but to a nice French restaurant?!  But he was serious, and I am never past being stunned surprised.

My dear neighbor insisted I wear a dress (really?) and do my hair (apparently ponytails aren’t chic).  I didn’t have much choice when she shows up at my door with an arm full of clothes on hangers.  Skirts, shirts, and sweaters to mix and match however I chose… that was kind of nice.  Good golly, I even painted my nails!  If dear husband was willing to shave, then I guess it was worth all the fuss.  *wink*

Note to self: 
looking pretty takes lots of work,
feeling pretty only takes an “I love you” from my husband.

Great drive to town the big city.  Time to talk, and listen.

Dinner was fabulous.

We tried Frog Legs.  It was interesting… waayyy bigger than I thought they would be!  Looked like chicken, tasted like fish.

There was a quaint live band, nice lighting, and great service.

I ate his pommes frites (french fries of sorts), and we shared Creme Brulee.

It was an added bonus that our oldest son and his fiance watched Andrew and Katie, and Nick took wild Bryson out for a bit.  To know our kids can look out for each other is a beautiful thing!

We wrapped up our evening by going grocery shopping in our wee town before heading home.  Sound cheesy, yes?  But I loved having some more quiet time with this man of mine before we headed home!  *smile*

Thank you my dearest Fred,
The heart you have for our family and for Christ surpasses any gift you could ever buy!
You make my day simply by coming home to me,
and I treasure spending another 21 yrs with you~
I love you forever & always,
your wife.