Monday, April 20, 2015

When You Feel Like a Cockroach of a Mother

"For we can never too earnestly press upon ourselves the conviction that education is not what we teach our children in detached periods of time, when we are giving them special instruction or explaining to them revealed truths, but rather what we teach them by the silent, but ever-influencing language of our general example." --Susan Huntington

My example in the home has the ability to build up or tear down.  What I model for my children has the potential to grow them in maturity, as well as tempt them to sin.  This power of a mother's influence is a serious truth. One that we cannot deny, refuse or ignore.

If you are like me, this truth can tempt you to despair because often you feel like a human cockroach.  You blow it time and again.

"The mother who recommends religion, in her formal instructions to her children, as a thing of the first importance, while, in her own case, it is habitually driven into a corner;
who urges on her children the supreme desirableness of laying up treasures in heaven,
while her dearest ones are evidenced, by her conduct,
to be on earth;
who insists on the excellence and importance of meekness, patience, and charity,
while she is no way remarkable for the exercises of these graces herself;
who descants on the vanity of the world,
while she is seen to be a slave to its opinions and fashions;
can hardly expect much success from her labors."
--Susan Huntington

Thankfully, new days come with new mercies.  Yet we may find ourselves, yet again, doing that very thing we hate, or omitting things we know we shouldn't.

None of us want to be that hypocrite before our family.  None of us want to tear down our house with our hands, piece by piece.

I weep over my shortcomings, often.  Nighttime seems to be the worst as I recall this or that I did/didn't do or could have, yet didn't. 

And while all of us must confess to God, and yes, acknowledge to our children how we have failed or sinned against them in some way, shouldn't this bring into clearer focus, our dependence on God to cover us? The God of all consolation loves us, pities us, and He honors a loving and trusting soul.  And oh, how we must trust him! He alone is able to prevent our own influence on the minds and hearts of our children, as well as grant them the grace and love to forgive. (I'm so thankful that children are very forgiving people.) This should give us great courage to press on and also hope in Christ to will and work for His good pleasure.

He is faithful when we are not. He never yields to lazy parenting and he never grows tired or weak.

God can and does, effectually overrule all things, including a mother's sin. This does not weaken my obligation and responsibility toward my children in the least.  It would be arrogant and destructive for me to expect that God would deviate from the means by which he has said he will work (Prov. 22:6).  But it should make us thankful.  And it should produce humility to know that no matter how hard you work, you will fail, and that God never does.

All of our sinfulness, this monster cockroach in our beings, keeps us in constant exercise against the world, our flesh and the powers of darkness.  This exercise is at the foot of the cross of Christ, falling down and telling Him the worst of it...just how bad we really are (He already knows).  He sweetly invites us that labor and are heavy laden with rest in Him.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ten Blessings That Come With a Large Family

Not everyone is blessed with a large family.  Some have willingly ended their fertility and never looked back.  Others have done so and later regretted it.  Many more labor hard to attain contentment as God's plan unfolded for their lives and it did not include for them a large family as they had hoped.

For those of us who have been given this great privilege, we know that it is not a perfect life.  An easy, pain-free life exists for no family, big or small.  But some of the struggles large families face can be unique. Or at least packaged differently. The doubts and fears might center on wondering if there is enough of you to go around, fear of peoples' reaction when you announce another pregnancy, how to make the grocery budget stretch for an army of people, and the endurance to keep vigilance over so many hearts. Because it will be a decades-long task.

But there are so many beautiful blessings that come with having a large family.  We must remind ourselves often and "Bless the Lord, O my soul, forget not his benefits!"  One of the reasons we grow discouraged, weary in our work or begin to doubt that we are equipped is because we fail to remember.  If we don't intentionally choose to remember what God has done and the bounty of goodness he's lavished on us when he gave us so many children, we can lose sight of why we started this journey of faith. It is a short fall into the well of self-pity.

The Apostle Peter wrote to the saints that he was stirring them up by way of reminder.  We all need stirring, and often. I do.  I am stirring myself up by choosing to remember what God has done when he made me to bear and care for so many.

Ten blessings that come with having a large family:

1.) It is a gift to the children

There is always someone to play with. This truth is what made me take notice of big families before I had one.  There is never a person left out or lonesome or bored.  If one sibling doesn't want to jump on the trampoline right then, or work that puzzle with you, or go on a bike ride, you just move on to another one until someone says yes.  Or maybe you want to watch a movie that most everyone else thinks is corny. Eventually you will find someone to watch that movie or play that game.

2.) There is always someone to talk to

True, this is another gift to the children, but it is also a gift to the parents.  I love having my teens around to talk to, laugh with, discuss deeper issues with, confide in and be confided in.  It is pure joy to have your children walk in truth and become allies and buddies.

I love having my middle-aged kids to visit with because they are so open, transparent and humble, eagerly sharing news and stories that excite them.  Conversations with them often leave me humbled and asking God to make me more child-like.

And it is such sweetness to gather up a toddler or preschooler in your lap.  They speak without any filter.  What ever is on the mind, comes right out the mouth.  Precious.

3.) The incredible power of positive peer pressure

The power of influence that older children have over younger ones is astounding.  If a bad habit or an ugly word is said by a one child, chances are the younger children will repeat it.  Thankfully, the opposite is also true.

Sibling influence is a mighty tool of God to help us form godly character.  Younger children want to please their older siblings almost as much as they do their parents.  Instead of children having only the praise and encouragement of their parents to love God, obey and show courtesy and kindness to others, they also have the example of the older kids who are already doing it.

Later on in middle childhood and teens, I have seen enormous benefits of the power of positive peer pressure between siblings.   When they get into sticky situations, the gift of a sibling nearby helps them remain steadfast to what they have been taught. There is safety in numbers:  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecc. 4:12

4.)  It is fun

When you combine the unfiltered comments of toddlers and preschoolers, with the silliness and energy of the middle-aged children, and add to that the wittiness of teens, you have a recipe for tons of laughter. It is hard to take life too seriously in this environment.  Laughter is good medicine.

5.) Opportunities to share and serve others

In a large family there is no lack of opportunities  to share and serve what you have with others.  Sharing and serving is a great thing. It builds spiritual muscles they will need as adults, especially when they marry. It is a great weapon in the fight against the entitlement syndrome, the laziness syndrome and the selfishness syndrome. 

Sharing what we have and taking care of the needs of others is what Christians are called to do.  The "one anothers" begin in the home.

6.) Work gets done quickly

My kids can demolish a room in about 30 minutes.  They can have it cleaned up in 15. 

From the oldest to the youngest,  everyone is capable of doing something, and so many hands keeping busy means it happens fast.  (And working together, brings hearts together.)

7.) Ministry Opportunities

The more hands there are to serve, the more people that can be served.  We can branch out in different directions, even dividing our family in half or thirds, and get twice or three times the service done for other people.

8.) Older Parents

Often large families have older parents and this is a great blessing to the children.  My younger kids' childhoods look a lot different than my older ones, for several reasons.  For one they don't have a young, energetic mom  (It blows my mind now to remember that I used to work the graveyard shift at a hospital and then come home and care for them all day, surviving on naptime alone).  Also, I know I am not as creative about homeschooling as I was when it was all brand-new and exciting.  But I still think the younger ones have a unique blessing that the older ones didn't.

They have a mom and dad who have grown in knowledge of God and the scriptures and so they have grown in grace and humility.  With years of life, come trials. For all of us. Trials are where spiritual growth comes from. It's where a deeper understanding of God's character comes.  And that growth in faith helps us as we parent and show the same love of God to our children, that he has shown us.

A few hard knocks of life like job loss, church conflicts, long illness, extended family drama, financial crises, the shock of learning that your older kids will fail, helps you be more ready with encouragement than rebukes.  With years should come wisdom.  And wisdom, for us, has meant we are heavier on mercy, forgiveness, tenderness and making the most of the days we've been given. I think not having the same levels of energy and creativity is just fine anyway because keeping life simple leaves us more time for investing in relationships instead of chasing our tails here and there.

The older children, who had us as young parents, benefit also.  They receive the unique gift of watching their parents care for, teach and train little ones.  I was 17 when my younger sister was born and it was a huge help to me when my Shelbi was born just a few years later.

9.) Opportunity of living out our faith

A large family is contrary to the world.  We all know that.  We've all been the butt of the cheesey jokes that the person telling thinks are original.  We have all had to awkwardly field personal questions that cross the boundary of socially acceptable. Why is it so common?

One reason it is common is because all people everywhere stay stupid things about everything under the sun, not just your birth control practice.  If you are building a house, someone will tell you a story about the disaster it was when they built a house and how they nearly got a divorce.  If you are single, someone will ask you wouldn't you like to be married.  Its just human nature and we all do it. This is particularly fun to watch on Facebook. If ten people comment on a status, often at least one will be something you could have lived your whole life without hearing. It's the way of human beings.  It's just that we can recognize it so much easier in others than we do ourselves.

But another reason this is common is because large families are anything but normal.  Generally speaking, the world does not like kids, at least not for more than photo opportunities.  And since the world doesn't like them, to see a whole bunch of them all at once, is odd. 

Having a lot of children is a bold statement of faith.  It isn't the only one, but it definitely is one nevertheless. 

Of all the strange comments we have received, last year on vacation, we got a new one.  All of us, minus Kevin, walked into a book store.  The manager counted us, looked at the kids like they were behind glass at a zoo, asked the usual questions about age span, were they from one marriage, etc.  Kevin later walked in and the manager asked to shake his hand and had to know what chain of restaurants he owned to be able to support so many kids.

This was just one more opportunity to present something different and unusual to this curious man.  "God has always provided for us. We have never done without anything we need."

These are opportunities to plant seeds at least and share the message of the gospel at best.  A large family can be a city on a hill.

10.)  A Spiritual Heritage

Children are a reward, Psalm 127:3 says.  Even though they were "conceived in sin" (Psalm 51:5).  So God said they were a reward  even though he knew they would write on the walls, make noise in church and get stomach bugs at the worst possible times. He said they are blessings even though they wake up at night, have trouble getting along at times and need almost constant correction and heart-tending.

Kids sin against us and each other and they keep us crying out for help. This doesn't mean they are blessings-gone-wrong. Our kids are sinners in need of grace.  They don't come out as arrows, ready to meet with enemies.  Part of the blessing of children is in the discipline they need.  If it weren't for challenges we would never recognize our desperate need for God and His Word. Kids are a constant reminder that we need Him.

When little ones test our authority and seek to go their own way, we get to proclaim the gospel to them.  These are evangelistic opportunities.  No need to go on a mission trip Mamas, it's right in front of you!  Rebellious, stubborn little people who need Jesus are looking you right in the face. And who better to introduce them to Jesus, forgiveness and renewed fellowship....than you?

I'm thankful to be called Mama by nine people.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to train them up, exhausting as it is at times. Just because something is hard doesn't mean it is the wrong thing.  Often, just the opposite. I'm thankful for all these added blessings that come when just getting to know each one them would be far more than I deserved.

 These are not the only blessings that come with a large family.  What are some others?

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

All About Selah Hope

Last week was bittersweet. We celebrated and thanked God for a whole year of life with Selah Hope. But I was a little sad too that her first year was over.

I blogged throughout my pregnancy with Selah, giving at least weekly updates.  Everything ranging from Trim, Healthy Mama "tips-while-pregnant" to my indecisiveness on whether or not to try for a VBAC what scriptures to meditate on when I went overdue.  Then I thoroughly covered her birth story (part 1 and part 2). I made a cool video of it too.

Then I never mentioned her again.

I figured it was about time I tell ya'll what she's up to.  Besides someone said they missed my birthday posts.  Oh yeah, that was Kevin.  Oh well.

Here are some things I love about our Selah.  I am so in love with our girl.

She Has Style

Selah is lots of fun to dress up but she refuses to keep her socks on.  She learned how to walk (more on that later), barefoot and does all she can to maintain her barefooted-ness..  So throughout the winter I kept her in footed pajamas so she would stay warm and feet covered.  All those cute little girl clothes in the closet and she wore (what became) ragged, footie pajamas. Good thing she's precious no matter what she has on :)

Here she is in her Christmas footies, in February.

More of her style. Here she is at a friend's wedding.  I believe in a big bow, ya'll.  I think it proves my value as a mom.

She can also rock a hat quite well.  She has been Sarah Grace's go-to-gal when she needs a model for her etsy shop creations.

Her Name

Like everyone else, we go to great pains to choose a name for our little ones (Read: Naming Babies).  But they seem too young for their names at first so we come up with nicknames.  Selah has the nickname of "Layla," "Layla Bird," "Bird, Bird," and sometimes if we're feeling like minimalists she is simply "The Bird."  ("Can someone put The Bird in her highchair?  Pick up The Bird before she goes outside.  I have to go change The Bird's diaper."  You get the idea.)

She's Cool About Her Transportation

Selah is walking.  She began walking around 10  months old and I think if I had worked with her any, she would have begun even sooner.  In fact, she is now walking everywhere quickly.  If she sees someone headed for the back door she makes a mad dash to get there to escape outside.

She's One of Those Outdoorsy Types

She loves to be outside. She loves to swing, play in the sandbox and get nice and dirty.  She squeals when she sees the cat or the dog.  She likes to be pushed around in the stroller and go for long walks.

She loved the bit of snow we got too.  (Here you see my "bookends."  Which is totally weird because the big one is supposed to still be that little. I don't know what's up with that.)

Her Love for Good Nutrition

Selah loves to eat any food except avacados. She is also still nursing strong a few times per day and at night (I have always enjoyed the benefits of extended breastfeeding).  She is quite meaty. The genes of Moore children do not allow for being petite.  Here she had achieved some impressive hail damage by 5 weeks old:

And here she is just yesterday if you're curious where it all led to.


Her Quirky Sleep Habits

She naps once each day unless she wakes up really early in the morning, then she wants a little bonus nap in the morning too.  She nurses to sleep around 8 each night and around midnight she wakes up and gets in bed with us. The rest of the night she wakes up 2-3 times, goes right back to sleep, finally waking for good around 7am.  Not great, but doable. But this "doable" sleep pattern has only been going on for two months. Let me elaborate because I should get all kinds of sympathy here.

From the time she was born until she was about 10 months old, she worked hard to earn the family title of Most Stubborn Non-Sleeper. She would wake often.  Sometimes tired and cranky and sometimes happy and wanting to play, but still waking all throughout the night and not able to go back to sleep.  It was a challenge to get her to sleep at night (often not able to lay down until 10:30 or 11),  and a challenge to get her to stay asleep too. Up and down all night long, almost every night.

Thankfully, during the day she was an angel and having so little sleep at night didn't cause her to be fussy during the day. And I'm happy to report that now she naps like a normal baby during the day.  She gets cranky... she naps...voila the world is good again.  Observe:

I went through some serious months with less sleep than I've had in my life and couldn't figure out what the problem was.  Understandably, I had a hard time with mental clarity during the day.  Forget multitasking!  I was all, "Kids don't you see I'm making TOAST, here? I can't possibly have a conversation right now about whether or not you can go outside." 

No, it wasn't that bad, but almost.  Friends prayed for me, God has been kind and I'm beginning to recover. And my hair all fell out during my sleep-fast.  Yep.  Big bald patches in the back that surpassed normal post partum hair loss I've had before.  (Which, incidentally, if you ever think you might have the sins of pride and vanity under control, just see how it goes when you start going bald.) Thankfully, flexi clips won the day again.  Yes people.  I have always said they were the busy mom's best friend but little did I know they were also the balding mom's best friend.

Sigh...praise God Selah sleeps now.  And I have new hair, about 3 inches long, sitting on top of my head like a creepy crown. But hey, its' hair.

She Travels Well

Selah doesn't like her car seat but thankfully there are 10 other people willing to take her mind off her trials and afflictions. She does, however, love her stroller and enjoys lots of walks.

She went to Destin, Florida. 

She went to the zoo the week of her birthday. And she looked cool (see Style section above).

Her  Diligent Academic Pursuits

She loves to be read to. Especially any of the touch-and-feel books.  She's beginning to pick up books and babble to herself.

She loves to get in the boys' business while they're doing school.  She is a very happy diversion. 

Her Popularity

Selah is everybody's little darling, that's for sure.  She can do no wrong in her siblings' eyes.  She loves to pad down the hall to the teenagers' rooms and will stand there at the closed door (they say they can hear her breathing, lol) before she busts in uninvited.  And of course she is welcomed every time.

She has joined in with The Littles as an official member of the club.


We're not really sure what life was like before she joined the family.  But Selah brings us joy and smiles every single day.  She is a gift.
Happy Birthday to our little Bird, Bird  Selah Hope!


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Monday, March 23, 2015

Letter to My Pregnant Self

Hello Self. Put down that bottle of Tums and listen up one sec.

You're not looking so good, Self. Your gait is strange, you have circles under your eyes and the elastic in your maternity skirt is shot. This is about the time you think you will be the first woman alive to be pregnant forever.

I know the nights are trying. I know you think you can't survive one more person asking you how much longer now, or if you think you could be having twins. You went shopping and you couldn't even find shoes to fit you. (Like you told your husband last night during that hormonal crying jag, Payless Shoes should have a maternity section.)

You want your body back, stable hormones back and you want that weird thing that used to be your belly button to never come back. But fertility is a privilege and gift, not to be taken for granted. You won't always have it. Stop all that complaining and enjoy it.

Let me tell you what's in store for you. In a mere two months those long nights getting up to go to the potty every hour and massaging away muscle cramps, will be replaced with quiet moments in the rocking chair staring at a sweet face that is helpless and dependent on you. The impatience that tempts you in your last weeks will be replaced by a love and thankfulness so fierce you can only stare at her and praise your Heavenly Father. You will gaze at this beautiful morsel of humanity and again and again wonder in astonishment that God created this life and He used your body to do it. Not because He had to...He wanted to.

And you will not be pregnant forever. The Lord has your baby's days numbered, the beginning as well as the end. The God who knows when the mountain goats will give birth (Job 39:1), knows all about your birth too. He has it all planned according to His will.

All the ways pregnancy has changed your body, has made you beautiful. Stop that laughing, Self. Yes, I said beautiful. You are a walking display for the Author of Life, as well as a purpose for His design for marriage, and that is so beautiful.

Speaking of that man that still holds your heart after all these years, your precious baby has his nose and forehead (but the eyes and chin? Yours. Score!) She's evidence of the love the two of you share, and it will bless you to watch his strong, calloused hands transform into gentle and soft, when he carries her and mutters shhh, shhhh in her little ear at bedtime.

Don't sweat the housework, Self. I know you're too tired to get to everything you'd like to do. But it will still be here two months later.

Your oldest children are a blessing to you, and they are mesmerized by this new sibling. The sisters all want to dress her and the boys all want to protect her. The toddler has adjusted quickly and beautifully. The Lord has given them such a blessing, in a new sibling.

Embrace motherhood, Self. Embrace it with joy and be blessed as a fruitful vine. Willingly and joyfully receive this child the Lord is graciously giving to you:
this fresh act of God,
this latest revelation of His handiwork,
this marvel of possibility and potential.

Originally published 5/5/2012


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

10 Women Your Daughter Needs to Meet Before She Reaches Adulthood

As Christians we have a rich heritage.  Only the Word of God is the firm foundation we can stand upon, but reflecting on faithful saints of the past who stood rock solid on that foundation can be a useful tool in helping us gird up the loins of our minds. Women are swamped with lies and half-truths just as much in our day as ever before.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, 2 Tim. 3:1-6a

Often the ones who creep into our households and capture us in our weakness don’t have to sneak in with any craftiness or subtlety.  We invite them in gladly, reading their books and blogs and eagerly give them a voice to shape our thinking and the choices we make.

We must study the Word of God, saturate our minds with it and listen to it preached and taught among other Believers. But reading Christian history is also an excellent way to keep our minds renewed. So here are ten women you might want your daughter to meet before she reaches adulthood. Women she can read about to be challenged, encouraged and look to as examples of God’s grace and mercy.

These are in no particular order and these women come from different points in history.  And like us, they also come from different conditions of life and social positions.  Some served God in extraordinary ways or persevered under trials beyond what many of us can imagine.  Others served God quietly, in ordinary ways, as faithful wives and mothers who impacted their children for Christ so powerfully, that we in the 21st century still feel the tremors today.

I intentionally chose people in diverse seasons of womanhood as well: children, “teens,” mothers, singles, grandmothers and widows.

You can read about the ten women in my post at Raising Homemakers. Join me there!
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

When You're At Home With Lots of Littles {Home Management Tips}

I've had a couple of comments lately from ladies asking if I would give some specific tips on managing the house and keeping some order when you have only Littles at home. I don't write posts like this very often for a few reasons:

  •  It's not my strength.  I'm living proof that large family moms aren't organizational ninjas.  I pretty much have learned what I know because of a survival instinct and even though I think I may hold the world's record for the fastest diaper changer, I am still working on a lot of areas.

  • It has all been said.  By women who are organizational ninjas. Someone needs to revive the 4 Moms, 35 Kids team and let the professionals handle this. (Kim?  Kim?  Where are you, Kim?)

  •  Most importantly, there are so many different ways a home can be managed.  And the "how" of it is so much less important than just "doing" of it. What works for me may not work for you.  There is not one right way of doing it.  So many variables affect how the home gets taken care of. (Read: How to Keep a Beautiful Home)

Nevertheless I am willing to put myself out there and share how I do some housekeeping things, and especially reflect back to the time before we had five adults who lived here (which, by the way, I miss so much).  Back to the day where it was just me and a bunch of little people.

1.)  Determine your priorities for this season and stick with them. 

There is very little "margin" in life for extras in this season.  Be self-disciplined to stick with your priorities.  My top priorities in cleaning the house are:

Kitchen--keeping garbage taken out, dishes done after each meal or at least twice daily.
Laundry--keeping everyone in clean clothes.
Bathroom--sinks, counters, tub, potty at least weekly.

When I had only small kids the other things didn't get done as often as I would have liked (the vacuuming, the mopping, dusting...much less the deep cleaning of the refrigerator, keeping closets organized, etc.) It didn't stop me from trying to get to those things, and sometimes I did get to them. But they just didn't happen as often as I would have liked back then. The priorities of basic kitchen clean-up, the bathroom and laundry were a full-time job because often the little boogers are un-doing things as fast as you are "doing" :) 

Life is much different now.  We can have our entire house "company ready" in less than an hour because so many hands are working at once. It is a great blessing.  But only because...

2.) Teach the Kids to Work

This is not mean, this is healthy. Up until a few years ago, only a dummy would have questioned it.  Non-working children do not grow to be working adults. Just because some people require more of their children than they should, does not mean we throw baby out with bathwater.  (Read: Age-Appropriate Chore Lists for Children and Ten Ways to Show Respect to Your Child).

Teaching kids to do chores takes more time than if you just do the jobs alone, but it will pay many spiritual dividends in the future, and will be a great blessing to you later on in the upkeep of the home.

3.) Naptime and Working While They Are Sleeping

One habit that I instilled in my first child, and everyone since then is naptime.  Also known as Golden Hour.  Our house shuts down every day from 1:30 until 3.  Non-nappers know that this is the time that they quietly read in their rooms.  Drawing on your bed is also allowed.

This golden hour (and a half) has many benefits besides letting Mama get work done quickly and without interruptions.  It also trains the kids to have a time of silence. To be comfortable with silence in such a loud, distracting culture is valuable.  It also gives them a little breathing room from each other if they're having a hard time getting along. 

I used to get most of the basic housework done while the kids were sleeping, whether it be late at night or waking before they got up, or at naptime. Naptime has always been a friend to me, whether I use it to clean or read or do something I enjoy. In the past I have also used naptime to work with a child who needs extra help with a math concept, a time of reading aloud to just my older daughters, etc.

4. Zones, Hot spots and Designated Days of Cleaning

One thing that worked well when I had only littles was zone cleaning.  I divided the house into zones and focused on one zone each day. Whatever tidying or cleaning I could squeeze into the "free" moments of the day was done on whichever zone was designated for that day. I think that idea came from the Duggar book.  She had some helpful management tips in that book.

At other times I committed 15 minutes per day to a "hot spot" or overwhelming task that was really bothering me.  Say, a big one like cleaning the interior of your cabinets.  Devoting 15 minutes each day will get that done after several days even if you could never devote hours to a task like that.

In her book Large Family Logistics (which is for any size family, IMO), Kim Brenneman gave the advice to devoting one day each week to one big task, like laundry.  And this too is a great idea.  Do all laundry on Monday, for example.  Do all dusting on Tuesday.  Do all the vacuuming on Wednesday.  You get the idea. But when you have all littles it might be more like, "Do all the dusting you can get to on Tuesday."

When there are you and only Littles, it is important to just keep making some progress on the housework and chores even if things are not as squeaky clean as you would like. Getting it all done is a myth.  No one can get it all done (whatever it is).  This doesn't mean we don't keep trying and just resign ourselves to live in filth. We just persevere, taking baby steps through certain seasons, but steps nonetheless.

5.) Simplify and Running Errands

 Combine as much work as you can. Learn to see jobs that can kill two birds with one stone.

 Don't wash every piece of laundry. If it isn't dirty or (cough) dirty enough, don't wash it.

Make simple meals.  Healthy meals often take more planning and time, but breakfasts and lunches for you and the children can at least be simple and healthy.  (Cheese and fruit, anyone?) Or if whole foods are not at the top of your list, frozen pizza never hurt nobody.

Simplify life by not committing to a lot of outside activities or elaborate home projects.  And don't feel badly about it.  When your kids are little is the only time you have to work on areas of obedience that lay the foundation for the rest of their lives.  Make the best use of your time and right now that means staying home a lot and adopting a slow pace of life for awhile.

Speaking of running errands or taking older kids to music lessons, etc....when my kids were all small I did all the errands I needed to do on one day and my husband did the rest.  We took a potty seat with us in the van.  Actually we still take the potty chair. I just wish I could get the teenagers to quit using it.  (I'm kidding!!!).  We did errands in the morning and tried to get home before nap time.  It isn't fair to take hungry and tired kids to town and expect them to act like angels. 

Wear the baby if you have lots of littles and need your hands free.  My favorite is the Ergo baby carrier. I've tried several and always go back to that one.  Also a double stroller is worth it's weight in gold.  There are so many baby items that are unnecessary....a double stroller is not one of them.  I have been through at least 5 over the years.  I buy them at Thrift stores in great condition for less than $30.

Take snacks on errand day.  A bag of cheerios can buy you some valuable time for kids who are seconds away from a meltdown in the car seat.

Good preparation is key no matter where you are going, whether it is errands, the park or church.  It takes for-EH-ver to get out the door if you have to hunt for everyone's shoes.  If all you do is find everyone's shoes beforehand, you'll be ahead.  But the more preparation, the better.  No matter where it is, simply going anywhere takes a lot of work. (It still takes a lot of work for us to move our big herd.)  Plan ahead.

Lastly, don't focus so much on the work that you have that you don't enjoy having Littles. I wish I had enjoyed it more.  I still have Silas, Shiloh, Serenity and Selah as my Littles, but I will never again have Shelbi, Savannah and Seth at that age.  This short season will be gone before you know it and if you aren't careful you will spend your (very short) time wishing for the day they are big enough to help.  You will want back the time when it was so much work to go somewhere or have a less than sparkly house. Don't grow weary in well-doing, Mamas.

When Mama's To Do List is Too Long
Babies Grow Up
When You Want to Know How to Get it All Done

 A busy mom's friend:  Lilla Rose
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Monday, March 9, 2015

Grace Millionaires

Like you I struggle with moments of discouragement that are rooted in fear, worry or doubt in God's goodness. Because of these sins temptations come to reluctantly and maybe even grudgingly sow the seeds of kindness and faithfulness in my home and family.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
2 Cor. 9:6-8

God loves a cheerful giver. And because I am not always a cheerful giver, I especially rejoice in the next verse.  That God is able to make all grace abound to me in all things at all times.

Grace abounding when the day isn't going according to plan.

Grace abounding when the almost-spring grumpies have invaded the school-room.

Grace when we feel rejected by a friend.

Grace when our health is poor.

Grace during morning sickness or the final days of pregnancy

Grace when we think there isn't a single thing we have done right for our family in the last year.

Grace when we don't see growth in our children's' lives.

Grace when the pantry is bare.

Grace when you feel like giving up on....well, everything.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Susannah Spurgeon made some remarks about this verse:

"What a treasure trove is here for poverty-stricken souls!  If our faith were but strong and eager enough to gather up the riches stored in this chest of blessing, what millionaires in grace we might become! 'But the chest is fast locked,' you say. 'How can we grasp what we cannot see?' True, yet faith is the key that not only unlocks these treasures but also gives us the right to claim them as our own and use them to the constant enrichment of our daily life."

I don't know about you but when I read portions of scripture like this one I wonder at amazement how I can have such moments of spiritual poverty.  I can read here that God is able to supply all my needs, having all sufficiency in all things at all times. And yet why don't I joyfully act upon this great inheritance, as I set about the ministry work he has given me to do as a wife, mom and homemaker?

Why is it like this?

Lack of faith. Weakness, doubting and a loosey-goosey mind that needs to have it's loins girded up.

Think how wealthy we could all be if we only believed God, taking Him at His Word? What magnificent meaning is repeated in that  little word "all" that Paul persistently used in verse 8. 

I think of the saints of old, the early Church, the heroes of our Christian history, missionary martyrs whose minds were girded up and they marched boldly and with great faith into the Promised Land. What a spiritual dwarf I am in comparison! 

What could we---21st century women---be and do and suffer if we believed all grace abounded to us? 

We could serve and give cheerfully.  We could sow bountifully and with great humility consider everyone else better than ourselves. When God gave the increase (reaping bountifully) we would know it was by this same grace.

We could live our short lives here on earth like grace millionaires instead of grace paupers.


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