Archive for Family

Drive Gone Bad (Then Re-routed!)

I was driving around town with my husband. I was really excited about this morning. For weeks, my husband has been gone EVERY day. But today the kids didn’t have school and we were able to go and get out for a little bit. Now Joe gets out every day, but I don’t. I am home EVERY day. So I was very excited to just get out and explore and talk with each other.

But then my husband got some bad news early into our adventure, and this put him in a bad mood. I challenged him and said, “Are you going to be in a bad mood all day?” (Most people when asked this would say, “No, but since you put it that way, YES!”)

No response.

Wives listen up! Here is how my thought process went…

Well, then I will just have to have fun with out you. I don’t need you. I can go out by myself. I can have a life with out you. I don’t need you to make me happy.

I was rather hurt that here we finally had some time together and he was grumbling about how awful his life was. For women this translates, “…how awful my life with you is…”

This little conversation went on for a couple of minutes in my head.

Oh the things I could do…without you.

Then I had a realization…

This is how people end up divorced.

  • “We grew apart.”
  • “We have nothing in common.”
  • “We’re not in love anymore.”

I reigned in my pity party. This isn’t about me. My husband needs my support. He just got some terrible news. He has every right to be upset. There will be other days to go out and explore and have fun. Be supportive. It isn’t about me. And that is what love is about…

Love is not self seeking.

After a little bit, his smile came back, and we had a nice time out. Thank goodness I didn’t listen to that little voice.

What about you? Do you pull away from your spouse because you think you’re not important or needed? Do you plan ways to “get away”? Or maybe your trying to get even. What way can your put your needs aside and be there for your husband or wife? Look up 1 Corinthians 13:4. Are you loving your spouse?

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Baby Runner on Board

A friend of mine recently ran her first marathon and blogged about it. After reading her incredible story, I saw a link called “Run Like a Mother” which had a post about a mom of 12 who was training for her first marathon. As I read about this mom with 3 biological kids and 9 adopted children, there is one thing she said that greatly inspired me.

“running is definitely my “me time.” There’s no kids, no phone, no emails, no laundry, no dishes, and no one that can need me to do anything. It’s a beautiful thing!”

Since having Nehemiah, I have found it very difficult to exercise. Sometimes, as I try to do Pilates, the kids come and try to sit on me or just ask questions. Nehemiah already gets up very early and I am not willing to get up earlier. Also, he is a light sleeper, so he would wake up. I have been doing Wii Active, but I was still frequently interrupted by the kids or had the dull roar of them in the background.

So reading this motivated me to do something I had thought about doing for a long time…start running.

I am only taking baby steps. So far I am up to running 2 blocks…pitiful, I know, but it is a start.

After all if a mom of 12 kids under 14 can do it, then a mom with 8 kids under 16 can do it too!

What about you? Is there something you’ve been thinking of doing and just wasn’t sure if you could? Start today. Take baby steps.

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Where You Lead

I was talking with someone the other day about my posts on adoption. She gave me some advice about adoption. She told me how you should never adopt a child older than your youngest child. It is detrimental to the birth order. Statistics have shown this to be damaging to children.

I kind of stared at her blankly.

While I agree that this is true, I don’t know that it pertains to our situation.

If you are trying to increase your family size and add children into your family, I agree…don’t adopt children into your family older than your youngest.

If your son’s best friend is in serious need of a loving home environment, please do not inform him, “Sorry, you are older than our youngest child, so you need to live in your harmful home or on the streets.”

If God has put a child in your life and He has told you, “Adopt this child as your own.” Do not tell that child, “Sorry your too old.”

I need to make something perfectly clear…

We are not seeking to adopt. We are only keeping our hearts open to having other people’s children in our daily lives. This may mean feeding a neighbor child pancakes for dinner.

Or cheering for a football team that we don’t have any children on. Or maybe someday, it might mean having a child into our home who doesn’t have a safe place to sleep. I really don’t know.

All I know is that we are saying to God, “Where you lead us, Lord, we will follow.”

What paths do you not follow because studies have shown, or statistics say, or your friend says that it is not wise? What ways have you followed God in spite of what society would have you do?

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Other People’s Children

One thing I strive for in my posts is transparency. My hope is that our lives will be an open book. So I need to make a confession.

I don’t always like other people’s kids.

Often times people tell me I must really love children to have so many…Well, I love children, but I don’t really like all children. Actually, I don’t always even like my own children.

I just don’t have the patience to put up with a bunch of crap. I actually consider this character flaw to be to my advantage as a mom. But it is not an advantage when dealing with other people’s children. I can’t scream at them, spank them, or give them a time out (all of which I have done to my own children). I can’t even just tell them to shut up.

Shortly after moving into our new home, a neighbor girl was coming into our house every now and then to tell me of some wrong doing that my children had done to her. After about the fifth time, I was quite exasperated and said to her, “You’r right! Since my children aren’t being very nice, I think that it would be best that they stop playing with YOU!” And I had them all come inside.

Needless to say, she ran home crying.

Yep, I am THAT evil mom.

So how does a woman who doesn’t like other people’s children welcome them into her home?

Only through God.

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Adoption on My Mind

When I was a little girl, my family was friends (and still is) with a family that had one biological child and three adopted children. My family was also a foster family. I have many, many foster siblings that I have long lost touch with. I also have an adopted sister, who is no longer a part of my immediate family, but will always be very near and dear to my heart.

I also had a fascination with stories of large families…like “Cheaper By the Dozen”, “Acres of Hope”, and other autobiographies of adopted families. As I entered into marriage, both my husband and I had hoped to have a large family mostly through adoption.

But as I began having children and realized that I was extremely fertile, adoption always seemed like a distant option. The time was never right. We didn’t have the money. We didn’t have enough room. Like they say, “God’s plans are not our plans.”

And you know what…the time is still not right, and we still don’t have the money or room, but for whatever reason the desire is becoming stronger. It is no longer in the back of my mind. It is not just on my mind either. 

About 6 weeks ago, my husband texted me out of the blue and said, “I think we need to look into adoption.” How bizarre! We hadn’t talked about it for years. 

For Joe and I, we both have no desire to adopt internationally. We also don’t want to adopt an infant. Somehow I think that God would bring the right child to our family at the right time. I’m not seeking some private adoption agency. I’m not on some waiting list. But our hearts are open. And we are praying for income and a larger home for our family.

Will you join us in praying for God’s will? Will you pray that God will bring the right child(ren) to our family at the right time? Will you pray for added income for our family? Will you pray that we move to Prineville?

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A Dream

I was around 10 or 11 years old and a family with 8 children wanted to adopt me into their family. I was overjoyed as they were a very loving and close family.

Then many years passed.

I was now an adult at a banquet for my adopted parents. I sat next to my father. Someone spoke about how great it was that this family who had 8 biological children went on and adopted 4 more children. I turned to my father and realized how grateful I was to have been adopted into this family. A family who loved and accepted me as one of them. I began to weap with gratitude. I laid my head on his shoulder and wept and wept.

Then I woke up.

What do you think it means?

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A Vision

I was sitting watching a football game of my husband’s 6th grade team. I didn’t have a kid playing and only had Nehemiah with me. I had come simply to cheer on my husband and the team. It has been a rough season so far for them. They have only scored one touchdown and haven’t won any games.

As I sat watching, I welled up with compassion for those boys. They were looking rather defeated. I wanted to give them hugs and tell them to hang in there. Instead, I yelled and cheered as loud as I could.

And then I had a thought or maybe you might call it a vision…

What if our home was open to the neighborhood kids? What if instead of just loving on my 8 kids, I love on all their friends and friends’ friends? What if our home could be a safe house for kids that don’t have anywhere to go to come and get some food and hang out?

I prayed then that God would allow us to move to Prineville and make it so that this could happen.

But other things have transpired since then….

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The other day, I was at a football game for my oldest son, Josiah. Petra had brought a water bottle, and her older brother Elijah took a drink from it. Petra then went into a hissy fit. She stomped her foot and screamed. We were in the process of walking to the other side of the field with the game going on and me trying to keep everyone together. Although I told her to stop, she continued with her tirade. After getting all the kids settled, I had someone watch the other kids while I took Petra out to the truck.

Once in the truck, I told Petra how she had a choice. She could continue with her screaming and pouting and sit in the hot, stuffy truck with me, or she could put on a smile and go and cheer on her brother. I told her the choice was hers. After a minute, she chose to rejoin the human race and cheer on her brother.

This little incident makes me think of how God is with us. He gives us choices. When we make bad choices, there are negative consequences. When we make good choices, we have positive consequences. The problem is we, as a society, spend a lot of time taking away the negative consequences.

  • We overeat. Instead of having a stomach ache, we take some medicine or diet pills, or vomit.
  • We have sex when we aren’t ready for a family. We abort our babies.
  • We don’t spend time with our kids. Then we wonder why they don’t want to spend time with us in their teenage years. Oh, that’s right, that is what is expected from the American teen.
  • We eat crap, smoke, drink, and sit around watching TV, then expect someone else to pay for our exorbitant medical costs.

I could have scolded Elijah for taking a drink, or gone and gotten her more. I could have told her it was all going to be OK…console her. I would have if she had chosen to have a good attitude. But she made a bad choice. She put the drink above her relationship with her brother. She made everyone around her miserable because of her needs.

If we are to love others more than ourselves, then we must learn that there are consequences to our actions.

What choices have you made and tried to take away the away the consequences? For me, it is food. I overeat and then blame others for my problems. Tell me what choices you’ve made.

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It Takes Time to Learn to Read

I recently started Petra (5 1/2) on reading lessons.  I realize that she is still very young, but she has been very, very eager to learn to read.  I should have started with her a long time ago, but I have been so busy trying to teach my two boys to read that I have been delaying. 

This last Saturday, Azariah (7) came and asked me if I could start Petra on some reading lessons. She had asked him to ask me since I had kept saying “no” to her. She thought he might have better success. Well, it did the trick. I gave her her first reading lessons, and it was a smashing success.

With my boys, it has been another story. Elijah (9) has been very reluctant to learn to read. When I first introduced a reading lesson to him, it was like pulling out dandelions roots. So we stopped and waited. We did this numerous times.

With Azariah, he was a little more responsive, but has had a hard time pronouncing his “th” so this has made things more difficult. Also, it is hard to get him to focus on it for long.

So it has been a slow, long process to teach my boys to read, but finally they are starting to get it. I have kept telling myself and them, “It takes time to learn to read.”

I have been reluctant to let the younger ones “pass” the older ones when it comes to reading. I didn’t want anyone to feel threatened. But now that Elijah is only 7 lessons away from finishing “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”, I think the littlier ones should go for it.

So Petra is now full throttle on reading. She is absorbing it like a sponge and has quite an aptitude for reading. She sails through her lessons. It is such a delight to see a child getting it. And for once all three of them seem to be getting it.

This is one of my favorite things about homeschooling…that my kids can each go at their own pace. Not everyone learns to read at 5.

The above books can be purchased through JoKars General Store.

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A Bug…of the Stomach Variety

Oh, for those of you who so diligently follow this blog you may have wondered why the absence for a couple of days. I have been trying to hold myself accountable to writing three blogs a week…Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

A bug has invaded JoKars Wild…a 24+ hour stomach bug.

Someone made the comment to me the other day as to how we handle sickness with a family of 10. Well, the only answer I have for that is “by the grace of God.”

When the kids were younger, I honestly don’t ever remember being so sick I couldn’t care for them, or maybe Joe was around. Earlier this year, our family was hit very hard with the flu…myself included. But it was just high fevers and complete fatigue.

This time it has been the messy, but thankfully short lived. Kira got sick first on Thursday. Azariah was next on Saturday. Nehemiah quickly followed on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Hanna and Elijah were next. Then I took a turn on Monday. And rounding us out has been Joe and Josiah on Tuesday. As I write this, I have a feeling that Michaela will be sick tomorrow or this evening (Tuesday night). That leaves only Petra who has stayed relatively healthy.

Since Kira was sick first, by the time I got sick she was well and able to help care for the little kids. I really don’t know what I would have done without her. Joe, Josiah, and Michaela were gone while I was sick, so it would have been very difficult if I hadn’t had her help. Now that I am well, I can help care for the older ones.

This situation totally reminds me of how my God cares about the little details. He knew I would need help. He knew what we needed and when we needed it. Also…and this is going to sound bad (please, don’t feel sorry for us!)…we are a little low on food. Having so many people not wanting any food is helping us get through the end of the month. (Again, please don’t sound the alarms…we are OK! There are so many people who need it far more than we do!!! We have plenty…just not what the kids want, if you know what I mean…we are not starving!)

OK, I digressed. I just wanted to say how amazed I am that God cares about all the little details. I hope that you can see that in your own life. I hope you know how much He loves and wants to know you. Start a relationship with Him…now…today.

Additional Note: I had been trying to make sure and include a picture with each post, but for the sake of all of you, I chose not to this time. Your welcome. 🙂

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