Posts tagged kids

Tree Hunting

“Hey, it’s snowing outside!” said Azariah who has been concerned about snow levels for his 8th birthday next month.

“Where have you been?” Papa Joe asks him sarcastically.

It has been snowing steadily for the last half hour of our drive up into the Ochoco National Forest to get our Christmas tree. I am feeling quite comfortable in the passenger seat as Joe navigates through the snow with our 4 wheel-drive “Sir Bourbon“, which is what one of the kids dubbed our vehicle. The scenery is beautiful. The evergreen trees look as if they have been slathered with white frosting. The flakes coming down are huge. It is a beautiful sight, and I am thrilled to be able to travel in such a wonderful place. Although I have been blessed that most of my life I have been able to go to a u-cut Christmas tree farm, this is my first experience getting a tree from the forest.

In Oregon, for $5, you can buy a permit to go and harvest your own Christmas tree from the national forest. As long as you stick to a few simple rules, the forest is at your disposal. What a deal! The best Christmas tree lot in America and hundreds of trees to choose from…for only $5 and the price of gas!

As we wandered up the forestry road, it was quickly becoming clear that we shouldn’t drive too far up the hill. With each increase in elevation, the snow became deeper and deeper. We saw a wide clearing and decided to back in and park.

Side note: I am a very nervous passenger. I don’t like sliding, cars too close, trees too close, being towed, towing something, etc. If I can, I drop my head into my hands till it is over.

As Joe backed into the spot, the wheels started to spin. I ducked my head down. I didn’t think anything was wrong, but I didn’t want to look either. Next thing I knew though we were sliding a little downhill. I got out of the vehicle to “help direct” Joe, but really I just didn’t want to be in the sliding vehicle.

Another note: Don’t make comments on me being a bad mom and leaving the kids to go sliding down a hill. It was only a little ditch and a tree was blocking our sliding…poor tree. I really am a wimp.

Well, I am of little help in directing and sure enough, we slide into the tree. Thankfully, we have “rescuers” that live about 20 minutes away. Joe tells us we should all go out and explore and find our tree while he waits for his dad and uncle to come pull us out of the ditch.

Michaela offers to stay behind with Nehemiah while the rest of us head for the hills. We had forgotten to bring our camera, but here are a few shots I took with my phone.

Notice the small trees are few and far between.

The beginnings of a giant snowball…

The kids and I were having a wonderful time in the snow, but we still hadn’t found the right tree. The snow was starting to come down heavily, so we decided to head back to the Sir Bourbon. The tree might have to wait for another time.

Our rescuers soon showed up while Josiah was in search for the perfect tree. As the towing/pulling took place, I meandered around the clearing diverting my eyes from the vehicles. The little kids and Michaela had taken to the warmth of the vehicle. Josiah came and showed me a picture of a tree he found and told me to come and see.  Together with Kira and Elijah, we walked down a long hill and saw Josiah’s tree. It was beautiful, but I was unsure how we would get it up the hill and whether we would even be able to get a tree today. So off we trudged back to the Sir Bourbon. I was huffing and puffing by the time we got up there. I thought to myself, “Once up that hill is enough!”

They just about had the Sir Bourbon free after snapping a cable and the use of chains on both 4 wheel-drive vehicles. Joe’s uncle asked if we had found a tree. I told them how Josiah had found one but it was down a hill. He said how it would be a shame to come all the way out here and not get a tree. And, of course, I had to go back down the hill!

Thankfully I live with some strong men and children! With the help of Uncle Rick, Papa Joe, and Josiah, the kids got that eleven-foot tree back up the hill! I am still sore three days later from our little tree hunting experience. But it was worth it. This is the most beautiful Christmas tree ever!

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A Thousand Different Directions

The last week or so, I have felt pulled in a thousand different directions. I can’t help wonder if some of it is due to my renewed passion to read the Word, or my stepping out to pursue the desire of my heart…sharing my voice with others. Most definitely some of it is simply due to the fact that I am a mom of 8.

But it leads me to question what my priorities are. No one would question that my being a wife and mom is of the utmost priority, but what does that look like? Some have said that by my stepping out vocally that I am teaching my children to take risks, to follow God’s leading, to use my gifts for God. But I could also argue that I am being selfish and not spending enough time with my children, or that my practicing takes time away from them.

I also wonder about income. Is it wrong of me to be at home not making income when we so desperately need it? Some (including myself) believe that a woman can save her family money by simply being home to prepare meals and take care of the kids. But you can’t save money if you have no money to save. I could go and get a part-time job to help make some extra money. But what would have to be pushed aside…the dishes, my music, the kid’s schooling, this blog?

And how important is this blog? Does it have value? Yes, I have a few who read it on a regular basis, but is it worth it? Do I continue to do something that seems to have little fruit? Which is the more noble task…clean laundry or sharing my life with others who may or may not want to know of my life? Wouldn’t just a simple Facebook status update suffice?

How do I answer these questions? Do I get a part-time job? Do I continue with my blog? Do I pursue sharing my vocal talents? And what about the kids, the baby, the house? How will it all be taken care of?

I know of only one way to answer my questions? I take them to Jesus. I seek the Lord’s guidance. So far, all I know is, besides continuing to nurture the kids, I am pursuing sharing my voice, and, for now, I am continuing the blog. I am unsure of everything else. Thank God I have a God who will lead me!

What are your priorities? What does God want you to do with your time?

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My Mountain

The beautiful and majestic Mt. Hood looms not too far from my house. I see it quite often as I drive about Central Oregon. Seeing it gives me a sense of peace and strength. I like knowing that some of my family has climbed to the top of that mountain: my grandparents, my mom, my brother. I think it’s an amazing accomplishment. Someday I hope to join them in being able to say, “I climbed that mountain.”

Yet, there is another mountain begging me to climb it. This mountain stands before me looming, enticing, and threatening my very existence. I ask myself, “Do I have what it takes? Am I good enough? Would God see me through? Where would God lead me?”

Even as I write this, I am having an incredibly hard time telling you about my mountain, but I don’t think I can hide behind my fear anymore. No…I don’t think I should hide behind my fear anymore.

We all have our mountains. For one it might be starting a business, for another it might be writing a novel, and for another it might be leaving all the comforts she knows to go somewhere new. For me, it is singing and putting myself out there as a vocalist, putting myself out there for criticism, being vulnerable as a performer.

Writing a blog is easy. If I don’t like your comment, I can delete it. I don’t have to respond. I can live within my own little shell. I can tell you my opinions and then put my fingers in my ears…”La, La, La…I can’t hear you.” I don’t have to actually interact with you if I don’t want to.

This past week a theme kept recurring with our children. If you have an opportunity, seize it. Don’t make excuses. Give it everything you’ve got. First with one child, then another. Then it came and bit me in the butt as I was also asked that same question. “Why didn’t you respond to the opportunity? Why are you making excuses? Why are you hiding behind your children?” 

I have no answers but to say, I am wrong. I am sinning. I am not doing what God wants me to do. I’m the one sitting at the base of the mountain training others on how to climb while I sit in my chair doing nothing. I’m saying, “I’m not fit enough. I’m not strong enough. I have too much else to do.”

It is time I get off of my fat ass, and put one foot in front of the other and see just how far God wants me to go. Maybe I will only make it to the timberline, but at least I will be able to say, I tried my very best.

How about you? What is your mountain?

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Another Crazy Day with JoKars Wild

It is the wee hours of the morning, and we are so grateful that JoKars Wild Crazy 8 got to sleep in till 7:30 before waking the dead aka Daddy. I have a crazy day of running around planned while the older kids are off of school, but wanted to take a moment to share with you some blogs of note.

I previously shared with you a post from my eldest daughter. Since then, she has decided to come to the world of wordpress and share her thoughts as a teenager. I hope you will take the time to check out her new blog. She loves writing and gives insight to a world few are able to see.

I also want to share with you the blog of a new friend of mine. I am completely humbled by her writing. In one post, she shared about her son getting hurt at a football game (incidentally the team my husband coaches). But it isn’t some boring detail of a kid getting hurt. Here is an excerpt:

Where once I used to fly from the sidewalk to whisk my children out of harm’s way before a barreling car could shatter all our lives, I now find myself having to swallow hard that same instinct to fight when some 185-pound man-child with facial hair and an Adam’s apple wants to make mincemeat out of my babies on the gridiron.  I may be smiling on the outside and answering Dan Tooley’s “WE ARE!” with a hearty “CC!” but inside my heart is stretched to the limit and diving out-of-bounds somewhere behind the stadium in a desperate attempt to grasp the facemask of God so I can remind Him, in no uncertain terms, of how unequipped I am to navigate the minefield also known as a Mother’s heart.  And most Friday nights this leaves me feeling like I’m on a direct flight bound for crazy with a layover in berserk!
I mean, Wow. First off, I can really relate. But more importantly, she just says it so well! Please check out her blog, MooBee. It is awesome.
Most of the troopers are up and running (and crawling) now. Nehemiah has resumed his continual series of screams and squeels to get attention from me and the other 7 kids.
So off I go into the whirlwind that is my family. May you all have a blessed day!

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“The Good Kid”

I was reading my daughter’s blog and came across a post that I really wanted to share here. She has such insight into the teen/public school world.

Michaela Jo

The Good Kid

So i am what they call at school “a good kid”. Because i dont cuss, dont smoke weed and dont date. So as i’m walking to my classes and the boy next me is going. “I hate this f-ing school and all the f-ing teachers.” I am blasting “good kid” music through my headphones to drown out all this cussing. Then your walking down the halls and you see a girl pressed up against the wall with her boyfriend kissing her and you just want to scream at them. Or your friend walks up and is singing extremely loudly, and i dont mean like good loud but like obnocsious loud, and she’s like “Dude i am so high!” and your mouth is just hanging open.

And evidently getting high, making out in the hallway and cussing makes you feel good??? Whatever! Oh how i detest the kids at my high school. Dont get me wrong some of them are nice and kind but the majority of them are just losers.

Forgive me if i am being mean but this is the truth. Some of them have even been in jail before, not kidding. Just makes me want to cry. Well i will just keep on being “the good kid” and pray for those lost souls.

~Michaela Jo
I really don’t know what to do to help her. I don’t know whether to pull her or keep her there. Do you continue to subject your kids to this all for the sake of education? There has got to be a better way.

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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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