Posts tagged My Life

Quiverfull or Less

Nineteen! That’s how many children the Duggars currently have.

I love watching 19 Kids and Counting, when I get a chance. I love seeing the family dynamics, and getting new ideas on managing the home of a large family. Recently the Duggars announced that they are open to having a 20th child in spite of all they went through with the youngest Duggar, Josie. You see, the Duggar family is part of a mindset called Quiverfull. The belief (and it is back by scriptural interpretation) is that children are a blessing from God. To restrict by use of birth control of any form or sterilization would be to 1) not trust God or 2) withhold the blessings God has for them.

You might think that we at JoKars Wild are Quiverfull minded, but we are not. Yes, we have a large family. Yes, we trust God. Yes, we believe that children are a blessing from God. But there seems to be one missing ingredient to the Quiverfull mindset.

Recently a woman left a comment on one of my posts that said, “Life is already full of inevitable pain and suffering, why would you bring kids in this world, only to have them go through that too?! I can’t believe how selfish people are by having a disgraceful amount of kids. Even one is a disgrace amount!!”

As with the Duggars, I agree on some level. Yes, this life is full of pain and suffering. Why create another being to have to deal with sorrow, regrets, hatred, bitterness, brokenness? There are timess when I have worried for my children. Will we have enough food to last the month? If food prices keep going up, will I be able to afford nutritious food to feed them? Will we continue to have a place to live? As it gets colder, how will I provide jackets and boots? The answer to all those questions and the missing ingredient comes down to one thing.

A relationship.

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Killing the Grouchy Old Woman

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I watched a movie on Thursday morning with my two eldest daughters called “How to Make an American Quilt”. One of the characters in the movie has become very cynical and bitter…a grouchy old woman. The story tells of how she became this way. Once she    was a wonderful, beautiful diver, but, after marrying, the obligations of being a mom brought her down and she gave up diving. She gave up her life for her husband and kids. Eventually she found herself alone and bitter because those around her didn’t like what she had become. The lively diver had disappeared.

I can relate so much to this. In our culture often times the opposite happens, a woman pursues so much of her own interests and life that there is no room for those closest to her. We have become a very self-seeking culture.

In my own personal quest to not ever forsake my kids and husband, I have pushed aside my own desires and abilities. I worry that I won’t give the kids what they need. I worry I won’t be a good wife. I worry that I will mess things up. Inside though, I am saddened about the things I miss out on. I become a bitter martyr. I become the grouchy, old woman.

There has to be a balance. It can’t be all one way or the other. A woman must nurture her giftings and still sacrifice her life for her children and family. A woman must sacrifice through her gifts and talents. The greatest gift I have ever received is being a mom. It is through my gifts and talents that I give life to my family. The two must be one and the same and yet separate.

I see it when I play my guitar and my kids sing and dance around me. I see it when I take them hiking and they delight in running and exploring. I see it as they try to “write” their own songs or dance like mommy. What a joy…for me and for them. Is it perfect? No, but it is fun!…we have fun…they have fun! We are living life together!

I find myself humbled and in awe of the fact that God can use my gifts as a way to become closer to my children. I have wrestled with how I am to fit everything into my day; wrestled with the guilt of me versus them. God showed me that it is possible to meet all my needs and theirs too. I realized it is about us. I really don’t know how to explain it, but I just went with the flow. I let go. I let go and let God.

I need to stop sweating the small stuff.

What passion has God placed in your heart that you have cast aside? In what way can you share this passion with your children and husband? Are you including your family into your passions?

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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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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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A Pit Stop

I know, I know…I haven’t written a post for far too long. Honestly, I am unsure what to write about. I feel like a hypocrite in some ways. I mean, here I blogged about traveling and living in an RV full-time and then the next thing you know…BAM…we are living in a house and sending the kids to public school for the first time EVER! I am in shock too.

And instead of traveling and witnessing and getting to know people, I am home every day, all day. I’m clipping coupons, dusting furniture, and doing yard work. I mean this is nothing even to write home about let alone publish for the world to read.

I don’t mind doing these activities, but it just wasn’t what I thought we would be doing. Who knew that Michaela would take FIVE classes at the local high school? Who knew Josiah would join the football team and take some awesome outdoor science classes at the same school? Who knew there was so much work to be done for Joe’s dad? (OK, we did know that…LOL)

Now, don’t think by my cheery nature of writing that every thing is coming up roses. No, hardly. But I don’t like to write about the bad stuff. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me or even to try to fix things. It is just the way things are. I am not like some Americans…looking for a hand out. No, I want to work for what I deserve. And I hope what I deserve is given to me.

It pains me greatly not to be living in our RV. I appreciate our “house”, but it isn’t “my home”. Also, we had hoped to build family ties and togetherness, but most of the time we are quite divided. Joe, Josiah and Michaela are gone while I and the other 6 kids are at home. And since I don’t have a vehicle big enough to carry 7 people, we are rather stuck at home.

I also had dreams of building relationships with other people, but I only have contact with one other person on a daily basis…my next door neighbor (who is a very nice lady by the way).

I had also hoped to be seeing and exploring places as a family. While we have gone to a couple of places, that has become very hard since we have no income. A daily use permit in Oregon costs us $10 a day. That can add up fast. We could get an annual permit but just can’t afford the extra amount. Also, out-of-state licenses for fishing are exorbitant. So we stay at our house.

But all is not lost. I have used my vast amounts of time with the little kids to focus on their schooling. Elijah and Azariah are showing great progress in their reading abilities. Also, Kira is able to advance in her math studies. This has been very beneficial to them.

I have also finally cleaned up the trailer and am able to use it on a daily basis. Some of the kids are also sleeping in there on occasion. The water line, that we discovered was broken shortly after arriving here, still has not been fixed, but I hope that it will be as soon as funds are available.

But isn’t this what this blog is about…joining JoKars Wild on our journey. Sometimes the journey takes a pit stop, but it is still a part of the journey. I’m not writing this for you to feel sorry for me, but because I have committed to having you, the reader, as a part of my life, a part of all our lives. I want to encourage you when life forces you into a pit stop. No matter what, God is still with you and God is still with me. Jesus died on the cross so that I might live and live life to the full…even  if that “full” isn’t exactly what I had imagined…;)

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