Thank you everyone for your messages and prayers. I really did plan to keep things updated, because I know several of you were asking and praying for us during the pregnancy. Little Lucy is doing very well, here at 1 month old. It's always hard to believe how fast time goes by, and it seems that time is rapidly coming to mean virtually nothing anymore. My 13 year old is taking care of me by taking care of Lucy right now, explaining to her how much she is going to grow and that life is "not that much of a misery", since Lucy has been a bit fussy this evening. My 11 yo boy and 9 yo girl have just prepared and eaten their own dinners. I'm exhausted, but happy, and looking forward to John and oldest 14 yo brother to return from FC lectures tomorrow. John was able to stay over the weekend and speak at the Clermont church, filling them in on what's happening here in Toronto, as they help us out financially.
We have been blessed this past month, not only with a healthy baby girl and good health for the rest of us, but with lots of love and notes and prayers and gifts from friends and family. We had 'nothing' for the baby, and now are 'all set' for a good while. (I always think of poor Pollyanna having to get clothes and crutches from the 'Missionary barrels' and consider how blessed we really are.) So thank you all for keeping in touch and sending notes. Every little bit of encouragement helps - and pile them all together and it's really good. Think that's why God made so many of us?
I do hope you all are doing well and receiving encouragement where you are.
Love from the busy little house in Toronto,
I don't check in as much, and I haven't written anything longer than a facebook entry in ... ages. But I am here. This is me: 42 year old mom of 5, with the youngest being 2 weeks old and the other 4 between 14 and 9. Preacher's wife, always a Bible class teacher, home instructor and guidance counselor. Not doing any of the jobs as well as I would like, but still going.
Glad to see that there is a good community of Friends here on Pleo still. Glad the conversations are not redundant repetitions of pleonasm (by definition) and are instead encouraging, sharing and loving. Hoping you are all well.
We are. :)
Praise to GOD for his indescribable gifts.
Thank you, everyone, for asking how we're doing. The baby and I are both doing fine. :)
Here is the outline that I used on Saturday.
Simplicity in Serving at Home
Intro. -- Proverbs 31 -“Who can find?” How can we do it?
“You Just Do It.”
Nov.19, 1997, the McCaughey septuplets were born - on Deanna’s birthday. How could she do it? How would she do it? Over the next year, and on every birthday for the next many years, magazines reported how she did it. Schedules, cubbies for each child, matching clothes, help from friends and neighbors, and regular date nights for Mom and Dad.
What about the Duggar family with their 19 children, “and counting”? Children who are also educated at home! How do they do it? (See attachment)
As for me, if you had told me back in my younger days when I knew that if I had 2 children, that would be enough, that I would have 4 children -- and then when they were all about to be teenagers and preteens I would have another one! -- I would not have believed you. How would I do it? I also am aware, because of several stories that I have heard over the years, that I am not the only one who, when I found out I would have a 4th child, I cried, and I prayed to God, “How can I do it?”
Since the children have grown up though, I have answered the question that I have been asked several times: “How do you do it?” I say simply: “You just do it.” With prayer; help.
We don’t do it the way that others do it. We don’t do it the way our mother or mother in law or aunties did it. I’m sure we don’t do it the way their mothers’ generation did it, with even more children and more chores. But we cannot stress each night about “how I would do it” tomorrow, or how I did or didn’t do it yesterday; nor can we simply give up. Jesus taught about the flowers, the birds - How do they do it? That leads us to the whole point of the matter: In all of the busy-ness of life, “Seek ye first the kingdom of GOD and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
I. Simplicity in Serving
A. “GOD first, Family Second, Self Third”
Remember the two greatest commandments: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and mind,” and “Love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two hang all the rest of the law and the prophets’ teachings. Matthew 22:33-40
It’s been said that all we need is a Bible and a library card. Do we need a whole library in our house to study daily to figure out how to put the needs of our God and one another before ourselves? We have the Bible, and we have our Sisters in Christ.
II. “Keep In Simple, Sister.”
Don’t be ‘simplistic’, which indicates oversimplification. This is actually a false simplicity which ignores the complicating factors (of which there can be many).
Simplicity seeks to reduce - not ignore - the unnecessary complexities and provide clarity of purpose.
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“I’ve never lost my grasp on the importance of simplicity (though living simply remains a day-to-day challenge). Simplicity frees one to make any range of choices and pursue any range of possibilities. And such freedom is hindered by complexities like financial demands, time constraints, and the baggage of material belongings. By consciously seeking simplicity in life, one places oneself in a condition of gratitude. And gratitude, by instilling an awareness of one’s blessings, clarifies one’s vision and helps one establish goals.” -Thoureau
III. Purpose - Seek First His Kingdom
A. Be Single Minded -- God Is One -- Think Clearly
God Is One - and that is simplicity in complexity. - “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One God. And thou shall love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart, soul, mind and strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
1 John 5:7 -- For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
James 4:8 -- Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (See Rom 7:21-25 - wretched)
“We love people, not things.” -- Matthew 6:24-25 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
B. God is in Control -- Be Still -- Let Go and Let God
Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Psalm 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Mark 4:39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
C. “A Place for Everything, and Everything In Its Place.” -- God Is the God of Order
“All things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” . . . Jesus “is the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” Col 1: 16-17
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” ... “But all things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
... He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11
D. We, too, must be single minded, still, and orderly - How?
“Failures don't plan to fail; they fail to plan”
1. Girls on a date - if you don’t plan ahead how far you will go . . / fresh fruit - plan to use it or you lose it
2. We don’t have to have each moment planned - shouldn’t! “Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:15
“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” Proverb 31:16
3. Daniel 1:8 -- “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
4. Ruth 1:16-18 But Ruth said:
“ Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried.
The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”
When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.”
5. The new church - Acts 11:22-23: “they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord”
6. 2 Corinthians 9:7 -- “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
7. Luke 14:25-33 - Jesus: “Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
IV. Simplicity at Home - Sound Doctrine from Titus 2
Sound Doctrine - a healthy lifestyle, not a diet program
A. Older Women: “be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine”
“Teach what is good” - eliminates a lot
B. Younger Women: “love your husband and children”
“Be self-controlled and pure” - purity = single-mindedness; self-control = no overindulgence
“Homemakers” - whatever you do with your house, make it a home
“Kind” - scriptures about kindness, goodness (“You catch more flies with honey”)
“Subject to their own husbands” - 1 Peter 3:1-2 “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
V. Simplicity at Home - Good Advice (for time, finances, and other stuff)
A. “Write it Down” -- A written goal brings clarity and focus. It gives you a direction. You reaffirm what your goals are. You remind yourself to focus. When you don’t occupy your mind with having to remember every little thing – like how much milk to get – you become less stressed and it becomes easier to think clearly.
To Do list; a calendar; a telephone/address source list; a simple filing system
“Don’t Pile It; File It.”
Helps out children too - pictures for little ones
Warning - everyone will have their own style/structure - read from “Simplicity in Homeschooling” page 67-68
B. Four Laws of Simplicity - from somewhere online - For Stuff -
Collect everything in one place. from collections, to kitchenware, to clothing, to habits:
Choose the essential. (Is it useful? Is it beautiful?)
Eliminate the rest. (Put away - give away - throw away)
Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely. (“Don’t put it down; put it away.”)
This simple method can be applied to every area of your life. My suggestion is to focus on one area at a time, apply the method, and then move to the next area. So, if you just wanted to simplify a couple areas of your life, you could focus on one per week, but if you wanted to simplify your entire life, I’d do one area every couple of days until you’re done. (Use overhead outline illustration.)
C. Time - You can do anything in 15 minutes” “There’s no time like the present.”
“Creative Home Organizer” by Emilie Barnes - Do things in small blocks of time p 185
“Simplify Your Life” by Marcia Ramsland - Ten Timesaving Habits p 37
D. “Be flexible” - Don’t set your affections on ideas or plans that could be changed by God or others! James 4:15 again; Proverbs 16:9
E. “It doesn’t have to be perfect” -- “The world is not looking for perfect people that live in perfect homes with perfect marriages and perfect children. What the world is looking for is someone to show them what genuine God-inspired love looks like.” - Sharon Jaynes
F. “Live Faithfully” - Keep it up - PUSH (Project - You - System - Habit)
They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. Jeremiah 32:38-39 (NIV)
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42
Thank you all for your thoughts and notes. It's always good to know you're not alone. :)
I'm not feeling as "sick" but it still comes and goes. I'm also pushing myself a little more during the day, so at night is usually when the "sick" feeling and exhaustion really sets in. We stayed out late last night for Canada Day fireworks, and I slept in today. Looking forward to "nesting" kicking in, and I hope it does kick in. I stopped drinking coffee from the very beginning of this one - aversion - and hoping that I can keep up with that afterward too. I've been wanting to quit for a long time, and this certainly helps.
My sister, Nancy Hart, is here with my nephew, Will, from Florida for a couple of weeks. We're showing them the sights around Toronto, and enjoying the nice, cool weather. We will be heading over to John's parents', in the Niagara area, on Saturday, to celebrate Jack Maddocks' 80th birthday. (!)
Thankful for family, for good roads and somewhat affordable gas, for dishwashers, for tents in the backyard on cool nights, for summer breeze, for Toronto's many city parks, for trees, for long distance phone plans, and even old hard wood floors that squeak. So glad that God keeps us in memory of good things and seeing us through past troubles.
May you be able to count your many blessings today.
My reason for the research below is because of the surprise of a new baby ourselves, by next January. I've just turned 42, and I feel very tired. I hadn't considered starting over again with a baby, and it has come as a shock to the system as well as a changer of plans for how I'm teaching the kids now. When our first baby, years ago, 'passed on' at 5 days old (with a chromosomal problem), I was amazed at the number of folks who came forward to share their own experiences with loss of a child due to birth defects or miscarriage. Somehow not being alone in what we were going through helped.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
And again, people are 'coming out of the woodwork' to share knowledge of others who had children when they were over 40. Problem is, this time, I've only heard from a couple of people who have actually done it themselves - but it has been more encouraging to me to see someone who has actually been there than to hear the scores of stories about grandmas and distant relatives who did it. I guess because I knew of people who had done it already myself, but it has been a different reaction really knowing someone who has, and is, doing it. I still feel overwhelmed, because now that I've been rearing up kids for this many years, I know what to expect this time. The not knowing before kind of spared me some of the "oh, I'd better plan for this or that now" thoughts that spin through my head now.
** I think that the difference in feeling between knowing about people who have been there, and actually knowing the people who have been there, is similar to the difference between knowing about God and actually getting to know God. You can know about the church, or you can know the people who are your church family, as we relate to God our Father and one another. You can know about rules and laws and even have them memorized, or you can really know personally the good and beneficial things about following rules and laws and conventions. You can read about people with cancer, or heart trouble, or ailing parents, or sick kids, or living in poverty, and you can feel all kinds of sad, but when you meet someone who is living through, your heart changes.... if you let it. You can know about sin, and people can explain to you all about forgiveness and repentance until you can quote verse after verse ...about it. But it takes really knowing, really believing that something, or Some One, is real to soften your heart. It's happened to me before, those "a-ha!" moments when something I'd heard for many years actually became real.
And now being one of those parents who has (or in my case, will have) a 9 year gap between babies is becoming a reality for me. Oh, I know it happens - it happened to my own grandmother, a long time ago. But I feel like I'm on my own here. And - absolutely no disrespect meant to anyone!!! - I'm just feeling more tired than everyone else seems to be or have been. And I know God will help us through - He always has. I would have never thought I would be rearing up 4 children and living in a super sized city with few Christians around me, but here I am. And we're doing well!
So why am I distraught? I'm not worried - I know God is right here. I think it must be just pure selfishness on my part: I really don't want to go through it all again right now. I suppose I never was one of those girls that always wanted to grow up and have tons of babies - and I am SO GLAD that my daughters are, and are preparing their minds for it. There are times when I just wish I could move back into a tiny half-dorm room with a full course load and study for tests and do research reports all day. It is SUCH a good thing that I became a follower of Christ's teachings and I have learned to put others before myself!
Anyway, I DO thank you all for your thoughts - even the ones about other people, though I complained earlier. I know it was meant as encouragement and even as lessons taught against the negative thoughts about older parenting. And I take each thought as such. But I shared all this to let you all know that we need prayers. I can't do this alone.