Saturday, May 23, 2009

High-Tech or Hands-On?

While shopping [one] day, I noticed hand-dipped chocolates, homegrown vegetables, hand-spun wool, homemade preserves, cottage-industry soaps—all at premium prices, since they were made with care, individually, by hand, at home. I reflected, too, on how "old-fashioned" doctors, famous for house calls and compassion, are remembered fondly as part of the "good old days" and praised for their one-on-one caring. I mused how our society honors unique, special, one-of-a-kind items and services.

Yet when it comes to maternity care, it seems the bigger and busier, the better: high-tech procedures, standardized treatment, massive patient loads, in-and-out, assembly-line-style facilities. We are urged to leave the clean peace and quiet of home and go, instead, to a large, centralized center and entrust ourselves to a system of detached and often distracted institutional workers whom we've never met and may never see again. I find it hard to believe that anyone would consider hospital care preferable, if they really thought about it.

High-tech or hands-on? The choice is not new. In many cases, of course, mechanical and technological advances have been just that: improvements. Other advances, as we all know too well, have resulted in lasting harm.

Judy Edmunds, excerpted from "A Grand Triumph," Midwifery Today Issue 37

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Track and Field Day

Grace competed in a Track and Field Day with our homeschool co-op last week. It was so fun! Here she is getting ready to run the 100 yd. dash.

And the soccer kick...

...and the standing broad jump...

second try...

Moses refused to go compete with his preschool class, so he followed along with Judah and me as we helped with Grace's group. Of course, he did want to race...


Moses being Moses

Soccer champ

Judah found a friend to play ball with him.

Moses wanted to help set up hurdles.

Grace's last event was the 400m race!

Halfway there!

A sprint for the finish!

She made it!!

Although she didn't place in any of her events, she did so well! It was a fun day for all, and we all napped hard that afternoon!

Baby Names

After reading a post on one of my favorite blogs about baby name fetishes, I realized that I, too, have this issue. (She listed "Judah" as one of her favorites - I read some of the comments and was surprised how many people either had a Judah or liked the name and where planning on using it!)

I came across a fun website called Nymbler, where you can plug in your favorite names, or the names of your already existing children, and it will generate a list of names that may also appeal to you. Fun!

I think maybe I'll have to write a book with lots of characters in it so I can use all my favorite names. Or maybe we'll have to get more pets that I can name. (Does anyone remember our dog Moses who we had before Matthias was born?)

Grace is actually writing a story right now about a family with 10 kids. She was telling Moses a bedtime story last night and it sparked her imagination, so she informed me today that she wants to get it published. So far she's about halfway done with the list of names and birthdays, which seems to be more fun than actually writing the story. I wonder where she gets it?

Well, because I have a husband who dislikes outlandish names, and because I'm not a perpetual baby factory, I'll never have a daughter named Zipporah or a son named Asa. But here are a couple of my favorites, anyway. (Excluded are our #1 choices for boy and girl. Those are secret.)











What are some of your favorite baby names?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Richard is keeping his job! Praise God for His provision!

We felt so blessed, relieved, thankful, and loved at the news that it hardly mattered when a golf ball flew across the street and shattered out the back windshield of our new van!

As Grace said, "Well, at least Papa still has a job!"

It's funny to think that we might have been really upset about the van, but here we are saying, in the words of Moses' favorite book, "could be worse!"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

God Always Does What is Good For Us

Please pray for us this coming Tuesday (May 19th) as Richard finds out whether or not he's getting laid off from his job.

We've been so blessed with this city job he got last summer! We've hardly been able to believe how wonderful it is! Richard works 8 hours a day and gets home at 3pm instead of working 9-12+ hours, plus lots of weekends. The work is physically easy yet mentally challenging, instead of being physically back-breaking and tedious. He comes home with energy and time to spend with his family instead of being bone-tired and needing to just eat and go to bed. The work is all year instead of seasonal, so we have steady year-round income. He enjoys the work, can work up to a higher pay grade and skill level, and works with a respectable group of men.

This job has changed life so much for us! Instead of Richard's work season being grueling, lonely, and difficult for all of us, it has become full of laughing, playing and time together as a family. Instead of having an off-season that means tightening of belts, uncertainty about income and insurance coverage, and too much spare time for Richard, life has continued much the same. We have felt extremely blessed this last year.

Not only is it discouraging to think of losing this job that Richard's already put so much time and learning into, and this lifestyle we've come to enjoy so much, it's frightening to know that finding another job is by no means assured with many cities on hiring freezes right now. I really don't want Richard to have to go back to a construction job. I want him to stay at this job for a long, long time.

At the same time, I know that God provided this job when we needed it, and Richard will keep it for exactly as long as we need it. Who knows, maybe God has an even better, cushier job waiting for Richard! He jokes that every time we've had another baby he's gotten a better job - a few more kids and he'll be making six figures! But all joking aside, one thing I do know is that we need not fear the future! God is FOR us. How amazing. Even if there isn't a cushy job around the corner, even if there is no job around the corner, we need not fear. I have this quote written in my Bible: "God is so for us that even in our suffering we have hope."

In one of my favorite sermons ("God Did Not Spare His Own Son"), Pastor John said this:
God is entirely for us, and never against us. None of our sicknesses is a judgment from a condemning judge. None of our broken cars or failed appliances is a punishment from God. None of our marital strife is a sign of his wrath. None of our lost jobs is a penalty for sin. None of our wayward children is a crack of the whip of God’s retribution. If we are in Christ. No. God is for us, not against, in and through all things - all ease and all pain.

I love the apostle Paul's reasoning in Romans 8: "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

In other words, God has already given us the most precious, most valuable, and most necessary gift of all: His Son, and salvation in Him. If He was willing to give us that, will He not also give us everything that we need? Pastor John calls this "The Solid Logic of Heaven."

He continues in his sermon:

And what shall we say to this? We shall say, "The logic of heaven holds!" If God thus delivered over his own Son, then . . . What? Answer: He shall with him surely and freely give us all things. If God did not withhold his Son, he will not withhold any good thing from us.

This is the final purchase and fulfillment of Psalm 84:11, "No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."

This is the promise and ground of 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, "All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future - all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God’s."

This is the sealing of the promise of Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."

This is the securing of the promise of Jesus in the words, "Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’. . . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:31-33).

Since he did not spare his own Son, but delivered him over for us all, he will, with absolute moral certainty, give us all things with him. Really? All things? What about "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword" (Romans 8:35)? The answer is in this magnificent quote from John Flavel from 350 years ago:

He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). How is it imaginable that God should withhold, after this, spirituals or temporals, from his people? How shall he not call them effectually, justify them freely, sanctify them thoroughly, and glorify them eternally? How shall he not clothe them, feed them, protect and deliver them? Surely if he would not spare this own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery, it can never be imagined that ever he should, after this, deny or withhold from his people, for whose sakes all this was suffered, any mercies, any comforts, any privilege, spiritual or temporal, which is good for them.

God always does what is good for us. If you believe that he gave his own Son for you, this is what you believe. And all of the Christian life is simply the fruit of that faith. Look to Christ. Look to the love God. Live in love. And fear no more.

We are clinging to these truths as we face possible unemployment, another baby on the way, a new van that isn't paid off yet, etc., etc. Nothing will separate us from the Love of God! Please pray with us that we would have open hands with all that has been given to us, not clinging to anything but the Cross, not fearing but living in the Love of Christ.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Springtime Fun

After a loooong winter that lasted well into April, it's finally been (mostly) nice here in the Arctic Circle, and we're outside (almost) every day! What a relief. My children seem to act like angels now that they can run around, as opposed to being cooped up in a small house. Or maybe I'm just not in close enough proximity to notice their quarrels. Either way, being outside makes life seem fresher, more enjoyable, and vibrant!

Judah of the Four Teeth.

He loves wearing our shoes.

Moses ready for a game of catch!

Brothers, hangin' out.

Judah's learning how to climb up the slide, now that he's mastered going down it.

I love this picture. Their little hands are so sweet. And grubby.

Don't mind the goose egg on Judah's forehead.
He had a run-in with the bookshelf while he was dancing.

We're all happy to be outdoors!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Don't Think It's a Hard Question

Tonight at the dinner table Moses asked for more pizza and Richard told him to eat some of his fruit salad first. Several minutes and a few prompts later, Moses still hadn't taken a bite of his fruit and Richard offered him this option:

Richard: Moses, you can either take a bite of your fruit or you can be disciplined.

Moses, lips pursed, eyes turned upwards in deep though: Hmmmm..... I will choose..... let me think.....

Richard, sternly, to keep from laughing: Moses.

Moses, hastily: It's just so hard!

At this, we all burst into laughter. Can't help it.

Moses, smiling now: Yeah, it's just hard to we-member what my choices are.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mourning on Mother's Day

I know Mother's Day has passed, but I wanted to share this wonderful post by Molly Piper about mourning on a day that can be full of both joy and pain for many women.

Every Mother's Day since Matthias died has been one of mixed emotions for me. My heart overflows with thankfulness for my wonderful children here on earth, and breaks with the pain of missing my baby who's not with me.

And I also think of friends and loved ones who don't have children but are longing desperately for a baby of their own, how Mother's Day brings fresh pain to an already throbbing wound.

So I loved Molly's exhortation,

I guess I want to encourage all of the mourners today to press into the pain with Jesus. Just go ahead and let it flow. Not only can he handle it, he’s the only one who can truly handle it and even heal it.
And in the words of a beautiful hymn, "Ye who long pain and sorrow bear; Praise God and on Him cast your care."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Project Fair

As a part of our homeschool co-op, Grace participated in a year-end Project Fair. Her project was on the Silk Road. It was really fun to research, learn about, and work on this project with her! I think she especially enjoyed collecting examples of the goods that were traded on the Silk Road (thanks, Grandma!) It was hard to get a good picture of the whole display, but here it is in pieces:

Grace in her authentic (but too-small) Chinese silk shirt,
in front of her display.

Grace had to be ready to answer any questions people
might ask as they perused the displays. (Do you see the cheat sheet in her pocket?)
She did a great job of interacting with the kids and adults
and was very knowledgeable about her subject!

Some of the other projects.

Here's a close-up of the main map with information
about some of the major cities and stops on the Silk Road.
One of her favorites was the Taklamakan Desert, which means in a local dialect,
"If you go in, you won't come out."

On one side she had information about Marco Polo,
who traveled along the Silk Road to get to Kublai Khan's court in China.

On the other side, she had information about silk,
which was obviously the most valuable and abundant resource carried along the Silk Road.
She got really into this subject, learning all about silkworms, (not really a worm, but a caterpillar!) how silk is made, and the Chinese legend of the origin of silk.

Then on the table she had examples of some of the most common goods traded on the Silk Road. Included are silk, raisins, spices, gunpowder and fireworks, porcelain, bamboo...

...copper and paper...

...and of course, tea!

Here's the whole thing!
Great job, Grace!
I'm proud of all the hard work you did to make this wonderful project!!
And here's Grace's report on the Silk Road (that golden yellow paper on her display):

The Silk Road wasn’t Really a Road at all.

It did not have blacktop or signs. It was actually an ancient caravan trail that crossed dangerous mountains and hot deserts. It connected China in the east to Europe and Byzantium in the west. The Silk Road was over 5,000 miles long!

Long caravans of two-humped Bactrian camels carried silk, rugs, spices, tea, bamboo and gunpowder from China to the west. These camels were the only animals that could survive the difficult journey across the desert.

The traders traveled from oasis to oasis (a place in the desert where water could be found). Many of these stops grew to be big cities because of the Silk Road. Some, like Kashgar, still have a famous market every week!

The Silk Road carried more than just goods. It carried people, ideas, inventions, art, beliefs and religions, like Buddhism and Christianity. People on both ends of the Silk Road learned about things they had never known before. This changed their ideas about the world.

I am thankful for the Silk Road because it brought Christianity to different places! ☺
Grace Mailly, 4th grade 4/09

Obviously there was a lot of work that went into this project, but after the fair was over, what do you do with the huge thing?? Stick it in a closet somewhere? Dismantle it and put the papers in a folder to be filed away? I'll post our solution soon...!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Grace's 10th Birthday Party

Every year since Grace has been about 4 years old, we've gone to the MN Horse Expo for her birthday. It's usually the week after her birthday, and she loves it. She's a girl, and it's horses. Enough said. So the last 2 years we've taken a group of her friends with, and they love it, too. They're girls, and it's horses, after all! Here's some pictures from this year:

I didn't get any pictures of the girls riding the horses,
but here's Moses petting a sweet little pony.

And trying to feed a sheep some sawdust bedding.

Moses enjoyed the pony ride.

Unfortunately he got put on the oldest, mangiest pony there.
Two hooves in the glue factory.

All by himself! What a big boy!

When we got back from the expo, the girls tried their swings on the pinata.

This is how it ended. Handfuls of candy!

Judah enjoyed the fun.

Moses gets his party face on!

Now he's wondering why he's not getting to open any presents!

A new sewing box for Grace

Just what I always wanted!

It was a fun day, the weather was beautiful, and Grace felt loved on her special day.