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Family Life -

Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category

Rebecca Anne

Rebecca Anne on July 16, 2008

Rebecca Anne on July 16, 2008

There is a certain sadness mixed with relief and awe when a child reaches the monumental age of one. Rebecca Anne is the latest to achieve the status of “not being zero anymore,” as Emily says.

Rebecca. It is a name I chose over 20 years ago, a name I placed on the list for all my girls (and even my boy, not actually believing he would be a boy). Finally, after 20 years of waiting, weeks of false labor, three days of real labor, and a lot of dreaming, I have my Rebecca. Actually, we have our Rebecca. And a year has passed.

A whole year. Too quickly gone by. Swaddled baby and sleepless nights too soon change to running baby and…well, sleepless nights. Too soon she changes. Too soon the personality is revealed and true nature shown as an independent person emerges.

We did not hold out hope for long that Rebecca would have a naturally gentle nature, a quiet disposition. Gentleness is an attribute that must be taught in our household, taught and exemplified through exertion, and the youngest is not immune to the absence of this enviable quality.

I have your nose!

I have your nose!

She also lacks complacency, and for this we will someday be grateful. Her inquisitive personality, vocal expressiveness, and stalwart determination, properly guided through life’s harrows, will eventually serve her well as she self-motivates, speaks for His glory, and stands firm against those who would wrongly sway her. Left unchecked, however, they will make her mischievous, loud, and stubborn.

I see in my youngest daughter a lot of the physical characteristics of my side of the family, something rare considering that in general the most recognizable features of my children can be traced straight through their daddy to his daddy. What I truly long to see in her, however, is not physical. It must be sculpted by the experiences of a Christ-centered life, the guiding hands of a loving family, and ceaseless prayer before an Almighty Father.

Rebecca Anne on July 16, 2009

Rebecca Anne on July 16, 2009

What I long to see in my Rebecca is a gentle spirit, tears shed for others more than for self, hands opened to help rather than to take. What I pray for her is a life of purpose devoted unfailingly to the glory of her God and to the fulfillment of the Great Commission, whether in the mission field or in her own home. I pray for the child she is today and for the woman she will become, for her purity and walk with Christ, for wisdom, for a godly husband and children that “rise up and call her blessed.” There is a finite influence a mother has on her child, even more finite when one considers the fallibility of woman. The rest is in the hands of an infallible God, and therefore I pray for this child…pray without ceasing.

Birthday cake, small gifts, photos and songs…it’s just a day, but it reminds us. It reminds us of the blessing that she is and the blessing we pray she will one day become. Just as she folds her small hands to pray, we fold ours on her behalf.

Heavenly Father,

Rebecca's Flower

Rebecca's Flower

Thank you for the gift you have given us in Rebecca, the small child you have placed in our hands for this short time. While we long to slow time and hold onto her as long as we can, we know that it is our duty to prepare her for a life of service to you, and that every day we give a little more of her back. Please give us wisdom to train her properly in your service, to exemplify your love, and to guide her on your path. Guard her as she grows, keeping her safe, healthy, and pure in mind and body. We ask the same blessings on her future husband and children, if such is in your plans. Please keep her eyes ever focused on you and her heart ever filled with the true joy and peace that only a life devoted to Christ can bring.

In the name of her Savior and ours we pray,

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Little Boy Kneels

Little Boy kneels at the foot of his bed,
Droops on his little hands little gold head.
Hush, hush, whisper who dares?
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

~A.A. Milne

An heritage from Him

An heritage from Him

It was one of those horrible cases of hiccups that, to be brutally honest, sounded a lot like I imagine a hippo in labor would sound…and I was only mildly less uncomfortable than said hippo. It was difficult getting through evening prayers between hics.

When my turn rolled around, I kept it short and sweet, ending with a simple request for God hic to cure hic my hiccups.

Gone. Instantly.

All eyes were on Mama.


One little boy’s wheels were turning, and out came another little prayer:

“And please give Mommy a boy baby and a girl baby. Amen.”

Pause. Look around.

“Mommy, when is God going to give us the boy baby and the girl baby?”

When indeed…?

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Mr(s). Grill

I am not a feminist. I am what some may term “old-fashioned” as I cheerfully don my apron, nurture my children, and tend to my husband’s needs. It’s not that I can’t do man’s work. It’s just that my man handles man’s work immensely better than I do. I am a woman, and as such I joyfully assume the roles more commonly associated with “the weaker sex.” I prefer to sew on buttons, bake pies, and change diapers, and leave the tough stuff to someone with muscles!

This can't be that hard!

This can't be that hard!

Why, then, did Memorial Day find me hovering over a huge grill when I usually declare grilling “man’s work,” and retreat to the safety of my kitchen to whip up side dishes and desserts?

A song was in the works. My musician husband was deep in that lyrical realm that ensnares him for days and from which he eventually emerges with a musical masterpiece. Not wanting to interrupt the creative flow of my Music Man, I opted to leave my hubby to his chord progressions and harmonic genius and attempt the grilling myself. So I bolstered my courage, picked up a grilling spatula and some raw meat, and headed out to the grill.

I was spied en route by my eldest daughter. The years had not dulled her memory of the time I exploded a grill and singed all the hair off my arm, miraculously leaving the rest of me and my family unscathed. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Does Our Garden Grow?

Feeding the strawberries

Feeding the strawberries

It is with eager anticipation that we plant our garden each year, holding out hope that, despite the rock hard caliche under our depleted soil, despite the limitations of a container garden, despite the desert sun, valley wind, and unreliable sprinkler system, despite the fact that all odds are stacked against us and we haven’t a lick of gardening sense between us, somehow, in some way we will feed ourselves from our own meager plantings. We have never come remotely close to realizing this hope, yet we foolishly blunder forward!

Our successes have been rare, but the sweet memory of them drives us onward. We had a meager feast of strawberry shortcake one evening several years ago, having tenderly picked each puny berry from our plants. Another year we harvested an impressive handful of hot peppers. Two zucchini about the size of my husband’s thumb were the prize of two years past. Last year we grew a watermelon with a remarkable diameter of two inches; it was too cute to eat. A spattering of home-grown herbs have enhanced our eating throughout our gardening attempts. Over the course of ten years, we have successfully managed to grow enough food to sustain a family of eight for fifteen minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sharing Words on Mother’s Day

Flowers for Mama

Flowers for Mama

Some days between hugs, food for the body, food for the soul, lessons of life, lessons from books, lessons even for Mother, there is no time for written words. This is one of those days. It seems, at times, this is one of those lives.

Since I have many words to share, but cannot get any on paper (or screen) in these busy days, please take a peak at a mother’s heart with a brief visit to Ann.

To all you mothers out there who have ever hurt, struggled, cried, laughed, and loved, remember…

…His grace.

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How to Take a Family Photo

Follow these simple steps to achieve a picture-perfect family photo:


Step 1: Find a relatively clean space to squeeze eight people so all faces are showing.


Step 2: Convince the napless boy who already had a very long day that he can, indeed, stand still for another five minutes . . . okay three minutes. If necessary, bribe with M&Ms.


Step 3: Remind everyone over age three to look forward and keep smiling. No rabbit ears back there!


Step 4: Tag team the baby, also napless, also suffering from a very long day. Remind yourself that she is still in training. Consider actually giving her that bottle she’s focused on.


Step 5: Do a quick analysis of your photo editing skills.  Are you capable of pasting the baby into the photo?  If yes, you are finished.  If no, continue to step 6.


Step 6: After reminding everyone to look forward and keep smiling no matter what, make baby laugh using her favorite trick.


Step 7: Remind the photographer to take the picture after the baby lands.  Also remind girls in back row to resist the effects of gravity.  This is also a good time to casually insert an M&M reminder.


Step 8: Lower your standards.


Step 9: Success! Let’s go eat…M&Ms, what else?!

When tempted to compare your life or family to the glimpses you have of another person’s life or family, remember that behind every “perfect” picture are a whole lot of retakes, and quite possibly a little boy who, despite some solid training, is being held in place by the promise of M&Ms.

Special thanks to my brother, Jonathon, for the photo session!

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Let them be girls!

Let them be beautiful!

Let them be beautiful!

Let them be girls!

Let them be beautiful.

Let them kiss babies and pick flowers.

Let them wear flowing skirts and frilly dresses that twirl.

Let them wear braids and ribbons and pretty bows in their long hair.

Let them love horses and kittens and soft fluffy puppies.

Let them skip and sing.

Girls are beautiful.

Girls are precious.

Girls are not boys.


Let them be gentle and loving.

Let them be gentle and loving.

Don’t make them dress like boys.

Don’t suppress their need to mother.

Don’t undervalue their efforts at making a lovely and peaceful home.

There will always be wars and battles, smog and ugliness, greed and unrest.

What the world needs is modest beauty and gentle strength.

Let the girls learn to make home a beautiful haven.

Let them learn to be pleasant wives and loving mothers.

Let them learn to be soft and gentle in a harsh world.

Let them be who God designed them to be.

Let them be girls!

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