Welcome to Our Journey of Faith. My blog is a place where I share the joys and trials of living a faith-filled life as the mother of an extra large (12 children) homeschooling family, and my prayer is that it brings encouragement to others to live their lives as an adventure of faith, as well.
I read a FB link earlier this week, that I have thought of and pondered much. Since it clearly impacted my thought life, I decided that some of you might also benefit from some pondering today. (smile) I will just share some excerpts from this article in Christianity Today's "Leadership Journal", but hope that you will click on the title to pop over and read the entire piece.
What I learned about grace and redemption through my friendship with a Christian pariah.
Here are some excerpts . . .
A while back I was having a business lunch . . . with a close atheist friend. He's a great guy and a very deep thinker. During lunch, he pointed at the large TV screen on the wall. It was set to a channel recapping Ted's fall. He pointed his finger at the HD and said, "That is the reason I will not become a Christian. Many of the things you say make sense, Mike, but that's what keeps me away."
It was well after the story had died down, so I had to study the screen to see what my friend was talking about. I assumed he was referring to Ted's hypocrisy. "Hey man, not all of us do things like that," I responded. He laughed and said, "Michael, you just proved my point. See, that guy said sorry a long time ago. Even his wife and kids stayed and forgave him, but all you Christians still seem to hate him. You guys can't forgive him and let him back into your good graces. Every time you talk to me about God, you explain that he will take me as I am. You say he forgives all my failures and will restore my hope, and as long as I stay outside the church, you say God wants to forgive me. But that guy failed while he was one of you, and most of you are still vicious to him." Then he uttered words that left me reeling: "You Christians eat your own. Always have. Always will." . . .
Back in November, I wrote a post called, "Speak Up". I told you how surprised I was that having lost #40 in 4 1/2 months, only one friend had even mentioned that they had noticed I'd lost weight (besides a couple of friends who know that I am on a serious weight loss journey).
At #50 lost, now, I have given up on hoping anyone will notice or say anything. As I said in my earlier post, my weight loss journey is so not about what others will think/say, but about getting healthy and feeling better about myself. If it was about what others would say . . . I would have given up long ago. (smile)
Anyway, I am happy to report that in the past month two other friends have noticed. What I find very surprising is that both friends were guys. I would have thought that a man would be less likely to acknowledge a woman's weight loss, than my lady friends. But . . . I guess not. Being the analytically minded person that I am, I am still trying to figure out why my lady friends have said not a word. There is just no way that they have not noticed.
On Friday . . . Cassie gave birth to Wesley Dean. On Saturday . . . we got to see Gregg and Noah William David. On Sunday . . . Jeremiah & Ashleigh announced that they, too, are having a BOY (in June). Yes. We had 4 kids get married in 14 months, and now we will have 3 grandsons in 15 months.
Do you have "sets" of kids? I do. Our kids can be divided in a variety of ways. For several years we had the "6 Big Kids" and "6 Young Ones", until Ben joined the ranks of the "Big Kids". We also have 3 Sets of Boys: Gregg (28) and Jeremiah (26 this month) Josh (22) and Ben (19) Josiah (12) and Elijah (11 this month) Random Fact, but totally not "planned": Each set of boys has one boy with a "J" name. Each boy without a "J" name has a middle "J" name. Each set of boys has day/night personalities, with each set having a Personality #1 and a Personality #2. Seriously. It is CRAZY how alike 3 of them are, and how alike the other 3 are, 1 from each set. We have 2 Sets of Girls: Cassie (27), Carissa (24 this month), Lindsey (24 this month) Hosanna (16), Sarah (14), Rachel (11) No names alike. No crazy personality differences. Random Fact: Did you notice how many birthdays we have this month? Mine is in there, too; we actually have 5 birthdays in 6 days, and now we get to add Baby Wesley to the January "Set" of birthdays. For Household Responsibilities, we have had 4 "Sets" of kids: Gregg (28), Cassie (27), and Jeremiah (26) Carissa (24), Lindsey (24), and Joshua (22) Ben (19) and Hosanna (16) Sarah (14), Josiah (12), Rachel (11), and Elijah (11) We have always Trained Up Our Kids to be capable of handling any and all household chores/responsibilities, which has been especially valuable when it comes to meal preparation for an extra large family. We have had a wide variety of Chore Charts over the years, depending on how many "Big Kids" we had at home.
"How do you do it?" As a stay-at-home mom with nine children, people often ask me how we make ends meet financially. Yes, it is difficult. However the place in which I have learned to save the most money is the grocery store. We regularly feed our family of 11 for under $250 per month. (originally written in the Fall of 2000)
When Jim and I got married in 1982, neither of us had been taught anything about budgeting or cooking. It didn't take us long to realize that walking to the grocery store every afternoon to choose between Hamburger Helper or Tuna Helper for dinner was ot a wise choice for either our wallets or our taste buds. I soon was on a quest to find out how to cook inexpensive meals that tasted good. I asked the Lord for guidance and then sought the advice of older women. I began to read books on budgeting and cooking, borrowed from friends and the library.
Today, let's look at three of the things I have learned: