Recently…

Look at our cute cow! Ok, it’s not ours…but they live on the other side of the fence in our backyard. The little ones are curious and seem to enjoy watching the children play. Sometimes, I’m sure the cows are watching them with as much interest as we are watching them.

Recently, a Baby Cow | One Radiant Home

Recently, a Baby Cow | One Radiant Home

A few weeks ago, we had a fun family day at the zoo. This is the best we can do getting 6 kids to look at the camera when they are excited to keep moving.

Recently, at the Zoo |One Radiant Home

Recently at the Zoo | One Radiant Home

The binoculars didn’t work, but my zoom lens did! This is what they were trying to see…

Recently, at the Zoo | One Radiant Home

The kids have spent many hours outside enjoying the cooler weather. They’ve taken the opportunity to eat their lunch outside several times. This little cutie has gotten big enough to join the big kids.

My favorite is when he plays tag and racing games with them. He runs his fastest, giggling all the way, with no idea that he’s not actually playing.

Recently, We ate Outside | One Radiant Home

We are enjoying all of the crunchy leaves and acorns. I think the kids miss the acorns in our old yard. Whenever we go to a park, they start filling their pockets with acorns to take home. They like to use them for “food” when they play in the backyard.

Recently, there were Acorns | One Radiant Home

Last night, we were talking about how much the kids play outside compared to the other kids in the neighborhood. (I rarely see other kids outside, except for the immediate neighbors that are friends with the kids.) Why? Because I read this once…and took it to heart.

Children should never be within doors, when they can rightly be withoutCharlotte Mason.

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Trials, Broken Arms, and God’s Grace

A couple of months ago, Lydia fell off the neighbor’s swing and broke both wrists. It’s the kind of thing every mother dreads. But in that moment the Lord gave me peace and grace to comfort and care for her without fear.

two broken arms painting

One of the most helpful things I have ever read (outside of scripture, of course) is a quote by Elisabeth Eliot. She said, “There is no grace in your imagination.” Meaning, God gives grace in the moment we need it, and not before. As mothers, we imagine all of these terrible things happening to our children, but we cannot adequately imagine the grace of God in those circumstances. He provides in ways we don’t expect and could never think of.

While Lydia was healing, people kept saying how sorry they were and how hard it must be for me. But it wasn’t. God gave grace…to me, to Lydia, and to the other kids. I know other believers say the same thing after trials. They wouldn’t trade the suffering for the lessons learned and faith gained. I know Lydia’s broken arms were painful, but I also know she learned a lot more from that experience than from anything I could ever say to her. God had a plan and the grace to go with it.

two broken arms

On of my dearest friends lost a child several years ago. People said things like “I don’t know how they keep getting up in the morning…” I do! It was the grace of God, that they were experiencing because they needed it and we didn’t. Not for that circumstance. And they wouldn’t trade their suffering either.

I want to challenge us to think about the things we say when people are suffering. Let’s not feed the pity party, but encourage our friends to think on the ways God is pouring out his grace on them. Let’s help them to see the small mercies and God’s provision in their trials.

Broken Arms and God's Grace | One Radiant Home

Instead of “Oh Honey, this must be so hard…I don’t know how you are managing…You must be so worn out…”

What if we said, “The Lord must pouring out his grace on you in this time. Isn’t it wonderful to feel God’s comfort in suffering?” or “Tell me about how God is encouraging you in this trial.” Tell them about a time God gave grace to you during your own times of suffering. Let’s not focus on the suffering, but build hope and faith in our friends by drawing their attention to the grace of God!

Praising the Lord who heals broken arms and provides comfort in trials. 

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Use Authority to Encourage

A few days ago we read a short family devotional about authority. A couple of sentences stuck with me, and I went back to it the next day to read it again and let it sink in. Though the story and lesson were directed toward the children, the principles were applicable to all of us.

“Instead of helping people worship God the [Pharisees] put burdensome laws upon them. Almost every time the Pharisees used their power, they were trying to stop someone from doing something. Almost every time Jesus used his power, He was helping someone to do something.” (Boyhood and Beyond, Bob Schultz)

So, how do we use our authority well? How do I use my authority well?

Encourage One Another |Use Authority to Encourage | One Radiant Home

I hear myself trying to stop the children from doing things most of the day. Of course, as a parent, there are times when we do need to say “no”. The children need clear boundaries and protection from danger. We must require obedience from them, and teach them to joyfully submit to other authorities. But I had to ask myself if I could do those things in a way that is more helpful and less burdensome to the children. I’m still evaluating my own use of authority and praying about how I can use my authority in a more positive way.

The Pharisees required nothing less than perfection, but Jesus requires obedience. There is grace and forgiveness when we fall short. There is comfort and encouragement when we don’t. He disciplines those that he loves, yet he is patient and slow to anger.  My response to my children should reflect the grace, forgiveness, and patience that the the Lord freely gives to me.

In 2 Cor. 10:8, Paul says that God gave him authority for building up and not for destroying. 

That’s what I want. I want my children to feel built up, encouraged and strengthened by my words…not beat down.

So, as I continue to evaluate the way I use my own authority, I’m praying that I use my power for building up and helping the children, and not for destroying their spirits and burdening them with unnecessary laws. 

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When Less is More

When Less is More | One Radiant Home

Two years ago we lived in an 1800 sq. ft. house. It was comfortable. We had enough space for all of the kids, plus enough room for guests.

Then we moved across the country. To say that finding a house for a family of 8 is difficult is an understatement. Property managers believe that every child needs a room of their own and can’t imagine how we could possibly “fit” into a 4 bedroom 1800 sq. ft house. Independent landlords freak out, imagining 6 unruly children tearing apart their lovely homes. One lady said pets were fine, but kids…no, they would ruin her home.

 

Through a network of friends, we found a place to stay—a vacant home, on the market for many months and unsold—for a month, so we could search for a rental and avoid living in a hotel (in separate rooms) for a month.

We were grateful—to the family and to the Lord for his provision. The home belonged to a family of 10 and they never questioned or wondered at our family size.

After several disappointing calls and a week of exhaustive internet searching, we gave up and decided to stay. The owners were thankful to have someone living in their home. The location of the house was less than ideal, but with no other options we thanked God for providing us with a home that met our needs.

We loved the quiet street with a full acre of land, the chicken coop, and the wooded area. We appreciated the extra space for guests. We knew the layout wasn’t ideal, but it was manageable.

When our furniture arrived, I knew that we had another problem. I suddenly realized that 3000 sq. ft. was too much. Since the layout of the house was nearly identical to the house we had left, it seemed like the same size when it was empty. It wasn’t.

For weeks we lived with the 2nd living room unfurnished and for 2 years we lived with an empty bedroom. Our own bedroom was so big that we hung a curtain across the middle to divide the space and make it more cozy. The other side functioned as a “garage”.

Empty space isn’t a big deal. I’d rather not fill it up with useless stuff anyway. The hardest thing was that the kids were all over the house. I literally ran up and down the stairs all day trying to keep track of them all. It seemed like I could never catch up.

I would hear quarreling, but by the time I figured out who was yelling and where they were it was too late to intervene. Toddlers made messes (giant red paint spot on beige carpet!) without being noticed. Big kids disappeared to read and missed out on family fun. Schoolwork went unfinished because I was too far away to keep an eye on it. I could never keep the whole house clean because they made messes on the opposite end of the house while I was cleaning the other end.

I hope that this does not come across as complaining, as that’s not my intent (though I do admit to complaining about the house a lot on days when I was overwhelmed). I tell you the hard things so that you can understand why we are so thankfu to have less space. For us and our house…less is more.

I cannot express the feeling of relief we have felt this week after leaving the 3000 sq. ft. house for 1800 sq. ft. again. I know where my kids are. We talk more. I can cook and clean while they play within my sight. I can hear everything that is going on and get to them quickly. They can hear me without yelling.

Less is More | One Radiant Home

We still have plenty of space for dinner guests, a dedicated school space, and a little room for my sewing and art. There is plenty of storage space and enough toilets to accommodate 8 people, potty-training toddlers, and guests.

I am looking forward to homeschooling this year. With a work area and a play area near the kitchen, we can all work and interact in the same space. I know there will be days when I wish we had more space to spread out or more beds for guests, but we are relieved and grateful to have less this week.

Less is More | One Radiant Home

There are whole blogs dedicating to simplifying and downsizing. This is just our experience. “Less is more” proves true in this case. Less stress. Less cleaning. Less house. Less stuff. More time. More community. More family. More of the things we enjoy.

Less is More | One Radiant Home

Thanking God for providing a smaller space, lifting the burden of a big home, and bringing us closer to our church community!

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Thinking Much (but not Out Loud)

I know I’ve been pretty quiet over here. It kind of drives me crazy when other people apologize for not blogging. Does anyone even notice?

I regularly post on my sewing blog, but writing about real life is much harder. I mean, I sew a lot…so that’s a big part of my life. But there is always so much more going on.

We are still in transition. I seems like it’s been that way for a few years actually. Maybe all of life is like that—moving on from one thing to the next. I guess I just like the action parts. Sharing the ups and downs of our daily life and discussions might be helpful to me, but I think it would just confuse everyone else. So I’ve spent a lot more time thinking through our plans and the upcoming changes, but not sharing them publicly.

We are slowly sorting through our stuff, trying to pare down for another move. It’s amazing how much stuff accumulated when I stopped dropping off a bag at Goodwill every couple of weeks. At our last house, Goodwill was conveniently located right next to the grocery store. Here it is not, so the bags have piled up…

Right now, we are only planning a local move. Our rental term is up and we will be moving to another rental. But our hearts are in England and the new church there. We long to be a part of the work God is doing and are waiting for the Lord to work out the many, many details.

Watching the Elephants | One Radiant Home

The kids are growing! I will have 3 officially in school next fall. I actually have a 4th grader! What?! I remember 4th grade very clearly. There was a huge step up in the amount of work and expectations that year. Writing went from sentences to pages. I started playing the flute, participated in band, and sang in the chorus. We studied early American history and looked forward to “Pioneer Day” when we came in costume and did related activities all day. I can’t believe Kyle is that old.

Sun in her Eyes | One Radiant Home

Lydia loves crafts. Probably no surprise there, since she watches me making stuff all the time. Her sewing skills are quite good for her age. She loves giving gifts to other people, and is planning to make a dress for Jerusha’s birthday.

Kids Sewing Project |One Radiant Home

Handmade Felt Mice| One Radiant Home

Owen is a deep thinker. We always thought he seemed very serious as a baby. He tends to go off and build things or draw things. His drawings are very detailed and accurate, and the contraptions he builds usually show a lot of thought and detail as well. Next project: learning to read.

Elephant | One Radiant Home

Jerusha and Jonathan are always busy and usually getting each other in trouble having lots of fun. I often find cups of water that they have been dumping back and forth, leaving puddles in random places for the rest of us to step in. But they are both sweet, happy children that love other people.

A couple a weeks ago at Target a group of 4 or 5 rough looking men walked by. I started to walk a different direction when Jonathan called out “Hi guys!” All of their faces softened and their eyes lit up. They smiled and waved back. And I felt silly for judging them based on their appearance. My little J’s don’t seem to notice those things. They just love people.

We recently took a trip to the zoo (thus the elephant pictures) when I realized that neither of them remembered going regularly when we had a zoo membership at our last home. It’s crazy that the last two years here are all they remember of their lives.

Charlie is experimenting with walking, but he’s still much faster crawling and prefers speed. He looks like a giant sprawled out in his pack ‘n’ play bed, and is nearly off the charts in height.

So, life is moving along and we are waiting for more direction. We are trusting the Lord and his timing and trying to prepare for whatever will be coming.

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