Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone. I hope that you have had a wonderful day celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection. 

I woke up early this morning so I could lay out our traditional Easter Breakfast before the kids came downstairs. We don’t do Easter baskets, but I usually buy a little treat and some Easter candy and put it by everyone’s plates to find when they come down for breakfast. 

We had the normal whirlwind of making sure each child was dressed, had their shoes on, had brushed their hair. And then serving a special breakfast and getting everyone to the table at the same time. Finally everyone was sitting and I handed my husband the Bible so he could read the accounting of Jesus rising up from the dead. I make him read because I get all choked up every time and can’t finish. 

He is Risen. Just like he said. Death is conquered. We have been rescued. 

I looked around the table at my children while my husband read. Some of them were listening. The youngest were barely listening. If they were listening at all. Some were focused on what was being said and others looked like they were tuned out a bit. I wasn’t too worried about that. They are young. I am discovering that each year Easter means more to me than the year before. You stack that up over a lifetime and of course my kids aren’t going to react to this story the same way their 40s mom is going to react. But I find that encouraging. It makes me wonder how Easter will affect me even farther down the road. It is a wonderful thing to be in a relationship with Jesus that simply grows deeper and deeper every year. 

This past week was really rough. Children’s Services showed up on my doorstep because someone had called in a complaint about me. The social worker was apologetic. The claim was frivolous and did not merit any attention, but they had to do their job and investigate. They spoke to the child in question and found a happy child who had no complaints. They said I had done nothing wrong, apologized for having to bother me. This was all tied up with our foster child and was over and done with very quickly. Small hiccup. Except that the whole encounter left me shaking for several hours and emotionally numb for several days. Some emails and texts were exchanged with the person who initiated all this and we ended the week on peaceful terms once again. Though I’m still feeling bruised and battered by the whole thing. 

Life is hard. This feels like a cliche and I tell it to my kids all the time. And they shrug and ignore it. But it really is hard. Really Really Hard. And I don’t want to convey to them just how true that saying is because I don’t want to scare them or overwhelm them. I want them to feel hopeful and excited about the future. But it’s hard. 

And what I really need them to know is this life is downright impossible or maybe just pointless without Jesus. I cannot fathom trying to handle everything that has come my way without Jesus by my side giving me strength, peace, wisdom, safety, hope, joy. Without a future with him to look forward to, I would be bogged down with despair. He is a daily, constant presence in my life. My confidante. My best friend who understands everything I go through and knows how to correct and encourage as needed. 

Easter is the best day of the year. The day we celebrate not only Jesus coming back to life, but opening the door to bring us back to life as well. 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved! Ephesians 2:4-5

Jesus took the punishment for all our sins and made a way for us to be with him forever. And today we celebrate that. 

My prayer is that each year this day will mean a little bit more to my children as they go farther and farther on this journey called life with Jesus by their side. And they learn for themselves about his faithfulness and great love for them. 

Happy Easter everybody! 

Large Family Life

One of the things I beat myself up about is that I don’t feel like I work very hard. I have a lot of days that are slow paced, mixed in with days of pure chaotic busyness, then back to slow pace again. “You are so lazy” is something my brain likes to say a lot. And maybe I am. The jury is still out on that one. But I am starting to think that maybe I am not a lazy person and rather, I NEED a slow pace. So I structure my life in such a way that I can keep myself from staying in a stressed-out state at all times. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. 

To reassure myself that I am not lazy, and actually do get things done, I sometimes make lists of my accomplishments. (Surely I’m not the only one that does this??) So, today, as I was making my reassurance list of accomplishments, it got me thinking about Large Family Life. I do a lot of things that feel really normal to me, but I know to others it may seem over the top. Just for fun, I decided to take some pictures of Large Family Life. 

Ok, so here is 24 hours worth of dishes. I do the dishes, but a couple times a week I tap a couple teenagers to do the job. Since it gets spread around so thin, they usually don’t complain. 

Food is a big deal. I buy most things in the extra large size or bulk, or just end up getting four times what everyone else does. I get these breakfast bars because my kids eat breakfast at school, but some of them don’t like school breakfast, and some of them are more hungry in the morning and want something extra, and we get up and out of the house pretty fast, so we don’t take time for a sit down breakfast. Note, the box is on top of the fridge. This is a signal to the kids that this is off limits unless I put it out. Otherwise, it would be gone in a day. 

My kids also eat a lot of fruit. This is a week’s worth of fruit for them, and we are three days into the grocery week already. 

I got extra eggs this week because we’re going to have frittata. I will probably use 36 or 40 eggs to make the frittata. 

Any time I bake, I double or triple the recipe. Baking is a really inexpensive way of feeding a lot of kids. 

Today I finished doing laundry and then folded everything. All the kids help put it away. My four oldest kids at home do their own laundry, so their laundry isn’t in the picture. 

I have a sock basket that not only has odd socks in it (I recently cleaned this out and threw away about 2 grocery bags full of old, unmatched, holey socks), but also has random socks that don’t belong to anyone in particular, but are too nice to get rid of, and will be waiting around for the next person that needs them. The only clothing I get rid of is what my youngest child outgrows. 

Every day after school I check everyone’s backpacks, sign folders, take care of papers and keep an eye on who has homework so I can have them sit down later to do it. 

Decorating for Christmas is always fun as everyone has to be represented. Stockings are ready to go. Everyone also has their own Christmas mug. 

So these are random tidbits. I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom of lots of kids. It suits me. I have lots of time to think and ponder, read, be involved in people’s lives, and feel like I’m giving my kids the home they need to be able to grow into the people they were meant to be. I realize that having a big family and being able to stay home with the kids is a big blessing and I hope I never take it for granted. And I’m going to keep working on my self-talk that’s always trying to put me down. Not lazy. Just slow and steady.