Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The God of All Comfort

I try not to think about it much, but sometimes it creeps up on me and all of a sudden, I am overwhelmed by the intense feelings of missing my miscarried children. God has been gracious in granting healing, but there is this longing.

People told me once I had more children, I'd "get over" the loss of a baby. That's like saying once you get a prosthesis, you'll get over losing a limb. Or, once you get an organ transplant, things will be fine. You go on, but you are changed by the experience.

Since I lost the first baby to miscarriage 14 years ago, I have been blessed with Joshua, Caleb, Bethany, Emily and Hannah. My children give me great joy and with Brandon and Amanda keep my life very, very full. I have great joy and I laugh throughout my day. There is still this ache inside my heart for the three children I did not get a chance to raise.

Sarah would be around 14 today.
Rebecca would be around 5.
Josiah would be around 4.

I do not wallow in grief and am not a person who exhibits a lot of external emotion. While it is not something I try to hide, most people who know me do not know about my miscarriages. By the grace of God I get up, I go on, but I have been changed by the loss of my children.

Today is the day I miscarried my daughter Rebecca. She fell out of my body onto the floor of my bathroom. She was as long as my thumb and I could see her eyes, lips, nose, fingers, toes and tell her gender. She was beautiful.

Thank you Lord for gracing my womb with her tiny, delicate form even if for only a short while. Thank you so much for healing and the promise of Heaven. There will be an eternity's worth of rejoicing to do in Your Presence!

If you lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, or another loss, I am praying for you today and send you my love.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Teeth and


cracker crumbs!
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"You Aren't Going to Take Away


that bag from me, are you Mama? I worked so hard to reach it!"

Hannah @ 7 months
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Little Miss Hannah


Here's Miss Hannah looking up at me after I caught her trying to get into the clothes I sort and pass along to people who can use them.
She still has the blonde hair and blue eyes, but those will most likely change as she grows. Caleb has dark blonde hair now and I suspect Hannah's will be darker when she is his age. I expect his to get darker over the next several years too.

Hannah so enjoys her sippy cup and I've been letting her slobber on a sucker now and then while I am holding her. I never trust the sucker to stay on the stick! She loves chewing on crackers and there is evidence of a just eaten cracker in her tray in the picture. She had been reaching for the thick plastic bag for a while before she finally managed to get it.

Emily, Hannah, Amanda then Bethany is how our girls run in temperment from fiesty to meek right now. I am not quite sure where to put Hannah yet, but she's definitely somewhere between Emily and Bethany. Emily is just a pistol! You can say "Let's climb a mountain!" and she'll answer back "Sure! I'll race you to the top!" Bethany will probably shyly say "Hmm, I don't know if I can, but I can try." Emily will try to boss Bethany around, but she knows Amanda won't put up with it.

I often look back at how we got here with all of these wonderful little souls in our care. We hadn't heard of the Duggars or the Jeubs and didn't know any other large families. We both came from two child families. I had miscarried a baby when Amanda was about six months old. Losing a child was a very hard thing to accept. I can not speak for other mothers, as everyone feel differently, but for me, there is still a deep longing for the children I have lost.

We had to ask ourselves just exactly what we believed. Is God in control of life and death? In our searching, reading and understanding of Scripture, He most definitely is. If He is in control, then shouldn't we submit to Him in that area also just as we had/have been taught in areas of finance, health, marriage, relationships, stewardship, etc?

While Clint felt convicted by other areas, the clencher for me was this one thing: God calls children blessings, rewards and heritages in His Word. No matter what the world influenced church thinks, **He** speaks of them as if they are something to be desired. I didn't and still don't want to miss out on any blessing God has in store for me. His gifts are always good, no matter how the recipent views them. Sadly, too many in this world think children are a curse, a burden or something to be avoided.

I am so very humbled and grateful to God's leading. I can not imagine life without any of my children. I could not have imagined this kind of love or joy in my wildest dreams.

When God sends something difficult your way, look at it closely and learn all you can from it. It could be Him opening your heart so He can bless you beyond your wildest dreams!
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prayer Request

JoLynn is a friend of ours and she has asked that you join us in prayer for her Daddy. He was caught between a dump truck and a loader and has life threatening injuries. He was flown to Sentara and is in the trauma care unit. He has a broken neck, jaw and back. He also has many internal injuries. Please lift him and the family up.

UPDATE: JoLynn's Daddy passed away Saturday a.m. While I am saddened about his death and the family's sorrow, I am grateful he is no longer in pain from that horrible accident. Please keep the family in your prayers as this has been very sudden and difficult. She said to thank all for their prayers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

If She Lets Me...


I am going to eat this thing!
Hannah 7 months
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Picture of Me


If this doesn't scare you away, you are made of strong stuff! :-)
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Here's Miss Em!


While I am homeschooling with the older children, Emily plays with special "seat toys" that she only has access to while she is in her high chair.
The Dollar Tree is a good resource for finding inexpensive toys. She really likes the small doll sets. Emily likes baby dolls more than my other daughters have and I am enjoying it!
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homeschoolers Score 37 Pts Higher on Standardized Tests

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=106585
Study: Homeschoolers score 37 points higher
Costs also average $500, compared to $10,000 at public school
By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A newly released study from the Home School Legal Defense Association shows that not only do homeschoolers incur expenses only 5 percent of what public schools spend on each student, they score nearly 40 points higher on standardized achievement tests.

"These results validate the dedication of thousands of homeschool parents who are giving their children the best education possible," said Michael Smith, president of the advocacy organization.

The HSLDA said homeschooling in the United States already includes about 4 percent of the school-aged population and is growing at about 7 percent a year, now involving some two million children.

If you ever wondered why you should yank your kids from government schools, read "The Little Book of Big Reasons to Homeschool"

The report, "Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics," was conducted by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute.
The survey included 11,739 homeschool students in all 50 states for the 2007-2009 academic year, and the HSLDA said the results were consistent with previous studies on homeschoolers' achievements.

Drawing on the results from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009, the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed, showed homeschoolers who participated in the California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and Stanford Achievement Test scored 37 percentile points above public school students on standardized tests.


The study also showed that achievement gaps common in public schools and linked to income levels and other factors mostly were absent or minimal in the homeschool community.
The study showed homeschooled boys scored at the 87th percentile and girls were at the 88th percentile. Students where the household income was under $35,000 scored at the 85th percentile and students in homes with a household income over $70,000 were at the 89th percentile.

There was only slightly more variance linked to parental education, too. Children whose parents did not have college degrees were at the 83rd percentile and children in homes where both parents held college degrees were at the 90th percentile.
"Because of the one-on-one instruction homeschoolers receive, we are prepared academically to be productive and contributing members of today's society," Smith said.

"Homeschooling is a rapidly growing, thriving education movement that is challenging the conventional wisdom about the best way to raise and educate the next generation," said Smith.

Regarding costs, the average public school spends nearly $10,000 per child per year, but the Progress Report said the average homeschool parent spends about $500 per child per year.

Ian Slatter, director of media relations for the HSLDA, cited the 100,000 students graduated each year from homeschools as a reason the activity is getting more and more attention.

"Despite much resistance from outside the homeschool movement, whether from teachers unions, politicians, school administrators, judges, social service workers, or even family members, over the past few decades homeschoolers have slowly but surely won acceptance as a mainstream education alternative. This has been due in part to the commissioning of research which demonstrates the academic success of the average homeschooler," the HSLDA report said.
Homeschoolers achieved the 89th percentile in reading, 84th in language, 84th in math, 86th in science and 84th in social studies.

The 37-point margin was significantly higher than the 30-point margin reported in a 1998 study on the issue, the HSLDA said.

"This particular study is the most comprehensive ever undertaken. It attempts to build upon and improve on the previous research. One criticism of the Rudner [1998] study was that it only drew students from one large testing service. Although there was no reason to believe that homeschoolers participating with that service were automatically non-representative of the broader homeschool community, HSLDA decided to answer this criticism by using 15 independent testing services for this new study. There can be no doubt that homeschoolers from all walks of life and backgrounds participated in the "Progress Report."

WND had reported only weeks earlier on an HSLDA assessment that determined moms and dads can teach their own children as effectively as any "certified" teacher.

The report by Chris Klicka, senior counsel for the HSLDA, is titled, "The Myth of Teacher Qualifications." He revealed that having "certified" teachers actually has a negative impact in some situations.
He reported, "Educational research does not indicate any positive correlation between teacher qualifications and student performance. Many courts have found teacher qualification requirements on homeschoolers to be too excessive or not appropriate. The trend in state legislatures across the country indicates an abandonment of teacher qualification requirements for homeschool teachers. In fact, Americans, in general, are realizing that the necessity of teacher qualifications is a myth. The teachers' unions and other members of the educational establishment make up the small minority still lobbying for teacher certification in order to protect their disintegrating monopoly on education."

The assessment said, "One of the most significant studies in this area was performed by Dr. Eric Hanushek of the University of Rochester, who surveyed the results of 113 studies on the impact of teachers' qualifications on their students' academic achievement. Eighty-five percent of the studies found no positive correlation between the educational performance of the students and the teacher's educational background.

"Although 7 percent of the studies did find a positive correlation, 5 percent found a negative impact," the report said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Free Homeschooling eBook

Hello from DreamBox Learning,

If you haven't heard of us before, DreamBox Learning is an online math game for kids. We're reaching out to homeschool bloggers and supporters to let you know that DreamBox is building a free library of resources specifically for families that homeschool.

As the first addition to our library, we created a free homeschooling ebook, 'Helping Homeschoolers be Successful in Math.' We're offering bloggers a sneak preview at http://bit.ly/dbox-homeschool. Feel free to post it on your blog or send it to your homeschooler friends. More great resources will be added to our homeschooling library in the future at http://www.dreambox.com/homeschool. If you would like to contribute to our library or have any requests we'd love to hear from you.

We welcome your feedback! Contact me at tracy@dreambox.com and let me know what you think of our math homeschool ebook.


Sincerely,

Tracy Beach
DreamBox Learning
http://www.dreambox.com

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunset at the Farm



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I went from the compose view to the html view and it messed up the spacing between paragraphs again.
It's going to be a HOT one today with a heat index of 105-109. Yuck!
I am canning, freezing and drying produce from the garden this week. There is such a satisfaction in growing and preserving your own foods. I love to count the green peppers and then add up the savings. (I refuse to pay $1 per green pepper in the grocery store.) I am growing green peppers, eggplant, strawberries and flowers on the deck this year.
Homeschool is going along, but not quite to a full schedule yet. I am testing Brandon and Amanda this week. I am making learning books of Math facts and other memory lessons for Bethany and Caleb this week too.
I am going to make a few more batches of soap and then will dry off our last milking goat. I had thought she was dried off earlier, but she had a full udder when I went outside one day. I will be thankful to have one less chore to do every day.
Our needs for milk (food purposes) are more than a goat can produce now, so we are looking into purchasing a cow next spring. My grandfather had them when I was growing up and I often fed the calves with a bottle, but I really know very little about them. I still like the way the calf formula smells.
I found nice looking, but inexpensive curtains for the master bedroom at Walmart. For $30 and a little time hemming the length, I'll be done with that room. Now to figure out what to do for the kitchen windows. I have the old double hung windows with the lead weights right over the kitchen sink. It's hard to get Clint to find time to remove the storm windows so I can clean them, so they always look horrible. I am unable to do it without his help. Easy to clean windows would be such a blessing. Clint says he plans on replacing all of the windows yet, but he wants to wait until we have finished adding on to the house first.
We have more chicks hatching out of the incubator today. This will be the last clutch for a few weeks. I lost an entire load of eggs when we had a series of power outages a couple of weeks ago.
Clint and Brandon went to the parts yard in Chesterfield Saturday. They had a really good time together.
Please keep Luke and his family in your prayers! Your little prayers can make a big difference in another's life.

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3

Monday, August 03, 2009

Amanda's Friend





Amanda was picking peppers when she grabbed something that wrapped around her wrist!!
She said, "It was green, so I figured I was OK."
She put the green snake back in the garden where it can work for our family by eating the bugs after our produce, which is what it was doing before Amanda mistaked it for a jalepeno.
The little one seemed to really like her alert bracelet she wears for sleepwalking.
(We think she has stopped, but that one time she went out of the house is still so frightening to her that she prefers to wear the bracelet--just in case.)
As you can tell, Amanda has been helping me paint!
Behind her are the new curtains we made together recently.
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Saturday, August 01, 2009

About Ready to Eat!


Sunflower near harvest
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Guarding His Flock


Cock-a-doodle-do!
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Rainbow

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Spiders


We have allowed these to live with us on our farm since they do so much to control the insect population.
When we moved here, we only had a few. Now, we see scores of them!
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Shannee


aka Trouble. She's taken to pulling clothes off the clothesline.
She has so much potential to be a great dog once she gets past this puppy stage.
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Black Beauty Eggplant Baby


I have this growing in a 5 gallon bucket on the deck. The children love checking it each day to see how much it has grown!
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I Love the Growing Season


when there is life and color all around, and we can get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature!
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Clematis


grows much better when the goats can't get to it!
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Small Sunflower

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Little May




She had to check out my camera!
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