Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten of 2010

You all know how much I like to fit in and follow the crowd...

...and so, because it seems to me that all the cool people are doing it, I've decided to publish my own "Top Ten" posts list. 

I didn't do any major statistical analysis. These are just some of my favorites. Consider them the "in crowd" of blog posts. 

10What Kids Really Need -- in which Acacia points out the obvious, and I (as per usual) risk being misquoted.

9"Doing School" -- in which life is school, and not necessarily the other way around.

8. 10 Pieces of Good Advice from Experienced Homeschool Moms -- a "top ten" within a "top ten", in which I cheat and post other people's best stuff, rather than my own.

7Whose Baby is it Really?  -- in which an imaginative toddler reminds me of an important theological lesson.

6Coming Out of the Closet -- in which I answer the dreaded question, "Haven't you guys figured out how that happens yet?"

5The World is Not Enough --in which I discuss what's really missing from government run education, and it has nothing to do with test scores...

4Don't Be Afraid, Have Faith -- in which I admit I can't knit.

3Am I Really Content? -- in which I admit I can't knit, or garden, or keep a clutter-free home...but I do know how to break the 10th commandment.

2Enough Rope to Hang Myself -- in which I am reminded that I'll never actually be part of the "in crowd"...and I'm okay with that.

1Decisions or Disciples? -- in which I ask an uncomfortable question that has been bothering me for a long time, and should bother you, too.

So, there you have it! Ten posts that have made me smile in 2010. Hopefully, they've made you smile...and think...too!

May He bless you and yours richly in the year to come! "See" you in 2011!

By His Grace,

Tiana
Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

No long, eloquent, family Christmas letter this year...

Just a simple, heart-felt, prayer that Jesus Christ,


The Babe in the Manger,


The Savior on the Cross,


The Resurrected Son of God,


And Soon Coming King,


Bring His Redemptive Grace to you and your family.

Micah, Acacia, Asher, and baby Eliora
December 2010


With Love and Gratitude from Our Family,


Tiana
December 25, 2010


p.s.--Give your children the gift of biblical literacy in 2011:
Top Ten List: Practical Tips for Teaching Your Children About the Bible
Friday, December 24, 2010

Living Books to Read This Week

Have you been running around like crazy, getting your family and home ready for Christmas?
How about a time-out with your little ones?
Here are a few great reads, perfect for snuggling on the couch on a cold winter’s night…
The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter– Most of us are familiar with Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten, but many may have missed this fine gem, believed to be Ms. Potter’s own favorite among her books. It is a delightful tale, in the spirit of “The Elves and the Shoemaker”, of a poor old tailor, a bitter cat, and the little mice who give a grand Christmas gift.
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, Chapter 8, “In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole” — Another classic (and far better than any modern re-telling), Winnie-the-Pooh’s discovery of the North Pole is adorable and entertaining for children and adults alike.
Katie and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton– While you listen to the snow plows clatter down your street, read this fun little story of the BIG red crawler tractor that was just the right size for the job.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Christmas”–Really, this entire book makes a wonderful winter read, but the chapter about Christmas is absolutely perfect for this week. Don’t let the fact that it’s a chapter book deter you. Mrs. Wilder wrote this book about her young childhood specifically with young children in mind.
The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier– This book will help you communicate with your little ones that the real, true, story of Christmas is fact, not fantasy. It may be a little long for younger preschoolers, so try breaking it up into smaller chunks if you have squirmy ones without a lot of “sit” in them. The illustrations are beautiful, and your children will likely relate to the little boy who is full of questions!
So, what about you? What are you reading this week?
Monday, December 20, 2010

Pray for Micah Andrews--Micah and Family Featured on Good Morning America!

Hello friends!

It's been a long time since I've given you an update about Micah Andrews.

The results of his surgery and subsequent therapy have been nothing short of miraculous!

Watch this video featuring Micah, his parents, and the medical team that cared for him, from Good Morning America:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/boy-suffers-internal-decapitation/story?id=12035541&tqkw=&tqshow=GMA

George Stephanopoulos talks about the importance of car seats, and immobilizing the spine after a neck injury.

True. But you and I both know that Micah had a lot of people praying for him. We serve an amazing God who does miracles every day!

I am so overjoyed for my friends Heather and John and their family! What a wonderful Christmas present they've received this year!

Please take a minute to hop over to Micah's blog, and send a note of congratulations and rejoicing to them!

By His Grace,


Tiana

Jesus Has Better News for You


"Santa Claus is coming to town, so get your act together! That is not good news for me. That's bad news...I've got better news for you...way better for sinners...and everyone is walking into the holidays sinning." John Piper

Last year, at about this time, I wrote a post about why we believe it is unwise for Christian parents to tell little children that Santa Claus is "real":


I have to confess, though, that I missed this one...

And, wow, is it ever important!

The Gospel...God, coming to earth, as a human baby...

To live the perfect life we cannot live...

And die in our place, taking the punishment we deserve for our sins...

That we might be forgiven...


and, through repentance and faith, be righteous before God...

This is the true message of Christmas.


"For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us
not because of works done by us in righteousness, 
but according to his own mercy
by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 
whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior
so that being justified by his grace
 we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Titus 3:4-7
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eliora Grace's Birth Story

 (Yeah! I finally finished it! This is a "real" birth story...so if that's not your thing, you have been warned...)



  
Friday, November 19th, was the day after my husband’s birthday. We went out to our favorite little Italian restaurant with my mom, my sister, and the kids to celebrate. While we were there, I had several attention-grabbing contractions. My mom and sister were curious—is this “it”?

“Who knows??” was my response. I had been having contractions off and on for several days already. Some people call it prodromal labor. I just call it “the-way-things-happen-for-me”.

I was six days “overdue” according to ultrasound—more than two weeks past my highly-unreliable LMP due date. I took this all in stride, though. All three of my other babies had come late. With Asher, I was induced at 10 days “late”. Acacia came on her own at 11 days “late”, and Micah on his own at 12.

I told everyone I knew not to get too excited. If things held true to pattern, I’d be birthing this baby on Thanksgiving Day.

We went home, tucked the kids in bed, and everyone had a good night’s sleep.

Micah, my 2-year-old, got me out of bed at 7am. I vaguely remember having a few contractions wake me in the middle of the night, but nothing earth shattering. As I worked to fix breakfast, however, I noticed that my contractions started to become more regular. They weren’t particularly painful, but they were stronger and coming more frequently.

I made a delicious pot of oatmeal with raisins for breakfast for the little ones and myself. I had learned from my past births that it is important for me to eat and drink as well as I can during early labor. For whatever reason, I happen to throw up a lot during active labor. At this early stage, I felt well and had a lot of energy, so I set to work to clean the house and see the bottom of the laundry pile, in preparations to birth my baby at home.

This was to be my third homebirth. My eldest was born via emergency c-section, after my body overreacted to an induction drug, Cytotech, causing contractions that were too strong and too close together for my baby to tolerate. Having been thoroughly unsatisfied with the care I received during his birth (this is an understatement, but that’s all I want too say about it now), and after much research and prayer, we decided that HBAC—Home Birth After Cesarean—was the right choice for me and our babies. (To read the story of my 1st HBAC, click here. I never got around to finishing my 2nd HBAC story. Perhaps another day…).

Although it was Saturday, my husband was out of town, about an hour away, at a very important, mandatory meeting for work. We had never really considered having him skip it, since I had never gone into labor earlier than 41.5 weeks before—and this was 41 weeks exactly. It was only to last about an hour and a half, which would have him home by early afternoon. While I was pretty certain that baby was not actually going to wait until Thanksgiving, I wasn’t too concerned about his leaving the house. I was doing well, and he had plenty of time.

And so, I went about the house, up and down the stairs with baskets of laundry, tidying and straightening, all the while tending to my children and their needs. I was happy to have things starting so early in the day. My labor with Micah had begun in the early evening, and I was thoroughly exhausted by the time he came at 10:21am the next day. I was determined to not have that happen to me again, so I moved through the contractions. I lifted my knees high as I went up the stairs, and squatted down low when I needed to pick things up off the floor.

About half way through the morning I decided to call my sister and ask her to come over. Yes, I was fine…yes, things were still early…but I wanted some company, and it would be easier to keep the children happy and out of mischief with an extra set of hands. Auntie gladly came over and spent the next several hours with us. She not only played with the children, but also folded and put away several baskets of clothes. With the laundry pile dissipated, the dishes done, the bathroom scrubbed, the floors vacuumed, and the bed made, I felt at peace about baby coming. I took a nice, long shower and washed my hair.

We all ate lunch together and shortly thereafter, Chris came home. We all decided that it would be the better part of wisdom for the children to go with Auntie to Grandma’s house at this point. We packed a small suitcase, I gave them all big hugs and kisses, and Chris loaded them into the van. It was around 2pm.

Alone in the house, and with contractions becoming more attention grabbing, I decided to call Ginnie, my midwife, to give her the “head’s up”. I did this more as a courtesy than anything else. I knew that it was still early, and that early labor tends to take a long time for me, but I wanted her to know that I might be waking her in the middle of the night, so that she could go to bed early.

With the kids gone, I thought I should really take a nap…but I couldn’t do it. I was too wide awake. So, I took a bubble bath. Chris came home just as I was finishing up, and he helped me out of the tub. Still, I wasn’t tired enough to sleep. So, I made almond poppy-seed muffins instead, and loaded the dishwasher again.

Ginnie called at around 5pm to ask for an update. Things hadn’t changed much, and I had stopped timing contractions altogether. She encouraged us to have an early dinner and an early bedtime. I should call again in the morning, unless I had to call sooner.

Chris and I enjoyed a quiet evening together. He made himself a sandwich, and I re-warmed some leftover rice and vegetables. I wasn’t feeling that much like eating, but since I could, I knew I should. We went to bed at 7pm.

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t sleep. The contractions were getting more painful. Every time one would wake me up, I started having anxious thoughts. Chris tried talking me through some of the relaxation exercises we had learned in our Bradley classes way-back-when, but I wasn’t hearing it. I hated lying down. By 9pm, I gave up and got out of bed. I let Chris continue to sleep. I could still handle things alone, and I knew I would need him later.

If I couldn’t sleep, I needed to at least rest. I decided to lay on the couch with a favorite movie that I never get to watch—Sense and Sensibility—all by myself! This was very relaxing, and I really enjoyed myself. When it was over (three hours later) I got in the shower again. Once I got out, I was starting to feel nauseas, and threw up once or twice. Thankfully, I had been drinking to thirst all day long, so I was well hydrated.

I spent the next several hours getting in and out of bed, trying to sleep, and going across the hall to the bathroom as necessary. At around 3:45am, I finally relaxed enough to fall asleep between contractions, and got two hours of much needed sleep.

At quarter to six, I woke up Chris. This was starting to feel “real”, and I needed help. I was so happy that I allowed him a good night’s sleep! He was well-rested and ready to help me! He did such a great job of rubbing my back and talking me through the contractions. I guess, with this being our fourth baby, he was becoming a “pro”!

It was definitely time to call Ginnie! When I felt comfortable enough to have a conversation, I got on the phone and told her that I thought it was time for her to come. As we were discussing how my labor had progressed through the night, I had a particularly strong contraction and dropped the phone on the bed.

This is where the story starts to get interesting…

Chris picked up the phone—and Ginnie had hung up! This was not typical of her, so I tried calling her back, but the phone was busy!

I thought that perhaps she was calling Anneke, her assistant, to let her know that she was getting ready to go. I breathed and concentrated through another contraction, and then tried calling her again.

I was NOT prepared for what I was going to hear next.

“Tiana, I have another mom in labor right now. She went into labor early. She just called me, and her contractions are already 2 minutes apart. She has very fast labors.”

It was all I could do just to process this information. Ginnie continued,

“So, here are our options. I can call another midwife from down in Milwaukee to come and be with you until I can get there. Or, the other mother has already agreed that she would come here, if you’d like to come here, too.”

I said I would talk it over with Chris and get back to her.

I explained the situation to Chris, and he said, with certainty, “It looks like we’re going to Ginnie’s house.”

I wasn’t nearly as certain. Every bone in my body wanted to stay home.

Maybe I could ask Ginnie to call Pam (her former assistant, now a midwife with her own practice, who had been at both Acacia and Micah’s births)?

“Tiana, I think you want Ginnie to attend this birth. Let’s get ready to go.”

So, it was decided. I called Ginnie and said we’d be there as soon as we could. But I was not at peace.

I was sweaty, and smelly, and in my nightgown.

I had never taken a car ride in labor and didn’t want to start now.

And…I was embarrassed.

How was I, a woman who goes waaay overdue, has ridiculously long labors, and throws up the whole time, going to be able to handle being in the same house with a woman who has 3 hour labors 3 weeks early?

Oh, I was more than embarrassed. I was jealous.

How could this be happening to me? This was so unfair! Why, why, WHY???

As I got dressed and packed my things together, I bawled.

Actually, I had a full-on temper tantrum.

“LORD, this is not what I wanted! This is not the birth I planned. I want to be at HOME! Why are you allowing this to happen? I don’t understand!”

I must have gone on like this for at least 20 minutes. Finally, I realized that I was being pretty faithless.

“LORD, I believe you are working all things together for my good. Help me to see the good in this.”

I took a deep breath, and “got my head right”, as Chris would say. Alright. Let’s go.

Our birth kit was already neatly packed into a large plastic tote and a wash basket, so all we really needed to pack was a bag of clothes and personal items for me and a car seat for the baby.

I felt incredibly awkward leaving the house. It was 7am Sunday morning, and our neighbors would be leaving for church soon. What if I have a contraction in public?

Once we got into the car, I calmed down considerably. Having contractions in a car is not fun—and one of my favorite reasons to homebirth!—but the drive to Ginnie’s house has always been beautiful and pleasant. She lives out in the country, in a lovely, secluded, wooded area filled with hills and valleys. As we pulled into the driveway, Chris said,

“Well, honey, if you had to pick a freestanding birthing center, I think this would be it.”

I smiled.

As we walked in the door, we heard the unmistakable sound of a fresh infant crying. We knew the other baby had been born.

Right in the entryway, I collapsed into Chris’s arms with a very strong contraction. Almost immediately, I heard Anneke’s voice behind me. When I was ready, she said they had a bed waiting for me. I said that I’d better use a bathroom first.

We walked into the living room, and there was a mattress set up on the floor waiting for me. It was pleasant and comfortable, and I knew instantly that this was going to be okay.

It was a good thing, too, because I had started to feel “pushy” in the car, and felt certain that baby was coming soon!

Ginnie was still busy in some other part of the house with the other mother and her newborn baby (I never did see them, so my worries about laboring with an “audience” were completely unfounded). Anneke asked me how I was feeling.

“I really didn’t want to come, but I’m fine now that I’m here. I think I’m pretty close to pushing, though. I think you’d better check me.”

So, she did, and she had a rather uncertain look on her face.

“I’m not sure,” she said, “but I think you still have some more to go. I’ll have Ginnie come check in a little bit.”

In the meantime, she and Chris worked to get me comfortable and relaxed. They set up my birth kit, helped me change into my nightgown, and gave me something to drink. Chris continued to rub my back and talk me through my contractions. I was working hard, but in surprisingly good spirits. I was sure the end was in sight.

There was a flurry of activity in the nearby kitchen, to which I did my best not to pay attention. Coffee and breakfast were being made for the other couple by Ginnie’s housemate. Soon, I heard Ginnie’s voice as well. She and Anneke had a discussion in rather hushed tones.

Anneke came back and set up a few more things. She asked if I’d like her to take some pictures. I was delighted that she offered, and I happily said, “yes”.

My dear husband, Christopher, loving me through my labor.

In a little while, Ginnie came into the room. The other mother, with her husband and baby, were resting comfortably in a closed room on the other side of the house. She could now devote her attention to me.

“Anneke says you think you’re ready to push. Do you want me to see where you’re at?”

“Yes, let’s do it.”

I was at 2 and a half. Maybe 3.

“Oh, no…” I sighed, dejectedly, burying my head in Chris’ shoulder. I had been laboring for over 24 hours. How could I possibly still have so far to go???

“I can’t be dishonest with you…”

“Of course, not…”

“You’re going to have to refocus.”

“Yeah…”

“We’re going to take this one contraction at a time. You can do this.”

“I’m so tired…”

“I know you are. Refocus your energy. You can do this.”

“Okay…”

They left Chris and I alone for a couple of minutes. If he was discouraged, he didn’t let me know it. He told me that he believed in me…that I was strong. I cried.

“I don’t feel strong,” I said.

“But you are,” he insisted.

Soon Ginnie and Anneke were back. They wanted to know if I’d like to get in the shower. That sounded like a very good idea.

They had gotten everything set up for me already, and left Chris and I alone.  Have I mentioned how wonderful Chris was through all of this? He helped me take my hair down, and stood right outside the shower, talking to me the whole time.

The shower did me a world of good. I was still tired—still unsure of how much more I could handle—but in a better place physically and mentally. I did a lot of praying at this point in my labor.

Jesus, help me…be with me…sustain me…

Recognizing that I wasn’t really in control of my body—that, as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just stop this labor and take a nap—once again made me realize my great need for Him.

I got back into bed and did my best to rest. Ginnie did a fabulous job of coaching me through each contraction, helping me to relax as much as possible. She wasn’t freaked out by my painfully slow progress, or by my vomiting every third contraction or so. Once again, Chris was right. I wanted her there—not some stranger who doesn’t know me or my labor patterns.

“This is just Tiana’s way,” she said to Anneke at one point.

Pretty much.

Another thing that is “just Tiana’s way”, that maybe I should have thought about earlier, is how quickly I can go from “very little progress” to “yep, you’re done”!

I had been lying on my side, taking one contraction at a time, in a surprisingly relaxed state. It had only been about 2 hours since the dreaded “two-and-a-half” conversation.

Suddenly, I didn’t want to be lying down anymore.

I got up on my hands and knees.

“Baby’s coming!” I blurted out.

And she was.

Three pushes…less than three minutes…and she was out! It was 10:57am, Sunday, November 21, 2010.

Chris and Anneke helped me to turn around and sit down on the bed, and Ginnie handed me a squalling baby!

Eliora Grace and Mommy, moments after birth

She was tiny, too. Really little. We didn’t measure her until much later, but she was 6 lbs. 3 oz. and 18.5 inches long—my smallest baby yet. Although, this didn’t surprise me too much, seeing as she was my earliest baby yet as well—only 8 days past her ultrasound due date, as opposed to 10, 11, and 12 days “late”, respectively.

(Once again, I proved that the standard medical birth routine would not have been good for me and my baby. Most mothers with previous cesareans in my area are scheduled for a repeat c-section at 39 weeks. This would have been dangerous for my tiny girl. Even if I had been “allowed” to go into labor on my own (which is unlikely), had I presented at the hospital “ready to push” at 2.5cm, I’m certain I would not have been left to labor peacefully and progress naturally.)

I took my little baby to my breast. She latched on well and had a strong suck. Her eyes were wide open, alert, and looking at me. It was at this point that I lifted the little blanket to “check”, being careful not to be confused by an umbilical cord this time.

“It’s a girl!” I exclaimed! God had answered Acacia’s prayers. She had her baby sister!

We named her Eliora Grace. “Eliora” is a Hebrew name meaning “The LORD is my light.” We gave her the middle name “Grace” to finish the verse “…and my salvation.” Psalm 27:1.

Chris led a prayer of blessing over our new baby and our family. I was sweaty, exhausted, teary-eyed, and overjoyed.

Little Baby Eliora, in Daddy's Arms

Afterward, Ginnie and Anneke gave me the royal treatment! They made me a delicious lunch of grilled chicken and stir-fried vegetables. I don’t think I remember the last time anything tasted so good! And they did all my laundry, too. I went home to a thoroughly clean house and two wire racks full of homemade muffins, with nothing to do but relax and enjoy my baby. It was a good thing, too, because I really needed the rest!



So, that’s the story of how Eliora Grace came into the world. Her birth was long and tiring…and certainly different then I had planned…but it was a good birth. 

A very good birth.

I am so blessed.

My Advent Bible Study--We Have a Winner!

And the winner is...

(drum roll please)



Peggy G. (Comment #11)

Thank-you to all who entered! 

You can still get your own copy at www.quiettimesforkids.com. Be sure to watch the video on the home page for a great coupon code!

Blessings!!

Tiana



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"My Advent Bible Study"--Review and Giveaway!!

As you probably know, I am constantly looking for ways to get my children's minds off of their "wish lists" and on the real meaning of Christmas.


Having grown up in a faith tradition that didn't spend much time talking about Advent, I've always felt a little at a loss as to how to share this important time with my children. I would read the passages in Matthew and Luke about Christ's birth, and get out the CD's of Christmas music...and that was pretty much it.

This year, however, I've really had the desire to take things a bit deeper.

I want to teach my kids about the Old Testament prophecies that foretold the coming of the Messiah, and how the LORD Jesus is the fulfillment of those prophecies.

I want to help them to memorize some of these important passages of Scripture.

Most importantly, I want them to understand why Jesus came to Earth as a human baby--how His coming was a crucially important part of redemptive history.

So, I was really excited when I had a chance to talk to Andie Davidson of Quiet Time for Kids about her newest product--My Advent Bible Study. She generously agreed to give me a copy to try with my own children, and also give my blog readers a chance to win their own copy!





My Advent Bible Study is a great tool you can use to help prepare your children's hearts for the coming King. It includes Scripture readings and copywork, questions for your child's reflection, picture drawing assignments (my kids' favorite part), and special projects that can be done individually or as a family.

Like the rest of the Quiet Time for Kids Bible Studies, it is designed for children who are old enough to read and write on their own, to introduce them to the joys of personal Bible study. Since my children are still a bit young to do some of the activities on their own, we've decided to do it together, in place of our morning catechism over the next few weeks. This is a 25 day program, with one study page for every day from December 1st-25th. Don't worry about getting a late start, though. None of the studies are particularly date-specific, and there's no reason your child can't continue the study past Christmas Day and into the new year.

To make things even more easy, My Advent Bible Study is an e-book! One simple download, no paying for shipping, and no waiting! You can get started with your own study today! Just go to www.quiettimeforkids.com. Be sure to watch the video on the homepage for a special coupon code. While you're at it, be sure to download their free five-day Bible Study, "Animals of the Bible".

I'm really enjoying doing this study with my little ones--I think you will, too!

And now, for your chance to win your own download of My Advent Bible Study!


To enter, simply leave a comment below. If you'd like, you can tell us what you think your favorite part of this Bible study would be, or something that you're doing with your kids to celebrate the coming of Christ.


For additional entries, do any of the following:


1. Blog about this giveaway and post a link here (2 entries, leave 2 comments).
2. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter (1 entry each).
3. Subscribe to this blog via email.
4. Follow this blog on Twitter, Networked Blogs, or Google (1 entry each).


Be sure to leave one comment for each additional entry!

Contest ends Monday, December 13th at midnight (central time). Winner will be announced Tuesday morning.


By His Grace,


Tiana


**The fine print. This is not a paid post, and the view expressed here are my own, honest opinions. Thank-you to Andie Davidson of Quiet Time for Kids for providing the two copies of the study for review and giveaway.**
Friday, December 3, 2010

Whose Baby is it Really?

Micah (age 2): There's a baby in my belly!


Me: Oh, really? Where?


Micah: Right here (lifts shirt and points to belly button).


Me: Is it a boy baby or a girl baby?


Micah: Baby.


Me: Are you sure the baby isn't in my belly?


Micah: No. Baby in my belly!


Micah and I had many conversations that sounded like this in the weeks leading up to Eliora's birth. The funny thing is that, while mama's baby may be "out", according to Micah, his "baby" is still very much "in".

As I ponder the innocent absurdity of a two-year-old boy taking ownership of a baby that he has no capacity to carry, much less care for, I am reminded that I am not that unlike him myself.


I am foolish to believe that I can truly care for these little ones on my own--or that they really belong to me...





I'll never forget her words,

"I always knew he wasn't really mine. He belongs to God, and God gave him to me. I never knew how long I would have him."

I sat in the middle of the crowded church, just across the street from the park where, only a few days previous, we had walked down the hill and across the stage to receive our diplomas. And now, here we were, a group of recently liberated young people--not really teenagers, not really adults--with our "whole lives ahead of us".

Or so we thought.

He had been a classmate of mine since Kindergarten. A brain aneurysm took him, and he was gone.

"Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I shall return.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed by the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21

The faith-filled words of his grieving mother had a profound impact on my 18-year-old self, and I find myself reflecting upon them to this day.

Not really mine.

God has given me four children. Fearfully and wonderfully made, amazing little children. And they are not really mine. They are His.

He has entrusted them to my care for a season. I don't know how long that season will be, or even what this very day holds.


As I hold this little newborn girl in my arms, I recognize that she is not really mine, and I confess that I am afraid.

She's so tiny, and fragile, and helpless...and God have her...(gulp)...to me???

I am certainly not entitled to question the wisdom of God, but why me?

I am afraid I won't do right by her. I am afraid that I won't be a good steward of this little blessing God has given me. And tears come.

I don't deserve her. Father, help me!

And then, I remember, that there was a baby that truly belonged to me...

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called 
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father.
Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Given.

Sacrificially. Selflessly. Completely Undeserved.

To be mine forever.

It is in Him, and through Him, and by Him that I care for, train, teach, and love these little ones.

One day at a time. For as long as He should see fit to give them to me.

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him  who called us by his own glory and excellence."
2 Peter 1:3

By His Grace,

Tiana
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homeschooling with a Newborn


A week ago, our family welcomed our newest little blessing into the world–baby Eliora Grace.
I hope to write a full birth story in the near future, but for now, you can read her birth announcement here:
Here she is again, with big sister Acacia, who prayed her into existence:
“I prayed for a baby sister, and God answered my prayers!” ~Acacia
As we have prepared for the arrival of baby #4, some folks have wondered aloud (or, under their breath) as to how I would manage homeschooling with a tiny one in the house.
It’s a good question, the answer to which can be summarized in two points:careful planning, and realistic expectations.
Friday, November 26, 2010

Disciple Like Jesus--We Have a Winner!!!

I know I've kept you all waiting, but little Eliora Grace has been keeping me pretty busy!

The winner of the Disciple Like Jesus book giveaway is...






Stephanie!!! (Comment #28) Congratulations!!


Thanks to everyone who entered!

For those who didn't win, you can visit Amazon.com or Christianbook.com to get your own copy.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!


By His Grace,


Tiana
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's a Girl!!!



Dear Friends,

Thank-you so much for your prayers!  Our latest blessing has arrived!




Eliora Grace

born November 21, 2010, 10:57am

6lbs, 3oz, 18.5 inches long




Another successful HBAC, Eliora was actually born at (get this) my midwife's

house! I hope to be able to write the whole story eventually, but in short,
my midwife had two women laboring at the same time (I, one week late, the
other mom, 3 weeks early!), and it looked as though we would give birth
within a couple hours of each other. After weighing our options, we (all)
decided that the better course of wisdom would be for us both to come to
her.

It wasn't my ideal situation (I threw a genuine temper tantrum when Chris
said, "Let's get in the car and go."), but it all turned out really well.
Eliora was born 3 hours after this other mama's baby, and there is no way my
midwife would have made it to both of us in time! God is so good! We are
both healthy and doing well. She is my tiniest baby yet, and she came the
"earliest" too--only 8 days after her ultrasound due date, as opposed to 10,
11, and 12 days "late" for my other three.

Oh, and for the baby name fanatics out there...

"Eliora" (pronounced el-ee-OR-a) is a Hebrew name meaning
"The LORD is my light". 
We gave her the middle name "Grace" to finish the verse, 
"...and my salvation." Psalm 27:1




Again, thank-you so much for your prayers! I am feeling sooo blessed!



By His Grace,


Tiana


UPDATE: You can read Eliora's birth story here: http://godmadehomegrown.blogspot.com/2010/12/eliora-graces-birth-story.html
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Disciple Like Jesus--Review and Giveaway!!



Discipleship.


In many evangelical circles, "discipleship" is a buzz word, and it can mean many things to different people.

Most American Christians think of discipleship in terms of programs:


Mens ministries, womens ministries, youth ministries, seniors ministries, couples ministries, singles ministries, and on, and on, and on...

However, as we face the grim reality that almost 90% of our young people walk away from their faith by the time they reach college age, we must ask ourselves,

"What are we doing, and why is it not working???"

If we examine the life of Jesus, we see clearly that for Him, discipleship was never about programs. It was a lifestyle--one that He lived day in and day out, pouring His entire life into His small group of followers for a brief but intensive three year period. (Yes, we get our children for a bit longer than that...and it's a good thing we do, seeing as we are not God Incarnate.)

WWJD--"What would Jesus Do?"--was a popular question in recent history. When it comes to discipling our children, though, a better question would be,

"What did Jesus do???"


Disciple Like Jesus by Alan Melton and Paul Dean does a fantastic job of answering this question.

The authors begin by outlining two training approaches--Jesus's training approach and The World's Training approach:


Two Training Approaches 

Jesus' Training ApproachWorld's Training Approach 
Follow Me only, a trustworthy TeacherFollow many teachers of questionable values 
With disciples all dayWith disciples in spare time  
Constantly teach bible, demonstrate how to live, glorify God (80+ hours)Constantly teach non-biblical information, (bible less than 5 hours) 
Send out adult disciples in twosSend out child disciples alone 

Priorities and Results: Two Approaches  
Jesus' Training ApproachWorld's Training Approach
Goal- Make disciples: followers of ChristGoal- Well educated adult, respected job, affluence, popularity
Goal- A few deep relationshipsGoal- Many superficial relationships
Results- Lasting eternal impactResults- Temporary self gratification
Results- 92% stay in churchResults- 6% to 25% stay in church


Then, in page after page of biblical insight, timely example, and practical application, they show you how to make changes and set priorities that will make Christlike discipleship a reality in your home and family!

I have to say that it has been a long time since I have been so deeply moved and challenged by a book. I was reminded that being home with my children and homeschooling them, while certainly good things, do not guarantee that I will disciple like Jesus. I can be in the same house as my children and still not be spending enough time with them. I can teach them the Word of God without them seeing the love of God in my life. I can educate them without discipling them.

The best part was that it didn't leave me in a state of guilt and anxiety (two pits that I am so apt to fall into). Instead, I left empowered and inspired. Each chapter gave me things that I can do practically--today!--to bring the discipleship of my children more into accordance with the example Jesus set forth for us in Scripture.

Perhaps you're not a homeschooling parent. Maybe your kids are in public school. Maybe you're a single parent, or a grandparent. Maybe you're married to an unbelieving spouse and aren't sure how this would work in your family. Maybe you are the parent of a rebellious teenager and are wondering if it's too late to make a difference. No matter where you are in your life or your walk with God, this book can help you!

I would also like to say something to pastors, teachers, and other church leaders. If you are concerned that the parents in your congregation "don't know what to do" or "won't do the job" when it comes to discipling their own children, this would be a fantastic resource to get into the hands of as many parents as possible.

On that note, I would like to announce my very first giveaway here on God Made, Home Grown!






The authors of Disciple Like Jesus have graciously agreed to give one free copy to a reader of this blog!

To enter, please leave a comment below letting me know what you think you'd like most about the book. (Visit www.disciplelikejesus.com to learn more).


For additional entries, you may do any and all of the following:

  1. Blog about this giveaway. (2 entries, leave two comments)
  2. Share a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. (1 entry each)
  3. Subscribe to God Made, Home Grown via email. 
  4. "Like" Disciple Like Jesus on Facebook or follow on Twitter. (1 entry each)
  5. Post the Disciple Like Jesus button on your blog. (find it here.)
  6. Follow me on Twitter, Google, or Networked Blogs (1 entry each)
For each additional entry, you must leave an additional, separate comment telling what you did, and posting a link if applicable.

The deadline for entering is Saturday, November 20th, at midnight (central time).


By His Grace,

Tiana


**The fine print. This is not a paid post, and the view expressed here are my own, honest opinions. Thank-you to the authors of Disciple Like Jesus for providing the two copies of the book for review and giveaway.**

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About Me

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

My Writing Elsewhere...

Fixing Your Heart on Titus 2

Did you pray for your
husband today?
Monday--His Work
Tuesday--His Integrity
Wednesday--His Mind
Thursday--His Purpose
Friday--His Health
Saturday--His Protection
Sunday--His Faith

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling
Features God Made, Home Grown

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

2009 Nominee!

2010 Nominee!

My Wired Style

My Wired Style
Success is not learned. It is discovered and nurtured. What was your child born to do?

Our Curriculum 2010-2011

Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Math--Math-U-See Primer (Kindergarten) , Math-U-See Alpha (1st grade)
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

Disciple Like Jesus

Disciple Like Jesus

Raising Homemakers

Raising Homemakers

Quiverfull Family

The Modest Mom

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