Archives for January 2008

The doll and the blankets

I got the doll in the mail today. She is just precious. The eyelashes. The soft chubby body. The sweet clothes. Whoever wins this doll is sure to love her. My daughters and I petted her in her box, and then I had to put her away quick lest we fall in love. (All four of my younger daughters got lovely new dolls of their own for Christmas, thus my feeling that we did not need another doll right now. But this doll is a sweetheart.)

On another note, don’t forget about my blanket party on Friday! If you haven’t already mentioned it on your blog, would you consider doing so? I am hoping we can wrap up a whole bunch of babies!

My very favorite price is FREE

Yours too?? Then take time TODAY to go sign up for a free sample of Fiber One cereal because this giveaway ends tomorrow. And if you think you don’t love bran cereal, try making these yummy muffins with the cereal! My mom made these all the time when we were kids. They are called 6 week muffins, because you can leave the batter in the fridge for several weeks, and just bake a few at a time (or a lot at a time) as you need them.

6-Week Bran Muffin Mix
6 c. bran cereal
2 c. boiling water
1 c. melted shortening or vegetable oil
3 c. sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 qt. buttermilk
5 c. flour
5 t. baking soda
5 t. salt

Pour boiling water over two cups bran and let set till water is absorbed. Stir in shortening. Combine remaining cereal, sugar, eggs and buttermilk; set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl combine all mixtures. Store batter in refrigerator for up to six weeks.

To make muffins; fill greased or paper lined muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. You can add raisins just before you bake them if you like, as well as a sprinkle of sugar over the top of each muffin to coax suspicious kids to take the first bite. (Once they taste ’em, they’ll probably love them!)


Snow fell all morning as we struggled our way through school. What was piling outside the sliding glass door was so much more interesting than what was on the page. Finally we got enough accomplished that I called it quits. After a quick lunch, the kids bundled up in about a million layers and roared out to play in the snow. It’d been windy too, and the drifts made some awesome heaps.

The younger kids rassled and thrashed and heaved snow everywhere. Amid the play, the big boys also shoveled the drive (for the princely sum of $7 each) and my 17 year old daughter and I took turns with the camera. It wasn’t till a good hour later that they all trundled back in, touching my face with their icy hands, delighting at my shocked recoil, and heaping their dripping coats around the fireplace to dry.

We hooked the camera up to the TV to look at the pictures we’d taken, and exclaimed over the amazing amount of snow that had fallen. As we looked at the pictures, I told our newest daughters that this was the snowiest winter we’d had in years. “I think God knew you wanted to see snow and He’s making sure you have plenty of it to play in,” I told hem with a smile.

My 12 year old smiled, momentarily pleased. Then a shadow crossed her face. “Yes, I wanted snow. But I wanted my [Ethiopian] mom too. I prayed for her to get better. Why did He say no to that?”

My heart was suddenly heavy for her. I told her how sorry I was about her first mom, and listened as she talked awhile longer. But my words of consolation felt as weighty to me as confetti.

This evening I am still wondering what I could have said. Was there something that would have eased her pain, helped her make sense of her life, pointed her towards faith?

My faith in God is foundational to my life. Despite the bad things He’s allowed, I’ve had such abundant evidence that God watches over me. I have no doubt that He cares about the details of my life. I pray my children willl all have that faith. But is faith easy for me because I’ve led a privileged life? How hard would it be for me to trust if I’d lost MY mom at age 9?

How do you help a child find a way to trust when she has such intimate experience with a time when God let the bottom drop out of her world — in spite of her prayers?

Remember the Blanket Party!

Just wanted to remind you about the Great Blanket Party happening here on Friday. You can read more about it here:For Want of A Blanket and here:More about the blanket project. I hope you all will consider mentioning the party on your own blog and then joining me on Friday to work towards blessing some needy moms and babies in Ethiopia.


As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him
Psalm 103:13

Opinion Saturday: Big Families

I am really excited to be nearing completion on my book about mothering a large family, and I am in need of some voices to help round out the final chapter. If you grew up in a large family (> 3 kids) or if you have more than three children, I hope you’ll consider answering the following questions:

What do you think is one of the tough things about living in or raising a large family?

What do you think are some of the greatest benefits of being in a large family?

You have until Wednesday to answer. You can answer either or both questions. Be sure to say whether you are writing from the parent’s perspective or the child’s perspective– I am hoping to get feedback from both. I will email to ask permission before I use anyone’s words in my book. I will also be picking one comment as my Golden Keyboard winner this week. So come on, big-family people! Hit me with your best thought!


Last night I was sitting on the living room floor in a sprawl of children gathered around John for story time. Since the littlest kids were happily sitting on either side of Dad, I pulled one of my 9 year old sons onto my lap for a cuddle. He doesn’t ask for it these days, but he doesn’t yet resist either, so I try to sneak cuddles in now and then when I can.

My 12 year old daughter who arrived from Ethiopia 6 months ago was apparently feeling in need of some mom-contact too, and came to lay her head on the bit of lap that wasn’t occupied by the 9 year old. I reached out to stroke her head, playing with the ringlets of hair just in front of her ears that always escape the braids, no matter how tightly I try to braid.

My heart was full of thoughts of her first mom. Though my daughter is doing really well here, she still misses her Ethiopian mom who is in Heaven. As I admired her precious face, and stroked the hair just as her first mother probably did thousands of times, I wished that somehow this child would see me not as a replacement or competition or as some poor substitute (all feelings I’ve had myself) but as a connection between her mom in heaven and herself. That somehow she would feel the love of her first mom coming through my fingers.

I don’t wish for my dear girl to forget her first mom. I hope she doesn’t fear that by fully embracing me she will lose something of her first mom. But I do wish that somehow by God’s grace she could feel a continuity. A love that exists as strongly on this side of the globe as it did in the country of her birth. I am privileged to carry on the job that her first mom began.

Our relationship is still very new, and I understand the moments when the everyday me is compared to the most shining memories of her first mother and I don’t look so good in comparison. This bonding thing takes time. But I pray that someday she will think of ‘mother’ and see two faces, both looking at her in love. And I pray that each touch from me will make her smile and remember not just my love, but the love we both have for her.

Winner–Childhood traditions

I had fun reading about your memorable childhood traditions. This week’s Very Interesting Person is Lori, from The Road to Our Own. Thanks for your comments, everyone!!

Let’s see… that would make him… 60-something??

One of my 9 year old sons, a Korean adoptee, was born missing his right foot and wears a prosthetic leg. He has never been really self-conscious about it– wears shorts every day of the year that I will possibly allow it, loves to swim, etc. But when he was little, he wasn’t always sure how to answer people’s questions. When people would ask him about his leg, he would often look to me for help. I would answer for him, and then he and I would talk about different ways to answer the questions.

Well, I guess those days are past. The other day at the pool a kid asked about his leg. He told the kid he fought in the Korean War.

The kid looked at him, goggled-eyed. “Really??”

At that point my son laughed and told him that, no, actually he was born that way.

But his reply made me laugh my head off. And feel really proud to see he was finding his own way to answer questions.

For Kelli

Read this. Thanks.