08 September 2012

Hope and 2012 Update on the Lues family

Each year when the 25th of August arrives, I give a huge sigh of relieve! Six of our eight children celebrate their birthdays between middle June and the end of August.  It is a time of planning and pulling off splendid birthday parties,

baking and decorating fabulous birthday cakes 

and making joyful, gratifying and encouraging memories.  

All of it in only 11 weeks - a wild, lovely, exciting time!

But this year’s birthdays had more to it.  My oldest son turned 18 years just a few days ago.

I couldn’t have anticipated all the emotions involved in becoming the mom of a young adult. 

I thought , because he is the oldest of 8 - many more children to follow and I'm still busy with 
toddlers - even more years of raising children, I would surely not experience nostalgia in the knowing my oldest son from now on might not be so dependent on me anymore.  

Well, I did struggle through a huge mountain of sentiment and reactions.

CJ was the first of everything in parenting for us: The first of having and taking care of a baby; training a toddler; teaching to read and doing maths; the intense joy of seeing a Person in the making - uncovering and blossoming in his own interests; walking alongside a young teen, giving directions, guidelines, speaking words of truths, and then all of a sudden - he was a young man.

The Lord used this son of us to change our lives in so many ways, influencing thousands of people in the process. But the Lord mostly used him to introduce us to homeschooling, a journey that surely changed my life forever, forcing me to become more selfless and trusting in the Lord. Life as a homeschooling mother, irrespective of family size is busy, different, often lonely and pioneering work!

When I think back at the past 18 years as a mother, but especially since November 2011, the word to capture it all, is HOPE.  I live in hope and hope is the one thing that keeps me going day after day, in the face of challenges, disappointments, discouragement, failure - personally, in dear ones and friends around me.

What makes people persevere in challenging, uncertain, unfamiliar situations? 

I believe it is hope. Hope in the One who is worthy to be trusted, hope in the One who knows everything, hope in the One who will turn everything for good to those who love Him. 

My hope is secure because I know when I walk in submission, He is the rewarder.  

The journey our family chose over the years aren’t the popular, standard way of doing: A stay at home mom, striving for a God honoring marriage, not vaccinating our children, homeschooling, practicing natural medicine, surrendering our family size to the Lord. These are all facets of life we get challenged and questioned on a lot by family and friends. Not to mention how I in myself get even more challenged and questioned while living this kind of life.

Living a life of submission to God, does not mean life is smooth sailing, quit the contrary.  It will always be the narrow way and the enemy of our souls will use many different strategies to question our motives and goals.  If I’m not rooted in God’s word of truth, which do not change in the light of culture, political correctness and over time, I will be like a wave on the sea, unstable in everything. 

Since my last update in 2011, we as a family faced two more miscarriages. For now we have 8 children on this side of eternity and 6 children waiting for us on the other side of eternity. Facing a miscarriage is heartbreaking not only on me, but on the whole family. It influenced every facet of our lives together.  It is physically restraining on me, putting extra responsibilities on the family; emotionally it is overwhelming painful, restricting each family member’s output; and it is spiritually an extremely challenging experience.  In all this it was  our hope in the Lord and the sure knowing that He is in control that made us continue on this journey. 

In this painful experience we as a family had to recalculate the costs of the life we chose, reevaluate our motives and reaffirm the truths we believe to be God’s truth. We each got personally challenged in a different way, individually experienced personal growth and we as a family became more united.

God did amazing things in our lives this past year. For me personally: 

In September last year I miraculously got introduced to Inspire to Action’s Maximize Your Mornings

For years while having babies, I didn’t have a routine of when, what or how long I would read my Bible.  

Days would go by, that I didn’t open my Bible…. Sad, I know... 

I remember when we met Dr. Bruce Wilkinson from Walk Thru the Bible in 1999, how he challenged Christo and me to read the Bible first thing in the morning and not in the evening, as I was used too.  He had a quote: “No spiritual giant has ever done quiet time in the evening.” I experienced it first hand, I was just too tired in the evenings to read my Bible and every single night fell asleep while praying, yet I couldn’t get the motivation to rise early in the morning for time with the Lord.  

As I participated in my first Maximize Your Mornings challenge, it changed my life. I also got introduced to the Savoring Living Waters Bible Studies which accompany the Hello Mornings Challenge.

To my knowledge we are currently more than 40 ladies in South Africa taking part in the Hello Mornings Challenge, encouraging each other and be accountable to each other, to start their days with reading the Bible and spending time in prayer, exercise and planning the day - for our families!

During the same time a Friend of mine confronted me on thankfulness and as a result I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. 

Another huge transformation in my heart and mind! I got challenged on my thinking of God and His faithfulness. As a joyful result, my outlook on life, living and experiencing life, changed totally!  

Through the Hello Mornings Challenge of daily spending time in God’s Word and the challenge of always giving thanks to the Lord in the little things, I experienced amazing growth in my spiritual life, giving me the hope without which I would not have been able to face the days, weeks and months of 2012.

Here is what the rest of our family is currently up to:

CJ is going to do further studies from home for the next year or two and I’m going to delight myself in his presence in our home. 

His focus will be Maths (Maths-U-See) and Science (Apologia). He is still riding a friend’s horse weekly, but isn’t into show jumping and events much.  

After 6 years of putting his tennis racket aside for horses, he picked it up again. He is now so passionate about tennis and with his sister and younger brother follows the tennis champions eagerly, while playing his heart out on the tennis courts.  

He also bought himself a Compound Bow and together with his brother, is discovering and learning about this new skill. 

CJ is a true support for his dad in taking care of technical issues when presenting Health Talks and webinars, on a monthly basis in the Health Shop. He also take full responsibility in editing and making the DVD’s after each Health Talk. And on the side line he is still enjoying to play Conquer Club with teams and clans, making virtual friends all over the world.

Having this young man in my home is such a privilege, and I’m thanking the Lord for His hand of grace and mercy on us, while raising CJ. 

Throughout the past 18 years the Lord has been our eyes when we could not see, and only He could have brought us to the place where we can boldly say: “What a joy to see a young adult devoted to the Lord.” I can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to call forth for our Son. Through CJ it is evident that God has a hope and a future for each of our children.

Heidi-Mari, our oldest daughter is blossoming in her teen years. 

She currently has so many interests that she hardly has time doing nothing! She is still a Design Team Member for the Stampin for the Weekend Blog and create the most beautiful cards for family members and friends. 

In our homeschooling journey we studied various facets of baking and cooking together over the past few years. It is just amazing to see how Heidi-Mari is getting energized by just talking about something she can create in the kitchen - to the delight of her dad and brothers! 

For a few months she hosted a baking challenge on her blog and enjoyed every moment to inspire mothers and daughters to spend time together in the kitchen. This past year we took her interest in baking to a new level and started attending Lindt chocolate courses.  

At this stage she would be able to start her own chocolate business, but she is very diligent with her studies, and would rather put in some more hours into her studies for another year or two. She wants to focus more on Maths and Science, starting with Apologia’s General Science. 

Heidi-Mari also started playing tennis and enjoys hours of fun in the son with her siblings. Together with her oldest brother, she follow the tennis champions playing grand slams and breaking world records. 

Ballet is still her first love and we are in great anticipation for the ballet concert which is only days away.  

Heidi-Mari is my biggest support and encouragement in taking care of this family of 10. 

She often take full responsibility for meals, when I have to drive siblings to extra murals in the afternoons. It is now years that we don’t have a domestic helper in the home and between Heidi-Mari’s organizing skills and many (smaller) hands we are able to keep our house clean, while still a comfortable, child friendly home for little ones.

Heidi-Mari also joined me in Hello Mornings with this Fall (no Spring) challenge. She is my Co Accountability Captain, encouraging a small group of ladies from all over the world to start their day with the Lord. 

Heidi-Mari is growing into a young lady, who wants to glorify the Lord in her every day doings. I praise the Lord for the blessing to have her as a delightful daughter, a dear Friend and to see her mature in Faith, love and hope!

Josua has just turned 12 years old. 

He is in so many ways still a young boy, who only wants to play

He is always looking for fun, while taking things apart and creating new things. At least two corners in the house were claimed as his personal space where he can make things with the glue gun, duck tape and Dremel tools. 

Josua is his younger brothers’ hero. Whenever they need something to be repaired, Josua is the first one to be called. He has the creativity to make a plan and it will always be a better toy when Josua is finished with it. 

School is not at all his favourite way of spending time. He actually finds it quite boring, which makes homeschooling him quite a challenging experience. I came to see it as a privilege, since the school system would surely have hindered and inhibited his creative, out-of-the-box-spirit.  

We are very much the same passionate, outgoing personalities, which makes schooling him more of a challenge. I am being forced to put extra time in keeping his homeschooling exciting and fun filled and building of our relationship. I’m also very much challenged to keep a gentle and quite spirit, while my dear son jumps from one interest to another. 

He also don’t like chores and routine work, which is another benefit of him being in a large, homeschooling family.  

In our large family each child has to diligently pull their weight, and it is quite a challenge for our fun-loving Josua, developing this part of his personality which is critical to becoming a responsible, hardworking man of God with integrity.

I’m holding fast to the hope the Lord has a very special and high calling on this son of mine, therefore putting him in this specific family.

His latest interest is building his own wooden boats, all from his head - no plans, 

and mastering the art of cross bow shooting, alongside his older brother.

Danika turned 9 years old in June. 

This little girl of mine is the total opposite of her diligent, organized older sister.  She has a true artistic personality.  For quite some time I knew she needed more stimulation in arts and a few months ago I enrolled her for children painting classes in Durbanville. 

She absolutely flourished under the skilled hand of her art teacher.  

She is so passionate about painting, she made me overcome my reluctance to allow my little ones to paint - I have to admit painting with 5 children, four of them boys with only 5years between the oldest and the youngest, is a daunting experience for a control freak like myself.

Since the oldest of the little boys is now 7 and the youngest two and a half years old, it isn’t such an unnerving event anymore and they enjoy it so much. 

Danika is now also challenging her brothers with techniques she learns at the paint class. 

Though Danika is already 9 years old, she still plays most of the time and is only doing a bit of reading, writing and maths each day. Informally she is learning lots through Lapbooking - my most favourite way of teaching little ones, and she, together with her brothers, enjoy this teaching tool tremendously. 

They're also enjoying their Discipleland and dress-up. 

When Danika is not playing with her brothers, she is reading her Easy Read library books. Heidi-Mari is including her more and more in kitchen fun, as well as making cards.  

She is my child with the most obvious love language, she is constantly making and giving gifts to her siblings and friends. She reminds me of a true little mother, always making plans on how to entertain her little brothers.

She also started tennis lessons a few months ago and absolutely loves it, 

but ballet is still her passion, and she can’t wait for the ballet concert in 2 weeks time.  

My biggest challenge with dear Danika is to teach her a thankful, joyful heart. She is a control freak and very easily stressed to become anxious and/or discontent.  In training this little one of mine, I’m constantly reminded how my example of being thankful in everything, doing everything without complaining and arguing is critical for her to grab, and living in the hope and joy of the Lord.

Little Andrew is my very passionate, big eyed boy, who can be provoked to anger so easily, but just as quickly have remorse and regret. 

He is highly sensory sensitive and needs to be watched very carefully for overstimulation in an unfamiliar environment.  He is the most intelligent of all my children, the thinker, and doesn’t like to do things with his hands. He is highly caring about his possessions, but seldom can play by himself and thus all his toys are only showpieces in his cupboard. 

He needs to be mentally stimulated all the time, which is very frustrating to him and quite challenging for me in a large family situation. There is exactly 2 years difference between Andrew and Danika, but he is only a few months behind in intellectual development and I believe only because Danika is a girl and thus emotionally more matured.

He started tennis earlier this year, which is quite challenging for this NON athletically gifted son of mine, but he enjoys every moment on the tennis court! 

Being so highly emotional and soft hearted, constantly asking to play the guitar, we started music lessons for him, at the beginning of the year. He absolutely thrives under music.

I still believe my little Andrew, will be the one who will take care of me when I’m old. 

My David Son has the sweet spirit of King David. 

He has a very moderate personality, easily complacent, more shy, leaning more to be an introvert personalty. He prefers his family and familiar environment, seldom needs to be entertained and don’t opt for company. 

He reminds us a lot of CJ when he was a little boy, has the same interests and also looks very much like CJ. 

He is our athletic child, runs like a deer and enjoys every moment of his tennis lessons. 

He also loves his music lessons, the delight is all over his face while participating. He will turn 6 the end of October and absolutely loves to do very basic number and letter recognition.  

He is also my child who is most interested in nature. 

The past two months I did a bird lapbook with Danika and the four boys, and David definitely enjoyed it the most. He is now constantly observing his environment for different kinds of birds, identifying their feeding according to their beaks and looking for their nests. 

With spring around the corner, I’m looking forward to involve David in my summer vegetable garden.  He loves to tend to plants and constantly wants to plant something. 

It is an absolute delight to see the world unfold through the eyes and understanding of my little ones. 

There is only 16 months difference between Andrew and David, and they are mostly in each other’s company. An interesting combination, since Andrew is the intellectual and David the athletic - an amazing team.

Daniel, who just turned 4, is my bigger baby and Michael two and a half years is currently most in need of my affection, love and care. 

Daniel has a sweet, dependent spirit. 

He is always playing, laughing, enjoying life in abundance!

Living in an imagination off his own.

And very sharing and caring with his baby brother.

Michael is a more self sufficient child and often lord it over the older, gentle Daniel. 

He can entertain himself for long periods of time, without fussing or complaining,

and though he believes he is already as big and strong as his brothers,

he is still my baby boy.

It is beautiful to see these two brothers who share a room, attached to each other and growing in friendship. They often have to entertain each other when I’m busy with the other children and do so quite sweet.  

They constantly make my heart overflow with gratitude to the Lord for still having babies in the home.  Their sweet way of saying things, their interesting understanding of things, their innocence and sincere love, often defuses a stressful situation and fills it with laughter.

Then there is my amazing husband who has been running his health shop for more than a decade now. 

He consults mothers, severe ill people, and ordinary people on a daily basis with every day ailments and disorders. He uses Live Blood Analysis as diagnostic tool and supplements, homeopathic and herbal remedies with great success in his practice. 

He challenges people daily to adjust their eating patterns for a more healthy life style. 

He does in-store health talks on a monthly basis, available to the wider community through webinars, do online consultations on his website and consults people daily on his Health discussions Facebook page.  

It is Christo’s passion to provide people with truthful knowledge so they are able to make wise and informed decisions in everyday life situations, concerning their health and the one life God granted them.

My husband believes in me more than anyone else. 

Without his vision in the Lord and for our family, we would not be able to grow emotionally and spiritually. He gives me and our children all the love and support in every day life and in difficult times, to stay focused on the hope of what the Lord has instilled for us.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

What a privilege to share our every day life with you - my blog friends - through my blog. It is my prayer that you will be encouraged and inspired to seek the Lord first and see how everything else is added on to you.

With much love

Blog Widget by LinkWithin