You guys had a lot of questions, so I divided them up into categories, and I’ll answer them in a series of posts. Today – faith and family:
Do you ever have faith struggles? And if you do, how do you handle it?
I don’t ever doubt that Jesus Christ is God, and that He is alive and working in my life. I’ve witnessed His work over and over again, and I sincerely believe that I’ve felt His presence. Sometimes people look at me like I’m crazy when I say this, but once, during a time of great sadness, I was sitting alone in a church, and I’m absolutely positive that He was there with me. I could physically feel Him. Also, after our IVF cycle failed in 2005, I was grief stricken because I had lost 3 babies. I cried a lot, especially at night when I had trouble sleeping, and too much time to think. One night when I was especially sad, I was in that place between sleep and awake, and I felt Him there. I even felt a gentle hand on my head.
That said, I do struggle when things happen that I don’t understand. I think it’s normal to have doubts and questions because we’re human, and He is God. We don’t know what He knows. Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. God’s plans on earth are not the same as ours, and we’re not meant to understand everything. If we did, we would be just like God. So, when I struggle with things that don’t make sense, I turn to Scripture for answers, I pray, I talk to my husband, and eventually, I come to accept that I may not be intended to understand. Someday, when I’m with Him in heaven, I’ll have my answers.
How do you incorporate your faith into family life? You mention reading the Bible yourself, but what do you do to instill that faith in your children? Do you do family devotionals together? Does Bee go to a Christian school or public?
Bee goes to public school right now, and we’re members of a non-denominational Christian church, where our children attend Sunday school. We attend church every week (unless someone is sick), and at home, prayer and Bible study are a part of our daily lives. We don’t do formal devotionals every day, but whenever the children have questions about anything, we direct them to the Bible, and I think that because she sees us read it, and we place so much emphasis on it, Bee has developed a strong interest in learning Scripture. We bought her a NIrV Kids Study Bible, and she’s currently reading through it on her own. We keep the focus on God during the holidays as well, and take advantage of every opportunity to teach Scripture (for example, our homemade Resurrection eggs, which we’re using right now, and how we teach the Christmas story).
What will you be putting in your children’s Easter baskets?
DJ loves animals, so I bought him a Furreal Friends Walkin Puppy, and a chocolate-covered marshmallow bunny. I can’t say what I’m putting in the girls’ baskets, because Bee likes to read my blog. I’ll let you know after Easter:)
How is your relationship with your stepsons, especially since they’re so close to you in age? And I just think it’s so fun that the girls and DJ have such older brothers, as well as such young nieces and nephews–are they close?
I would describe my relationship with my stepsons as friendly, but not parental. They were adults when I met them, and I’ve never really spent a significant amount of time with them. They don’t live in the same town as we do, and both are married with children, and busy with their lives, so we don’t see them a lot. Both boys are very good to their little half-siblings, and obviously love them very much. The feeling is mutual.
Can you share some activities to do with young kids, like for family night?
Our kids love for us to just play with them, and it doesn’t matter what we play. They like Candyland, Dominoes, Operation, Go Fish…pretty much any game. They also like for us to play with their toys, because I think kids just like to watch their parents be silly and act like kids. My husband is much better at this than me – he’s set up some pretty elaborate and fanciful My Little Pony scenes. We also spend a lot of time working on the girls’ hobbies, and making stuff with them, because they love to do crafty things. For example, my husband recently made Cakes an American Girl canopy bed.
It’s a simpler, sturdier, 4-year-old version of the one he made for Bee. The pillow, blanket, and canopy backdrop are made from scraps of Cakie’s outgrown clothes, which he found in the Goodwill box. The kids also like to cook and bake, so we’ve had “restaurant night,” where every week we try to duplicate a favorite restaurant meal at home. Last night, we surprised them by taking a picnic supper to the park. Also, we’re fortunate to live in a town with a college, so we take advantage of free family activities there. For example, we recently took the kids to a capoeira and Brazilian dance demonstration, which they loved!
It was so fun to watch, and Cakes still talks about it. She says, “Mommy, ‘member when we watched that Tupperware dance?” Capoeira is pronounced like this. I think that will answer your questions about how she came to the “Tupperware” conclusion.[print-me/]