Would You Rather

We got eight inches of snow last night, which meant another day of school canceled for Luke. He is loving his job on days like these. This usually means no school for us, either, which I am always happy to oblige. The longer I homeschool, the worse I like doing it. But, as I read the other day, things that are worth doing are often difficult. And, as I just read today, if I truly think I have a directive from the LORD to homeschool, where is there room for disputing, or complaining? Yeah, none. Especially considering all the days I get to have school canceled.

Luke went over to church to do some work, and called home asking if I could have the boys shovel the driveway. Usually we can labor through a snow by driving back and forth over it until it gets packed down (or we get stuck up or stuck down, or we have auto accidents in deep snows- I have plenty of posts about these scenarios). But Luke’s car is ailing, from the front suspension to the fuel line to the undercarriage being rusted out. One of those times that we wrestle with whether to fix the next boo boo or look for a new used car. He wanted the driveway shoveled in those key areas where his car would be vulnerable.

I told the boys to take fifteen minute intervals, take turns shoveling, and Sam headed out first. I looked out the window after a half hour, and he was still at work, though he was shoveling the entire parking area, not even starting in on the driveway. When I got out there, I offered to start heading down the hill; I was worried Luke would be back before we were done. Sam wanted to keep at it, so I walked some trails, enjoying the sunshine and white beauty all around me. Eventually Sam let me do some shoveling, and I went at the task. I found myself thinking, I definitely would rather be doing this, today, than start my first round of chemo, which is what a friend’s sister was doing today. Then I got to thinking that I would even rather shovel than teach homeschool. I’ve got to be the most reluctant homeschooler, or I really like to shovel. Actually, it is both. I remember feeling this way the time I shoveled Luke out last year. There is something so calming about working in the snow and cold. Definitely not too shabby a way to spend this afternoon. Sam came back out later and took over, shoveling all the way to the road! Luke was taken aback, not expecting a clear driveway. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Awakenings

Yesterday morning I went grocery shopping, and when I got home I was met with a smell of Lysol and a bright Anna. The smell of Lysol came from the cleaning Luke had the kids do in their rooms while I was gone- walls, doors, windows, the works! It needs done more often than it gets, so I am always pleased when it is! That sounded like Yoda. Anna’s big news for me was that she prayed to become a Christian. Apparently she and Aliyah had had a good conversation after she blurted out something about not having to worry about being a Christian yet because she wasn’t going to die anytime soon. Well, Aliyah told her, none of us know how long we have to live, so waiting to do such an important thing is not a good idea, etc, and proceeded to explain it all to her. I appreciate her for taking advantage of the opportunity to talk to Anna; when I didn’t take Aliyah shopping with me I thought she might sit around and mope all morning, but she totally made that seem like a far out assumption, didn’t she? Caleb made a decision for Christ in a similar manner, only it was with the Children’s Church teacher. Later I was asked if it was okay if this news was put in our church’s newsletter, and I think my reaction might have come across as surprising- no, I did not want to publicize this because I felt like it was too early. When Luke or I would talk to him about praying to receive Christ, he was vague in the details. This is fine. This is what I expect. So, this is not something I think needs broadcast. Now that Anna has made a decision like that (and, actually, Micah came to me later that day to tell me she was “Christian” now, too, possibly from Anna evangelism:), I say, great. But I know from experience that they have a long road ahead. This should be one of many awakenings, and glad as I am they are having them, I wouldn’t ever want them to think they have ‘arrived’ just by saying a prayer. My comfortable Christian upbringing is partially to blame for me missing the point when it came to holiness, to being sold out for God, early in my life, and I don’t want any of my children to be confused on this point. Luke puts it so well when he talks to the kids about baptism. While anyone can ‘say a prayer’, baptism takes it a step further and puts you out there, identifying with the body of Christ, but also puts you out there to be pushed around by the enemy, now that you have made such a move. So far, only Aliyah has been baptized, which I think reveals much more than who has prayed a prayer. Luke and I have even discussed getting baptized again, as we are both convinced that when we did it, as children, we didn’t do it for the right reason. On to less serious stuff. I have been reading a blog again, actually the first blog I ever read. In 2006 I was googling “large family carseats” because #6, Abbie, was on the way and we weren’t sure what vehicle to get next that could fit all the people and carseats. Kim Brenneman’s blog, Large Family Logistics, came up, possibly the first hit, and I have been following her in some way ever since. One of her recent posts was about her favorite cookbooks, and the last line of it talked about how she had her older daughters work their way through an entire cookbook, learning how to make each dish. Light Bulb! “Sarah,” I said, “this will not be any problem for you, but I think I want to challenge you and Aliyah each to pick a cookbook and make every dish from it.” Amazingly, Aliyah has been the first one to make something- muffins for breakfast tomorrow. I was the one to take them out of the oven (“Oh, did the timer go off?” she comes in to ask ten minutes afterward) and I was the one to rinse the mixing bowl and measuring cups and spatula. But as the water ran over these dishes, I could see off in the distance many meals, maybe as many as two a day, dropping from my plate (pun intended) into the hands of others just as capable, and a tear escaped from my bright, hopeful eye. Thank you, Kim. The future absolutely sparkles.

Happy New Year!


Greetings! It has been a wonderful year for our family and we are thankful to the LORD for being so good to us. Allow us to share a bit about ourselves:

~Luke has become very involved with a scouting organization called Trail Life. This not only gives him an excuse to enjoy the outdoors and every kind of survival gear, but a great opportunity to spend time with our boys doing some really neat things. Currently, Sam (11), Noah (10), and Caleb (7) are old enough to be part of the troop, with Adon (3) anxiously awaiting his turn at “Twail Wife”. Luke also switched jobs this past summer and is now full time with Highland Local Schools in Morrow County. He teaches digital art and assists teachers with technology integration.

~Valerie is a work-at-home mom to our 11 children, a job which includes homeschooling the seven who are school-aged. Each day presents new challenges, but also new blessings. She does an amazing job of balancing the pressure of schooling the kids and running a household.

~Aliyah (14) is the best teenager we have ever known- quite the driven firstborn, and very mature and responsible. We love her dedication to the LORD and her desire to know His word; learning these disciplines when she is young will serve her well throughout her life. She plays the piano beautifully and is currently writing a novel. Yes, you read that right.

~Sarah (12) is our go-to girl when we want something done right! She cooks, she cleans, she organizes like a dream, and we don’t plan on letting her go until she is 30. Valerie feels blessed to have such helpful girls as examples to their younger siblings. Oh…and she never complains, either. What a beautiful young girl both inside and out!

~Sam (11) is growing so fast. We just got him a new pair of sneakers and hope they last a few months at least. He also is such a great big brother to his littler siblings, helping them buckle into the van and playing with them. He loves to read and is always on the library website reserving the next book to devour.

~Noah (10) is our LEGO diplomat. All of the kids love LEGOs, but he was the one to say on his Christmas list, “You don’t have to get me anything else if I can just have the LEGOs back” (after a forced hiatus). He likes to play games like chess, Settlers of Catan, and Axis and Allies. He is also our resident movie line expert. He will blurt out the funniest line from a movie he has only seen one time at the most hilarious times. He is fun to have around, that’s for sure.

~Abbie (8) has been dancing in the living room for years, and is excitedly awaiting her chance to take a dance class this spring! One of her Christmas gifts was a leotard and she has not taken it off for four days. 

~Caleb (7) is a bundle of energy, and does not have a volume knob. His loud, booming voice can be heard at all times of the day, even naptime. He is learning the art of checkers (how to best his siblings) and improving daily at reading.

~Anna (6) loves pink. Given her choice of markers a few days ago, she picked all the shades of pink that were available. She also is looking forward to the spring dance class, and has not removed her (pink) leotard.

~Micah (4), our twin, is such a character. She already knows all of her letter sounds, and just may start reading before Valerie is ready to work her into the school schedule. She, too, cannot wait to join the girls for dance class.

~Adon (3) has become such a big boy this year. He tries so hard to tell us all things that he is thinking about, with varied success at our understanding. He loves to help out with carrying heavy things like groceries, or setting the table. Saying the prayer at meals is one of his favorite things to do, so we are careful to only ask for volunteers for this if we have the time. 

~Kenan (2) is a joy- always busy doing and playing and getting into things that are not his. He has learned that our room is a treasure trove of off-limits items, and watches for the door left ajar. His bedroom is a favorite place, too- he is the one of our children who has most loved to sleep. Easy naptimes!

~Elijah (6 months) was our Independence Day fireworks show this year. He is sitting up, looking less like an infant and more like a little boy. His siblings all love to play with him and make him laugh. It is remarkable how many different people he can find familiar, as they are all under one roof. Never a lonely, or a quiet, moment.

We wish you all the best in the coming year.

Luke & Valerie Burton