Monthly Archives: December 2006

Christmas Letter 2006

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As this year comes to a close, which they all seem to do so quickly, we are happy to write and wish you each a most blessed time of Christmas celebration.  We have greatly enjoyed the year with our four little ladies running about.  It’s hard to remember what we used to do for fun without the entertainment of toddlers.

 

Matt was finally able to attend a school program he’s been hoping to do for work: Interview And  Interrogation School.  He loved it, and felt much better equipped for that part of his job.  He also created the bedroom and bathroom of my dreams for me this year, and I was so impressed with and thankful for all his handiwork. Now that he’s finished that project, he’s started his coursework for Whitefield College, and is hoping to work towards completing his degree and attending a pastoral training program after that.  Needless to say, between work, school, church, the maintenance demands of a large old house/property, and a house full of girls he keeps quite busy!

 

I started learning Irish Dance this autumn, and am absolutely loving it!  Since I stay quite busy with the girls (all day, every day) Matt is very sweet to give me this break each week, and though it may sound silly, it is SO much fun.  I am slowly picking away at my ever-growing pile of books, and I love reading aloud to my girls.  I thoroughly enjoy any quiet moments in my bedroom or clawfoot tub now – I feel like I live in a little bed and breakfast thanks to my husband.  Matt and I are both enjoying keeping a photo-journal and chronicle of our *adventures* on our blog – please feel free to visit if you’d like at http://homeschoolblogger.com/twaddlemenot. We keep lots of pictures and stories up, so that we won’t forget these years when our girls are so little.

 

Isabelle is learning and growing every day.  In our school times she’s learning phonics, and has learned to read very simple little books. She delights in drawing and writing (she wrote the "Merry Christmas" up top for you all).  She is my little companion all day, as she’s outgrown her nap.  Some days I feel like I couldn’t run this house nearly so well without her.  She loves doing dishes and laundry, and is enjoying sweeping more since she graduated to the "big" broom.  Her personality is so much like her daddy’s, and she loves to follow him around and *help* him in his projects. She will talk anyone’s ear off, and it is then hard to convince them she’s only four!

 

Hannah is talking, singing, dancing, and snuggling the days away.  She’s the one who told us she was "emotional" when she was eighteen months old, and it describes her pretty well (both the word and the fact that she could use it in context at eighteen months).  She is definitely the sweet, sensitive sort, and she speaks in a way that makes her seem much older somehow.  She’s a big girl with her laundry and garbage can jobs, and loves to read the silly poems in her "bunny books".  She is always up for a good snuggle, and I think her proudest moment this month was when her wet hair managed to stay in a *real* ponytail for five minutes.

 

Naomi is amazingly smart and growing up so much as well.  She loves to try to do everything her big sisters do, and we were so proud of her last month as she figured out the potty-training thing (which is a huge blessing to mommy, of course!).  She loves to "tidy up", and is pretty good at it! She’s trying to talk more and more, and sometimes we can actually understand her J.  She adores Juliette, and is very motherly to her dollies.  She loves to have her picture taken (except when we went for the family pictures – as you can see, she apparently thought the camera was going to eat her!)  We are so thankful for her, and enjoy watching her learn so many new things.

 

Juliette is just about the cutest little dinky baby we’ve ever seen!  We daily delight in her little goofy faces, cozy snuggles, and new things learned.  She crawls all about and has learned to stand up all by herself, as well as crawl into the dishwasher.  It’s funny to watch the things she can do, being as tiny as she is (it’s easy to forget she’s almost a year old).  To avoid her screeching at the table, I tried to teach her to sign "more/please" for her food, and had NO success.  So I jokingly told her that she could just say "mama" nicely instead of squawking.  Well, she did, and has ever since – apparently she’s going to be a talker like Hannah. In any case, she’s so snuggly that we’d be happy to keep her this age for awhile longer!

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed a few of our random little updates and stories.  God has given us much to be thankful for!  We pray you are richly blessed this Christmas, as you celebrate the Advent of our Lord, the greatest blessing the world has ever known!

 

Love In Christ,

The Breese Family

Matthew, Melissa, Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi, and Juliette

 

  

 

 

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A Little Plug

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I have to tell you about some fun books to read, if you’d like something that is light-hearted, hilarious, and doesn’t take too much mental effort to enjoy.  Any book by PG Wodehouse will most likely have you laughing out loud (even in the dentist’s office, according to my husband).  He was a master story teller, I believe in the earlier part of the 1900s.  He wrote so many British comedies, and we’ve recently received some to enjoy.  Amazon has tons of them. We told my mother in law about them, and here’s what she wrote:

Melissa, tell Matthew thanks for turning me on to these books.  Jon & I were sitting on the couch watching tv.  I started laughing so hard with tears in my eyes I had to stop reading. Jon couldn’t watch tv as I lost control.  To think there are probably enough of these books to last me the rest of my life, a very pleasent thought.   Love,  Deanna

Facial Contortions

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Ok, this is a completely pointless blog post, but have you ever tried to get four tired toddlers to smile at the same time for a picture?  It’s pretty entertaining to see the cheesiness you can come up with.  I was trying to get a picture of Matt with all four girls before bed tonight.  We got a great one (I think), but I was totally laughing at the contorted "smiles" from the girls through the four shots I took.  Juliette and Naomi’s were pretty standard fare for babies, but the older two were just hilarious to me! I couldn’t resist cropping them to chronicle the "cheesy smile".  I have to admit, Hannah’s were by far my favorite facial contortions (I was originally just going to post those), but I decided to crop everyone’s after all.

PS.  I highly recommend you scroll down, as I put the funniest ones at the bottom.

 

The final shot:

Weekends With Little Ones

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Recently someone asked me:

 "Do you have any suggestions on making the weekends an enjoyable time for the whole family? Any ideas on keeping everyone happy and with something to do? what does a typical weekend look like in your home?" 

Our weekends don’t look hugely different than the rest of our week.  The main difference is that we adults feel more free to work on projects during what would be the weekday "schooltime".  Meaning we’ll rake leaves while the kids run around outside; or I’ll sew while they hang out in the playroom (as long as *peaceful* playing together lasts, which it doesn’t always . . . ). I usually do my major cleaning one weekend day, and sometimes I let the kids watch a little movie while I wash floors (otherwise I always have at least one slipping on the wet floor!) With Matt doing his college coursework now, I still take care of the girls most of the time, so I still tend to follow our basic routine each day.  Sundays are a bit different of course.  After church we make a quick lunch.  Then we pop on a little movie for the girls who don’t need to nap – to give us a bit of Sabbath rest, too – that way we can read or rest.  I make a VERY easy dinner Sunday nights, to keep the day sort of relaxing (unless we’re having people over, or going to someone’s home.)  I don’t know if this was at all helpful.  Basically our daily routine stays the same, but we relax up the reading times and such.  Someday perhaps I’ll come up with more of a weekend plan, but this is pretty much it for now . . .

A couple ideas off the top of my head:

Make one weekend day a special long breakfast time.  Matt doesn’t usually eat breakfast during the week, so every so often I try to make waffles or some big egg breakfast for everyone.  They sit at the table while daddy reads aloud, and I make breakfast.  Usually this sort of thing isn’t done and cleaned up till 1030 or 11, but everyone enjoys it.

Have a little cupboard with special toys or projects for weekends.  I think good ones would be ones that the kids can work on themselves, but which are special because they’re only for the weekends.  Some for the preschool age: favorite puzzles, special markers (color wonder are nice for not staining anything) or stickers, play-dough (model magic makes almost NO mess), preschool toys (lauri or melissa&doug type toys), lacing beads/boards

Start reading aloud from a special book – perhaps the Narnia series

I personally try to have more outside play time on the weekends, as I’m bad at making time for it during the week.  Even more special is a long walk, or going to the park.

Let the kids tag along with projects daddy may be working on – my oldest especially loves this.

My Advent/Epiphany Project

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I’ve been so convicted lately of many ways in which I need to be a far better help-meet to my husband. One of those areas is contentment.  I too often struggle with a "grass is always greener", "I’d really like just that one more thing" type of discontent.  There’s always some little (or big) thing I’d like to buy; there’s always just one thing that would make our living situation seem "perfect" (which obviously it never will be this side of heaven).  The funny thing is that you’d think my fickleness would open my eyes to the real problem of being covetous, rather than something needing to be different.  One month I desire to live closer to the church, even if it means a tiny house; the next month I’d like something new for this house and don’t ever want to move!  Oy – as my children would say, I’m a "goose" (silly goose, that is).  But I was so convicted today during my prayer time that this is one area that is the opposite of helpful to my husband!  Here he is, trying to lead and bless his family, when his wife is pining away to have something we can’t afford, or do something that is not what he belives God is leading us to do.  And I have one of those wonderful Mr. Steady husbands who  tries to do all in his power to make me happy. The thing is, I have every reason in the world to be happy, and none at all to be discontent!  It must stop!!! I was created to be his help-meet (in fact, I think I need to reread that book – more conviction should then follow) and I have made it a project this advent season to ask the Lord to root out this sin of discontent in my life.  My mother-in-law gave me some great advice, which she used years ago to conquer a particular struggle she was facing.  She said to write/type out a list of verses pertaining to that sin (concordance or biblegateway.com really help here!), then to read that list of verses at least three times each day for about a month or two (which is about how much time is left in this Advent/Epiphany season, hence why it’s now my current project), or however long it takes.  Then she said the key is to really commit to the Lord that I won’t simply read them by rote and gloss over them, but truly meditate upon them, read them carefully, pray through them, and ask God to deeply engrave them upon my heart.  When she did this years ago, God brought her such victory, and she said she’s never struggled in that particular area in nearly the same way since.  That is my prayer with my struggle of discontent.  I want God to root it out and take it away, so here is the list I came up with (I wanted to post this as a small way to hold myself accountable, and also in the hopes that Deanna’s wisdom can be helpful to others besides my family!):

 

"And we, what shall we do?" And He said to them . . . be content with your wages." Luke 3:14

 

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:10

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

“. . . the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.” Proverbs 19:13

 

“It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” Proverbs 21:9

 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Deuteronomy 5:21

 

“The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare.” Proverbs 21:25-26

 

“And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’” Luke 12:15

 

”For this you know, that no . . . covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:5

 

“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

 

“O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.  I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;” Psalm 16:5-9

 

“Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.” Job 5:17

 

“Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” Psalm 144:15

 

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

 

“But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15

 

“. . . train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:4-5

 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

 

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”  I Timothy 6:6-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Three: Kind And Faithful Correction

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Last one from Evers and Matt:

 

Evers: Related question, since I’ve got you going. 🙂 One of our current challenges is motivating/teaching our oldest (4yo) to work. Do you have any ideas? This has become a source of increasing frustration. We don’t expect him to significantly contribute, but we want him to learn to contribute with tasks he is capable of.

 

Matt: Well, I’m certainly glad to know we aren’t the only ones who have sinful children *wink*. I would say after reading your blog article that you are on the right track and that we daily struggle with the same thing with our girls. DON’T give up. Be consistent, be loving, be patient. Continue to make him work contributing as much as he can to the family and be diligent and joyful while he is working…not just “doing the job”. Grumbling about doing work is not much better than doing no work at all.

Also, I would suggest that this is a proper time for discipline for a few reasons set forth in scripture:
1. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rod of correction SHALL drive it far from him. Found in the wisdom literature of Proverbs, this provides the general way of God’s working in our children. While we shouldn’t just be complacent viewing this as a *guarantee* of success, we can certainly rest in this as God’s wisdom for how we ought to raise our children up in His ways, and trust Him to bring about His promised fruit in them.

2. a whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fools back.

3. when the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise; but when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.

4. a wise son makes a glad father but a foolish man despises his mother.
We see in the bible that a lazy man is a fool or, if nothing else, is acting foolish. We see the contrast of a wise person and a fool and the differing outcomes of their respective behaviors. By faithful, patient, calm, loving, discipline (rod) in this area, God has promised effective results. The biblical principle is that the rod shall drive the folly far from the heart of a child. It does not say, “may drive”, or “is capable of driving”, but rather, will drive….that is God’s word. When we seek to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord we are miserable failures in and of ourselves, but we stand fast upon the promises of God’s faithfulness in our discipline set before us in scripture. We don’t *try* spanking for a while just to “give it a shot”. It is an authorized way (not the only way, but one that is emphasized especially in regards to youthful foolishness) to effectively remove folly. Discipline is corrective in nature. That being said, explaining the foolishness of laziness to your child is the abstract portion of the lesson, and the spanking brings home the “hands on application” to the “abstract” in the minds of our children.

I, as well as Melissa, have often been too short-sighted in our discipline sessions. We need to understand that this is a long-term goal. We get caught up in the never-ending, small, daily battles and lose sight of the overarching war we are in. “Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap if you faint not.” Maintaining a long term vision helps in the short term struggles. We, as husbands, must encourage our wives as they are in the thick of it. We must show them and point out the successes that they have accomplished while in the trenches. We *get away from it all* for a while by going to the workplace, but it is a continuous work/struggle throughout the day for our wives. We also must maintain consistency, not only in the application of the rod for those types of violations, but also in our patience in the administration of the discipline. It will not be effective if we ourselves are being sinful in the process. If we are easily angered and impatient with our children during discipline, then we are only compounding our sin onto their sin. This is a very difficult thing to grasp when you’re in the thick of it for, say, the 20th time today…..grrrr.

Therein lies our problem. I tell my daughters that they are forgiven of their respective trespasses when they seek reconciliation at the end of a discipline session. Once I have said that, I have no right to throw it back in their teeth by bringing it up again. This happens when we get upset over repeat spankings for the same offense. That really shows that I did not truly forgive them and I am still holding it against them. Even if the same trespass occurs 30 seconds after they just sought forgiveness and I gave it to them. We need to smile and calmly start the process over, not bringing the recently forgiven trespass up, but rather dealing with the new one. How many times have we approached our Heavenly Father seeking His forgiveness and then almost immediately after receiving forgiveness, flub it up again? What if God said something like, “Didn’t I just deal with this sin with you?” or “I’ll forgive you if this is your first offense today, but any more than that and you’re gong to get it.” or “I’m really getting tired of having to deal with your laziness….etc.”

The funny thing is is that you keep bringing up the same issues that we struggle with in our children. It is a season, I guess. We just need to remember to keep plugging away and standing fast upon the promises set forth in scripture regarding our children. It is of paramount importance to show love and grace to our children by calmly administering discipline and not disqualify ourselves from disciplining them by being angry, yelling, getting frustrated etc… I have an easy time understanding all these things in theory and, consequently, have no excuse. However, I fail to be patient, I get frustrated, I get angry, I get sinful and disqualify myself from being able to properly administer discipline. So as I write this down, I merely convict myself. But, at the same time it gives God a chance to organize my thoughts and to set my mind straight so that I may succeed in raising Godly children before the Lord.