Saturday, June 9, 2012


People always say "how on EARTH do you afford 12 kids!"
I usually say "Kids aren't expensive. Lifestyles are.

While that's certainly true in our family... 
we live within our means for sure...
there's also what we believe is God's provision for our family.

You see...
ME - I could never do this on my own. The whole dozen-kids thing, the husband-who-travels-for-work thing, the mass-exodus-just-to-run-an-errand thing... it's not in my nature.
I'm selfish.
I want time to myself.
Sure, I'd love new cars, vacations twice a year, unlimited wardrobe choices, let's-go-out-to-dinner-tonight on a whim...
but in my heart... 
I want my family MORE.

So... we live on a budget. 
It's tight... but do-able.
We tithe and we donate to a couple of ministries we love because those things are important.
We eat at home.
I don't buy watermelon in January.
We wear hand-me-downs and I frequent "the NICE Goodwill".
We splurge sometimes and take the kids out to lunch after church like once a month (okay...once in two months right now).
I love it when my mom's neighbor redecorates her kids' rooms or bathrooms because it means we're getting new stuff! 

There's also our van... who we call Moby. 
We paid cash for him around a year ago and he's served us well ... until this week.
It started doing this thing where it's bouncing at stop lights and such...
so I mentioned it to someone at church. "Hey, is anyone a mechanic? Maybe I could just call and explain it and they could tell me how big of a deal this is?" turned into taking the van to a specific auto shop where someone was waiting for 'the lady in the big 15 passenger with a bunch of kids'. So I went, they listened, diagnosed and sent us away for "exhaust work". Now... I'm still thinking, "oh Moby... what's wrong? Do you need a little tune up? Maybe some new bottle of stuff poured in the gas tank?"
Well... that quickly turned into leaving Moby overnight at the repair shop to replace a long list of stuff.

Fast forward to writing a big check...
and wondering (worrying) 
what stuff can I possibly cut out of the budget this pay period to make this work out.

I don't know why I worry. I've seen this before.
I've seen the red turn to black in an instant.
I have seen 8 children adopted without debt.
But, somehow, on a Friday... I forgot all of that and just worried.

And if you know me... you know I don't just "oh no, now what?" kind of worry...
I had us 3 months down the road riding bikes to the grocery store and eating beans and rice 3 meals a day. 
Then I had a dream that we were so destitute that the only cake I could make for a birthday was chocolate... and we have one son who swears he will "voh-meet" if he eats chocolate... and I was so upset that I couldn't just make the yellow cake instead...and he was going to be SO upset that there was ONLY chocolate cake. 
(it's a dream. It's not supposed to be rational.)
All of this...over a car repair.
Seriously. Don't even think you can out-drama me. I've cornered the market. 

Then today...I began to see the provision that's always right under my nose.

I took the kids to a one-day VBS and someone had left a giant garbage bag full of boys clothes... size 10. Did I mention I have 3 boys in an 8-10 right now? No? Well I do.

About 30 minutes later I got my paycheck from filling in at my p job for just two days and it was more than double what I expected - and enough to more than cover the hole in our pay period budget from the van repairs!

I had to buy shoes for one of the boys... and ran across a super pair that was already a good price... then was 60% off on top of that!

Friends who say "keep the keys, you can use our van whenever you need it!".

I had an extra 30 minutes and ran into a grocery store I never visit and found mangoes on sale for .35 each... and I know 8 small Ethiopians who ADORE mangoes... so I bought a whole bunch!

A hidden punch card in my wallet and I was able to take 3 of the kids to a fancy frozen yogurt place after lunch (while the others were at VBS)... a major treat in our books... for $9 including mine! 

I got home and had a message from a neighbor... do we want some surplus from her garden? Well, of course! 

It brings me to tears. Every. Single. Time.

Don't worry about tomorrow, He says. 

Turns out He means what He says.

This family thing...He called us to this, He provided to bring our kids home- knocking our socks off at every turn. He continues to show us favor, grow our faith, flaunt His provision, and smother me with Grace I don't deserve.
I mess up all the time. 
I yell, I freak out, I throw a big whiney baby fit with the best of them. I cry over my "mom hair".
I critique with great disdain the driving of those around me.
I resent dirty clothes when they JUST got dressed for the day and I would rather not have to scrub bathrooms EVER again. Ever. I don't do everything with a happy heart (though I tell my children they have to). 
I just mess stuff up. 

Which makes it ironic that someone said to me today "I saw your halo shining..!" 

Nope...that's no halo.
It's the giant bucket of grace Jesus holds over my head every day just ready to dump it on me when I mess up, lose my faith and forget where I laid my trust. 

I don't deserve what I've got, but I've got enough to spare anyway.

So blessed.


  1. You have a gift... you are a gift! Thank you for sharing!

  2. You have a gift... you are a gift! Thank you for sharing!

  3. awwww Chrissy, what a great post. i know how you feel and i KNOW how you feel. :0) that grace is such a sweet thing. and He keeps on giving. you are precious. hugs.

  4. Wait a minute...I thought Moby was a SHE because she's moody!

  5. thank you so much for this, truly, thank you.

  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!!!

    I am ashamed to say that I totally stalk your blog...You inspire me to be a better mommy...thank you for writing about your life, you truly have a positive impact on so many.


  7. This is my first visit to your blog - and this post spoke to my heart. We have some financial pressures right now, and I, like you, think months down the road to eating nothing or living in my parents' house. :-) Thank you for this post - and I look forward to reading more!

  8. Friend, you are SO VERY BLESSED for sure! I love to see how God comes through, your post is such an encouragement as we embark on raising money for the rest of our adoption expenses. He is faithful!!!

  9. I'm still trying to figure out if my husband and I are being stupid, selfish, and unrealistic as he has decided to take the last half of a parental leave for which he will no longer be paid through employment insurance (only pays through the first year after placement, even though his untaken time can extend past that). Our budget is far from being balanced after this week, but we are so convinced that having him return to work full-time would be a huge strain on our family and everything that goes with parenting and getting the basics done around the house. We are also pretty convinced that homeschooling is the route to go this fall, which also impacts our work decisions.

    We have a few ideas about how we can gather *some* of the financial shortfall, but there is no guaranteed income to fill that gap. This decision reflects everything we have always *said* we believe about family, faith, etc., but still feels unwise in other ways. Growing up, my family of 6 lived on a small church pastor's salary, and many times we saw the same things you describe - clothing bags, new winter coats or skates purchased by friends, an unexpected cheque at the last minute - I love having had that experience, but it feels risky and uncertain living it now, as the adult, and waiting to see what will unfold.

    I am also so torn on the issue of debt and working more to stave it off/reduce it faster, etc. vs. plugging away slowly, ever so slowly. Our fixer upper, purchased 10 years ago, definitely has taken more than we ever guessed to reach a basic level of completeness and livability (with more to finish at some point). This spring, the roof was leaking into the insulation and right over the computer in my home office, which has meant more debt, given that it's repair/re-shingling was fairly non-negotiable. Debt feels problematic, and guilt comes knowing that we have sacrificed more income to be more present parents and have a saner family context (without child care, reduced work stress, and more time available to run the household)...not sure what is right and best, but I don't want to just do the socially acceptable/recommended/standard thing out of fear and an unwillingness to live a bit more on faith (while not wanting "living by faith" to be an excuse to avoid reality).

    Your post does offer some encouragement, though, and more food for thought...

  10. I was just thinking about you today and wondering how you handle SO many little hands touching everything on the way from the table to the sink... You almost have me thinking I could adopt more. Almost. :)

  11. Thank you so much for keeping up with this blog. This post was just what I needed today. God is so good and ever so faithful to meet our needs and sometimes even our wants. Thanks for reminding me to trust in Him during times of financial struggles. <3

  12. Love this. Especially, "I cry over my 'mom hair.'"

  13. well spoken, Chrissy. Thanks so much for this.

  14. SO awesome and well said-you HAVE to write a book-you are an awesome writer! Thank you for this reminder! amber


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