Friday, June 18, 2010

A Mother's Heart

When he's nursing,

I stroke his cheek,

And rub his little arm

...and fall in love all over again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slumber Party

We were blessed to spend a week in Florida with some great friends. These are friends who are counted as dear as family. We planned a slumber party for the girls at one house and for the boys at a different house, with all parents attending :-). The girls house went swimming, ate lots of food, watched Narnia, painted toenails and curled hair. Definitely memory making at its best!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Before & After....or....How to save $15 (x8)

When you have five boys, and a husband, who need haircuts every 6-8 weeks, you learn to cut hair. Otherwise you end up spending $100 every two months. So, according to my calculations, I've saved our family $600 every year, for YEARS lol.

When pregnant with Ransom, I was miserable at the end and could not stand for more than minutes. So haircuts didn't get done (because we are too cheap to pay for it LOL!). So by the end of February, my children looked like this:

Good thing we homeschool! After a week of recuperating, I felt better and now they look more like this:

Now that's a cute kid. (ps. This is Daniel, age 11)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Dream Fulfilled

I've had a dream, as long as I can remember. It involves raising my family in a natural way, eating the food we have produced, being involved with the animals that will eventually provide food for our family. But living in Florida, that is a difficult dream to achieve, when small houses on small lots cost so much.

We did what we could by moving to western Palm Beach County where we could have an acre and get chickens. And that was quite a joy.

But when we moved to Alabama, I hoped to expand our dream if possible. We had a small problem with contracts on our rental and found ourselves in a position where we had to buy a home quickly. We had looked at several, but nothing with "farm" potential. So we decided to buy a home that we loved, even if it was a log cabin in the woods (with NO farm potential lol). We figured it was temporary.

The Lord knew better. Shortly after moving here, we realized the situation may not be as temporary as we figured due to the housing situation in Florida. I prayed and prayed for a solution, which has taken years. But it has come.
This is what the property looked like when we bought it. Beautiful, but wooded. Sure, Grace is cute, but look past her. Nothing but trees, as far as the eye can see. I told Robert I felt claustrophobic. In an effort to accomplish the dream, we had the property timbered. And this is what it looks like now.

Robert has finally given me permission (translation: we finally have the money) to call in a bulldozer. So we begin now. I'm journaling this for posterity's sake. Within a few months, we should have the beginnings of our pasture and our chicken coop. That's step 1. I have steps 2-5 planned, but we'll wait on the Lord for that development :-).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Are you sick?

Sickness is an all too common occurrence in our world. Praise the Lord we have natural remedies that we can use to combat illness. It is a rare occurrence for a Bracker to go to the doctor (not unheard of...thank the Lord for doctors...but rare). When the children get ill, instead we head to the kitchen.

Normal remedies:
1. Cod liver oil taken immediately upon symptoms of ANY kind.
2. For urinary tract infection symptoms, we add an ounce of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar to 4-6 ounces of water and add a tablespoon or two of honey (which is itself antibiotic).
3. For cough, we use homemade cough syrup made of an onion simmered in an inch or two of honey for ten minutes and then strained.
4. For sore throats or any deep cough, we use a mixture of a couple tablespoons of honey, a sprinkling of cayenne pepper (great for circulation!), and a couple cloves of smashed garlic.
5. For ear aches or sore throats that feel ear related, we lay on our sides and fill the ear canal with hydrogen peroxide. Let sit for a minute and feel it bubbling! This takes away the pain and fights the infection. Do both sides!

We haven't had to see the doctor for throat or ear ailments for years!

Now if you'd like to read further, I got this from "Herbal Antibiotics" by Stephen Buhner.

Garlic: Antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan, antifungal, anthelmintic, immune-stimulating, hypotensive, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, cholagogue.

Garlic has been used medicinally for some five thousand years. This is the most powerful herb for the treatment of antibiotic resistant disease. No other herb comes close to the multiple system actions of garlic, its antibiotic activity, and its immune-potentiating power.

When the bulb is bruised or crushed, garlic produces a byproduct compound called allicin. The odorless, sulfur-containing amino acid in garlic, alliin, comes into contact with an enzyme, allinase, and produces a conversion to allicin, which is the primary compound responsible for garlic's strong odor. Allicin and several additional compounds in garlic have all shown antibiotic activity. Extracts made from the whole clove of garlic or separate individual compounds have consistently shown a broad-spectrum antibiotic range effective against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria and most major infectious bacteria. Garlic juice diluted to as little as one part in 125,000 has been found to inhibit growth of bacteria. Clinical studies have repeatedly shown that garlic is active against strains of bacteria that are highly resistant to antibiotics. Unlike many herbs, garlic is dirctly effective against viruses. Garlic is perhaps the most extensively tested herb in the world and human trials have shown its powerful effectiveness against bacterial and viral infectious agents.

April: The article continues to tout the benefits of garlic and ends with this sentence:

If only one herb could be used to combat an epidemic spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, garlic would be it.

Preparation and Dosage:

Eat 1 clove up to 3x a day for prevention. The cloves may be diced and mixed with honey for palatability and to reduce nausea. The best way to intake fresh garlic is to juice and entire bulb and drink with carrot or tomato juice. Take 1/4 to 1 teaspoon mixed with 16 ounces of tomato or carrot juice once an hour upon symptoms. Garlic capsules can also be used: 3 capsules 3x a day as preventative. During acute episodes: up to 30 capsules a day.

Be aware, garlic usage makes a person smell like garlic after a while, but to my thinking, if you have the beginnings of the flu, it's better to smell like garlic and stay away from antibiotics.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Intense Love

I always forget the intensity of the love I feel towards a newborn. I am amazed every time I give birth at the miracle of this baby that they hand me, and then they tell me, he's mine! This is our little Ransom Bracker.
Before we knew it was a "he" we had named him Mercy, because of the mercy shown to us by God in forgiving our sins and calling us His children. We wanted a name that was equal to that in power and meaning for a boy, but couldn't think of one. Then we heard a song on the radio talking about how we were 'ransomed' by Christ, and we knew that was it. You see, it was that Ransom, that gift of His life for us, that makes it possible for us to have eternal life. All we have to do is believe in that redemptive death on the cross and show our belief through repentance (turning away from ourselves and our sins). So we are proud to introduce our little Ransom who is just the sweetest baby in the world. His mommy & daddy absolutely love him (and love to sleep with him because he loves to sleep with us). Here, Robert is taking his Sunday nap on the couch with our little guy, so Mommy can take an actual much-needed nap. His siblings love him...all of them...and there is often a competition for who gets to hold him first. Of course, they don't all want to hold him...some just use him as a prop. He's 3 weeks old and is a full-fledged member of Play Time. Most of all I spend time protecting him from overzealous siblings and nursing him, and he loves to sleep. Those are his favoritest activities of all time. But when he's awake, he's got plenty of entertainment. Life just got a whole lot more fun :-).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Just Catching Up

We are truly in the waiting mode, with Baby supposed to be arriving any time now. He's officially due mid-week (a few days), but the doctor says my body is doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. So we expect it to be longer.

Basically, the Bracker family is on hold. I've told the kids we're not doing much because simply Mama can't do much. I sit 80% of the time. But still I thought I would fill you in on what the kids are doing.

Thomas didn't get the memo that said, "Don't schedule anything in February." So he is preparing for a puppet performance with his youth group. And his Civil Air Patrol squad is gearing up for a major color guard competition on the 13th. I'm not sure how he expects to get there (maybe roll me there), but he's made his plans. He's also going bowling with his Sunday school class on the 20th, but he's got a ride for that. And every Saturday night he goes to an awesome Bible study at a friend's house for teenagers. They eat and do their Bible study and play games. But he's got a ride for that too. Good thing! lol

Daniel got the memo. And unfortunately, Daniel's basketball season was canceled. He was so disappointed, but he's making the best of it. So now, he's just busy with his school work and his trampoline (did I mention he spends at least an hour a day on the trampoline? He has for *years*).

Bethany is super busy with her crafts. She is constantly making things (which terrifies me, because I'm anti-mess and anti-creativity). And she has started a new praise & worship interpretive dance class in town which she LOVES. She is super-dramatic.

Ethan has come into his own. He's practically a genius, reading and remembering everything he reads. Mostly he reads encyclopedias, almanacs, anthologies, etc. And he can play the piano by ear. No joke. All of the children take piano. Some struggle more than others. But Ethan can play any song, using chords, both hands, you name it. He plays for our family devotions now, because he can keep up with no problems. Did I mention he's 7? He blows me away!

Grace is just beautiful and thankfully is just happy playing with her Littlest Pet Shop and her dolls. She does her school diligently, reads a lot, and is just happy all of the time. Thank the Lord for Grace!

And Asher is our rough & tumble, Still!!!! He gets injured every day, but then he just gets up and goes. If you say it's time to go downstairs. He growls and says, Upstairs. If you say tea? He says water. He will not agree with you, until his hand has been slapped at least three times. But get this....he's happy! He's happy the whole time! Such a blessing to our family! He's fun-loving and almost always in a good mood. He'll disagree with you cheerfully!

So that's a quick update on our family. I won't be posting again I don't imagine until Baby comes, which should be soon. And then I'll post a few pix of Baby.

Last night when the children were all dancing in the living room to some Christian rock music, Robert asked me how another voice would fit in the group. We laugh because there's so much noise already. But the baby will just fit in. We know that. There's so much love in our house, it's overflowing already.