Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Blessed to be a mother to five charming girls. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King. 
    Lover of life, coffee and all things pink and vintage. ♥

Pregnancy Update {37 weeks}

 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast,
trusting in the Lord.


Psalm 112:6,7

 

I truly would never want to live without God in control.

Just a little pregnancy update … last week started with some rather unexplainable bleeding, followed by a slow-moving tiny, baby and an ultrasound that picked up an irregular heart beat. From there, a little bed rest was thrown in, we were bounced around from hospital to hospital to the midwife clinic with ultrasounds and non-stress tests. {Should I mention that all five girls were and are still sick during this week? From problematic midnight nosebleeds to vomiting on our bed in the middle of the night to feverish foreheads and lethargic children … } Then un-expectantly,  on a warm Sunday afternoon during the midwife’s home visit, we were told to pack a hospital bag and head to the local hospital where we would start labour … we searched out newborn sleepers and threw what I could remember was needed into a tiny pink suitcase and headed to the hospital. Kissing the girls good-bye and telling them they’d have a brother or sister soon, we jumped in our black Suburban and headed in the opposite direction of my plans for a home birth.  It all seemed rather crazy. The baby was not in distress, but it was felt that perhaps it would be best to get ‘baby out’ due to size, unexplained bleeding and the heart arrhythmia that was recently discovered …

 

As it turns out, since the ultrasounds predicted the baby to be under 5 lbs., an induction would not be possible unless we moved to a higher level hospital, hours away from our home. After many conversations with the doctor and our midwife, knowing I have a history of having small but healthy babies (two babies were in the 4 lb. range, two were in the 5 lbs., and one was 6 lbs.) a lot of praying and talking it through together,  we decided to wait, to go home and see where God leads this pregnancy. We really won’t know too much about the arrhythmia until the baby is born …

 

Just spending the past week with so many appointments and hospital visits and facing the fact that decisions needed to be made regarding the health of our unborn baby – all of this gave me a much bigger respect for those parents who have or are dealing with major issues in their pregnancy or relating to their children’s health. I’m grateful for a sense of peace over the last few days and knowledge that God is in control, despite what anyone says, what textbooks say or suggest or what medical ultrasounds may predict. We are not aiming to be foolish with our decisions but rather react in faith instead of fear.

 

We are excitedly awaiting to hold our little baby in our arms when God sees fit… it will be wonderful.

April 19, 2014 - 9:35 am

Annie - Oh Gillian. Hugs. And more hugs. And sending positive energy your way… Hoping all is well and that you’re girls are also on the mend. When it rains, it pours seems appropriate for your week!! Wishing you tiny healthy cuddles soon-ish :)

April 16, 2014 - 10:39 am

Tawnia - Congrats Gillian and family!

April 16, 2014 - 10:32 am

Lynda Lu Gibb - Your faith and trust proved what God blessed you to know! Congratulations, another miracle to guide along in God’s world. Blessings abound!

April 16, 2014 - 9:52 am

sherri smith - We are so glad baby girl #6 arrived safely and you are well also. A huge relief and blessing. Love & Hugs from both of us.

April 16, 2014 - 2:25 am

Brenda - What a great picture of you two lovebirds. xo

April 15, 2014 - 1:14 pm

Erin Lynn - Praying for you and baby!!! May God continue to give you His peace through the rest of your pregnancy and a safe and joyful birth. My fourth girl and fifth baby, the doctors scared my poor husband so much with their concern that she was small (I’ve always had six pounders, though except for my son). She was fine and is such a blessing. Praying for your little one and his/her precious heart to be healthy and well.

You Don’t Go to School?

So … along with hundreds of other parents and students,  I attended the nearby annual homeschooling conference this weekend.

Take a guess at what this post will be about?

You got it. Homeschooling.

Not only did I come home with a fresh pile of Math books, language curriculum for next year and inspiring ideas in my head, I also came home very much encouraged and renewed. Like most very-pregnant women with lots of children to care for, I reaaaallly didn’t want to take the 1.5 hour drive to the conference, walk around all day on sore, tired feet and spend more money on math.
No, I just wanted to stay home and rest.  Maybe read a book or bake some cookies and do a little pregnancy nesting.
But it was so worth it to go.
To be encouraged and renewed and inspired in this wonderful journey of homeschooling.

And it leaves me wondering why don’t more people consider home education as a choice for their family?

If you have ever considered homeschooling – or perhaps you are just not sure of the regular public school system and have questioned the way the system works or does not work – why not actually find out some information about home education?

We started homeschooling when my eldest daughter, now 10 years old, was entering grade one. She looked at me, simply and quietly, and said, “But mommy, why can’t we home school?”

Hmmm. Well, I knew it was something I had always thought about doing, but never thought I could do it on my own. I come from a rather non-traditional educational background myself so throwing my daughter into the public school system was something my husband and I had already agreed we would not do. Instead, we had chosen a small, Christian school for our children instead.  Until that morning …  when my daughter asked me if I could school her at home.

 

With a quick prayer and energetic zeal, I said,  “Sure! Let’s try this out!”

Needless to say, we’re four years (almost five) into this home-educating thing and I love it.

But please know, I’m not just throwing this out there all covered with sugary-pink icing. No, home educating is not always easy, it’s not always fun and crafts and glue and happy days, but it certainly worth every moment invested into such a lifestyle.
It’s a full time job in many ways {isn’t mothering supposed to be full time anyways?}.
My mind never shuts off, thinking of ways to further our day with art, wonderful living books for reading, math skills and facts, grammar rules and piano scales, figuring out why one daughter is struggling in her work and making sure there’s enough time to hear the new reader make her way through her collection of books, incorporating the sticky, gluey-fingered preschoolers and still finding the energy to teach another little one to memorize her vowels and sound out her words … but it’s WORTH IT.

Oh, mothers, it is SO very much worth it!

The time I have – the time you have! – with my children is short. We are given a small window of ticking time to nurture, love, care, and, perhaps if you are willing, educate our children. Although a seemingly daunting task, I was more than excited to take on the role of educating our daughters. I knew it would be hard (and it is – like anything wonderful!) and tiring but it also means I can invest so much more time into their lives … something that spoke deeply to my own heart.

 

 

 

 

Just for fun, here’s our Top 10 Reasons we love home educating:

 

1. We get a day off when daddy is home. Since his schedule is sporadic and he usually works weekends, we work around him and it’s wonderful!

3. Intertwining our faith and values into our learning style.

4. Hot meals at lunch time on cold winter days.

5. Reading our books together by the wood stove with hot chocolate in the winter or … sitting together on a picnic blanket, reading our books outside in the sunshine during the warmer months.

6. Ditching the textbooks and running outside at the first sign of spring to do our nature journals. [Don't worry - we still finish up the school year - but we do spend so much time outside once the sun starts shining.]

7.  Solving math problems with jelly beans.

8. Never having to worry about snow days, no bus days or getting up early to catch a bus or drive the children to school in good or bad weather.

9. Spending the best part of the day – their energetic, waking hours – together as a family.

10. No homework assignments!

11. Knowing home education can truly work – statistics prove it.

Oops, that was 11 – but truly … I could go on … it’s not always easy to home educate. It’s a lifestyle choice, it means sacrificing some ‘down time’ and using it in other ways, it means a messier, noisier house some {most} days and it requires better planning and organization, letting things go and saying no to the busy schedules outside the home that make it impossible to get through all the book work -  but it is saying yes to shaping your own character as a mother (what good is a teacher who is impatient?), pulling your family closer together and in turn, perhaps bringing a sense of unity and peace to your home.  While we school, I can see where my child struggles – academically and character wise – and help the immediately with their problems. The sisters bond together easier because they are accustomed to sharing, giving and helping. There are so many positive aspects to homeschooling …

 

Let me encourage you to think about it – to pray about it. To perhaps, give it a go? It’s not for everyone, I understand that … but maybe, just maybe,  this upcoming year is the time to start for those who are ready for the adventure to top all adventures!

 

April 8, 2014 - 11:19 pm

Erin Lynn - Totally agree. Love, love homeschooling! I am a second-generation homeschooler. Something I might add, is my mom always was so worried that we were not doing enough, that she didn’t do a thorough job, that we were not staying up to grade level, etc. Be encouraged, homeschooling moms! Although when I went to college, I took on my mama’s inferiority complex, and was so worried I wouldn’t keep up with the other students,it didn’t take long to realize that I was doing just fine! I became an RN, all to Jesus’glory. So, all this to say, work hard with your kids, and pursue excellence in homeschooling, but trust Jesus to fill in the gaps.

Bringing Life to the Easter Season

When you have children, it’s very easy to somehow fall into the pattern of allowing the Christmas season to be the highest holiday event of the year.

But this beautiful, wonderful, redeeming, incredible season of Easter is one that is not to be shoved aside with your children! Again, it’s all too easy for the world to crowd out the cross and fill in the gap with pastel-colored eggs and colorful, sugar-laden candy. Oh, but the cross … the tale of redemption and our Saviour! – this is an amazing historical event that we, as Christian parents, need to magnify and teach to our little ones.

“Easter is the most important Christian holiday.
It’s the pinnacle of our faith. It’s the high point of all that we believe and all that we worship.
If it weren’t for Easter, if Easter wasn’t true, if Christ didn’t rise from the dead,
the rest of it would be meaningless.”
-Barbara Rainey

This year, I ordered a nice, hefty pile of Easter-related story books from Christianbook.com and have been going through our stash with the girls. I’m hoping to do a craft with each book, but simply reading through the stories and keeping the focus on Jesus and the resurrection over the past half-season of Lent has been amazing.

After reading this book, we made little rocks that shouted out “Hosanna!”

Luke 19:38-40

“Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

May I suggest you listen to this radio program on how you, as a parent, can focus on teaching the importance of Easter to your children?

Tomorrow, we hope to make our Resurrection Garden. This is a simple, easy craft to do with your children year after year.

I have some other ideas pinned on my Easter Pinterest board, as well. Focusing on the Resurrection Story doesn’t mean you have to ignore pretty, painted eggs or decorate your house in gloom … All it takes is a simple internet search and you will find plenty of beautiful, creative ways to turn the focus back to the Cross this Easter time.

And it’s not too late to start this year!

Use these next two weeks to turn the focus on the real reason for Easter and find joy in teaching your children …

April 8, 2014 - 9:35 pm

Heather - Oh my goodness, adorable! We plan to do the resurrection garden too, but I think I’ve said that for three years now :)

Loved seeing you at the convention. Praying for a safe arrival of your precious, little one. Can’t wait to see pics!

100 Buttons.

With the sunshine on our face and cheerful hearts, we walked, some ran, down the muddy, pot-hole laden driveway to our destination of the back shed … where we would be planting seedlings as a celebration of the spring like weather.

Finally, it was nice enough to be outside, donned with a light sweater and must-have rubber boots , instead of seventeen thousand layers of wool and winter wear that we’ve had to wear since November of last year …

 

The sunshine was warm on my sore, pregnant body … my aching legs worked hard to keep in time with the children … but I knew this well-overdue sunny day needed to be spent outdoors together … so I trudged on, seed packets in hand and toddler’s little grip in another … and some excited, sweet little girls racing ahead, ready to help me plant our seedlings.

Does it ever feel like you’re so tired you can’t move another step? That’s how I feel these days in the last bit of this pregnancy – so physically tired … over the past few weeks as the contractions start becoming stronger and my body wears easily, I have found it discouraging, hard to manage and keep up with everything that needs to be done …

 

 

… We lined up the seeds and figured out who was planting what … rosy cheeks and happy hearts that spring had finally arrived in Ontario … despite being tired, it was so wonderful to be outside and breathing in fresh, crisp air …

In the background of my thoughts, I could see the list of projects that will accumulate with the coming of spring …  the warmer weather will bring a to-do list miles long for my husband and I, seeing as this is our first spring at the old farmhouse, not to mention the addition of chicks and ducks coming in a few weeks and a BABY joining our family, as well … what an exciting, but full, spring ahead of us …

And yet as I tackle another chore or project on my list of what must be done before baby arrives, and I feel the need to complain or feel over tired and exhausted, my mind wanders to others who have been in far more challenging scenarios …

Together the girls and I have read through many of the Little House books and each time, I am in awe of the workload the pioneers had to manage just to stay alive.

We have it so easy. Very easy. We have no right to complain in most circumstances. We have running water. We have food in the freezer and food accessible if needed at the grocery store. We have firewood to burn to keep us warm on the chilly nights and flour with which to bake bread.

So yes, I’m tired … there are meals to make and schooling to be taught … and yes, I’m waddling about and pregnant and exhausted on my feet … but truly … this life, this easy 2014-technology-laced, jump-in-your-car-if-you-need-to, turn the switch on the laundry machine-and-voila-clean-clothes – it’s all so much easier than what  our pioneering heroes and generations of old faced.

 

After reading this blog entry, it really put some things into perspective for me …

“The day & night before school started in 1901,
I worked one hundred buttonholes and sewed on one hundred buttons,
trying to finish up the children’s school clothes.
I was still sewing at dawn. I milked the cows and fixed breakfast.
I worked all morning about the house and cooked dinner.
Then that afternoon I gave birth to my tenth child.”

Journal entry of Martha Lindsey, 1901

Wow …. and we think we are tired?

… okay, so my husband is working late night after night … and my feet are sore and my bones are aching … bread needs baking and school books need reading … but truly, I still have life so much easier than many … my mind is constantly being reminded of the blessings of my life … if we focus on the negative, that’s what we’ll see. Therefore, focusing on the good and the blessings and the gifts from God … that will be our encouragement! That is where we will draw our strength!

 

 

 

I think it’s time for less complaining (even if it is done silently in our hearts and no one can hear you) and time for more gratefulness and gratitude for all He has given us.

 

After all – when’s the last time I stayed up till dawn sewing on 100 buttons for nine children and then went into labour?

 

 

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Nehemiah 8:10

 

April 3, 2014 - 6:38 pm

Erin Lynn - So very true! Amazing too, how, our attitudes “rub off” on our children. I know I am guilty of a complaining spirit causing my children to act critical of each other. Thanks for the reminder to cultivate a thankful spirit!!!

April 2, 2014 - 3:06 pm

Lauren - Oh my, Gillian! That journal entry from 1901 really opened my eyes!

My kids are asleep now, and my finger hurts, and first trimester nausea and super-smell is annoying, and I just feel so tired from chasing around only TWO kids, lol. I guess I shouldn’t complain either ;) Compared to the olden days, life is very easy for us 21st century folk indeed.

Thank you for your lovely blog posts – I’ve gone through a good number of them and always am so encouraged afterwards!!

Your sister in Christ, Lauren

When Missionaries start small.

With five bright eyed girls sitting around their homeschool table, I crack open our book and skim to find the last page we read in our missionary story…

 

 

It’s a heart-breaking and wonderfully inspiring story of Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India in the early 1900s, who rescued hundreds of precious little girls from the clutches of the Hindu temples where they served as slaves and prostitutes (I have not introduced the topic of prostitutes, but simply use the word slave when reading to the children). The girls listen while coloring pages from the Amy Carmichael Torchilighter movie while I read …

 

 


As a child, I dreamed of being a missionary.

 

I specifically remember when I was about 10 years old, my school took a field trip to the Blind Mission in Toronto — seeing all those photos of the children, suffering, facing blindness, poverty and starvation, I just felt it was something I would be doing. I’d be a missionary. I just had to be one.

Shortly after Abby and I were married, we spent a few weeks in Africa with a short term missions team … it was amazing. Wonderful. Life changing. I’ve since been on another short term missions trip and it is something that just doesn’t leave your mind, your memory, your heart.

Fast forward 1o years and now I’m a full time mother … a housewife with five precious children gifted to me from the Lord on this earth and one in the womb …

and loads of laundry that need tending, homeschooling that needs planning and a family that needs caring for … but yet, in some ways, can I see this still as missionary work? … it’s not glamorous. It’s not fancy. It’s often, dare I say it, mundane. In fact, it can be downright humbling. Putting others needs before mine, unclogging toilets, changing diapers, helping little minds memorize Scripture and introduce them to Christ … all a privilege and an act of servanthood.

…but I see it – as we open our book to read the life story of one woman who gave up everything to take on hundreds of little children who ‘tie the feet’ and keep her from doing the ‘real missionary work’ she intended -I see these little girls of mine soaking up the heroic, godly, sacrificing story of this one incredible missionary …

 

We place the ‘Amy’ figure on the map to show where she was a missionary all those years ago …

 

 

Not far away on our ratty, old world map is the photo of the Nuefelds in Mozambique, Africa …

 

And then,  school time is over and the chapter has concluded … the girls run upstairs to their shared bedroom, prop open their loom case and begin making more bracelets. It’s all about missions … the reason the girls are working on the Looms for Love project …

And I see tiny seeds … seeds of God-seeking and kindness in their heart … and it clears my vision … I am reminded where my mission is … right here, right now, with these children.

Little girls, wearing cross necklaces, looming up bracelets for orphans … the cross necklaces made a day earlier with two other new friends who spent the afternoon at our house creating more bracelets for Looms for Love – all  for the precious African children who will be receiving these bracelets in July.

I see their young eyes light up when I tell them they have been invited to participate in a church event in a city two hours away … invited to tell other children about how they can help, show them how to make the bracelets for the orphans in Mozambiqe and raise awareness and funds for the missionaries, Rick & Heather  who are doing the daily, life-changing, faith-stretching, back-breaking labour of overseas missions.

And I am blessed to see something as simple as reading a missionary story every day to many little ears could help create a tiny project that will encourage and send love to children who need it all the way into Africa …

P.S.

Do you want to introduce missionary stories to your children? Here are some of our favorite.

Heroes Then and Now

Missionary Stories with the Millers

and these movies are fantastic for your children:

Torchlighters – Heroes of the Faith

 Using the notebooking pages from the Torchlighter website has been a wonderful resource, as well.

Linked up with:

 

 

March 31, 2014 - 1:01 pm

Heather - Beautiful thoughts. Our favourite is Gladys Aylward.

March 30, 2014 - 7:25 pm

Chris McCoy - Oh Gillian, what a lovely post! Its so wonderful to see your beautiful girls growing in their Christian walk! The tiny hands holding the beaded cross…Girl you are a treasure of God! Thanks for keeping us in your lives this way. What a blessing!

March 27, 2014 - 10:03 am

Erin Lynn - My girls don’t really have a Rainbow loom or we definitely would have been involved, too!! A focus on missions is such a wonderful gift to impart to your little ones. My girls best friend is a missionary (with her family) to Africa, and my husband’s best friend serves in India. Both of these families spur us on as a family to reach outside ourselves to serve the Lord by supporting them. I know what you mean about serving where you are even though we are not missionaries overseas. You know, the Lord is really opening my eyes to teach my girls to serve those around us, family but also neighbors, church friends, etc.

March 26, 2014 - 11:11 pm

Kristina - I love seeing how excited my children get with missionary stories. My eldest feels a real connection with Hudson Taylor, since his middle name is Hudson. And imagine our surprise when he brought a book about Eric Liddell with him to church one Sunday, and our pastor’s mother told him that she was in a prisoner-of-war camp with Eric Liddell when she was a child in WWII! Growing up Catholic, I really missed out on all these missionary stories. Catholic children are given “Lives of the Saints” books instead. Some of them real people, some of them mythical. But the stories about missionaries are so much easier for children to connect to, because they are so rooted in real-world geography, and some of them are current or not-so-long ago.

March 26, 2014 - 11:02 pm

Rebekah - Very beautiful and inspiring, Gillian. Your sweet girls, learning and loving, like their mother.
My daughter had a wonderful time creating with your five. How exciting that you are taking the message for more children to be involved.
I am glad to have met you and that we live so close!