Friday, December 21, 2012

17 and counting!

"Have you been praying that I have a baby?" my sister grinned at me.
The question caught me by surprise. Of course I had. How did she know?
"Why? Are you expecting?" I finally asked.
The smile was enough. I knew. Before Cherith could say more, the big grin had duplicated itself on my face and I wrapped my arms around her.
"Yay!" I squealed.
"Quiet!" she ordered me, "you're one of the first people to know."
"Oh, I hope it's a girl! We need to balance out the nephew and niece numbers!"
We laughed and hugged again.
Any addition to our family is the best news. Babies most of all.

It took a while for baby's existence to be noticeable. It wasn't until Cherith's belly got really round that it finally hit me. A miracle was taking place inside of her! A brand new life was being created! Truly, "children are an heritage of the LORD: ...[babies] are His reward!"

Early pregnancy went well. No hiccups at all. But as she progressed, crazy days ensued.
Early labour (which thankfully the hospital staff were able to stop.)
Nearly constant braxton hicks.
Fragmented sleep.
Everyday before the due date, it seemed the baby would enter the world. Not so.
Instead, Cherith passed her due date and things settled down. Apparently, the little'un wasn't keen on coming out after all!
Then labour did kick in, for real. A few complications later.... which Ben wrote about...

Little lady bug ;-) was welcomed into this world!

A week after her birth, I was able to meet her.
One of my brothers called up, asking me what I thought of her. 
"Oh, she is so cute!" I answered.
"Cute?" he seemed unimpressed. "I've seen pictures, and to me, she looks beautiful!"
"You know what? you're right! In answer to your question -- she is beautiful." 

I thank God for the beautiful, little number 17 in our blessed family -- 
Katherine Melody!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Children about to be Confiscated

"Quick! Here comes the school bus!" The cry sent five little children dashing for cover. They were walking to get the mail from the letterbox. 
It was always fun hiding from traffic that passed by the family property. But there was an aspect of fear to it too. 

Why were they hiding? The parents followed their convictions to home school. However, the state which they lived in said it was illegal.  Said that the government should educate the children. 

Australia now recognizes home schooling as a legitimate and legal choice for parents. The research is there, which shows that children can be educated at home -- and thrive. At the recent Global Home Education Conference in Berlin, Dr. Gordon Neufeld stated that learning happens in the context of relationship, or "in the village of attachment" as he referred to it. The home is the most obvious environment for such relationship. 
He even stated that the child's measured IQ goes down by 21 points when learning is attempted outside of this village of attachment.

Yes, there are parents who don't feel the conviction to home school or are not able to. Yet, they and the government are beginning to recognize the far-reaching benefits of home schooling -- in some places. What are they exactly? You can read more about Dr. Brian's research on the topic at:

I and my siblings, personally have greatly enjoyed the benefits and freedom of home education. Yet, in the past, it wasn't legal.

It's wonderful not having to worry about such things. A huge relief.

But, there is another family who can't feel at ease about home schooling.  In fact, right now, they're fighting to be able to keep their own children. I know what it feels like to have to fear. Yet, I don't know it to their extent. 

The parents' choice of the education of their children is an undeniable, international right. Most parents enjoy this freedom. When these freedoms are challenged and trampled upon though, we who have it easy, we have a duty. To be the voice for the oppressed. 

The Wunderlichs are one such family that need our support. Mum personally met them in Germany at the Global Home Education Conference in October. A quiet, unassuming, conscientious family, they sought to follow their convictions. The government claims they have no right to though. 
What can we do to help? Dr. Michael Farris of the Homeschool Legal Defence Association asks that we send a statement to the German officials involved in this case. To let them know that the world is watching Germany and that the Wunderlichs are not alone. 
You can read more here and get the address for the officials here:

A few years ago in Australia, the courts were arguing over the custody of a young girl with cancer. When the public were alerted to the situation, the support was enormous. Two thousand letters came into the department's office in a day. The public opinion and support was so outstanding that the case turned for the family. The department had little other choice.

Will taking 10 minutes to write and post a letter really count? Yes. Each letter adds up.

Let us take this opportunity to be Jesus' heart and voice for this family. In letting them know that the Christian world cares. Let us fight for religious freedom. Parents' rights to choose the education of their children is an extension of this.  ...and let us pray for them too.

If I was about to be separated from my family, it would mean the world to me.....
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