I received such nice comments on that post, and many of you expressed an interest in getting to know the rest of our Ricelets. Soooo...I'm going to do a series of posts about each one of my children. I might interrupt the series with a random post about Lily going to preschool (happening very soon) or one about meeting Mia Kareen (if Mackenzie ever gives me the photos she took that day). But I'll try to stick to the theme of featuring a different Rice kiddo every few days, and hopefully I'll finish before December. Because there are a ginormous amount of kids at The Rice Ranch, if you hadn't noticed.
Which is also something I just wanted to address quickly...the ginormous amount of kids we have.
I have had so many questions over the years about that.
Questions like: are they all yours ? (yes) did you give birth to them all ? (yes) did you plan on having a large family ? (no) and do you plan on having more ? (hmmm...depends on what day it is.)
And then there's the Big One, usually unasked, but usually behind most of the previous questions... do you believe in birth control?
And the answer is...sort of. We just don't practice it very often.
I guess you could say we are somewhere in the middle of the "planning" versus "leaving-it-all-up-to-God" discussion on this issue. We feel personally that God has - with each child - given us a desire for another baby, and that was the guiding factor in our decision to have one. In other words ... we just really love kids.
I think every family has to decide the answer to the birth control question themselves, and I don't feel it's my place to impose my desire for more kids on others. Meaning - the size of your family is between you and God, and I don't adhere to the idea that every single family should entirely leave all of that up to God.
But I will say that I think the Biblical concept of children being a blessing from the Lord has been largely lost on America today. I think so many people are so caught up in what they can or can't provide for their kids materially, that they miss the blessing of having more children. I could provide lots of anecdotal stories about families who have SO much stuff...and yet their kids are some of the most selfish, unhappy kids on the planet. On the contrary, ask my kids if they love being a part of a large family, and they will each answer unequivocally yes. And ask them which one of their siblings they would give up to have more stuff.
Because if there's one thing you'll find at The Rice Ranch, it's love. It permeates everything we do. We might not have a house that could be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and we do most of our shopping at outlets or great second hand stores... but we have bucketloads of love here. Our kids are learning every single day what it means to be unselfish, and how to find joy in the little things. And those are lessons they will carry with them for the rests of their lives.
And speaking of joy...
..this girl is full of it ~ Abigail Joy.
She's the first of our children to be featured in this little series.
If you could pick one word to describe my seventh child, it could quite easily be joy. She is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful little girls, and I think God must have nudged her daddy almost eleven years ago when we were picking out her name before she was born. He fell in love with the name Abigail, because it means father's joy...and he chose Joy for her middle name, so that she would be called our "double joy."
Abigail Joy is just that ...
She is also the girliest of girls. Which is crazy, considering she is smack dab in the middle of five boys in the Rice line-up. She loves anything pink or purple, she loves cooking and crafts and dressing up, and she is a little mother to all of her younger siblings.
And she LOVES to help in the nursery at church.
Abbi is so good at taking care of babies that I don't think she'll have any trouble transitioning into the role of a mommy one day...which is what she wants to be when she grows up. She's also a very good cook, specializing in homemade donuts and various cookies and cakes. She looooves to be in the kitchen.
She is extremely creative, and she is always coming up with something fun to do with her younger brothers. This summer she ran multiple lemonade stands, which she completely designed and organized herself. She gave the profits of one of them to her oldest brother Jason and his wife Naomi for their adoption, and the rest of profits she spent on a new puppet for Children's Church. Nobody asked Abbi to donate one, she just wanted to be a blessing by paying for it herself.
This morning I asked Abigail to write a small report about someone from history that she would like to meet. I'm copying what she wrote here, because it so so...Abigail.
*by way of explanation : Bernard, the old Mr. Whitaker, and Tom Riley are all characters on Adventures in Odyssey, a radio show. Also - when she says "all of my other siblings", she means the four babies I miscarried. Sweetest. thing. ever.
Who I Want to Meet
by Abbi Rice
I want to meet Jesus and Esther because I admire them.
I admire them because they are very brave.
I want to be like Esther. Esther was sweet and compassionate.
Jesus was the most awesome person ever. He healed tons and tons and tons of people. I want to serve Him all my life.
I can't wait to meet them both in Heaven.
I think Heaven is going to be gold and very colorful. Heaven is going to be humungous. I can't wait to see all these people : Grandpa, Papa, all of my other siblings, God, Esther, Abigail, Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, the old Mr. Whitaker, Tom Riley, Bernard, and all of the other Bible people.
I can't wait to model my own mansion. I'm gonna have all sorts of toys and chocolate candy machines.
Keep coming back to meet the rest of The Rice Ranch....happy September !