Living Loving Learning

Archive for the ‘Heritage’ Category

Our Family Vision Statement

In Heritage on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 8:52 pm

The Meadows’ family vision statement is:


Living, loving, learning, leaving a legacy of Christ-followers impacting the world.


It’s an easy statement for us to remember, and it is descriptive of many of our core values:


Life is school


Leading our family to be Christ-followers


Deut. 6:6-8

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

Do you have a family vision statement?  Share it!

Family Vision Statement-Q & A

In Heritage on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm

How can you discover the vision for your family?

Think about these thoughts:


Your vision needs to be everlasting, and an on-going goal for generations to come.


What is your calling? 


What is important to you?


What will you want to be remembered for?


What makes you come alive?


Next: write your thoughts down.  Share them with your mate.  Brainstorm and write different phrases. 


Try to make it around 10-12 words. 


Teach it to your family.  Place it on your wall. Refer to it often to cast vision to your family. 




What if my husband or wife doesn’t see the need to have a vision statement, but I really desire it?


Pray!  Don’t nag, force-feed, continue making suggestions or get in a huff because they’re not on the same page as you.  Pray!!  Never discount the power of the Holy Spirit.  Live your life with your own vision statement in mind.  Be consistent to it.  Pray!


What makes you or your family come alive? 



Tomorrow, we’ll share our family vision statement with you. 

Dirk and Robin

Continuing Heritage

In Heritage on Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm

As the soon-to-be newest member of the Many Meadows, I’ve been blessed to witness not only how heritage has affected the family thus far, but also how they continue to build it every day.

I see it in the way Robin and Dirk never say hello or goodbye with out a word of encouragement and Christ-centered love. I see it in the way Andrew makes his relationship with God a priority, gently teaches me to let things go, and calmly but firmly disciplines his girls. I see it in the way Erin uses real-life situations as teaching moments for her boys. I see it in the way Ali spends quality time with her daughters. I see it in the way Katie follows her husband’s lead while still voicing her opinions. I see it in the way Anna breathes Christ-filled words of love and encouragement into all those she encounters. I see it in the way Kody and Jacob pursue their passions for music, all the while completing their daily schoolwork and helping Dirk with his business.

To me, heritage is a firm sense of “This is who we are and this is why.” But like many other wonderful things, heritage is not something you build once and then forget about. It’s a process, an ever-evolving state of being based on core values that never change.

The trick is that you have to be intentional about making sure your family’s heritage is always growing. Recently, Dirk read Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, and humbly admitted he still has room to learn. (After all, life is school, right?!) Rather than gathering all this financial knowledge for himself, he wants to teach us and learn with us so we can all build a better, brighter future for ourselves as well as generations of Meadows to come. Last Thursday was our first get-together to discuss aspects of the book, and although Dirk facilitated the discussion, there was never a sense of “I know all the answers, so your opinion doesn’t matter.” And THAT is true leadership: humility, a willingness to listen to others, respecting various ideas and so on.

In getting to know this amazing family better and better, I’m realizing it’s never too late to start building a heritage. And if you have already started, it’s wise to keep building on it!

Upon which core values are you building your heritage? What are some areas in which you could intentionally improve your heritage?




Heritage: Fathering

In Heritage on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Bad fathering can have a devastating impact on a family not just for the here and now but for future generations. A bad father is not just limited to verbal abuse or physical abuse towards his wife and kids. There is also the absent father or the unintentional father. Even fathers that live eat and sleep in their own house can be uninvolved to a point where the damage can be disastrous.


Plenty of information exposing a bad father is talked about every day in our society but what about good fathering? Fathering that will have a positive effect on our families?


I know for me, the first step is recognizing from where I came. Most guys, if they come from a vexed past, don’t want to admit to the way they were brought up or they will gloss over the real facts and not accept that they may have deficiencies. And then we are very prideful to a point of not wanting any help thus creating all kinds of problems. But it doesn’t have to end there. It must not end there if we want to change our ways and the direction and heritage of our families. 


The next step is asking and finding answers to two “simple” questions.

Why am I here?

And what am I going to do about being here?

Once you can get a handle on these ideas you begin to put into place the attitudes you have to have to be a good father and husband.


I want to talk about those attitudes in the future. But what about now? Can you answer those two little questions guys?


Why am I here?  And what am I going to do about being here?


How about you women? Did your father give you peace and security?




A Godly Heritage: Unearthing My Destiny

In Heritage on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Little did I know so many years ago when I was running from my family’s heritage of living off the land that first my husband and then myself would someday get a very similar calling. Because of the values of hard work, saving and prudence that my parents taught through living on the land it was so ingrained in me that my fat mortgage, fancy cars and perfect manicures just didn’t satisfy me. God was stirring things up in Jon and I to do things not-so-normal just as I had before. The very things I was running from began to seep in as desires for my own life.

blog-004Erin, age 6
Through our journey and struggle to know what this all meant we were led to take my parent’s offer to live on part of the land that I grew up on and to stake our claim on the Meadows’ compound. While my dad doesn’t give anything away, he has made special arrangements to make it doable. (Let this be a lesson to all parents, that you remove a valuable learning opportunity from your children – even grown children– when you just give them things). At one time all 7 of us kids lived on the 20 acres, 3 of us in our own houses! 
                                                    Dirk, Erin, Andrew (1984)blog-0021







Anna, Katie, Ali, Andrew, Erin (1989)


Oh the blessings from being able to work in this dirt that God once formed with His own hands and has now been given as a special gift to our family, working right alongside wise parents as they continue to pass down learning treasures to us grown children, spouses and grandchildren.









Sierra, Mesa, Will, Kaden  

                                                           Mesa, Sadie, Lily, Will (2008)                             

Now it is so clear to me why I struggled so hard living out this calling as I was finding my own wings. What an impact my husband and I, coming from Godly families can have on our world as we raise our boys and what will trickle down into each generation from the strength in this simple-land-living-God-driven calling. I get a vision of my boys and their families and other offspring of the family that might decide to live here too someday and I just smile with God.

This year as my husband I are preparing to build a more permanent home on our little acreage, I have started doing a prayer walk on the land. I pray for any who walk there now, for the generations to come who will be touched by the land and that as we each continue to toil it will be blessed. I feel the prayers that have already been whispered upon this ground I walk, uplifted from my parent’s hearts and hands all those years. fall-pics-013-copyKaden, Jon, Will, Erin

What a blessing it is to have been raised in such a Godly family and taught such a rich heritage that has almost been forgotten in this fast-paced, technological-based society. Now that I’ve fully embraced what God always had for me I am proud to live out this destiny no matter how weird it might seem to the world.
 blog-120Erin, January 2009
Do you know the calling God has placed on your family? Are you living fully devoted to that calling?




Heritage: Pioneers

In Heritage on Monday, January 26, 2009 at 10:52 pm

God led our family to be pioneers in many ways.  While I always just wanted to be “normal”, God didn’t call our family to be that way. I got so tired of EVERY aspect of our lives being so weird.


We lived in the country, we homeschooled, we gardened and raised “meat” for most of our food, we had a large family, all the siblings were born at home, we drove an ugly station wagon, we built our own house, we didn’t buy things that weren’t in the budget, we ate health food. (We did not wear denim jumpers though – and we did cut our hair, so we didn’t really fit in to the norm on either side of the spectrum). The majority of our experiences were centered around the pioneering of the land where our family lived.


In our rearing, we watched and worked right alongside my parents learning life lessons as we put our mark on the buildings now standing, the vegetables we ate, the paths we cleared out on this 20 acres we moved to over 24 years ago.
I bucked hard against this calling my parents said they had been given by God. I remember looking at other families and wishing if only I had been born into another family, I would be more content.


What was I doing in this family? I hated bugs, frogs and snakes. I hated dirt in my fingernails. I hated having to constantly keep up with younger siblings as we worked the land. I moaned, I complained, I rebelled. My parents never gave in or felt sorry for me. They persevered in their calling and continued to teach me that God had put me in this family for a reason.


Along with these lessons we were being trained in perseverance, hard work, and determination as we toiled side-by-side with my parents to generate the way we lived from the things God had given us. This education has trickled down to each of us children as we have gone on to do other things with our lives, tackling our new callings with the same excellence.


And now I’m so thankful that my parents didn’t raise me to be “normal”. I now know a little bit more why satan tried to make me run from my family’s calling, but that’s a story for tomorrow.


Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

Like my experience, is your family more focused on fitting into society than living out the special calling God has placed on you? If so, what are some things you can do to bring that focus back around?




Heritage: Imprints of the Heart

In Heritage on Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 10:15 pm

It’s a mind picture imprinted on my heart.


Each morning as I was ready to head to school, I’d find my dad… a cup of steaming black coffee, his Sunday School quarterly, and his open Bible laid out on the old oak tabletop in front of him. (He would have already returned from his daily 5-mile run). This memory goes back to my days in grade school and continued on to my days as a teen.


The memory of my dad’s faithfulness to reading God’s Word is one reason I continue to do the same thing each morning (minus the Sunday School quarterly…..oh, and 5-mile run) 🙂


Now, I know not all of you have a wonderful memory of a godly parent. But, I know everyone has a memory of someone who passed on to you something godly that you emulate today. Something you have now made your own.


This is heritage. Even if it is not passed on to you by a parent or grandparent.


Do you have a memory of something passed on to you by someone that is now part of who you are? Something you plan to pass on to your children? Tell us about it.





Heritage: It’s Life

In Heritage on Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 10:48 pm

In our family whenever the word heritage was brought up it always made me and my brothers and sisters roll our eyes, groan and take a comfortable seat because we knew we would be getting a lecture. Our dad would spend the next hour trying to teach us why we read our Bibles everyday or why should prefer others.

Looking back I am thankful for what my parents taught me. Being out in the world has shown me that I am different than other students or other employees and I owe that all to the up bringing that my parents worked so hard to keep strong and pure.

I don’t have a great memory. When my siblings tell stories I often have a vague memory. This story however, will be in my thoughts forever. It is a great example of how our dad felt so strongly about raising us with values.

When I was little I was sort of a mischievous little girl. I often did things I knew I shouldn’t and then would deny them if I was asked about it later. One afternoon my sister, Ali came down from her room (which was strictly forbidden to me) saying that someone had been in her stuff (she had a fiber optic flower display that I liked to turn on and look at). Of course, Dad comes right to me asking if I had been in her room.

I could have said that I had not been there. In my mind it was going to save me from being disciplined. But I decided to tell the truth. I had been in my sister’s room I told my dad, just as he had expected. His reaction however, was not what I expected. He stood up with a huge smile on his face, took me by the hand to his room and gave me a piece of candy from his personal stash (big mistake Dad. From then on I knew where your stash was! 😉

He told me how proud he was of me for telling the truth and that it didn’t matter as much that I had been in my sister’s room but he was just so glad I didn’t choose to lie.

This memory will always be with me. My dad knew I had a problem with telling the truth, so when I did he rewarded me greatly. This was one of many turning points in my life when I realized I was in charge of who I was, that I made the choices that affected my life and I wanted to start making the right ones. I owe these realizations to my parents and I will always be grateful for them.

My parents taught me that the life I decide to live not only affects me, but it also affects the generations that will come after me. And that is heritage.

Do you remember a turning point in your life that still affects you for good today?

n44013499_32211367_8695 Katie

Heritage: Heir to Heir

In Heritage on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Heritage, simply put is “practices that are handed down from the past from heir to heir.”


If you are like me I want those practices to be constructive and profitable. I want this for my family but I want our heritage to touch others in the most effective and efficient ways.


God has put on my heart to try to help people not to see through a tunnel when they make decisions but to see a much bigger picture. Namely, decisions made today that might affect your family many years in the future.


For example: your approach to success may be that job or career. But what if that career proves to tear your family apart? Oppositely, an at-peace, fulfilled person can have such a dynamic effect in his or her life that it can virtually change everything around them.


Other examples can be found in God leading a family to a certain calling. Many times our kids might not understand why we do what we do. They have to be communicated to in a way that is acceptable to them even though they may not be on board all the way. Too many times parents let their kids steer the direction of the family just to get along but that can have a negative impact on the family many years in the future. Can I say it might even lead to the death of a family unit? 


Always remember the choices you make today will impact your life today, but how will those choices impact you and your family 25, 50 or 100 years from now?

We are building heritage within our lives for good or bad. How do you want it?


Share with us what you are doing today that just might have an impact on your family many years from now.





Heritage: A Passion

In Heritage on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm

It was at an event.  There were several couples and we didn’t know anyone.  At a break in our session a nearby gentleman is meeting us for the first time.  After the usual name exchange,  comes the next we-haven’t-yet-met question:

”So, what do you do?”

Without any hesitation, Dirk answers, “We’ve raised seven children together.  That’s what we’ve been doing for the last several years”.

My buttons busted…I was so darn proud of my man!

(The conversation then centered around both families.  We never did learn what the other couple did as “jobs”) 🙂

You see? Dirk is a first generation Christ-following father.  He is a curse-breaker.  A pioneer. 

His passion for teaching “the H word” – Heritage to our children rose from a deep desire and conviction to pass on to them what he learned when he was a teen: 

God loved him and saved him from himself.  How could he do anything less than give God his whole heart?

From the time our children were born, from Erin to Jacob, and still today, Dirk’s number one goal in his life has been to pass on the knowledge of that saving Love and power to his own children. 

And connected to that Love, all the things that go hand-in-hand with that….building our home, living in the country, taking them regularly to church, being involved in their lives….are things that he is also  passionate about.

So, when he talked endlessly of heritage and the whys and hows…..and they were too young to grasp what he was even speaking of….they did seem to understand his passion.  (even if their eyes glazed over). 🙂

No, he’s not perfect.  He’ll be the first to tell you we made plenty of mistakes and bad judgments in our parenting (and we’re still not finished).  But, we’ve worked hard at teaching our children the number one important thing to us:  a heritage of Judeo-Christian values, and a heart given fully to Christ.

Are you a first generation, pioneer Christ follower?