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Hi I’m Jan, Mom of 7 sons and 4 daughters. I’m not Amish or Catholic (we get asked that a lot!) And Yes, we know how that works!  I’m married to Todd, and together we’ve raised a tribe!   I never dreamed I would have 11 children.  We always knew we wanted a big family, but people told us we’d change our mind.  We had 3 boys, Paul, Caleb, and Abe, then Hannah entered our world. Of course everyone said “you got your girl, (insinuating we had enough children).   But God had different plans.  From the beginning, we chose having children over having things. We lived on 1 income for 30 years, and I dedicated my life to mothering my brood.  Todd is a Pastor which involved us moving a few times, starting in Pittsburgh, seminary in Massachusetts, back to Pittsburgh, then 7 years in Virginia and 4 years in Alberta, Canada.  For the last 13 years, we’ve lived in western Pa.

My hope is that this blog is an encouragement to you who are in the throes of Mothering. Some days I know you feel like the waves are crashing over you, and you’re barely keeping your head above water.  I remember many days that I felt like a failure.  Some days it seemed like the biggest accomplishment was to get a shower.  Other days getting a meal on the table was a bonus.  But along the way, I also felt a deep joy to pour my life into my kids and my husband.  After all, Jesus said the greatest among you will be your servant. What a loving example Christ is to us as we pour ourselves out and serve our families!

This blog is my heart.  I am letting you into my front door to get to know me and my family. I hope I can get to know you as well.  Because what I KNOW is that everyone has a story, and that story makes up who you are.  As a fellow Mama who now is just a hair away from having an empty nest (my youngest child is a Senior in High School!)  I still remember the difficult days and I am here to cheer you on!  Know that you have a safe space to rejoice at the good days, and to weep on the trying days, (and there will be many). 

I will pray for you on your Mothering journey.  So often I get the question, “How did you ever do it?”  Well this blog seeks to answer that question. I didn’t do it perfectly, and I’m not that Mom who has it all together. Just ask my hubby or my kids about their “Hot Mess” Mama!  But God gave me real help and bushels of grace along the way to do what He had called me to do: Mother a large family! If I can do it, you can do it, if you have 1 child or a dozen. I believe I am one of the richest women in the world. Not according to my bank account, but according to the privilege and joy of the relationships I have with 11 extraordinary individuals who call me Mom.

What’s in a Name?

I first heard about Magnum Opus while reading Charlotte’s Web to my children.  When Wilbur asked about her egg sac, Charlotte said, “This is my Magnum Opus, my great work!”  I consider mothering to be my Magnum Opus, my great work!  A great work, or masterpiece if you will, takes time!  People say Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was his Magnum Opus.   You don’t slap together a masterpiece and expect that it has lasting value.  Motherhood is the same way.  I believe we need to recapture the art and craft of mothering. This takes TIME.  From the moment the pink line came up on the pregnancy test with my first child, I have committed my energy, mind, body, heart and soul into being the best mother I could be.  I am often asked about having so many children.  I say “Everyone has to spend their lives doing something. I spent my last 39 years raising a large family! It has been a joy and privilege to be the mom of 11 children.  You too, dear one, can raise your family with joy and purpose, with passion and a determination to be the best Mom you can be. Allow your family to be your “Great Work”. After almost 39 years of Mothering, I am here to tell you it is totally worth it!  Committing your best efforts to raising your children will have big returns as they enter adulthood.  Through much prayer, trial, and error, yes, much error, God has given me the grace to raise a tribe and along the way He has taught me some things.  This blog is what I’ve learned.  Thanks for joining me.