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July 31, 2008

Gotta Love The English Language!

The bandage was wound around the wound. The farm was used to produce produce. The dump was so full that it had to refuse the refuse. We must polish the Polish furniture. He could lead if he would get the lead out. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert. Since there is not time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present. At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes. I did not object to the object. The insurance was invalid for the invalid. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row. They were to close to the door to close it. The buck does funny things when the does are present. A seamstress and and a sewer fell down into a sewer line. To help with the planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow. The wind was too strong to wind the sail. After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

July 30, 2008

Happy BIrthday Dear Jennifer

I know this is an old saying but….
It seems like it was just yesterday you were born.
Now you are 17, a budding beautiful rose.
Your middle name suits you just fine.
Jennifer Rose

Roses are fragrant.
You have such a sweet, positive personality.
You know how to kick back and enjoy life.
You have taught me so much in this area.
I never realized how much I would learn from my own children.
Your positive outlook on life has made me recognize what's important,
And your "Mom, it's not that bad." has helped me realize
things are not always as terrible as they first appear.

Roses have breathtaking beauty.
You are a beautiful young lady.
As your dad told you in your birthday card,
Beautiful on the inside and the outside.
Your smile is contagious,
Your joy is refreshing,
Your compassion is humbling,
Your enthusiasm for your family is a blessing,
Your attitude towards us as your parents is honoring,
Your example to your siblings is life giving,
Your humor is entertaining,
Your quick thinking is brilliant,
Your heart is big.

Roses endure the winters.
When you are going through a winter,
You put your trust in God.
You know He is your strength and your strong tower.
Winters don’t set you back, they make you more stable.
And in the spring you are stronger and more beautiful than before.

Roses have thorns.
Thorns are a protective characteristic to keep away predators that might harm them.
You too are protected.
First by your amazing Heavenly Father and second by your earthly father.
You have chosen to stay under both their coverings.
You have chosen to be protected..
You have followed God and His Word.
This has protected you.
You have chosen to honor your Dad and listen to his advice.
This has protected you.
You are a very wise young lady, you can see the bigger picture
Not just the temporal satisfaction of today
This has protected you.

Roses reflect the glory of God.
As you sing praises to your King,
You too reflect His glory.
Many times your worship has lifted my soul
And has caused me to meditate on God and His Word.
Your songs have brought us before God’s throne
And helped us to enter into His courts with praise.
He inhabits your praise.

This year I pray that you will continue to bloom as a rose in God’s garden.
That you will allow Him to direct your paths.
That you will not lean on your own understanding,
But trust in the Lord with all your heart.
That you will say what your Heavenly Father tells you to say,
And do what He tells you to do.
That you will grow in love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness,
goodness, faithfulness, kindness, and self-control.

We love you Jennifer and thank God for sending you as to our family.
Happy 17th Birthday!

July 28, 2008

Where is the cowboy?

We went to the Austin Thresherman's Reunion
and Stampede on Saturday.
We had a good time touring old buildings,
watching old time harvesting and in the evening a rodeo.
Megan snapped this picture in the saddle bronco riding.
Can you spot the cowboy?
If you look closely, you can see his boot still in the stirrup,
a bit of his cowboy hat and part of his chaps.
And how about that Horse?!?

July 25, 2008


I came across a great freebie site the other day. The Home School Freebie of the Day Every weekday, Monday through Friday, they post a new homeschooling “freebie” Stuff like: Unit Studies… Ebooks… Audio Programs… Games… Samples… Lesson Plans… classic books… and other quality resources! But it's just for one day, if you miss the freebie for that day, you miss it :( So hurry on over there and see what they have for today!

July 24, 2008

Thumb Sucking

Did you know horses suck their thumbs?
That's what Brooke informed us the other day at the Morris Stampede !?!
Personally I think she is just trying to make herself feel better
as she still likes to suck her thumb quite frequently :)
Well I am not buying it!
By the way,
this is our horse
"Big Joe"

July 23, 2008

Why So Many Children *UPDATED*

Just as I was writing this post I came across these interviews
July 7 & July 8 with Holly Elliff called
"Embracing God's Gift of Children"
I really enjoyed these interviews and felt it summed our beliefs quite well on this subject.
A common question we get asked shortly after having a baby is "So, are you done now?"

Mark's favorite answer to this question is, "Well no actually, we are just getting started!" To this response their jaw usually drops to the floor and they don't know how to respond.

Well obviously we are not done, as we are expecting baby #11 around Dec. 29th.

Honestly, I'm not sure I would have the guts to ask this rather personal question unless to someone I know quite well, but some of those we come in contact with seem to think it is an absolutely valid and perfectly normal question one would ask another.

So in light of thinking about this subject, I decided to become a little vulnerable here, and answer some of the questions people have asked (or wanted to) about our family size.

When we got married Mark and I both knew we definitely wanted to have children, but never really talked about how many. So we just took one child at a time, and 'planned' when we would like to add another. All went just well until our 4th, Kerri. She was a particularly hard birth and having 4 little ones, 5 and under was somewhat overwhelming at times. We seriously considered at this time to do something permanent to prevent not having any more children. But by the grace of God and the wisdom of my husband, we decided to wait for a year and see how we felt then. Well a year came around and we realized that even though life was very busy, we were both sure that at some point we would like more children. Thus 3 1/2 yrs. later we welcomed Caleb into our family.

After Caleb was born I really began questioning our cultures view of childbearing and God prompted me to search scripture and see what He had to say about this subject. I found scriptures like Psalm 127 which says children are a heritage and a reward from God. My question was, "If children are a reward and a blessing from God, why do we try to prevent them?" There were also Bible stories which told how God opened and closed woman's wombs as He chose. I quickly realized that what God said in His word and what the world said was quite the opposite.The message of the world was 2.2 children was the average, and any more was a bother and infringement on your life and one would be crazy, even irresponsible to even consider not using any means of birth control.

So as Mark and I talked about this, we wondered if we really could trust God to plan our family size and if so, what would it look like? In the midst of all this heart searching God confirmed to us many ways through books other people had written, testimonies of people we knew and articles we came across. It was a relief and a confirmation for me to know that others had went the same road and I was encouraged to know that there were others out there who had surrendered their wombs to God. Some people had large families, some people were still having children and some people had for no medical reason (but by God's design) were no longer conceiving.

Well, I wish I could say that after I read God's word and heard other testimonies I was convinced but I struggled for awhile. I could not stop thinking about myself and how this would affect my life. I was sure I would be pregnant or nursing a baby forever. I would never fit into my pre-first child clothes ever again! I would always be training a toddler, I would always be potty training, I would never again sleep through the night, I would never have time to myself, I...I....I....I....I! Then God began to change my heart. It seemed like a forever process, but by the time we had our 7th child, I was ready to surrender my womb to God and say, "God, however many children you want to give us, we will take them. If you choose not to give us any more, we accept that as your plan. And I guess I could say the rest is history, but every day is just the beginning.

So do I ever struggle with some of the thoughts I had previous to this heart change? You bet I do! But then I look around at my amazing "blessings" and I think, which one would I not want to have. I grieve to think that we might have decided on our own that one of these children were not necessary to our family. I am glad now that I do not have to make that choice. Leaving it in God's hands has been very challenging to my meism many times, but also very freeing in knowing that He knows how many children we need in our family, how far apart, and if they should be a boy or girl.

Every day is a gift, every child is a gift, every breath is a gift.
We know God gives, we know He takes away.
We know He these are His children that He has given to us to train up to bring honor and glory to His name.
We know it it not in our hands.
We know God is God.

Many people say to me, "Oh but you are strong, you must have a lot of patience." I say to them, it is only by God's strength. In my weaknesses He is strong. Every day He is working to further develop the fruits of the spirit in my life. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, kindness, self-control. Some days I do alright, some days I fail miserably.

Do I ever feel overwhelmed.
You bet I do, but I have learned that in those moments to look to God to be my strength.
I know I cannot do this on my own, and if I try to, I will fail miserably.
There are many challenges in life. And if it weren't for challenges and trials I would never grow.
Having 10 children has definitely been a growing time for me and I would never trade it for anything. Looking back I can see how God has changed me through raising the gifts He has given.

So I share this not to be judgemental, or to point fingers.
But just to challenge you to search the scripture and ask God to give you His heart for children.

I think too many times as Christians we get influenced so much by the world that we don't even consider that God may have a different way to look at things.

So today, maybe God has been tugging at your heart about this or something else.
Search His Word, see what He has to say, and trust and follow Him.

July 19, 2008

Abundant Blessings

I love this time of year with all the amazing sights, sounds and tastes.
The garden is starting to produce.
The summer projects are getting done.
We have had many fun times with family and friends around campfires.
It overwhelms me to think that God made everything so beautiful for us to enjoy.
He didn't have to make so many different colors and tastes, but He did!
Thank You God!
So here is a bit of the sights of our summer so far.
Meeting My Newest Neice Cadence
(Photo by Megan)

Playing Badminton With the Rowley Family
(photo by Rosalie)

A Beautiful Pink Sky
(Photo by Megan)

Moving Bins
(Photo by Jennifer)

Flowers :)
(Photo by Megan)

A Little Girl and Her Kitty
(Photo by Rosalie)
The Little Farmers
(Photo by Megan)
The Amazing Thunderheads on Wednesday
(photo by Megan)

Yum, Yum. The lettuce is so big and beautiful this year.
(photo by Megan)
The Little Boys in a Field of Barley
(photo taken by Megan)

Mikaya and a Bowl Full of Lettuce
(photo taken by Jennifer)

July 18, 2008

Happy Graduation!

13 years ago we started home-schooling.
And this year we had our first graduates.
Congratulations Joshua and Jennifer!

To celebrate Mark and I took just Joshua and Jennifer to Grand Forks.
We had a great time of relaxing and eating, shopping and did I mention relaxing and eating:)
Thank you Megan and Kerri for holding down the fort! You did an amazing job!
What are they planning to do now?
Joshua plans to continue his education on the farm.
Jennifer is continuing her journey of learning to be a godly wife and mother right here at home.
She will also be helping me teach the younger ones this coming school year.
As our motto goes:

We love you guys and look forward to watching you grow through this next phase in your life.

"For this cause we also since the day we heard it,
do not cease to pray for you,
and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work
and increasing in the knowledge of God
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power
unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness
Giving thanks unto the Father which has made us meet to be
partakers of the ingeritance of the saints in light."
Colossians 1:9-12

July 14, 2008

Do You Need A Starving

In church yesterday the preacher shared a story of H.A. Ironside. He used the text Phillipians 4:19; "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." In this true story of Ironside, through a series of events, he ended up away from home a penniless preacher sleeping in a rail car. Hungry and tired, trying to sleep he began complaining to God, telling Him that He was not fulfilling His Word, that His promise was He would supply all Ironside's needs. Hours later moving to a better spot, he got a little sleep and when he woke up God started dealing with things in his life that he had allowed to slip. He began confessing his wrongs and got to the place where he no longer wondered why God had not supplied for him, but rather he was amazed to think how good God had been to him in spite of his many failures. Later he went to church, and to make a long story short got taken out for a meal and offered a place to stay. When he went to the post office to see if he had any mail he found a letter from his father-in-law which read,"God spoke to me through Phillipians 4:19 today. He has promised to supply all our needs. Some day He may see that I need a starving! If He does, He will supply that." It was then that Ironside realized that God had put Him through that test in order to bring Him closer to Himself and face to face with the things that he had been neglecting. This story really spoke to me. So many times I have heard sermons on this verse. The message always seems to come out, we will never lack, God will give us what we need materially. But the question is......what do we really need? Does God allow trials to happen in our life to bring us closer to Him. Do we bemoan these trials, or complain to Him thinking He is not fulfilling His Word. Maybe some days I need a starving :) So I challenge you. When you are going through a less than ideal time, instead of complaining to God and trying everything in your power to get rid of it, seek God. Maybe there is a reason He allowed this test. Maybe you need a starving. If you are interested in the whole story, Here it is.

July 11, 2008

Pet Peeve #1

We don't have pet peeves very often.
OK let me rephrase that....we don't have pet peeves that we publicly announce very often!

But here is one that we feel cannot go unnoticed.

Who's idea was it to sell 4 litre ice cream in pails and not put handles on them?
And WHY?????

We personally find the pails much less useful now.
Like take, going to pick strawberries for example.

Have you ever tried to carry pails of strawberries without handles?

So if the person responsible for vetoing handles on ice cream pails is reading this....
PLEASE rethink your decision and put the handles back on :)

Otherwise we are seriously thinking we may have to move to another country
and learn the art of this!

July 9, 2008

The Race Is On!

Every once in awhile around here, the male competitiveness kicks in and a challenge ensues.
The other day was one of those days.

The challenge?
Two 6 foot deep, 1 foot diameter holes.

The competitors?
The two eldest males of our household.

The prize?
Great Satisfaction.

So off they went to get their shovels and the race began.

Two different men, two different personalities.
Whose strategy was going to pay off in the end.

One chose to dig the hole narrow enough to just be able to work in.

The other chose to have some room to spare.

The sweat was dripping.
The kids figured there would soon be enough water to fill the hole!
And before we knew it, they were to the point of no return.

A quick glance over and Josh realized there was no time to slow down.

We knew the end was near when they pulled out the measuring tape.

Just a few more inches to go and only 45 minutes into the race!

Oh, it was so close.

Heave ho, hurry!

It's amazing what can be accomplished when you mix man power
and a whole lot of determination.

Brooke was trying to figure out how to get them out of there.
She came up with the idea that a helicopter would do just fine!

Soon Mark declared, "I'm done!
The final measurement was made.

Who won you ask?
Well if it was a contest for the one who got the dirtiest;

I think this guy won!

If you ask who was the best sport?

This guy would come very close!

If you would ask these guys...

They would say their daddy won for sure!

Even though the race was a very close one, Mark figures he won with flying colors.


Because he got his holes dug :)

A Fridge Full...

What could be better than a fridge full of strawberries :)
We picked yesterday so today we are cleaning, freezing, making jam,
and making banana split dessert (recipe on our recipe blog).

The floor is sticky, the counter is sticky, faces and hands are sticky......yum, yum!

We are keeping some around for munching, strawberry milk shakes, strawberries and ice cream, strawberry smoothies,........I think I need to go eat a strawberry!

July 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Brooke!

To our little miss.
3 years old already.
I remember the summer day very clearly 3 years ago when we welcomed you to our family.
You were such a sweet little bundle.
Brown eyes, brown hair (what little their was), so petite.
Your siblings all loved you to bits.

We went to work at camp for the summer a few days after you were born.
You co-operated real well and we hardly heard a peep out of you all summer.
As the years have flown by, we have enjoyed getting to know you.

A little miss. That's what you are.

You love to be pretty and really seem to enjoy telling your brothers and little sister what to do.

You seem to have it all figured out in your head, and can't just keep it there, you have to tell everyone.
You talk real well. You have actually been talking real well for....well....I can't actually remember. It seems like you talked perfect right from the moment a word came out of your mouth.

Of course you like to experiment with many words, and all of a sudden a new one will come out.
Usually it is pronounced little differently (like dediclious with a little slur, for ridiculous).
Daddy has lots of fun seeing you blush when he sings your song, "Beautiful, Beautiful Brookie"
You love your daddy so much and look forward every day to your special cuddle time.

Joshua is also one of your favorite people and if he is gone you are looking for him all day. He always has a special smile for you that makes you melt.

You are very blessed to have so many protective brothers in your life (that you can boss around!) They take good care of you and teach you many boy things. You like playing with them but don't often get as dirty as they do as you don't really like dirt on yourself.

If you walk through the corral with us you tiptoe around every cowpie. It makes for a rather long time of doing chores:)

You are a very good little helper in the kitchen and I can see that very soon you will be making your first batch of cookies. Your sisters are doing a great job at teaching you how to bake.

You are also very blessed to have 3 older sisters who are training you in the lady way. They often make your hair pretty and dress you up. You will learn many things from them as you spend more time together. They love you very much!

You are starting to play a lot with your little sister Mikaya and are doing the 'girl things' together. It is a transition for you as for many years you have been playing boy stuff with all your brothers. Mikaya is very much into dolls and girl things, so you have been learning how to play house. It is so special to watch the bond between you grow already.

You are our little princess. We love you very, very much and look forward to another year of seeing you grow and mature. Happy Birthday Brooke!

July 5, 2008

He Was Right!

I guess Boy #1 was right afterall. Christmas will be a little different this year :)

July 3, 2008

It's Here!

Canning season has begun!
I love this time of year with God's gifts of fresh fruits and veggies.
I just wish it would last longer than just a couple of months.
Maybe someday I will live in a place where I can eat fresh fruit all the time:)

But for now to enjoy this stuff year round I will have to keep on canning.
So today canning started with 13 jars of rhubarb jam. We ran out last year so my goal is to do lots! So I will probably make way too much and then we will have to eat it like it's going out of style (sigh).
And then there was rhubarb left over so we had to make a rhubard dessert (so sad!)

Now I look forward to strawberries (which will soon be ready), raspberries, spinach & lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, gooseberries (which need to be picked today!), carrots, potatoes (very soon I can start stealing the little ones), peas, celery, onions, watermelon, honey dew, tomatillos (never planted them before but was up for the experiment), and just when you think it can't get any better-apples and CORN ON THE COB! Whew just thinking about all that work makes me exhausted!

So here's to the canning season and all you who are preserving your fruits and veggies for the long, cold winter :) Happy Canning!
And of course as soon as I tried to take a picture our ever so cute little model figured she had to be part of the photo!


Back in 1905, young Frank Epperson was outside on the porch,
enjoying a refreshing fruit-flavored soda.
But, it wasn't like the soda we know today.
In those days, you poured soda water powder in water,
stirred, and viola! Instant tasty drink.
So, Frank was enjoying his soda, and for whatever reason, didn't finish it,
and forgot to bring it with him when he went inside.
There it sat. On the porch. All night. With the stirring stick still in it. That night brought record low temperatures,
and when he found his soda the next morning, the drink was frozen to the stick.
Boys will be boys, and instead of taking it inside to clean it up, he tasted it.
It was good!
The story goes then that he took it to school to show his pals, and made them for his friends.
He called them Epsicles. It didn't occur to him to patent his frozen treat until 1923, as he sold seven flavors of Epsicles at a lemonade stand at an amusement park in Oakland, California.
His patent was granted in 1924, and the name was changed to the familiar Popsicle we know today. (It seems his kids gave him the idea, as they were always asking for "Pop's 'sicles.") There are now over 30 different varieties and flavors of Popsicles,
and an estimated 3 million of these frozen treats are sold each year.

July 2, 2008


A sister is one who giggles uncontrollably at things that are not even funny.
A sister can be at odds with you one minute and hugging you the next.
A sister sings the best harmony with you.
A sister eggs you on just to make you mad.
A sister embraces you when you are having a bad day.
A sister does your hair.
A sister helps you do dishes.
A sister is both your mirror and your opposite.
A sister laughs at your corny jokes.
A sister wears your favorite clothes.
A sister helps your remember things you'd rather forget.
A sister tells the truth even if you don't want to hear it.
A sister is a pro at pleading innnocence.
A sister keeps you accountable.
A sister is a God given best friend.