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December 28, 2010

Tee Hee Tuesday

A boy says, "Daddy, Daddy, I want to get married!"
      The father says, "For that son, you have to have a boy and a girl."
      The son says, "I've found a girl."
      "My grandmother."
      "Let me get this straight," the father says. "You want to marry my mother? You can't do that."
      "Well, why not?" the son says. "You married mine!"

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours...

Our Christmas News Letter 2010
Another year is past. And another year to look forward to. Another opportunity to love, laugh and live life to it’s fullest.

It’s amazing when you look back over a year how some things seem so long ago and yet other things seem like it was just yesterday! Such are our feelings over 2010.
This year we welcomed two Pauls babies to the farm. The first was in Feb. when our precious grandson Andrew came home to live with his daddy and mommy. We shared last year how he was born 10 weeks premature on Nov. 4th. After an extensive stay in the hospital we were so grateful for his homecoming! We have had the joy of watching him develop into a loveable little 1 yr. old. What a true little miracle he is! He can sit by himself now and is starting to talk the baby babble. He always has lots of smiles for everyone in our home (that’s a lot of smiles J). Josh and Rebecca continue to be a huge help on the farm. It is such a blessing to see a husband and wife who work so well together and who love doing so! We are so grateful to have them live right on the yard and we have been enjoying farming together with them. If you would like to see what new things are happening in Josh and Rebecca’s life you can visit their blog, http://www.jmrkpauls.blogspot.com/

The other baby we welcomed this year was our own little Jaden Issac. And a sweet little blessing he is! He was born on July 29, one day short of his big sister, Jennifer’s, birthday! Even though he was born at a very busy time of the year, as we were just starting harvest, God gave us the strength we needed, when we needed it. It is in times like that that you appreciate the many hands around here that make work lighter.
Jennifer turned 19 this summer and has chosen to stay on the farm to help out. She is the one who faithfully milks our 2 Jersey cows morning and evening. She, with her sisters Megan and Kerri alongside, also manages the calving in spring. She really likes to work with animals and she does a great job at it! She is also our family’s hairdresser. This year she had the opportunity to cut some friends and outside family‘s hair as well. It has been great for her to have this experience. Jennifer also likes to bake, so if there is a yummy smell in the house, it’s usually her who is tempting our taste buds. This year Jen, once again, has been helping me teach school to her younger siblings. As you can tell, she is a huge blessing to have around. We appreciate her heart as she joyfully desires to stay under the protection and direction of her dad until the day, that, Lord willing, God brings a husband into her life. If you want to get to know more about Jennifer, her interests, her thoughts and her passions check out her blog, http://www.smilesgoesmiles.blogspot.com/
Megan is 17 as of Oct. You will often find Megan behind her Pentax camera taking pictures of anyone that consents to let her do so. J We have enjoyed watching her learn and grow in the talent that God has entrusted to her. This year she has had the opportunity to shoot a wedding, take some family, baby and children’s photos, make thank you cards, birth announcements and recently Christmas photo cards. It is pretty handy having a photographer in your family, you just have to make sure you are always smiling! You never know when she might pop around the corner! She has had such a servant’s heart and is always willing to take someone’s picture when asked. She has also enjoyed putting together some movie clips, starring her siblings of course!! These have been a great source of entertainment to us! You can check out a couple of these clips and her amazing photography skills at www.megoophotography.blogspot.com
Kerri will be 16 in Feb. When I think of Kerri I think of singing. Why? Because she pretty much has a song on her lips all day long! Ever since she was about 2 years old we knew that God had given her an amazing singing voice. Her voice is strong, her harmony is accurate and her heart is full of worship to our God. I could listen to her sing for hours……oh wait…..I do, and I love it! This year one of her dreams came true when she and some of her family members were able to attend a Gaither concert while on holidays in Tennessee. She would tell you this was one of the highlights of our trip. Kerri is a big help around the home and has a very willing heart to accomplish the tasks set before her. A willing heart is such a beautiful thing J
Our next four boys are growing so much that we had to make a bigger skating rink to play hockey on!!!! So that’s what one of the projects was this fall…..a 130’ X 56’ rink. And we are excited to say that it was up and functional by early Dec. It’s always so much fun to see the anticipation on everyone’s face as we go out for that first hockey game of the season! It’s a great way to get some exercise and get rid of some boyish energy :)
Besides Megan’s, we have three other birthdays in Oct. Caleb turned 12, Zachary, 10 and Jesse 8. Nathan turned 6 in April. These boys are a bundle of energy and bring a spark…..no let me rephrase that…..fireworks to our home! Together they play board games, cars, lego, build tree forts, ride bikes, play in the sandbox, climb trees, explore, wrestle, play football, , hockey and baseball, laugh, debate J and so many other things. I can’t even imagine how much fun it must be for them to have each other to grow up with. They compliment each other so well. And every day they learn more about relationship, sharing, loving, giving, receiving, justice, mercy, grace, helping, leading, following, comforting and so much more. What a great opportunity God has given them to learn Godly character right in the safety of their own family!
Caleb is growing up so fast! Caleb is the strong silent type and often needs to be coaxed to share with us what he is thinking. He likes to work with his hands, drawing, working with wood, lego, and pretty much anything else he can create something out of. He has also shown a lot of interest in photography and so Megan has taken it upon herself to teach him some tips. Zachary is nick named Zippy Zee for a reason!!!

He is full, full, full…..did I say full of energy J We are happy to report that he has had no broken bones or stitches for quite some time now! Maybe the words we have been saying to him for years…”Think before you act.” have actually been getting through! But really, we love his zeal and ambition. Pointed in the right direction that determination has and will come in very handy. Jesse is our little farmer. He lives and breathes farming. When he hears a tractor start up on the yard, he is GONE! Many times this last farming season he woke up SUPER EARLY so that he wouldn’t miss his ride out to the field. We were finally able to reassure him that we would wake him up if he slept in!!! This year he also spent many hours with his big brother, Joshua, in the tractor. I heard reports that they spent many hours singing at the top of their lungs J And our Nathan…Nater Tomater as his dad affectionately calls him. I think it has something to do with Nathan’s love for tomatoes? Nathan has a very soft heart and yet can be so bold. It is a very interesting combination, a mix that none of our other children have. As with all our children, we pray for wisdom that God will show us how to steer his character into a direction that will bring glory and honor to His name. Nathan likes to play with his older brothers, but he is also often found playing house with his little sisters. He has such a sweet heart!
And this brings us to our little girls. Brooke……or Curly Sue as her dad likes to call her! You have to know her hair to know why he calls her that J Brooke is 5 years old and likes to laugh and laugh and laugh. I’m sure she will be a very healthy person because as the Bible says, “Laughter is like medicine”. She loves to go with her Daddy almost anywhere he goes. When they are together, they sing silly songs and make up rhymes that don’t make any sense! But oh they do they have fun! Of all of our children, Brooke reminds me the most of her Dad. She is also starting to help out more around the house and is often a sidekick to her older sisters in the kitchen. I tell them to teach her well, because one day when they have left home, Brooke and Mikaya will be the ones doing all the cooking…..for all those hungry boys! Mikaya, Mickie-ania, Fluffy….you choose! Mikaya turned 3 in April. She seems to think it’s her job to let us know when someone isn’t doing their job, or disobeys, or touches something they shouldn‘t…etc…..so we are teaching her that she needs to worry about her own heart instead of trying to fix everyone else’s! She likes to turn a simple statement into a whole long story, so when she comes around to talk, you know you are going to need some time to listen! She has eyes that sparkle…..you know…the kind that make it very hard to say no to!!! Mikaya doesn’t mind playing quietly by herself, but is most often found playing with Brooke, her brothers or her nephew. She has the knack of keeping babies entertained, which often comes in very handy. She also likes to hang out in the kitchen with her older sisters.
And then there’s our two youngest, Josiah and Jaden. We are looking forward to Josiah turning terrific 2 in January, on his Daddy’s birthday. Josiah is such a fun little guy to have around. He has a smile that melts your heart and just makes you want to give him a big hug. In fact most of the day he is being hugged….by somebody! He likes to be involved in everything that his older siblings are doing. His newest love is to take part in the phonics program that Nathan and Brooke are going through. He sits there with us and says a, a, a…b, b, b….c, c, c and so on. Who knows, we may have a baby genius on our hands….or maybe not J We are just getting to know our youngest, Jaden. He followed after some of his older brothers and has the infamous red hair. We always find it interesting that only our boys have the very red hair and none of the girls do! Maybe someday we will have a curly red haired little girl J If I would say anything about Jaden, besides being so cute and cuddly, I would say he knows what he wants…. when he wants it….and exactly how he wants it……enough said!!!! J For instance, on our trip to Tennessee this past November he knew that he didn’t want to be in the car seat and he sure let us know it! We are so grateful that God added Jaden to our family. Even though he has only been with us for 4 months, we couldn’t imagine life without him!
Mark and I are still enjoying life on the farm. We have said over and over that the farm is such a great place to raise a family! Lots of space, lots of work, lots of excitement! We were blessed with a terrific crop this year, so good that our bins were full and overflowing….well not literally….but we did have to look for more bin space! That’s always a nice ‘problem’ to have!!

Every day we live with our children we learn more about ourselves, our shortcomings and our constant need to rely on God. Many people think that by now we should be experts at parenting since we have done it so many times over. But we have realized, even though there are many similarities between our children, each one is different and needs to be treated as his/her individual self. I am sure God planned it this way so that we would never think we have it all under control…..and believe me, we don’t! Without God’s wisdom, we wouldn’t be where we are today. For more updates on our family and farm life you can visit our blog www.maprap/blogspot.com
We are enjoying so much this new stage of our life…the grandparenting stage. We are in awe at how we can love a little person as much as we love Andrew. He brings a lot of joy to our lives and we are so thankful for him! We hope that this will be only the start of many more little people to love on! Grandparenting is an amazing experience.
As we look back on this past year we are once again so thankful to God for the way that He has blessed us. Not because of what we have, but because of Who He is. It is especially at this time of year we reflect on the birth of His Son, His Son whom He sent to be the Saviour of the world. Jesus is Who this season is all about and we purpose to focus on Him. He is the greatest Gift that we could ever receive. We pray that you will know in your heart the love of a God Who would do this for you….and that you would experience the greatest gift this Christmas Season, the gift of a Saviour.

December 21, 2010

Tee Hee Tuesday

Last Christmas, grandpa was feeling his age, and found that shopping for Christmas gifts had become too difficult.
So he decided to send checks to everyone instead. In each card he wrote,
"Buy your own present!"
and mailed them early. He enjoyed the usual flurry of family festivities, and it was only after the holiday that he noticed that he had receiving very few cards in return.
Puzzled over this, he went into his study, intending to write a couple of his relatives and ask what had happened.
It was then, as he cleared off his cluttered desk that he got his answer.
Under a stack of papers, he was horrified to find the gift checks which he had forgotten to enclose with the cards.

December 17, 2010

Christmas Tag

1. What is your most favorite thing about Christmas time? Family time, twinkling lights, sweet smells, the music, but most of all the Reason for Christmas.

2. Do you enjoy decorating for Christmas? I really like to decorate but I have to be in the mood for it. I can't just decorate on demand. I like to shop for Christmas decorations after Christmas when they are on sale and stock up for the next year.

3. What food do you enjoy eating most in the Christmas season? Turkey is my favorite meat, so give me that and a lettuce salad and I am happy, well and then you need to add my mom's famous delicious potatoe and cheese perogies.......and then of course chocolate :-)

4. What traditions do you have on and around Christmas Day? Candlelit Christmas meal, games, Christmas music playing, chocolate fondue, surprise gifts......too many too name!

5. Do you usually have lots of family gatherings? Usually just 2

6. Who do you usually spend Christmas day with? My parents and siblings usually come over but it doesn't usually happen that everyone is around. My brother is the only one who lives in the same province as us right now :-(

7. What is your favorite Christmas song? I like O Come All Ye Faithful. I sing the chorus all year long......O come let us adore Him.......for He alone is worthy.......we'll give Him all the glory.....I like worship songs, this is one Christmas song that I feel is truly worshippful.

8. What is your favorite Christmas recipe? Marble Bark

9. What is you favorite Christmas memory? Really I have no favorite one. There are so many great memories and they get better every year!

10. When you think of Christmas, what do you think of? I think of an amazing God who love us so much that He sent His son for us. What greater love is there than that? On the other hand I get saddened because of all the commercialism that has taken over the true meaning of Christmas. We have chosen as a family not to give planned gifts, if any gifts are given they are usually impromptu and a big surprise .....but they don't always happen. We found that when we expected gifts, the focus ended up being getting gifts instead of focusing on Christ's birth and family. I have found Christmas a lot less stressfull since we have chosen to do this as a family. I would rather get people gifts throughout the year just because. I love giving gifts, so I have to do it sometime!! 

December 14, 2010

Tee Hee Tuesday

Just because everyone needs to laugh now and then, and usually now,  I decided to start a new series of posts  called Tee Hee Tuesday. I used Tee Hee because I wanted to start it today (Tuesday) and Tuesday starts with T. So I looked in the thesaurus to see what word, having to do with laughter, starts with T and the only thing I could find was Tee Hee :) So there you have it, Tee Hee Tuesday!!!

Now on to today's  Tee Hee.

A fellow is having computer problems at work, so he calls the IT department. A technician arrives and asks the man for his password.
"My password is MickeyMinnieGoofyPlutoHueyDeweyLouieDonaldBerlin," the fellow replies.
"Why is it so long?" the technician asks.
"Because," the man replies, "I was told it had to be eight characters and a capital."

TEE HEE!!!!!!

December 4, 2010

Secret Saturday

Can You guess what this is?
Comment and tell us what you think and then come back on Monday to see the whole picture.

November 27, 2010

Home Again!

As the saying goes.....home sweet home :)
After an amazing trip to Tennessee we are happy to say we made it back safe and sound.
I feel like it went so fast....

When Mark and I were on our last day travel we were saying that if it weren't for Josh, Becca and Andy, we wouldn't be anxious at all to get home. This was really a first for us. Usually after a couple of weeks of travel, living out of suitcases, not sleeping in our beds....we are more than ready to go home. But this time was different. Maybe it was because of the time of year it was, knowing that it was a slack on the farm. Maybe it was because we knew things were well taken care of, thanks to Josh and Rebecca. Maybe it was because of our amazing friends, the Muncks who gave us such a warm, exciting, adventurous  and comfortable stay, but mostly I think it was because of our amazing children who were such great travellers, who pulled together and helped out to make this trip so fun! Even though Jaden hated travelling (really, I am not exaggerating...he cried lots...) the miles still brought lots of smiles!

Family times are great......just being together was great! We are so glad we took this trip!

So now it's back to the farm. We spent the last couple of days unpacking the van, putting stuff away, doing laundry and getting organized. Really.....I have NO IDEA how we fit all of that stuff into the van. I do know it took a good 5 minutes to get everyone in because they had to climb over luggage in a one by one fashion. But as I have said before, my husband is the master of "I CAN FIT IT IN!" and I am proud to say that once again he was right :) 13 people, all their luggage and traveling gear for 2 weeks all fit into a 15 passenger van. Up until this trip we have been able to take at least one seat out to make more room, but since the blessing of Jaden being added to our crew we can no longer do that! I think it's almost time for a bus!

If you want some pictures of our journey go to Megan or Jennifer's blogs. They are doing a great job of giving an overview....so I won't be redundant. Plus, I don't have the time right now!

They newest news on the farm? Over the last little while we have built a new, improved, larger skating rink. So soon the guys will do the first flood soon. And before you know it will be hockey at the Pauls' farm once again. Everyone is very excited to say the least.  It makes the cold winter all worth while! :) So if you live in the area and like to play hockey.....come on down once the rink is finished! We'd love to have you :)

November 6, 2010

Around Here

Our house is a buzz.....


We are going on vacation!!!

As you can imagine, everyone is pretty excited :)

Our van is nearly packed (almost to the roof :)

A duffel bag for every person tucked under the seat.

Except Dad and Mom have a suitcase :)

Two spare seats now piled with stuff.

6 sleeping bags shoved in every nook and cranny!

Cooler in place.

GPS configured.

Snacks tucked away.

Laptop loaded with music and stories.

Fun boxes secretly compiled.

We are just about ready!!!!

We plan to leave bright and early tomorrow morning.

Then we will pack in the last minute stuff....

Pillows, lunches, water bottles.......

Good thing the clocks get turned back....gives us more time!

So the blog may be quiet for awhile....

Until then!

November 4, 2010

Blessed :)

Today is a special little man's birthday. Our grandson, Andrew turns one.

It's hard to believe that a year ago at this time we were hanging out in the mall with Rebecca's parents waiting to hear the news....news that would change all of our lives forever. When we got that call, there is no words to express the joy, excitement, and love that we felt. What a special moment to share together. Esther and I quickly forgot about our shopping and high tailed it out of that mall. Henry and Mark could hardly keep up with us :) !!!!! As I write this I can still feel the absolute elation that I felt. A new little grandson, what a blessing.

But as most of you know this was no normal birth. Rebecca was only 30 weeks pregnant when she went into labor a couple of days earlier. So along with the joy and excitement came apprehension of what this would all mean for this little guy. Henry and Esther had shared with us the story of one of their children's premature birth, so we knew a little of what to expect. Another dear friend who went through a premature birth was also there to encourage us every step of the way. But nothing can prepare you for a circumstance like this one.

It was a bitter/sweet moment. While we knew that Andrew was born and seemed to be well, we also knew that he had a long road ahead. And watching our grown children go through something like this so early in their marriage and with their first child was tough. We just wanted to take all the hard stuff for them. But that isn't God's plan and we knew that. Our role was to lift them up in prayer and be there for them in any way that we could.

And the road was long.....It took 3 months before Andy was released from the hospital. 3 very long months. For us, but for Josh and Rebecca especially. We were so very proud of Josh and Rebecca and their evident trust in God through this challenging time. Every time there would be another bump in the road, they would declare that God was in control and He had Andy in His mighty hands. What a testimony they were to us and to others who's lives they were part of. We all knew that it was the answer to the prayers of God's people that were giving Josh and Rebecca the strength and joy that only He can give.

And then the day finally came. Andy was coming home. Again, another exciting day. And again we shared it together with the Penner family. What a celebration we had!!!

In the last year we have watched every milestone and cheered him on! And today we celebrate another milestone. Really no words can describe the love we have for him. Being grandparents is one of the greatest things anyone could experience!

Happy Birthday Andy!!!! We love you so much. We look forward to another year of watching you grow and mature. May the Lord bless you and keep you this year and the rest of your life.

Love Grampa and Grama :)

November 1, 2010

October Birthdays

Wow!!!! I can't believe October is gone already.
For those of you who know our family, you also know that we have 4 birthdays in October.
And you have probably also noticed that I have not blogged about even ONE of those birthdays.
Ya, ya, I have a list of excuses at least a mile long, but I will save you the details :)

But I am not going to leave October behind without sharing with you about 4 of some of the most precious people in my life!

So let's start with Megan....K?
Megan's birthday was on October 2nd.
When I think of Megan as a baby, I think of a little eskimo. That's what she looked like to me with her fuzzy black hair and chubby little cheeks! She was so adorable. And she was also a calm, quiet little baby.

Hard to believe that was already 17 years ago. Where does time go?

Megan and I are a lot alike. She might cringe when I say that....but sorry Megan, it is true :) We also look the most alike out of our older three girls. Almost without fail, everytime Megan comes with Mark and I shopping or something, people will comment on how she looks like me! (Sorry again Megan, hee hee!)

Ever since Megan was a little girl people have commented on her smile. She has this smile that lights up the room. It's very refreshing. But as big as she can smile, she can also be really, really serious. And I love both of those things about her. And Megan can also be really, really goofy! She may share that side with you someday. She makes these videos that really cracks us all up! So funny :)

Megan is a super duper organizer. When I walk into a room that is super duper clean, I know that Megan has cleaned it. So I tend to give her those jobs that take a super duper organizer. Because I know a super duper job will be done :)

Of course if you have followed her blog at all you know what an amazing photographer she is. What a blessing it is to have someone who takes lots of pictures of our family. These will be memories on paper that will last forever. And not only is she a great photographer....but she is a giving photographer. She doesn't ask for anything in return.....she just takes pictures. She spends hours and hours and hours editing photos for free. She will drop all of her plans to take someones pictures. She even did a photo shoot once on her birthday!!! I asked her if maybe she would like to wait until another day, but nope. In fact she didn't even let them know it was her birthday. They found out though when she asked them to join us for her birthday supper. She was excited and loved every moment!

She has hair that is the most amazing hair I know of. It is so curly, a beautiful curly. We love it! She wouldn't be Megan without it!

I love her heart for worshipping our Lord. And she will often be heard with a song of praise on her lips.

We love you Megan. We pray that this year will be a year of knowing how deep the Father's love is for you.

Our second birthday this month was Zachary. He turned 10. We will sometimes call him Zippy Zee, and there is a reason for that. A very good reason. Every since he was a tiny little dude, he has had lots of zip! Seeing Zachary sit still is a rarety! He is really good at sports as he has no fear of falling or diving or jumping or rolling or crashing.....you get the point!

The phrase that Zachary has probably heard the most from me is "Think before you act." He is a very spontanious person which has gotten him into some trouble and even a couple of broken bones. I am pleased to say that as he grows older he is doing much better in this area!

Zachary is a funny boy and is often saying humorous things or even just things that don't make sense....so much so that they are just plain funny! He likes to make his little brother Joey laugh, and can do so every time.

Zachary loves to learn, but really has no use for sitting still and doing so. So sitting and doing school work is a real stretch for him. But he has learned to have self-control (for the most part) and get his work done so he can get on with his day!!!

We love you Zach and pray that your heart will be drawn to the wisdom that comes only from the Lord.

Birthday #3. Jesse Alan. Our blond haired little boy....who is getting so big! 8 years old now :)

Jesse is a farm boy through and through. He reminds me a lot of his big brother Josh when he was little. He thinks farming almost all the time. If he is sitting and working at his school book and he hears machinery sounds outside he has to run to the window and figure out what is going on. He will get up early early in the morning to make sure that he doesn't miss a ride out to the field. One morning he told me he was up since 4 AM waiting to go to the field. That reminds me of his daddy. When it is busy season, sleep is hard to come by!

I love watching Jesse play with his farm toys. Everything has to be just so. He can play all by himself for hours playing farming.

He also like wheels, a LOT!!!! When he started to learn to ride his bike he would always wipe out because he was watching his wheels! And whats even better than wheels to him is.....wheels that are covered in mud. Whether its a wagon, a bike, a tricycle, a tractor, a truck.....whatever it may be....if the wheels are muddy....he is happy :) I don't know how many times I have told him in his life to GET OUT OF THE MUD!!!!! In this way he is different than Josh. Josh used to hate mud and be quite disgusted if he got it on himself or his toys!

Jesse likes to talk.....lots....actually more than lots!!! Not about much really, just stuff.....lots of stuff. He can go on and on and on and on.....well you get the picture!!!! But I love it. He makes me laugh by the things he says. He can give me every detail of his day. And he can go on and on and on about his day.....right, I already said that :)

We got Jesse a watch for his birthday. I think he likes it. In fact he likes it so much that one day when we were shopping he set his alarm over and over and over.....and told us the time over and over and over.....OK you get the picture! I see now why he was begging for a watch! To drive me silly......just kidding. He just likes to know that time.....nothing wrong with that....RIGHT!!! Now he won't have to keep asking his Dad what time it is when they are in the tractor. It's important to know that time when there is food involved!

A funny story. Jesse came with Mark, Jaden and I in the car the other day. Of course Jesse was sitting in the back with Jaden, talking and talking and talking to him about......well almost everything. Then Jaden would cry, then Jesse would get him settled and talk and talk to him. Then Jaden would start to cry....and Jesse would say no, no, no....and then he would settle him. It was super cute to watch.

Oh ya, and one last thing. He has this amazing birth mark on his head. It is just a splotch of hair that is lighter than the rest. So sweet!

We love you Jesse and pray that this year you will grow in wisdom.

And last but definitely not least is our 4th birthday of the month....Caleb Andrew. Caleb is now 12. This is really hard for me to wrap my brain around. I guess it's because our second set (which I often refer to of the 4 boys) is growing up. Cause I know now that Caleb is 12, the others will be 12 soon too! How exciting :)

I would describe Caleb as the strong, silent type. He doesn't have a lot to say, but when he says it, it makes sense. He is a leader, and has been since he was just a little guy. We would always marvel at how he could negotiate a favorite toy away from his brothers. And they were all happy in the end!

Caleb is very creative. He likes to draw and build things....out of lego, wood or whatever else he finds.

He is such a good big brother.....and he is especially good with babies. Josiah loves to play with him. I love watching him with little ones!

Caleb is also an organizer and he is the one of the boys that I will call on if I want an organizing job done. He is a great worker when he puts his mind to it!

He really likes to play sports and is getting really good at it. I can't wait to watch him play hockey on our rink this year.

Caleb we love you and are proud of the young man you are becoming. We pray that you will be sensitive to the things that God is going to teach you this year, and that you will follow Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength!

Whew.....that is the end of the October birthday posts! What a fun month we had celebrating these special people in our family. Thank you God for all of them :)

Oh, and I am not going to post any pictures, cause if I do, I may never get this posted. If you want to see what they look like.....you can look on the sidebar :) !!!!!

October 26, 2010

Children and Their Innocense

With Halloween approaching there has been a lot of people blogging about Christians celebrating or not celebrating Halloween.
 There are many differents beliefs out there about this topic. And there have been many good articles and blog post out there related to Halloween. So instead of writing about it myself I am giving you a link of an excellent post that I read recently by a mom who shares why, as a family, they have chosen not to celebrate Halloween. Please take time to read this and really think through why you do or don't do anything to celebrate Halloween. But really what I want to blog about today is somewhat indirectly related to Halloween.

The Innocence of our Children.

I love the pure innocence of a child. You can see it in their eyes. So precious. So genuine. There is a reason that Jesus told us to become like a little child. Their faith is so real, their love is so gracious, and their heart is so pure. But I believe there is another reason that Jesus said to become as a little child, and that is because of their sweet innocence.
 Over the years I have come to appreciate more and more our children's innocence. Here is one example has come up over and over again. Our kids like to colour a lot. So I buy them colouring books. I always try to go through the books at the store and again at home and make sure that there is nothing "yucky" in them (anything from immodestly dressed children, to monsters, to aliens, to mermaids, to vampires, to jack-0-lanterns, to witches, people with guns, evolution, just plain ugly creatures....... ) When I find a picture that I feel does not honour God, I will rip it out. I've been doing that now for 20+ years. But once in awhile I will miss a picture. And when I do, one of our kids will come across it, and promptly bring the book to me and say, "Mom, this page is yucky." Now there have been times where I would have seen this picture before them and looked at it and said to myself, "Well, it's not really that bad." But more often than not, my child will notice it and bring it to my attention. So I have learned over the years to trust my first instinct and rip it out.

 I have often wondered why our children have this sense of what is good and what is ugly. Because some of these things they have never even seen, but their spirits pick up on the fact that something isn't right. I believe it is because of the innocence that God has placed in them. The sensitivity they have to what God loves and what He hates. It is something I have not been able to explain, or really understand. But I know it is there.

 Videos would be another example. When our children watch a video and I see them walk away or go and play instead of watch it I evaluate the content of the video. Sometimes the issue is that the child just wasn't old enough to differentiate between what is real life and what is on camera (e.g. sharks, whales, etc.) and it frightened them. But other times the videos seems OK to me, yet to my children something doesn't sit right,so why push it? Why desensitize the innocence that is in their little hearts. (side note: as I was writing this the kids were watching a nature video and it mentioned how an animal had evolved to adapt to it's climate. Guess what happened? Our son marched to the VCR, took out the video and brought it to me saying why the content was not good. The video is now in the garbage! This same son brought a Bible story book to me the other day saying that the author added things to the story that aren't in the Bible. We then decided these books will go in the garbage.) It would be so easy to think, "I paid money for this. It's just a little bit of evil....." But I realize those excuses are really harmful to our family.
A little bit of evil and a lot of good, still makes it evil. It's not worth it just for the sake of entertainment. 

The other day I was in the grocery store and I heard a little boy and girl talking to their mom. They would have been around 4 and 5 years old or so. They little boy said, "This is so yucky.....we shouldn't shop here anymore." (referring to the halloween decorations). And the little girl said, "Ya, they shouldn't be allowed to put out such yucky things." At this point I was ready to hear the mom shush their children who were being so outspoken (and quite loudly so) about this situation. But my heart was warmed when I heard their mom say, "You're right, these are yucky things. I wish they wouldn't put them out either." She could have quieted her children or quickly changed the subject, but rather she acknowledged that what they were saying was truth instead of being embarrassed. I find this practice particularly awkward when we are visiting at other people's places. There have been times where my kids were reading a book at someone's home and bring it to me and say that the book is yucky. (and not quietly :) Just a little awkward! But I am so grateful as they do this. Of course as they grow older they learn of more tactful ways to address the situation :) in love.

 As a parent I want to be very careful that I don't minimize or belittle the fact that our children are concerned about the things that they see. You know the song....oh be careful little eyes what you see. They are being sensitive to the innocence that God has placed into their hearts and I don't want to destroy or crush that. I have also learned that just because books and videos are labled "Christian" they cannot all be trusted. In fact I have been appalled at some of the literature and video content that I have found in the Christian book stores and I wonder how anyone can justify some of their content? The argument has been given that it is good for kids to read about or see the struggle between good and evil because that is what life is about! Well, I believe that is a lie from the pit of hell. I have heard it said that the way they teach those that work in banks to know what counterfiet money is, is they make them study what real money is. They don't study the counterfeit, they study the real thing! Well that makes sense to me. So why not do the same with our children. If we teach them the good and Godly side of things, they will be able to distinguish between good and evil. I believe Satan is really getting a foothold in these things all in the name of entertainment! And Christians are falling right into his trap. It's just sad....really sad. So I want to encourage you to protect the innocence of your children. Don't make light of things that they feel is wrong. Look at it through their eyes, not your eyes and flesh that may have been desensitized to what is good and evil. What an amazing opportunity we have to mentor these little ones are and what an amazing privelage and responsibility it is to raise them to bring glory and honor to God. Let's do our best encourage our children to love what God loves and hate what He hates. And in doing so we will raise a people that are passionate to follow God and seek His ways no matter what the cost!

You who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 97:10

October 25, 2010

It's That Time Again!

With the threat of colder weather in the forcast......even snow....yikes!!!
We have been busy the last week preparing for it.
Cleaning up the garden
Bringing in the carrots and potatoes
Getting wood to heat the house
Cleaning out the skating shack
Cleaning up all the flowers and pots
Taking the fish out of the pond and draining it
Cleaning out the garden shed
Putting away the bikes and toys
Taking down the trampoline
and today....
Bringing the cows home from the pastures.

We have 3 pastures. One is almost 8 miles from our house, one just a couple of miles and the other right in the back of our yard.
We have about 35 cows. We send them, their calves and the bulls out to the pasture in the spring when the grass starts to get nice and green and lush.
They stay out there all summer until this time of year when we bring them back home for the winter.
The 2 year old calves are in the pasture behind the yard. They too come onto the yard for the winter where we fatten them up until January or so when we sell them either to buyers or our neighbors and friends who want them for beef.

This year we decided to do things a little differently than the past few years.
We have a cattle trailer that we haul the cows back and forth to the pasture.
It takes a bit of time to load the gates, take all the gates off the trailer, set them up, pen up the cows, load them, haul them and then take down all the gates and put them back on the trailer and then set the gates back up at home.....whew, makes me tired just talking about it!

So this year we thought we would see how it would work to drive them home, meaning them walking and us driving in front of, behind them and beside them.
We all had a job.....
Megan and I had the very easy job (but don't tell anybody!) of sitting in the truck and stopping the cows from going down the wrong roads. Jennifer was leading the cows with a tractor that had a bale on it (kind of like the carrot in front of the horse :) Mark was on the 4 wheeler and Josh was in the half ton. They were the busiest of us all, keeping the cows on the right track. And Rebecca was behind the cows taking up the lead in their truck. Zachary, Nathan, Brooke and Mikaya were keeping Megan and I entertained. Caleb and Jesse were helped Josh hoop and hollar at the cows to keep them moving. Kerri was at home cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and babysitting. Joey, Andy and Jaden were concentrating on being good little boys for their sister/auntie :) And then our sweet neighbor friends saw us sitting at the roadside waiting and asked if we needed help. So she blocked the road the other direction. Thanks Teresa and boys :)

Coming down the first leg of the journey
Second leg of the journey (Jen in front, Josh on the right and Mark on the left)

Good cows......just follow the bale!

And now we're going down the home stretch! Almost there!!!

Rebecca in the back

You can see Josh and Rebecca's house in the distance

So how did it go you ask?
Well I think it was pretty easy....really....I just sat there....visited....listened to music....
But if you would ask Mark.....well let's just say he ended up splattered with mud and soaked from the rain and puddles! But he did say that maybe the cows would be better next year since they would know the way?
And Josh???? Well I didn't ask him, but secretly I think he enjoyed spinning around with the truck up and down ditches, over bumps and through the fields!!!! But don't tell him I said that cause he wouldn't actually admit to likin' chasing cows :)

Jen had a pretty good time too. She was glad she was in the tractor watching the action instead of having to keep the cows in line.
So maybe...just maybe we will do it again next year :)

October 21, 2010

Can you guess who this is??

Comment and let us know who you think this is and then come back tomorrow to see if you were right!!

October 16, 2010

Secret Saturday

Can you guess what this is?
Comment and tell us what you think.
Then come back on Monday and see the whole picture!

October 13, 2010

Menu Plan Week 3

Week 3 down on the menu plan.

Here's our opinion.

6 layer lasagna was pretty yummy. One mistake we made was not putting enough sauce in the hamburger so it was a little dry. Also we used no cook lasagna noodles and they were a little tough around the edges. So next time I would use the kind you cook and make sure that the hamburger mix and cheese is right to the edges. And I would add garlic bread to the menu.

Roasted Chicken is something we have all the time. The key was to make enough for Thursdays meal. Not much beats a good homemade chicken, potatoes, gravy and salad.

The Cream of Celery soup was okay, but it needed something. Not sure what, just something. So we decided we will stick with Cream of Carrot Soup instead. We'll just through some celery in there too! The Cordon Bleu Bread was not worth the effort. We would rather have Duggar Rolls or Italian Cheese Bread.

Baked Chicken Casserole was another one that reminded us of a recipe that we prefer. Chicken Roni Casserole. You could use any can of cream soup instead of mushroom soup if you would rather.

We never got to the Mashed Potato Casserole because we had company and didn't want to try out a new recipe on them :) So we had pizza instead with this healthy crust. No one was complaining!!!!

So not sure that this week was this successful in finding new recipes. Thankfully we can fall back on our tried and true recipes!

Here's week 4's menu plan.

Monday: Taco Bake, Lettuce Salad
Tuesday: Oven Baked Steak, Chinese Style Baked Potatoes, Oriental Salad
Wednesday: Cream of Carrot Soup, Biscuits
Thursday: Beef Italian, Salad
Friday: Hamburgers, Texas Potatoes, Raw Veggies

October 12, 2010

Too Many Choices

Over the years, one of the biggest mistakes we have seen parents make comes in the form of choices. Parents come to us and say, "Our child just is not obeying us. Where are we going wrong?" One of the issues more often than not is that the parents are allowing their child too many choices.

As many of you know we have taught the "Along the Virtuous Way" (Previously titled Growing Kids God's Way) parenting classes many times over the last 14 years. Much of what I will talk about today is credited to what we have learned in this course.

Today the mindset in parents seems to be that it is unfair or even mean not to give our children choices. We hear it everywhere. In the restaurant, in the grocery store, in the mall.....We think it's cute when they old enough to talk and are able to express their own choice,

Too many choices....do you want to wear the blue or green shirt, do you want pony tails or braids, do you want peanut butter or jam, apple juice or orange juice, white bread or brown, in quarters or halves, yellow cup or blue.....and on and on! Choice after choice is made by the child even before breakfast is even done! Then you sit down with your child and have a nice snuggly time of reading. Do you want to read this book or that one? Then it's playtime, "Do you want to play cars and trucks or lego? Now it's time for lunch and you say to your child, "Time to clean up your toys, it's time for lunch." And the child says, "No, I want to finish playing first, I will have lunch later." But you know your child needs to eat for his well being and your sanity, so you push the issue.....and what ensues? A battle, a big battle! And you stand back and think, where did this all start? Things were going so smoothly. 

Well really this all started when you gave your child the choice of what to wear, the choice of what to eat, the choice of what color of cup, the choice of what to read, the choice of what to play with, the  choice of whether or not to eat lunch....oh wait, you made that choice, didn't you? And that's where the battle began. Do you see the problem here? Up until now your child has been deciding what he would like and not like to do all morning, and he has been able to do them without any resistance from you. And then all of a sudden you come and mess up his little world, or so he thinks. 

Choices in and of themselves are not bad. We let our children make choices every day. But the younger the child, the less choices they have. For instance our 5 year old can pick out her own clothes, but not our 3 year old. Our 5 year old can pick what she wants on her toast, but not our 3 year old. Why you ask. Because our 3 year old cannot handle the power that comes with decision making yet. 

The Bible says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. At this age children do not make their decisions based on moral reasoning or wisdom. Rather they make it out of the foolishness of their little hearts. They don't think, "Ok, it's 0 Celsius outside, I really should not wear shorts today because I might get very cold." Rather they think this way, "TodayI will wear my purple shorts and t-shirt today because I like the color purple. And I will go outside in my flip flops because they are so pretty." Not much wisdom in that is there? Yet we allow these children to make these decisions all the while thinking we are being such a good parents. And people applaud parents for this, thinking it is so nice of us to give choices to our children and not give require certain things. Because really, it's harmless right? How bad can it be to give our children a few choices?

Here's what has happened in our experience. Let's take our 3 year old right now. She likes to pick her own clothes, she likes to choose what she wants to eat, she likes to choose whether to wear boots, flip flops, shoes or cowboy boots outside.....and so on. But we make many of these choices for her. Why? Because if we don't, we see this. She decides to go into her big sisters rooms and go through their jewellery and wear some of it. She decides to go into the closet where the school books are and write in whatever one she finds. She decided to put toothpaste on her toothbrush and brush her teeth. She decides to take a vitamin whenever she pleases throughout the day. She decides to cry and fuss when asked to clean up toys for lunch. She decides to go outside whenever she pleases. Do you see what's happening?  

Whenever I find that one of our children are having a hard time obeying the instructions that I give them I will evaluate if they are addicted to choice.

Here's what I would do for our 3 year old. I would say in the morning, "I want you to wear this." She will rarely fuss and cry about it (although I have had some that will) but she will come out with something else on. Addicted to choice! I will tell her "I want you to wear boots outside today." Do you know what she will do? Sometime pout or cry, but usually she will wear something else on her feet.....or my favourite....one boot and one sandal :) 

Our child is addicted to choice. So what do we do? Take away the choice. Not forever, just for a time. Until we think that our child will be able to handle making the choice. And there may be times in this that I will allow her to pick out her own clothes, or footwear. But at any time I should be able to take away this choice and not see it become an issue. 

As I said our 5 year old is allowed to make these choices. Why? Because if she comes out in shorts and a t-shirt one day and I ask her to change because it is too cool out, what will she do? She will go and change. She can handle not having a choice in the matter. She can handle me making the choice for her.

Now I have only talked about a 3 and a 5 year old here, but really this principle starts younger or carries on older than just these ages. As our children get older and more mature we give allow them to make more choices. As they get older and show wisdom and maturity we let them handle some choices. But there are still choices we don't allow them to make. We don't allow our almost 12 year old to drive the ATV whenever he would like, but we allow our 15 year old to. Why the difference? Age, maturity and wisdom. For families with children that are close to the same ages it very typically happens that we give our children too many choices just because the older one has them and we treat them equally. We have been guilty of this. This is not a healthy thing for the younger child. We need to be constantly aware of this. 

I could go on and on....but I hope you get the picture of how important it is not to allow your child to have too many choices before they are ready. If you are wondering if this is an issue with your child, take some choices away. See how they react. Do they flip out when they can't choose the color of their cup? Do they refuse to eat when you don't give them their choice of food? Do they fall on the floor if you don't cut their bread a certain way? Do they cause a scene at the restaurant when you pick off the menu for them? Do they wear something different than what you have laid out for them? Then they probably are addicted to choice.

We are seeing that our 3 year old is getting very close to being able to make her own choices in some areas. Take her clothing for  example. When we forget to lay something out for her she will come to us and ask us to pick her clothes. This shows that she is okay with us making the choice. Look for these signs in your parenting. They show that your child may be ready to make choices in a certain area. But if you find your child is having "issues" in certain areas, test if they are addicted to choice. Make the choice for them, see how they react, maybe they weren't ready after all.

I will say that it is much easier to carefully think through the choices you allow your child the freedom to make. It is much easier not to give them the choice than to take away the choice. Reparenting is never fun! 

So I challenge you to do the "addicted to choice" test. How did your child do? Are they addicted to choice? Or are they just fine with allowing you to have you make the choice for them? If you take away the choice at any given time, are they OK with it? If you find that you and your child seem to be going head to head all day, this may just be part of the problem. I am not saying it will charge everything, but it surely will help!

 Foolishness is bound up
 in the heart of a child. 
Proverbs 22:15b

October 11, 2010


Today is Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for. For my amazing husband, our 12 wonderful children, a beautiful daughter-in-law, a precious grandson, amazing friends, a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, good health......I could go on and on!!!!! But all of this is nothing compared to the wonderful God that I serve! Without Him my life would be meaningless. Thank you God for WHO YOU ARE! I love you!


God "mighty, strong, prominent" (Genesis 7:1; Isaiah 9:6) – Etymologically, El appears to mean power, as in “I have the power to harm you” (Genesis 31:29). El is associated with other qualities, such as integrity (Numbers 23:19), jealousy (Deuteronomy 5:9), and compassion (Nehemiah 9:31), but the root idea of might remains.


God “Creator, Mighty and Strong” (Genesis 17:7; Jeremiah 31:33) – The plural form of Eloah, which is accommodating of the doctrine of the Trinity. From the Bible’s first sentence, the superlative nature of God’s power is evident as God (Elohim) speaks the world into existence (Genesis 1:1).


“God Almighty,” “The Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 132:2,5) – Speaks to God’s ultimate power over all.ADONAI: “Lord” (Genesis 15:2; Judges 6:15) – Used in place of YHWH, which was thought by the Jews to be too sacred to be uttered by sinful men. In the Old Testament, YHWH is more often used in God’s dealings with His people, while Adonai is used more when He deals with the Gentiles.


“LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4; Daniel 9:14) – Strictly speaking, the only proper name for God. Translated in English Bibles “LORD” (all capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai “Lord.” The revelation of the name is first given to Moses “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). This name specifies an immediacy, a presence. Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on Him for deliverance (Psalm 107:13), forgiveness (Psalm 25:11) and guidance (Psalm 31:3).


"The Lord will Provide" (Genesis 22:14) – The name memorialized by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.


"The Lord Who Heals" (Exodus 15:26) – “I am Jehovah who heals you” both in body and soul. In body, by preserving from diseases, and by curing them when afflicted with them and in soul, by pardoning their iniquities.


"The Lord Our Banner" (Exodus 17:15), where banner is understood to be a rallying place. This name commemorates the desert victory over the Amalekites in Exodus 17.


"The Lord Who Sanctifies, Makes Holy" (Leviticus 20:8; Ezekiel 37:28) – God makes it clear that He alone, not the law, could cleanse His people and make them holy.


"The Lord Our Peace" (Judges 6:24) – The name given by Gideon to the altar he built after the Angel of the Lord assured him he would not die as he thought he would after seeing Him.


"LORD God" (Genesis 2:4; Psalm 59:5) – Combination of God’s unique name YHWH and the generic “Lord,” signifying that He is the Lord of Lords.


"The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16) – As with YHWH-M’Kaddesh, it is God alone who provides righteousness to man, ultimately in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who became sin for us “that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).


"The Lord Our Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1) – After David pondered his relationship as a shepherd to his sheep, he realized that was exactly the relationship God had with him, and so he declares “Yahweh-Rohi is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).


"The Lord is There” (Ezekiel 48:35) – The name ascribed to Jerusalem and the Temple there, indicating that the once departed glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 8—11) had returned (Ezekiel 44:1-4).


"The Lord of Hosts" (Isaiah 1:24; Psalm 46:7) – “Hosts” means hordes, both of angels and of men. He is Lord of the host of heaven, and of the inhabitants of the earth, of Jews and Gentiles, of rich and poor, master and slave. The name is expressive of the majesty, power, and authority of God and shows that he is able to accomplish what he determines to do.

EL ELYONAlign Left

“Most High" (Deuteronomy 26:19) – Derived from the Hebrew root for “go up” or “ascend,” so the implication is of that which is the very highest. El Elyon denotes exaltation and speaks of absolute right to lordship.


"God of Seeing" (Genesis 16:13) – The name ascribed to God by Hagar, alone and desperate in the wilderness after being driven out by Sarah (Genesis 16:1-14), when she met the Angel of the Lord and realized she had seen God Himself in a theophany. She realized that El Roi saw her in her distress and testified that He is a God who lives and sees all.


"Everlasting God" (Psalm 90:1-3) – God’s nature is without beginning or end, free from all constraints of time and contains within Himself the very cause of time itself. “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”


“Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6) – The name describing the Messiah, Christ Jesus, in this prophetic portion of Isaiah. As a powerful and mighty warrior, the Messiah, the Mighty God, will accomplish the destruction of God’s enemies and rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15).

October 7, 2010

Menu Plan Week 3

So the second week of our menu plan is finished.
I don't think it was quite as successful as the first week.
But still we found some good recipes.

Chinese Chicken
Fried Rice Dish

Tolerable :)
Hamburger Soup. We would much rather this soup.

Would Eat only if Desperate!!!
Sausage Veggie Casserole. The sauce was pure barbecue sauce. Much too strong. But we like the idea of cooking the farmer sausage in the oven with barbecue sauce. Maybe next time we will try some different flavours.

We didn't get a chance to try out the No Fuss Stroganoff because we had too many left-overs to eat!!!

And that brings us to week 3. We are well on our way....here's what is in the plan.

6 Layer Lasagna, Coleslaw

Roasted Chicken (make 2 for Thursdays casserole dish), Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cooked Carrots, Salad

Cream of Celery Soup, Cordon Bleu Bread

Baked Chicken Casserole, Corn, Salad

Mashed Potato Casserole, Raw Veggies

Check in next week to see what worked and what didn't!