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August 27, 2011


I came across this trailer via Pink Slippers blog.
I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to having a few minutes to watch the whole thing.
The statistics of young people leaving the Church today is nothing to ignore!
It's time for the Church to rethink why this is happening!
Maybe, just maybe things need to change?

Divided Trailer from NCFIC on Vimeo.

August 24, 2011

Over & Over

Do you ever feel like you say some things over and over again.....
I do, like "Shut the Door, Say Please, Say Thank You, Did you do your chores, Did you brush your teeth, Did you wash your hands, Did you clean your room, Be kind, Be Loving,  Be Gentle, Don't Touch, Don't throw that in the toilet!!!!!

Ya....I have said those things and more many, many, many times!!!

But there are some things that I like to say over and over again!
Here is one of them...Something I never get tired of saying!!!!

We are going to have a baby!!!!

Yup....Lord willing baby #13 is due around the middle of March :)


Jaden is just like his mama!
He looks forward the same thing as me every evening.....POPCORN!!!
As soon as he hears the popcorn popping he drops whatever he is doing, runs to the popcorn maker and makes sure he gets a few kernels!!
Here is a cute video Meg put together of how he says popcorn....ENJOY!

August 23, 2011

Worth Another Read

Every year when we prepare for another year of school, we are seeking God as to what His purpose and plan is for our schooling in the coming year. As we were planning for this year I remembered this post that I had written a couple of years ago. I thought I would repost it as it says perfectly what I have been thinking the last couple of weeks. God....show me..."WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT".... to YOU!!

OCTOBER 14, 2009

An Important Question......

As another school year is under way I find myself asking the question that I do every year.
"What's really important?"
Really that's a question that I ask myself all the time....but when it comes to home schooling our children, it holds great weight.
When we decided to home school our children, back in 1995....I would say our #1 goal was to be the primary influence in our childrens lives. We couldn't imagine that God would have given us the gift of children just to send them away for 8 hours a day...5 days a week....10 months of the year. Instead we took the verse from Deuteronomy 11:19 "You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." When we looked at this verse and the context surrounding we realized that raising children was a full time ministry of teaching our children to learn the heart of God and to train them to walk in His ways.
So in 1995 we started schooling Joshua and Jennifer at home in the best way we knew how. We were blessed to have a couple of families in the area who homeschooled as well and were able to learn from them. But still every family is different and every family has to figure out what works best for them. So we bought the books....and dove right in.
I think it took a few years of plowing before we asked the question once again...what is really important. Because as the years went on ....homeschooling became more popular.....so there was more of a market for curriculum......so there were many, many choices. And I will admit I got caught up in the 'the more you spend the better the education' lie.
But when we began to re-evaluate we realized that we had gotten stuck in the 'education trap'. You know...the one that says your children need to sit at a desk doing school 9-3....that you measure their success on the scores of their tests...and that textbooks were the only way to teach school.
Then we were introduced to 'unit studies'. This was a refreshing way to bring all our children learning together as a family. We had a lot of fun with these and they were a great way to learn. We did this for a few years and really enjoyed it. But even with these our focus seemed to get off track really quickly and knowledge became more important than wisdom.
Again.....re-evaluate the question again. "What is really important?" The last few years as we have asked this question over and over our perspective has changed. Maybe it is because we have adult children that we are seeing things in a different light. Maybe it is because we are getting older and uh um....slowing down? But the things that seemed so important to us before just don't seem so important anymore.
So what was the reason God gave us children? What was His desire of the way we spend our time with them? How much time does He want us to spend with them? How much time does He want them to spend away from us? What does He want us to teach them when we are with them? What does He want them to be taught if they are away from us? What will He ask us concerning the education of our children when we stand before Him one day?
Which brings me back to the question again. What's really important? Really this question has nothing to do with education but everything to do with every day life. Book work is such a small part and has become a smaller and smaller part as we are becoming to understand what is really important.
Our goal...our aim is to please our Heavenly Father above all. Our desire is to raise every single 'gift' that He has given us to bring glory to His name. That they might be a reflection of Him and a light to the world around them. (Matthew 5:14) That they would love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mark 12:30) That they would always live for an audience of One. That they would honor and repect who and what God has created. That whatever they would do they would do it with all their heart for the Lord. (Colossians 3:17)That they would have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). That they would learn when at all possible to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18). That the joy of the Lord would be their strength.(Nehemiah 8:10) That they would do everything without complaining and arguing.(Phil. 2:14) That they would have a heart fully commited to God.(2 Chronicles 16:9). Of course the things we want to teach our children is this and so much more....but these are some of the things that are priority.
What's your goal......in your home.....in your homeschooling......in your family......in your marriage....in your life? It's always good to stand back and re-evaluate and ask "WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT?" Have you done this lately? If not I encourage you to do it today.

August 18, 2011

How We Do Things Series...Vacations


Since we just took a vacation and it is fresh in my memory I though I would do a post on how we do vacations!!!

We have done vacations different ways over the years. We have tented, we have camped with a camper and we have stayed in hotels. 

I can't say I prefer one way over the other, they all have their good and not so good points, some are more work than others, but they all make great memories!!!

When we go on vacation as a family this is what we purpose to do....make great family memories. Now having such a wide variety of ages means that we have to be flexible and often creative in what we do.
Vacations are much more expensive than living at home.....but they are WORTH it!!!! When we go on vacation we want to be frugal with our money but we also know that doing stuff is going to cost money! And because of that we do things that we normally wouldn't do, all the while trying not to tear up for the money we are dishing out (not serious :) Saying that, we do try to find events and places that give good group or family rates. And if we happen to hit a holiday, there are often events that you can get in for free. As much as we like these deals they don't always happen and we have to pay full rate! One thing that we have found over the years is that a family rate doesn't usually mean it will actually cover our family! In fact, usually it is 2 adults and 2 children, which comes up a little short for us!

The last couple of vacations we have found a method of packing that has worked the best for us. We bought everyone duffle bags (smaller ones for the littles) and put name tags on them. These fit perfectly under the van seats, and uses up a space that often seems wasted. And believe me, we need the space. To say that we are a little cramped when traveleling would be an understatement! We have a 15 passenger van, with 13 passengers. Therefore we have only 2 extra spots to put luggage on since there is really no extra space behind the back seats. We used to be able to take out a seat or two...but we are glad we are so blessed that we can't anymore...it's worth it :)

We seat everyone in the same spot as we do when we normally go anywhere. Zachary and Jesse in the back, Caleb, Nathan & Josiah in the 2nd to back seat, Kerri, Brooke and Mikaya in the 3rd back seat, and Jennifer, Megan and Jaden in the front seat. We find assigned seating saves on squabbles, pushing and shoving, and headaches for Mom :) The older girls will sometimes switch around, they don't usually push and shove :)

When we camp we bring as much food from home as possible. Because we grow our own meat, that is what we try to stock up on the most. We have a nice sized fridge in the camper and a fridge that plugs into the van. The more food we can take from home, the less costly our trip is! Favorite camping meals? Hamburgers, Bqued Chicken Pieces, Bqued Steak (from home :), Sloppy Joes......just to name a few. 

And when we hotel it, then we make sure that we find hotels that have a free breakfast. That is worth a lot to us. We eat breakfast as late in the morning as possible and then have just a light lunch and a bigger supper. Usually for lunch we will just buy a couple loaves of bread, sandwich meat, peanut butter and jam/honey, chips, and some fruit. Some of our favorite (and least expensive) suppers when traveling.....Pizza, Burritos, Roasted Chicken (the meals you can get in a grocery store with salads). 

When we go to a hotel we try to fit into 2 rooms (3 this last trip because Josh, Rebecca and Andy joined us). We fit as many as we can on the beds, get a playpen for the baby and bring sleeping bags for the rest. 

While traveling, if the trip is long enough, we bring some things to entertain the kids. Books, coloring, a few toys. When we went to Alberta this last trip we hardly brought anything and the kids did great! We loaded up our Ipod with music and stories and we were good to go! I found it much less hassle to bring as little in the way of entertainment as possible. It also cut down on the car sickness for those who suffer from it. 

I think most people wonder how many times we have to stop for a bathroom break? Well, not too often. We make sure the drinking water is kept to a minimum and basically when we have to fill for gas, we take potty breaks. There is the odd time that a certain someone can't make it till the next fill, but for the most part that's the only time we stop. And when we stop, we hope that there is more than one bathroom (otherwise this lengthens our stop quite a bit :) and we get in and out as quick as possible. We also usually use this opportunity to let the babies and toddlers stretch their legs a bit.

I think that pretty well covers our vacation how we do it. Unless there is something you were wondering that I didn't think of? Let me know.

August 15, 2011

Before Their Eyes

“Parents!  The work entrusted to us is holier than we know.  The precious instrument, so delicate, so wonderfully made, so marred by sin already, and so exposed to its power, is of such inconceivable worth.  To take charge on an immortal soul, to train a will for God and eternity, surely we ought to shrink from it.  But we cannot.  If we are parents, the duty is laid upon us. But, thank God!  Sufficient grace is prepared and promised too.  If we do but give up our home and our life to God for Him to come in and rule, He will Himself take possession, and by the gentle influence of His Holy Spirit bow their will to Himself.”
~Rev. Andrew Murray, The Children for Christ

We have been labeled a few things over the years of raising our children. One of them is that we are "too protective".  I am not offended when people say this...more I am saddened that they don't understand.

We have chosen to do/not to do a lot of things for the protection of our children over the years. Some things are not very popular, most things are not easy, but we haven't regretted the decisions we have made in this area.

One thing that we have been particularly careful over the years of raising children is what we are feeding them. I am not talking about physically, but in the area of entertainment.

Since our children started to read we have found it a real challenge to find good wholesome reading material or videos to watch for their age (elementary-teen). And I can say that as the years go on it gets harder and harder. I am honestly appalled when I walk into a Bible Book Store and see some of the reading material that is in the kids section. It doesn't take long to see how the Christian world is trying to keep up with the secular world in the area of entertainment. I would be ashamed (and honestly feel creepy) having some of those books in our home. How I think God weeps when He sees such garbage.

What we allow our kids eyes to see and mind to take in is NO SMALL MATTER. The ideas, beliefs and values that they get from entertainment will affect them for life. And so it has made us rethink many times what we should allow into our children's minds, hearts and into our house.

Even though children are born with a sin nature, they also come with an innocence. An innocence that sadly over time becomes less and less. Some of their innocence is lost by the harsh realities of life. But some of their innocence is crushed simply by what we, as parents, allow them to be exposed to. So many of the things that we say are part of our value system are just thrown away while watching a movie or reading a book. How sad.

So really the world of entertainment in our family is narrowed down to...well .....NOT MUCH!!!! There is just not that much good, Godly stuff out there that supports the values we have as a family. And we are not willing to compromise the values that we teach our children for the sake of entertainment.

For books we stick mostly to missionary biographies or character building stories for children. There are a lot of great biographies out there that highten our children's desire to live for God. I like to read our smaller children stories that reinforce the truths that we find in God's Word. Businesses that sell home schooling material have some great resources in this area.

We have chosen to stay away from most of the Disney type books and movies. We haven't found many that support the values that we try to live out as a family. We also find that many of the characters are literally idolized by children, and we choose to stay far away from that.

If a book does not have a good wholesome message behind it and doesn't encourage good behaviour....we will not read it. I have been in the middle of many a books in our days of raising our family, only to stop and throw it right in the garbage. The character in the book may have a bad attitude towards his/her parents, or use words that we do not use in our family, or treat siblings unfairly...why would I train my child it is not Godly to act this way and then have no problem reading it to them in a book? Is that not teaching my child a double standard?

There are some Christian organizations out there that do movie reviews. It didn't take me long to realize that one organization in particular was one I couldn't trust to review movies for our family! They say things like, "Such and such movie has a bit of violence, some crude or profane language and some very revealing ways of dressing.....so I will give it a 5 out of 10!" You have GOT to be kidding me! A 5 out of 10 for family friendly with all those things in it? Really.....what is wrong with this picture? With all of those things...I would give it a 0 out of 10....YES I said 0!!!!

So for videos for our children we mostly get ones that are educational. There are a lot of great videos about animals and the world around us (watch for the evolution though!) If you would like a list of our favourites you can send me an email and I will gladly tell you :)

Standing up in this area has not been easy. For one thing we find that as humans there is a constant desire to be entertained. And what's easier than just vegging in front of the TV, forgetting about the world around you for awhile and be entertained. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but I do believe it becomes harmful to us when we put our morals and values on the shelf for the sake of entertainment. We may cringe when we hear those profane words, we may close our eyes when we see someone scantily dressed, we may choose not to laugh at the off color jokes....and then we call it all good? Why? Because we like to be entertained!

As a family we find we need to have a constant awareness of the dangers of the world of entertainment. Regretfully we have slipped many times and then we have went through our videos and promptly thrown the "undgodly" movies where they belong....in the garbage. Then we repent of our ways, and ask God to help us to be more careful in our choices. No movie is more important than our relationship with God....NONE!

What about ratings? With changing times, we find we cannot trust ratings anymore. There are many, many G movies that we will not watch. Just because it says "G" doesn't mean it's Godly!

So I say this to challenge all of us to watch what we put before our/our children's eyes. Is it worth being entertained for a couple of hours only to compromise our values? When we watch a movie, do we keep in mind the holiness of God and how He hates sin? How about the old cliche..."What would Jesus do?" Would He sit there and watch that movie with you? Or would He promptly walk out of the room? Does God weep over the things we allow our families to view? Do you view a movie through the eyes of God?

I  believe Satan has made an inroad into Christian hearts through entertainment, this generation like no other. Especially in kids movies....most of it is good, and then there are just a couple of "bad parts" thrown in there. And we tolerate it...because it's mostly good! That's foolishness.....it really is. I say we need to WAKE UP! We need to see it for what it really is. We need to stop compromising what we believe. We need to....for the sake of following our God 100%.....WE NEED TO!!

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Mark 9:42

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. Psalm 103:3

August 9, 2011

Picking up the Pace

Just wanted to direct you all to our daughter-in-law Rebecca's blog to see a part of what we've been up to around here. She did a great job of capturing our latest project....putting up a 9000 bushel bin in 17+ hours. Legs were running, hands were flying, and bodies were exhausted...but we got 'er done!

It always amazes me to see what our family can do when we work together! Everyone was helping from 4 yrs. old to 40......ummm something!!! From fetching ice water, to holding bolts, to cleaning up garbage, to handing the tools, to gopher, to standing up on really high ladders, to figuring, to taking pictures (thanks Becca)......everybody had  a part! The saying "Many hands make light work." is so true. Another blessing of a large family. Thank you Lord for safety and strength and another task done. Well, almost, we still have one more to put up!!!

August 8, 2011


There are times in our family where things are peaceful and everyone is getting along and then there are mornings like this morning where it seems that there is quarrelling and discord everywhere I turn.

Satan attacked family/brothers/sister/relationships from the beginning of time. And he hasn't stopped.

The family is a very strong unit when there is harmony. God has perfectly fit different personalities, strengths & weaknesses to form a unit that is not easily broken...that is until Satan throws the darts of discord.

It can be something so insignificant that starts the spark. This morning it was a muffin....an insignificant little muffin! Or resentment of cleaning up someone else's mess, or the annoyance of the younger trying to keep the older "in line!"

There are so many things that can cause discord in a family. That is why we have to be on guard. A seemingly little thing can fester and get way out of control.

We always tell our kids that it's about our heart. We CANNOT fix or change someone else's heart. But we can change or fix ours. And when we work on our heart, it's amazing how things seem so much better....even though the situation hasn't changed much. If we, as families, can get that one little concept into our hearts, we will have harmony.

The attack on the family is not by accident. Satan knows how far a family can go for the Lord if there is harmony. The state of your family today will affect generations to come. We need to stop thinking just about the here and now and start thinking about the next and next and next generations. If we have family discord now....but by the grace of God, it will continue on. Likewise if we have family harmony now....it will affect generations to come.

Often when some or all of us have sung together as a family, people have commented on the beautiful harmony. And the same when I hear some families sing together....the harmony is so perfect. It is easy on the ears.

The same when we are in harmony in our relationships as a family....it's a beautiful thing. It's amazing what can be accomplished when there is harmony! Everyone working together for a common goal.

And that's why I believe it makes Satan shudder when he sees a family work together in harmony. Because he knows what it can do for the kingdom of God.

Yesterday our pastor gave a message about not letting go of God, no matter what comes our way. He also talked about STANDING when the darts of the enemy come.

As we are training our children today....it's not just about petty arguments and little spats....it's about family harmony. It's a huge deal! Let's not get shot down by the fiery darts....rather let's STAND STRONG!!!

And when families are strong and they join together as a church....imagine the impact that will have! We will already know how to get along, we will know how to handle opposition, we will see the insignificance of petty things, we will know how to work on our hearts....we will be STRONG!!!

God has created an amazing unit...the family. It wasn't by accident...it was by design! 

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

“The absence of doctrinal teaching and preaching is certainly one of the causes for the present lamentable ignorance in the church. But a still more influential cause is found in the failure of the most important of all Christian educational institutions. The most important Christian educational institution is not the pulpit or the school, important as these institutions are; but it is the Christian family. J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

August 4, 2011

His Strength

This is Mark and I and our precious grandson Andy....isn't he so sweet :)

Do you ever have times when you look at the mound of stuff that has to be done and just wonder how in the world you are ever going to accomplish it? I do, in fact that's kind of how I feel right now.

Over the weekend we just took a bit of a whirlwind trip to Alberta where we met up with Mark's family. We left on Saturday morning bright and early and drove almost a 1000 km to Medicine Hat where we stayed for night. Then on Sunday we drove the rest of the way to Calgary and met up with Mark's family at the hotel. We spent the rest of Sunday and all day Monday with them and then Tuesday morning we drove the 1200 km back home. Yup.....whirlwind!!

Before we took the trip I wondered how everyone would do, how I would do! But my husband is the optimist of the two of us and he said it would be just fine....and it was!

Although there were bumps along the way! When I went to get Jaden up Saturday morning (the morning we left) I found him covered in the stuff that happens when someone has the stomach flue. My first thought was "OH NO!" When you have a family this size, the stomach flue is no small thing, actually it is something I dread! And the stomach flue while traveling....double negative :)  But at that moment, instead of worrying, I purposed to give it over to God and asked for protection for the rest of the family and healing of Jaden. I am glad to say that he was fine the rest of the trip.

A few hours into our trip Mark said he wasn't feeling too well. By the time we arrived at our destination for the night.....he was very, very ill.....with the stomach flue. Poor guy, not a fun way to start a vacation! And again I had to give it to God. In the back (OK front!) of my mind I am thinking, "What if everyone gets this?" Again, I prayed for healing for Mark and protection for the rest. At the same time I knew that God was allowing this for a reason.....maybe it was for me to trust Him more?

The next morning Mark was starting to feel better, I gathered reports from the other rooms to how people were feeling. Kerri and Mikaya were sick in the night but seemed to be on the mend. Once again, I prayed for healing and protection!

I am so thankful to report that no one else got majorly sick. There were a few unsettled tummies but that was it.

So now we are home and feeling well. Yet there are still instances many, many times a day where I have to stop and fully focus on God and give things over to Him.

This time of year is a really busy one for us all. As soon as we got home (Mark and I stayed the night in Brandon to get parts while the kids drove on home) the guys got busy getting the swathers ready and by last evening they were out in the field swathing. BANG....holidays over :)

And because the garden kept producing while we were gone there were peas to pick and pickles to be made! (Thanks girls for taking care of that!)

I find when times are busy like this I have to take one task at a time (and give everyone one task!!) If I look at all that needs to be accomplished I start to feel overwhelmed.

Many times when people see how many children we have they say, "How do you do it?" To which I reply, "Only with God's strength!" Because I know without His strength I would be melting in a puddle of overwhelmed tears!

I am so thankful for God's strength. I am so thankful that the joy of the Lord is my strength! I am so thankful that He doesn't ask me to do it all at once, but just one step at a time. I am so thankful that if I keep my eyes on Him things seem much more manageable.

The tasks before me today will be there until I get them done. So there is no use worrying about how I will get them done. All I need to do is be diligent to do what has been set before me.....one thing at a time.

When I have a lot to do in a day  here is what I try to do
#1 Decide what is the most important...and do that first.

#2 Start a task and finish it before moving on to the next....in other words...don't get distracted!

#3 Make sure that I am not neglecting my relationship with my family in my busyness. If I can, I will try to include at least one of our children in a task I am working on. Kids love to work together with their parents!

#4 Cut out or limit my time at the computer. It's amazing how much time can be used up while sitting at the computer!

#5 Choose carefully the things/people I say yes to......ministies, activities, jobs and stuff that happens outside our family. My family must come first! I find when I get too busy with things outside our family my calling as a mother suffers! Being a mother is my ministry!

#6 Eat properly so I have energy! 

#7 Have a positive attitude. If my attitude stinks.....my day will stink....GUARANTEED!

#8 Remember that God is the source of my strength and that things will seem way less overwhelming if I keep my eyes focused on Him!