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September 30, 2011

I Wonder Why?

It's truly amazing I don't have more gray hairs :)

And this is just a few days after Zachary announced to me that he figured out why he wasn't growing very fast. According to his theory, he hurts himself so much that his body concentrates on healing instead of growing! I wonder why he hurts himself!?!?!

Thanks Zach for fixing my clothes line. But next time you have to reach so high....maybe you could use something a little safer....like a LADDER?????

September 19, 2011

Fruits of the Spirit Series: LOVE


When asking for ideas about blog posts it was suggested that I write a series on the fruits of the Spirit. I thought that was a great idea (thanks Sherri!) 

What better place to start than with the first fruit of the Spirit.....LOVE. Wow....a little word with HUGE meaning!

1 Corinthians 13 is a famous scripture about love, and rightly so. It is packed with explanation of what real love is!

Love (loving) is a word that is a commonly used around our home, as well as are the phrases that demonstrate love in 1 Corinthians 13. Words/ phrases like, "love is not rude, have patience, be kind, think of others first, be humble, say good things about your sibling, and you need to be happy for your brother/sister (does not seek it's own).

But if we want teach our children to love one another we have to model love in our own lives, in our relationship with our spouse and children and those we come in contact with. We need can't just tell our children what love is, we also need to show them. So once again, it starts with our hearts! So many times when I have been frustrated about our child being less than loving, God gently reminds me that I am struggling with the same thing, just in a different way.  It's so easy to pick at someone else's faults, especially our children's and not even see that need to deal with a similar issue in my own heart!

Now I am not saying that we should wait to train/discipline our children until we have it all together. But our children need to at least be able to see that we are working on our hearts too. This is how we will be able to best disciple our children.

In a family, no matter what the size, there are always plenty of opportunities to practice love! Thats why family is such a great place! What a great opportunity our children have, to love right in the safety of our own home! Think of what a great preparation for the future this is. What a great husband/wife or parent they will be when they learn to love as God asks us to! Remember, we are not just training our children for the here and now, we are training them for the future and for future generations. And even though we will enjoy the peace and harmony in a home filled with love, our motivation to love is to bring glory to God and in doing so we will be a testimony to others of the One Who's love is perfect! "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

I would encourage you to hang up the 1 Corinthians 13 scripture in your home. It will be a great tool to use when talking about love to your children and a great reminder for everyone, including yourself!

Talk often of Biblical love. Use the words found in scripture. Be kind vs don't be mean, be gentle vs don't be so rough, have patience vs wait, that was prideful vs it's not all about you! And so on. There is power in the Word of God! So use it!

I could say so much about love and how important it is to teach your children to love their parents, love their siblings and love their neighbors. Love is huge! Love is powerful and as the Bible says, love will cover a multitude of sin. (1 Peter 4:8) If we don't know how to love, we will not find true fulfillment in our walk with God, for He is love. If we don't know how to love, we will have a hard time receiving the love of God. 

Now to the practical how's of teaching your children to love each other. In our family it is a full time job to keep on top of it and be sure that there is love among everyone. And I must say that the earlier you teach your children to love each other, the easier this task will be!

As soon as our babies start to interact, we work on teaching them to love. If a baby pulls your hair (or others) or if they poke your eyes out or slap your face we pull their hands away and firmly say " be gentle"! If they keep doing this and seem to need a little more "encouragement" we squeeze their hand or arm. It is never, ever OK to hurt someone so why would we want to let our babies start this habit? Don't underestimate your baby, they are smart little cookies!

Ok, so let's move on to a toddler who hits his sibling or pushes them down. Again, be firm, talk about love and gentleness and after being warned if they continue to hit, give them some form of punishment. If you catch it right away, you will diffuse a lot of problems later on, because nastiness left unheeded will not just go away, it will grow.

So now we have a 5-12 yr old. I find with boys, they most often seem to use physical force to make a point, where as girls usually have what I call "cat fights".....they use words to hurt each other.

We do several things with older boys who decide to use physical force to get their point across. One of our favorites when we have two boys fighting, would be that they would have to hold hands until we say to stop. As silly as this sounds, it is quite effective. The 2 involved are usually quite upset at each other, but once they have to hold hands and continue on in their daily routine (chores or playing) they soon have to learn to co-operate and it doesn't take too long until they are laughing and buddies again! But the key is we won't let them stop holding hands until they are OK with each other! But we will never let a malicious act go unpunished. If this is the case, we know there are serious issues in the heart that need to be dealt with. With older kids there is no need to give a warning when they hurt someone. They know that hurting someone is not acceptable and it should be punished immediately! 

Now if our girls offend their siblings with words, we will often get them to say 5 or 10 nice things to each other to make up for the nasty things they said! The offended loves this! But the offender.... not so much! Words can be very hurtful and we don't treat unkind words lightly. Our kids are no allowed to say things like "I'm not going to be your friend anymore"  or "your mean" or "I don't like you (or hate you) or "I'm not going to play with you anymore." Those are unkind words and they do not go unpunished. I am not saying that only girls say mean things to each other, but more often than boys.

And after the age of 12 there can still be many non-love issues, but they are often a little more sneaky and subtle.....nasty looks, rude comments, unacceptable tone of voice, ignoring someone.....as a parent it is important for you to watch out for these things. Talk them through. Take the two (or more) who are having a hard time loving each other and help them to work it out. When there is love in the home there is harmony. And harmony is a very beautiful thing. So work toward it, work hard!

So as you go about your days, think about Biblical love. Think about our greatest example of love. Let the desire to have a loving home burn in your heart. Pray for harmony often. Encourage your children when you see them do an act of love. Tell them you are proud of them. Discourage the unacceptable behavior, praise the good. When your family is full of love, it will be a testimony to others. It will point others to the One who is True Love! That should be our goal.

This is a very broad subject and I realize I could only cover very few issues. If you have any questions, or comments please feel free :)

September 10, 2011

23 Years and More in Love

23 yrs. ago Mark and I stood together, and before God and our family and friends we said our wedding vows.

We were young. Mark was 20 and I was 18. If we knew then what we know now, would we still have gotten married that young??? YES! YES! YES! 

We have never, ever regretted getting married at the age we did. By the time we got married we had known each other for 6 years and dated for 2 yrs. We knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, so why wait to get married?

God by His grace taught us of His ways and we grew together in Him. Even though we grew up in Christian homes, neither of us grew up with the standards in which we believe and practice in our marriage and parenting today.  So really....God taught us straight from His Word and we are so thankful. I hate to think where we would be today if He hadn't!

I was thinking back to our wedding day and the words to the song Mark and I sang together that day. Back then it was a nice melody with nice words but today they are really the foundation of who we are as a family....because of Christ! 


Here we are at the start
Committing to each other
By His Word from our hearts
We will be a family
In a house that we be a home
And with faith we'll build it strong

We'll build a household of faith 
And together we will make
And when the strong winds blow it can't fall down
As one in Him we'll grow 
And the whole world will know
That we are a household of faith

Now to be a family
We've got to love each other
At any cost, unselfishly
And our home must be a place
That fully abounds with grace
A reflection of His face

Thank you Lord for 23 great years together.
Thank you for Your grace!

I love you babe!
Thanks for being my dearest friend.
Words cannot express how much I love you!
I hope we have many more years together.
You are the best!

September 9, 2011

How We Do Things Series: Harvest

We have been so blessed to have perfect weather for combining this week! We have been able to get lots done and hope to continue to get lots done while the weather is nice.
I have been combining on and off since we started farming 18 years ago. Even though it's very busy, harvest is my favorite time of the year. It's a time where we get the crops safe in the bins and get to see the fruit of all the work that went into planting and caring for the crops. When the fields are combined we can breathe a sigh of relief as we don't have to be concerned of frost, disease, bugs, hail, wind, drought or too much rain. We know that the Lord gives and He takes away and even though He will always take care of us, it's hard to think that all our work could be gone in a flash

This year started off very challenging because we had lots and lots of rain making very hard to get the crops in. Mud bogging was the name of the game this year! But just when the crops were planted the weather changed and things started to dry. We were very thankful for that! Mark and I have always said that we would never complain about too much rain. At least when there is rain things still have a chance of growing compared to a drought!nbsp;
Even though we did have a fair bit of drowned out crop we are thankful for the yields we are getting, considering in spring we were wondering if we would even have a crop!

As much as I like to be out there in the action of the field I do miss being at home and being a homemaker. And as the season goes on, the kids miss us more and more too and eventually we end up with them all in the field with us! So to help with that this year I made a schedule.....yup.....another schedule! Every day the kids look at the chart and see who goes in Mom's combine, Dad's combine, with Jen in the grain cart, with Josh trucking and who stays home (they always have the option to stay home if they would rather). That way the girls who have to send meals out to the field know who's with who and what to pack where! Eventually everyone is rotated through the different "stations". Instead of scheduling by days of the week I did days 1-5 because farming/combining is not a Monday - Friday thing! So far this has worked out really well and I have enjoyed having different kids along each day. There is the odd day that kids jump in with Mark before we get them organized and then he has them for the day! Especially Josiah as he really love to hang out with his Daddy! He announces as soon as he's dressed each morning, "I'm going combining!".....even on Sunday :)

But this year I have a constant buddy....a buddy in training! 
Caleb is learning to drive the combine this year and he's doing a super, great job! As I like to do around here, I  am trying to work myself out of a job by training him! And hopefully next year he can take over for me! With all these boys coming up I figure my days in the field are nearly coming to an end! 

So here's a run down of how we do things:

In the morning, before we head out to the fields the guys grease, check over and fill fuel in the combines. Then one combine goes out to the field and takes a test of the grain to see if it is ready to combine. We bring it home, test it in the tester and then if it's dry we all start our engines and head out to the field. This could be before lunch or after lunch, depending on what the weather is like that day.

Everyday we have 5 main workers out in the field. 
Gramps (Mark's Dad) drives the Red Energizer Bunny (keeps going and going, when it isn't stopped that is!) Its a 1680 Case combine

Mark drives the Big Boy (9600 John Deere)

 Caleb & I drive the Lil Boy (9500 John Deere)

Jen drives the "Ford Tough" tractor pulling the grain cart

and Josh keeps very busy driving the semi (2001 Kenworth) and grain truck (1998 Ford).

When we get to the field we go up and down, up and down, up and down....I think you get the picture.....until the field is done! How long does it take to combine a field? Well that depends on how dry the straw is (the wetter it is, the slower we drive), how big the field is (average field would probably be around 150 acres), and if there are any breakdowns!

The combines, combine. Jen buzzes around and pick up the grain on the go. She empties the grain from the grain cart into the trucks and Josh dumps the grain into the bins. 

But not all the work is done on the field. The ones who stay at home (this year it's Megan, Kerri and Rebecca) have a very important role in all this! 

The home crew is also the go-fer-it. This is anything from getting parts from town, bringing needed items to the field (like diapers...hee hee!), transporting people, moving around vehicles and anything else that needs doin'!
And then of course there is all the household stuff that still needs to be done like taking care of kids, canning gardening produce, cleaning...yup, they are a busy bunch too!

But probably the #1 thing of the home crew is that they FEED US! Nothing worse than sitting in the field hungry with no food around! For lunch they make lunches and send them along with the crew. Lunches in the field are looked forward to by all the young-ins!  For supper the girls package it up divide it into boxes/coolers for hungry ones in each combine/ tractor and deliver it out to the field where everyone eats on the go. Josh often ends up on the yard so he gets fed there.

Some of the younger kids go home at supper time while the older ones get to stay until later on. They think it's a big treat to stay out in the field after supper. I think they feel all grown up working till after dark!

Our quitting time varies each night depending on the weather or the weather forecast, wetness of the straw and ability to keep eyes open! Quitting time can be anywhere from 10:00 or 11:00 pm till the wee hours of the morning. Once in awhile we even pull an all nighter....those are always great fun!!!!! Let me tell you from experience that there is not many times harder to stay awake then when you are driving a slightly vibrating combine, in the dark, going 2 miles an hour!!! Hand me the toothpicks please! My fear has always been that I would fall asleep and wake up combining someone else's field! It's never happened though :)

And when harvest is done, we are usually exhausted but thankful for the provisions God has granted us! 

And that's a very quick run down of our harvest season! Any questions?

Oh and BTW....to the question Sharon had about the bin video. "what is the square in the middle of the bin concrete?"  Sorry for taking so long to answer! The square is where we put something called "aeration". We cover the square with tin strips that have holes in them and on the outside of the bin there is a hole where we put a big fan that blows LOTS of air into the bin, under the tin strips and blows up through the holes into the grain. This gives us the ability to harvest the grain a bit wetter and helps it not to spoil. Not all of our bins have this, but it sure is handy! Thanks for your question!

September 6, 2011

Thank You!!!


I just wanted to say "thank you" to all of you who left such kind comments and birthday greetings on our blog yesterday! I am so blessed to know that you have enjoyed our blog and I pray that it will continue to encourage you in your walk with the Lord. It was great to hear from some of you that I haven't ever heard from, and reconnecting with others that I hadn't heard from for awhile and of course hearing from my dear friends! It always amazes me how God has connected different people from all over the world!!!!

I had a great day yesterday. As always, my family spoiled me and true to an 18 yr. tradition (I guess some of those would have ended up on a Sunday!), I got to spend part of it on the combine!

I am just so thankful that God chose to give me life 41 yrs. ago! What a great journey it has been so far. Living and Learning! That's what life has been and continues to be.

I love being 41. Even though things change (ie bones creak a little more, pregnancies are a little less easy, memory is not as reliable) I don't feel old!!!! Weird how that happens! In my mind I am still 20 something! I remember thinking that people over 40 were really quite old!!! And now here I am, not feeling old at all (most days!)

I hope over the years that I have gained much wisdom and that I will be able to pass this on to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren......God has been so good to me! I am so blessed!

And to be "with child" at the age of 41 just adds the icing on the cake. As I go through each pregnancy these days I realize that my "biological clock" is ticking and the way that I have known life for 21+ years is going to change. It makes me a little sad to think of the day that I may never carry a child again and experience the blessings and wonder of being pregnant. Yet I know this day will come (unless I am another Sarah!!!!!) and then I will go on in the adventure that God leads me on with joy in my heart....because I know this is His plan for me! But for now I will cherish every moment of this pregnancy! (I can say that now, cause I think morning sickness has passed :)

Do you ever just feel overwhelmed by the goodness of God? That's how I feel today as I look around at my husband (well I would be looking at him if he were here!), and my family and think about what a blessing they are to me! It has been a great life so far!!!!! Thank you God! How are you feeling overwhelmed by God's goodness today? Would you share....please???

September 5, 2011


I (Jennifer) am hacking Mom's blog because today is a VERY special day!!!! 
Today is Mom's (your's truly's) BIRTHDAY!!!!!
I want to ask a favor of all of you (anyone and everyone who reads this blog)
If my mom has in anyway encouraged you or made your day brighter while reading her blog, I would like you to comment and tell her how much you have appreciated all the time and effort that she puts into writing this blog for you all.
I know it would make my mom's day if she could receive some feedback and to know that by writing her blog, she is making a difference in other's lives. (because that is really the only reason she is doing this)

SO COME ON YA'LL!!! Even if you have never commented before.... NOW IS THE TIME!!!! Please help me make this very special woman have an AMAZING birthday. Don't let me down!!! 

Oh, and don't forget to wish her a.....

September 3, 2011

It's Working Now!

Just realized that our "We've Bin Busy" video wasn't working yesterday. 
I think the problem is fixed. 
Sorry about that!

September 2, 2011

Bin the 2nd

As if harvest season isn't busy enough we decided to put up 2 huge grain bins this season!
We were hoping to put them up when it wasn't so busy, and thinking harvest would be a little later this year because of the later start we had in seeding we concentrated on other important projects...well, as always, farming is full of surprises! Harvest came like a whirlwind and so....we had to juggle busy times with BUSIER TIMES!!!!

So when we were able to break from harvest, we worked like silly to put up  bins!
The first bin I have no pictures or video from. I realized how sad that was and so for the second bin I made sure I got some good footage! I had to sneak away, and it didn't take long before I was being called back, but at least I was able to get some memories on tape! For the parts that are missing...sorry, but I just couldn't sneak away!

And just because I like to share everything (well almost :) with my blog readers, here is a shorter version of the footage I took (Megan was kind enough to put this together the way I wanted it...thanks Meg!)

Enjoy! And if I left anything out that you are curious about, please ask! I don't always think to explain things because.....well, they are just normal to me :)