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October 27, 2011

Last One!

Today we celebrate our last birthday for the month!
It's been a whirlwind month with all the projects and birthdays, but it has been such a joy to celebrate the birth of each of these who were born in October!

It's Caleb's 13th birthday today!
It kind of sneaks up on you...you know.
One day they are a tiny little baby in your arms....
And in what seems like a blink of an eye you couldn't carry them anymore even if you tried :)

When I think of the qualities and character I appreciate in Caleb the thing that stands out most in my mind is his quiet spirit. He is really a pretty quiet guy all around, but there's just something about his spirit that is so gentle and quiet.

He is also an amazing big brother and his siblings love to hang around him. Especially his little baby brother Jaden.....as soon as Jaden sees him, his eyes light up and he lifts up his little arms! And Caleb will always pick ihim up! I can hardly wait to watch the love he will pour on his newest sibling due in March!

Caleb is also very creative, and when he isn't making something, he is dreaming up how to make something! He likes to work with his hands...especially with wood.

He drove the combine for the first time this year and as soon as I saw how well he did, I knew that I could relax. You see, I was his trainer! Sometimes training can be a little of a hair pulling experience. But not with Caleb, he got stuff right away and as the season went on he became a pro!

He really likes sports, and especially likes to play football or hockey with his family. He is often found begging his little brothers to play some kind of sport with him!

Caleb, I really can't tell you in words how proud I am of you. You are growing into a wonderful young man and I look forward to seeing how you grow in Jesus. Your life reflects Him in so many ways. We love you Caleb....Happy Birthday!

October 24, 2011

We're Stumped!!!

Last week went by like a blur as we were busy getting ready for winter.
We have 2 wood stoves to heat our home and so lots and lots and LOTS of wood is needed to be gathered.
I think this "wood" probably be one of our favorite work projects together as a family!
We get to enjoy the great outdoors, everyone can pitch in...even the toddler :)
It's kind of like were on an adventure!
And what a great sense of accomplishment when we see all the wood we have gathered, split and stacked.

Below is a photo journey of what we did most of last week.

Here's Mark our main chain saw guy. He had to work fast to keep us all busy!

Josh was our second chain saw guy and helped out when he could....bless his heart :)

 For some loads we brought the log splitter right to the bush and split them before loading them on the truck.
We used to split our logs the old fashioned way, with an axe! But a couple of years ago we purchased this wood splitter which makes the splitting a LOT easier!!!
The reason we split the logs is to make them small enough to fit in the wood stove.
Also when the logs are split they burn a lot easier and start a fire better.
Jen was our bush log splitter.

Here is everyone carrying logs.
It didn't matter your age or size, if you could carry one log or 6....
whatever you could do was a BIG help!

Mikaya was a trooper and spent a lot of time out there with us.

Brooke...don't let her size fool you!
By the end she was showing up some of her older brothers pretty good!

We probably went through a lot more food this week with all the big appetites we had!
Talking about food,
Kerri was the one who stayed home and took care of the littles and kept us all very well fed!
Thanks Ker.

Nathan....probably is wondering about now when lunch is!!!

Jesse reminded me of an ant in the amount of logs he could carry!

This guy carried lots and lots of logs!

I would load him up and he would just stand there and give me that look of....
more please!!!
So I would give him more!
I think my little boy is turning into a man!!!

My job was to keep the crew going! I would follow Mark around with the chain saw and load the kids up with logs. I also inspected the wood to make sure it was good. When a tree has been dead for too long it gets too rotten and is not worth taking up space. These logs burn too quickly and are often soggy. So we try to find the most solid logs that are worth taking up space! Logs can be so deceiving. They can look great on the outside, but a rotten in the inside. I'm sure there's an object lesson in there somewhere!!!

Here's yours truly carrying a tremendous amount of logs!!! Meg sure knows how to capture me working :)

Here we are back at home splitting and stacking the wood. Again, every hand was well appreciated!
Even Josiah was carrying logs!

Nathan or Jesse brought the logs to the back of the truck.
I sorted out the ones that needed to be split and the ones that were small enough to be stacked.
Jen and Josh would split them.
Mark would load up the kids.
The kids would bring the logs to the wood room.
Megan would stack.

And here's our stacker herself!
She would stack the trucks at the bush and then when we got home
she would stack the wood in the wood room.
She had to be pretty quick with all those wood carriers!!

And once 13 loads of wood were cut, split and stacked, this is about how happy we were :)

October 17, 2011

Partying On.....

Today we are celebrating 2 birthdays. Zachary's who was 11 yesterday and Jesse who's 9 tomorrow.
It's great having these two boys birthdays so close together because it's double the fun!

Zachary is one of the sparks of our family. He's quite the little clown and comes up with all sorts of things that we just smile and shake our heads at! But underneath all his silliness he is a deep thinker. He doesn't just take anything at face value and has to figure out why things are the way they are. No question seems too silly for him to ask....so he asks lots of questions! Zachary loves a challenge and tackles them head on....unless it has something to do with MATH :) I know I have mentioned here before about Zachary's boundless energy....but it's worth mentioning again! It's so fun to watch him play sports, for he puts his all into it! He reminds me of his dad.... A LOT! In fact, I often visualize that Zach is just like Mark when Mark was little! And Mark is still like that....if there is a task to do, he never does it half way...he goes all out! So I know that if Zach ever gets married someday she is going to enjoy him VERY much!!! We call him Zippy Zee, and that pretty much explains him to a tee (except when he is doing the dishes:) I have often thought that if I could have just half the energy that he does.....I would get A LOT accomplished in a day! Kids love to hang around Zachary because he is just a plain goof ball!!!  Zach's heart for the Lord has been very neat to watch ove the years. As I said, he is a thinker and this includes the things of God. He will often come to me with a question or a comment about something spiritual he has been thinking about. Zachary, I am so proud to call you our son. You add a special spark to our family and I can't imagine it without you!!! I am praying that this year will be a year where you continue to search for the things of God and as you seek Him, that you will find Him! And please, please, please, don't give me any more gray hairs this year.....:)

If you speak of opposites, Zachary and Jesse would be a perfect example of that!!!! Where Zachary is very adventerous, Jesse is very cautious. Where Zachary just does things on a whim, Jesse plans and contemplates. Where Zachary would rather just learn by doing, Jesse likes to observe someone do something before he tries it. I think it is so neat how God puts all these different personalities in a family. Not only do they compliment one another, but they also rub against each other to build character!

Jesse is our little farmer. He reminds me so much of our oldest son, Joshua when he was younger. Jesse likes to spend all the time he can out in the field. And he prefers to be in the fastest tractor (as fast as tractors are that is:). He watches the wheels to see how fast a tractor is going (exactly what his big brother used to do!) and if he knows that the guys are going out to the field early in the morning, he makes sure he gets up REALLY early just so he doesn't miss his ride!!!! If I am every driving a tractor or something that I have never driven before I will make sure that Jesse comes with me to give me advice! Because he watches everything so closely, I know that he will be able to help me out! Jesse can be pretty quiet, but he can be very talkative too! He is more of a one on one kind of person and if he ever corners you, be prepared to get your ears talked off :) Jesse is a very self-motivated person. He is often up early to get his math done even before I get to the table. Right now he is doing 2 math lessons every day so that he can move on to the next book! Jesse has a sensitive heart. He loves on his little siblings and cares for them well. We love you so much Jesse. Thanks for being the great son that you are! We look forward to another year of loving on you and watching you grow closer to the ONE Who loves you most!

Happy Birthday to two-sevenths of our favorite boys!

October 14, 2011

A Hobby Revived

Years ago, when Josh was little I took up the hobby of crocheting. In fact while I was pregnant with him I was on bed rest, so I had lots of time to crochet. I made a little sweater for him. Problem was it turned out kind of girly looking so he didn't wear it much! As more little ones came along, I just didn't have the time for this hobby anymore, so I put it aside. But the crocheting bug never went away! This summer I took it up again and started by making some hair bands for the little girls. I was also was able to sell a couple at the Farmer's Market. Now as the cooler weather approaches and I am finding more time to actually sit, I decided to find a pattern for a little girls hat. I found this one on Etsy that I really liked. So the last couple of days in my spare moments (and whenever else I needed to sit:), I worked at making a couple of them. When Brooke and Mikaya saw me model the first completed one on their dolls and I saw their eyes light up, I decided to make the first couple as practice ones for their little babies! Here's how they turned out. I think I have it mastered now and am looking forward to making more. Best thing about the pattern is it goes from newborn to adult! My next project is to attempt a puppy hat for the Josiah and Jaden from another pattern I got from Etsy. What hobbies are you working on this winter?

October 11, 2011

Halloween: Is it just about tricks and treats?

We have chosen as a family not to celebrate Halloween. Not only does this mean not dressing up and going door to door with our kids, but we have also chosen not to attend any other functions that are an alternative to Halloween. And here are our reasons why.

1. We feel that Halloween is not a day that is honoring to God. It doesn't take much to see all the evil and darkness that centers around Halloween. Just go into any department store around Halloween.....the signs are everywhere. And it seems to get worse every year. So bad in fact that I hate to take my kids shopping with me this time of year. There are many "spiritual" explanations to when/why Halloween started. Forgive me for being so blunt here, but I don't really care how it started! Why? Because what we see of the celebration of Halloween today is nothing like how they say it started. So why would we want to participate in something that leans so much towards elevating evil and so far away from honoring God? God says in Romans 12:9 "Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." When as parents we allow our kids to participate in something that so clearly elevates evil, what kind of a message are we sending to them? I think it's a mixed message. Abhor (detest/hate) is not a weak word....I don't think God put that word in there by accident. It's a definite strong command. For an interesting read on how the jack o' lantern came about go here. You may be surprised!

2. We don't believe that we have to offer something to appease the fact that we choose not to celebrate something like Halloween. If we choose not to do something because we want to honor God, we do not need to substitute something fun to take its place. This is not reality of the Christian life. There are going to be many times in our children's lives that they will have to make choices, hard choices that will not have a "fun" alternative. We need to teach our kids that there will be some things that they will not be able to participate in and that their only (and best) reward will be in pleasing their Heavenly Father. That should always be our goal, and that's the goal that what we should be teaching our children. As parents I think we, too many times, feel sorry for our children and the fact that they have to "miss out" on stuff because they are Christians and so we offer something in the place of it all to make them feel better. I believe this is totally unneccessary and even harmful for our children. 1 John 2:15-17 says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." Pretty clear, don't you think? Would you put Halloween in the category of what is in the world or what is of the Father?

3. How about cultivating the spirit of giving? This isn't quite what I see in Halloween, going door to door and begging for treats!!!! Not that it's wrong for our kids to have candy or to receive things, but this seems like a bit of the oppostite attitude of giving to me! I know society expects it...and doesn't even mind it...I realize that completely, but again, what is it saying to our children? Our kids are like little sponges!!! They soak up the positive and the negative things that happen around them. Don't think that this doesn't affect them!!! It does!!! And if you really want your kids to experience a bucket full of candy....go out and buy it (I recommend after Halloween since the candy goes on sale :) and give it to them, without them having to beg for it!!!

Please know that I don't mean to offend or point fingers to anyone for the way they choose to participate in Halloween, rather I would challenge you to think about what your participation should be, if any. Instead of just doing something because that's the way you've always done it, or because that's how others do it, search God's Word, line up your participation in Halloween to it, pray for God to shed His light on this and if you still feel comfortable celebrating or participating in the holiday, at least you can say you have searched scripture and have thought it through. We have a huge responsiblity as parents that goes beyond caring for our children's physical needs, we are training their hearts....it's a big deal!!!! Therefore everything we choose to let them do, or not to do should be done with great prayer and thought and it needs to line up with the Word of God. What an awesome responsibility, what an amazing privelage....just look at what God has entrusted you with....WOW....let's not take it lightly!!!

For the word of God is living and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,
and of joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

October 10, 2011

History and Origin of Canadian Thanksgiving

In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Unlike the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The harvest season falls earlier in Canada compared to the United States due to the simple fact that Canada is further north.

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him - Frobisher Bay.

At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their Indian neighbours.

After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving.

During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. There are many similarities between the two Thanksgivings such as the cornucopia and the pumpkin pie.

Eventually in 1879, Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years many dates were used for Thanksgiving, the most popular was the 3rd Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

Finally, on January 31st, 1957, Parliament proclaimed...

"A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ... to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October."

God, we give thanks for all You have given us.
Good Health
 A Great Harvest

And especially for:
A God Who loves us
and Who gave His only Son
to die on the cross for us
so that we could have eternal life.


Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian readers!
Remember how blessed you are!

Oh, give thanks to the LORD!

Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.
1 Chronicles 16: 8-12

October 6, 2011

Let the Parties Begin!

Well it's here! October, our month of birthday celebrations galore!

Megan started things off again this year, but this time with an 18th birthday on Oct. 2nd.

Megan is labeled as the chief cleaner and photographer in our home. If she doesn't have a broom in her hand, she has camera! Okay, I am exaggerating just a little bit! The other times she is holding a violin :)

Megan has a giving heart and is often found making a card or gift for someone. And she also makes all the cards that I need to give to people. I am so spoiled!

Megan isn't one to just sit around. She always has her hands busy doing something! And if she isn't feeling well, you almost have to tie her to a chair to get her to rest!!!

Again I am amazed as I think about all of the children God gave us and how they each play such an important role in our family!

Megan we love you and are so proud of the young lady you have become. Your smile lights up the room and our hearts. Thank you for everything you have contributed to our family. We love you bunches!

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. (Psalm 37:23, 24 NKJV)