Friday, May 29, 2009

Remembering Owen

A year ago today little Owen Matthew was born still. (You may remember my post about it HERE) My cousin and his wife have had a year filled with ups and downs but have been such an encouragement to those around them. Their faith is so strong and they testify that God is good ALL the time. Today should be a day to celebrate with family a little boy turning one. A time when he would be pulling himself up to standing and taking his first steps. So many things missed but yet we trust in a  God who knows best and wanted little Owen home with Him. There are still hard days and it hurts and I know there will always be days when the pain is weighing down.

My heart hurts for them especially when my baby boy hugs me close and I long for them to also be experiencing that unbelievable kind of joy. How wonderful it would be if we could see things the way God sees them and understand His plan but that is not possible this side of heaven.

I was reading this verse the other day and it is exactly how I was feeling today as I thought about Owen Matthew on this his first birthday in heaven.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

Heather recently began a blog called Fullness of Grace that chronicles Owen's story and how they have been blessed. I encourage you to visit and read their story. You can find it on my sidebar or click HERE.

Thanks Heather and Jason for sharing your story and bringing glory to God through it. I love you both and as always am praying for you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cursed Ground for Man's Sake

We love to be outdoors exploring and playing and enjoying the amazing beauty of God's creation. However, there are a few effects of the fall that have not been very pleasant this week. To quote a children's bible story we enjoy -- "What a mess sin did make, thorns, thistles and cursed ground for man's sake".

We had some of our family over for Memorial Day and a number of us went on a hike. Some of the trails ended up being a little overgrown but the boys and I enjoy forging our way through. We are very well acquainted with watching out for poison ivy as John has had very bad reactions to it so always watch out for that.  I also brought along our spray to keep bugs away. It is the season for those pesty no-see-ums that bite our necks and leave them bloody. We often end up with scabby necks and when my Mom sees them says "It must be spring".

The other night Re-Pete wanted to show me all of the little bug bites on his ankle. Low and behold, he has poison ivy, although he wasn't even on the walk with us. We do have it on parts of our land so he must have stumbled upon it. Thankfully Re-Pete isn't bothered by it too much. It did spread to the other leg now but we have been washing it with Burts Bees Poison Ivy soap and then applying a salve and that seems to help.

This morning I itched on my lower back and felt something that seemed to be a scab of some sort. I couldn't recall what I might have done but went on with the day. Later on it was itching again and I thought I should see what it looked like. Well, it looked a lot like a bug to me and seeing as it was still there from this morning it most likely was a tick. George confirmed that yes indeed there was a tick stuck in my back. Just great! None of the boys wanted to attempt removing it and truth be told, I preferred they not as I wanted to make sure the entire thing was removed. I called my neighbor but she wasn't home. I tried another neighbor down the road (at the farm we work on) and the line was busy. No, I wasn't panicked or bothered too much but we hopped in the van and down the road we went.

Thankfully my friend was able to remove it for me and found that it was a deer tick.  Seeing as it has been raining here for most of the week the only time I was outside was when we went hiking on Monday. So I assume it had been stuck in my back for a few days. That area has been quite sore for the rest of the day and I will watch for any signs of anything else.

So, nothing really serious but inconvenient none-the-less. Oh, for the day when the world will be just as God originally intended it to be.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Nature Field Trip

Last Friday we took a field trip to a nature reserve. We walked through three different habitats, prairie, forest, and pond, and learned about the various animals that make their homes there and other fun facts. Did you know that white flowers are pollinated at night by bats and moths? I had no idea. The rhyme to remember is "white flowers at night".

This trip always reminds us of home as we basically have all three areas right where we live. Our backyard is like the prairie complete with the huge ant mounds we saw that day. The state forest is right across the road and walking down the road brings us to natural springs with a creek that is similar to the pond area. The field trip enhances our walks so much more and now when we see the trillium scattered throughout the woods we know what pollinated them.

Tank being wrapped up in a deer skin. Nice and warm!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cutting Grass

Last summer George earned money cutting the grass for my grandpa and my parents. By the end of summer he had earned enough to purchase a nice off-road remote control truck (not the cheap ones that fall apart quickly). Throughout the winter the boys have been discussing how they could earn money this summer as they would like some larger lego sets. Now that grass-cutting season is upon us Pete and Re-Pete are going to try their hand at cutting grass also so they will divide up the jobs.

Last week was Re-Pete's first time and while he struggled a bit seeing as the lawn mower is a little high for him, he pressed on and no matter how often I asked if he wanted me to help him out he declined and pressed on. He didn't cut it perfectly but he did his best and for a first time I thought it was great!

Now that there was a slight job shift John decided that it is time for George to take over cutting our grass. Seeing that this is a job that takes about 2 hours he has been looking forward to giving it up for a long time! The other night John rode on the golf cart while George followed behind on the riding mower and that worked out well. Our land is hilly and rocky so it isn't the easiest to cut and we also mow paths through our fields which make for a nice nature walk.

I am so happy the boys enjoy this type of work and look for ways to earn money.

Re-Pete cutting Opa's (my grandpa) grass

George heading toward cutting a new path in our field of grasses. He looks so grown-up to me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mmmm Monday -- Potato Carrot Fritters (pancakes)

This weekend my Mom and I went to Taste of Home along with her cousins and a friend for a "girls day". We had a such nice time together! While shopping at some of the little stores in the area we sampled some potato pancakes which typically I do not like, at least not the ones my Mom makes out of left-over mashed potatoes. These I really enjoyed and they reminded me of zucchini fritters that I make. They were made from a mix and I do NOT like to use a mix. I did buy one for my Grandpa's birthday gift though as he enjoys cooking and I thought that would be nice and simple for him.

Today I was in the mood for potato pancakes and found a recipe that uses shredded hash
brown potatoes, which I happened to have in my freezer. I used my zucchini fritter recipe using hash brown potatoes instead and added shredded carrots and they were gobbled up. One of these days maybe I'll actually get a picture of my food. I had leftovers that I planned on taking a picture of but they were eaten up before I got to it.


4 cups frozen shredded hash browns
2 grated carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 garlic glove
2 T milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
(I prefer Coconut Oil as it is better for you and expeller pressed does not have a coconut flavor)

Rinse hash browns in a strainer with cold water until thawed. Drain thoroughly; transfer to a large bowl. Add carrot, onion, parsley, garlic, milk, eggs, flour and salt; mix well. In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1/4 in. of oil. Drop batter by spoonfuls into hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Show & Tell Friday -- Encouraging Video

A friend passed on this link to watch a very encouraging video and I want to share that with you today. It was exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded of and I am sure it will encourage you as well. As Rachel reminded me, so often as mothers we get caught up in ourselves that we don't take the time for others, especially our children. How often do we say "Not right now, I am busy" rather than doing whatever was asked of us?

This video is rather long so if you have your computer near the kitchen you may want to make a meal, wash dishes, etc. while listening. Here is a brief synopsis:

Rachel's story is not unlike what thousands of women around the world have experienced. A diagnosis that changes a woman's life and inevitably takes from her what we consider to be most precious.

After four and a half years of vigilantly fighting breast cancer, the 37 year old wife and mother of two was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

But for Rachel the essence of life is found in her relationship with God through Jesus. And that's why Rachel is convinced that death is not dying.


Click on the following link to view  -- Death is Not Dying: A Faith That Saves

For more Show & Tells visit Mary at Raising 4 Godly Men

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Graduation & Visiting Grandparents

Last weekend we had time away to spend with John's parents and seeing as they live only 1/2 hour away from Northland International we were able to attend the graduation of two of the students we have become friends with through their extension program. I enjoyed this so much, although graduations are always emotional events for me. From the moment the graduates began marching in I had to hold myself in check and keep reminding myself that these are not my children so I had no "good reason" to cry. It was a very God-honoring ceremony and throughout the handing out of diplomas there were periodic testimonies either by a student or their parent as to God's faithfulness or in thankfulness to the school, etc. They closed with everyone joined together in a song of praise. It was amazing and I wish I had more words to describe it.

We walked the campus a bit afterwards and the boys enjoyed seeing the pond and waterslide. They thought there was too much walking involved though. :)

Our next desination was to visit with some friends of my in-laws who have a horse farm but along the way we stopped for a bite to eat and I had really yummy Reuben Soup complete with melted swiss cheese and rye bread croutons -- I need to find a recipe for that, although I'd be the only one eating it.

It was a cool day so we did not spend much time at the farm but the children were able to see all of the various animals. They were a bit disappointed not to ride horses, but another time.

The rest of the visit was spent with John's parents briefly celebrating his Mom's birthday (a little late) playing marbles, and just relaxing.

I didn't get any pictures taken at graduation unfortunately but this is from the week before at their "send-off" party. "Jar" is holding Missy and Hanna is attempting to help hold Baby Boy.

Finally I was able to get a picture of all of the kids with Grandpa & Grandma (although still a bit blurry as I am having camera "issues")

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

I want to say a very Happy Mother's Day to my Mom!

My Mom is a special lady and I have been reminded of that so much more this past winter. We use their house as a stopping grounds when in town for church, field trips, homeschool classes and the like. She is always so willing to take the children for me at a minutes notice and even though chaos often reigns when we all emerge on their smaller home she doesn't complain. As she was sick a few times this winter so that we needed to make other plans rather than staying at my parents house, I realized anew just how much she helps me out with the children. I am so thankful that we live close and for her willingness to help when I need her.

Almost first thing each morning Mom calls just to check in which is something my Grandma used to do with her. It may be only for a minute or two to say "Hi" but most likely I'll talk to her at least once more in that day. I am also thankful to have my Mom as a friend!

I Love You Mom!

My sister, Mom and me on Thanksgiving -- I didn't like today's picture and this shows my Mom's beautiful eyes. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Our 12th Anniversary

On Sunday John and I celebrated our 12th anniversary. I had been at a bridal shower the day before thinking of how things change over the years (and also of how much I could use another shower). I so remember being showered with gifts to begin married life with and all of the excitement leading up to my wedding day. Those little thrills when I felt John's hand in mine and I couldn't wait until we could be together every day! Over the years the thrill tapers off and his hand now feels comfortable. We both have changed and grown more mature and hopefully more like the God who created us.

I am so glad for the change! I would not want to go back to the beginning to figure out all of the quirks and moods that were not quite as obvious during the dating years. I love the comfortable feel of my husband next to me. I love that we have grown and matured and am so thankful for the children we have been blessed with -- have you heard that phrase -- "all because two people fell in love".

Thank You God for the gift of love and marriage to reflect the beautiful relationship between Christ and His church! I pray that we clearly mirror that in our own marriage.

May 3, 1997

Missy's Injury

Missy Blue had a little mishap on our golf cart on Saturday. While George typically drives it around, the other boys had learned to drive it that morning. Later on one of them (not mentioning names as that boy felt horrible and cried buckets over it) took off driving with a few passengers, Missy being one of them. I had been gone that morning and as I pulled into the driveway I saw them driving around and was surprised to see who was now driving. Not long after I hear Missy screaming and as I got in the house my husband was attending to her. Apparently the driver was turning to avoid a tree but as he did so, forgot to brake, hitting a tree. Missy was on the back holding on but hit her head against something and then fell off. She hit it right under the eye and my husband said it must have hit the bone and broke the skin open.

As I saw the blood dripping everywhere and looked at John's face I wondered if this might need stitches, which is exactly what he was thinking. He said there is no way he wanted to go that route if at all possible. He continued to pull the skin together and bandage it until we could get to the drug store for butterfly bandages. He also bought liquid bandage which worked wonderfully and held the skin together. I was so thankful that John was home and I didn't have to deal with it. I know if I have to I can handle it but things like that typically make me feel faint.

Missy wasn't herself for a little while but going bowling later in the day with the Northland students cheered her up considerably. It is healing nicely now and I think she enjoyed the extra attention she received on Sunday as everyone came up to ask what happened to her. Pretty soon she just started pointing to her owie when someone approached.

Hopefully there won't be much of a scar.

I am extremely thankful for husbands who are cool under pressure, for liquid bandages and a fun time with friends to take away the pain.

Friday, May 1, 2009

On Our Best Behavior

I have been taking Baby Boy to the chiropractor for the past three weeks to see if that might help him with his asthma as I have heard it can. I kept putting it off simply because he would get over one episode and I wouldn't think of it again until the next. But this last one lasted far too long and with a week of breathing treatments and then ending up on the oral steroid I knew we had to try another route. I am also trying to be more consistent in giving him fish oil daily which he doesn't mind seeing as it is orange flavored.

We have gone to the chiropractor periodically since Tank was a baby for various issues. We all went in again the other morning and as has happened for the past three weeks Dr. Dan told me that I have the "best behaved children" and that every time we come in we get complimented over and again by the other patients. He said first they ask him if they are really all mine (the same comment I often receive -- no, I stopped to pick up a few more on the way) and they follow it by saying how well-behaved they are. He also says he can never tell there are children in the waiting room when we come because they are so quiet.

I think I may have to go in every week for that boost of encouraging words about our parenting. At home it is another story but unfortunately, isn't that how it is for most of us? We are at our worst at home but in front of others we put on a smile and all is well. But I'll take the compliments when I can and I must say that the children enjoy them as well.
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