Coming and Going

The last couple weeks have been crazy busy. In fact the last thing I should be doing right now is sitting at my computer. I'm choosing to call it a sanity break and let my work wait for me.
Last Sunday through Tuesday Aili was at a Bible Camp. She had a blast as usual and it was just the right amount of time to be away from home. This picture is Aili and her little brother Silas reuniting at the end of camp. They missed each other!
We stayed for a little chapel service and got a taste of the program and songs the kids had at camp. It was so cool to see Aili standing on the wooden pew (along with most of the other kids) singing, dancing and worshiping. As important a role as we her parents play in her spiritual development I love giving her chances like this to learn about God independently from us...free from trying to please us or our expectations. It makes it real for her and God can speak directly to her heart.

The next morning we left for another 5 days of camping as a family. More time in the car for this little clown! We went (for the first time as a family) to a camp that I went to every summer as a child and was a counsellor at in my teens. It was such a nice break.
They had fun programs for all the kids including the 2 year old (woohoo!) which allowed us to attend various small group sessions in the mornings (on various topics) and chapel in the evenings with only the baby along. We had all afternoon to enjoy the camp as a family and to hang out with the kids. It was a wonderful balance of fun family time and refreshing adult time. The guest speaker and the music were awesome. I felt refreshed both physically and spiritually. I think we'll make it a part of our regular summer vacation time.

Monkey boy doing what he does best....giving parents everywhere heart palpitations.
I can just picture him as a jungle boy climbing a coconut tree.

Silas and Daddy going for a sail on a gorgeous hot afternoon at camp.

We've had lots of comings and goings. The coming home is the overwhelming part for me. There is just so much STUFF that goes along with camping( and family life in general). I have an insurmountable pile of laundry that doesn't seem to be getting any smaller even though I've been plugging away at it for the past couple days. My house is neglected, my yard overgrown, my garden in need of harvesting, our trailer is disgusting and still needs to be fully unpacked and cleaned. Ack!
It will have to wait a bit though because as of this Monday we have begun VBS at our church 40 km away. I am the "crew leader" for the preschool group. Its fun and the "Crocodile dock"theme is great. The music is rock'n and the decorations are amazing. We have transformed our sanctuary into a Louisiana Bayou.
When I get home each afternoon the above list is waiting for me but I feel too tired to tackle any of it. One thing at a time.
Yesterday I picked and shelled a whole pile of peas....today folding a mountain of laundry (if I get my butt off of the computer!)

I'm putting the "Pro" in procrastinate right now.

I've been feeling not only slightly overwhelmed with the amount of work looming over me this week but with the emotional mountain that is looming on the horizon. It's hard to focus on the tasks at hand when I feel like I'm living in the shadow of what lies ahead.

As my time with "Cub" grows shorter my heart is growing more burdened. I feel like I am living in anticipation of pain.
Like the flinch before a blow. I feel like I am developing an emotional tick.
It reminds me of that moment of the blunt realization that I have to go through childbirth again after the joy and expectation of pregnancy (usually happens with the onset of contractions!) . Oh yeah....in my joy I almost forgot how painful this has to be.

My converstations with God lately go something like this:

"Lord I know I told you I would do this again and that I would love one of your precious babies. I have loved him, but I don't want to say goodbye this time...its going to hurt too much. I don't think I can do it. I'm not strong enough."

"I will be with you. I will be strong where you are weak. Trust me."

"But I love him"

"So do I. I designed and created him in my image for a purpose."

"I don't think I can do this."

"Rest in me ,for my yoke is easy and my burden is light"

"But Lord this isn't easy or light....it is difficult and painful."

"I was with you as you showed My love to My precious little one and I will be with you as you say goodbye to him. I will give you My peace."

Cub has been such a wonderful part of our family for 6 weeks now. He has grown from a skinny scrunched up new born to a chubby smiling baby interacting with the world around him. He has the biggest roundest brown eyes I've ever seen. He is so alert and aware of his surroundings. We all love him dearly and are just soaking up the time we have with him. He has been a great traveller and has been camping with us three times now.

I have no idea how much longer he will be with us or what his case plan is but I have a feeling it won't be much longer.
I transferred a bunch of pictures to a USB stick and will print them out in town tomorrow.
I want to start making his baby book so I have time to do it right.
I will send it with him so whoever enters his life next can carry on with recording his story.
We are just a small piece of his story but he will always be a big piece of mine.
I know there will be another big chunk of my Swiss cheese heart gone in the next couple months. Anticipating the amputation is not pleasant.
I have to remind myself I will have time to grieve later, right now I have a job to do and a lot of love to give.

Please pray for this little guy and his future.
(Send up a prayer for this family that is going to have a hard time letting him go too)

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Good Clean Fun

Yesterday we decided to visit a Provincial Park about 2 hours from our house that we'd never been to before. We met my twin sister, her two kids and my parents there for a hot day at the beach. Our afternoon included a mini birthday party for my sister and I (my mom even brought us a cake!). Our birthday isn't until Monday but it was fun to do something while we were together.

The kidlets entertained themselves quite nicely all afternoon.
We only lost track of Roman for about 20 minutes or so. He came wandering back from his adventure treck hot tired and oblivious to the fact that we had been looking for him. I really wasn't worried...he always makes his way back.
Everyone else kept cool in the lake but Roman preferred to play up in and explore the rocks and sanddunes. I'm surprised he didn't get heat exhaustion.

Silas the mud monster.
I wonder what SPF protection factor mud has?

Aili in her mud pit.
I stuck my feet in before we left, mostly to see what the great attraction was.
It actually felt really good.

Its amazing how much work goes into one afternoon at the lake.
swim gear
sand toys
cooler of
thermos of hot water to warm the bottles
diaper bags
toddler swim diapers
extra long sleeved clothes
juice boxes
Benadryl and Epi-pens for allergy boy
life jackets

The trip home and clean up with 4 kids is never dull either.
sand in everything and everyone
juice spilled in car
poop in the car seat
bags full of dirty sandy sticky wet stuff.

But its worth it to enjoy the moments pictured above!

Good time had by all.

I don't know if the baby enjoyed the heat and wind much. I think he swallowed more of the fresh air than he breathed.
Last night he was fussing and letting out the air most of the night.

"Cub" getting big and chubby now. He is 5 weeks old today and is starting to loose some of the newborn look.
He's got big round brown eyes and chipmunk cheeks. He's the kind of baby that likes to hold himself up and look at the world. Unless he's asleep his head doesn't touch my shoulder. He's a strong little guy. Not much of a snuggler but he puts up with lots of smooches and snuggles from us anyway :)
Oh, and he's just starting to smile.
Not real generous with them yet but he's flashed me a few heart melters.

I'm trying hard not to think about the phone call and the day I will have to give him up.
It will come at some point in the next couple months.
It would be kind of nice to know but at the same time not knowing is good too.

We are getting excited for our trip south in October. We have 2 new sponsor children at the orphanage we will be working at this winter.
A brother and sister about Aili and Roman age named Lluvia and Jesus.
When we sponsor kids at the orphanage we become their "Tia and Tio" Aunt and Uncle.
We become part of their family even if we never actually see them in person.

We are really excited to not only visit them but to spend 6 months hanging out with and spoiling them.
They have two younger siblings in the nursery there as well.
If you would like to sponsor one of these precious children and become a Tia or Tio go
(if my link doesn't work go to http://www.ffhm.org/ )
If you pick a child from the Baja orphanage let me know!
I will send you some pictures of your precious little one and tell you all about them once we get down there.

I mentioned in on of my recent posts that I've put my kids out to pasture for the summer. I've decided to take it to a whole new level. This should take care of the potty troubles.

See ya in the fall buddy...hope the foraging is good.


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Random summer pictures

Aili and Roman grazing in the garden and making a snack while they play.

Summer boy.

One of our many campfire times so far this summer.

Roman and Silas being junior archaeologists.
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Free Range Children :)

My garden is almost in full production right now and I am enjoying it so much this year. This picture was taken a few weeks ago (before our big rains) so it has grown a bunch since then. For the last couple years my garden has been pretty dismal and last year nothing grew in my tiny plot at all.
I used to have a big garden but a garage was built in its spot a few years back. After that I was trying to grow a few things in a tiny, too shaded, cement dirt spot and it wasn't working. I hated having to buy overpriced nasty produce from the store all last summer...so this year we sacrificed part of our front lawn , hauled in some fantastic fertile soil (aka decomposed cow poop)and Yippee I have a garden again. Endless supply of crunchy, healthy stuff.

I love how convenient it is. We live 40 km from the nearest store and we try to conserve gas so when we are out of fresh stuff...we are out of fresh stuff until the next trip to town.
Now all I have to do is go select my veggies from the yard a few minutes before supper.
I also love that its FREE! Its really helping my already very tight grocery budget. I can skip right over the produce section at the grocery store! (out here in Hickville produce is expensive)
I love that its fresh.
Within minutes of picking the lettuce its made into a salad and ready to eat!
We've been eating a lot of main dish salads trying to use up the huge amount of lettuce that needs to be used. Any one need lettuce? come help yourself!

I wasn't sure what the kids would think of cooked greens this year. They have liked them in the past but after a year without, you just never know. They have been gobbling up Swiss Chard and Beet greens almost daily. Silas isn't as enthusiastic but will eat them chopped up in his other food.
We are also enjoying radishes, beets, strawberries, currants, spinach, onions, and new little carrots.
Within the next few days I will be busy picking raspberries, peas,and beans.
We will also have new red potatoes soon...yum!

Silas has always been my pickiest eater but he is even getting much more adventurous in his eating. He still won't eat cooked frozen peas but will eat them fresh and raw out of the garden....fine with me :)

Here is Aili making a "salad" for her and Roman while they play " survivor" or something of the sort. They pick a container of berries and greens and then take it to their hideaway to eat while they play.
They often come in smelling like green onions and cilantro.....good in a taco, not so good on their breath.

Silas looks like a little bunny stealing my peas.
I'm totally ok with the kids grazing in the garden as long as they are careful not to pull up or stomp on the plants. So far so good.
I like being able to put the kidlets " out to pasture" in the summer.
Can you tell I'm a farm girl?
Its kind of nice when they come in from playing with tummies full of veggies.
I usually try to plant things like cherry tomatoes and snap peas (with edible pods) for them to graze on.
It's great when you can answer "MOM, I'm hungry" with "go check the strawberry patch"
There is just no comparison in the flavour either.

Our big storm!
We have been so dry all spring and for the first part of summer...but as you can see that has recently changed.
We got 2 1/2 inches in a few hours. I thought we would float away...that or get blown away by the crazy wind.
It was a pretty good light show too.
It sure greened things up though, my lawn has never looked so good.
I finally got around to mowing it. It was close to becoming its own little jungle eco- system.
Now for the weeds!
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Family reunion weekend

Aili, her great Aunt and some second cousins watching minows or some other fascinating thing in the water.
We travelled over 4 hours north of our house for this camping weekend. It is beautiful up there.
We live surrounded by prairie farmland but only a few hours north of us is all forests, lakes and rock. Gorgeous.

Silas watching a family ball game with Grandma, Grandpa and his great uncle.

The snack shop at the camp opened briefly on Sunday and Silas was thrilled to have his first icecream on a stick. They actually had chapmans peanut free icecream treats! He was a little confused by the chocolate coating but he made quick work of it :)

Cousins enjoying a brief couple hours of sunshine at the lake. It rained and was cool most of the weekend but the sun did make an appearance. I remembered Silas' ear plugs and head band this time.
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My boy is 6 !

6 amazing, exhausting, adventurous, hilarious, action packed years.
His birthday was this past weekend.
We had his cake and presents a couple days early. The night before we left for a family reunion.
He didn't seem to mind getting his presents early!

Roman in his glory.
He's been begging for a skate board since he was 2 years old.
He had a little one when we lived in Mexico when he was 2 but we left it there with one of the boys. (He used to ride it down a hill face first scaring everyone half to death).
He's wanted one ever since...that and a surf board.
Unfortunately we have neither pavement (or an ocean) where we live.
Fortunately we will be returning to live at the orphanage in Mexico in a few months.
There are cement side walks at the playground and a basketball court there for his skating pleasure...soooo
Time for a skate board.
I guess there will be an ocean there too.
Not getting a surf board anytime soon though.

From my Mom and Dad he got a regular black luggage set. Now for most 6 year old boys that would be right up there with new socks but it was so perfect for this boy. He loves his new luggage! He's been telling me for years that he is going to travel the world "next year" so now he has his luggage and is all set. I'm trying to convince him he should wait until he's done school.
This kid just doesn't play with toys. His wish list in past years has been
a ladder
a spade
a pocket knife
a treasure chest
surf board
skate board
a car and a cd player

He has considered himself to be about 18 years old since he was 2.

On Saturday (his actual birthday) we had all the cousins, second cousins, other extended family join him for a pinata.
It was raining that morning so it gave all the kids something to do in the lodge for a little while.
Good fun.
Roman is a kid that doesn't go unnoticed. No wall flower here.
He sat with a new table of relatives every meal I think...sometimes a few different tables per meal.
Some of the people I didn't even know.
He would sit down, talk their ears off, ask them questions and move on.
Funny kid.
Just like his Dad!
Scheduled into the weekend was a talent show but I guess no one figured they had any talent worth sharing since no one signed up.
That is until Roman got wind of it and informed me the night before that....
Roman: "I talked to the guy in charge and I signed up for the talent show"
Me:"oh really?..what exactly is your talent Roman?"
Roman: "I'm going to break dance!"
This kid has watched too many reality tv talent competitions.
I had the "So you think you can dance" intro song in my head the rest of the day.
Roman: "will you be really proud of me if I win the competition mom?"
me: " Well Roman , since there are no other people in the talent show yet....and its not exactly a competition...I most certainly will be proud of you."
The evening show came and fortunately a few other people showed their talents as well. Roman got up there and rocked the stage. My cousin played guitar while he flipped around, danced and posed with his feet in the air. It was SO funny. He struck a total pose at the end and had a big grin on his face.
His Dad introduced him with the disclaimer that he is "completely untrained" ...where he lacks in actual talent he makes up for with confidence and enthusiasm.
We left the "competition" with Roman saying
Roman: "I thought I had it until that Yoga guy....I'll never beat the Yoga guy (my cousins Husband is from Tiawan and is a yoga instructor)
me: "Roman it wasn't actually a competion...it was a show"
Roman: :Well , I sure hope I win the show"
As it turns out the "kid who break dances" got called up on stage the next day and given a prize

At the family reunion we also celebrated my Grandmas 90th birthday! Doesn't she look great ?
I'd say she makes 90 look like the new 70.
Grandma lives independently, walks down to the grocery store to get her groceries, and throws popcorn parties.
She has 8 children, a ton of grandkids, great grandkids, and even great great grandkids that love her to bits.

I'm fully expecting to celebrate her 100th birthday in another 10 years.
She's got some centurion genes in the family tree. Her great grandfather Isaac Danford Breedon was a veteran of the civil war and lived to be 100 years old. That was before hospitals and modern medicine!

Grandma married Carl (my grandpa who I was named after) son of Andrew and Kari
(in Norway named Anders).
They immigrated from Norway and moved out west
to homestead in the beautiful northern forest and lake country. In fact, the reunion was held at the same Lutheran Bible camp that they established back in the thirties. What an amazing heritage. They had 12 children, one of which was my grandfather Carl.
The reunion was for the descendants of Andrew and Kari and all their children.
What a lot of family!

On a side note Roman's middle name is Anders after his Norwegian great great grandpa.
It means "Strong and Courageous".

I love learning about family history and genealogies. So fascinating. Living in Canada we have ancestors from all different countries with incredible stories of faith, culture, dangerous sea voyages , wars, and surviving harsh pioneer lives.

My various ancestors haled from Norway, England and Scotland ,and from some of the original settlements of the United States.

The James Stirling family left Carnoustie Scotland in 1840 and settled in Ontario. His granddaughter and her husband eventually made the voyage out here to the prairies of the west at the turn of the 1900's. We still farm here where they settled and broke new land one hundred years ago.
Those are some roots.

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An un-wasted wasteland

My heart has been heavy and burdened in recent months..or maybe even the last couple years if I think about it. Not about life in general but in one certain area of my life. I am in the process of finding peace right now and I feel that God is really showing me some things and teaching me through this adversity. The situations remain the same, the people involved haven't changed but as usual the way we react to them makes all the difference.
Over the past months my resolve has been to stay out of issues that don't involve me directly and to avoid offense when they do find their way to me. My resolve has been to focus on what God has called me to do in my home, in my church in the world...instead of focusing on drama. There have been times I have been able to do this and times I have totally missed the mark and found myself neck deep in hurt feelings and negativity. I am learning as I go.

I think God allows these times in our life for a reason. Its not because he wasn't paying attention or fell asleep at the wheel. Its not that he's angry with us or abandoned us. Its because he wants us to grow up in our faith.

When gold is heated (and combined with flux) it is purged of impurities . As it goes through intense heat the impurities rise to the surface and what was hidden is made visible. It is the same when we face trails and adversity in life. Ugliness has a tendency to rise to the surface. It is what we do with that ugliness and those gut reactions that will make us either grow through the circumstances or become professional pit dwellers and drama queens.

In the last couple years I have seen more turmoil and upheaval in my body of believers than I have ever experienced in my life. It has been painful and unpleasant to witness. It has been down right heart breaking at times. I want it to be over and to return to life as usual. I'm starting to see ,though, that through this discomfort I am learning more about myself and I haven't always liked what I learn. The impurities are rising to the surface faster than I can account for them.

People can be mean and spiteful. Friends can suddenly become bitter adversaries. People do things and make decision's that we don't always agree with. Uncontrollable circumstances and tragic events leave us reeling and trying to navigate uncharted territory. Its so easy to get offended and angry when this happens. Human nature wants to nurture the hurt and grow bitter. It's tempting because it feels good at the time. If not checked , we grow bitter at the people involved, at the leadership, at the church and eventually we will grow bitter at God. Anyone we can blame for our misery is fair game and our "bitter list" grows.

In that place it is easy to justify any reciprocating action we feel like taking.

Out of offense grows hostility, gossip, malicious talk, bitterness and hatred.

Often these attitudes and actions are disguised under a facade of concern or some noble cause so usually the offended person doesn't even realize their own condition. They become unable to see it.

These are certainly not the line up of character traits a follower of Christ should have. If you get enough people harbouring offense a body cannot function as a body anymore, it cannot minister to others, dispense grace or shine a light...it becomes impotent. The longer these feelings are allowed to take root the harder it is to be free of them. We start looking at life through bitter lenses and filtering everything through our past hurts, disappointments or our own social convictions. We become self absorbed and self protecting. Dissension, factions and splits are a direct and tragic result.

Misery loves company. A miserable person intentionally seeks out others they can co-miserate with. They want others to justify them in their misery and join them on their band wagon. These people will spend a lot of time with others who will validate their hurt feelings and will become very upset with those who won't. They will spend time discussing everything that is wrong with the world, the church and the people they choose to blame for it all . They will intentionally try to sway other people to see the situation their way. They will make intentional phone calls and they will invite strategic people over for dinner to get an earful. They won't leave a situation without trying to take as many people as possible with them and they cut down as many people as they can on their way out.

This is a harsh checklist but I think its good to look at these things and continually allow God to examine our own hearts, motives and actions. Its so easy to fool ourselves and justify these behaviors...but the Spirit of God cannot be fooled. I have been guilty of some of these attitudes myself. These things are not unique to any one person, church or social group....it is a pattern that happens any where sinful attitudes and offence is allowed to take root in our hearts.

Here's a good guide to follow. If I leave a church or a ministry because God is leading my family elsewhere ....we will go in peace and joy. We will be grateful for the time spent and the lessons learned. I will go in peace and confidence.

If I leave a church or ministry with hurt feelings, anger and bitterness I am not leaving the right way. If I leave a church or ministry and I feel the need to discuss my offenses and justify my actions to anyone who will listen....I probably should not have left in the first place. God was likely trying to teach me something. Something uncomfortable and difficult but something valuable. By running away from discomfort or conflict I would miss out on opportunities to grow up in my faith. Not only would I be running from the purging God wants to do in me , I would be taking those seeds of negativity with me and jeopardizing a new body of believers. The pattern would not end until the heart condition is dealt with.

Are we building up or are we tearing down?

"Don't let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. ...get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage. Stop all fighting and lying. Put away every form of hatred. Be kind to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done.

You are the children that God dearly loves. So be just like him. Lead a life of love, just as Christ did. He loved us. He gave himself up for us. " Ephesians 4:29-32

In times of adversity, in the waste land of despair or difficult situations its so easy to lash out. We want to find someone to blame for our disappointment with life.

"If he didn't act that way...or she hadn't said that...if they hadn't betrayed me....if they would just see my point of view and listen to what I have to say I wouldn't be bitter anymore". Not true. I would just find something else to be miserable about. If its not one thing it would be another. Its a condition of the heart not of circumstances.

Leadership is often the easiest target. If I have great expectations of someone and high hopes of my own needs being met that person will most likely let me down at some point. If everything I get from that person is a blessing not something owed to me the there will be no room for disappointment. There is no room for pedestals in healthy relationships. We must view people as human, as the flawed struggling people that Christ's loves and died for. There are standards of holy living that God expects from the ones He places in leadership....but in areas that are not blatant sin, we need to bear with one another in love and grace and let the Spirit of God do His work.

If we jump from church to church until we find perfection we will not be able to put down roots anywhere....because only Christ is perfect. He is our perfect Pastor. Those of us who bear his name are just sinners saved by grace. God has an extensive history of using flawed, ordinary people to achieve his purposes...either through them , or in spite of them.

Anytime you put a group of humans together there will eventually be issues and disagreements...how we handle them makes all the difference.

Sometimes we get this noble idea that we are somehow avenging ourselves or someone else and that our sinful and hurtful actions are justified.

If our standards or social convictions are challenged we feel that we owe it to God to make things right. What we fail to take into account is that God is capable of taking care of his own. He will raise up and He will bring down as He sees fit. Nothing is hidden from Him, He will bring justice. His command for us is to love our enemies, to do good to those who persecute us and to bless those who curse us. yikes. That's a tall order when you come face to face with it. We should be so willing to extend grace and forgiveness that we actually put ourselves at risk of being hurt again. Everyone has heard "turn the other cheek" but few of us actually think about what that means in everyday life....since not many of us go around slapping each other physically. It doesn't mean that it is acceptable or right for someone to "slap"you ...it means that you can forgive them for it whether they deserve it or not.

So why does God allow us to go through times when it seems our vision and our dreams seem to be turning to dust? When it feels like we are wandering through the wilderness alone?

Because He wants us to make us into the person he can use for greater things. As the impurities and ugliness rise to the surface and the dark corners of our hearts are illuminated they must be purged and repented of... not justified and coddled. He wants us to learn endurance, tolerance, forgiveness. He wants us to learn to trust Him even when we are having trouble seeing Him in a situation. He wants us to grow up in our faith.

Once the impure alloys are removed in the refining process the gold becomes softer and more pliable.

That is the kind of heart God wants us to have.

That's the heart that God uses to channel his love through.

If our hearts are soft they are moldable to His purposes and to the changing needs of those around us.

When our hearts are full of impurities , as with the gold they become hard and brittle. If we have this heart we are slow to hear Gods voice because our own self absorption and quest for justice drowns Him out. We become stubborn and cannot be moved by other peoples points of view...or even God's. We get our minds set on a particular stance, on a goal....on a particular color of carpet, and we can see nothing else. Hard hearts are not obedient hearts they are self preserving and self promoting. They are negative and cynical.

"Keep away from foolish disagreements. Don't argue about family histories. Don't make trouble. Don't fight about what the law teaches. Don't argue about things like that. It doesn't do any good. It doesn't help anyone. "

"Warn anyone who tries to get believers to take sides and separate into their own little groups. Warn him more than once. After that, have nothing to do with him. You can be sure that someone like that is twisted and sinful. His own actions judge him."

Titus 3:9-11

I have a vision for my wounded church family. I see a remnant that will have been purified and refined by fire. All superficiality and facades will have long been purged and only soft hearts that seek God will remain.

God hasn't jumped ship, he hasn't left the train without a conductor. He is not fretting and wringing his hands in despair like we so often do. He is still in control.

I don't believe that it is Gods best for us to act this way, or that conflict, dissension and factions are in any way glorifying to God. In fact ,I think it grieves him because ,unlike us ,He can clearly see how far we are from hitting the mark, how far we are from what we should be as a Body of Christ. BUT, this wasteland we are wandering though will not be wasted. What satan intends for evil, God will use for good.

There will be a re birth from the bottom up that has nothing to do with board meetings, executive decisions, budgets or administrative changes. It will be His people on their knees in prayer, devouring the Word not to use as a weapon but to seek His heart. His people encouraging, loving and building up what was tore down. His people re-lighting the lamp and placing it back on the lamp stand.

It will be the heart of God beating in his servants. His faithful servants will be so focused on Him that they have no time for petty arguments over "the law". They will be so focused on loving others that they will not have time to be offended. That day feels a long way off right now, but I have faith and I know that it will happen. I see it already.

"Do not be proud at all.

Be completely gentle.

Be patient.

Put up with one another in love.

The Holy Spirit makes you one in every way.

So try your best to remain as one.

Let peace keep you together.

There is one body.

There is one Spirit.

You were appointed to one hope when you were chosen.

There is one Lord.

There is one faith and one baptism.

There is one God and Father of all. He is over everything. He is through everything. He is in everything.

...He is the one who gave some the gift to be apostles. He gave some the gift to be prophets. He gave some the gift of preaching the good news. And he gave some the gift to be pastors and teachers. He did it so that they might prepare God's people to serve. If they do, the body of Christ will be built up.

That will continue until we all become one in the faith and in the knowledge of God's Son. Then we will be grown up in the faith. We will receive everything that Christ has for us.

We will no longer be babies in the faith. We won't be ships tossed around by waves. We won't be blown here and there by every new teaching. We won't be blown around by the cleverness and tricks of people who try to hide their evil plans. Instead we will speak the truth in love. " Ephesians 4: 1-15

In His peace and grace,



Sunday Fun day and braggin about my girl

"I dirty Mama!"

Aili has been such a big girl lately and by "big girl" I mean she is turning into a really enjoyable and helpful young lady. She will be 8 next month. Its hard to believe that in a few short years she will be entering adolescence. That seems totally inconceivable to me. A few years ago (or so it seems) she was my bright eyed baby girl.

I am really getting a taste lately of the friendship I know we will have as she grows up. Its been nice having her around home more now that school is over. We've had a lot more one on one time together lately because of her once a month orthodontist appointments in town....we ditch the boys and try to make a date of it. Its been fun.

Now for the bragging. We got report cards this week and as usual reading it makes me so proud of her.
She is doing really well in all her subjects and has even improved in them since the beginning of the year. More than the subject grades I love the marks she gets on character and social development. Some of the comments on her report card were.
"Aili is a very respectful student. She shows accountability for her actions as well as self-control. Keep up the great attitude Aili."
"She is able to work with her peers and shows respect toward her teacher and the rules of the class."
"She listens and participates well"
She had a new teacher this year and was a little worried about loosing the teacher she had since kindergarten. In this little two room rural school kids keep the same teacher for quite a few years or until the teacher moves on.
Her new teacher was excellent. He loves the kids but isn't a softy and expects a lot of them. Aili loves a challenge.
Her consideration for other students, her respect for authority and her diligence in her school work are always themes in report cards and in interviews.
She is such a natural little leader and enjoys organizing events and getting people involved.
She loves to teach younger children and set up activities for them.
She is surprisingly comfortable with public speaking.
She is a quirky, imaginative, non-conforming, generous, compassionate, loyal, assertive, outgoing and independent little girl.
She is totally comfortable surrounded by creative mess and chaos....which at times causes conflict between her and I , particularly in regards to her bedroom. :) She always has several projects going simultaneously.
I makes me smile to think of all the things God might do with this little girl in her lifetime.
She makes me feel so proud and blessed to be her mom.

We spent the afternoon yesterday with some good friends at their back yard lake. They farm most of the land around the little lake so it literally is in their back yard. Great company, good location, beautiful scenery, no crowds and the price is perfect. :)
We went only anticipating a campfire since it wasn't very hot but when the big inflatable slide made its debut into the water they all went. Once the clothes were wet and uncomfortable they mostly ended up in their underwear. Like I said we were really secluded..and well, I won't deny it, we are hicks. As you can see Silas' shorts didn't stay up very well so eventually they came off to in favor of his birthday suit. Unfortunately I hadn't taken his ear plugs (he has ear tubes) and he is paying for it with an ear ache today. oops.
It was such a nice relaxing afternoon. I think we need to head over there more often...next time we'll bring our swimsuits. :)
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It's not easy being Two!

Nothing is my size.
Everything is made for the big people in this house. As much as I like to climb, it would be nice to reach something for once.

Dad will not give me the keys to his truck.
Even though everyday when he pulls in the driveway I shout "DADDY'S TRUCK IS HOME!" and run out to take it for a spin. C'mon Dad I've been watching you do it...I know I could drive this thing.

The baby gets all the cool furniture around here.
As if having his own teeny tiny bed with bars isn't enough he also gets a really cool little swing.....in the living room!

Well two can play that game!
Look mom, I'm a baby too. Waaah, wahhh, wahhhh. ga ga. Convinced yet?

To quote a literary great....Elmo
"Its not easy being big,
It's not easy being small,
That's all."
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Its a Thoratic Vertebrae from a Bison!

I realize what an odd title and post this is. To make any sense of it scroll down to the picture of Roman holding a large bone that he dug up at a lake.
After the last post I got the brilliant idea to do some research on the Internet...(in case you think I'm a little slow on the draw with that idea ...I guess I am. We have dial-up so looking up anything on the Internet is a time consuming process).

The bone is exactly the bone in the diagram below. I had no idea that Bison had bones that stuck up like that. I guess I should visit more with the Bison ranchers around us. I always assumed that hump was just fat, but you can see from the picture about how that ridge of bone shows on his back.

The mystery is solved.

I still have no idea how old the bone is. It is completely a brown color and has a strange porous consistency. It is likely at least a couple hundred years old since wild Bison haven't wandered the prairies in a long long time.

A pretty cool discovery for a 5 year old.

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Day at the beach

Roman was in his glory exploring and digging for treasures and dinosaur bones. This is one of his finds. Any bone experts out there? It looks pretty old and it is obviously a vertebrae but I can't figure out what part of the anatomy the the long part is. Its not round but long and flat. I know there are a lot of bison bones that get found at the lake but I would like to figure out what this bone is from . Roman spent a couple days playing with it, burying it in sand and showing it to everyone he came across. Not exactly archaeologist protocol.

This lake is super shallow for a long long way out. Perfect for kids , its like a giant kiddie pool!

They boys cruising with the wheely thing. What a great toy.
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After our day in the City we kept driving to a lake where Nathanael would be sailing in a regatta the next morning. We woke up to some cool blustery weather but the sailors didn't mind all the wind. It was too cold to swim so fortunately someone had brought a trampoline to set up for the kids. It was a nice little community of people who come up to this lake to sail almost every weekend (not always for races). The kids had a blast exploring along the beach and playing in the sand despite the weather.

Daddy and the kids getting the boat ready. His is the yellow one. Aili was going to be his crew but because of the wind kids couldn't go out. The next day he took her with him and they won second place in one of the events. She loves it. I'm totally shocked that she does but she likes to figure things out and there is a lot to learn with Sailing a Hobie cat. We might get her on the sailing team next summer. They start at age eight.

The boats out on some rough water. Boy did they fly!

The next morning was gorgeous with only a light breeze. Not great for the thrill seekers but perfect for taking the kids out.
At the bottom of the picture you can almost see Roman and Silas pushing around a big wheely thing (I'm sure my sailing husband will be appalled that I called it a wheely thing and have no idea what its actually called....how about keep- my- boys -entertained- for- hours thing)

Our baby "Cub" had a cold last week and was still feeling a little congested over the weekend. He did great and slept ok despite my fears otherwise. It was a bit of a juggling act to keep all the kids occupied while Daddy was sailing but fortunately the baby doesn't go far and was mostly content to sleep in his baby seat under a bug net.
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