Thursday, November 26, 2009

One year ago...

November 25, 2008 we received Eli's referral information. We were overjoyed last Thanksgiving to show his pictures to everyone (above), but this year was much better! Eli was at our big family Thanksgiving (25 people) and he got to show off, spill drinks, eat pie, put a kitchen towel in the toilet, and eat some more.
Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, and in November 2007 God used programming on the local Christian radio station about adoption to call us to adopt. In honor of this month, we are going to share a story from our adoption journey.

We sent out letters to many (about 200) friends and family about our adoption. We included photos of Eli (this was between referral and travel), info about Ethiopia, and cost of travel. We asked for prayer and donations for traveling. We were a little hesitant, not sure what others might think. The response we got was amazing. We were blessed with so many people giving words of encouragement and gifts. The first check we received in the mail said in the memo line “Bring Eli home”, and I cried. We soon knew that we had the support of many.

A few weeks after we sent out the letters, Josh’s grandmother passed away. While in Indy for the funeral, our van broke down and needed serious work…almost $2000. We were so bummed because that was about how much we had received in donations so far.

We came home in a borrowed vehicle and picked up our mail. While we had been out of town, we had received some more cards. One of them contained a check for $2000!!!! Josh and I both cried that time.

Adoption is a wonderful thing, and God truly does bless it. Our family is forever thankful to those who helped bring Eli home.

God is faithful, and He uses His children to bless one another. We tell this story also for one particular reader in a far off place. Thank YOU!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A visit to the ER

We had our first visit to the ER for one of the kids...amazing it took this long. Eli fell into a piece of furniture and split his forehead open. It wasn't a huge cut, but it was gaping open. We weren't sure of it needed attention, but Josh was right to say we better check. Eli now has 4 stitches. He is no worse for the wear, of course.

Also this week, we went on a field trip to Corydon, the first Indiana state capitol. We've been doing a study on Indiana with the homeschool group, and this trip was the finale. We visited the OLD capitol building (built circa 1815), an equally old governor's house, a school for black children that was open from 1891-1950, and a 4th generation family owned/operated glass blowing business. Sam's favorite was the glass place, where we got to see a bowl being made. It was very neat, and a lot of fire was involved, hence Sam's interest.

My brother planted quite a few turnips in one of his hay fields this fall, and we've been feasting on them for over a month. Turnips are one of the foods you either love or hate, there's no in between. We've given them to every neighbor and friend who wants them. There were still many in the field, so this past week the kids helped pick a bunch for the local food bank. They had a ball doing this with Grandpa and Uncle David. Then Sam went with Grandpa to the food bank on distribution day. I explained to him what it was and how he could help. I don't think he was too much help, unless you count just being friendly with everyone. Hopefully when he gets older he can do more.

Each year our church participates in Operation Christmas Child. Families pack shoe boxes for needy children around the world, and the Gospel will be included in each box. I LOVE the ministry of Samaritan's Purse because they meet people's real needs and in the process reveal spiritual needs. Anyway, the kids and I delivered the boxes to a local collection center and we prayed the recipients. Sam was pretty impressed with all the boxes already there. Hopefully next year we can help more with this awesome ministry.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Talking Turkey

This is our third year for making a Thanksgiving wall. The first year we did a tree with handprint leaves, last year we did a colorful turkey, and this year we did a white domestic turkey. Throughout November we add handprints and write things we are thankful for. It’s a great way to direct our conversation at supper on all the blessings from God.

Here are their Highnesses with our Thanksgiving Turkey!

We made a white turkey this year since that’s what we will eat at Thanksgiving, plus there are over 15,000 of them on the farm! Did you ever think much about farmers who raise turkeys? It’s a stinky job, literally. When they are pults (that means baby turkey) they are so cute. All kids love to play in the baby turkeys. The building is always warm, and water and feed are automatic. Then, they grow – fast.

Here is Sam with the new baby turkeys last week. In 18 weeks these will be lunch meat!

Big turkeys are ugly, stinky, and mean. Turkey manure reeks of ammonia and many farmers were masks just to breathe in the building and particularly when stirring up the manure. Also, big turkeys get mean. My farmer brother has waders that he wears in the big turkeys to protect his legs from pecking (he finally got these after too many cuts and bruises).

In spite of this, turkey farmers work hard to insure their birds are healthy and comfortable. A lot of time and expensive equipment are required. The meat produced by American turkey farmers is low fat and high protein. This Thanksgiving about 45 million turkeys will be eaten. However, over ½ of the turkey meat consumed is on a sandwich.

Did you know that wild turkeys were first suggested as the national bird? I think the switch to Eagle was wise, though wild turkeys are beautiful. Our family first started raising turkeys in 1956 (I wasn’t much help:). At that time, it was bronze turkeys raised out on the range. Over the years the switch to automated buildings has greatly increased efficiency. Also, the switch to white domestic turkeys came about because colored feathers leak onto the skin and consumers prefer the cleaner looking meat.

Now, as you enjoy your turkey next week you can tell your family a bit of turkey trivia and thank God for farmers!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

'Tis the Season

Deer season that is! Josh has been hunting with his family since he was a youth and has gotten many does and small bucks. His mom has claimed ownership of the biggest buck in the family, an 8 pointer. Yesterday was opening day of shotgun season, and Josh got the "Big Kahuna" as the family calls it. He shot an 11 point buck at dusk. The kids were so excited, and Josh was like a kid on Christmas. His Uncle Mickey shot a 10 pointer earlier in the day on the same land, so there will be lots of deer meat to enjoy this year. (We have many deer here in southern Indiana, just check the auto accident reports in the paper.) Now Sam is getting a deer anatomy lesson!

Josh's buck is unusual because his brow tines, the ones closest to his head, are long and curved. He will look majestic on our wall...I guess!? We believe God had this deer just for Josh. Earlier in the day Josh shot at a small buck and missed, and Josh RARELY misses. God must have misdirected that bullet, because you can only shoot one buck.

Then, just before Josh gave up for the day he saw this buck coming. He could see antlers, but not the size (good thing or he would have gotten too nervous to shoot). The buck was walking a distance away, and heading the other direction. Josh started making noises, rattling antlers together and grunting just to get its attention. He figured since time was running out he better do something. He made more noise than most hunters would, but the deer actually came his way, except he was to the side of Josh, who was in a small tree stand. Finally the deer got close enough and Josh had to shoot sideways. He got him with one shot, but the buck of course took off running.

By the time Josh got down and started tracking it, it was dark in the forest. Our family has shot many a deer and never tracked them down. They have a way of bedding down and dying in impossible places. This deer left very little blood trail, but the guys managed to find him in the dark with flashlights.

The kids and I prayed many times yesterday that the hunters would be safe and God would send deer to them. I am so thankful that God blessed Josh with this deer, not because Josh needed it, but because it was the desire of his heart. Every good and perfect gift comes from the father above.


It is also harvest time. The Lord has given the farmers beautiful weather to work in for the past 2 weeks. Sam got to ride in the neighbors combine yesterday (I was jealous!). They were combing corn next to our farm. The farmers are working LONG hours to bring in the harvest, and our road is busy with grain trucks. The kids love watching the equipment go by, and they are learning where our food comes from.

Some sad news...our dog got hit on the road and killed. She was young, and somewhat annoying, yet I miss her. I am a dog person, but Josh is not. This is not good for our marriage, and maybe God knew this so he spared us further arguments. I can't help it though. I was raised with farm dogs and I just plain like them, even when they make a mess, lick my children, eat our eggs, steal entire pans of brownies, and continually smell like skunk.

We got interesting reactions from the kids upon telling them Maggie's fate. Cora cried and wanted held, and she remained sad for a few days. Sam on the other hand said, and I quote, "I bet she has flies all over her now!" Do you think this child has seen too many dead animals?

Living on a farm offers many opportunities to learn about the brevity of life. In the last three weeks, we lost two chickens to a fox and then one got sick and died. Of course there was the dog and the deer, and three possums who deserved their fate for stealing eggs.

BUT, the farm has tractors and that is Eli's only concern. He LOVES tractors and books. Coincidentally he only looks at his books that have tractors in them. For Christmas I am making him a photo album of farm pictures, mostly our tractors. Here is one photo of him on our old pedal tractor. He enjoys this toy, just ask Cora whom he bit when she tried to get on it!

We are doing a few other homemade gifts for the kids as well. Last year I bought Sam the toys he really wanted from Wally World, and he proceeded to never play with them. So we are trying a new approach. One is homemade marshmallow guns. Here is the pattern we are following, though we haven't done it yet. I think Josh is going to make 5 (he wants one too, which means I will have to armed as well:). We are also making these "I spy bottles". I have all the materials gathered and ready, but we are going to wrap those and let the kids actually put them together.

And here is Cora, because she's beautiful. Maggie, her lost friend was right there beside her this day, and now I wish I hadn't pushed her out of the way for the photo. Any guesses on when we might get another dog? I don't expect one under the Christmas tree...but I think I can convince Josh by spring. After all, he will have his deer in the house, but the dog will be outside.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Active Learning

We do a lot of active learning around here, both because the kids don't sit still and its fun! Here are some of our recent hands-on learning.

We read a magazine article in Kids World News (a great resource that brings current events down to kid level and Biblical perspective) about Cash for Clunkers and gasoline and alternative fuels. Sam got out his remote control car and had to drive it all over the house to letters I laid out. He then had to name the letter and sound. Eli had to be corralled during this b/c he was like Godzilla attacking the car!

On Columbus Day (a little late, I know) we read about him, emphasizing that he felt he was a missionary. We also read a few of his prayers from his journal and the prayer they prayed at land. Then we got out a pan of water, three boats, and straws. Sam and Cora blew the boats all around. Again, Eli had to be taken elsewhere before an Eli hurricane drowned the Nine, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

The kids have been interested lately in cowboys and indians (yes, we are politically incorrect at this time). We got library books and read fiction and non-fiction stories. Then Sam chose to be an Indian for Halloween. We made his vest from scrap leather (one for Eli too). Then Sam went to the chicken house to pick out the nicest feathers for a headdress. A little paint on the face, and he was ready to go! He was very proud to make his costume. Cora, of course, was a cowgirl!

Each year we pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas child, and this year Sam helped. He and I shopped for items for another little boy, and everyone knows that is hard for a 5 year old!We counted the items, and made sure we included a little of everything. We watched videos showing how the boxes go all over the world. And we will pray for the child receiving our box until Christmas. Hopefully, through email they will let us know what country our box goes to also.

Homeschooling is such a blessing! Last week at our home school meeting someone said that the room full of families was a testament to many answered prayers. I had forgotten that for many years I prayed that we would be able to homeschool. God indeed answered my prayer, and I want to thank Him for it often.