Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Recent Hannah Videos

Hannah has learned to give hugs on command -- and clap -- and fall over -- ha!

Hannah demonstrating how utterly impossible it is to keep the house picked up.

Hannah trying to escape up the stairs but getting stuck int he process and then running away.

Hannah trying to get away again -- and demonstrating her so cute chattering!

Isaac comes home!

This morning, Sidge got out of bed and dressed himself just like this. He came up to me and said, "I'm ready to go pick up Isaac and Joni from the airport Mom!" 

Do you think he is a little excited?

In fact, we are all VERY excited -- not only to have our biggest brother home but to get to spend a few days with our Joni too!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Stranger

I recently read this piece on a circulating email chain, and it really jumped out at me. We have chosen to not have TV in our house. Living without cable seems challenging, but once you do it for awhile, you really get used to it, and truthfully, other than the Olympics and some major sporting events, I don't miss it. However, we are still inundated with other technological influences: movies and Facebook and iPad apps. All those normal things. It feels like there are continual decisions regarding technology and outside influences. This piece really put this into perspective for me.

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on. 

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche.  My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger... he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind. 

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of  us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.) 

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them.  Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home - not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long time visitor,
 however, got away with four-letter words that burned my  ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol but the  stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished.

He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments  were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked
 And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved  in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first.
 Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and 
watch him draw his pictures.

His name?.... We just call him 'TV.'

(Note: This should be required reading for every household!)

He has a wife now....we call her 'Computer.' Their first child is "Cell Phone".

Second child "I Pod "


Turkish Pashminas

I am once again selling Turkish Pashminas as a fundraiser for Because of Isaac. I am selling each of these for $25 (mailed) or $20 (hand delivered). 

These are the ten colors I have available right now. 

Left column from top: pink, dark green, light purple, hot pink, deep purple
Right column from top: white, blue, red, yellow, light green

These are fantastic for winter and would also make great Christmas gifts. 

100% of proceeds goes directly to the adoption of Joel & Criss. 

Friday Funnies

I told Abigail she had to take five more bites of her cereal. "But Mom," she said. "That'll take all day long." Then she said, "I only know how to take three bites."


Isaac does not like to see x-rays or the insides of the human body. Pictures of organs have always bothered him. He got sick in Vermont and Joni took him to the emergency room due to the virus that is spreading around. They told him they needed a chest x-ray. "Okay," he said, "As long as I don't need to see it."


Sidge calls scrambled eggs jiggled eggs. He also calls instructions ... destructions. While I sort of correct these now and then, I find them both charming and sort of let them say him -- knowing that when I fix that, I'll be fixing the last of his childhood silliness.

But this morning, I couldn't help but laugh out loud when he said, "Do you have the destructions to make jiggled eggs?"


When discussing the fact that Sidge was half Daddy and Mommy, he asked me, "Which half is which?" I pressed him to figure out what he meant. "I mean," he began. "Which half of my body is from Daddy? And which half is from you?" I explained that the parts were all mixed together!


Sidge: "Mom, why do cows wear bells?"
Me: "So the farmer can hear them I think."
Sidge: "No, because their horns don't work."

I think you'd call that a burrrrnnnn ....

Review: God's Great Creation

With boys just entering kindergarten, I have become a huge fan of the "I Can Read!" series. They are not expensive to buy, and they offer fantastic opportunities for my boys to practice reading by presenting topics that are educational and/or something they will enjoy.

This level 2 I Can Read! book is designed for newly independent readers and is based on the Adventure Bible. I found this particular book: God's Great Creation to be incredibly well done. The story was completely Biblical and the word choice presented my boys the ability to instantly dive in and be able to read this on their own. The illustrations were incredibly well done. Overall, I really don't have any additional suggestions for how this book could be improved.

It will definitely be a very welcome and used asset in our kid's library!

Booklook Bloggers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

We bought a farm?

I don't want to put the cart before the horse.

But it appears we may have bought a farm.

For those of you who have just been itching to see and learn more about our farm, I have included two very short videos to hopefully quench your thirst just a bit. This first video starts with a view of the two little homes that we will also own. (They will need some work to get them ready to be inhabited.) Then you will see our home and garage come into view:

In this one, you see our house come into view in the middle:

I have been keeping things very quiet about location and details of this farm. The reason is that, well, first of all, it isn't a done deal yet. We have agreed upon a price with the owners. Now we have all the inspection stuff to get through.

The second reason is that because JB and I both maintain such public blogs, we don't want to broadcast where we are living for all to read online. You won't ever read where this farm is on my blog. (But if you ask me personally, I will tell you!)

But we are pretty stinkin' sure that this might be our forever home!

It is about four hours from where we are living now, and we would move there permanently next summer.

In the meantime, a dream that was hatched inside my husband back when we lived in Kentucky, early in our marriage, is coming to pass. It was during some times of boredom that he wandered into a public library, picked up a book on permaculture and farming, and the rest, they say, is history.

Someone suggested on Facebook that I detail the whole we bought a farm thing in a book.

I'm not sure about that. But I do plan to detail it on our blog.

I am a city girl.

Well, not like a big city girl, but a never-lived-without-someone-right-next-door type of girl.

And now, we are about to buy a home on 100 acres -- on land where you can't even see a neighbor in the foothills of the smokies.

(Yes, you can see the ridge on a clear day!)

How do I feel?

I'm not really sure. Excited mostly. So happy for my husband as well. All I need is a happy place to raise my children. But he needed this land. His soul and spirit and whole being has been counting the years and months and days and hours and minutes until he could move out of suburbia and begin practicing permaculture.

When he was in medical school and stuck in a twelve hour surgery, he told me he'd simply plan his farm. That he passed the minutes thinking and planning for this day.

And we are almost there.

We have many visions for this land. (Okay, so mostly he has the visions and I listen intently and pipe in when I actually can comprehend what he is saying. He's really smart if you didn't know.) We don't know exactly what visions will become a reality and what the Lord will direct us away from. We know that we want the Lord to use this land. We can see using it for education and ministry for missionaries and other individuals. We can see it being a peaceful refuge and an oasis in this world. And we trust that if we follow HIS leading, He will show us which way to go.

In the meantime, I'll keep you posted, and most likely, you will begin to see posts entitled We Bought a Farm -- volumes and volumes!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Visitors to our home in TN

When I lived on Eglin AFB, I kept track of the visitors we had to our home.  There really wasn't great need to keep track of visitors to Turkey or the Azores. They were very few as we were VERY far away.

But now that we are back in the States and life is starting to slip into more of a routine, we have begun to be open to having visitors. We are still trying to keep the bites small -- small stays and a laid back adventure while they are here -- in order to not overwhelm ourselves. But we have not seen many of the friends and family we love dearly in over four years. Lots of catching up to do.

So I will continue to update this blog post each time we have someone from our past stop in and see us -- if only for a few hours. Here's what we got so far:

JULY 2014
In July of 2014 our friends Nick and Kristy and their three boys stopped in to see us on their way to a musical festival. They only spent a quick lunch with us, but it was still so wonderful to get to see them. Nick and Kristy were one year ahead of us in residency and we were therefore together in Eglin, Turkey AND the Azores! Nick isn't pictured here but he'd probably prefer it that way.

Just yesterday, JB's childhood friend Craig and his beautiful wife and children stopped in to see us for a night. They are an Air Force family as well and were going on TDY (basically a short assignment) and were passing through. It had been YEARS since we saw them. Erin and I have never actually been friends -- we've only just seen each other on periodic visits, but we both agree that we would be VERY good friends if life crossed our paths. She is one awesome lady!

How awesome to have my mom's sister: Janet, come and visit us for a few days. It was so wonderful to catch up with her. Her son has a home not far from where we are looking at moving with our new farm. So I'm hopeful I can see her and my Uncle Ed more.

So technically they didn't visit us at our home. Instead, they met us about 4 hours away for a little visit while we were farm shopping. But oh to see Michelle after so long! Can't believe there are seven kids between us now. And what sweet kids they are. Hershal and Michelle will always hold a very dear place in my heart, and it was wonderful to share our hopeful new farm home with them FIRST!

Technology and kiddos

Back in January, I wrote a blog post entitled: "Why my kids won't be on technology in public." 

I have found some additional blog posts which I have really enjoyed that sort of "back up" what I feel about technology.
I want to make it clear that I do not think kids should not use electronics. My kids definitely use them in limited fashion and appropriately. I had a friend tell me that electronics were "in her tool bag" and I really liked how she put that. It is one tool that you can use for your children, but it shouldn't make up the entirety of their entertainment.

Final Offer?

The owners of the farm we went to buy have been going back and forth with us. We make an offer and they make a re-offer. Yesterday, we made what we think might be a final offer! JB hired a casual friend to do an overview of the land just to make sure that John wasn't missing anything. The friend thought it was a great location to set up a permaculture farm. So ... now we wait a little bit more. But most likely, this week, we should know if we are buying this place! Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Well, I am home!

Our little Isaac is not, and man do we miss him around here. I think Sidge took it especially hard when I cam home without Isaac. He really misses his "Irish Twin." 

However, I did come with presents (from Joan) for those kiddos who didn't get to go to Vermont. That seemed to make it all better. Here you go:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pics from Vermont

Here are some pictures from the three days I got to hang with Isaac and Roy and Joni in Vermont.

Our plane arriving

A picture of Isaac on his way to hug Joni

This is Bri's aunt Marilyn and her cousin Kelli -- they were huge supporters of the recent auction and are checking their amounts owed in this picture. Kelli has had her school class support BOI in the past as well. I haven't seen her since I was a teenager so it was wonderful to see her again.

My blue eyed boy.

Aunt Alice, Aunt Marilyn, me, Kelli with Braxton (front), Isaac and Zeek.

Another snap

Out on the lake after some chocolate milk.

Can you get much better than lounging, on a deck, on a lake, in the early fall, while waiting for your streak to be cooked?

Isaac and Andre Agassi -- Isaac is one of the few children Andre has time for.

Showing off his Superhero "stuff".

Today we went to Jay's Peak. It is an indoor waterpark at a ski resort about an hour from Roy and Joan's home. It was tons of fun!

Let them play

I love this article encouraging parents to just let their kids play! This is specifically talking about

"Unscheduled, unsupervised, playtime is one of the most valuable educational opportunities we give our children. It is fertile ground; the place where children strengthen social bonds, build emotional maturity, develop cognitive skills, and shore up their physical health. The value of free play,  daydreaming, risk-taking, and independent discovery have been much in the news this year, and a new study by psychologists at the University of Colorado reveals just how important these activities are in the development of children’s executive functioning."

Get them outside!

Let them play!

"Parents, if you really want to give your kid a head start on coming school year, relinquish some of that time you have earmarked for lessons or sports camp and let your children play. That’s it. Just play. Grant them time free from your ulterior motives and carefully planned educational outcomes. Let them have dominion over their imaginary kingdoms while their evil dragons, white wizards, marauding armies, and grand battles for supremacy unfurl according to their whims and wills."