Saturday, December 15, 2018

Christmas "morning" with Grama Joni

Joni finally got her for her annual Christmas time at the farm! Her husband had gotten pretty sick on her first scheduled visit so she was forced to delay her trip. But she finally got here. It's a short visit, but we are so excited to have her to ourselves for a few days. Last night (Friday) we opened all our gifts. Here are some photos of our time together: 

Joni passed down this Delft Dutch vase that had been her parents to me. What a prized possession.

I love Isaac's expression in this photo. 

Abigail loves these birds. They make the sound of the bird they are. She is Daddy's top birding partner.
Isaac LOVES matchbox cars. He and his brother and cousin do "tournaments" all the time to see which car is the best racer.

Not even a black eye can stop me and my love of chocolate.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Give thanks with a grateful heart

There are moments that feel absolutely perfect. I managed to capture one of these moments on video. Grama Joni arrived here today. We opened Christmas presents and then she played one of my all-time favorite songs on the piano for me. What a blessing to have this family, this home, these people in my life.

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
Give thanks with a grateful heart (with a grateful heart)
Give thanks to the Holy One (to the Holy One)
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son
Give thanks with a grateful heart (with a grateful heart)
Give thanks to the Holy One (to the Holy One)
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich (I am rich)
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
Give thanks
We give thanks to You

"Rammin' heads" in pictures

Jacob, JB, and myself went out to catch three rams that needed to go to the processor. One of them really didn't want to get caught and tried to jump past me. Only he hit my head. Check out the developments of this nasty bump!

Thursday morning 5 minutes after the incident
Thursday night before bed
Friday morning as soon as I woke up
Selfie on Friday before lunch.
Saturday morning 
Saturday morning

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Allergy lessons learned

"Man, Mom. I've spent my whole life fearing the epi-pen. It isn't really that bad after all." 

The picture above would be the epitome of irony considering what I am going to write about today.

Yesterday we went to one of our favorite places to pick up an easy dinner: Yoder's. It's an Amish/Mennonite family-owned place only a few miles from us. They have fantastic jams and breads and sandwiches and baked goods. 

I always check baked goods to see if they don't have egg when they are available for purchase. It's a habit of mine. Almost all have egg, but I'm always excited to see if I can find a special treat for Isaac that he can eat. It's like a "mission impossible" for me.

Yesterday I found a "Yoder's Special Christmas Cake" at our favorite little store. Check out the label below. You can see that there is no egg listed:

It was expensive, but I considered it worth it. A cake without egg? That never happens. I literally said to myself: "This is too good to be true."

In fact, it was.

So the short story? I bought the cake, went home, fed it to Isaac, and he had a horrid allergic reaction and had to have an epi-pen shot.

The longer story. Well, the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. That still, small voice was telling me: "Don't buy that cake. It's too good to be true."

In fact, I was so nervous about it that I asked two different employees if they could confirm it did not have egg. Their response was a polite: "If it isn't listed, it doesn't have egg."

I read it three times. When I got home, I asked my cousin Hannah Grace to read it too. It did not have egg. I gave Isaac some cake.

Within five minutes of eating it, he became violently ill with diarrhea and vomiting. Three hours later, JB finally decided he needed an epi-pen because he couldn't stop throwing up. 

Today, I drove back to Yoder's. I had my boys and nephew, Gabe, come in with me so they could see how I handled this. I immediately told them I was not angry. I was there to (1) save another person that might stumble into the same error or (2) find out if the cake did not have egg because that would mean Isaac was in fact allergic to something else.

The lady who prints the labels came out to talk to me. She was very kind. She apologized profusely. I told her that I was not angry. I wanted to instead use this to help. (I should have asked for a reimbursement. I'm sure she would have given me one, but I honestly didn't think of it until I was home.) 

While this situation could make anyone angry/frustrated/sad etc., I have decided to teach my children about the positive parts of this story. 

  1. Positive: This was the first allergic reaction that required an epic-pen since 2014! That's four years. 
  2. Positive: Normally, when Isaac eats egg, his airway is impacted. This is, obviously, a serious issue as it could mean he dies. But this time, he began throwing up/diarrhea. While not good, this means that his life is not in nearly as much danger.
  3. Positive: JB was home!
  4. Positive: My husband is a doctor!
  5. Positive: As soon as Isaac received the shot he immediately felt better. In fact he said: "I have spent my whole life fearing that epi-pen shot. It really isn't so bad, and it was totally worth it to feel better." Isaac letting some of his fear go is so fantastic for him.
  6. Positive: The cake did have egg. In fact, the thing that I was the most worried about was that this was not an egg-reaction but that Isaac might have to add something else that he is allergic to. 
  7. Positive: We were given a bit of a "wake-up call" that smaller establishments don't have as many checks and balances to confirm their allergens. We were able to learn this lesson without a serious incident.  
  8. Positive: The Holy Spirit is real! Gosh, when will I learn to listen to that voice?! Another opportunity to be reminded that God is present. 
  9. Positive: I could teach my kids that we don't have to go insane and threaten to sue people who make legitimate errors. While a big mistake, it is still a human error. Humans are just that. And they deserve our kindness. 
  10. Positive: The epi-pen is amazing. Isaac went from writhing (literally!) around in pain to laughing and making jokes and smiling within one minute. We instantly knew it was an allergy because of how much better he was so fast.
Of course, I was doing all this was a HUGE egg on my head ... check out this photo below: 

I'll save that story for tomorrow ...

The Disease of Entitlement

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

Happy TribeLife Tuesday! I hope these words find you well.

Today I want to share with you a pain I feel for a growing epidemic. This epidemic is spreading and there is an antidote but it seems as though many reject it. This epidemic is called Entitlement and it is a disease that can and will rot the soul of humanity.

Entitlement is the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. It’s a dangerous disease and it is threatening the life of the overwhelming majority of our country. As I look back over our history as a nation (the USA, that is) the disease has seemed to grow the most over the last quarter century give or take a few years. This craving for recognition, acceptance by others above all else, unaddressed pain points from former generations, etc. are spreading this sickness.

There are real, inhumane, gross, tragic things have happened in our country and around the world. Things that no society should ever have to endure. But how can we acknowledge those injustices and move forward with hope and courage?

We wrestle- wrestle with the pain. It’s ok to be hurt and not have an answer to let pain take it’s course. It will heal over time. Next, we honor - we honor those who suffered. I have found one of the most effective ways to keep my view accurate view is Honor. It’s a beautifully humbling experience for the giver and delightful gift for the receiver. Lastly, we forgive- we forgive those who have inflicted pain on us whether directly or indirectly, because if we don’t we create the perfect breeding ground for entitlement. Practically this may not look like you reaching out to every person who has ever hurt and telling them you’re fine. This resolution is for you. Release them from your brain space and say it out loud. I forgive you __________ for _________. This is a powerful way to build your immune system against entitlement.

And then they’re are our VITAL, DAILY antidotes:

  • Thankfulness for what you have and for the future
  • Gratitude for who you have around 
  • Kindness to strangers 
  • Empathy for another
  • Serving to someone who needs your help
These undoubtedly will keep this disease of entitlement at bay. 

We all carry the disease it’s a matter of how much of you, that you allow to be consumed. In our western culture we have been afforded a lot of opportunities and I personally can overlook that at times as a right. It’s not. It’s a gift to be treated as such. 

Tell us, what is one way you fight the disease of entitlement?

See you next week,


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Glorious Table: Play for Christ

I had the great honor of writing another post for The Glorious Table! Enjoy!

Play for Christ By: Wendi Kitsteiner

While my family was living on a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic (my husband was in the Air Force at the time, and we were stationed there), my two little boys started taking tennis lessons. They were four and five. Very little. But we thought it was a good opportunity.
We wanted them to work on hand-eye-coordination and listening skills and following instructions and waiting for their turn. We were planning to homeschool the following year, and we planned to incorporate a sport and a musical instrument into our curriculum.
Although, I am a former college basketball player, I was hesitant to get my kids involved in athletics too young. I attended some soccer and t-ball games for five-year-olds, and it seemed like a lot of effort for little return. So many practices. So many games. Uniforms and cleats. Snack requirements. And then, during the game, it seemed the kids were more interested in picking flowers or playing with their friends on the sidelines than they were about kicking a ball.
Then I heard about tennis lessons. We loved the idea. No games. No parents yelling from the stands. No being out multiple nights a week. Instead, just two one-hour lessons a week. Isaac and Elijah were both in the same group. Five Portuguese kids and my boys. A Portuguese coach who could speak decent English. It sounded perfect.
To read the rest of this article, please jump over to the post at THE GLORIOUS TABLE. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Wetlands at home!

"There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent." Ghandi

JB is planning to put a wetlands on our farm. Yesterday, he did a science unit discussing this with our six oldest homeschoolers. Whenever he is off on one of our two school days each week, he tries to do a science unit with the kids. They always love it. He even let each of them design what they want the wetlands on our farm to look like. He said he's going to take their designs and come up with a master plan.

I love when JB is off of work, and he can take sometime to work with our kiddos. There are moments when I love homeschooling. 

Today, he is back at work, but the sun is out, the snow is melting, and we were able to get out and sled!