Monday, July 11, 2011

Kitties and Weeds...

We have kittens in the house once again...we love kittens, and so far we've let each of the girls, once they are 16, get their own cat, let them have 1 - 2 batches of kittens, and then get her fixed (all on their own budget).  So this year it's Rebekah.  She picked out her kitten from a friends house just over a years ago.  Her name is "Sweet Tea"...but it sounds like "Sweetie".

We named her that in honor of our first kitten, who was really Jeremy's cat, as this cat looks so much like she did!

Here are some recent kitty photos:

As you can see, these are going to be very mellow kittens, used to lots of handling!  

This year we had oodles of rain this spring, and very few days of sun, so I was not able to do any weeding in my flower gardens so far this year, as I used the sunny days to work on putting in more back yard that is mow-able!  So, this week I'm tackling the weeding and I had one weed I've been watching....and I think we had some kind of uranium leak in the back yard or something...this is some kind of freak of nature:

I have no idea what this is, but it looks to be from the thistle was over 10 feet tall!  It had a small root base so it came out easily.  Anyone have any ideas???

I'll try to share some "after" photos of the gardens...I'm hoping to get some new plants from the friend who is re-doing her flower gardens and has invited me to come and take anything I plants!!!  God's providence is amazing!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Photos Galore!

I was editing my new blogs and realized that I haven't done any family blogging in a while!  So here is a photo extravaganza to catch you all up on the happenings around here over the past 3 months or so!

We have a batch of 4 new kittens!
I think this little guys is a little freaked out!

Today was their first bath - I think she's just plain worn out...
I've been making soap - learned so much, but taking a break for the summer

Some of my early creations!

We've been playing lots of backyard a bat given to us that makes it possible!

lawnmower driving lessons (there's a tow rope there)

set up the pool in mid May
everybody enjoyed getting the pool up!

Esther has figured out how to get into the peanut better jar!

Even Mandy helped Daryl practice his pitching!

My mother came to stay for 2 1/2 weeks!

We hosted a family reunion!

the wiener roast at the reunion
my mom and I as we said farewell
trampoline + water balloons = way too much fun!
And Lastly, here's a little treat - Esther unloading the dryer - I had to first find her, discover her doing this, find the camera and get these shots before she saw me...a miracle to say the least!

Three New Blogs!

I have decided to start a blog just about Esther - her story is so special, and so often I refer people to my blog just to read about our adventures with Esther, so now I have them all in one place (they are all still here as well). And now I can do updates that relate to just her and blog about family events and my opinions etc here!  Today I blogged about her last year's challenges, and her current health challenges and milestones, and included a ton of new photos!

Esther's Story

I've also created a brand new blog called "My Daughters".  There I am going to write letters to my daughters about how to become a godly woman, and to prepare to be a supportive wife, devoted mother and inspired homemaker!  It am still learning, but I want to pass on what I have learned and am learning to both my biological daughters as well as my spiritual daughters!  So far I have posted an introduction of why I created the blog and what I hope to accomplish with it!

My Daughters,

Lastly, I have begun to blog about God's grace and faithfulness in our lives, but the more I thought about it, I wanted these posts to be all together in one place...I hope to make it into a book someday anyway, so I started a blog for these posts:

God's Faithfulness in Our Lives

I hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Leaning on my own Understanding

During the summer of my fourth year of life, my parents went camping way up in the in the hills that are part of Mt Rainier.  The area is pristine and the amenities are few and far between.  My father would go hunting in the fall, using old logging roads and hiking trails, and just plain hiking through the woods.  He would take a huge army salvage tent and stay up there for a week or two at a time.  Some years he'd come home with some meat for the freezer, other years no meat, but he'd also scouted out new places to camp or the perfect Christmas tree!  So our family had gone camping to one of the wonderful campgrounds that my father had scoped and had spent a wonderful week camping together.  The only part of that camping trip that I remember is being swung around in the hammock by the big kids (wrapped up like a mummy).  I was the baby of the family, and at 4 that meant my siblings were 10, 12, 14 and 16.  The hammock might have been from another camping trip, but that is the earliest memory of camping that I have.

On the trip home, we were driving past an area that had a large lake, and out past some mud flats there were these cool dome shaped islands, but they were only separated by little streams of water.  The older kids thought it would be fun to go play on them, a nice break in the long trip home.  My parents agree with them.  The kids wanted to take me with them, but my parents were very unsure if that was a prudent thing to do, as it could be dangerous for a 4 year old to be playing around the edge of a lake.  But they convince them that they would take great care of me, not to worry.  Reluctantly, they agreed.  So while they rested in the car, they watched their 5 children walk across the mudflats (the mudflats looked the size of a football field, but I was only 4, so it might have been smaller, but still a ways).
Mark and Beth were holding my hands, and we crossed what was like a small stream that was going around the first "island".  We scouted around that mound and from the backside they could see more mounds, and one that looked very interesting, but the kids thought it wouldn't be a good idea for me to cross to the other mound (I don't remember why), so they told me to sit on a stump and wait for them...they made it very clear to me that I was not to move, for any reason.  I am sure I promised to obey.  So I sat there for a while, watching them make their way to the next mound/island.  Then they disappeared over the mound and I was alone, all alone.  So I started to take in my surroundings, the lake, the other mounds, the water swirling around the mound I was on.
While watching the water, it began to look like my island was moving....swirling with the water...moving away from the shore.  I was sure that my island was floating away into the lake!  If I waited any longer the little stream that we waded through to get to this island would be too big to cross!  I yelled for the other kids, but they couldn't hear me.  I began to panic!  I decided that I needed to get off that island right now.
I ran back to the other side and ran right down to the stream that I thought we had crossed...only in my little 4 years old mind, I had not remembered things all that clearly and did not stop to look into the water.  Instead of a few inches of water, I was suddenly in over my head.  I had this jacket on, a down jacket.  It floated up under my arms and held me afloat, but I couldn't do anything.  And the water was taking me away from my parents, who I could see now standing outside our car.  They were waving their arms, and then my Dad started running down to the mud flats, but he didn't get far....he stopped moving...why oh why wasn't my daddy coming to save me!
From my parents perspective, they suddenly saw me run down and into the water and then all they could see was my head.  As you can imagine, they panicked and started yelling for the kids - and then my dad decided he needed to get out there to save me.  The only problem was that those mud flats which we children walked across were not able to hold up an dad sunk up to his knees in the must have seemed like a nightmare!  He couldn't get to me no matter how hard he tried.  But then, in God's providence, he used a skill taught to him when he was just a child - he whistled.  My dad could whistle louder than anyone I have ever known.  He used to whistled to call us kids home and we could hear it inside the homes of our friends, even a block away.  There was no way that the kids would hear my father shouting, but they would hear his whistle...his whistle was the only thing that could bring the help that was needed to keep my from drowning.
I heard that whistle...and it wasn't long before my sibling came running back to me and found me drifting towards the lake, with an almost saturated jacket.
Mark pulled me out of the water, and carried me over to the shallow crossing and across that plain of mudflats.  Back to my loving parents who wrapped me in a warm towel and their love.  They stripped off my wet clothes and dressed me in warm dry clothes.  I really don't remember anything else past this, but the rest of this memory is vivid and clear as though it happened yesterday.
God saved my life that day...the days numbered for me to spend on this earth were not finished yet, and no watery grave could thwart the plan of God for my life.  God in His sovereignty taught my father to whistle when he was young, He had my father use his whistle to call his children - and his children knew that when Dad whistled, you came running, no matter what, right away.
I had "leaned on my own understanding".  Even when I had been told to stay where I was, I did not listen to the wisdom of those older and wiser than me, and I paid the consequences of following my own way.  My family suffered much anguish because of my folly.
God is good, God is loving, God is involved, God is in control, God is wise.  When I lean on my own understanding, and follow my own way, I can get lost, I can get into deep watery places that I can not get out of on my own.  But God will always hunt me down, find me, bring me back, and wrap me in His loving arms.  He will use these times to teach, mold, and make me like His Son.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
 And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
  And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6