Welcome to our little home on the web

We are glad you stopped by, we hope you are blessed, and enjoy your stay. We discuss a little bit of everthing here, from homeschool, parenting, adoption, farming, our faith, and our plain lifestyle. May God Bless Your Day!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Strawberry picking

The children and I spent a delightful 2 1/2 hours picking berries Saturday morning.
I remember the sweet, delightful aroma of fresh-picked berries from my childhood-either the large, domestic berries I would help my mom pick and clean and eat, or the itsy, bitsy little ones I would pick in the ditches with my Grandpa and Grandma. I could always smell them along the dusty country dirt road when it was time to pick them in June, and Grandpa and I would head out with our ice cream bucket, and see who could find them without stepping on them. The best part was the eating them in Grandma's red kitchen, with fresh cream poured over them and dunking fresh bread into the strawberry and cream mixture-ummm!
Sweet memories of picking with mom at all the u-pick patches also flooded my memory today, and I wanted to provide the same fun and memories for my children. Even though we have berries in our garden, we don't get enough at one time to do them up and freeze a bunch, but I do get enough for all the fresh eating we want, along with pies, shortcakes, and fresh with yogurt. I will also use my own berries for making jams this week.
But for the big job of freezing mashed berries for winter shortcakes and Angel Food cakes, I opted for the u-pick patch run by our friends with the greenhouse.
Tyler entertained himself for a long time with his trike, and then once the owner's girls came out to join us, of course he wanted to be right in the middle of things too-and he and the 4 yr old friend then entertained themselves with wayyyy too many strawberries for a mid-morning snack-despite mom's attempts from 5 rows away to remind him he was probably full, he decided to keep eating, and wasn't long and he had a tummy ache.
We had to laugh at him though-the tell-tale signs of strawberry over-indulgence were everywhere-face, shirt, hands-he was literally covered in strawberry juice!
Kendell, Nick and I managed to pick 40 pounds-about 6 full 1 1/2 gallon icecream buckets-and after paying for them, and returning home with our stash of berries, promptly put Tyler in bed-actually he put himself in bed-where he slept for an hour, and woke up telling me "Mama, owwie all gone" after patting his little tummy, and heading to the bowl of berries I was in the process of cleaning.

I LOVE berries, but after hulling and washing berries for FOUR hours, I was a bit tired of looking at them, and was very glad to get the last container finished before the frozen pizzas were done in the oven. The angel food cake from the Amish at my morning's visit to the Farmer's Market was cut and ready for fresh mashed berries and Schwans ice cream, and I had 5 1/2 gallon containers froze, as well as a 5 pound cottage cheese container-and I was thinking-No, I don't need to pick more berries-we will make jams with whatever we get off our own patch.

They will taste really good though this winter!!



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma and Grandpa Nelson

Well, how cool is that when your mom marries someone who has the same birthday??? At least I am assured to never forget my Step-Dad's birthday that way!
Happy Birthday Mom-I love you, we all love you. I am glad you are not selling real estate any more, especially with the craziness of this year-Grandma's death, cleaning her house, Lee's health and now selling Grandma's house-the only problem with all this is, we never get to see you!! But, we know you are busy, and we are planning on a visit to Ripon and Berlin in August-so beware, we will be heading over there soon enough, but hopefully we see you sometime between now and then.

This picture was taken the day of my Grandma's Memorial Service in May
Sorry Grandpa Lee, I did not have time to find a new picture of you and all 3 kiddos-this was already on the computer, so for the sake of time, I settled for this one, even though it must be 4 years old-if not 5!!
We wanted to wish you a happy birthday today too!! We love you, and certainly hope the doctors get to the bottom of all these health concerns soon. You are in our thoughts and prayers every day, and we are continually lifting you up to God for healing, strength and God's peace throughout all of this.

I am very blessed to have both parents still living, and they both have remarried and have spouses we all love and enjoy being around. Our only real dilemma is that they are almost 2 hours away, and while that is do-able-it is still tough with the daily demands of the farm-

but this summer, we have determined that each month we are taking an overnight away from the farm-our sanity and our family are at stake, and WE NEED TO DO THIS!!!

So, hopefully our July visit will be with family and friends in Black Rive Falls, where we lived for the first 16 years of our marriage, and Chuck grew up. Our June trip to the Dells was such a success for all of us, family time and away time, that we are really hoping it will work out each month to continue this!

Well, time to make breakfast for my family-Hope Mom and Lee have a wonderful day on the golf course, playing, not working, and enjoy your special day together.


Chris and family

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Today is Tuesday, and I am participating in a meme "In Other Words Tuesday". The host for this week's quotation is Deborah at Chocolate and Coffee-stop on over and see what everyone else is writing about, as we ponder persevering.

By perseverence, the snail reached the ark.

By Charles Spurgeon

Now, I would really like to read the book Spurgeon wrote that quote in, as I love his work, his preaching-it is deep, it is thoughht-provoking, and I am sure I can not do this justice tonight, but here are my thoughts on persevering.
When we think of persevering, we think of enduring, of sticking to it, following through, finishing, hanging on, patience and steadfastness, as well as triumphing over any hardships, trials or left turns that may occur along the way.
I think, by nature, I am a stick-to-it person. I dig my heels in, I hang on by my last thread, and I will not give up unless I know I absolutely have to. Some people also call this bull-headedness, but I prefer tenacious myself.
However, in view of God's Word, and how He speaks of persevering, it may not always be a "fast" finish-like the snail, that moves ever so slowly, it could be a life-time of hanging on, a month, a year, a season-whatever it is that God has called us to do, He will also enable us to finish, if we but TRUST in HIM!!
I guess the thought that comes to mind with hangin' in there is-if we totally trust God, if we totally believe that He has led us a certain direction, if we totally sell out to Him and say, "Yes Lord-I will take it"-then how can we NOT persevere???
How can we just decide-this is too tough, too hard, too long, too painful, too....... and walk away from what God has placed in our path for a specific reason???
Life is not about starting the race, and then not finishing it. It is about following through, answering the call He places on our hearts, and then hangin' on, because when you are sold out to God, there is no telling the places He may take you, but, the key is finding joy, contentment, and peace along the journey!!
Blessings in Him

Friday, June 20, 2008

Vacation time at Wisconsin Dells

We have officially been on our first vacation since we got Tyler home with us. We made it away from the farm for a total of 30 hours, and we are thankful for the employees we have that gave us this chance to spend a lot of together just having FUN!!
We only traveled 1 hour away, and we happened to choose a touristy hot spot for Wisconsin, but it is sooo handy, there are sooo many things to do, and we all love to play in the water, so finding a good motel with a nice waterpark type pool is usually going to be a hit with our family. We chose the Wisconsin Dells because of their unique attractions, it is close to us, and it was unseasonably cool (mid 70's compared to last year's 90's) so it was not so very busy.
We started out Wednesday afternoon with a picnic lunch at the Hillsboro City Park, which was a grand way to begin our day-we have not had a picnic in forever, so we all appreciated the quiet, shaded beauty of the little park in our own town. On our way to the Dells, we drove through some flood-ravaged areas of the country-we were hit with torrential rains 2 weekends ago-around 10 inches-and while we in Hillsboro had a lot of high water, we had nothing compared to the people south of us in Reedsburg-the entire city was nearly under water, and when we drove through on our way, there were endloaders cleaning up all the stuff that has been taken out of the houses to be trashed-tvs, computers, couches, beds, EVERYTHING!! You could see by the mud marks on the homes how hight the water had been-we were humbled and thankful for no loss of life, and I found myself thinking-"how do they just go out and start buying everything all over again? what about the pictures, personal memories, things that are irreplaceable?"
It was a good reminder to us to not think about ourselves so much, there are always people who have things more challenging than anything we are dealing with.
Once at the Dells-the water park capital of the US, we found a motel with a nice pool/ and a free breakfast-and proceeded to our favorite spot-the Deer Park!
It is a huge wooded area with European Deer in one section, American White Tails in another, you buy expensive Rye crackers to feed them-they literally eat it out of your hand, and there were many baby fawns there this time of year. We have been there in the fall before, and they have all the daddy dear penned up as it is usually breeding season, but this time of year, they were all running with the does, and we found it incredible to feel their soft velvety antlers, feel their soft nuzzley noses, and rub their muscled backs.
We are always delighted with the personalities of the deer. Some are quite demanding, and will not take "No" for an answer after they have eaten their share, they will nose into your pockets, hands, anything, to find some more to eat, and some are quite tentative, hanging back and twitching their little noses in the air, begging for a few pieces to be thrown to them.
The children thoroughly enjoy feeding and petting them, and Mom and Dad really enjoy this as well.

Next, we stopped at one of the original Dells attractions-it was originally designed as a frontier-type park 30-40 years ago-and there are several Indian shops where souveniors are sold-trinkets, junk, stuff that tourists buy-but the kids were excited to see what a teepee would have been like from the Laura and Mary days-they both read Little House books and love the 1800's time-period.

After a really nice meal at Ponderosa-a typical fast-food steak house with a great buffet, we headed to the motel for the coveted swimming time. We chose a quieter/smaller pool, and we were very blessed with being the only ones there during both of our swim times. The children splashed and played, and Tyler was one big smile the entire time.
I was particularly thrilled to see my 2 older children catering to Tyler's every need, and foregoing their own fun on the bigger slide to make sure he was enjoying himself-and in turn, they ALL enjoyed themselves immensely.

After a really good night's sleep-11 hours-and a good breakfast and more pool time, and a nap for Tyler, we headed out to enjoy a few more exploits. Another Wis Dells attraction is the Ducks. They are aquatic/land mobiles that were actually used in WWII. They give you a little tour of the area, and float through the Wisconsin River, and the driver gives you a little folklore about the area. I have always enjoyed this, and I think all 3 children enjoyed it this year as well.

Here we are standing on a bridge that used to cross Dells Creek-up until 2 weeks ago, there was water everywhere, but with the huge rains we had on June 6th and 7th, tragedy struck the Dells.

A huge section of Lake Delton shoreline washed away, taking the 267 acre lake with it into the Wisconsin River. Lake Delton and Dells Creek are now dry, and the remains are a soggy, muddy mess of debris, houseboats and pontoons, and 4 $500,000 homes that washed away with the shoreline. The 20 resorts around the lake are going to be hurting this summer, as well as one of the area's top tourist draws, the Tommy Bartlett waterski show-they cancelled their summer schedule and let all their skiers go so they could find summer employment somewhere else. The photo below was taken from our Duck seats while in the Wis River.
This photo shows the pines growing out of the sides of the very porous sand stone that is along this secion of the Wisconsin River. There are only 4 places in the world where this type of sandstone is.

This is a rock-outcropping called Hawk's Beak-of course, there is Indian folklore that goes along with the rocks, but I will settle for showing pictures

Here is may family standing next to one of the Ducks. They are quite a sight to see running up and down the roads of the Dells, and we enjoyed our 1 hr tour through streets, wooded areas, we even saw 3 deer and a turtle, and the water tour on the River.
Overall, I would say we had a wonderful time away from the farm, and are looking forward to another little getaway next month, as we have decided each month we need a little away time, family time, and we just aren't going to get that kind of quality time if we stay home every day and tend to the farm.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thankful Thursday-abundant life

Today is Thankful Thursday, and my list of thankfuls begins with my dear husband. My trusted friend, my lover, my hard-working, yet playful partner for life. He is burdened with many thoughts and worries about the farm, feed prices, and milk production, yet he is trusting God and desiring to give his anxieties to the One who can bear them better than we can. May he turn his eyes upon Jesus, and keep them there, even when the cares of this world do become a huge weight on his shoulders.

My next blessing this week is for my youngest son. Tyler has only been a part of the family for 3 months, but he has become firmly entrenched in our hearts and lives. He padded out of his nigh-night earlier than ever this morning, gave me a sleep grin and a "Hi Mama", then proceeded to climp up on my lap, lay in my arms, and I was so blessed by our quiet time together this morning before the older children got up.
My next thankful is for my dear aunt and uncle-I spent the day yesterday traveling 5 hours round trip to spend the day with them at my Grandma's house-they are preparing to head back to Colorado via Mayo Clinic. My Auntie Marlie has had rheumatoid arthritis for most of her adult life, has become severely crippled with the arthritis, but is still a smiley, cheerful, loving woman who loves her family and her Lord. Last year on their Wis trip, they also stopped at Mayo Clinic, and she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. This year, they are hoping to determine how far it has progressed. Praying for it being at a standstill!!!!
I am also thankful for rainy days that encourage us to slow down a bit and find some quiet time to rest and refuel.

I am thankful for God's protection during last weekend's storms-no power for 15 hours, flash floods roaring through our area, dams giving out, yet no loss of life! Praise God!

I am also thankful for our employees-without them, I would not have been in the house this morning to enjoy the rare, quiet side of my littlest son, or be inside when the thunder awoke the sleeping 9 year olds 30 minutes later.

I am blessed by the opportunity to be a wife, mother, friend, daugther, and to have the choice every day to speak life and encouragement to many women who read my words here, or on the email groups.

This morning, my time in the Word was spent dwelling on Jesus' words in John 10 where He speaks of being our Good Shepherd-and how He has come so that we might have life, and have it abundantly. I had to pause for many minutes and meditate upon that phrase-abundant life. We live in the land of abundance, we have abundant food, entertainment, choices, job opportunities, homes, etc, and yet, that is not the abundant He is speaking of. But how easy it is to get caught up in thinking those abundants should make us happy.
I want to strive today to focus on the abundants that we have that are not tangible, that we can't hold in our hand-His peace, His love, His grace, His salvation. Also, family, their love, their support and encouragement. Also, His Word, and how it never fails to amaze me how whenever I read my Bible, I come away with a nugget of truth I can hold onto for the day.
Join others on this Thankful Thursday at Iris' blog. See what other women are thankful for, and enlarge your own world as you contemplate how Good God is, ALL THE TIME!!
Blessings in His Name

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tyler Pictures

Our little guy loves that thumb yet, and when he is ready to crash, it doesn't matter what is going on around him. Here, he decided to use his big sis's chair to take a 5 while we were CLEANING the basement, and cleaning is definitely NOT Tyler's favorite thing to do!
Tyler finally konked out on the way home on one of our recent 2 1/2 hr journeys-leg cocked over the side of the chair, insisting on a pillow behind his head, and thumb barely still in his mouth, but he slept, and for that, we were thankful.
Notice the stance on the stool?? He doesn't think the stool gets him high enough while brushing his teeth-he needs to use the sides to reach higher-typical boy-Nick always did that too!

This is what we call the "side-lip look" and it is always accompanied with a pained look in his eyes-it occurs usually when he is being scolded about something, and you would think you have just broken his heart-but we also see it when he really doesn't like something-like his first haircut

Here is Tyler and Katurah taking a rest from all their hard work Friday night while we were potting mums-prop your feet up, ask for a naynay (drink) and something to eat, and enjoy each other's company!! The picture really doesn't do them justice-they were actually both covered in potting soil

Here are Tyler and Nick and Ken at their first time of DRESS UP-Tyler was wearing some of Kendell's doll's clothes, and they all had a blast showing off for Momma and Daddy
my 3 little darlings at the Hein's greenhouse earlier in May for a homeschool fieldtrip-hard to say what is cuter, the flowers, or my children!!
Another greenhouse we visited had a trike with a back seat-and of course Tyler had to enjoy the rides all over their property-

Tyler is doing so well-he speaks so much English, and probably would not be using some select Mandarin if we didn't still use some of it-he is a lover boy-loves snuggles and cuddles, loves naps yet, loves his puppies, his big brother and sister, playing outside, playing school while Ken and Nick do school, and LOVES EATING!
He loves visiting with Ahmas and Bumpas-he has 3 sets of them-and just overall loves life!
Thank you Lord for the 3 perfect children you brought into our lives through the gift of adoption!
In Him

Friday, June 6, 2008

What's on the agenda today?

Well, today is Friday, it is rainy and cloudy, and VERY humid. We have city-wide garage sales today, and since we have a 3 1/2 yr old boy in the house, who is desperately in need of some outside toys, that is my mission this morning. We were at a friend's house last Friday night, and he had SOOOO much fun with all their boy toys (they have 4 boys) and Chuck and I both realized, we had all this kind of stuff when Kendell and Nick were little, it is time to try to find Tyler a few things as well-

We are also heading up to our hometown today to visit Chuck's folks. My MIL has painted a wonderful bookcase for our livingroom, and I am thrilled to be bringing it home today, and FINALLY after 2 1/2 years, getting my precious books out and into the light again, so we are more apt to want to pick one up and read for a while.

Last night, we helped another friend's family with their greenhouse planting-they have 7000 mums ordered, and last night, we ( 5 Waughtals, and 5 Heins) planted a little over 1000 pots and we plan to go back tomorrow to help for another few hours between chores. What a blessing to be doing something fun, different, and we can be a blessing and encouragement to another family as well.
No, this photo is not what they look like right now-that will be this fall, but it is a bit more cheerful and colorful than the little, bitty plants we were poking into pots last night.
However, once I get my FILM developed, I will post a pic of Tyler and his little friend Keturah-talk about filthy as little piggies, but boy did they have fun last night. Actually, we all go plenty dirty from filling, carrying and planting all those pots, but it was a really nice change of pace for us, and Chuck especially enjoyed the work, as it was something to do with ANYTHING besides cows!
Once we were home at 9:30, everyone was bathed or showered, and asleep by 10:30-very late for us-but hopefully the children will sleep in for awhile today when I leave for the garage sales, and Chuck will be in as soon as the first shift of milking is over.
Naps would be on the agenda if not for the trip to Grandma's today, which is a 1 1/2 hour drive, so maybe, a couple of us will catch a few winks on the way up or back home. We plan to take them to Culvers for a treat today, and just spend a couple hours visiting with them. Since we moved in Nov 2005, we just don't see them as much as we used to, and you would not believe how difficult a 70 mile trip can be-one-way-when you are running a dairy operation.
Well, time to run and do some more laundry-many blessings to all, and I promise, tomorrow, there will be new pictures of Tyler!!
In Him

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Today is Thankful Thursday, another blog meme that I need to partake in, as it is just so what my heavy heart needs-more praise and thanksgiving.

"Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with thee,
All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided, great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me."
1. Yesterday, we took Kendell to the dentist for THREE fillings-and my prayer for the last 3 weeks has been for her to have NO fear, no pain, no panic-and as I walked away from her in the dentist chair, praying, I had a sweet peace about the entire ordeal, as did she, as she never in the 3 weeks uttered one fear, one word of WHY?? and when I snuck back to peak at them about 20 minutes into the procedure, I could tell ALL was fine-and I had tears of thanks in my eyes at our Heavenly Father's unfailing provision, faithfulness and compassion on us, an unfaithful, forgetful, needy family.
2. I am so thankful that His love for us is not contingent upon our reciprocating that love, nor our time spent reading His Word, or our time worshipping. God just loves us, and as born-again believers, He desires for us to spend our days in communion with Him, and how disappointed He must be when we so easily are pulled away from our good intentions by the cares of this world.
3. I am thankful for the ability to communicate with other moms via the internet-even though it can become a time-waster if I am not diligent, it is a very wonderful way to communicate, to hold each other up, to bestow blessings of encouragement for those who need it, and to connect with others who GET IT about the daily issues we homeschooling moms face.
4. I am so thankful for the yahoo groups of adoptive moms that I am a part of. No one understands the ups and downs of mothering and loving adopted children like another adoptive mom, and my world would be much heavier without all the love and support we share there.
5. I am so thankful for warm weather-we seem to have a real problem this year coming to grips with the fact that it is no longer winter-we had such a long, cold, grueling, snowy winter for 6 long months, that I am continually blessed on our travels to see gardens and fields becoming lush with this year's new crops-seriously, I feel like my brain is stuck in February, and I have not really transitioned to June yet-
6. I am so thankful that God hears our prayers, He answers them in His timing, and according to His will. If we did not have the ability to connect with God, if we could not seek His face, and fall before Him inploring, interceeding for our/or others' causes, how could we possibly face the days' events? I KNOW God hears my prayers, I KNOW He loves me, and I KNOW I am a child of God. Those 3 things alone should be enough to help me overcome any and all obstacles the world and Satan have thrown at us.
Wow, nothing like a good dose of thanksgiving to give your morning a jumpstart, your heart and spirit a lift, and put a smile on your face.
Praying thanksgiving and praise follow me and my family throughout the day! Oh, the Power of Praise!
In Him

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday In Other Words

Today I am joining the ranks of several other blogging women, as we contemplate someone else's words, and how they relate to our life and experiences we are walking through. This is a blog meme-which is something new to me, but if I like how it works, I may try keeping on track with other memes during the week, it at least guarantees a blog article a couple times a week.

read more about Randy and his journey here

"In Other Words" this week is a quote by a young college professor named Randy Pausch. I have heard of him on many blogs lately, and this morning spent a bit of time reading what is all going on with this dynamic young man. # 1, he is dying of pancreatic cancer. # 2, he is a Daddy to 3 small boys. #3, he has a lot to say about climbing over brick walls, instead of hitting them head-on-His last lecture is too close to home for me to be able to watch it all, as my brother's death became inevitable about this time 4 years ago, and the memories are just way too strong at this time to watch someone else go through it, but I am encouraged by the quote that has really hit a nail on the head for me today.

Brick walls, and all they symbolize, seem to be rampant in our life lately. I have been at an all-time low for energy, determination, excitement, and joy the last couple weeks, and have been bewildered by where it is all coming from.

It seems, we have hit a brick wall in farming. It seems the cows that were doing so well when we first took over this farm 2 1/2 years ago, are not doing nearly as well anymore. It seems the stray voltage we battled all summer, fall and winter has really taken its toll on our herd. It seems, adding another child to the family has added a lot of stress to my older children. It seems, the more employees we have, the more Chuck is outside managing things. It seems, homeschool is a hard road to navigate, and takes a lot of energy, something I am running very short on lately. It seems, my body is not as young, my mind is not as sharp, my memory is not as clear, as it was 4-5 years ago. It seems, my walk with God is not any where that I want it to be. My prayer life is near-to non-existant, my time in the Word is minimal, and my expectations of what He is doing in our life is at an all-time low.

Would these be brick walls? Could they be symptoms of today's society, over-burdened, over-run with responsibilities, guilt, expectations, or could they be tools God is using to bring us closer to Him?

Now, that is not something I had been considering lately. Usually, it has been, "Oh, Woe Is Me?' mentality. Usually, it has been, let me bury my head in the sand and let the world go on without me, or, just give me a pill so I can SLEEP!!

I know what the Bible says-In James, "Count it pure joy, whenever we fall into hard circumstances." Philippians says to rejoice always, Thessalonians says to Rejoice, for this is the will of God concerning you.

But, ya know, I also know what our life is saying-Somebody stop the train, I want to get off!!

I don't want to hear any more about cows and their feed issues, family members and their health issues, children and their jealous issues, employees and their time off issues, I just don't want to deal with all the STUFF going on lately-Brick Wall?? Yep, I think so!!
So what IS God trying to say to us through this? How do we persevere through, and climb over the walls, instead of throwing in the towel and quitting?
HMMMMM, that has been a looming issue in our family the last months-
Is God saying
  1. get out of farming
  2. slow down the pace of the farm
  3. get off the BST/hormone shots roller coaster for cows and get less milk
  4. go back to 2x a day milking with less employees
  5. make time in the midst of everything to thank and praise Him
  6. TAKE time off and let the farm take care of itself once in a while
  7. TRUST the employees to do their jobs and just leave them to it
  8. find a feed man/vet that can relate to our brown swiss/holstein herd
  9. TRUST HIM-wait for Him to lead, and be diligent in prayer!!

OH MY!! Of course, where I ended up is where we need to be right now-it is amazing when you write things down, the answer comes more clearly-and it's not like I don't think we should do any of the other 8 ideas that came to me, but turning our eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace--wonderful old hymn, my favorite phrase from it-seems to help me to WANT to climb over the walls we are encountering-not turn and run-Oh Thank You Lord, you are so faithful, we are so faithless-you give HOPE when we feel hopeless, you extend GRACE when we are depleted, you give us green pasture just for the day's needs, not a year at a time, help us to focus on that one day at a time, and wait on you for the really big issues, and restore our joy, both in YOU, and in our farm!

In Jesus' most precious and wonderful Name I Pray