Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Is In Full Swing

We stay very busy year round.  Some times of the year are busier than others.  When most people are relaxing or having down time in the summer months.  Those months are some of the busiest for us. 

We home school year round but do it lightly through the summer months.  We continue with the normal curriculum but add in fun and interesting stuff and do a lot of hands on learning.  We count a lot of daily living skills as home schooling.  All of our children have special needs so planting gardens and harvesting food is counted as schooling, educational and good skills to have. 

We stay very busy also cooking and baking to use up all the wonderful produce that the garden provides so as not to waste anything. 

Keeping on top of all the squash and tomatoes can be a challenge some years!  Praise God!
In the mornings I spend time out in the gardens and raised beds a few times a week.  

I can only work out in the early mornings or later in the evenings, as the Georgia summer heat and humidity makes us feel sluggish and tired if out in it for too long in the middle of the day.

The kids do a lot of swimming in the afternoons when the shade is over the pool.  

They also play on the playground in the evenings after it cools off a bit.  But our days are full. 

I know many of you don’t follow my farm blog but we have also been extremely busy out in the barn.  We have had three goats to kid in a weeks time and one still ready to deliver any day.
Two of them delivered triplets.  So I have taken one from each of those to bottle raise to give the remaining two the best chance at getting enough milk.   
One of the little ones I pulled to bottle feed is a doe (girl)  and so tiny.  I had to tube feed her for several days. 
But now her sucking reflex has kicked in, Praise God, and she is eating about three ounces many times a day.  So that is taking up a good bit of my time too.  It is well worth it though. 
God has blessed us mightily in the life we have here.  It is truly a wholesome way to raise the children that God has blessed us with.  They enjoy it so much and God has used it to teach them and grow them in so many areas of their lives.  I am so very grateful.

May God be with you this summer in all you do.

Psalm 90:17

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tri For Kids!

Saturday was the Tri For Kids.  It is a triathlon for children that takes place in Rome, Georgia. They have a special division just for children that they referred to as physically challenged.  Last year was the first year my children participated in it.  My children take part and are sponsored by, the clinic my children have therapy at, Advance For Kids.  Antonio and William were to old to participate but Carolyn, Zeke and Elizabeth participated last year. 
Tri For Kids 2012 (Carolyn, Zeke and Elizabeth participated!)  They were so happy to participate and all felt like winners for working so hard!
Last year Zeke got third.  We went to just have fun and never even thought one of the children would place.  He got a very nice hand painted ceramic plate as his award and all the children got metals and also gifts from all the businesses that sponsored the race.

This year Zeke and Elizabeth participated in it.  All the children have to have a capable partner with them thru the whole race for help if needed.  William shadowed Zeke last year and this year.  An assigned person shadowed Elizabeth.

This year it was supposed to be very hot on the day of the race.  Antonio gets violently sick when he gets to warm.  So this year I stayed home with Antonio and Carolyn. I let them do a few fun things at home while Tim and William took Zeke and Elizabeth to the triathlon.

When they got there they were marked with a number on their arm with a sharpie and had to wear a corresponding numbered ankle chip that times them from start to finish.

Then a safety and bike check.

The first part was swimming.
Zeke with William shadowing him.

Elizabeth doing the swimming part.  I was able to crop out the person that shadowed her.

The second part was biking. Elizabeth was so happy to have her own bike this year.

The last part was running.  That is the hardest part for Elizabeth because of her heart.
Tim didn't get any pictures of William and Zeke running as he had to stay very close to Elizabeth in case she started having trouble.  She often turns blue and needs her inhaler or oxygen when she over does it.

Upon crossing the finish line all the kids got a medal!  With Zeke and  his autism it is very hard to get a picture of him smiling.  We have to ask him to smile and sometimes he does and sometimes he does not.  We usually take several shots and hope for at least one good one.  This was the best one.  :)

Waiting for the awards ceremony.   Zeke was about done by now.  Bless his heart.

This year Tim stayed for the awards ceremony.
 Zeke got second!  You can see he is ready to go home.  Believe it or not he is happy here.  He looks like this much of the time.  He said he had a great day and was happy to place.
 And to everyone's surprise........................ Elizabeth placed 7th!

They all had a great day!!!!  God is so good.  I am so glad for opportunities like these for the children.  So often they feel like they are less. People don't realize they are making them feel this way.  Or they just see all the things others can do so well and they just know they can't.  So often they work so hard day after day to do what some people do easily.  Days like this are great for them.  They all came away feeling like the winners they are!

May God give you the strength and endurance to run the race He has set before you!

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Monday, June 24, 2013

It Never Gets Easier

I have lived a full life.  Not all good, not all bad.  I have made many mistakes, I have regrets.  I have things I am so glad I have done, things that I am so blessed and happy about.  I have, in my past, lived for years in retched sin running from God in deep despair.  I have been reborn, forgiven and redeemed, Praise be to God!

I have so many happy memories and some sad ones.  This is life. It is what it is.  These memories, these past days, the people I knew and paths I have walked, God has used to teach me, shape me, refine me and make me who I am.  I have many, many days of the year that bring such great joy and happy memories with them.  Like the day my children were born.  Or the day that we adopted some of them.  Holidays and anniversaries.  Most days truly in my life are days of joy.
I have a few days of the year that bring sorrow in remembering the day.  Like my moms birthday and the day she passed away.  But I have two days of the year.  Two.  That are very hard.  Those days are Tim's and my oldest daughter's birthday and day she passed away.  No matter how hard I try, I can not force joy on her birthday.  It is over shadowed with the fact she is not here anymore.  She has been gone to heaven for 13 years this year and still it never gets any easier.  Some times even the days leading up to one of these days is hard.  Just knowing it is coming.  Some years it is not as hard as others for some reason.  Some years it is as if it happened recently and it is all raw and floods back over me.  Some years we talk about her and remember her easily but always bathed in sorrow.  Sometimes someone will bring her up in conversation out of the blue when I have not prepared my heart to talk about her and it knocks the wind out of me and I am over whelmed with grief once again.

Some people are very understanding of loss and how hard it is, they love us and remember with us.  One friend often sends me a note of love and encouragement on these two very hard days.  She remembers and knows.  It always touches my heart deeply.  Bless her richly Oh Lord.  But most people don't even remember. 
I try to talk a lot with my children on Faith Anne's birthday. I bring out the photo albums and try to talk happily with my children about her.  Inside my heart hurts deeply.   My children that knew her, I dont want them to forget her.  The ones that never met her......she is still their sister and I want them to look forward to meeting her some day in heaven.  God is so good.  I try not to focus on the day she was born, about the day she passed away.  But it is so hard to push those awful memories aside when they are all connected. 

Grief is hard.  Very hard.  I try not to let it over whelm me.  But it is what it never gets easier.  Truly....God is the only one I have found that could handle my grief in this area.  He is the only one (and His Word) that has brought me comfort about that time in my life.  The only one who helps me through those two very hard days on the calendar each and every year for these 13 years.  He understands.  He knows.  When I start to spiral down into it all again....He reminds me, He lost His son.  He understands.  That this missing her is but for a moment, as life really is so short.  He reminds me that we were blessed to have her the time we did and that we will see her again.  That when we do her body and mind will be whole. 
Her life was so short.  But touched so many lives.  I am honored and blessed to have been her mother.  God used her birth, life and death to change so many hearts and lives.  My own included.  She was the first ever child with special needs in my care.  After she was in our home for one day....I knew....Tim and I knew....that we wanted to focus our lives on the care of children with special needs.  God used her to open our eyes about the plight of the many special needs children in the world that need homes and the love and support of God and a forever family.  I am forever grateful to God.  For all He has done for me.  Not only for salvation and all that is scrupual.  But for knowing that this little tiny baby girl would open up our hearts and minds and be the begining of something so much more.  I cringe to think of all the children DFCS called for us to take that we might have said no to, instead of yes had she not been our child.  Oh, the love of God.  The amazing wisdom and foreknowledge.  The way He has taken me and my family...A broken and empty vessel and made it something so much more once we totally gave our whole life to HIm to do what He wanted with it.  I will never regret it.  Never.  Our lives have been rich and full because we gave it to HIm to use and fill and do with it what He wished. 

We have seen miracles upon miracles we would have never witnessed or seen.  We would have never had the faith to walk thru the fire He has asked us to walk thru and come out the other side better and more blessed than we can explain.  We have lost all we had and been abundantly blessed back more than we can count or fathom.  Every hard step He has asked us to take He has faithfully picked us up and carried us through. 

Faith Anne is our oldest daughter.  Placed into our family by God.  For a huge and wonderful purpose.  This is the day, we celebrate, that she was born into this world, for such a purposeful,beautiful meaningful life.   We miss her so much now and always will every day we live.  Till we see her again, when we are caught up in the air and see Him face to face, in the twinkling of an eye. 

Happy 16th birthday Faith Anne.  We love you and you are always in our hearts and minds.  I can't wait to hug you again!!

Love Always and Forever,
Dad and mom

Revelation 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lake Winnie Trip!!

We stay so busy around here with the children, farm and gardens.  There always seems to be pressing things that need to be done and attended to.  I never seem to actually have a time in my life that I can sit back and say…wow.  Everything is caught up and done! 

The kids work so hard all the time.  They home school and do therapy sessions year round so we don’t lose ground.  They also all work daily here on the farm caring for all their animals.  Although it is work, it is also a fun and happy life.  But…… sometimes we just need to save up some money for an extra fun day to get away.  We try to take the kids, that want to go, to Lake Winnie once a year if we can.  We try to go early in the summer before the intense Georgia heat and humidity hit for the summer.  This week was the week we chose. 

Antonio and Zeke do not like to go to Lake Winnie.  So it is just much better for them and easier, if Tim and I divide and conquer on this day.  My dad helps me take the kids to Lake Winnie and Tim plans an extra special day out and about in our own town for the boys.  Even though Tim and his crew had a great day I have no pictures to share of it as Tim forgot to take any!   :(   Sigh!  He is a great and wonderful hubby and dad but would make a terrible blogger.    As everyone always love pictures! 

Here is our day out at Lake Winnie.  William brought  “J” his best friend with him for the day!  They have been best buddies for many years, since they were both very young, having regular play days together to play legos, board games and swim.  The above picture from left to right is Carolyn, "J", William and Elizabeth!

Above...William and "J" on the sad frogs.  Below Carolyn and Elizabeth on them.

My two young ladies rode this safe ride and the one below while William and "J" rode a more wild one!

"J" and William on the big slide!

Above, William and "J' on the tilt a whirl and below Elizabeth and Carolyn.

Clown pictures!

There was bumper car fun!  Sorry Daddy, I could not crop you out of these!

And of course the Ferris Wheel!

They rode so many rides and had such great are just some random shots of the rest of the day!

We had the most wonderful relaxing day away!  God is so good.  When we got home we were sun kissed and tired!  Tim, Antonio and Zeke had spent the day together watching movies and then went out to eat for lunch at a place in town that the boys love to eat at.  Then they went shopping for a few things we needed. 

I praise God for all He does for us.  For His mercy and grace.  For my family and that there are days like these when we can get away from it all and make happy family memories.


Psalm 5:11-12

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.  For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.