A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Large Families are never boring!!

If you see a group of kids, referring to Mom or Dad, and likely busily talking to each other or parents, you are likely looking at a large family.

At times, large families are mistaken for: schools, day cares, clubs, music groups, etc.

But, large families generally are: fairly well organized (they have to be to survive), display team spirit (again, things go much more smoothly when they work together), and entertaining! Think about it, with a large group of personalities and interests, there is bound to be something quite interesting whether in dynamics of relationships, of interest topics, of activities, and just in general diversity! Quite often there is less bickering - for one thing, to keep sanity a parent cannot listen to it all day, but also, there is always someone else to play with if someone is being unpleasant! And, having several siblings not putting up with bad behavior generally has a significant impact on another child! As well as there are always other helping hands and someone who is looking out for you.

And there must be a sense of humor! How else would you handle the stares, the weird comments, the shocked looks when you purchase groceries, take all the kids somewhere, or tell someone how many children you have! It never stops. Somehow what used to be the majority has now become the minority and actually the rare. But it is out there. Honestly the largest challenges, in my mind, of raising a brood, is: handling others' reactions, budgeting creatively, juggling schedules and commitments, prioritizing, menu planning for sanity, and creating a home atmosphere that makes life run smoothly. On the other hand, the benefits are: many hugs, much love, watching amazing children develop into amazing people, laughter, and a constant reminder of what is most important to me.

I can tell you that we are so blessed by each member of our family, even when they are challenging us to stretch, grow, discipline, etc. It isn't always sunny, but generally more sunny than cloudy!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, July 25, 2010

And yet another silly post!

Well, we are home from fair! Many pretty ribbons earned by the kids! Lots of dirty, muddy laundry in process! Tired parents, tired kids, animals all happy to be home.

And now, my angora rabbit (that got a top blue) has a respiratory something that seems to have just come on. Sigh. Not too bad, I don't think but I need to catch it fast. So, after facebooking friends who may have some ideas, I have been out in my pjs, searching for plantain, dandelions and then making an organic respiratory tea! For the RABBIT!!!!!! I cannot decide if I feel heroic or silly. On the other hand, she is very happily munching what I gave her, and hopefully sipping on the tea I made for her.

I am simply trying to decide if this means I am a very good pet owner/breeder, or just silly! Tomorrow hopefully will run her by a breeder friend for his opinion as well. Thank goodness we live out here, with no visible neighbors, or this could be really embarrassing!!!! LOL!

Maybe I am just over tired to find this so funny!

I think on that note, I had better head to bed! Hugs to everyone - if I can ever figure out how to post photos, I sure will!!!! Fair was wonderful as always - eight exhausted kids upstairs! Tired parents down here! All very happy to be home, but wow, you should see my laundry room! And that is after four loads of laundry done!!!! Ugh!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kewaunee paper!!!!!

Okay, I have to stop laughing enough to write this post!

We got a call from the local paper. It seems that our family has more entries in the county fair (4H) than any other family in the county.

Really, do the math. Eight kids in 4H. Lots of projects. Times eight. Lots!


Well, they do a preview of the fair the week before fair opens and wanted a picture to showcase the fair. Sure, why not? And a reporter too? Why not?

We really expected a photo and a very short comment while they discussed the fair.

Well, this is what came out in yesterday's paper! Enjoy!!! I was stunned - they did a great job - except misspelling Zeri's name. Oh, well, close, only off by one letter!

Oswald Children Ready for County Fair

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Birthdays again?????

Hi all!
I am copying an email I sent out to friends and family because I am trying to reach as many people as I can!

Hi all,
For any who aren't aware, Steve's birthday is today and mine is tomorrow! Isn't that nuts???

Well, we are so blessed with our lovely family, and the greatest joy we have is our children. Some of you know that we had been asked to adopt a baby that was going to be born with Down Syndrome, but he passed away before birth. Samuel Christie Oswald was a miracle in our hearts, stretching us to consider what we had never been able to consider before.

With a completed homestudy and a home and family prepared for an infant, we took some time to collect our selves, grieve and decide what we were to do next. We have decided to allow God to guide this again, and we are open to a referral of a baby in the US, particularly a baby to be born with special needs that we feel able to handle. Especially Down Syndrome, although we are open to other needs.

So, for our birthdays a great Etsy artist is doing a fundraiser for our adoption fees! She makes the most beautiful pendants and has a huge heart for special needs adoption. The pendants are very reasonably priced (most right about $10) and are just beautiful! I bought a couple before and will be buying more, stocking up for Christmas and birthdays, and just for fun!

If you would like to check it out, please go to the website below. Our adoption fund will receive $5 for each pendant sold, but you MUST put a note at the checkout in "notes to seller" that this is for the Oswald family adoption fundraiser. Then she knows who to credit. And it runs ONLY on Wednesday July 14th! Just one day!


If for one reason or another God does not open the door for an infant to enter our home, or provides all fees in another way (we are constantly working that LOL!), then all funds raised will be donated to Reece's Rainbow - a great organization that advocates for children with Down Syndrome and other special needs to find forever homes and fundraisers to provide grants for specific children - almost all are from other countries and are in desperate need of homes. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for us to adopt from many of these countries due to the travel requirements (sometimes two trips of several weeks for one or both parents - not an option with our lovely kids).

So, if you cared to take a look, please do, the jewelry is GORGEOUS and quite affordable!!!! Like I said, I found her through another friend who is adopting a child with DS and was fundraising and I was so thrilled with the pendants I got - great quality and just gorgeous! I have a list of what I want for upcoming presents that I will be ordering tomorrow!!!! Also, feel free to check out our crazy blog below if you want to know what is going on with our crew. I don't update as often as I would like, but I sure try to!

Christy Oswald
Mom to the great eight
Wife to the greatest man in the world

PLEASE feel free to forward this to anyone who you think might be interested! I have tried to put together a list of everyone I could think of that I had contacts for, but of course I know I missed some or may have old information. So, please, send this on to anyone at all who may be interested in wonderful pendants!!!!

So, we are celebrating birthdays around here - first one and then the other - the kids delight in making cakes, though we keep insisting that we DON'T need TWO cakes in TWO days!!!!! But we had so much fun giving Dad his presents last night - he is gone most of today, his birthday, so we did the gifts last night and there was HUGE hilarity!!!! Simple small things, but thoughtful or just plain funny! It was great. We went to bed, after finally getting the last giggling child off to bed, saying "How could someone not want this?". LOL! Though honestly it was really late and of course we were exhausted, so that might be why it isn't for everyone.

A cat must have had her babies last night - she was as huge as a house last night and now is skinny, so the kittens are hidden around here somewhere - instead of (or maybe in addition to) a egg hunt, the kids are on a kitten hunt. And another hen hatched out chicks so at this point we think we have maybe 20 to 25 baby chickens to keep our flock growing!!! They are so cute and the mamas keep them close so it is hard to count them all! But we sure hear them peeping as they run around outside!!!!

We are doing some crazy haying around here - had our pasture that isn't fenced yet cut, but then it rained so it is too wet to bale, so we are going out there with pitchforks and wheelbarrows to get it to feed quickly to the animals. Wow, is there a LOT of hay in three acres!!!!!! How did they do this all the time years ago??? Not easy!

And fair is next week, so we are wildly getting ready! Whew - the most looked forward to week of the year, but the most exhausting! We need one more tent that we will pick up this weekend and then we are all set! LOL! The kids are so excited, the three newest are trying to imagine it all, and the other five just ramble on and on trying to explain it, but it is just too much! They will just have to wait and see!!!!!!

Hugs and love to everyone, hug your kids and family!!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, July 5, 2010

Great article in Christianity Today...

You know what a passion I have for adoption - obviously, with five our eight children adopted!

Well, I was referred to this article and it put it so well, I choose not to add too much!

Read this: Abba Changes Everything

Some of my favorite quotes:

Our churches ought to be showing the families therein how love and belonging transcend categories of the flesh. Instead, though, it seems God is using families who adopt to teach the church. In fact, perhaps we so often wonder whether adopted children can really be brothers and sisters because we so rarely see it displayed in our pews.

The demonic rulers of the age hate orphans because they hate babies—and have from Pharaoh to Moloch to Herod to the divorce culture to malaria to HIV/AIDS. They hate foster care and orphan advocacy because these actions are icons of the gospel's eternal reality.

This is why James—the brother of Jesus—tells us that caring for widows and orphans is the essence of "pure and undefiled" religion (1:27). And Jesus himself—adopted by the righteous Joseph—identifies himself with the "least of these my brothers" (Matt. 25:40). And he tells us that the first time we hear his voice in person, he will be asking if we did the same.

In saying that orphan care is missional, I do not mean that every Christian is called to adopt or foster a child. But every Christian is called to care for orphans. As with every aspect of Christ's mission, a diversity of gifts abounds. Some have room at their table and in their hearts for another stocking on the mantle by this coming Christmas. Others are gifted financially to help families who would like to adopt but cannot figure out how to make ends meet. Others can babysit while families with children make their court dates and complete home-study papers.

Still others can lead mission trips to rock and hug and sing to orphans who may never be adopted. Pastors can simply ask whether anyone in their congregation might be called to adopt or foster parent, or to empower someone who is. And all of us can pray—specifically and urgently—for orphans the world over.

The kingdom of God isn't quiet. Instead it's like my house these days, "like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men" (Mic. 2:12).

As we welcome orphans into our homes, we can show the orphaned universe what it means to belong to a God who welcomes the fatherless.

Like him, let's welcome children into our homes, our churches, and our lives, especially those we are not supposed to want.

I had to comment on the wonderful article - I hope it impacts someone.

Today we picked strawberries (I know, we were a bit late, but the berries were still good, though not as large as they might have been)! In less than an hour we picked 45 pounds of strawberries and as of now, 10:30 PM, we have the last of the berries processed in jam, and some even made into our first try at strawberry jam. And still a huge pot for the kids to eat - and they are disappearing rapidly!!!! LOL!

I think we surprised the folks at the strawberry patch - the kids working alongside us, getting so much done so fast (from 6:30 to 7:30PM), and then the kids so polite in general. They had to bring out their granddaughter to meet the kids - not sure what that was quite about, but it was interesting. I don't think I can count how many times they commented on how hard the kids worked, what good workers they were, and on and on in that mode. Our response was that "of course they are, they like strawberry jam!!!"

But, we will be back later this week for raspberries!!! I had better get more pectin! I will have to post pictures - it is amazing how quickly stuff gets done when we all pitch in!

We are working hard and praying for continued provision for working towards this possible adoption means. I don't know where God is taking it, but we have one more fee to pay and then the home study is sent out. And the rest is up to God if He so chooses. We have a fun jewelry sale coming up on my birthday - I will post about that again later. Other than that, I am just taking my hours, getting creative with selling things, Steve's artwork is going back on sale, and we are making cat toys for sale at the farmer's market, and we are putting lots on Amazon. So, we are working hard as always! LOL!

Hope you had a great Independence Day!
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New update!!!

Okay guys, here it is! Life is rolling along as usual!

My birthday is coming up, and we are in the adoption mode again. After losing our dear Sammy, we decided to continue with what God had started, and we finished the homestudy. It is done! With the new bathroom, things are all set. Our homestudy has been sent to several agencies that deal with special needs adoption, and Bethany Christian Services has put us on their domestic list, especially for a special needs child. At this point, our worker is not aware of any other families that would consider adopting a special needs child. And to top it off, she is presenting our information to a 19 year old mom who just found out that her baby has Down Syndrome. I believe that they know the child is a girl (though who really cares???). The baby is due in September. So, family profiles are being presented to the birthmom next week! Deep breath!!! Ours is done and in our worker's hands.

I don't know what to tell you about what I feel at this point. We honestly had stepped away from all the anticipation and all once things were done, so to get the email about this baby was a shock. And a thrill.

I don't know that what will happen, what I want to happen.

Do I want to mother another infant? Yes!

Do I have concerns about Down Syndrome? No, we dealt with that before.

Have I put all my emotions on hold in the recent past? About this - yes.

I am excited to think that we might get the chance again! But we shall see. At least our information is out there. So, we are going about this in the "typical fashion".

In order to complete a domestic special needs adoption there are fees, though no where near what we paid for our international adoption. Whoo-hoo! To meet that need (or put on account for that need, to be only used for that or worst case to be donated for someone else's need), we are having a special fundraiser on my birthday - July 14th! I found an Etsy seller who supports adoption in her store and she helps families fundraise for their adoptions. She has the coolest necklaces! I just fell in love with her stuff and ordered two - one for a present and one for me. They were affordable - $10 each! And so cute! So, consider ordering and following the instructions below on July 14th! That day only! Please feel free to pass the information on to anyone who may be interested! I am stocking up on necklaces and things for Christmas and birthdays and what not. $5 of each sale goes directly to our adoption fees of a special needs child. If God intervenes and we cannot adopt a child within a reasonable time frame, we will donate the proceeds to Reece's Rainbow, an organization that helps children with Down Syndrome find forever families - they have grants on many of the kids on their site and really do a great work!

God is at work, I never seem to have a clear view until we get closer, we just take one step at a time! Selfishly, after spending a great evening with my family, I so hope that we are to expand our family. I completely don't understand people who don't want to have the energy going on that we see - but then I have a different perspective! LOL! I have to, we have eight kids! If I didn't have a different perspective, I think I would have to lose my mind!!!! But what a joy this is, how could it ever end? More is always more love!

So, if you would like to be part of this, without having to put up with eight or more kids running around your property, doing laundry and cooking for all of them (you know this is tongue in cheek!!!!) please consider our special sale on July 14th! Please follow the links and the directions, send to whomever you know that might be interested, heck, send to everyone you know!!!! I know that it will benefit this kind woman who is donating her time and effort for children in need of homes, as well as our adoption efforts! If God were to intervene one way or the other and we didn't need the funds, we would get it to another family, to help with getting another child a forever home.

So, if you would like to be part of this, here is the information:
On that 1 day (July 14th) any PENDANT NECKLACE purchase made that the buyer leaves me a message in "Notes To Seller" that it is for your adoption fundraiser, I will donate $5 towards each purchase to your adoption fund. - From the seller.

So, go to: Oswald family adoption fundraiser and see what she has available! It is great, just for fun and beauty, and very affordable! I hope you enjoy it, and find some wonderful treasures! My family members and co-workers are likely to get items from Sarah's site!

Again, thanks for considering the need of these kids, and the need of families who hope to open their homes to children that might not otherwise have homes!!!! God bless you all!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11