A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Friday, June 17, 2011

How bad do you want it?

There is nothing racy about this post - just to cover that first thing.  Well, not exactly, not in that way.  Oh, you will see what I mean.

Today, JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) put on Camp Endeavor in Green Bay for kids with Type 1 diabetes and their parents.  I went with Aman and Kiley.  We haven't gone to this one before, we have been to many, many other JDRF events.  Honestly, they have been a great support as we have walked this road with the disease our kids deal with.  Great group (I have to admit though that I am very happy they have backed off significantly on the whole embryonic stem cell research thing - I have to admit I had serious moral concerns about that).  Anyway, not only did we get together with other kids and families, have a simple lunch, spent time together, but we got to meet with all the vendors (insulin pumps, meters, etc).  I feel like I know the rep for Medtronic MiniMed really well - I should invite him and his family over for a grill out!!!  Anyway, it was a great event.

The neatest thing is that they had Jay Hewitt here to speak to kids and parents.  Jay is an Ironman Triathlete with Type 1 diabetes. Finish LIne Vision Videos - he has more than one video, and I would recommend listening to them all.  (I heard a rumor that he is writing a book, and if he is, I really want to get it when it comes out.) That he is an athlete and has diabetes is very meaningful to me and my kids.  Not only does he live with the disease, but he excels and is able to do things that most of us would never dream of.  Not only just the basic athletic stuff - that is wild enough on it's own, but as we know, diabetes affects how the body works and exercise can really affect blood sugars, and blood sugars affect how well the body performs at a given moment.   Well, his speaking really talks about setting goals that have "failure potential".  Think about that.  Set a goal that you could just as likely not be able to complete.  And then work at it.  It is perfectly OK to fail if you have given it your all.  You will get farther than if you had never tried.

I know all this.  I really do.  But in the midst of a trying day - we had several other stressors going on, it was just what I needed to hear.  He had four points and I don't recall all of them (I will be going back and listening to his videos again).  But I was really struck by one story.  He told of having had several triathalons that he hadn't been able to finish for one reason or another, and having trained for two years on it, he got the the final leg, the marathon portion, and half way done with that, it all just hurt.  He had been just passed by two elite runners who waved him forward to "come on and run with us" (in a kind way too), and he just was really struggling.  His coach was at a point in the sidelines, and simply leaned forward and yelled to him, "How bad do you want it?".  How bad do you want to finish this, how bad do you want to achieve your goal of being on that platform as an elite runner, how bad do you want to do what you want to do?  Do you want it enough to work through whatever it takes?  How bad do you want it?

I felt like the world just stopped for me.  How bad do I want it?  How bad do I want to do a good job raising my kids, being a wife, keeping my house well, sharing my faith and my passions, writing, serving others, whatever?  How bad do I want it?  Badly enough to do what it takes, set my goals, make my priorities and let nothing stand in my way?  What is that important to me?  And if it isn't that important, should it be on my list? If something is important, or I want to be able to do it (like write like I keep talking about), then is it worth risking that failure?  If I haven't dreamed something big enough that I could fail at it, then I am not reaching far enough.  I am not challenging myself, or allowing myself to grow enough.

If I do it and don't achieve it, well, look how far I got by working at it.  Farther than I ever would have gotten if I had not even tried.  How many times do we not attempt things simply because the odds of success seem so stacked against us?  I have to admit that I am very guilty of this.  I chose things that I could likely succeed or I know that I want bad enough to try almost die for.  But those other things, the things that seem riskier - ah, not so much.  What if no one likes it but me?  What if?  What if?????

But if I never try, then I am consigning myself to whatever I allow fate to dictate.

I am sick of having my life/finances determined by others - so do I want to control it bad enough?  Do I want it bad enough?  To take a risk?  To try?  To take control of those reins?  If I want to control my destiny, my life, then I had better be about it, hadn't I?

I don't know if I have the courage to share my goals.  Because that would take courage.  Because then others besides me would know what I want to do, and at great risk of failure.  That is a pride thing.

I have always wanted to be an author.  I love the printed word.  I love to enter another world, to experience things that I cannot in my own mundane life.  I just simply love it.  I love to write, to create, to dream.  I would love to provide something for my family by doing this.  I would love for it to allow me to be home and writing.  That kills two birds with one stone.  I want to control (as much as I can) my own destiny.  I don't want to be an employee.  Not that I don't like working for others, but I can only do what I can do.  I want to provide, doing what I love, security for us all.

I love serving others, and I obviously am very passionate about children and children with disabilities.  Twenty some years as a therapist, and I still love it.  I love it most when I work with the children - my spirit soars.  And I love my horses.  I love seeing the connection between kids and horses.  I want to be a hippotherapist - speech therapist who works with kids and horses.  I have seen such miracles - whether it is the motivation, the muscle work, the requirements, but something about the two together is just spellbinding.  I know how to do this.  I have used my pets before in therapy and seen huge strides in the children I work with.  So, that means that I should pursue certification.  Seriously, I have horses - am becoming a seasoned horse owner, have at least one child that wants a career with horses, and love to see the interaction and know how to use it to help the kids I see.  How badly do I want it?  How badly do I want to use my skills and passions?  Hmmm...  I would much rather determine my own destiny and employment and serve others in a way I enjoy, but how badly do I want it?  Honestly, pretty badly.  Badly enough to plan out a course and achieve it?  Yep, I think so.

Anyway, I am really thinking about that phrase: How bad do you want it?  Badly enough to achieve it?  Badly enough to go through it?  I think I will be painting that question above my door, or at least over the computer where I do my writing.

God calls us to use our gifts.  We can use them to serve him and benefit his people.  He gave us those gifts, he created us for a purpose.  So, if we do not attempt, are we thwarting or wasting his gifts to us?  He instilled in us our passions, weaknesses, and interests.  I was talking with a woman the other day, who told me that she never wanted to be a mother, didn't want the bother and stress (as she put it).  However, she is phenomenal at what she does do!  I could never do it!  What a great gift she has!  I am so thankful for her gift. Why should I be upset if she does not want what I see as my passion - children.  Why should I try to force my concept of bliss upon her?  I would be miserable with her life and passions.  But I so need what she does!  What a great symbiosis!  I LOVE raising my children.  I love that there are many of them.  I love that I am forever doing the mundane that cares for my family, as well as some of the other things we do.  I generally don't see it as a bother (OK, laundry can be a pain, especially when our washer is broken and the repairman hasn't been able to get here for two weeks!!!!!).  God has gifted me in this way.  I have a huge tolerance for some things, including chaos (how do you never have chaos when there are eight kids?).  But put me in her place and I would go nuts - and be bad at it.

God has created an amazing world. Challenge yourself.  Risk enough to risk failing.  Set goals.  Listen to people who motivate you.  Take control of whatever you can and want to.  Go for it!  Same things I tell my kids.  Adults need to listen too!

Ooooh, dinner is ready, time to go!  Hubby took over after I got some things started - okay, he brought home all the stuff, Kiley washed the potatoes, I poked them and put them in the oven, and he put the chicken in, and now he is serving up all the kids - just so you don't think that I did it tonight!  Hee, hee!  He is a great cook and we all love doing things together or taking turns!  Gotta go, it smells great!!!!!

"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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Van versus deer.....

We were blessed to have a wonderful evening with my dad's family, many of whom I have not seen in five years or more!  It is my Uncle Don's 80th birthday and so there was a family event!  Great fun and we really enjoyed it.  Several of the kids even went swimming in my cousin's pond!  It was about 60 degrees, but they decided to swim anyway.  The water was warmer than the air, brrrr......  But they had a blast.

So, on our way home, we were within a mile of home and what to do know - out jumps a big deer.  Sigh.  I always wondered how our big van would hold up against a deer.  Not that I really wanted to find out, you know.  I was working on a crocheting project - Steve driving, and the kids in all their usual places.  We were nearly home.  I heard a scream, and looked up to see a deer flying through the air in front of the windshield.  Sigh.  We ended up on the side of the road, no fast movement other than pulling over.  Talk about excitement.  Several of the kids hadn't even realized what happened.  Kiley had been sitting right in the middle of the bench seat behind the front seats and got a front row view of the whole thing. 

Ugh.  We all sat there for a minute, checking on everyone.  Alex had been facing sideways turned to talk to one of his brothers and got his neck and shoulder wrenched.  Other than that, no one had any sore spots. 

Then we climbed out to look at the van.  It could have been worse, by far.  We have no leaking fluids, that we could find at all.  The plastic grille is smashed in, of course some pieces broke off.  One headlight appears to be a little loose.  And the strip of metal under the grille is pretty smashed it.  The upside is that it was getting pretty rusty with little dings all over, so we were going to have to do something about that yet this summer anyway.  So, it appears that all is functional, if not pretty.

While Steve checked on the van, I went over to where the deer had flown to the other side of the road.  It must have died instantly.  No suffering, no ghastly wounds, just very dead.  I don't know what I would have done if it were still alive and suffering.  Our gun of course is at home.  Though that is only a mile from where it happened.  At this point, we are too tired and shook up to even think of butchering it, though the practical nature would seem to tell us that we should.  I haven't ever butchered a deer, and neither has Steve, though our Ethiopian born sons insist that it must be a lot like a sheep, so they could do it.  We really don't have the best tools for it, and church starts early tomorrow.  Not today, just too much to think of attempting.  We did call a couple neighbors to see if they wanted it so it wouldn't necessarily be wasted.  That is as practical as we were going to get tonight. 

So we know how the van holds up against a deer.  Sadly, Steve hit a deer with his car last fall, less than a mile from where we hit this one.  Honestly, the van held up better than his little car did.  It all could have been worse!

"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

Small steps, using what we have!

This has been a crazy couple weeks for this family - two boys in drivers ed, soccer season starting, my reduction in work hours (because anything else would be impossible at this time), remodeling, trying to get a garden in and all the events in our daily lives.

Our dossier is assembled and ready to go out on Monday!  Hooray!  And the last of the documents are going to the homestudy agency, we have one more meeting with the social worker, and then the walk through to look at the remodeling!  Yay!  We are hopeful to have it all done by the end of the week.  It has been such a marathon to all of this, it is hard to believe that shortly all we will be doing is waiting (and applying for grants, fundraising, earning income, and on and on to get those final expenses paid for).  We got a video of our girls last week, and then a description from someone who was there in May - A is the "queen of the orphanage and adored by everyone" and K is very insecure and must be held constantly.  No surprise to either of those given the photos we have seen.  Honestly, at this point, I am ready for a little one to hang on me.  My big kids need me, but in a different way, and A will be adored by all the big kids so will certainly be the belle of the ball.  As we put in babyproofing, and visualize their room when it will be done, well, it all gets to finally feel real.

The stud walls are up, we have used all the materials we have on hand, and the contractor is coming to finish it up this week.  I am ready to go pick out paint and fabric for their curtains!  The crib will move from our room up to there, as we have two pack and plays that will go in our room while they need to be close by!  We have one high chair, and will be looking for another in the next few months.  Then we will start to look at carseats.  K is under 20 pounds, but at her age, I am concerned that being reclining is not going to work, so I am going to get some input and see what will work. A is over the weight limit so we can use a forward facing toddler seat.  Even thinking about all of this makes if feel so very real.  Finally.  We have no idea what we might get for a court date, so keep your prayers going.  If you felt so led, we have our chip in button there.  We are still making our diabetes log books (click here...), and doing our puzzle fundraiser (click here...), and are adding in more items as we get the ideas.  We have some jewelry making ideas - there is a great bead and jewelry making shop nearby that would be fun to learn from!

On the other parts of our lives: we have entered horse show season and soccer season.  Driving was a constant part of my life this week - I felt like I should just sleep in my van.  The drivers ed boys have this week off, and then only the next week of classroom, so life should get a bit easier when that is done - five days a week on top of everything else has me maxed out.  But, they both passed their temps tests!!!!!  Congrats Alex and Zeri!

So, I am off to sorting and eliminating some items we don't need any longer.  Our house isn't huge, but it is ours and we all fit!  And summer is here, so we have added nine acres to the area we live in!  Yay!

I am enjoying every minute of our spring even though it has gone from one extreme to another!  Gotta love it!

"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, June 6, 2011

The Lord's Prayer....


Our Father Who Art In Heaven.

Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
But -- you called ME!
Called you?
No, I didn't call you...
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!
Did what?
Called ME.
You said,
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am...What's on your mind?

But I didn't mean anything by it. 
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
kind of like fulfilling a duty.

Well, all right.  Go on.
Okay, Hallowed be thy name . 
Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?

By what?
By "Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means .. . good grief, I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?

It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense... I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before. Thanks.
Thy Kingdom come,Thy will be done,on earth as it is in Heaven.

Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Doing?  Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control, of everything down here like you have up there. We're kinda in a mess down here you now.
Yes, I know; but, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church..
That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend 
your money -- all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read ?
Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest
 of those People at church!
Excuse ME..
I thought you were praying for my will to be done..
If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example ....

Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.

So could I.
I haven't thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.

Now we're getting somewhere.
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.

Look, Lord, if you don't mind, I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.

You need to cut out the bread..You're overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.

Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying.  ( pause .. . )
Well, go on.

I'm scared to.
Scared?  Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Try ME. 
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Ann?
See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me..I've sworn to get even with her!

But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?

I didn't -- mean it..
Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that 
bitterness and resentment isn't it?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.

No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are -- 
Well, I can change that.

You can? How?
Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin, will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem as far as you are concerned.

Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge, I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right, all right . .
I forgive her.

There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.

Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer, are you?
Go on.
Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.

What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know..
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.

For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.

Do you know what would bring me glory?
What would really make me happy?

No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now...
I've really made a mess of things..
I want to truly follow you....
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me . . .
How do I make you happy?

YOU  just did".
____________ _________ _________
This came via email today, I bet many of you have gotten it too, but it was such a breath of fresh air and a reminder today.  I took the time to reread it and think about it again.  It came to mind the Bible study of Daniel that I did, a Beth Moore series, that launched us into the adoption of Zeri and Solly.  I was also praying the prayer of Jabez at the same time, as was my husband.  That prayer to "enlarge our borders" has certainly been answered, beyond anything we could have ever expected and changed us in the most amazing ways.  It isn't always easy, it doesn't always make sense to other people, but when God calls and you choose to listen, HE is the only one you are to answer to.  It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else.

I look back now, and look forward now, and see the ripples of all that God has done.  He has not only changed OUR lives and the lives of our children (those here and those to come), but I have seen Him work in other people's lives, to stretch them beyond where they would ever have been before, and I have seen them richly blessed.  I am so humbled to be a witness of God's loving power.  He loves us all so much, He cares for us all so much.  We walk through lots of roads with Him, many of those challenging and daunting, but they are so rewarding, and God molds us each step of the way.  I have to admit, lots of the molding doesn't feel good - a friend recently reminded me of the refining process of gold and that this is what God is doing with us, if we choose to allow it.  I remember praying as a child and young woman that I could somehow impact the world.  Just in my own corner, but to impact it and leave a mark somehow.  Somehow, as youngsters we think that this means that we will be famous, or known professionally, or something like that.  Now, I see impact that I never imagined.  My greatest joy is to see fruit in my children's lives, as they will go on to lead lives that hopefully will continue to bless others.  And when someone tells me that we impacted them in some way, that is huge joy.  Our goal in some ways is to assist anyone we can, we have been blessed to walk the adoption road with other families, the diabetes road with some, to walk the life road with others, and to assist where we can.  I hope we always can be honest about the imperfect people we are, the joy we try to take in life and family, and our faith in our Lord.  We are far from perfect.  Come visit my house some days and you will see laundry waiting, some things not put away, and all sorts of activity (currently there are piles of horse show equipment and show clothes on the dining room table after our return from a show yesterday!  We were so tired after a very long day - but successful!  Kiley placed fourth in one of her classes, a huge accomplishment for her and so encouraging!  And in the living room are the bins with summer clothes that the kids brought up for me yesterday while I was gone so I can sort through them today and make a list of who needs what for the summer that has finally come!).

And on other news!  Dossier should go to Ethiopia next week!  Homestudy appointments almost done - we have one on next Monday and then she visits the house to see the new bedroom for the girls.  The bedroom is going full steam ahead this week too!!!!!  I don't know what any of this means for timelines, but any forward progress is huge!!!  It feels like we have been puttering at things and now it is moving!  Thank you dear Lord!  So, now we will just keep working!  It has been wonderful decluttering and thinning down, and all funds from that go right into the fund.

Now if my washing machine would only work.....  Oh, well, at least there is a great laundromat right near where the boys have driver's ed!!!!  LOL!  God provides!

Have a wonderful 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

Friday, June 3, 2011

Good eats, spring on the farm, adoption news!

Hi all!
Spring is finally here!  Today is our first bout of rain in a few days after many previous days of being soaked.  So, I can post something without feeling like I have to run off, though of course, I probably do!

We have been making lots of tortillas lately and experimenting a lot.  We found a soft and chewy recipe that we have decided is the best, though we haven't quite worked out the quantity we need to make to feed everyone and still have some leftovers.  That is a typical kind of thing we run into raising eight hungry kids - I love to have leftovers for fast snacks, future meals and to send with hubby to work.  But, we have decided that there is very little that is better than fresh warm tortillas!  The boys had gone charter fishing on Lake Michigan last fall, and we had frozen some smoked fish from that trip.  We thawed it out and had tortillas with smoked fish - yum!!!!  Nothing fancy, nice and simple, but great as everyone has been loving being outside and by the time we finish farm projects and chores, and gather the kids back in the house from the yard/trampoline/pastures/basketball hoop, a quick, easy meal is the best!  If you look in previous posts, I linked to Chickens in the Road where Susan has the recipes we have been using.  Like I said, we have decided that we like the soft and chewy ones best, but we have tried several of the offerings.  It is fairly easy, and if the kids get involved in rolling them out and cooking them, it becomes a great family activity!

We are enjoying spring - and the reality that farm work - even on our small hobby farm, brings lots of work.  Today we are hauling a few loads of hay - while I have helpers and a stretch of time to get it done.  Amazingly, our horses and goats, and the sheep, like to eat.  Huh, who'd a thunk it?  Hee, hee!  My garden is getting a slow start due to the weather, and the weeds have taken over, so I am going at it chunk at a time.  I have lettuce in, raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb (that is cheating since it comes up on its own!), and even a few flowers.  Today and tomorrow I am hoping to get carrots in and maybe trade some eggs for some tomato plants!  (Hint, hint, Laurie at Common Sense Homesteading).  

But the other part of our weekend is that we are really going to push it on getting the bedroom remodeling done, at least as much as we can this weekend.  We are coming down to the wire, almost done with the adoption appointments and then our social worker needs to come out and take a look at the new room, just to verify with her own eyes.  We are doing it according to their recommendations, so I have no worries, but it is part of the protocol.  Then our homestudy paperwork is DONE and we can apply to immigration!!!!  We will have to go to Milwaukee to get fingerprinted by homeland security for that step.  We need to have that clearance sent to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to the embassy there in time for court.  We don't have a date yet of course, so we don't have any idea when we will be traveling for that process.  Then we will be home for about two to three months before our return trip to bring the girls home.  I have our dossier paperwork ready to go, just need the fees to send with that - so if you want to be part of our puzzle piece fundraiser (see previous posts) or to purchase candles, or to just chip in, please feel free to do so, or simply lend prayers!  Our chip in button isn't showing all the progress, somehow, I haven't figured that out - as I cannot add in funds we have gotten/earned through other means to reflect how close we are getting.  According to what I can see, we are about not quite halfway to our goal.  Once we have the homestudy paperwork, we can apply for grants so that also may help.  And it looks like we might be able to be part of Reece's Rainbow to help with bringing our girls home.  And anyone local - we will shortly have Seroogy's Chocolates for sale!!!!!

We have been big on getting lots of complicated things out of the way so we will have less to focus on when the little ones get home.  Two boys in drivers ed - means I likely will have drivers to help with some of the running.  Crazy scheduling right now, but will be one less thing to have to do when we have toddlers again.  Getting kids launched in internships, and part time jobs, all that.  It is great, and will really simplify life in the near future.  In the meantime, zaniness!  Hee, hee!  It is hard to believe that our two oldest are both sixteen!  Time is short!  Lots to pour into them!  Getting new goat housing for our bucks up, new pasture fencing to be done yet this summer, all the usual farm stuff!  But the more done now, the less we have to do later!  I am so ready to hunker down with our little ones and our crew!  So, we do lots now so we don't have tons to do when they are home!  I remember how fast all that time goes when the kids are little (and big!) and I want to be sure to live in every minute with them.

And so, with that, off to move horses to the newer pasture (not quite secure so they can only be there when we can keep an eye on them), and try to repair the stupid washing machine, before I run boys to internship and start the hay runs!  I love summer!!!!  My pants keep getting bigger!  Farm work is better than a gym membership!

"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, June 2, 2011

And summer has arrived....

Summer has arrived.  I think we skipped spring, but who cares?  The sun is out, the weather is balmy and everything is green!  And this light skinned crazy person has managed to get sunburned because I had way too much that I wanted to get done outside!!!  LOL!  And yes, I did put on sunscreen - well, the second day anyway.....

But, we have been enjoying the heck out of the weather!  Steve got our fencing working again, and not intermittently!  So at this point all the animals have stayed where they are supposed to!  Whoo-hoo!  The wildest day was when the horses went to visit one of the neighbors and she called us at 7:30AM saying they were talking to her cows!  Talk about wide awake and running out the door!  By the time I ran out the door, the eight big horses were charging back down the driveway and all ran right past me to the gate to their pasture!  Who needs coffee after that!  Luckily, no one was hurt, no damage to anyone's property or crops, and they came right back home!!!  It was pretty (and scary) having them all charge right by me! 

I have gotten a few things in the garden, will work on more later today.  We have raspberry plants now, a strawberry patch, some flowers and a lilac bush.  The only way to keep the goats out of them is to have them inside my garden patch!  At this point, I have not been super wonderful about putting every square inch to work, so I don't feel bad about turning some over to something pretty and not food related.  I am drying some of my herbs, learning how to do it anyway, for teas and other things - can you tell I am learning as I go???  I have lots to plant today, but will have to clear some more spots in the garden before I do that - the spring was too wet to get at anything, and as we have reclaimed the garden from yard space, I still have tons of grass trying to come up!  I may be crazy enough to transplant some of it when I clear it out!  We had to trench for a new gas line to our propane tank, and though we have filled it in there is no grass there (amazingly, our free range chickens get to the grass seed as soon as we plant it, so I have given up on that!).  I may transplant some of that thriving grass to that area!  Hee, hee.  That might be a little nuts, but harmless.

I have had a great time watching my growing kids enjoying spring/summer.  Two of the boys are in drivers ed, so we may have another driver/helper for me by December!!!!  Soccer season has started, and we are prepping for the county fair!  That means horses, goats, chickens, rabbits all being prepped!  They have been so helpful with projects - at least most of the time.  I think I may have overrun their generosity (and responsibility) the day that I asked them and Steve to take out a friend's chain link fence.  A single mom wanted it gone, and wondered if we could use it - yes!!!!  So, I went to work at the stable with Kiley for the day - mucking stalls and the whole nine yards, and the others went to get this fence out.  It is HUGE, and all cemented it.  Ummmm....  But, they got it out!  And loaded in our horse trailer and brought home!  Now, we are planning to put it up as an addition off our summer kitchen for a pen for the male goats.  It is just perfect and will really help with our herd management.  So, that is likely Saturday's project, unless I get a little crazy and start it before then.....

Life on the farm is great.  Busy but great.  Everyone is learning so much, between internships, general activities, service projects, and continuous learning!  It was so funny when I was talking to the boys (taking drivers ed) yesterday.  I remember learning to drive and being terrified.  So, I have been prepping my kids for ages, literally.  I started explaining the rules of the road and getting them practicing behind the wheel long before they were really old enough to worry about it.  And then I found that we would run into a situation while we were driving that I could talk with them about - much less time pressure and all.  I figured I was driving them crazy with all that I kept explaining to them over the last two plus years, but yesterday, Zeri and Alex were telling me about a question the drivers ed teacher asked.  "Why is the road more slippery when it first starts raining?"  They both had known the answer and no one else in the class did!!!  Amazingly, not only had they listened to me prattle on constantly, but they remembered it!!!!!  Whoooooo-hooooo!!!!!  Actually, they both have said that they learned most of what they are going over in the class from me first!  Except now they are precise about the speed limit and I tend to go a few miles around it.  Sigh, so now they are calling me on it.  Sigh.  And Zeri is so motivated by this class that we are spending extra time on reading by reading through his manual!!!!  He is doing great - it is like everything is just clicking now!  We did all that teaching, all that work, and made progress but it was slow, and now it is just falling into place!!!!!  Wow!!!!  Hooray!!!!  I am so proud of him - he works so very hard!!!!!

Well, I have to run.  Two of the boys are going rock picking for a neighbor, one is going to an automotive internship, and one is going to an equestrian internship (and to prepare for her horse show on Sunday!).  Then I run to work for my one hour, and back home to my lovely crew!  Then to driver's ed, and rounding up kids from internships, and another appointment for our adoption.  I am trying to get all the craziness done before our little girls get home, so it is a bit extra crazy right now.  I have lots on my to do list for before they get home, all with the plan to make things easier and less busy when they are home, because it will have to be!!!!

Love to all, enjoy every moment, breathe in God's blessings and pray for those suffering (thinking of all the tornados!)

"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