Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ministry Trips 2013

has AWESOME youth programs!!

Each year they offer a ministry trip to each the High School Group AND the Middle School Group.

Our family feels it is extremely important for our children to learn to help others and show God's love to those less fortunate or in need.  We feel blessed that our church provides these opportunities for the kids.  

MD is in the High School Youth Group and they went to Tennessee --
They were in a very small town near the border of Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.  They worked doing work projects at Bancroft Bible Camp and every afternoon went to a different small church and ran a one day VBS.  They also enjoyed an afternoon of white water rafting in Virginia. 

The group at the camp.

The group AFTER white water rafting.

They were gone for 8 days and had an amazing time.  They did go to churches in all 3 states!  They accomplished much at the camp in terms of work and accomplished much at the churches in terms of showing God's love!

Many of the kids working on staining one of the cabins.

Playing games with some of the kids at one of the VBS's.

MD was one of the presenters on Sunday when they shared what the group accomplished with Gods help on this ministry trip.

 MD playing his guitar for the worship time.

 MD presented part of what the team accomplished during the trip.

The full group singing one of their songs.

JM is in the Middle School Youth Group.  This was his first ministry trip.  The MS group always stays in the state of MI.  This is a time of TEACHING the kids HOW to do work projects and DO ministry trips SO they are ready when in High School.

The group ready to leave Monday morning!

They headed to Gladwin, MI to THE SPRINGS which is a Christian camp.  They did MANY work projects and did a few of the chapels.  They were gone 5 days.  JM enjoyed most of his time away and the group accomplished MANY work projects.  JM especially enjoyed learning out to use a chop saw and singing in chapel.  The middle schoolers enjoyed a time of canoeing at the end of the week.

 The full Middle School group that went on the trip.

JM singing!

Again, this an AWESOME time for our kids to do something for others!  They also learn to work hard BUT still have fun.  MD said these trips are some of the BEST times in youth group.    We know JM is just starting but with his compassionate soul we know these will also become some of his favorite times as well!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Yes, we are a farming family --

Matt and his brother have a very large farm --
Yes, everyone works together to get the work done.

Farming is HARD WORK!!!

I LOVE this 

The first time I saw this it made me tear up!  Yes, it reminded me of the family farm.  

I especially love that everyone works together.  Matt has the best siblings.  Everyone lives within a mile of the farm.  All of the houses were built around the main farm.  All of the grandkids -- 13 of them -- get along and have FUN together.  The olders teach the youngers the ins and outs of what to do and NOT do.  YES, there are forts in the hale bales, and there are bikes to ride to the ponds or out to the barns, there are animals to feed and play with, too many cats and games to play.


Of course, there is plenty of work to do.

ALL of our children like to go to the farm.  

MD works on the farm daily.

  JM works weekly -- but is still learning about how to do the REAL work. 

 The girls do things as needed and do a good job.

Farming is LONG hours -- oh, LONG hours.  AND hard work!

Yes, my goofy husband still has fun!!
He's cutting hay.

This spring/summer is like all others -- lots of work.  
There has been lots of rain and cool weather.  
We got so much rain SO fast that it ruined all the hay cut down -- it washed it away in spots.

Yep, corn got in late because of this and 1st cutting hay is not finished.  

Major Tractor break-downs.

BUT asparagus was wonderful!

Yep, we LOVE to go to the pool and beach.  Yep, we have LOTS of appointments in the summer.
BUT -- we also help out daddy (and Uncle Jack) on the farm!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!!!

Happy Father's Day to the MOST AMAZING DAD!

Dad with 4 of the 5 kids (MD is still on the ministry trip.)

Yep, this man LOVES being a father.
He is amazingly patient and understanding with them.
He LOVES to have fun -- he teases and kids, gives appropriate discipline, prays with them, teaches them about God and farming, plays with them, attends MANY of their events and TRULY LOVES them!!!

He also gives them a good example!  He works HARD!  He is faithful to me and to God.  He helps those in need and is giving of himself.  He loves the church and makes it a priority!


For what it is worth -- this man wanted TEN kids!!!! Yes, he is the driving force in our growing family!  Although, I think he is thinking five is plenty -- NOW!

The girls each made him special cards -- 
My Darling added a coupon ---
Day off of work -- and I will do your work!!

The kids also gave him tickets to go to a Detroit Tiger baseball game!  Oh, yeah he was excited!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

School Year in Review

Our School Year in Review!

This year was the first year all 5 of our children attended public school.
Was I nervous????


Although, I was 100% sure that this is what God wanted us to do -- 
but change is HARD!

BaJabs -- 

She had a wonderful year.  She had one of those WONDERFUL early elementary teachers.  Mrs. P is so sweet and loving.  She totally dotes on each of the kids.  This was EXACTLY what BaJabs needed this year.  Because she had surgery scheduled during the year -- Matt and I knew things would be difficult.  This teacher handle EVERY difficult situation with our daughter wonderfully.  She even had a little party for her before surgery!  AND because of this BaJabs excelled academically and emotionally.  She has totally started to blossom and act/understand what family means!  

My Darling 

WOW -- this girl has become a fabulous writer.  She loves to read and write and continued to make progress this year.  Yes, she is reading and writing MANY years above grade level.  Her teacher, Mrs. A was great.  She knew EXACTLY how to challenge the children.  Thankfully, My Darling had some other HIGH children in her class to challenge her along.  We also continued to challenge her with violin -- outside of school.  She loves it and is doing well!  I was the most concerned with her math skills and she caught on well and made the progress I had hoped for this year.  BUT a big thing this year was having her sister in her class.  I knew this would be challenging for My Darling because it would cause her to have more responsibility. Thankfully, she rose to the occasion and became a wonderful leader.  ALTHOUGH, her teacher did an awesome job helping My Darling with this.


 AMAZING!!!  I still have to sit back and remind myself this girl has only been in school ONE year!!!  She had NEVER attended school before coming to America.  We decided to put BOTH Elizabeth and My Darling in the same class.  Their teacher, Mrs. A was amazing.  Our goal with Elizabeth was to teach 'school' with LOTS of positive.  She came from an orphanage and I did NOT want school in ANY WAY to resemble her old life.  Thankfully, she LOVED school.  Even though it was difficult and she had to do SO MUCH EXTRA!  Her teacher was such an advocate for her.  She received extra help in both reading and math.  She went to 1st grade in the morning for language arts.  She got ESL (English Second Language) help AND Occupational Therapy for her hands.  WOW!!!  She made about a 1 1/2 year growth in ONE year!!!  EVEN with all that growth she is still behind and she has a HUGE surgery this next year so the team -- Matt and I are on it ;) decided to keep her in 2nd grade next year APART from either of her sisters.  AND she is going to summer school for the month of July.  She has an amazing attitude about it and is happy as can be.  Thankfully, I feel like she trusts us to do what is best for her.  


Change!  Yep, this was a HUGE change year for him.  His class at the Christian School had 6 kids in it.  His class at public school is one of the largest -- 140.  WOW!!!  AND of course he entered middle school.  I think he was the one Matt and I were the most concerned about during this change.  Well, he totally met the challenge.  He made some good friends.  He 'pushed' his way to be included with people who have gone to school forever, together.  PLUS he excelled academically.  He got the Whiz Kid award this year.  There was a lot of learning that took place about working in bigger groups and being organized but he really stepped up and did well!


Well, this was his second year in public school.  School is VERY easy for this child.  He easily gets straight A's.  He loves FFA (Future Farmers of America).  He decided to drop band this year -- much to my sadness BUT I do understand his reasons -- 'I want to take more business classes as it will help me in the future.'  His highlight was taking drivers training so he can get his drivers license.  He was picked to attend college part time for the next 2 years as well.  He is starting to learn that procrastination is NOT a good thing -- Thankfully :)  

All in all you can see that our children had a FABULOUS year.  AND Matt and I have praised God often about this.  We are so thankful!

Now for my school year.  My placement this year was part-time 6th grade language arts and part-time 6th grade self-contained -- which included teaching science.  This was a challenging placement.  As well, we had a new superintendent and a new middle school principal.  One of our team mates had to take the year off for medical reasons and we had a mix of subs.  We changed the schedule 3 times in the first month AND my language arts curriculum changed while adding a science curriculum I had never taught before.  SO -- as you can see, without even adding in any kids this was going to be a challenge.  AND it was!! Thankfully, I totally LOVED my students!  This was probably my 2nd hardest year of teaching out of my 18 years.  I do feel with all my heart this is the job that God made me to do!  Every morning I would pray that the students could see Jesus in me.  I wanted to build relationships with kids and help them grow -- while teaching them the academics I needed to teach.  AND yes, I wanted to ALWAYS Choose Joy!  Was it hard???  Oh, yes.  I do feel I finish well --  BUT I am excited to see that my placement for next year has changed -- I will be teaching language arts FULL-time, although split between 6th and 7th grade.

We are ALL ready for summer.
Pool-time, beach-time, picnics, catch-up on housework, farming, sleeping in, reading books, family time, camps, ministry trips, concerts, movies and vacation!  

Bring it on!!!