Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So, how is life with Him???

Recently we have been ask this question many times, the "him" in which they are referring to is our son Jonathan. The first few times I/we were ask this question it kind of took me off guard. I felt a million thoughts run through my head, in only a matter of seconds. Then I'm pretty sure I stood their facing the individual(s) with a glazed over look...because truly at that moment my mind was on my million thoughts! Each time this has been ask, there is always one thought that pops into my head first. My mind wants me to answer them back in question form by saying "Why do you ask such a question about Jonathan and not of my other 10 children"? This question really strikes a nerve that goes deep into this Mama's heart! Maybe it isn't so much the question as it is the tone in which the question is ask. Normally I look to Arthur to speak, in which he does and his answers always comes out nice and sincere...words given from the Lord. Later Arthur reassures me once again that the individual(s) meant no harm, they are curious to know what it's like to have a child with Down Syndrome. To which I say "well, than they should ask the question in that manner" this,

What is life like having a child with down syndrome???
I would then easily give them an answer, and this is what it would be......

Raising a child with down Syndrome can be trying, frustrating, exhausting, fun, joyous, rewarding, eventful, and requires a lot of prayer!!!!

Wow, I believe that sums up being a parent to any child :)


When I see Jonathan I don't see Down Syndrome, I see my son...just as I do with my other 5 sons. And as the Bible says

Then God said "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness Genesis 1:26

Weren't we all created by the Lord? This would mean we are all made according to His design, yet after the fall some people were born with physical ailments
others of us suffer from something far worse...SELF & FLESH! But one day as the Bible says....

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Praise be to our Lord in heaven we will be given a PERFECT body!!!!!

A journey to salvation....

Paid the ultimate price so we may experience
freedom and the sweetness of salvation!

Our daughter Amanda
took a bit of a journey before she came to know the Lord
in a personal way....

Amanda shared the story of her journey,
you can


to read it!

We are so happy for Amanda,
that now she knows the Lord as her Savior.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Visiting a Pen Pal....

Before our RV trip last month to Canada, we had a lot to consider........

We had to think about....

*Miles/Distance traveling in a day
*How many nights to stop
*And where to stop, traveling up north in winter months can be tricky because there
aren't many campgrounds open.

Arthur and I sat several nights plotting our routes and studying our large map...which is marked with many friends who are scattered all over the map. Our hope is to over time be able to drop by and visit friends as we travel their direction. Not knowing what the weather would be like or where we might find a campground open along the way to Canada we decided against any extra stops along the way. We were all a little disappointed we couldn't manage a visit to at least one friend, we were glad that we hadn't called ahead to tell anyone we might be coming. Nevertheless we had mapped out several stops to friends and looked at what routes we could have taken.

On Friday night we set out for our dear friends in Canada, we drove through the night. By the next afternoon we had made it from Tennessee all the way to Sioux Fall, SD and it was time to stop, eat, clean up and rest....we were so thankful to find this campground open. As we left the campground the next day I emailed my pen pal and said we aren't far from her house, and I was thinking of her. It was just neat to know we were close...Arthur had said many times over the past year "if I can I'll take you to visit your Pen Pal when we are that direction" It just didn't look like this time it would work.

On our return trip home we drove to the same campground in Sioux Fall the first night. We had made much better time that day than we had expected and Arthur said "I think we could go see your Pen Pal!" OK, I was so excited! I contacted her and told her where we were and what time we 'might' get to her house. She said that would be great and come on....then there were several more emails because our timing was a bit off! But it all worked out beautifully!

This is CINNAMON, my Pen Pal! This was the first time we had ever met face to face...don't you just the blog world?! I'm not sure how long Cinnamon and I have been Pen Pals, I'm thinking a little over 2 years. Anyway, we mainly communicate by snail mail, and only once in a great while email. We have lots in common, our first connection was we both love to write letters ....with pretty paper and colorful fine point pens ;)

Arthur & I---Cinnamon & John

Our husbands are wonderful......I say wonderful for numerous reasons!!! On this day because my sweet husband took his wife many miles to met, fellowship, and break bread with a her friend...something that I didn't truly expect on this trip! And John was as sweet as can be because he walked in the door from work Cinnamon told him of our visit and that we would be there in 15 minutes! He got cleaned up fast to meet some folks from Tennessee he didn't know other than from talk and our Christmas card:) Arthur and John thank you both for loving your wives so much...I think I can speak for both Cinnamon and myself in saying "your to good to us!"

Oh, and one can't forget....we have 21 children between the 2 of us! That night only 19 of them were present. What a memorable fun time we had, thank you for the hospitality you showed us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The little things in life, can often be monumental ...

Today was a BIG day for Jonathan, a day to be marked down in history ....He wrote his full name all by himself!!!
He wrote it without tracing, or someone standing over him coaching him! It may have taken him 13 years and 4 months to accomplish it but HE DID IT....and we couldn't be more proud!

This year Jonathan has just taken off and excelled in ways that I cannot believe and it brings me to tears seeing him achieving such goals/task. This school year we had a change in his teacher, and I truly believe he needed the change ...a fresh start with a teacher that had some new ideas, Elizabeth his sister. Jonathan adores Elizabeth, to him she does no wrong. So, placing these 2 together was a definite match. What a joy it is to see the interaction between them, lots of learning going on...bonding and memories being made. I count it a blessing to have Elizabeth helping teach with me this year.

Time seem to go and change quickly, in recent days I have thought much about the season in life we are in. Each season is different, but I must say I'm really enjoying this season ...our life and house is full with Bigs and Littles!
We are greatly blessed!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Doggie News...

On Saturday our store had a
Doggie Daycare Valentine's party!
It was a full day of wagging tails, chasing, jumping,
drooling, and barks of fun!!!

You can click
to see a few party pictures.

Today one of our very sweet
pooch friends passed away...

Our hearts are so sad, we will all miss him....
as we know his family and sister Lily will too.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Birthday Celebrations

We have 2 February birthday kiddos....

They start off our year of birthday celebrations!

Rebekah and Madison are 2 years and 2 days apart in age. In the above picture Rebekah was 2 years 2 weeks old, which means Madison was 2 weeks old. It didn't take long for Madison to pass Rebekah up in size. Now Madison is Rebekah's "little BIG brother"!

February 11th

Rebekah Marie turned 17!!!!!!

February 13th

Madison Harold turned 15!!!!!!

This year we are doing the older children's birthdays a little differently. We have given them several options and ways to celebrate. 1- They can go out to eat for their birthday and then do gifts at home, 2- celebrate by going on a day trip of their choice, OR 3-doing our normal home birthday meal and celebration without a theme, because they are older.... NO theme!? Not sure this "Mama" can have a party without decorations and a little bit of a theme :) So, this year we will see what the children choose for their special day?!?

When Rebekah and Madison were younger each year they would have a joint birthday party. Well this year they decided to go back to celebrating their special days this Mama it seemed like old times:) Rebekah's birthday fell on a Saturday so they chose to go out to eat for their first day...we ate at Cracker Barrel. Then Monday Madison's birthday, we had their home birthday and gifts.

Party Time....

Birthday Menu....

*Kielbasa/Onions in sweet sauce
*Loaded baked potatoes
*Homemade Bread

So many memories are made with each birthday.....

Rebekah and Madison each received a few small token type gifts this year for their birthday. For their "real" gift we gave each a card... written in the card was a clue to finding their gift. It was a bit like a treasure hunt, it was lots of fun. Before they found their gifts they each had 5 clues hidden in several places in and outside our house. Madison was the first to hunt, his final clue lead him to Mary Ann's crib, in the crib was his gift a banjo. Rebekah was next her final clue lead her to a storage closet, in the closet was a hope chest.

For dessert Amanda made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing....
And Elizabeth and her sidekick Wesley made dipped cones for ice cream
*Chocolate with coconut
*Chocolate with candy sprinkles
*White chocolate with Oreo cookies
*Chocolate with peppermint chips
all served with vanilla bean ice cream....YUM!!!



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

This is the purest form of love ever known....

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

John 3:16

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jonathan's 13th Birthday ....

Jonathan's birthday is my last birthday post to catch up on from 2011, I'm 4 months late...sigh~ I knew I needed to get this done since Saturday will start our first birthday for 2012.

OCTOBER 9, 2011

Jonathan's birthday theme was based on his 2 favorite things....
His Magna Doodle and Silly Bands
Jonathan can often be found in our...or I should say "his" green chair tracing his Silly Bands on his Magna Doodle.

Silly Band/Magna Doodle Tree

13...hard to believe Jonathan is NOW a teenager...or as we say young adult!

Smarties...they have been Jonathan's favorite candy since he was tiny. They have been his inspiration and motivation to accomplish and complete specific skills....and at 13 it still works;)

Jonathan with his place card from the table. Elizabeth made them, on the inside each one contained a scripture...we all read our verse aloud after dinner.

The Menu:

*BBQ Sandwiches
*Baked Beans
*BBQ Chips

For dessert we had peanut butter brownies........

Along with ice cream sundaes......

Which made for some very happy children:)

Jonathan absolutely loves birthday parties, he gets so excited when we have one or attend one. But when it is his birthday he truly beams with joy the entire day!

It's easy to celebrate Jonathan, it seems we could celebrate him each and every day! He is a miracle and gift to our family in a way that words cannot describe!

We love you, Johnny!!!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An unexpected gift.....

Last month we were given something we had talked about, priced, and prayed for. For almost a year Arthur and I have talked extensively about purchasing a larger dining table, but it had been mainly just that talk. After Christmas we decided to look into purchasing a table, not just talk about it. Our current table fit 8 comfortably, but we had to seat 11 and still put Ruth Ella in the high chair.....that left Mary Ann totally out of the picture, plus Ruth Ella was getting to big for the high chair. The first week of January we began looking online for a large family table, we quickly found that the tables that we would like were, well, Expensive $2,000-$7,000 for just the table!We knew spending that kind of money on a table wouldn't be what the Lord would have us to do, so we should just wait. And wait we did.......

Our current table~

The very next week the phone rang, Arthur answered the call. It was a lady named Judy, whom we neither one knew. Judy told Arthur that she was given our name from a mutual friend and she was wondering if we would be interested or would have any use for a large family dining table! She told Arthur it had been a relatives old table. The table had been in deep storage for sometime, and they were cleaning the storage area out and table needed a new home...Our home! Arthur said "yes", within a hour he and Madison were off to retrieve our "new" to us table!

Elizabeth and Madison along with their side kick Wesley
Cleaned and scrubbed the table, benches, and chairs down....

After some hard scrubbing, and a little oil....
The table, benches, and chairs were ready to be brought in the kitchen and placed in their new home!


We love the "new"table, it feels wonderful to all be able to sit so comfortably....we can seat 12-14 at this table. What a blessing, truly the Lord heard our prayers and answered them by gifting us with this table...We are thankful He spoke to Judy about giving it away!

As for our old table.......

It found a new place in our home, the family room! We took out the 2 leaves, and placed 6 chairs around it. It makes a great place to do school......

Play games, color, or just sit and be silly!!!! It also gives us more space when we have company over :)

We thank the Lord for hearing our prayer for a table, and giving us one in a very unexpected way!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.....
James 1:17