Saturday, January 28, 2012

taking care of three 1.5 year olds

Taking care of three 1.5 year olds.....

I had just finished vacuuming up a box of cheerios that had been dumped and put the vacuum cleaner away.
I walked back into the kitchen and this is what I saw!

It was very tempting to give them their cups of milk
and yell, "snack time!"

                                        James felt very bad for what he had done.

But I told him that it was no problem. We like to have a good time here and I want to be known as the "fun" aunt. (The bad thing is that they all have way too many aunts.)

So the boys had fun going up and down the slide. They were so polite and took turns. That lasted about 5 seconds.
                                                   And then it was a free for all.

These boys are so blest to have cousins the same age. We don't even have Kentin here, but can you imagine what it is like when they are all together?! They are in the same stage of developing but they each have their unique way of talking, walking, laughing and their characters are really starting to shine. As parents we pray that these little guys will grow up to be men that love God,challenge eachother, hold eachother accountable, and encourage one another in good, and God-fearing ways.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

parachutes for Colombia

Flying low over the jungles of Colombia, pilot Russell Stendal drops homemade parachutes out of his small aircraft. Each parachute contains a Bible, Christian literature, and a shortwave radio pre-tuned to Christian stations. Russell has a deep love for the guerrillas also known as the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) even though they kidnapped him in the 1980s and held him for ransom. Colombia is one of the most violent countries in the world with fighting between the guerrillas and the Colombian army. The drug trade has fueled the violence making it dangerous for even ordinary citizens. The guerrillas recruit young children and train them to kill for their cause. They also must be committed to a Marxist ideology that demands total loyalty to their cause. Any opposition can result in death. Those who have become Christians and have turned from their violent ways have been killed and their families taken away. Flying over these jungles and dropping Christian literature into their camps proves to be a dangerous mission for Russell. If he flies too low he risks being shot at by the guerrillas, and if he flies too high he risks being shot at by the Colombian army who will assume that it is a drug runner flying the airplane. Travelling into the jungle by foot to witness to the guerrillas is also very dangerous because of the risk of kidnapping. Motivated by love and obedience to God, Russell continues to risk his life in order to witness. He writes, "I have seen many guerrillas turn from their violent ways after reading the Bible and listening to our radio broadcasts. If we want peace in Colombia, we have to point people, even terrorists, to the true source of peace and forgiveness."
I have had the opportunity to listen to Russell speak and I have read his book "Rescue the Captors." Russell writes about his life's story while he was held captive. As he reads the story to his captors they have many questions about Christianity and start to question themselves about what they believe. Russell uses this time to witness to them and encourage them to seek God.
All of this motivated me to make these parachutes (these can be ordered through Voice of the Martyrs) to help bring the gospel. With the help of some friends and family we made 40 parachutes! Our boys wrote Bible passages on them in Spanish and we shipped them off to Colombia. It was incredible to think that these parachutes, filled with Christian literature would be landing in the jungles of Colombia! We are praying that those who read and hear about the Gospel will have their hearts softened and turn to God.

Here is a short video of parachutes being packaged and dropped off in Colombia.

This video shows the extreme violence in Colombia, but also that God is at work changing even the most hardest hearts.  Do not watch this with your children because it does contains violence.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

sharing memories

Last year my sisters and I each wrote a story about our childhood and we read our stories out loud at our Christmas gathering. We kept what we wrote a secret and when the stories were read, we had many fits of laughter as we heard stories that we had long forgotten about. We put the stories in a binder and we said that we would do this every year. My boys love reading the stories and they think that it is great to hear stories of their aunts and mom when they were young. (not that long ago:)

Here is my story. It is kind of embarassing so I wrote it in the third person hoping that it wouldn't be so painful when I read it.

It was a very bad week for 11 year old Kerri. At least when she thinks back to it – all of these horrible occurrences happened in a week’s time frame. “Life” was not going good for her. She had done some impulsive things toward her sister who was two years her junior. These impulsive acts had gotten Kerri into big trouble. It started with the vacuum cleaner – and the beater bar. Kerri was vacuuming the family room with this powerful machine when poor, unsuspecting Rachel walked by. As the oldest, Kerri was sure that she had to do more jobs than her other sisters and as innocent Rachel made a skip over the vacuum cleaner, rage built up in Kerri. She took the vacuum cleaner and started to chase Rachel with it. Rachel ended up on the couch defending herself with her kicking legs, but those thin little legs were no match for the big powerful beater-bar. The beater-bar landed on Rachel’s head with a thud. She let out a scream that could stop a heart from beating . Kerri, realizing the horribleness of what she had just done, tried to lift the beater bar off of Rachel’s head only to have the bar lift up taking Rachel’s lovely red hair with it. The seconds seemed to stretch on until someone hurriedly unplugged the very powerful beater-bar. Rachel laid there crying in pain, and Kerri started crying too when she saw clumps of red hair twisted in the bar. Yes, Kerri was in trouble.
Not soon after, Rachel and Kerri were skipping in the kitchen. There must have been lots of freedom in that household because not too many mothers would allow their daughters to skip right where they are working.  Anyways, Rachel did something to irritate Kerri again. It was probably not a big deal, but Kerri took that pink skipping rope and hit Rachel across the back with it, except the hit became more like a whip…Rachel again cried out in agony and ran to show their mom the inflamed welt across her back. Kerri was in trouble.
Not soon after, the girls were out at the end of the driveway waiting for the school bus. Snow lay as a blanket along the orchard trees across the street. The snow was piled high in the deep ditch so that it looked like you could walk right across it. That is when Kerri got another terrible idea. Kerri saw poor, unsuspecting Rachel swinging her backpack around and talking to herself – probably going over the multiplication facts- and decided to let Rachel have it. Kerri slowly walked up to Rachel and gave her a good shove right into the ditch. Watching Rachel’s look of shock spread across her face was very satisfying for Kerri until she heard a familiar noise. She looked down the road and saw a flash of yellow. The school bus was on its way. Kerri frantically tried to pull Rachel out of the ditch. Rachel managed to stumble out, but she was dripping wet! She was furious at Kerri and went stomping back to the house. Kerri desperately tried to get Rachel to turn around and go on the bus no matter how wet and cold she was because after all she would dry off, eventually. Rachel would hear no part of it. Kerri slowly stepped onto the bus with a despairing, sick, feeling. Her father would have to drive Rachel to school and again Kerri was in trouble.
Now for the moral of these stories. Kids, no matter what your brothers are doing to you, do not get so easily irritated. If you feel like you are having a hard time at school, or with your friends talk about it. Do not let it fester inside of you so that you take your frustrations out on someone else. These will only hurt someone else and cause you to get into trouble. And here is another lesson. This one is for the mothers who have days when they think that their children are either going to ruin themselves or each other with their destructive behavior. Kerri and Rachel’s mother got through those days and you will too AND Kerri and Rachel didn’t turn out too bad either!