Thursday, August 27, 2015

He's in that in between stage now.  One moment boy, the next man.  It's hard to believe that Zai has turned 13, yet I can certainly attest to his growing up.  Every so often I will glimpse him out of the corner of my eye & think he is his father.  I've even called him Dave a few times!   
Birthday Celebration #1!
His birthday was a special time with two celebrations.  It began on the Sunday night before with a visit from his close friend & his family.  There are nine children in that family & so we love to invite them over because it is an instant party!  Each of my children have a special friend among the nine who match up in age.  The other children in their family are eager for us to get foster children around their age so we can have more! 

As is usual, his birthday- day celebrations began early on the morning of the designated day.  Our traditional birthday hunt was so much fun.  I gave more cryptic clues this time to find his gifts.  While Zai was a little lost at first, Jud got each one & was about bursting with not telling his brother what it meant. 

Zai's big gift this year was a toolbox.  Recently at church, one of our deacons preached a sermon about men.  One of his points was that the term teenager came from Hollywood.  He noted that we often hold low expectations of our teenagers.  While we often will bestow the privileges of young adults on them, our expectations are sorely lacking.  Zai took this to heart.  He deplores the term 'teenager' & has deemed that he is a 'young man' now.  We have raised our expectations of him & each time he has shown us that he has the ability to do as we ask.  No, he is not perfect, but he is a good boy & strives to do the right thing most of the time! :) Zai is already putting his toolbox to good use & so far is keeping everything together in it ( he is rather absent minded at times).

Ellie is definitely NOT a morning person...

Zai gave very specific instructions as to what he wanted his cake to look like.  While I originally tried to follow them, in the end I had to do what I could.  He was happy with the outcome, even though it did not resemble what was in his head ( I simply did not have enough decorations to produce what he was hoping). 

We had another birthday celebration that night.  We invited one of his nearby friends over as well as our dear friends who usually come to help us celebrate in the absence of our extended families who simply live too far away to come for birthdays ( we have a lot to celebrate!).  We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends living near us!

What a precious young man our dear Zai is becoming!  We are so proud of the person he is, of the faith he is displaying & of his kind & patient heart.  He is wonderful with the younger foster children we have through & has a heart for the elderly in our church & community.  It will be interesting in seeing how the Lord will use him in the years ahead!

Happy Birthday to our dear Zai!!


The reality...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Our days seem filled to overflowing with lamb feedings.  At least they were when these pictures were taken two weeks ago.  It's hard to believe that it's taken me two weeks to even get this posted here, but that is the reality of real life blogging - sometimes real life just takes over!  I often smile when I hear about this homesteading/farming life being described as the 'simple' life.  Oh sure there are things which are more simple about it, but it certainly can be busy.  Since these pictures were taken all the lambs have been regrouped into groups with a maximum of 10.  This allowed us to simply use the green 'bars' for every feed & saves us the pain of washing bottles three times a day.

We've just weaned the oldest lambs yesterday. They seemed so confused as to why they can't have their daily ration of milk this morning.  We've put them out of the yards, but as poddy lambs are want to do, they live as close to what they know as home as they can.  I have noticed that they do progress a little further away during the day though - just to the paddock with the best pasture!

I am so proud of how well our children have done this lambing season.  They have taken on added responsibilities with ease.  They rarely complain about this job.  Instead we all head down to the shearing shed ( where the lambs can be housed inside at night & put into separate parts of the yards during the day, thus keeping their groups separated) in/on our various transport & get on with the job. The kiddos are good at lugging buckets & lugging lambs.  They are good at making lambs drink & holding lambs down as we treat them for various ailments.  They have stepped up to the mark & will enjoy their monetary rewards once the lambs sell next year.

Lambing season is fast coming to a close.  Almost all of our ewe flock have given birth.  The paddocks are speckled with babies & their mothers.  Our friend has stopped delivering loads of poddy lambs for us & we are seeing the end of it all.  By this time of year we're ready for this.   Spring is well and truly on it's way as the days are holding a bit more warmth. The blossoms are coming on the trees and I am enticed to pick up my camera regularly (although getting the pictures from my camera to my blog seems to be rather slow as of late - I will get there!!).

May you have a wonderful day friends!

Escape from Sudan (Review)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Can you imagine having to flee for your life as your home goes up in flames behind you?

Can you imagine not knowing who you can trust?

Can you imagine living in a country so torn apart by war that you have little choice but to leave it?

These are all true scenarios for Elijah Bwoko, the main character of the book Escape from Sudan by Amanda DiCianni.  Amanda combines her real life experiences from working with Sudanese people as well as her studies in Literary Writing to pen a compelling, thought-provoking tale that will keep the whole family captivated.

 I received a PDF copy of Escape from Sudan for review purposes.  I very quickly read the book & decided it would be our next family read aloud as it presented some excellent conversational topics in a fun, adventure-filled story that all my children will enjoy!

Escape from Sudan is written from the perspective of a Christian teenage boy, Elijah Bwoko, who lives in a small village with his family.  When the story opens Elijah and his friends are playing soccer as typical boys do, however unbeknown to them enemy soldiers lurk in the nearby jungle, hoping to make slaves of those they can kidnap.  Elijah and his friends must run for their lives knowing that while they may get away, some of their friends will undoubtedly be caught.  

As Elijah and his siblings journey through the story, they must learn how to function independently in a world that would make most adults shudder.  Eventually they must leave behind their beloved, yet war-torn country, and begin a new life.  This story shares their adventures from the destruction of their village to the settling of these children into their new home.  They meet unscrupulous characters, they must flee from the enemy soldiers & slave camps, they must learn who they can confide in & ultimately, they must trust God in the most difficult of circumstances.

Escape from Sudan is written for children 8-12 years.  While it's scenarios seem rather confronting, they are presented in a tasteful & gentle way that is suitable for children of this age.  Sadly, this story shares much of what is reality for many people & our children need to know that not all children are as blessed with the safety & stability that they take for granted.  Escape from Sudan is an excellent book to present children with the realities faced by those who live in war-torn countries.  It is the catalyst for many stimulating & informative conversations for the whole family!

Sunday Wisdom

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Every Word of God is flawless;
He is a shield
to those who take refuge in Him.
Proverbs 30:5

Sunday Wisdom

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Charm is deceptive,
and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord
is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

This & that...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

It's been an unusual winter here at Sunnyside. At least it's been unusual for us, although the old timers say it's the way winter should be.  Icy cold with regular rainfall.  I'm not a big fan of the icy cold, but thankfully with so many poddy lambs, it pushes me to go outside regardless of the weather.  I do think otherwise I would tend to hibernate fireside on those frost encrusted mornings.  I am, however LOVING the rain!  Our big dam which has been low for ever so long is now less than a metre from being completely full.  We are just so thankful for this!

Our children are getting quite proficient with their trampoline tricks.  I love these pictures that they wanted me to take of them.  I remember that, as a young girl, I would wish I could do a flip on the trampoline in mid-air.  I would pretend that my summersaults were really flips. I guess my kiddos don't get their trampoline skills from me.... 

We tried the old ' coloured leaves' experiment for science recently.  I let the children choose whichever colour of food colouring they wished for their particular leaves. Of course they all chose random mixes which all ended up being an ugly brown colour.  And even then, the leaves never changed colour as they were meant to even after waiting for days after it should have worked.  Oh well - I guess that is life.  We can't colour leaves, but we sure can grow poddy lambs ;)

I'm afraid I've turned into rather the coffee snob.  I still drink mine cold - yes, even on the coldest days, yes I know I'm crazy (but hey, many people drink hot coffee on hot days...).  I've always liked nice coffee, but now I have to have nice coffee - you know, those speciality blends that only come from certain shops....."Snob" my husband calls me.... (of course that is only at home - if I'm out I'm thankful for whatever people serve me :)!

The other evening an ominous cloud moved over Sunnyside & with it the rain.  It was amazing to see how quickly it filled the sky from West to East.  I love it when you can see the rain coming & in this case it was so very easily discernible!

I'd best be going as I have a million and one things to do, but surely will not get through even five of them.  Oh well there's always tomorrow...(Lord willing).

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

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