Sunday, December 8, 2013

An Update . . .

I just wanted to do a quick post to let all my readers in on an update about Dream's leg. Sorry I didn't earlier. It is healing up well and she is at the point where we could start to ride again. (Yeah!!!) She is really feeling her oats. We have been working her more to get her ready for us to ride again. We took her for a walk (I know that sounds crazy but. . . ) on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and that was great except that it was a windy day and she spooked a bit. So I hope that fills you all in!!! By the way, if you are a horse owner, could you let me know in a comment so I know who to ask for tips? I hope to post new pictures soon! God bless you all! Thanks for all you prayers and concern!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It Is More Blessed to Give than Receive

On a Sunday in mid November and the following Monday my family and I were so blessed to participate in packing shoe boxes. This may sound a little strange to some of you but there is a program through Samaritan's Purse called “Operation Christmas Child” that takes shoe boxes packed with some items like candy, toothbrushes, washcloths, school supplies, toys, etc., and sends them across seas to children who don't even know what Christmas is!

My family and I drove an hour to participate in a church potluck (the church was called Brush Fire Ministries) where they were packing shoe boxes. This church was located in Bitterwater near King City. We, with a few other families in our fellowship, caravanned to this church for a “party packing” day. Their goal was 1000 shoe boxes (last year they did 800) and they did approximately 1200 shoe boxes this year! It was truly amazing to participate in this way of blessing others.

On Monday our family packed our own boxes too. As a family we did 6 boxes, 3 for boys, 3 for girls. I felt so wonderful knowing that I had helped bless children in other countries who, some of them didn't even know what love felt like. Some of these kids live in war-torn countries where their parents have possibly been killed in front of these children. The stories of what these kids face or faced is so amazing and touching. As a family we donated online and printed out labels for our boxes that enable us to get an email saying which country our boxes went to. This Christmas season “Christmas” has truly come alive for me. I've realized what Christmas is all about, giving and not receiving.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Ups and Downs

Her leg was really swollen.

It was open just below the knee and bleeding.
Since receiving Dream we have lived through some ups and downs with her. To start with the ups, it is a wonderful blessing to have her on our property and to ride her freely. I so enjoy working with her, grooming her, spoiling her, and riding. For the downs, we came home one day about two weeks ago to find that she was just standing, which is extremely unusual for her, not even taking a few steps to come to the fence to greet us. I crouched down to look at her legs all the while coaxing her to come to me. I noticed that her left-front leg was open just below the knee. Being a first-time owner, I freaked out and called mom and dad. I jumped through the fence and was with her in a jiffy asking my sister to get water because I didn't know how long it had been since she had drunk since the water trough was on the other side of a hill. When I saw that her food wasn't even finished I became even more worried because Dream loves to eat. :D After we finally led her into a much smaller “pen” we called the man we got Dream from and the vet. The man we got Dream from came to our place to look at her wound and said that it was bad but not life-threatening. (THANKFULLY!) Two days later the vet came out and basically said the same thing. We got some medications for her from the vet too.

We gave her the medications twice a day for about a week and cleaned her wound daily in addition to putting in some stuff that's supposed to heal it up and some stuff to keep the flies away. It's been a lot of work and I hope it heals real quickly! Please pray because it isn't appearing to improve!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Dream Come True

What ya doing?

Dream's feeder and OUR boardwalk to keep out of all the dust.

Ah, Sunday, October 13, 2013, a day to remember indeed. For on this memorable day my family and I picked up our horse that we have been given. Although it was extremely difficult for me not to share this with you all before, I was determined not to until after she was on our property. Going back now to August, I had a horse and didn't even know it! My dream come true at last! Back when we left for camp, that Wednesday, my mom and dad had been offered a horse and decided to take her. On the Saturday my sister and I came home they told us. So from Wednesday to Saturday, basically four days, I didn't even know that I was a horse owner! Can you imagine! I was so excited! (And still am:-)) We decided to name our mare “Dream” because she was a “dream come true”! Dream is an eight-year-old pony appaloosa. This does not mean that she is a very tiny horse but rather she is not quite full sized. She is the perfect size for my sister and me. She is also considered a “pony of the America's” aka: POA. We have free-ridden once so far and we do “ground games” a lot with her. She is a great horse for us. She's quiet—not like a high-spirited Arabian or something. : ) She was actually used with handicapped kids if that helps you picture her! Another good thing about her is that as we learn our training method, Parelli Natural Horsemanship, she is learning too because she was never trained with this method so she does not get frustrated as easily. (Notice I said “as easily”! LOL) Our friends who gave her to us also taught us how to ride, but most importantly, to build a relationship with her.
Now she even trots to us when she sees us or we call.
Neighing at me."Well, howdy yourself Dream"!

I am queen of this hill!
We are converting our playhouse to a tack shed for her. We made her a nice feeder too out of a tractor tire. We have been so blessed by friends offering advice, loaning us equipment, giving us tools, and offering physical help. Thank you if you are any of the above mentioned. Since we are first-time owners, we need all the help we can get! So far we have had a good experience except for a few minor mishaps. :-) Expect that I will be posting a lot more with her included!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Creation Trip

Posing in front of the Grand Tetons.
Bull elk in Grand Tetons.
A few days ago our family returned from a nice, long, relaxing trip. We dubbed it our “Creation Trip” because we studied the evidence for creation, the flood, and the Ice Age. My sister and I did school work in the car during our long driving days. We visited Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. We had a lot of adventures including camping in Yellowstone for five nights with snow on our tent two nights and 60 mph gusts the last night. Imagine how thrilled I was when I saw all the magnificent wildlife including three grizzlies, two black bears, a moose, lots of elk, pronghorn, mule deer, mountain goats, Canadian geese, trumpeter swans, and the crows relative, the raven, that is much larger than I thought. We traveled along the outskirts of Glacier National Park since the National Park shutdown forced us to change our plans. We got to be only 22 miles away from the Canadian border which was exciting for me to think that I was so close to a whole other country! Near the John Day fossil area in Oregon our family got to go fossil hunting. During our three hour excavation on a hillside we discovered multiple leaf fossils and petrified wood. Throughout our trip our family was blessed by the hospitality of old friends and new ones.
Mama Grizzly with cub that we saw when leaving Yellowstone.

​We went through Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and of course, California. This was the longest trip that I have ever been on. We drove into more states than I have ever before. Our whole trip was full of excitement, but my favorite part was seeing all this together as a family.

This is just the beginning of the highlights of our two and a half week trip. I hope to post a lot more about this incredible trip but just to start, I wanted to share my introduction to our Creation Trip; however, my next post will be about one of the most memorable days of my life.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It was a Global Flood

These past two weeks in school we have been looking into Genesis: creation through, as of now, Noah's flood. I think that there is something that God wants me—or one of you to know through this because in both Geology and Old Testament History (Bible Class) the flood is the main topic right now. I am learning about why Noah's flood was a worldwide flood—NOT a local flood. Here is some biblical evidence why it was a global flood.
A sketch of the flood that I doodled.
  1. The highest mountain tops were covered with approximately seventy-five feet of water.
  2. An ark was needed to survive rather than just move to a safe place away from where the flood would take place for the time being.
  3. The ark landed on a mountain top— the mountain of Ararat!
  4. After the ark was grounded, it took Noah and his family over 70 days to see the other mountain tops!
  5. The rainbow was God's sign that he would never again flood the earth with such a flood. If it was a local flood, then God had broken his promise many, many times.
  6. In the New Testament Jesus referred to the global flood that “took them all away”.
These are all reasons why it was a global flood not a local flood.
Also, man has found that 75% of the surface of the continents are covered with sedimentary rock averaging one mile deep to as much as ten miles deep. An example is Mount St. Helens that erupted in 1980 where thick sedimentary deposits which consist of 1000s of very thin layers, were deposited in just a few hours.
Besides this, we find billions of fossils buried in the rock layers ALL OVER THE EARTH. To me, Noah's flood is great evidence for the truth of all of God's word.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

School Days with the Family!

Blowing the shofar to begin our year.
Yesterday was the first official day,  in the classroom, of our 2013-2014 school year. This year is our fifth year of homeschooling. Homeschool is such a blessing to our family because it gives us flexibility to travel, to go Tuesday to Saturday instead of Monday to Friday. Most of all, my sister and I are able to be taught Christian values and lifestyles in addition to, and sometimes included in, our regular traditional academics. We also get to have much more family time than if we were in public school.

Posing with our new books and, of course, hot cocoa!
The first day of school is always a lot of fun. We traditionally will begin the day by going outside and blowing our shofar. The shofar is a horn used in Israel to anoint and bless things. Also we pray and bless our property, animals, and the school year. Then, with hot drinks in hand, we parade to our classroom. On our desks are most of our new books and our supplies like pencils, erasers, and other equipment for art, etc.. We go through our new books and start the day.

This year I am in seventh grade and eagerly looking forward to this school year. At the same time I am nervous because junior high is a BIG change. More work, longer days, more homework, more responsibility, and more chores. I hope to, this year, grow closer to God, my family, and be a better example for my sister and everyone else who might be watching. I don't want to be as selfish but more willing to give. Pray for me brothers and sisters! Pray that I may be God's hand and feet in everything I do- from school to simply being a witness. Thank you!

"Phew! I'm pooped! How do you girls do it?"

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Off to Camp!

Last week, my sister and I went to a Christian camp, called LIFE Camp, by Lake Lopez. The goal of this camp is to help kids live in faith effectively. The fruits of the spirit was the theme this year and our “challenge passage” (a passage out of the Bible for the kids to try to memorize as well as the daily and theme verses.) was Galatians 5.Our mom and dad dropped us off Monday morning and picked us up Saturday. Although it was a long time to be away from our parents and home, my sister and I had a marvelous time growing closer to God and having fun.

I like everything about Life Camp especially just growing nearer to the Lord. In the morning, the first of our three classes is Missionary where you learn about one missionary all week. This year it was Dr. Carl Becker, missionary/doctor to the people in mid- Africa– especially the Pigmy people. Our second class of the morning, Biography, was taught by the director. We discovered the lives of a different person every day. A few examples are Joni Ericson Tada, Eric Liddel, George Washington Carver, and Jim Elliot. Our last class was Bible where we learned about Ruth, Paul, Joseph, David, and more. In the evening we had chapel with a different speaker every night.

Life Camp offers lots of fun, active activities. After lunch girls go swimming for about an hour to an hour and a half. Directly afterward is field games where we play multiple different games such as: capture the flag, belly bumpers, soccer, dodge ball and that is only scratching the surface of all the games. Soon afterward, everyone enjoys what is probably most people's favorite activity– free time! At this time the campers are allowed to do just about anything. The only hitch is that if you want to go outside the boundaries or into the creek that flows by, you must have a staff person who is willing to accompany you or at least keep you in their sight. During some free times the staff have organized activities for the campers. One day there was a gold hunt in the creek where whoever wanted to go could learn how to pan for gold and the likely places gold would be. Another exciting expedition was when a group of campers hiked a ways up the mountain to search for fossils. Most kids found one– or two– or even more! I was in the category of “even more”. I found two rocks but combined in the two rocks was a total of three clam fossils. I was given two more rocks with fossils, their total– six plus!!! The last activity at the end of the day is “night games”. During “night games” we mostly play “blob tag” which is similar to family tag. The only other game that I can remember playing at night was capture the flag.
My LIFE Camp cabin group.

Everything about Life Camp was a lot of fun- so much fun that is- that I can't choose which thing was the funnest. I was blessed to be in a small cabin with only three other girls and one fantastic counselor. Between night time Devotions and Missions, swimming and free time, snack and dinner, everything was so fabulous. I feel like I grew closer to God and will be able to be better at the fruits of the spirit. Thank you, Jake, for putting on Life Camp so faithfully each year and for being interactive with the campers! Thanks everyone who sent me and my sister letters at Life Camp! It meant a lot!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Riley, Our Long Awaited Dog

Riley and me.
God has so blessed our family! I have been wanting a dog for what seems like forever. At the end of last month, we got a dog. We don't know exactly what breed or mix of breeds he is but he is an awesome dog. I've known him longer than anyone else in our family has known him and from the start I knew he was meant for us. His name is Riley.

He showed up, as a stray, in Lockwood one day and a friend took him in temporarily. She had Riley for a while before giving him to our neighbor. Does that sound like God or what? Often, Riley would come down to visit us. Then, our neighbor moved about 4 months after getting Riley. Our neighbor returned Riley to our friend and left. However, what I think is the most crazy part is that in the 16 going-on-17 years that my mom and dad have lived here, they have never been offered a bag of dog food. Well, when we were at a friend's house, as we were leaving our friend asked us if we had a dog. Mom looked at Dad and said, “We might have one in about a week.” (Because we had been offered Riley and we were considering.) :) So, you can guess what happened, he gave us a LARGE bag of dog food. By now we are thinking that God is making it pretty clear to us “GET THAT DOG!” So when we returned from the homeschool convention we unloaded and, the same day, went to pick up our (big) puppy.
My family giving Riley a bath.

The first thing we did when we arrived home was to walk him around, but other than that, “Bath time!”. That night was a rough night because he was restless and the only one who slept well was my sister. The rest of us hardly slept at all. That night he also ripped our screen door. By morning, neither my mom nor dad were sure we could keep him but we had thought that God had brought him to us, I mean, we prayed, the whole dog food thing, our neighbor getting Riley, we just thought God had wanted us to have him. :( It didn't make sense. Finally, after much prayer, Dad said that we would give him another try. Phew! Our next step was to set aside an area where we attached a cable to two poles and then made him a leash out of cord as well. This way Riley can run but not have complete access to our yard. We call it a runner or “zip line”. We put a large tarp over half the area so that he has lots of shade. That completed, my sister and I played with Riley for the greater part of the day. That night, he was WONDERFUL! Thank you, Lord! Yesterday, we (my sister and I) played with him again and trained him and had a blast! He is a very good companion. Riley is smart and powerful. Last night, again he was a charm! Today, I spent some time with Riley and I am convinced that Riley was meant to be our dog.
What's wrong with this picture?

Thank you Riley family for letting us keep his name “Riley”! Thank you EVERYONE who played a part in us getting Riley! Especially, I want to thank, with all my heart, you Lord! It is because of you that we have Riley. :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Utah Moist Supreme Cornbread Recipe

In response to the recipe for the cornbread, (I was asked for the recipe:))as I posted earlier, it is called “Utah Moist Supreme Cornbread”. The following is the adapted recipe we made:(not cut in half):)

12" Dutch oven
l box yellow cake mix
2 ½ cups cornmeal
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. baking powder
3 1/4 cups milk
4 eggs
1 cup oil

Mix the dry ingredients and whisk together. (If you are cutting in half, takeout half of dry ingredients and store in Ziplock baggie. We took out 4 cups. Of course you will also cut the wet ingredients in half). :) Combine the wet ingredients and add to the dry. Mix until moistened. Pour into on oiled 12" Dutch oven. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. ~18 coals on top and ~ 9 on the bottom. Not cut in half: serves 12-15.

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup honey
Beat together until smooth.

* We have not tried this but I thought I'd include it. :)

Enjoy your cornbread! :) May God bless you all!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Wonderful Weekend

Susan Marlow and myself at the convention.
Thursday, my family and I started on our trip to a homeschool convention in Modesto. Our first stop was at a friends' house in Gilroy. They helped Mom with ideas for homeschool, made us barrel cooked chicken, took us to see their horse, and just loved on us. I had a blast (thank you sooo much!)!!! :) The next morning we met Grandma and continued on our way.

Barrel chicken.
When we all arrived at the convention we set up the Ghost Town Publications booth with most of my grandpa's books. That day I also met one of my favorite authors, Susan K. Marlow. I was honored to be able to share with Susan about some of writing projects that I'm working on. I spent both days (the convention was only two days) either working at my grandparents booth, or at Susan Marlow's booth talking (not to mention the many hours spent at the hotel pool!). Both nights we stayed at the next door hotel.

I was extremely impressed with the politeness of the homeschooled kids working there. They were serving by bringing carts around to all the exhibitors. They also, the first day, set out a buffet lunch “behind the scenes” for the exhibitors. The second day they set out a buffet breakfast as well as bringing sandwiches, chips, and soft drinks around to the exhibitors for lunch.
The large sailboat that went past.

Yesterday, we (Grandma, my family and I) came home to my grandparents' house and spent the night. Tonight we will spend the night again before heading home. Just now, out my grandparents' window, we saw a HUGE sailboat with sails that must have been 30 feet high (not exaggerating!!!).

Although I had a wonderful time, I am anxious to get home. Thanks Susan, for not tiring of my frequent visits and sharing with me! Thanks Grandpa and Grandma, for always loving on me and my family!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Family Dutch Oven Night

Dutch oven with chicken.
Last Friday, the 19th, my family and I had a quiet outdoor cooking evening together. We used our Dutch ovens and made a cornbread and chicken. The chicken was delicious as well as the cornbread, but it was the first time we had the chicken because Mom and Dad made up the recipe. However, we have made the cornbread multiple times.

Dad in outdoor cooking area.
The cornbread is a recipe called “Utah Moist Supreme Cornbread” that we modified a bit. As the title states, it is extremely moist. You almost don't need any butter or honey and it actually doesn't take that long to cook. Also, the cornbread mix is so large that you cut the dry ingredients in half and then add the rest of the ingredients (obviously cutting the amount of wet ingredients in half also) saving the other dry ingredients for another batch.

It is so special to have a break from our constant activities to enjoy family time. I think it is important to set aside time to grow in our relationship as a family and focus on each other. Although the food is good, the more important part of that night is family. I think God has given us family to love, respect, and to hold each other up. We need to honor that by doing just that. Thank you, God, for family.
Dutch ovens with briquets.

Dutch oven chicken (left) and cornbread (right).

Friday, July 19, 2013

Out With the Old, In With the New

Yesterday, my family and I paid a visit to town. Our first stop was to drop off recyclables at a recycling plant. I was amazed at the amount of recyclables there. We cashed in a lot of plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and glass bottles. (My sister and I are saving up for: me—a horse, and my sister—a surfboard.) We were very pleased with what we made. Thank you to everyone who helped us by giving us your plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans.

Sorting out recyclables for first ever turn in.
After cashing in our recyclables, we ran some errands before going to Avila Beach to boogie board. When we arrived, we “wave watched” for a bit. Deciding the waves were too small, we drove over to Pismo Beach where we pulled on our wet suits. We had trouble getting onto the actual beach though, because the “beach access” sign was misleading. We had to hike down, in flip-flops, steep dirt stairs and cross a field to get there. However, once we got there we knew it would be worth it. Quickly, we hopped into the water and my sister and I began to boogie board with the help of our dad. After my first few waves I needed a minute to calm myself down because I had been completely submerged once and kept slipping off the board and sliding against the sand. So for a while, I sat and played in the sand with the water rushing over me. Eventually, I began to boogie board again. We had a lot of fun. Toward the end of our time at the beach, I took off too soon and the wave crashed onto me! My mom said that I looked like part of the wave! I went head over heels-or . . . heels over head? I did a total somersault in the wave. It felt weird and my nose was stinging but at the same time I felt like I was flying in mid-air. Afterward, I just sat there, sort of stunned before recovering and boogie boarding some more. Then we had to leave. We decided to hike up a different, easier, path that we found. When we arrived at the car hot and tired but happy, we tried our best to wash off but still looked like we were covered in half the beach! Lastly, we went to Costco and after shopping we bought a pizza, and came home.
Posing with boogie board at Pismo Beach.

We had a fun filled, wonderful day and, although I'm still sore all over, I can't wait to do it again. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for making it such a great day! (And Dad for braving the cold water without a wetsuit!) Thanks, God, for protecting us and helping us to have fun despite a couple face-plants!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

From A Granddaughter's Perspective

A Sea Turtle at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

An Icelandic Horse
The last week of June- first week of July my sister and I went to visit our grandma and grandpa in Pacific Grove for 8 days. We visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the nearby park. We also enjoyed staying at home watching movies and cartoons. My sister and I decided to put on a skit for our grandparents. It was about the Revolutionary War since it was around the Fourth of July. It was a lot of work writing it up, getting props, and practicing, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We also went to our grandma's church both Sundays. One day, we had the unique experience of both seeing and petting Icelandic Horses at our grandma's friend's house in Carmel Valley. At night, after my sister had gone to bed, I had some good time to talk with both my grandparents.

The Fourth of July became a memorable day for both my sister and me. It began when Grandma, my sister, and I as well as two of Grandma's neighbors went to a parade in Monterey. Afterward we went to a cafe down the street. After we dropped off the neighbors at their house, we went to the beach. There our grandma rented us a boogie board and we enjoyed using it but it could not compare to what happened next. We met a lady who was letting kids, who looked like her grandchildren, ride little waves on her surfboard and we asked if we might ride. Kindly, she said “Sure!” That Fourth of July we will never forget because it was a dream come true for both my sister and me. Sunday the 7th, our parents came up and we enjoyed our traditional pizza. Then we spent our last night before going to a coffee shop the next day and heading home.
A large inflatable birthday cake at a Fourth of July parade

Both my grandpa and I think this was one of the best trips we've had in a long time. Thank you, Grandma for setting aside your time and making this such a wonderful trip! Thanks, Grandpa for taking the time to talk to me in the evenings as well as letting me take your morning walks with you and all the other things you did to make this trip awesome! I know that grandparents are a gift from God. So, thanks, Lord!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In the Beginning . . .

Today, at last, I have begun my own blog. A few years ago I began my blog under the same title but I never actually posted. I am excited that I have finally begun one that I will hopefully keep up. I hope to share my personal thoughts, reflections, and activities. I would sincerely appreciate to have you both follow and comment on my blog. Thank you and please enjoy reading these little slices of my life.