Monday, September 29, 2008

giving credit where credit is due . . .

On several occasions we have had the opportunity to meet, and become friends with people from all over the world; people from Korea, South Africa, Australia, and many other far away places. Living in Los Angeles, the melting pot of America, gave us the chance to come into contact with so many different people and I am so glad to have lived there and came into contact with others with diverse backgrounds, cultural experiences, and fascinating lifestyles.

Here in Ohio, it doesn't seem to be as diverse as our experience living in California. But what Ohio has, that is equally rich in experience, is people who care, share, and lend a hand when others are in need. Patrick and Deb Allen have been those types of people for us as we have made our move "back" to my roots.

On previous posts, I made mention of staying "with friends" while we were looking for jobs, homes, or just visiting. The Allen family is the family that we stayed with the most on our seemingly monthly trip to Ohio. On each trip, they hosted us with gladness, and took time to ensure that our stay went well. Deb graciously provided meals for us throughout the day and we spent most evenings eating a desert, drinking coffee, and sharing our lives together. Both Patrick and Deb have gone far and above in hosting us on our trips up here and were always eager to invite us up to stay again and again. It is great to have people like the Allens help in the transition moving fromm the South, back to the North.

Thank you Patrick and Deb for your giving attitude, your hospitality, your endless provision (the stove came from their basement) and most of all your friendship.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

this little light of mine . . .

Recently I have had an earache. It started back about a month ago and has been quite a pesky little annoyance. At times it has been piercing with pain, but mostly it is just a dull, underwater type of feeling that has GREATLY affected my hearing. Feeling like I have stepped back in time, I have the children administer the "ear candle" to alleviate the wax buildup that comes with ear infections. In this picture, Maine got to light the candle and hold it to my ear. Why have I not gone to the doctor if I have a earache? Good question. Answer: Just moved, don't know where to go, and have no recommendations. In addition, I am leery of most doctors and the advice they give for remedies. So instead of going to the doctor and getting antibiotics, I am trying this home remedy suggested to me by a friend.

Here's how it goes. You push the candle through a hole in a paper plate so you don't catch your hair, the sofa, or the house on fire. As you can notice in the photo, I really won't be able to burn much hair. You then light the candle, which is made of wax, and stick it down in your ear as far as it will go. It takes about 15 minutes to burn down close to your ear and then you take it out. (so as to not burn your hair). The oxygen that is burned inside the hollow candle creates a vacuum that draws out all the wax from your ear. (reminds me a little of the movie "The Green Mile") The surprise at the end is cutting the candle open and seeing how much wax has been "sucked" out of your ear. It is really shocking how much wax your ear can hold. I have done the candle thing now around 6 times and still find that each time a crushed peanut's size of wax is extracted from my ear.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

all is quiet . . .

One of the things I did not anticipate about living in the country is the QUIETness of it all. Sure, I knew that the country was not filled with lights, stores, and the traffic that makes night time seem alive in the city. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck you know. But this evening as I sit here to post, I am quite shocked at how quiet it is in (and outside ) the house. No lights, no stores, no people, just the darkness and the "stuff" outside. Actually, to be honest, I am sometimes a little afraid to go outside in the evening by myself here. Not that there is anyone or anything outside here where we are living. In fact, just the opposite is true. There is NOTHING and NO ONE for miles around. It is just us, the neighbors, and the plants. On several occasions I have caught myself saying "I'll go out there tomorrow" when I feel like I need to get something from the pig barn at night. What would I be getting from a PIG BARN you might ask? It is where I am storing my stuff, sort-of like a garage.

The children are in bed by eight, asleep by nine. Ildi is usually tired early, and I can't help but think "I can't go to bed at 9:30!" I'm an adult now. However, I am faced with the ominous quiet and am really quite amazed at the reality of it in comparison to the idea that I had before I moved out here. I even think that this keyboarding is slightly echoing. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

provisions . . .

It is always fascinating to watch how the decisions we make, and don't make, turn the events of our lives. As well, I am always amazed at how God works His ways in spite of all the decisions I make. Take for instance this lovely stove. Vintage 60's thing that is extremely cool. We moved into our rental in the country (pictured below) and the home needed a toilet and a stove. The owner bought the toilet and had it here the day I moved in. Good for me that I knew how to install toilets. Then there was the issue of a stove. Ildi had decided that she was going to work around not having one. For those that know my wife . . . imagine Ildi without a stove. We didn't necessarily want to buy one and then leave it here, or take it with us, so we decided to do without. That is until some friends of ours decided to get rid of this one that they had in their basement. They weren't sure that all of it worked, but did use it for canning in the winter. So, one night a week or two ago, along with a friend I picked it up and brought it home. It fit perfectly in the spot that I set out for it, and the WHOLE thing worked! even the oven! It has a warming oven, two big drawers under, a light (one that is on in the picture) and a red warning light I fixed the other day. Presto! our oven and stove needs are met. We did not buy it, we will take it with us when we go, and did I mention that it was extremely COOL!


Here are two of the three kittens that have joined us here in the country. We feed them small dog food and they forage around eating bugs during the day. The children call the gray one Smokey but I forget what they named the other one.

Nolan and his dramatic picture taking! I spent time training him and Amory on photography a few years ago and it seems he's taking it a little too far now :) Actually, I am impressed with his shots. He took all of these minus the stove/oven picture.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

much to do about . . .

It is amazing how many different emotional situations occur when you move. "I love this place" thoughts happen one day, "what on EARTH were we thinking?" the next. I have had so many different emotional reactions and responses that I am not quite sure which ones to believe.

School is starting to get into a small routine. The students are finding out more about me and therefore trusting me more. (and liking me) Today, I had a student, who is a GIANT of a child, not want to work. He was pouting because his project was not turning out perfectly. Since I was trying to encourage him to work I sat at his table and asked him to get busy on his work. He seemed angry and wouldn't even look at me. The other students looked at me when I asked like I would not get an answer out of him. Just to throw a curve ball at him, I said "Aaron, look at my bald, ugly head" with an attitude. He laughed out loud and looked. He did not work the rest of the period but I know for sure I made a connection with him today.

We have been looking at some farms for sale. I love the idea that we are not pressured to buy and that we can take our time and evaluate exactly what we want in a farm. Our good friends the Weihrauchs come with us often to let us know if it is going to work as a homestead. They are the ones who are currently homesteading and making a living of it. It is also great to be next door neighbors (if you call a half a mile a next door neighbor).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

giving thanks . . .

Having grown up in a small city just thirty miles from where I am living now, and then moving to Los Angeles and living most of my life, I never believed that I would end up back in Ohio, better yet on a farm. It is funny how God brings things full circle in our lives.

We sat tonight developing a friendship with some folks who live in the area. They run around with the same circle of friends that we know. I guess the main connection between them (us) all is good food. We all have various views on the church, baptism, . . . and yet the common threads center around family life, having children, and eating food that is closely related to it's natural state.

In talking this evening, we reminisced about our past, finding out more about each other, and continually were brought back to the reassuring fact that God has had His hand on us all our lives, and even when we didn't acknowledge Him, He knew our ways. It is funny to think that no matter where we go . . . He is there. No matter where we hide . . . He is there. There is no escaping the the magnificent sovereignty of God.

There are so many things that I am thankful for now. We are living within our means, we are establishing friendships, I have a great work situation, and we have even gotten kittens for the children to start our "life" with animals. (these three kittens are the first animals we have gotten as a family) But, there is nothing I am more thankful for than for God's grace as He has reconciled me to Himself through the sacrifice of His Son. The pain of death became a passageway for my life. And I am thankful that the plan for my life included my relationship with Him.