Saturday, October 31, 2009

Foiled Again!

The culprit: a squirrel.
So last week in the morning as I was going to work, I noticed a cute little squirrel sitting on a pumpkin. He was chewing the stem of the pumpkins we just picked up at the farmer's market. No harm in that I thought. We don't need the stems.

If you are thinking "You are so wrong, Tamara. Those squirrels are wily and always trouble." then you would be right!

Look what those little rascals did to our pumpkins in one day!!! I even caught one all the way inside, with just the tail sticking out. I thought of taking a picture, but then I thought it would be even better to let our dog Sonny pay him a visit.

We will have to skip the carving this year as there wasn't much left to the pumpkins.

You can see the carnage below:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Favorite Fall Foliage

This is my favorite tree in Jackson.
Such a beautiful tree. Last year I discovered it when I was leaving my friends house. It was so stunning I just pulled off the side of the road to look at it. I must have been there for a while when this big burly dude came stomping out of the house and yelled "What do you want?"
That certainly scared me.
"Oh, I'm sorry sir. I was just admiring your tree. I think it must be the most beautiful tree in Jackson."
The guy's face turned from anger to a mix of confusion, and then after a little while, a smile.
So, I figured that since he was aware from last year that there was a crazy lady on the loose, looking at strangers trees, that this year I could take my camera. Of course, I this time I took my husband too! To my great relief, he never came out of his house.
You all think I'm crazy now, don't you? Well, you are right, but let me just show you why this is my favorite tree.
First, the tree turns this bright fiery orange. I took these pictures in the rain. You should see the tree in full sun. Gorgeous!!!

Now, when you go under the tree, the beautiful bright orange leaves show a little secret. They are actually yellow underneath!

Last, but certainly not least, when the leaves drop, they look like this.

Look at all those colors! I just love God's creations. There is a special place in my heart for Autumn, and I am thankful for this tree just a couple of blocks from my home. I don't usually need to go down that street, but in October, I make an exception. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Even More Way Back When

After we graduated from the mission training in Jersey Shore, PA, we spent eight weeks with our home church in Jackson, MI and then moved to a lovely place named after a not so lovely bug. That's right, we moved to Roach. A little tiny dot on the map of the state of Missouri. This is where New Tribes Mission's language institute was located. (This is now the location of both mission AND language training also known as the Mission Training Center, or MTC).
Although we went to a very small apartment to an even smaller one (This one was 410 square feet!) this place had something our other did not... a toilet! We did not have a shower or tub (this was still almost 100 yards from our house) but we were so happy to have a toilet we didn't care! Having a toilet in our apartment became an even bigger blessing as the year progressed, and we began potty training Emma, and I became pregnant and was dealing with morning sickness.
Another huge blessing about our time in Roach was it was right on the lake of the Ozarks! Josh enjoyed being able to fish several times a week, and Emma and I enjoyed all the fresh fish dinners. We also enjoyed living near water in a warmer climate. I was able to take Emma swimming in the lake well up until the end of October (and we did too. It was a daily ritual of ours. After her afternoon nap, we would go for a swim.)
These special times did not go without their own hardships. We still struggled a lot financially, but God was faithful, and we never went without a meal. We also lost a baby at this time. This was hard, but we had so much support from friends, and flexibility from the staff if I missed a class or two. God generously blessed us with another pregnancy, and the joy of Josie coming helped ease the pain of our loss.
The things I remember most about our year in Missouri was the close friendships we made. We can say that some of our dearest friends live all over the world! Places like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Mexico and the Philippines. I remember our faith being stretched, and God always showing Himself to be faithful. I also remember our marriage relationship grow. You just get closer when you go through "stuff" together.
It was a great time, and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Check out this lake! Many a dinner was caught out of those waters.

Emma is sitting outside our steps. By the time we graduated, these woods were torn down, and several new homes were being built for more missionaries in training.

This was the sink AND the bath! Never did I cook and clean her at the same time! :)

Emma and I in the living room/office/dining area. She looks so much like Addie but with straight hair!

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Way Back When

I am sad to say that this time in our life, when we were in our missionary training, we lost some photos. The most special ones I can think of were of the time when we lived in our Jungle camp.
We had a little stick house wrapped in plastic. My kitchen was on our porch. We cooked on the fire. We had people over to play games, and spent the days hiking, canoeing, and shooting guns, as well as being in class. Our classroom was outside. :) It was a really fun time, and I finally learned how to use a compass properly. :)
This time was not all easy. I had to get over my fear of a spider that was the size of my hand if I ever wanted to use the bathroom (I say bathroom, but really it was a big hole dug in the ground, with a bench and a seat over top, 35 yards from our house! Ha!) I'm not typically afraid of spiders, but one doesn't expect to see spiders that size in this country!
This was also the time that Emma got the measles. She actually was the 1 in 100,000 who get it from the vaccine. Josh was gone on a hike with all the men for three days, and Emma spiked a high fever. I got permission to take her to the local doctor (we typically were not allowed to leave the camp at all, but they knew something was wrong). We were greeted in the back alley of our doctor's office, when they came out with gloves and masks.
"That is measles alright!" they said.
"Well, what can I do?" I asked.
"Nothing." was the reply. "That is why you vaccinate."
Well, thanks for that one! So, back to the camp we went. Emma and I were quarantined to our little jungle house while we waited for her spots to go away.
Even though there were some difficult times, it was one of the fondest times I experienced there.
These pictures are not from our time living in the jungle camp, but from another time when we went hiking up there with some fellow students.

Look at Emma! So cute!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Way Back When...

I've decided to do a new series of posts I'd like to call "Way Back When". I just recently came across some photos that I haven't seen in a really long time, and I thought for kicks I'd share a few.
Here is the first one. We took this family photo in 2003 about a month after packing up and moving cross county to Jersey Shore, PA where we began mission training with New Tribes Mission. The three of us moved into a tiny 425 square foot apartment (did I mention we had NO bathroom!) and I went from a stay at home mom with a new baby, to going to classes every morning.
It was rough at times, but the majority of my memories of this place and time of my life were simply wonderful. We lived in gorgeous country. We were a community of people that I could invite over for dinner as they walked by our house, or give the baby monitor to your neighbor so you could go for an evening stroll on a "date". We only used the car once a week, had no tv, and spent all of our spare time outdoors. We didn't have a lot of money (one month we only got $45 income!) but we always had an abundance. God used this time to teach me to trust in Him to provide, and he did again, and again, and again.
Ah, it was a good time. All except my hair. Ha! What is up with this helmet hair cut? I guess that is what you get for free hair cuts. :) Look how tiny Emma was!
This picture was taken right outside our front door! It was so beautiful there!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Splendor of the King

A couple of weeks ago when we were in Ohio celebrating Josh's Grandpa's birthday, I went out to take some pictures of the kids watching the soy beans being harvested. I was shocked and in awe of the beauty of the sky that night.
There was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen. The sky was painted with all sorts of purple and orange and pink. Not only was the sunset gorgeous, but on the other side of the night sky was the moon. What a glorious night. All I could think was how AMAZING of a God we have. This is a thought that is often in my head, popping in an out as the day goes, but that night I could think if nothing else. I felt like any minute, angels were going to break out in a mighty chorus like the time of Christ's birth.
These shots do God's creation no justice, but I wanted to try and share what I saw.

Sunset just starting.

The sky was just glowing!

I wish I had my tripod with me. I was shivering, so I couldn't keep my hands that still.

Look at this! I felt like I could just reach out and touch it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Daddy and Addie Acrobats!

A little fun playtime after dinner. I don't know if I would be so brave after a big meal. :) Addie loves goofing off with her Daddy!

So high!

They are looking in a mirror. Addie couldn't get over her head being so close to the ceiling.

Now down for the drop, safe in Daddy's arms. Well, not safe from a tickle though!

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Ballet Baby

Josie decided to follow in her big sister's footsteps. She is now enrolled in a ballet class this year! She is really enjoying it, and I'm enjoying watching her. Josie has such a delicate and graceful way, and ballet just brings it out more. :)
They keep the door to the class open once a month so we can watch what they are learning. I decided to take my camera and I got some cute shots.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Eighty Five Years Young

Sunday we were able to celebrate with Josh's grandpa his 85th birthday! What a fun day it was. I said to Josh as we were going back home late that night how it felt like a holiday. He said "It is. When you have a family like ours, Grandpa's birthday becomes a holiday". I couldn't have put it better!
We sure missed Ben and Emily who live in Texas. Everyone else was able to make it out though. We enjoyed two delicious meals, and lots of visiting, and what Mathew get together is complete without a nap?
The kids spent most of their time outside watching the neighbor harvest soy beans. They must have thought these kids were crazy watching them for hours. Crazy? No. City kids? Yes.
This visit made me very excited for the upcoming holidays soon approaching. What a great day!

Giving Great Grandpa his gift.

We gave him 85 Hershey kisses and 85 kisses on a card. :)

Grandma reading a family favorite.

Group hug!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Little Ones

I never knew how special a first born child really was in a family until I had my own. When Emma came into the world, I became a Mom. I learned a lot with her, and there is a special spot in my heart that only she will have.
That being said, I never thought Josie and Addie would have their own little special spots in my heart, but they do. With Emma gone at school full time now, I've got to see a different side of things.
Josie doesn't play the roll of little sister then, but she plays the big sister. The teacher. The protector.
Addie can be heard now. When Emma is at school, it is Addie who becomes the talker. Much like her oldest sister, Addie has something to say about everything!
I do miss Emma while she is at school. More than I ever thought I would. You hear moms make jokes about summer vacation being over and them rejoicing because their kids will be back at school, but I didn't feel that way. Emma is one of my closest friends and I miss her when she is gone. I am glad that I have been able to share these special times with my younger two though. Ah! I just love my girls!

Birthday Blessings in a Box

Uncle Ben and Aunt Emily sure do know how to make Josie happy!

Josh too for that matter! Thank you for the birthday presents for Josie and Josh!