Friday, December 28, 2007

An Update on Silas.

It's been some time since we asked for prayer for Silas, and time for an update!
Our blessing boy has doing so much better!! For the week following our post, he continued to having more bruising, but now he has had no bruising or swelling for the past 10 days.

We are so grateful for all of you who have held Silas and our whole family in your prayers. We know that they made a difference!! We are so thankful to the Lord for taking care of Silas, preventing any major complications, and for Silas' swift healing.

In the video Silas says;

"I can Walk, Jesus gave me new skin, Thank-you for praying for me. Bye-Bye."

Hunting Adventures!

November 28th brought with it deer-hunting season, which means that several members of our family suddenly had a strange fascination with rising very early in the morning and going out to sit in the freezing cold in search of Mr. Monster Buck.

During the season we saw many deer and there were several shots fired- Lydia shot at a large buck (and presumably missed since we never found anything), Moses shot at a doe, but missed, I never actually saw any deer while I was carrying a gun (we had 4 guns for the five of us), so I never got to shoot.
Esther and Moses on opening day, empty-handed but excited!!
With five hunters between us and the Ansons, we had a serious case of buck fever floating through the house. We didn't think it was contagious but apparently it was; before the first day of the season was over, Esther had contracted the fever too. She decided not to buy a tag, but she went out faithfully everyday with Moses. This was Moses' first year getting to carry a gun and he was SO excited!! He saw plenty of deer but didn't get a shot until the end of the season.
The guys heading out to the field.
Most of the season was unreasonable warm and sunny, usually hunting season brings with it below freezing temperatures, snow and wind. This season it stayed warm until the last 4 days. Scott bagged his deer on the last warm day and tried not to laugh as the rest of us battled the freezing cold, ice and wind the next three days.
Seth is the most selective hunter of us all. Having bagged two 8-point bucks during his career as a hunter, he now reserves his bullets for only the largest bucks, which unfortunately, he has yet to locate. During the beginning of the season he passed up on several nice bucks and a swarm of large does. Finally as the days ticked off until that last day, he began to shoot; we won't talk about the three that got away, or the eight empty shells in his pocket, which all strayed from their target.
On the last day of the season Seth, Esther and Moses once more walked through the fields hoping to bag a deer. They were heading home when suddenly; they saw it. Actually Esther saw it, and as she dropped to the ground she whispered "It's a buck, a HUGE buck!!!" Seth, visions of those antlers floating through his head, raised his gun. Scroll down for a picture of the monster........
Okay, so Esther was partly right-- it was a deer, so she gets brownie points for actually seeing it, but as you can see from the picture, it was not by any means a big deer, and there were certainly no antlers on her. Seth deliberated for only a second before pulling the trigger. Since it was the last day and he will be able to hunt only the last day 1/2 of the next season, he wanted to fill at least one of his tags.
Hopefully this coming season will be a little more profitable then this last one-- we've still got 4 tags to fill!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Icy Adventures!

On Monday night (Dec. 10th) Kansas was hit with a ice-storm. Somewhere between 2 and three inches of rain fell during the last few hours of the day and by midnight, the steadily dropping temperature had frozen everything into a thick sheet of glass. During the early hours on Tuesday morning, we lost all electrical power to the house. Exciting, huh?? With no work on Tuesday for Dad or Seth we spent the day at home, mainly in the kitchen or living room. Our huge stove is run on propane, so by keeping a pot or water cooking all day, we were able to heat part of the downstairs and stay warm even without the furnace. With plenty of hot water, we weren't fairing too badly. When darkness came at 5:30, we couldn't find much to do without electricity but we all sat in the living room while Dad read aloud. By 7:30, half of us were headed to bed, but Dad stayed up to play cards with the younger ones by candlelight.

There was a thick layer of ice over everything!!
Moses and Micah loved seeing how many icicles they could knock off our fences!!
Our power lines; covered with ice but still up!
::Tuesday Snapshots::

Playing risk- why does Esther always win, because seriously, there isn't one game of risk played in this house that Esther doesn't win. It's so sad!!

Silas was prepared for anything and everything with Dad's flashlight and his own little pistol!

With no lights, candles became a highly valued item in this house!!

::Wednesday Snapshots::

Wednesday morning we packed up and headed to Grandma's!! It was a little difficult to make it down our tree-lined road with our tall bus, but thankfully it wasn't damaged. Grandma never lost power during the storm and we are so grateful for her willingness to open up her house to us all!

Wednesday morning was a good time to get started on some special Holiday baking. Grandma pulled out her recipes and we got right to work making Christmas cookies!!

Chocolate covered peanut-butter-balls are a family favorite!! Grandma always makes several batches---- mmmmmm!!

Tabitha has the time-consuming (but mighty tasty!!) job of shaping, then dipping the peanut-butter-balls!!
Silas and Grandma working on puzzles.

Lunch-time--- organized chaos! :)

The ice hurt the trees severely in most places. Wednesday as we girls busied ourselves in the house, the boys spent the day working on the outside cutting down the broken branches and hauling them away.
On Thursday we girls got to have a piece of the action too and we all pitched in together to clean up several yards.

One of Grandma's trees was damaged quite a bit. The boys kept busy for a whole morning on just that one tree!

Seth ran the chainsaw most of the day!

Charity and Tabitha received the logs that had just been sawed and stacked them on the curb to be loaded into the trailer.

Micah hauling the limbs- they were quite heavy with all the ice on them!!

Dad loading the trailer.

Esther and Charity.

Moses unloading the trailer.

Thursday evening Scott arrived at our house with a newly acquired generator. He and Lydia generously offered to let us use it, and Scott hooked it up to power the house. Thank-you, Scott!! So Thursday night we moved back out to the farm where the Ansons moved in with us for the time being, until they got power back at their house.

With the Ansons staying with us on Friday and Saturday, we got to spend extra time cuddling Marcus and cuddl--- no, chasing Paul!! :)

Now it's Tuesday evening, and it's been 7 days since we lost power. On Friday Seth and his boss made a trip down to TX to purchase a large number of generators. They arrived back in Kansas Saturday night and Seth hooked up a generator at the Ansons so they could move back home. Since then both houses ran on generators until they got their power back yesterday morning. We are still running on the generator, which is large enough to supply the majority of our house, except for the water softener, wash machine and dryer, our two chest freezers and the distiller which purifies our drinking water. We've been buying drinking water in Seneca and Grandma is doing our laundry (THANK-YOU, Grandma!!), and the Lord has provided weather cold enough to keep the items in the freezer still frozen, so we're all set; but we are taking donations of brownies and chocolate chip cookies......:) The electric company said that we should have power today or tomorrow so hopefully tomorrow we can quit running the generator!

It's been a exciting week and certainly a change from our normal lives! It's amazing how loosing the power changed so many things. One doesn't realize what they have until they don't have it! We're all have a greatly heightened thankfulness for electricity!!


-We've been out on the roads all week from place to place the the Lord has given us all safety and so far nobody has gone in the ditch. We're are grateful for the Lord's guiding hand of protection!

-Grandma has been so helpful-- letting us stay with her, making lunches for us while we were working on the trees around town, lending us her truck so we could come home and do horse and chicken chores, doing our laundry, the list goes on! We're so grateful to the Lord for our Grandma!!

-Scott and Lydia have been so generous letting us use their generator. Without it we'd be living here at home in darkness. We're so thankful for their kindness!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sweet 16!!!

Happy Sweet 16th Birthday, Elizabeth!!!

I have been privileged to know Elizabeth for about 4 1/2 years now. We first "met" when I placed a pen-pal ad in a magazine, and Elizabeth was one of the many responses I got. Little did I know when I read her first letter that we would become such dear friends!

After much prayer we first met 16 months ago when Elizabeth came to visit for 6 glorious days! They flew by, and we had such a wonderful visit! It seemed hard to believe that it was our first time seeing each other, I felt as if I'd known her all my life!

Not long after that I got the chance to go down to visit the Ulmers for 2 1/2 days. It was a much-to-short visit, but it was nice to be able to put faces to names! By the time I left I felt as if the Ulmers were family, and looked forward to being able to visit again!

Little did we know that it would be almost a year later before Elizabeth and I got a chance to see each other again.

Meanwhile we kept busy writing our "books" (40+ page letters) to each other, and keeping up with happenings in each others' lives through the wonderful world of blogger!

Me, Elizabeth holding Jake (my brother) & Emmy (my sister)

This past October Elizabeth was able to ride to Illinois with the Ansons, and we picked her up from there for a much-too-short 2-day visit! Again, it was a very fast, busy visit which included taking senior and family pictures (she is an amazing photographer!), shopping and square dancing! But when Elizabeth left the parting was a bit easier knowing that I would be flying down sometime within the next month, so it wouldn't be quite so long before I saw her again!

Last month I flew down to Kansas for 8 days - only 6 or 7 weeks since Elizabeth had visited. I have so many fond memories from that trip: exciting football games, snow-volleyball, learning how to play spatch and spades, a trip in the bus, loud car-rides, getting "stuck" in an airport for 3 hours, and many more!

Elizabeth & her nephew Justice

Elizabeth has been such an encouragement and example to me! She has encouraged me to strive for a good relationship with my parents, siblings, and most importantly, Jesus Christ. She is a wonderful example of a young woman who is walking with the Lord, and she has challenged me greatly in my walk with the Lord. She is an incredible example of a wonderful sister, daughter and friend. I have been so encouraged and challenged by our conversations, she truly has been my "sharpening iron" (Proverbs 27:17) and I am so grateful the Lord has put her in my life!!

I love you, Elizabeth!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Prayer Request.

Saturday evening Dad and Mom took Silas to the Emergency Room because of severe, unexplained bruising on his legs and feet and unusual swelling in both his knees. The Doctor at the hospital could not diagnose him, but gave him medication to help with the swelling and the pain.
Because Silas has neurofibromatosis (NF1), he has a check-up every year just before his birthday to make sure the disease is not manifesting. This year there was a mix-up and his appointment was not scheduled until this week. We are so grateful that God orchestrated the timing so perfectly, so that only two days after Silas became ill he was able to see a specialist!!

During his exam yesterday Silas was diagnosed with Henoch-Schönlein Purpura. The disease is contracted when there is a break-down in your immune system.
This disease causes blood vessels to swell and then collapse, causing the bruising and bleeding under the skin. This can cuase intense pain which at times makes is so that he cannot walk. He seems to have the most pain in the afternoon and evening.

This disease usually run it's course in 4-6 weeks, and thankfully is not contagious. We are praying for Silas' swift recovery to good health!

Above you can see the bruising and swelling on his legs. ^^^

But through it all Silas still maintains a cheerful attitude and blesses us with his priceless grin!

Specific Prayer Requests;

1. This disease can spread to major organs (kidneys and the colon in particular) and cause bleeding in the organs and potentially cause damage to those organs. It can also cause bleeding in the brain and lungs. Please pray that there will be no damage to his organs and there will be no bleeding in his brain or lungs.

2. Silas has held up under the pressure of the pain very well so far. Pray for him to be able to withstand the pain, that we would be creative in giving him profitable distractions to keep his mind more pleasantly engaged!

3. Silas' pain increases tremendously during the late afternoon and throughout the evening. During those hours please pray especially for him to have grace to endure the pain!

A huge thank-you from our family for lifting Silas up in prayer!!

We are so grateful!


WHOOPS!!!!!!!! Mom noticed I left out dear sis from the Thanksgiving entry...
so here she is.....
Tabitha thinking.
(Post totally and entirely done by Mom, despite my protests!! ~Elizabeth)

Thanksgiving Snapshots.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! We were delighted to receive an invitation to spend the day in Wichita with our Great-Uncle George and his wife Nancy. Two of their boys and their families were there as well and we so enjoyed spending time with them! Of course Grandma was there too, and though the Ansons were at home with guests, the Shepards were able to come up for lunch too! What a wonderful day we had! After a delicious lunch (Aunt Nancy and Grandma really know how to cook!!), there was time for visiting, taking walks, cards games and several installments of a football game in the front yard!!
Justice and Silas eating while listening intently to Moses!

Enjoying Aunt Nancy and Grandma's fine cooking!!

We all love the time we get to spend with our adorable little Shepard boy, who we don't see enough of! Here Uncle Seth and Aunt Esther give Justice some attention- what a cute little nephew!

Hmmm.......Dad has the best spot in the house- 3 kinds of chocolate pie, a chocolate cheesecake, peanut-butter pie, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cake- which one do you choose??
Playing Spades after lunch.

Uncle George must be giving us tips how to win the game!!

Enjoying the good weather and the company for a walk after lunch.

The swimmers and Aunt Nancy!
Thursday night found a few of us older ones driving down to Parsons in time to catch 3 hours of sleep before we were up again at 3am to go bargain hunting with Andrew. I think most of us were awake!! :) Back in Wichita Mom waited until a slightly more reasonable hour to go shopping while Dad and our youngsters got to go swimming in a indoor pool at the YMCA!
Aunt Nancy gives good swimming lessons!

Elizabeth and Noah.
Friday night found the rest of the family arriving in Parsons where Andrew and Rebecca had invited us all to visit!

Andrew & Seth and Rebecca & Mom deep in conversation.

Rebecca bought a bunch of old-fashioned jewelry for the little ones to enjoy. Apparently it was a little too much for some of the older ones to pass up--Noah couldn't resist 'decorating Mom'!

Quite the fancy lady!!

Rebecca's beautiful decorations!

Uncle Seth and Justice grinning together!

Playing Spades to pass the time in the bus....
(Gotta love Esther's multi-tasking!! )

We stopped by our dear friends the Stumpfs for a quick hello, which turned into a slightly longer one when the bus wouldn't start! Mr. Stumpf was quick to supply us with jumper cables, and we were on our way again! We love you, Stumpfs!!

After leaving Stumpfs we attended the Ulmer-family reunion, and enjoyed getting to see Dad's two sisters- Aunt Texye and Aunt MaJana, as well as the many other Aunts, Uncles and cousins!! (We were sorry to miss seeing Uncle Bernard's and hope they will come visit us soon!!)

It wouldn't be the Ulmer reunion without a game of spoons!! It can get a little wild though, one year Seth pulled our cousin Tommy out of his chair and all the way across the table, both fighting desperately for the spoon!!
This year Aunt MaJana was the champion!!

Esther are you looking at Aunt Texye's cards???

We love our cousins!!
Mauri, Elizabeth, Parker and Esther!!

It was a rather late night driving home from Southern Kansas!!
Ali, Esther and I helped keep the driver awake!!