Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 Family Christmas Letter

2013 Family Christmas Newsletter

Hello, all! As I write this, I'm looking out our 1976 vintage-retro double-wide's window to the most glorious view of snow-covered rolling hills, big whitetail bucks and Canadian geese grazing by the river. Our family's homesteading dream finally came true this year. We are back in the country and loving it! We now live on a 3.32 acre parcel of land. Our goal is to build the shop of Michael's dreams and eventually replace this trailer with a stick-built house that Michael wants to build himself. We also want to raise more of our food via a larger garden, chickens, butcher animals, etc, and provide ways for the kids to flex their entrepreneurial muscles.

How did we get to our new place? 18 mos ago, Michael was hired as a tank mechanic at an Army Depot and hour and half away from where we were living. It took the National Guard awhile to get their shop built and then to get us our orders, but it all finally came together in the fall of this year. God's timing is always best! He is very happy to have a shorter commute that does not involve driving over a treacherous mountain pass and he seems to like working at the Depot.

While moving to our new town meant we would be leaving deeply established friendships and our homeschool support group, we knew God was calling us to do His will here. I'm not going to lie, there have been a lot of tears shed, but it is always a comfort knowing you are in God's will even if it is uncomfortable, painful or even lonely. The kids and I are quickly getting involved in the homeschool support group here in Pendleton and are meeting some wonderful families. We are still in the process of looking for a home church and are sincerely praying for the Lord's guidance in this area. The kids have joined the AWANA group here, and are loving it. We're praying for some good friendships to develop with other kids in the area. We are now in our 5th year of homeschooling and going strong.

It has been wonderful being so close to my mom and Larry Pop. We've never lived near family before but are now enjoying the benefits of helping each other out. It is nice getting more breaks and just having family there to celebrate the milestones of life. We are enjoying having more company as well, now that we are on this side of the mountain. We are now an hour closer to the rest of our family as well.

We look forward to what this new year holds as we get our “homesteading legs” under us. I'm sure we'll make many mistakes, but we will learn from them and continue on. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!

God Bless,
Michael, Jackie, Josiah (10) and Hailey (6)
 Our 2013 Fall Family Photo
 Josiah (10) and Champ's 4th Grade School Picture
Hailey's 1st Grade School Picture
Josiah read somewhere that dogs like to work, so he tried to turn Champ into a mushing dog when we got our tree. He'll have to work on a harness for him next year. Champ was lovin' it!

The kids did a great job helping me decorate our blue, white and silver snowflake tree.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"He Led Them By a Straight Way..." - Our Little Homestead

God gave me this verse 18 months ago the day we decided to move. It is a little faded and worse for wear, but it made it through the move. Even though it took us longer than I thought for this verse to be fulfilled - God DID lead us by a straight way. All the hard work of moving has been worth it as we are beginning to settle into our little 3.32 acre homestead and 1970s vintage-retro double-wide. Praising God the truck decided to break down AFTER our move instead of during. Michael has since fixed it, despite the super cold weather and no shop/garage to work in yet. A huge thank you to all the people who helped us in one way or another during our transition time. We are missing everyone in our old town, but are truly enjoying being nearer to my mom and step-dad and looking forward to reconnecting with the old friends we have in this town.
 This is from the far corner of our property which goes all the way to the road. Josiah has been having a blast 4-wheeling around the property. The stakes marks out where Michael is going to have the 30x40 shop of his dreams built.

Lower pasture. Perfect for a few meat animals.
From the beginning of our driveway looking up the gently sloping hill. The Oregon Trail used to run on the shelf right behind our property. For a history buff, that is a definite plus!
For the first time, I decided to let the kids do most of the decorating. One thing about living in an old trailer is that it is very kid-friendly. I think the carpet says it all.
We decided not to replace the carpets, but had it professionally cleaned instead because there isn't any reason to put any money into this old trailer. It is in pretty good shape and should last us until we can build a house. We plan on putting a wood stove back in where the old hearth is. 
We got our Jesse/Waiting Trees up. The kitchen isn't too bad in size, just a lot less storage and counter space than I had in my old house. Still trying to squeeze it all in.
 Love the old entertainment center we turned into a bookshelf and the hanging light I found for the homeschool room this weekend. It is so awesome having a separate room for homeschooling! I put on kid in here and one kid at the dining room table. I'm getting a lot more exercise, but it is worth it to have them not distracting each other.
So much for homeschooling on this day! Champ loves to chase snowballs. Like many of you, we've been getting very cold weather and some snow. We're learning the quirks of the place in extreme cold weather.
As my step-mom says, the best thing to fill your house with is "Love". My bible study ladies gave me this as a parting gift. They are also giving me "Faith, Hope and Courage" signs, all the letters were photographed in nature by my friend's SIL. I will treasure these signs always. Miss my bible study gals so much!
Parting Shot: The best way to study your McGuffy Reader. Another reason we love homeschooling - you can take your dog to school and not get in trouble.

We are settling in nicely and have even connected with the homeschool group here in Pendleton this week. The kids had a great time at their new AWANA club and we've been doing a bible study with some friends. We're are praying about the church we will attend and will begin our search this week. It is great to have a schedule again get back to a new kind of normal. 

I look forward to catching up on all your blogs for those who've left comments for me. Have a wonderful week!

God Bless,


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