Archive for November, 2012

Veteran's Day Collage

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Orchestra Flier

This Sunday, December 2, is the first concert of our orchestra’s 2012-2013 season.  There will be several Christmas songs, but the highlight of the program is a bell choir that is performing with us for one piece.  They are fantastic, and I know that the audience will enjoy them.  John and Cosette will be playing in the violin section, and I will be rotating between my violin and my cello.  It was my goal when I began the cello last January to be able to play at least one song for this Christmas concert, and I am happy to say that I am achieving that goal!  In fact, I am playing about half of the songs on the cello, so I praise the Lord that He has helped me get to this point.  There will be good music, good refreshments, and great door prizes–it should be a fun afternoon!

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Kara turned 9 years old on November 8.  My baby is certainly growing up–not much of a baby anymore!  She has gotten so tall this year.  When we first adopted Kara, she stayed 30 pounds for a long, long time.  I just figured that she’d always be a little petite girl, but that has not proven to be true.  Oh, she is very lean, but she is so LONG!  I guess I may as well resign myself to the idea that I will probably end up being the shortest one in my family…..  🙂

Kara is such a funny girl!  She made out a list of gifts that she would like, and I couldn’t believe what was on there!  It was all crazy stuff like giant gummy bears, sparkle this-or-that, etc.  I did my behind the scenes research (i.e. interrogating the siblings) to find out what was at the top of her list, and they all agreed that she really, really wanted Illusion Putty.  At first I thought, “surely not! Why would she want that???”  But then I figured it out.  Kara loves molding things with her hands. She literally will carry around a little blob of poster putty in her pocket for weeks so she can make little figures out of it.  So, even though it did seem rather odd, I decided that Illusion Putty would make a good gift for my silly girl.  It did not disappoint!  Kara LOVES that putty!  Now she carries it around all of the time! Fortunately, it came in a round metal container that fits perfectly into a little purse that Kara has, so she usually has that purse slung over her shoulder with her putty close at hand.  She did make one mistake with that putty, though. She loved it so much that she took a little blob to bed with her the night of her birthday–NOT a good idea!  It smeared all over her pajamas and sheets, and although I was able to wash the sticky out, the color is a permanent stain.  So, yes, the putty is wonderful, but it is not a sleepy-time toy!

I know that every year when I post about Kara’s birthday I write about what a joy she is, but that is just the perfect description of her.  In fact, it gets more so as the years go by.  The road to Kara was so rocky, but God had it all worked out.  (For those of you who may not know about her adoption, that story can be found summarized in the “My Story” posts of this blog.  It was certainly not a “normal” adoption process!)  I remember so well when the days in China looked so bleak, and my dear sister-in-law told me that when the right child came, that child would be nothing but pure joy to our family.  So, that is how we named Kara.  Her name is Kara Joy which means Pure Joy, and even though we gave her that name before we ever met, it fits her perfectly.  I have learned so much from this sweet girl! She is so loving and happy, and, boy, does she love Jesus! It is amazing to listen to her pray–her prayers are so simple and yet profound. Ever since she has learned to communicate in English, she has talked to Jesus just like she talks to me, and that is so refreshing to see–simple, unashamed faith. When she knows of someone in need, she puts them on her prayer list, and she prays for them by name over and over every night.

I have had people tell me what a “lucky” girl Kara is to have a family, and I know their intentions are good.  But, the truth is that we are the “lucky”–blessed–ones to have her with us.  Yes, God’s plan is always perfect, and I am so thankful that she is a part of His plan for me.  Recently Brock said it best: “What would our family be like without Kara? She is always so happy and kind even when the rest of us are grumpy!” Indeed, she is a bright sunshine girl in this dark world, and I praise God for her precious life!

Happy Birthday, baby doll–I love you!

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Brock’s 14th Birthday

Brock turned 14 years old on November 5.  He had quite a special day and it was a fun time for all of us. He has wanted a gun for several years, but Dan and I wanted to be sure that he had had the proper training and experience prior to getting him one of his own.  So, he has taken several classes through Boy Scouts and has enjoyed them very much, and we decided that now was the time to get him one.

He would’ve been happy with a BB gun, but after looking around a bit, we decided to go with a Crossman 1077 Repeat Air Pellet Rifle, and we’re glad we did.  The CO2 cartridges make firing the gun a fun and rewarding experience.  Of course, he can’t shoot in town, but Brock was very patient until we had a chance to go out to my parents’ farm to shoot with his older cousin.

Brock is kind of hard to get presents for–he really doesn’t offer many suggestions.  He did say, however, that if he could have a shirt like Enjolras from Les Miserables, he would wear it every day!  He loves that character because he is so heroic and brave.  Anyway, I did some searching and finally found just the thing.  No, it wasn’t a revolutionary uniform, but it was a t-shirt that had Enjolras’s design and group name on it.  Dan was skeptical about the whole thing, but I told him that I knew Brock would like it.  Well, to make a long story longer, I was right!  Brock loves that crazy shirt and wants to wear it as often as I can keep it washed for him!

One of the most memorable times from this birthday was when Brock tried to light his own candles.  He just could not get those silly candles to light!  He tried and tried, but every time he’d just about have it, the match would be too close to burning his fingers, and he’d have to start over.  This went on and on, but when he did eventually get them lit, he accidently blew them out when he blew out the match–and he didn’t know it!  We were all laughing like crazy, and he had no idea what was going on until we pointed out that the candles were snuffed out once again.  So, the whole process began again, but fortunately, he did eventually succeed in lighting them long enough for them to be blown out on purpose!  🙂

We weren’t able to shoot his gun for a few weeks, but eventually we did work out a time to shoot a little with his cousin.  That was a lot of fun!  First they shot Brock’s little gun, but then his cousin brought out his big guns, and Brock tried those out!  He said those made his gun feel like a toy!  He still likes his gun, though, which is a good thing!

Brock is really a neat guy.  He brings laughter and joy everywhere he goes–he is such a funny, but genuine kid.  He and I have kind of a strange relationship: we spend our days just teasing each other.  If he isn’t giving me a hard time, I wonder what is wrong!  He has a true heart for Christ, and that is only deepening as the days go by.  I am so blessed to have this great guy as my son–what a true, true honor  it is!

One more thing that I just have to close this post with is something Brock said today:  “Why update anything when it can just age??”  Now that’s a boy after my own heart!  🙂

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It’s Coming!

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Deep within the heart has always known that there was freedom
Somehow breathed into the very soul of life.
The prisoner, the powerless, the slave have always known it
There’s something that keeps reaching for the sky

Even life begins because a baby fights for freedom
And songs we love to sing have freedom’s theme
Some have walked through fire and flood to find a place of freedom
And some faced hell itself for freedom’s dream

Let freedom ring wherever minds know what it means to be in chains
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
We can be free and we can sing — let freedom ring

God built freedom into every fiber of creation
And He meant for us to all be free and whole
When my Lord bought freedom with the blood of His redemption
His cross stamped pardon on my very soul

I’ll sing it out with every breath, I’ll let the whole world hear it
This hallelujah anthem of the free
That iron bars and heavy chains can never hold us captive
The Son has made us free and free indeed

Let freedom ring down through the ages from a hill called Calvary
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring
You can be free and you can sing — let freedom ring — let freedom ring

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Cosette had a lot of fun making her A Beka Academy 6th Grade Map Geography Project.  I’ll tell you, it is definitely easier to make this with my 3rd student through the project than it was with my 1st! I remember when John first received this assignment, we were kind of stumped on just how to go about completing a hand-drawn map of a country listing major cities, geographical features, natural resources, etc.  We finally figured out how to use a projected image to trace the outline and how to use other computer resources to finish the project.  So I have heard that the third time’s a charm, and this Mexico poster definitely came together easier than that first one did!

Tackling these projects with Cosette is different than it is with the boys. Cosette loves crafts, patterns, stickers, etc., so the whole design thing is a big deal to her.  We keep picking up tips as we go along, and we try to incorporate those elements as she wishes.

So, here is a closer image of the final product:


Here are the links for the projects that John and Brock did when they were in sixth grade:  John’s China Poster, Brock’s Japan Poster.  Three down, two more to go…..

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Yes, the Prairie Family had some crazy, unusual fall fun today–something that most people don’t ever get to do (probably for a reason???)!  🙂  Dan has always talked about how groups near his boyhood home would pick up fallen corn for fundraisers and thought it was something we should try someday.  I don’t know how many times he has discussed this over the years, but I never thought we would actually do it!  Well, this year Dan was serious, and he made arrangements with a farmer from our church to let us have a go at it.  (I think the farmer thought we were crazy!  He asked if we had any idea how much work this would be!)

So, what exactly were we doing?  Well, we were picking up corn that had fallen on the ground and had been missed when the farmer had cut the fields with his combine.  The first field didn’t have much, but the second field had full cobs everywhere!  Usually, this corn is just left in the field to be plowed up at planting time.  Sometimes farmers will winter pasture cattle on it, but this farmer didn’t have any plans for it.  So, it was no problem to him if we wanted to go to the work of picking it up and running it through his combine to raise some funds for charity.  In fact, he was a pretty good sport about the whole thing and drove that combine along behind us all morning even though he probably thought that we had lost our marbles!

I don’t know how much we actually picked up or how much money we will get, but once we know the total, we will donate 100 % of the money to one of the organizations that we are involved with as a family.  We all agreed that it was a tremendous amount of work, but that it was enjoyable.  We also have a better game plan to be more productive if we decide to use this as a fundraiser again or to suggest it to other groups.  So now we have finally done it:  we have spent several hours picking up fallen corn by hand.  Maybe everyone should give it a try!  🙂

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Our Beautiful Fall Tree


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