Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stone Silo Enterprises

 Okay, so we are trying to put all our endeavors in one place as we work to build multiple streams of income.  We want to use what we have and be good stewards of what we have, as well as to become completely debt free.  So, we have several things we are working on, and needed a place to put it together.  You probably have seen our diabetes log books, and I also recycle feed bags into really useful and strong tote bags, as well as we are working on several Amharic/English items!  So, we decided to do a facebook page for it, so it was easy for us to add things to!

Here ya go!
Stone Silo Enterprises

Check it out!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, November 26, 2012

As we all prepare for the holidays to continue...

I just wanted to quickly share with you a resource I found that I am really enjoying.

At this point in time, in this economy, with so much going on, we are all stretching every dollar as far as possible.  Well, there are actually some really good resources to help you.  I wanted to share one with you.

There are so many ideas and options on this site, that you really need to go explore on your own to find what you are most needing.  We have way modified our cleaning products, making our own laundry soap, and baby wipes and it seems like more and more each day.  That has made a huge dent in out budget, thankfully.  And it has inspired me to keep looking for more ways to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with.  Please feel free to share any ideas and resources you might have, as well as check out this one.  I have to admit, I put lots of things on my facebook page, most often so I have a way to find it again when I have time.

Well, on that note, and from the toddler excitement in the next room, I had better make this a hasty post.  Everyone is well, everyone is full from Thanksgiving and I even had my 25th class reunion which really was fun!  We are in full swing preparing for Christmas and I actually, for once, have a good chunk of my Christmas shopping done!  Not complete, but a good dent.  I am not a fan of shopping and dislike the stores, so tend to avoid it as much as possible.  Plus it is just a little complicated in our life right now.  Our van is still in the shop,  and with various kids in tow, it gets challenging!

God is good, life is good, we have only had less than half an inch of snow so far, and last week we even had a couple days in the 50's, so for Wisconsin, we have nothing to complain about!  LOL!

Enjoy life, live every minute and rest when you can!  Best wishes and hugs to all!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I thought I would leave my tagline as my intro today.

Life has been a whirlwind, and for oh, so many reasons.

Let's see, there are ten kids and two adults, four dogs, eleven horses, uncounted cats, twelve rabbits, sixteen ducks and uncounted chickens in our household.  Okay, so really, the horses, most cats, rabbits (except one), ducks and chickens all live outside.  But still.

Oh, yeah, and now, as of today, eight of our ten kids are teenagers, and the other two are toddlers!  Sometimes way too similar to imagine.  A toddler tantrum can look very much like a teen tantrum (though in all honesty and to my kids' credit, we have very few teen tantrums.  Now, toddler tantrums on the other hand....).  And our teens are transitioning all over the place.  At the moment, as of this second, three have paying jobs, one just literally, literally moved home from an internship (this mama heart is dancing for joy by the way!), and the four thirteen year olds - yes, I did say FOUR thirteen year olds - are keeping busy with basketball, Latin, babysitting, church plays, choir and whatever else comes up.  Yep, eight teenagers all at once.  Some days, the hormones and drama just rage.

I am getting good practice at letting the steam roll off of them and them calming down and realizing that the world will honestly not end because "so and so" is "mad" at you this second.  Because most of the drama blows over within the hour, though some can last longer.

And the toddlers are settling in quite well as typical toddlers, who are currently stretching our brain cells by repeating EVERYTHING we all say!  In fact, the story one of the bigger kids confessed to, was an accidental swearing (somewhat justified given what had happened that second), which was promptly imitated by a two year old, of course at the top of her lungs, at which point the elder realized their mistake and desperately tried to undo it - of course before Mom happened to hear her littlest one chanting a four letter word in glee!  Have to admit, the story literally had me rolling!

Ah, yes, and teens come up with the most interesting things - the toddlers were chasing several teens around the other night, pretending to be "zombies" - not quite what I had planned for this age.  On the other hand, to hear all the siblings laughing and squealing in glee and fun made it hard to be perturbed about.  There are some things you just have to let go of, I guess.  I think I see where all the changes come from - with your first, you are so protective, maybe too protective, and by the time you have several more, you realize that most of what you feared won't actually hurt them anyway, and isn't scarring anyway.  Some kids pretend to be bears, my littles pretend to be zombies. Not that they know what zombies are.  Oh, except a thirteen year old (who shall remain nameless) did tell them they were supposed to pretend to eat people.  Yeah, that wasn't planned on either.  I guess bears/zombies all eat people, right?  LOL!

Food Network 16-In. Electric Skillet (Google Affiliate Ad)

We have also decided that cooking in bulk and assembly line works quite well.  And teenagers are quite often quite willing to jump in and help if there is food involved.  Lately my kiddos have been cooking just about as much as I have, if not more.  Some days chasing the toddlers is more something that I have to do, and the big kids jump right in - for which I am very grateful - and they are very good!  (My poor husband had to put up with all my learning to cook when we first married.  He lost 20 pounds in the first six months.)  We have discovered that a large skilled works great for pancakes, french toast, injera, grilled cheese and on and on.  It has become a staple at our house!

The other day three of the kids got a hankering for tortillas. However, Mom was not headed to the store, and the cost is just too much anyway (a package disappears in the blink of an eye).  So, they looked up and found a recipe they liked and went to town.  I have to totally admit with pride that the tortillas were FABULOUS!!!!!

Jpc Equestrian Himalayan Horse Rock Salt Lick 2.2 Pound - 3304 (Google Affiliate Ad)

AND, to announce, my horsie kiddo moved home on Saturday!  We are still letting the dust settle somewhat, but it is so good to have her home!  She grew a lot, learned an immeasurable amount, and came back a much more mature young lady.  I am so glad to have her home.  It was quite the experience, but being away, and not being able to be home for visits was just too much for someone so young.  I am so proud of her for sticking it out for three months, and really making sure that this was what she wanted.  I cannot even begin to tell you all that she learned, but it is so nice to have her knowledge as we build our place here.  I missed my girl!  We are redesigning our nutritional program for our horses, and getting quite hands on with all of them.  I cannot tell you what her experience level is now!  Who would have thought anyone could learn so much in three months?  But, our family is all now under one roof again, and I am happy.  Plus, we found so many opportunities for her here in our area, so who knows where life will take her!

Well, I got my quiet moments to finally write - toddlers are now asleep.  I sit on the floor in their room while they fall asleep, and my laptop is my dearest friend then.  They love that I am present and with them, and I try to catch up on things!  I love to hear their gentle breathing, and yes, I can tell when they are finally really asleep, just by their breathing!  They are energy in motion in general and it is just phenomenal to see their personalities develop and see all their growth!  I am so blessed and I know it.  Maybe not in ways the world sees as blessings, but by what really counts.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoy the blessings of family and friends, or simple comforts as we reflect on what is truly important.  Love to you all!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Relaxation breathing through the election....

Whew.  I don't know about you, but we are ready to vote tomorrow and get this election over with!  Between all the robo calls - I have now talked to Pat Boone, Clint Eastwood and some other celebrity whose name escapes me at the moment, as well as all the regular people voices - the mailers, the radio ads, the TV ads, and all the discussion and hype, I am so ready for this to get over with.  The kids keep asking when the commercials will stop - tomorrow morning?  Nope, tomorrow will be worse.  But soon, we hope.

I know that this is all really important, and I know that many of us have quite strong opinions on which candidates we want to see come into office, and I know it has far reaching implications.  But, I also hope that we will all keep clear heads and know that God continues to be in control, no matter the outcome.  Ultimately, that is the platform I am most concerned with - God's.  He can use anything for his purposes.  Even candidates we don't want to see in office.  Whatever, whoever.

This year Alex will vote for the first time, the first of our kids to be of age to do so.  I am pretty sure I know how he is voting, but only because of what he has said to me.  Do I know who I want him to vote for?  Certainly.  Should I be telling him who to vote for?  NO.  Will I share with him my thoughts and reasons and research?  Absolutely.  But it is between him and God who he votes for.

And maybe that is really the attitude we need to all have as we walk into this.  We have all had our chances to talk about what we want people to hear, to try to persuade, to make our thoughts and beliefs known.  Tomorrow, let's just vote.  Peacefully, with gentle spirits in our hearts, but each do our part and vote.  Make our own preferences known, perform our civic duty, and our responsibilities of citizenship.  Just vote.  The hubbub of the campaign ultimately comes down to tomorrow and how each of us vote.  Not anymore who we try to influence, other than to encourage people to get out and make their wishes known.  Support our candidates and respect the offices we are voting for.

But in the end, let's all go to bed with gentle hearts, with the knowledge that our peaceful democratic process has yet again run its course.  Not all of us will be happy with the results.  But will anger, wailing and gnashing of teeth change anything - no.  If something needs to be changed, then let's work through the correct channels to do so, but otherwise, we need to rest in the vote.

And no, I don't think it is a perfect system, and I may be very unhappy with some results tomorrow - or very happy.  I don't know.  But in the end, I will tuck my kids into bed, start another load of laundry, pay some bills, maybe sip some tea or a glass of wine, and grab a book to snuggle down with as the results continue to come in.  In reality, in my day to day reality, many things won't change drastically no matter the outcome.  I wish they would.  I think over time things do.  But honestly, Wednesday morning I will still get up, get some breakfast going, herd toddlers and teens, feed my horses and other animals, and continue our life.  There are many things that we hope this election will improve, but it won't happen on Wednesday - though I would love it if the price of gas dropped through the floor!!  But really, change is a slow process, and we all have to just keep living.

I don't want to sound like I don't care, because I do, wildly.  I lean very hard in one direction.  But the sun will not change its direction based on the election, and God won't be surprised no matter what.  Remember, we are all citizens, in ONE nation, under God, indivisible.  We have the choice to keep it that way.

God bless and vote your heart.  But VOTE!!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Going through the hard stuff - article

I submitted this article for publication in a small local magazine that has published several other articles of mine, and I really wanted to post it here.  Some days my topics for submission really fall from real life, from moments in time that are very meaningful - unlike tonight where I watched my toddlers attempt to (badly) sing along with the X Factor.  It was hysterical, but probably only to a besotted mama!  I thought I would put this out on my blog and see what you thought.  (Disclaimer:  Nothing horrible is going on, everyone is good, life is just life, and kids get to learn to deal with unpleasant situations.)

Going Through the Hard Stuff
By Christy Oswald

I honestly think, as a parent, one of the things I have struggled with the most over the years, is watching my children work through difficult situations. Whether it was the unkindness of a friend, the interactions of toddlers, the drama of preteens and teens, it really doesn't matter. We watch our children struggle with the harshness of life, and I find that it hurts ME a great deal.

It is very hard to not step in and react in those situations. I really WANT to. Honestly, I could arrange or fix the situation, take it out of my child's hands, and make SURE my kid simply did NOT have to deal with the ugliness of life.

And, that would be a colossal mistake.

I so want to protect my child, shield him/her from any hurt or discomfort, but honestly, they need to learn to deal with what is sometimes the unkind reality of life. Better that they learn to deal with it while I am close by to lend a listening ear, some advice or direction and certainly some love and support. Oh, but the agony of watching it happen and not just MAKING IT STOP!!!!!

So, I want to encourage you, one parent to another: be there for your child, support your child, but let them find their way through this maze. I always think of it as similar to how we support a young tree. That young sapling is supported by ground wires and all to help it through those winds of the first winter and year. As it strengthens, it is better able to support itself and stay strong, and so we can lessen the support it gets. Eventually, it is a strong tree, that needs no support to withstand the winds of life. Our children are the same way. We need to give support, without taking away their ability to work through and withstand the storms of life. And sometimes that means, loving them as they learn to deal with difficult people and difficult situations. But with each experience they will grow stronger and have more in their toolbag to use to deal with the challenges of life. If we were to always step in, to always just fix it, they would never develop that ability. And they need it. They need to learn to manage those things within the loving support of our family. It is a balancing act, and one that changes as our children age, and that is honestly different from child to child. Follow your gut, think of how you can help them learn to deal with difficult situations, because odds are, eventually, they will have difficult coworkers, bosses, relationships, neighbors, something will happen. They need the tools to be able to manage in these situations. You are aiming to give them the skills for life, not just to get through today.

But, oh, how hard it can be when we want to protect our child from all the hurts and discomforts of life. I get it, I really, really, really do. So, consider this a hug from me to you, as we walk our children through the process of growing up and becoming mature, responsible, caring adults!!!

Christy Oswald is a writer, an animal lover, and a mom to ten. At this point, she has a child in every age range, and some days has seen more than she would wish for. She has been known to sit on her hands and bit her tongue in order to not step in where she shouldn't, and allow her children to work through situations. She probably has the scars to prove it!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Strength to you on a bad day - a message

I hope you will bear with me a little bit.  This is a message directed to one of my daughters, but may be pertinent or helpful to someone else.  It is entirely my thought, and I hope it sends some words of encouragement to someone.

First of all, we all have bad days.  I know that right now today feels like the worst ever.  You are in the thick of things, the emotions, the frustrations, the sadness and hurt.  Today, it feels horrible.  There is no minimizing your day and how you feel about it.  Some days it is just better to take the time to feel it, pull the blankets over your head and deal.  You can hide away some.

But, tomorrow, you need to get out from that hole and go on with life.  I am pretty sure you will feel better about it all tomorrow, or at least have a little bit of perspective on your side.  Honestly, it is amazing what some sleep and a little bit of time will do.  And, if it doesn't, keep going.  Jump right back into life and get going.  That alone will carry you along.

Odds are tomorrow will be a way better day.  Some days your bad day is the result of someone else's bad day.  You get kind of caught in the crossfire.  It happens.  It isn't fair, and it is really, really hard.  Try to extend some grace if you can.  At the very least, try to let it go.  Learn what you have to learn from today, but move forward.  Your life still awaits you.

Know always that you are loved unconditionally.  By your family and your Lord.  Go to your Bible.  Read and immerse yourself in grace and His love.  He will send some peace.  His Word is His love letter to you.  Try to put gentle words in your mouth, turn away from harsh responses (no matter how deserved) and do your best.  It is hard.  It is.  You know how I struggle some times with the same thing.  We are all human, just the way God made us.

I am telling you, from years of experience, that things will look better soon.  I cannot tell you when, but it will.  Most likely tomorrow will be a stellar day.  Seems like that is often the way it goes.  Try to view tomorrow with a fresh outlook.  Be positive.  Keep a servant's heart (I know it is hard at times, I know).  Let your actions show.  Be slow to anger, be slow to use your tongue.  I bite mine regularly some days.  And I am finding that it helps as later on I realize my reaction would have been based solely on emotion rather than reality.  Some days it is better to simply say nothing.

It is really hard when you know that things are unjust, but I firmly believe that these things will show in time.  You do your best, be humble and keep on keeping on.

Please know that I love you.  That God loves you.  That life will look better soon.  I promise.  Please read the Bible verse below, you know it is one of my favorites!!!!  He has YOUR best in mind, always.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, September 28, 2012

Scentsy party!!!! Christmas is coming!!!!

I am having an online Scentsy party - if you are local and get your order to me or my consultant then we can get you free shipping (but if you order online we cannot, just FYI).

I haven't had much experience with Scentsy prior to this but wow, it it great items, and smells LOVELY!!!!!

So, stock up for now, those glorious fall scents, and think about Christmas coming!  There are the most adorable little stuffed critters, wonderful warmers to go with the scents.  Imagine yummy smells throughout your house!

My party runs October 1 to October 14th.  Please go to this site to check it out:  That is my party.  It says "Oswald Van Party" - see, I told you we were going to pull out all the stops!  LOL!  My friend has started in Scentsy a few months ago and is doing amazing things with her business.  I am so glad to be able to be part of it.

So, take a look!  Have fun!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11