December 28, 2012

He Never Stood A Chance

Being the last one in the shower means you never know what you might find.  No soap, wet towels or even a duck surrounded by dinosaurs.  

The joy of having boys!  There's never a dull moment or a lack of laughter.

December 25, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

For a month we have complained about the unseasonably warm temperatures.   It's hard to decorate the Christmas tree when the kids are playing outdoors barefoot and you have to toss the comforters off the bed every night.
 Just Sunday we lamented the fact that it appeared Christmas would come and go without even one tiny bit of snow.  Christmas Eve dawned with sunshine and lots of preparations for our holiday celebrations and lots of whining about how we NEEDED snow.
But just when we had given up all hope...

 There was a flake... and then another.  They got bigger and larger until our hope was fulfilled.
 And isn't that just like Christmas itself?
 
"Just when we needed it most, Christmas came to the world."

December 24, 2012

The Top Ten of Christmas

I am just sitting here in the dark by the Christmas tree.  Christmas music plays on the radio.  The youngers are in bed and the big girls are reading and painting finger nails with Christmas glitter.  I was thinking about how much I love this time of year and why.  It's so hard to narrow it down so this is not in any specific order and really might not necessarily be my ten favorite things about Christmas but rather ten things I really love about this season.

1.  Christmas Cards.  I love to send them.  I love to receive them.  I like to write letters anytime of the year but people don't usually write back.  Oh, but December!  December is different.  Everyday from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve there's guaranteed to be an actual letter in the mailbox and we can usually count on some great photos, too.  And this odd little fascination must be contagious.  I truly don't know who gets more excited about Christmas cards.  Me or the children.  We display them through the month of December.  About ten years ago we started the tradition of taking one card a day starting in January and praying for the sender.  We then write them and let them know we did so and let them know what we prayed for.
2.  Christmas lights.  I love the warmth of Christmas lights.  On the tree, swags over the windows and down the steps and even a little battery powered strand adorning Emma's dollhouse.  It is so hard for me to pack up the lights in January and settle into the cold darkness which comes with a Maryland winter.  The greatest of all the lights might just be the kids exterior light display.  Unbeknownst to our wonderful neighbors, who have quite a lovely setup, the girls entered into a competition several years ago to have more lights than they do.  Brianna was quite in a lather on Thanksgiving night when the B's lights came on and she hadn't even gotten hers out of the attic.  The display gets bigger and grander each year covering not only the bushes and house but also the kids train in the back yard.  Last year they added synchronized Christmas music to the show.  You could not believe how excited they get when people stop to check it out.  Probably their greatest thrill this Christmas season was when a fuse blew and a neighbor wrote to praise their lights and share her disappointed over the lack of music.
3.  Christmas cookies.  Peanut butter blossoms.  Thimble cookies.  Gingerbread men. Krinkles.  Sugar cookies.  What's not to love?  I love baking them.  I love smelling them.  I love tasting them.  I love watching the kids delight as they sprinkle a cookie within an inch of its life.  Most of all, I love sharing them with friends and neighbors.
And gingerbread houses.  This has been a learning experience for us over the years.  The children's efforts have certainly become grander and grander each Christmas and this year they really outdid themselves.  Yours truly, however... well, I am just happy if I can get my four walls and roof to stay up.  You can read more about gingerbread houses in this post.

4.  Ornaments.  Each year from their birth we add a new ornament for each child to our tree.  When they marry they will have a collection of memories to start their own Christmas traditions.  Some years we make them.  Some years we buy them at the Hallmark store.  Some years we choose them while traveling.  Each and every one has a special memory.  There is literally no branch uncovered on our tree.  The tree tells a story of our family.  One for the year we first celebrated Christmas as a couple.  One for the year we were married.  One for the birth of each of our children.  Our first home.  Our baby in heaven.  Special ornaments from trips to the beach, traveling abroad, Disney World.  There are even a few from when Allen and I were kids.  My children love to hear the story of how I picked at the corner of a tiny present to see what was inside... only to be disappointed when I realized it was just a piece of Styrofoam   Many loved ones add ornaments to our tree now.  Opening the boxes each year is like turning the pages of our scrapbooks as we remember the places and people represented in each trinket.  The younger kids love to hear the stories of how each ornament came to be on our tree.

5.  Music.  I talked about this a bit already in another post.  But what I didn't mention was how much I enjoy it when sometime around October the regular piano books are switched out for Christmas books. It is common for us to spend some time in the evenings sitting at the piano while the girls take turns playing for us as we sing some of our favorite carols.  We also try to find an opportunity to go caroling each Christmas.  One year the girls organized a caroling party with the young ladies from church.  That was so much fun.
6.  Beautifully wrapped packages. Well, I try anyway.  I've never been able to master the artistic ability my mother and siblings have for gift wrap.  But I hold my own and figure most people are so excited by what might be inside that they don't pay much notice to the wrapping.   Each child and I have an afternoon we spend together in the basement wrapping their gifts for others.  I am usually the official paper cutter.  I love to watch them as they work so diligently to make each wrapping special for the receiver by choosing just the right paper, bow, ribbon and label.

7.  The food.  Italian Christmas food is the best of the best.  All the special dishes we eat only at Christmas not only have special memories but also are just simply that delicious.  You can keep the marinara give me some Baccala salad if you please.
8.  Christmas books.  From The Night Before Christmas to The Christmas Carol and everything in between.  We read a different story, or more, every night by the light of the Christmas tree.  Our favorite is reading Luke 2 on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  The kids have read it so much they can recite it to me and that is the best of all... hearing their voices in unison sharing the poetry of the King James account of the Lord's nativity.  Music to my ears.

9.  The Creche.  We have a number of manger scenes.  There is a fine porcelain one with gemstones, a carved wooden one and even a little people one the kids love to play with.  This year Allen and the boys made a ceramic one into a beautiful advent wreath using a piece of wood from one of our lost trees as the base.  The boys built a manger to go in the center out of sticks they gathered from the yard.  Each night we follow my mother's tradition of preparing it for baby Jesus by adding a piece of straw for each act of serving or kindness we witness in another family member.

10.  Advent Calendars.  This tradition started on Kaitlin's first Christmas and is something the kids look forward to every night of December.  Except that we usually get behind because they like to do it together.  Some nights Allen and I aren't home at bedtime because of our weekly date and our Monday night classes.  Our last day usually comes somewhere around New Year's Eve.

 Do tell me.  What do you LOVE about the Christmas season?

December 23, 2012

Christmas Musical Celebrations

Music is so important to our family, especially at Christmas time.  Come November 1st the kids breathlessly await the beginning of Christmas music on our local radio station.  We also lament that they stop playing it at midnight on Christmas Day.  Of course we could just put on our CD's or the iPods and hear Christmas music as much and as long as we'd like and we wouldn't even have to hear Moriah Carey sing "All I Want For Christmas Is You."  But there is something special when the music is coming from the radio.

I think it has to do with the idea that people spend months waiting for Christmas.  Come July there are Christmas decorations in the stores.  Then society spends Thanksgiving to Christmas in a frenzy getting ready for the holiday.  The whole time griping and complaining about how much they have to do and how miserable they are.  When all the work is done, the preparations made and you can finally just relax and bask in the light of our Savior everyone stuffs their faces, opens their presents, and moves on to the next thing come December 26th.  The radio station is just a picture of our sad modern society.  On December 14th Emma Rose and I went Christmas shopping.  There were no Christmas wraps or decorations to be had.  In their place were Valentine's day goods.  

December is a very busy time for our family.  With three finals on top of all our regular activities there is much happening around Wachter World.  I try to keep the schedule as light as possible not even making appointments for checkups or tending to other business that can wait until after January 1st in hopes that we can go slow and enjoy this wonderful time of year.  Yes, one of these days I need to bite the bullet and make my way to motor vehicles to renew my driver's license.  But it can wait until January 2nd.  We do try to make lots of time for visiting with friends and  work in Christ centered celebrations of the holiday.  

We kicked off the Christmas season with a classical concert of flutes.  I've never been to a concert with all flutes so it was quite a new experience.  Samuel was excited to have his first gingerbread man of the  season at the post concert party.

While we were at Epcot the first week of December we were able to see the Candlelight Processional.  It was rather surreal sitting in a place where it was 80 degrees and surrounded by commercialism totally devoid of the Lord and hearing so clearly the beautiful story of our Saviors Nativity and a clear account of the Gospel message of the cross.  But there it was clear as day.  I found myself looking at the hundreds of people performing and listening to the incredible concert and wondering to myself, "HOW CAN THEY NOT GET IT???" The musicians and choir were both exquisite and the girls were delighted to see Andy Garcia, who was the guest narrator for the night.  An added bonus was at various scriptures Mr. Garcia would first read in English and then translate in his native tongue.  I've never heard Spanish sound lovely.  True to Disney form, even the sign interpreter was so beautiful and poetic.  I was very blessed watching her as she performed the various musical selections from "O Holy Night" to the "Hallelujah Chorus."

Typically, as soon as we return from the beach in October our church is in full swing for weekly practices of our Christmas Cantata.  This year things were a lot different for us and for our church.  Our Pastor decided to try something different.  As a result much of the program was trial and error.  To make matters more complicated Allen had spent all year planning a surprise trip for the family.  He intentionally chose the first week of December because the program has historically been around the middle of the month.  However, when November rolled around our Pastor chose the 9th.    Since we were traveling, our kids didn't even get their parts until a few days before the cantata and were not present for even one rehearsal.  They practiced and perfected their scripture memory while we were away.  We returned after a 16 hour drive very late the night before the actual show.  The next morning not only were we exhausted but the kids were surprised to hear they would be singing couple of songs.  They knew the music well enough but not being at any practice it was amusing watching them try to figure out where and when to be.  But it came off beautifully and as always it was a huge blessing to us and to the many guests present.

I don't have even one picture of this evening since I was occupied from the time I arrived until the time we left with the many visitors who joined us.  You'll have to take my word for it that the program was beautiful, the kids looked great, the fellowship was delightful and the food delicious.

While technically not a Christmas celebration, Allen and I remember our anniversary on the 20th of December.  We usually go to dinner and find a performance of something or another for the evening.  We've done lots of neat things over the year from going to DC to see the National Christmas tree, performances of the Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story, local dinner theater, and even just staying home and eating carryout and watching It's a Wonderful Life in our pajamas.  One year we had a blizzard and cancelled our theater tickets for the night to go sled riding.

This year he suggested a concert performance of Handel's Messiah.  This is one of my favorite pieces of music and it has many sweet Christmas memories for me.  Allen is not a fan of classical music and  has never been to a performance of The Messiah so it was all new to him.  (He loved it, by the way).  When I was a girl I remember going with my father, always the weekend of Thanksgiving, to hear the Naval Academy perform this piece with the choir of Hood College.  Tickets being way too expensive for our crew, one of the things I do now with the kids is to get up a few hours early one day and have cocoa and coffee by the light of the tree while we listen to the Messiah performed by the London Philharmonic.  They all enjoy it very much but Elisabeth particularly loves this music and will often ask me to play it for her.  The other day while she and I were home alone wrapping Christmas presents we listened to it three times through.

I love to hear about other's Christmas traditions.  So I am wondering how do you make time for Christ in the Christmas season and what role does music play in your celebration?

December 21, 2012

And Then There Are The Chickens

... we are chicken keepers.  We have always wanted to get chickens and give the boys a little taste of farm life.  We took classes.  We read books.  We watched videos and listened to CDs but we never quite had the time to build the coop.

But God must have thought it was time.  Listen to this neat story of how he worked out the details.  We live at the intersection of two roads.  Over the years we have made a point of getting to know our neighbor on our road a mile or more in both directions.  But because of the dangerous road that parallels ours we've never knocked on many doors to our east.

When the weather is nice, I like to have my morning devotions outside in the garden.  Sometime last spring we noticed this very odd noise had come to our neighborhood.  We knew it was some sort of animal but could not figure out what it was.  We thought some sort of poultry but it was not like any we'd ever heard before.  As the summer progressed, it seems the critter matured and so did his voice.  It became evident somewhere around July that it was a rooster.

Well, right about the time we were packing for vacation in September a neighbor from over the hill came to our door.  Mr. C.  had some eggs to share with us.  As we got to talking he told us he had been keeping chickens since spring and he had quite a brood.  If we ever wanted eggs he said just knock on his door.  We explained we'd been wanting to get chickens for some time but hadn't been able to build our hen house yet and in exchange for eggs we'd be grateful for any experience he could share with our boys.

A short time later Mr. C. called and said he built a new coop and would we like his old one.  We said we'd be glad to buy it from him and that when we got back from vacation we'd work out the details which would be nice so we could get things set up to take in chickens come spring.

When we got back from vacation Mr. C called again and said he would need to have surgery and wouldn't be able to care for his hens.  We offered to do it for him since he could tell us what to do and he could watch to make sure the boys did it right.  He said no that while we were away he had made the decision to get rid of them for the winter and he had struck a deal to sell them to someone else.  However, he told the lady who was taking them that she couldn't have them until we took all that we wanted.

So he helped Allen and the boys set up the hen house and the run.  He gave them feed and dishes and water containers.  Then he insisted each child pick a hen.  So in the back of our suburban sat 8 kids each holding a chicken.  And if you don't think that is hilarious, I don't know what is.  In the end he also insisted on giving (yes, giving, he would not take one penny for anything) us the big house he had built also.  We are loving having fresh eggs each day and I love watching the kids with their brood.  It is hilarious how much the chickens love the kids and how much the kids love them.  The boys are up and out there before dark every single day.  They have them tamed and trained and will play with them for hours.
Sam and Tom Swift.  (Don't you love that he has a boy name?)

And they are very useful, too.  We put them lose in our vegetable garden after we canned the fall crops and they cleaned it up beautifully.
Left side: Camilla (black and white in front) Margie (black)
Right side:  Philadelphia Chicken (black and white), Violet Crawley (black) Lady Cluck (Black and Gold) 

And they are very useful, too.  We put them lose in our vegetable garden after we canned the fall crops and they cleaned it up beautifully.  Of course, we love having a fresh supply of eggs every day and even extras that we can bless others with.

We have lots of laughs over the chickens, too.  The first morning we had them several got lose when over excited Elisabeth went looking for eggs.  The whole family chased them around the yard for nearly an hour before we could coax them back in.  They are so tame now it is not a problem since they follow the boys where ever they go.  But I must admit that first day, before we'd even had coffee, I was beginning to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into.

And I will leave you with that.  Considering how our good Lord meets the needs of our family and gives us the desire of our hearts through the life of a stranger.  And how he provided us with the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone we wouldn't have met otherwise.  Someone, who incidentally, has since joined us for worship.

That and me, before makeup and coffee, trying to bribe a couple of chickens with a banana.  We sure went through a lot of bananas that day!

Dantes (Red) Philly (Black and White)

Jenny!!!

Jenny Z.  I tried to reply to your email and it bounced back saying your box was full.  Let me know how else I can contact you.

Hugs,

Kat

December 12, 2012

A Stitch in Lives Giveaway Winner!

Art's Chili Pepper is very pleased to announce that the winner of the giveaway sponsored by A Stitch in Lives is number 2...

...

...Bree from Tea and Bree!

Congratulations, Bree! You have the choice of either any wristlet from A Stitch in Lives wristlet page or a custom wristlet. To claim your prize email your choice to Kaitlin at contact@astitchinlives.com.

November 28, 2012

When You Are Expecting Not So Much a Package From UPS...

You know I hate to shop and I love the ease of shopping on line.  eBay and Amazon are my best friends.  Almost every day we have a package of something arriving on our front porch... coffee, syrup, batteries... anything most people would run to Walmart for.  It works for us.  I save a ton of money and even  more important a ton of time.  An added benefit has been becoming friends with our UPS carrier and his family.  Really, not kidding here.  We swap canning hints and stories of the kids and even some Christmas celebrating.

While the Christmas shopping, and shipping, season is upon us, our family is excited to be expecting a different kind of package, not so much from UPS, but rather a new little Wachter.
At just 15 weeks along "Henry" has become an incredibly special part of our family.  We only recently told the little children because we needed to get past some complications and wanted to get some positive feedback from our specialist before we let them get too hopeful.  Since we told them, they are beside themselves and keep asking when they can tell the world.

But here's the thing.  I used to think it was so exciting to share this news with those we know and love and even those we don't know.  But now I dread it like the plague.  Because people always say the dumbest things.  And it just crushes my joy.

After two surgeries, lots of painful treatments, a heartbreaking experience with a foster child and years of prayer to overcome endometriosis, we were literally beside ourselves with joy to share news of our pregnancy with Emma Rose.  We were amazed at how the Lord had worked in what three doctors called an impossible situation and wanted to share our miracle with everyone.  A lady actually told me I shouldn't appear so happy because it might upset two other ladies we knew who were struggling with infertility.

Then there was the time when Nathaniel was six months old and we announced Aedan was on the way.  We'd already had a round of nastiness from our family and could really use some positive feedback.  I ran to the ladies room in tears when a friend of ours actually said, to my face, that I was like a regular baby factory.

There was the time when I was expecting Samuel and another homeschooling mom told me there was no way I would be able to manage teaching the children with six kids.  Gee, thanks for the encouragement.  

Oh and let's not forget all the times people go on about how the youngest child will be so jealous and feel displaced.  Which by the way has NEVER been the case.

Or all the well meaning people who go on about how we can't fit another child in our little house or afford to support 4, 5, 6... kids etc.  Never mind that with rare exception we have never even taken so much as free babysitting and our children are all well fed and well dressed.

All the sweetness is not confined to friends, family and church members, though.  Even strangers get in on the deal.  In addition to the stares and comments about how we should "get a hobby" or cable and after 8 kids "don't we know what causes it yet", there are the women who tell me I'm crazy.  Yes, perfect strangers have said that to my face.  One stranger sticks out in my mind above all, though.  After seeing me with 6 children and pregnant again she stopped me and asked all the usual rude questions.  How many were step children?  How many times was I married?  And on and on.  I answered her inquiries as pleasantly as could be.  And then, as I put my item in the buggy and grabbed a toddler's hand to move on, she said, "You must have easy pregnancies to do that so much."  Ha!  I didn't correct her.  I just wished her a good day and went on with my shopping.

But I have thought about this woman's comment many times through my last three pregnancies and almost daily these last four months.  Because easy and pregnancy couldn't be any farther from an accurate description of how things go for me.

I spent two pregnancies on total bed rest with regular stays in the hospital with chronic poly-nephritis.  And then there are the blinding migraine headaches that came with several pregnancies.  The  four or five months of severe sickness with most of our children.  And then there is diabetes.  As a diabetic, pregnancy means intensive insulin therapy and lots of testing to make sure my blood sugar levels always stay in a safe range for both baby and me.  Some days that means 17 needles.  And you know what that's the easy part.

There's the hypoglycemia which comes with insulin treatment.  That means in an effort to keep glucose low enough for baby I also have to deal with it dipping into dangerously low ranges for me several times a day.  For those who don't know what diabetic hypoglycemia is about it means my mind stops working properly and I am unable to make even simple decisions like what to eat to bring my glucose back up.  It also comes with an array of other less than pleasant physical symptoms.  Everything stops while I tend to the situation.  After this interruption into a visit with a friend, or teaching a lesson to one of the children, FBI class, a church service or a doctor appointment, I am completely physically drained as if I just had a run a few miles on a 90 degree day.  On a good day that only happens a few times.  The nights are the worst, though.  After bringing my sugar up and showering and changing the linens (hypoglycemia causes you to sweat beyond anything you can imagine) I usually get severe chills.  I then toss and turn for a few hours and doze off just in time to do it all again.

Pregnancy is anything but easy for me.  It is a difficult and much prayed about nine months.  Right now, life is anything but easy.  In fact, it is down right hard.  I count it a good night if I can sleep even a few hours uninterrupted.  It's a good morning if I can get through our school lessons without two crashes.  Both are rare occurrences since insulin needs change every five days during pregnancy and it takes about three days to get adjustments regulated.  So I am completely physically drained.  On a good day I have about two hours where I feel well.  My family does great despite me,  but I feel like I am failing in everything that is important to me.  I am afraid to drive because I fear hurting someone.  In fact I hate going out in public because I never know when I will crash and as unpleasant as it is at home its even more miserable in the presence of others.  I tried to take the kids shopping for Kaitlin's birthday a few weeks ago.  I ended up sitting in a corner of Target for 20 minutes eating a bag of Reeses Peanut Butter cups we picked up in the candy aisle.  (Did you know they come in dark chocolate?)

And the fact of the matter is, unless you have been there, it is difficult or impossible to understand the true inability to do what I usually do... at church, in the community or even at home.  So people aren't exactly understanding when you say no or don't show up for every event.  We simply aren't able to help as we usually do.  Even unexpected guests, which we typically welcome are very much a drain at this time.  A few weeks ago I literally could not get the energy to type a text message reply and on three nights in one week we had friends drop by unexpected.

So why am I here?  I believe everything worth anything in life has a price.  Some are higher or harder than others.  This I believe is worth it.  Indeed, I can't think of anything more worth the trial than being part of God's plan to give life to another human being.

I believe every life is created by God.  I believe every child is a blessing.  Despite all the difficulties, I love being pregnant because I believe what God said in His word that every person is made in His image.  

And I believe the God who creates life has the power to see us through any trial He allows to come into our life.  He's seen me through more than I can count in more miraculous ways than I can begin to tell here.

I believe the God of Heaven has the power to provide for our every need.  As we have followed Him by faith and He has expanded our family, God has always provided for our every need.  In fact, I stand in awe each day when I see the ways He has blessed us with the desires of our heart and the ways He gives us opportunities to minister to others.

So, I invite you to join us as we celebrate a new life and praise the God who has given and will sustain it.  We look forward to seeing, not just how God will work in the next six months, but what He will do with this little life as he will rise up to serve the Lord.  I can not even begin to imagine what great works our little one will be used for.  But I sure am looking forward to watching the story unfold.  And I am grateful for the gift to be part of it.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Psalm 139:13-16

November 23, 2012

A Stitch In Lives Giveaway

You all know Kaitlin.  Our oldest and very talented 21 year old daughter.  Award winning seamstress and theatrical talent... among many other talents.  

Kaitlin has always had a heart for mission work.  As a little girl she collected her birthday money to send over seas to support missionaries in Thailand, Mexico and Europe.
In May she made these great little bags for her sisters and I using scraps of fabric and trims we had sitting  around the sewing room.  We all thought they were so adorable we suggested she go into business.
Kaitlin and her sisters spent the summer digging deep into the word of God and trying to find a way to do more for the Lord.  Out of that study was born Kaitlin's new business, A Stitch In Lives.  She has been stitching those great bags, and many other styles, to raise money for overseas mission work.  

And now, just in time for Christmas shopping, I am excited to invite you all to her official grand opening.  Her desire is to sew custom designed bags, although she does have a small inventory of pre-made bags.  
Check out her website and see what great things she has been up to.  Then start thinking of all the ladies on your gift list.  

I filled some of these with bath products from a little boutique I fell in love with at the beach and will be giving them to my girl friends.  But think outside the box.  The small wristlet would be excellent for cosmetics.  Elisabeth uses hers for toiletries when traveling.  I keep one with my scissors, needle and thread for a quilting project I am working on. Brianna uses her for her contact and glasses supplies. Fill one with some hair accessories for the little princesses on your gift list.  

To celebrate and spread the word I am offering a wristlet to the winner of a random drawing on December 9th.  You will have the option to choose from the pre-made inventory or to have a custom bag designed.

You can receive one entry for each of the following.  (For simplicity sake please leave one comment for each entry.)

*Promote A Stitch In Lives on Your blog.  (Please leave the link in your comment)
*Mention A Stitch In Lives on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ (one entry for each mention)
*Make a purchase from A Stitch In Lives (One entry for each item purchased)
*Email five friends and tell them about this great new website
*One bonus entry if you leave a comment sharing some great ways to use the wristlet    

Giveaway ends December 9th at 11:59PM.

November 20, 2012

Wobots Christmas on DVD

We love Christmas movies in our family and my little guys found this new Christmas DVD by Echolight entertaining. They particularly loved the space vehicles, robots and all shouted with delight when a futuristic Starbucks came on the screen. The floating space city reminded us all of Tomorrowland in Disney and what's not to love about that? Your little people will be delighted by this and will entertain them while you get your Christmas wrapping, shopping and baking done.
“A WOBOTS CHRISTMAS will have children and adults alike cheering the adventures of an orphan boy and his band of misfit robot friends,” said Benjy Gaither of LiveBait Entertainment. “It not only entertains but helps explain the real meaning of Christmas with the encouraging message that ‘God doesn’t make junk.’”

Welcome to Metropolipod and the orphanage home of Zak, a friendless boy with a challenging speech impediment who doesn’t like Christmas. Every year, he works his fingers to the bone making toys for other kids, but nobody ever gives him anything. A trip to Scraptown—a junk heap for unwanted robots—connects Zak with a group of oddball ‘bots,’ quirky misfits all. On the run from a wacky scientist bent on taking over the orphanage, Zak and his new friends learn a powerful lesson about how Christmas started with a baby named Jesus—who grew up to save the world. Inspired to embrace their true potential, Zak and the Wobots jump into action to save the holiday!

Produced by LiveBait Entertainment and distributed by EchoLight Studios, A WOBOTS CHRISTMAS is available Nov. 20, just in time for holiday fun and inspiration for the entire family.

"Benjy Gaither and the crew at LiveBait Entertainment are committed to providing quality entertainment that is at once fun, encouraging and educational,” said EchoLight Chief Global Strategist Christopher Morrow. “EchoLight Studios is delighted to help bring this uplifting animated adventure with a message to families this Christmas season.”

November 12, 2012

Unconditional- the novel & Firebird

This novelization and children's book are based on and inspired by the upcoming movie Unconditional. We love children's books and it is always neat to find a God-centered children's book. Judging by the novel it seems like the movie will be one you don't want to miss. Looking forward to the DVD release.

A brief bio from the press release:

NASHVILLE – Sept. 12, 2012 – As the anticipated film UNCONDTIONAL hits theaters this month, the novel it inspired debuted Sept. 1 going more deeply into the riveting story—inspired by true events—of one woman finding faith, joy and meaning after a seemingly senseless, devastating loss. 

“"The novelization of Unconditional will touch the heart of every reader,” said Acquisitions Editor Julie Gwinn with B&H Publishing Group, the book’s publisher. “This story helps us all see that even in life’s toughest storms, above the clouds the sun is still shining.”

From award-winning author Eva Marie Everson, Unconditional is inspired by the true story of Joseph “Papa Joe” Bradford—an African-American man who went from standout student to prison inmate where he had to fight to stay alive. A computer-hacking crime sent Bradford to jail, and once out he and his wife Denise dedicated their lives to helping under-resourced young people, particularly in Nashville. They established and operate the Elijah’s Heart ministry. 


In the book, Samantha Crawford is a celebrated children’s author whose beloved husband is killed in a senseless act of violence. Three years later, still grief-stricken, Samantha plans to take her life, but at the last minute someone needs her help and prevents the act. Reuniting with her childhood friend, “Papa Joe,” she finds her will to live returning as she witnesses his selfless dedication to Nashville’s throwaway kids. And, in the dismal housing projects, she might just find the truth behind her husband’s killing. 

Like characters in the story, the film and book will help the lives of needy children through raised awareness and by many ministry partnerships nationwide. A children’s book, Firebird, which figures prominently in the film, also debuted Sept. 1 from B&H Publishing and echoes the theme that God’s love shines through people and circumstances no matter how dark things seem. Similarly, another B&H book—a study guide featuring clips from the film—offers a four-week, biblically based study designed to help participants identify and overcome their fears and learn to help those in need."

The Perfect Gift

"Is it “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays?” Are they “Christmas trees” or “Holiday trees?” Prolific filmmaker Jefferson Moore tackles a controversial topic with heart, hope and fun in THE PERFECT GIFT, releasing on DVD in November. Featuring Christina Fougnie in her first film role—THE PERFECT GIFT is a story of a young girl who puts her foot down at having to share her birthday—Dec. 25—with Jesus. But Jesse, a mysterious drifter working at her church, knows all about the real reason for Christmas." via


As soon as November rolls around, everyone in our house starts itching to pull out the Christmas movies and delve into the season. We have a whole shelf of Christmas movies but it is hard to find a Christmas movie with Jesus as the main focus. Which is why I was excited when I was asked to review The Perfect Gift for it's release on DVD. 

This movie touches some controversial topics such as removing Jesus from Christmas, freedom of religious expression and making the church into a corporation. 

I love the soundtrack to this movie. Some great traditional Christmas songs jazzed up a bit mixed with some contemporary Christmas. Can you really go wrong with Christmas music? I just wish it was available to buy on CD.  For those who aren't as old fashioned as me, it is available for MP3 download on Amazon.com.

Jefferson Moore plays his role well and at one point gives a very thought provoking speech with a fabulous presentation of the Gospel. I think we often remember Jesus coming to earth but forget the mission He was coming to accomplish- namely the salvation of man.

This movie has everything you expect from a Christmas movie and would make for a great family movie night.

November 11, 2012

October Baby -DVD

'"You saw me before I was born.' Psalm 139:16 (NLT) As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah—unscripted—collapses in front of the stunned audience. After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted … after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past … and find hope for her unknown future. In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned."

Since we saw this video on YouTube we have been anxiously awaiting the DVD release of October Baby. The movie has an incredible message and emphasis on one of the most critical issues of our day -abortion.

We were not disappointed by this fabulous film. Such a powerful, powerful movie and so very well done. Christian films tend to be cheesy but that is not the case with October Baby.

There are so many things you can pull from this but I'm going to just touch on two. First, I love the personification of aborted babies this movie conveys. Hannah is an abortion survivor who never would have taken her first breath if the procedure went correctly and yet you see her as a beautiful, intelligent, gifted, talented young woman. I think even us as pro-life supporters sometimes forget the individuality of each baby in an abortion statistic and that they would have grown up to be an incredible person made in the image of God.

Second, the writers did such a great job of showing abortion to be wrong while still being very sensitive to any woman watching who may have had an abortion. We should always keep in mind that women who have had an abortion are hurting people. We should never dull the horrors of abortion however we do need to be sensitive and not kick a person who is already down.

Great story, beautiful soundtrack, talented cast...all the essentials. I highly recommend October Baby.

November 10, 2012

1 Message

Let's start with a brief bio before delving into my thoughts on 1 Message
"Becca had it all: beauty, a successful fiance, and the job of her dreams. Everything was going according to her plan until the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the blink of an eye, her entire life came crashing down around her. The fiance ran off with some new fling. The dream job wouldn't wait for her to get better. The toll Cancer took on her body made her feel like less than a woman. Broken and alone, she refused to leave the house. She wanted cancer to finish what it started. But in her darkest hour, she found a mysterious ray of hope in the most unlikely of places. Kelly Filmworks and director Jefferson Moore (A Perfect Stranger, Clancy) present this inspiring story of a shattered woman who discovers the resilience to keep living in the message of a man she's never even met."
From breast cancer to depression to learning that your true value goes much deeper than your outward appearance, 1 Message deals with some very hard topics but handles them delicately and points the viewer to God. This is a fairly long movie and does begin a little slow but hang in there because once you get into it you are in for a very inspiring movie with a deep message.

Throughout pretty much the whole movie Becca is worried about people accepting her because of the effect breast cancer has left on her body. Her corespondent however helps her to see that a person's value is not based on their outward appearance. But the part I was touched by was how, after experiencing that kind of unconditional love, she in turn learns to give love unconditionally.

Another aspect that I really appreciated was the way it showed how when Dean reached out to help her, he in turn was blessed. I have seen that many times evidenced in life and it was a reminded that when take time to bless others, we are ultimately the ones being blessed.

A neat element is the way Becca develops a beautiful relationship with and her life is transformed by a man she has never met face-to-face. Through blogging we have met many dear friends via the internet and so that's was just a neat little aspect to this story.

Altogether this proved to be an insightful story of overcoming depression, learning your value comes from your Creator and the impact a hearing ear and encouraging word can have on a life.

October 31, 2012

October... A Little Late


And now you may understand why this poor blog has been on hiatus the last four months.  I get the idea it has been too long since I've posted when my family is complaining I don't write enough.  In November when I was posting about baby Henry three family members came in at different times and were shocked to see me posting something.  I do so appreciate your letters, emails and text messages and phone calls asking after us.  They are a great encouragement to me even if I can't reply right away... or even for a very long time.

Since I've been a bit out of touch, I thought it would be nice to start with some updates of life around Wachter World since we last spoke, which I think was sometime in August before we went on vacation.

Ah, vacation.  What a wonderful word.  It was grand.  You might have seen it in pictures?  Well, if not you missed some great times.  While I am on the topic, a big thank you to Julianne for your excellent guest post with your series on women's issues.  I hope to some day add my own thoughts on these topics, although, if you've read my blog for very long you probably know most of my opinions.  I've never been accused of keeping them to myself, after all.  ☺

And speaking of Julianne, I hear you have lots of good news to share.  I look forward to catching up and hearing all about what is going on in your world since we last touched base in September.

And to my friend J.B.  I ran into your mother-in-law in the grocery store before Thanksgiving and she told me your fabulous, fantastic, news.  We are so blessed to see how the Lord is answering prayers for your family.  Likewise, I look forward to spending some time catching up here very soon and I definitely can not wait to meet the blessing coming your way!

So, you know the thing with good vacations is they all have to end eventually.  And ours always seem to end with a hard thump back to reality.  In addition to my health issues, here are just a few of the areas that have been consuming our time these last few months.

We returned home in October to find the power company had come through and clear cut more than 1/2 an acre of our wooded lot. This was nothing like what they told us they were going to do and pretty much ruined a large portion of the land we've worked hard to pay for these last 11 years.  This is where our children played and had adventures and created Narnia and Sherwood Forest and spent many wonderful hours together. They had spent several weekends before vacation building a tree house with Allen and were looking forward to putting the roof on when we returned.
These woods were so dense you couldn't see that house over there before.

I cried for two days as I thought of all the good times my kids had spent in those woods building memories.  And all the time my little ones would never know.  Emma was devastated at the damage they did to her secret garden.  And we were all terribly sad for her as we thought of the many years of hard work she spent building something beautiful at what had been an overgrown mess.

The power company sent someone out who said it shouldn't have been done.  Then they sent another representative who said they would sent someone to clean up the horrible mess that was left behind.  No one ever came.  We have spent much time trying to clean things up before winter and get grass seed down to hopefully prevent a return of the erosion issues that existed for previous owners of this property.
This isn't even a fraction of the debris we had to haul away.


October 8th we celebrated Emma's 13th birthday.  How my little Almond Joy got to be such a grown up beautiful woman I will never know but we are so honored to have her as one of us.  She wanted to go to the farm for pumpkins and play board games for her birthday.
After just returning from three weeks on the beach in 80ish temps we were freezing.  

We had class that night so instead of the traditional birthday dinner we celebrated with a meal from our favorite restaurant after.

We cheered Allen on as he ran his first 5K and then his first 10K.  I am so impressed by his change and dedication.  He went from not being able to run for five minutes at a time in July to being able to running 10K and liking it.  And he has been rewarded with a reversal of his weight, cholesterol and blood pressure issues.  And his chest pains have completely disappeared.

Being pumpkin season, we also spent October and November trying out some great new pumpkin recipes.  I discovered a pumpkin and bean soup I could eat forever and the girls put out a Pumpkin-Ginger Cheesecake, Pumpkin brownie pie and pumpkin waffles... just to name a few.  I'd love to share pictures and recipes but this post is already going to be way too long.  Maybe next fall?

We took a day trip to Pennsylvania to see the story of Jonah at the the Sight and Sound Theater.  This was an amazing show and I can not recommend enough going to one of their production in Branson, or the Lancaster, PA area if you ever have the opportunity.  We bought tickets back in April as a birthday gift to Aedan but it took this long to get seats.  Yes, it's that good.

We rounded out the day by stopping at the Tabernacle exhibit.  We studied the Tabernacle in school this fall and also in our Faith Bible Institute class so it was the perfect timing.  We all agreed it helped us on our final last week.


Briefly for all those who asked about Hurricane Sandy.  I was truly shocked at the number of emails, phone calls and text messages asking after our well being.  It is truly humbling to realize how many people keep us in your prayers.  Your concern truly touched our family and encouraged us.  Despite ominous predictions our little corner of the world was left virtually unscathed.  We lost power for about a day.  Which is not nearly as bad in the cold months as in July.  In fact, we enjoyed lighting candles and curling up with a book by the wood stove for the evening.  The top to our chicken run took off and we lost a couple of panels to the fence but my handy men fixed up the chickens and fence in no time.
We continue to be shocked and saddened by the loss so many suffered.  But we thank our Lord who controls all and we pray that Hurricane Sandy, as well as the horrible shooting in Connecticut last week will be used for His glory and the road to salvation for many.

In addition to all these fun events, we also spent lots of time this fall working on our lessons, keeping up with our Bible Institute classes and helping our friends finish their house so they could move in before Christmas.

Even though this post is way out of date, I hope it answers many of your emails.  I intended to work my way through the fall but I find myself out of time.  I did get through October, which you must admit it rather good considering how behind I am.  Just hang in there as I catch up with you and bring this blog, and also our family journal, current.

Hugs,

Kat

PS  Jenny, I still can not get through on the email address you sent or by replying to your emails.  I get the same message that your box is full.

October 20, 2012

Family, Friends, Food... Vacation 2012

The other day, one of my kids was complaining about how long it has been since I wrote a blog post.  And its true.  It has been forever and a day.  Everything, and everyone, around us has moved at a rapid rate since we returned from vacation.  We came home to several disasters and have encountered numerous more since then.  I don't know how many times I have threatened to pack and return south indefinitely.  Most people would think I was joking, but my family knows I couldn't be more serious.

But family life, home school and homestead march on and I am marching forward with them.  For the sake of my sanity, and to appease my children, I wanted to take a few minutes and revisit the more peaceful days of vacation.
Our children have all been the same.  When they are babies they hate the sand, the ocean and the noise of the beach. The next summer they always somehow forget what they despised and join the rest of us in thinking there is no better afternoon than a deserted beach, a picnic and a shovel and pail.  Carmella was no exception.  She would happily sit on the blanket and eat and watch the others but if one toe touched the sand she cried.  And doubly so when we took her to the water.

Aedan caught the first fish of the season.

Our beach... not really.  It's public but this time of year we are the only ones there so we think of it as our own little bit of Heaven.

All my kids are so artistic.  Likewise to my siblings.  Somehow the gene skipped me.  One rainy day, actually the only rainy day, I decided to try my hand at painting.  Some of my girls thought it was absolutely hilarious that I would stoop to paint by number... but it was a fun exercise in the evenings after the little ones went to bed.

Love this piece of drift wood that washed up in the storm.

Fishing by moonlight

Sunrise study

Teaching Aunt Dawn to kayak

Afternoon ride

Boating with Captain Sonny

Midnight Puzzlers

Neighbors (We miss you all so much!!!)

Sunset on the marsh

Who Done It?

Carmella hated her evening bath until we got to our vacation home.  Turns out she loves the jet tub and would stand on her tip toes and turn the faucets on in anticipation of a splash about.  Now she loves her bath and giggles through it every night.

I was healing a fracture in my ankle so biking was not just a way to get around the island but also a great way to sneak in lots of exercise.

After nearly three weeks Carmella put a toe off the blanket one morning.  And then the whole foot.  And then the other.  Before we knew it, she was laughing and crawling down the beach.  

Pa stuck strictly to his eating and exercise plan the entire time we were on vacation so our trips for the world's best gelato were limited to exactly one night.  But it sure was worth waiting for.

Heading to worship

Brothers

Seth and Jessica... Seth is not short... I can't figure out where he was sitting to look so small

Miss Ginger

Rick and Barbara.... soon to be married!!!!

For the second year in a row... Kaitlin and I both won the bake off at Chapel.  Brianna and Emma both had delicious entries as well.  I think it is hilarious that Mr. and Mrs. Peavis were two of three winners in the cookie category.  That's keeping it in the family!

Rusty and Sherry, Granny, Black

Two of our ladies... Ginger and Diana discussing Kaitlin's Lemon Cake entry

Breakfast date

Pink fishing rods

My girls

Some friends of ours made us a delicious lunch to share on our last day

And other friends invited us to have a sunset dinner on their dock

Before they sent us home with lots of citrus from their orchard

And before you know it the car is packed and we are heading home for another year.  *Sigh*