Thursday, March 13, 2014

A new website

I have a new website.  My future blogs will be found there.  I will also be reworking and posting some of these old posts over there.  Thanks for reading.  NEW WEBSITE

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Eating Right on a Budget

I decided to share our current menu with our readers. We recently changed our diet up. We have several allergy issues, and we also strive to adhere to a Levitical diet. This, along with a desire to boost our metabolism has created an interesting diet for our family. Below is our breakfast and dinner menu. We eat left overs or salad for lunches. I will add some recipe links below of recipes we have used. I will warn that I never follow a recipe, so these are the actual recipes shared with me, and I have alerted them to fit my budget or needs. I will try and explain my alterations as I go.

SundayOvernight applesauce oatmealTacos
MondayOvernight applesauce oatmealGluten free goulash and salad
TuesdaySpinach and egg whites w/turkeyG/F Chicken and dumplings w/ green beans
WednesdaySpinach and egg whites w/turkeyBeef and Broccoli
ThursdayOvernight oatmeal, eggs, and fruitBone broth soup and Grilled Chicken salad
FridayOvernight oatmeal, eggs, and fruitG/F pizza (cheeseless)
SaturdayOvernight oatmeal, eggs, and fruitChili

I use a half container of oats and just estimate the measurements. I try and make two days worth at a time. If I use milk it is almond milk. Usually I just use water. Some of my kids eat cold and some eat it warmed up. I like it warmed up.

Beef and Broccoli :

For chili, I soak a bunch of mixed beans on Thursday and bake them all day in a crock pot. I add onion and other veggies and/or spices as I have them. Then Friday I separate the beans and use half of them to make chili. I use the other half to make re-fried beans.

For Bone Broth soup, I make a whole chicken in the crock pot, then the next day, Jeremy debones it for me. I put the bones back in the pot and add eight cups of water to any drippings from the chicken. I cook all day, add onion, carrot, celery, or any other veggies, and lots of garlic. This is one of my families favorites. Strain out everything and serve just the broth.

OK, that is a start. I will share more next time.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy NEW Year 2014

Sent out a total of 80 greetings for this new year, but if you didn't get one.  I am truly sorry.  We have been blessed with so many friends and we just didn't have enough funds to mail everyone a personal greeting.  So here is your copy.  Pictures and all.

Dear Friends and Family, January, 2014

As the calendar switches from 2013 to 2014, I can't help but think of all the blessings this past year held, and wonder what this new year will bring. As the year came to a close I celebrated my 40th birthday, and twenty years of marriage to Jeremy. Time seems to go by so quickly. Other milestones in our family included our first legal adult, as Daniel turned 18 back in September, and the addition of our 13th child, as Benjamin was born in August. Our life is full and moving fast.

I asked the kids to share some thoughts with you and here they are in random order:

Josh (age 8)

I am so thankful for my new brother, Benny. But I am also sad that my grandpa Wenger died this past year. I enjoyed the summer of 2013, we went to the zoo, beach, fair, and picked lots of apples and made apple sauce.

This year I hope to learn to read better, and study the Bible. I also hope to learn to play the ukulele my grandma Lisa bought me.

Stephen (age 4)

Nothing much happened this year. Baby Benny was born. That's all.

Davey (age 10)

The best thing I did this past year was build legos and play cars.

Tyler Ann (age 17)

This past year I enjoyed lots of things. One of my favorite things I did was teach five day clubs during the summer. I love sharing the Gospel with kids. I also liked spending that time with my sister, Lydia, as we team taught.

In this new year, I am praying about how to use my summer for ministry. I have several opportunities to consider, and some ideas too. Please pray I will find and follow God's plan for the summer.

Rachel (age 16)

This past year I went to Kansas to help at my aunts camp. I was excited to have a fun opportunity to serve God and others. I was amazed at the peace and comfort God gave me while I was away from home. My hope is to continue to embrace God's peace and comfort as I move into this new year.

Lydia (age 15)

In the year 2014, I hope to grow in my walk with God and grow in my music. In order to do that, I hope to teach Bible clubs again, and help out in my church. I also plan to continue studying music and teaching others music. I plan to make some fun music videos, that I hope will glorify God and bless others. I would also like to grow closer to my family this next year, so I don't want to be away from home for long periods of time. Those are my hopes and plans, we will see how they work out.

Rebekah (age 13)

My favorite thing about 2013 was visiting relatives.

Brenden (age 14)

This past year I enjoyed learning about gardening and trying our first garden. I also enjoyed taking apart and repairing golf carts, mowers, the washer, garbage disposal, and other stuff. In 2014, I hope to build a chicken coop and goat house out of pallets.

Zach (age 6)

I liked going to my cousins and friends houses.

Jeremiah (age 10)

The best part of 2013 was making new friends at a new church.

Daniel (age 18)

I enjoyed getting to know my younger siblings more. The best part of 2013 was getting to know teenagers at a new church, and working in the church nursery.

Christianna and Benny (age 2 and 4 months)

Benny blows you all a raspberry , and Anna says, “I ate it.”

2013 was definitely a growing year for Jeremy and I. We have continued to feel God calling us to be more at home and invested in our children at home. Also we continue to feel led to teach our children solely from God's Word. So we press on in this adventure and learn to trust God even when it is scary.

We feel so blessed to have found a place in a new church, Cedar Street Church in Holt, MI. We are excited to be a part of this body of believers that have a strong desire to know and live God's Word. The kids have loved getting involved with the different activities. The teens also like that the church allows them to serve. We look forward to seeing how God will use us in this body in the next year.

Jeremy continues to be blessed to work for Alro Steel. He feels the Lord calling him to ministry in the future, and plans to get involved in the church study program E4 this year. God has truly been good to us and we are excited to see what blessings he has for us this next year.

May God bless each of you,

Jeremy and Katie Hirn and kids

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Danger of Educating your Children (part 5) Final

I have been sharing about how educating our children changed our lives forever.  The first four posts can be found here: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.
As God continued to guide our families education the school year 2011/2012 would become one of the most pivotal years in our lives.  Our family verse for this school year was 2 Timothy 3:16-17  "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  Wow, what a thought.  As we recited this verse each day, the children and I were truly challenged by it.  Did we truly believe it?  and if we did what did it mean for us as we continued to study God's law in the Old Testament.  As we continued to read the laws God gave to His people, Israel, we wondered if these laws applied to us.  But, then it started to make sense God gave His people these laws because He loved them.  He knew if they would follow them then they would live a healthier, safer, blessed life. 
As Christmas once again approached Jeremy and I realized we must make a decision.  God's Word was clear and we needed to apply all of it to our lives.  You see from the very beginning of our marriage Jeremy made it clear that he hated lying, and he especially hated when parents lied to their children.  So he said there would be not Easter bunny, Santa Clause, tooth fairy or any other pretend legendary people visiting our home.  He felt very strongly about this and when our first born, Tyler Ann at the age of three asked about Santa, he clearly told her that is was a make believe activity that some families liked to do at Christmas time.  Of course, this created a very embarrassing moment for me, when we are shopping at Meijer and the children are lined up all around the store waiting to see Santa, and she shoots at the top of her lungs, "Santa isn't real, he's just make believe."  But this belief of telling our children the truth always was very important, and now it seemed it was time to make it clear again to all of them what we believed.
So, we discussed the fact that, yes, God's Word makes it clear that He does not want His people to participate in activities that are rooted in Pagan idolatry.  So, we would no longer be celebrating Christmas at home.  No more advent, no more Easter, no more Christmas tree. 
But God's Word also made it clear that we are free in Christ.  We are not bound by the Law but free in it.  So, therefore, if our brothers and sisters in Christ did not choose to see the benefits of being set apart, we are not to judge them, nor are we to cause division in the body because of our convictions.  In fact, we understood Paul to say that if we are invited to a believers home and they participate in such activities that we are not only to not judge, but to interact with them in love. 

Here are some verses that we decided to point out to our children in regards to why we still go to grandma's house at Christmas time. 
In 1 Corinthians 10, we read how God lead Israel and how they lost their way ,and He gave them the law for an example for us, and also for instruction for us.  These verses talk about fleeing idolatry and following God's law, BUT they concluded with these verses.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,  just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
Here is a passage for why we still participate in church activities, like a Christmas program.

We wanted to make it clear to our children that God's Word, all of it, is beneficial, but it is not our job to argue with others about how to live out their faith.
In Titus 3, we are reminded that our salvation is a gift of grace from Christ, it is NOT because of our good deeds, and we are reminded at the end of this passage to not argue over trivial things.
Titus 3:9
But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

You see the bottom line is that we believe God can and does use all things to bring Truth to His people.  We believe God can be glorified in humble and obedient hearts.  So, we choose not to get caught up in the man made rituals of Christmas, but we respect others who choose to use this season to celebrate Christ.  As we move forward to finishing out this year, 2013 we again will not put up a Christmas tree, we will not be buying gifts for our children, we will not talk of Santa, we will not even do an Advent wreath.  But, we will be apart of our churches Christmas program, and we hope and pray that it will be an opportunity to share the truth of Jesus with those who do not know him as their Lord and Savior.  We will go to my mom's house for dinner on December 24th, we will play games, sing to the Lord, and even receive and exchange a few gifts.  We will also go to Jeremy's mom's house and have dinner, exchange gifts, sing to the Lord, and play games.  Does that sound hypocritical to you?  Well, I hope you don't see it that way.  God wants us to honor and respect our parents, God wants us to bless others, and not cause division in the family of God.  So, it sounds a little strange, but this is where the LORD has lead our family.

The Lord continues to use our children to teach us about Him.  The more they dig into His Word, the more we dig in too.  Giving up Christmas, advent, and Easter was very hard for me, but the joy of learning from God's Word with my children, is priceless.  To be honest, giving up one day a year is easier than some of the lessons of daily sacrifice.  For example, this school year our character trait is humility.  Talk about tough lessons to learn.  But that is another story.

I hope these blogs have blessed you.  I encourage you to click on the links through out the posts to learn more, especially the links to scripture.  If you are truly interested in learning the true origins of Christmas and Easter, here is a link to a very interesting summary of their history.  It is about an hour and a half long, but so worth watching to the very end.  Blessings.

Truth about Christmas video

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Danger of Educating your Children (part 4)

As I have been sharing in my last few posts, there is a real danger in teaching your children to love learning, researching, and studying, especially God's Word.  This danger is that you may end up changing your life in ways you never planned too.

(if you want to read the previous posts they are here: part 1, part 2, and part 3)

Our lives continued to be challenged as God once again led us in a new direction for educating our children.  As we planned for the next school year (2009/2010), We felt challenged to really teach our children from God's Word as the sole textbook for all subjects.  This new vision led me on a search to find curriculum that was Bible based.  As I searched for good materials and prayed about how to best make this change, I began to realize that the best way to teach the Word was to go through it from beginning to end with the children.  So we started at Genesis 1:1 and began studying.  As we continued through those first five books, we found a new love for Israel, Hebrew, and God's law (the Torah). 

Each year God gives Jeremy and I a verse for the school year.  In the year 2009/2010 the verse was Joshua 24:15.  The funny thing was, we had always claimed this as one of our family verses.  But, it took on a whole new meaning in this school year.  As we studied the Torah, we realized that serving the LORD was so much more than just going to church, more than praying, more than being good moral people.  We were realizing that choosing to serve the Lord meant looking different for His name sake.  It meant being set apart.  Not following the ways of the world. 
So as Christmas approached in 2010, we again felt challenged to not included pagan traditions in our  celebration of Chris's birth.  So again instead of decorating our home with the traditional Christmas tree, we again opted for a small nativity, and we did lots of snow man decorations.  We again decided to buy our own kids just one small gift, and allow them to give to charities as they chose.  Our ancient history studies had again showed the children that many of the traditions of Christmas were as old as the Tower of Babel and truly had nothing to do with Christ.  But we (Jeremy and I) just were not sure how to decided what to do, about our new convictions.

You see we knew that these convictions had no barring on our salvation.  We had spent a great deal of time reading the book of Romans and Paul's many letters to the early churches.  We found verses like:

Romans 14 specifically verses 5-10
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

We knew that, much like our conviction to let God number our children, if we believed God didn't want us to celebrate Christmas, this would be a personal decision. 

So, we continued to study God's Word, and be open to his plan for our lives.

to be continued...

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Danger of Educating your Children (part 3)

In my last post, I shared that by teaching my children to love reading God's Word and researching things changed our lives forever.  You can read the first two post here and here.  So, that Christmas in 2008 we enjoyed gift giving and a Christmas tree and the Advent season.  But, something had changed. The children had already started to have a desire "to have less to give more."  This would soon become a family motto, that would not only affect our holiday times, but our everyday life.
But that wasn't all.

Our oldest daughter loves the library, loves books, and loves learning knew things.  Even more than that she has a love for God's word and is an avid student of it.  It makes my heart rejoice that she loves all these things, but it also makes it a challenge to keep up with her.  She often teaches me things.  Sometimes things I wish I never learned.

This was one of those times in life.  As our family studied each holiday on the calendar, Tyler dug deep and shared with our family her findings.  Sometimes it was exciting and interesting.  Like learning about the true story of our founding fathers, and Squanto at Thanksgiving time.  But, other times, it was a challenge.  That was how it was for Christmas.

Tyler Ann searched scripture and searched books and websites and found Christmas wasn't at all what she thought it was.  (Instead of telling you all the different things she discovered, I will share this link with a few of the things she found.)  She shared her findings with our family.  We found it interesting and it truly challenged both Jeremy and I.  But, we weren't ready to let go of Christmas.  In fact, we didn't discuss it with each other much at first.

Christmas 2009 was approaching and we had finished our study on generosity and joy.  The children had started something new.  Living with less to give more.  So again they asked if they could not have presents, but instead use the money to give to the poor.  They also asked to not have a tree.  So, instead of putting up a Christmas tree we got a new nativity and placed it in our living room.  Instead of giving them gifts we gave them stocking stuffers only.  The children went bargain shopping and made lots and lots of shoeboxes to give to Samaritan's Purse.  We bought gifts for relative and friends and went to family gatherings.  We all felt pretty good about ourselves.  We felt like we found a compromise. 

The problem is God doesn't do compromise, no that was not going to work for him.

to be continued.....

The Danger of Educating your Children. (part 2)

In my last post I shared how teaching my children has changed my life forever, and began to share how in the school year 2008/2009 it really changed our families life in areas that were hard for me.  Specifically in the area of holiday celebrations.
(If you would like to read that post it is here.)

In the school year 2008/2009, Jeremy and I chose joy and generosity for our school focus.  That meant that everything we taught would be centered in these two character traits.  I was so excited because as a child my mom always taught my siblings and I about generosity at holiday times, so I decided what better thing to study than holidays to teach these character traits.  So, I began writing our lesson plans and it included holidays in it that we celebrated and also holidays that we didn't.  My goal was to educate my children on all the holidays, using them as history lessons too.  I was excited because my older children were at an age now that I could give them research assignments and they could do their own research and find their own answers.  I was proud that I had made learning and research exciting for them, and they were excited about discovering answers on their own.  But little did I know that teaching my children to research and discover on their own would change my life.

We began our school year and started memorizing our verses on generosity, and doing our Bible lessons that showed us God's great love and generosity towards us.  We read in God's word about his gift of joy to those who chose to accept it, and that that joy is even greater than all our sorrow.  It
was a great time in God's Word, and I loved hearing the children read the Bible on their own and discuss what they were learning from it.  Bible class was just amazing. 
Then we had history class and we looked at the calendar each week and studied and research any holiday that was on it.  Some of those holiday's we fun and interesting, like President's day, Labor day, and Veterans day.  We learned a lot about our American and world history, and I was impressed with the research the children would do.  Their reports were excellent. 
But then there were those holidays like Halloween and Valentine's Day that we never celebrated as a family, and the children did their research and were surprised by the pagan roots of these holidays and curious as to why so many of their friends and relatives participated in these activities.  I gently reminded them that every family has to make those decisions for themselves, and that we are not to judge others, but to live our lives as we believe God calls us to.  This seemed like a good answer to them, and we went on.  But then it happened, my children began to dig deeper into their studies than I actually expected them to.
It was one of those great yet distressing moments.  I was so proud that my children had gone the extra mile and discovered answers of their own, but little did I know that the answers they found would challenge them to challenge me.  It was Christmas time, and we got out all our decorations and our tree the day after Thanksgiving.  This was tradition.  We started baking and singing Christmas music.  We planned our program and we went shopping.  It was a busy fun time.  But there was a problem the children began researching the roots of Christmas.  They dug deep, they found things that upset them and that made them wonder if we should celebrate such a holiday.  (If you want to know what they learned check out my friends blog, here.) 
But, it wasn't just the roots of Christmas that upset them.  No, as they read the verses on generosity in the Bible and thought about the true meaning of generosity, they just weren't sure if this whole Christmas thing was right.
So, I am not sure how or when, but our children began to ask us if we would consider not giving them gifts for Christmas.  Oh, you might think this was a sweet moment, maybe even a proud parent moment.  But it wasn't.  You see.  Jeremy and I had never bought our children very much at Christmas time to begin with.  In fact, we don't buy our children many gifts at all.  So, Christmas time has always been sort of a fun time for him and I to go out and get things for them.  We would get them each three small gifts, each gift specially picked for that child.  So, when they asked us to not give them gifts, it wasn't an easy thing for us.  So, as Christmas approached, we compromised and decided to just get them each one gift, and the rest of the money we would have spent on them, we let them have to give to charity.
As you read that you are probably thinking "oh, that is so wonderful".  But, it wasn't wonderful.  You see that compromise wasn't going to last.  Tyler Ann, our oldest daughter, was certain that God's word told us not to participate in pagan holidays.  She also was certain that Christmas was a pagan holiday.  She continued to push us to look into it further.  The more research she did on it, the more research I did.  I was trying to find answers to show her that Christmas centered on Christ was ok, and good and acceptable.  But, for every verse I thought I found to convince myself, I found even more that showed me that Tyler was on to something.
It was an uneasy feeling.  It was not the answer I wanted to find.

To be continued...