With the help of Judy’s parents, we upgraded our garden. For two days straight, we worked until we literally couldn’t move anymore. We then took Sabbath off and worked again on Sunday. We cleared trees, tilled some land, made dirt mounds, put up a fence, transplanted Judy’s mom’s plants, and helped the boys plant their own gardens.
Several things motivated us to expand our garden. First we wanted to the kids to have the experience for themselves. That is why Judy assigned them each a lot to work. Additionally, home-grown food tastes so much better. Lastly, a cook is not worthy of the name unless they are able to restrict their culinary creations within the limits of what they grow. Menu items include several variations korean dishes, especially a traditional soup that’s eaten in a cold broth.
The action first started by expanding the garden we already had. After delineating our boundaries, Judy’s dad began tilling the land by shovel! Luckily, we were able to later borrow a tiller from the Boyce Family. We tilled the lot with our friend Daniel about three times until the soil was super soft.
Then, we ran a work bee with the Namm Family. Dad and I put up the fence, cut down trees, and transported hay, mulch, and manure. Mom transplanted lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. And Judy arranged the garden by heaping mounds of soil for the boys to plant. She also mowed the grounds for the first time this season.
Here are some more pics of our adventure.
This spring, we had the privilege of seeing baby bunnies grow over the course of a couple weeks. A mama cottontail decided to have her babies in the worst possible place…in the middle of our lawn near our back deck. Once we discovered the nest and the kits, we made sure Bentley & the cats weren’t let out unless supervised. Shockingly, there were a couple times when Bentley ran right by the nest and couldn’t smell them! We rarely saw the mama who only came to feed once or twice a day. It was a special treat to see these cuties!
Thanks to a tip from our friend Amy and inspiration from the PBS series, “National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, we embarked on a new and exciting adventure. Our other good friends Daniel and Kerri recently introduced us to a Junior Ranger program that allows kids to explore these great places while learning how to care and protect America’s best properties.
There are 58 national parks in America. If you include all National Park Service properties, the number goes up to more than 380! Our family goal is to visit as many national parks as we possibly can–hopefully hitting all 58 before the kids get to college.
With no time to lose, we began this new family adventure by going out west. Most national parks are in California, Utah, and Colorado. The largest one is in Alaska! There is only one in Michigan.
It has been a long time since the Ramos-Lumbreras klan has had a family reunion. With Mother’s Day approaching, we thought it was a good time to visit my mom. Our road trip included the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado on day one. Making so much headway on our first day, we took advantage by visiting Arches National Park. Among so many other things, Arches is cool because it has a huge sand hill right by its entrance. This means that energetic boys can wear themselves out by having tons of fun climbing up this very difficult natural playground.
Judy and I only made it up the hill once, while the boys enjoyed multiple trips to the top. It is hard to believe that climbing up this hill of sand will go down as one of the most memorable things our family has done together. I have never seen our boys so happy! It also reminds me of the importance of spending as much time as possible with our growing children. Before too long, they’ll be out of the house and Judy and I do not want to spend the remainder of our lives regretting all the things we could have done with them, but didn’t because we were too busy majoring in the minors.
Road trips are awesome because you can stop whenever you want, wherever you want. As long as the pitstops are fun — with a quick game of tag at rest areas, or a some playtime at meals, the kids seem to enjoy the experience. Our worship in the car consisted mostly of singing and singing and singing. I will never forget this trip as long as I live.
Another cool thing about visiting national parks is being seeing other crazy families who do the same thing. Some drive buses, others haul nice fifth-wheels, while others get nice hotels. From high class to ghetto, part of the adventure is meeting others who have a similar vision.
After this trip, we are convinced that there is no better way of spending vacation time than visiting national parks. It is tons of fun, very educational, and the kids have an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of our magnificent country and God’s awesome creation. I cannot wait for our next family adventure to an American National Park. Anyone game to join us?
…BUT WE ARE NOT OF THEM WHO DRAW BACK UNTO PERDITION, BUT OF THEM THAT BELIEVE TO THE SAVING OF THE SOUL
Till we all come in the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the son of God.
Unto a perfect man
Unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
“To love Him, the infinite, the omniscient One, with the whole strength, and mind, and heart, means the highest development of every power. It means that in the whole being– the body, the mind, as well as the soul–the image of God is to be restored.”
Unselfishness underlies all true development. Through unselfish service we receive the highest culture of every faculty. More and more fully do we become partakers of the divine nature.
For our Spring Break vacation, we headed to Gatlinburg, TN. Honestly, what drew us to this location was the indoor water park in one of the city’s resorts. Long story short, the water park was regrettable, but the experience of Gatlinburg was awesome.
Normally, we like to take a family vacation to celebrate Manu’s birthday and mine. This break came at an opportune time — our family needed to get away and spend some quality time together. We drove down to TN for the week to get away from the business and stress of our lives in Michigan. One of the best parts of this trip was that we were able to bring along our faithful friend Bentley.
The trip consisted of lots of swimming, great family game nights and video nights, hiking on Sabbath, and trips to local spots — including WonderWorks. We were also able to visit the nation’s best pancake spot. It’s so jamming that it only accepts cash money! It does live up to its hype, though.
Judy and I also spent some time running inventory of our family and talking about plans for the future. We read together and discussed strategies to ensure that our boys are growing spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally while they played in the pool.
To our surprise, we discovered partway through our vacation that Familee was in town. The parents enjoyed a good conversation over a meal while the kids watched nature videos.
We were sad when our vacation time ended, but refreshed heading back home with renewed strength and vigor to tackle life in ministry.
I was staring up at the drop ceiling lights for some time. “Don’t worry,” she reassured me, “sometimes it takes a while to find it”. I knew that wasn’t true. At least it wasn’t true for me. I had gone through this exact same routine at least 20 times over the years. It doesn’t take this long to find a baby’s heartbeat. I lay there on my back for several minutes as the nurse slowly and systematically moved the doppler across my lower abdomen a few times. Then she called in another nurse who did the exact same thing. I continued staring up at the outdated ceiling tiles as the thought kept going through my head, “This can’t be happening. This isn’t happening.” I tried to hold on to any glimmer of hope that was within me.
I was ushered to the dark ultrasound room. I laid down and immediately fixed my eyes on the screen. My neck was craned in an awkward position but I couldn’t take my eyes off my baby. I just remember the tech honing in the baby’s heart and clicking on it. A flat line ran across the screen and no sound of the heart beat. She repositioned the doppler and tried again. Nothing. She did it one last time. She took the final measurements and she was done. She wiped off the gel and helped me sit up. The frantic part of me wanted her to try one more time. The rational part of me slapped myself across the face and I was overcome with emotion. My baby was dead, all hope was gone, and my heart broke in pieces.
You can never be prepared for sudden tragedy. It was supposed to be a routine OB visit. One that I’m usually in and out within 20 minutes. As I sat there in the little side room, I went into emotional shock. My body turned numb and my vision was foggy. I felt like I was going in and out of a dream. As my mind came back to focus, we were still there and the doctor was still talking to us and explaining our options. This was really happening. I held my belly that carried our lifeless son and wept.
That was Friday, February 21, 2014. We decided to have our son delivered on the following Monday. We could have scheduled it earlier, but we decided to wait. I needed time. I wanted these last few days, this last Sabbath, this last weekend with him. I wanted to carry him a little longer as I sorted through everything that was happening. I spent a lot of time in prayer and claiming promises in God’s Word. That dark weekend, I found renewed hope and courage in God. I knew He understood my heart and He gave me hope that this wouldn’t be the last time I’d be near my son. As I carried him for the final time, I asked our Almighty God to carry me. He drew very close. In my moment of deepest despair, I put my trust in Him and I found peace.
Our fourth son, Seth Aaron Ramos, was born on Monday, February 24, 2014. I carried him 19 weeks and he quietly passed away a few weeks prior. As a memorial, we made a small memory book for baby Seth. We included his ultrasound pictures from when he was alive among other things. Each of the boys made a special card for him. It is a little book that we, as a family, treasure.
By faith, I know I will get to hold our youngest son again. However, I recognize that getting there won’t be an easy road. It hasn’t been easy. Grief comes and goes. This life is filled with a myriad of trials and temptations. As we are nearing the end of time, Satan is attacking with full force and he will use anyone and anything to bring us down. But through this experience, I get a taste of God’s undying love, because He created us and we are His own. I understand a glimpse His desire to carry and protect us until we are made whole. And by faith I know Christ longs to be reunited with His children. It is a Love worth trading our selfish, sin-sickened lives for.
So, as I go on life’s sometimes difficult journey, it is my desire to ask God to carry me each step of the way. No matter what I lay at His feet, I know I will never be a burden to Him and I am confident He will never let me go. I believe His love is enough to take each of us through even the roughest, most painful trials of this life. In the end, it will be worth the wait.
WHY ARE THOU CAST DOWN, O MY SOUL? AND WHY ART THOUGH DISQUIETED WITHIN ME? HOPE THOU IN GOD: FOR I SHALL YET PRAISE HIM, WHO IS THE HEALTH OF MY COUNTENANCE, AND MY GOD.