The boys at the Peterborough Zoo in Canada.
In fact, all of us are among the living. Unfortunately I haven't been blogging as much as I should, however. Let me catch you up on a few things that have been going on in the Tinkel household.
Yes, we had our big travel adventure this summer and loved it. We thank God everyday for allowing us to experience all of the things that we did this summer. I am still planning on catching you up with our adventures in the near future. However, right before our trip began, we found that we would have to change some of the medications that our two autistic children take. It seems that there was (and still is) a nationwide shortage of the meds that they were previously on. To top it all off, our middle child has hit the big "p" word...puberty. That has really thrown him and us for a loop. Having asperger's syndrome is bad enough for a child, but when the hormone changes and the mood swings hit it can get a bit overwhelming for a child on the autism spectrum. Things have happened with poor Joshua and we don't know if it is the change in meds or the body and chemical changes that are causing them. While on our summer travels he had two major panic attacks and a few minor ones. Thankfully, since being home, they have slowed down, but he still breaths very heavily and slouches a lot. We have been to the doctor several times now and all seems to be okay, but it is still concerning.
When we got home from our ministry travels we decided that we wanted to declutter our home. We just have too many things! Not that we are hoarders or anything like that, but, when you live in the same house for 13 years you tend to collect things. We enjoyed being able to pick-up and leave when God opened the door for us to travel and minister and we realized that we didn't need all of those extras. Besides that, we had a work group coming to help us do some fix-up things in the house and mission so we needed to get ready for them. So we rented a storage shed and spent two weeks sorting, cleaning, throwing away, boxing up, hauling to the storage shed...you name it and we did it. We are really pleased with the results, but we still have a long way to go.
God has also opened up a door for us to supplement our missionary income on a very part time basis, so we have been busy in that area as well.
Unfortunately, all of the things mentioned above along with other family issues such as Sarah's mom recovering from cancer treatment and Sarah's grandmother getting older, have taken a toll on our nerves and our time. We realized that something had to give and, after much prayer, we decided that we had to make some hard choices. Choices that were very painful and resulted in many tears. One of those choices was to, hopefully temporarily, drop off of the TOS Review Crew. It is something that we have been involved with and loved for the past five years and had no intention of stopping. However, it was time to give it up for at least a short period. I was unable to keep up with everything that was required and I didn't feel that I was doing a quality job. We do miss it. We have made many lifelong friends from being on the review crew, and have been introduced to products that we would have never known about nor tried without being involved in this wonderful organization. As I said, though, we are praying that it is only temporary and we will be able to rejoin the crew in the future.
Our mission work, homeschooling and blogging are not something that are on the table to give up, though. We love being full time missionaries and, unless God shows us clearly he wants us to change directions, we are continuing to direct Good News Mission. We also do not intend to stop homeschooling. Although we know many of the public school teachers in our area and love them dearly, I feel that our two youngest would fall through the cracks in public school. We also couldn't be as flexible in our ministry and our travels if we were tied down to a regular school schedule. Blogging, even though it has slowed down, is not going to stop either. I love to blog and feel that it has really stretched me and made me grow. It has been very therapeutic and a lot of fun for me to be able to do this. It has also opened many doors (i.e. the TOS Review Crew) for our family.
So, although you won't see as many product reviews from me (there still may be some), Families Again is not going away. For now it is here to stay! Talk to you again soon.