By Alex Wilde
I want to tell you about a bird called Kakapo and the endangered birds in New Zealand.
Kakapos are the heaviest parrot in the world, even though they are not the biggest parrot. They are green. They also smell like honey. Kakapos weigh 8 or 9 pounds. Their lifespan is 95 years. Kakapos are nocturnal which means they sleep all day and are awake at night.
Kakapos climb well because their beak is like an extra claw. Their favorite food is in the trees. They have to climb because they can’t fly. Kakapos fall down off the trees when they want to get down. Their sound is “ka ka ka.” Kakapos can make many many sounds. These sounds can be heard from 3 miles away! Wow!
Kakapos are the most endangered parrot. Kakapos live on the smallest island in New Zealand which is called Codfish Island. There were only 61 Kakapos alive in the wild. Now in 2016, there are 123 Kakapos. They are endangered because cats and other mammals eat them and their eggs. Rats came to the island on ships. The rats swam to the shore. The rats were not there originally. Originally there were only beta bugs, Kaka birds, Kakapos and other animals but no meat eating mammals.
There's even a job to save Kakapos from extinction. It’s called nestminders. A nestminder’s job is to take care of the baby Kakapo. They go to the nest and measure and weigh the baby. You even have a bell on your tent. If it rings, the mom Kakapo Is here.
I went to a bird sanctuary called Zealandia in Wellington, New Zealand but we didn't see a Kakapo, because Kakapos didn’t live where we were. I liked the bird sanctuary because I saw birds and learned about birds. Now I want to be a bird vet and save birds. I have a bird book with four birds in it. I would like you to visit New Zealand so you can fall in love with birds.
by: Brecklyn Wilde
You are sprawled on the floor with little building blocks that are called Legos. You try to see how many figures you can make out of those tiny pieces. You can make so many things out of those Legos, you wonder how you could make it bigger or even life-size. I bet you are too busy making them that you don’t think about the history of legos.
Legos began when a man named Ole Kirk Christiansen began making wooden toys in 1932. Ole lived in Billund, Denmark. His house burnt down several times. His company came to be called "Lego", from the Danish phrase “leg godt”, which means "play well". In 1947, Ole created plastic toys and called them “Automatic Binding Bricks”. The Lego shape that we know today was formed by a machine that Ole bought. It was a injection-molding machine. It would mold plastic into Legos.
People have had Legos for years. I think that Legos are SO fun. You can make so many things out of them. You can make airplanes, helicopters, castles, cars, dogs etc. There are just too many to count! All you need is your imagination and the Legos. I don’t even think that you need instructions. I bet that in a matter of time anyone could build awesome masterpieces.
I am going to tell you some competitions that you can have. You can have a competition when you have to build inside of a bag. You can have a competition to see who can build the tallest tower. You can have races when you build a car and you race it. And the hardest is blind build which is when you try to build something with your eyes closed.
I got these ideas from a movie we watched. It was called A Lego Brickumentary. The movie talked about the history of Legos, which was told by a Lego, and people who have made Legos. For example, one woman made a gigantic architecture of a mountain that was covered with trees. She won a contest with it. What really impressed me was when it showed people who made a life-size Lego figure of the X-wing fighter in Star Wars.
I have made a bunch of things. I have made birds in a tree, a rover that went to Mars, and I made was a spaceship that went to Mars. I have made many more things, but I can only name a couple.
I love Legos. I think that they are one of the best toys because you can use your own imagination to build things and play with them.
by Jason, Grace, Brecklyn, and Alex
In this year of mercy, we have been searching for ways to serve God’s people through personal involvement. It’s not that we couldn’t go bring a few boxes of Huggies or Cheerios to the Life Center at our church, it’s that we felt like there was something more we could do...something that would help us feel more in tune with those in need of mercy...to pop our bubble of contentedness and let us change ourselves.
We had been giving out “Mother Teresa bags” to people on the street corners for over a year now. But, it was time to go a step farther. And so, when a coworker asked for donations for hygiene kits for the homeless, I asked how we could help in person. I decided to take Grace, Brecklyn, and Alex with me, with the intent that they would help out with the kits, and hopefully be able to help distribute them in one of the homeless communities in Austin. As this was a pretty daunting undertaking for a Dad and his 3 babies, I’d like to let everyone hear how the kids felt about the entire experience.
I’ll have to admit - I was a little nervous taking the kids to downtown Austin and throwing them right into the community service fire. In fact, as I stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up some soap for the kits, my mind was already thinking of ways out. It took a bit of courage to set those thoughts aside and type the address into my GPS.
Preparing the bags
(Grace): We prepared the bags. First, we unwrapped the the multi-packages of soap and shampoo/conditioner and lotion. Then I waited for a while until everybody came in. And then I started filling a few bags by going around the table in circles, picking things up and putting them in the bag. They also had little cards in the bags that told about the importance of water. Then, they said we had to do an assembly line. I started by putting toothpaste in the bags, but then I noticed another person doing the same job, and I saw that Brecklyn and Alex needed help bringing the finished bags to the pile. And so, I did that. There were about 30 people making bags. They worked hard. Half of them had just come from a party in the hall and they saw that there was a need for help, and so they helped.
As we finished up, there was a lull while everyone organized and prayed for growth, strength, and safety. The organizers explained how we needed to stay in groups for safety, and that there would be drug use. My Dad anxiety went crazy at this point. Our kids were the youngest in the group, and something in my mind told me that I just needed to slip out the back and go home. But, I knew this was not God talking...it was my own fear that keeps me from serving God.
Stop 1: ARCH
ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless) is a large facility in downtown Austin that serves as a first services and shelter center for Austin’s homeless. We basically set up shop on the front steps.
(Brecklyn): We gave water to the homeless. And we packaged soap and things that you wash with. We gave the things that we packaged up to the homeless too. It was hot. Very hot. One person had a big brown dog. Whenever someone came toward it, the dog stood up. At the first place there were more people. The homeless people were all sitting there. Their clothes were worn out. We gave them crackers. Most of the time they were talking to other people helping with us. When we gave water, they said “Thank you” and they were happy.
(Grace): After (we) filled the bags, everyone got out of their church clothes and we started giving the homeless the supplies. It made me feel happy that we were doing something, but it also made me sad that they were in such conditions. There was trash everywhere, especially under the bridge. And it was very hot. When we handed the bags to the people, they would say “Thank you”, or “Beautiful”.- Grace
(Alex): My favorite part was the music that we all sang together. Some of the homeless people sang with us. I heard Amazing Grace and If You’re Happy and You Know It. One verse in If You’re Happy was to say Amen. We sang half of the time, and in the spots between songs, we gave water bottles and bags. And I was sad about all of the people.
As the crowd subsided, we were to move to another location down the road - under an overpass bridge, and away from the heavily protected shelter. Once again, my mind was racing - something was telling me that we have seen enough for the kids, and that this was a perfect opportunity to excuse ourselves. But, as we prayed, I was again told by God to stay the course. My prayer was being answered.
Stop 2: Bridge
(Brecklyn): At the second place, we were underneath a bridge. I couldn’t get to most of the homeless people because most of them were near the bridge’s poles and we were in the parking lot under the bridge. I am happy that I helped the people that I could. It wasn’t scary.
(Alex): There were two spots where we went. We went to the homeless shelter, then we went under a bridge. And I noticed that there was this same sign that I saw that said “Tickets may hurt, but crashes kill”. This is the same sign that I see all the time when I go on the bridge to get to the doctor’s office. But I never noticed that there were actually poor people living under that bridge.
I never noticed that there were actually poor people living under that bridge.
As we drove home, I had a hard time speaking to the kids about their experiences. My heart ached for the lives that we had just touched. That there could be such despair and pain just one block over from the famed 6th street, and that we literally drive over these lives every time we pass through - I think Alex pretty much hit the nail on the head. I now realize that it was Satan trying to convince me to leave at just the right opportunities, that I had nearly let fear prevent our kids from seeing and touching these precious lives, just like he did to Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).
by Grace Wilde
Home school is exciting with all the exciting subjects you get to study. The subjects I get to study are history, science, spanish, piano, trumpet, Kano (coding), language arts, math, religion, blogging, guitar, CCM, and my beta reader. But, of all the subjects, my favorite subject is History.
I like reading about all types of History because it never ends. You always can learn about something new. History is like a giant storybook with different chapters. My favorite history topics to learn about are the saints, ancient Greece, and the pioneers.
My favorite thing to learn about is the saints. I think it is good to learn about the saints because every saint was a normal person who had true love for the Lord. Learning about them gives you an example to follow to become a saint.
I love to learn about ancient Greece. I love to learn about their mythology and their daily life. My favorite myth is the one about the quarrel over Athens. Two of the gods, Athena and Poseidon, gave helpful gifts to the city. The god that gave the better gift owned the city. Athena won with her gift of an olive tree, and the city of Athens was born.
Pioneers are very fun to learn about. I think it is cool how they survived in the wilderness in cold and hot. I read the The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. But, did you know that the author is actually the girl, Laura, in the book? Laura Ingalls Wilder was a pioneer. The books are the accounts she created about her childhood as a pioneer.
Why should we learn about history? We learn from history. We can make sure bad things in the past do not happen again. For example, I do not want us to discriminate against other people from different races like Hitler did to the Jews in World War II, and the Americans did to the Japanese in the Pacific War. Hopefully, this won’t happen again because we learned from history.
Here are some great history and historical fiction books that you can get at the library.
Do not forget these are not the only History books there are! Go to the library and explore history!
by Jessica Wilde
Adoption stories usually begin like a fairy tale with a love at first sight anecdote.
Two weary parents with blurry eyes looked and looked through the waiting child database and then they saw her. Their eyes lock on that beautiful baby girl’s image. “It’s her, our daughter!” They were in love!
While this is a beautiful way for your child’s story home to begin, that is not how it happened for us. For us it was intense discernment, research and above all, prayer. We had three kids that we were homeschooling and dreams of showing them the world. So we took to the waiting child list like a matchmaker looking for the ideal match for our family. And I did fall in love with every child I saw, including one beautiful blind girl who sang “Jesus loves me” straight from her heart. But our search was to find a child that would be the best fit for not only our family but also for the child.
“I am not Mother Teresa!”
When I opened Chi's profile on the waiting child list, he was older than we wanted and appeared significantly more disabled than we planned on adopting. And those five words, “I am not Mother Teresa”, literally fell out of my mouth. But luckily for us, there was something about his video clips, his determination, and his smile that kept drawing us back to him. It was as if God was directing our way, leading us to Chi. When we finally decided to have a doctor review his file, unlike the other files she had reviewed for us, her opinions of Chi were glowing. He was learning to adapt. He was on track cognitively with his peers. He was amazing! But I was still scared.
We didn’t have long to decide. It was Friday and Chi’s file was being returned to the shared list on Monday. We prayed, researched radial dysplasia, talked and prayed some more. Then, right before the office closed, we called Great Wall and gave them our verbal consent to pursue Chi’s adoption.
Through the initial application process, Jason was an absolute mess. He doubted that adoption was even our path. But choosing Chi is what made me second guess our decision. Jason, however, was rock solid. “This is our son!” he insisted. But fear was choking me. Could I help Chi? Was his disability more than I could handle? Would adding him to our family be a disaster?
Despite my fears, that weekend we composed our Letter of Intent to China asking for pre-approval to adopt him. I didn't get much sleep that weekend.
On Monday, I took Grace to band while Jason stayed home with the little kids. While she was in band, I walked through the grocery store in a dense fog. “What had we done?”, I thought. Then I saw her... She had curly blonde hair that was just starting to grow gray at the roots. She was around 45 years old. But most astonishing, she had bilateral radial aplasia just like Chi. I had never met anyone with this disability before. But here she was, beautiful, independent and strong. Every aisle I went down, she was there. She checked out her groceries right in front of me, paid the cashier and loaded her groceries back into her cart. In that moment, God gave me a glimpse of Chi’s potential. I only had to give him a chance. Then she walked out of H.E.B., and my fears vanished and were replaced with a mother’s hope for her child.
The next nine months of our adoption were some of the most challenging spiritual times of our lives. But when we are challenged, we can choose to whither or we can grow stronger.
Those five words at the beginning of our journey to Chi may have seemed harsh. But they are true. I am not Mother Teresa. I am Jessica and I am capable of far more than I ever imagined. It leaves me wondering, “What else can I do?”
So what are you waiting for? What quest is God calling you to pursue? Maybe it's a change in vocation, a call to foster or adopt, a call to see the world, mission work, or maybe even to leave the comfort of your own backyard and work with the poor in your own neighborhood. Whatever it is, trust in God. Don’t let fear or doubt prevent you from doing God’s will. I can’t imagine my life without Chi. He brings joy and hope that I didn’t know was missing from my life. Now, when my sweet baby boy holds my hand, looks up at me, and squeals that he is “Mama’s bao bei Chi Yu”, I am utterly amazed at how lucky I am to be his Mom.
It's easy to get lost in the story of us saving Chi. But we too were saved! We were saved from our fears and doubts. We learned to put our total faith in God and to trust His plan for our life.
By Alex Wilde
I'm going to tell you about one of my favorite Halloween movies.
In It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Linus says that there is a Great Pumpkin. It is a pumpkin that flies up and gives bags of toys to children. Nobody believed Linus. Sally did but then she saw that the Great Pumpkin was false.
I thought it was funny because all that Charlie Brown got in his Halloween bag was rocks. I also like when Snoopy pretended he was in a World War 1 pilot (and crashed). But I didn’t like when Lucy called Charlie Brown a “Block head.” I also disliked when Lucy lied. Charlie Brown told her not to lift the ball up when he kicked the ball but she did. He got flipped.
I would like you to watch it because it is funny.
by Brecklyn Wilde
Halloween is so spooky. I like it, though. Some things are a little scary, but I know it’s not true. I am going to talk about the things that we do for Halloween, and some ideas for you.
I decorate the house for Halloween. I put paper ghosts on the walls. I also put other things on the walls like mummies, witches, vampires and pumpkins. I made a ghost puppet and I call him Mr. Boo. I made him by wrapping a paper towel around a pencil and taping it. Then, I cut it to make it look like it’s flowing. Lastly, I put the eyes and the mouth on him.
Other things that we put up I did not make. For example, we have bones. I am definitely not talking about the bones inside of us. I am talking about plastic bones. A couple years ago one of our barbie doll’s head broke off. We put the head on the gate next to the plastic skull. It was hilarious. Another decoration we have is a pretend arm and leg that we put under our garage and it looks like there is a person being smooshed. Everyone touches it to see if it is real.
We put on Halloween music. Some of them are “Jack’s Lament” (from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’) and “Grinning Ghosts”. My favorites are “The Monster Mash” and “The Purple People Eater”. I like “The Monster Mash” because one year in dance class I danced to it. I like “The Purple People Eater” because when I was 3, Mommy and Daddy would call me a purple people eater.
I like deciding what I want to be for Halloween. It is a hard decision. Sometimes I want to be a wolf. Or maybe a fox. A raccoon would be really cool. I like the idea of a black cat. Maybe not a witch. I don’t think I’ll ever be a vampire or a mummy. I don’t want to be something to scary or not too scary.
This year I decided to be Hermione for Halloween. I want to wear mommy’s graduation outfit. I want to have a chopstick for a wand. For the cat I am going to bring a stuffed animal cat and put it in my basket. I got the idea from Alex, who wanted to be Harry Potter.
I like the foods that we eat at Halloween. We have mummy dogs which are hot dogs with strips of cheese on top. We also have blood which is Kool-Aid. Another thing that we have, which is one of my favorites, is this sauce that has guacamole and olives. Everyone should know why I like it because… it has purple chips on top! The chips are arranged to make the shape of a pumpkin. For dessert we have spiders which are pretzels covered in chocolate. Sometimes we have popcorn balls. This sounds like a lot of food when you are going trick-or-treating.
The candy that I am especially going to look for is suckers, M&ms, and starbursts. I basically like chewy candy. I like that candy because it can dissolve in my mouth and I can savor it. Another thing I am going to be looking for is mice. I don’t mean real mice. I am saying “mice” because a couple years ago at one house people were giving out toys instead of candy. I got a toy rubber mouse and named her squeaky because she squeaked a lot. She doesn’t really squeak, but I pretend that she does. Grace got a journal that time and Alex got a rat.
I like Halloween. I think that it is scary. I just talked about the things that I do in Halloween. I hope that some of the ideas are helpful. Happy Halloween!
Here’s a joke for you to keep.
King Tut Who?
Where’s my Mummy?
by Alex Wilde
Hello, my name is Alex. I'm going to tell you the difference between Onix and Gyarados by comparing and contrasting them.
First, I’m going to tell you about them. Gyarados is a serpent and a dragon with a powerful hyper beam. Its body is like a dragon but it doesn’t have legs like a serpent. Onix is a rock snake. Onix uses its body as a tornado.
The first difference is that Onix is a rock snake and Gyarados is a water snake. The second difference is Onix is faster but water beats rock. The third difference is Onix travels through the ground and Gyarados travels through the ocean.
The first thing that is the same is they both are a snake.The second thing that is the same is both are very fierce. The 3rd thing that is the same is that they both once belonged to gym leaders.
My favorite of these pokemon is Gyarados because Onix is too furious and hard to handle.
Here are my Pokemon ABCs:
by Grace Wilde
Hi, it’s me again, Grace. Today I am going to talk about one of my favorite saints, St Therese of Lisieux: the little flower of the Child Jesus. Why do I like her, you ask? Well, there are many reasons. First, GG ‘Meier planted many roses and flowers in her garden and it reminds me of the flower we are and how we make God's garden beautiful. Second, I love how she spent much of her life as a normal person at her home. But, inside it was a different place of love for our Lord and we should do the same thing. The last reason is that she is the patron saint of missionaries, and I want to be a missionary when I grow up.
Therese was born January 2, 1873, to Louis and Zelie Martin in the town of Alencon. She was one of five children, Marie, Pauline, Leonie, and Celine. Not only were they a very loving and happy family, but also very religious. Zelie would go to morning mass whenever there was time. Therese also loved going to mass, and looked forward to Sundays. Louis and Zelie owned a lace business. Zelie would sew the pieces of lace together at home and Louis would take care of selling and helping the workers all around France. Even though she was very busy, Zelie still never forgot to teach Therese about her beloved faith. But, then when Therese was only 4 years old, her mom died. The family was very sad. With the help of Therese’s uncle, Louis sold there house, closed the business, and moved to Lisieux.
Therese was very happy when they moved to Lisieux. She was near her favorite cousin Marie Gurin, and it was a whole new world for her. There are many orders of nuns in Lisieux and the Martins loved to visit them. But there was a convent that the Martins supported greatly. It was the convent of Mt. Carmel. The nuns were stuck in the convent praying and working all day. They are very poor so the Martins often sent needed supplies and talked to the mother or leader of the convent. When she first learned of this order she didn’t know it yet, but this order would change her life.
One day in 1882 Therese’s big sister Pauline announced that she was to enter the Convent of Mt. Carmel in a few months. This shocked Therese at first but after a few days she asked Pauline if she could enter too. Pauline said that she still would not be able to see her often because she had to devote herself to God and her work. Therese also was too young since the youngest you were ever accepted was 15 years old. This saddened Therese and after Pauline left Therese became sick almost to dying. When the doctor had lost hope, Therese just sat there almost unconscious. There was only one thing left to do which was to pray. There was a statue of Mary in the room she was in. So, the family prayed to the statue on her bedside. Then something happened. She started praying with them, and she started to seem to understand what they were saying. In the next few weeks her health improved and she was better. Afterwards she said that night she saw the statue of mary smile and everything came to life again.
Time passed and she still wanted to go to the Carmel. She often prayed especially to the Infant of Prague which she had a special devotion to. When she was 13 years old her oldest sister Marie left for the Carmel as well. Soon she told Louis that her wishes were the same. Then he reminded her the same thing Pauline had said long ago. “You still would not be able to see your sisters often because you have to devote yourself to God and your work. You are also too young since the youngest you could ever be accepted is 15 years old” he said. But, Therese said it was for the work of God. “But you are still too young,” said Louis. With some thought and prayer Louis supported his girl greatly in her vocation. By early 1889, Therese was finally admitted into the convent. The years after was a dream come true for Sister Therese of the Child Jesus. Soon her sister Celine and her cousin Marie were also Carmelite nuns. To make a note, Leonie entered the Visitation convent a few years earlier. Therese loved praying to the Lord and taking care of the shrine of the Infant of Prague.
Sister Pauline, who had now been granted the title of Mother Pauline, thought about Therese’s time in waiting, and how good she had been in waiting. Then she thought of the ones who were not patient and knocked on their door every day. So she asked Sister Therese to write a whole document on her life from Alencon to her life in the convent. Therese obediently agreed. When she had finished The Story of a Soul with the word love, Mother Pauline was full of content.
Then, the nuns began noticing Sister Therese coughing a lot, and her handkerchief was full of blood. So they called in the doctor who said she had Tuberculosis. He said that she must be very careful with her health and spend most of her time in a chair or bed. Her health worsened. On September 30, 1897 Sister Therese died at age 24.
How was such a person who was cut out from the world known to the world, then become a saint? Well it is said that someone outside the convent read some of The Story of a Soul and was enlightened. In a year, the whole book was published to the world to see her great deeds. One of the most popular quotes were ones on flowers. Here is one:
The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.
Soon, the Pope was starting to beatify her, which is the first step to becoming a saint. Some of the process is finding and seeking out details in her life. Next, they found out if she was in heaven. Then, a miracle through her. After that, they sought out to canonize her by waiting for two more miracles. Finally, she was canonized in a great ceremony on May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI. She is the patron saint of missionaries because she sent letters and prayers to the missionaries.
Today, Oct 1, is St Therese of Lisieux’s feast day. Let us think about how to use her as a role model for our life by being obedient and patient.
St Therese of Lisieux pray for us.
For more info:
Saint Therese and the Roses - By Helen Walker Homan
St Therese of the Child Jesus - By Rev Jude Winkler
The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.