Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve....

...let the games begin!

We love to play games as a family.  Up until now the boys have been pretty limited in what games they knew how to play, monopoly, checkers, go fish, and the like.  We are trying to teach them some new games over the break.  Last week I taught them Clue and we've had great fun playing that.  Today Curtis brought out Risk.  I had never played that game either so he taught the boys and I how to play.  I was quickly run out of town (I'm not too cut throat at these kinds of games) and now just Russell, Scott, and Curtis left.  

After a dinner of crepes with strawberry sauce, bacon, orange juice and coffee or tea we'll catch up on our advent readings (the guys were at a basketball game last night and so we are behind) and then watch "It's a Wonderful Life".  

I hope your families are all having a wonderful Christmas!  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

out in the snow (yesterday)

making Snow Angels

re-stocking the woodpile

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Today we woke to snow and have had snow off and on most of the day.  The boys enjoyed 1/2 of a day of snow play while I got some online Christmas shopping done.

Christmas School Day 1

This year we are doing regular school most days during Advent but are doing "Christmas School" on Fridays.  Last Friday the boys worked diligently helping to make chocolate dipped pretzels, pizzas and coffeecakes (for us and for some friends), and cleaning up afterwards.  In addition we listened to some beautiful Christmas music and read several Christmas books.

As per request....

I am posting my latest composition. You asked for it Caity. =) Enjoy.


So Similar and Yet Uniquely Different


Despite their differences, Trisha Poff and Caity Spencer have won their ways into my heart. When comparing the two, focusing on only the similar and disregarding the differences would prove simply useless. I love them both for their distinct, contrasting personalities, yet also for their equatable interests and abilities. Considering the qualities and gifts each lady has can help me to see aspects in which I must change and shape my own life and character. Such friends as these prove the most worthwhile and meaningful mentors a girl may have. Both dear friends have remarkable similarities, yet much can result from a close comparison of personalities, ways of processing thoughts, ideas, styles, and many other areas. 

Whether working in the kitchen or giving gifts, Mrs. Poff and Caity can turn anything simple into something beautiful, encouraging, and special. Adding their unique touch to any delicacy provides friends and family with food, which not only fills the stomach but also brings joy to the heart.  Creativity comes easily to both my dear friends and they share a common ability to use this gift to bless people they come in contact with. When giving gifts, Mrs. Poff and Caity have a knack for picking out a special present with which to bless the receiver. Their creativity plays into this by taking time to think of something truly meaningful and worthwhile, nonetheless, their correlation does not stop there.

Reading, writing, shopping, decorating, and girly movies, all entice both Mrs. Poff and Caity. Solid, classic literature intrigues both ladies and by such reading they improve their minds. Whether posting on blogs or journaling thoughts, both friends adore writing.  In spite of technology’s ability to quickly jot down ideas and words with the tap of the keys, both Mrs. Poff and Caity would infinitely more so enjoy a pen in hand. Letters and encouraging notes written by these loving hands continually prove a blessing to the recipient. Styles of clothing and themes for decorating have proven a common ground for discussions, however, some slight differences occur in these areas.

Even dear friends and mentors have their differences but we wouldn’t want it any other way. I think we should not like them half so much if they all possessed identical qualities, character traits, struggles, ideas, and preferences. Mrs. Poff and Caity differ on several points. First off, Mrs. Poff has married and has six delightful children. Instead of running a home of her own, Caity spends time schooling, swimming, and drawing. Blond and a Southerner at heart, Mrs. Poff has the gift of verbal communication, and though Caity does not lack it all together she must work a trifle harder to convey her thoughts verbally. Though both Caity and Mrs. Poff love color, they have separate, mismatched preferences on specific colors. Bright and fall like colors attract Caity’s eye while springtime colors enthrall Mrs. Poff. Similarities and differences between friends can draw them to each other and to other people in ways nothing else could.

Though my two dear friends have faults of their own, they provide wonderful tips and pointers regarding things I might have never picked up on. They differ in many ways but nonetheless they have just the qualities that God planned. I cannot begin to express how much these two ladies have influenced my life and taught me so much. Through hardships and trials, Mrs. Poff and Caity both have taught me so much concerning patience, perseverance, and trusting in God. Mrs. Poff and Caity have separate opinions on many things, yet nevertheless God placed them in my life for a reason and I cannot express to either of them how much God has blessed me with such spectacular, godly mentors and friends.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

kindred spirits

In the car tonight as I was driving Marissa and I home from our swim practice we sang hymns, other praise songs, and some Christmas songs. What a joy it is to have a sister who enjoys many of the same things (who else can go from signing, to playing a sport, to joking, back to singing (our voices cracking in the most awkward places, but in unison), and then enjoy espirit moments?)! I was thinking about what a special friend God gave me as a sister. I am so thankful for Marissa and all that we share together =). We've had our tough times, no doubt (quarrels over trifles, heated conversations about who-knows-what, a few tangible hurts (I'm sorry Rissa), and spouts of harsh words) but our relationship has grown, strengthen, and be stretched over the past 16 1/2 years that we've shared the same family (and most of the time the same room). I cherish the time we spend together the memories we've made. I thought I'd take a few moments to share some pictures from over the years:

I love you Marissa, thanks for being so....encouraging, thoughtful, loving, caring, sweet, inspiring, supportive, responsible, understanding, cheerful, enthusiastic, jovial, sensible, reliable, vivacious, and well...YOU!
Today my history text book for my Government and Constitution class discussed whether government has too much power and along the lines of that it began talking about taxpayers dollars and where they go. I knew Americans' money has been used in very liberal and disappointing ways (to say the least) but I was not quite ready for what I read. 

"The federal government pays money for schools that would probably go out of business if they had to compete with other schools providing a better education for their students.  The government pays cash to artists who are not good enough to earn a decent living on their own. And it gives money to farmers, whether or not they actually need the financial help." 

My textbook also said that the government has for decades payed farmers to not raise certain crops! The book shared a letter that had been written to a Congressman who is involved with agricultural issues. The letter is pretty funny so I thought I'd share it. 

"Dear Representative: 

I need your advice with an agricultural situation, please. My friend, Ed Pererson, who lives in Wells, Iowa, received a check for $1,ooo from the government for not raising hogs. So, I want to go into the "not raising hogs" business next year

What I want to know is, in your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on, and what is the best breed of hogs not to raise? I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with all government policies. 

I would prefer not to raise razorbacks, but if that is not a good breed not to raise, then I will just as gladly not raise Yorkshire or Durocs. 

As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be in keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I haven't raised. 

My friend, Peterson, is very joyful about the future of the business. He has been raising hogs for 30 years or so, and the best he ever made on them was $422 in 1968, until this year when he got your check for $1,000 for not raising hogs. 

If I get $1,000 for not raising 50 hogs, will I get $2,000 for not raising 100 hogs? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 hogs not raised, which would mean about $80,000 the first year. Then I can afford and airplane. 

Now, another thing, these hogs that I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn. I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn and wheat. Will I qualify for payments for not raising wheat and corn not to feed the 4,000 hogs that I am not going to raise?

Also, I am considering the "not milking cows" business, so send me any information you have on that, too. 

In view of these circumstances, you understand that I will be totally unemployed and plan to file for unemployment and food stamps. 

Be assured that you will have my vote in the coming election. 

Patriontically yours, 

Harry Calahan

P.S. Would you please notify me when you plan to distribute more free cheese?"

According to my text book, the U.S government spent trillions of dollars in the 1900's for "alleviating poverty, relieving suffering, and increasing the standard of living for selected individuals. Public housing, public education, food stamps, health care.....and more." My teacher, the author of the book, goes on to say that trillions upon trillions of dollars will be spent during the 21st century on more such "good causes" and other things. My only question is: "is it any wonder that our economy is in the position it's in?" There is more I could share about large government and how much government have stepped outside their boundaries, but swim practice awaits....  =)


Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Decorations

Since Curtis did the work and took the pictures it was only fair that he get to write the post.  If you'd like to see them you can check out his blog here.  Please feel free to leave your comment on his blog.  I know he'd love to hear from you and I'll check there to read them.  
I hope you are enjoying the advent season.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

So Blessed!

I've been thinking this morning about how blessed I am.  

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with friends and family here at the house.  You can read all about it and see a few pictures on Curtis' blog here.  I am especially thankful to have my grandmother still living.  It was a blessing to have her here along with my aunt and uncle from the Phoenix area and my sister and her family up from Las Cruces.  (Thank you all for coming!!!)

My dear husband had to work today, not exactly what he wanted to do since it is the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the day before Curtis leaves to go back to school.  Never-the-less off he went to work with nary a complaint!  What a faithful provider God has blessed our family with.

Curtis is willing spending his last day of break decorating our home for the Advent/Christmas season.  It is windy and cold outside today, yet he just keeps hanging up the outside lights and patiently teaching his three little brothers godly manhood.  If you know Curtis you know he is all about intentionality.  He has learned to be even more so, in my opinion, through his time in Moscow.  We are blessed to be hearing all about Sabbath Dinners, hospitality, etc.  We will miss him as he heads back to school early tomorrow morning but will eagerly wait his return in just three weeks for his Christmas break.

We will decorate inside when they are done outside.  We like to use greenery and nativity scenes for most of our decorating.  We're still debating if we want to put up a tree this year There is never a really good place for one and doing the furniture shuffle seems less than appealing. We'll post some pictures when we get it done. 

Caity woke up yesterday with the stomach bug, but if you know Caity you know it was endured with a quiet acceptance.  She is feeling much better and finally ate a small cup of soup for lunch. So far so good.  We are looking forward to the house being filled with the delicious smells from her Christmas baking list.  She is planning on making gift baskets for Chris' employees and the items on her list....yummy!

Life is good here and I am acutely aware of God's provision in our lives.  We are blessed to have a warm beautiful home on this cold day and plenty of wood for the fireplace, there is a roast cooking for another bountiful meal tonight, we will get to worship the Triune God with our church family tomorrow in a very intentional, meaningful way.

Advent starts tomorrow and I am really looking forward to our celebration of it this year.  For at least 10 years we've read a book out of an advent series (there are three books and we rotate each year) but this year we are adding "Readings and Devotions for Advent, 12 Days of Christmas, and Epiphany".  This is a wonderful time of year and I am thankful for all of it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Family Heraldry

I have spent some time looking up facts on our family crest. I posted it on a blog some friends and I are trying to keep up-to-date with information we are learning during our history studies this year. If you would like to read it click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No need to boost his ego!

Yesterday I received a note from Russell asking how school was going and if I was hoping to finish up soon so I could go to college like Curtis. At the end of the note it said " I love you! You're cute. Love Russell."  So I wrote him back this morning and had the audacity to not mention that he was "cute." He later came in to thank me and seeing his note still on my desk he wanted me to read it to him. So I did and when I got to the end he says:
 "Why didn't you tell me that I am cute?"
Marissa: No reason. I just didn't. Did you want me to? *shrugs shoulders
Russell: Yes. . . 
Marissa: Do you think you're cute?
Russell: (without hesitation) YEP!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Knights in Training

The boys and I are in AO yr 2, which is the Middle Ages for history.  Caity is also studying the Middle Ages in Gileskirk.  We've had lots of talk about knights and the boys have been playing "knights and castles" (more aptly named knights and SWORDS!!!) quite a bit. 

Recently in one of our readings an explanation was given of the stages toward Knighthood.  First is the "page", a young man from 7-14 who serves the ladies in the castle.  Second is "squire", a young man from 14-21 who serves the men and learns to yield weapons.  Third, and finally (so far as we know), is the Knight.  A squire who has faithfully fulfilled his duties and proven himself qualified is dubbed a knight.  

OK, I realize you aren't here for a history lesson so I'll proceed with the point.  As you know we have three boys in the 7-14 age range.  God has given us multiple opportunities to put our history learning into practice.  My boys all find it quite the challenge to submit to the females in this house.  They would much rather be in charge all the time.  As you can imagine that doesn't work very well.  It has really helped them to see progression in the stages to knighthood.  They can "see" that they need to be like pages and faithfully say "yes, ma'am" to all the instruction given them by the ladies of the "castle" so that they can eventually be prepared to take their post serving the men as "squire".  

We've talked about it extensively.  I'm hoping I'll have some little pages running (I mean walking) around here soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

cookie painting

Mom asked me to bake a batch of these sugar cookies for the potluck at church today. Marissa, Mark, and Scott helped me decorate them. They did such a great job and the cookies turned out so pretty, I thought you all would like to see them =).

before the frosting

my helpers

the tray of cookies

...and some for Daddy when he comes home tomorrow =)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Studying in the Sun

They may not agree on how to dress in the cold but they both agree on where is the best place to study on a chilly November morning.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Marissa

In contrast to the practically summery picture of Caity this is how Marissa dresses for cold weather.  She bundles up in her warm down jacket and puts on her really cute hat (sadly you can't see it very well here).  She walks down each day to get our mail (as is only fair as most of the good stuff is for her).  What different thermostats my dear daughters have.

It is a good thing that Marissa has this jacket and hat, she'll be needing it.  She has voluntarily started doing all the outside (read cold weather) chores that Curtis had done so faithfully.  She gets out early to drive the trash down in the 4-wheeler (ok, so maybe there is a bit of fun involved), she feeds the dog and cares for the chickens early each morning, she'll become our snow shoveler (training the boys to take over), and the road plower (again using the 4-wheeler). Curtis did a good job training her and I'm so glad that she doesn't mind the cold weather.  

What a blessing you are to all to all of us!

teaching italic

I am using the italic method of handwriting for penmanship.  I think the end results are beautiful. Instead of buying a series of books for each child I am using Beautiful Handwriting for Children.  I just print of the ebook for each child and can also reprint pages if we need additional practice.  At the end of the book is a list of quotes to use for further practice.  We also already had a computer program, called Start Write, that allows me to select from a variety of handwriting styles, including italic and cursive italic, and also choose the line size I want.  I just type in the quote I want them to practice and print it out for them to copy.  It is working great.  

I also came across this video instruction for the handwriting method and thought some of you might find it beneficial (if you want additional information you'll find other videos for 1B and then several for cursive italic in the youtube side bar).  I'm guessing it is done by Penny Gardner, the author of BHfC, but I'm not certain. 

There are so many resources available to us now, aren't there?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Theories for and Against the Resrurrection of Jesus Christ

Spectacular events never cease to amaze the human race. Although some people discount the facts and clearly worded books of the Bible, none of the modern hypotheses are able to withstand even the slightest exploration. There are five major theories explaining why some people do not believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead: (1) the wrong tomb was returned to, (2) the body was stolen, (3) Jesus faked His death, (4) it is just a legend, or (5) it was incorporeal, not somatic.

First, there is the speculation that the body of Jesus was laid in a tomb that was not well marked and thus the women did not go to the right tomb when they went to anoint his body. Arriving at the wrong tomb they would obviously not find the body of Christ, and would mean the women could not have found His body. This is highly unlikely for one significant reason. The fact that Joseph of Arimathea was a prominent man in the first century made it inconceivable that people would not know where this affluent man’s tomb lay.

Second, many people disbelieve the resurrection because they think the body of Jesus was stolen. Who would have stolen the body? There are three groups would could plausibly have wanted to remove the body of Jesus: the Jewish authorities, the Roman authorities, or the disciples and other Christians. The second party that had a motive to steel the body of Christ was the Jewish authorities. Christians of the first century were influencing the pagans and, more importantly, the Jews. The temple leaders lost much of their popularity because of this. If they had removed the body of Jesus from the tomb, they only needed to bring it forth and their congregation of followers would have flocked back to their Jewish ways and customs, thus restoring the Jewish authorities’ power among people.

If the Romans had taken the body of Jesus they could and would promptly have shown the body to the people as proof that Jesus did not rise from the dead. This would have stopped the huge influx of people to the Christian faith and would have doused the ideas they were espousing. Also they could have saved themselves a huge amount of embarrassment. The fact that a “criminal” was be crucified, pronounced dead, buried, and then rose from the dead out of a tomb that was guarded by Roman centurions, caused a big ruckus within the Romans. If they had the body of Christ, they would have had the means of restoring their honor and dignity, and they would have been fools not to produce the body to give evidence that the rumors of the resurrection were false.

The 12 disciples and Christians in general were ruthlessly put to death and harassed because they professed belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He rose from the grave three days after He was killed. If the Christians had stolen the body of Jesus to make a statement or to pretend that He was mightier then they believed Him to be, a reasonable solution to their predicament was readily at hand. All they had to do was turn over the body to the authorities and the persecutions would stop. History has shown that people do not die for a lie, and since it would have been in their power to end the torture they were suffering, it is not preposterous to assume the Christians did not take the body of Christ to promote their agenda.

Thirdly and most popularly, is the swoon theory. This conjecture relies upon numerous facts that have been proven false. It proposes that Jesus’ death on the cross was faked and He merely fell into a coma, which looked like death. This is easily refuted by several documents written by eyewitnesses. In addition, if those documents are not respected, the sheer volume of far-fetched events that would need to occur to make this hypothesis viable are extensive. After He was taken off the cross the guards, professionals in their field of torture, pronounced He was dead. Just to be doubly sure he was dead, they stabbed Him in the heart. Water and blood flowed out. This separation of the two substances cannot happen unless the person has died (this is supported by cardio-surgeons). Assuming that He was able to feign His death, the next obstacle He would need to defeat would be to escape the stone tomb that he was laid in.

Carrying on the traditions of the people from the first century, the body of Jesus was embalmed, wrapped in cloth, and placed inside a tomb carved into the side of a hill. In this particular situation, the Romans were uneasy and posted guards at the mouth of sealed-off burial chamber. In order for Him to have unswathed Himself, rolled the massive boulder away from the opening of the sepulcher, and evaded the posted guards, Christ would have need to overcome the dizziness due to the loss of blood, and fatigue of being beaten (nearly to death), hung on a cross for hours, and then stabbed in the heart. On the part of the disciples, if Christ had truly eluded death, and was then a wanted man, why would they proclaim to the world that He was not dead, but alive. They had security in this announcement because, as the Apostles’ Creed states,

“[Jesus Christ] suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”

Fourth is the idea that the story of the resurrection is a myth, or legend. By definition, a legend is, “a story coming down from the past; especially one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable.” For this story of Christ to have spread, there would have to have been a group of people committed to the corruption of history. Furthermore, all the people who were alive when Jesus supposedly rose from the grave, would have to, themselves, be dead. The scheme to fabricate such a spiel would have to have included secular historians as well as those who claim to have followed “The King of the Jews.” To make this rumor believed by numerous people, it would take roughly two generations beyond those who started it. Another point that seems to stand as evidence against the resurrection of Jesus being myth is the fact that it starts with women. Back then women were not regarded highly, and were certainly not the ones to lend credence to this tale. Consequently, the effort required to invent such an unconventional and easily refuted postulation is quite incredible.

Fifthly, some people subscribe to the opinion that Jesus’ resurrection was not bodily, but spiritual. In this case, the first four chronicles of the New Testament come into play. They each document the fact that Jesus was seen first by the women in the tomb and then by the disciples and others. To say that the resurrection was not physical means that the Bible would have to be discounted as erroneous. (There are many copies, or fragments of copies of these books. They are backed up by the oeuvre of temporal contemporary writers.)

There is one other theory about the truth surrounding the resurrection of Jesus, and that is to simply believe that God did what He said he did, recorded in the four gospels, each recounting the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Peter writes of a promise, found in 1 Peter 1:3, for those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He did defeat death when he rose from the dead:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has begotten us again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation…”
After a brief look into these five different views of what happened to the body of Jesus Christ, it must be concluded that the resurrection was a miraculous event; every other explanation will fall short.

Catching a Vision

Chris, Caity, Marissa, and I are reading through So Much More by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin.  I would highly encourage each family with daughters to read it aloud (with Dad).  We just finished chapter 10, "Fathers, Daughters, and Highest Education",  and all really came away with a vision for continuing our daughters' education from home during the post high school years.  

This is definitely not a "women shouldn't be educated" book.  Much to the contrary!  The authors highly value education for women (as well as men).  This book is a great resource, along with another listed below, for inspiring us to help our daughters (and ourselves) gain a proper understanding of what education really is, and perhaps more importantly what it is not, as well as encouraging them to educate themselves to the fullest extent while continuing to keep their home centered focus. 

This vision isn't new to us but we now are on the threshold of needing to put a plan into action.  We are still looking into how to turn their education into a college degree using College Plus.  We don't have all the answers but we do have a vision and so we are working the "how to do this" out.  Exciting years are ahead for our girls (and many other similarly minded young ladies that we know) and we are so blessed that we will be able to continue to be a major part of their lives and get to see first hand what God is teaching them as they navigate these waters.  

Another great book to read along the lines of taking responsibility for your own education (at any age) is A Thomas Jefferson Education.  I've read this book twice, so far, and have finally talked Chris into reading it as well.  Hopefully it will go on my olders' book list for reading over Christmas break.  It is really an important book, though not authored by a Christian.  

In the So Much More chapter last night there was a quote from John Taylor Gatto, from Underground History of American Education which is available free here, that really summarizes what education is to be.  I hope it is an encouragement to you. 

"Close reading of tough-minded writing is still the best, cheapest, and quickest method known for learning to think for yourself... Reading, and rigorous discussion of that reading in a way that obliges you to formulate a position and support it against objections, is an operational definition of education in its most fundamental civilized sense....  Reading, analysis, and discussion is the way we develop reliable judgement, the principal way we come to penetrate covert movements behind the facade of public appearances. "   

Happy learning everyone!

My Caity!

This picture really typifies Caity.  She is on her way out the door to swim practice on a COLD November morning.  Yes, she really does wear shorts and flip flops so she is ready to start dry land exercises as soon as she gets there.  She does have some warmer clothes in one of the gear bags she is carrying and usually comes home a bit warmer dressed than this.  She is very warm natured though and wearing flip flops, shorts, short sleeves, etc. even in winter is quite comfortable to her.  
Ah, my Caity.  What a lovely young woman you are.  You and Marissa are quite a witness to your unsaved team mates.  Keep shining the light there!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


"It would seem at lot warmer, if we had suspenders on." -Scott

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Recitation Tea

Thanks to my dear friend Queen Mom and my dear daughter Caity, I went ahead and tried using Ambleside Online for school with the boys.  I am loving it.  Along with that, I've been reading the blog of Linda Fay.  One idea that she had that I wanted to try was a day of recitations.  My application was that we would have a tea format (the kids love tea as much as their momma does) and all my scholars would share the scripture they were memorizing, the poem they had learned, sharing one of their Aesop narrations (the boys at least), and sharing from the books they have been reading.  Since this was our first recitation day, we dressed it up a bit more than we might have otherwise.  We decorated the table, used tea cups and pot, made small sandwiches, cups of roasted red pepper tomato soup, berries with whipped cream, and some of Caity's "famous" toffee chocolate chip scones.  We all had a great time and the boys really enjoyed the opportunity to show us what they had learned.  Here are a few pictures from our recitation time.  We hope to do it frequently and add a few other aspects as well.  I'll try to remember to post later in the year and report on how this is working for us.

election chat and funnies

Mother Dear and I took Russell with us to go vote this morning (and YES! I did get to vote, YAY!). In the car Russell asked, "will all the presidents be there or just Baldwin?"

During lunch we were talking about how you can tell a candidate is truly a Christian, or not. The boys were suprised that some of the nominee claim to be Christians, but don't uphold any Christian values. Scott decided that there were two tests that should be done to determine whether or not they truly believe: 1) ask them if they believe in Jesus Christ, and 2) ask them if they think evolution is true. Then we can know who to vote for. How simple it really is, a 9 year old can figure it out, why can't the rest of the US?

After we arrived back home with sample ballots for the boys Mark said, "Good. I'll fill mine out and send it right to Washington."

The boys had a lesson on how to vote and did immensely enjoy filling out their ballots. It was so cute, Mark and Scott especially were concerned about picking only godly men. I was temped, after the questions had been asked three times for most of the candidates, to say "come on it's just a piece of paper, and doesn't really matter anyway," but just then Mom said to one of them that it was great practice and she liked how they were diliberately choosing the people that were evidently godly.

Russell heard some of the early predictions for which presidential candidates winning the majority of the votes in certain states, "Barak is President (said very matter of factly and with an air of certainty.)" Mom then went on to explain that the a president rules over more than one state, fifty of them; the whole United States of America. "Oh, (insouciantly calm) that's a big job."

During a discussion at the dinner table Russell was telling Daddy about being able to "vote" using the sample ballot. "We brought home the...yellow kid's menu things..."

I am sitting here in the family room with Mom, Dad, and Rissa, a pot of coffee, and watching FOX news as they calculate up the votes, both personal and electoral. Yikes!

"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." -C.S. Lewis

Monday, October 27, 2008


Marissa and I have eagerly been awaiting the commencement of the Manzano High School swim team. Back at the beginning of October, I emailed one of my coaches asking for her to let me know when the parent meeting is and when practice started (the highschool assumes that we will get all the info we need from being at school, so communication really lacks when it comes to getting the word out to us!). Well, I had been thinking that it was getting awfully late in the October and swimming really should be starting by now. So, this morning I googled MHS and found the website. Guess what!? The first swim practice was this afternoon! We sped up school and got all our subjects finished so we could go. I swam 1850 meters, ah it feels so good to get out of the pool tired! Yes, Marissa and I are so excited to finaly be swiming again! Now, we just have to fill out all the paper work and we'll officially be on the team.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

a special night with the boys

Mom and Dad went out to dinner with some people from work, so Marissa and I watched the boys for the evening. We built a tent in their room using blankets, clothespins, furniture, and dictionaries. After we cleaned up dinner, ran the boys through the shower, and washed up the dishes, I decided to be fun. Earlier this morning Momma made us some vanilla pudding (YUMMY!). I took that and bowls and spoons back to the tent. Yes, we actually ate our pudding, very carefully, by flashlight, under a bunch of blankets. What fun! Marissa, wanting to have evidence we really did eat in the bedroom, grabbed my camera and made it back...right after we finished the last bite...

so much for a candid shot, ah well =D

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Friends all the way from Oregan

Yesterday evening we were blessed by a visit from the Walden family. Here are a few pictures of Marissa, Brianna, and Mrs. Walden jamming (Mr. Walden and Dylan were also playing the mandolin, recorders, and guitar).

extreme makeover- gown edition

Marissa and I were cleaning out, straightening up, and trying to make more room in our closet. I looked in a hard-to-get-to corner and found several dresses that we had made either just for fun, or we had really worn them but they are by this time too big or small. So I dragged out this dresses and fabric scraps (by "scrap" I don't mean small pieces trimmed off the sides of seams, they are truly large pieces of fabric- by not following lay-out directions, we have saved quite a bit of fabric- a pitty we can't guess how much we can save before we buy it all). Remembering that many of the dress-ups in my box were beginning to wear out; ideas and images started fashioning themselves in my mind. I have now cut up several lengths of "scraps" and one dress. The result: two dress-up dresses and so many more designs. =D I am now planning on renovating the other dresses in the dress-up box. For those ones I'll be sure to take before and after pictures.

this is what I started with

gown 1

gown 2

All I need now are some princesses...

Monday, October 20, 2008

This summer I read In My Father's House, selected and edited by Tamara S. and Naomi Joy Valine. I found it to be remarkably inspirational and encouraged me greatly. I definitely recommend that you ladies (it's a Godly Womanhood book) read it! Subsequently I have referred to many passages and quotes from the book. I want to share the "Rules to Becoming a Beautiful and Pleasant and Godly Young Woman."

1. Learn to govern yourselves and to be gentle and patient.

2. Guard your tempers, especially in seasons of ill-health, irritation, and trouble, and soften them by prayers and a sense of your own short comings and errors.

3. Never speak or act in anger until you have prayed over your words or acts and conclude that Christ would have done so in your place.

4. Remember that, valuable as is the gift of speech, silence is often more valuable.

5. Do not expect too much from others, but forbear and forgive as you desire forbearance and forgiveness yourself.

6. Never retort a sharp or angry word. It is the second word that makes the quarrel.

7. Beware of the first disagreement.

8. Learn to speak in a gentle tone of voice.

9. Learn to say kind and pleasant things whenever opportunity offers.

10. Study the characters of each and sympathize with all in their troubles, however small.

11. Do not neglect little things if they can affect the comfort of the others in the smallest degree.

12. Avoid moods and pets and fits of sulkiness.

13. Learn to deny yourself and prefer others.

14. Beware of meddlers and tale-bearers.

15. Never charge a bad motive if a good one is conceivable.

16. Be gentle and firm with children.

Ah, imagine if these rules were followed in our homes; what a delightful place to dwell. At least they are something to strive for. I hope these steps have been as encouraging to you as they are to me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Work is play

On a cool fall day a few weeks ago the boys wanted a fire (don't all boys always want fires?).  Before we could have a fire we needed wood stacked.  Here are a few pictures of the happy workers.  Isn't it amazing how good we feel when we do a job that helps the family?

Sandhill Cranes

Late last Saturday afternoon Chris heard the honking of Sandhill cranes.  He spotted them circling overhead.  Now we are on the east side of the mountains, far from the river and grain fields they normally search out.  We enjoyed watching them for a few minutes while they continued to circle around seemingly looking for something.  Soon they found what they were looking for in a few seconds were back on their way and over the mountains.  What a beautiful fall treat that was for us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

playin the part of a barista

Well, Curtis' week off from school is almost to an end; his eight days home flew by so fast! Tonight I made coffee drinks for all of us over the age of 15 ;)

Mom's Chai Latte

Curtis's Carmel Frappuccino

Rissie's Carmel Latte

Daddy's and My frappuccino

then just a random pic =)

"Davie Crockett" and Marissa

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Voting by God's Standards

This fall for my English class I have written several papers. Seeing as how the elections are fast approaching and this has been a topic in many homes, I decided to write down my ideas. I could have gone into more depth but my five paragraph-800 word limit didn't allow this. =D

As November fourth rolls around, discussions everywhere come to life on topics of voting, politics, campaigns, and political parties. Following on the heels of these debates, the ideas of voting the lesser of two evils and voting third party come to the top of the discussion board. Many people would rather vote for option b so candidate so-and-so does not get into office, while others vote third party and therefore, to some people’s way of thinking, throwing away votes. Americans have a responsibility when it comes to voting. Christians seldom vote for a person because he or she feels the candidate will lead this nation in a godly direction. We must vote not because one candidate has better standards than the other but because one candidate has proven himself worthy of the office by God’s standards laid out in the Bible. When the opportunity to have a say in elections arises we should not take it for granted but instead we ought to understand the Biblical qualifications of a civil magistrate and know how to act when such a candidate does not arise. Taking rights for granted can lead to bad decisions.

Beginning in 1789, with the election of George Washington, our Republic has thankfully given its people a chance to voice their opinion. Because of this freedom people think we “throw a vote away” by voting for a third party candidate whom they think has no chance of winning the election. Just because Americans have the privilege of participation in elections does not mean one must vote either democrat or republican at every opportunity. In fact if all the people who typically voted for choice b in fear, voted third party, only when the third party has a better candidate, the third party official would win. At times the choice of magistrate comes down to a decision between bad and worse at which time we must know what we should do. One does not have to wonder for long on this dilemma however because God has laid out His commands in the Bible for us.

Choosing a candidate does not require the candidate’s perfection but rather qualification. First and foremost God may raise up a wicked man for His glory, as He did many times in Israel, but for us to support the candidate they must recognize God as the dominate ruler. Also if we give our support to a civil magistrate, he must agree to fulfill the duty of the political office by first acknowledging his obligation to bare the sword in defense of the innocent. Exodus 18:21 lays down several guidelines for what a man holding or hoping to hold an office should portray. Verse 21 says to select “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands.”   Whether consciously or not, every vote we cast for a man who does not fear God, we vote for a fool. Now that we understand some of the qualifications, we must look at what we should do when certain candidates appear on the ballot box.

Having set standards by which we can discern the best candidate can help in the decision process. But what do we do when none of the choices before us measure up? Can we settle for less than God requires merely because of a lack of options? No, it would prove better to vote for an alternate choice or worse case not to vote at all than to vote in opposition to God’s Word.  When two candidates run for office both of which meet the qualifications, the decision turns to a question of whom we agree with more, who believes in agreement with the Bible, and furthermore who holds God’s standards. On the opposite hand and more realistic side, however, if two candidates run for office neither of which match God’s requirements, we cannot support them. We have the privilege of voting but not at the cost of violating God’s standards.

Many people think  if they do not vote for the lesser of the two evils at hand then the more corrupt candidate will take power in the office. We must however, understand the sovereignty of God. By definition, sovereignty means supreme authority. After we realize His power, we can understand that no matter how we cast our ballots, God has full control over the election and will bring into office the man whom He so chooses. As we can see in the Old Testament, God raised up many evil kings to rule Israel all of which fulfilled God’s purpose and plan, whether to bless or to curse the nation.  Try as we might to make a decision according to God’s Word and cast our vote for a qualified candidate, God has supreme rule to chose who He will as ruler over our vastly rebellious nation.

 I'd love comments and hear ya'lls thoughts. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

fall weather photos

I was out on the patio this evening, writing a letter, and I looked up and there was a beautiful reflection of the sun set (these are mountains to the east of us).

I resumed writing, but in just a few short minutes Curtis stepped outside saying I should grab my camera and get a picture of the moon rise. I did and have post the result, though it doesn't do it justice (the moon was a dark orange).

Monday was morning was dreary and overcast, but it made for several really cool looking pictures! ;)

Monday, October 13, 2008

And the raspberries...

Curtis is home on a (much too short) break from school.  The timing is perfect for "his" raspberries.  He picked a bucket and a half today.  The portion that wasn't eaten out of hand is waiting in the fridge to be served with Caity's home made granola scones for breakfast tomorrow. 

Since another freeze is expected and the raspberry canes still have lots of unripe berries on them Curtis painstakingly covered them with plastic until the cold weather is past.  It should warm up in a day or two and hopefully we will be able to allow the rest of the berries to ripen.