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