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.