Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

  Megan and I had a fun time working on a project that I started while the kids were away at camp last month. It is sprucing up our basement stairs. The basement and the stairs that go down there are unfinished and they may stay that way a while but I thought it would be fun to make them more interesting. I was looking for a place to display our political stuff and thought this might be a fun place to do it. So I decided to paint the stairs to make a nice backdrop. :-)

   The whole project is not done yet but I had to share a peek of it as we prepare to celebrate our Independence day.  We added the stars today.
 I made a stamp to create the stars with but it didn't work perfectly so Megan did the touch-up work with a brush.
I have been having fun writing on the walls too!

 Now I just need to find the rest of my pictures and flags.

I do hope you have a wonderful Independence Day! Our country is struggling right now - so many things going on that are not pleasing to God. Please be praying for our country and it's leaders regularly! Don't be afraid to stand up for what is right.  On this subject... I do have a book giveaway going on for another 24 hours that you might like to sign up for. The book is "Mother Should I Trust the Government" and it will educate you and encourage you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hello Again! {Pictures from our Family Reunion}

 I haven't had a chance to write on here for nearly a week. First off we went to a 3 family reunion last Thursday through Sunday and then since we have gotten back we have been quite tired (and fighting a cold) and have had lots of things scheduled so I haven't had a chance to get on and say "Hello". But I have a moment now so I thought I would check in and say "Hi" and I hope you are all doing well!

 The reunion that we went to was down in Rochester, MN - home of the great Mayo clinic. Ken was not able to go this year because of work (his only employee right now is my little sister which works great except for when we want to go on trips at the same time - she of course asked for the time off - so Ken stayed home to keep the office open) so my parents traveled down with the kids and I. It was great to have my Dad to do most of the driving.

   The reunion was for my Mom's family (she came from a family of 9 children- those that made it are pictured above), The Blanshan family (8 children) and the Williamson family (5 children). The 3 families are not related by blood (though it is kind of funny that never a marriage has happened yet to tie the families together) but we have a strong bond through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the one who brought the first 3 couples together as friends as they all were passionate about serving Him. The generations that follow are still trying to live out that legacy of loving and serving our Savior.

 Music is always a part of our gatherings. What fun it is to worship God together through song and through the joy of playing instruments as well. The first night we sang around the campfire. Later on through the weekend we had impromptu jam sessions and singing and then also we had a scheduled time to share together with music. Sunday morning church service also brought another time of singing together. I am always so thankful that God created music!
 On Friday morning my Dad (he is the guy on the left) and I were asked to lead a nature walk. I went out and found various edible/useful leaves ahead of time and then asked them to see if they could find them as they went. Dad gathered various leaves from trees and then told us about them. We also were able to walk over to a petting zoo which the kids fully enjoyed. One interested thing about our walk was when we crossed a bridge to find a hammock suspended from it with somebody still sleeping in it.  The other man in the picture above is Dale Blanshan who has long been a great friend of both my parents. We have been blessed very much to have had his family in our lives. They have been some of our closest friends. Dale was acting as my Dad's assistant.
 The older 3 kids and I signed up to participate in a challenge course. They did divide us up into adults and kids to go separately - so I wasn't with my kids but that was okay. My nephew Harrison got pulled out of the kids group to go with us - I think because of his size. He is the one next to me in the picture above so you can see he is fully adult size. :-) The challenge above was to get our whole group balanced on the little platform with nobody touching the ground and everybody having a foot on the platform. We struggled with this one a bit and only managed to do it for like 4 seconds.
 The kids had to get their whole group across an "alligator" swamp with just 4 boards and going from block to block and working together.
 Our group had to also see how far we could walk down these cables while helping a partner. The cables gradually got farther apart. I guess we went farther than most groups do. Maybe our long arms help. :-)

 I did also try out doing the cable by myself. I didn't make it all the way but my brother Peter did. Other activities that we did were getting our whole group over a wall about 10 feet tall. We did that in less than 3 minutes. We had some nice tall guys (my nephew and brother-in-law) to lift us up and then my brother Peter had jumped up to the top and he helped pull us up and over and then our friend Roger did that for a while too.  We also had to go on the big teeter-totter type thing and get it balanced and hold it while we sang a song. The most challenging but probably the most fun was a series of cables that went from tree to tree through the woods (only about a foot off the ground ) that we had to get our whole group across without touching the ground. If you fell you would have to go back to start. I did fall the first time but made it the second time. That was a really fun one to figure out how we could work together to get across. Anyway - I really enjoyed the challenge course. The kids did too but wished they could have done the things we did as they were given a much easier course to do.
 A picture of the 2nd generation (that made it to the reunion - we were missing several).
 My sister Anna was in charge of family Olympics on Saturday where we did all sorts of relay races, one of them involved blowing flour - hence the lovely faces of Luke and Margaret above.
 One activity also involved turning one of our people into a "mummy". Megan (far left) and Jonathan (in the middle) both got to be mummies for this.
 I thought this scene by the pool was rather sweet. My Aunt Merna, Uncle Joe and Mom all holding their baby grandchildren. Megan does make a rather big baby though. :-)
Our more immediate family also took a picture while we were there. We are just missing Ken and my oldest nephew Nic. It seems like we can never get all the in-laws in one picture. Usually one of the guys are missing. I do feel very blessed to have a loving family who love the Lord most of all.

  Do you have any family reunions to go to this year? What do you enjoy about family reunions?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mother Should I Trust the Government {Book Review and Giveaway}

  This book, Mother Should I Trust the Government, was one I started my "relationship" with having not so good of opinion of. When I first heard about it I thought "That's a weird title" but thought that the content sounded of interest to me. Then I got the book and looked at the back cover and saw that the author had two people who had reviewed his book and one was his mother and the other was his daughter - both with very cheesy reviews. It made you wonder if he couldn't get anybody else to read it. And then I started reading the preface (which is what I normally do) and found it quite dry and really struggled to get through it. But.... After I got to the first chapter things started going much better!

   Mother Should I Trust the Government, The Making and Keeping of Our American Republic by Jake Jacobs PH. D. is about the forming of our country with it's Whig/republican ideals and then our challenges today with progressivism and then on to what we should be doing to protect our country and help in return to the godly principles that it was founded on.

   This book seems to be quite well researched, has a lot of interesting information and is one that I think I may use in the future to read aloud to my kids as a Government class. There are a lot of interesting facts about our founding fathers which is pretty fun. Throughout the book Jake suggests other books for further reading. It was fun to see that we already had several that he mentioned and I look forward to checking out more of them.

    This book reminds us over and over again that our country is supposed to be one that is run by the people. We the people simply need to remember to stand up, get involved and not just let whatever happens, happen. You have a say! Use that right. This is something I feel pretty passionate about and our family is actively involved in politics. I know that not every christian family can be actively involved the way we are but if more would be and if everybody would at least take the time to be informed and vote for christian principles our country would go in a much better direction.

  This book is available to buy on Amazon. I noticed that the Kindle Version is available free.

Mother, Should I Trust the Government - Blog Tour Banner

 I am excited to be able to offer a giveaway of this book! I have an extra copy to send to someone who comments on this post.

If You Would Like to Win.....

  • Please leave a comment on this post. I would love to hear your thoughts on whether we should trust the Government or not.
  • Be sure to leave some way for me to contact you should you win.
This giveaway will end on July 4th. At that point I will randomly pick a winner and contact them to get their address so I can send them the book.

Disclaimer: I received this book for purposes of reviewing. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Making a Chalkboard Door

 Chalkboards are the current trend and though it is not my goal to keep up with all the current trends I do think chalkboards are pretty fun and I quite liked the idea of having a chalkboard door.

  We bought nice pre-finished exterior doors for our house but in the buying of them we totally forgot about the door in between the house and the garage. So when it was time to put one in Ken told our contractor to just buy an in stock door to put in. It doesn't match the other doors and it was only primed so I thought it would be fun to turn it into a chalkboard.

   I bought a quart of chalkboard paint at Menards for around $10. I put two coats on the door and it used around 1/2 of it. It didn't cover very well with the first coat but with 2 coats it did great.

  After painting it I had to let it sit for 3 days before using it. That was sad because I did it just before the kids arrived home and I was hoping to put a welcome home message on it.
 After 3 days we were supposed to rub chalk all over it and then wipe it off.
 That was kind of messy but fun. Megan helped me. Now it is ready to use.

 We are having fun using it. I like the idea of writing messages and bible verses on it and also having a changing art scene on it.
What fun to be able to have new art whenever the inspiration hits.
Megan is now thinking of other places that it would be fun to use chalkboard paint - we shall see.
Have you ever used chalkboard paint? What projects have you done with it - or think would be fun to do?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Why I Believe we need to Train and Disciple Our Children

   I have been thinking about child training  lately. The combination of having my kids away at camp (they are back now - Hooray!), and teaching pre-school Sunday school class and other kids that have crossed my path have just had me thinking on those lines.

  When sending my kids off to be with others it is always my prayer that we have trained them well enough that they will be a blessing - not a headache for others to be around. In various kids lately I have had the opportunity to observe both the absence of training and the result of training. The results are SO different!

  Anyway I think it is extremely important part of being a parent and here are some verses that express that importance as well:

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
"Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart." Proverbs 29:17
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Colossians 3:20 (If this is going to happen, we are going to have to make it happen.)
"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." Proverbs 13:24
"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:6-7
"Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death." Proverbs 19:18
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3

Another great resource in encouraging you as you raise your children is this video called "A Peaceful Home" by Elisabeth Elliot. It is long but I think you will find it very encouraging and helpful. There is also a part 2 which is very good and you can find on Youtube.

May you always seek God's wisdom as you train your children. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Week of Camp in Pictures

I mentioned last week that we kids were headed down to camp with our aunt and uncle.

Jonathan packing.

 On the way we went to church with our cousins.  They were having a Hmong Chinese day, and so Beatrice is dressed up.

We reached Sharon Bluff Camp Sunday evening. 

Megan on her bunk.

 Two little boys in the bell tower.

Practicing volleyball.

  Nathan leading songs before chapel on Monday.

Jonathan waiting his turn for carpetball.  That's the major free-time entertainment there.

The driveway.

 Some recovering elk were kept in pastures by the camp.  We enjoyed watching them.

The camp bell.

Aaron and some other boys playing foosball.

My uncle Benjamin preached on Absalom Tuesday.

 Older group Bible class in the bell tower.

Aaron and Megan playing outside.

   Jonathan got to man the soundboard like he does at church.

A skit by Tribe Three.  (The campers are dived up into teams for activities.)  Megan as Rahab is behind a Delilah in black and white stripes.

My tribe did a Joshua skit.  I was the narrator, wearing a pink towel head covering. 

A birds' nest with a tragic fate.

The bell tower.

Taylor (a ten year old in my tribe) and I picked wildflowers on Wednesday.

  A team doing a group song for Music Night.

Taylor did a solo.  (Our tribe leader is working on the technology.)

  Aaron and Megan singing bluegrass.  Aaron looked a little lost without his mandolin, but we didn't have room to bring it.

Amazing Grace on Banjo and Ocarina.  (Ocarinas are smaller than mandolins, so it came along.)

  A bird in a mulberry tree out my window.

  All things must come to an end... Pictures on the last day of camp.  This is my tribe.

  Benjamin, Aaron and Megan were in Tribe Three.

Jonathan was in Tribe One.  (Tribe One won.)

  The cooks in their orange shirts.

Keren and Benjamin before we left.

  Blue sky out the van window.  I'm left with the little hollow feeling that always comes at the end of camp, but a lot of peace.  Home is good.  After all, there's always next year.



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