Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Style Of One's Own

We have a particular child in our family with her own definate sense of style - Cherub 5. Eccentric would be a good description to start with.

She has been working with much determination on DadToCherubs for over a year to be allowed to "just put a streak of PURPLE here" (along the front of her lovely blond hair). And weekend before last, she BROKE him .... he stopped to buy some Temporary Hair Color in a bright violet shade.

So ...... we colored her "streak" ...... however, after the color was washed out and dried, it was clear that the PURPLE did not take, but instead turned her streak a bright blue.

Well, she was pleased anyway (even though it was not purple as she had hoped) .....

And now, a week later, the color has washed away .... and she is blond again. So now we are left wondering what she will think of next ?!??!

Cat In The ....

.... House !!

The children went into the playroom to play this afternoon, and found Tiger fast asleep in the girl's doll house. And he seemed annoyed that they noticed, and were all laughing hysterically.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Comet To Watch

Didn't want anyone to miss their chance to see the comet that is now visible:


Interesting Interview

This is an excerpt from this fascinating article found at the below link regarding Education and Discipline, in which the former head of a very prominent (old) school that has been highly regarded for MANY years in Germany speaks out:

Father Jonathan: In the United States we have similar challenges. In a study released by U.S. News and World Report a few years back, the biggest discipline problems in high schools in 1940, as reported by teachers, were talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, cutting in line, dress-code violations and littering. Just 50 years later, in 1990, teachers listed the biggest discipline problems as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery and assault. How does your educational philosophy relate to what seems to be a moral decay in American society?

Dr. Bueb: You should have the courage to demand discipline of children. You should stand up for your authority, with love, but you should also be more strict. People have said to me, "but this is the same thing that the national-socialists demanded." But those are just the academic elite who say that, and some older people. But teachers and young people and children agree with me. As long as you educate them with love, then there is no danger of falling back into national-socialism. Very strict education helps people to become democratically-minded. Absolute freedom is not the way. Self-discipline is not learned by too much freedom, too early.

Please click here to read the entire article / interview:,2933,305900,00.html

BEWARE: New Children's Movie

Subject: NBBC Alert:

Golden Compass "children's" movie THE GOLDEN COMPASS, a new movie targeted at children, will be released December 7, 2007. This movie is based on a the first book of a trilogy by atheist Philip Pullman. In the final book a boy and girl kill God so they can do as they please. Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "My books are about killing God."

The movie is a watered down version of the first book and is designed to be very attractive in the hope unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the the movie and that the children will want the books for Christmas.

The movie has a well known cast, including Nicole Kidman, Kevin Bacon, and Sam Elliott. It will probably be advertised extensively, so it is crucial that we get the word out to warn parents to avoid this movie. You can research this for yourself.

Start with this article on, then go to Google.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Space Observation

The children LOVE to lie down on the ground outside at night, staring up at the stars. So they were thrilled with this news and can hardly wait to SEE this big moon:

This week's full Moon (Oct. 25-26) is the biggest full Moon of 2007. It's no illusion. Some full Moons are genuinely larger than others and Thursday night's will be as much as 14% wider and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons we've seen earlier this year.

Check for more information.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Poem To Share

Doesn't this just capture THOSE kind of days ?? Today was one of THESE days .... we managed to get all of our school lessons done this morning .... but this afternoon we all spent more than "some" time just watching the rain fall from the sky, and watching the clouds blow over again and again bringing yet more rain. (we are certainly NOT complaining about the rain though - it is truly a gift from Above on our parched lands !)

I Meant To Do My Work Today
By: Richard Le Gallienne

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand--
So what could I do but laugh and go?

Our Autumn Hymn

This is the hymn we are memorizing for our Autumn Hymn Study. We learn 3 songs per season - 1 hymn, 1 praise / worship song, and one other song such as patriotic tunes or folk songs. This particular hymn is to be sung at Thanksgiving Dinner in November. We enjoy singing together every morning following our Bible Study, and have learned several other songs this season. We also use this time (we call it Memory Work) to memorize poems, scripture passages, and other songs too.

Hymn composed 1844 by Dr. Henry Alford (1810-1871)
Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
Bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.
The tune for this hymn can be heard here:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today In History

Our children found this Writer's Almanac entry particularly interesting as we are studying American History right now. Enjoy.

It's the anniversary of the surrender that effectively ended the American Revolutionary War, in Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. That summer, the British had expected Washington to attack New York City. But when he learned that he might be able to capture the British forces on the Yorktown Peninsula in Virginia, he executed one of the boldest moves of the entire war, moving his army 400 miles in order to catch his enemy by surprise. He had to march his troops toward New York City first, to scare the British into hunkering down for an attack. Then he quickly moved south. The British commander only realized what Washington was doing two days after he'd already gone.

Washington's men and their French allies marched every day from 2:00 a.m. until it grew too hot to continue. It was a hot summer, and on one day, more than 400 men passed out from the heat. Few armies in history had ever moved so far so fast. By the second week of October, they had reached Yorktown and surrounded Cornwallis. He agreed to a surrender that began at 2:00 a.m. on this day in 1781. The one soldier who didn't surrender was Cornwallis himself. He sent his sword with his second-in-command to be offered to the French general, signifying that the British had been defeated by the French, not the Americans. Washington was furious, but it didn't matter. England didn't have enough money to raise another army. Two years later, the Treaty of Paris was signed, and the war was officially over.

** Copied directly from today's edition of Writer's Almanac (photo added)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rain, Sweet Rain

It has been windy since yesterday afternoon, and the winds blew harder and harder throughout the night. Without having had any measurable rain in more than a few weeks, and because of the severe drought conditions here in SouthEastern Tennessee, this is VERY exciting. The wind seems to be increasing even still, and the weather forcasters are saying there is a possibility of severe storms and possibly tornados - so please pray that the "severe" weather keeps it's distance, but that the rain falls as predicted.

Our children have been watching this storm travel across the country, and will be most pleased to see that it is actually going to remain intact when it arrives. Throughout the summer, storms would come from the west but then would fall apart just as they passed Memphis or Nashville, or would head into Kentucky and toward the north east. Or when the storm systems were coming from the south, the storms would head toward the ocean to the east instead of coming to here.

The children have learned a lot from this less-than-favorable weather this summer. They are definately aware of the drought, which has brought about forth more than a few "science" discussions about the need for water, the effects of drought on plants, animals, and the land itself (including bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, streams, etc) and many about weather itself (forcasts, clouds, the water cycle). We have become avid weather-watchers, and prayers are always offered with requests for rain soon. They've also learned a bit more about the geography, and even the topography, of our nation ... all while watching the weather, watching storms form in the south or the west and watching them travel in our general direction ... but most of all they have been praying for rain to come here .... finally.

Looking at the detailed weather maps, it looks as if the rain should begin falling literally any time now (in the next hour) on our parched land ... God has answered their prayers, and probably the prayers of nearly everyone else around, most especially the farmers who have been really hard-hit this year by the drought.

We'll keep you posted !

Update Friday, Octorber 19th: Thankfully we did not get any severe weather, as did many other places where this storm system passed. According to our rain gauge, 3/4" of rain fell yesterday and last night. Praise the Lord ... even a tiny bit would help, but this significant rain was truly a gift !!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Time To Swap Wardrobes

Yesterday we took the day off from school so that we could swap out clothes - putting away spring and summer, getting out fall and winter. I generally do not mind this "project" but this year I have been dreading it (all summer) .... knowing there were bags and boxes of clothing I had never seen, not knowing what would be servicable, what would fit and what would not, not knowing what we would need to buy (and how much of it, not to mention the cost) to get through the season ....

This project literally took over 9 hours, minus short lunch and dinner breaks.

We dragged lots of bags and boxes of clothing from the attic (given to us after the fire last spring - and just put IN the attic after seeing the children had "enough" clothes for the summer) ... we first sorted BOY and GIRL piles ... then sorted each of those into SIZE & ITEM SPECIFIC piles ...

Then I went through the piles with each child 1 by 1, gathering (and trying on) clothing ... then we emptied that child's dresser drawers and closet .... putting spring and summer items (plus "too small" items) into Rubbermaid crates, and refilling the closet and dresser with fall and winter clothing. We even sorted through their shoes, putting into the closet only the pairs that were needed (1 pair play shoes, 1 pair town shoes, and 1 "extra" pair).

Surprisingly, the girls were MUCH easier than the boys this year. They were THRILLED with so many choices and the enormous variety of clothes - even Cherub 5 with her unusual "style" found quite a few items that she LOVED. The boys liked the clothing and the choices, but being ANTI-SHOPPERS (by nature ?) they were not thrilled with the "process". HA !!

However, after all was finished ... in the attic are crates with summer type clothes plus some things that did not fit anyone for this season (clean and ready for next year's use) ... and the children's closets and dressers are filled with warm clothes for the cool weather than should be here to stay very soon. We have plenty of winter coats (except 1 of the boys who needs a play coat and a town coat), and even some mittens and gloves and hats for winter. WOW !!

DadToCherubs and I assumed we would need to purchase quite a bit for the children for this season, but BOY OH BOY were we wrong. We will need to purchase more mittens / gloves and hats of course for winter, plus socks and underwear for each of the children, 2 winter coats (1 play coat & 1 "good" for church), a few belts, 2 pairs of "church" shoes (girls), and a few shirts to "match" certain pants or skirts to complete an "outfit". Oh, and Cherub 6 needs a few pairs of PJs and some slippers. That's it !!

God is awesome !! And our friends, neighbors, and community were just so incredible and so very generous to us !! We were just soooooooooo incredibly blessed again and again and again after having lost everything after our housefire last spring ... and those blessings were even more noticible yesterday as we were filling the children's dressers and closets with Fall / Winter Wardrobes.

Thank You Lord !! And thank you to those who donated items to us !! It still literally brings tears to our eyes when we think back on those days ... and when we consider all of the families who were so generous.

So today ........ we are deep-cleaning the children's bedrooms, and stripping beds to be remade for "cold weather" (more blankets, etc) .....

Fall is here ... and looking at the weather forcast, might be bringing much cooler temps any day now ... which means winter is just around the corner.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is just 4 weeks away ... and Christmas is only 8 weeks away ??

We need to get busy on our Christmas projects - we have ornaments to make and gifts to create. YIKES !!

October 23 UPDATE: Today I finished sorting through DadToCherubs' and my closets and dressers. We weeding out a lot of "extras", and even took some items to some of the men who work on the farm. WOW !! Now we can actually "find" things in our closets and dressers. What an incredible blessing though, to have lost everything and then to have "plenty". God has been SO good to us !! It is official now - we are READY for the cooler weather now - and all of the donations that came to us after the fire have been sorted and put away properly. Whew !! What a relief to have it all finished and behind us now.

Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg

This past weekend Cherub 2 and I were invited to stay with Mrs. P and Little Miss K at their cabin in Gatlinburg. The cabin was adorable - the scenery was gorgeous. We had a wonderful fun filled weekend.

Cherub 2 and Little Miss K having donuts for breakfast - they were THRILLED at such a meal.

We were visiting Pigeon Forge for Little Miss K's 11th birthday. She wanted to stay overnight at the cabin, and then to go on a trail ride (horseback). So we got up bright and early and headed to the Big Rock Dude Ranch At Ponderosa ... and we saddled up and headed up up up the moutain. Our ride lasted an hour - and it was such a beautiful ride. (photo above of the stables)

After our trail ride, we visited the petting zoo on the premises. There were potbelly pigs, rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks, goats, peacocks ... an Tom the Turkey who is having an identity crisis lately. He apparently is lonesome, or is perhaps trying to avoid a Thanksgiving Dinner Table ... he is courting the female peacocks, which of course is not going over well with the male peacocks. (photo above) Too funny !!

Photo of Mrs. P and I, Cherub 2 and Little Miss K at the Riding Stables, just before our ride.

Our family met the "P" family just a few weeks after moving to Tennessee from Maryland - that was 10 years ago this month (we moved in late October). It was so funny this weekend to watch our girls playing and chattering - and remembering them as toddlers, playing together, and other memories all through the years. What a blessing it is to have "old friends" who can say "I remember when ...."

We had a wonderful time this weekend - we laughed and giggled - and after our trail ride we headed to the Outlets to do a bit of shopping before heading home. We found more than a few bargains. I could not believe how crowded Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are ... the traffic is crazy. They are lovely towns, filled to the brim with shopping spots and tourist attractions of every variety.

Mrs. P and I are hoping maybe to spend a weekend before the holidays doing some Christmas shopping at the outlets - a Mommy's weekend away. That should be really nice !!

Thank you Mrs. P and Little Miss K for a wonderful weekend !!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Photos From Crabtree Farms

When we first arrived, we noticed that the wind made us quite chilly - we were not prepared for that. But we persevered - we "wandered" a bit through the greenhouses full of plants for sale (herbs, perinneals, and others). Then after wandering the grounds a bit more, we sat down for a wonderful picnic lunch.

Then it was time for our tour to begin. At the beginning of the tour, our guide (Mike) gave us a brief history of how Crabtree Farms came to be.

At this point of the tour (above), Mike was explaining the down-side of clear cut lands and open expanses of "plowed" dirt for farming - loss of topsoil, benefits of tree lines and brambles, and so much more. He also included a bit about beneficial insects and having wildlife around (birds) to keep the bugs in balance.

A view of Crabtree Farms compost system - this farm is 100% certified organic. It was a beautiful place indeed.

These last 2 photos were of the Mushroom Project. Tucked away in the woods, there is an area where oak logs are innoculated with mushroom spores (Oyster and Shitake), soaked, and then grown to harvest size. This was really interesting. Also our guide took some time to talk about the improtance of trees, stages of life, stages of decay, and other fungi.

Our trip to Crabtree Farms was a success !! We learned so much from the experience, including quite a bit of information about our own gardens at home.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We Are Having A Field Trip Day Tomorrow !

Tomorrow is our first "official" Field Trip of the 2007-2008 school year !! We are going with some friends to visit Crabtree Farms . Our Field Trip will include a guided tour of the farm itself, plus we are planning to take a picnic lunch. And of course we will stop in to browse (and maybe shop too) at the Farm Stand.

We are very excited about this field trip - and it looks like we will have some cooler Autumn-like weather too. HOORAY !!

This is an arial photo of the 20+ acre farm that is in the middle of the city ... the story of the farm can be found on the farm's official website (link above)

This is a photo of the farm's gray and red barn, in which the first floor serves as the Farm Stand. It was just too pretty not to include.

Focus On The Family

Last evening, our whole family watched (via internet) a live broadcast from Focus On The Family entitled FAMILY PROTECTION: Online Safety, Media Discernment, and Cultural Influences.

We have always had concerns regarding internet safety for our children resulting in very limited access and extremely close supervision by us. DadToCherubs has personally been involved (on the technical end) of more than a few sad stories pertaining to families, their children, and the internet. We did hear about some new tools - Safe Eyes (internet filter) and various monitoring tools that we are going to look into for clients and perhaps for our own use as well. Our children were quite impressed when they heard about the risks, the outright dangers, about safe use, about discretion being needed, about not giving personal information, about making good choices with searches, about holding themselves accountible and behaving responsibly online - not that they have never heard these messages before, but somehow hearing them again from another source seemed beneficial. With a few "tools" in place, DadToCherubs and I are inspired to give our older children a TEENY bit more access to the World Wide Web .... very closely supervised by tools, and of course under our watchful gaze at all times (which is, our opinion by the way, the BEST protection of them all !).

The guests gave some hair-raising statistics ... how many children in this country have unrestricted access to TV, internet, and other tech-media without any supervision - how many lives are changed (negatively) due to this "freedom", and some specifics as to HOW they are changed - scores of reported incidents of children being stalked, cyber-bullied, and contacted inappropriately (and only guesses as to how many incidents go unreported). It was frightening to hear that a recent poll showed that 1:3 children between 6-18yo are cyber-bullied, and the 1:5 children 6-18yo are stalked online at some point. CRAZY !!

They also went into some depth concerning MySpace and FaceBook, some of the safety features that are available, and even some advice on their useage. And of course chatrooms, virtual rooms, instant messenger services were covered as well. There were even some topics that DadToCherubs was not even aware of ... game sites, game circles, file sharing and moving with only user name info ... YIKES !!

Time and time again, though many protective measures were discussed, it was clearly said that NOTHING IS FOOLPROOF, and NOTHING IS GUARANTEED "SAFE". Of course, we already knew this. And it was said "even if you can trust your child, the biggest concern out there is that you absolutely cannot trust anyone else online because there is no way to confirm who they are vs who they SAY they are. The other statement was the the secular world would have our mantra be "kids will be kids - you cannot protect them forever - they need to find their own values - they have a right to freedom and privacy". Those secular messages stated so clearly were alone the scariest part of all !! Even our child who challenges our authority most of all (and will someday make a wonderful lawyer - HA !) said "Wow - it is really scarey to think that many parents really believe that junk." Hummmmmmm ....

We also (according to our children - HA!) are the last parents on the earth that have not given their children cell phones - for calls, texting, and such. However, this will not change anytime soon. We do not "drop off" our children anywhere, so the only NEED we could find for a cell phone was to call Mom or Dad from upstairs or downstairs - " is my red shirt clean ?" or maybe "is dinner ready?". Nope - not necessary. But having a better understanding of this medium for future knowledge is certaily great. DadToCherubs and I are old fashioned - our cell phones are for CALLS rather than games, texting, and such. HA !!

And finally, the discussions about these mediums of communication - how they are impacting the lives and behavior of children and adults - for better and for worse. It was interesting to hear how these modes of communication are changing "traditional" means of communication and behavior - writing, speaking, and more - from the perspective of educators, parents, clergy, and even law enforcement officials. These topics gave us ALL some things to seriously consider.

DadToCherubs and I highly recommend listening to this broadcast for all parents who are raising children in our tech-driven world. It was very beneficial to us, even with Dad being very tech-savy (and Mom, well, not so much). For our children, it opened a dialogue that will likely continue for years to come. It also impressed on them the true seriousness of the "tech" world.

Favorite School Books - Bible & Catechism

We began this book late last winter, but did not get to finish it. So The King Of The Golden City was the first book we studied when our new school year began in August. There is a study guide available on the Catholic Heritage Curriculum website that everyone enjoyed doing while we were reading this great book. It is a truly beautiful story and we all recommend it highly. (I will re-read this book aloud in the early Spring as Cherub 4 and Cherub 5 prepare for their First Holy Communion.)

After finishing The King of the Golden City, we began reading The New Saint Joseph's Baltimore Catechism - we chose to use the Number 1 edition because of the wide age range in our home. This book has a wonderful way of making the complicated more simple to understand, and has inspired more than a few conversations about our faith. We are so blessed to be able to include our faith in our daily studies - what a treasure it is to be able to grow and share together.

We have almost finished the St. Joseph's Catechism. Our next study will be using Ignatius Schuster's book titled Bible History. We expect this book to take quite some time to read, however our older children have expressed great interest in learning the history of the church. I am sure our TimeLines will be very useful with this study too.

In addition to these more-formal studies, we have been reading through Psalms a little each day, discussing and studying as we go along. The children have been memorizing several complete Psalms as well. "Thy word have I hid in my heart ..." Their current project is Psalm 100, which they have JUST begun to learn.

In past years we used more formal "bible studies" together, and various devotionals. However, this year I asked our 3 older children to select specific topics or entire books (of the Bible) for our Morning Bible Study. The first book they chose was Psalms, and next on their list is Proverbs. Cherub 3 also found some hymns for us to learn that are the Psalms "put to music" which has been a wonderful addition.

At least one or two days each week, one of the older children volunteers to read a story from the Children's Bible aloud to the younger 3 Cherubs - this is an enjoyable (and VERY MUCH anticipated) time that they share together.

Everyone from the youngest to the oldest child enjoys our Bible and Catechism studies - it is the first thing we do together every day, after a time of Prayer.

Favorite School Books - Part 2

Cherub 1 is enjoying his school year for the most part - he has always enjoyed Science, and for the first time is also enjoying History.

He is working through Apologia's Physical Science textbook solo this year with great success. Cherub 1 enjoys seeing the Scientific Process unfold - enjoys estimating outcomes, and then doing the varied experiments to see if his ideas were correct.

For history, Cherub 1 is reading A Patriot's History of the United States. The History book is quite long and involved, so the reading is going slowly. But with the help of taking notes, Notebook Pages, maps, and timeline entries he is learning a lot about our National History.

Botany is a subject everyone enjoys - we do this all together (ages 4y-13y). We are using Apologia's Botany textbook. The children are keeping the notebook designed by the author, and have learned so much. It is quite funny to hear a 4yo say (while examining a plant) "Hey Mom - this is a vascular plant, huh ?). I am seeing a lot of Botany entries in our Nature Notebooks, with vocabulary that came originally from our Botany studies. And I am also seeing a lot of "exploration" outside as the children notice and truly "look" at plants, sometimes in a whole new way.

Lamb's Tales From Shakespeare is a much anticipated reading every week - the stories are involved enough to give details of the originals, and are a great introduction to the Great Works (actual) of Shakespeare. After reading the selected play in Lamb's, we try to find a movie of the real play, or perhaps an audio version. I dreaded Shakespeare as a student, but my own children seem to thoroughly enjoy it.

The Story of Painting - this book is essentially Art History, with some Artist Study incorporated as well. We read a section each week, and then try to re-create the style or we experiment with the medium, or we try to duplicate a work itself. We also look up other works / artists from that period (on the internet). For the cave painting section, the children made their own cave paintings along with writing a "story" that told of the details - the boys wrote mostly about going on a great hunt, of course. This book is a great spine to begin Art History with multiple ages - it is very informative for all ages, yet it gives a lot of room for further exploration for older children. It also introduces various artists throughout all time to students of all ages.

Favorite School Books - Part 1

Cherub 2 absolutely LOVES this book (Wild Animals I Have Known) by Ernest Thompson Seton, and has done more than a few illustrated narrations from it. This is the book she MOST looks forward to reading every week, and has even read ahead of her assigned schedule from time to time when she has some spare minutes.

So far this year, Cherub 2's favorite book was his Leisure Reading book, titled Sign of the Beaver. His least favorite (not pictured) is Madam How, Lady Why - he says he enjoys the actual information, but that the reading is slow and tedious - he says the author takes 2 pages to say something that a sentence or two could cover. HA !

The Blue Fairy Book is Cherub 4's favorite - he has thoroughly enjoyed the fairy tales about kings and kingdoms, about enchanted animals, heroic rescues, and other "magical" tales.

Our Island Story, surprisingly, is Cherub 5's favorite - she seems to truly enjoy History. She even started a Time Line this year, to go along with her History Notebook Pages.

We try to make time every day for a special "school" story time for Cherub 6 (nearly 5yo). And of all the books we have read to him, Make Way For Duckings has been his favorite. He has drawn pictures of this story, and can often be found outside playing various roles from the book - and if we should pass by a pond of ducks, he begins retelling this story in great (and very accurate) details.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Blog To Recommend

Our former priest, Father Michael Cummins, has begun blogging. We always looked forward to and enjoyed his Homilies. We each learned so much from him during our first and his last monthes at our parish. And the children want me to add that they dearly miss Father Michael too (and they said that they also like our new Priest, father Jim Vick too !).

We will continue to pray for Father Michael in his new assignments, and we will pray that his blog speaks to many. Please stop by and read his blog, titled THE ALTERNATE PATH.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

If You Must ...

As a family, we subscribe to several Yahoo group lists ... and this came to us just today. It inspired more than a few DEEP conversations today ... and we hope it inspires conversations (and thought too !) for everyone who happens to read it.

1. If you must envy, envy the woman who hugged the feet of the eternal God, or envy the children He held in His arms.

2. If you must steal, steal more time away from your daily routine and spend it with Jesus.

3. If you must murder, work on crucifying the "old man" who lives inside each born-again believer. [Caution: The old reprobate is extremely hard to kill and does not tend to stay dead very long.]

4. If you must lie, tell the "old man" he can do as he pleases today.

5. If you must be a man of strife, put on the whole armor of God and remember that we war not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.

6. If you must "get high" be intoxicated with the Holy Spirit.

7. If you must fear, fear that within yourself which can cause you to fall.

8. If you must be angry, rage against those sin-weaknesses in yourself.

9. If you must covet, covet those things that be of God: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

10. If you must hate, hate the works of the flesh: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, etc.

11. If you must be overly ambitious, reach for a star: " ... To him who overcomes, I will give the Morning Star." Rev. 2:26 & 28.

12. If you must be lazy, lie down in His green pastures and walk beside His still waters.

13. If you must be shameless, walk this earth boldly, having no shame of your King or His gospel.

14. If you must be gluttonous, open your mouth wide for God to fill. Psalm 81:10

15. If you must be stubborn, trust in the Lord and you'll be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but which abides forever.

16. If you must be nosy, poke your nose into the gospel of Christ, which is something angels desire to look into. I Peter 1:12

**Originally titled: Loopholes for Determined Sinners
*** By: Sharon Bouriaque

Friday, October 05, 2007

Just Had To Share This ...

Cherub 5 was working on her Nature Journal today, after observing many Bumble Bees on a Butterfly Bush just outside our Living Room windows. She drew a picture, and then we (together) hunted online for information about Bumble Bees. Then she wanted a Poem ... and a "real picture" to include with her entry (although we were unable to find one on a PURPLE Butterfly Bush like ours). Above is the photo we found ... and here is the really cute poem. Enjoy.

Bumble Bee

Today I saw a bumblebee.

He was on a pretty rose.

When I leaned in to look at him,

he stung me on my nose!

I wasn’t gonna squish him,

only watch and see …

but I’ll never get THAT close again

to a grouchy grumble-bee.
By: C.J. Heck

Phillipians 3:13-14

This passage (KJV) reads ... "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

I commit to put behind that which needs to be forgotten, and I further commit to focusing on following the direction of God, pressing on toward the mark to which He is calling me ...

Please pray for me ... I have renewed my commitment to follow this path, and begin anew ... again. God is so good, to remain by me with his Divine Love and Mercy, every step of the way. I am so Blessed by my Father's Eternal Love !

Thursday, October 04, 2007

What's For Dinner ?


1 unbaked 12-inch homemade pizza crust (recipe below - or buy one)
1/3 cup refrigerated Alfredo Sauce
8 to 10 fresh spinach leaves
1 cup fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (about 3 ounces)
1-2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
1-1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Spread an unbaked pizza crust or bread shell with Alfredo sauce. Arrange spinach leaves over sauce; sprinkle with mushrooms. Arrange tomato slices over mushrooms. Sprinkle with oregano and mozzarella cheese. Bake as directed or until cheese is bubbly around edges. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Homemade Pizza Crust:
Combine 2/3 cup bread flour or all purpose flour, 1/2 package active dry yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add 2/3 cup warm water (120 degree F to 130 degree F) and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Stir in 2/3 cup more flour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in additional flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (45 to 60 minutes). Punch dough down. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, building up edges slightly. Transfer to greased baking sheet. Arrange desired toppings on top. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Bonfire

I snapped these photos of the bonfire last night - and they turned out so neat that I just HAD to post them. (If you look carefully, you can see the "chimney" that Mr. Potts so creatively made with a hollowed log too !)

Celebrating With Friends

Kezzie playing her guitar, Hope and Priscilla singing .... Cherub 2 "holding the light" and singing along with Cherub 3 and a few others not pictured here.

A picture of 'Round the Campfire.

Another picture of the "joyful noise" ... this one with MOST everyone singing ...

Last Wednesday, the (biblical) Feast of Tabernacles began. It will officially end Thursday with the "Last Great Day".

We were invited to visit with dear friends during this special time - and so we spent a few evenings at the home of Shadybrook Acres. We sat around a warm bonfire, high up on top of a hill which overlooks a beautiful valley ... S'mores, roasted hotdogs, and the BEST popcorn in the world (Thanks MamaLion !) ... children running 'round and playing, soaking in the beauty of all that God has created ... enjoying one another's company ... listening to the 4 older Ector girls make beautiful music together (singing) .... IT WAS WONDERFUL !!

Last night Kezzie brought our her guitar (she is making great progress for having JUST started lessons !) and we all sang song after song together, praising and worshiping our Father. There were 4 adults and 6 Beck children and 6 Ector children - and we convinced almost everyone to sing. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands." We tried our best !

The moon at the beginning of the week was GORGEOUS !! The skies were clear and the stars shone their brightest ! And last night we were able to "see" the Milky Way, according to Mr. Potts.

Thank you Shadybrook Acres for a wonderful evening ... or three.

A Quote

"If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

- Saint Francis of Assisi

I have to say that I have thought this myself when I have seen people who are unkind to animals. I think you can often tell a lot about a person's character just by watching them interact with animals.

Today Is The Birthday Of ....

It's the birthday of the veterinarian and author James Herriot, born James Alfred Wight in Sunderland, England (1916), who became a veterinarian in rural Yorkshire and loved it so much that he decided to write a book about it. He spent 25 years making plans for the book, but didn't start writing it until the day his wife told him that he never would. He went out and bought some paper that same day, published two books in two years, If Only They Could Talk (1970) and It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1972), and they became best-sellers when they were packaged together as one volume called All Creatures Great and Small (1972).

James Herriot said, "If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." In the words of the Cowardly Lion (Wizard of Oz) ... AIN'T IT THE TRUTH !!

This particular storybook by James Herriot is a favorite in our house - the story of Moses The Kitten.

This book is wonderful reading for young and old alike, filled to the brim with many wonderful tales of Herriot's life as a county vet. The characters are so well formed - you feel that you almsot KNOW them personally. And the scenery is described so well that you can nearly feel the wind on your face as the little car speeds along the dusty roads.

And finally, this book, as well as the collection of Dog stories, is a favorite of our older children. They read and read this book again and again, enjoying it even more each time.

I also read a book (from the library) that was actually about the REAL James Herriot (James Wight), and was written by his son. It is the very touching story of his life, from his childhood to his last days. It also includes much more information about each of the "characters" (human) included in the books Dr. Herriot wrote through the years, and some stories that never made it into book form. A wonderful read indeed !!

We have heard mention that there was a television show based on All Creatures Great And Small, however we have never seen it. But if anyone knows where to find some of the episodes on DVD, please do let us know. We would LOVE to see the program.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Africa Chronicle

A young friend (the daughter of dear friends) recently went to Kenya on a mission trip. And at long last (I have NEVER been good at waiting - HA !) she has begun posting about her trip with plenty of photos. Part 1 is on her blog and ready for viewing:

Enjoy. And be sure to visit her blog again to see more posts promised to come (soon I hope, Pris !!).

October: Poetry and Quotes

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne

October's the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down -
October is red
And golden and brown.
- Can Teach Songs

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
-Robert Frost, October

All things on earth point home in old October: sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.
- Thomas Wolfe

To appreciate the wild and sharp flavors of these October fruits, it is necessary that you be breathing the sharp October or November air. What is sour in the house a bracing walk makes sweet. Some of these apples might be labeled, “To be eaten in the wind.” It takes a savage or wild taste to appreciate a wild fruit. . . The era of the Wild Apple will soon be past. It is a fruit which will probably become extinct in New England. I fear that he who walks over these fields a century hence will not know the pleasure of knocking off wild apples. Ah, poor soul, there are many pleasures which you will not know! . . . the end of it all will be that we shall be compelled to look for our apples in a barrel.
- Henry David Thoreau

Poem: Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

By: Robert Louis Stevenson
Book: Child's Garden of Verses