Thursday, September 27, 2007

UPDATED - Prayer Request

Update, October 2: Many thanks to those of you who prayed and those who continued praying. Papa had a partial hip replacement last Friday and is still rather out of it, but stable. He may remain like that at his level of dementia and Alzheimer's, or he may pull out of it and back to his previous mental capacity. Physically, however, it was recommended that he bypass the hospital's physical therapy program to be placed in a nursing home with a physical therapy program. It has been very difficult for some of our friends to find empty beds in our area when they were needed, so it is a huge answer to prayer that a place has been found for him! It is perfect. He will have a newly renovated room. It is about 10 minutes from Brian's mom in the direction of Papa and Grandma's church (about 25-30 minutes), on Brian's way home from work, and on their pastor's way home from university classes that he takes twice a week! He may move in as early as tomorrow. Do continue to pray as I'm sure many more difficult decisions will be made in the next couple of weeks.

My husband's grandfather has just fallen and probably broken his femur. He is already struggling with Alzheimer's. Please pray for him right now as the ambulance is coming and my husband and his parents are racing to assist his grandma from two different directions.

Update 8PM: Brian's heading home. Grandpa's being admitted and will need surgery for the break that is right at the hip joint. Obviously at his age this is kind of serious. Brian's planning to be there.

Of Birds and Butterflies...and Roses

I love to hear the sound of the birds singing outside my kitchen window. They just love the simple homemade birdbath that sits on the deck rail. The wrens are my favorite. We heard them singing yesterday and they entertained us yet again with their quirky little dance. On the rim sipping water, hop around the rim, splashing in the water, jumping out, sitting on the rail preening until they're all puffed up, jumping back on the rim, sipping, splashing - round and round they can go for five or ten minutes. Then a wood thrasher came careening down to the rail, did a double take at the sight of the wrens and fluttered back out of there only to return to shoo them off. I was happy to see this new visitor, but not pleased that he scared of my favorite little Carolina wrens. They, however quickly returned.
I often see a pair of finches a few times a day, and a mockingbird comes to drink. It's a treat to see the wrens. The children all vie for the limited counter and stool space in order to see out the window. Yesterday it inspired some child-led bird study. In other news, I'm astounded at the variety of butterflies that I'm finding now that I've taken the time to notice.

Two more shots of the Gulf Fritillary

unidentified swallowtail with a torn wing
and one that is whole
Common Buckeye
Fiery Skipper (I think)

Two beautiful Roses

P.S. I did all of this earlier and blogger completely lost it and I had to do it over. Arrrrrgh!

The scariest thing in nature - the Mud Thing

This is what happens when boy meets sprinkler.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's visitors

the female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Long Tailed Skipper (?)
The children believe that butterflies are really fairies.
All photographs on this blog are copyright by the owner.

Winged Visitors

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Gulf Fritillary

Tawny Emperor

My butterfly bush usually has different varieties of swallowtails, but lately I've noticed a few different kinds. Yesterday I decided to shoot them and go online to identify them. Now I'm inspired to keep up the butterfly documentation and even some other nature journalling. Stay tuned for some really cool spider pics.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Harvest Moon

The harvest moon is the first full moon after the autumnal equinox. (I just learned about that from one of the fall books I was reading to my kids!) This year's harvest moon is on Wednesday. I'm going to see if my camera has the capacity to take pictures like this - I bet yours does, Rachel! Now to think of a good way to celebrate the harvest moon...

For more information on the harvest moon try Earth and Sky. To find out all of the 2007 moon names go to And to find out what a blue moon is, check out Wikipedia - it might not be what you've heard.

Sunset picnic

This inspired me today. Thanks, Anna.

Behold, the Lamb of God

Brian's been doing a lot of really interesting Bible studies involving the culture at the time and how that sheds light on how the initial audience heard and understood the Bible. I reap the benefits of his hard work on a daily basis. It is an amazing blessing in my life to have a husband who loves to study the Word of God - he does it all the time - and then excitedly shares what he learns. I've been learning so much, but it's hard to blog about it because it's somewhat second hand and he usually does a much better job blogging about it.

Learning about the Jewish education system in Bible times and what it meant to be a disciple was a huge challenge to me. (If you haven't read about that yet, go here.) You can read or listen to more at Follow the Rabbi. Mr. Vander Laan shared in one message how we're so used to reading things in our King's English sometimes we miss the impact of what it sounded like in common Greek. Behold, the Lamb of God - "Look - God's Lamb for the world's sin!"

Today Brian shared another piece of history with me about the day Jesus died, and added some info:

"Passover lambs were slain between noon and 3 p.m. on Nisan 14 (recall that there were three hours of darkness, from approximately noon to 3 p.m., when Jesus was on the cross [Mark 15:33]. When Jesus died, the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom [Mark 15:38]—right when the last of the lambs would be on the altar in front of the sanctuary!). In A. D. 70, the last year that the temple was still standing, 270,000 lambs were slain. " Jesus died on Passover; and at 3PM, when he died, Brian says that the shofar was blowing and echoing across Jerusalem that the Passover lamb had been slain. He also pointed out that although the temple curtain ripping does indeed illustrate our direct access to the Father, we shouldn't forget that rending a garment at the death of a loved one was (and still is) a Jewish custom.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Praying for Ashley

Specific requests from her mom, Trish:

1. Pray for healing and protection over Ashley's life.

2. Pray for her bowel. Our hope and prayer is that she suffers no more incidence of rejection and that it will begin to function again.

3. Pray for her respiratory status to remain stable.

4. Pray for this infection. We all know she is sick, but no one knows why. She will get worse before she gets better is what I am told, but I also believe God can remove it and turn her around if He so chooses.

5. Pray for our children. They do not yet know that I will not be coming home with Ashley. I don't know what to say to them.

6. Pray for our business. Unfortunately financial responsibilities do not cease when your children become ill. They tend to increase.

7. Pray for my husband. He is torn. He needs to be home for Blake and Allison's sake. He needs to be home to earn an income. He needs to be home to meet the needs of his patients and he does not take that responsibility lightly. He is in turmoil and that breaks my heart.Your prayers are more than appreciated and your support continues

Go to Ashley's Journal for more updates.

Going on now - don't miss it!

Thanks, Jen

My real life shepherding group friend,Jennifer at Good Fruit, gave this to me not long after we met. It was so sweet and really made my day. But I'm quite a procrastinator when I'm not sure what to do about something. I know that a lot of my blog friends have already received it and I love all of you, but was supposed to pick five. Anyway. I've decided to (finally) properly acknowledge the gift without officially passing it on. Maybe I will later :^) Thanks again, Jen.

Activites for learning to write numbers

  1. Butterfly number book.

  2. Tracing worksheets for #s 1-5 Frogs, Kittens, or Ladybugs.

  3. Purchase a dry erase book or board with numbers and write them there. The markers are easier than a pencil.

  4. For that matter, use fat Crayola markers in a workbook. Preschool workbooks tend to give you larger numbers.

  5. Trace them online.

  6. Choose from several themes at, including ocean life and dinosaur number tracing pages. Just sign up - membership is free.

  7. Ocean theme worksheets at Kidzone.

Happy Autumn!

What I would invent if I were an inventor

  1. Pretty water bottles - both disposable and reusable. I'm sick of rubbermaid and sports bottles. I use my lovely starbucks coffee travel cup for water. And what would it hurt to have pretty fall or Christmas patterns on water bottles - works on paper towels - and kids would love that too - aren't we supposed to be getting kids to drink more water, anyway?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Prayer updates

Thanks for remembering all of my requests in your prayers! Mrs.Urey is much improved. Her heart problems stopped, but then they found out that she had pneumonia. Now that has also improved and last night the update was that they are talking about sending her home! Titus and Seth were encouraged by your prayers.

Please keep praying for baby Ashley. She has been violently throwing up since Sunday, and had to be airlifted from Texas back to her transplant team in Omaha and she had to have a central line placed again because all of her veins were collapsing in their attempts to draw blood and place an IV. She is Rosie's age - and it just breaks my heart.

Beautiful music

Sorry I lost the youtube video - watch it here.

It's called AirTap - for more go to

Thursday, September 20, 2007


It does get better up ahead, because we are going Home to Him. Heaven’s straight ahead. But it is good right now. Because He is here already.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prayer Request - MRS. UREY

My little brother Titus called me from college just grieved for a guy he's in school with. His name is Seth Urey and his mother is in the hospital with serious heart trouble following a gallbladder surgery. Seth drove three hours round trip to see her tonight then came back to college concerned and broken that he may never see her again in this life. Titus ( a freshman) was also a mix of heartbroken and outraged that the students in this Christian college prayed for this guy and his mom in prayer group but made absolutely no effort after their formal prayer time to pray with or talk to this young sophomore student in their midst that was so burdened. He was shocked that things could be "cut up as usual" when someone was in need. Titus did spend time talking with Seth and called asking me to spend time in earnest prayer for Mrs. Urey's healing and to ask my church and friends to pray as well, so that he can encourage his friend that the body of Christ is indeed praying for and surrounding his family. Won't you please join me in praying for Mrs. Urey? Post her name on your CPU, frig, or mirror and really intercede, won't you? And leave a comment so that I can tell Seth and Titus that you're praying.

This family has been through a lot, apparently heart trouble runs in their family. They also have over one million dollars in debt from his brother's heart transplant that is not covered by insurance. There is a possibility that the hospital will write it off as a charitable donation. Please pray that they do. I will keep you updated. Thank you.

Link Fest

Update: Ashley Kate's condition is becoming more and more critical. I know I'm asking a lot but please keep these people in your prayers.

Okay there are a few things you really ought to check out here.

  1. First go read Brian's article "Student or Disciple?" at Growing Vertical. It's exactly what I wanted to post...but he types a lot faster than I do. This is a really neat look at what a disciple was in Jesus' time and culture and it ends with a serious challenge.

  2. Then pop over to The Sparrow's Nest and read "Raising our Ebenezers." Just go over and look at the pictures of this lovely idea for family prayer. The president of Child Evangelism Fellowship spoke on prayer this weekend at our church. So these two links are a headstart on sharing what I don't have time to write about what God is doing in my heart this week.

  3. And finally, won't you pray for sweet little Ashley Kate? She's been doing so much better the past few months, but she's very sick again.

I really want to use Mrs.Wilt's idea for Ebenezer stones - gotta find the right basket. I'm really going to try to read through the Gospels this week. The kids and I are going to embark on a mission to memorize the Gospel of John. We'll begin by reviewing the chunks of chapters 1 and 3 that we learned last year, then add other large chunks from other chapters, then eventually learn the book as a whole, gluing the pieces back together. That's the plan - now off to sleep I go - because I'm gonna have a lot of work to do! :^)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Anticipating Autumn on this beautiful weekend

Don't you just love the first morning when you walk outside and it feels crisp?! I absolutely adore autumn. Spring used to be my favorite season - I love spring flowers - but autumn has won me over. And Brian has had a good weekend, especially today. I'm so grateful. After lunch on Saturday, we drove into the mountains for our annual pilgrimage to the apple orchard. The big Easter frost killed a good portion of the crop, so there were no apples left to be picked, but we took a wagon ride and pictures in the orchard and bought the already -picked apples. They still had that freshly-picked taste.

Why do I love autumn?

  • apple cider
  • freshly picked apples
  • caramel apples
  • apple picking at the orchard - and the pictures (notice a trend yet?)
  • getting to dig out my comfy sweaters and jeans
  • the beautiful fall colors
  • gingersnaps and pumpkin dip
  • picking and carving the perfect pumpkin
  • pumpkin cake
  • pumpkin pie (notice another trend?)
  • Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin
  • bonfires and hayrides
  • autumn leaves falling down during rain showers and sparkling in puddles
  • sugar maples - my favorite fall trees
  • the smell of burning leaves
  • dressing up and getting chocolate (that is what it's all about!)
  • our church's anniversary service in November
  • my favorite holiday -- THANKSGIVING!

What do you love about autumn?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hello, friends

Here's the news from our place:

- We've been studying Ancient Egypt and it's really been a hit. Just don't show Ethan any pictures of the mummies inside the coffins; he finds them disgusting.

- My sister, husband , and best friend finally convinced me to get on Facebook. It is so much more fun than I expected. Totally different than blogging, but much more suited to keeping up with all of my real-life friends - and some of you guys too. :^)

- I'm catching up on the first season of HEROES and I love it!! The only problem is that it will be on at the same time as Prison Break again. I'm thinking that I'll just have to catch up on Prison Break some other time.

-BTW, I find it very odd that whatever show I get hooked on, Brian eventually does too and vice versa. There are few exceptions to this rule. That is how we tick though.

-Have I ever mentioned that I have the sweetest husband in the world?

- And speaking of Brian, will you all please continue to keep him in your prayers? This hasn't been a good year for him physically. The fibromyalgia is hitting hard. He's just had a couple of pretty good days after more than a week of serious pain and misery. We need wisdom to know what to try next. I have about six books on fibromyalgia out of the library right now.

- And finally, will you pray with me for my friend Monica? She's a lovely violinist, mother of three, previously a homeschooler, speaks great French...and was suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer several months ago. God has worked much in her body and really surprised the doctors with her progress, but modern medicine cannot heal her. We know that God can. Pray that God will receive much glory and Monica will be given much grace.

- Oh, and P.S. - thanks for being my friends.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Visit to the Firehouse

As the fireman finished explaining his gear to the kids, a fire call came in, setting off the inside sirens. The other truck had gone out on a call before we got there, so we scooped up our kids and scooted out the back door as the firemen got suited up. Then we both got out of there. I found the ending quite suitable (and hope it was a false alarm).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Patriot Day

We have a tradition that we've done every year since the first anniversary of September 11. We bake cookies and take them to our local fire department. I seriously thought that we would be one of many, especially the first year. But, oddly enough, we seem to be the only ones that remember the date in this way. This year some friends are joining us. I called ahead to be sure the extra people wouldn't be a bother. But, really, when you call to tell firefighters that your bringing cookies, you really don't have much to worry about. I mean, firemen are the nicest people in the world to begin with and when you add food to the mix...

Maybe some of you will join us in our tradition. It just made sense to me to thank the people that would just as willingly risk their lives for my family if such a thing had happened here. Oh, and don't forget to fly your flag.

Resources - not all of these are intended for children:

  1. Presidential proclamation of September 11 as Patriot Day
  2. "We Remember" writing paper
  3. "Remember" pencil flag and window flag
  4. A ribbon to color yellow, cut out, and hang
  5. Remembering September 11th-Activities and Crafts For The Classroom
  6. More Links and activities at Raising Our Kids
  7. Last year's Presidential Prayer Team for Kids newsletter
  8. National Geographic Kids multimedia "We Survived September 11" - the fourth grade class from the school four blocks from the WTC.
  9. National Museum of American History's September 11 collection
  10. September 11 digital archive

What do you do to remember?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

American West Unit

We studied cowboys and the American West the week before we went to Tweetsie Railroad - just to make sure they'd fully appreciate the experience. Here's a run down of the best resources I could find at my library and online:

  1. A cowboys and Indians playset. Ours included tepees, a covered wagon, cactus, and...palm tree?
  2. Interactive journey Go West Across America With Lewis and Clark at National Geographic Kids.
  3. Sacajawea (All Aboard Reading)
  4. Lewis and Clark coloring pages
  5. Crayola covered wagon and horse crafts
  6. Cowboy Math
  7. Learn to draw an armadillo
  8. Pecos Bill
  9. John Henry
  10. Riding the Rails
  11. A Picture Book of Davy Crockett
  12. Davy Crockett Saves the World
  13. Davy Crockett (the movie with Fess Parker)
  14. Last year we also read Davy Crockett: Young Rifleman (Childhood of Famous Americans Series.)
  15. Tall Tales DVD
  16. ABEKA's 2nd grade Our America 's section on pioneers and the West.

It worked out very well that the library decided to have a Western hoedown activity day that Tuesday and Davy Crockett's birthday was that Saturday. Our resources were geared toward a K5-2nd grade level. Here are some more that we didn't get to.

  1. A Marshall "M" alphabet buddy
  2. Oregon Trail coloring pages
  3. Cowboy/Rodeo unit
  4. Westward Ho! Cyberhunt
  5. Draw yourself in the back of the covered wagon printable.
  6. Attack in the Rye Grass: Marcus and Narcissa Whitman (Trailblazer Books #11)
  7. PBS Go!'s Day in the Life history game
  8. Printable Color Tracks train board game. Look under file folder games.
  9. PBS Kids' Gold Rush

And some for older kids:

  1. The Oregon Trail online adventure
  2. Lewis and Clark Lapbook
  3. Oregon Trail worksheets, including math
  4. Whitman mission national historic site
  5. Christian History Institute's article on the Whitmans
  6. Trailblazers - I was fascinated by this website. It gave information of the many Western trailblazers. Lewis and Clark were not the first non-Indians to see the Pacific!
  7. The Gold Rush
Also see Teacher Planet's awesome list of links!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Watermelon Wonders

Before summer winds down completely, try these fun watermelon treats.

1. Cut out initials with cookie cutters. They were a big hit at my house.

2. Make Watermelon Pop Stars. They're one of my kids favorite summer treats - and I don't mind them asking for two or three of these "popsicles". We started playing with the shapes too, using any cookie cutter that doesn't have small shapes. Bears, hearts, and a butterfly worked for us.

The stars are fantastic treats for patriotic holiday get togethers too.

And as a bonus, the leftover watermelon pieces are a great snack for grownups or a headstart on a fruit salad, slushies, or ices.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Terror

I was jolted out of bed this morning with a yell from Brian. "where all has she been?!" "She" being The Rose - Terror of the Byars' House. "She" has been taking herself to the potty. "Good for her!", you say. But you don't realize that that means that she removes her diaper in dry, wet, or messy state wherever she happens to be when she feels the need, and then goes to the potty, and then runs around the house - all without informing anyone.
So this morning she was the first to wake up, took off her messy diaper on the white play rug in the corner of her room (where I was sleeping with the girls, but never heard a thing), sat on the potty, then crawled across our quilt and into bed with Brian, who put his arm around her and didn't feel a diaper, just...something else. That's how he woke up this morning.
A few loads of laundry, a Rosie bath, and three kids ready for church later, she ran into the living room and began scrubbing the couch with - THE TOILET BRUSH! It is a good thing that it is slip covered or I would have been disinfecting all day! Needless to say, we were late to church.
She can undo deadbolts, unlock, and open doors. She can open the frig. She can climb up onto the kitchen counters. She rarely does the same thing twice. She can think up more new things to do than anyone I've ever met. A terror. In pigtails.