General Family News
I had the privilege of volunteering in the Hospitality Suite this year at the 2012 Home Educators Association of Virginia convention. The Hospitality Suite was just a room in the Marriot Hotel in Richmond were they served food to HEAV speakers and vendors. It was pretty simple; just a buffet line, where mostly people serve themselves, but we serve things like sloppy joes, hot-dogs and burritos. I helped with preparing food on Thursday, but Friday and Saturday I was mostly just manning the buffet tables, replenishing things and serving the main dish. I also was able to help with the speaker dinner on Friday from 7-11p.m. I was just helping with similar things there, and helped with cleanup at the end of it. The neat thing about the speaker dinner was that I was able to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Boyer, who Mom and Dad know.
On Friday I listened to Dr. Carol Reynolds' workshop, Make American History Come Alive, which was fascinating. She talked about how American History should be seen through art, and art reflects and explains the grand and minute aspects of any given culture. She talked about the Spanish influence in Florida, and the French influence in New Orleans. She also talked quite a bit about music history in America, which was really interesting. She had the audience sing a couple hymns, which I really enjoyed, and talked about the American influence seen in What Wondrous Love is This.
Then I listened to Crystal Paine's workshop on 25 ways to save money on groceries. She had some good ideas, but I think I had heard most of them already. I only was able to listen to half of her talk, because I had to go work my shift at the Hospitality Suite.
After that, I listened to Andrew Pudewa's workshop, Nurturing Compentent Communicators. His main point was that the illiteracy today is mainly due to lazy readers, and that we need to be reading out loud to our children, and reading above their level, so they can learn new words, and pronunciation.
My favorite workshop was by Dr. Tedd Trip, Giving Children a Vision for the Glory of God. I didn't get very good notes, but it was a really good talk. His main points were:
Children will either worship God or idols. They are made in the image of God ; they are designed for worship. (Rom. 1)
Idols of the Heart:
A. Power and Influence
B. Pride and performance
C. Pleasure and sensuality
E. Fear of man
D. Desire to be approved
Show children the glory of God. If you are dazzled by God, your children will be, too. Ps 4:6-7, 16, 17:13-15, 27:1-6, 36: 6-9, 63: 1-5, 73: 25-26, 8: 1; 10. 16 96: 1-3, Matt. 13:44, Ps. 145
The greatest joys we human beings have are the joys of knowing God who is truly satisfying; He satisfies our deepest appetites.
There are eternal pleasures at God's right hand (Ps 17)
All that satisfies the soul is Jesus; we're made for Him
On Saturday, I listened to the keynote by Dr. Tedd Trip on Gettting to the Heart of Behavior, which was very good, too. Here's a summary of that talk:
"Why do we as parents want our children to obey and be good? Is it to make us look good, or is it to glorify God? We need to make sure we're not trying to get good fruit from a bad tree. We need to make sure we're really getting the hearts of our children, not just disciplining them for their behavior."
I was actually encouraged by the HEAV convention. I didn't know what to expect, since I hadn't ever been to a HEAV convention before. I was pleasantly surprised. There was a wide mix of people there. There was a lot of good information presented, although for some of the workshops I had to sort through some worldly things. Our family ended up buying the MP3 stick with all the recordings from the 2012 HEAV convention.
Here are a few things that have been keeping us busy the last few months:
- The garden--Our garden is doing well. We put in a slightly smaller garden this year. I think dad was hoping that we would be moved out of this house before the summer, but since we weren't, Becky planted some late seeds, and we still have small green tomatoes instead of ripe ones right now. We have lots of cucumbers and a few summer squash coming in, though. And yesterday I just harvested our first two okra pods of the summer. We have an abundance of weeds, too. Some of our potted plants are suffering from the hot dry weather, but I think most of the ones in the ground are fairly stable.
- House renovation--The work on our house is going slowly but well. We're now working on the master bath, which is the last one to redo. Tim finished rerouting the plumbing, and he's ready to start leveling the floor. I'm working on painting french doors, and finishing up the girls bathroom paint job. I have one dormer to go, and the trim.
- I bake bread to keep up with the family bread consumption--We use up about 3-4 loaves of bread a week, so someone has to bake bread monthly
- I worked on sewing skirts--A recent trip to JoAnn's produced fabric and supplies to make about 6 skirts. 2 of them are made so far.
- Tim's poultry endeavor--On June 16-18 Tim's order of 10 turkeys, 100 broilers and 25 laying hens arrived. The turkeys were lost to varmints a couple weeks ago, but the boilers and layers are doing well. Tim designed and created several movable pens for the broilers and laying hens.
- The girls' recital--Becky, Mare and Suzi performed in a recital on June 7th. It was a special recital, as they were celebrating Mr. Seidel's 50th anniversary as a teacher. This was Mare and Suzi's first recital, and they played well.
- Tiling and painting bathrooms--We've finished 4 bathrooms so far. Tim's been learning a lot on tiling, and Emily is improving in her painting skills. The master bath is still left--probably the biggest challenge of all. The shower, tub and vanity locations were changed, so Tim had to reroute the plumbing. At this point, we're working on leveling the floor in preparation for laying tile.
- Searching for properties--House and property searching are still going on. Dad just found a bunch of new properties in the Haymarket area. He wants to go look at them on Tuesday. We'll see how that goes.
On hearing that our family was going to be in their area touring Polyface Farm, the Girotti family graciously offered to let us stay at their home for a couple of nights. We very much enjoyed the time we spent with them. Over yummy meals we talked, laughed, and got to know each other better. On the last day we hiked up to Humpback Rocks (near the Blue Ridge Parkway). When we got to the top we sang some hymns, or as many of them as we could remember, and took pictures. Thanks for letting us come over, Girotti family!
P.S. Be sure to check out the Girottis blog, Mountain Musings. :)
This weekend our family attended Kevin Swanson's family economics conference in Raleigh, NC. We heard messages from Doug Phillips, Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr., Scott Brown, Kevin Swanson, Bill Roach, Mike Cheney, Erik Weir, and many others. We were able to fellowship with a few families we already knew, and meet new ones. The conference included breakout sessions which were very helpful. Some of the breakout sessions were panels where 2-3 families would give their family economics testimonies, and then there would be some Q&A time. A few of the topics were:
- Construction & Manufacturing
- Agriculture and Real Estate
- What the Bible Says About Finance and Debt
- Training Sons to be Financially Prepared for Marriage, and
- The Family Jubilee--Applying Biblical Economics to the Family.
Kevin Swanson started off the conference with a passionate talk on where we are currently as a nation, and he encouraged us to build fruitful families on the ashes. Stephen Beck gave an interesting talk on What Every Family Should Know about Starting Your Own Business. He had some good ideas for family businesses.
The overarching principle that was presented in this conference was that there is no secret recipe for success. You must go back to God and to His Word as you make your plans and start your businesses. If this nation is ever going to be changed for the better, we need to start with repentance as families, and fathers need to be biblically leading their families.
The Lord has blessed us with an abundance of vegetables this summer,
making it possible for us to share them with family, friends, and
"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalm 34:8
"Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." Psalm 37:3
"The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing." Psalm 34:10
"Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase." Psalm 85:12
On July 25th, we were going about our normal Sunday morning routine, in preparation to drive to the Thrashes. As is our custom, we had piled everything that we would take in the middle of the family room, and we were about to sit down for our family conference (prep for communion), when we got a call from the Thrashes. This was at 9:15 a.m. Mr. Thrash said that they had just found out that Niko had some kind of skin rash, and they were deliberating on what to do about it.
We proceeded with our family conference, and a few minutes later Mr. Thrash called back, and took up our offer to host here. So, it was about 9:45 and the house was a mess. The whole family launched into action, and by 10:15 when the first family arrived, the house was looking pretty good. To top it all off, though, our air conditioner was having problems, and the main level of the house was still pretty warm. Consequently, we decided to have the service in the basement. I was so thankful that we had repainted it earlier, and it was all ready for the chairs to be set up.
We had originally been going to meet with the Plourds, Johnsons and Butlers at the Thrash home. The first two families were successfully contacted, but no one could reach the Butlers. They ended up driving all the way to the Thrashes, where they were redirected here. While they were in transit, it was getting late, so we started the service here, not knowing whether they would make it here or not. We were overjoyed when they arrived about halfway through the service. After lunch, we had the regular afternoon session.
After the afternoon session was over, Dad informed us of what the discipleship activity was going to be. Due to the excessive heat outdoors, we would have a time of practicing verbal blessings on each other, instead of soccer. We were supposed to gather in the shade on the soccer field, but as soon as we stepped outside, we knew that there was going to be a change of plans. We started the activity on the lily pond side of the pool, but it started raining soon after, forcing us to seek shelter inside the house. There we continued the discipleship time, ending finally by singing Make Me a Blessing.
Then we had singing practice. We practiced I Believe in Miracles, and had quite a bit of trouble getting the rhythm correct. Then we sang a few easier hymns, and had dinner. After dinner, everyone left, and that was the close to our very eventful and unexpected Sunday.
On Sunday, April 25th I heard a conversation
something like this:
“What is this, a family reunion?”
“No, this is a church service.”
“That's an even better idea!”
Our local church group met that Sunday
at Cacapon State Park, WV for our usual order of worship service and
communion, meals, prayer and a lively soccer game. Since the Hynes
family was the host family we decided we'd better leave for the
2-hour drive early. After one stop in the neighborhood to look for a
necessary article in the car, and a return to the house for Dad's
eye-glasses we were finally on our way. Upon arriving at Cacapon
Park we found that, while we were still early, most of the other families
were already there setting up chairs and lighting a fire in the stone
fireplace at the shelter we would use.
God blessed us with nice, moderate
weather, and we were able to enjoy lots of good fellowship. However,
occasionally throughout the day a storm threatened (we heard
thunder), and during the soccer game a kind passer-by gave us a
heads-up on some rain and hail that had passed through Winchester and
were possibly heading our way. But God graciously held off the storm
until people were starting to leave. It hit our car about five
minutes after we had left the park. Some of the other families who
were still getting into their cars were soaked.
A few Saturdays ago, on the 2nd of January, our family hosted our first Bible Marathon. The marathon lasted about six hours, four of which we spent reading. Mom got the idea for it from Gary Friesen’s book, Decision Making and the Will of God. A couple other families joined us, as we read through Luke, and about three-quarters of Revelation. This was the order of business:
Each willing reader read a pre-assigned passage at a lectern in the middle of the room. At every 7th chapter, we all stood and read a verse around in a circle, until we had finished the passage. We had breaks every hour for discussion and prayer. At the end of the Bible-reading time, we had dinner and fellowship.
I really appreciated the chance to go through a whole book of the Bible in such a short amount of time. I don’t remember ever doing that before. It was also more meaningful to me to hear others reading aloud, instead of just reading to myself. Maybe I’m more of an auditory learner. =) I greatly enjoyed the Bible reading marathon, and I can’t wait to have another one!
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