Friday, November 21, 2014

Cocao Nibs

Yes, I spelled it right. My two young boys enjoy eating cocoa nibs. The nibs have a bitter taste. I actually sprinkle a little stevia on them to disguise the bitter taste. It is not all that bad. What are cocao nibs? Cocoa nibs taste like chocolate and is loaded with minerals. Here is a good article about cocao nibs. Have you tried them?

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Trip to a Museum

Last Thursday, we took a trip to an art museum. Carissa had to do some research for her art history class, so myself, Shane, and Jarrett came along. I forgot how I enjoy visiting museums. I could have stayed longer but a 7 year old does not appreciate art as much as an adult. He behaved himself very well but did not thoroughly enjoy the experience. Here are some pictures of what we observed.
This was one of my favorite paintings. It is absolutely amazing in person. The painting seems to have texture and has detailed brush strokes. The picture below describes the painting and artist.

I like this painting too because of the bath shoes they are wearing The painting is of a Persian public bath house. I am sorry I did not get a snap shot of the painting's description or artist.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The First Snow

Today was the first sight of snow flurries. Shane & Jarrett danced around for joy. They really look forward to playing in the snow. It looks like if may snow on Saturday. I believe the high today was 30 degrees. It should get down to 14 degrees tonight. The fire in the fireplace is blazing and I roasted chestnuts today. Yes, we even listened to Christmas music yesterday. When I say "we", I mean Shane and Jarrett.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

On the Mississippi River

We took a ride in this old paddle boat on the Mississippi River. We got to see the real Tom Sawyer island. It all reminds me of the Tom Sawyer ride at Disneyland.

The mighty Mississippi River is a wide river.

I found these picture on my phone from a trip we took a few years ago. We visited Hannibal, Missouri in the month of May but I cannot remember what year it was. I think they are from two years ago. We did go inside many of the buildings. I am sorry that I did not take any pictures of the inside.

Mark Twain's boyhood home. This home is right across the street from Becky Thatcher's home.

This is the  Mark Twain museum

Huckleberry Finn's home. It was a very small home with only a kitchen and one bedroom.

How in the world did they manage to ride this bike? It looks like a person afraid of heights would not enjoy riding this bike.

A painting of Mark Twain

Here is Shane and Jarrett pretending to paint the fence.

Here is Mark Twain's fathers law office. It is on the same street of the Twain home. He did not have to walk far to get to work.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our 20th Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Wow! Time goes by fast! Look at the youthfulness in these pictures. There have been a few ups and downs these past 20 years, but that is part of reality. No marriage is without faults or struggles. God has put us together and we know this. We are committed to each other & God from the covenant that we made. We stood in that church 20 years ago and took an oath. The beauty and understanding of what we did that day goes deep.

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller, is a very good book. I read it September as part of the women's ministry of our church. This book is for married and single people. I wish this book was around, so I could have read it before I got married. Here is a comment posted on Amazon about the book:

Keller states in the introduction, "its [the books] primary goal is to give both married and unmarried people a vision for what marriage is according to the Bible." I believe that Keller succeeds in giving a very compelling case for marriage from the three stands above - from his experience, his realistic apologetic of building a case for the benefits and values of marriage, and then giving a compelling biblical vision throughout the book for the beauty of marriage when it reflects the glory of Christ at the center of it all. He does not minimize the difficulties, or the effort and hard work involved in a marriage, but is clear-headed, and cogently eloquent in presenting the "complexities of commitment with the wisdom of God."

Here is a sample of an excellent example he gives for submitting to the Bible as God's manual for marriage:

"Think of buying a car: If you purchase a vehicle, a machine well beyond your own ability to create, you will certainly take up the owner's manual and abide by what the designer says the car needs by way of treatment and maintenance. To ignore it would be to court disaster...Plenty of people who do not acknowledge God or the Bible, yet who are experiencing happy marriages, are largely abiding by God's intentions, whether they realize it or not. But it is far better if we are conscious of those intentions. And the place to discover them is in the writings of the Scripture."

Some of the ambivalent views and objections to marriage Keller elaborates on and dispels in this book are as follows:

"Marriage is just a piece of paper that only serves to complicate love"
"Marriage was originally about property and is now in flux"
"Marriage crushes individual identity and has been oppressive for women"
"Marriage stifles passion and is ill-fitted to psychological reality"

The Outline of Keller's book is as follows:

Chapter One - A rich and deep discussion of Genesis 2 and Ephesians 5 bringing Paul's discussion into today's context and demonstrating "why the gospel helps us to understand marriage and how marriage helps us to understand the gospel."

Chapter Two - With great skill and penetrating insight Keller shows how the sin nature resulting in selfishness necessitates the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in making the saving work of Christ operative in bringing two hearts to beat as one.

Chapter Three - He helpfully shows what biblical love is - and what covenant commitment is all about.

Chapter Four - He elaborates on the whole question of what marriage is for: "It is a way for two spiritual friends to help each other on their journey to become the persons God designed them to be...there is a kind of deeper happiness that is found on the far side of holiness."

Chapter Five - He talks about the power of truth; the power of love - via affection, friendship, and service all in the context of grace.

Chapter Six - An excellent discussion of the Trinitarian roles and how that translates into gender roles in a marriage.

Chapter Seven - On Singleness and Marriage. Here is a sample of some guidelines he gleans for singles in relationships before marriage:

"Recognize that there are seasons for not seeking marriage."
"Understand the "gift of singleness.'"
"Get more serious about seeking marriage as you get older."
"Do not allow yourself deep emotional involvement with a non-believing person."
"Feel `attraction' in the most comprehensive sense."
"Don't let things get too passionate too quickly."
"...don't become a faux spouse for someone who won't commit to you."
"Get and submit to lots of community input."

Chapter Eight - A good discussion of sex - realities and misperceptions - and the glory of it when it is practiced the way God designed it.

The book closes with a short epilogue and a short, but very helpful discussion on decision-making and gender roles.

All the chapters are very well written, have depth and penetrating insight, are logical and clear, balanced in dealing with the "then" and "now" of how the Scriptures apply and always pointing to Jesus at the center of the meaning of life and marriage. Dr. Keller knows what he's talking about and has done an outstanding job of building a great case for marriage in a culture that simply doesn't understand it and hasn't been consulting the Creator's manual and applying it in our marriages. I now have a new favorite book on marriage to recommend whole-heartedly to singles and married couples alike!

 I also think this is my favorite book on marriage. I highly recommend it to everyone. Are you in need of a good marriage book?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Time to Split Wood

It is that time of the year when days are shorter and cooler. The leaves have dropped from the maple trees. Time to prepare for the very cold days of winter. Brian spent all day Saturday chopping wood. He and two other men chop wood together, which provides wood for each others home. They chop down dead trees or chop up fallen trees. You should never go out alone to chop down trees.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Picking Walnuts

Shane and Jarrett picked walnuts that past two weekends. They spent around twenty hours picking and made $150.14. They gave Nathan $25 for helping them pick walnuts for four hours. Shane and Jarrett were so excited to make money.

Here are some bags ready to be hulled. The walnuts weighed one thousand and seventy-two pounds after they were hulled. Shane and Jarrett plan to use the money for Christmas and postage stamps. They want to purchase postage stamps so they can mail pen pal letters.

Picking walnuts is good way for young children to earn money.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Stick Bug

Check out this stick bug! I think this is the biggest one I have seen. I had to take a picture of it before we headed into the grocery store.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Children Growing Up

Carissa is sixteen and a sophomore. She really enjoys Classical Conversations. We don't need to push her to do her school work. She has some hard classes this year. She will soon be done with Geometry and will head into Algebra II. Literature is by far her favorite subject but she says she enjoys all her subjects. She is currently reading Jane Eyre and will start A Tale of Two Cities on Monday. She is on target to read twenty-five books this school year. So far she has read nine books. We are praying for God's direction for Carissa's higher education. Should she enroll in college classes next year (dual enrollment), CLEP, or just apply for scholarships. There are so many options that my head is spinning. Have you heard about College Plus?

Nathan is fourteen and in 8th grade. He enjoys Classical Conversation too. He may not enjoy all the work but he is gaining so much knowledge. He has an awesome tutor that has an excellent background in classical education. His favorite subjects are science, logic, and current events. He is preparing for an upcoming science fair project.

Shane is ten and in 5th grade. He looks forward to Classical Conversations on Mondays. He is doing really well with his studies. I wish he would spend more time practicing the piano though. The only subject that he needs to work on is writing. He sometimes has a mental block, which causes him to take longer to finish his writing. I understand that writing is not an easy thing to accomplish at a young age. He has many years ahead to improve his writing skills. He really enjoys Analytical Grammar, which is English grammar. He loves to parse and diagram sentences. His tutor says he is very good in grammar and seems to always know the answers. Maybe someday he will be an editor. He maybe entering a spelling bee in January.

Jarrett is seven and in 2nd grade. He also enjoys Classical Conversations. He is working on mastering his time tables. He should start 4th grade math in April. He also really enjoys learning, which makes it easy to teach him. He is an excellent reader. 

Brian's favorite subjects are Western Cultural History, science, and logic. Yes, Brian is learning the subjects right along side Carissa and Nathan. He also enjoys learning. :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Creating with Clay

Here are some creations that Shane made. I think he did a good job. He actually has a shoe box full of his creations.