Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

I just finished reading a collection of stories about Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and I really enjoyed them. The book I have contains three stories, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer Abroad, and Tom Sawyer Detective. I chose this book because I wanted to preread it before assigning it to my son. Actually, I didn't think I would really like it. Surprisingly, I found it very delightful. The characters were very realistic, a bit mishievous and naughty, but realistic nonetheless. I think Twain did a great job of giving the flavor of the times. The second story was a bit far fetched, but that was what made it fun to read. The only negative I found was the way people of color were referred to, although it was common of the time and place it is still derogatory. I do feel that this negative can be used as a teaching tool. This was my first Twain novel and I look forward to reading more of his work.

Mothers Day Picture

Here we are - we had a wonderful day!

Memorial Weekend

(boys 1, 2 &3 in their costumes)

We had a very busy weekend that included much celebrating. Saturday we were able to attend the much anticipated Samurai birthday party. Many attendees were in costume and they had such activities as archery, martial arts, picking popcorn with chopsticks and caligraphy. We rolled sushi and also had dinner together. It was great fun!

Sunday, after worship service, we went to my sister in laws for a surprise birthday party for my husbands uncle. He was turning 70. It turned out to be a nice day and we got to visit with some cousins that we hadn't seen in many years.

Monday was the church picnic and a silent auction to raise $$ for the teens activities this summer. The teens are going on a mission trip in July to help a small congregation in Montana. We had a nice time. All in all the weekend was full of fun and fellowship.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Success vs. Excellence

I have been listening to a tape of a class that I took years ago at a workshop. The class was taught by a man named Richard Rogers and was entitled Pursuit of Excellence. I thought I would share some of what I learned from this first lesson.

Success has to do with wealth, power and prestige. Churches are dying today of success or mediocrity. Success breeds mediocrity. A church that is looking for success is probably looking at externals such as: What kind of building do we have (or want), "who" is our preacher? "who" are we reaching to (as in, is it somebody important)? Success driven churches also view the church as an organization instead of a family. We must know the symptoms of a success seeking church to avoid moving in that direction.

Excellence is simplicity, servanthood and surrender or humility. Excellence is doing God's will. Efficient committed, creative, productive. God is the source and supplier of all excellence. The source of, as well as example of holiness is God. Philippians 4:8 is he verse the encompasses excellence. WHATEVER keeps you from the things listed in that verse - GET RID OF IT OR THEM! WHATEVER, it is.

If you are striving for EXCELLENCE you are not of this world.

Philippians 4:8 NIV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More Blooms

Bleeding Heart and Poppies

Mothers Day Weekend

To celebrate Mothers Day, my sister, her mother-in-law, my mom, my daughter and I all went to the quaint little town of Snohomish on Saturday. We had a wonderful lunch at the Cabbage Patch restuarant, which is an old home converted over to a restuarant. In the town, there are many antique shops and other gifty type shops, which we took time to browse. It was a wonderful day. I hope to post a picture of us at lunch, as soon as my daughter uploads it for me.

On Sunday, after church, my dear husband took our three sons and myself out to Subway for lunch and then for a drive up to Snoqualmie Falls for the afternoon. Because it was a beautiful sunny day it was quite crowded at the Falls. Nevertheless, we chose to take the hike to the river, which is only 1/2 mile, but on a very steep grade. That was great exercise! The falls are spectacular and I truly enjoyed the day. The weekend was very pleasurable.


A collection of flowers that are blooming in our yard.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Book review: I Gave Dating a Chance

I Gave Dating A Chance by Jeramy Clark

The author states that he wrote the book in response to the "no dating" movement. From the back of the book. "The time has come for a sound, biblical and practical approach that balances out the extreme perspectives: dating without responsibility versus a complete withdrawal from the dating process. Learn how you can confidently pursue healthy dating relationships that are characterized by holiness and integrity – and ultimately bring glory and honor to God".

Some things I liked about this book were that he encourages dating not as a means to romance but as a means of getting to know one another. He suggests activities that are more conducive to learning about each other. Included are good ideas on how to keep the date "safe". There is a chapter on how to chose your date, which gives great guidelines, even for those not going to date but in considering what you would like in a mate. In his chapter on quality control he delves quite a bit into character, both in looking for a person of character and becoming a person of character. There are many warnings about guarding your heart and keeping pure. The author had some great points on modesty, mens’ and womens’ roles and treating each other with brotherly or sisterly love. One quote on modesty: "Modesty is a state of being; it involves how you think and act. Modesty affects every part of your life, from speech to dress to how you sit." Pg 129.

On the down, side he gives examples, some from his own life of how people crossed their boundaries. I felt that his examples showed how hard it is to stay emotionally neutral to someone you are spending alone time with. He speaks about identifying when you’re ready to date and when your not, which is fine if you are dealing with emotionally mature people, but expecting a 16 year old to recognize this is a bit out of hand. He also speaks quite a bit about casual dating, "just for fun", but his examples seem to show that this would be a difficult thing to accomplish. In a couple of places he seems to imply that those who don’t believe dating is a good option, keep themselves completely from the opposite sex, which in my experience is a false assumption.

While I do agree with him on the fact that young men and women need to understand how their demeanor and actions affect their brothers and sisters and that they need to learn how to interact with one another, I remain unconvinced that dating is the way to accomplish this. Family activities, church activities and group outings can provide such opportunities and a much safer environment.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Little Home Ec.

The boys were invited to a Samurai birthday party to take place in a little over a week. Our friends are famous for these wonderful theme parties in which all the guests dress in costume and participate in great activities that go along with the theme. They have attended a medieval feast, a Redwall birthday, Army parties etc. All of which they have enjoyed tremendously. Did I mention that it was a costume party - ah yes. Three boys needing Samurai or ninja costumes. Part of our school this week has been spent on cutting out and sewing costumes. At the beginning, I always feel overwhelmed - but now that the boys are older, they have helped a lot. Boy #1's costume is almost done and he has done it all on his own, with a little advice and supervision from good old mom. Boy #2 has started sewing his costume and bouncy boy, who is almost 10, will get to start sewing tomorrow. I am very thankful that they can be of so much help, especially since I procrastinated until now. I have known about the party for months - but just purchased fabric on Monday. Oh well, such is life at our home.

Spring has sprung.

We are finally getting some nice sunny days and they are delicious! Today it even got up to 75 ° at our home. I have been enjoying walking in our neighborhood, observing the flowers that are in bloom and soaking in the sunshine. I haven't had much to say lately, but with the spring comes dreams of summer. We will officially school until the end of June and then take July and August off. We typically have great weather during those two months and so I like for us to have lots of outside time then. During those off months we will continue to read and do math drills and take field trips. I hope to spend time with friends and also take time to plan for the next school year and do some organizing in our home. Some things tend to get put on the back burner when we are in the midst of school and I hope that I can get to them when we are on a lighter schedule. We will attend Family Camp at Yellowstone Bible camp in August and hopefully get in a quick side trip to Glacier National Park while we are in Montana. All in all, it has the makings for a great summer.