Sunday, January 31, 2010

Movie Night - The Hiding Place

Last Friday we watched most of The Hiding Place movie after finishing this book about the life of Corrie ten Boom (in addition to this book which I read aloud to the children, I also read the book, The Hiding Place, on my own. A really, really, really inspirational read!)

It is another one of the Christian Heroes Then and Now Series, and like the others we've read this year, it was fantastic!! I LOVE this series. Corrie ten Boom lived with her parents and older, unmarried sister in Haarlem, Holland, where her father owned and operated a clock shop. After the Nazi invasion of Holland in 1940, her family began to harbor Jews in their home, some for a short time, and some longer. When Corrie was 50 and her sister Betsie was 57 (and their father was 84!), the Gestapo raided their home, not finding the Jews hidden in the secret room, but arresting the family and several others who were gathered there for a prayer meeting at the time.

Both the book and movie chronicle Corrie and Betsie's experience in a local prison and then later at Ravensbruck concentration camp. Their father died of pneumonia after only 10 days of captivity ~ this was heartbreaking for his daughters when they finally learned of it, but they were able to rejoice that he was safely "home" and not experiencing the hell on earth that they were. There were several points in the book where I had to stop reading due to tears (the children were very patient!). They had every human reason to resent their captors, and in fact for a time Corrie did. But God's love won out, and by God's grace they were able to love their fellow prisoners and even pray for their Nazi captors. Due to fleas in their barracks which kept the guards away, they were able to hold Bible Studies and worship services freely. Betsie or Corrie would read their little Dutch Bible and then translate into German. Others would translate from the Dutch and German into Italian, Polish, French, Hungarian, and several other languages, so that all the prisoners in their barracks could understand the Word of God in her own language. Despite their surroundings, the book painted a beautiful mental picture of these times huddled around their little Bible ~ so many women from so many different backgrounds and walks of life, praising God together in so many different languages! In their pre-captive lives they would have never mingled together as they did while in the concentration camp.

Sadly, Betsie died from illness at Ravensbruck. Three days later Corrie was released, many years later finding out that her release was due to "clerical error". The week after she was released, all the women at Ravensbruck her age and older were gassed. For 30 years after her release, Corrie told anyone who would listen about God's love and forgiveness. She traveled the world with this message.

The movie is rated PG and was very well done for family viewing. It was never graphic, but often gave a sense of the horror of what was happening at the camps by what was heard off camera, or by comments made by the actors. The beginning of the movie was a bit slow for our kids, and we did fast forward through some "talking" parts. We have read other books about people's endurance, bravery, and even escape during the Nazi domination of Europe, but this one stands out because of its strong christian worldview, and the message of redemption through Jesus Christ. ONLY Jesus could grant those who suffered under the Nazis the power to forgive. What a powerful message to share with our children!

Grandpa Dean's Influence

A syrup "well" cut out of the stack of pancakes. :-)

Soooo funny and sweet which things children choose to copy!

Snow Day!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Conversation with Little Man this morning, as he snuggled in bed with me before getting up for the day.

Little Man: Tell me about when I was born.

Me: Well, my tummy got really big as you grew in there, and when it was time for you to come out daddy and I went to the hospital so the Dr could help us, etc, etc, etc........ and when you were finally born I looked at your little face and thought, this is who I've been loving all this time!

Little Man: I was born last so that's why I'm the youngest.

Me: That's right.

Little Man: Sometimes it's hard to be the youngest. (long pause) And sometimes it's hard to be the smallest too.

WOW! I so wish I could have known exactly what he was thinking when he said that. I thought it was rather profound for a just turned 5 year old to be able to articulate those feelings. It was a sweet, sweet time that we had together. Especially now, as he is little mr. independent!


It has now been over two weeks since the earthquake in Haiti, and it is still hard to wrap my brain around the devastation and the irreversible way life has been forever changed there. I have scoured the internet for "real" news, and have been humbled and heartbroken and encouraged by the stories of hope. Did you hear that a man was pulled alive from the rubble on day 14? There are a couple blogs I stumbled upon that are written by missionaries living in Haiti, and they have really given me a more realistic picture of the way things are and how to pray.

This one is written by the wife/mom of a large non-medical missionary family. She usually posts at least twice a day, and her husband takes the most incredible pictures and writes quick updates throughout the day on twitter. This one is written by an American doctor working in Haiti. This one is written by an American midwife working in Haiti ~ pregnant ladies still go into labor whether there was an earthquake or not! And here is the blog of an adoption worker, whose job just got a whole lot more frustrating. Millions of children were at risk in Haiti before the earthquake. You may have seen news reports of child trafficking in Haiti - such a huge, huge problem. On January 12 thousands and thousands of children literally became orphans overnight. Now they have no adult to care for them and no-one to advocate for them ~ they are incredibly fragile. My mama's heart has wanted to fly down there and scoop up about a dozen of them and bring them home with me! PLEASE PRAY for the people of Haiti, and especially for her children. There are many organizations working to try and keep them safe, but when mass confusion reigns it is a really tough job.

Pray for those working in Haiti, both nationals and foreign relief organizations. Pray for their strength and encouragement. They see the most horrific things everyday. They are still seeing brand new cases - people who have lived with their injuries now for 15 days, as well as those who were treated initially but given no follow up care and now have infections. In the midst of all the suffering, there are so many God stories that are truly incredible. I wish we could hear more of these on the news!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Best Puzzle Ever

My sister in law's family gave us this awesome globe puzzle ball for Christmas. It is so cool!!

We had a blast putting it together.

We decided to do it the "easy" way and follow the numbering system on the backs of all the pieces. Even so, it took us about 3-4 hours to do.

And the top piece means it's finished!

Ta-da! It came with this neat stand that it can spin around on. We have been using it alot for school, and it makes a great conversation piece.

Thank you TX cousins!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Our church has been learning this new song that I have fallen in love with. The tune is simple enough that the children learned it right away and they have been humming it around the house. We just sang it altogether (along with the youtube video) to help cement the words in our minds. LOVE IT.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

1. Praise and worship music.

2. Apple scented candles.

3. Dangle earrings.

4. My children playing well together with no bickering.

5. Empty laundry hampers.

6. A full pantry.

7. A good book.

8. The moment my husband walks in the door each evening.

9. Peach flavored Snapple Iced Tea.

10. The fact that a football team led by a FORTY year old QB almost went to the super bowl!!!!!! (in football years, that's reeeeeally old)

And one thing that makes me sad:

1. That the football team led by a FORTY year old QB is NOT going to the super bowl. :-( I was really looking forward to a Manning/Favre matchup.

Ice Festival

We had perfect weather for the ice festival this year! Below freezing (for the ice), but not below zero (for us!), and no wind. They did something new this year and rather than have professional teams come from foreign countries, they had only local college teams participate. It was really neat to see groups of college students working on different ice sculptures. One of the sculptors we knew from church.

First stop: buying one warm, cinnamon-sugary elephant's ear to share. Yum! (son G reflected in the glass - can you see him drooling with anticipation?!)

Downhill skiier.

I've named this one: "Heads at Railing". :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


After son C had carelessly run into a lego creation and broken part of it:

Son L: "You're acting like a ruffian!"

Me to L: "Wow, great use of the word ruffian!"

Son C: "Mommy, you're hurting my feelings."


And a more serious conversation today:

L, with a somewhat sad look on his face: "Mommy, what will I do after you die?"

Me, shooting up a bullet prayer for the right words and answering slowly: "You'll bury me, and you'll miss me, and you'll be thankful that you'll see me again, and you will always know that I love you."

L: "But what will I do?"

Me: "You'll live your life, however long you have to live after I die. And after it's your turn to die, we'll see each other again in heaven. That will be a very happy thing."

L, clearly less troubled and spoken matter of factly after several seconds of quiet thought: "Okay!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Can we make cupcakes?


This past weekend Little Man and I read this new book he got for Christmas. It's one of a series that we just love. We also have, If you give a moose a muffin, If you give a mouse a cookie, If you give pig a party, and If you take a mouse to the movies. After we finished reading it (for the third time) Little Man asked me, "mommy, can we make cupcakes?"

And it was with such delight that I said, "yes!". Don't we moms have to say no so often? Most of the time I have a good reason for saying no, but still, it gets old. So it is always fun to get to say yes! After church yesterday, Little Man and I happily made cupcakes.

He poured oodles of sprinkles on top, just like the cat did in the book! (I saved out a couple plain ones for my hubby and me, since we're not really into, you know, oodles of sprinkles) :-)

What have you said yes to recently?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Our Week In Review

During Bible this week we finished reading through the book of John. This is our fourth gospel to read outloud, and on Monday we begin reading the book of Acts. This, and teaching our children to read, is the one part of our homeschool journey that I take greatest satisfaction in. I love many other aspects of homeschooling, of course, but knowing that our children are getting a daily dose of the truth and power of God's living Word, is so thrilling to me. What a privilege!

The two oldest boys (L pictured) also worked hard in their Stockade books this week. Stockade is our Wednesday night boys' club at church for those in 3rd through 5th grades. Son G is trying very hard to finish his second book and get all 18 patches before the end of May. After that he moves up to the middle school youth group! (gulp - how is it possible we will have two in middle school????!)

Little Man did a variety of fun activities this week. Here he is with his chicka chicka boom boom tree.

One of his activities with his brother L was a listening activity. This is another hold over from my public school teaching days. They both followed along in books with a story on tape (yes, tape. I taught public school about a hundred years ago!).

This preschool art activity with daughter G was a big hit! LOVE this book by MaryAnn Kohl, which I have had for years.

The book, with page marked, and all the supplies for this activity were in one of our daughter's workboxes. When she came to it, she and Little Man went up to the kitchen table where I'd laid out the big tray to work on, and she knew exactly what to do.

Ta-da! Sand art!

Our daughter did a series of science experiments this week which purposed to teach her all about experiments ~ what variables and controls are, what a blind study is, and a double blind study. How to eliminate all the variables so that you're testing for only one. Here she is dipping a variety of things into pepper filled water to see what thing will send the pepper flying toward the edges of the bowl (a piece of soap did it - rather dramatically!). We have gotten a little behind in science and will have to work very hard to catch up to where we should be in order to finish the book in June. Either that or work on science during the summer.

Meanwhile, her brothers and I read about walruses this week. They worked in their science notebooks, writing down what they thought was important or interesting about walruses from our reading, and drew walruses to go with their writing.

In history, we wrapped up our study of World War II and began learning about the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. It is so interesting/strange/amazing for me to learn about events that happened during my lifetime. The children had never heard of the Cold War before, whereas I grew up in its shadow and have memories of nuclear attack drills during elementary school. I have a very vivid memory of when the Berlin Wall came down - I know exactly when it happened and where I was (Japan) and what I was doing (I was at a missionary retreat and we all watched the news and literally jumped and danced for joy).

During our history study the last couple weeks, the boys have had fun playing this old military strategy game called "Mission Command".

We also worked in our history lapbooks.

And we did the usual math and grammar and spelling. And that was our week!