RSSBack Issue: September, 2007
Posted September 27th, 2007 by Jen in family life, the ranch
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I have three lovely pictures to share with you from my drive home yesterday. First, you’ll see the friendly deer I passed, with the amazing vistas in the background; next is an abandoned bridge stretching across the Crooked River (which the cows still use); and finally, the full moon rising over the hills in front of my house. (Here is a handy Night Sky Calendar from Space.com, if you’d like to know the moon phases.)
Posted September 23rd, 2007 by Jen in education, family life, the ranch
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My husband (“The Hunter”) just had his first archery kill yesterday. It was special for several reasons. First, he had taken our six year old daughter (“JJ”) with him that morning, since it was her turn. Second, they were hunting on our own property. Lastly, the whole thing turned into a family affair and a great educational experience for all.
I’ve mentioned our 20 acres in Central Oregon where we’re currently building a house. It’s not an enormous piece of land as far as hunting grounds go, but it’s situated in an ideal location for the sport. One end of the terrain drops down to a rimrock cliff which is the natural path of herds of deer and elk that run though here. The other end is bordered by a large canal which makes a nice watering hole, and the other sides of the property are bordered by large acreages. So it works.
The Hunter has been rifle-hunting for years – mostly for elk in Eastern Oregon. Last year, he switched to bow hunting and seems to enjoy the sporting challenge. Since we lived on our property last year at this time, in our travel trailer, we had opportunity to see all the wildlife up close. There was an enormous buck (“Chester”) that came by nearly everyday during the late summer, and The Hunter was out looking for him all during the hunting season, but with no luck.
The night before this hunt, The Hunter had taken our eight year old son (The Scientist) to the property to hunt, and with just two days left of the bow season, he was anxious. The Scientist has his own small bow, and just target shoots for fun – but you can imagine that he really feels like he’s hunting with Daddy. They were hoping that Chester would make an appearance. The hunters saw nothing that evening.
So, the following morning, JJ begged to go with The Hunter, as she had been in tears the day before at not having gone. But The Hunter just wants one child at a time at this point. I’m sure you can understand all the noise made by a six and eight year old poking each other. I was home with the other children and had really forgotten about the morning activity.
My phone rang, and there was a bad connection, but I did hear the word “spike.” Yes, The Hunter and his young huntress had accomplished the mission. Standing in our future master bath, they were getting ready to leave, when along came the buck. The Hunter waited patiently for the deer to change his head-on position, took the shot, and the well-placed arrow shot clean through the animal.
Here’s where it was really neat to have him hunting less than 10 minutes away. I was able to grab the neighbor to come and help, pack up some supplies and the other three kids (and Grandma), and head over. Now all my children are well educated in the gutting, hanging, and skinning of a deer. If we were lost in the wilderness, we’d all survive. :-)
Family Hunt: notice the various expressions…and the proud huntress posing next to her Daddy. The Scientist was so jealous, and on the way to the property, said, “I hope JJ didn’t help Daddy track the deer.” I said, “Honey, you will have your time.”
Gutting the deer: the kids and I learned what an awful, dreadful, and vile smell is created in this endeavor.
Hanging the deer: the old Juniper tree, rope and pole are skillfully used.
Skinning the deer: not for the faint of heart, but now we all know the ins and outs of this.
We all had a good chuckle as The Scientist put the front legs to good use. He strung them up and made some sort of deer puppet…he said he was making deer tracks. I love the creativity of this child.
The deer needs to hang for a few days, then The Hunter will take it to the butcher and we’ll have a freezer full of venison. Dinner last night? Backstrap, of course. According to The Hunter, tradition in the hunting camp calls for the backstrap to be cut off immediately and cooked for dinner, so this coincided well with the fact that the neighbor who helped him was having us over for a BBQ that night.
Much to The Hunter’s delight, I’m now convinced that hunting can be a family activity for us. He likes that the kids are learning not just the sport of hunting, but the entire process, from field to fridge. We know where our food comes from. :-)
Posted September 19th, 2007 by Jen in carnivals, family life
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That time again to highlight some “Carnivals,” which are just collections of blog posts in particular categories of interest.
I will not actually be reading today. I need to teach all morning, then work with the dog trainer who’s coming out to my house, then head to my office and possibly train a new employee (just heard that I train her tomorrow, and only get things ready for her today), then come back home to do chores and prepare the kids for dinner and bed, then go to a wine club that I was just invited to (I’ll give you a nice report later). :-) Have a great Wednesday, and enjoy this beautiful view from my front porch:
Posted September 18th, 2007 by Jen in music, religion
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September 19, 2007 marks the 10 year anniversary of the death of Rich Mullins. As you can see, the only other music review I’ve done is on Mullins, in my first month of blogging. You can read more about his life there, and how I first met his music.
People remember where they were during monumental events. Like when JFK or MLK were shot. I wasn’t born yet for those events, but I do remember exactly where I was when I heard Rich Mullins had died. He was already my favorite musician. I was standing in my classroom full of 3rd graders at Bailey Hill Elementary in Eugene, and my husband was just arriving to pick me up at the end of the day. These were the times of our tiny duplex and one car. It was a Monday, and the news had just come over the Christian radio that over the weekend, Rich Mullins was killed in an automobile accident.
He and I were both shaken and saddened. It was eerie to think that Rich had sung “When I leave I want to go out like Elijah.”
With this ten year anniversary upon us, it’s good to give honor and remembrance to a man I think of as a poet, a prophet, and a friend. When my husband hears a really great worship leader, he’ll say, “He has the spirit of Rich Mullins.” There have been very few he’s said that about, because it’s a rare quality. How to capture the essence of that spirit in words is difficult. It’s a humility-authenticity-passion-straight out of the heart of God kind of quality.
To carry on the “Spirit of Rich Mullins,” we can practice authentic worship and heart-felt serving. He was the kind of guy to stay up all night to talk to a friend in need. The kind of guy to not just talk about caring for the orphan and the widow, but actually doing it. The person who could easily have gathered worldly riches for himself but gave it all away. What an amazing example of Love.
Posted September 15th, 2007 by Jen in education, germany
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Since I just spent a great deal of time reading about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I’ll submit something interesting I came across in Eberhard Bethge’s Biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. From p. 17, where he briefly discusses the fact that Dietrich’s mother, Paula Bonhoeffer, homeschooled all eight children for their early schooling:
Oh, did the Bonhoeffer family have it right, way back in the first decade of the 1900s! Does German schooling “break the back” of its children? Could this be a reason for the number of homeschooling families in Germany, despite the dire consequences? Yes, it’s illegal, since about 1938 (and do you know what was happening in 1938?), and you face jail, fines, and loss of custody of your children if you homeschool. Or you simply go into exile and are forced to flee the country.
If Paula Bonhoeffer were raising her family in Germany today, would she have landed in jail? Would Dietrich and his siblings have become wards of the state? Those sound like ridiculous questions; however, that is the reality of what is happening in Germany today.
John Taylor Gatto’s The Public School Nightmare: why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought is an excellent essay in which he describes the evolution of modern compulsory education.
Gatto continues his essay with a very interesting remark from none other than Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
I’ll wrap up this post with a simple warning given by Gatto. My hope is that if people understand what sinister objectives lurk beneath compulsory schooling, they will stop being so willing to comply. German citizens need to rise up, en masse, and rebel against this kind of tyranny that leaves them no options, no power to choose.
Posted September 14th, 2007 by Jen in education, germany
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Kinderlehrer over at Educating Germany is hosting the International Freedom in Education Day. If you have a post to add to her carnival, please head over there; she’ll be running this through tomorrow. If you would like to learn more about the education crisis in Germany, spend some time browsing her site. I’ve written several times, including here and here, about Germany’s mandatory school laws which leave homeschooling families living in fear, often being fined, jailed, or having their children taken away by the state – simply for refusing to send their kids to the public school, choosing instead to educate their own children.
I’ll have something by tomorrow to add to Kinderlehrer’s effort. She certainly needs our prayers as she works for reform.
There is also an incredible wealth of information on education/homeschooling in Germany at Dana’s site, just do a search on her site for Germany.
Why do I care? I live in the United States and have the freedom to homeschool my kids if I want. Well, I could talk about the fact that there is indeed a trickle-down effect in the international community, I could talk about the U.N. trying to apply international law to the United States, I could talk about many legal or political issues. However, the reason I truly care is not even definable. It’s something about being human and loving and caring for other people, no matter where in the world they live. It’s about brothers and sisters in the Lord who are being persecuted for their faith. It’s about freedom.
Posted September 13th, 2007 by Jen in product review, the office
2 Comments »
Tomorrow is the start of another Diary of 1 giveaway, in partnership with my online business, TeamMASCOT.com. I’m very excited and so thankful to Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer who is hosting this bloggy giveaway for me! Tell your friends and run on over there tomorrow, the contest runs from Sept. 14-18.
I told Shannon I wanted to give away two youth College Cheerleader Uniforms, since Halloween is coming up. Then several days later I said to her, wait, I forgot about the little boys! So, I added the youth Football and Helmet uniform sets, which we carry in both College and NFL teams. Shannon and I ended up deciding to choose FOUR WINNERS, and they can choose from either the cheerleader or football costumes. These always sell out, so I chose the earliest blog giveaway date that Shannon offered…good luck to you all!
We don’t actually celebrate Halloween at my house, but we do go to a church Harvest Party, so our kids still get to dress up and have a ton of fun. I tell you, the one time I took my kids trick-or-treating in the neighborhood, the people who opened their doors to give out candy were often scarier than the children dressed up like a bleeding brain.
My kiddos will all be decked out in these fun uniforms this year. My 6 year old girl wants to be an Oregon Ducks cheerleader, since we live in Oregon, and my husband and I both went to the University of Oregon. My 4 year old girl wants to be a Michigan Wolverines cheerleader, since I’m from Michigan and nearly my entire family still lives there, including my awesome cousin who’s right in Ann Arbor, the heart of Wolverine country! My 8 year old and 3 year old boys want to be Dallas Cowboys football players because that’s Daddy’s team! I promise I will post pictures of them all dressed up!
Okay, folks, have fun playing over at the Rocks in My Dryer Bloggy Giveaway! I’ll be in touch with the winners to make shipping arrangements.
Posted September 12th, 2007 by Jen in carnivals, religion
20 Comments »
I am so pleased to present the 189th Christian Carnival, which I have labeled The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Edition. I wrote about Bonhoeffer back in April, on the anniversary of his death. I couldn’t resist returning to this compelling character, most well known for his martyrdom at the hands of Hitler. When I ran into a Christian friend of mine at the library about six months ago, lamenting to her that our little library had no Bonhoeffer books, and she replied, “who is Bonhoeffer?” – well, I would like to introduce you to him, if you also have not been acquainted with this German pastor, theologian, Christan, and man for his times.
The posts for this Christian Carnival will be organized around various Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes and other passages from the book that sits in my lap as I type, the 1000+ page biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eberhard Bethge. This is a monumental book, and should be in every Christian’s library. No, I don’t agree with every bit of theology that Bonhoeffer espoused, but do not miss this complex and fascinating man.
Michael presents Resisting Temptation posted at Chasing the Wind. Temptation comes from outside; sin comes from within. How do we deal with temptation? Did Jesus give us an example? A study of Matthew 4.
Richard H. Anderson presents I will gather the lame, the outcasts and the afflicted posted at dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos Theophilos.
Luke Houghton presents Does it pay to do the right thing? posted at Luke Houghton. Luke says, “I am a Christian and I do what’s right all the time… does it help? NO. So what can I do about it? Read on to learn more.”
Renae presents Fulfilling the Purpose of Education, Reason 4 of Why I Home School posted at Life Nurturing Education. Renae is certainly in good company with Paula Bonhoeffer!
Chris Brooks presents Homeward Bound: 5 questions to help your devotions posted at Homeward Bound. Questions to help you get to the juicy goodness when your devotions take you to more difficult passages.
Ian Spencer presents Dispensationalism and the Interpretation of Scripture Part 3: Modern Israel and Biblical Prophecy posted at Philosophical Orthodoxy. Does Modern Israel fulfill Biblical prophecy?
Tom Gilson presents Evolution is Easy: It Just Takes An Infinite Number of You posted at Thinking Christian. There’s an easy solution to the improbabilities of evolution, some say–just have enough worlds and it’s bound to happen. Here’s a response to one such theory.
Posted September 7th, 2007 by Jen in carnivals, education, family life, religion
3 Comments »
Hey, I get to host the Christian Carnival next week, and I really want a post from you! Do you have something to say from a Christian perspective? The current carnival is being hosted at Bounded Irrationality, so check it out if you’re wondering what kinds of posts might be appropriate for this carnival.
Submission deadline for this Christian Carnival is: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 23:59, and will be up RIGHT HERE on September 12! Use the handy Carnival Submission Form to get your post in right away! If you have any trouble with that submission form, go ahead and email me your post: blessedinthewest at yahoo dot com. Share your best post from the previous week, and as the carnival description states, your topic does not necessarily have to be about Christianity, but the writer must be Christian to qualify, and whatever your subject matter, the post must reflect your Christian worldview. Please get those posts rolling in, I’m very excited to see what you all have to say!
I will just mention that I’ve been both reading and participating in the Christian Carnival for several months, and have absolutely loved getting to know some of the regular contributors through their writings and I guarantee you will be blessed by something you come across there. And you will be a blessing to another, I’m sure. Do share.
How’s your end of summer/fall routine? We just completed Week 2 of our homeschooling year, and pretty much stayed on track. And what a refreshing thing to get back in a routine after the helter-skelter summer we had! We all thrive on order in some form, so blessings to you as you make good plans (and stick to them) for the coming months!
Posted September 4th, 2007 by Jen in education
9 Comments »
I get a lot of peculiar homeschooling comments thrown my way, but this one was just downright tommyrot, eyewash, hooey. Those are just really fun words for nonsense.
I’m really not making this up. That’s about verbatim what this person said to me. I’m still shaking my head. Would these people please just come right out and say they think I’m a nut for homeschooling? That’s much preferable to codswallop.