Category Archives: features

The Amazing Lemon Meringue Pie Time Machine

There was Nancy, eating lemon meringue pie in Amsterdam. She messaged me, that’s how I knew, and she’d made it from scratch just like our mom used to do when we were children, and Nancy, too, when she was probably … Continue reading

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July at the Oregon Coast

Four days away to the Oregon Coast, plugged only into the great outdoors, does a world of good. Continue reading

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An Arbor in the Desert for Poets

In the place where trumpet vines bloomed in the desert, an arbor hung over some children while words danced poetry above their heads. Continue reading

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Last week of May in pictures

Someday life won’t be so overflowing with noise and ruckus, dirt and wild animals–and wild children, so dear diary, help me remember this for the quiet days ahead. Continue reading

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Waiting for the Moving of the Waters

It was this phrase I read in John 5 this morning, all those sick people waiting for the moving of the waters at Bethesda, when the phone rang. The words still turning in my head, the meaning still emerging, and … Continue reading

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When you have to grow up with your kids

She is asking for her first bra; his feet just outgrew mine–they are working hard at the job of growing up, and I’d better grow too, because right now I can barely handle this change. When I unpacked his bag … Continue reading

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Adventures in Contentment by David Grayson: Review

A forgotten treasure of a book, I haphazardly stumbled on this yellowed century-old copy at a little coffee shop and found it stuffed with sincere and thoughtful observations of life along with delightful ink illustrations. My daughter got a lamb … Continue reading

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A pressed and faded memory

The whole piece is gone, the people, the houses, the connections that made the memory a complete vivid thing, and so it must be hard for just a slice to be recovered as a fragment of the former whole. Continue reading

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It’s Lent and I’m Tired

Lent is here. I will wake up at 5 a.m. for the next 40 days and that, my friends, may create some cranky mornings. Continue reading

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The Staggering Relevance of Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer’s been dogging me for decades and sometimes I do wish he’d back off, because he’s always reminding me that anything of value has a high price. I’m a tight-wad, I don’t like to pay high prices. Continue reading

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The Clothesline

The clothesline was the end of the job, reaching up toward blue sky and all clean around me, and endless possibilities. Continue reading

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The Year She Knew She Was Loved

When I am completely at rest in the solid, unmovable fact that God loves me, I am willing to take risks, to be utterly vulnerable, to throw myself with abandon into all of Him. Continue reading

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Wishing you a Merry Christmas

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people.” “For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ … Continue reading

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Blogging to Bethlehem: Feeling Nauseous

I want to be hungry all the time as Advent proceeds down this crowded, bustling road to Bethlehem. Hungry to feel His presence, to simply anticipate. For now, I just feel nausea at my dispassion, but it’s a start. Continue reading

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The Brothers Karamozov and Me

A review of Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky’s crowning literary masterpiece, thoughts on God and the search for Truth, and my reaction to one of the greatest novels I’ve ever read. Continue reading

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Thanking God for Mrs. Young

The wooden bench in the hallway, between the pot-bellied stove and the hanging ivy in a macramé plant holder, that was where I learned to love. Continue reading

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To honor when it isn’t fair

Oh, grace to cleanse my irritated soul. The way she shuffles, asks again what day it is, tells me she forgot how to whistle, burps at the table, a thousand ways that need grace.
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The House of the Lord on the Ocean

The house of the Lord is all around and they entered it there in the surf.
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Two-Hundred-Proof Grace

The discovery in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred-proof grace—of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture…
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Many Members, One Body

Paul’s introduction to the Romans 12 listing of the seven motivational gifts contains some key concepts to understand before assessing your giftings. Continue reading

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Beware the secondhand stress!

I grew up inhaling secondhand smoke… maybe secondhand stress is just as deadly for children? Continue reading

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For by the grace given me

I’ve always hastened over this verse that begins the introduction to the gifts, but I’d like to take a closer look. Continue reading

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Hope Renewed

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31). “Your pace will change from a sprint … Continue reading

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Fair Time!

You must know about the cotton candy, cowboy hats and rodeo, happy music, dizzying rides, the earthy smell of livestock, colorful people? Continue reading

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Stormy, Yellow Thoughts of Thunder and Puddles

The potbellied raindrops came thundering down, the cat hid under the bed, the dog barked at the booms, the kids danced all silly out there under umbrellas, and I was in awe.
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Sister Love, Brother Bear

How stitch by stitch, their souls were being connected in gracious love.
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The Miracle and Gift of Brotherhood

The brothers ran together, again together. These grown men with children of their own who now run together, up at the crack of dawn to reconnect the joy of boyhood that’s always down in the heart somewhere. We had watched … Continue reading

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The Toothpaste Story

I hastily wiped my dripping hands on the red flowered towel hanging askew from the oven door and answered the commanding ring of the phone. “Hi, this is Jasmine, can I talk to Jaime?” trilled the young voice, obviously experienced … Continue reading

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Dear Mom, tonight we will go to Starbucks.

The note that set my heart quivering. Not only had she stolen my heart, she set up a play-date for me.
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Missing Front Teeth

That short, sweet stage of a missing front tooth, an event not likely to be seen again until she’s 99; and other blessings to count.
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Freckles and Big Ears

Freckles and big ears on my boy, and his home-made fishing pole; and other blessings to count.
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What makes a desert beautiful?

Life, death, and the breath of God — we were blessed to see all on a simple hike through our spring desert last weekend. {life} {death} {the breath of God} Technorati Tags: Central Oregon, country life, nature hike, nature study, … Continue reading

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On an enchanted journey

~scenes from a family hike at Sahalie Falls, Oregon~ If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. ~Robert Brault Technorati Tags: childhood, family life, Sahalie Falls, McKenzie River, Oregon … Continue reading

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My Reflection part 2

Part two of My Reflection in the Pane Glass~more truth about beauty, fear, and freedom revealed in a dream.
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My Reflection in the Dirty Pane Glass

From a child looking wistful into the hazy window frame desperate to see beauty to a woman still seeking but closer to fulfillment: part of my journey.
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The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Maybe the most breath-taking chapter of children’s literature, I respond to the surprise and joy I found in this piece of Wind in the Willows.
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Sandwiched

Life with four kids under the age of 11, a husband, and my 82 year old mother.
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How to Return to Your First Love

When a new spark is needed in your relationships, your faith, or your interests, what do you do? Continue reading

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In the Garden with Children

How to have fun, grow food, and build character while gardening with your kids.
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A Peek into a Homeschool Co-op

When you’re starting out you especially wonder what others do, so here’s an overview of one way to educate that’s been successful for me.
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Thankful in this place…

…for child-made Valentines, especially the glittery heart one that sparkled today in the sun, each of the thousand squares of tiny glitter unable to outshine the joy of the son in the giving. …for chocolate truffles and coffee, dark as … Continue reading

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One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp: A Review

I am working through eucharisteo thanks to Ann and her beautiful little book of grace, thanksgiving, joy. And a list of my own.
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Spaghetti Squash to Iron Man

What an amazing creation, this squash, right up there with the pomegranate in its ability to make your mouth water and your fingers cramp.
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Posted in family life, features, health/cooking/food, the ranch | 10 Comments

Happy New You!

Happy New Year and Happy New You! What a great time for reflection and renewal. I love the beginning of January for this reason–the turning of the year is so symbolic for me of the burying of the old man … Continue reading

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Corncob Dolls and Christmas Coming

It wasn’t Susan’s fault that she was only a corncob. Sometimes Mary let Laura hold Nettie, but she did it only when Susan couldn’t see. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods I caught my breath on these … Continue reading

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Gingerbread…hut?

Why I thought I could begin baking all the gingerbread pieces I would need for the nine children in our homeschool co-op at ten-o’clock…p.m., not a.m., the eve before hosting a gingerbread house-making party, is because I’m crazy and need … Continue reading

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I shined my sinks, and other news.

I finally took the Flylady’s advice and did something about my grimy sinks. They are so sparkling at the moment! No one dare set a dish in there, please. My husband actually noticed on his own, first thing upon entering … Continue reading

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Thank You for my dishes.

Another piece of Dansk Concerto Allegro Blue went down tonight. My husband and I have wagered that perhaps not one piece will be left by the time the kids are grown. It was a wedding gift, nearly all of which … Continue reading

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A Different Harvest

I was to be writing about the harvest this month. I was lulled out of vigilant garden care by a late warm spell, and then, bam, it froze and died. All lost. There are harvests of others kinds to ease … Continue reading

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It flew by.

Wow, the end of September and not a single post. This photo from our last hurrah before school started sums it up: This is us traveling at high speed up an Oregon sand dune and screaming with…something like a thrill. … Continue reading

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Peace Defined

Can there be peace in the midst of trial? If you adjust your definition of peace: “It may be a certain grit and courage I have to bring to the situation to navigate the delusions and anxiety of the trial.”
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When your daughter finds a baby jackrabbit

The dog brought a baby jackrabbit to our lawn. Miraculously unharmed, the small gray creature with eyes wide open was a gift to my 9 year old animal loving daughter. She has wanted to raise a baby rabbit for years, … Continue reading

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Skunk Cabbage at Clear Lake

Our family had a great trip to Cold Water Cove, a beautiful, quiet area around Clear Lake, the headwaters of the McKenzie River. We had driven from Central Oregon over the Cascade Mountains to get to this scenic getaway in … Continue reading

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My High Desert Wildflower Tour

Come along while I track down the desert wildflowers on my Central Oregon property. With our wet spring, I’m seeing some I’ve never seen before.
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Ein Deutsches Requiem!

Today was full of beautiful things, the highlight being attending the Central Oregon Symphony’s presentation of Brahms’ German Requiem, joined by the Cascade Chorale and Central Oregon Mastersingers. My dear friends Jane and Julia were my company, along with the … Continue reading

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The Pixie Chicks and other signs of spring

I call these these the Pixie Chicks: This photo is from a few weeks ago when we stopped at my neighbor Pixie’s house and the kids enjoyed her chickens. We are loving that spring is hopefully here to stay. It … Continue reading

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Women of The French Resistance

A look at the life of another woman of the French Resistance, French housewife Berthe Fraser. Continue reading

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Behind Enemy Lines

A review of Marthe Cohn’s compelling memoir of life as a young French Jew and nurse/spy with the Free French forces.
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Suite Française and Irene’s Story

A review of Irene Némirovsky’s stunning novel of humanity in chaos; her book remained undiscovered for 64 years after her death at Auschwitz.
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When Ginger Came Flying My Way

It was one of those days when I’m glad to live in a small town; and believe me, there are days when I wish I didn’t. I was shopping at my local grocery store this evening when a friend approached … Continue reading

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Dear March – Come in!

How are things in your part of the world? It may not feel like spring, but I know it’s coming, the calendar tells me so. And also the sky, the birds, the tiny signs of life I see poking through … Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, poetry, the ranch | 6 Comments

I Am From

I AM FROM By Jennifer @ Diary of 1 I am from dusty country roads, From Vick’s Vapor Rub And handmade clothes. I am from the dirt floors of a house built from corrugated iron and boards, With unshaded lightbulbs … Continue reading

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The holocaust of time

As I resolved to waste less time this year, I had the chilling thought that modern life is fracturing our souls with its pulls and lures in every direction, so much so that we are barely left human.
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Scene and Herd

Concerns About the Creche J: No, no, the angels are looking at nothing! L: Well, let’s move the shepherd back here, he’s a lesser one anyway. J: The Wise Man can’t be giving his gift to the cow, move him! … Continue reading

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Revisiting the Magic Window

I wrote about my Magic Window last December, and guess what? I found it! Actually, one of my kids found it in a box of my scant childhood mementos. I wrote last December: What was so magical about this double-paned … Continue reading

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Our Oregon Ducks

My class at our small country school hatched out the cutest little baby ducks a few weeks ago. After 20 some days of the children carefully turning the eggs twice daily, checking the temperature and humidity, and barely checking their … Continue reading

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The Advent of Freedom: celebrating 20 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In this Thanksgiving month, what a reminder to give thanks to God for freedom, wherever it exists, both on the face of the earth and in our spirits. … Continue reading

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October’s Party

This painting Autumn Leaves by John Everett Millais (1856) fits the following poem so well. I can just imagine that these are my own four children gathering leaves and admiring their beauty. These girls in the long velvet dresses may … Continue reading

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Boy’s eye view of science

My favorite photo from last week is my 10 year old son putting together his “Snap Circuit Set.” He needs a more advanced electricity kit because he does this one by heart and so fast it would make Franklin and … Continue reading

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The French Revolution and the Marquis de Lafayette

Lafayette joins another revolution in his homeland. A look at why it was so much harder this time. Continue reading

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The American Revolution and the Marquis de Lafayette

Without the military and diplomatic skills of this Frenchman, history may have had a different ending.
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Little of This and That: Train, Garden, France.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there! I have a little of this and that to write about today. TRAIN. First, here’s one of my favorite pictures from my photofiles: A little train depot we pass nearly … Continue reading

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PAX

I fly out of PDX (Portland International Airport) soon, not to be confused with PAX (Latin for peace). It’s PAX that’s on my mind, even as I prepare to board that flight out of PDX to attend a memorial service … Continue reading

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Memorial Day: taking a minute to write

Life has been incredibly busy, but I wanted to take a minute and record the days. Memorial Day weekend has been wonderful. Family came to visit from the valley, and my kids enjoyed some precious times with their cousins and … Continue reading

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A bowling lesson

How gracious of the Lord to keep inviting us back into His “game” and His calling and kingdom work, even though we throw gutter balls now and again.
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Be blessed as you serve

God is meeting you and has a blessing for you even as you are ministering to and serving others.
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Fun with Seeds and Seedlings

Kids will love these hands-on activities relating to how seeds grow, how strong seeds really are, and the importance of the plant’s first leaves.
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Reflections on the Resurrection

The Resurrection was a one-time big event, but spring is a great time to focus anew on the Resurrection power of the living Christ at work in me.
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Finding My Inner Amish

It all started with the Amish friendship bread starter. Now spring has me searching for simplicity.
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Expressive Social Studies

No more boring lessons–I’ll share some secrets to bringing an artistic flair to this subject that makes history come alive.
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Inspired Book Reports: Lapbooking Where the Red Fern Grows

You may call them lapbooks or literary logs, but these folders full of mini-books will have your students no longer cringing at book reports.
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The Masters and the Classics

How to introduce your students to the greatest works of art and classical music pieces of all time in just 10 minutes a day.
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John Sanford: retired Cornell professor shows up Darwinism

Dr. John Sanford’s research on the human genome gives compelling theoretical evidence that life cannot possibly be the result of mutations and natural selection.
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Benjamin Carson: star neurosurgeon sees God in science

Professor and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School. One of the top scientists in the world, he takes a risk by being very open about his Christian beliefs and support of creation theology.
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Zakaria Botros, unafraid to defy Islam

(1933 – present). A Coptic priest from Egypt, this evangelizer to the Muslim world preaches the gospel despite jailings, death threats and fatwahs.
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Berthe Fraser, from Housewife to French Resistance Hero

(1894-1956). She appeared to be an average French housewife, but was a hero of the French Resistance, fighting the WWII Nazi German occupation of France.
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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: literary giant, light of truth

(1918-2008). Russian novelist and historian, imprisoned and exiled by the Stalin regime for writing about the crushing afflictions of Soviet Communism.
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Helen Suzman, voice of freedom for South Africa

(1917-2008). Jewish South African anti-apartheid activist, and for 13 years, the sole opposition lawmaker in parliament.
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The Magic Window

The blacktop road swirled in wisps of powdery snow as I drove home this mid-December evening. The biting chill of the arctic wind was numbing, but not piercing enough to cut off the beauty of the glacial billows hovering above … Continue reading

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Christmas Music: Annie Moses Band!

Do you have a favorite Christmas song or album? I discovered my latest rave last Christmas, as I heard a completely unique rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” come over the airwaves.See what I mean? I’m talking an amazing … Continue reading

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My Star of Bethlehem

I felt like a modern-day shepherd, or maybe a wiseman, as I drove home last night, the brilliance of the convergence of Venus and Jupiter juxtaposed next to the crescent moon causing me to breathe deeply at the magnificent sight. … Continue reading

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Before You Go

Before You Go, a Tribute to our aging veterans. For my Grandpa T., who served in WWI, and Uncle Doug who served in the Korean War. Do you have friends or family members who have served in wars to protect … Continue reading

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Oops, sorry about the mess up there!

Give me a few days and I’ll have the mess up there on my header fixed. I just need my tech guy (husband) to finish the hunting season and then we’ll clean it up. I’m looking forward to a Saturday of … Continue reading

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The Child’s Inventor’s Box

Learn how to put together an “inventor’s box” for a child of any age–for science exploration and innovation! Including everything from pipe cleaners to simple circuits, we’ll explore short term and long term projects for the creative child.
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Frugal Field Trips

Local field trips are a perfect late summer outing–follow us to the greenhouse, a ranch, and a stunning state park.
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When sleeping on the living room floor felt like camping

“We reminisced around the campfire about the summer we lived on this property, just two years ago, in our travel trailer, parked right there by the teeth-brushing-tree.” Continue reading

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Summertime Recipes From the Family Cookbook

Frank and Hilda were born in the late 1800s. They married and had 12 children, who had children, who had children, and they all cooked.
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Parents Rights

Parents have a fundamental right to control the upbringing and education of their children; how to recognize an infringement of these rights.
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Free Speech

Another First Amendment right fundamental to a democracy, and why Hate Crimes legislation is eroding this right.
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Religious Freedom

One of the most fundamental human rights that exists; a history of its inclusion in the First Amendment and why this right is under fire today.
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