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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vacation Reading

We're on our annual vacation this week and I'm quite certain that today we don't have any time for reading aloud. However, our car ride gave us nearly 12 hours of time for reading, listening, coloring, and crossword puzzles and that's just on the way here.

What's in the car to read on the way there and back?

I've got...
  • Rilla of Ingleside (Montgomery). This is a upper level book for TOG Y4, but I plan to read it for fun. Rilla is the grown daughter of Anne (of Green Gables fame).
  • Protocol Matters (Boswell). To prepare for the "Honor Means Making Others Feel Special" class I'm teaching to our co-op this fall.
  • My WSJ crossword puzzle
For read-alouds to the kids...
  • Mandy (Andrews). We have the library's abridged version of this book by Julie Andrews on audio cassette for listening in the car.
  • Miss Pickerell Goes Undersea (MacGregor). This looked like a fun read-aloud. We'll see. I caught both girls leafing through it the day before we left, so hopefully they'll be interested.
  • Five Children and It (Nesbit). We still need to finish this. We haven't because of life crowding in on us. We're looking forward to discovering what other wishes the children wish--only to regret.
In Sydney's bag...
  • Betsy-Tacy (Lovelace). The first in a series. Hope has read several of the Betsy-Tacy books and wishes that the local library branch had them all. We'll have to request them from other branches. Sydney is starting Betsy-Tacy, just in time for the trip.
In Hope's bag...
  • Magic or Not? (Eager). Another book by Edward Eager that follows Half Magic.
In Lane's bag...
  • Art supplies: colored pencils, plenty of paper, tape. Lane treasures the idea of having all that time in the car in which to make books without being interrupted by mom calling him to chore duty.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vacation Playlists

The Edwards Academy is officially on vacation. We could not survive our long car trip to and from family camp without our iPod. We use a FM transmitter so that all six of us can enjoy the playlists together. A look at what we’re listening to on this trip:

“Lemon Tree” (Peter, Paul, and Mary)
Grandpa S. sang this song to me when I was little and now he sings it to our youngest, Toby. At 2 and a half, Toby only sings two songs, “Jesus Loves Me” and “Lemon Tree.” After hearing his sweet voice randomly singing “Lemon tree pretty…flower sweet…” I added the song to the iPod. It is difficult to add just one Peter, Paul and Mary song, however, when the forces of nostalgia pull on me. So I also downloaded…

“’Puff’ the Magic Dragon” (Peter, Paul, and Mary)
This is also a song that my dad loves to sing to us. After I added it to the iPod, I noticed that Lane buried his face in his favorite blanket as he listened. Sure enough, he was heartbroken. “Mom,” he tearfully asked, “Why did Jackie Paper die?” I explained that he didn’t die, he just grew up and stopped imagining about magic dragons and playing imaginary games. This didn’t console Lane in the least, and he cried all over again to think of losing his imagination. According to Wikipedia, the lyrics to this song were inspired by Lane’s favorite Ogden Nash poem, “The Tale of Custard the Dragon.”

“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” (McHugh, Fields)
We downloaded the Pasadena Roof Orchestra recording of this 1928 song. We latched onto the song after watching “Bringing Up Baby,” the 1938 movie starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. We aren’t talented singers, but that doesn’t stop us from swinging through our chores belting out, “…That’s the only thing I’ve plenty of, baby! Dream awhile, scheme awhile, We’re sure to find happiness and, I guess, all those things you’ve pined for…”

Mancini: Greatest Hits
We were compelled to download this album because my kids love “Hatari!”, the 1962 Howard Hawks movie that stars John Wayne and tells the tale of a odd mix of characters who catch zoo animals in Africa. Mancini scored the movie and it contains not only the Hatari! theme, but also his well-known, “Baby Elephant Walk," also from the movie. The Greatest Hits album also has "Moon River", the Pink Panther theme, and other wonderful Mancini movie themes.

“Jesus Paid it All” (from “Passion: Everything Glorious”, Stanfill)
I downloaded this just last week after we sang it again in church. This hymn has always been a favorite of mine, and the bridge added by Kristian Stanfill, “O praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!” describes the way I feel about Jesus. 

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Read by Eric Idle)
We received this audio book for Christmas on CDs and downloaded it to the iPod so we can easily listen in the car. I’ve posted about this before, so you know how much we love the Augustus Gloop poem. It is also fun to hear about Veruca Salt. As Wonka says, “My goodness, she is a bad nut after all!” And the Dahl poem that the Oompa Lumpas sing, “Veruca Salt, the little brute, has just gone down the garbage chute…” Eric Idle's reading is very entertaining.

Our iPod, probably like yours, is filled with an odd mix of songs. We've got the Beach Boys and Aaron Copeland. We've got Keith Green and Casting Crowns along with Johnny Cash and Riders in the Sky. We've got Little House on the Prairie audiobooks and Beatrix Potter. There's Mozart and Debussy. And U2. And Sting. Norah Jones and Alison Kraus. Lifeway's VBS music from this year and last. The iTunes library has four and a half days of listening, but only two-thirds of that will fit on our iPod nano (it's a few years old). Still, more than enough listening to take us 12 hours there and 12 hours home.

Happy listening...

The picture shows us on our Memorial Day car trip.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Flying Creatures II

This evening, after a summer rain, we prepared to sit down to dinner when Lane called out, "Look at that bird!"

The brilliant orange glow in the neighbor's tree was impossible to miss but too far off to see clearly. We all peered through the binoculars until finally I decided to risk spooking the bird by walking out the yard to snap his picture.

Here is the result. We believe it is a Baltimore Oriole, which is the first time I've ever sighted one in our neighborhood. 

He did indeed get spooked by the sight of me in the yard, but not before I took a few shots of him.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fishing With Grandpa

By Hope Edwards (age 8), as told to Mrs. Edwards

I went on a fishing trip with my Grandpa Edwards. First, we drove to McDonald’s for lunch. Then, after lunch, we finished the rest of our trip to the state fishing lake. Grandpa drove the Club Wagon van and towed the metal fishing boat. The van is old and has a lot of miles on it. In fact, my dad went on trips in the van when he was a kid. I helped Grandpa launch the boat in the water. After we launched the boat, we got the lawn chairs out and sat down to rest. After a while we went fishing.

We found a shady spot where we went fishing, but we didn’t catch any fish there. I saw a box that was floating inside a yellow floating ring. The box had fish painted on it. I asked Grandpa what it was. He told me, “That’s a fish feeder. It goes off throughout the day and throws pellets to feed the fish.”

So, we drove the boat over by our campsite where my cousin Isaac and Grandpa caught blue gill last week when they went fishing. (Grandpa only takes one grandchild fishing each week.) We didn’t catch any fish until evening when I caught three fish, one by one.

For dinner, we had hot dogs, so we got the camp stove out to cook them. We put the stove on a board that Grandpa stores under the mattress. We put the board over the boat trailer. We had potato chips and French fries (I had some left over from lunch). I drank root beer and Grandpa had either water or Coke. We sat in the lawn chairs and ate off plastic plates. While we were eating we talked about when Grandpa took the Edwards cousins fishing. I cleared the plates and then we went fishing.

Grandpa had a fishing pole for me to use while we were there. Grandpa put the worms on the hook. (I was fishing with a bobber.) He taught me how to cast and told me to jerk the line when the bobber went under the water. I waited for a fish to bite. But, I didn’t catch any until after dinner. I saw the bobber go under and I thought it would be too late so I was reeling in as fast as I could. The first fish I caught was the biggest. It flapped the water with its tail. I pulled it up out of the water and Grandpa was sitting on the other side of me and I guided it slowly over to him, so I wouldn’t hook him. He took the hook out of its mouth and said, “You hooked him good!” I didn’t say anything; I was too excited.

Grandpa put the fish on the stringer. There is a thing that is sharp at the end of a rope that Grandpa stuck through the gills, like you’re sewing it up through the gills and out the mouth, then he strung it down to the end of the string, where there is a key ring. He stuck the sharp thing through it, tying a knot around the fish. Then he swung it over the side of the boat and looped it onto the side so the fish could still be living in the water but couldn’t get away. He did the same thing with the other two fish that I caught. They were too small to keep, so Grandpa took a picture of me with the fish and then we let them go.

In the evening we walked up the hill to call Grandma and Mommy. I looked for fossil rocks in the ditch along the gravel road. We tried to call Grandma Edwards but it didn’t go through. Then Grandpa dialed my number so that I could talk to my mom. She answered but then the cell phone cut off. Then we walked back down the hill and when we got to the campsite, Grandma called us just as Grandpa was taking his blood sugar. We talked to her and then, since we seemed to get a better signal in our campsite, we called my mom.

It was hot! Grandpa has a mattress over a wooden board fitted into the back of the van. I put my sleeping bag next to Grandpa’s and my pillow. I went to bed about nine o’clock. It was dark and we could see the fireflies.

The next morning was cooler so Grandpa told me to keep the doors open so the van would cool off. We had a breakfast of Frosted Cheerios for me and Honey Nut Cheerios for Grandpa. We had ruby red grapefruit juice that has no sugar in it.

We went fishing. Grandpa caught a blue gill and I caught a blue gill. Then we went back to camp for a drink and I wanted to take a picture of the bed. I set the camera under the bed on the stove (which was covered with a carpet) in order to make the bed. Grandpa pulled the camera off the stove but it fell on the ground. The button that you press to take the picture popped off and was lost in the grass. We hunted and hunted for it, but we couldn’t find it. After looking for a while we decided to go for a boat ride and then take the boat out of the water.

On the boat ride I saw the fish feeder again. You aren’t supposed to go fast on the lake, because it is a fishing lake, but Grandpa thought it wouldn’t hurt to go a little fast. We did. I helped Grandpa take the boat out of the water, which takes a lot of wading, and then we loaded the boat on the trailer. It was time to go home.

We stopped at the same McDonald’s for lunch on the way home. We parked in the same parking spot and I ordered the same thing as the day before. Grandpa did too. We went to Grandpa’s house and switched cars. I saw Grandma and showed her the pictures in the camera. She said, “Wow!” On the way to my house, we stopped at Aunt Annette’s house to return Isaac’s life jacket. Grandpa showed me fossil rocks that my cousins Zachary, Holly and Isaac had found. He told me to ring the bell to see if they were home. They weren’t. As we got into the car to go to my house, we saw three kids and a lady walking and Grandpa said, “That must be Aunt Annette with Isaac.” As she walked up Aunt Annette said, “Did you take Hope fishing?”

“Yes,” he said, “We had a good time.” He told her that I wanted to drop off Isaac’s life jacket. She was surprised to see that I was still in the car.

“Was it hot?” she asked us.

“It was really hot,” we both answered.

She said that my cousin Leon was at basketball camp and my cousins Zachary and Holly were at camp in Arkansas. “It’s hot there too, there’s no air conditioning.”

I liked fishing with Grandpa because I caught four fish and I was glad Grandpa caught one. It was also nice to spend time with my Grandpa.

Mrs. Edwards' note: It was nearly 100 degrees, but Grandpa Edwards reported that Hope didn't complain. She also owned up to drinking six cans of root beer! Thanks, Grandpa Edwards, for teaching Hope to fish and spending time with her. She loved being with you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beach Sunday II

Another Sunday afternoon at the lake, our last before our annual trip to Family Camp next weekend. Last week it was just our Edwards immediate family. This week we went with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Jenny, Uncle Jason, and the cousins. We were back at our favorite spot, on the beach but in the shade.

The kids found a toad almost as soon as they hopped off the boat onto the sand. Within minutes they dug out a "home" for the toad. The poor thing spent probably an hour trying to escape as they dug out an ever wider and more complex place for it to live. Finally, I intervened and told them that the poor toad couldn't live through all their love. I repeated the wisdom of a thousand thousand mothers: "If you really care about that toad, let him be free. He'll die if you keep him there and keep handling him!"

Your humble blogger (in the hat) and her sister, Aunt Jenny. Toby sits in the foreground. That was the only time he wore those arm floats. He hated them!

Our beach hangout. Here you see Grandpa, Sydney, Grandma, Mr. Edwards, Aunt Jenny and Uncle Jason.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Home Maintenance Confessions

I thought it was about time to clean the A/C compressor. Mr. Edwards was at work, but Grandpa came over to help with the job. Guess what? This is our sixth summer in this house and our first time to clean the A/C. I know, I know, it's bad, but it's true. We suspect that the previous owner didn't do it either, but who knows?
Grandpa graciously let Toby help unscrew the cover...
...which revealed a horrible mess of caked-on dirt. How on earth could our A/C be working at all with that mess?

It was very satisfying to get all that dirt off...
...and Sydney and Toby were good helpers with the scrub brush....
...and the shop vac.

But Grandpa managed the water hose without help!

I'm looking forward to colder air and lower bills!

Morning Glory

Stargazer Lilies
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love...Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings...As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
Psalm 17:6, 7a, 8, 15 (ESV)

The last few mornings, as I called upon the Lord, I heard his answer when I read my Bible and also when I gazed upon the lilies He created that are now blooming near my front porch. I've been having my summer coffee with the Lord on our front porch and it has been some of the most precious hours of my summer. I listen to the birds sing as I read from the Psalms, the Old Testament, and the New Testament, and record my prayers in my journal. I took this photo of the blooming Stargazer lilies the other morning after spending my time in the Word. Until I truly behold His face, I am satisfied with the blessings He gives me--blessings like these lilies.

Vacation Bible School '08

Edwards kids and friends
This summer Edwards kids attended VBS at our church and at Grandma and Grandpa Edwards' church, the first in June and the latter last week. They enjoyed (Lifeway's) Outrigger Island VBS with their friends and I had a great week hanging out with their friends' mom (and my friend!). Our little guy, Tobias, wasn't big enough for VBS but he had fun playing with four-year-old Kaity.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Pain Problem

Perhaps the problem of pain and human suffering is, philosophically at least, one of the biggest reasons that people resist the sovereignty of God. You know the cunundrum: "Why would a loving God allow this to happen?"

Much has been written about this vexing question (and my title alludes to C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain). It is a question that one can sort out in doctrinal theory and feel at peace with the answer, but then, hit with a fresh bout of suffering and anguish, the problem seems to grow new dimensions and need examination again. My extended family is suffering right now, grieving the loss of a thirty-three year old cousin. So when I saw John Piper's comments about pain on his Desiring God blog (posted July 14), it struck me as very timely. Check out "Why God Doesn't Fully Explain Pain".
Are you reading God's Word daily this summer?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Beach Sunday

We spent another Sabbath afternoon on the beach at a State Park lake near our home. We have such good times together. On this outing, we found a perfect spot of sandy beach with a shady spot tucked in the trees for our big blanket and the sunny shore line just feet away. The kids swam in the water, with the boat on the right and the trees hanging over the water on the left. 

We made tracks....
...and saw tracks...Great Blue Heron (above)
...turtle tracks (above and below)...
...signs of a deer coming to the shore for a drink (below)...

...and signs of our own family time in God's creation.

I've noticed lately how much easier it is to hear all Creation sing praise to God when you are outside! The birds can't help but obey their Maker and sing to Him. The turtles obey His command every time they follow their instinct and walk up on shore. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Sanity, Part II

Lane carries out his kitchen zone duties, and Tobias does his best to take over the job.

After nearly five weeks since posting about our summer schedule, it is time to give an update.

We adhered closely to our schedule for about a week. But after a week of VBS we never went back to the full schedule. However, I don't believe it was a total loss. In fact, it served me pretty well actually. It gave me a structured beginning to the summer and helped us settle into our actual summer routine.

We aren't keeping up on our math and art goals, but we are keeping up on the girls' devotions, daily reading time, and read alouds. I like the zone assignments for chores. We try to apply ourselves to housework right after breakfast, and again after lunch, but I'm willing to cut it short if we have other things to do.

We play outside most mornings, to take advantage of the cooler weather. I'm willing to cut short chores to maximize outside time, knowing that we retreat inside after lunch. Because Tobias (2 years old) requires my supervision outside, I need to sit outside and watch. I'm usually sitting there in the shade with my laptop working on my writing job* while I watch the kids play. I'm working on a July 25 deadline of sorts, so I admit that our summer schedule has flexed to accommodate me.

Although it is just July 8, we have the end of summertime in our sights. Our calendar shows three weeks before our family camp vacation, then after a week of family camp we return home and settle in for school.

Although I could be discouraged that I didn't live up to my ideals, I don't feel that way at all. I suppose every coach starts with a game plan that is adjusted multiple times throughout the game. Every strategy awaits fine-tuning after being field-tested, and that is what we did with our summer schedule.

*I have a job ghostwriting a memoir.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Fourth of July

How did you celebrate the Fourth of July?
We had a cookout at Grandma and Grandpa's house with cousins.
Afterward, we went downtown for open-air NewSong concert followed by--what else?--fireworks.
At the concert we met up with some dear friends.
A few pictures:

Lane with his cousins Nathan and Wesley.

Grandpa with Aunt Jenny, Uncle Jason (with the kids) and Mr. Edwards
Hope and Sydney wielding croquet mallets and hugging their cousin Haley.
Cousins! Sydney, Hope, Haley, Lane, Toby (in front), Wesley, Nathan
Hope and Sydney with their dear friend Evangelyn. Mr. Edwards is sitting behind them.
Evangelyn, Sydney, Hope, and Corinn take in the NewSong concert.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Have you read the full document recently? Enjoy your Fourth of July!

Click here to read:
The Declaration of Independence

Image of original document from Wikipedia (public domain).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Flying Creatures

Our Kansas summer is beginning to be hot, but I still enjoy cool mornings on our front porch with my Bible and coffee. Our house faces west, making the early morning hour just after sun-up especially cool and comfortable. As I read, pray, and meditate on Scripture, I hear all the birds that make their home near ours singing and calling to each other, and I see them swooping around and alighting on branches in my view.
Western Kingbird (Wikipedia)
Recently I noticed several birds that I believe are Western Kingbirds. Our suburban cul-de-sac usually is home to sparrows, robins, and starlings, so it caught my eye to see a yellow-bellied bird speeding through the air across our front yard. This morning the kids and I took a closer look at them through binoculars, watched them flying around a neighbor's tree (that must house their nest) and going back and forth to a street lamp.

My daughter said to me, as she peered at the bird through the binocs, "Mom, now we are like real birders."

I think she's right!
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