A Season of Change

Due to the possibility of pregnancy complications, my doctor had an early ultrasound performed on me today. Through God's infinite grace, everything remains healthy and normal. As an unexpected blessing, we are now able to introduce you to our little one.

Kyle has affectionately christened the baby "gingerbread cookie" in response to the position of the little arm and leg buds in the picture. What a miracle is life!


As We...

As we stood in packed grocery lines and observed carts overflowing with abundance, our hearts went out to those who have none.

As we sat around tables groaning under the weight of scrumptious foods, our hearts went out to those who have none.

As we enjoyed the company of loving family, our hearts went out to those who have none.

As we relaxed in the shelter of our warm home through the course of the holiday weekend, our hearts went out to those who have none.

Every 2.2 seconds, another child "ages out" of an orphanage with no family and no place to call home.

Every day 5,760 more children become orphans somewhere in the world.

It is estimated there are over 143,000,000 orphans in the world today.

Many of these children will accept jobs that ultimately result in being sold as slaves.

As we pray for hearts overflowing in thankfulness for all that God has blessed our family with, we seek the grace to know how he is calling us to be a blessing to the "least of these".

Ministries to Help You Get Involved:


Musings Regarding Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence [sic], have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

President Abraham Lincoln
October 3, 1863

Thank you good ol' Abe, for setting aside a day for national Thanksgiving, and thereby forcing us to do what so often does not come naturally.

In my childhood, Thanksgiving was often marked one of our favorite past times- gathering together with our dearest friends out in Indiana. As the house overflowed with members from both of our large, homeschool families, we would at some point congregate to share "thankfulness lists" compiled on paper turkey feathers. As each list was shared and then used to plume the paper turkey upon the kitchen wall, important lessons in thankfulness were quietly modeled by our parents.

Though I lack the artistic turkey and colorful feathers, I desire the Spirit would instill within me a true thankfulness of grace this holiday season. I leave you with this; a "thankfulness list" portraying a snapshot of the many blessings God has bestowed upon us this year. Whether or not you imagine them ingrained on a construction paper feather... is entirely your decision.

  1. a teaching position this school year
  2. weekends filled with family and friends
  3. another year with our "trusty old mac"
  4. ownership of a reliable vehicle
  5. a warm, cozy home
  6. the blessing of a fabulous church family
  7. discipleship from those older & wiser
  8. opportunity for affordable continued education
  9. hours of quality time as a couple
  10. sovereign grace
Blessings for a Happy Thanksgiving!


Kingdom Education

A recent teacher training session at CCA caused me to reexamine my understanding of education from a biblical perspective. Throughout my years of teaching in Christian education, God has caused me to continually develop and refine my biblical philosophy of education. Though I disagreed with much of what our speaker shared, the teaching resulted in my new working definition of Kingdom Education.

The life-long, biblical, Christ-preeminent process of...

Building in a child the strong foundation of a biblical worldview

Equipping a child to know and bring glory to God

Interceding for a child to come to be a lifelong follower of Jesus Christ

(revised from Kingdom Education by Dr. Glen Schultz)

How thankful I am that God continues to transform my thinking through the framework of the gospel!



"The most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones being argued, but the ones that are assumed."
- C. S. Lewis

"A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are meant for."
- Dr. Jeff Myers

" Words have meaning."
- Michael Bauman


Foodie Fridays

Obviously... it's not Friday. However, I am participating in "Foodie Friday" over at The Cooks Next Door. Their fabulous recipes have found way into many of our dinners over the course of these last few years.

This week we enjoyed a delightful progressive dinner with our church family, and I wanted to share the recipe I used for our appetizer contribution.

The idea for the presentation of this cheeseball comes from an issue of Healthy Cooking by Taste of Home sometime last autumn.

(from Kitchen Aid's Instruction and Recipe Booklet for Your Stand Mixer)

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup Swiss cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped chives
2 tsp. Worchstershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Place all ingredients except pecans in mixer bowl. Beat about 1 minute, or until well blended. On waxed paper, shape mixture into a ball. Roll ball in chopped pecans. (At this point I used the handle of a table knife to shape the sides of the ball into a pumpkin. I had to press extra pecans into the groves to complete the coating. I then used a small stalk of fresh celery with the leaves still attached to create the stem.) Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until serving time. Serve with assorted crackers or raw vegetables.

Quick and easy, this recipe makes for a delicious snack or fabulous appetizer when hosting get-togethers. The cute autumn touch of the pumpkin shape was an added visual bonus!


From the Ends of the Earth...

As a part of my new position at school, I have the privilege of working with an exchange student from Japan. When first handed the schedule with this young woman on my class list, I inwardly balked.

"I don't know anything about teaching an ESL (English as a Second Language) student!"
"What will I say to a sixteen year old girl?"
"My knowledge of Japan is limited to Mulan and WWII!"
"How in the world am I going to begin to understand her college-level CCA textbooks?"

I have since come to realize that teaching this beautiful young woman has very little to do with my own knowledge or expertise. Sure, we work on English skills together. And indeed, I am gaining new insights into Japanese culture. And yes, I am tackling content material I myself did not pay heed to in high school.


I am mostly in the business of watching.

Watching her begin to understand the most basic elements of biblical history.

Watching as the truth of the gospel penetrates her mind.

Watching a young girl traverse the halls of a Christian school halfway around the world from her atheistic homeland.

Watching as our Sovereign God works to accomplish His purposes for His glory.

Will you pray?


Sweet Corn!

One of the joys of living in the Mid-West is the great abundance of harvest "goodies" available each fall. The annual Sweet Corn Festival in Normal marks the beginning of this delightful season, and we await it each year with eager anticipation. What a wonderful way to bid the summer "good-bye".

The sweet corn is cooked in this old steam-engine- converted- roaster. It even makes the whistle noise of an old steam engine train... how fun!

All the corn is piled into the middle of the street for shucking, cleaning, and cooking by a team of workers. They keep cooking for two days 'till every last ear is gone.

Kyle enjoys his hot, freshly-steamed corn. We had to bring our own pepper grinder to add to the flavor this year.

My favorite part of the festival is the lemonade shake-up, which I talk about for weeks prior to the event. The enjoyment of each delightful sip was everything I had hoped.

And so begins the harvest season in Central Illinois...



As I sit at my kitchen table tonight, I am struck with a sense of blessing. What good things God has done for us! When I think of who I would be without the grace of God, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving. May my life be lived fully for His glory... no matter the cost!


Kitchen Moments

I truly enjoy baking. Cooking dinner? Not so much fun. But give me a vision for a beautiful confectionery and I am in bliss.

Through the purchase of Kyle's espresso maker, our name has ended up on the William-Sonoma catalog list. While this can often be a dangerous thing, I saw a fabulous new toy in the most recent edition... and for once it was actually in our price range! This last week I became the happy new owner of a lattice pocket pie mold.

Behold the results...

Kyle has graciously offered to be my "critic" in evaluating the results of my labors... grudgingly, of course! :)



It's strange the memories we cherish. Though there are many wonderful, serious, important moments of my life that include my grandfather, it was the little snapshots that ranged at the forefront of my mind this past weekend.

... bags of circus peanuts... snapping his belt above our heads... the wonderful sandbox he painstakingly created for us on the lake... trips in the boat... "learning" to ski & "learning" to dive (two things I still NEVER attempt)... a tall glass of water with no ice each night at dinner... throwing us in the water ... mechanical toys... practical jokes... raisin bran cereal... his ongoing battle with the beavers... getting letters from the great Grand PAW Oz....

Why is it that the seemingly insignificant moments are the ones we cherish most in life?


A Pale, Yellowish-Green Thumb

Despite my unhappy attempts with several other houseplants who were sent off to the garden gods with a memorializing sigh, I am going to attempt the growth of something green in my home. Thus motivated, I have begun an herb garden!

Having decided that the unfortunate end of my other snapshots of nature was largely due to lack of direct sunlight in our energy-efficient, cleverly-built home, I invested in a grow-light for my birthday.

Thus far, my culinary herb collection consists only of rosemary, which I have carefully placed in perfectly blended soil just as my research indicated. Rocks at the bottom f
or good drainage... to prevent root rot. A misting bottle... to prevent underwatering. Placement near the light... to help growth. Placement far enough away from the light... to keep the leaves from being dried to a crisp. Perfect home temperature... to ensure healthy growth. At this point it occurs to me that I have known new pets that require less maintainence.

I am looking forward to picking out at least two more plants at our local farmer's market this week. Basil, mint, chives, and thyme have made the final cutting list.

Any suggestions for deepening the shade of green in my thumb would be greatly appreciated. Until that occurs... say a gardener's prayer for the lives of my unsuspecting new houseguests.


Summer Sweetness

We went strawberry picking yesterday. A little farm located a pleasant drive north of Normal grows healthy berries by following organic growing practices. My birthday is usually the signal that it is time to make the trip, but this year we called ahead only to hear the unpleasant news that the season started and ended unusually early. "You may be able to get a few quarts if you spend some time," was the unwelcome message I received from the (admittedly friendly) farmer. With hopes slightly daunted, we decided to give it a try.

Though the field was definitely overgrown with thistles, and though the berries were cleverly hiding under the rotting leaves of the plants, we managed to harvest a heaping four quarts of deliciously sweet berries. My husband was the careful, choosy picker who filled one quart with large, plump, delicate specimens. I was the more ambitious picker who filled three quarts with acceptable berries.

Most of the berries we found were hiding under the semi-shade of these bug-eaten leaves, next to the juicy carcasses of their less fortunate over-ripe relatives.

Perfect for freezing to enjoy later on a bleak winter day.

The self- appointed farm "watchgoose" disliked our intruding presence.

Piper attempts to help himself to a luscious strawberry still warm from the June afternoon sun.


Internet Signals

It has been significant time since I last wrote. Though many probably haven't noticed the lull, it can be attributed to the fact that our trusty, unknown neighbor we refer to as "linksys" has apparently moved. The internet signal we have been happily borrowing for the past two years disappeared sometime in the middle of May. After a month of sitting outside the local coffee shop or my parents' house using internet service from the front seat of our car, we decided it was time for a change. Thanks to a visit from Comcast on Saturday, we have now joined the realm of those who pay for their internet services.

As a result, you shall be hearing more from me... which is hopefully reason to rejoice.


Healthy Eating?

Due to the health concerns I have experienced these last few years, Kyle and I have been slowly trying to make our lifestyle a little healthier. He has been particularly insistent on finding more natural methods of eating. We began using aluminum-free deodorant. We have started making our breads and baked goods from scratch to reduce chemical additives. We incorporated more fresh products and less canned goods. We have replaced plastic water bottles with reusable Nalgene bottles. We engage in regular exercise most nights. We drink more water and less soda. We buy more organic foods. We don't consume high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sugars. As a result, in grocery shopping this weekend I found myself reading the fine print on every item I handled. As this genuinely takes more time, Kyle quickly grew bored and meandered over to the lawn & garden section. As our time in the store grew to a close and he rejoined me, I scanned my health-conscious list in a final check and then turned to ask, "Is there anything else you want?"

In his hand...

And I am doing all this extra work to what end?


Effects of Spring and SAT's...

CRAZY antics from four foot tall individuals!

We just completed our week of Standardized Achievement Testing. While we are blessed to spend little time preparing for this week (unlike our public school counterparts), what are the results of long periods of silence and lots of minuscule bubbles?

A snapshot of my week...

I bent over to get napkins from my desk drawer only to rise and face a group of boys with marshmallows STUCK to their front teeth and pretzel rods up their noses.

Where is the camera when you need one?


April Fools!

Harmless prank or cruel torture? Ask my fourth graders to decide!

About mid-morning I announced to my students we would be taking a "thinking test". This is a common procedure for reading comprehension practice, but today was a little different. I asked the kids to put their hands on their heads (the signal for full attention) and listen closely as I informed them this was "a special test to measure their memory capacity". A little speech on the principal's endorsement of this very important assessment that comprised 30% of the grade on the report card they were receiving today, and even the most nonchalant looked terrified.

As I distributed the specially comprised test with the most obscure memory tasks I could conjure, the faces of 15 fourth graders began to register varying degrees of shock. I could see plans of fun weekends fading away in light of serious groundings for the grade they could already foresee. For the three who actually read the directions, the ten minutes were glorious fun as they studied the faces of their less conscientious classmates. After ten minutes came the big reveal... April Fools!

It might have been a wicked trick, but it was fabulous fun! :)


The Nose On Your Face

Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face
Jack Prelutsky

Be glad your nose is on your face,
Not pasted on some other place,
For if it were where it is not,
You might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
Were sandwiched in between your toes,
That clearly would not be a treat,
For you'd be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
Were it attached atop your head,
It soon would drive you to despair,
Forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
An absolute catastrophe,
For when you were obliged to sneeze,
Your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
Remains between your eyes and chin,
Not pasted on some other place--
Be glad your nose is on your face!

When the cold rain is drizzling down outside, I find myself thankful for many things. A Warm house... a hot cup of TEA... an excellent Book to read... and a NOSE on my face!


A Beginning

I have wanted to start a blog for some time, but considered the technological challenge too much for my brain to handle. The idea of "blogging" is a funny one to me, considering it is a form of recording the day-by-day details of my rather uninteresting life for public consideration. However, I decided this is exactly what my brain needs to keep it alive through the muddled season of winter melting into spring in Illinois. So here I go!