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Monday, December 29, 2014

Last Minute Homemade

Cutting out the holes
I challenged David with a project this year for my dad for Christmas.  We had some extra stuff left over from our garage sale this past summer. Sy and Betsy didn't recognize it and Mom and Dad didn't recognize it and so Dad wanted to throw it away. I went through and took out a valuable part of the extra large "space bag" that the stuff was packaged in. Still, none of us know where it came from.

Inside, a treasure to me...a set of mini billiard balls. I saw in my head first thing "clock for Mom and Dad's basement for Christmas". Truth of the matter is, they sat in our garage all fall and a couple weeks before Christmas I mentioned it to David. He said it was totally doable. (I had already picked up the 12x12 shadow box and felt to make the face so I am glad he was on board!)

Finished in the nick of time!
The busy-ness of Christmas and the end of the year gave us very little time for homemade presents. So, on Christmas afternoon, after the opening of the presents at our house, David and I started work on Dad's present for the December 26th Grand Central Christmas celebration. I hate when we wait til the last minute and I hate that we do it all of the time. But, when all was said and done? The clock turned out AWESOME! David rocked all of the woodworking part of it and enjoyed his tools and space to work in the garage.

Happiness is homemade!
I glued on the felt with wood glue and a hot glue gun holds the balls in place from the back. David figured out a great way to hang it with all of the information he has gleaned from watching his favorite woodworking shows. It was pretty heavy with the weight of the wood and balls so it needed to be supported well.

It is now hanging downstairs in the basement by the pool table at Mom and Dad's and looks right at home. I loved this project because it was perfect for Dad and I got to work with David to make something functional and fun!

Monday, December 22, 2014

An Eighth Grade Education?

I found an old email I received a few years back that I thought I would share.  It is a sample of an Eighth Grade Exam in 1895. Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? 

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal. Maybe while you are sitting around enjoying extra time off with the family you can quiz some of your relatives!  How many would be able to pass the Eighth grade.  Personally, I think I would have some studying to do!  Good luck!
(Time, one hour)

  1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters. 
  2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications. 
  3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph. 
  4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of"lie," "play," and "run." 
  5. Define case; Illustrate each case. 
  6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation. 
  7. (7 - 10) Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar. 
(Time, 1.25 hours)  

  1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic. 
  2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold? 
  3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare? 
  4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals? 
  5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton. 
  6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent. 
  7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre? 
  8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent. 
  9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods? 
  10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt. 
U. S. History 
(Time, 45 minutes) 
  1. Give the epochs into which U. S. History is divided. 
  2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus. 
  3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War. 
  4. Show the territorial growth of the United States. 
  5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas. 
  6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion. 
  7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe? 
  8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865 .. 
(Time, one hour) Do we even know what this is?? 
  1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication? 
  2. What are elementary sounds? How classified? 
  3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals 
  4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?) 
  5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule. 
  6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each. 
  7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup 
  8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last. 
  9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays. 
  10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication. 
(Time, one hour) 
  1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend? 
  2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas? 
  3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean? 
  4. Describe the mountains of North America. 
  5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco. 
  6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U. S. 
  7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each. 
  8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude? 
  9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers. 
  10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Whirlwind Baking Night

Thursday night Ryan came home and said "Mom...I only have TONIGHT to bake the Christmas scones I wanted to make for my class tomorrow." Oh yes...the Christmas scones! Ryan had come home earlier in the week and got it in his head that he wanted to bake Christmas scones for his class for Friday, their last day of school before the Christmas break.  I have to admit, I put him off for awhile...four days to be exact!

Ryan loves my scone recipe.  He has actually made it a few times himself.  His idea was to crush up some candy canes and instead of putting dried cranberries in, (which is how I make them...he makes them with chocolate chips!) He chose crushed up candy canes and white chocolate chips and they turned out GREAT! He over planned and so there were as many left over as he made for his class! (Lucky us!)

After about ten minutes of bumping around in the kitchen I realized he had it under control and although, he never said "get out", I knew he was taking pride in his recipe and I found things to do out of his way!  He did use the help of his sisters along the way when he got into the middle of everything!

It was after the dust settled when I realized the extent of his baking project.  Actually, it was after everyone had gone to bed and the aftermath stared me in the face! Next lesson will be "clean as you go"! I just couldn't tackle the mess before bed and as always, I knew that it would be there for me in the morning and I would be better able to deal with it.  So, my morning is planned...I am cleaning my kitchen so we can bake more tonight!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 - A Year in Review

Merry Christmas to all we love far and near!
I love that the Christmas season starts with Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for what God has blessed us with that I can't even put it into words.  Life isn't at all easy, but I can't look at anything in our life and not see God's hand in it.  He is good, He is sovereign and He is divine.  To know that His fingers craft the story of our lives leaves me speechless.

So, what have we been up to in 2014? Catching up is probably the best way to describe it around here this year. Trying not to be too wordy, let me condense:

Healing: Jody is healing from surgeries and will be having the last reconstructive surgery that should close the door on this journey in January. Zachary has been healing from the broken arm he got on Labor Day when he fell from the monkey bars.  We were blessed with the best doctor who did everything he could to keep Zach from surgery successfully! Stacey has been healing from tendonitis in her right knee. Doctor tells us that when a very active kid has a growth spurt sometimes the tendons in knees stage a revolt. Back on two feet again feels good! No basketball for her this winter but just watch out in seventh grade!

Growing: Speaking of growing, Stacey and Ryan are competing for fastest growers in the house this year.  Ryan grew 3 inches since May and Stacey can chalk up 2 inches.  Zachary and Matt are both getting taller and are growing in many other ways too. The triplets are doing well in middle school and have become quite used to the new schedules and activities. Zach is doing well in third grade and Matt?  Well he is ROCKING kindergarten!

Competing: This year Zachary and Dawn both reached competition level in gymnastics and were able to attend many meets.  They constantly improved their scores as their seasons progressed and it was fun to watch and learn how it all works in the world of gymnastics.  Ryan and Stacey played many soccer games this year and we are seeing great confidence and improvement in their seasons as well. Zachary and Matthew also had a great soccer season.

Achieving: Dawn was chosen for the 2014 Opus choir in Ames and we were proud to be able to travel to the ISU campus and hear the beautiful music made by many talented singers.  Ryan was chosen to play his baritone in the Marion Honor Band, which will perform in January.  He is doing very well in band and also plays the drums in the show choir band this year. Ryan, Stacey and Zachary all got high scores in their piano competitions this fall too. I love the music we hear everyday around here!

Improving: We have continued to make our house a home this past year and started some improvements with the hall bathroom where we stripped off the wall paper and painted this fall. We have enough sun in our backyard now that we got to enjoy a garden in the backyard, which helped in improving our diets and helping David and I to shed some pounds.  Once the boxes got unpacked in the garage David was able to try out the oil pit in the garage and changing oil in the vehicles is kind of a cool experience!

Beginning: Matthew has begun school.  It is quiet during the day in the house now without my little tag-a-long but his teacher says that we made the right choice to send him this year.  He is doing well and making lots of friends like we knew he would. He also had his first year of soccer, which he LOVED and has recently started wrestling club.

Adjusting: This mom is adjusting!  What a different life this year than I have been leading the past twelve!  No one is running around my ankles and dropping things behind me faster than I can pick them up.  I have been able to do more volunteering at the school and with a few other organizations locally. I can’t say I don’t miss little people in my house all day, but I can say I am proud to watch the children move through their life stages and be available to guide and cheer them on.  It really is my dream job.

Providing: David has gone through a big transition at work this year. Honeywell bought out his company Intermec and so there are a lot of things that have changed for him as he continues to take care and provide for our family.  We are hoping that there will be a little more down time for him in the coming year so we can take a few trips. We are hoping Georgia this summer!

Preparing: We are embarking on the next stage very quickly times three because you realize the next time I write we will have three teenagers under our roof.  Don’t think I am not pondering that with God on a daily basis.  I do have to say in my experience, the things I dread the most when I look at them ahead of time are the things that surprised me as the easiest or best.  Teenagers?  God is good…bring it on!

Rejoicing: So many good things have been reported to us this year! Friends and loved ones cancer free, healing, births of healthy babies, negative results on medical tests, all the way down to things like good report cards and watching our Zachary grow and rise to challenges that we wouldn’t have expected him to take on.  There is something good in each day, some days we have to look pretty hard, and some days we have to take the bull by the horns and make something good, but He is faithful to lead the way.

Praying: There are so many people who we are lifting in prayer right now in the struggles they are facing.  We are first hand witnesses of the power of prayer, not just the healing prayers but also the sustaining prayers.  Those are the ones we pray each day that uplift the ones we love and are invaluable in those times of need. Again, thank you all for your continued prayers for our family this past year.

Living: One thing that we can say this year is that we are living life…all of us.  Things have been a little topsy-turvy here in the past year and a half. We are plugging away on the medical bills and getting back into a full schedule of activities.  I still get tired faster than I used to and if given a choice between a sitting task or one that requires me to be on my feet, I still seem to like to pick the less active thing.  My oncologist graduated me from her office to the “survivor team” who I will be seeing now instead of her to report any problems or concerns.  Life is good. Now, if we can just find a way to burn some calories while I taxi all of these people around town each day to their various activities! It is much better sitting behind the steering wheel than it is stuck in the recliner!

Our wish for all of you this Christmas season is that this coming year be full of glimpses of heaven because on the first Christmas so long ago, heaven came to earth and left His mark. 

Love you all!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday From My Heart: Classic Sermons...the Birth of Christ

A few years ago my son (with the help of his dad) got me a special gift for Christmas.  A book collection of Classic Sermons.  Each book in the series has a focus and quickly that very year my fast favorite became "On the Birth of Christ".  I love the month of December with tea and this book to bring reminders to me as I read through the Christmas passages of scripture. I thought I would share some excerpts because sometimes as I read I feel like the wisdom of the ages presents some thoughts that are so worth pondering. I also love the reminder that even though these men preached in different time periods of life on earth, God's Word is proven true again when He says there is nothing new under the sun.
In "The Secret of Peace and Good Will" by John Henry Jowett: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among men. And that is all an illusion, is it? Yes, where is the promised peace? Where is the goodwill among men? Look around and see the irony of reality in the happenings of the whole world! And one is obliged to admit that peace seems to have been scared into hiding, and goodwill does not appear to have woven many strands in the intimate web of human fraternity. But is there any explanation of the apparent illusion? The peace was promised; the goodwill was proclaimed. Is it possible that we may have overlooked something which is altogether imperative if the gracious issues are to be realized? I ask these questions with all the more urgency because I know how prone we are, in other matters than those which are distinctly religious, to fasten our attention on effects, and to be strangely negligent of the causes...Where is the glory to God in the highest? We have fixed our eyes upon the third phrase of the angels' song - goodwill among men; or upon the second phrase - peace on earth! And we have overlooked the first phrase, the phrase which is casual and causative - 'glory to God in the highest' That is to say, we have been concerned about fruits, but we have been careless about roots...We have been wanting the corn before we had got the field. We have been expecting man to be right with man before man was right with God...Vital peace among men is to be brought about by the individual man being at peace with God - rectified and justified and sanctified in the power of God's redeeming love and grace. We simply cannot save the world in masses...Salvation and peace are to be found only in the surrender of the personal life to the Saviorhood and comradeship of Christ...It must begin with me".

In "The Mother of Our Lord" by George H. Morrison: "That public throne is not a mother's throne. That glittering crown is not a mother's crown...For the truest humility is not humiliation, nor any abject disparagement of self. It is never to think about oneself at all...Clearly she was a woman who had the gift of silence as truly as she had the gift of song; a woman who knew that there are things you tarnish the moment you begin to speak of them; a woman who set a guard upon her lips...Mary had a heart so full of all that was written in the Word of God, that in that hour it came welling to her lips. Upon the Word she had fed her heart."

In "The Christ of Christmas" by Walter A. Maier: "Above all the hatred of a war-torn world the Christmas anthem 'Peace on Earth' goes out into the world tonight to tell men that the only way to establish peace with our God and peace with our conscience is to come to Christ and to believe that He has effectually and forever removed the discord that exists between the holiness of God and the unholiness of men' that He by His incarnation, by the poverty and suffering to which He as the Lord of lords and the King of kings subjected Himself, satisfied the claims of divine justice and offers to all the benefits of that momentous peace treaty between heaven and earth that has been signed and sealed by His very blood."

In "No Room for the Christ in the Inn" by Charles Haddon Spurgeon: "Were there not in Bethlehem some people who were very respectable, who kept themselves aloof from the common multitude; persons of reputation and standing - could they not find room for Christ? Ah! dear friends, it is too much the case that there is no room for him in what is called good society. There is room for all silly little forms by which men choose to trammel themselves; room for the vain niceties of etiquette; room for frivolous conversation; room for the adoration of the body; there is room for the setting up of this and that as the idol of the hour, but there is too little room for Christ, and it is far from fashionable to follow the Lord fully...How often learning helps men to raise objections to Christ! Too often learning is the forge where the nails are made for Christ's crucifixion...Too often in the priestly church, when once it becomes recognized and mounts to dignity, there is no room for Christ...In this free land, men speak of what they like, and there is a public opinion upon every subject; and you know there is free toleration in this country to everything - permit me to say, toleration to everything but Christ...There was no room for THEM - no room for Joseph, nor for Mary, any more than for the babe. Who are his father, and mother, and sister, and brother but those who receive his word and keep it? So, as there was no room for the blessed Virgin, nor for the reputed father, remember henceforth there is no room in this world for any true follower of Christ...Will you give room for Christ when there is to be henceforth no room for you?"

In "O Come, O Come, Immanuel" by James S. Stewart "But the true comfort of Christ is a strong, bracing, reinforcing thing. It is like a wind to a boat that has been becalmed. It is like the gift of a job to a man who has been for years out of work. It is like the clasp of a friend's hand in time of need. This is certainly the root idea of the word "comfort" in the New Testament; and when Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as the 'Comforter,' He is really giving a promise that God will stand by a man in the day of his need, and brace his heart and nerve his arm, and make him more than a conqueror."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mystery Hooks

I can't believe that I didn't post pictures in November of the before and after shots in our hallway bathroom. I will have to dig those out and do a "home improvement" post.  There is now one room in the house where I can walk into and feel like we have updated something!

Don't get me wrong, we are very comfortable in our house, there is just a lot of mauve and emerald green and way too much wallpaper.

Over Thanksgiving when Michelle was here we finished up the room. Truth be told, David, Michelle and Dawn finished it up. I had gotten tired of that room and someone had to get the groceries and cook the turkey!

One of the main goals in getting the paint up and the fixtures up was to be able to mount the hooks behind the door so that the kids could hang their towels up nicely and not leave them in a big pile on the floor.

I would like to report that these are before and after pictures, but no, these were both taken just a few short minutes ago. Notice the beautiful hooks that David mounted on the wall with a place for everyone's towel plus a guest even!

No, this is how I found the bathroom this evening after we tucked the kids in bed. I even asked Zach "Did you hang up your towel after your shower". "Yeah, I think so" was his answer. Looks like he forgot that he actually didn't hang it up.

We will have a little pep talk tomorrow as a reminder of what goes on the mysterious hooks that Dad put up behind the door. In the meantime, I will pass by that bathroom and remember the miracle that we are living each day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Yep, It Looks Broken!

Stacey was in the Orthopedic office again yesterday to check on her knee which is working wonderfully and doing great!  It just so happens that she has had a very sore and swollen finger as a result of some shenanigans with friends.

We just happened to mention it to the doctor.  I mean, we are at the office already, might as well.  He did an examination and told us it looked broken and that he would have it splinted for a couple of weeks if it was.  He gave us a roll of tape and told us to keep it taped to her pinkie for two weeks and if it still hurt or got worse any time between now and then, to give him a call.  Go in with tendinitis in the knee and come out with a broken finger.  That just seems to be the the way we roll!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Survivor Files: Surgery in January

I have to say that I have been enjoying life without thinking about the visits to the doctor and whether or not I am healing properly.  The fall has been fancy free in that department mainly because I am feeling better and I put off the last reconstructive surgery until January and didn't have to think about it.

Today was my pre-op and lab work so I guess you could say I am back at it and remembering how much I don't like this life.  The doctor hasn't seen me since the end of July which was my post op from surgery in June.

Surgery is scheduled for January 9th and I was told it would be a couple of hours to finish up the things that need doing.  I guess my jeans were a little lower cut today than they were the last time because the doc caught a glimpse of my stomach and said "Oh, you have a pouch!" Yes...I was well aware of how my stomach has turned out after the tram flap surgery and that it didn't look like the "after" pictures I had seen.  But lets face it, back in July doc had seen me so many times with the healing issues in the last 10-11 months that I knew he was sick of me.  I was sick of seeing him!

Today, with fresh eyes and 4 1/2 months off he noticed the "pouch" above the abdominal incision and said right away "that has to be fixed".  Yes!  I agree.  Then he started listing all the things that will be a part of the January surgery and turned to me and said "you are going to have to stay overnight we will be doing a lot and we will want to keep a close eye on you."

Huge sigh in my heart!  Ugh! So much for a quick surgery to end the saga.  The thing that gets me is that I am not even fighting cancer!  I haven't been fighting cancer since a year ago August (thankfully), but this is all just after junk...stuff that was supposed to be done a year ago!  This is annoying stuff that drains my energy and makes me have to spend my time recovering. I didn't even ask how long another abdominal recovery will take.  Don't really want to think about it today. Maybe tomorrow, today there is too much to be thankful for!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Our Little Reader

Matthew is slower at showing off his reading to us than the other four were.  They loved to come home from school and show me what they could read.  Matthew was never a kid that sat still long enough to read too long at one sitting and I see that now too.

He likes to be able to guess although he is good at sounding out words if I make him sit there and do it. He loves the Jesus tree this year.  There is something about going and getting out his Bible and looking up the verses and reading them out loud to the whole family.

He is very excited to do that. It makes my heart warm to listen to his little voice read God's word. Just another of those moments to cherish!

He especially liked last night when he got to show off to Daddy his reading skills. Dawn said "I didn't know Matthew could read so good!" Matt always likes to have an audience!