Saturday, June 30, 2007

They're home!!

This morning I am a happy hen now that all my chicks are back under my wings. I sure missed Anna and Maggie while they were at Missions Camp at BJU. They had a good time and learned a lot. Had to laugh when I saw their pictures. There were several photos where everyone was soaked, literally. Evidently they got caught in a rainstorm on one of the very few sidewalks that weren't covered. What memories that stirs!
This is a picture of Anna and Maggie standing in front of their dorm, Nell Sunday, the dorm I stayed in my Freshman year. Mike and Sarah went to pick up Maggie and Anna, so while they were there, they made their usual visit to the bookstore. Got lots of wonderful books, music, and CDs. I haven't seen the books yet, but for music they bought a music book for recorders, some wonderful violin duet music (hymns), and a sacred duet book that Maggie and I have already played through. For CDs, Mike bought another recording of his favorite sacred quartet, The Calvary Quartet.

Last year Mike brought home a CD called The Farm Boys that we loved and have played many times. It was recorded by five boys who were attending BJU at the time. Unfortunately I have searched the internet and cannot find a copy being sold anywhere. Too bad. Here's what it looks like if you ever find a copy on eBay or Amazon. The email address on the back is thefarmboys@bellsouth.net. I don't know if this is still good. Anyhow, this summer Mike brought home another CD called Clean Pickin' that we are in the process of wearing thin. If you go to this link you can listen to samples. These are very hillbilly-sounding CDs. Our family should be living in the hills of Tennessee.Maggie and Anna went through the whole basic process of what it takes to be a short term missionary which involved pretending they were going to assigned countries. They even went to the airport and sat in the small 6-seater planes, which Maggie fell in love with. I was pleased that Anna was able to do all the finances including buying her plane ticket to Ghana, Africa. Maggie was assigned to El Paso, Mexico.

Some of the classes involved cooking from fruits and veggies with the main meat being lamb. Both Maggie and Anna were disgusted by the lamb dishes because of the fattiness and bloody rare doneness. Of course, Maggie loved everything about the kitchen, the cooking instructor (Mr. Moritz), even the dishwasher! Maggie and Anna were assigned with a friend, Jonathon who was really good about singing along as he chopped food. Afterwards everyone asked when they were coming out with their CD!

Well, it's time to peg all the laundry and air out the suitcases. Enjoy your weekend.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, June 25, 2007

Well, it's Monday morning after a busy, fun weekend. On Saturday we left at 4 am to drive to Charlottesville, NC to spend the day at a waterpark called Emerald Point Wet 'n Wild. For some reason, I thought we could go and have our fun and not be affected by the worldliness of others. Every once in a while I have to learn this lesson again. Our family did have a wonderful time riding on all the wonderful water slides. I prefer keeping my stomach intact, so I enjoyed the wave pool. But we were shocked at the swimsuits...or lack thereof.

I keep forgetting that we live a different life than the world. Our family life seems so normal that I forget that the world is on a different track. I guess the good thing is that our whole family was shocked and we're still shaking our heads wondering why the world chooses to live the way they do. Anyhow, we've decided that we've enjoyed our last waterpark.

I must say, we stuck out like sore thumbs. My older girls, hubby and son wore long shorts and tops over swimsuits and the two youngest girls wore coverups that look like dresses that came to their knees. I wore culottes and a top over a swimsuit. I had made our coverups out of polyester fabric that dried quickly. We received 9 compliments throughout the day. These ranged from, "Wow, did you make your coverups?" and "I wish I could find a nice swimsuit coverup" to a compliment from a man who thanked me profusely for the way our family was dressed.

After a full day in the water, we found two rooms in a nice cheap hotel. We slept well and enjoyed getting up late on Sunday. We then drove 3 hours south to Greenville, SC to Bob Jones University where we dropped off Anna and Maggie for Missions Camp.

I attended BJU for 3 years and loved every minute of it...even exam week! I have always enjoyed being part of a team and during exam week, everyone was in the same bucket. The best part of BJU is the faculty. For them, teaching was not a job but a ministry. They prayed for us and they wanted the best for each of us. I know that part hasn't changed. Yes, all the warm, wonderful feelings engulfed me as I walked around yesterday. The only thing missing was the humidity:-) I had warned my daughters about the incessant heat and humidity in SC but yesterday was gorgeous with a slight breeze.

So this morning I moped around with all my chores waiting to be started, my quiet time lacking spirit, my homesickness for my daughters threatening to overwhelm me, and God sent my Dad. We talked for a while, and now I feel better. Thanks, Dad.

I read my favorite blog this morning, Mountain Musings, and enjoyed her post for this past weekend. If you want to see a spectacular homeschool graduation, you must read her post. My heart aches for a fellowship weekend like this! We homechurched for 5 years and they were the best years ever.

I was reading in Job again this morning, where Job had lost everything and the only the left was to curse God. But still he refused to do that. It made me think of the people in the world who curse God without even thinking about it. It's become a habit to them. What a difference to those of us who have the habit of praising God for everything.

Our world has become a frightening place to live. People need Jesus, it's that simple.

Ruthie misses Maggie and Anna. All morning she has been mothering her two special dolls named Maggie and Anna:-)

Many blessings ~ Kathie

PS ~ I have been following the blog of a young woman named Amy Wilhoit who is dying of a form of Leukemia. If you think you are having a rough day, read Amy's blog. This morning, Amy's post let us know that the doctors can no longer do anything for her. Amy has a husband and baby boy. Remember Amy and her family in your prayers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This is my latest thrift shop purchase that Maggie gives 5 stars! It is a Soft Serve Ice Cream Mixer by Progressive. I paid $2 for mine and I see there is a 99 cent one on ebay. I couldn't find any on Amazon. Anyhow, Maggie used our Tofutti NonDairy Vanilla ice cream and it worked beautifully! (Soft ice cream is one of the few dairy foods that my family misses.) Even came with a handy cone stand (see picture on box). So this is definitely a keeper.

It's hard to believe I haven't posted for a week, but I have been busy. A friend of mine is on vacation this week, so she brought two quilts tops that she had pieced and that evening she left with two finished quilts! I didn't think to take a picture but they were very nice quilts. It sure felt good to finish something, even if they aren't my quilts!

Maggie and Anna are very busy sewing for camp next week. When they are finished, I am going to mass produce 2 pairs of culottes for four of my daughters. I was able to buy a bolt of navy blue weaver's cloth with my 50% off coupon yesterday, which is a blessing because I've had a hard time finding it.

The big event this week has been about a huge black snake. I was pegging laundry on our back porch and happened to glance up and watch the tail end of a snake slithering past the siding into our attic! So Mike crawled up there and sprinkled two canisters of mothball granules. The next morning the whole house smelled! So Mike came home and rigged up the fan so that the fumes are going into the garage. So far we haven't seen the snake come out, so who knows. But I know that I look all around before I go out on the porch!

Many blessings on this longest day of the year ~ Kathie

Monday, June 11, 2007

Busy Weekend!

Surprise! We were able to attend the Ukefest up in Annapolis! As usual, we had a lot of fun. So much talent packed into one building. Last year most of the people had either a flea, a fluke or a soprano ukulele. This year we saw everything! I got to play a banjo uke and an eight-string tenor uke. The banjo uke sounded exactly like a banjo but is played with all the easy uke chords. The 8-string tenor had electric hookup and had a very full sound. I hope to save up and buy both of these for Christmas gifts.

Got to meet Jumpin' Jim Beloff and his wonderful wife, Liz. They sure can sing and play the ukes.

One of the vendors, Rob, was very friendly and is from Midlothian, VA. He had fantastic prices. He is also looking for another venue to sell his ukes, so I am trying to think of how I could draw uke enthusiasts from Southern MD. Rob's shop is called The Ukulele Shop (on Hull Street Road) and he has an ebay store as well.

The whole day was wonderful; our only disappointment was the Mad Tea Party group (the closing group) who ended up doing rock music, so we left.

I was pleasantly surprised that so many people remembered us because of our large (?) family and because of my picture in the Post. I put a question mark by the large because in our church, having 6 children constitutes a large family. But my plain friends always say, "Poor Kathie...only 6 children." So I guess it depends on your point of view. I just know that when I get to heaven and reunite with all my miscarried babies, I will have a large family!

Anyhow, Friday evening we watched with fascination as a box turtle dug a hole in our backyard and buried 5 eggs, then painstakingly covered them up one after another, and sat on top of the mound for an hour or so. We had watched another turtle do this a few years ago and that turtle was a carefree Momma. She very quickly dug a shallow hole, quickly plopped a bunch of eggs (too fast to count) and then covered the hole and left. (I'm sure there's a lesson here.) Anyhow, I googled box turtles' gestation times and marked the calendar. We'll let you know if we see any babies. (9-10 weeks) Mike's brother, Dwight, and his three children came up from FL for the weekend. Sunday evening they ate dinner here (with Glenn and his family, Mike's brother who lives 15 minutes away). Fortunately the Lord nudged me to defrost and cook two large pork roasts Sunday morning so that by Sunday evening the pork BBQ was cooked and delicious! I added cole slaw and watermelon. It was almost as good as the fellowship afterwards!

We let the cousins ride our dirtbikes around the field and they were daredevils! No fear there. It was also fun showing them our ukes. Today we all went to Glenn's home on Cat Creek for water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, boating and tubing.

Today is a big day for me. I finally finished my Mom's Music quilt. I hope to give it to her tomorrow. This is a big week for my mother because it is piano guild week. Her students (my children included) go before a judge with 6, 10 or 20 pieces (6 for my children) and get graded. It can be scary, but my children did superbly, as I expected them to!

The Piano Guild was held in the Grace and Peace Church, a building that my Dad and 3 brothers built. It is always with mixed emotions that I go there. I'm glad that it is being used of the Lord, but sad that we had to leave (before it was Grace and Peace) because the congregation backed down on their KJV stand. But God has blessed and now the church is filled to overflowing on Sunday mornings.

Hope you had a nice weekend, too. Mike goes back to work tomorrow and Dwight and his family go home to FL. We're very thankful for weekends like this when you can reconnect with family.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ukefest Time!

One of our family's favorite hobbies is playing the ukulele. Each of us has one and all of us can play at least the basic 3 chords (even hubby!). It is a lot of fun to sit around strumming our favorite tunes. I learned to play in the 4th grade (it was required) and I enjoyed it so much that I kept all of my music sheets!

A few years ago we spent our Christmas money from Grandma on upgrading our ukes. We bought 5 different ukes (1 soprano, 1 pineapple, 2 concerts and 1 tenor) from www.ukuleleworld.com. We were very pleased. Last year we bought two Fleas online (I don't remember where, but shop around because we found ours for very cheap ~ $99 ea). Fleas are ukes with a plastic back that gives a wonderful sound. They were the "had to have" at the annual Ukefest. So now we have a total of eleven.

Last year we went to the Fourth Annual Mid-Atlantic Ukulele Invitational and had a fun time. Lizzie and I even got our picture in the Washington Post! We went to one of the workshops where we learned different strumming patterns (by Nick Smiley) and then went to another workshop where we learned the history of the ukulele which was taught by a very passionate teacher (Fred Fallon).

We wished we could have gone to the workshop that demonstrated how to build a ukulele. When we got home, I looked up the website for Dave Means, one of the charter members of the MUA (Metropolitan Ukulele Assoc), and he has a superb website that shows pictures step by step. Dave's website is www.glyphukulele.com.

I keep the MUA page listed under My Favorites because that is where they announce their bimonthly get-togethers in homes in and around Annapolis. We have yet to attend one but we sure hope to.

Anyhow, this year is the Fifth Annual Mid Atlantic Ukulele Invitational. Our family won't be able to attend which is really disappointing. This year's special guest is Jim Beloff, the infamous "Jumpin' Jim" who has authored many ukulele books. We have 6 of them ourselves. So if you are interested, go to your local Walmart and buy the $16 ukulele and tune your uke to GCEA (my dog has fleas). Teach yourself the three basic chords (F,C and G7). With these three chords you can play almost any song. Please do not go to the Ukefest without a uke!

There are so many wonderful websites that teach the basics of uke playing. Just google it and have fun!

Just one word about the Ukefest in Annapolis. Last year we had a great time and were impressed with how family-friendly it was...except for one performer. Thankfully, she isn't listed anywhere on the agenda for this year. The other performers that are scheduled to play were well worth their salt.

One of the highlights of the day was listening to the science class from George Fox Middle School. They built their own ukes and then performed a few songs. It was fun!

My son, Allen, is a lefty, and it is hard for him to play the uke. But this year he spent a lot of time learning a dozen or more chords and now he is pretty good! Lizzie and I probably know 2-3 dozen chords. Maggie, Lizzie, Allen, Anna and I know all the Fleabag songs (the basic songs that most uke players know). This link takes you to these downloadable music sheets.

Once you know the three major chords, the ministry opportunities are endless ~ youth groups, campfires, nursing homes, Sunday School class, etc.

So start a new, cheap, family-friendly hobby and look forward to hours of enjoyment! If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, June 4, 2007

When I was in high school, my Mom rededicated her life to the Lord. This made for big changes in our home. One of the changes was the radio ~ my Mom listened to WRBS every moment that she was awake and not teaching piano. I associate many memories with those radio days (like getting home from school at the moment Dr. Clyde Narramore's Hour of Power started, etc.). Unfortunately, like the Baptist high school and the Christian camp where I worked for 10 years, WRBS has gone liberal. They now "cater to the market" and play the worst rock music I have ever heard.

Anyhow, another of the changes in our home was that my Mom started having daily devotions. Her choice of devotionals back then were the Jeanette Lockerbie series. These little 4x6" books always had catchy titles such as, "A Plate of Hot Toast, Designed for Duty, Time Out for Coffee, A Cup of Sugar, Neighbor, Salt in My Kitchen," and many, many others. Well, this morning I was looking for something different to read with my Bible, and I remembered these little books. So I ran down and got them and it was an hour later before I forced myself to put them down. I looked on Amazon.com and sure enough, there are many of her books listed. So I want to encourage everyone to try one. These books were originally printed in 1971, but they are still relevant today.
I have an extra copy of "A Plate of Hot Toast" so if you'd like it, email me and I will get it to you.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Sunday, June 3, 2007

It's the big one!

How would you like to find this rattlesnake next time you're walking around in tall grass? This snake was found in Missouri. He is 9 ft 1" long and weighs 97 lbs. Thanks, Rebecca for sending me this picture! Our timid little copperheads don't look so intimidating now.

Today we are getting some much needed rain. And it's the good kind ~ light but steady. Thank you so much, Lord.

I am sitting at my computer, looking out my kitchen window, watching the many birds at my feeders, and marvelling over God's handiwork. From the hummingbird to the large red-headed woodpecker. God must've had such fun creating the world and every living thing. What a wondrous God we have.

Have a relaxing Sunday worshipping our Lord.

Many blessings ~ Kathie