Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A simple equation

This:I've been doing quite a bit of cleaning and cooking in the last few days, to get ready for the family reunion we'll be having here this weekend. All-in-all, we'll have 38 people hanging around the house for around 4 days. I'm looking forward to seeing all the relatives!

Plus this:

Yes, I'm still doing school work. With all the busyness of the last year, I've gotten behind. Hopefully I'll finish up my books by the middle of June. I'm looking forward to being done!

Does not equal much extra time!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Scrapbooking Fun

Ever since I was around 8 years old, I've been scrapbooking. At first, I'd simply help my sister Miriam as we worked on my book. Gradually, however, I got old enough to do it alone, and began working hard to make a scrapbook of my own.

Miriam was the first in our family to start scrapbooking, although mom had done some. Some friends introduced Miriam to Creative Memories, and she began the huge task of organizing our many family photos into piles destined for books for the four of us younger siblings. She started a book for each of us, and eventually all but Elijah took over and began scrapbooking ourselves. My first attempts were... shall we say, interesting. I couldn't cut very evenly, and some of my handwriting was barely legible; however, the pictures got filed away in their big scrapbook. As with all things, experience (and age!) helped, as did all the tips and techniques advised by Miriam. I still have problems with straight lines, though... =)

Memories are also made while recording other ones. Some of my favorite times spent with my sisters have been those times we've cropped and created together. It's always more enjoyable to work with others; it's a great time to get advice if you're having trouble with a certain page. Or, we simply talk and laugh together as we remember a certain time captured in one of the photos.

Yet, you're probably thinking, how do you find the time? It can be a problem; there's so many things going on, and so many other things one could be doing. However, I still try to find the time, sometimes scheduling evenings to work on it with my sisters. Sometimes it helps to have motivation. I've been scrapbooking a lot lately, trying to get caught up before the family reunion we're having here this weekend. It's easy to fall behind, for pictures are taken faster than you can scrapbook them. Although I wouldn't trade my digital camera in for anything, there's an added delay with all the digital photos. Now, you have to take the time to sort through them, pick your favorites, and upload them to be printed. However, the time is well worth it.

There's something delightful about curling up with a great big scrapbook and paging through it, recalling each even captured in the pictures. The pages come alive, with their creative arrangements and clever (sometimes!) captions. One goes back in time and sees each adventure through new eyes. Many a happy hour I've spent looking through the books time and again. I never seem to tire of them.

In addition to journals, scrapbooks are a wonderful way to record the past, and keep glimpses of it preserved for posterity. And, unlike journals, a scrapbook is something that can be shared with all your friends and family. I find great joy in sharing the memories with a friend or family member, and they often find as much enjoyment looking at the engaging pages. They say that "a picture's worth a thousand words." So what better way to share the events of your life with others than through pictures? I look forward to the day I'll get to sit down with my children or future husband and show them glimpses of my girlhood.

I've taken and preserved many pictures, and just recently started on my fourth big scrapbook. Yes, you could say that I'm an avid scrapbooker - having four books to record a mere sixteen years of life! I can't help it though; the art is such fun. I find it relaxing to sit down, turn on some beautiful music, and let my mind create as I cut shapes, arrange photos, add comments, and coordinate stickers. It's a truly lovely craft.

So what about you? Are there any scrapbookers out there? How do you preserve your memories? It's never too late to start!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My Week in Pictures

This week has been the busiest of the month for our family, and probably Anna's, too.
Tuesday night we had a band concert, Thursday night was our choir concert and a couple of other events. Last Saturday was our ballet recital and on Sunday night we had a sleepover at a friend's house. I've been able to see Anna everyday this week since Saturday!

Anna and I

Joel and Mrs. Edwards, our band teacher.

Left to right: Maureen, Jubilee, Esther,

Anna, and me.

The Capital City Singers.

Last night we went to Mongtomery Pops Concert.

Mother and an adorable little sweetheart.
Is he going to cry or laugh?
Left to right: Anna, Miriam (me), Rebekah,
Ashlyn, and Hannah.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Care for a Kitten?

Our cats frequently have kittens, and it's a joy to watch them play. They're so cute as they scamper about and run around. Lydia posted some pictures of the 5 kittens we currently have here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Praising Him With Dance

On Saturday, May 19th, at 4 p.m. The King's Praise Ballet presented The King's Praise Celebration - Around The Throne. Praise God, everything went well for His glory!

The songs were presented in the order they're in the photo gallery on . After the first two songs, Mr. James Hart, Caleb Hart, Lydia, and Daddy led us in worship of our King, as we sang 3 songs together. The girls each in turn shared the dances they had learned, and they all danced beautifully! It was so exciting to see the girls dance, when many of them hadn't even taken ballet classes before September 2006. My first experience has a teacher has been great, and I look forward to teaching again in the fall, Lord willing.

God is so good. I couldn't have done anything without Him. This past year of teaching has been a very stretching experience for me, yet I have learned so much and had a fun time! Through teaching I have learned so many valuable lessons - how to plan an event, how to organize all the little details, how to delegate tasks, how to teach dance, how to get little ones to cooperate =) and so much more! There were times I wondered how it would all work out, but God is so faithful. He gave me the strength to teach. He helped me organize everything. He was the One that helped me get through everything - the good and the hard times. On Saturday I woke up with a sore throat, that never quite went away, but He was my strength. The sore throat lessened as the day progressed, and by the time of the Celebration, was just barely there. He protected me from it progressing into anything worse; instead of coming down with a full-blown cold, as I'm apt to do, the sore throat was gone Sunday morning, and I haven't felt sick since. Praise Him!

There were so many that helped and supported me through this teaching, and I am so thankful. I couldn't have done it without all oof them! I especially want to thank my parents and siblings; they were the ones that helped me plan things out, listened as I bounced ideas off of them, and just supported me in my role as a teacher. Daddy and Lydia helped lead worship at the Celebration. Mom was there to help me plan the classes and other details, and always helped proofread the many dance notes I wrote. Elijah was my photographer and videographer and did a great job! Jubi took classes from me. Miriam helped me get permission to use the church building that we met at. They all provided so much encouragement when I needed it most. I have been blessed with a wonderful family.

The family currently living at home: Elijah, Daddy, Lydia, Me, Mom, and Jubilee

Mom was very kind to get 2 dozen pink and white roses for me to share with my students after the Celebration. They're beautiful!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

King's Praise Celebration 2007

Today is the day of The King's Praise Celebration 2007! My students have worked hard, and I hope everything goes well for God's glory.

We had dress rehearsal last Thursday, and my brother Elijah took pictures while we danced, and also took individual ballet portraits. He did a great job!

With all the added pictures, I updated the website . If you're interested, take a moment to browse the site, and see all the updated pictures. Specifically go to the Photo Gallery to see pictures from the rehearsal and the individual portraits. Enjoy!

It's hard to believe that I'll soon be done teaching until the fall... I've learned a lot through teaching, and have had a great time with my girls.

Praise God!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Keepers of the Springs - Part 3

The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge, that of being godly women. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We rarely hear it now.

We hear about every other kind of women- beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career women, talented women, divorced women; but seldom do we hear of a Godly woman--or of a Godly man either, for that matter.

I believe women come nearer fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife than to be Miss America.

It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home then it is to produce a second-rate novel, filled will filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realm of morals to be old-fashioned than to be ultra-modern.

The world has enough women who know how to hold their cocktails, who have lost all their illusions and their faith. The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct.

Let us not fool ourselves--without Christianity, without Christian education, without the principles of Christ inculcated into young life, we are simply rearing pagans.

Physically, they will be perfect.
Intellectually, they will be brilliant.
But spiritually, they will be pagan.
Let us not fool ourselves.

The school is making no attempt to teach the principles of Christ. The Church alone cannot do it. They can never be taught to a child, unless the mother herself knows them and practices them every day.

If you have no prayer life yourself, it is rather a useless gesture to make your child say his prayers every night. If you never enter a church, it is rather futile to send your child to Sunday School. If you make a practice of telling social lies, it will be difficult to teach your child to be truthful. If you say cutting things about your neighbors and about fellow members in the church, it will be hard for your child to learn the meaning of kindness.

The twentieth century challenge to motherhood--when it is all boiled down--is that mothers will have an experience of God...a reality which they can pass on to their children. For the newest of the sciences is beginning to realize, after a study of the teaching of Christ from the standpoint of psychology, than only as human beings discover and follow these inexorable spiritual laws, will they find the happiness and contentment which we all seek.

A minister tells of going to a hospital to visit a mother whose first child had been born. She was distinctly a modern girl. Her home was about average for young married people.

When I came into the room, she was propped up in bed writing.
"Come in," she said, smiling. "I'm in the midst of housecleaning and I want your help."

I had never heard of a woman house-cleaning while in a hospital. Her smile was contagious -- she seemed to have found a new and jolly idea.

"I've a wonderful chance to think here," she began, "and it may help me to get things straightened out in my mind if I can talk to you." She put down her pencil and pad, and folded her hands. Then she took a long breath and started:

"Ever since I was a little girl, I hated any sort of restraint. I always wanted to be free. When I finished high school, I took a business course and got a job -- not because I needed the money -- but because I wanted to be on my own.

"Before Joe and I were married, we used to say that we would not be slaves to each other. And after we married, our apartment became headquarters for a crowd just like us. We weren't really bad -- but we did just what we pleased"

She stopped for a minute and smiled ruefully. "God didn't mean much to us -- we ignored Him. None of us wanted children -- or we thought we didn't. And when I knew I was going to have a baby, I was afraid."

She stopped again and looked puzzled. "Isn't it funny, the things you used to think?" She had forgotten I was there -- she was speaking to the old girl she had been before her great adventure. Then remembering me suddenly -- she went on:

"Where was I? Oh, yes, well, things are different now. I'm not free anymore and I don't want to be. And the first thing I must do is to clean house.

Here she picked up the sheet of paper lying on the counterpane. "That's my house-cleaning list. You see, when I take Betty home from the hospital with me -- our apartment will be her home -- not just mine and Joe's.

"And it isn't fit for her now. Certain things will have to go -- for Betty's sake. And I've got to house-clean my heart and mind. I'm not just myself -- I'm Betty's mother. And that means I need God. I can't do my job without Him. Won't you pray for Betty and me and Joe, and for our new home?

And I saw in her all the mothers of today -- mothers in tiny apartments and on lonely farms... Mothers in great houses and in suburban cottages, who are meeting the age-old challenge -- "that of bringing their children to the love and knowledge of God."

And I seemed to see our Saviour -- with His arms full of children of far-away Judea -- saying to that mother and to all mothers -- the old invitation so much needed in these times:
"Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God"

I believe that this generation of young people has courage enough to face the challenging future.

I believe that their idealism is not dead.

I believe that they have the same bravery and the same devotion to the things worthwhile that their grandmothers had.

I have every confidence that they are anxious to preserve the best of our heritage, and God knows if we lose it here in this country, it is forever gone.

I believe that the women of today will not be unmindful of their responsibilities; that is why I have dared to speak so honestly.

Keepers of the Springs, we salute you!

-Dr. Peter Marshall

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Monday, May 14, 2007

For My Mother

For the last three years, our Mother's Day present to Mother has been for her to come listen to our orchestra concert. My mother doesn't ask for much, but she always enjoys hearing us play (I think it's just something about mothers). Anyway, we were finally able to get some pictures of our concert

The full Montgomery Youth Orchestra.

My brother, Caleb, playing the French horn.


Joel is graduating this year, so he stood
up with the other seniors. We couldn't
get a good picture of him playing.

And yay! Finally a picture with our conductor, Yvonne Collins.
We didn't have a good picture of Esther playing the violin, either.

Happy Mother's Day, to all the mothers!
I love you, Mother!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

In celebration of Mother's Day, I thought I'd post the following poem, which I wrote for my mother 2 years ago.

A Mother's Job

A mother's job... hmm... not easy to define
Even more so when you have to make it rhyme!

A mother's job is... to feed, love, clothe, and care,
But that's not all, it doesn't just end there!

To a baby, her mother is everything she needs,
One to keep her dry and happy and satisfied indeed.

As the child grows a little older, and starts asking "why?"
The mother's there to explain life, all with a quick reply.

The child keeps growing, not always needing mom near
Yet mother's still there waiting, to help calm every fear.

When the child becomes a teen, mom becomes more of a friend
She stays close by to listen, and help guide her through each trend

One day mom's girl is not so little, in fact is really quite grown.
She packs up and leaves home forever, to a house all her own.

Yes, a mother's job is not easy, to guide and love and pray,
So to my mom who's doing it, have a Happy Mother's Day!

*by Anna Naomi Lofgren*

For more that relates to motherhood, check out the following posts:
More on Motherhood
A True and Godly Woman
Practice Being a Mother
My Childhood Dream

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Keepers of the Springs - Part 2

The emancipation of womanhood began with Christianity, and it ends with Christianity. It had its beginning one night nineteen hundred years ago when there came to a woman named Mary a vision and a message from Heaven. She saw the rifted clouds of glory and the hidden battlements of heaven.

She heard an angelic annunciation of the almost incredible new that she of all the women on earth...of all Marys in history...was to be the only one who should ever wear entwined the red rose of maternity and the white rose of virginity.

It was told her, and all Keepers of the Springs know how such messages come, that she should be the mother of the Saviour of the world.

It was nineteen hundred years ago "when Jesus Himself a baby deigned to be and bathed in baby tears His deity"... and on that night, when that tiny Child lay in the straw of Bethlehem, began the emancipation of womanhood.

When He grew up and began to teach the way of life, He ushered woman into a new place in human relations. He accorded her a new dignity and crowned her with a new glory, so that wherever the Christian evangelist has gone for nineteen centuries, the daughters of Mary have respected, revered, remembered, and loved, for men have recognized that womanhood is a sacred and noble thing, that women are of finer clay... are more in touch with the angels of God and have the noblest function that life affords.

Wherever Christianity has spread, for nineteen hundred years, men have bowed and adored.
It remained for the twentieth century,
in the name of progress,
in the name of tolerance,
in the name of broadmindedness,
and in the name of freedom,
to pull her down from her throne and try to make her like a man.

She wanted equality. For nineteen hundred years she had not been equal she had been superior. But now, they said, she wanted equality, and in order to obtain it, she had to step down. And so it is, that in the name of broadminded tolerance a man's vices have now become a woman's. Twentieth century tolerance has won for women the right to become intoxicated, the right to have an alcoholic breath, the right to smoke, to work like a man, to act like a man for is she not man's equal?

Today they call it "progress"...but tomorrow oh, you Keepers of the Springs, they must be made to see that it is not progress.

No nation has ever made any progress in a downward direction.
No people ever became great by lowering their standards.
No people ever became good by adopting a looser morality.

It is not progress when the moral tone is lower than it was.
It is not progress when purity is not as sweet.
It is not progress when womanhood has lost its fragrance.
Whatever else it is, it is not progress!

We need Keepers of the Springs who will realize that what is socially correct may not be morally right. Our country needs today women who will lead us back to an old-fashioned morality, to old-fashioned decency, to old-fashioned purity and sweetness for the sake of the next generation, if for no other reason.

This generation has seen an entirely new type of womanhood emerge from the bewildering confusion of our time. We have in the United States today a higher standard of living than in any other country, or at any other time in the world's history.

We have more automobiles, more picture show, more telephones, more money, more swing band, more radios, more television sets, more night clubs, more crime, and more divorce than any other nation in the world.

Modern mothers want their children to enjoy the advantages of this new day. They want them, if possible, to have a college diploma to hang on their bedroom wall, and what many of them regard as equally important, a bid to a fraternity or sorority.

They are desperately anxious that their daughters will be popular, although the price of this popularity may not be considered until it is too late. In short, they want their children to succeed, but the usual definition of success, in keeping with the trend of our day, is largely materialistic.

The result of all this is that the modern child is brought up in a decent, cultured, comfortable, but thoroughly irreligious home.

All around us, living in the very shadow of our large churches and beautiful cathedrals, children are growing up without a particle of religious training or influence.

The parents of such children have usually completely given up the search for religious mooring. At first, they probably had some sort of vague idealism as to what their children should be taught.

They recall something of the religious instruction received when they were children, and they feel that something like that ought to be passed on to the children of today, but they can't do it, because the simple truth is that they have nothing to give.

Our modern broadmindedness has take religious education out of the day schools. Our modern way of living and our modern irreligion has taken it out of the homes.

There remains only one place where it may be obtained, and that is Sunday School, but it is no longer fashionable to attend Sunday School. The result is that there is very little religious education, and parents who lack it themselves are not able to give it to their children so it is a case of "the blind leading the blind", and both children and parents will almost invariably end up in the death of uncertainty and irreligion.

As you think of your own mother, remembering her with love and gratitude in wistful yearning or lonely longing...I am quite sure that the memories that warm and soften your heart are not at all like the memories the children of today will have...

For you are, no doubt, remembering the smell of starch in your mother's apron or the smell of a newly ironed blouse, the smell of newly baked bread, the fragrance of the violets she had pinned on her breast. It would be such a pity if all that one could remember would be the aroma of toasted tobacco or nicotine and the offensive odor of beer on the breath!

The challenge to twentieth century motherhood is as old as motherhood itself. Although the average American mother has advantages that pioneer women never knew material advantages, education, culture, advances made by both science and medicine.

Although the modern mother knows a great deal more about sterilization, diets, health, calories, germs, drugs, medicines, and vitamins, than her mother did, there is one subject about which she does not know as much; and that is God.
-Dr. Peter Marshall

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Friday, May 11, 2007

Keepers of the Springs - Part 1

Once upon a time, a certain town grew up at the foot of a mountain range. It was sheltered in the lee of the protecting heights, so that the wind that shuddered at the doors and flung handfuls of sleet against the window panes was a wind whose fury was spent. High up in the hills, a strange and quiet forest dweller took it upon himself to be the Keeper of the Springs.

He patrolled the hills and wherever he found a spring, he cleaned its brown pool of silt and fallen leaves, of mud and mold and took away from the spring all foreign matter, so that the water which bubbled up through the sand ran down clean and cold and pure.

It leaped sparkling over rocks and dropped joyously in crystal cascades until, swollen by other streams, it became a river of life to the busy town.

Mill wheels were whirled by its rush.
Gardens were refreshed by its waters.
Fountains threw it like diamonds into the air.
Swans sailed on its limpid surface and children
laughed as they played on its banks in the sunshine.

But the City Council was a group of hard-headed, hard-boiled business men. They scanned the civic budget and found in it the salary of a Keeper of the Springs. Said the Keeper of the Purse: "Why should we pay this romance ranger? We never see him; he is not necessary to our town's work life. If we build a reservoir just above the town, we can dispense with his services and save his salary." Therefore, the City Council voted to dispense with the unnecessary cost of a Keeper of the Springs, and to build a cement reservoir.

So the Keeper of the Springs no longer visited the brown pools but watched from the heights while they built the reservoir.

When it was finished, it soon filled up with water, to be sure, but the water did not seem to be the same. It did not seem to be as clean, and a green scum soon befouled its stagnant surface.
There were constant troubles with the delicate machinery of the mills, for it was often clogged with slime, and the swans found another home above the town. At last, an epidemic raged, and the clammy, yellow fingers of sickness reached into every home in every street and lane.

The City Council met again. Sorrowfully, it faced the city's plight, and frankly it acknowledged the mistake of the dismissal of the Keeper of the Springs. They sought him out in his hermit hut high in the hills, and begged him to return to his former joyous labor. Gladly he agreed, and began once more to make his rounds. It was not long until pure water came lilting down under tunnels of ferns and mosses and to sparkle in the cleansed reservoir.

Mill wheels turned again as of old.
Stenches disappeared.
Sickness waned and convalescent children
playing in the sun laughed again
because the swans had come back.

Do not think me fanciful, too imaginative or too extravagant in my language when I say that I think of women, and particularly of our mothers, as Keepers of the Springs. The phrase, while poetic, it true and descriptive. We feels its warmth...its softening influence...and however forgetful we have been...however much we have taken for granted life's precious gifts, we are conscious of wistful memories that surge out of the past; the sweet, tender, poignant fragrances of love.

Nothing that has been said, nothing that could be said or that ever will be said, would be eloquent enough, expressive enough, or adequate to make articulate that peculiar emotion we feel to out mothers.

So I shall make my tribute a plea for Keepers of the Springs, who will be faithful to their tasks.

There never has been a time when there was a greater need for Keepers of the Springs, or when there were more polluted springs to be cleansed. If the home fails, the country is doomed. The breakdown of home life and influence will mark the breakdown of the nation.

If the Keepers of the Springs desert their posts or are unfaithful to their responsibilities, the future outlook of this country is black indeed. This generation needs Keepers of the Springs while will be courageous enough to cleanse the springs that have been polluted.

It is not an easy task; nor is it a popular one, but it must be done for the sake of the children, and young women of today must do it.

-Dr. Peter Marshall

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


This post is the first part of Dr. Peter Marshall's sermon, Keepers of the Springs. A little while back, I posted an excerpt from this sermon, but as Mother's Day approaches, I thought it might be appropriate to post the whole thing. There will be two more posts that I will post in succession over the next two days.

I hope that the mothers who read our blog will be encouraged, and though I am no mother (yet), I want to be this kind of mother.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Make a Smoothie!

One of the things I've enjoyed doing these past weeks since warm weather arrived is to make a smoothie. On a hot afternoon, it's a perfect drink that not only quenches thirst, but also leaves you feeling quite refreshed!

I don't follow a recipe when I make a smoothie, for I find it fun to just experiment and use whatever happens to be on hand. No two smoothies turn out the same, but I find the variations new and exciting.

Here's a few ideas on what to put in your smoothie:

  • Frozen fruit - I usually use frozen strawberries, that we buy in a large bag from Sam's Club. I also used frozen blueberries before we used them up, which we pick and freeze from our own blueberry plants, and those of some friends.
  • Fresh fruit - core and cut up any fresh fruit that you have on hand - apples, pears, peaches, oranges, etc. They add nice texture and flavor, and it's a great way to use up fruit that's going bad.
  • Bananas - Though I don't put one in every time, bananas do help mellow the flavor, so that it's not too tangy.
  • Milk or juice - This helps your smoothie blend well, and makes it easier to drink.
  • Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate - I've found that adding a spoonful or two of this makes the smoothie absolutely yummy!
  • Sherbet - Though it doesn't make your smoothie as healthy as when it's made with only fruit, sherbet makes it taste great! It helps the texture be smooth and creamy, and makes the taste sweeter. I've used lime sherbet in the last few smoothies I've made, and it's been delicious.
  • Ice - If you want your smoothie a bit thicker, adding a few ice cubes can help.
When making the smoothie, it's best to start out blending the frozen fruit and milk or juice first. Often, I'll soften the frozen strawberries just a bit before putting them in the blender, to make it easier. Once the frozen fruit is pureed, then add the other fruit, juice concentrate, and sherbet. Add ice cubes to desired thickness. Taste your smoothie, and add a little more of whatever you want. If it's just not sweet enough, you can add a tad of sugar or honey - but you usually won't need this. Once you think it tastes good, enjoy!

There's no perfect way to make a smoothie, I've found. Simply experiment and have fun, and taste often! =) They always turn out scrumptious, no matter what combination of things you use. They're the perfect pick-me-up on a hot day.

Oh - and be careful with the glass blenders. They sometimes tip over and break if you're not careful where you put them...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Friends and Family - Mary and Martha

Yesterday morning, Anna and I performed our double monologue for her family's church fellowship. I was happy for another opportunity to do it, for we'd only done it once. We performed to glorify God and share the message of our faith and one of Jesus' many miracles.
Mother captured some excellent photos and so I'm sharing.

Before we started.

"I did the best I could!"

"Come with me Lazarus, I want
to give Him something to help
with his ministry."

"But I couldn't heap insult on insult
by refusing hospitality."

"I knew I would never be the same!"

"When I told her our brother was dead, it was like something inside her died with him.

"And now, we are learning to love each other!"

Solo And Ensemble Recital

Last Thursday night was our Solo & Ensemble Recital, where kids from our band participate and their siblings are able to do something, as well. It's a chance to perform with the various instruments we play, be it a piano, a trumpet group, and yes, even yodeling. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a picture of Ben, who yodeled. It was very entertaining, though. We were able to get a few pictures, however.

Sonata for Two Flutes is the duet that
Anna and I played.

Little Bethany Simon stole the show with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

When the Aunts Came to Stay

In a lovely house in Little Rock, Arkansas, there lived 4 children: Danielle, who was almost 8, Alexander, age 6, Zachariah, age 4, and "baby" Nate, the toddling two-year-old. They lived happily with their Daddy, Luke, and Mommy, Michele. Like any other children, they loved their parents very much, and enjoyed having everyone all together.

One fair April, however, their Mommy and Daddy decided to take a special trip - just the two of them - to celebrate their upcoming 9th wedding anniversary. Because the children were too young to be left alone, their parents had to find someone to stay with them. That is when the Aunts came to stay.

They drove up in the late afternoon sunshine of Saturday, April 21st. Quickly unloading themselves from the car, they greeted their enthusiastic niece and nephews, and a said a fond "hello" to their brother and sister-in-law. Soon, their attention was claimed by the children, who showed them each of their favorite toys or completed projects. The afternoon waned, and the promise of pizza soon lured everyone inside for supper. After a delicious meal topped with a superb, home-made mint chocolate ice cream cake, the presents were unloaded from the car, to the delight of the excited children. Each present from the Grandparents was duly exclaimed over, as everyone with a spring birthday celebrated together. As a final present, the children opened a big bundle from the Aunts and Uncle Elijah. Delighted squeals were heard as the children saw what it was: a big, blue tent! Even more exciting was the promise of a camp-out in the front yard sometime while the Aunts were around.

Soon the children were bundled off to bed, while the Aunts and their siblings talked far into the night. After all, they had a lot of news to catch up on! Eventually, they too bedded down, with the promise of a new day on the way.

Three Aunts had come to stay. Aunt Miriam, called Aunt Mimi, was the eldest. At age 27, she was the one left ultimately in charge, and was also one of the funnest Aunts to have around! She always had neat ideas up her sleeve, and never tired of doing cool experiments and playing games with her nephews and niece. Aunt Anna came next; at age 16, she was the assistant "Momma", who never tired of caring for the baby of the family, little Nate. Chief diaper-changer and cook, she also loved every moment spent with the sweet children. Aunt Jubilee, called Aunt Jubi, was the youngest. At age 12, she was closer in age to her niece than to her sisters! She was a fun playmate to all the children, always ready to play games or romp outside.

Sunday dawned bright and clear, and most of the house awoke somewhat early. When called, the children bounded down the stairs, eager to begin the day with their Daddy's yummy strawberry pancakes. The day went quickly, with Sunday school and church, followed by Mommy's delectable chicken dish, left simmering in the crock-pot. Not long after Sunday naps, it was off to church again for small groups.

Monday and Tuesday passed in turn, with the parents still at home. All the relatives enjoyed the time together, laughing, talking, playing games, visiting a museum on Arkansas history, and even seeing the "duck march" at the Peabody Hotel. The Aunts were given great instructions in the care and keep of the house and children, in preparation of the parent's upcoming trip. The children of course enjoyed all the added attention, with someone nearly always on hand to read a story or play with police and army men.

Wednesday arrived, and Mommy and Daddy soon set off, after hugs and kisses all around. Although sad when their parents left, the children didn't have long to reflect before they were hustled into coats and shoes, and hurried out to the van. Bewildered, they soon learned that they were to be a part of a special surprise from Daddy to Mommy. After it was all over, everyone once again bid farewell, and the Aunts and children head back home, as the parents drove off for a vacation in Branson.

The Aunts enjoyed caring for the children during the next four days. Though there were occasions of children missing parents, the Aunts tried their best to keep the children busy and having fun. Chores continued as normal, and the children still had their afternoon rest times, during which the two younger Aunts worked on school work. Usually the three also managed to squeeze in at least one game together before the little ones got up. Though some things were still routine, the days were also packed with special times and surprises.

Much time was spent outside, for the days were beautiful and the weather mild. Skipping rope, riding bikes, blowing bubbles and playing hide-and-seek filled many a happy hour. Almost every day, all took a walk together, often ending up at a nearby park to swing and slide. A special trip to Pinnacle Mountain was taken on Friday morning, where everyone enjoyed a pretty nature trail and large playground. The kites were even brought out, although it took constant running to keep them in the air. There just wasn't enough wind!

There was always plenty to do indoors with the rain drove them to seek shelter inside. Coloring, crafts, building with legos, and playing with toys kept little ones occupied; many books were also read time and again by willing Aunts with with young ones snuggled around. Yes, the days passed swiftly, with the Alabama Aunts enjoying all the extra time spent with their Arkansas niece and nephews.

Friday night was by far the most exciting, with Aunt Mimi and Aunt Jubi camping out in the big blue tent with Daniele, Alex and Zach. The evening was spent roasting marshmallows and making s'mores, then playing outside until the light began to fade. As soon as it got dark enough, the children received another fun surprise: glo sticks! They throughly enjoyed them, swing them round and around, and tracing glowing patterns in the dark sky. Everyone awoke with the birds the next morning and tromped indoors shivering. However, the children thoroughly enjoyed their first camping experience.

Saturday evening was tinged with excitement, for tonight Mommy and Daddy would get home! While Aunt Jubi and Danielle drew horses at the kitchen table, the three boys and other two Aunts scarcely left the window, keeping watch for the little red car that would signal the return of the beloved parents. Excited cries of "They're here!" rang through the air, and everyone rushed out for a joyous reunion. Aunts were fun, but there was nothing like once again having your parents home!

Sunday morning came, and with it the departure of the Aunts. Despite the children's pleas that they remain living with them, the Aunts had to get back to their Alabama home. After hugs and kisses, the Aunts clasped the sweet young ones in their arms and set off, leaving behind happy memories of when the Aunts came to stay.