Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gettin' Ready!



In order for the mama to have leave to attend the VHE Conference, that same mama must accomplish a great deal before she leaves! That mama would be me. :+) I have been so busy with cleaning the house and planning food for my own family as well as some other family that is coming to visit for several days and will be there when I come home that I just have not blogged. My dear friend and I will be driving down tomorrow morning and enjoying ourselves immensely. :+)


I am excited because I get to see Diana Waring, who is a dear and precious person that I just respect so much as well as Susan Wise Bauer and Andrew Pudewa--both excellent individuals. I also get to meet some of my favorite email correspondence people, Kendra and Lisa (who just happen to write a darn fine review too). There are others too that I will have the pleasure of meeting that I have only known over email or who I have not seen in a long time so this weekend will have lots of great conversation and good memories! (And sharing a hotel room with my dear friends Heather and Diane will yield nothing but great conversation and lots of laughs!) Yes, I am excited about this weekend. :+)


I don't know that I will be live-blogging this event as I did the last conference, but I will see what I can do once I return.  Have a happy weekend!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

What you do when the weather service says...

...Widespread Record-Breaking Heatwave Continues...

"One of the most severe heat outbreaks in recent California history has enveloped much of northern California and numerous temperature records were broken today. Making this heat wave more severe than most is the monsoonal moisture that has raised dewpoints across the region well above normal levels. This raises the relative humidity and makes it feel more oppressive than the actual temperature."

NO KIDDING! These weather folks are pulling NO punches! Brother and sister, it is HOT!

This is what our family did to keep cool in the record 110 degree heat here in the heart of California. Prepare for a lot of pictures! :+)

The cast of characters that are our family set out in our trusty Voyager on the way to visit my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Pat. They have a lovely home...

on the Delta. We usually camp in the grass in our tent, but this time we had the use of the spare bedroom as we were the only guests. It was a good thing too because our tent would have been a sauna at night. We were so thankful for the A/C!


Shortly after our arrival at around 6:00 pm, we jumped in our suits and headed to the water's edge. The following is the view from the dock back up onto the levy.

We were not on the dock long when the ladies of the river headed out with their uncle to the wide water. This is the before picture:

This is the after:

And what was Mark doing during the lady water frolic? He was guiding John and Elizabeth into the real life world of the jet ski. I think he topped out at 57 mph.

This is the up-close "spiderman" shot. I think they look like they are having a lot of fun, don't you?

Mommy got onto the inflatable with Hannah, but there will be no pictures of that, I am happy to say. :+) During the rides, I was clicking away and I was able to capture the best picture of Emma we have ever taken:

My windblown baby who is three months shy of being four! Time marches on.


As stated above, our kind and generous hosts were, Uncle Pat, livin' the dream in the Rubicon (explained below):

and Aunt Nancy with Hannah:

They are the ones who treat us to all sorts of water sports and even an occasional golf cart or lawn tractor ride. I tell you, it is a Disneyland that Disney cannot even recreate. We always have SO much fun!


The next morning, the girls were up long before their mama, and headed out, in their jammies, to pick blackberries with Nancy:

You cannot tell from this photo, but there are huge mounds of bushes. It was not even 9:00 am when they had to come in due to heat! The water sports started early as we knew we were heading into 110 weather again and wanted to ward off the heat as best we could. Sunblock covered, we headed to the dock. John and Elizabeth were heading out to sea (tied to the dock). :+)

Hannah and Abigail were swimming in the swift current (hence the need for life vests at almost all times):

And Elizabeth and John were having a ball in the water:

Can you tell? :+)


...and Emma was being a rockstar:

This is her personality almost exactly. :+)


Then the jumping started off the very high (anywhere from 10-13 feet up) jumping board. (Click to enlarge the images for a great view of some amazing jumps and Hannah's spectacular dive.)

(Elizabeth, age 5, going wild!)

(Hannah, age 11, absolutely nuts!)

(The Dancing Fairies)


Why jump when you can run on air?

John is beating the heat with Daddy:

And what was Emma doing during all this jumping, belly flopping (and there was plenty of wailing going on when that happened), flipping, and diving? She was swimming in the (named by her) River Diver. In the following picture she was telling me how much she was swimming as she crossed the wide water. We said she was crossing her Rubicon, and so she was. :+)

Hannah and Abigail towards the end of the day:

and playful Elizabeth:


This mama knows she is so blessed that I just had to share our blessings with you all. Isn't God good to give us children? And isn't He good to give us family with a river? :+) And isn't He good to give us that Nice Cold Water? :+)


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I really like this product!

I so rarely do this, but I am going to do it today because this product is just too cool not to share with you. I mentioned it before, but that was before we were really actively using it. If you are Charlotte Masony in any form you will like this! I hope some of you find this helpful. :+)

Story Starters: Helping Children Write Like They’ve Never Written Before
By Karen Andreola
Charlotte Mason Research and Supply Company

I was really excited to see this come cross my desk. Writing is one of those subjects that can be very tricky for children with no previous experience, but many children really want to do it. This resource makes it available and very understandable, but also interesting and engaging. Story Starters is a large softcover book of 458 pages full of gorgeous Victorian artwork in the same vein as Karen Andreola’s previous work, Simply Grammar, but much larger.

Story Starters begins with Notes for the Teacher. Here is where Mrs. Andreola writes one of her gems: “At the heart of writing is the ability to tell—the ability to narrate.” What your child will learn in these pages is “how to tell.”  She begins by explaining the importance of quality books as the main source of your child’s composition. “Putting what he has read (or what has been read to him) in his own words, he is learning, from the authors of these books, how to use words.” How often I have seen my children use certain phrases they have learned from our reading time (or their own) in their writing with no prompting from me at all. They enjoy the way the words sound or feel on their lips (or pen) so they use them.

She goes on to discuss Creative Narration, ways to prompt a child to narrate imaginatively, Writing with Feeling, Stories of Virtue, Worth a Thousand Words (the use of creative pictures included throughout the book), New Attitude (which delves into empowering your child to write “at a new level of vibrancy that communicates the best of what is going on in his developing mind and emotions.” 

How does one develop Creative Narration and Writing with Feeling? She discusses it in detail with all sorts of helpful instruction to both you and your child. The child is free to write whatever he wants and he can delve into his own stores of knowledge he may have from his own reading, his own experiences, or anything his imagination can concoct! 

o what are these Story Starters and how are they used? Each starter has one or more mostly full-page pictures in the Victorian style of some event or portion of a story that has yet to be resolved. Examples of these include things like a house fire with older children in the process of rescuing younger ones, a kitten staring at a crab ready to snap, a brother in the process of rescuing siblings from a flood through an open window, light shining through a curtained window on a baby with children looking on in astonishment, a young girl discovering a hidden baby in the shrubbery, a crow with lace in its mouth, a porter being upbraided by a stationmaster in the process of rescuing a dog, a boy offering a horse oats, a man with a mysterious trunk, an Indian with a small child, a seaside scene with an old sailor and children, a shoeshine boy with a gentleman, a battlefield scene, various animal stories with excitement involving tigers or whales, small children with small animals and various things like crabs with candles on their backs, knights and ladies, and many many more!

The “story” portion is provided in various ways. Most of the 67 Story Starters are labeled with level of difficulty so if your child is new to writing you will want to start with a beginner story. Once you find the level of difficulty you will choose a picture that appeals to your child (we let our children pick their own to start) and then read the story’s beginning that has been written for you; the “starter.” For example, story number 8 is called “Morning Wake-Up Call” and has the picture of a boy sending a crab into a bedroom with a candle burning on top of it (not harming the crab) and another picture mentioned above with the crab and a kitten. It begins like this:

Getting Rosie up in the morning was the hardest work. Ever since the baby had been born, six-year-old Rosie had taken to staying in bed while Mother attended to the baby in the next room. Brother Lionel had an idea. “I know how to get her up, Mom.” he said one morning.

“Rosie, it’s time to get up!” he called.

“In a minute,” she answered.

But Lionel knew that his dawdling sister would be lying in her bed for more than a few minutes. A big smile spread across his face as he energetically ran down the stairs to the kitchen, remembering the basket of crabs he had caught the day before. (…)

Lionel was in high spirits. He worked quickly and quietly, all the while suppressing his urge to laugh. From the dining room he collected candle stubs. 

“Continuing the action of the story as if you were in the next room watching all that takes place. Explain step by step how Lionel got Rosie out of bed. You are free to use the picture of Lionel’s cat, too, to add to the action.”

This is one of the more brief starters as some of them are really quite in-depth but leave a potentially great story for your child to write! Following the story starter she has listed “Writing Help” with thoughtful questions to help provoke the child’s mind to think and write. She encourages action and dialog and asks, “Do you think Lionel’s stunt helped Rosie break her slothful habit of staying in bed?” She then provides “Additional Challenge” that offers more inspiration for the writer. 

“Tell the story from any point of view you would like. “Point of view” determines the perspective from which the story is told. Changing the point of view, therefore, can radically change the perspective of the same story. How would the story about Lionel and Rosie be told differently if it were told from Lionel’s point of view, or from his mother’s point of view? We tend to justify our actions. How would his mother view Lionel’s method of getting his sister out of bed?” 

There is also much more instruction given beyond this to help the writer examine different aspects of his story and what the writer might do with it. There are many pages of writing help, encouragement, Hints for Polishing a draft of a story, Sensory Language, Vivid Verbs, Artful Adjectives, Advantageous Adverbs, Three Kinds of Narrators, Description of Setting, Character Description Physical Appearance/Personality, and a review section. Then she offers an entire section of Just Pictures for your child to really set to work on his creativity as well as more narration help, an Index of Literary Terms and Techniques, and Writing Resources. There is so much included in this one book!

This resource is multi-level and extremely flexible. I really liked that aspect of it. They say it can be used by grades 4 up through 12 and we are finding that to be true. When this crossed my desk I knew the potential of it and proposed a writers club with two other homeschool families I know. I could tell right away with only a cursory glance that this was going to work for us. The two other families thought so too. We have children ranging in age from nine to thirteen with varying degrees of writing knowledge (some have no previous experience, but a lot of exposure to good literature and some had a lot of previous writing experience). I do not have a great deal of writing experience under my belt, more than some, but not any formal training, and our first meeting centered on choosing a story starter, discussing the importance of bringing a story to life and making it interesting and exciting if the story starter called for that, making your audience “feel” it, and how dialog can be helpful and interesting. We did not go into much detail beyond that, but used examples from literature they had all read, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, to explain our instruction. 

The results of our first “First Draft Day” were astonishing. The two children who had no previous writing but who had been exposed to good literature wrote some of the most interesting stories! Some of the children used the starter as it was originally written and other children modified it either slightly or a great deal. We gave them carte blanche to do what would work for them and they really used it which was wonderful to see. Some of them wrote them out themselves, some typed into the computer, and one or two narrated their stories to mom as she typed it in and helped along the way. We had them sit in the “Author Chair” and read their stories aloud. They knew this was coming so it was no surprise to anyone and they all did really well. The three moms as well as the other children gave positive constructive feedback or asked questions for clarification on a portion of the story or to find out if that particular item was actually around in those days. We encouraged them all and did not in any way tear down their work, but put forward suggestions that might help to improve upon already very interesting stories. It was really a wonderful successful day and we will be putting together a book for each family of all the stories at the end of the year. 

It was especially wonderful to see into the hearts of our children through their writing. Some of them included their faith in some manner in the stories and they were very touching. It is marvelous to see inside a child in that way and to help them bring out those thoughts onto paper. Story Starters might not be for you is if you really like a scripted program or a very detailed teacher manual. This is not a language arts program, but solid grammar knowledge and good word and sentence use are integrated into it throughout. It will not be for you if you do not like creative writing or if you have a hard time letting your child explore his interests in an imaginative way. This is not for you if you prefer textbooks and do not see much value in “living books.” If however, you believe as Charlotte Mason did, “If we would believe it, composition is as natural as jumping and running to children who have been allowed due use of books.” Then Story Starters is just the book for you.
(This review can be found here

Monday, July 17, 2006

The grass was not always greener...

In our search for historically accurate stories for our homeschool, my daughter needed to know when the lowly garden hose was invented. Now, if I was to ask this of you, what would be your response? I knew about Roman underground hoses (pipes really) from my trip to the Roman Baths, but that was a different animal altogether. The real answer was an absolute surprise to me and perhaps it will be to you too.

While humanity’s love affair with emerald-green grass has been documented since before the Elizabethan era, it wasn’t until the garden hose entered the picture that things really started taking off. In the early 1600s, the British epoch of gardening began, with an English lawn being the absolute envy of all European gardeners. Seen as a status symbol among the aristocratic gentry, no fine country house or estate would be considered complete without the vast, sweeping verdigris delights of perfect turf. This extravagance took a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of water. Fortunately for England, it rains a lot. Hence, if the grass needed watering, no need to fret; Mother Nature would be along shortly. Not so the rest of Europe. Drier climates and hotter temperatures made keeping a green lawn almost impossible, with endless back-breaking trips to the river, the well or the creek.

Although there are records of a type of garden hose dating back to around 400 B.C., this implement was made of hand-sewn ox gut and was hardly of any use, certainly not enough to water the grand and still growing estates of Europe in their day.

In 1672, the first European garden hose make its appearance in Amsterdam. First made of linen, then of leather, this hose was the brain child of Jan Van der Heiden, a young man who initially invented the hose to help put out fires that ravaged his beloved city in 1652.

With the birth of the hosepipe (British term), gardening took a whole new turn. No longer at the mercy of the rain gods, people were going crazy with the size of their gardens: the unique and rare plants they could now cultivate, the ease with which hoses allowed easy and frequent watering. The passion was fueled and cultivated by ever-increasing machinery and cheap materials. (Found here.)

So now you know your children are playing with a bit of Elizabethan history when they are squirting each other on the very hot days of summer.  The homeschooling opportunities are endless! :+)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Catch and Release

In news of the fun we received a marvelous Young Naturalist's Backpack Kit to review from Home Science Tools. This is really a great gift idea for the child that has everything but loves the outdoors! One of the things that came with it was a huge quality butterfly net. We quickly assembled it and my two middle adventurers set out into the wilds of our backyard seeking anything with wings. They were willing to harvest a large Carpenter Bee when they stumbled across the lovely Western Tiger Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly. The picture does not do it any justice whatsoever. It was huge and gloriously colored and just beautiful!! I sat my oldest three down and said, sketch! It was our nature moment and we were going to have at it. :+)


We do not have much in the way of real actual "nature" in our backyard. Rather we have more bermuda grass than any one home should be encompassed with, but we make do and on occasion God sees fit to send something wonderful our way. Last week we had a gorgeous tiny hummingbird. The trick, or so I am informed by my friend the butterfly photographer and expert, is the flowers or plants you have in your yard. Well the swallowtail was one lucky invertebrate because we happened to have a few actual living full color flowers in the backyard that had not been killed or cut for the dining table by sweet smallish people who just know their mommy appreciates freshly plucked flowers on her dining room table. :+)


So, my middles swooped down on the swallowtail and it never knew what hit it. Thankfully, no harm came to the butterfly in the making of either this blog post, the capture, short imprisonment in our pop-up bug habitat, sketching, or the eventual release. However, some fun and excitement sure did. So what is in your backyard?

Who has control of your children's health?

Spunky shared this story on her blog recently and this kind of thing makes my blood boil. Some doctor with a god complex felt he knew better than the family and the 16 year old young man that was being treated for cancer. This young man had already gone through chemotherapy once and did not want to do it again and wanted to try natural means. His parents were supporting him in his natural treatments and why should they not!?  Now they stand to lose custody of him because this doctor involved child protective services!


I am outraged that any doctor felt it was his place to possibly ruin the lives of those who seek treatment outside the "normal" RX view of "health care" because the family chose to treat in a different manner. It is absolutely disgusting to me that any court could threaten my choices for my children. These are the potential consequences for this family--and for your own.

"What it boils down to is does the American family have the right to decide on the health of their child or is the government allowed to come in and determine that themselves and threaten one way or the other to split our family up?" Jay Cherrix said Tuesday night.


Barry Taylor, the family's attorney, said the case had major ramifications not only in Virginia, but across the nation, when it comes to parents' rights to determine what is best for their children.


"I don't think any family in the commonwealth would be comfortable with the fact that a social worker with no medical training could make a medical decision for their child," Taylor said. "It's an assault on the American family."

It is possible to donate to help this family here. The site is still under construction, but they can certainly use our prayers. May God bring victory for families in this case. I can only imagine what *I* would be feeling if my choice of health care for my child was called into question--or worse--that my custody was threatened because of it!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Awww, shucks...

I was honored this week and it made me feel all warm and happy inside. One of my kind readers nominated me for Best Design - Traditional Blog of Beauty Award. (The most beautiful blog of a non-contemporary design.) I just want to thank you for such a kindness. It really was an honor to see my little ole blog up there in the nominee section. There are some really neat blogs listed at A Gracious Home so be sure to check them all out and vote for your favorite finalists! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Prenatal Herbals

I put this email together for a dear friend who is expecting. After doing so I realized that some of you might find it helpful too. Please remember that I am not a doctor or a midwife, and to always educate yourself about what you put into your body. Also remember that you may wish to add an herb or two for different reasons, but these herbs have been very helpful to me.

Prenatal formula for strong tea (infusion directions below):


Red Raspberry, Nettles, Alfalfa, Peppermint


Red Raspberry Leaf is for controlling nausea, hormone balancer, iron source, blood and body strengthening, elasticizing and toning, hemostatic, relaxation and stress ease, for delivery ease, vitamin A and D source, and for later a milk-enrichment herb.


Nettles Leaf is for calcium and magnesium source, green sources, mineral rich, used to check hemorrhage of the uterus, and for later a milk-enrichment herb.


Alfalfa Leaf is for controlling nausea, green source (chlorophyll), blood and body strengthening, vitamin A and D source, rich in carotene, vitamin K, amino acids, full spectrum of minerals and trace minerals.


Peppermint Leaf is for controlling nausea, green source, relaxation and stress ease, green source, effective body cleanser and toner with antibacterial and viral healing properties for digestive and respiratory problems, anti-gas, and it helps it to taste good.

I also took kelp tablets and dandelion root in capsule form or a product from Nature Sunshine called, “Three” that had alfalfa, kelp, and dandelion root. (Three is more expensive than buying kelp and dandelion root separately.)


Kelp is very important and for calcium/magnesium, iron source, potassium source, and rich in iodine, chromium and other minerals; with antibiotic, cleansing and thyroid stimulating activity, gland/blood sugar balancing, milk enrichment, vitamin A&D too. Primary uses include prenatal.


Dandelion Root is a source of natural potassium and excellent liver cleansing and strengthening agent, with soothing healing properties for the digestive system and bowel inflammation. I used this for liver strengthening as I had liver issues with pregnancies.


Some pregnancies I took Bee Pollen too. It is a highly nutritive tonic substance rightly known as a superfood. Completely balanced for vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and all essential amino acids. Use unsprayed pollen for therapeutic applications.


If I had to do it again I would drink infusion every day, take kelp tablets, dandelion root capsules, and bee pollen. I would also take a good multivitamin too. :+)

Infusion Preparation:


Take equal amounts of herbs (I made this in bulk so each herb had at least 4 cups worth) and mix up well in large paper bag. Once mixed, dump all into airtight container or ziplock type of bag. Each day, boil 2 cups water and pour over one heaping ¼ CUP of herbs into large quart jar. Let it steep, covered with a plate to keep steam in, for 20 minutes. Strain herbs out and drink hot infusion. You can make it into iced tea, or add a bit of honey, etc., but it is strong stuff just an FYI! I just drank it down quickly. My very natural midwife required this of me every day. :+)

This information came from How to Be Your Own Herbal Pharmacist.

Monday, July 10, 2006

My husband is a wise man.

My husband is a wise man.

Proverbs 14:16
A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil...


Proverbs 24:5
A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power.


Ecclesiastes 7:19
Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.


Ecclesiastes 10:12
Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious...


Matthew 7:24
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.


And God has blessed me richly in my husband.


Psalm 1:1
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!


Psalm 34:8
O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!


Psalm 40:4
How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.


Psalm 84:12
O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!


2 Samuel 22:47
The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation.


Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.


As the beautiful words of a dedicated woman were shared in Ruth, so I say to you publicly again:


"Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."


I love you, Mark, on this our 14th wedding anniversary!

O God Beyond All Praising

We sang this hymn on Sunday and it was very moving to me. I hope you find it as inspirational as I did. He certainly deserves our praise!

O God Beyond All Praising


O God beyond all praising, we worship you today and sing the love amazing that songs cannot repay; for we can only wonder at every gift you send, at blessings without number and mercies without end; we lift our hearts before you and wait upon your word, we honor and adore you, our great and mighty Lord.


Then hear, O gracious Savior, accept the love we bring, that we who know your favor may serve you as our King; and whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill, we'll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still; to marvel at your beauty and glory in your ways, and make a joyful duty our sacrifice of praise.


(FromThe Trinity Hymnal, Number 660)

Update on the Peruvian Lily:


She is doing well and has not had any further episodes of heart problems. Thank you, God, for your mercies! They are never ending.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Not for the dieting...

Do you ever just crave chocolate dessert? It almost does not matter *what* kind of chocolate dessert, but you just crave it? Usually I am sated with the bar at left if I happen to have one. Since the local Smart and Final sells them for a very reasonable price, that was not *so* terribly rare. (Or the occassional chocolate bar ends up in my mailbox due to a sly person's careful placement between books. )


Tonight though, I did not have one (as I have been more careful in my sweet purchases due to a serious lack of self control when it comes to dark chocolate). So, I pulled out my Hershey's Cocoa and went to work on the chewiest, softest, chocolatiest cookies I have had in a long time. :+) So, I provide the recipe below for all you other homeschool mothers who love chocolate and crave it after a long day!


Chewy Chocolate Cookies


11/4 C butter

2 C sugar

2 eggs

2 t vanilla

2 C unsifted flour

3/4 C Hershey's Cocoa

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

optional: 1 C nuts or 1 C white or dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Mix sugar with butter until smooth. Add eggs, and vanilla then blend well. Then add cocoa, flour, soda, salt, and nuts/chocolate chips if you wish. (We did not add nuts or chocolate chips because they are just so good on their own!)


After mixed well, drop by spoonfulls onto ungreased baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove and set for 2 minutes and then place on cooling sheet. Enjoy!!!

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fun for my local readers!


If you have children who just love ponies then I have a really fantastic company for you to know about. Pony Up Pony Parties is local and has some of the nicest and well-trained ponies to ride that our children have ever experienced. (Chex is on the left here.) These are not barn-sour animals, but are well-loved and properly cared for animals. (Even PETA would approve!) :+)


When I was young I had a tough experience with some very barn-sour horses that left me with quite a fear of them. These animals are in NO way like this and my fear of them is now completely gone. I am grateful for the care they receive because they really are lovely animals.


Not only are the ponies nice, but the people (some very dear friends of ours) are super too! This family-run business is a pleasure to share with you.   I don't know anyone who loves her ponies and horses the way she does. Chex is one of many to choose from and one of our family favorites is their larger pony, Phantom.


Anyway, the rates are very good and I just thought I would put in a plug for some serious fun for your children. Our children think so! www.ponyupfun.com!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

On this 4th of July...

I am moved to tears by the last letter of Civil War veteran, Sullivan Ballou, to his wife, Sarah. It reflects the powerful love of God, family, and country.


If you or your loved ones are serving or have served in the military or if you sacrifice yourself to serve those who are, I would like to take a moment to thank you. You are not forgotten and you are much appreciated--for all your sacrifices at home and abroad. May God go before you today as we celebrate our Independence, and always.

July 14th, 1861
Washington D.C.

My dear Sarah.


The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days -- perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.


Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure -- and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine 0 God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing -- perfectly willing -- to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.


But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows -- when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children -- is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?


I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.


I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.


Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.


The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me -- perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.


Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.


But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours -- always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.


Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.


As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.



(Sullivan Ballou died one week later at the Battle of Bull Run.)

We hold these truths...and still do.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Peruvian Lily

I have a sweet young 16 year old friend on a mission trip to Peru with her aunt and uncle for many weeks and she is in need of your prayers. Her name is Janette and she is experiencing episodes of heart racing from 45 minutes to an hour at a rate of 150 beats per minute. This was something she experienced several years ago, but with treatment they thought (and it had seemed up until now) that the episodes were resolved.

Her parents have asked for prayer that God would be pleased to protect her health and that she would either not have any further episodes or should she have one that the doctor would be able to find out what is causing them.  Additionally, please pray that God would give the doctor the wisdom to make decisions regarding Janette's activities and any diagnostic testing as she is far away from her Georgia home.

Her parents shared, "We have to believe that the Lord placed Janette in the Allens care at this particular time.  Thank you for supporting her in prayer."




Thank you for praying for her!