Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nic's Blog

I wasn't sure what to title this blog, but since it is all about Nic...

Nicolas finished up his season with the Boise Philharmonic Youth Symphony with a concert last Saturday with the Reno Youth Symphony.  It was an all day event that culminated with the concert late afternoon on Northwest Nazarene University's (NNU) campus.  

Quite a bit of talent on this stage!

I think they look goofy in this picture.   I must have been holding my cell phone at the wrong angle.  Caleb wanted to take his picture with Nicolas because he wonders if he will miss most of his brother's concerts next year while he is at college.  Assuming Nicolas makes it back into the BPYO...

A little over a week ago, he was inducted into the National Honor Society.  I love this kid's smile!

Jr/Sr Banquet

The Jr/Sr Banquet at Cole Valley is unique in that parents are invited to a large portion of the evening.  The Banquet does not actually include a meal, so the kids usually go out to eat and then meet their parents for dessert and a short program with a dance following.  This year Caleb and his friend Maddie met several other couples at one of the individual's homes as their mom, who actually has a catering business, offered to make a meal for them.  I thought this was great as it saved all the kids money!  Russ and I met Caleb, his date, and his friends at the beautiful Scentsy Commons (as in Scentsy candles) for dessert and a program.  The program included a tribute to each of the seniors written by a fellow student/friend/sibling and read by the principle.  Nicolas had written a sweet tribute to Caleb.  Following the tributes, they showed the senior video and then started the dance.  Parents danced the first dance with their student (moms with sons, dads with daughters) and then parents were able to leave while the kids enjoyed the rest of the dance with their classmates.  I have just a few pictures of that night with Caleb and his friends.

In front of their "ride" for the night--a remodeled bus.

Inside the remodeled bus

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ordination and Installation

Russ was ordained and installed as Minister of the Word at Cloverdale URC on Friday, April 17.  

Of course, the day needed to have a little drama.  Dr. Bilkes, who gave the ordination message, was scheduled to fly into Boise at 2:20.  He called earlier that morning to inform us that because of mechanical problems (dead plane battery) he was put on a different plane/airline and was now scheduled to fly into Boise a little after 6:00pm.  Since the service was to start at 7:00, Russ did work out a contingency plan with Pastor Nick Smith, but all worked out just fine.  Dr. Bilkes and Farmer Paul arrived at the church around 6:30.  Plenty of time to change clothes!  

Dr. Bilkes read from Isaiah 52:7-12 and preached on Isaiah 52:7:
"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

His sermon was divided into three points:

1.  The Messenger
     a.  Sent
     b.  Strong
     c.  Swift
     d.  Salvation

2.  The Message
     a.  Crescendo
     b.  Celebratory
     c.  Coronation
     d.  Cross

3.  The Marriage
       I don't remember the divisions in this point, but the idea was that a minister of the Word is a tool that God uses to bring the bride (the Church) to the bridegroom (Jesus Christ).

Dr. Bilkes mentioned the plane fiasco in his sermon and said that the portion from his text "Your God reigns!" was helpful in keeping perspective when things did not seem to be working out.  When Rev. Nick Smith stood up to read the form for ordination and installation he said he thought that God was speaking more directly to Dr. Bilkes from verse 12, "But you will not leave in haste or go in flight..."  Too funny!

Rev. Smith's Pastoral Charge was from Ephesians 4.  He warned against pastors who are willing to maintain status quo for unity and challenged that instead they should be striving for change that produces spiritual growth within the the church body.

Rev.  Richard Blauw gave the Congregational Charge from Philippians 4.  Rev. Blauw is a retired CRC pastor who assisted Cloverdale URC when they were vacant by providing long-term pulpit supply and overall pastoral support through an extremely trying time in the life of the congregation.

Rev. Russ Herman closed the service by giving the benediction at which time I promptly lost my battle with tears.  

We enjoyed a time of fellowship at the church (cake and punch) with the church family and later at our home with Dr. Bilkes and Farmer Paul.  Their flight was to leave early the next morning, so we, unfortunately, did not get to spend much time with them.  

Overall, it was a wonderful evening and we thanked God repeatedly for His blessings and faithfulness!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Homeschool Weeks 23-27

The last five weeks provided lots of interesting subject matter in history.  The topics included the events prior to World War II:   Wall Street Crash, Great Depression, and rise of Hitler; events during World War II:  Holocaust and atom bomb; and events after World War II:  The Marshall Plan, Israel becoming a nation, and Communism in China.  

The kids watched quite a few videos (educational, I'm sure!) during these weeks:
               Kit:  The Great Depression
               Tora, Tora, Tora:  The bombing of Pearl Harbor
               The Sound of Music:  World War II in Austria
               Mrs. Miniver:  World War II in Great Britain 
(A black and white war-time drama produced in 1942.  This was the kid's favorite!)

Our read aloud was Corrie Ten Boom:  Keeper of the Angel's Den in the "Christians Then and Now" series.  Anna had read The Hiding Place earlier this year so it was a bit of review for her.  On the way to and from Salt Lake City we listened to the Focus on the Family audio drama of The Hiding Place. I love the truths taught in that book and find myself quoting lines to remind the kids of Casper Ten Boom's wisdom or Corrie and her sister Betsie's deep faith.

We also did a fair share of baking:

War cake:  Cake made with very little oil and sugar.  The girls made it one afternoon while I ran errands.  I was skeptical, but it tasted great.  I little bit like the brown bread my dad loves so  much. 

M & M cookies:  Since M&Ms were developed in the 1940s.  

Kolaches:  When President Kennedy traveled to Berlin shortly after the East Germans built the Berlin Wall he made a famous speech in which he said the words "Ich bin ein Berliner".  He meant to say "I am from Berlin", but because he added the article "ein" he said "I am a Berliner" which is a type of jelly donut.  So in essence he said, "I am a jelly donut."  Instead of making donuts the kids voted for kolaches.  

Partitioning Palestine:  We baked a cake with red and blue M&Ms and then frosted 1/2 the cake red and 1/2 blue.  When eating the cake, if we had a piece with red frosting we were to take out the blue M&Ms and give them to someone eating a piece with blue frosting and vice versa.  This was to show how difficult it was to partition Palestine and move Palestinians and Jewish people to their "appropriate" area.  The whole "taking M&Ms out of the cake" worked better in theory than in reality...


Each of the kids were given the name of a Resistance Movement they had to research (who, what, where, etc) and just give a couple minute oral report of what they found.  I think they researched The Swing Kids, The White Rose, and the Edelweiss Pirates.  

War-time Posters:  Each designed a war-time poster to encourage those on the home front to do their part during WW2.

Mao's Little Red Book:  We made our own "Little Red Books" and filled them with inspirational quotes or Bible verses.  Throughout that day they had to make sure they carried the book with them all the time because I could ask to see their red book at any moment.  If they didn't have their book I was supposed to give them chores.  Instead we just had fun trying to catch each other.

Presidents and other people we studied in more detail:  Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, C.S. Lewis, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

We also had two field trips.  The first was to the Boise Aquarium and the second was another homeschool day at the World Center for Bird's of Prey.

The favorite activity--petting the stingrays



Puffer Fish

I was absolutely fascinated with the teaching time at the World Center for Bird's of Prey.  We learned all sorts of neat facts about the California Condors, migration patterns, and differences between hawks and falcons.  I totally could have been a wildlife biologist!

California Condor

Teaching on migration patterns