Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dreaming of a HOT Christmas

Our clan is leaving early tomorrow for a holiday to Texas. I am so looking forward to southern warmth after Nebraska's -10 F temperatures. If Texas isn't sunny, I will be very disappointed!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

High speed internet, I love you

Finally, finally, finally I am at our business and am reveling in the high speed internet! I know we will never get high speed at our house, because dial-up is $7 a month (for unlimited internet!) and high speed would cost several hundred to set up and who knows how much per month, but I feel disconnected if I can't get in to use the internet here.

We got a snow break this week. A snow dump on Monday night left us home-bound until today, Thursday. No ballet classes for Jen, no work at the family business for Mom, no day at the office for Dad. And you know it's a big storm when the University closes. We were all home together. You would think we would be used to each other, since we are a family and we've lived together for all the years of our lives, which adds up to 195 years total. But it's amazing with the activities of us older ones and the jobs of the parents how little we are actually all together. It's also amazing how annoying your family can be. But we got a lot done and the power blessedly did not go out(Thank you Lord!), and we did alright. It really has been a problem for me, though, as throughout the winter we are often snowed in and can't go anywhere. I don't get out much anyway, even when the weather is good, so laugh if you will but missing my weekly trip to the library or the business is hard. So I've learned I really need a plan for winter, otherwise those I might spend those three months standing next to the wood stove in depression. This winter I am planning on taking up quilting. I also hope to continue compiling my research about women of the American Revolution,to be able to put it in booklet form.

Overall it was an interesting week. Let me summarize: The lid of our car trunk fell on my head. Ouch. I was standing on a stool hanging Christmas decorations when the stool collapsed of its own accord. Ouch. I got a hangnail. Ouch. The temperature was -10 degrees F. Ouch! It snowed; we had to shovel out our lane. My muscles are sore. Ouch. I finally got to go to our business and had to shovel snow again. I either need to A: never shovel snow because it hurts too much, or B: shovel snow more often so I'll be used to it. I vote for A.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Big Changes Ahead

On Sunday Dad was ordained as an Pastor in a very nice ceremony at the end of our Church service. It was appropriately serious and special. Three Elders from other churches traveled from out-of-state to be part of the ceremony. There were a few moments during the reading of the charges to Dad and the speaking afterwards that I felt some panic: What are we doing? What have we gotten ourselves into? This is serious! As an Elder in our denomination Dad is considered a Pastor, able to give communion and preach. It was a big step, not just for Dad but for all of us, because as a family unit he's taking us all with him.

Here's a quick run-through of our trip to become an Elder's family:

In the Spring of 2005 our home church of many years dissolved and we started going to DCC

On December 11th of 2005 our family joined DCC

Around September of 2007 Dad decided to begin the test for Eldership at our church

On Aug. 3rd of 2008 Dad was ordained an Elder at DCC, which was at that time a part of the PCA.

In December of 2008 our church at a congregational meeting voted to leave the PCA and join the CPC. Dad had to re-take the Elder test.

At CPC Presbytery May 14th-17th 2009 Dad was questioned for three hours by a panel of six men and did not pass the exam. Our church joined the CPC at that time.

October 26th of 2009 Dad was examined again for two hours by phone and passed.

November 14th of 2009 Dad was examined on counseling and pastoral issues and was approved by unanimous vote for Eldership in the CPC.

Abbreviations: DCC: Dominion Covenant Church. PCA: Presbyterian Church in America (Denomination). CPC: Covenant Presbyterian Church (Denomination)

It seems like the whole process happened so fast, and it wasn't it just last year we started coming to this church? As we look forward to the new year I'm sure that the adjustment to Dad's new responsibilities and our part in them will be foremost in our minds. As we make our traditional list of goals and prayers for 2010, the possibilities stemming from Dad's new position will most likely dominate the page. Pray we will learn with grace our places in this venture!

Here we go!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Meet Calvin

This is not the surprise I mentioned earlier- that surprise is still pending. This is Calvin, the newest member of our family. An eight-week old border collie puppy, Calvin is a very good puppy so far- very quiet and well mannered. I hope it lasts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I fear phone calls.

Also on my list of fears are leprosy, rabies, and suffocation. Leprosy has actually been on my mind lately, beacuse I just finished this book. It's an excellent story and I highly recommend all the Thoene's A.D. Chronicles.

But about phone calls, I called the number on a help wanted ad this morning. I so hate making phone calls, but my current state of poverty forced me to. Seeing a help wanted ad that is for something besides CNA work, trucking, power hosing hogs, or working with cattle is rare in this area. I haven't had a job for about a year now, and though I've certainly been busy I don't want to be a financial burden to my family. So I called, and found out even though it's a part time job it's still five days a week. Unnerved, I hung up and ate some chocolate to recover. Mom asked if I was sorry I couldn't take the job and work five days a week- not really. I'm too lazy to want to be away from home five days a week. I can't be gone that much anyway, because of our own business and family responsibilities. So here I am sitting in our business(working for room and board), high on chocolate, and no money to spare. But I don't really mind. Maybe it's the temporary effect of the chocolate. All the things I keep busy with, all my interests(Politics, sewing, art, cooking, military ministry), have so far not turned into lucrative avenues. I've been searching for opportunities for several months now, and none of them have worked out. So I'm waiting to see what happens, what God does: It could be life changing. Being a woman, I have speculated on what the reason I'm jobless might be: It may be because of a huge family change in the near future. And I can't tell you what that is, because it's a secret.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Family Favorite

Layered Mocha Cheesecake with Oreo crumb crust. Perfect for any season.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Matriarch Reaches 90

Tuesday was the birthday of the U.S. Marines. It was also my Grandma's ninetieth birthday, and so I spent the day with her at her independent living apartment. We spent the morning cleaning out Grandma's linen closet. Anyone who knows Grandma knows she lives a spartan life, she's always cleaning out and getting rid of something, and her closets are already half empty as it is. So now, after yesterday's cleaning, her closet is pretty bare. But that's the way she likes it.

I ate lunch with Grandma in the dining room there, and sad to say either the food or the warm perfumed air(you know how elderly ladies often wear lots of perfume) gave me a terrible headache and upset stomach. Thankfully, elderly ladies also take naps, so I got to take one too. Nevertheless, I was very sick that night and I can promise you that I will never eat creamed beef chips with biscuits again. Yuck. It makes me feel sick just to type it here.

Grandma is an interesting lady. She grew up as an only child during the depression. She told me on Tuesday that when she was very young, around five or six, her mother would ask her to read to her while she was doing her ironing. I don't know many details about Grandma's life, but after a failed first marriage(which we never speak of), she married my Grandpa at age 28. They had a little girl, my Aunt, and then Grandpa was deployed to Korea during the Korean War. After he returned my Dad and his twin brother were born, and I'm sure they kept Grandma very busy after that. She's a independent, out-spoken lady, and even though she hasn't talked about hard times I know she's had her share. Now with her failing eyesight, we hope someday soon she will be able (and willing- at present she isn't) to move in and live with us. Anyway, I thought that Grandma, having reached the distinguished age of ninety, deserved to be memorialized online for all to see. Happy Birthday, Grandma, and many more!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reformation Day Faire

It's hard to explain to non-Christian or normal Halloween-celebrating friends what a Reformation Day Faire is. Usually my explanation goes like this: It's celebrating Martin Luther and his 95 thesis, John Calvin and the Protestant Reformation... you know, John Calvin? (confused looks) Instead of celebrating Halloween? (shocked muttering and shaking of heads) Oh, never mind- it's a fall festival. (the light bulb goes on and shocked look disappears)

So Jen and I traveled the eight hours to IL with three other ladies for Providence Church's annual Reformation Day Faire, leaving last Thursday and arriving home Monday evening. We all agreed we had a good time- not quite a great time, but a good time. We stayed with a wonderful host family who showed us the art of good hospitality. We heard speakers on John Calvin both Friday and Saturday morning, very enjoyable when we weren't feeling too sleepy. Saturday afternoon the Scottish games began, followed bythe Boffer war. Since we ladies didn't know anyone in the games, we left after a while. My favorite part of the event was the ball Saturday night(English Country Dancing). We started out with the Virginia Reel, a dance I've actually done before, and I really wanted to dance again. Since I was a stranger there, I thought for sure no guy would ask me to dance, so I was very pleasently surprised and very happy when someone asked me to dance right away! I danced four out of the five dances altogether and had a wonderful time. I also really enjoyed the Church service and spending time with our hosts Sunday evening- we watched "Pendragon" together. A good movie, but the acting made me laugh sometimes.

Monday we traveled home. We specifically stopped at Steak and Shake in Iowa for lunch, because there aren't any in Nebraska that I know of, and had a pleasent meal together. Then a little farther on we got off the interstate to stop at a cemetery I wanted to visit. I got my tombstone pictures and then one of our members got sick, so we ended up waiting about an hour in Williamsburg, Iowa while her prescription got filled. We got a little silly running around the town square taking pictures. Kind of an odd sidenote to our fairly calm trip.

We had a good time and it was nice to get away for a little vacation. If I did it again, though, I think it might be more enjoyable if my family had been there or if I hadn't been the only quiet one in the car.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I spent at least an hour last week searching online for sources on 18th Century clothing, and ended up adding a half dozen blogs to my favorites, such as Diary of a Mantua maker. One website I really enjoyed was the Great Pattern Review, an excellent resource for ideas and pattern recommendations. I especially enjoyed seeing the photos of all the different styles and eras of dress.

I am almost finished with my caraco jacket, which is going as well as it possibly can considering the huge alterations I've made to my pattern. The process has convinced me to go ahead and buy the book, Patterns of Fashion 1. I am trying to be historically accurate and correct in my sewing, but some re-enactors would probably be horrified at my sewing process. It seems that in the future that I will be forced to learn to draft my own patterns, and I'm sure this book will be a great help.

I'm sorry my posts have been all about sewing lately. That's all I've been doing in my free time this week!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This post ended up being all about Money

I've taken a small weekly babysitting job which will hopefully pay for some of my living expenses. It's not much money but at least it's something. It's so nice to just babysit little girls and not little boys. I even have time to read in between incidents. Last night I did have to emphasize that Ladies don't bang their fists on the walls- I'm sure I never did at that age- and there was one blood-letting injury, but it was the first in four weeks. When you consider the statistics of average two year old boy injuries, once in four weeks isn't bad.

Sewing get be expensive. Especially sewing authentic, period correct clothing, when you're aiming for specific kinds of material and special patterns. In my next attempt at creating eighteenth century clothing I hope to make a caraco jacket, similar to the gown I made, only shorter and with different seam lines. The cheapest pattern I could find for a caraco jacket was $10. Now, even with this babysitting job, I don't feel I can keep on spending money on authentic patterns. So, two options: I could spend ALL my current monthly budget and buy this book and be set up forever, or I could try to alter the period correct pattern I already have, keeping the right seam lines and changing the skirt. Beginner sewer I may be(sometimes I dare to call myself intermediate), but I alter my patterns fearlessly. It drives my sister nuts.

Actually, there is an option number three: I drive for two hours every day to get a job I don't like, come home exhausted every night and have less time for sewing, so I have more money to sew.

After considering the options, I think I'll just bide my time and for now alter the pattern so I can have something to wear here, and hope that wonderful tradition of giving the grandkids money at Christmas continues.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Exhaustingly Encouraging Experience

We all left on Thursday for the Providential History Festival 2009. Our cabin was definitely a step up from tent camping, and in some ways a treat, seeing as it had insulated walls and even actual beds. There was a downside though: the showers were open air, meaning they were in a building with large screen windows on the sides, to let in the air which happens to be frigid this time of year. Taking a shower in the 34 F degree weather Sunday was a miserable experience and I hope I never have to repeat it. It was miserable I tell you, just miserable!

Friday is when the fun/work started. Mom and Dad were in charge of making sure the workshops went smoothly. I was in charge of making sure the boys were well behaved, so I sat in on the drama workshop(Thanks to the Erber family) with them. Being a coward, I was in mortal fear of being picked as a "volunteer" from the crowd, so I fled during the break and left the boys to do what they would. And I breathed a sigh of relief at having escaped being on stage.

The weather was terribly windy and cold, so our planned lunch at the park turned into a quick lunch in the van. Friday afternoon we spent a long time waiting to rehearse the boy's "John Paul Jones" drama, and after dinner we were treated to hearing Patrick Henry's famed "Liberty or Death" speech(Thanks again to the Erbers). It was very well done- I've never heard it done better. Then we all headed to the hanger for some dancing. The guys were a little reluctant to join in on the first round, and bless those few brave men who sacrificed themselves for the sake of the ladies, but by the second dance the guys were having more fun than the women. It got a little more athletic after that.

Saturday: We arrived as early as possible(in full costumes) and were still late. Our drama wasn't until the afternoon so we had all day to be nervous. Wearing my dress and stays all day long wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it might be, just bulky. We spent the day listening to the speeches, watching the dramas, and spending time with our new friends from Texas. The drama went smoothly and Caleb's speech was flawless. Following dinner was a concert by Nathan Clark George and then, finally, the awards ceremony.

I have always disliked it when athletes or any sort of competitors say, "I've worked so hard I deserve to win." It's so selfish. But as I've worked on my project over the months(I've been studying, planning, and compiling since last December) I've come to maybe understand a little more how those competitors feel when they say that. It's not a good thing and I've definitely needed reminders that I shouldn't focus on wanting to win. But I did want to win. And it just so happened that I did: I received the Audience Choice award for Best Table Display. Caleb won the Judges' Choice award for Best Speech. I'm very thankful that people enjoyed my table enough to vote for it. Now that it's all over and I've recovered a little sleep-wise, it's time to start planning for History Festival 2010!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I usually make it a policy not to post full pictures of myself here on my blog. However, the actual chances of something bad coming of a picture of myself posted here are, I believe, fairly low. So this once, here I am in my first 18th Century outfit.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

History Festival, Here I Come!

We are two days away from our big event, the Providential History Festival. I have been working for months studying the American Revolution and sewing with yards and yards of material; around 16 yards, to be exact. My costume is finished except for those few last minute touches. I'd like to list for you what all I will be wearing this coming Saturday, my introduction to historical reenacting(and I'll post a picture as soon as I'm able):

  • A chemise, a simple garment like a big shirt that(in this case, because I made the opening too big) gathers at the neck.
  • Two white cotton petticoats that tie at the sides.
  • My stays: three layers of thick material, half-boned using heavy duty zip ties. One thing I wish I had done differently was making these stays with straps. Strapless would have been better, because the straps tend to inch towards my neckline and show. My stays lace up the back, which I don't mind because I am getting pretty good at lacing and unlacing myself.
  • Next comes my colored petticoat, fuller than the others. I was confused about whether or not all my petticoats ought to go under the stays or not, but since my stays might show otherwise I put it on top.
  • Then my gown, made with the J.P. Ryan English Nightgown pattern using four yards of material. It's a floral pattern which I'm afraid isn't very accurate for the time period, but it was on sale and I gave in. I also splurged and bought an authentic Williamsburg striped print for my next project, even though I said I would never sew with stripes again. I am having some trouble getting the front flap over the hooks and eyes to lie flat, so I might have to pin it. The hook and eye tape was 75% off, and it still cost around 6$. Apparently the Hancock's here isn't going to carry it anymore, so I don't know what to use on my next project. Probably have to order it over the Internet.
Everything is made with 100% cotton. I would have loved to use linen, but it's the off season and way too expensive. I didn't do any of the sewing by hand, but I am hoping to learn how to sew by hand in the future. I didn't have time to make ruffles or a cap before the event, but I plan on having them done by the next one. My family has really teased me about my passion to be as authentic as possible, especially since there's no chance to do real 18th Century historical reenacting here in the midwest(obviously, since we don't live anywhere near the first thirteen states). I do hope to someday travel to the east coast and visit all the historical museums and parks on my ever growing list, and maybe then I'll get to wear my dress in a correct setting.

As far as a hairstyles, how about one of these?

I'm just kidding- I'm going to put it up in a bun is all. We leave in two days- I'm excited and really hoping it will be fun and not as stressful as it could be with all the little details and responsibilities I have to remember. Whew! History Festival, here I come!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Poor Jonny

Yesterday was an interesting day. Not really a good sort of interesting. It was the sanctifying sort of interesting, which seems to have carried into today as well.

One interesting thing that happened, is that Jonny now has a terrible black eye. Apparently the boys usually stop at a nearby country church while on their long bike rides, to ride down the handicap-accessible doorway ramp. Jonny was on Caleb's bike this time and he forgot it had handlebar brakes. So down he went off the handicap ramp, across the lawn, over the road, and down into the ditch. The Church may ban us from being on church property after this!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Great Deal

1776: Grandma bought it for fifty cents at our local library.
The Glorious Cause: Mom bought it for a few dollars on Amazon. Reason to rejoice!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Man can make his plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands

We used to play a board game called Soloman's Treasure(which seems to be no longer made) where one of the game cards had you memorize that verse, Proverbs 16:9, to get to the next level. I guess I really memorized it.

All my plans lately seem to be foiled. For example, a plan to campaign for Dan Quiggle in Florida was taken out of my hands, and then canceled- and that was particularly crushing because we would have gotten to stay at the beach. My latest attempt to get a job didn't go through- though I can't say I'm too sorry about that. I only need the money; I've got enough work without a job at present. That's what comes of doing so much volunteer work- poverty! I even gave up a museum visit in Omaha to see artifacts from the Charles Dickens museum in England because we had family visiting!

Anyway, I know that there are no accidents in life. I just wish all these dead-ends weren't so upseting. Maybe some chocolate will make me feel better.

My 18th Century dress is almost completed. I've really been enjoying researching the colonial period, so much so that maybe I won't want to stop after the History Festival is over. Take a look at these authenic 18th Century cosmetic products! I have half a mind to make some, even though lotion is the last thing I need. I've also started a list of historic places relating to the Revolutionary War I'd like to visit someday, and this is the latest place on the list.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Drink Water.

Jen and I drove to Omaha this morning to do some shopping, go to our cute little second cousin's first birthday party, and attend a rally protesting the National Healthcare bill. We try to squeeze everything in one day when we "go to town".

The rally started at 12pm in downtown Omaha, and we arrived at 11 to help hand out fliers. The weather has been so great lately, and today was sunny and warm. Really warm in the sun, actually. The speakers were good if not great, and there was a large crowd. After about two hours standing in the sun, I really wanted to sit down, though. After I sat down I stared feeling really tired, and then out of breath, then sick to my stomach, then dizzy, and then I heard ringing in my ears. Jen wasn't there at the time, and I really felt like I was going to faint or(heaven forbid) throw up, so I told the poor lady next to me, a complete stranger, that I didn't feel well. I must have looked it, because she fanned me with her paper and was very gracious. I really felt terrible. A few other people noticed my state and came over to see if they could help. They decided to get the nearby policemen to help me out. There was so much security there, there must have been around twenty law enforcement officers present. They very seriously escorted me into an air conditioned building, and I brought poor Jen with me- when I tapped her on the shoulder she thought we were being arrested.

I recovered really quickly, and I'm sure the reason I felt faint was because I was dehydrated. I had forgotten my water bottle and hadn't had any breakfast. I feel foolish for the drama I caused by not taking care of myself properly. And since the policemen escorted me through the crowd, everyone saw it happen.. my pastor was there and someone went and got him to check on me, which was nice.

So hopefully I've learned my lesson, which is drink lots of water when you're in the hot sun, and now I'm going to bed, very tired and badly sunburned as well. I don't think I'll ever learn to put on sunscreen!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Never Want to Marry a Man Named Arnold

I'm in a state of mild depression right now. My recent studies of the American Revolution have led me through David McCullough's excellent book, "1776" and David Hackett Fisher's "Paul Revere's Ride" along with other lesser known books. I'm understanding more now what a great man of character George Washington was, and how providential it was to have young leaders such as Nathaniel Greene and Henry Knox in the North, and Charles Coatesworth Pinckney and Francis Marion in the South. But what got me depressed was the last two books I've read, which were about Benedict Arnold, the brilliant and tempermental American General who in 1779 defected to the side of the British. It's pretty depressing to read about how an American hero turned into an American traitor. Whew.

I need to get my mind on other things. I started my first petticoat today, and since they're really pretty easy to make I hope to have both my plain white petticoats done within a few days.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mission Relaxation: Vacation 2009

Last week our family took off for vacation 2009; actually part 2 of vacation 2009, since our trip to Des Moines for the Fatherhood conference qualified as the first half. Especially since we stayed in a hotel then, even paid for two rooms. Part 2 was actually another trip to Iowa, to spend five days in a one room cabin with no bathroom. Isolation and relaxation was the goal; at least it was Mom's goal, for our trip this year. I guess Iowa is a pretty good place for that. Mom grew up tent camping across the country for weeks every summer, and so she has always had a vision for summer camping trips. I have come to detest camping over the years- the crowded quarters, the leaky tents(it always rains), bending over a campfire, walking miles to the bathrooms, which are dirty. It's a love/hate relationship actually; camping is the only way we could ever afford to travel and see the historical sites, museums, and cemeteries I love to visit. But this year we didn't do any of that- we just sat at our cabin for five days. I took four books to read, one for each free day there, but I ended up getting a cold and was sick for two and therefore only got two books done. Overall, the weather was beautiful, the one room cabin survivable, you really couldn't see the cornfields from the cabin, which had a great view of the lake; and even though I still had to walk to the bathroom I did accomplish the Vacation 2009 mission: Relaxation.

The boys did get a little bored, since they don't know how to relax; they went fishing a lot and caught two teeny fish which we had to throw back. I guess we need some advice on fishing techniques.

Now that I'm back I'm hoping to finish my other colonial undergarments besides the stays: chemise and petticoats. How hard can that be, right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Surprise: I have no free time

I've been terribly lax in posting, and I regret it. The past four weeks have been a blur, but as near as I can remember here is what I've been doing:

  • We had our relatives, Mullets of Ohio, stay with us for two weeks. Josiah and Eli reminded us what it was like to have toddlers in the house and in turn we got to hug babies every day, much to our brothers relief. Apparently our house isn't really baby-proof. We girls got to watch "North and South" with our cousin, Josiah got to see a cow up close, and we had a mini-family reunion for two weeks.

  • I babysat for two days, which is good because I need the money. The one child, an almost two year old boy, needed some discipline. This is why I hate babysitting: The kid needs to be spanked, and I can't spank him. But temper tantrums aside(his, not mine), it was a pretty easy job because he napped during the afternoon and all I had to do was sit and watch TV.

  • I had a guest for a day: Natty the farm girl. I don't have much experience with sleepovers, and I think Jen was very disappointed with my lack of desire to do things like curl hair, paint nails, stay up until one in the morning, and generally be chatty and frivolous. But we did watch eight hours of "Little Dorrit", and Natty showed us her longbow, which we all got a chance to shoot. I do hope she had fun!

  • We went to a Good Cheer family conference in Des Moines over the weekend. The conference was on Biblical Fatherhood, with Kevin Swanson and Scott Brown as speakers. I feel like we got to a lot of conferences- it's like a annual home school family vacation-so I guess I don't really get excited about conferences anymore. But the speakers were good, and the boys loved swimming in the "fake chemical water" hotel pool as opposed to our "natural lake water" pool.

  • Yesterday I made stays. Stays are like a corset, only not quite. Stays are what ladies wore in the 18th Century. Mrs. T, A lady who has historical knowledge and great sewing skills, was gracious enough to let me come to her house to make the stays. She worked with me for eight hours at no cost. We used zip ties for the boning, and it's really quite stiff. You can see in the picture the patterned inside lining; the outside is plain white. It was a long day, but it would have been much longer and harder without Mrs. T's valuable help!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Jen had her wisdom teeth out last Friday, same as I did three years ago. Three whole years since I graduated from high school. I am so old. I looked back on my blog to see what I posted about having my teeth out, and I must have deleted that post because I didn't find anything. I should probably delete more of those old posts. Some of them are so silly. My memories of the wisdom tooth experience are fading; I do know I got them out on a Friday morning; came home, watched a movie, took a nap, got up and ate ice cream and was fine. I don't remember any extreme discomfort, I didn't take any painkillers, and I went to Church on Sunday in good health.

Jen's experience was not so rosy. She, too, had hers out on Friday morning. We stocked up on ice cream, pudding, soft fruit, etc. The one thing that made me mad when I had my teeth pulled was Mom(albeit accidentally) bought ice cream with almonds in it- very frustrating to eat. We were all hushed and excited when Jen finally got home, wanting to know how it went. She laid down on the couch and was a zombie for three whole days- swollen, not speaking, no facial expression, hardly any eating. Nothing. She was just starting to get better yesterday. And she had to use painkillers.

Have I just forgotten how bad it was, or did I have it easy? The one thing that did plague me for more than six months afterward was tightness in my jaw and pain when I ate popcorn. And I love popcorn, so that was an affliction.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm In the Mood

I had the privilege this past weekend to visit Clarinda, IA, for the annual Glenn Miller festival. An elderly lady asked me to take her(she was tired of bus trips) and so I had basically no expenses. The price I had to pay was to listen to the lady talk talk talk for two whole days... See, I'm still being sanctified.

I was glad to go though, because I had family reasons to go there- my grandpa(who died before I was born) was born there in 1916, and served as a "flower girl" for his Uncle's wedding at this house:

I enjoy Glenn Miller music, too. I got to go to three concerts- the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Glenn Miller "Live" from Cafe Rouge, where they reproduced a Miller TV show, and the 312 Army Reserve Band. That SPC Reynolds is the Army version of Michael Bluble- He was great!

Currently Reading:

I am trying to read up on women of the Revolutionary War; unfortunately most books on that topic are incredibly feministic in style and therefore demeaning to the women they are addressing. I'm forging ahead though, and slowly making progress.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Let me update you on my life. Since my last post, I have:

  • Met an overly friendly male "tour guide"(???) on my last day(sob sob, session is over) at Capitol. I tried to politely not answer his questions about where I live.... always after one of these weird conversations I wonder if I should have been more reserved, and if I said to much.
  • Went to a family reunion, which I hate to say wasn't much fun, and on the way home we were stopped by a man in the middle of the road waving his arms. A young man driving a van that wasn't his, with no driver's license, no insurance, no registration, no money, no food, no one to call for help, and nowhere to go. In the end we had to just leave him at an all-night gas station. Then when we were almost home late at night, we barely missed hitting a deer.
  • Finished sewing projects for Jen's ballet recital, which is on Thursday. Panic!
  • Had my teeth cleaned, no cavities, Yay!
So there you have it. My life is currently consumed with Recital details and plans for the next month, since I am organizing a mini Tea party(Taxed Enough Already) for July 4th and our cousins are coming for two weeks at the end of June. Oh, we also have two birthdays, a Swedish festival, and a trip to Clarinda, IA in the next week. So many details!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Last August Dad became an Elder in our Church. Becoming an Elder in our church is a lot harder than it is in most churches, I would guess. Dad had to study for months to take a big long test before he could be approved. He was rushed through the process because our Church needed another Elder. Then just a short while after Dad was ordained, our church decided to switch denominations from the PCA to a much smaller, more conservative denomination. Dad had to immediately start studying for a much longer, harder test to be completed in a shorter time space.

Dad is in Tennessee this week for the church conference of our soon-to-be new denomination, and yesterday he was questioned for three hours by a panel of six men to see if he met the standards to continue to be an Elder when we switch denominations. He wasn't approved, but he is a candidate, which means another interview in the fall.

I guess I am slightly frustrated, though I'm trying not to be, at this whole process. It's been maybe a year since we started down this road. To require so much of Dad in such a short time frame when he has a family still at home, a full time job, a business on the side and an acreage, seems a lot to ask. If you haven't been studying this theology for years and years, it's hard to cram enough of it in your head to be able to answer surprise questions under pressure! Dad is willing to serve, but the standards are so high.

This post has been my opinion on the affair. I needed to vent. I hope you understand.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Hobby

In another attempt to make people see how enjoyable it can be to visit cemeteries, here is another bunch of pictures. I stopped at two different cemeteries on my way home from Lincoln last week, and now I'm out of cemeteries to visit on the route home. The first cemetery was the beautiful Swedish cemetery of Fridhem off of highway 77 near Ceresco. It was on a hill with a beautiful view; there were lilacs and flowering trees, cute benches, very well kept-up.

Ok, if you still don't get it, here are the reasons I enjoy visiting cemeteries:
  • They are peaceful. There's just peace and quit. I prize that! It's very relaxing. I am not an extrovert. So, I love the quiet.
  • They are beautiful- both the landscaping and the stones themselves are a form of artwork! I enjoy art.
  • They are historic. Nebraska's pioneers are buried in these places. I respect them, and it is good to look back and think of those people who came before us. I get excited over history.
Cemetery number two was Elim Lutheran-I think- near Hooper. Not as pretty as Fridhem, but it has some really old stones. The older the stone, the better. I just became a member of Find-a-Grave, which is similar to USGenWeb's Tombstone Transcription Project. Since I am also interested in genealogy, contributing to these projects makes sense to me, and I hope to do more tombstone transcription over the summer.

Well, I guess I've talked enough about cemeteries for one post. I just wanted to share with you my love of cemetery visiting. My family thinks it's kind of strange, and I'm guessing most people think the same.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Always Learning

The Capitol building.
South side, taken by the Governor's Mansion while walking on the way to the office.
(There's a really weird "modern art" Lincoln bicycle on the Mansion lawn, checkered black and white with checkered monkeys hanging on it. Modern art- bleh!)

Jen and I have been taking turns driving to Lincoln every week to Volunteer at the Capitol. The work is slightly mundane and not very useful(at least, sometimes I feel like I'm not being very useful), but it's been a great learning experience just being in the State Capitol. I'll only be going one more time and then session will be over, but I am grateful that I have been able to learn more about our Nebraska Legislature.

This past week was my week to go to Lincoln. On Wednesday I spent the day writing letters of response to those people who contacted the Senator's office; and when I got done with that I did an overview of LB 218, which was about county aid. I'm pretty sure LB 218 was voted through yesterday. You know, interesting things happen in the city. I hate parallel parking, so I always end up parking far away from the capitol in the easy parking places, usually in the same spot-across from the pink house with purple trim. I am really trying to remember this is the city, so lock the car- but I worry that it might get stolen anyway. I worry too much.

On Thursday I spent the day searching online for the phone numbers of people in the district who have unclaimed property. Thankfully there were other things going on so I had a few good breaks!

So there's a quick picture of what my week was like. How was yours?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Was Right- The First Time

Well, that couple is no longer interested in our house, so we've all relaxed a little, and stopped packing. Whew. We'll probably end up unpacking what we've packed so we can keep using it.

Last week we lost electricity for two days because of a bad early-spring slush storm that knocked down quite a few power lines. Being without power is mildly annoying to me because it is too much like camping, which I detest. Thankfully, the power came on just in time for Dad's birthday dinner, though it didn't come on soon enough so I still had to make dinner on the wood stove.

Also last week- my first trip to the Capitol to volunteer for my favorite State Senator. I only took one wrong turn on my way there, but even that made me all flustered. I spent the day writing letters of response to constituents. It was enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to going back next week.

Tonight we are expecting our grandparents back from their winter home of Texas, attending a Biblestudy, and picking up our co-op health food order, while Dad is going to a Tea party and Jen is in Lincoln. I'm also cutting out some skirts for Jen's ballet students for her upcoming recital, which she is stressed about. Life seems so much busier now that spring has begun... if only I had some money to pay for all those upcoming events.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My life is booked.

After a fairly normal and slightly boring winter as I get into spring, it seems there are no free days left on the calendar. Why? Well, it seems that when people come to look at our house, they come in batches. We had a lady surprise us yesterday when she called and said, I'm two minutes away, what's your address? I'm coming to see the house!

Thankfully the house was fairly clean, so we only had to semi-frantically clean instead of full-out-panic frantically clean. A couple(unmarried, no children) is coming to see the house tomorrow. They say they really love it(from the pictures) but I'm thinking once they see it, they'll realize it's not their type. Our house is a old family house that lacks some of the comforts that many Americans are used to, like heating and air conditioning.

Besides that, a cold is going around and Jen and I are on the campaign trail again. This week is also the beginning of a really exciting volunteer job for Jen and I, that I will have to tell you about later.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Friends

So the sixteen foreign students came to our town last week, and all lived to tell the tale. No one got left behind, or run over by machines at CVA, or eaten alive by chickens at the farm, or died of eating cafeteria food at the school, or were mortally offended by their host families. Whew. I was so nervous all day Wednesday that I got a headache, but once the students arrived I just had to go with the flow. Thursday was interesting. Our day started at the PUBLIC SCHOOL, which I had only been in a handful of times, and only once for academic reasons(I took the PSAT there). The students were divided up and given tours of the school, stopping every now and then to talk to students in class, and then we sat in on different classes. Unfortunately, the class I sat in on was the Algebra class for seniors. I've been out of high school three years now and I have forgotten most of the Saxon Algebra I learned, so I didn't get much out of that experience. We had lunch at the SCHOOL CAFETERIA, which was also a first for me.

After lunch we drove ON A SCHOOL BUS to the new Central Valley Ag building outside of town. It is an amazing, state-of-the-art facility that would be worth touring on a more in-depth level, and that's something coming from me because I'm not all that interested in farming. But by that point the girls were getting tired and bored and all the students stopped so often to take pictures that it took some effort to get everyone from point A to point B. Especially since I am not a very naturally authoritative person, and especially with my peers.

Next we visited a small farm, and by that point both guys and girls were tired and bored, and from there we went to main street, which I probably should have just skipped since in the end we were late at the meeting place.

It was a stretching experience, and I won't be volunteering to do it again anytime soon! It was stressful to find host families, it was stressful to be totally in charge of sixteen college students(really nice kids, it wasn't their fault) for almost two days, and it was kind of(maybe) a little stressful to have Dad as a boss(After the first two weeks of calling people about hosting and getting only refusals, the pressure started building)??

People in town know I was home schooled, and they know I am living at home and not going to college, so there are stereotypes to fight and I wanted to prove my responsibility and maturity. Even though people may think I look 12 or 16 (Come on, people, do I really look like I'm 12? Please!), I really am 21. Anyway, I probably didn't prove anything besides I can get stressed easily, I'm not used to a school setting, and I can't effectively herd college students, but I hope to some people I was a witness for Christianity. That would be a better goal than proving my age.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Americans can be very selfish

I feel like I've called half the town this past week to find host families for a group of students coming to visit. 16 college-age students from Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates are coming to stay in our small town for two days to learn about rural Nebraska living, and I volunteered to organize their time here. I knew of enough people interested in hosting that I thought it wouldn't be hard to find eight host families to take two students for only two nights... but it turns out all our usual hosts were busy! And then I got stressed out and started desperately calling everyone I knew of that wasn't a wierdo, and still all I got were refusals, and most of them were for the wrong reasons. I'm sorry to say I got kind of annoyed with that. Why aren't Americans more hospitable? If you are a Christian, it should not be a strange or weirdly inappropriate thing to invite people into your home, to serve them, to make new friends. It is perfectly ok to have your children give up their beds for a night or two so guests can be comfortable. It would be appropriate to cancel your card party or come home early from work to minister to these young Muslims from another country. How many Nebraskans get the chance to meet a man from Oman, or a young lady from the UAE? What a chance to witness this will be, for those who are selfless enough to accept it.

So there's my rant for the week. I still have to find one more host family, really fast, because one of the families got sick. And that IS a good reason not to have guests!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Patriot and a Lady

Eliza Lucas Pinckney:
This well-educated, capable, and courageous lady took over responsibility for her father's three South Carolina plantations while he was away fighting a war and her mother's health was in decline. A widow when the Revolutionary war began, both her sons fought for Independence.
What a lady!

And what a dress:
The three-piece, gold, silk damask Colonial dress dating from 1750-1780 is made from silk cultivated from silk worms that Eliza Pinckney raised on her South Carolina plantation. She commissioned the dress during a trip to England in the mid-1700s, and it has undergone one or more alterations since it was originally created.

Eliza's story is inspiring and really interesting, and I am hoping to read more about her in the future. I hate using inter-library loan, but in some cases there's no other way to find the books you're looking for.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Change of scenery

I took a quick trip up to Sioux Falls, SD, on Thursday afternoon to babysit overnight for a friend and to get a change of scenery. The trip up here was awful, with extreme winds blowing across the flat SD fields(Who says NE is flat? SD is flatter!), icy highways and blowing snow. I've been told that every time I come to Sioux Falls, it snows. It must be true!

The babysitting itself went fine. The only annoyance was an inside dog, which I am not used to. And I don't like dog hair- I guess I have dog-hair-phobia, which I don't know the scientific name for. I got to take care of a little girl for once, though, and she was really cute until about 2am last night after several hours of her crying hysterically every ten minutes. I would go comfort her, she'd go back to sleep, and ten minutes later we would repeat. Around 5am I just took her into my room. So it's gone well, and even though we got more snow yesterday I am hoping to get home safely in my tired state and go to bed early.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What NOT to do in your free time: watch this movie

I recently saw part of a movie on TV called "Iron Jawed Angels":
"Iron Jawed Angels is a 2004 film about the American women's suffrage movement during the early 1900s. It was filmed in Virginia, produced by HBO Films, and released in 2004."

I have to say that the filming was good and the actors were good, but beyond that not much of the movie was what I would call good. The heroine of the movie, Alice Stokes Paul (1885 –1977) "was an American suffragist leader. Along with Lucy Burns (a close friend) and others, she led a successful campaign for women's suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920."

Born into a Quaker family, Paul was well educated(or some would say, brainwashed), spending almost ten years in different colleges and eventually completing a PhD in political science in 1912. Her dissertation topic was titled "The Legal Position of Women in Pennsylvania".

Some history from Wikipedia:
Paul's "focus was lobbying for a constitutional amendment to secure the right to vote for women. Such an amendment had originally been sought by suffragists in 1878. However, by the early 20th century, attempts to secure a federal amendment had ceased. The focus of the suffrage movement had turned to securing the vote on a state-by-state basis. When their lobbying efforts proved fruitless, Paul and her colleagues formed the National Woman's Party (NWP) in 1916 and began introducing some of the methods used by the suffrage movement in Britain. Tactics included demonstrations, parades, mass meetings, picketing, suffrage watch, fires, and hunger strikes. These actions were accompanied by press coverage and the publication of the weekly Suffragist. In the US presidential election of 1916, Paul and the NWP campaigned against the continuing refusal of President Woodrow Wilson and other incumbent Democrats to support the Suffrage Amendment actively. In January 1917, the NWP staged the first political protest to picket the White House. The picketers, known as "Silent Sentinels," held banners demanding the right to vote. This was an example of a non-violent civil disobedience campaign. In July 1917, picketers were arrested on charges of "obstructing traffic." Many, including Paul, were convicted
and incarcerated at the Occoquan Workhouse. In a protest of the conditions in Occoquan, Paul commenced a hunger strike. This led to her being moved to the prison's psychiatric ward and force-fed raw eggs through a plastic tube. Other women joined the strike which, combined with the continuing demonstrations and attendant press coverage, kept the pressure on the Wilson administration. In January, 1918, he announced that women's suffrage was urgently needed as a "war measure." Wilson strongly urged Congress to pass the legislation. In 1920, after coming down to one vote in the state of Tennessee, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution secured the vote for women."

The history of Woman's suffrage is something I had not thought about a great deal until now. I tried to find out if the movie was historically accurate or not, and the only thing that seemed to be inaccurate about it was Paul's love-interest, stuck into the movie, for what reason I don't know. You'd think in a feminist movie they could do without men. It disgusts me that the 19th Amendment was brought about through political pressure and antagonistic tactics, not by any reason or logic, and Congress passed the legislation just to get off the hook.

And I do disagree with the idea that women should have the right to vote. When America was founded, though the qualifications for voting differed from state to state, only land-owning male citizens could vote. John Adams was an advocate for responsible voters:

"The same reasoning which will induce you to admit all men who have no property, to vote, with those who have,.... will prove that you ought to admit women and children; for, generally speaking, women and children have as good judgments, and as independent minds, as those men who are wholly destitute of property; these last being at all intents and purposes as much dependent upon others, who will please to feed, clothe, and employ them, as women are upon their husbands, or children on their parents..."

The qualifications for an eligible voter was a State's rights issue, and by 1850 the last state had repealed the land-owners only law. But the point is, our founders didn't want mob rule, or a Democracy, where every individual votes, but a Republic, a country full of little family and state governments.

But which is the Biblical view: for or against votes for women?

"Reformed churches have generally believed that the New Testament presents voting as a leadership/representational issue that was only appropriate for men(1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-12, 1 Cor. 11:3-16) and this New Testament practice was simply the continuation of the Old Testament practice of voting by heads of households."
(Download the free PDF booklet "Universal Sufferage" here)

I think it hurts the family to undermine our Biblical family leadership- the Dad. And while I did learn quite a bit doing research on this topic, prompted by watching this movie, I think its messege is not worth two hours of anyone's time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Recent Reading

God moves in mysterious ways,

His wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.

Last week I finished book two of John Piper's Christian biographies series, "The Hidden Smile of God":

"John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd suffered in the midst of their kingdom labors. For Bunyan it was prison and danger for preaching the gospel. For Cowper it was life-long depression and suicidal darkness. For Brainerd it was tuberculosis and the "howling darkness" of American forests.

In these three biographies, John Piper explains how their steadfastness through trial sweetened and intensified their song of faith. The stories of how they suffered, how they endured, and how their affliction bore fruit will ignite radical Christian living, God-centered worship, and Christ-exalting mission.

Consider their stories and be encouraged that no labor and no suffering in the path of Christian obedience is ever in vain. As Cowper wrote, "Behind a frowning providence God hides a smiling face.""

I should have written my thoughts on the book last week, when it was fresh on my mind. The chapter on William Cowper was the most thought-provoking for me. The lifelong depression he endured was incredibly intense, so overwhelming, that I don't think I can comprehend how hard life was for him. The small experiences I have had with depression, though very small, makes me very sympathetic for him. Reading the chapter on his life brought back a question to my mind that I've discussed with people before: Can Christians commit suicide and go to heaven? If anyone has some good thoughts on this, I'd like to hear from you.

The part I liked best in the David Brainerd chapter was the line from his journal, "Oh, that I might never loiter on my heavenly journey!" I seem to be at a loitering stage in my life right now and it annoys me. The chapter on John Bunyan just made me put "Pilgrim's Progress" on my reading list. It was a good book, worth reading.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

-William Cowper

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My afternoon with Jane Austen, Lori Smith, and Caleb

Mom took the boys to the skating rink this afternoon for some rollerskating with the home school group(socialization, you know), so Caleb and I have been home alone together for almost two hours now. I predicted when they left that Caleb would hardly say two words to me at a time, and I was right. We've both been sitting on the couch all afternoon, reading. I started and finished “A Walk with Jane Austen”, by Lori Smith, and while I was sitting on the loveseat reading, laughing, and relating, Caleb was across the way on the other couch reading the Bible and Chemistry and who knows what in absolute silence.

Anyway, I would like to introduce you to my latest favorite website, Jane Austen Quote of the Day, “Daily wit and inspiration from Austen, compiled by Lori Smith, author of A Walk with Jane Austen”

I really enjoyed Ms. Smith's book- it was very open and honest, a great girl book. I loved it, and you should all read it!

Usually when I start reading a book like this, I have to finish it, and so when I finally do finish it hours later, I have to go work fast to make up for lost time. So, I'm off to make dinner as fast as I can.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to the Marchioness

Welcome to my new blog! I've styled it around Dickens works, with the title coming from his story "Old Curiosity Shop". I have imported all my old posts from my old blog, and so now "The Frazzledsister" has come to an end, and "The Marchioness" is beginning. Over the winter holidays of 2008/2009, I read almost all of Charles Dickens novels, such as Nicholas Nickelby, Barnaby Rudge, Old Curiousity Shop, Hard Times, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, and most recently Domby and Son. Those that I haven't read I have seen the BBC TV productions of, like Bleak House, Martin Chuzzlewit, and Our Mutual Friend. I enjoyed them all so much that I thought I would use those stories to embellish this new blog. If my life were half as sad, mysterious, and exciting as Dickens' novels are, I think this would be a very popular blog, but my life so far has really been pretty normal. When I wrote on The Frazzledsister I didn't really advertise my blog(especially to Church people, especially during the political season) and I didn't post very personal things, for fear of someone I knew getting mad at me. I think my writing suffered because of it, and I hope on this blog to be a little more open. In the past year(It seems like it was a hard sort of year) I have gotten to know my peers at church a little better. After being members of the church for three years, finally I know more people and am more comfortable with them. Those young Ron Paul fanatics I thought were so militant, weren't so bad as I thought- or maybe they've just recovered. I still don't feel as though I have any really close friends there, like Anne of Green Gables and her "bosom friends", and maybe I never will, but at least we're all on speaking terms! So please, new readers, and even fanatical politicians from Church, feel free to comment, but don't all attack at once!