Saturday, September 16, 2006

Amazing Grace

This evening my mother-in-law called to tell us that her mom (my husband’s grandma) just went to be with the Lord after a visiting friend sang "Amazing Grace."  My husband and I embraced each other and wept together.  She will be missed! My heart is saddened and I wish we could have been there to say one last good-bye.  I wish I could hear her talk about Israel again (she visited Israel a few times and loved to talk about it). 

In a loving memory of her, I’m going to post an article written by her on February 23, 1998.  It is cherished by all of us.  A piece of history (Oregon Trail) remains because of her!

     

     William and Mary Simpson, with their ten children, left Platt County, Missouri for Oregon in the Spring of 1846.  There were forty or more wagons in the train; their eldest son, Ben, was the captain.
             
     When they were nearing the Sweet Water stream, the train was moving slowly.  About fifty yards from the train, an Indian with a red blanket around him raised up out of the tall grass and gave a loud yell and started swinging his blanket.  This scared the train’s teams and they started to run, those behind passing those in front; and in this way, the whole train stampeded.  They didn’t stop until they ran into the stream.  Damage was done to the wagons, but no one was injured.
             
     Ben ordered them to strike camp in a circle.  Then he took a rawhide whip and left to find the Indian; when he caught him, he whipped him.
             
     The whole train was terrified that the Indians would come and kill them.  Sure enough, about forty Indians came, and their leader called for the man that whipped his son.  Despite the pleadings of the train, Ben went out and confessed that he did it, and why.  All the Indians dismounted and each one came and shook Ben’s hand, saying "You did just right."  Ben invited them in for supper, and they repaid them by doing a war dance.
             
     Arriving in Oregon, they settled in the Willamette Valley.  Their youngest son was my great-grandfather.
                                
Written by Mary Ellen (Simpson) Hart (Nov. 15, 1919 – Sept. 16, 2006)
 
We are reminded once again to not take our loved ones for granted, to not take life/living for granted, and to constantly have "eternal perspectives."  Life here on earth is temporary; heaven is our permanent home.  Live for God!
"…‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!

    Thru many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come; ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home…"

According to Amazing Grace (366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions) by Kenneth W.Osbeck, John Newton (who wrote Amazing Grace) proclaimed shortly before his death, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!"

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Family Fun Friday

Today my darling took a day off work to be with us.  We took the kids to Oaks Park (the amusement park in Portland) because it’s "Homeschool Day" there from noon to 4 p.m. (homeschoolers could buy an unlimited ride bracelet for $8, instead of $13.75).  We had a blast!  There were lots of homeschoolers there but it was not crowded.  We didn’t have to wait long for each ride.  The weather was gorgeous, too. 

We went on Kiddie-Coaster, Hot-Air Balloon ride, Lewis and Clark journey (2 times), Ferris Wheel, Train ride, Tea-Cup, Huge Pink Slide (2 times), and Carousel.  My youngest son also enjoyed riding a Jet Plane, a Motorcycle, and a Car (little kids’ rides).  My hubby and daughter were more daring (than me!) and went on "Screamin’ Eagle" where all the loudest screams were generated and could be heard throughtout the park.  My inner organs and my mind screamed, too, "No wayyyyy…I would ever get on that ride!" :)   Just watching them made me scream enough (probably louder than them).  After that ride, my hubby admitted that his stomach was not as young/strong as it used to be :) .  My hubby and daughter also tried an intense roller coaster later on.  They survived.. barely :)
 
We then went to have dim-sum at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants.  After that, we went to Baskin Robbins for yummy ice cream treats.  On the way home, we picked up pizza for our (late) dinner.  We had a wonderful family time together.  Now I will spend my weekend getting ready to start school on Monday.  I’m so excited…I just can’t hide it :)

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Fifteen Years of "Rao Mee Rao" ("We have each other." in Thai)

God chose you out of billions just for me
I’m so blessed and honored to be your wife
You’ve been and will always be…
my best friend, my hero,…the Love of my life!

Across the lands…across the seas
God brought us together from different cultures
He graciously picked the Best for me
He knew we’re perfect for each other

You’re my refreshing cup of tea.
You’re my exquisite spicy curry.
You’re everything a Godly husband should be.
Sharing a lifetime with you is God’s precious gift to me.

Happy 15th Anniversary, Honey!

Monday, September 4, 2006

"5 Things" Tag

Connie at wardssward tagged me with "5 things" tag.  Ready or not…here they are:

5 Things in our freezer:
- a loaf of spelt bread
- multi-grain English muffins
- chicken cornbread stuffing
- cookies & cream ice cream
- chocolate chip ice cream

5 Things in my/my husband’s closet (we share a walk-in closet):
- camera bag
- an old (antique?) Beavers (Oregon State University) hat
- a special container in which I keep all the love notes/cards/poems, small gifts, etc. that my husband has been giving me
- plastic containers filled with sweaters
- clothes and more clothes :)

5 Things in our van:
- Bibles (extra ones are available for giving away)
- Gospel tracts
- Christian music CDs
- books
- toys

5 Things in my purse:
- Gospel tracts (in English, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, & Korean)  We never know whom God will put in our path; we want to be ready :) .
- tissue
- first aid kit
- coins
- a pen

5 Things in my wallet:
- library cards
- health insurance cards
- U.S. flag pin
- my youngest son’s immunization record
- pictures of my kids

Sunday, September 3, 2006

FUNschooling

I was tagged by JoJo from CommunicationFUNdamentals.  Here are my answers to FUNschooling Tag Questions:
1. What curricula have you used that was the most fun?
     Mind Benders, A Case of Red Herrings, Oregon Trail CDrom by The Learning Company, Kids Learn America!, States & Capitals Songs cassette tape, Considering God’s Creation, Bill Nye the Science Guy videos (my kids are well grounded in the Bible so they ignore the evolution parts).

2. Tell about something that your kids had a ball learning?
    Believe it or not, my kids had the most laughs during our Bible study.  We usually have lively discussions, role-playing/acting, silly or thought-provoking (sometimes both together) questions, and some humorous examples that the kids and I come up with (to illustrate the lessons). :)
    They also enjoy science experiments, including the bloopers :) .  Our family loves to play games (the kids have a ball learning without realizing that they’re learning).  Some of our fun & educational games we like to play are: Scrabble, Boggle, Brain-O-Matic, Buzzwords, BrainQuest, Whatzit?, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and GeoSafari Game of the States.

3. Name your favorite fun and creative blogs.
    I guess…CommunicationFUNdamentals is too obvious, right? :)
    For creative blogs, I recommend CreativeHomeschooling and Creativehsmom.
    For fun blogs, I recommend CarpeBanana and JenIG.

4. What homeschool magazines are the most creative and fun to read?
    I have not had a chance to read many homeschool magazines so I don’t think I’m a good candidate to answer this question.

5. Tell us a funny story about something your kids did while homeschooling.
     Last year, my kids participated in Westward Ho! (the simulated journey traveling along the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to the Willamette Valley in Oregon).  They had a blast!  My kids took their roles seriously :) .  They used the boys’ bunkbed as their wagon.  They dressed up and talked funny (trying to be authentic).  They were so cute and creative, acting out their experiences along the trail.  We even had campfires at night (in the boys’ bedroom using a flashlight) and took turns telling stories/tales.  We cooked the foods eaten during the Oregon Trail.  My daughter kept a diary of our travels while my middle son kept track of our travels on the map.

6. What’s the silliest question you have ever been asked about homeschooling?
     Ahh, the silliest question is absolutely the socialization issue.  Why do people equate homeschoolers with hermits? :)   I often tell people, "In my opinion, bad socialization is worse than no socialization at all."  "Socialization" is way overrated and badly misunderstood!

7. What blogs or sites would you recommend for the Carnival of FUNschooling?
     http://www.cyberbee.com/wwho/index.html
    This is the website address of Westward Ho!  You will get to travel the Trail with the Westward Ho! Wagontrain.  During the journey, the participants are given Travel and Fates cards.  Different decisions lead to different fates (consequences).  Most participants are classrooms in public schools and private schools; however, homeschoolers are welcome.  We had lots of fun participating last year (see #5′s answer).  The registration (free) starts this month. 

8.  Tell a story about someone you know that would be a good nominee for JoJo’s Purple Crayon Award. See http://artofeloquence.com/pages/purplecrayonaward.php
    I am biased but I think my kids would be good nominees for Purple Crayon Award. :)   In my opinion, they are creative communicators for Christ.

9. What is your favorite Foot in Mouth Man episode? You can see all of FIMM’s episodes here: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/CommunicationFUNdamentals/Misadventures+of+Foot+in+Mouth+Man/
    I really like "Employment Application," "Dog for Sale," and "Used Car Sale Ad."

10. What is the most fun you have had as a homeschooling mom?
      Too much to list :) !  It’s fun to just be with my kids and to learn along & play with them all day long.   I love to do science experiments with them and be blamed (credited) for all the bloopers :) .  I love to read their creative writing assignments.  They have great sense of humor and great depths of insight.  I love to see their eagerness/enthusiasm when they want to find out more about something (ex: germs, plants, animals, eyes, hiking trails, WWII, causes & treatments for different illnesses, various countries & their cultures and peoples,  the unreached people groups, etc.)  They research with delight.  I love to see their creativity and initiatives in inventing their own games or writing playscripts & acting in their plays (I get to join in, too :) ).  I love it when we play educational games and my kids’ faces light up because they know the answers from their studies.  My face also lights up because I also know the answers…from teaching them :) .  My kids know so much stuff that they just love to quiz Mom and Dad.  My husband and I know more stuff by being quizzed by our kids :) .  Well, I think a homeschooling mom has one of the most fun jobs in the world!