Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ella's Costume Party

Guest arriving to the Gates' Barn.
Wonder Woman Flew

My Favorite Wolverine!
So loved.  James put so much effort and love into putting on a huge costume party for my 39th Birthday.  It was just an excuse to have tons of friends dress up into crazy/zany/amazing costumes and have fun.

The night started with some technical difficulty, but James persevered with an added Apple genius on hand--Thanks Calvin Ross, the karaoke was operational.  Thanks Kirk Brantner for the amazing song collection.

As guest gathers, normal mingle, food eating, and laughing kept the evening in the decorated Hay Loft of a barn.  Thanks Chris and Nancy Gates.  James and I danced to our favorite South African band.  

James starts out the Karaoke song dedicated to me with Randy Travis "Forever, and Ever"  with his whole heart.  So loved.

Red Riding Hood's Running from the Big Bad Wolf

He pre printed ballots for a variety of prizes.  He had the guest do a parade with "acting out" their part.  So much fun, especially the lost Alaskan Princess Tourist and Annie Oakley shooting a nickel with her gun.

Winners announced, after a few more songs from my children (Bronwyn just nailed "The sun will come out tomorrow.")  Max, who never sings, did a great job with Hannah a broadway tune.  I loved having them sing!

Of course limbo, and the singing of "Happy Birthday" with delicious cup cakes.  Thanks Donna Embree and Bronwyn for making them!  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Reasons for a "God Focused Drama" to be in the Church

I love drama.  Today, I spent some time researching the pros and cons about Drama being used in the context of the church.  Please share some insights about whether you think Drama should be used in the Church.

Second.  I believe that Drama can be used to Know Christ and to Make Him known.  Which is our church's vision statement.  

Here are some reasons to have a "God Focused" Drama ministry in a local church.

It can communicate to some people what a sermon never can.
Drama Engages the Senses
Drama can open up hearts so that people can hear.
Drama uses the gifts of the people in your church
 Drama attracts people’s attention and opens their eyes to the reality of God’s Word.

God Used Drama.
In Ezekiel 12:1-6, God commanded Ezekiel to dramatize the life of a captive in order to show Israel what would soon happen to them if they did not change their ways

Drama Builds Unity.
  Most ministry are seperated by age or gender.  Drama Ministry is a great medium for entire families to participate together: children, parents, grandparents and friends. Everyone can rehearse, perform and fellowship together

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Starting Slow... Not really

As the rain pours down, I am thankful for both the rain and a new school year.  We have an eclectic start of school.  I thought that it would be so easy, but it is slower when you are entering new books and your restarting some of the brain functions.  I call it Summer Evaporation.

However, I love it.
 This year calls for some added changes.  First, I have not only the white board displaying all the needed subjects for the day, but an Checklist that I have the authority to check off.

The children's books are put in a new place *the bathroom closet.  It has tall sturdy shelves that host the multitude of books.  My linens have found a new home.

I still highly recommend the weekly book sorting that I started last year.  It saved me TONS of time.  I even put my library books that come in early, so I don't spend hours looking for the needed books. ( you can read it here what I wrote last year)

Bronwyn asked if she could do her Bible time with me.  She says that last year she just would skim the Bible and not really apply it.  Yeah!  Of course I will.  So, we find some good corner of the home and pray and read scripture together.  She journals.  I love it.

Since it has been raining all week, it makes it easier being inside.  However, as soon as the sun comes back, we are taking a "Sun Day Off". We never take snow days; however, we take all the sun we can by enjoying the last bit of summer hiking that we can.  *blueberries are ripe as well.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tapestry of Grace and Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW) explained

I know this post was promised last year.  Can you believe what I can do to put off things?

Today, I am working on doing just that.  I look at Writing Aids (the Red pages) on the Tapestry of Grace week.

As you all know the first few weeks, instead of writing suggestions, they have "set up notebook times".  So this year, to pursue excellence in writing, we will be using Poetry Memorization.  I purchased the  Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization  through IEW.

The biggest treasure is found by joining the Yahoo group.  IEW Families  is an active group for all IEW teachers, especially home educators. With over 10,000 members and a monthly average of 500 posts, this group provides significant support to IEW parents and teachers. It is open to anyone who wants to learn more about how to teach children to write. Of particular benefit to members is an extensive Files archive with a vast array of resources from years past, with everything from lesson plans to grammar resources, all available in .PDF format.

Once you join that Yahoo Group (you will need to make an account).  Then you click on the left hand side to the tab labeled "FILES".  You scroll down and click on the file labeled "Comparisons and Using IEW with other programs" Then you click on "Tapestry of Grace".  Yes, you have made it.

1. join IEW Families  from Yahoo group
2.  click on "Files" (left hand sidebar)
3.  click on Comparisons and Using IEW with other programs
4. click on "Tapestry of Grace" on the top

Enjoy many source text for all the years of Tapestry.  I know have all the source texts for Key Word Outlines for the entire year for TOG 4!  Yes!  Thank you "busymom77772000" for putting together sources for good writing all year.

After talking with Danielle, she recommended doing the "Following Narnia" (IEW) for the Middle school kids.  I am so excited.  It will be a great blend and enough writing for all three children.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mat-Peak Challenge - First Mountain Race Ever.

I think my decaf was caf because I should be exhausted, but I am wide awake.

Mind consumed.  Last night, I had such a hard time sleeping.  I was so eager/anxious for the race.  I probably got about 4 hours of rest.   I kept trying to sleep.  I think it was also a combination of lack of exercise (as we took the week with only one hard workout on Monday) and one short run on Thursday and eagerness.

Race Registration.  I was glad to get there a little later so the wait was shorter.  But, I looked around...this was not a race of normal people.  They all looked so determined and ready to go.  I think because it is rated so challenging *most vertical feet mountain race in Alaska, it is not for the light hearted.  Off the ADN website "With 9,100 feet of climbing over 14 mountainous miles, the race is so difficult many of Alaska's elite runners skip it.   It's like hiking half of Denali in an afternoon."

Beginning.  Annie didn't want to be too far forward, so I stayed back with her.  However, we were in a train line up Lazy for a good 10 minutes.  It took awhile before, we could set our pace.  People were joking, and talking.  At about 20 minutes, it was mostly silence.  

Top of Lazy. I knew to hold back a bit because I had three mt. left, but was glad to be at the top at 1.11.  James was far ahead, but I loved hearing his laugh a few times.

On the decent. I had only done this once for just a short distant (5 minutes down).  

The up and down. I passed the flag and now I was hiking on new ground that I had never seen before.  I was thankful for a bit of a down hill and since I had no rocks, I was able to jog right away.  The weather was holding, and my spirits up.  However, I knew it would be hard going back up this part.

Level-ish valley to the picnic table.  I didn't have much in me to run the valley, so Annie and I hiked fast and talked.  It was there were I realized we are actually doing it.  We thanked God for the weather and the clouds to not bake us.  We got a swig of water at the picnic table:)  Thanks, random guy.

Insane climb.  If you look at Mt peak, it looks like a long pointed top that has a nice incline.  That incline has some nasty stuff.  The small gravel and loose rocks are my mental wall.  When I started to go up and not get the stable footing, it frustrates me.  I saw Annie keep plotting along, but I was getting sluggish. The weather turned colder and I was not thinking straight.  My footing went sideways and I was not gaining any grounds up the mountain. Often racers were coming down Mt. Peak all saying encouraging words.  James came and I told him, "I don't think I can make it.  I will miss the play (my three kids were performing one show in Wasilla)" He hugged me, and told me to just finish the race, I will speed.  We will make the play.  (He never speeds).  I kept going for a few more minutes.  Sitting down, I prayed and gave myself a few minutes to refocus.  You will not believe this.  But, all of a sudden, I look to the left and an enormous RAINBOW stretched out from one end of the valley to the other.  It was a full spectrum rainbow.  I yelled, "RAINBOW".  Another racer coming down, stopped and we both gazed intently.  He thanked me for letting him see it.  It was the needed boost from my Father.  He was with me.  I got to the top at 3h30.  I enjoyed layering on my rain jacket and rain pants as it was windy, sleeting and cold.  Some saint gave me chocolate covered espresso beans.  I was off.  REFRESHED.

Decent Mat Peak.  I wisely took the hard right trail and blasted down the mt.  Now, I was passing people and leaving the men behind.  It was my fastest decent ever.  The wind felt like it was pushing me down the peak.  Getting too hot, I stripped my pants off and noticed that when I stopped my legs began cramping.  Ugh.  So, I kept moving as I removed my rain jacket/wind breaker off while running the valley. I was feeling so good,  then.. "pop". My right ankle turned.  I heard it pop.  I took a few light steps, but pain was there.  I prayed, "Lord, I need you to get me through this. Please make my ankle be strong."  I felt it once more when I stepped on the side of the trail, then nothing.  No pain!  

Feeling great.  I made it 1/2 the time through the valley and met up with Haley from church.  She gave me gatorade and grapes.  I noticed I had 1 1/2 hours left before we needed to be heading to the play.  So, I was rejoicing.  I gave myself 1 hour to get up the backside of Lazy.  I just kept saying slow and steady finishes the race.  I just plotted through and was so thankful to be up Lazy at 5:30. *I didn't know it, but James was worried about me after seeing me at my "wall" on Mat Peak, that he had the check in girls at the top of Lazy text him when I checked in. 

Running down.  Now, since I had trained on this section, my legs went into muscle memory. I could just run down.  I knew the best places to hit and even though I had two piercing rocks, I thought, anyone could run will rocks in their shoes for 30 minutes.  It was almost over.  I passed some people and felt great. Then, James showed up and he cheered me down the final 1 minute.  I left the trail and sprinted to the finish line with tons of racers/watchers cheering!  

Getting into the car.  I really felt great.  I was ready to sprint to the car.  I did, but when I sat still, my leg muscles started cramping.  Ugh.  I got out of the car after a man offered to take off my other shoe.  I just walked down the road and James picked me up.  As long as I was moving, no pain.  I laid in the back seat with my feet out the window- gently moving them.  By the time I hit the second light in Palmer, I jumped into the front seat. 

The Show.  We arrived 15 minutes early, and even had time to wash off some mud before the show.  Bronwyn and Max did great and so did Hannah on her performance.  Now, we are all beat.  

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