Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fair Time!

We spent a wonderful day at the Piedmont Interstate Fair Educational day with friends.  I had never taken my children to the fair before and wanted them to experience it without the temptation of rides.  It seems the fairs have become more about riding than the actual heritage that it began.  No temptations of rides today!

We headed to the livestock area when we arrived.  There was a petting zoo station and the children loved the different animals.  Tropical birds, monkeys, lemurs, zebra, goats, camels, calves, etc. were on display.  The chickens were not on display because the of the bird flu threat.  There were a few goats and cattle present.  A large area contained pigeons, quail and rabbits.  The children found these equally delightful.

We toured an exhibit hall that had different types of tractors.  Of course, the boys loved this part.  There was an old Army jeep that caught their attention and how they longed to sit in it.

The girls enjoyed the art exhibit hall.  They discussed the drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures.  We were encouraging them to work on a piece to submit for next year's fair.

We strolled along the midway and stopped to watch an Elvis impersonator sing and dance.  A robot caught the attention of the kiddos and they had a blast interacting with it.  We stopped and watched a game that involved a rat picking out a number for people to win a prize.  We bought funnel cakes and enjoyed socializing in the grand stands.

The final exhibit hall had a display of arts and crafts, contest winners, food category winners, and informational booths.

The children enjoyed the fair with their friends.  Maybe next year we will venture to the State Fair!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Red Pandas

We ventured to the zoo this morning to learn about the Red Panda.  We enjoyed the last animal talk we attended and decided to learn more about the Red Pandas.

We found out that Red Pandas aren't really pandas.  They are related to the racoon rather than the Giant Pandas.  Either way, we find these little fluffy animals absolute adorable!  They love the cooler weather and were very active this morning.

Collette and Firecracker are the new parents to baby William, aka Willy.  Collette gave birth to Willy in June and just recently allowed him to come out on exhibit.  He isn't a little guy anymore!  He looked at least half the size of his mom.

We found out that people try to keep the Red Panda as a pet.  The Red Pandas tend to be fairly docile and easy to tame.  In fact, the keeper told us that they are the only animals they do not have to put up to enter the exhibit.

Unfortunately, the Red Panda is facing a decline due to habitat loss.  Like the Giant Pandas, their diets are high in bamboo.  Bamboo forests are being cut down to make way for Palm Oil plantations.

Observing a plastic model of a Red Panda skull.

We enjoyed learning more about these amazing animals and look forward to seeing Willy grow up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Return from Vacay!

We took a week to go to our happy place.  It was a long wait this year to get there.  Normally, we vacation at the end of July, but this year we wanted to wait for cooler temps.  Of course, Mother Nature decided to send a monsoon our way.  The low pressure front and a hurricane off the coast created the perfect storm, but our little island of paradise was spared.  The rest of our state wasn't so lucky. 

We enjoyed the beach house and had magnificent views of the marsh and waves crashing onto the beach beyond.  I don't know what it was about that house, but everyone just felt at home from the moment we pulled into the drive.  I think it has been one of the most relaxing retreats to the beach we have had.  Maybe it was the coolness of fall and the views.  We definitely did not want to leave.

The kiddos loved the golf cart that came with the rental.  We cruised the sleepy island every morning.  We were on the lookout for alligators and other wildlife.  We sported binoculars and made mandatory stops at the edges of the marsh and crab docks. 

We combed the beach at low tide searching for shells, driftwood and sand dollars.  We picked up hermit crabs and marveled at all the sea snails.  We watched the sea birds dash around in the small tidal pools looking for a meal.  We gawked at the pelicans congregating on a sandbar having a 'meeting'.

We discussed how much the beach has changed in the past year.  The reflected upon the changes we have observed in it over the past eight years.


We visited the local state park and learned about reptiles in the area.  We walked the fishing pier and searched for dolphins.

We visited historical sites and learned some new things and listened to stories of old.  We marveled at the wealth the area had during the early years of our country.  We wandered what life would have been like at that time.

Most of all we relaxed and spent time together, just the four of us.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Standing Strong in Faith

Homeschooling is a calling for most of us.  I know it began calling to me when I was pregnant with Egee.  I tried to stifle it.  I suppressed it for years.  Telling myself that the time wasn't right.  I needed to continue to work because we needed insurance and my salary.  I wanted at least one more child.  We were trying to grow Hubby's business.  The time just wasn't right.  However, the notion kept creeping up inside me and finally, He spoke loudly into my heart and said, "It is time."

It was time to act.  Little Man was going to be entering kindergarten and He knew that it was not where he needed to be.  Things fell into place like a puzzle being put together.  Hubby's business was taking off.  He replaced my income.  We found affordable insurance to fit our needs.  The time came.

We were never regular church goers.  I hated to leave my children in the care of strangers.  We observed religious holidays.  We just weren't church people.  Hubby spent his childhood and adolescence in the church.  His grandfather was a pastor.  My family went to church on a fairly regular basis, until I was a teen.  We believed in God and Jesus Christ.  We exposed our children to religion.  We just weren't the bible thumping type.

However, it was God that called me to homeschool my children.  He knew that this commitment to my children would become my renewed commitment to Him.  One of the first things I did when we began our homeschool journey was to include a Bible story time.  Every day we read a story from a young child's Bible.  When we finished it, we moved up a level and reread the Bible stories with more detail.

After our first year, we were invited by friends to their church.  Egee asked Jesus into her life during Vacation Bible school.  I was so proud of her!

We have continued our study of the Bible. We incorporated using Mystery of History into our schooling.  I remember going to school and learning about history and then going to church learning about Biblical times, but never making a connection as to when it happened during history.  Mystery of History has taken the mystery out of this.  The children love it and we read further details in our Bible study.

I believe it was into our third year of homeschooling that I decided to start talking to the children about their faith.  The threat of ISIS and all the things going on in our world began to hit hard on my conscience.  We were now attending church on a more regular basis and the preacher was preaching from the Book of Revelations.  I began to wander if my children really knew how to stand strong in their faith during a crisis of life and death.

I didn't want to alarm my children and make them afraid of their world.  However, if I am to protect them, I must arm them with everything possible.  Both of my children have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, so they will have eternal life.  But what if the bad guy asks them a question of their faith and then tells them if they don't convert or deny that faith, they will be killed.  Are my children strong enough to withstand the urge to live on this earth and stand in their faith?  We began our conversation of standing strong.

These conversations have been hard.  Holding back tears at times.  I have reassured them over and over that if such a thing were to happen to NOT deny their faith.  They would be in a much better place and that I and their father would understand and see them again.  If they were to deny their faith and the bad guy still killed them, then we would not see them again. 

I know as a child and teen, it is hard to imagine dying over living.   As Christians, we must tell our children that dying is not the end when you stand with Christ.  That dying for Him and not denying Him will allow them to live an eternal life full of happiness.  I believe arming my children with the facts that Jesus himself told us.  Our life to come in His father's house and witnessing all His glory.  Knowing that I and their earthly father are prepared to do the same, will give them the strength they need to do the right thing. 

So, I ask you:  Are you having these conversations with your children?  Have you had that conversation with yourself? Your spouse?  Will you and your family be able to stand strong in your faith and honor The Father?  Ten people did just that in Oregon.  May God bless them.  May their family know they are in a better place.  If you haven't begun to have these conversations, time is short.  Don't let it become to late.