“This is the main difference between the Gospel and philosophy. Although the philosophers speak on the subject of morals splendidly and with praiseworthy ability, yet all the embellishment which shines forth in their precepts is nothing more than a beautiful superstructure without a foundation, for by omitting principles, they propound a mutilated doctrine, like a body without a head.” Paul [in Romans 12:1-2] lays down the principle from which all the parts of holiness flow.” John Calvin

Claire’s Tea Party

An Escape from Flowery Bits

We thought it would take more preparation and planning to put together a tea party. But Claire, in her youthfull zeal, wanted to have a tea party the upcoming weekend. We had imagined a sizable amount of effort was needed to prepare such a danty and pretty ocassion. But it wasn't as much work as we thought. Brownies were baked the day before, the rice crispy treats popped out of the premade treat sized bags, the waterman was sliced Jenn-style, and the tea was replaced by pink lemonade. Apparently little girls like tea parties, but don't like tea.

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We found a spot in the shade, under a massive hybrid tree-bush in our backyard, but the children soon discovered that the tree was becoming a nuisance as it was raining tiny bits of pollen and flower onto their food. A swarm of bees regularly inhabits the bush during times of flowering. All their activity causes bits of flower and pollen to rain onto the grass below. The children held their hands over their food and drinks to protect it from the falling debris.

One of my children proposed I bring out the shade tent. What an exellent idea! And a few short moments later, the children sat in the shade, protected from falling flowery bits. 

I left the kids to talk and chat and live in their tea party reality. When it seemed right, I proposed we capture some memorable expressions.  

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I find it hard to foget these faces.

So stinking adorable, right?

Matthew’s Interpretation of Star-Spangled Banner

When Sung by Whitney Houston

Jenn played the Star-Spangled Banner for a homeschool lesson. She searched youtube and found Whitney Houston's rendition. At the end of the song, Matthew asks, "Is that the song for the freedom of black people?" It's nice to know he has a sensitivity to social issues.

Doggy Mornings at the Park

South San Jose

The new dog is always rushed by a pack of dogs. The first time this happened to Tessa, she ran out the park  and hid between cars on an adjacent street. We left the park that day and went straight home. 

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Now Tessa has no problem meeting the dogs and is often prodding them to play with her by nipping at their neck and teasing. Sometimes this results in some fun chasing and wrestling, but there are times when it results in a grumpy growl and a snappy warning.

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At times there are 10 to 12 dogs sniffing, wrestling, playfully biting at each other, chasing balls, begging for treats, lapping up water. And of course, there's the usual pooping and peeing. But the concerned citizen need not be alarmed, these owners look out for each other and let the owner know when their dog is pooping.

It's fun to watch the happy dogs. Here's Levi, who always remembers that I have a hip bag of treats. He's such a good beggar. 

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The dogs often love to play rough and the snapshots capture what may seem to be a horrific scene. They look terrifying one moment and then sit patiently next to each other for a treat the next.

Believe me, there were no animals injured this day.

Many of the owners from this group come back to the park later to play ultimate frisbee. It's neat to see how pets can bring people out of their homes to meet each other and enjoy the neighborhood.

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First Day of Homeschool

2nd and 4th Grades

The end of summer came quick. I think my busy work schedule has made the summer hard to grasp. The days flew by and then though I was adequately notified by Jenn, I still felt unprepared for summer to end and school to start. I wish we did some more fun stuff before it ended. Perhaps I will be more prepared for next summer by preparing during the winter. 

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Matthew is now in 4th grade and Claire is in 2nd grade.

They are making the challenging transition from a loose summer schedule to a tight school schedule. I'm not sure who is more challenged, Jenn trying to chorale them towards towards the start of another school day, or the kids trying to remember and focus on what they need to do to be ready. Most mornings I'm going to the gym, taking the dog out for a run, and getting myself ready for work. So I'm more or less an observer to their morning routing. 

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Around the evening meals I've made it a habit to ask the kids to recall something they learned that day. They struggle at times, but I've made it clear that if they can't recall what they learned from the day, then they will not be going out to play and will stay inside to review the material until they can explain it. The first time I set this guideline, suddenly Claire was able to recall a flood of information! It's always nice to see how rules can sometimes make things happen in a good way.

Matthew and Claire’s Baptisms

At Grace Presbyterian Church

Matthew and Claire were baptized on October 13th, 2013. There were 10 or more other baptisms that same day of our Congolese brothers and sisters. Thoses videos will be available privately. Many were added to membership that day and Pierry gave a wonderful testimony. I will post more on that later. 

For now, here's a video that has a brief intro from pastor Bob on baptism, followed by the baptisms of Matthew and Claire.

 

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