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Fly that Flag

July 4, 2016


It seems our flag is always in the news. As a symbol of the United States, it is revered by patriots and desecrated by our enemies. Is linked with protests and free speech. When I was in grade school each day started with the pledge and we have kept that tradition in our homeschool.

There were “rules” for flag protocol as early as 1923, but it was not until June 22, 1942 that a joint resolution was passed and later amended (December 1942) to become Public Law 829; Chapter 806, 77th Congress, 2nd session.

I found it interesting that the law does not impose penalties for misuse of our flag, but that is left to each state’s own flag law. Criminal penalties for certain acts of desecration were contained in the code prior to 1989, but in 1989 the statute was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Here are a few of rules of protocol:

  1. The flag should always be hoisted briskly and lowered reverently.
  2. The code lists the holidays that the flag should be specifically flown on, including Mother’s Day and Christmas. On Memorial Day it should be flown at half-mast until noon and then raised to the full height.
  3. If displayed from a vehicle, then it should fly free from a staff firmly attached to the chassis or clamped to the right front fender.
  4. When the US flag is displayed with other flags, it should be hoisted first and lowered last.
  5. The flag may be a distinctive feature in the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but should never be used as the covering.
  6. When flying at half-staff, always raise it to the highest point before lowering to half-way. When taking it down, you should again raise it to the peak before lowering.
  7. In the code there are guidelines for how long a flag should be flown at half-staff for deaths of dignitaries. And when a flag is used to cover a casket, the field of blue – The Union – should be placed at the head and over the left shoulder of the casket.
  8. A flag with the Union down is a sign of EXTREME and DIRE distress.
  9. The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free. (Have you seen this with the huge flags at sporting events?)
  10. The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or tapestry. It should never be drawn back or up. Use a bunting for decoration if this effect is desired. (The bunting has rules too – blue is always on top with white in the middle and red below the white.)
  11. It should never be used on anything temporary – like napkins or boxes. It should not be used in advertising.
  12. It should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, although a flag patch can be used on articles of clothing in certain circumstances.
  13. It is a universal custom to fly the flag from sunrise to sunset, but it may be flown at night if properly lighted.

So fly that flag proudly and correctly.

Information and the complete code can be found at


HIM Homsechool Fair

March 8, 2016

Well, life has been keeping me pretty busy. There are the usual parts: kids and their events, keeping a home, working at my little business, keeping the books for my husband’s big business, schooling the children, church activities, laundry, ……. you understand,  “the routine.” And then there are exceptional parts of life: my husband starting his own business, children graduating, children moving away, kids getting married, other children adding grandchildren, children living far away moving much closer (add “local” grandchildren here 🙂 ).

And those are my excuses for not posting on the blog.

Life sometimes get in the way of good plans.

The good news is that I will be at the HIM Homeschool Fair in Loveland, Colorado, this Friday and Saturday, March 11-12. These conferences are such a time of refreshment for me. They provide an outlet for me to tell people about Total Language Plus and it is encouraging to talk with others who are in the homeschool journey with me. It is one of my favorite conferences. If you are attending, please stop by our booth.

On Facebook –

Sibling Rivalry

September 18, 2014
all in good fun.... hoping it stays that way....

all in good fun…. hoping it stays that way….

I was asked to contribute to a newsletter on this topic. I reacted like it was a challenge rather than an assignment…. As a mother of eight children you might consider me an expert – at least someone with LOTS of experience – on this topic. But what I still lack, even today, is the solution to this “problem.”

So many children…. So very different from each other…. Expressing their own individuality and often fighting with each other. Quite frankly, I have secretly rejoiced that we all lived through the day. I have counted it a victory if a different pair than the day before were at odds with each other.

Sibling rivalry – maybe any rivalry – in sewn up in our flesh. Our natural man values self supremely. Compromise allows us to get along with others, but is not always the cure.

So how do you deal with sibling rivalry? We can encourage and model selflessness, but only Christ can change people. The only answer is to be conformed to His image.

There is a Bible account about James and John asking Christ if one could sit on His right and the other on His left in the kingdom. I recall the other disciples’ indignant reaction to the request. Isn’t this an example of rivalry in a family? Maybe we should answer like Christ…. That who ever would be chief, would be the servant of all. (Mark 10:37-45)

Every time I remind my children of Christ’s response, I have to remind myself. I have learned that I was not blessed with the many children and strong personalities because I am a great mom; but rather, because I needed to be conformed to the image of my Savior. They are my reminder; they are my sermon.

This year our children asked if we could have a different kind of Christmas. A celebration that would not focus on exchanging gifts but on a time away from home and a time together – all 15 of us – in one place for four days of togetherness! This made me happy. 🙂 This is my proof that despite the rivalry, they do love each other.

Don’t misunderstand, I would like to minimize those ugly, selfish evidences of our carnality like sibling rivalry. I’m sure there are moms that have great ideas and biblical advice for it, but for me, I just need to remember that the greatest among us is the servant.

Keep pointing your kids to Christ, keep serving.


Getting Crafty: Making Flannel Baby Blankets

March 22, 2014
Flannel baby blanket

Flannel baby blanket

I have been busy crafting baby blankets lately. I received one of these flannel blankets way back when our first child was born. So they have been around since the “dawn of flannel cloth;” I am sure. It was one of my favorites and I hope these blankets will be useful for those who have and will receive them from me.

Here is a tutorial in a sense. These blankets are easy to make, but there are some things I learned along the way that I wanted to share with you.

After purchasing your fabric, make certain you wash and dry it, so it will be shrunk before you put the pieces together. I purchased 1 yard each of two coordinating patterns in flannel. My fabrics were 44-45″ widths and would be nice for swaddling a babe. The one I was given was made with 60″ fabric and was nice to throw on the floor/grass for my babies to play on.

After pre-shrinking the fabric you want to square the pieces up. I did this by making sure the cut edge was square to the selvage edge and then folding on the diagonal and trimming off the extra length. Do this for both pieces and then place wrong sides together and making sure they are the same size. Trim if necessary.

This is the overcast stitch I chose.

This is the overcast stitch I chose.

You may sew on a serger, but since mine had a broken needle, I used my conventional machine. Choose an overcast stitch. I set mine to be 1/4 of an inch wide. I also shortened my stitch length a bit so I had good coverage of the raw edge. But don’t make it too short or your edge will be stiff.

Since you are sewing two layers of flannel, I recommend that you lessen the pressure on the presser foot. I used my scrap piece and sewed a long edge to make sure that the material was not “walking.” ( That means the top layer is stretching and getting longer than the bottom one.)

Start sewing in the middle of a side and stitch all the way around.

my edge stitching

my edge stitching

The last step is the crochet edging. For this I used a cotton string and a size 10 hook.

thread, crochet hook, and darning needle

thread, crochet hook, and darning needle

Fold once to turn under the edge stitching. Use a darning needle to make holes through the two layers of fabric and you will probably be able to make only 3 or 4  holes ahead of your stitching. I used the pattern on my  material to help me evenly place the stitches along the edge. Space the stitches about 1/4 inch apart.

The first round with the next holes visible.

The first round with the next holes visible.

Starting the in the middle of a side make a loose single crochet all around the blanket, folding once and making holes for the stitches right along the edge of that overcast edge. Then, for the foundation round make two single crochet (sc) in each stitch around and join with a slip stitch.

The pattern I used for the next round was: **sc,  ch 1, sk next sc, tr in next stitch, ch 5, sl stitch in 4th chain of the ch 5 (picot made), ch 1, tr in the same stitch with the previous tr, ch 1, sk next stitch, repeat from ** all the way around. Sl st to the beginning of the pattern round and tie off. Weave in your threads. I had to make an adjustment when I got close to the completion of the pattern round so my pattern would come out evenly, but it was not noticeable on my finished work.

There are many different edgings patterns to choose from on the internet or Pinterest. I made up this picot edging since the pattern repeat was based on a small number of stitches and didn’t have large holes for little fingers or toes to be caught in.

Pattern abbreviations:

  • sc = single crochet
  • ch= chain
  • tr=treble crochet
  • sl st=slip stitch
  • sk=skip

Arrogant and Critical

February 12, 2014

A while ago, I heard a report that arrogant people are often highly critical people. My immediate reaction was a prayer, “Lord, help me not to be so critical.”

To my shame, I wanted to remove the effects my pride rather than my pride.

In this day where self-image is protected to the highest degree and where positive thinking is the “key to success,” personal pride is an accepted outcome. In God’s economy it is wrong to be proud and right to be humble. But what does that mean?

We are told not to think of ourselves “more highly than we ought (to think).” We are told that every good and perfect gift comes from God and is not by our own measures. We also know that He paid the ultimate price to reconcile us to Himself and that gives a human worth and value. For those who are saved, God, Himself is conforming us to the image of His Son and that is a good thing.

I love this quote from C.S. Lewis: “Humility is not thinking less of self, it is thinking of self less.” Humility is the act involved when I know that life is not “all about me.” Humility recognizes that God is the One deserving of glory and then happily glorifys Him.

There is a time and place for criticism. Certainly, we ought to judge ourselves and whether, we are doing right with a right attitude. There is a time for verbally encouraging  our brothers and/or sisters in Christ to walk in the Spirit, but this speech is to be seasoned with grace. This criticism is the kind that edifys and it’s purpose is to build up rather than tear down.

As I meditate on what He has done and is doing in me, I want give up my arrogance attitude and not just my critical spirit. I want to be like Jesus, who, although He was God, came to serve.

Just a few thoughts of mine, your comments are always welcome.

Books I Have Read Recently

October 14, 2013
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The Bonesetter's daughterThe Bonesetter’s Daughter –  Amy Tan

I will be reading more of Amy Tan. Her voice and characters resonated with me. This is a story about identity, generation gaps, personal worth, and understanding one another. At its center it was about the redemption of a mother/daughter relationship before it was too late.

The Copper Beech       The Copper Beech – Maeve Binchy

I enjoyed this book, but I don’t think it is the author’s best work. This story is set in a small town in Ireland. The story is made up of the stories of children and adults connected to the village school. It takes a while before the stories start intersecting. It is warm and sweet with a satisfying ending.

Jekyll and Hyde       The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

I have been wanting to read this both this book and Frankenstein since I read a world-view book (The Deadliest Monster – Baldwin) comparing these “monsters” several years ago. I have always loved Robert Louis Stevenson and was charmed into loving his work even more than before. This is not a horror story, but a treatise on humanity and the effects of evil on and within a person. The book is short but very thought-provoking.

Frankenstein_Frankenstein – Mary Shelly

The second part of my comparison of monsters.  The use of language and vocabulary was beautiful and challenging. We have become such an “instant” society that we neglect great literature because of the work it entails to read it.

I don’t watch scary movies or generally read this genre of book, but I am so glad I did. Mary Shelly creates sympathy for Frankenstein’s monster by relating its sad story of being spurned by society and being alone. Shelly gives these circumstances as the reason for his murderous and revengeful ambitions. Although much longer than Jekyll and Hyde, it too, is a book that will have your thinking deeply on the origin of evil and a human’s relationship to it while on this earth.

DraculaDracula – Bram Stoker

I don’t know why I chose to read this book, but it seemed fitting after a summer of reading the previous two titles. 🙂 I am surprised that I stuck with it long enough to finish it. But I had to know how it ended. I keep wondering if stories of vampires and  werewolves originated here or if it was much earlier. I was surprised by the international cast of characters involved in the novel. I can’t say that I recommend this, but I will say it was entertaining.

nightNight – Elie Wiesel

It seems the other genre I have been attracted to is World War II and the atrocity of the Holocaust. This is a biography of a Romanian Jewish boy. It is short and to the point. It details his time in 3 different concentration camps (Buna, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz) with his father. He waited 10 years after his release before attempting to chronicle this time in his life. It was most touching to me to read of his feelings that “God was dead” and yet God was so woven into his life that I expected him to realize that God is not dead. This title is the first part of a trilogy (NIght, Dawn, and Day) but it appears to be the only autobiographical one.

secret of vigor        The Secret of Vigor – Shawn M. Talbott

I am always looking for health books that don’t make promises that can’t be kept. I like this book and agree with the author that health is a complex issue. The author promotes balance in diet, exercise, and stress management. He has a PhD in nutritional biochemistry, and several undergrad and grad degrees in sports medicine, fitness, and nutrition. After suffering for a year with plantar fascitis, I am glad I read this and because of some changes I made (mostly getting enough and better sleep) I am finding relief. I need to make some more health changes, but this is a start.

The Westing GameWesting Game – Ellen Raskin

This is a children’s mystery. It was fun to read. I am baffled by the work it must take for an author to come up with the mystery and then to incorporate the players and their dialogue into revealing just enough to keep you interested – but not so much that you figure the mystery out ahead of the characters. I think we might do this as a read-aloud later this year.

Nory Ryan's Song        Nory Ryan’s Song – Patricia Reilly Giff

This is a short book about the courage of a young girl during the Irish Potato Famine. It is sad and satisfying. This girl, in the midst of fear – of the landlords, and crisis – in the shortage of food and other necessities, and the work – in helping a sister keep a home for a brother and grandfather while her father is away; rises up and does what has to be done. She takes chances, learns skills, and scratches and clings to life for her family and community. She is a worthy heroine.

Number the StarsNumber the Starts – Lois Lowry

My other Holocaust selection. This is a children’s story. It is about the escape of a Jewish family from Copenhagen through the  Danish Resistance. The central character is a young girl, Annemarie Johansen. Annemarie’s best friend Ellen Rosen and her family are in danger of being “re-located” by the Nazis. Through the ingenuity and connections with the underground movement, along with the attention to detail and bravery of Annemarie. the family is smuggled to safety.

Johnny TremainJohnny Tremain – Esther Forbes

This is our current read-aloud and I had forgotten how much I loved this story of a budding apprentice silversmith who was crippled and had to find another way of living. It is set during the very earliest days of the American Revolution. It is a story about overcoming obstacles, discerning the times, and standing for what you believe. Our young and arrogant hero must decide what he believes, about himself, his friends, and “family” and then he must act on those beliefs.

All in all, the summer has provided an interesting list of books and I think I even left out some. I have a huge stack of books to start and a few to finish. What are you reading these days?

Fall Recap

September 29, 2013
Jacob and Mudder

Jacob and Mudder

Ahh, my favorite season has arrived! Fall in Colorado is beautiful. True, this year’s fall started out with atypical flooding and rain – but it still promises to be gorgeous. In my neck of the woods, we have dried out and are enjoying the warm, sunny days along with cool, crisp nights. There are those farther north who are not as fortunate and are still cleaning before they can even assess the damage. My prayers are with them.

We did get some water in the basement, but looking back it was a blessing for a few reasons: I hated that blue shag carpet that was thrown down in the storage room and is gone now. 🙂 And the room needed a good thorough cleaning – which it got.

Before the hail and 12 hours after it.

Before the hail and 12 hours after it.

I had been busy canning and gardening – plum and peach jam, peaches, pears, and pear butter. I had high hopes for canning more beans and making salsa and spaghetti sauce – but the hail that came with the storms, stripped my garden bare. Even the carrots are done. There are a few tomatoes that are ripening on battered vines, but the only garden job left is the clean-up. I think I will purchase some tomatoes for soup and try my hand at jalapeno jelly yet.

We have started our school year, and soccer, and pre-season wrestling Which keep me shuttling players or giving up my car to my newest driver. Having a newly licensed driver will improve your prayer life! 🙂 Congratulations and thanks David for driving me to my knees – again!

The happy builders....

The happy builders….

We did manage to get away for a long weekend of camping over Labor Day. We had planned to do more hiking and scouting of our hunting grounds, but ended up relaxing, reading, and fishing. Carl, the youngest convinced his older siblings to help him build a fort, but he lost interest a bit before they finished, grabbed a pole and headed for the lake. The others finished it.

Life continues to go by too quickly and I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy this busy family – because I have a tendency to get caught up with the details and am too busy too step back and count my blessings. So I will take this opportunity to remind you – along with myself – that we need to give thanks now for the trials and the pleasures, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Enjoy!

Why Carl quit building the fort.

Why Carl quit building the fort.