Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

My Story Bible: 66 Favorite Stories by Jan Godfrey and Paola Bertolini Grudina

I’ve had the chance to review My Story Bible: 66 Favorite Stories by Jan Godfrey and Paola Bertolini Grudina. This story Bible is all about wanting to put God’s Word in a child’s heart. This book has 144 pages and measures 8 1/2 by 9 3/8 inches and is hard covered – making it highly durable for even the youngest child.

There are sixty six stories that begin at Creation and end in Revelation with their being no more tears as the Believers are taken to Heaven. The stories are in an easy to read and understand format so that it keeps the child’s attention and are short in length, again to provide for short attention spans. Scripture references are given so that the parent can delve more deeply in life applications on the child’s maturity level. Oftentimes, Bible stories are told, but not enough emphasis is put on how to apply those stories to our lives.

The beautiful illustrations adorn the pages, again keeping the child’s attention. Done in a simplistic style that relates to the child it helps to tie the story together and bring about understanding. The page numbers are decorated with a cloud that really makes the page numbers pop if the child or parent are looking for a specific story. The titles of all the stories and their corresponding page numbers are listed in the back in the ‘index of Bible Stories’, making it easy to find all the stories in the Story Bible.

If you are a parent, Grandparent, Aunt, Uncle or just a friend or caretaker of children who wants to impart God’s Word to children this is a great way to do that. From the hard cover protecting it and the pages from the hands of little children to the beautifully illustrated pages, the true stories are sure to bring an understanding and enjoyable moments. Written by Jan Godfrey, with a gift for storytelling, children will enjoy listening to their loved ones reading to them from this book. This book can be purchased from Tyndale and is geared for ages 3 to 6, and older siblings can read it to the younger ones.

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Think No Evil by Jonas Beiler

I have an extra copy of Think No Evil by Jonas Beiler, a story of forgivness that we all need to embrace Christians and non-Christians alike. You’ll find my FIRST blog tour post about the book below.

Since I have an extra copy I am offering a giveaway so keep reading for rules and how to enter 🙂 It’ll be simple I promise.

Open to US residents only, sorry Canadian friends and readers.

Contest to run through October 5th, 2009 – so you have one week to enter and win this wonderful book! Make sure you leave me a way to contact you, either and email, blog, etc – if I can’t contact you and you win I’ll have to choose someone else.

Leave me a comment telling me of a time (you don’t have to give me specific details) when it was hard to forgive and how you gave it (through God’s power alone?).


Think No Evil by Jonas Beiler

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Jonas Beiler

and the book:

Think No Evil: Inside the Story of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting…and Beyond

Howard Books (September 22, 2009)


Jonas Beiler grew up in a strict and traditional Old Order Amish family during the 1950s. Now he is the cofounder and chairman of the Angela Foundation. He is also a licensed family counselor and founder of the Family Resource and Counseling Center in Gap, Pennsylvania.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $23.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (September 22, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416562982
ISBN-13: 978-1416562986


Chapter One: Gates Wide Open

It has become numbingly familiar. A man walks into a church, a store, a dormitory, a nursing home, or a school and begins shooting. Sometimes there is panic, sometimes an eerie quietness. But always bodies fall, almost in unison with the shell casings dropping from the gun. And always there is death. Senseless, inexplicable loss of innocent life. Within seconds, we begin hearing reports on our Blackberries or iPhones. Within minutes it is “Breaking News” on CNN, and by the end of the day it has seared a name in our memories. Columbine. Virginia Tech.

Or for me, The Amish Schoolhouse Shooting.

As I write this, it has been nearly three years since our community watched as ten little girls were carried out of their one-room school and laid on the grass where first responders desperately tried to save their lives. As a professional counselor and the founder of a counseling center that serves this area, I saw firsthand the effects this traumatic event had on our citizens. And as someone who grew up in an Amish household and suffered through my own share of tragedies, I found myself strangely drawn back into a culture that I once chose to leave. I know these people who still travel by horse and buggy and light their homes with gas lanterns, yet as I moved among them through this tragedy I found myself asking questions that, surprisingly, led me to back to a hard look at my own heart. How were they able to cope so well with the loss of their children? What enables a father who lost two daughters in that schoolhouse to bear no malice toward the man who shot them? And what can I learn—what can we learn—from them to help us more gracefully carry our own life burdens?

That last question is what prompted me to attempt to share what I have learned from the families who lost so much that day. The Amish will be the first to tell you they’re not perfect. But they do a lot of things right. Forgiveness is one of them. In my counseling, I have seen how lesser tragedies destroy relationships, ruin marriages, and turn people’s hearts to stone. Life throws so much at us that seems unfair and undeserved, and certainly the shootings at the Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania were both. And yet, not a word of anger or retribution from the Amish. Somehow they have learned that blame and vengeance are toxic while forgiveness and reconciliation disarm their grief. Even in the valley of the shadow of death they know how to live well, and that is really the story that I want to share—how ordinary human beings ease their own pain by forgiving those who have hurt them.

It is a story that began decades ago when I knew it was time to choose.


Little has changed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania from the time I was a young boy to that fateful October day when shots pierced the stillness of our countryside. Towns like Cedar Lane and New Holland and Gap and Iva might have grown slightly, but as you drive through the hills and valleys along White Oak Road or Buck Hill Road, you’ll see the same quaint farms and patchwork fields that the Amish have worked for generations. Like most Amish boys, I learned to read in a little one-room schoolhouse and could hitch up a team of horses by the time I was twelve years old. I didn’t feel deprived because we didn’t have electricity or phones and it didn’t really bother me to wear the plain clothes that set us apart from my non-Amish friends. As far as I was concerned, being Amish was fine with me, except for one thing. I loved cars. I mean I really loved them. I couldn’t imagine never being able to drive one, but knew that’s what was at stake if I remained Amish.

In Amish culture, you may be born into an Amish family, but you must choose for yourself if you want to be Amish and that usually happens somewhere between the ages of sixteen and twenty one. You may have seen documentaries about Amish teenagers sowing their wild oats for a year or so before deciding to leave or stay within the Amish faith. While it’s true that Amish young people are given their freedom, in reality few teenagers stray very far from the Amish way of life. But all eventually must choose, and once you decide to stay and become baptized as Amish, you can never leave without serious consequences including being shunned by other Amish, even your own parents and relatives. I couldn’t imagine never being a part of my loving family, but I also felt a tug to explore life beyond my Amish roots, and I worried that it would hurt my father if I chose to leave. I remember once asking my dad why we did the things we did and he told me it was all about choice. We choose to live the way we do. It is not forced on us. So when I finally told him at age fifteen that I did not want to stay Amish, I know he was disappointed, but he was not harsh with me, nor did he try to talk me out of it. He respected my choice, which has profoundly shaped my thinking about the Amish. You can always trust them. They live up to their word. If they say they will do something, they will do it. You may have heard the expression, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Well, you would never hear that from an Amish parent. Whatever they teach their children, they back it up with their actions. My dad told me we had a choice and when I made a choice that he obviously wished I wouldn’t have made, he did not turn his back on me. He taught me an important lesson the way most Amish teach their children: by example. Many years later, in the wake of the tragic shooting, I would see Amish mothers and fathers teach their children about forgiveness the same way.

I left the Amish community, but I never left my family, nor did they abandon me. Because of that, I too would learn about forgiveness from my father’s example. Most of my brothers and sisters made the same decision to leave for their own reasons. But my parents remained Amish, and much of my world view is still seen through the metaphorical front windscreen of an Amish buggy.


During those winter months after the shooting so much about our community was covered in stillness. The shortening days felt somber and subdued as we were constantly reminded of the girls that had perished. Normally the sights and sounds surrounding my home in Lancaster County filled me with a sense of nostalgia: the rhythm of horse and buggies clip-clopping their way down our back country roads or the sight of children dashing home from school through a cold afternoon had always been pleasant reminders to me of growing up as a young Amish boy. But that feeling of nostalgia had been replaced with a solemn feeling of remembrance.

Lancaster County is a unique community, the kind of which seems to rarely exist in America anymore. Many of my friends come from families that have lived in this same area for over two hundred years, some even before our country was formed—often we are still connected by friendships held long ago by our parents, or grandparents, or great-grandparents. You will find roadside stands selling produce or baked goods, and it is not unusual for them to be left unattended, the prices listed on a bucket or box where you can leave payment for the goods you take. The vast majority of the county is farmland, and in the summer various shades of green spread out to the horizon: beautiful forests line the hills and drift down to waving fields of corn and tobacco and hay.

In the fall months many of the small towns sponsor fairs or festivals, some established for seventy-five years or more. They were originally conceived for local farmers to bring and sell their harvested goods, but like much of the commerce in this area, they were also social events—an opportunity to get caught up with friends you hadn’t seen in a while. I can imagine that back in the day they were joyous times, the crops having been brought in, the community coming together to prepare for a long winter. Nowadays we still go to the fair every year and sit on the same street corner with all of our friends, some of whom we haven’t seen all year but can count on seeing there at the fair. The parade goes by, filled with local high school bands and hay wagons advertising local businesses. Our grandchildren vanish into the back streets together, another generation of friendships, riding the Ferris wheel or going through the haunted house. I like to think that in thirty years they will be sitting on that corner, with their children running off to ride the rides with my friends’ great-grandchildren.

The Amish people live easily among us: good neighbors, hard workers, a peaceful people. They attend the same fairs with their children. Their separateness goes only as far as their plain clothing, or their lack of modern conveniences like telephones and electricity, or the fact that they have their own schools. I have many good friends who are Amish. While they choose to live their lives free of cell phones and computers, they still walk alongside us. They mourn with us when we lose loved ones, and we with them. We talk to them about world events. They volunteer on our local fire brigades and ambulance crews and run businesses within our community.

When the media converged on our community on that fateful October day, I guess I was an ideal person for the media to talk to: someone who grew up in the Amish community, now a family counselor familiar with the effects of grief and tragedy on people’s lives. So I served as a contact for the media, doing countless interviews and sitting on various panels, almost all of which were directed at the Amish response of forgiveness. It immediately became the theme for the media and the millions of people who watched in their homes or listened in their cars—this unbelievable ability to forgive the murderer of innocent children. But tragedy can change a community, and I wondered how the acts of one man would change ours.

Like many individuals, I had already experience my share of personal turmoil over things I could not control. I knew that when these overwhelming experiences of hurt and loss occur, the very core of your being is altered. In fact, having experienced these tragedies in my life, and being counseled through them, led me to pursue becoming a counselor myself. Eventually I went back to school to do just that, and I studied quite a bit on my own as well. In May of 1992, just up the road from Nickel Mines, my wife and I opened the Gap Family Information Center (later it became the Family Resource and Counseling Center), a place where people from our community can come to find healing from a variety of ailments, whether physical, emotional or spiritual.

As a trained counselor I spend a lot of time listening to people pour out the pain of their lives and can see with my own eyes how it has affected them. Nearly every time I speak with a couple whose marriage has been torn, or visit with a family who has lost a child, I am reminded that there are some hurts in life that never completely disappear.

But now, after the shooting, I understand even better how tragedies can affect individuals and communities. I think back to places like Columbine or the areas in the south affected by Hurricane Katrina and I can relate to the trauma they faced and continue to live with. Our community felt shattered after the shootings in that small schoolhouse. Sometimes, as I drove those back country roads or stopped to talk to Amish men, I could hardly bear to think about the pain those girls’ parents felt, or the innocence that our community had lost. But tragedies can also bring communities closer together, if forgiveness is allowed take hold, and if any good can come out of our loss it is this unique practice of forgiveness that characterize the Amish response to evil and injustice.

Word of the Amish communities’ decision to forgive the shooter and his family spread around the world through the media in a matter of days (ironically, from a culture with little or no access to the media). This in itself seems like a miracle to me—if you or I wanted to market a product or a concept to the entire world we could spend millions of dollars and take years and still probably could not accomplish it. Yet the Amish, who do not own phones or computers, captured the world’s attention with a simple, preposterous act. It was almost as if they were illustrating the lyrics of that chorus from the Seventies: “They will know we are Christians by our love.”

While the public was fascinated with the Amish take on forgiveness, they didn’t quite know what to do with it. Some people refused to believe that anyone could offer genuine forgiveness to their children’s killer. They suspected the Amish were either lying or deluding themselves. Others believed the forgiveness was genuine but thought the stoic Amish must be robotic, lacking the normal emotions experienced by you and me, in order to offer up such a graceful sentiment.

Neither is the case. Both misunderstandings find their origins in our culture’s false perception of what forgiveness truly is, and the state of mind of someone offering such unusual forgiveness. The Amish are neither liars nor zombies. They are just like you and me and offer a sincere forgiveness with no strings attached, no dependence on any reciprocating feelings or actions. But they also hurt as deeply as the rest of us over the loss of a child, or a loved one. True forgiveness is never easy, and the Amish struggle with the same emotions of anger and retribution that we all do. But they chose to forgive in spite of those feelings.


About a year after the shooting I heard a story about one of the young girls who had been in the schoolhouse when the shooter entered. She was a survivor. She, along with her family and her community, forgave the man who killed those girls. But forgiveness does not mean that all the hurt or anger or feelings associated with the event vanish. Forgiveness, in the context of life’s major disappointments and hurts, never conforms to the old Sunday-school saying: “Forgive and forget.” In reality, it’s next to impossible to forget an event like the shooting at her schoolhouse.

This young survivor was working in the local farmer’s market when she noticed a man standing quietly off to the side of her counter. As she tried to concentrate on her work she found herself growing more and more agitated over the man’s presence. He seemed to be watching all the girls behind the counter very closely, occasionally starting forward as if he were going to approach, then stopping and standing still again, always watching and fidgeting with the bag he carried with him. There was something eerie about him. Was it the way he stood, or how intently he seemed to stare at them?

All around him the farmer’s market bustled with activity. The Amish were often the center of attention for first-time visitors to the market, so the Amish girl was somewhat used to being stared at, but something about that particular guy made her want to hurry the customer she was working with and then disappear into the back of the store. The difference between a curious stare and the way that stranger looked at her seemed obvious and stirred something inside her from the past.

Meanwhile, other customers walked between the long rows of stands, eyeing up the goods, making their cash purchases. The vendors took the money from each sale and crammed it into old fashioned cash registers or old money boxes. The floor was bare cement smoothed by years of wandering customers. The exposed ceiling showed iron cross beams, pipes and electrical wires. The whole place smelled of produce, fried food, and old books.

For many people outside of Lancaster County, farmer’s markets are the only place they interact with the Amish and their conservative dress—the men wearing hats, mostly black clothing with single-colored shirts and long beards, the women with their head coverings and long hair pulled into tight buns. Amish from Pennsylvania often travel to New York City, Philadelphia or Baltimore to sell their wares: fresh fruit and vegetables, home baked pies and cookies, quilts and handmade furniture. For some of the Amish that is their main interaction with people outside of their community as well. The Amish are hardworking, provide quality products, and almost all are outgoing in that environment and give friendly customer service.

But this particular girl, only months removed from the shooting that took place in the Nickel Mines school, got more and more nervous—she found her breath coming shallow and faster, so much so that her own chest rose and fell visibly. She looked around but no one else seemed to notice the man or her reaction to his presence. Her gaze darted from here to there, first looking at him, wanting to keep an eye on him, then quickly looking away if he looked in her direction. She tried to help the customer in front of the counter but concentrating was difficult.

Then she saw him approach. He strode forward, fishing around for something in his bag, then sticking his hand down deep and drawing an object out with one fast pull.

The girl cried out and fled to the back of the stand, shaking.

The man pulled the object out of his bag and placed it on the counter. It was a Bible, a random gift to the workers at the farmer’s market stand. He disappeared among the hundreds of browsing shoppers. The gentleman had no idea the scare he had just given the girl. No one outside the stand had noticed that something intense had happened. Everything continued on as normal—the shoppers wandered and the vendors shouted out their sales to the lingering crowds.

But in the back, the traumatized girl wept.

Not too long before, her schoolhouse had been hemmed in by police cruisers and emergency vehicles while the sound of a handful of helicopters sliced through the sky. And the thunderous crack of rapid gun shots had echoed back at her from the rolling hills.

Forgiveness is never easy.


During those solemn winter months following the tragedy in our community, my wife, Anne, was running errands in the countryside close to the place where the shootings had taken place. That particular area of southern Lancaster County, about sixty miles east of Philadelphia, was an alternating blanket of farms and forest. The trees stood bare. The fields in November and December and January were rock hard, and flat. Where spring and summer bring deep green and autumn blazes with color, winter often feels quiet and stark.

Anne, my wife, also grew up Amish, and we both understood the questions blazing up within that community in the wake of the killings: Should their schools have more secure steel doors with deadbolts to keep intruders out? Should they install telephones in the one room school houses in case of emergency, a serious break from their traditional decision to shun most modern conveniences? Should the gates that guard the entrance to most of their schools’ stone driveways be kept closed and locked to prevent strangers from driving on to the premises?

Anne came to a stop sign at a “T” in the road. She could only turn right or left. The roads rolled with the gently sloping landscape or curved along the small streams. A handful of scattered homes broke up the farmland that seemed to go on almost indefinitely. But as she paused at that intersection preparing to turn, she noticed something: directly in front of her was a one room Amish schoolhouse, not the one where the shooting took place, but one of the many within that ten mile radius.

Most of those schools look the same: a narrow stone or dirt lane leading from the road and up to a painted cement block building with a shingled roof and a small, covered porch; a school bell perched on the roof’s peak; separate outhouses for the girls and the boys. In some of the schools’ large yards you can see the outline of a base path where the children play softball. Some even have a backstop. The school grounds often take up an acre or so of land in the middle of a farmer’s field, usually donated by one of the student’s parents, surrounded by a three- or four-rail horse fence.

Yet there was something about this simple school that made my wife stop her car and park there for a minute. Part of it had to do with her thoughts of the children at the Nickel Mines school and all they had been through. She was also affected by visions of the parents who had lost children and their long road ahead, knowing as she does how heart-wrenching it is to lose a child. But on that particular day, in the wake of all the questions brought up within the Amish community about how they would deal with this disaster, there was one thing that immediately stood out.

The front gate was wide open.

We have all seen what happens in a community when people allow unforgiveness to rule their hearts. Lawsuits abound, separating the perpetrator and their family from those who were wronged, and in this separation the healing process is slowed dramatically. When forgiveness is withheld walls are built within a community and division occurs, leading to isolation and further misunderstanding. Anger and bitterness take hold.

The parents of those girls who were killed, along with their family members and neighbors, decided not to allow the shooting to further separate them from their neighbors. There were no lawsuits filed by the victims’ families against the shooter’s estate or the emergency services or the government, as is so often the case. They would not permit anger or fear to drive them into installing telephones, modern conveniences that their way of life had survived so long without. They would trust God to protect them, leaving the gate open to their hearts and to their communities, and move forward with forgiving hearts.

Given what happened, could that really be possible?

Think No Evil
Inside the Story of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting . . .
and Beyond

Jonas Beiler
with Shawn Smucker

Howard Books

West Monroe, Louisiana

[Refer to P4P regarding inclusion of purpose statement.]

Our purpose at Howard Books is to:

Increase faith in the hearts of growing Christians
Inspire holiness in the lives of believers
Instill hope in the hearts of struggling people everywhere
Because He’s coming again!

[Howard Logo] Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

Think No Evil © 2009 Jonas Beiler

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address Howard Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

Published in association with Ambassador Literary Agency, Nashville, Tennessee

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data TK

ISBN 978-1-4165-6298-6

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

HOWARD and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Manufactured in the United States of America

For information regarding special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact: Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-866-506-1949 or

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event, contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at

Edited by Cindy Lambert

Cover design by TK

Interior design by TK

Photography/illustrations by TK

[Permission information regarding Bible translations used (See “Bible Version Lines” list) TK]

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Settler's Festival – September 27, 2009 (lots of pictures) #1

Today after church, which I will say was a great sermon – and one to which the seeker friendly churches would deem terrible.  After church my daughters, a friend and her son went to lunch in a little mom and pop diner in the small city of Cedarville and then we went to the Settler’s Festival.  This is sort of like the Fair at New Boston but there weren’t the stringent rules on costumes and tents so some volunteers would be wearing tennis shoes or were without their modesty pieces (the item that resembles a shawl worn about the shoulders to cover any skin exposed by the blouse)  I am so happy about the learning trips we’ve been able to do this year and fairly close to home as well.  The Settler’s Festival was completely free including all the crafts that the children and I got to do – this isn’t offered at the other fair – and the girls liked it much better.  That is the one thing I would change is that the Fair at New Boston would offer more for the children like free hands on crafts and such – especially for the price for admission.  Take for instance the wagon ride ($3.00 for children $5.00 for adults) and free at the Settler’s Festival.  Anyway, on to the Settler’s Festival today…..

The girls rolling a hoop and or walking on block stilts.

Making music

Goofing off.

Wagon ride and sitting on the horses.

Grinding corn

Continue to the next post for more pictures!


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Settler's Festival #2


Making apple cider.  I NEED one of these, the cider is excellent – no added sugar, straight from the apple and it was yummy!

Making butter.  I also need one of these LOL  Nothing like homemade butter to go with your homemade cider LOL

A cabin built in 1814 that was moved to this site log by log.  The parks district is wanting to renovate so it’s safe for people to enter again as well as making it authentic, taking off the ‘modern’ porch and windows, new roof, new stair well, etc total cost $150,000. The view of the inside is all I could achieve from what was open to view from the doorway.

The girls also made rag dolls, Hannah dyed some cloth using flowers and plants and a rock, they also dipped candles (an extremly long process) and made some old fashioned games.  The pictures aren’t the best but gives some idea of what they made.

Last but not least is to watch God’s Creation in the form of a beautiful waterfall!  I can’t wait to go back, maybe in the winter and get some pictures with it frozen in parts and snowed covered.



More baking – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I got a great recipe from a friend, Isabelle, her blogs are Canadianladybug Reviews and  Life at Oak Grove

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

4 eggs
2 cups of sugar
1 (16 oz) can pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil  (I used applesauce instead to cut down on fat)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tea spoons baking soda
2 tea spoons baking powder
1 tea spoon cinnamon
1 tea spoon salt
1 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil until smooth.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Mix well.

Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into muffin cups.

Bake at 400 for 16 to 20 minutes.

Makes 24 muffins

I made a double batch and froze the extras and I ended up with way more than 48 muffins 😀

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A Wool Gathering – September 19, 2009

The girls and I took a trip to Young’s Dairy, for the annual  A Wool Gathering which I’ve never been to and I was happy we went.  It was neat to see all the different fibers, including yarn made from buffalo fur!  While I tried to do crochet I’ve never mastered it and so I’ve never attempted knitting – but I enjoy the fibers and yarn, so many colors and things to do with the yarns.  They had some hands on things – Bethanne made a cow puppet (sorry no pictures of that) and Hannah practiced the art of drop spindles.  We also saw a variety of animals like alpacas, llamas, French and English Angoras and also different varities of sheep.  It was a fun learning experience.

A dog rounding up ducks.  The ducks were a beautiful black/blue color.

Llamas and a women spinning the fur.

English Angora rabbit.  English Angoras does not have the fuzzy face whereas the French Angoras do.


Hannah using a drop spindle to make yarn.


So that was our trip to the A Wool Gathering.  The girls each got a scoop of ice cream and I allowed Hannah to pick up some wool as she was allowed to keep her drop spindle and we’ll make some yarn with it eventually and maybe I’ll decide to actually learn to crochet!

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The passing of my cat

If you read my meme from the 22nd you will see I talked about my cat, Faline.  On the 23rd I had to have her put asleep.  On the night of the 22nd I noticed something wasn’t quite right, she didn’t want to move around and her breathing was shallow – just not acting like Faline.  DH tried to assure me that she was just tired.  She had taken to sleeping in her litter box as well – which isn’t normal for any cat.  So on the morning of the 23rd she was not using her back legs, this had happened off and on for a month or two but she’d always go back to using them but that wasn’t the case this time.  I took her to the vet who said we could try a medication but on a cat her age it was only a 50/50 chance of it working I told him I wanted to bring her home and talk to my husband – I guess deep down I was hoping that her legs would start working again.  As the day progressed, she got worse, not even able to stand up she’d fall over on her side.  The vet said she was paralyzed and more than likely wouldn’t regain the use of her legs because of the crippling arthritis.  I decided it was best to let her go – she was in pain and I could tell.  Even one of my brother’s could tell he said her eyes were different and she just looked bad.  Through it all she remained calm – almost like she knew.  Usually she gets car sick but she didn’t this time, she sat on my lap and just looked up at me.  I was allowed to hold while the vet prepared her arm and gave her the injection, it was very fast – almost too fast for me – I gave her a kiss and she was gone.  The vet gave us a nice bag to put her in and DH dug a hole that we buried her in – I’ll be adding a decorative stone and come next spring I’ll try to get some flowers planted.  My brother took me while DH stayed home with our littles, we didn’t think they could handle seeing it.  The children are doing okay, they miss her and ask about kitty heaven.  They got to say goodbye before I took her to the vet the second time.  I thought I was prepared for this but I don’t think anyone can prepare themselves for loosing an animal that had been their best friend for 20 years.  She was with me through some VERY hard years and she was a confidant and a shoulder to cry on and as she got older I became her warming bed so she could stay warm.  She will be missed.



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Pillsbury Back to School Cookies giveaway

Well school has started again and Pillsbury has back to school shaped sugar cookies. They are fun and easy to bake. This giveaway is provided by MyBlogSpark and one winner will recieve an insulated lunch bag, ruler, pencil sharper, pencil box and a coupon for a free package of Pillsbury back to school shaped sugar cookies. These cookies are available for a limited time only and my contest runs through Monday September 28th.
To enter you must be a U.S. resident just leave me a comment telling me your favorite back to school tradition.
Make sure to leave me a way to contact you 🙂


Tell Me Tuesday meme

For the Mommas is hosting a Tell Me Tuesday meme and I thought I’d join in!  This week’s meme’s theme is telling about your children or pets.  Since my blog is about being a homemaker and homeschooling I’d figure I’d share a little more about our pets!

This is Faline (as in the story of Bambi) she was a gift from my parents after I got an A in math in the 5th grade, so she is almost 20!  She’s been through a lot, her mom was killed and she was the runt of her litter.  She has been a comforting prescence when I’ve needed a friend in middle and high school, a shoulder to cry on and now she acts mostly as a lap warmer as she seeks for warmth.  She is extremely arthritic and has lost teeth but she is still doing extremly well – vets are usually suprised by how well she is doing.  She also handles having three children who sometimes forget how old she is and drag her around.  She has a somewhat unusual coloring in that some of her fur looks almost peachy, but she is a beautiful cat.

This is Wes.  My husband recieved him when he was just a pup who the owner was going to drown as he was also a runt.  He is part Boston Terrier and Pit Bull but a very friendly dog unless he is teased or someone invades his territory and he very rarely barked until recently and even the vet doesn’t know what is going on.  Wes, well as you see, thinks he is human – he even gets mad if he isn’t allowed on the furniture!  He is 16 or 17 years old but for the most is still doing very well – although we don’t think he can hear anymore – but besides some arthritis and a little overweight – he is doing well.  He too does well around the children although sometimes Christian can push him and he will growl at him.


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