Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ride up to Pike's Peak

In Colorado, fall comes earlier than us southerners are accustomed to.  The leaves began changing in late September, so while our family was here for a visit we headed up the summit of Pike's Peak (by vehicle) to get a closer look at the foliage and the incredible view from 14,000+ feet.  Here are several pictures from our journey to the peak!

Legendary cog railway.  Departs from Manitou Springs and rides a cog railway up the mountain, then returns back down to Manitou, for a fee.

Temperature was below freezing near the peak!

Pike's Peak was first spotted by LT Zebulon Pike in 1806.  Many other explorers had come upon this massive mountain before and Indians dwelled in its foothills long before this time.  But its name is credited to Pike.  Right place, right time.
It was from atop Pike's Peak that "America, the Beautiful" was penned, first as a poem and later set to music.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Garden of the gods

With family in town for a visit, we've been taking this opportunity to soak up the beauty of these mountains.  A trip to Garden of the gods did not disappoint!  For a quick perspective check on how big God is and how small we are...take a look...

Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Glen Eyrie Castle

We had the privilege of teaching a Strong Bonds event for the soldiers in hubby's brigade at the breathtaking Glen Eyrie castle.  This castle is rich both aesthetically and historically.  The kids relished the thought of being at an actual castle!  The grounds were so serene and the weather was gorgeous.  We had a fantastic time and can't wait to go back.  The Navigators have so much to offer at Glen Eyrie and we recommend this spot to anyone visiting or living in the area.

Glen Eyrie Castle, owned and operated by the Navigators.

Carlos the knight is a fixture at castle's front foyer hearth.
What a 5th grader!
What a 2nd grader!
The rose garden on the grounds of Glen Eyrie.  Part of the Prayer Journey.

The castle was built in 1871 by General William Palmer.

Dining area on the balcony off the King James Dining Room.
The castle had electricity as early as 1882.
In 1953 Navigator founder Dawson Trotman purchased the castle and its lot to use it for ministry purposes.
The castle is magnificent and its grounds are immaculately maintained.

One of the bathrooms, in near original condition.  Complete with a telephone!
A carriage stationed outside the Carriage House.
We got to climb a 25 ft wall as part of a family/marriage team building exercise.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

For His mercy is very great…

I Chronicles 21

In this historical narrative, we see David standing at a place of pain and punishment.  He has sinned against the Lord - Scripture is clear on this - and has caused others to sin as well.  The triune God offers him three disciplinary choices:

  1. 3 years of famine
  2. 3 months of overtaking by enemies
  3. 3 days of the sword of the Lord

In all three of these choices David, his household, and his people would be affected.  David’s decision - even in a season of discipline - is an example of his faith in Jehovah-Makeh.  David’s plan was to bank on the mercy of God - both for himself and his people.  He knew Jehovah Adonai well enough to know he could count on - stake his all on - God’s mercy.  David knew God as the Great Shepherd of his soul and he knew of God’s covenant with His people. So, he also knew that somehow, someway the LORD would come to their rescue and aid.  David asked the LORD for option three - three days of the sword of the LORD. 

I Chronicles 21:13 “…I am in deep distress.  Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”

Seventy thousand of his men indeed fell at the sword and God sent an angel of warfare bent on a mission to destroy Jerusalem.  But as the angel drew and raised his sword, the LORD, in His great mercy, relented.  He withdrew His hand of destruction.  David looked up in time to see the angel poised and ready to strike.  David pleaded with his Maker, Sustainer, and Defender - the God of justice and mercy - and He granted mercy to David and his people…His people.

This place where David met the Divine occurred at a threshing floor belonging to Araunah.  A threshing floor - a place where the harvest is celebrated, where food is refined so life can be sustained, the place where Ruth met her Kinsmen-Redeemer.  Ruth, who was the great grandmother of David himself. David bought the threshing floor at a great price - blood and gold - and it became an altar to Elohim.  When the pleasing aroma of the burnt offerings - the cutting and burning of flesh, consumed by fire reigning down from the LORD himself in a covenantal act - reached God’s nostrils, He commanded His angel to stand at ease.  David witnessed the mercy of God, before his very eyes.  He saw the LORD answer the cry of his heart.  And it was then that he knew - this place of bloodshed, of burning, of great and faithful mercy - this was to be the site of the house of God.  The was the place for The Name, the place where God’s glory would dwell.  Here animal blood would spill and fire would consume flesh perpetually - until the day the Lamb of God would lay down His own life.  Once and for all.  His mercy is very great.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Amazing aviary

Several weeks ago we put out the hummingbird feeder near our kitchen window and ever since we've had little feathered visitors all day from sunrise until dusk.  They are so agile, swift, petite, and amazing - I just had to snap some photos of them. A delicate example of God's beautiful winged creatures!

Female hummingbird

 The green feathers on their back are iridescent.

 Male hummingbird - this one's throat can look black from one angle and but turns violet when the light hits just right

Two males getting "territorial". 

 They decided to share :-)

Different type of male hummingbird.  He appears to be "older" and his neck looks as if it has red scratches on it. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

School's in session

Choo choo!  All about the learning express!  Feeling fairly settled in after our move, today the kids and I began our official journey into 2nd and 5th grade.  We kept a bit of schooling going all summer to keep brain atrophy from setting in.  But today we took a swing at all 4 subjects for both kids. With this being our 5th year of homeschool, I’ve learned (the hard way) to keep expectations low and to-do lists lower.  I’m hopeful that several of the things we’ll be doing this year will lead to simplification and a more productive and peaceful year.  First, we’re sticking with our favorite math curriculum - Math-U-See.  Some how we lucked out that the same curriculum works well for both our kids - even though they’re of differing genders.  I’ve heard this is not always the case.  Second, I’ll be teaching them together in the subjects of science (as we did last year) and history.  With a three year spread between them and both of them reading well beyond their grade level, this works nicely for the two of them and is a huge time-saver for me. 

Lastly, we’re taking a new approach to language arts by switching to Shirley English, digital edition.   For as much as I looooove to read and write, I have also discovered that I looooooooath teaching language arts.  Loathe. It.  What we were using before (good stuff from Peacehill press…great curriculum, nothing inherently wrong with it) was making us want to pluck our eyelashes out, slash our wrists, and beat ourselves with chains.  Okay, maybe that’s a little over-dramatized.  But we were not loving life in the language arts arena.  I longed for a (free) tutor that would whisk my children away to pour into them the finer points of English and language arts.  But then I woke up.  Shirley English, digital edition, seems like the next best thing.  We’ll trial it out and I’ll let you know. :-)

This first day was full of fun and surprises.  Our son was able to articulate his long term goals for his life.  And they were hilarious.  To me.  Our daughter, bless her heart, had a rumbly tummy all day which made for some interesting sounds and smells.  And she still managed to ace her math test.  As we rounded the corner to close out our day, nearly at dinner time, I was reminded of what a privilege it is to stay at home and prepare my children for their place in the kingdom of God on earth.  

Here are a few other things we’re excited for this year:

Overdrive access through our local library district - so many titles to choose, books available in print and audiobook formats, for a variety of platforms!

Weekly Homeschool Academy - a public school district in our area offers a one-day-a-week program for homeschoolers to enrich and enhance what they’re already learning at home.  8:15am - 3:15pm…we’ll see if these 2 homeschoolers can hack it!

Zoo membership - with a zoo merely 20 minutes from our home, why not take advantage!  We’ll use these field trips to further our science curriculum for the year, Apologia’s Zoology 3 (land animals)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The beauty of Colorado...and a birthday!

Three weeks have passed since our arrival to Colorado - but BOY does it feel like longer than that.  All the hard labor of unpacking and settling in has made time feel sluggish.  Slowly our home has evolved within the walls of this house.  We are now fully unpacked (well...you know, there's always a box or two you never unpack!) and have begun enjoying the beauty that Colorado has to offer.  The state motto is "Colorful Colorado" and that's a perfect description.

Welcome to our Colorado home!

On our street alone we can see the mountains from one end and the wide-open prairie from the other end.  The rooms on the back of our home have a view of Pike's Peak - which can also be seen by anyone jumping on the trampoline at the apex of their jump!  On one of our first family walk outings, we discovered numerous scrawling trails criss-crossing the land behind our home.  And around one bend we saw a doe and her fawn.  

The doe and her (not-so-visible) fawn

We also hit the trail on our bikes last weekend and rode next to a stream that led to a nature preserve.  The stream was swift and the sights were all beautifully framed beneath the Rocky Mountains.  The climate is very tolerable here and the lack of humidity helps 93° not feel like 93°.  The trail was made of packed dirt with pea gravel atop it and all was well until a certain little girl's bike tire inner tube decided the gravel was too much for it.  So we walked back to the trailhead and headed home.

Our new neighborhood and it's criss-crossing gravel trails have afforded us the opportunity to take our go-kart out for some epic spins.  And I mean spins! Our son is ecstatic for this - since living on post before meant no go-karts on the streets.

And in the midst of all this fun, we celebrated a birthday! Our sweet little girl turned 7.  How did we go from this...

...to this in so little time?!  I'll never understand it!

She is a cat lover trapped in a dog household, so for her birthday she wished for cat "things".  And when your family already has 2 dogs and your daddy is allergic to cats, you get cat "things". Not a kitten.

Hubby has his "boots on the ground" at his unit and is surveying the companies along with what his job will entail with this unit's specialties and tempo.  It's a good thing he's already well acclimated to this altitude - he's put in 9 miles of running with soldiers already!  At 6,400 feet above sea level, running is no joke!

I'm still on sabbatical in my Facebook blackout (#nohashtags) and very content!  The only things that have pushed me remotely close to reactivating my account are desiring information about some of the things we want to plug into here in Colorado.  But so far I've found other ways to get that info.  Once I got passed the first couple of weeks, an internal calm settled in and hasn't left.  There's a peacefulness that can't be described unless one experiences the hush of no hashtags.

For now I'll leave you with a few more pictures of the beauty of this state...

The mountains at one end of our street
The prairie at the other end