Tuesday, January 25, 2011

March for Life 2011

 Yesterday morning we all got up bright and early at 4:30am to head out on a bus with our church for our first March for Life in Washington D.C.  What an experience!
 
We got there around 10am and had time to walk around, see some sights and visit the Air and Space museum before it started.
It was pretty chilly at first but once everyone gathered it wasn't so bad.  We were like a big group of penguins and were shielded nicely from the cold.  :)  I am not bothering posting pictures from the museum because the rally and the March were way more exciting.
I wish we could have gotten up higher and got a better picture of the crowds.  There were over 250,000 people there but it's hard to capture that when you are in the thick of it.

We were able to squeeze our way up pretty close to the platform for the rally and so were able to get a pretty good view of the speakers.  There were a lot this year.
 Pastor Luke Quinn.  Was he ever fired up!  He gave the statistic that for every 100 live births in New York City, 60 end in abortion.  By the far the worst city in America.
I thought this sign said it well.
That's exactly what it is.  If you only knew America, that the abortion movement came out of the philosophy of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.  This thinking led to the idea of eugenics, where people believed that some humans were less "evolved" than other humans and should be eliminated.  Margaret Sanger, the founder of planned parenthood called blacks  "...human weeds,' 'reckless breeders,' 'spawning... human beings who never should have been born."  She also said, "More children from the fit, less from the unfit -- that is the chief aim of birth control." (Birth Control Review, May 1919, p. 12)  The facts aren't pretty and if people only knew maybe they would be less likely to support this awful practice.
Chris Smith, representative from New Jersey (yay Jersey!) to the left applauding a woman from Slovakia who was bemoaning the state of her country which is experiencing a demographic winter; a declining population which leaves the country in a very sad state with less workers, less youth to care for the aging population and less income.  We must not let this happen to America, she implored.
 Rabbi Levin.  He has been coming here for the last 32 years since this started.  In 2010 he warned government officials that the coming election would prove what mattered to Americans and this past November we saw that was true.  90 percent of incoming freshman congressmen are pro-life!

Many of these representatives spoke.  There were so many of them this year that the march got started an hour and a half later than it was supposed to.  They were very fired up and passionate about the issue.  They spoke about how the government needs to stop funding Planned Parenthood and how government paid abortions need to be taken out of the health care bill.   Here's a great way to reduce government spending congress!  Stop giving Planned Parenthood $350,000,000 per year, fully one third of their revenue.  $350,000 per year goes to pay the CEO alone.  Talk about reckless government spending.

After the rally the march got started.  It was slow going with all those people but if we were going to be stuck in a mob that's one we didn't mind being stuck in.  For a such a large gathering of people over an issue that people can be very passionate about it was quite peaceful.  No one was angry, no one was yelling and I didn't see one sign of dissenters or hecklers.

Being stuck in the crowd also gave us time to take pictures of all the different signs.



...and all the different people.
I didn't get a good picture of them but there were also tons of youth there.  I can't quote an exact statistic but I have heard that this current young generation is the most pro-life we have had, which is very encouraging for our future.

What wasn't so encouraging to me was seeing a huge lack of Protestant representation.  There were many many Catholics there which is great, but we were very disappointed to see so few protestant/evangelicals.   Our pastor said that he sent letters out to churches in our area letting them know about the event and that we had a bus available to take people down.  He received hardly any response.  This was after a tragic news story quietly broke in our city of Philadelphia about the abortionist Kermit Gosnell and his "house of horrors".

I also am disappointed to see very little coverage of the event on the news or the internet.  What little is there refers to the "anti-choice" rally.  (What I want to know is, who really is anti-choice here?  Does the child have a choice?)  Even Fox News gave poor coverage with a big part of the clip being given to an analyst who was upset that Republicans are wasting their time on social issues when we have bigger financial issues to worry about right now.  Grace watched the clip with me this morning and she said, "What's wrong with them?  If they want more money then they should let more people be born so they can get more tax money."  I guess maybe she was listening to the woman from Slovakia.  

President Obama refused to acknowledge the March but instead  made a statement about the anniversary of Roe vs.Wade in which he said, "And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams."  

So what does that mean?  Let's not let those babies get in the way of our dreams and opportunities.

I'll let Mother Theresa speak to that one......

It was a long day but well worth it.  The kids were troopers as usual and I believe this really impacted them.  I know it impacted us more than I expected.  I had to fight back the tears many many times.  

Hopefully we can encourage others to go next year.   So many of our christian activities are so self-focused with all our self-help books, conferences and seminars, and music and retail industry and it feels really good to get your eyes off yourself take a stand for those who have no voice.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Freedom

One of the many many reasons I love homeschooling is academic freedom.  Instead of being confined to a desk for most of the day trying to pay attention to the teacher while little Johnny goofs off in the back or little Suzy is trying to pass you a note, all the while you are worrying that your clothes are cool enough and you have cool friends, you are actually free to learn.  
(No offense to regular schoolers, I just love what we do and I should since I spend a majority of my day doing it!)

So when my children take a fancy to building a paper city after being inspired by a field trip to a doll maker's shop and from reading my all time favorite E. Nebitt book, The Magic City I don't stand in their way.  I stand back, smile and take pictures of course.
I especially smile when I see them working together on a project so peacefully.
Aiden in particular is always doing some sort of art project.  I look forward to seeing where this talent takes him.
At our field trip the other day, the business owner who was in her 60's and owned quite a lucrative doll making business was really encouraging the children to continue developing any artistic interests that they had.  She was very sorry to see that many public schools are doing away with art (lack of time, funding or replacing it with more testing I suppose).  She really felt strongly that the creative arts were very important for developing the mind in many areas.  I must agree.
I love this zebra skidding to a stop with a cloud of cotton ball dust behind him.  :)
I think this project is going to go on for a while as they keep coming up with new ideas to add to it.
Don't worry.  Paper cities don't take up the whole day.  Reading, writing, arithmetic, Spanish, grammar, spelling, Latin, literature, poetry, music, history, geography and science get plenty of time it's just that we have the freedom to be flexible.  

Speaking of flexibility, we have a big event we are heading out to tomorrow as a family which I look forward to blogging about soon.  It's been pretty quiet and peaceful around here lately so we are ready for some excitement!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Our new pet

This past week there was a surprise birth in our family and we became the proud owners/keepers of a very rare pet.  Not the type of pet most people would want in their house but since we aren't "most people" it was allowed (although very grudgingly by yours truly) to stay.

This past fall the kids, like most children, found an unusual caterpillar and brought it into the house in a jar to watch it make a cocoon and hopefully see it hatch.  It did proceed to make it's cocoon but after a couple months I got to thinking that it wasn't going to hatch after all and since it was getting cold it might be interesting to dissect the cocoon to see what we could see.  So I took off the outer case and then the kids got upset and thought we should ask Daddy (the go-to science guy) first just to make sure.  He too thought we should let it go longer so we wrapped the thing up in a napkin, to replace it's outer case that I had removed and taped it onto the kitchen mantle piece, pretty sure that nothing was going to happen.
Well last week at some point we came into the kitchen to see the napkin opened up and a huge moth hanging out on the floor drying it's wings.  After a thorough examination by the kids I said, "well we better take him outside now".  No!, everyone protested (including that crazy nature loving husband of mine).  "If we take it outside it will die!".  Yeah, and so what?  As is usually the case though in situations like this I lose and they win or I get labeled a murderer, so we ended up living with this moth the size of a small bat in our house for the last week.
Lovely right?  Thankfully he didn't really fly around but every morning we would play "Where's the moth now?" as he would be in a new place every day.
Since I posted this Christian told me that it probably never flew well because normally when a moth emerges from it's cocoon the restrictiveness of the cocoon squeezes the blood through all parts of the wing stretching the wing out completely and in our case the napkin wasn't very restrictive.  Notice the wrinkles in the wings?  Oops.  Sorry.  We'll know for next time and try plaster of parris instead.  
Well, "he" actually ended up being a she as we noticed that she proceeded to lay eggs on the wall, floor and wherever else she would land.  Again I said, let's get rid of those eggs and again everyone protested that we should let them hatch and see what happened.  What in the world people!?  Are we living in some kind of moth preserve?  Like I want all these baby caterpillars crawling around here.  Really!
See those little eggs?
Grace walking warily past.  Actually no one was really scared and they all had fun examining her up close.
Thankfully, I mean unfortunately Fuzzy had an untimely death due to slow starvation and the fact that one morning she flew too low and the cat got a little too interested.   So sad for Fuzzy.  May she rest in peace.  We will take care of your little babies dear until they hatch in the spring.  Actually I think I did convince everyone to get rid of the eggs but I wouldn't be surprised if a few were "accidentally" missed.

I wish we could have identified this moth but it isn't in any of our insect identification books.  I also looked online but there are just way too many moths to sort through to try to find it so unless anyone out there knows what this is we just may never know.
I guess I should have double checked with Christian before I published that because of course he did in fact know the answer to that.  Like he said in the comments, it is a Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Walking through snowy woods

I don't really like cold weather and so we tend to hibernate in the winter.  We cozy up in the family room with the woodstove blazing away keeping busy reading lots of books, crocheting and playing.  After a while though I get this intense craving for sunlight and just have to get outside.  So even though it seems like too much trouble to bundle everyone up and head out, we did it anyway and of course we were glad we did. 

Besides, I needed a chance to actually use those crochet projects anyway.
And the kids needed a chance to throw snowballs at their Daddy.
And laugh histerically when Daddy got them back.
Asher and I thought we would just hang back and watch.
Actually he wanted to throw a snowball too with a little help from Daddy.
The rest of the time was spent exploring and finding deer tracks and what we found out later were fox tracks in the snow.
I think I need to force myself to brave the cold more often.  After I am home, filled up with hot chocolate and cozy by the fire again with a good book I admit that it was worth it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Burried in Books

I don't know what is going on lately but recently it seems as if we are being showered with blessings.  I was asked recently by an acquaintance, who was a former homeschooler whose kids were all grown, if I wanted to stop by her house and go through some of her old books to see if I could use any.  I would never pass up free books so yesterday on our way home from the library we stopped in to look.  I was expecting maybe one or two boxes to go through and come home with a few that I could actually use.  Was I ever surprised when she took my into their office and basically just pointed to the bookcases and said to pick whatever I wanted.  Whatever??  Really??  There were so many books that she said I could have that I had to call Christian to come with another car and help me carry them all out.  They were such good books too.  Not "twaddle" as Charlotte Mason would say.  I was so shocked that she was willing to give them all up to me who she barely knew.  I kept asking, as I pulled books down if she was really sure about this one or that one.  It was just too good to be true.  I came home with probably thousands of dollars worth of books.   I'm not kidding.
Lucky for us she gave us a bookshelf as well.  Unfortunately it only held about half of them.
The rest are just going to have to be randomly piled for now until we can get another one.
We got 3-4 years worth of science curriculum,  tons of creation science books, G.A. Henty historical fiction, missionary stories and biographies, histories, grammar, literature, latin, writing, art, music and foreign language.
Yes, even the expensive Rosetta Stone Spanish software that I never thought we would own.
I love old books.  Apparently this woman did too.  She even gave me several very old sweet science books that her Aunt had given her.
These are the kinds of science books I love to read to the kids.
They just don't make books like this anymore.  Books where Patty and Billy go out walking in the woods with their Father and their father talks to them about nature.
I get books like this and it's as good as winning the lottery.  
The woman was just glad to know that books were going to be used and not just sitting on her shelf.
I promised that they would definitely be used.
No worries about that.
A typical scene many times a day here.
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