Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Big Day!

Last Saturday WPC held a garage sale/bake sale/car wash fundraiser for our church's outreach efforts to the Colville Indian Reservation this summer. Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and overall very sucessful. Following are some pictures for your enjoyment. :)

We set up the garage sale in one of the back theaters-there sure was a lot of stuff! Thankfully, even with all the people, it didn't get out of hand like garage sales often do.

Jonathan Bordwine bought some pretty goofy stuff: a guitar strap for a belt, suspenders, driving gloves, a silver cup (aka. the "Chalice of Malice"), a leafy hat thing, a monstrous pair of toy sunglasses and various other items. Combine all of these and you've got Caesar, interplanetary explorer, Augustus!

Amanda Tuck manning the craft table. That was a boring job, so thanks a million to those who were willing to take a shift!

Doesn't look like Jonathan is too thrilled to be a sign-holder! :)

Brian, Jon and I. The hat was 25 cents, I couldn't resist... :)

Here's the car-washing crew. They estimated that they washed about 60 cars!

What with the spectacular weather, fellowship with friends, plenty of work, and lot's of stuff to rummage through, the day was really fun, and very successful fundraiser. It was my first experience selling my work, and has motivated me to look for other ways to do that this summer.

In other news, I've got about 5 piano performances in the next 2 months... Can't wait for summer break! Oh, and the younger kids (Jeremy, Rebecca, Christianna) are still struggling with whooping cough, so please pray for their recovery--especially the baby. Hope ya'll have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Happy 8th birthday Matthew!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Well, we're all done with debate this year. Last weekend's tournament went really well--we didn't quite qualify, but still did great. We were the only team to win all our 6 preliminary rounds, just barely losing in quarter-finals. I got 7th place speaker out of 54, and D & I got 5th place team out of 27. It's such a relief to be done. :)

Oh, Christopher and I got our first taste of square-dancing (they held one at the school we debated at). As long as you have someone who knows what they're doing, it's a lot of fun--especially with about 40-50 people in a huge gym! Dad posted about all this on the family blog as well. Have a nice day people!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dicussion on Homeschooling

This is a transcript from CNN news of a discussion between Gerald Tirrozi, Michael Farris, Tucker Carlson, and Bill Press on the issue of homeschooling. One of the very first questions asked is:

"Michael Farris, why do you want to punish kids by making them stay home with their parents all day?"

Ha, I love it! Definitely worth a read (even though it's long).

Parent Involvment in Education

Even though the government has taken over the education of most of America, they still encourage parents to be involved in their children's education, though mostly for the wrong reasons. This is off the National Education Association's website:

"What Is Parental Involvement, Exactly?

Parental involvement in your child's education can mean:
  1. Checking homework every night
  2. Discussing your children's progress with teachers
  3. Voting in school board elections
  4. Helping your school to set challenging academic standards
  5. Limiting TV viewing on school nights
  6. Becoming an advocate for better education in your community and state.

Or, it can be as simple as asking your children, "How was school today?" But ask every day. That will send your children the clear message that their schoolwork is important to you and you expect them to learn.

Some parents and families are able to be involved in their child's education in many ways. Others may only have time for one or two activities. Whatever your level of involvement, do it consistently and stick with it because you will make an important difference in your child's life.

Why Is Parental Involvement Important?

In study after study, researchers discover how important it is for parents to be actively involved in their child's education. Here are some of the findings of major research into parental involvement:

  1. When parents are involved in their children's education at home, they do better in school. And when parents are involved in school, children go farther in school — and the schools they go to are better.
  2. The family makes critical contributions to student achievement from preschool through high school. A home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than income, education level or cultural background.
  3. Reading achievement is more dependent on learning activities in the home than is math or science. Reading aloud to children is the most important activity that parents can do to increase their child's chance of reading success. Talking to children about books and stories read to them also supports reading achievement.
  4. When children and parents talk regularly about school, children perform better academically.
  5. Three kinds of parental involvement at home are consistently associated with higher student achievement: actively organizing and monitoring a child's time, helping with homework and discussing school matters.
  6. The earlier that parent involvement begins in a child's educational process, the more powerful the effects.
  7. Positive results of parental involvement include improved student achievement, reduced absenteeism, improved behavior, and restored confidence among parents in their children's schooling."
I'm beggining R.C. Sproul Jr.'s book, When You Rise Up, which addresses the topic of homeschooling vs. government schools, so in the future I'll have a followup describing the Biblical reasons for training children at home.

BTW, I know my posts have been pretty long lately, but I'll be sure to post on some less serious topics soon, so hang in there. ;)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Plants & Prayer

If you're having trouble with your garden this year, you'd better read this. :)

Research on the Power of Prayer
Larry Johnson

The power and impact of prayer is another area that has recently received some enlightening research. The Spindrift Foundation (Salem OR) was interested in two simple questions; does prayer really work, and if so, how? The foundation knew that good tight experimental control was an absolute necessity if any of the findings were to have any validity in the scientific community. To completely eliminate human bias, they used the germination rates of grass seeds as the target of the prayers. Because they could have seed trays side by side with the exact same physical conditions, they were able to introduce very stringent statistical controls. The people asked to pray for the seeds had absolutely no physical contract with them. The Spindrift Foundation found that prayer did indeed work, and there was a statistically significantly higher rate of germination for the seeds that had been prayed for.

The foundation also found that prayer was much more effective on seeds that had been stressed with salt water, than on seeds that had only clear water.

While geographic distance did not have any statistical impact as a variable, more interestingly, the type of prayer offered did. It was found that the more general the prayer, the more impact it has on the seeds. In other words, a prayer such as "thy will be done" had more impact than one that pleaded that the seed be germinated. This is fascinating research. It is very comforting to know that not only are scientists proving that there really is power in prayer, but they are also proving that it works best when you need it most.

The 'Science' of Prayer

I don't know how many of you are aware of the recent studies and experiments which have tried to analyze the 'effects of prayer' in given situations. So far, the secular scientists have come to the conclusion that prayer in general actually has adverse affects on those prayed for. In one experiment involving several hundred patients with heart problems, they found that the individuals prayed for actually had more complications than the others. This study has been circulated by the media and is presented as evidence that God either doesn't answer prayer, or doesn't even exist.

Sadly, many in the Christian community try to argue against the means or methods used, instead of simply renouncing this nonsense entirely. Here's an example. In this article, the author utilizes a counter-study to try to prove the effectiveness of prayer. The fundemental problem with all these approaches is that they assume God's will can be calculated scientifically. They treat God like a cosmic vending machine; if He fails to give us the snack we want, He must be out of order. Dr. George Grant put it this way:

"The primary difference between biblical faith and heresy is that true religion is a response to truth and false religion attempts to manipulate God. True faith aims at God's satisfaction, while heresy aims at self-satisfaction... They (Cain, Balaam, Korah) believed that not only could they manipulate human society and natural elements with their peculiar approach to moral and ethical standards, but that God would also be forced to conform Himself to the desires and demands of men who act in terms of certain legal strictures: Say certain things, do certain things, believe certain things, or act out certain things, and God will have to respond. In essence, they believed that man controls his own destiny.

To some of us God is little more than a cosmic vending machine in the sky, designed to dispense our every want and whim. To others of us He is a grandfatherly sage who lives to patiently offer us certain therapeutic benefits and baubles from His largess. To still others He is a kind of Santa figure--jolly, unflappable, and determined to bestow goodies upon all mankind. Invariably, though, we moderns tend to see God in terms of ourselves--in terms of our wants, our needs, our preferences, and our desires. We have apparently, as Voltaire accused, "made God in our own image.""--The Micah Mandate, Dr. George Grant (from pgs. 75 & 156)

The prevalent modern conception of God focuses primarily on His goodness and mercy to the exclusion of His other atributes. Here are just a few principles these studies and experiments fail to recognize.

1. God is sovereign. His will cannot be influenced by our desires, efforts, or prayers. In fact, Jesus tells His disciples, "When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."--Matthew 6:8 God knows what's best for us.

2. These days, people are confused about why we should pray. Dr. Grant asserts in his book, The Micah Mandate, that "prayer is [to be] objectively hedged by God's will. As the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession says, "Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will." We are not to pray simple in order to get something. We are to pray in order to be something (James 4:3). We pray in order to be conformed to God's will," not to manipulate it.

3. In His sovereign purpose, God may use difficult circumstances to test our faith, and cause us to grow in sanctification. If He allows a loved one to die, He will cause it to resolve for His glory. Also, He disciplines those He loves, and may bring trials into our lives to turn us around.

4. I can just see the bold headlines: "Science Proves That God Doesn't Answer Prayer." This is ridiculous; God always answers prayer, but not always to our satisfaction or according to our expectations. Christians need to learn to accept God's answers, and remember that He is in control, and will "work all things together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."

Feel free to add to what I've said. I always appreciate comments ;)