Trip to Jamestown Quadricentennial – June 9-20

Warning! This is a long post, prepare yourself!

This being the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, I decided to take Serena to a once-in-a-lifetime event and fill in some gaps in her history education. She was only in kindergarten when we studied early American history as a family. Oh yes, the government had their official, politically correct, Indians are the good guys, settlers were murderers and rapists of the land event in May, attended by Queen Elizabeth, and including Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Al Sharpton on the panel that discussed the settlement. That was NOT the event we attended. Instead, we went to a week-long celebration (that word had been forbidden by the establishment) of the providential history of the Jamestown settlement. The point was to examine the source documents, and determine what was the real impetus for the colony, and what the participants, themselves, had to say about it. It was put on by Vision Forum, a Christian ministry that you can read more about here.
We began our trip driving as far as Staunton, VA, and staying in a motel. Since we were to be staying with friends the rest of the time, we wanted to store up a little private time. The friends in Williamsburg, the Owen family, put us up for a week, making our attendance at the conference possible by saving us hundreds in hotel bills. I realized that we would be passing close to Monticello the next day, so I asked Serena if she wanted to see it. “What’s Monticello?” she asked. To a born and bred Virginian, that settled it — we had to stop there! I, gardener that I am, braved the bright sun to stroll through the very long garden on the grounds. I actually found a perennial that I had never seen before, labeled globe lavender on the stick by the plants. Monticello sells some of their heirloom plants and seeds, but alas, not this one. The house was fascinating, with all of Jefferson’s ingenious additions and inventions contained therein. Here’s a picture of the front, which I really took for the huge and ancient tulip poplar tree to the left. We had 2 of these in our front yard growing up — typical tall straight trunks with branches high up. If I hadn’t seen the leaves, I would have thought this one was an oak!

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Continuing on our way, we arrived in Charles City County in plenty of time to attend the wedding of Olivia Potter, daughter of old and dear friends who live in Williamsburg. Sarah and Lydia, you will recognize most of the Potters, but here are the rest: Continue reading “Trip to Jamestown Quadricentennial – June 9-20”

Dear Friends and Family,

Dear Friends and Family,

Whew, what a week. I feel like I’ve been here for a year, not a week. Chinese is much harder than I imagined, and I’m glad I’m learning it the way I am, intensively and all day. I feel like if I just had an hour class a few times a week, I would forget it as fast as I learned it. However, I love it to death, and I am getting the hang of it. Like all languages, you have to get into the groove, and then from there its just more hard study and work. In some ways, Chinese in infinitely more complicated than English, in other ways it is wonderfully simple and makes perfect sense.
I have four hours of classes each day, Continue reading “Dear Friends and Family,”

Father’s Day memories

Father's Day

Last Sunday was bittersweet– my entire family (sans LifeForms at home) was gone in various directions. My mom stepped in and swept her men off to an excellent dinner and afternoon on top of the Kaden Towers in Louisville. At that event, I gave my dad a card and a short meditation on something we used to do together 45 years ago. This was to thank him for all the years I’ve been privileged to be his son, and in his honor, I share it here [more…]

Ha! Old School vs. New…

Sun Microsystems was around when I was in college… how long ago was that??? 🙂  Here’s an exchange between their CEO and a new hire:

Jonathan Schwartz, the pony-tailed chief executive of Sun Microsystems (nasdaq: SUNW news people ), got his five minutes of stage time too. He described how he had recently asked a fresh-faced new hire at Sun what he thought of the company.

“Well, it’s kind of an old-fashioned company,” the 20-something conceded.

“Old-fashioned?” fumed Schwartz. “In what way?”

“You use e-mail,” replied the younger man.

“What’s wrong with that?” demanded Schwartz.

“My parents send me e-mail,” he answered.

So uncool, so 1990s.

Oh boy… e-mail will soon be for little old ladies and old men wearing hats!  (HT: Elizabeth Corcoran at

Lydia at OSU

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday was probably the most exciting, scary, and unique day of my life. I, a newly minted 18-year-old, loaded up most of my worldly possessions in my very own car and drove three hours to a city I’ve only been to twice in my life to move into a house I have never seen and have rented with my own money, leased by a man I have never met, and occupied by two 23 year-old girls and a grey and white cat named Nora.
Fun, fun, fun!
I have moved in to my room, Continue reading “Lydia at OSU”

This just makes so much sense!

In this article, Jonah Goldberg makes the case that education should indeed be universal, but there is no need for the majority of it to be done in government schools. Yes, these are public schools, but calling them “government” clarifies who is running them. Take a look at the politicians in the news, then ask yourself if government paid and recruited school administrators somehow get a pass on the worst qualities of those same politicians. Why is it that our tax dollars must fund public institutions? If I take my tax credits and send my kids to a Christian school, and you take yours and send your kids to a Muslim school which teaches that my kids must convert or die- isn’t that what the 1st Amendment is all about? Yes- your kids harassing mine goes too far- but doesn’t harassment happen all the time in public schools? In fact, sometimes it’s the administration doing the harassment under the guise of some PC, stupid rule!

“When Schools Compete, Everybody Gets A Better Education”

Bring on the vouchers/tax credits! Our country will be better for it…

Leaving for college

Well, I’m leaving for college on Friday, at around 6 in the morning. I’m very busy wrapping up my affairs here and packing what seems like my whole room to go to college. I have rented an apartment within walking distance from Ohio State and will move in at 5 pm on Friday. Friday morning I will be busy getting things like: my Ohio State ID, my parking pass, and my REC membership, plus I’ll be making sure I’ve paid for everything I should have and a few other confusing, miscellaneous things. On my way up I’ll stop by and visit a friend, Ali Horton, who some of you may know. She is going to college at Otterbein, very close to Ohio State, and I am very excited that I’ll be so near to her for four whole years.
So much to do, so little brain power, and I’m dead tired. I shall continue the tale when the tale has continued past the point that It must for me to continue it. ;)>

Sarah’s Graduation

Ted and I, Lydia, Serena, and Emily (Nana) traveled to Chattanooga on Thursday, May 3 to spend some time with Sarah and attend her graduation from Covenant College. The trip down was overcast and drizzly, but the weather cleared some- what by the time we got there. Sarah had choral rehearsals in the afternoon and evening, so the rest of us went to the Tennessee Aquarium. There was definitely more than we could see in 2 hours (2 buildings worth), but we skimmed through it all. Our favorites were the seahorses, the snowy egret that posed for a picture 3 feet away, the butterfly garden, the octopus, and the tank of penguins. Here’s the egret.

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Sarah met us for supper between rehearsals. We went to Food Works, which was a very nice restaurant with somewhat unusual selections. We also saw Sarah later Thursday night, when she came by our cottage with her boyfriend, Dani.

Friday, after breakfasting at Sarah’s apartment while trying not to wake up her sleeping roommates, we drove half-way down Lookout Mountain to a park trail that leads to a waterfall. The girls had been there before, and wanted us all to see it. Sarah said the trail was only 1/4 mile long. We were concerned about whether or not Emily would be able to make it. As it turned out, it was more like 1/2 mile, or felt like it, with lots of rocks to negotiate near the falls. Emily did manage to make it with several rests, and lots of assistance over the rough parts. To complicate matters, she was recovering from cataract surgery in one eye. Check out her cool shades in one of the following pictures.

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Above: Serena is wading in the pool the waterfall falls into.

After lunch back at Sarah’s apartment, we left Continue reading “Sarah’s Graduation”

Fantasy Characters Invade Chenoweth Farm

Relax y’all. It was just Lydia and Serena’s joint costume birthday party. All the kids had great fun planning and preparing their costumes, if my 2 girls are any indication of the rest. Most arrived in a carpool from church about 5:30 on Friday. After much recording of everybody’s character and name, and picture taking, there was folk dancing, and other games, a yummy dinner (courtesy of me), costume prizes, present opening, cake (of course), and a game of sardines in the darkness of selected rooms in the house. Then more games that I didn’t observe, before the guys left at midnight. Most of the girls stayed the night. You know how these things work: watch several videos, eat popcorn, and finally go to sleep at 4 or 5 in the morning. Ted and I went to bed after the guys left! I also slept late, since I knew the girls would. By the time folks were up and had their pancake breakfast, it was almost time for parents to be picking them up. A good time was had by all. And in spite of the appearance of some of the participants in costume, their behavior was impeccable, and activities wholesome.

After studying the following pictures, I have concluded that we had quite a collection of weapons and other interesting accessories at our party. I counted 3 pairs of elf ears, 2 bow and arrow sets, 6 swords, 5 knives, 3 pistols, 1 horn, 1 shield, and 2 eye patches. Here are the participants and the winners of the costume contest. (Sorry Ronny, you got here too late and missed the pictures). Who would you vote for?

Susan Pevensie / Heidi Vander Zouwen

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Star Trek Cye / Stephanie Vander Zouwen

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Pirate Anna Maria / Julia Harris

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Continue reading “Fantasy Characters Invade Chenoweth Farm”