Sunday, August 12, 2007

Music Monday - Aaron Shust

I was slow to catch on to Aaron Shust. His song One Day comes with a catchy tune, but it was the lyrics below that made it a favorite for me. It reminds me of James 4:13-14 where the Bible says "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." One day we will have a day like no other, and this song reminds us that everything we do in the meantime should be preparing for it. Hope you enjoy.

One Day I will leave this body
and I will get a perfect one
That day I will see His glory
shining like the noonday sun
One day, I'll take a walk with Jesus
He might explain the mysteries of life
Some say, I just can't believe it
but I know that one day

We will gather at the Crystal Throne
All these years: we're finally home
I can actually see His face
And all I can do is say,

Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come
We lay our crowns before You
Every heart and soul: adore You:
The God of gods, Almighty One

One Day, death will be abolished
And sin will have its mastery no more
And I know that we will be astonished
At all that our Creator has in store
One day we will meet our Savior
And He will give each one of us a stone
Engraved with our names upon it:
known by God alone

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Annual Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight!

I remember my grandfather tell me about one early morning in the mid-60's when he was driving down the lane leading to the farm house when all of the sudden every star in the sky began moving. He saw the Leonid meteor storm of November 1966, (picture is from a similar storm in 1833) an annual meteor shower that peaks every 33 years. Ever since then I have dreamed of seeing a true meteor storm, with rates peaking at 10,000 per minute.

Tonight is the annual recurrence of the Perseid meteor shower, regarded as 'Old Faithful' because of it's reliable-but-not-spectacular nature. The Baltimore Sun reports this year's event is nearly ideal with a New Moon and good weather forecast. I'll be out there at 1am tonight with the dreams of a young boy of seeing the stars fall out of the sky just like my Grandfather saw, but knowing I'll be lucky to see but a few. Hopefully I won't wake up at 4am with ants up my pants!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Music Monday - Rich Mullins

I remember hearing Awesome God for the first time at a Campus Crusade for Christ Friday night gathering at Virginia Tech in 1990 or 1991. I've been a Rich Mullins fan since, and loved the fun little song Screen Door. The lyrics carry the line
Faith without works is like a song you can't sing
It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine

The quirky lyrics and straight percussion accompaniment I first heard on the CD years ago fits the band's live performance. I stumbled across this fun but grainy video of a live show by Rich and his band of Screen Door - hope you enjoy!

And the countdown's on....

It's August. The last month of summer. Time to get ready for school's return. This year there is new excitement in our home as we are preparing to homeschool our oldest - a new adventure for us. We've seen many of you, our friends, lead the way. Many reasons factored into our decision, but they all seem to fade into memory as the logistics of starting a homeschool for the first time flood in. It seems there's a difference between watching others do it with ease and actually going through the mechanics yourself.

After much consideration and prayer we've already tackled the curriculum decision. We reviewed the full gamut of options available to homeschoolers at the CHAP (Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania) 2007 convention in Harrisburg PA in June. For several reasons we chose to start this first year by continuing with the A Beka curriculum series Cameron started in First Grade at Kings Christian Acadamy. First decision down.

Our next decision was to consider options with several homeschool co-ops in the local area. We looked into the Homeschool Christian Acadamy (HCA) based out of Patuxent Presbyterian church just up our street. We know one of the administrators (Alisa Albers), one of the teachers (Sandi Hepler), and several of the kids there. We enrolled Cameron in a full day of classes. Each Thursday he will take Science, Math Games, Art, Music, Latin, and Phys Ed with 10-15 other First and Second graders. This gives Cameron continued interaction with peers, and gives Barb one day to continue working with several children with her National Institute for Learning Development (NILD) training. Second decision down.

This week we make the final decision on where to register our homeschool for outside supervision. I read the Maryland State Department of Education Fact Sheet on Home Instruction, which states we must choose to have our home instruction supervised by one of the following entities:

1. The local school system.

2. A nonpublic school that holds a Certificate of Approval from the Maryland State Board of Education.

3. A nonpublic school registered with the Maryland State Department of Education as exempt from education regulation because it is governed and operated by a bona fide church organization.

4. An education ministry of a bona fide church organization.

Right now we're considering registering directly with the local county school system. If anyone has any other suggestions or insights we'd welcome your comments!

After this, we then can start focusing on lesson planning. Again, we're open to any tips, tricks, or words of wisdom from anyone out there! Homeschooling will become a central theme in blog posts to come.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Air Traffic Controller needed

This summer Barb added a hummingbird feeder to our deck. We waited patiently for our first sighting. Then he came. Over time he brought friends. Now we need an air traffic controller to direct traffic. At least five hummingbirds have taken up shop in our back yard. I've learned a few things about hummingbirds this summer. I never knew they chirped - a lot! This morning we had two birds chase one another right in front of our chairs. The resulting battle sounded like a clash of light sabres from Star Wars. They're also trusting of us. One bird fed from the feeder with Barb standing just two feet away from it. Barb now spends time each morning reading on the deck while she watches them come and go. Below is a video of just one of the birds feeding. We've yet to capture one of their mid-air duels, but will upload it when we do!

Not being an avid bird watcher, I thought it unique to have four or five hummingbirds take up shop in one's backyard, until I saw this video on YouTube!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Houston, We Have a Problem!

I once thought my wife's penchant for snapping photos was out of control. We upgraded our hard drive once, then had to buy an external drive for backup (you do have yours backed up, don't you Rich?!? :). It kept growing. And that was just from the film camera. It exploded with the addition of the digital camera.

But something's happened. I can't put my finger on it, but something is definitely amiss. First was Monday when Barb took the boys to Six Flags for the day (while I sat sequestered away on a source selection panel!). Cameron rode his very first big boy water slide. The boys rode roller coasters. They went with 'Grandma Myrtie' and Owen's best friend Philip. Not one photo.

Then yesterday Barb took the boys to the Solomons Annex pool, complete with water slides and diving boards. Both boys took and passed the swim test. Owen was a champ, and was beaming with pride when he got his wrist band certifying this milestone in his life. Not one photo.

So, I have many firsts to report from the Darden family this week - but all you get is this plain white text. If you see Barb this week, ask her if her camera's broken. :)