Our Calendar

Thursday, September 22, 2011

From the Archives

I was scanning through vacation pictures in preparation for re-establishing my blogging efforts and came across this picture. Aren't they adorable!!
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Thursday, June 30, 2011


The people in our house -- artists, engineers, pilots, designers -- all marvel at the extravagent beauty and genuis displayed in each minute part of creation.
But few things in creation display so much of God's brilliance as the birds.
Wow! Look at this little guy!

Adam managed to get this shot of a Ruby Throated Hummingbird with his tongue out.

I'm guessing this is a Yellow Throated Warbler.
Adam will correct me if it's not. In my defense, it does have a yellow throat.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Fine Linen Drama was asked to participate in Rolla's Sesquicentennial Parade, celebrating the 150th birthday of Rolla (founded in 1851). The parade included representations of each decade and we proudly demonstrated 1870 (except iphones kept appearing.)

Josiah and Kelsey waiting for the parade to start.

This is Jen, the delightful young lady from Russia, who was adopted in November by our friends the Quittschreibers.
She spoke no English when she arrived seven months ago and now chatters away with any and all. We've been blessed to get to know her.
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Sunday, June 26, 2011


Picking Blueberries (and eating lots of them) is one of the top Niztraditions. We can generally pick about 30 lbs per hour. I think they can eat about that much as well!

This year we were thrilled to have Amy and Nate join us (partly because they both pick fast, but mostly because we love them!)

It poured for about 15 minutes right after we arrive, and we were rather damp.

Then the sun came out and it was a delightful morning.

Nathanael is still damp, but grinning away.

Josiah leaves the house at 5:00am every morning for work and was looking forward to sleeping late Saturday, but the blueberries were calling . . .

. . . and his buddy Nate was lurking in the bushes.

We been picking at Brandywine Farms for over 20 years. They are open from 7:30-noon on Saturdays and Tuesdays as long as the berries hold out. Brandywine Farms is now on Facebook.
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Saturday, June 25, 2011


One month later ...
Preliminary damage estimate:$3 billion;
cubic yards of debris removed, 597,500;
cars destroyed, 18,000;
number of homes destroyed, 6,954;
number of jobs affected, 5,000;
injuries, 1,150;
number of homes damaged, 875;
number of businesses affected, 500;
deaths, 155 (with others still in hospitals and clinging to life).

One of the projects that Josiah, Nate, Keith and Joy have helped with in Joplin is the building of several moveable shower houses and laundry houses for volunteers.

Josiah is the cool dude with the sunglasses and nail gun.

Joy is the sturdy girl holding up the floor with her bare hands.

Some of the wonderful volunteers from Rolla we met. Most of these people were teachers, police officers, city employees, sherrif's deputies, etc. They serve the community every day at their job and then on their day off, serve another community. I was impressed.

The trees in Joplin are leafing back out.

Rebirth, renewal, tenacity, hope . . . Joplin.
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Thursday, June 16, 2011


Last week, Josiah, Joy, Keith and I traveled with Greentree Christian Church to Joplin to help with the tornado recovery. Joy and I were sent with 8 other wonderful people to help clean up Jack's Barbershop on Main Street. This is our before picture . . .

. . . and this is after.

. . . and this is a 1991 newspaper clipping about Jack and his barbershop that we found among the debris. Jack is 76 years old and has been in this same location as a barber for 50 years. He is a Korean war veteran and a past member of the Missouri National Guard. He is quite a character. You can read more about him in a different newspaper article from 2006 here.

This is the work team with Jack, who very much appreciated being able to recover many of his belongings, including medals and photos of his grandparents and parents.

This is the view across Main Street from Jack's Barbershop (which was next door to a donut shop, which still smelled of donuts even though there was absolutely nothing left of the building.) Joplin is an overwhelming place, both in terms of the extreme destruction, and also in terms of the beautiful spirit of the people. I was struck by the gratitude, thanksgiving, kindness, teamwork and resourcefulness of everyone we came across. I was also utterly amazed after seeing acres and acres of landscape like the picture above, in which NOTHING is still intact, that only 153 people perished. Keith spoke with several men at the lumber yard, and what he heard matched the stories I heard. Families were huddled together in a closet or a bathtub and when it was all over, only the wall they were next to was remaining. They each attributed it to the protecting hand of God and nothing short of that could have prevented this from being a much greater tragedy.

The team built Jack a little shade from pieces of his barbershop.
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Friday, June 03, 2011





These pictures were all taken by Adam last week in our backyard on the same evening.
It was incredibly beautiful, the pictures don't even come close.
I marvel at the power of the Artist!

Psalm 19 is one of my favorite verses, in fact, Glory was named after repeating that verse over and over during labor while watching a meteor shower in our front yard.

We have an amazing view in the front yard!
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Wednesday, June 01, 2011


We recently got together for dinner at Colton's with a lot of family for the occasion of Japheth Nisbett's graduation. Japheth is our nephew (and the kid's cousin -- one of 15 cousins the kids have!)

We enjoyed very much having Keith's sisters, Donna, Margie, and Rhonda, spend the weekend with us -- and Glory, Nathanael, and Anna are enjoying them even more at their home in Texas. The little people took a mini-vacation! I know they're having a fantastic time.
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While Keith's sisters were here, the guys realized there were 8 isomethings here (iphones, ipads, etc.) They found a free app that allowed all eight of them to play this game together on their individual devises.
I walked into the room and they were all (eight of them) staring intently at their technology, moving/tipping/turning the phones around, while the airplane noise droned away. Other than the engine hum (which sounded much like the cicadas) it was generally silent until someone would burst out, "Hey, get off my tail!!!" The spectator experience was somewhat surreal, or at least odd (especially since several unnamed people, for some reason, had to have their tongue just right to fly.)
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Our family is safe, and has not yet been affected by the many tornadoes striking Missouri this month. However, our prayers and thoughts are with those who have been overcome by this sudden tragedy. I thought this blog-post from Stan Wiedeman at Truth Seeker Blog offered an insightful analysis of the situation, and an appropriate response. I've copied a small section of his conclusion here:

Dorothy Sayers poignantly writes, “For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is – limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death – He had the honesty and courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work, and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.” (Christian Letters to a Post-Christian World, 1969, p 14)

God knows our suffering because he experienced it as a man. This does not answer all the questions, but it answers the important ones. God is there, and he loves us, and he is with us, and he will help us – blessed be the name of the Lord.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

JOY'S TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY . . . from the Archives

Joy and I had a delightful excursion to NYC together last October, thanks to my exceptionally generous sister Kelly (who lives just north of the city.) We took the train along the Hudson into Grand Central (which felt very much like home.)

We didn't spend a "Night at the Museum", but did spend an afternoon there (we didn't have to play catch with the T-Rex either) but it was a fun and educational tour.

We then proceeded to take a "Three-Hour Tour", but saw Lady Liberty instead of Gilligan. I still get goosebumps even though this was my seventh trip with a child to experience this.

The USS Intrepid (another movie location - - "National Treasures"). It is moored just to the north of Circle Line Tours (the boat ride around Manhattan that I highly recommend.)
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MORE NY . . .

Kelly and Joy in Times Square right before we saw "Mary Poppins" on Broadway, which was overwhelmingly fun. Due to Kelly's extreme generosity, we were also able to see "Alfred Hitchcock's Thirty-Nine Steps" which uses 4 actors to portray over 100 different characters and is a brilliantly creative production.

We ventured out the next day to explore several of the Historic Homes along the Hudson River Valley (which I enjoyed seeing with Amy, but haven't been able to convince any of the boys to visit.) One of my personal favorites is Olana, the home of Frederic Church, an extremely gifted artist from the Hudson River School. Joy and I were able to see his famous "Heart of the Andes" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mr. Church designed the entire house and landscape himself, seeing it as an extended work of art. He based the home on Moroccan Architecture. The home is not only stunning, but completely different from all the other Hudson Valley homes.

He designed all the tiles and patterns.

The interior of the home is also very intriguing, but photography wasn't allowed. The Churches had a large close family and spent much time at home, together, reading books aloud, having family worship time, painting, enjoying outdoors. I could get used to living like that.
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