Our Calendar

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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Joy in front of Robert Livingston's home, Clermont, which was rebuilt in 1777 after the British burned it in retribution for the Sr. Robert Livingston's patriotic affiliation . The Jr. Livingston was one of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration. He also was the man who negotiated the Louisianna Purchase and with Robert Fulton invented the Steamboat (the first one named after his home, "Clermont") Busy Man!

He was an extremely influential man from a family that made significant contibutions to American History. (Google him, you'll learn a lot!)

And here we are about to tour the Vanderbilt Mansion (I should say one of the Vanderbilt Mansions, since the family had a real penchant for building them.) It is the smallest one, but is extremely impressive (the servant's quarters were even very lovely.)

That's quite the back porch!

Joy and Kelly with the twins Willa and Luke in front of the Croton Dam, which creates a reservoir from which much of NYC's drinking water comes. It's a beautiful piece of Architecture in a lovely setting (and fall in New York is spectacular!)

Joy enjoying one of the most delightful parts of the visit . . .Willa! The kids now have 4 cousins on my side of the family!!
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Central Park is one of the loveliest places created by man. The concept, to fashion a carefully crafted wilderness in the middle of an urban area, open to the public, is brilliant. (In contrast to Europe, where most of the famous gardens are privately owned and inaccessible to commoners.)

Rustic Bench (great Lunch spot.)

The Central Park Zoo (one of my favorite zoos).

Overlooking the lake . .

And the Delacourt Theatre (in Central Park), where Kevin Kline and friends first performed " The Pirates of Penzance", before taking it to Broadway.
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Joy, in one of the turrets of Belvedere Castle, a Victorian "Folly" designed by Calvert Vaux (the genius behind Central Park) as a stunning backdrop for the views of the Park. The National Weather Service commandeered the Castle's tower in 1919 as a good location to measure wind-speed, precipitation, etc. which it still does today. The Castle also currently serves as Nature Observatory.

I enjoy the top of Belvedere Castle for it's great views of the City and Central Park (and Joy).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was greatly enjoyed by this artist, but not by her feet. I think Joy and I managed to see just about everything the museum has in just 2 1/2 hours (it was probably the equivalent of a 5K !)

The whole trip was a fantastic experience for both Joy and I. We made lots of very special memories, and we appreciate Kelly so much for making it all possible (and for the great lunches she packs!) THANKS KELLY!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


And they're off, leaving the Quakkelaar's, with 20 miles ahead of them.

The Hike is a very unique Fine Linen Tradition. After The Prince and the Pauper, our guys were suffering from Post-Production Depression Syndrome, so they decided to walk from the theatre to our house, about 20 miles just "for fun". It turned out about 15 people joined them that year and the event has grown each year.

This year over 80 people made the trek, including Wally, who was discovered by John in a ditch the first year and has been patched and repatched, not missing a single hike. John claims that he has more holes in him now than Wally.

Nathan's Orange Juice is another Hike Tradition.

Each year a different route is chosen, stopping for lunch at one family's house and continuing on to another family's house for dinner.
This year we started at Quakkelaar's, lunched at Quittschreibers, and finished at the Light's.

At every intersection, the group stopped to rest, pray, and re-hydrate.
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This was Gracie's first year hiking, and she really enjoyed the experience. She also wins the award for "Hiker pushed by the most people."

This was also John's first year hiking. The Quittschreibber family adopted John and his sister Jen from Russia around Thanksgiving. John has experienced many firsts and has amazed me with his adaptability and enthusiasm!

Wildflowers are a mandatory part of the Hike.

As is friend "bonding time".

And these guys have wildflowers and bonding time!
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UNCONVENTIONAL, UNIQUE, UBIQUITOUS (ok, that last one is a bit of a strech, but I like alliteration.)

. . .Although they really are kind of all over the place.

I love this picture; we have hikers running, hikers pushing babies, hikers in fedoras, hikers doing pushups (and none of them knew they were being photographed either.)
Random Acts of Fun !

Cool Socks!

The scenery was lovely, as are these ladies' smiles, Christiane , Sarah, and Kayla!

Multi-tasking: Keith had just bagged up trash from lunch, and then began grading final exams off the back of a 4-wheeler.

The traveling infirmary: John and Clarissa with friends (Earlier in the Spring, John's lungs collapsed and Clarissa broke her ankle, but both managed to recoup enough to perform in Seussical and hike the first 8 miles before lunch!) (after that they cruised along the line of hikers offering encouragement, drinks, and and occasional ride.)
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Monday, May 16, 2011


After church, several Sunday's ago, we had a short Purim celebration (Feast of Esther) and as part of this we re-enacted the story of Esther. We drew lots for parts (very appropriate) and performed a very entertaining rendition. Joel was King Xerxes and we see him on his "throne" with his royal secretary (also the narrator and audience cue person.)

Keith drew the part of the vile Haman with his wife and friends (Stacey Quittschreiber, Abby Hall, and Anna Nisbett.)

Adam, cast as Mordecai, shown in "sack-cloth and ashes" mourning at the City Gate.

James Quittschreiber as the Harem Master gives beauty treatments to Eva Quakkelaar, (and Glory, Anna, and Kelsey.)

Couriers on fast horses (Josiah and Joy) take messages to the Jews in rural provinces while Queen Esther (Kelsey) looks on.
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