Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chautauqua Institute: Map of the Holy Land

On our recent trip to Chautauqua, NY, we stopped over at the Chautauqua Institute. It was across the lake from us on beautiful Lake Chautauqua.

They have a very large map of the Holy Land, created to scale (1.75 feet= 1 mile) that was made in the late 1800's. They have maintained it ever since. The Chautauqua shoreline is used as the Mediterranean Sea. The above picture shows the Sea of Galilee closest, with the Jordan River headed away and in the distance is the Dead Sea. It was nice to be able to get a perspective on relative sizes. The white 'stones' in the grass were city markers.

Here, Thomas is checking out Jacob's Well. I was surprised to find it over a foot deep.

My DH took out his Bible maps to see where everything was supposed to be.
It helped to figure out where you were relative to everything else.

The towns were marked with these white stones that gave you an idea of their relative size.

They have carved hills and valleys that are accurate as well. This is just above the Dead Sea.

This plaque gives you some of the history of the site as well as information about the map.
You can see the Dead Sea right above the top of the plaque.

This was a free side trip. We probably spent about 45 minutes looking around. The children enjoyed it. It is worth stopping in, if you are in the area.
The Chautauqua Institute was started by the Methodists in the 1870's, I believe. It was part of the revival that took place in America after the Civil War. The gospel was preached and lives were changed. Since then it has become very ecumenical and has lost the message.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mother and Daughter-in-Laws

I have a real burden to learn to be a godly older woman. To be a Titus 2 kind of friend to the younger women I know. I awoke this morning at 4:30 with this on my heart. I hope it can be an encouragement to both the younger and the older women.

I am truly blessed to have a godly mother-in-law that prays for me and encourages me. She loves to spend time with our children. She worked hard at raising nine children. She has a lot of wisdom. The question is, "Do I have the humility and security to allow her to teach me?"

I see a lot of young women who do not work at developing their relationship with their mother-in-law. They feel insecure and take what she says as judgment rather than encouragement. The mother-in-law is unsure how to proceed so she backs away, not wanting to further damage the relationship. Our mother-in-laws do have different ideas about how things should be done. That's OK. We need to listen and learn. We need to honor them. They have raised their son to be the fine man that we enjoy and appreciate as our husband. They have given us a gift. Yet it is so much easier to spend most of our time and emotional energy on our own family and leave out our in-laws.

How can we reach out to our in-laws if we have already closed them out? A letter is a good way to start. A thank-you note for raising our husbands with pictures of the children. Appreciation always is appropriate. Have the children write notes to them. When they reach out to us, we should listen and learn. They need encouragement too. Ask them questions and listen to their stories. The things you learn from them are a part of the spiritual heritage you can pass on to your own children. If you have in-laws that are believers, do you know their testimony? Who were the important people that influenced their lives? Remember, give them the benefit of the doubt. They are probably NOT trying to make your life miserable. If they say something that hurts your feelings, put yourself in their place and keep on communicating. Remember, they are putting up with you and your imperfections too.
If you have an out of control in-law, have your husband deal with them primarily, they are his parents. He will need to set boundaries. Continue to pray for them, no matter what. Obviously, sexual predators and violent people will not have access to the children. But this would be an extreme, uncommon situation. In-laws that tear down your family values or are unsupportive of your choices in a vocal way should only have supervised visits with the children. Again, your husband should be the one communicating these limits.

Try and grow your relationship with your in-laws. Include them in your life. Encourage them to spend time with the children. Make regular visits to them and encourage your husband to keep up his communication with them. You will be blessed with a great friend, if you learn to love your mother-in-law. She is someone who wants to see you succeed as a wife and mother. Sometimes she is feeling insecure and doesn't want to step in when she feels unwelcome. It is almost always appropriate for the daughter-in-law to ask for her m-i-l's input and include her in your family life. You will be glad you did.
PS I will write another post soon on being a proper mother-in-law. I want to remember my thoughts for when the time comes for me to step into that role.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Family Vacation at Lake Chautauqua

This blog contains some of the highlights from our long weekend away. We had a marvellous time! So nice to get a chance to relax together. The children even cooperated for a couple family pictures.

The house we stayed at had a corn hole game and we gave it a lot of action. T-Bob played the most games. He was doing real well with it by the time we left.

The children really enjoyed fishing off the dock.

The one fish that didn't get away. It is a relatively small perch.
I know it looks good-sized, but it really only measured about 8".

Elizabeth had a grand time.

The house we stayed at was lovely! Lots of room. A nice yard and was right on the lake.
This was such a blessing to get away for a little rest and family time.

The boys spent a lot of time the first two days working on the hovercraft.
(see previous blog post)

We did get to play some games inside also.

When I was in college I was involved with Campus Bible Fellowship. The couple that headed it up has since retired and now live in NY. We were able to spend some nice time with them. Wilma is still the hostess. She invited the family over for dinner on Friday night. That is a big undertaking and not too many people are brave enough to do it. She did it well!

Carl is still Carl. We had a great time talking about old times and encouraging one another. It was a blessing.

The children enjoyed gathering tiny snail shells and freshwater clams on the beach.

We had a canoe available to us and the children really enjoyed it.
The boys liked to go out just a little ways when the lake was choppy and ride the waves.

T-Bob spent some time raking seaweed off the beach.

We went across the lake to the Chautauqua Institute and looking at their map of the Holy Land.

We enjoyed a picnic on the beach.
"Shhh, your voice carries!" Was the phrase of the vacation. It was repeated frequently. Usually followed by gales of laughter, that also carried. Fortunately, there weren't too many neighbors close by to disturb.
The boys fished late, until dark.

Elizabeth enjoyed staring into the bonfire.

It was a HOT fire. You almost burned your skin getting close enough to cook on it.

The boys fished early in the morning, too.

The last two mornings there was frost on the grass when we awoke.
It was pretty strange to have frost on the grass in the morning and then have the temperature be 85 degrees when we got home at noon. Wow!

This was the memorable part of the trip. Instead of marshmallows and hot dogs we cooked fillet Mignon over our campfire. I found it while freezer diving. It needed to be used up. It was so yummy! I marinated it in Caesar Dressing and then cut it into cubes. We did roast it on sticks.
I did tell the children that this wasn't likely to become a family tradition!
Our friends, Carl and Wilma, came to the lake to visit us and have lunch.
T-Bob is in that 'bunny ears' stage of life. I will be glad when it passes. Sigh.
We sat and watched beautiful sunsets every evening.
The Creator is the greatest artist of all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This is what happens when you give Mr. Boots a vacation!
I decided to make a hovercraft. I had been thinking about it for awhile so when I got off school, I was on it. Thomas was my helper and Elizabeth was my test dummy.
Prototype 1.0

First, I had to make the platform out of 1/2" plywood.
Then my dad got me a carlisle semi inner tube. I used it as the skirt to trap the air. I still needed a way to hold the skirt to the platform.

I cut slits in the plywood with a jigsaw as a way to strap it on.{see next three pictures]


Finally, to mount my air supply, a BR630 Shindawia leaf blower with the tubes removed.

My high tech mounting system {2/4}'s

The finishing touches.
Research and development:
I love R&D
Conclusion: 1.0 worked well on the pavement but when you got to to the grass the skirt wasn't quite supple enough to lift heavier objects[it worked well with my test dummy].

Prototype 2.0
On prototype 2.0 I used plastic instead of a inner tube which presented a host of problems.

It was a lot more labor intensive then the inner tube.
First, I needed to secure the edge of a disk of plastic that was 2' larger in diameter then the disk.

I used some if our meager supply of duct tape to temporarily secure the edge.

Second, I used plywood to clamp it using screws

see also below

This is what it looked like when I flipped it over.The next steps are the most important ones.

I cut a disk {upper right hand side} about 10" in diameter and screwed it to the center of the platform.

Next I cut five holes{1.25"} in the plastic at a distance of about 1'ft from the small disk.

I mounted the blower as before and we were ready for the moment of truth!

My part'ner who was a great help,Thomas.
This is Prototype 2.0 take 4.
As I mentioned before... there were many kinks we had to work out.

P.S. If you would like to see the hovercrafts in video visit my mom's Facebook.....................................We even took it out on the water!
PS. Mr. Boots is studying Physics this year. Should help in future projects! MOM