Freshwater Academy

Fresh Water Academy was founded in 2010. It is home to four lovely young ladies of learning and their dedicated teachers. Located in the wilds of Wyoming, the name Fresh Water Academy was chosen as a Western analogy to Christ. Just as He is the Living Water, and we must have Him to have eternal life, any desert dweller knows the importance of fresh water to life, both for self, and the nourishment of crops or livestock. By taking nourishment in God and His word, we strengthen our own relationship with Him, our faith, and the quality and abundance of our fruitfulness.

Our keystone verse is from Jeremiah, Chapter 17, Verse 8: "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

The fruit that we speak of is mentioned in Galatians 5:22
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

And the heat could be anything we experience that might test our faith in God; trials and tribulations, relationships, anything that focuses our love and attention anywhere but on Him...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hatfields and McCoys

Wow.  That is one of the saddest things that I have ever seen.  Now I am sure that Hollywood being Hollywood there was some poetic license taken, but looking at the history books you can see for yourself that they hit a lot of the solid information, and there are many things that none of us could know anyway, not having been there.  Poetic license aside, this was one of the most powerful and moving shows that I had seen in a long time. 

I don't think it's a spoiler if I tell you in the end so many lost so much, because it's a well known event in history, but it was incredibly sad to watch.

Ratings wise, there's some partial nudity, though not much of that, and the sex is implied (not seen), though since there are plenty of children on both sides and a child out of wedlock, the results are seen, and I did forget there are quite a few scenes set in a brothel, where it isn't seen, but is pretty obvious.  There is a ton of blood, gore, cussing, and other vulgar or suggestive language. 

If you are an adult who is interested in American history and you want to have an amazing dramatic picture of the events of that time, I would highly recommend this movie.  I do not know how accurate the historical details are, and I'm not planning to research them that closely at this time, but I do know it was a very powerful movie. 

The whole movie has many themes and lessons throughout, but one of the biggest that really stuck with me was forgiveness.  These families hardened their hearts against each other and refused to forgive any slight, real or projected, and it caused heartache and heartbreak for not just them, but many of those around them.  Their own children were dying around them, and it didn't seem to be enough to make them stop.

Kevin Costner is and always has been a dynamic actor, full of passion and fire in any role that he plays.  He stepped into the boots of Devil Anse Hatfield perfectly.  What a talent he has for playing a complicated role.  There were times when he was mean, and downright evil, and there were times when he was wise, and even compassionate.  He's a heck of horseman too.

Bill Paxton did an excellent job as Randall McCoy as well.  He played a bitter, hard hearted man most of the time, but there were times of softness and compassion in him as well.  I hurt for him as he lost everyone in his life, one by one.  I felt helpless for him when he finally tried to do the right thing, but was powerless in the face of the evil that had taken over.

Tom Berenger has been one of my favorite actors for years.  I think he's an awesome actor and I've loved so many of his movies throughout time.  When he can he make me hate him in the skin of the character that he's playing, I call that a very good portrayal of the man Jim Vance was said to be.

I don't know the actor who played Perry Cline, but if the real man was anything like the role in the movie, he was a slimy lizard who oozed oil from his boots as he slithered by.  The actor who played Bad Frank has also won a space in my bad guys for life line up.  I'd have a hard time seeing him as the good guy.

Bottom line, I both loved and hated this series.  It was so powerful and very well done, but it was so sad and heartbreaking at the same time.  I don't believe we will be letting our children watch it anytime soon.  The history itself is an important part of our country, but the dying children, bloody people, burning houses, and other things are just too much for them right now.  I don't want them going to sleep with pictures like that in their heads!  There is a time when they will be old enough to understand and watch with us, but there are still parts that I just don't think need to be seen, like one in particular with Bad Frank where you can't see him, but you can hear him, and it is very, very obvious exactly what is going on. 

If you like American History and you want to see an excellent cast in well written roles, this is a great mini series.  If you don't mind violence and some other things if it leads to a well played movie, you're still doing good.  If  violence or  crudity or insinuations bother you, then you will probably have some problems with this movie.

Friday, May 25, 2012

CafeMom Influencer Program 3M Screen Privacy Filter

My children like to steal my phone and run around taking pictures! They each have computer time where they work on various projects, take keyboarding classes, participate in online discussions, and play games.

My computer is "hands off" for the kids, but they like to linger over my shoulder. I police my facebook as much as possible to block off things that I don't want represented on my page, and that I don't want my children to see, but there are sometimes things that pop up that I'd like to block their eyes from. Christmas/birthday shopping online will be much easier too!


I chose a 3M Privacy Filter for my laptop computer. It was at the post office this afternoon when we picked up the mail, so I cracked open the box after supper and am checking it out :). It's already defeated my biggest snooper, our 11 year old daughter who likes to linger behind both of our computers and read over our shoulders. My husband has a larger screen that is more visible, and we wanted to try it on his computer, but the larger ones were quite expensive and we wanted to see how well it worked before we invested such a considerable amount.

I know I followed the directions with measuring. I double checked, triple checked, used a measuring tape, and I still managed to get one that's taller and narrower than the screen. It works okay for the purpose of checking it out, and it actually covers most of the area of the screen, so it's not a big problem.

The 3M Screen Protector was very easy to install, and there were enough tabs that I could use option A on one computer, and I can throw a second set of tabs on another laptop to play with the versatility. I even held it up to my husband's computer screen just to get a different viewpoint, and it stayed quite well on its own, even without the tabs.

I love that it protects the screen from wear and tear, sticky fingers and dust, but I also love tha tit protects my information from the snoop over my shoulder.

I would definitely recommend this product to anyone, but definitely moms with kids old enough to be interested in checking out what you're looking at. Christmas shopping just got a whole lot easier ;).

I would definitely recommend checking again the measurements so that you get a screen protector that is the correct fit for your device.



IHOP, Casper, WY

On Monday (May 21), Paul and I ran to town (well okay we drove) to run some errands and go to the chiropractor.  We decided since it was still too early for the mall to be open (we needed to go to the Gallilean) that we would kill some time and have breakfast at IHOP instead of grabbing some fast food.  We killed some time all right! 

We arrived at the restaurant at 9:45 AM.  After waiting a few minutes for someone to come to the hostess stand, we were seated and told that our waiter, "David", would come to take our order.  Now I really don't care if they switch servers around, I just thought it was funny that our waitRESS was very obviously not named David :).  She asked if we wanted something to drink, and we both ordered water.  She brought that, and returned right around 10 AM to take our order.  Right after we ordered, we noticed the people next to us talking about their food and wondering when their order would be up.  We were paying attention to them, because the guy sitting behind my husband could not sit still and kept shoving the booth back.  Paul finally just switched sides and sat next to me (can't say I'm complaining about that).

We talked, and about 10:30 we started checking the time every few seconds.  Another family with two small children had come in not long after us, and their children were starting to get restless.  There was a larger party at the end of our section that had been there before we walked in, and had not yet received their food.  A woman who had just been seated next to us noticed our fidgeting and asked how long we'd been there.  By then it had been 45 minutes since we'd been seated.

At 10:38,  Paul went to the counter to inquire about our food.  We were told that it would be out soon.  He asked to speak with a manager, and was told that she was on the line cooking because they were shorthanded.  Shortly after that, the large party began receiving their food bit by bit.  You could tell they were not very happy as it trickled out of the kitchen, and the manager came out to talk with them.  Our food eventually made its way to us at 10:52 AM, and the manager herself delivered it. 

The food itself was wonderful.  Generous portions, we both had the big steak omelette with pancakes, and I tucked away half a box of leftovers for later (the meat mysteriously disappeared from my omelette at home in our fridge, but that's a whole 'nother story). 

The service definitely left something to be desired.  Not only were we left sitting for over 45 minutes while waiting for our food, we were literally left sitting for over 45 minutes while waiting for our food.  No one came by and asked how we were doing, no one explained why there was a delay, our water was not refilled, and no compensation or apology was offered, though the manager did apologize for the time delay when we went to pay at the end.  Knowing no one would come to our table, I just picked up my plate and we walked to the counter and waited.  I know it garnered attention when I carried my plate to the checkout counter, but that way I was able to actually get a box without jumping up and down and waving my arms or waiting another hour. 

We were told that there were usually four cooks and for some reason there were only two working, which would be an acceptable excuse if this were the first time it had happened, but this is a regular occurence.  Anytime you go into this particular IHOP, you are liable to have something like this happen. 

Though the food is good, I would not recommend visiting this restaurant unless you have a lot of time to spare, and definitely not with fidgety little ones (the last few times we've been there with the kids they've also been out of kids' menus). 

I will say that IHOP in general is a good place to eat.  There was one just down from our hotel in Anaheim that was really nice.  The food was good, fast, and the server was so attentive that we had to tell him to stop refilling the kids' drinks!  They are not all slow, it just seems to be this one.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Convention 2012

I look forward to attending our state homeschooler's convention each year with anticipation and delight.  I love meeting new people, reconnecting with those I've met before, checking out all the vendors, and networking with different people and ideas.  We weren't able to go last year for one reason or another, so it was a special treat to rejoin the ranks this spring.


One really good thing about this year's convention, is that it was moved to Casper!  They had great facilities, utilizing College Heights Baptist Church's main building and community center.  The kids had a much more secure area (children are signed in and out, and with only one in and out, it seems a much simpler process).  I also loved that it was in Casper, because there were so many more dining and housing options.  In Douglas, you could stay in one of two over priced hotels, and eat at one of two or three places.  Here we were able to stay in our favorite hotel, eat at a variety of restaurants, and have plenty to do in our down time. 


The Children's Program was absolutely fabulous, as always.  I love the AIM Team.  They teach the kids about Jesus and sharing the gospel.  One of the songs that they choreographed a skit to was called "Live What I Believe", which I believe is an absolutely wonderful message!  The volunteers are always full of life and interested in the kids.  There were a few returnees from our first convention two years ago, and they remembered our kids and made them feel at home!


I was disappointed that there was no Teen Track this year.  I would like my children to be able to interact with children of their own age with similar values, rather than watch the teenagers peek at each other during the general session like the boys holding up one wall and girls the other at a typical junior high school dance.  After listening to this speaker for awhile though, I was glad that he wasn’t off influencing my teenager, and was absolutely thrilled when the Children’s Program was short volunteers and asked if they could keep her all Saturday afternoon!

I struggled with this year’s convention. There were still nice people, and a chance to visit with friendly faces, but there was also some tension.  There was apparently some dissension about changing locations, because I caught some snide comments related to that.  There were more “better than you” attitudes than I’d seen before, and less friendly faces.  The biggest disappointment to me however, was the main speaker, Kevin Swanson.

We enjoyed the first general session on Friday, and felt that this would be a good speaker and that we could learn and enjoy his presentations.  After the second presentation, those thoughts were beginning to change.  By Saturday, I was thrilled that our daughter was going to be safely in a place where she would be able to learn about evangelism and ministry, rather than being yelled at from a legalistic soapbox.  My husband was so mad by the time that we left the last session on Saturday, that I thought he was going to have an apoplexy.  We absolutely believe that our children need to learn God’s word first and foremost.  There is absolutely no question of that.  We also follow God’s law, not man’s interpretation.  I came to this convention to learn about homeschooling and the issues surrounding it.  I came to be rejuvenated and to find the support and encouragement to go back with a fresh outlook.  Instead, I got to be screamed at while being told how to dress, eat, walk, talk, sing, and that I was going to hell if I listened to the wrong music, watched television shows or movies that this man didn’t think were appropriate, or read books that fell into that category.

At this point I doubt we’ll be going back next year.  Maybe if we were able to let the kids go to AIM and then skip every general session…regardless, if we do attend, you can be sure that we will thoroughly research the presenters before stepping foot in the door!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Heartbroken

It is so hard to lose a furry friend.  Especially one you have seen your children fall in love with.  A few months ago, we adopted two wonderful cats who were abandoned.  Lovely Guinevere is a light grey and white, slight and rather shy.  Lancelot watched over her like a chivalrous knight, protecting her from harm.  Oh and he was a love.  The girls dressed him up in dolly clothes, slippers, a tiara, and cuddled with him day and night. 

We couldn't find him today.  We looked and looked and searched and called, wandering to and fro, looking into anyplace where he could have been accidentally locked up.  We called the lady who had come by the food bank yesterday to make sure he hadn't gotten in her car.  We posted his picture on facebook and printed up flyers at the library.  And then we came home, and there he was, on the side of the road by our house.  Our son David saw him, and went down to see if it was really him.  He looked so normal, that I reached down and touched him, almost like I was thinking he was just asleep, or that he was just hurt and would be okay.  His fur was still soft, but instead of warm and purring, he was just cold and hard.  I couldn't hold it together at that point, and Paul held me while I cried.  Then we went up to tell the girls.  While I was comforting them, Paul and David slipped out the back and buried him so they wouldn't see. 

It hurts so much.  He was only in our lives for a short time, but he was definitely a part of the family.  As I look at Meggie and know that her time will come in just a few short years, I can't even stand to think about it.  I just hug her and hold her and pet her and play with her now, while I can.  And then, I think about my children, and how they are growing so fast, and will only be here for so long.  And I hold them and hug them and dance with them, read with and to them, play with them and cheer them on, for as long as I can.

As the guys came in from burying Lancelot, this song came into my mind.  And as I played it on YouTube, the rain came pouring down.


I'd just like to remind you to gather your loved ones close and appreciate them every day.  Dance.





Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Princess Broken

I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to sit down and review this book. I read it in its entirety a few weeks ago, and I am reading it to the girls, one chapter at a time, but I will honestly tell you, the book is so powerful that I could not sit down and review it immediately after reading. My emotions were fully invested, and I had let it sit for awhile before I could actually begin to think about sharing my viewpoint with anyone else. 

I loved this book so much, and it was such a powerful message.  I have wonderful things to say about the story, the characters and their development. 

Please see note below about this section!
****I do have relatively small things that did bug me, and I’m going to mention those first, just to get them out of the way. 

First of all, I am a freak when it comes to proofreading, spelling, word usage and grammar.  I guess that’s what comes from being an English teacher J.  Here and there, there were a few things that had been missed in the editorial cleanup (i.e. in one place the word “here” was more than likely a typo of the word “her”).  It really isn’t a big deal, and it doesn’t affect the story for most people, I just notice things like that.  And believe me, there are errors in textbooks, New York Times Best Sellers, government documents.  If you’re paying attention they are there, so like I said, very small thing. 

Some of the development itself was a little choppy.  I don’t really want to give a specific example, because it would be a spoiler for those of you who haven’t read the book, but it was an interaction between Kate and Sarah, and kind of what was done with Sarah’s character for a while.

Overall, I absolutely LOVED this book.  I do caution you to read it first, if you are planning to share it with your family.  There are some topics that Sarah and Kate both share that are definitely difficult things to deal with.  I would not let my teenager read this alone at this point, but I am reading it with all of my girls together.  I think it’s important that they understand there are things in the world that can hurt you that they know how important it is to show the love of God to others, and they understand what the Bible says about some of the tough topics in the world today.  This is a great discussion platform that opens up opportunities to deal with things that your family may not normally see, but that your kids may see later as teens or adults.

Misty has skillfully woven all of those pieces into A Princess Broken.   She has written the characters so skillfully that I felt as if I was right there holding their hands.  There are always parts of characters that we can relate to in each book that we read.  That’s one of the reasons that we read them, because we see pieces of ourselves!  Sometimes the pieces we see of ourselves are not pretty, and we have to be reminded that God loves us enough to look past those pieces and see the beautiful creation that he made, His Princess.  A Princess Broken is a beautiful reminder of God’s glory, and his mercy, and the plan that He has for each of us

You can find a Princess Broken here:
http://mistygatlin.com/a-princess-broken/

or here:
http://www.amazon.com/A-Princess-Broken-Misty-Gatlin/dp/1470053500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335295465&sr=8-1.

****Notes to add
-The proofreading errors that I found were corrected before the book officially went to print, so that "thing that bugged me" is gone!

-Also, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even though I did not like the particular interaction that I said was choppy, if it wasn't there, it would have changed the story.  If Kate had done what I wanted her to do at that moment in time, the rest of the story would not have been able to play out the way it did, and it wouldn't have been as good.   


I hope that my original review did not keep anyone away from the book.  I loved this book beyond words, because I believe that each of us has at least a little bit of Sarah or Kate, times when we’ve felt unloved, unwanted, unworthy.  I think it has a lot of great messages and is a wonderful, wonderful story.  I don’t want to detract from the power and the beauty of the story itself.

Thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoy this book as much as my family has!





 


 

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


















The interaction that I had trouble with was the transition from sitting in Kate’s house, to her being at the hospital with her dad.  I know it was important for her to go to her dad, there’s no question there.  I felt like Sarah kind of got brushed off.  I know Kate tried to make sure she had a safe place to go, but she then just kind of left her.  I figured she’d just take her with her!  Although, after thinking about it, even though I didn’t like that interaction, I don’t think it could have gone any other way, because the end of the story wouldn’t have been able to play out as it did. 
-Sonja

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Some of you might know of our interest in canning and preserving food.  We've always frozen things, but now we are starting to branch out.  We have a dehydrator, a water bath canner, and we recently purchased a pressure canner.

Now if you know my husband, you know that he thoroughly researches anything and reads every review he can find before purchasing, especially if it's a pricey purchase, which a canner can definitely be.  After reading all the reviews and checking the information, we decided to go with a Lehman's canner.  Every site that we checked had only the highest praise for them.  The All American pressure canner also had high reviews, but there were a few that mentioned the handle had broken, and as rough as we are on things, we thought we'd better go with the sturdier choice. 

Here are the two canners, Lehman's above, and the All American below.


 After definitively  deciding which canner to purchase, we ran to the Lehman's site to "get 'er done".  We chose the 30 quart canner, clicked on it, and filled out our information.  It only asked for a billing address, and since that has to match, we entered our P.O. Box.  It then offered two choices of shipping,

We checked the site a week or two later, wondering when our product would arrive, but found that no tracking information was listed with the order.  We waited another week, and then contacted Lehman's, wondering when it was shipped and how soon it might get there.  We received a rather vague response stating that it had shipped on April 4th.  Another week went by, and we inquired again.  We received this reply on Monday, April 23, 2012:

Your order shipped on 4/5/2012 via United States Post Office - per your request online.

We do not have a tracking number available when it ships out by mail; however, you should be seeing it soon!
Unfortunately, I have seen it take this long in the mail and am forced to wait 30 days before we can declare it lost.
I would be glad to replace the order after that time, if you still have not received it yet! I would ask, however, that you would continue to wait a little longer in receiving the package. (Keep in mind it has only been 14 working days, and should be there soon!)


Notice the date on the message above.  On May 4, 2012, we contacted the company yet again, inquiring about the canner we had purchased, which had still not arrived. 

There seems to be a bit of confusion about your canner. It was returned to us on 4/18/12, not by

the post office, but by someone who mailed it back to us (I don't know who - I assumed it was you).

I refunded your credit card on 4/18/12 for the full amount of the item, minus the shipping charge.

Would you like me to set up a new order and send you another one (with no shipping charge)?
 
We checked our bank statement, and yes, they had indeed refunded the price of the canner, not including shipping.  We assured the representative that we absolutely did NOT send the canner back, and after contemplating it for several minutes, decided that we'd try this one more time.  It does have the best ratings, and we wanted the best quality item that we could find.  This morning we received an email stating that they'd sent it off via UPS Ground, but still neglected to provide any tracking information.  We emailed them back, inquiring about a tracking number, but at this point are still playing Russian Roulette, wondering whether it will ever arrive.