A Ferry Ride

My kids and I all agree that it is fun to ride the ferries. We used to ride them sometimes when we travelled with my husband to one of his far-away clients, but we moved and now a bridge makes for a better route. So now, ferry rides are a not-very-common treat.

We recently got to take a ferry ride on one of the Puget Sound Ferries and enjoyed the birds, smell of the water and air and the views. Here are a few photos that my kids snapped on our ride. I wish I could share the smell of the ocean air and the call of the seagulls with you too. Those are too things that I just absolutely love.

First is Zippy soaking up sun through the window, with the baby behind her making fingerprints on the window.

Passenger, Zippy

The kids really enjoyed watching the birds trying to keep up with the ferry. They would go out on the deck and cheer them on if they began to lag behind.

Seaguls flying along beside the ferry

And I just thought this view was interesting. It’s the combination of the beauty of God’s Creation mixed with the mess of man’s labors. The cranes are for unloading ships that have arrived, no doubt, from China. Not that I don’t appreciate that we can import, it’s just not near as beautiful.

A view of Mt. Rainier from the Ferry

We are already planning our next trip that will require a ferry, just because we want to ride the ferry.



IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Throwing Rocks

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

Kids playing at the beach

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

Nature study with Daddy

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

~By Rudyard Kipling


This is a poem that was read at my cousin’s wedding over 15 years ago, but it made such an impression on me that I review it periodically. It’s quite profound. I think it applies to women too, even though it was for a son.

Mount Saint Helens and the 7 Wonders Museum

We have been studying the Bible story of Creation for our Bible class, both from the Bible and from the book Patriarchs and Prophets. So I thought that it would be fun to visit a Creation Museum to confirm some of what we were studying. When my children were very little, my husband and I visited a Creation museum that is located at the base of Mount Saint Helens called the 7 Wonders Creation Museum. We called some of our homeschool friends and arranged a fun trip to the museum and the volcano. (I was the sole adult with eight kids! Call me brave! Not really, they are all really great kids and one of them was a very responsible 16 year old, so I had good help.)

At the 7 Wonders Museum, we were privileged with a lecture/PowerPoint show on different aspects of Mt. St. Helens that defy evolution. Because most of our group was kids, he limited it to three wonders, but in his normal presentation, he presents seven wonders–hence the name of the museum.

After that, the tour guide from the museum took us on a tour up to the volcano. First we stopped by the A-Frame that has been buried in mud. This A-frame was partially buried by the river of mud that came flowing through the valley about eight hours after the big eruption. You now, stand on the ground and look down on to the deck of the A-frame. It is quite a testament to how quickly the landscape can be changed. Here is a picture that one of the kids took.

Buried A-Frame at Mt. Saint Helens

Then we went to the top of a dam that was built for the sole purpose of holding back mud, in an effort to save some of the cities that are downstream from the volcano. This provided another evidence that changes can happen rapidly, but also continue after catastrophes. Still, major changes that happen in a matter of months are pretty rapid as compared to millions of years.

Here are a couple pictures of the dam.

The Mud Dam

River of Mud at Mt. St. Helens

Then we drove up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory that looks straight into the volcano. It is quite amazing to look face to face at a volcano. At the observatory, we attended a Ranger talk, watched the movie and all the kids worked on and earned their Junior Ranger Badges.  We had one young lady with us, who spoke primarily Japanese, and we were happy to find out that we could sign up for a translator for her, so she could listen to translations of all the signs in the exhibit. They have the translators for several languages. The rest of us were a little jealous, because the little device that she used was kind of fun to play with.

If you ever have a chance to visit Mt. St. Helens and the observatory, do not miss out on the movie. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise that comes in the movie, but it is amazing. I also highly recommend the museum, but only if you call ahead. The museum is run by a man and his wife and if you call ahead, they will schedule to give their “Seven Wonders” lecture, otherwise, it is small and you won’t get near as much out of it.

I met a man on the airplane a few days before we were planning to go to Mount Saint Helens who got into a discussion with me about Young Earth Creationism. He was a Christian, but just believed that the facts of science were too compelling to accept the Biblical rendition of Creation. I sure wished that I could have taken him with me to St. Helens. He might have got a new perspective. I did my best to help him have a new perspective, but I’m not sure how much headway, I made. Now I have a little more in my arsenal for the next time I have such a discussion.

Mount Saint Helens

Margie Asks Why?

This last summer, I decided it was time to read the book Margie Asks, Why Do People Have to Die? to my children. I had read it to them four years ago, but everybody is four years older now and would understand it in a different way.

This is the best book that I have ever read for understanding why bad things happen to good/Christian people. That is a very difficult concept for adults, let alone children. It is the story of how some young children that were attending a Christian school lost their mother to cancer. A young friend of the children tries to grapple with why God allowed the young mother of her friends to die and leave them motherless. The girl with all the questions, Margie, has an aunt who takes the time to review how sin entered the universe, and then sets out to explain why God has to allow bad things to happen to good people sometimes. I highly recommend this book for everybody. I am an adult, and was very blessed by it. My children, ages 5, 8 and 11 were as well. The book was written for children, but I’d recommend it to adults too who have struggled with that question as many of us have at one time or other.

As you can imagine, the subject was one that was very pertinent to our family. You see my children had been praying for years and years, “Please, help Uncle Ben get better.” I knew time was getting shorter for my brother, unless a miracle happened, so I decided that we would read this book, because I was hoping that they would have a chance to think about these things before their Uncle Ben passed away. Unfortunately, we had just started the book when he passed away. We went ahead and finished the book. It had a lot more meaning after the fact then it seemed to before the fact.

I am very sad to have recently discovered that it is currently out of print. (The link, I gave above, is for used copies from Amazon.) I hope that it will get reprinted. However there is a New, Easy English version in print, that can be purchased new.

When we read this book a few years ago, we were doing it as part of the God, Creation and Me Kindergarten program. At that time, we made a little model of what it sounded like God’s throne looked like. So after we finished the book, this time, we pulled it out and set it up. Here is a a picture of it, all set up. If you’re curious how we made it. We got all the stuff from a craft store. The pillars were from the cake decorating isle. The bases were from the wood working isle. The cloud is pillow stuffing. The stars were from the gift wrap isle. And I printed the rainbow on the printer. The people are from some old Bible story illustrations.

Model Throne of God

This is the throne redesigned by G’tums to be what he thought David’s throne must have looked like.

Model Throne of David

Model of Moses’ Tabernacle

My daughter recently finished studying a thirteen week-long study about Moses’ Tabernacle, called “Path to the Throne” by Young Disciple Ministries. From that lesson guide, she studied about how the Sanctuary symbolizes the plan of salvation. For example, she learned Who the lamb represented that was sacrificed for sins in the Sanctuary service. That symbol is perhaps the most obvious, but there were so many interesting symbolisms that could be seen in the Tabernacle and the whole Sanctuary service. And this lesson guide was prepared to make it interesting to tweens/teens.

Just as she was finishing up the study, we found out that within driving distance from us, some people had built a model of Moses’ Tabernacle. (It was hosted at Sunset Lake, a Christian summer camp a ways away from us.) We headed there with some friends to take the tour. The camp director spoke of each of the pieces of furniture and what they represented in the plan of salvation. We were all better able to get an idea of how big the courtyard and furniture was. We were a little disappointed with how primitive the model was. We have often heard of the traveling Messiah’s Mansion, and we were hoping that we were going to see something of that calibre. (We hope that someday Messiah’s Mansion will be close enough that we can visit it.) The one we visited wasn’t nearly as nicely finished and wasn’t quite accurate to scale, but it was quite a bit nicer than anything we will ever get around to doing ourselves, so we still enjoyed it.

Here are some pictures that Zippy took of the model.

The Front Gate:

Front Gate

The Altar of Sacrifice:

Altar of Sacrifice

The Lavar (Wash Basin):


The Seven-branc Candlestick:


The Altar of Incense:

Altar of Incense

The Table of Showbread:

Table of Showbread

The Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat:

Ark of the Covenant (A little primitive)

The Ark of the Covenant was the piece of furniture that seemed the most primitive, but it was okay. The Holy and Most Holy place were not built to the same scale as the Courtyard and the Furniture. It should have been twice as tall as it was. But we still got a pretty good feel for the size of everything.

A Day to Remember at Deception Pass and Rosario Beach

One of my very favorite spots that I’ve ever been to in all of my life is Rosario Beach. I went there for the first time when I was fifteen, with my high school biology class. That trip had many good memories with birding, tide pooling, and of course good friends. When I moved back to the Northwest, I took my husband there as soon as possible and since then, we have tried to squeeze in as many trips as possible. We probably get there an average of twice a year. We were there two times this summer. That’s where we went for the baby’s first birthday.

Then between my brother’s death and memorial service, we wanted some family time in a place where we could experience some healing. Nature is such a good place to go, when you need healing of the soul.  Because my husband and I love Rosario, and also because my brother had some really enjoyable trips to Rosario when he was alive, we persuaded the family to take a day at Rosario/Bowman Bay. We even had family join us from Germany there. It was a day to remember for all of us.

Deception Pass

We stopped and enjoyed a view of Deception Pass Bridge.


I enjoyed time lots of time talking with my sister. Sisters are indeed a special gift. I didn’t get a sister until I was fifteen and I’m sure thankful for the blessing that I waited so long for.

My Brother -- the binocular man

We did a little birding. Although it seems that my brother needed all the binoculars or something. Actually I think he was being helpful, and since he loves birding, he could test everybody’s binoculars to see which ones were the nicest.

Baby and Uncle

The boardwalk

My kids enjoyed having their uncles home. Their uncles are very special to them.

Picnic time

We enjoyed a picnic all together, with some of my mom’s delicious potato salad.


We did some kayaking…


…and some hiking…

Boy in a stump

…and some exploring.

Then we gathered together at the top of the bluff overlooking the ocean and shared memories of my brother Ben and shared promises from the Bible to bring comfort to each other’s hearts. And we cried together.

The family

Then we stayed on and watched the sunset and thought about how it was like my brother’s life. It was beautiful while it lasted, but it came to an end, but even the end was a beautiful experience.


Sooner or later, the sun sets on all of our lives. Will we be ready? Will it be the end of a beautiful life? Will it be something that our loved ones will want to remember? Questions for all of us to ponder.


It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day and it seemed to so fitting a way to remember somebody that was so dear to all of our hearts.

p.s. Today would have been my brother’s 34th birthday.

The Kindergartner

I happen to think that I have one of the cutest kindergartners on the planet living at my house. Here he is with his scooter. He spends hours on that scooter. He tries to keep up with his older siblings on their roller blades, but scooters are hard to get to go as fast as roller blades. But he’s mighty cute with that scooter anyway.

Smiling with dimples

I’m quite proud of my little kindergartner. He just loves life and loves learning. And he’s learned so much over the last few months. One of those things was how to ride his bike. One of my education theories happens to be that kids should learn to ride bikes before they learn to read. I know, that’s just an opinion, but it’s a good one.

Here is a video of him riding.

He got a bit frustrated with me for procrastinating in taking his training wheels off. I kept saying, “I’ll get to it, when I get time.” (That’s a bad thing to say to kids.) Then his 8 year-old brother gave up on me too and went and took them off. So this video is the first time I even saw him try without his training wheels. According to the big brother and sister, he didn’t even fall over once, he just started riding. He was a very happy boy that day, as you can see in the video.

He also lost his first and second tooth this fall. That’s also an important event. (Although, I don’t try to make that happen before my kids start learning to read.)

Missing First Tooth

We have so much fun together learning. I think kindergarten is my favorite time to teach. I don’t feel any pressure, because I think kindergarten was an invented grade just to take kids away from their parents earlier. But it is also such a fun time, because the lightbulbs are turning on. G’tums loves to add and count and draw and paint and especially loves to learn about nature. I haven’t started him on reading yet, although when you’re a third child, sometimes the older siblings step in where mother isn’t. So his big brother has been teaching him letter sounds. It works well, gets those phonics more rooted in my third grader’s mind.

I just have to share one of my favorite quotes from a book that I have read multiple times. “Mothers, let the little ones play in the open air; let them listen to the songs of the birds and learn the love of God as expressed in His beautiful works. Teach them simple lessons from the book of nature and the things about them; and as their minds expand, lessons from books may be added and firmly fixed in their memory.” Ellen White, Child Guidance, p. 34